Monthly Archives: November 2011

Microcrafts – Book Review

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I love little things. I live in a little house, surrounded by my treasures, and many of them are small things tucked into my bookcases betwixt and between the books, or nestled on tables in whimsical profusion. I even have miniature dachshunds! 🙂 When I had an opportunity to review Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share, I jumped at it! Compiled by Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz and Friends, it is a splendid look at the things you can make yourself to give as gifts, or tuck into your own bookcases.

This is one of those books where reading the How to Use This Book section is imperative. It gives you some perspective on how the book was compiled, and how to use the book to get the most out of your creative spirit. 25 projects are given in the book, all with great photos, directions, patterns and even some key tips and tricks. If you have never created in miniature before, you will be both challenged and delighted in the works you can make.

One of the things I enjoyed reading about was the things that are highly adaptable to using with children. Boats, for example, created with shells and leaves, are so reminiscent of my childhood that I can’t wait to share them with Xavier and Xander, my grandsons! The tiny creations called “Candy Charms” are delightful – earrings, necklaces, pins and more can be created with some “blobs of polymer clay…” and items you should have in your craft supplies.

I must admit that my favorite section was the one on Books. I collect miniature books, but none are as small or as clever as the little, tiny treasure books here. I don’t have all my craft supplies unpacked yet, but believe you me, making some of these are at the top of my list. Each item on the list of supplies is delineated carefully and in detail – not just a sheet of scrap paper, but one -1×1-1/8 inch sheet! There are even marvelous instructions on how to miniaturize the project even further to make tiny little earrings to match the necklace project. The actual size of the completed books is a mere 1×1-¼ inch, and the earring books are ¼ of that size! Tiny treasures indeed!

If you are a cat or dog person, there are crafts in this volume for you as well. You can create tiny dogs and cats with felt and fabric scraps – they would be great attached to Christmas presents or made into jewelry. The microtaxidermy made me laugh out loud, and the deer heads are absolutely adorable; the details and instructions make it simple even for those of us not experienced in working with polymer or modeling clay. The whimsical abounds here, and the possibilities are endless. The book has wonderful hints and tips (“Use a toothpick to apply small beads of adhesive to microcrafts without risking a giant glue blob emergency”) and appendix sections include Supplies and Techniques, Ideas for Modifying Microcrafts (adapting the instructions in the book to make the projects into jewelry, mobiles, toys and more.) There is a good column on Resources for various materials, tools and ideas.

Take the time to read the amusing and delightful miniature biographies. They will give you blog, website and contact information, and pictures of the talented designers and crafters who love working with “mini!” And don’t forget to take a look at the photo on the last page! It will make your day – and make you smile. Quirk Books and the compilers have done a terrific job in this book, so if you love creating or collecting tiny things this would be a charming book to add to your bookshelf. ENJOY!

 

Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures to Make and Share

Quirk Books, (quirkbooks.com) Philadelphia

978-59474-521-8 Hardback

 

 

NOTE: Reviewer received no compensation for her review, although a copy of the book was provided for review purposes.

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Decorating with Crafts

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Finally settled, more or less, in our new home. I have my finished craftwork displayed where possible, and have a bit more organizing to do in order to set up my work table. There is something uniquely joyous about having my own handiwork around me – not because I think my work is so fabulous, but because they are of my own creation – a bit of me on the wall, so to speak!

Remember the wooden plaque I found hiking in Arizona? It is hanging on the wall now, and is absolutely perfect where I have it. IMHO. It is below a treasured find, a b/w photo of John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, at Yosemite, during the time of the formation of the National Parks system.

Here is a closeup >>>

Such fun, having it on the wall, where I can see it every day!

In my previous life in Rio Vista CA, I collected driftwood, as we lived on the Sacramento River. Two of these I have made into Candle holders. I found the globes in a dumpster, and was tickled to death to be able to recycle them this way!

Not the best pictures, I admit, but you get the idea!

                                                                                        ^More driftwood I have saved for later projects!

  One of my favorite projects. A found glass bottle, a piece of driftwood, and some collected sea glass, sea shells, a turkey feather, a dragonfly (one of my totems,) some lavender from my sister’s garden and a small snake pin (my other totem.) These reside now on the shelf under the window above my kitchen sink, and it makes me smile every time I see it! (closeup below)

<decoupaged on the wood, and then the word “mother” in different languages written around the petals of the flowers.  We use it by the door to hang the dogs’ leashes on – it is a fun memento of a job I loved.

>>Next up is  some of my painted houses. I was on a real kick for a while of painting on rocks. I quickly discovered that this was NOT my forte. Yet these little houses possess a piece of me, and have a charm and l that I simply adore. I didn’t make them to sell, or even give as gifts, but to experiment with a new craft, and create something that was original and “me.”

My home has lots of character and whimsy around – and that is the way I like it. You probably won’t find pictures of my living room in a decorating magazine, but neither will you see many designer magazines that show homes that are created by mixing family treasures, homemade crafts and a simplistic comfortable style meant to embrace doggie footprints, the smells of homemade baking, and piles of yarn and crafts in the making. Does your home make you smile and feel as if it expresses you and your family? If it doesn’t – you need to get busy crafting!

Some of my favorite handmade scarves live on this rack by the door, when they are not being worn.

Crocheted, dyed silk and fabric all have a place in my life…

I LOVE SCARVES!