Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jazz it up!

So we're just past the peak of daylight, and you still find yourself waking up at 4 am, and not being able to go to bed until 10:30 pm. What to do with all those hours? How about a little craft project to while away the time?
Stencil Me In, by Marthe Le Van, has lots of fun ideas for making your lampshades, mouse pads, placemats, windowsills and old t-shirts a little more interesting. Whether you stencil a decorative border around an entire room, or add a simple monogram to a wine glass, stencil designs are an easy way to make something ordinary look unique. Included in this book are 28 ready-to-use stencils so that you can replicate some of the ideas Le Van presents. It would help if you are already a little familiar with stencilling techniques, as the 'how-to' section in the front is a bit vague (for more detailed advice on how to stencil different surfaces and how to achieve different effects, I recommend The complete stenciling handbook by Sandra Buckingham). The finished projects look really fun, though, so this is a fabulous book for getting inspired.
Using a simple engraving tool, you can make your glassware more elegant, more personal, or more hip. Glass Engraving: 25 projects for the home, by Sonia Lucano, has ideas for flower vases, mirrors, photo frames, votives, even message stones! The templates are all in the back, and she gives you step-by-step instructions on how to apply designs directly onto a surface, how to shade a design, and how to lay out a repeating pattern. She does not, however, give you any instruction on how to use the engraving tool, so don't throw out the directions that come in the box when you purchase your engraver.
Crafting Fun: 101 things to make and do with kids, by Rae Grant, has the double benefit of creating beautiful things for your home and keeping your kids busy over the summer vacation. These are old-fashioned crafts (think pre-World War II), and the skill & interest level is for elementary school age. The crafts are also broken down seasonally, so that there is something in here for any time of the year. For summer crafts, you can make daisy chains, collect spiderwebs, make a beaded bookmark, sew a drawstring field bag, or make a seashell candle. Most of these crafts don't require much adult supervision - especially the simple paper crafts - but since the point is to do things together, even the most uncrafty adult can have fun with these ideas.

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