Crafts & Hobbies
In honor of American Craft Beer Week (May 11-18), raise a pint at one our area’s local breweries, enjoy a draft in your favorite pub or tavern, or just pick up a six-pack to take home. Beer and pizza, beer and good times with friends, beer and backyard barbeques—there are virtually no wrong ways to enjoy a brew. Just don’t overdo it! Be sure to imbibe responsibly.
Full of fun facts and ephemera such as a fan club card, Barbie All Dolled Up celebrates the iconic doll’s 50th birthday. Author Jennie D’Amato collects photos, newspaper articles, quotes and the memorabilia of Barbie’s life in this scrapbook tribute to her influence with charm and humor and lots of fashion! Whether you played with a Barbie, collect Barbies, or just enjoy browsing through the life of a pop culture princess, this book is nostalgic, fun, and has lots of color--especially pink since Barbie practically invented the color.
Do you prefer knitting outside, surrounded by trees? Do woodland creatures inspire and delight you? If so, you will certainly enjoy Woodland Knits, by Stephanie Dosen. Stephanie has been designing patterns for many years under the name Tiny Owl Knits and filling the world with little woolly wonders. This new collection of patterns contains many favorite patterns as well as a handful of new ones.
Anybody interested in DIY projects or maker culture or just getting back to basics should take a gander at the Foxfire series of books. Beginning in the late 60s and continuing on through today, a class at a rural Georgia high school decided to take a different tack at English class and create a magazine.
They had no money so the venture needed to pay for itself. As there was little market for poetry or short stories found in ordinary high school magazines, they decided to print folklore and folk ways gathered from people in their own community. It was the beginning of something amazing.
Beautiful in its design and content, Ashley English’s Handmade Gatherings offers splendid ideas for entertaining year-round and to intrigue all ages. She includes not only delicious recipes for earthy yet traditional foods, but she also finds crafty ways to feature the glories of each season.
Candy Crush Saga, the tile-matching clone of the classic game Bejeweled, is the most popular “free” game on Android and iOS. As a hardcore mobile gamer, I'm here to tell you there are far better alternatives to Candy Crush with deeper gameplay, better graphics, and, in a few cases, actual game narratives.
For me, the sign of a good craft designer is a distinctive style. Norwegian designer Tone Finnanger started her company, Tilda, in 1999 at the age of 25. With her background in graphic design, her books are full of projects for both the fabric and paper crafter. Lovely, soft colors and whimsical dolls and animals populate her books. Check out her Sew Pretty series and Tilda’s Fairy Tale Wonderland to fall in love with Tilda’s fanciful style.
I could not resist the cover shot of the sleepy baby wearing the hat with shamrocks hanging on each side. It is just too cute. Photographer Tara Renaud complements the projects of Sandy Powers’ Baby Crochet with utterly adorable photos. This book has 20 crochet patterns for newborn babies up to 24 months. The patterns range from hats, bunting, booties, sweaters, diaper covers, and afghans to adorable “cocoons.” The book has creative designs for both boys and girls.
In the course of dealing with an older house and raising a family on a budget, I’ve read quite a few do-it-yourself books, but never one like Made by Hand, by Mark Frauenfelder. For example, they’ve never started with a mad dash to a tropical island. That’s where the author, his wife, and young children headed after the dot-com crash left them looking for a simpler, presumably cheaper life. After all, they were writers and theoretically writers can telecommute from anywhere, even the second most gorgeous island in the world.