Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Fab Crafty Books & Awesome Sale

The lovely folks over at Chronicle Books have sent several craft book selections for me to review, and I thought this would be the perfect week to catch up on some of those reviews so you can take advantage of the Chronicle Friends and Family sale that is going on through Friday. All titles are a rockin' 35% off with FREE shipping. Huzzah!

I'm doing some quickie reviews of several of my favorites below, and I have an additional list of top picks (some that I've previously reviewed, so they are linked below) of ones to definitely check out.

Postcard - By FL@33
6-1/2 x 8-1/2 in; 224 pp ;
800 illustrations, pockets holding 20 postcards

This is a fantastic book for anyone with an appreciation for good design - especially in small spaces. Postcard showcases dozens of designers work in the small format of postcards, and the range of art is unbelievable. I've had this book on my nightstand and luxuriate in a few pages every night before bed. I'm blown away by the clever, brilliant, fun, beautiful, simple, complex designs. The bonus: it comes with 20 postcards that you can collect or mail to friends! If there is a design lover on your list, this is the book for them. The type geek in me especially loved the Helvetica postcard ...

Handmade Hellos
Fresh Greeting Card Projects from First-Rate Crafters By Eunice Moyle
and Sabrina Moyle
Photographs by Sheri Giblin
Illustrations by Sarah LaBieniec

8-3/4 x 8 in; 144 pp ; 30 color photographs, 100+ color illustrations, 5 pattern pages for 25 projects in an attached envelope

Handmade Hellos is a seriously dreamy book that evokes oohs and aahs with every page turn. There are correspondence projects from super easy to more complicated, and each one would be well-received. I love the simple silk screen technique they use (embroidery hoop/screen fabric/mod podge) on the Wood You Be Mine project, and I especially love the Sucker For You octopus valentine. Like several Chronicle books, Handmade Hellos comes complete with a fat stack of templates and patterns tucked into a handy back pocket in the (fabulously spiral-bound) book. It's a perfect catalyst for hopping off the computer and creating some truly memorable pieces of mail.

Stencil 101
Make Your Mark with 25 Reusable Stencils and Step-by-Step Instructions
By Ed Roth
8-3/4 x 8 in; 48 pp ; 25 reusable card-stock laminated stencils

Several months ago, my cousin sent an email asking if I knew of any "cool stencils" that she could use for decorating her new office furniture. She was frustrated, because everything she'd found in craft stores was along the lines of grape vines and curly letters. I started digging around on the Internet and found Ed Roth's Stencil 1 web site and instantly sent her the link. Shortly after that, I stumbled on his videos from the Martha Stewart show. And shortly after that, the Stencil 101 book arrived on my doorstep. Since then, I've been fully enthralled with all the cool applications of Ed Roth's stencils.

Stencil 101 is a great way to get started with stenciling. There are a handful of basic, but cool projects, and the bulk of the book is full of beautifully cut, cool stencil motifs. What I like about stenciling is how quick and easy it is. I took one of my son's t-shirts* and grabbed a stencil from the book and - using some Tulip fabric dye spray - transformed the tee in under 5 minutes! (the smudge in the bottom right corner was my fault, not the stencil's ;)

Here are some of my other top Chronicle Picks:

Sublime Stitching - Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To
Sublime Stitching Craft Pad - you can read my review here
Lotta Prints - you can read my review here
Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Wooly Embroidery
Craft, Inc. - Turn Your Creative Hobby Into a Business
Softies - Instructions for 15 Plush Pals
The Guerrilla Art Kit

So get over to the Chronicle site TODAY or by tomorrow so you can take advantage of the super Friends and Family deal of $35% off and FREE shipping. Knock off all the gifts for your crafty friends, or go ahead and gift yourself all the titles you've been wanting.

*Of course, when I showed the t-shirt to my son, he asked, "What is that?" and I said, "A cassette tape!" and he said, "Uh ... what's a cassette tape?" Niiiice.


  1. wow looks like some fun stuff..good ideas for the hubby especially since he just took kat's guerilla class( + I get to use them too).

  2. Nice reviews. Thank you.

    I like the stencil book and the postcard book.


  3. Belle - yup. Loads of fun stuff. And, like classes, I love the gift of craft books because it's a gift that (as cliche as it sounds) really keeps on giving! These books have so much inspiration and great instruction that they'll be used by the recipient for ages.

    And Christine - I'm with you on the drool-worthiness of these books. The stencil book is a great one to bust out and get to makin' stuff, and the postcard book is a yummy, amazing study in design.

    In other words ... HEAVEN! ;-P

  4. hurray! I just got two out of three of your list :) I've been wanting Handmade Hellos for a long time, and the Postcard book looks amazing!! I'm so excited. Merry Craftmas to me!!!

  5. that handmade hellos looks right up my alley- thanks for reviewing it or i might never have found it!!

  6. I just got this stack from Chronicle too! Man I heart their books, I'm reviewing Handmade Hellos tomorrow I'm super smitten on it!

  7. oh I love chronicel books. I ahve a bunch of them and they always have fab sales!


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