Have a craft lover on your shopping list? Fear not, we’re here to help! Have a look through our recommended section for some great ideas that you can pop under the tree for them.
With the biggest gift giving day of the year fast approaching (yikes it’s only just over 3 weeks away) it’s easy for panic to set in and totally ruin your budget. So let’s flip that panic and make the festive season much more merry by embracing our inner creativity and having a clever little crafty Christmas instead.
Our elves have scoured the internet for titles that we think have the most fun craft to try. So sit back, grab yourself a cup of your favourite beverage and let your imagination flow…
Weaving Within Reach by Anne Weil
The resurgence of the ’70s in fashion and home decor has brought about a new trend in crafting; weaving. Anne Weil gives macrame basket weaving, and other weaving skills a makeover with beautiful photography and styling with projects that can be made on various easily sourced looms, and even some that don’t require a loom, with just about any kind of material or fibre (including yarn, leather, and paper). The photography is light and bright, and the book’s look is a little bit bohemian. Best of all, projects are organised by time commitment (one hour, weeknight, and weeknight projects), so readers can craft at their comfort level…and you could totally finish something by Christmas!
Craft the Rainbow by Brittany Watson Jepsen
What began as an Instagram hashtag and project collection (#CrafttheRainbow) that quickly went viral has become a show stopping book, offering a rainbow of completely new project ideas. Learn how to make playful party decorations, luscious flowers, amazing cards, and sophisticated wreaths, garlands, centrepieces, and more than you can imagine, all with nothing but the creative power of paper. Sought-after designer Brittany Watson Jepsen is known for the unusually imaginative and amazingly beautiful designs she creates for her website and host of clients (including Anthropologie). In Craft the Rainbow, Jepsen walks readers through the easy basics of transforming simple paper -including tissue, crepe, cardstock, leaves of books, and vintage and recycled paper- into vibrant, fanciful, handmade projects suitable for every occasion.
Japanese Stitches Unraveled by Wendy Bernard
Japanese stitch patterns are eye-catching and much sought after by devotees, but before now, they often seemed out of reach, whether locked behind Japanese-only instructions or tangled up in difficult-to-decipher illustrations. Japanese Stitches Unraveled offers over 160 rare patterns inspired by these elusive and intricate Japanese stitch designs, along with fully illustrated charts, familiar symbols, and clear instructions for every single stitch. Each stitch pattern receives Bernard’s unique four-direction makeover-topdown, bottom-up, back-and-forth, and in-the-round. To showcase the knitting in action, Bernard also includes instructions for six garments as well as her famous formulas for knitting without a pattern.
Go on, give it a go, you know you want to.
By Hand: The Art of Modern Lettering by Nicole Miyuki Santo
In a world of screens and social media, people are constantly searching for ways to reconnect to the handmade and the authentic to add a personal spark and a beautiful look to everyday objects and occasions. The art of modern lettering is a point of connection, a way of crafting letters and words into something that delights the eyes and feeds the soul. With unique projects and an Instagram-worthy aesthetic, By Hand provides an inspirational jumping-off point for readers who want to incorporate lettering into a slower, more intentional lifestyle. Blending the aspirational and the instructional, By Hand brings the beauty of lettering beyond the page, through 30 distinct projects, from dip-dyed place cards to acrylic home furnishings. Relatable lessons introduce readers to the essentials of lettering, including tools (watercolour brushes, brush pens, and markers), fonts, and essential lessons, with the warm and welcoming approach of popular Instagram letterer Nicole Miyuki Santo. Encouraging lessons sprinkled throughout the book add a touch of mindfulness, while bright, airy photography and step-by-step lettered samples make this lovely volume a stunning approach to an on-trend pastime.
Discover a fresh, new take on the traditional craft of macrame, a craft that was incredibly popular in the seventies, is currently enjoying a renaissance. Macrame projects are the best way to bring the current trend for hippy luxe, boho interiors into your home (oh and for other people too…sorry totally forgot we are thinking of crafting presents for other people!) Macrame for Beginners includes very on trend macrame projects for inside and outside the home. You can choose from 12 different projects with an ‘easy’ and ‘more advanced’ version for each so you can develop your skills as you go. Learn all the basic macrame knots with the knot tutorial library so you can get started with your favourite projects whether it’s the ubiquitous hanging plant holder or a statement arch for the garden or a doorway.
The Flower Expert by Fleur McHarg
Flowers are a beautiful gift to receive. Fleur McHarg is a florist in the true, traditional sense of the word. Guided by the eternal wisdom of Constance Spry, the trailblazing early 20th century British florist, Fleur believes in letting flowers be the stars of the show by working with the natural shape of a flower or branch. When it comes to beauty, you can’t beat nature – but you can learn how to showcase it for startling impact. The Flower Expert is a stunning celebration of Fleur’s artistry and her ability to fuse modern and classic to create a style that suits each occasion.
So much craft…so little time.
Each year across Australia, The Children’s Book Council of Australia brings children and books together celebrating CBCA Children’s Book Week. This year’s book week starts next Monday and during this time schools, libraries, booksellers, authors, illustrators and families will celebrate Australian children’s literature with children’s book character parades and amazing displays.
