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.

Teen Stuff: The Crafty Girl's Guides to Almost Everything

Are your everyday items becoming a little too ordinary? Does your calculator need some sparkle to its numbers? Is your handbag looking lifeless these days? Good news: the Crafty Girl series has a solution (more like hundreds of them) to all of these problems. Author Jennifer Traig is fantastic at transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary with easy-to-follow steps for the crafty girl looking for some daily inspiration. Each book in the Crafty Girl series is dedicated to making one part of your life really sizzle, from Beauty to Accessories to Hair. Happy crafting!

National Craft Month

March is National Craft Month! Which means it’s time to dust off those knitting needles, bust out the sewing machine, grab the fabric, glue, ribbon, scissors, paint, and paper, and get making! It could be something big, something small, something quick, or something that will take a year to complete. It doesn’t matter, as long as those brains are thinking and those fingers are creating. Does that bookshelf need repainted? Does your bathroom need new curtains? Now is the time! Need ideas for new project? Check out CraftZine online (an amazing resource, former print magazine, and the sister of Make magazine), or try the Maker Shed, if you’re more into gadgets. There are also MANY books available at AADL with craft ideas, ideas for craft gatherings, and craft business related books. A few of my recent faves are One Yard Wonders and Handmade Nation.

Happy crafting!
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