SHOW + TELL: My Favorite Craft Books

My Favorite Art & Craft Books #inspiration #craft #books
The past week has been grey and rainy here in the Pacific Northwest; our last week of ‘normal’ weather before we dive head first into summer (I can’t wait!). This last week of spring has me curled up on the couch, sipping tea and looking through my favorite books. To be honest, I’m not much of a reader, but I have a great collection of books I find inspiring in my library. Today I thought I’d share some of my favorite craft books with you! These have been on my shelves for years and are something I love getting out when I’m in need of some crafty eye candy.

1. Bead Simple by Susan Beal

My friend Alissa recommended this book when I was interested in making jewelry for Camp Smartypants. Bead Simple shows tons of different techniques and jewelry patterns you can easily customize for your own projects. Great for beginners and jewelry makers interested in learning new techniques.

2. I Just Like To Make Things by Lilla Rogers

Lilla Rogers is a world-renowned art agent and creative genius. I picked up her book after I signed up for her online course, Make Art That Sells. The book is a perfect companion to her e-courses and a great resource to anyone interested in turning their creative hobby into a business some day. One of Lilla’s mantras is, “People buy your joy.” Having fun and being passionate about your work is such an important part of the creative process. In I Just Like To Make Things, Lilla discusses this and much, much more!

3. Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People by Amy Sedaris

I am a HUGE fan of Amy Sedaris. Her first book, I Like You: Hospitality Under The Influence, is what first sparked my passion for planning and hosting parties. Her second book, Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People is equally great. Amy lets her humor and creativity run wild as she shares tons of hilarious and fun craft projects.

4. Find & Keep by Beci Orpin

I’m a huge fan of Beci Orpin, an Australian artist and graphic designer. Her style is so fresh and playful. Her book, Find & Keep is bursting with colorful and unique craft projects and inspiration for you to feast your eyes on.

My Favorite Art & Craft Books #inspiration #craft #books

5. How To Make Books by Esther K. Smith

Bookbinding has been a much-loved craft activity for me. I love making my own journals and notebooks. This book by Esther K. Smith provides great instruction for a variety of bookbinding techniques including accordions, stab stitch, chapbooks, long stitch and more. I love that she uses unlikely materials like fabric, envelopes, recycled papers, and vintage postcards to create unique journals, albums and notebooks.

6. Vintage Craft Workshop by Cathy Callahan

I absolutely love vintage crafts and this book definitely gives me my retro crafty fix! Not only are the projects fresh takes on crafting techniques from the 60’s and 70’s, I also love her “Crafty Lady” features where she shares a little history about crafty pioneers like Aleene Jackson (inventor of Aleene’s Tacky Glue) and Hazel Pearson (Queen of Kaboodle craft kits).

7. Happy Voodoo Gris Gris by Mademoiselle de la Brindille and Anne-Claire Leveque

I remember this being an impulse buy at Powell’s, but I’m so glad I have it on my bookshelf. Happy Voodoo Gris Gris is a wonderful book with over 45 fun projects for the free spirited. Learn to make good luck charms, talismans, amulets, and more.

8. Mend It Better by Kristin Roach

This book is written by my friend, Kristen Roach of Craft Leftovers. It features sewing projects that use recycled or reused materials. Kristin discusses the basics of mending and altering as well as featuring sewing projects by her and other crafters. Check out page 204, where I share a fun tutorial on how to transform an old pair of jeans into a bleach-dyed skirt!

*A-I-M is an affiliate of amazon.com. We earn a small commission from items purchased from our Amazon Store. Thank you for supporting us!

COLOR INSPIRATION: Peace of Mind

COLOR INSPIRATION: Peace of Mind #teal #purple #chartreuse #watercolor
I’ve been obsessing over this color palette for the past month or so. The cool blues and purples with hints of chartreuse and green offer a refreshing calmness. The combination stirs up memories of salt water and warm ocean breezes. The one place I can find peace of mind.

Image sources (clockwise): 1. Katy’s Photo Journal 2. Eliana Luck 3. Flowers On Bornay 4. Hello Pretty Things

SHOW + TELL: Watercolor Gift Packaging & Free Printable Gift Wrap

Watercolor Gift Packaging & Free Printable Gift Wrap #printable #giftwrap

I had so much fun making my ‘Cat Nap’ Eye Pillows that I decided to whip up some cute gift packaging to give them as gifts. To start, I decided to make my own gift wrap. First I got out my watercolors and painted some doodles in cool colors; blues, greens and purples. Then, I scanned in the artwork and made a repeating pattern in photoshop.

Watercolor Gift Packaging & Free Printable Gift Wrap #printable #giftwrap

I printed the patterns on my Canon i9900 inkjet printer. It can print oversize so I was able to print 13″x19″ size sheets. I also made an 8.5″x11″ version for you all to download and print (see below)! This free printable gift wrap is perfect for wrapping up small packages.

Watercolor Gift Packaging & Free Printable Gift Wrap #printable #giftwrap

I also tie-dyed some tissue (tutorial on this coming soon!) and made some tissue flower gift toppers following Lia Griffith’s tutorial. I tied each box with baker’s twine and added some custom labels and gift tags courtesy of Evermine.com.

