Books to Get You Into the Holiday Spirit

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Wednesday 12 December 2012 at 5:56 pm

A few days ago, I received two timely books to review from Sterling Publishing: Country Living Deck the Halls: Christmas Notecards, Labels, Ornaments, and Other Festive & Fun Projects and Country Living The Farm Chicks Christmas: Merry Ideas for the Holidays. Both books have a similar flavor to them.  Think of HGTV in a book with a mix of holiday cheer, some shabby chic, and a sprinkle of Martha Stewart. Now, HGTV and Martha have nothing to do with either book, as in you won’t find them mentioned in either one, but I’m talking about the vibe or tone of the books. Both books were developed through the folks at Country Living magazine.

Deck the Halls (which retails for $19.95 US and $23.95 CAN) is a chunky little book just shy of 200 pages that is interactive because it is not just text but includes lots of paper-based crafting supplies such as stickers, stencils, place cards, tags, recipe cards, and more that you can pull out of the book and use for the crafts and decorating ideas described in the book. It is full of gift wrapping ideas, foodie-gift recipes, and lots of fairly simple craft ideas, some of which would make great gifts. For example, one project explains how to turn ribbons into vintage style book markers that have cute charms dangling from them. There is also an entire chapter dedicated to gifts you can make in the kitchen, and then of course, decorate them to look extra special when you deliver them.

I spotted a small number of the same craft ideas (like maybe two) in The Farm Chicks Christmas written by Serena Thompson (which retails for $19.95 US and $23.95 CAN). While this book also includes a few pages of stickers and note cards in the back of the book, it reads as a kind of visual diary of the author and her two friends, Nancy and Celeste, who all welcome you into their homes and family life during the Christmas season. You tag along on a visit to a tree farm and then get some cool ideas for decorating the tree as well as other parts of the house. These gals even decorate their front porches, so while this may be overboard for some of us, we can glean what works for us. One cute and easy craft and decorating idea in this book that appealed to me was to cover Styrofoam tree shaped pieces with fabric scraps, yarn, or bits of paper. This is a great idea for using up bits of crafting items you don’t want to throw away, and then you end up with some cute holiday decorations. I think these would be a great children’s project that could even be given as gifts to teachers and baby sitters. The Farm Chicks also give some yummy looking recipes that can be made for the family or given as gifts as well.

The holiday season is pretty much here already, but if you are still in the crunch as far as figuring out gifts to make and give or unique ways to decorate, both of these books are full of easy to do ideas that can be done now, or heck, you could use these next year too. It’s never too soon to get going on gift making.

Scarves, Scarves, Scarves

Blogged under crochet and knitting by Tammy on Tuesday 11 December 2012 at 6:50 am

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Since family members where coming and going a lot over the holiday season, we ended up having a very early Christmas, which meant I had to snap to it when it came to any gifts I wanted to make. For those family members who do not live in Florida, one item I opted to make a fair number of were scarves. Pictured is one I made using some baby alpaca Knit Picks yarn that I overdosed on during a sale awhile back, so I ended up doing a little de-stashing while also gift-giving.

I made a few of these, and they are really soft. Plus the color of yarn and type of pattern are fairly unisex (or at least I think so). This pattern is now one of my favorites because it is so fast to make. It’s called Moonlight Serenade by Merri Purdy, and it is available as a free download on Ravelry.com. Most of the pattern I did follow except for I made it longer (starting with 161 versus 121 chain stitches), and I did not connect the ends together, so it’s a true scarf instead of a cowl type scarf that you wrap around.

Now that just about all my gifting is finished, I may actually have time to make something for myself. Imagine that!

Safety Eyes Video

Blogged under amigurumi,Crafty Videos by Tammy on Monday 10 December 2012 at 4:36 pm

When I make an amigurumi toy that I know for sure will be used by a child, I either embroider the eyes or I use safety eyes. I saw this video from Knit Picks on how to attach safety eyes, so I wanted to share.

This Week’s Craft Links

Blogged under Around the Web,Charity Crafting,Crafty Products by Tammy on Monday 10 December 2012 at 11:51 am

ACreativeDream
June’s having another give away. This time it’s a mid-century style glitter house!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a double giveaway featuring 16 new craft and cook books, 25 days of paper crafts, and a recipe for vegan stuffed cabbage rolls.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Make these sweet bread dough clay candy cane ornaments with the kids.

Holiday Gift Guide for Arts and Crafts Lovers
What to buy for the crafter in your life? Here are our current favorites!

