Get craftilicious with Yarn Bombing

Yarn Bombing: the art of crochet and knit graffiti is one of my new favorite craft books. It chronicles the start and the phenomenon of yarn graffiti. You may have seen some knitted works hanging on trees and fences around Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor. It is a form of street art, akin to graffiti with a paint can, only the tool of choice is knitted and crocheted pieces hung around town instead. “Yarn bombing can be political, it can be heart-warming, and it can be funny.”

The book is a definitive guide to the act of yarn graffiti. It is chock full of examples, photos, and patterns, and offers plenty of information on the history of yarn bombing, and on the individuals and groups who initiated it, including those who continue to tag. In addition to yarn graffiti, there is also plenty of reference on how to start knitting and crocheting, and offers instructions and resources to get you going with needle arts. I find the idea of craft and street art intertwining truly fascinating.

September is National Sewing Month!

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Being that September is National Sewing Month, are you looking for some inspiration to help you get a move on with that pile of fabric you keep staring at? Try some of these new books to get you motivated to start a new project or finish that one that’s collecting dust.

Amy Butler's style stitches: 12 easy ways to 26 wonderful bags!

Sewing bits & pieces : 35 projects using fabric scraps

The Feisty Stitcher: sewing projects with attitude

If you’re looking for more, there are oodles of sewing books at AADL to get you going. Or check out Sew green recycle, repurpose, restyle, a how-to DVD featuring a few easy projects you can sew along with.

Make it Happen with a lot of Lotta Jansdotter's crafty books!

Scandinavian born Lotta Jansdotter left her small island off Sweden at the age of 20 to study art in California. After figuring out that she wanted to focus on screen printing she immediately left school to work on her passion, later opening her own business and starting her Lotta Jansdotter line. Her business, designs, and popularity have grown immensely over the years, and she has written books featuring some of her projects.

Lotta Prints: How to print with anything, from potatoes to linoleum is an excellent book for both those who already dabble in printing or are looking to get started. Some projects featured include screen printing, stenciling, stamping, and block printing. For more textile action, Lotta Jansdotter's simple sewing: patterns and how-to for 24 fresh and easy projects contains many adorable projects that aren’t too difficult to accomplish by sewing. And for things to make for the little ones, check out Simple sewing for baby: 24 easy projects for newborns to toddlers, which offers up many clothing and accessories items for the cute small relations in your life.

All the books include thorough directions and illustrations for each project, and there is also a sampling of patterns to use. Lotta also has a darling blog that is worth browsing, and for a look into her studio, check out Etsy’s featured studio tour of it!

Make It Happen with a Museum Adventure Pass

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If you want to follow this year's Summer Reading Game theme Make It Happen at home, you should consider getting some interesting craft materials at Arts & Scraps. Just check out the Museum Adventure Pass, which admits 4 people to Scrap Junction, an interactive area where creativity and learning meet. There are 4 to 5 hands-on centers and one make & take area. Fun for all; small pieces make it suitable for ages 3 and up. Visitors may also stuff a bag, choosing from over 300 unusual recycled industrial materials. Cost is $7 for a full grocery bag, $3.50 for a half bag. The Museum Adventure Pass also gets you 10% off creative project packets and materials in the Arts & Scraps store.

Make It Happen: Patchwork With Punch and Style

Here are three new, beautiful books to inspire you to add a bit of whimsy into your handicraft.
What do Scandinavia and Japan have in common? Zakka. Translated it means “miscellaneous goods,” which is vague. Zakka is basically a design aesthetic featuring household items that enhance your environment. Does it truly overwhelm with beauty and cuteness? You decide.

Zakka sewing: 25 Japanese projects for the household and I love patchwork!: 21 irresistible Zakka Projects to Sew are two great books that feature projects inspired by the Japanese zakka aesthetic. They are things for the home and self with some kitsch to them. Included are wonderful photographs and easy to follow instructions. Tea cozies, coasters, bags, pillows, quilts, towels are just some of the projects waiting for your crafty hands.

For more on patchwork projects, check out Patchwork style: 35 simple projects for a cozy & colorful life. There are oodles of handmade ideas, everything from potholders to purses, using the patchwork technique.

Jean Pocket Purses

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We'll have the jean pockets, ribbons and beads for you to create a masterpiece purse. Join in the 'Make It Happen' summer theme and create something crafty. If your handiwork leaves you inspired, later you may branch out and try something else along the lines of jazzy jeans. See you there at Pittsfield, Wednesday, July 14, from 2 - 3:30 pm. Grades 6-12.

Reading about 'Making it Happen' with Crafty Mysteries!

Considering the theme for our 2010 Summer Reading Game: Make it Happen, it would be prudent to mention that crafts are great! Creating something with your own two hands is very satisfying, especially if it turns out better than you planned! Unfortunately for me, I was not born with the DIY gene and my crafting skills do not pay the bills. Instead of crying into my hot glue sticks, I found that I prefer reading about people who do have the skills that I do not possess. Here are some great crafting themed cozies for all of you DIY loving people out there:

Summer of DIY @ AADL, for the Kids

This summer at AADL our goal is to MAKE IT HAPPEN, with a ton of DIY and MAKE programs for all ages. As always, there are many craft and DIY related books to help get you on your way with some new projects. Here are a few to get the kids started:

Kid Made Modern, by Todd Oldham is new, hip, colorful book, that talks about basic craft supplies, and has oodles of projects to work on, including vases, rugs, printed t-shirts, duct tape totes, pillows, zines, printmaking, jewelry, forts, and more. All are easy enough for children to work on. D.I.Y. Kids is another great find. This books features a lot of crafts and projects that recycle and repurpose supplies you probably have lying around. You can make toys, kites, castles, decorated boxes, clothing, accessories, and beyond. And for the younger kid set, ArtStarts for Little Hands! Fun & Discoveries for 3 to 7 Year Olds has simple projects for kids to make out of every day household finds. Help those little ones make sailboats, animals, cars, trains, puzzles, and more.

Happy making!

Printmaking Workshop @ Pittsfield on June 15

Get a head start on AADL Summer Reading’s MAKE IT HAPPEN theme and come take a stab at screen printing! During this hands-on workshop you'll view a quick presentation on how screen printing works, and will get a chance to screen print an original Summer Reading themed logo onto a tote we supply, OR on a cloth item that you bring in. Don’t want a tote and have a blank t-shirt… bring it in!

You’ll also get the inside scoop on other ways of printing, including methods using rubber stamps, foam, potatoes, and stencils. You'll have plenty of play time to make your own designs, choose your method, and print on note cards and/or paper.

This DIY event is for Grades 6- Adult, and takes place at the Pittsfield branch on Tuesday, June 15, from 6:30-8:30pm. See you there!
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The Urban Homestead

The urban homestead: your guide to self-sufficient living in the heart of the city, by Kelly Coyne & Erik Knutzen, features a wealth of information for eco-conscious city dwellers looking to do their own food harvesting and preserving and get involved in urban homesteading. Recently released is also a revised and expanded edition of the book that features new projects. For further information, the authors also maintain an excellent blog (The Homegrown Evolution) for those interested in this topic.

The Urban Homestead focuses on how to depend less on big box living and features ways of living a more self-sufficient life by growing your own food, saving energy or producing your own, preserving food, all while living in an urban area with limited land.

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