Author Jenny Doh has gathered together the talents of ten different doll designers in this completely delightful book, We Make Dolls!. They create 23 stuffed dolls and toys in total, each of them unique (and precious!) in their own right. Some of the toys are an adorable brown felted bunny balancing on a green felt ball, a jointed wool pup, a warm and cuddly sweater baby, even a Frida Kahlo doll! We Make Dolls! includes some background and insights into each of the dollmakers, which I loved to have the chance to learn more about them personally and how they approach the creative process.
We Make Dolls! has a fresh, fun feel with gorgeous, colorful pictures of the dolls and the instructions, and comes complete with full size patterns in the back. The dolls have a range of difficulty, with some being quite simple and others more complex, so all skill levels are accommodated. My daughter loved the sweet Matryoshka dolls and we have started on making a batch of mini ones, and are having a great time! I’d love to fill a basket of them for guests that drop by, so they can bring home a handmade treasure!
I appreciated how The Collage Workbook offers the opportunity to get into the mind of Randel Plowman, founder of the “A Collage A Day” blog, and learn more specifically about his techniques. On his blog, he creates a unique collage each day and posts it for the world to see and enjoy. I think that collage is such an interesting art form, with its layers of meaning and symbolism and the author seems to see possibility in just about every type of element and has a wonderful way of piecing it all together to form a cohesive whole.
Mr. Plowman breaks down this complex looking medium and explains clearly how to assemble collages for maximum effect. The themes that can be used are endless and he shares examples of collages based on flora, birds, hands, home, typography, old books and many more. The Collage Workbook includes over 150 copyright free images to use, in addition to explanations of the tools, techniques and materials used to make collages. As the author says, “Grab your scraps, glue, scissors and jump right in!”
Suzann Thompson, author of Crochet Bouquet, has released Crochet Garden, which I found to be filled with colorful and delightful handmade flowers. The author tells us that any kind of yarn can be used to create the flowers in the book, and that thick yarn will make a bulky flower, while thinner yarn will make a smaller, cuter one. The first section is based on familiar flowers, like the violets, dogwoods, orchids and more. The Inspired Garden section has flowers to crochet that have more of a decorative motif style look. And, in the International Garden area, there are lots of flowers from all over the world.
I really enjoyed seeing what flowers are special to different regions, like the European rose or the Russian spoke flower. In the last chapter the author shares fanciful ideas, my favorite was the Candy Cornflower, an inventive and fun idea where she crocheted single candy corn elements and then grouped them in a circle which made an adorable flower! I also appreciated how Crochet Garden has craft projects at the end of each chapter to show you ways to incorporate these beauties after they’ve been made.
I remember my older sister using Mod Podge to make crafts, but I never had the chance to use it. Lately, I’ve been hearing about it so much, I figured I had better find out more about this wonder product. I’ve learned that Mod Podge has been around for over 40 years and is a non-toxic, water soluble glue, sealer and finish. Amy Anderson is the queen of Mod Podge and Mod Podge Rocks! is her newest book. In it she tells us that when she found Mod Podge she realized she had the Holy Grail of crafting in her hands.
Mod Podge Rocks! explains the six simple (but important) steps to use this medium, which dries clear and can be used on almost any surface. Mod Podge Rocks! has exciting ideas to make wearables, home decor and holiday crafts. I found myself repeatedly going back to look at the awesome cowboy boots with floral fabric mod podged on to them. Love! The Pressed Leaf Pendant is such a lovely way to preserve nature, and I am excited to try this technique with all kinds of tiny objects. In looking through Mod Podge Rocks!, it quickly becomes clear that Mod Podge can be used on pretty much Everything! I was amazed at some of the things that she decoupages, like bike helmets, suitcases and pumpkins. Of course there are also the classic ideas for using Mod Podge, for instance, labels for kitchen canisters, wall plaques, photo frames and clocks. Mod Podge Rocks! includes more than forty projects, so I will definitely be keeping busy, and the options sure seem limitless!