Craft Book Love.

Ahhh … I can’t tell you how happy my recent surge in craft book collecting has made me lately. I used to buy maybe three or four new craft books a year. But in the past two months or so, I have added at least 10 to my collection, and I am almost giddy with excitement. There is nothing like an inspirational craft book to get my creative juices flowing. And I have been well inspired by some of my recent picks.

So, here is a list of the goodies I have obtained … with some comments on why I love them so … and some links if you are interested in purchasing your own copies. (Just click on the titles for more info and buying information). Enjoy :

Fabric Art Journals: Making, Sewing, and Embellishing Journals from Cloth and Fibers One of my absolute favorites. The first part of the book gives you all the information you need to get started, including techniques, tools, stitches, etc. All well explained, including visuals. Perfect for beginners & advanced crafters alike. The second part is full of gorgeous projects with step-by-step instruction. All are well within the capabilities of any level of crafter, as it is not so much the construction of the books that is inspired, but rather it is what you do to embellish them that is key. And the last part of the book gives you several pages of examples of cloth books made by others. Lots of inspiration on the possibilites of various embellishment techniques there. I am just wild for this book and am itching to get started!

The Impatient Patchworker: 20 Great Projects You Can Make in a Hurry This is one of those books that should be a staple in any crafter’s home. Though it is certainly a beginner’s book – it serves as a reminder to advanced crafters of the possibilites of quick and simple gift-making. The instructions are clear and come with detailed illustration of almost every step. I have used this book for making several gifts, including patchworked potholders (not your Grandma’s potholders either – these are way more hip), and patchworked pillows (again with the “hip“).

Kids Embroidery: Projects for Kids of All Ages I fully intended to give this book to Meaghan for Christmas, but found that I cannot let go of it! I guess the “…for Kids of All Ages” applied to me. There are some sweet and simple craft projects in here that I just have to try. But more than that, the instruction is so well-illustrated that I am going to keep this book as a reference to guide me through the various embroidery stitches that I tend to forget how to do only minutes after doing them.

Quilted Memories: Journaling, Scrapbooking & Creating Keepsakes with Fabric This is the first craft book that I actually read. I mean, I usually just skim these books for what I need, but this book was so intriguing, inspired and well-written, that I was compelled to lay in bed and read the whole book. It is just wonderful. There are some nice instructions for those that want to make similar projects, but the beauty of this book is the inspiration it gives for coming up with your own unique pieces. Incorporating my photography with my sewing has become a goal of mine, and this book gives me basically all I need to get started on doing so. I HIGHLY recommend this one.

How To Make Books : Fold, Cut & Stitch Your Way to a One-of-a-Kind Book I found this book on several other blogs that I read. For a while, this book was all the rage in the blogging world. And although it was so far from my current interests (I hadn’t really crafted in paper at all), I thought I would check it out anyway. And I am now yet another blogger who sings the praises of this book – and will begin to explore the possibilites of my own book making… as it looks so much simpler than I ever would have thought. There is even instruction for making a book out of one sheet of paper … and it is not as basic as you might imagine. The book is well written and quirky-fun. Perhaps the illustrations are somewha lacking fr my taste, as I need things to be visualy “spelled out” for me. But I think the text makes up for this. Anyway, I have now begun to journey into the world of paper craft and am getting exited about it.

Chic Bags: 22 Handbags, Purses, Totes and Accessories to Make My husband gave this book to me for Christmas this year and I was pleasantly surprised by his insight! In fact, just weeks prior, I had been drooling over this very book at my local Borders Bookstore. The patterns contained range from beginner to advanced and all are quite accessible. The illustrated directions are well laid out and easy to follow. And the bags are all quite unique. Some of the fabric choices are hideous (in my humble opinion), but it is not a far stretch for me to imagine the bags in my own fabric choices. And as I am learning, a girl can never have too many bags!

Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts If a craft book can be “classy”, then this one is. It is very well-written, so well-organized and the photography is absolute eye-candy. The book is divided into sections of projects that are grouped together by how long they will take you to complete: Less-than-2-Hour Gifts, 2- to 4-Hour Gifts, and so on. Gift projects range from Scrapbooks and coasters … to pillowcases and tablecloths… to stuffed elephants and quilts. All sorts of goodies. All well described and illustrated. Such a great book!

Crafts to Celebrate the Seasons I have to admit that this is my least favorite of all my recent book purchases. And in fact, I did not purchase this one, but rather I mooched it on Bookmooch.com (the other above titles are not available on Bookmooch at this time). I do think Mary Engelbreit’s cheerful artistry is fun & whimsical … and I appreciate it and am interested in incorporating some of it in my new home, but this book just seems downright silly and unworthy of the rest of my list. But I included it for balance … and it is not without some charming projects – like the sweet mittens in the above photo. I say, borrow it from a library because you won’t need it for long. Quite uninspiring, brief and way-too-quirky (the eggshell Easter projects seem ridiculous).

So There It Is! I hope you enjoyed this list … and I hope you found some gems within it to add to your own bookshelves. I think that I will make this a regular part of my blogging … sharing book lists like this one. I have an enormous collection and am always adding to it, so perhaps readers can benefit from these sorts of book reviews.

Please feel free to add some of your recent craft book purchases to the comment section as well as some of your own thoughts on the above mentioned titles.

Thank You & Enjoy the Day!

~ Jodi

Jodi Renshaw

About Jodi Renshaw

Jodi is a homeschooling Mom, a photographer, a wife, and a proud resident of the city of Bangor. She spends part of her time working at a locally-owned shop in the downtown area, part of her time homeschooling her favorite young man, and most of her time behind a camera lens. She often writes about adoption, family life, homeschooling, and community.