Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Books To Inspire A Family of Makers

I love looking at the beautifully crafted work of "makers" on Instagram - embroidered hoop art, handmade hats, witty t-shirts, pottery mugs, lovingly hand-sewn baby clothes - there are so many talented women crafting gorgeous, unique items for others and often caring for families at the same time.

I don't have any particular talent in this regard. I like to bake, take pictures and write, but when it comes to crafting I am purely a hobbyist. That doesn't mean I won't keep at it though, just for fun. And I'd also like to inspire my children to harness their creativity into satisfying projects - there's nothing like the feeling of finishing something wonderful that you've made by hand. This month, I picked out some books to inspire us from DK's Made By Hands Boutique.

My sewing skills are quite limited, but I always thought it would be cool to be capable of sewing your own clothes. I think that desire goes back to Molly Ringwald in Pretty in Pink. I wanted to be that girl with the hand-sewn prom dress. How awesome was she? It didn't happen for me, but my little girl has expressed an interest in designing clothes one day. I would like to sign her up for a sewing course this summer so she can get some professional guidance, but in the meantime we play around with sewing crafts by hand and machine now and then.

Let's Sew makes sewing a whole lot of fun, with cute projects that appeal to kids and Mom. There are 12 easy projects that can help kids learn to sew. With clear, colourful pictures and instructions, Let's Sew explains threading a needle, doing a running stitch and back stitch and sewing on buttons. The "Sewing Kit" pages will have your little one (and you!) wanting to stock up on colourful thread, bright fabrics and googly eyes!

The fun and easy projects include sewing on handmade cards, crafting Eddie the adorable elephant, making cheery personalized holders for your water bottle and sewing pretty bags to hold odds and ends. Any needed patterns are included at the back of Let's Sew. A great book for the beginner sewer.

While it's true that I tend to collect knitting and crocheting books more than I actually knit or crochet, I know I'll get to my next project one day soon. And I'm going to make it an easy one. That's why I was drawn to One Ball of Yarn. Not that all of the 25 knit and crochet projects in this book are easy - they are rated beginner, moderate and experienced - but the fact that they require only one ball of yarn means they will take a reasonable amount of time to complete and I won't get discouraged if I find the project isn't so easy. Plus, the fancy yarn we tend to use nowadays is pretty expensive - one ball seems more doable than those blankets that require about 10 balls of yarn!

One Ball of Yarn has projects such as hats, ear warmers, leg warmers, slouchy bags, scarves and even gifts for your pets. I really want to make a neon beanie (should be done by next winter, right?) and the "Dapper Dog" bow tie (for my adorable Ace). The experienced knitter might go for the Industrial Rubber Clutch, a very cool bag knit from rubber tubing. There's a "Lazy Bones" crocheted basket for your cat too! (I just need a cat.) Tools of the trade and detailed knit and crochet instructions are included.

I'm excited to jump into Supercraft, which promises easy weekend projects. To be honest, with basketball tournaments, dance competitions and the like, we haven't had too many free weekends lately.

But we have a couple free weekends coming up and I would love to try an activity like the "Dancing Flowers" mobile or the "Favorite Mug" porcelain printing described and beautifully photographed in Supercraft. The projects are divided up by the four seasons so you can choose something appropriate for the weather and seasonal needs. (How about a gorgeous wood veneer Advent calendar for next December?)

I'm hearting this embroidered pom-pom throw. I could see making this in a smaller size to dress the bottom of the bed. (I'm always looking for ways to make projects easier.) I really want to pour concrete to make letter bookends too. Supercraft has 52 incredibly stylish projects for today's hip and handmade homes. There's a knitted lamp cord that's calling out to me! Trust me, it's really pretty stuff! Each project is meant to be completed in only one weekend.

The Made By Hands Boutique includes a few food-related books too, like Fermenting Food Step by Step. Another goal I always have is to do more canning. Realistically we never quite get to all of the things we want to do, do we? But I think if we get to a few things each season, we are golden. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you weed the garden, jar peaches, knit a wash cloth or arrange flowers beautifully in a vase! It's not easy to find the time and motivation with these busy, modern lives we lead. Good on you, sister.

Fermenting Food Step by Step outlines how fermentation works and the health benefits that fermented foods provide. There are over 80 simple recipes, with the easy, step-by-step instructions we have come to expect from DK Books. "Most of the ferments can be made with nothing more than a few simple ingredients and a little bit of patience," says the intro.

The book describes essential equipment and fermentation vessels and includes advice on sourcing ingredients. Then comes the fun part - get to work fermenting and bottling everything from the classic pickle to Egyptian pickled turnips to wild habanero hot sauce to Earl Grey cherry kombucha! Yum.

Books To Inspire A Family of Makers - get your whole family's creativity flowing with these inspirational craft and food books! For a hip, handmade home. #crafts #decor #clothes #food #handmade #diy #books

Are you a maker or a wannabe like me? What projects do you hope to embark on this spring?

Look for more inspirational books to get you sewing, cooking and crafting in the Made By Hands Boutique.

*I was provided with books for review purposes. All opinions are authentic and my own. This post contains affiliate links.


  1. Gee Joann: I'm thinking of all the money we would have saved if you had sewn those graduation dresses. Seriously though, don't forget you have talented seamstresses on both sides of your gene pool.

    1. Haha Mom. I probably would have chosen an expensive fabric anyway. ;) I hope that the little one gets the seamstress skills.

  2. I know a family of makers and I think I should send this post to them :)

    1. I think you should Keith haha. They sound like a fun family. :)

  3. Well jo jo, since I don't have any knitting skills could u or the little niece knit me the hat on the front of one ball yarn in burgundy and I'm being serious :)

    1. I'm not sure how that's going to go since I never finish my knitting projects. ;)

  4. so much inspiration to get creative!!

    1. They are fun books, aren't they Tammy? Thanks for your comment. :)