With the holidays drawing near, it’s the perfect time to create handmade gifts. Smiley Library has a large crafting collection suitable for all skill levels and interests. Our books will be sure to spark ideas for those who appreciate quilting, jewelry making, sewing, rock painting, origami, paper craft, embroidery, and so many other endeavors. Adding a personal touch to your gifts is fun, thoughtful, and one-of-a-kind.
I love the idea of enjoying the outdoors while collecting supplies for a crafting creation. “52 Nature Craft Projects” by Barbora Kurcova showcases designs using nature’s beauty. Instead of buying store-bought wrapping paper, scout out acorns and fir branches, dip them into paint and press their shapes onto brown paper. Tie it up with a pretty ribbon for a unique gift wrap. If you’re looking for a beautiful autumn present, try the Conker Wreath project, made of acorns, pine cones, and foraged fall treasures. The Twig Letter project, which details how to bend twigs into a chosen letter, creates a striking and personalized initial to hang on a door or wall. If you decide to head out to the San Bernardino National Forest, check with the local ranger station first to see what rules apply for collecting forest items, such as pine cones or greenery. A permit may be required. Other outdoor places to find supplies may be Christmas tree lots or perhaps, even your own backyard. Kurcova’s book is filled with projects that are enjoyable, natural, and best of all simple.
“Mini Amigurumi Animals: 26 Tiny Creatures to Crochet” by Sarah Abbondio is perfect for crochet fans who have a little leftover yarn they need to use. These cute creatures will be great toppers for presents, tree ornaments, or additions to a key ring. Clear instructions and patterns are provided. Although the book is written in UK crochet terms, Abbondio provides equivalent terms for those in the U.S. With so many different animals to choose from, you’ll be sure to find a favorite or two. Make a whole troop of monkeys, a skulk of foxes, a tower of giraffes, or a scurry of squirrels.
For those with a newborn or infant in their lives, “One-Stitch Baby Knits: 22 Easy Patterns for Adorable Garments and Accessories Using Garter Stitch” by Val Pierce will help you create something truly special. Pierce takes you step-by-step through each project, incorporating color pictures and skill level ratings so you know which project to tackle first. The Striped Yoke Cardigan and Sleepy Cow Hat and Drawstring Mittens are darling.
On order and available for checkout soon, knitters will also enjoy “Knit Hats with Woolly Wormhead: Styles for the Whole Family” by Woolly Wormhead. Her innovative hats have such a fun sense of fashion and flair. This is definitely one to look out for.
Don’t worry if you’re brand new to a certain craft; just find something that interests you and begin. If all else fails, you can always strive to get your project into a book like “CraftFail: When Homemade Goes Terribly Wrong” by Heather Mann.
For my first needle felting project, I tried sculpting a bee and for some reason, it came out looking like it had a head of short spiky hair. Basically, it had a “buzz cut,” which in retrospect is quite the appropriate hairdo for a bee.