This year’s theme is Escape to Everywhere and aims to allow children to be transported to a world of fantastical creatures or larger-than-life characters. Click through for the list of books that have been shortlisted here.
Let’s explore a few ways you can bring Book Week to life for your children.
Costumes and Make Believe
Dressing up as our favourite character for Book Week parades in Primary School and curling up at bedtime under the cover with a book and a torch are just two of our strongest memories of reading as a child in the Booko HQ. There is a vast variety of options and inspiration for dressing up over on Pinterest – here are some of our favourites…
The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss
This Dr. Seuss’ classic is a deliciously anarchic story of a giant cat in a hat whose unexpected arrival turns a dull, rainy day into a madcap adventure. It’s a favourite in many families.
Here are some fabulous ideas for a Cat in the Hat costumes.
Pippi Longstocking By Astrid Lindgren
A true children’s classic. Pippi Longstocking is nine years old. She has just moved into Villa Villekulla where she lives all by herself with a horse, a monkey, and a big suitcase full of gold coins. The grown-ups in the village try to make Pippi behave in ways that they think a little girl should, but Pippi has other plans. She would much rather spend her days arranging wild, exciting adventures to enjoy. Generations of children have fallen in love with Pippi Longstocking as readers are instantly charmed by her warmth and sense of fun.
Find great ideas fro Pippi costumes here.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
An affectionate, sometimes bashful pig named Wilbur befriends a spider named Charlotte, who lives in the rafters above his pen. A prancing, playful bloke, Wilbur is devastated when he learns of the destiny that befalls all those of porcine persuasion. Determined to save her friend, Charlotte spins a web that reads “Some Pig,” convincing the farmer and surrounding community that Wilbur is no ordinary animal and should be saved. In this story of friendship, hardship, and the passing on into time, E.B. White reminds us to open our eyes to the wonder and miracle often found in the simplest of things.
We think these costumes sum up Charlotte’s Web delightfully.
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Daywalt has created a colourful solution to a crayon-based crisis in this playful, imaginative story that will have children laughing and playing with their crayons in a whole new way.
Here are some amazing crayon inspired costumes.
Pig The Winner by Aaron Blabey
Pig was a Pug and I’m sorry to say, If he didn’t come first it would ruin his day. From award-winning creator of Pig the Pug comes a brand new tale about the world’s greediest pug. Pig the Pug is back and this time he is being a great big cheat. Pig will do anything to win, and, if he can’t, he throws great big tantrums. But when his latest attempt to beat his best friend, Trevor, backfires will Pig the Pug learn his lesson at last?
Click here for Pig The Pug face painting ideas.
91-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
The 91-Storey Treehouse is the seventh book of Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s wacky treehouse adventures, where the laugh-out-loud story is told through a combination of text and fantastic cartoon-style illustrations.
Join Andy and Terry in their now 91-storey spectacular treehouse. They’ve added thirteen new levels, including the world’s most powerful whirlpool, a mashed-potato-and-gravy train and a human pinball machine. Why not try your luck on the spin-and-win prize wheel or hang out in a giant spider web (with a giant spider), or you can always get your fortune told by Madam Know-it-all or eat a submarine sandwich the size of an actual submarine while deciding whether or not to push the big red button . . .
Here are some great ideas for costumes for book week (we love the tree)
Listening / Library Activities
Hearing a story when you’re little is super exciting…especially for those that are not quite up to reading by themselves. Why not check out your local library and see what story time they have coming up.
This year the City of Melbourne has some great events for Book Week. Drop in to hunt for clues with Puss in Boots, pet detective, explore augmented reality at the East Melbourne Library with sessions for 3 to 5 year olds and 6 to 10 year olds, or you can also drop by one of the storytimes and escape into some of the stories shortlisted for the Book of the Year prize.
Be it a tea party with the children, or a bigger affair with their friends, story themed afternoon teas are wonderful.
Here are a few ideas for you…
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr Seuss
Imagine the squeals of delight and disgust when you offer your children a plate of green eggs, like these ones.
When Sam-I-am persists in pestering a grumpy grouch to eat a plate of green eggs and ham‚ perseverance wins the day‚ teaching us all that we cannot know what we like until we have tried it!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
This much-loved classic picture book follows the caterpillar’s week while he eats through a range of foods in preparation for his hibernation and subsequent appearance as a beautiful butterfly. Theming afternoon tea couldn’t be easier with these ideas…not to mention it’ll definitely encourage the children to eat their fruit!
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into a new year and a new school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving. Desperate to prove his new found maturity, which only going up a grade can bring, Greg is happy to have his not-quite-so-cool sidekick, Rowley, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s popularity to his own advantage. Recorded in his diary with comic pictures and his very own words, this test of Greg and Rowley’s friendship unfolds with hilarious results.
Just look at this clever party.
Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A mad hatter’s the party would be delightful to bring to life in your own dining room…perhaps no tea cup throwing though…we love these ideas.
When Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole, she finds herself in an enchanted world, filled with creatures like the Mad Hatter, the disappearing Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts. Alice quickly finds out that nothing is as it seems in the wild world of Wonderland.
