HOMEMADE by Carol Sterbenz

When I first picked up Homemade: The Heart and Science of Handcrafts, I was skeptical that a 773-page craft book with a retro cover and no color photographs would be worth my time. Then I started reading it. I’m happy to report that I was wrong.

Homemade is an illustrated encyclopedia of handcrafts written by Carol Endler Sterbenz, whose unique voice, lifetime of experience, and passion for crafting infuse every page of this book.

In the introduction, which is a charming read, by the way, we discover that Carol learned to love crafting at a young age. She was tutored by a carpenter father and a mother who was such an accomplished handcrafter she makes Martha Stewart look like an amateur. Read more »

Making custom stencils

X-Acto sent me a few of their latest craft knives, which I love. Especially the fat pink Designer Series #11 craft knife in the photo above. In exchange, they asked me to show you how I use X-Acto around my home. Considering that crafting is mostly what happens in my home, I decided to share three of my top craft uses for X-Acto knives.

1. Creating custom stencils

The first time I ever picked up an X-Acto knife was in junior high (grade 7). I took a stained glass class. We started out etching mirrors with our own drawings, which we made into stencils with Con-Tact paper and an X-Acto knife. I was hooked. I made more than a dozen etched mirrors. (I still have some of them. I’ll show you someday.)

Since then, I’ve made many more stencils. Jess Chamberlain and I made the stencil above to paint onto a roman shade for Sunset magazine. Read more »

The Bust DIY Guide To Life coverCrafty Nest has appeared in other publications in the last couple months, and I wanted to share them with you.

First, two editors of Bust magazine included my craft-stick snowflakes in their new book called The Bust DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way Through Every Day. My tutorial appears on page 66 of a 368-page-thick hardcover volume of DIY advice from hundreds of contributors. Laurie Henzel and Debbie Stoller include everything from home decorating and beauty to health and money. I’m honored to have been included in such an ambitious compilation.

Crafty Nest in Bust book

Crafty Nest also appeared in the August 2011 issue of Singapore’s Home & Decor magazine. It’s a small blurb about me and Crafty Nest. While I’m flattered to be mentioned in such a great magazine, I humbly suggest they hire a fact-checker. They wrote that I was a designer at O, The Oprah Magazine. However, the reality is that I only interned there one summer. I was a designer for Real Simple and Sunset though.

Home & Decor magazine

I had never heard of Home & Decor magazine before they contacted me. It’s a glossy decorating magazine with a young, hip design. It almost has a Design*Sponge feel to it. If you can get your hands on a copy, I’d recommend a browse. If you do peek inside, you’ll notice that H&D and I have an affinity for the same fonts.

DIY Kitchens and Paint Projects

I’ve always been a fan of BH&G’s Do-It-Yourself magazine, so when I heard about two of their new books, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on them. Do It Yourself Kitchens: Stunning Spaces on a Shoestring Budget and Do It Yourself: 100+ Paint Projects didn’t disappoint.

DIY Kitchens

Budget kitchen

I’ll start with DIY Kitchens. It’s a handy—and beautiful—resource if you are contemplating a kitchen remodel, large or small. With big pictures of gorgeous kitchens for nearly every budget, I had fun picking my favorite one (pictured above). Even the kitchens that I didn’t like had great storage and decorating ideas I can steal. Read more »

ReSew cover I am pleased to offer my first book review and giveaway here at Crafty Nest! And what a worthy title to start with: ReSew: Turn Thrift-Store Finds into Fabulous Designs by Jenny Wilding Cardon.

In her book, Jenny turns secondhand basics (i.e. sweatshirts, sheets, pants, etc.) into adorable new fashions and home decor. She offers 20 beginner-friendly projects, including tops, dresses, skirts, hats, bags, and a rug—all made from thrift-store cast-offs. You’ll never look at a boring sweatshirt on the rack at your local Goodwill the same again. BTW: Her projects remind me of my own thrift-store tank-top totes.

Jenny’s instructions are easy to follow (she hand-drew all the illustrations herself!), which makes any beginning sewer feel confident that s/he can tackle her projects with success. And she includes instructions for basic sewing techniques, such as shirring, along with helpful tips and tricks. Her designs are so inspiring that it makes you want to run to your nearest thrift store and start hunting. Here are some of my favorite projects from her book:

Shirred Sheet Dress

Shirred Sheet Dress

This dress makes me long for warm summer days. Sigh. Read more »

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