Author Archive | Amy Anderson

Vendor Spotlight: Handmade Weddings; Chronicle Books

Reported by Amy Anderson

When I say that Handmade Weddings by Chronicle Books is the coolest handmade wedding project guide I’ve ever seen, I mean that sincerely.  It’s AMAZING.  I know what so many of you are thinking: “I want a beautiful wedding, but I don’t have the bucks to do it.”  Well, you don’t need as much money as you think.  If you use Handmade Weddings… if you take the time for some planning… and if you get a little help from friends and family, you can have the wedding of your dreams on a budget.  I’m drawn to the whole idea of an upscale crafty wedding because it’s so much more personal. I never realized that crafty could look so elegant.  Here are my five favorite things about this book.

1.  Weddings are organized by themes. Whether you are Retro Homespun or Modern Classic, there is a style for you in Handmade Weddings.  Several of the themes appeal to me, and I’m guessing they will to you as well.  Not only that, but there are many projects under each theme.  This is not a small book – there’s a little something for everyone.

2.  Color palettes.  I love putting together colors, but then again, I also have a brightly striped sock collection.  So I probably shouldn’t ever put together a wedding palette.  Luckily, each theme has a color palette, and they are all gorgeous.  You will not end up with burgundy and gold bridesmaids dresses to match your decor.

3. The projects are attainable.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not into making 17-tier cupcake stands with a special saw and nail gun.  It’s not going to happen.  What will happen is painting, gluing and even a little bit of sewing.  I promise that you can do everything in this book, and the instructions are clear (with drawings).  There’s also a budget listed for each project.

4. The projects are unique.  Were I to get married today, I wouldn’t want a cookie-cutter wedding.  I like unusual and interesting things, and I think most women want their wedding to be the same.  If you are interested in a wedding craft project book, then you likely want to customize.  Handmade Weddings will help you go a little non-traditional.

5. The felt boutonnieres.  These are so, so cute.  I have a secret, which is that I’m going to make these for myself – for bags, for t-shirts, for every single piece of my wardrobe.  I also love the embellishments on the pillow too.  I can see so many of these projects being applicable not just for weddings, but for parties and even for everyday life.

How did you make your wedding unique? Could you have used a book like this? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Book Review: Paper + Craft

Since I work daily with paper (it just goes so well with Mod Podge), I was excited at the opportunity of reviewing Paper + Craft, published by Chronicle Books.  It was written by Minhee and Truman Cho of Paper + Cup, a unique stationary company you should visit if you haven’t already.  Not only do I love their goodies, I love their cute little baby Jr.  You can see him on their blog.

As paper experts, the Chos bring a different perspective to the crafting world – they even admit in the introduction that their initial impression of the world of crafting was “yarn-spun doilies and Grandma’s needlepoint.”  Crafts didn’t equal art.  Their impression changed as they realized how deeply meaningful and heartfelt the process of crafting really is.  I like the Chos, and I like their book.  Here are my five favorite things about it.

1.  The wide variety of projects.  I don’t just mean the number (25), but there are many different types: home decor, gifts and party as a few examples.  I have SO much paper you wouldn’t believe it.  You probably do too.  It’s great to have a lot of different project options so I can use up that stash more often.

2.  Step-by-steps for each project.  Each project step has illustrations underneath the photo that are almost as cute as the projects themselves.  I love mini-drawn pushpins and pinwheels.  Who doesn’t?  I’m definitely visual, as most crafters are, so these really help.

3.  Additional project ideas.  I’m going to be honest my friends.  I get blown out when it comes to crafting.  I need help sometimes; every crafter does.  After every project, there are some additional ideas, and I’m very thankful.

4.  Downloadable templates.  When you purchase the book (or win it, as the case may be), you get a web address to download templates for all of the projects that require them.  This means that you can print extras in case you mess up (guilty as charged), change the size if you need . . . and if you are really fancy, can add graphics before you print.  Yay!

5.  The mommy and me shoe toppers.  I always choose a favorite project, and this one definitely rocks.  I know you will also be fond of these floral shoe toppers and want to decorate every pair you have.

Have you read Paper + Craft? What did you think? Leave a comment and let us know!


Book Review: Every Day’s A Holiday

If you haven’t visited Heidi Kennedy’s blog My Paper Crane then you are missing out.  The blog is named after her first project ever, a paper crane – and she has kicked some big time crafting butt since then.  Can I say “butt” on Craft Critique?  Ha! [editor’s note: watch yourself, Anderson ;-)]

Since all the kiddos are home from school, I thought it would be a perfect time to review Heidi’s book, Every Day’s a Holiday: Year-Round Crafting with Kids.  It’s published by Chronicle Books, and there is literally a project for every occasion, including some of the lesser known ones.  Who knew there was a Watermelon Day?  Every Day’s a Holiday is a great read, and I can’t believe how many awesome crafts that Heidi came up with for children.  As far as I’m concerned, coming up with kids’ craft ideas is no easy feat.  Here are my five favorite things about this book.

1.  Some of the projects don’t need adults, and Heidi has indicated those.  A kid not needing you for every. single. step?  I’m guessing many of you parents won’t have a problem with that.

2.  The sheer number of projects and holidays in this book.  I know I said it before, but you won’t believe when you flip through the text how many great ideas are included.  Many can be modified with items you already have, or already use those type of supplies.

3.  These are actually fun projects for kids, and they aren’t all potholders.  Remember those string potholders?  While I loved making them, I didn’t love stringing them 17 times a year.  New ideas are always appreciated.  This book delivers.

4.  The crafts are amazingly gender neutral.  I see A LOT of children’s craft projects that are girly, but not as many for boys.  And I know young boys love to craft because I grew up with four brothers, and they all liked making things.  I guess they get to that point where crafts are for chicks, but I’m pretty sure a book like this would keep their interest a little longer.  Check out the robots.

5.  The woodland gnomes.  I’ve always had a thing for pine cones.  Heidi, shut up – these are way too cute!

You’re going to enjoy this book.  If you are a parent, you may one day rely upon this book to save you.  A little dramatic maybe, but I can only imagine what it’s like to have children and get stuck on a rainy day with nothing to do.

Have you picked up Every Day’s a Holiday? What’s your favorite project? Leave us a comment and let us know!