Colouring, gluing, and snipping are all lovely ways to bring books to life for children. For those more daring, you could always whip out the sewing machine…here’s a few that will definitely be a hit…
Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr Seuss
Ten Apples up on Top has been helping preschoolers learn to count and read simultaneously. Simple illustrations and even simpler rhymes make this apple-balancing competition between a dog, a tiger, and a lion a fun, easy place to practice sight words and phonics.
Luckily some very clever craft people have shared their ideas on Pinterest here.
We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Brave bear hunters go through grass, a river, mud, and other obstacles before the inevitable encounter with the bear forces a headlong retreat.
How sweet are these bear hunt crafts.
Corduroy by Don Freeman
This lovely picture book has always been a favourite in our house where a stuffed bear waiting hopefully in a toy department finds a home with a little girl. It’s endearing and beautifully illustrated.
These Corduroy activities are delightful.
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy until he is rescued by an owl, taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, learns to play Quidditch and does battle in a deadly duel. A wonderful wizardly good book which has inspired a gazillion craft ideas just like these.
It’s midway through the year, and Team Booko is checking out new hobbies to try, as we prepare for more indoor-time during the winter months. But hobbies are not limited to the winter – and as summer holidays beckon to our Northern Hemisphere friends, perhaps you are looking for new pastimes as well? To spare you the hard work, we’ve rounded up six hobbies that are fun, creative and rewarding (and even delicious!)
The Home Distilling and Infusing Handbook (Second edition) by Matt Teacher
The popularity of boutique beers and spirits – think craft gin, infused vodka and spiced rum – really encourages us to embrace variety and experimentation, as we discover tastes that we truly love. In The Home Distilling and Infusing Handbook, Matt Teacher shows us how easy it is to create uniquely flavoured spirits even without special equipment. Try one of the included recipes, such as horseradish vodka or cucumber gin, or learn how to combine fruit, herbs and spices to impart flavours to alcoholic bases such as gin, vodka, bourbon and tequila. And for the more adventurous, Matt Teacher also shows how to blend whiskeys and bourbons.
The Smart Phone Photography Guide by Peter Cope
Smartphone cameras have transformed the way we record our lives – but do you know that, not only are they convenient, many also rival “proper” digital cameras in terms of quality and features? The Smart Phone Photography Guide aims to help users take, create, manipulate and share images and video taken with smartphones and tablets. Packed with “Pro tips”, explanations and “Try this” exercises, Peter Cope will improve your photography skills in no time. Make your memories even more beautiful by realising the full potential of your phone camera – whether they are small-but-precious moments, stunning holiday vistas or artistic compositions.
Sewing in a Straight Line by Brett Bara
Sewing in a Straight Line is the most morale-boosting and innovative sewing book ever! Brett Bara has devised a whole range of projects – from accessories to homewares to chic skirts, tops and even dresses – that only require sewing in straight lines. With the help of some stylish fabrics, anyone can achieve results that look way more impressive than the effort required. I love this book because normally, clothes have complex construction and require at least intermediate skills to make; instead, Sewing in a Straight Line has shown us how even total beginners can quickly learn to make attractive pieces that they would be proud to wear or use.
Making Pottery You Can Use by Jacqui Atkin
There is something very satisfying about making objects you can use everyday – and Jacqui Atkin’s new book can help you do just that. Making Pottery You Can Use bring some super-useful advice to our rediscovered love of handmade ceramics. Not only can we enjoy the tactile lushness of shaping wet clay, now we can also turn our creations into functional objects – pieces that stack well, with lids that fit and handles that stay on. The combination of clear, beautiful photos and succinct but informative text makes Making Pottery You Can Use a valuable reference for beginners through to professional ceramicists.
Ferment for Good: Ancient Foods for the Modern Gut by Sharon Flynn
Our interest in fermented foods shows no signs of abating – not only do we enjoy the amazing flavours of foods such as kimchi, kefir, and sauerkraut, we also appreciate how they can improve our gut health; while others are also keen to perpetuate this ancient skill. Sharon Flynn is a former English teacher whose interest in fermentation grew from a hobby into a successful business. In Ferment for Good, she shares her deep knowledge through recipes, anecdotes and tips. With recipes ranging from kombucha to pickles to miso to relishes, Ferment for Good is a friendly and informative overview for anyone who wants to try fermenting their own foods.
Ikeahackers.net: 25 Biggest and Best Projects by Jules Yap
When Jules Yap started the ikeahackers blog in 2006, she simply wanted to create a place to showcase IKEA Hacks – the repurposing or modifications of IKEA products. Little did she know that it would grow into a thriving community of DIY enthusiasts who enjoy personalising their IKEA pieces, sharing their skills and ideas in the process. Now the essence of Ikea Hacking has been revealed in a book. Ikeahackers.net: 25 Biggest and Best Projects offers step-by-step instructions on how to transform common IKEA items into stylish, functional and unique objects. Fancy embellished drawers, or a coffee table made from magazine holders? The options are only limited by your creativity and skill. Pre-order for a July release.