Thursday, February 25, 2010

Craft Book Reviews

Last Summer I was in a funk after being laid off from my job of 12+ years and wondering what I was going to do with the rest of my life and needed some inspiration so I bought 4 crafty book. Once I got the books I thought I would do reviews on them, but never got around to it….until now. A couple are jewelry related and the other two are craft. The craft book reviews will be published on my Crafty News site and the jewelry books on my Dana’s Jewelry Design blog.

Taking Flight 
Inspirations & Techniques to give your Creative spirit wings
By Kelly Rae Roberts

When I saw this book on Amazon I fell in love with the graphics and artwork. This is a mix media book that is more inspirational than project driven.  There are pages in the book for you to write your inspirational thoughts and plan which I find is wasted space. How many of us write in our craft books? I don’t, since I’m usually giving them away for auctions or kids activities when I’m finished with them. There are contributing artists so Kelly isn’t the author of all the techniques or instructions in the book which I found a bit confusing, but it does give you several viewpoints and ways that others look at and complete art. I didn’t do any of the projects in the book and there are 7, but if you are wanting to get into mixed media or altered art this would be a good starting point to learn some techniques. Great photos and graphics throughout the book.

Would I keep this book in my library of craft reference books? No
Would I have bought this book if I had been able to thumb through it first? No
Would I recommend you buy this book? Maybe as long as you know what it is about first.
Review for Graphics and Photos is 5 stars
Review for Content is 3 stars

I’m not sure of what I was thinking when I bought this book except that it reminded me of craft projects that we used to do in Camp Fire girls in the 60’s. So, you could say it brought back memories that I wanted to relive again.  Humm, not a good reason to buy a book, but here goes the review.

The Complete Book of Retro Crafts
Collecting, Displaying & Making Crafts of the Past
By Suzie Millions

What can I say about this book but that it will appeal to a wide variety of people. There are 50 projects, so something for everyone and all the projects use items around the house or repurposing old vintage things like plates, bottles and tea cups. There is a whole section on what is Retro Crafts. Lots of photos and images on how to display your craft project as well as defining your work space. I can see making some of these projects with kids as they would get a kick out of them, but other than in a kids room book case, do you really need to have this stuff displayed around your house…..uggg. I should have known better. Some of the crafts or techniques in the book I see being used today such as the paper folding and glitter frames so if you really want to learn how to do that, this is the book for you. Have I made any of these crafts out of the book? You bet when I was a kid. Would I make them now? Not unless I was crafting with my grandson or nephew. The book does have good instructions and gives you the materials list so you will know what you need to complete that project.

Would I keep this book in my library of craft reference books? Yes
Would I have bought this book if I had been able to thumb through it first? Nlo
Would I recommend you buy this book? No, not unless you are into retro crafts or vintage repurposing
Review for Graphics and Photos is 5 stars
Review for Content is 3 stars

Now, I’m sure you are wondering why I would keep this book. Some sentimental and because it does repurpose a lot of things around the house and the crafts would be good to work on with kids.

If you would like to read the jewelry book reviews go HERE.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Re-Purposing Material

For the past several days I have been busy sewing. I found my little Swing 'N Sew machine at my mothers and took it back and have been creating fun things ever since. First I wanted to make some jewelry pouches for my jewelry when it sells to send it in to customers...went a little overboard on that. Here is my post from my Jewelry blog if you want to read it. Anyway, as I was trying to fall asleep last night I remembered all these vintage hankies and thought what a great use for that material. I'm not going to use them as hankies and some of them have small holes and stains, so here is my first attempt at a drawstring pouch. As you can see, it will hold quite a bit of jewelry. I think next time I will reinforce the inside with either quilt batting or another layer of muslin for more stability.

My next project was one that hubby had asked for and that is a passport carrier. I published a link here a while back to a tutorial, but I wanted something a bit simplier so this is what I came up with. I used scrap material left over from my jewelry pouches and old jean shorts that no longer fit. Mine is the pretty one and hubby's is the denim. As you can see they are both fully lined and I added the hook & loop tape (button is just decorative, but a good way to embellish.) It is also large enough to hold your cell phone or mp3 player. I'm thinking I might be able to put the camera in here also when not using it for the passport. My version isn't padded, but if using it for a camera case or mp3 player case, I would suggest a layer of quilt batting between the lining and cover.

So what would you use these for?