Laura Thykeson’s Uniques
A Wonderful life – well lived! Plus some arty eye candy!

Mixed Media Artist
It’s amazing what adding some color to a black and white fabric print can do…

Modern Quilt for Music Lovers
Lindsay shows off her Turntable Quilt, a modern crib-size quilt that’s unlike anything you’ve seen.

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
How to make recycled cup glitter votive holders

Very Last Minute Stocking Stuffer
Cherie makes a simple ribbon bookmark with charms.

Duct Tape Book Review – Stick It!

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Tuesday 4 December 2012 at 5:06 pm


The marketing folks at Running Press sent me a review copy of a fun new book published in late October called Stick It!: 99 D.I.Y. Duct Tape Projects written by T.L. Bonaddio. It is a chunky 264 page soft-bound book that retails for $12.95 in the US and $15.00 in Canada. Let me just note that I recently saw a duct tape tie in a gift catalog that cost $20, so with 99 projects – including some tie projects – this book is priced really well (and, of course, even less expensive on Amazon.com).

Along with ties, it includes tons of other projects: wallets, jewelry, CD cases, various bags, and I could go on and on listing them all, but I won’t. The projects are rated on four levels of difficulty from “Dude, my five year old sister could do that” to “Don’t even think about operating heavy machinery.” As you can tell, the tone of the book is fun and a little quirky.

Before jumping into the projects, there is a very brief tools, tips, and techniques area that covers what you need (which other than duct tape is not too much) and how to work with the tape. Sprinkled throughout the projects pages are semi-blank pages for notes, which I bet would be pretty handy as you make some of the projects since you can note any special tips you think of as you do them. Project instructions include step by step text plus a few illustrations.

I think is a wonderful kids’ book, for big and little kids too. If you have a crafty youngster on your holiday gift list or want to stash this for a birthday surprise, I am giving Stick It!: 99 D.I.Y. Duct Tape Projects a thumbs up.

Links to Get You Crafting

Blogged under Around the Web by Tammy on Monday 3 December 2012 at 3:24 pm

L Thykeson’s Uniques
A Wonderful life enjoyed…

Mixed Media Artist
Cyndi starts a brand new quilt with some fabric printed out by Spoonflower!

Stefanie Girard’s Sweater Surgery
How to make a Duck Tape Christmas tree shower curtain decoration.

iPad Sleeve Sewing Pattern
Make a quick holiday gift for yourself or a loved one, with this free sewing tutorial at Craft Buds. Learn how to fit any size of e-Reader, from a Nook to Kindle or other tablet.

ACreativeDream
An easy, and gorgeous, ornament to make!

Craftside-A behind-the-scenes peek at our crafty world
This week at Craftside there is a Holiday Goodness Giveaway full of books, Westcott scissors and holiday Duck Tape, a tutorial on how to fold two directional accordion fold book, a wine aroma wheel and a video on image transferring and embroidery stitches.

DIY Bridesmaid Gifts
CraftFoxes shares a round-up of elegant and unique bridesmaid gifts you can make yourself.

Eileen – The Artful Crafter
Make your Christmas tree sparkle with sequin faceted ornaments.

Felt Ornament Houses
Cherie makes cute house ornaments out of felt and beads.

December Giveaway – Crafty Marketing E-Book

Blogged under CFEs/Contests by Tammy on Sunday 2 December 2012 at 5:23 pm

We have another awesome giveaway! For December 2012, you get a chance to win The Fine Art of Shameless Self-Promotion, an e-book recently written and published by Margot Potter, TV/Web personality, author of seven jewelry books, and Swarovski ambassador. You can read all about her new marketing e-book at this page on her website, but the nut-shell version is that she has researched and reflected on her own experience in self-promotion when it comes to her crafting career and recorded all of it in her new book.

The hardest part of any business – no matter if it is craft related or not – is marketing. You can’t sell your goods or skills if no one knows you exist. However, trying to figure out how exactly to promote yourself can be confusing and frustrating. On that note, here is the question you need to answer in the comments in order to get a chance to win:

What do you find to be the most frustrating when you attempt to market your yourself and/or your business?

Post your comment only once in this blog entry and you will get a chance to win. The deadline for entry is December 31th midnight ET. Then during the first few days of the next month, I will randomly pick one winner. Make sure to include your email address when commenting. I will email the winner who will have 5 days after the drawing to reply back with a mailing address. Anyone who does not reply after 5 days will no longer be eligible to win, and I will draw a new winner.

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