Green Gifting p.3: Crafty Books

27Nov06

There’s nothing more rewarding that learning a new hobby, or actually making something with your hands. With so many DIY books out there, these are my personal plum picks for folks who are more artsy than craftsy. More Jonathan Adler than Bob Vila. If you or your special someone wants to bring out their inner designer or fashionista, it may be worth checking out these fab five:


The Sunlight Print Kit: Materials, Techniques, and Projects for Homemade Photography by Paul Grivell Chronicle Books
Sun prints are some of the earliest forms of photography made using three basic ingredients: light-sensitive paper, water, and sunlight. This Sunlight Print Kit provides everything one needs to make gallery worthy prints to design accessories for the home, or invitations, greeting cards, and more.

In Stitches by Amy Butler, Chronicle Books
I’m not yet a sewing maven but I love the projects featured in Amy’s book. From floor cushions to handbags, placemats to organizer baskets, In Stitches features projects to beautify your pad and your wardrobe. Thankfully it’s spiral bound for easy use, and claims to teach without the technical lingo. Amy also offers thoughtful tips on finding and treating new or vintage fabrics. [Fab Freebie: A free preview pattern available here for the plucking.]

Handmade Modern by Todd Oldham, with Julia Szabo, Harper Collins
I flipped through this one at Urban Outfitters last week, and found at least five home decor project I’m dying to tackle–including the Eames-inspired shelves and the bench with under-seating storage featured in the photo below. Easy to follow instructions with photos to entice someone’s handy side and satisfy his or her midcentury modern tastes.

DIY: Design It Yourself by Ellen Lupton, Princeton Architectural Press
Another top choice for my wish list this year (or I may just buy it used on Amazon now because I simply can’t wait). The emphasis here is on DESIGN-it-yourself. Which means there are great projects from where one’s imagination can just take off. Wedding invitations, a website, business cards, CD package for friend’s band. For YOUR band. Also filled with interviews with top designers; the history and theory of the DIY design movement; and hundreds of innovative and beautiful projects for inspiration. More design, less craft. Extra goodie: checkout Ellen’s supplemental website for more ideas. Free.

Generation T by Megan Nicolay, Workman Publishing New York
I bought this book recently to jumpstart my sewing education. Cast-off tees are easy to come by for experimentation. Megan’s book is packed with fashionable patterns for those of us inspired to pick up a machine for the first time. More than a third of the projects are even “no sew” so anyone can start personalizing her wardrobe right away.

Sew Subversive: Down & Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista by Melissa Rannels, Melissa Alvarado and Hope Meng, Taunton
The cover doesn’t do this book justice. The projects are fashion-forward and a prime source for learning how to deconstruct and refashion preloved duds. This one is another source that’s directed at fashionistas.
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