Watercolor Gift Packaging & Free Printable Gift Wrap #printable #giftwrap

Custom labels and gift tags courtesy of Evermine.com.

Watercolor Gift Packaging & Free Printable Gift Wrap #printable #giftwrap

Free Printable Watercolor Gift Wrap

Click on the images below to download, print and use how you like.

Free Printable Watercolor Gift WrapFree Printable Watercolor Leaf Gift Wrap

SHOW + TELL: Handmade Paper Envelopes

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft
Tara over at Ephemera Press started a great new project called the Elevated Envelope. It’s just what it sounds like, a chance to brighten some people’s day with an artsy envelope (made by you); and you get cool envelopes back! The theme was “Summer,” so I used my summer obsession with handmade paper to my advantage.

Check out my full tutorial and paper making adventure here.

I started with a blended concoction…

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

which included cotton paper scraps, cut off pieces of cover paper, and (of course) junk mail. I did my usual process (blend, screen, roll out, dry) with one big change.

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

For these envelopes I did some quick-pressing to get plants I could add into the paper. I used the microwave, board and rubber bands to get nice flat pieces I could embed.

When I pulled the screen out of the pulp, I laid a few leaves on top, and gently poured more pulp over them with a spoon. I then went ahead with the rolling and drying process.

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft
Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

A few days later (so I knew it was really dry) I trimmed and embossed the paper to fold into an envelope. I decided to stitch the ends together with my sewing machine rather than glue it like a normal envelope. (This was both creativity and laziness on my part.)

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

I included an extra piece of handmade paper inside of a little story. Some of the pieces were seeded with wildflower seeds. (If you want to add this to your paper, make sure you have really small seeds, and add them before straining your pulp. Don’t blend them or try to sprinkle on top.) I put the whole thing together and sealed the flaps.

Show + Tell: Handmade Paper Envelopes #adventuresinmaking #crafting #craft

So now these little envelopes are headed out all over the world. It was an awesome excuse to do my favorite summer things (wander around my yard picking flowers and making paper.)

Now back to the real world.

SHOW +TELL: Tips On Creating An Amazing Costume

Handmade Faerieworlds Costume #fairy #bohemian #hippie

In 2012 my boyfriend James and I went to Faerieworlds in Eugene, Oregon to see Donovan perform. Costumes are a big part of the festival so we had fun creating our own.

Handmade Faerieworlds Costume #fairy #bohemian #hippie

James created his costume with all thrifted items he found at Goodwill and SCRAP here in Portland.

Handmade Faerieworlds Costume #fairy #bohemian #hippie

MY COSTUME DETAILS:

Dress: Used to be a long skirt I wore bellydancing in high school. With the help of this easy tutorial, I transformed it into a faerie dress.
Belt: I first saw this belt worn by Kaylah from The Dainty Squid and recently found this one at Wanderlust here in Portland.
Large Bead Necklace: Bought on Haight & Ashbury during my 2008 trip to San Francisco.
Love Beads: Thrifted at Red Fox Vintage.
Beaded Choker: Handmade by me when I was in high school.
Rose Hair Clips: Claire’s.
Beaded Cuff Bracelet: I don’t remember! Bought it in high school during my belly dancing days.
Rings: Silver spoon ring, Red Fox Vintage. Red rose ring, Flora. Mood Ring, Fuego.
Dreamcatcher Wings: Handmade by me!

Handmade Faerieworlds Costume #fairy #bohemian #hippie
Handmade Faerieworlds Costume #fairy #bohemian #hippie

Read more about our adventure into the faerie realm on my personal blog.

Handmade Faerieworlds Costume #fairy #bohemian #hippie
Handmade Faerieworlds Costume #fairy #bohemian #hippie

Tips On Creating An Amazing Costume

Collect. Start collecting items a month or so before your event. Frequent your local thrift and vintage stores, dig through “FREE” boxes in your neighborhood, check out garage sales- you never know what you might find!
Make a Costume Box. Get a box to hold all your costume pieces. Then whenever you find something with potential, you have a place to put it. Once you’re ready to start putting together a costume, you already have a slew of things collected in one place to start with.
Remake or DIY. Whenever I’m creating a costume I try to find easy ways to make as much as I can rather than buying everything. I had a silk patchwork skirt I hadn’t worn in years and decided to look up a tutorial on how to transform it into a dress. It was such an easy remake and it didn’t even require any sewing.
Make It Unique. For my Faerieworlds costume I dreamt up the rainbow dreamcatcher fairy wings. They started as a sketch, I did a little research and then gathered my supplies and gave it a go. They didn’t turn out perfect, but I loved the look and I received many compliments from fellow faeries at the festival. Don’t be afraid to dream up something you’ve never seen before!
Test it Out. One week before your event, try everything on and make sure it works. If it doesn’t, you still have time to make adjustments. We knew we would be camping for an entire weekend, so we wanted our costumes to be comfortable and easy to take on and off. Also be sure practice any special hair or makeup styles so that you feel confident when getting ready the day of your event.

Lastly, HAVE FUN!

Photos taken by Bobby Pathammavong.