Wise Craft

wise-craft

I was very excited when I discovered that the inspirational Blair Stocker had written a craft book and I was delighted that she sent me a copy. I’ve enjoyed Blair’s blog wise craft for what seems like forever in the life of craft blogs. Her quilts are beautiful and she is always experimenting with different techniques and ideas. In her book Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love she explores various techniques and ideas for making meaningful things to fill your home.

With charming illustrations by Lisa Congdon and warm photographs by EJ Armstrong, the book feels like a cozy spot on a rainy day, a place to quietly reflect and get inspired. With projects that include craft, crochet, and sewn objects, the book is perfect for people who like to dabble in a bit of everything. Projects include picnic blankets, woven chair backs, journal covers, photo banners, embellished ceramics, and home decor. The book is divided by seasons, with each set of crafts evoking the feeling of that time of year. I especially love her zombie Barbies and sweater trees to celebrate the holidays.

After reading through the introduction, I felt inspired and have a new sense of purpose in my making. It’s so easy to get lost in deadlines and career goals, that sometimes I need to get back to making with meaning.

Below you can see the Dip-Dyed Toile Dishes and Hand-Loomed Place Mats.

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wise-craft-placemats

You can read more about the book and watch a trailer here.

Crafty Round-Up

7-15-13

Smocked Summer Scarf from The Purl Bee.

Oilcloth Pool Tote with Mesh Pockets from Sew, Mama, Sew.

Braided Liberty Headbands from Clones and Clowns.

Tie-Dyed Wood Blocks from Whimseybox.

Honeycomb Garland from Oh, Happy Day!

Fabric Trays from Craftiness is Not Optional.

Some projects from around the web.

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Plus, you can follow me on Pinterest to see all of the things I’m liking these days. I try to pin regularly, but also have to resist the time drain that can happen when I head over there. I also usually tweet lots of crafty links too.

This summer I seem to do more pinning and tweeting than actually making things. I’m just waiting for inspiration. I’ve started re-reading The Artist’s Way and have begun writing morning pages. I’m pretty skeptical at the moment, but willing to try. These days it feels like what I am doing is just scratching the surface. 

A Few Stamped Projects

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I finally got around to a few projects that have been on my list of things to do with my Stamped fabric collection.

First, I covered an IKEA side table with my scalloped fabric and some batting to turn it into an ironing board. I simply removed the top piece of the table, wrapped it in aluminum foil, then added several layers of batting, then covered it in fabric and stapled the fabric to the underside. Then I put the tabletop back in place. You can also get heat-resistent batting made for hot pads and things, but I didn’t have enough on hand so I improvised with the aluminum foil. It works perfectly well and has more surface area than my previous ironing board, plus it frees up extra space and serves double duty with storage below. I’ve seen lots of other crafters do this, so maybe there’s a full tutorial somewhere?

Stamped-Projects-curtains

And some quickie curtains for our laundry room. This is the circle flowers fabric, probably my favorite from the collection.

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Then I covered my grandmother’s sewing stool with the triangles fabric. I have to say, I really enjoy using my staple gun. Watch out.

Quick Crafty Round-Up

Here’s a post that’s had me thinking a lot lately: 10 Great Ways to be an Unhappy Mom. This post led me to discover Beth Berry’s blog, Revolution from Home, which I find real and refreshing. I particularly like this post. A reminder to take the time to slow down, focus our energy on what’s really important and remember not to compare ourselves to the perceived perfection that we see online (which does not exist, I can assure you).

So, I’m giving you a round-up of project tutorials, none of which I am going to make! Ha. But I’m going to finish my final round of book edits today, get some photos taken and make a trip to the grocery store. Success! And if you have the time and feel inspired, go make something from these tutorials. There are so many creative and inspiring projects out there, but maybe you need to go do something more important. Like feed the kids.

Reading Pillow from Melissa Mortenson.

Boatneck Tutorial from Dana of Made.

Sewing Round-up on How about Orange.

Easy Watercolor Portraits from Grow Creative.

And some Halloween ideas:

50 Halloween Crafts (from my previous round-up).

Halloween Craft Round-Up from Hello Lucky!

25 Projects from Better Homes & Gardens.

Plus a round-up of my crafts over the years. Here’s another round-up of candy corn crafts, and still another round-up of projects.

Holiday Crafting with Kids

Marie of Make and Takes asked me to be part of the blog tour for her new book, Make and Takes for Kids: 50 Crafts Throughout the Year, published by Wiley. If you are familiar with Marie’s blog, you know that she offers kids’ crafts, recipes and activities perfect for parents with busy lives, homeschoolers, teachers, and anyone interested in making fast and fun crafts with the kids.

In her new book, Marie offers 50 simple and easy crafts for all seasons of the year. Each craft includes learning objectives, a supply list and clear instructions. The crafts are just right for kids of all ages with projects that work for both boys and girls. These crafts are simple, featuring supplies you may have on hand: pipe cleaners, glue, construction paper, plus re-purposed materials such as toilet paper tubes, milk jugs and egg cartons.

I thought I’d take this opportunity to give some ideas for crafting with kids around the holidays. We all love the idea of a meaningful, handmade holiday, but life can become chaotic around this time of year trying to clean your house, cook, or prepare to go out of town, often while working and taking care of the kids’ homework and carting them around to activities. I’ve noticed lately with the time change that I’m struggling just to get a meal on the table and get the kids in bed at a reasonable time. So it’s not surprising that when I received the book from Marie, I looked and found lots of great crafts to try, but we haven’t had the time! Here are a few simple ideas to help you keep the kids busy and make a meaningful holiday:

1) Go shopping or gather materials. Have craft supplies on hand and get everything organized before the holidays. If you are re-purposing materials like newspaper or toilet paper tubes, go ahead and gather those.

2) Make craft kits. Make a list of the activities you’d like to try with the kids and pre-cut or gather materials as needed. Put each project in its own basket, making a kit that the kids can pick up and make on their own. Kids who can read can easily follow the instructions in this book.

3) Give choices. My older daughter is very independent and really hates any prescribed activity, but she will follow along with a book, making her own variations. I often find that letting her choose the project gives her ownership and makes her much more interested in it.

Now that I’ve said all this, I’d better follow my own advice! Check out Marie’s book if you get a chance, and you can find the instructions for this Thankful leaf project (below) over on Skip to My Lou.

All photos by Nicole Gerulat.

You can also check out some of these other crafting resources for the kids this holiday season: Make and TakesThe Crafty CrowAlpha Mom, my list of 100 Holiday Crafts, and this new Martha and Friends interactive site.

What are your favorite sites, books or other resources for kids’ craft ideas?