Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Paper Folded Flowers, by Elizabeth Moad. Review.

Paper Folded Flowers

All the skills you need to make 21 beautiful  projects

By Elizabeth Moad

Search Press 2017

Paperback  £ 9.99 UK/ US $ 15.95

ISBN 978-1-78221-426-7

Star rating: ****

This fun new title by talented papercraft designer Elizabeth Moad focuses on simple but effective techniques for creating dimensional flowers. Paper flowers are always popular, and this book covers a variety of styles, particularly teabag folding looks (Gingham Rosette Card, Yellow Flower Notebook).

A pleasant aspect of the book is that each flower is conceived as the embellishment for a project – so there is always a goal in sight.

A notable feature of the book is that same-size pattern templates, where needed, are given on-page with the project, rather than having to consult a back-of-book reduced-size template section, which is the usual craft book approach. Everything is geared towards providing a hassle-free papercrafting experience. Clear step-by-steps (photo/text) accompany each project.

Many of the projects involve using simple embellishment techniques – such as tone-on-tone rubber stamping   in the Décor Orchid Arrangement to lift the design to another level and add more variety to the creative process. Creating an ombre effect with a mini ink pad is another winning technique.

The Concertina Flowers and Christmas Wreath made of pleated rosettes show good use of a scoring board and creasing tool to create fashionable pleated projects. 

This title would make a super gift for a newbie papercrafter.

This book has a companion volume, Paper Quilling, also by Elizabeth Moad (and also from Search Press)  which I am looking forward to featuring soon. Quilling is Elizabth Moad’s particular area of expertise – so we should be in for a treat.

Note: I was provided with a review copy of this book.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

The Big Book of Mod Podge, by PLAID Enterprises. Review.

The Big Book of Mod Podge

Decoupage made easy

PLAID Enterprises

Lark 2015

Paperback £16.99 UK/$22.95 USA/$25.95 CAN

ISBN 978-1-4547-0869-8

Star rating: ****

Découpage is enjoying a well-deserved moment – not that it ever went away, because it is an umbrella craft. The craft of découpage was revolutionized with the invention of Mod Podge – a glue/finish that eliminates the necessity for the application of numerous coats of varnish. If you are a crafter, you have probably come across Mod Podge – I am a big fan of Paper Mod Podge. Yes, Paper Mod Podge. And that is exactly the point of this book. Since its invention in the swinging 60s, by Jan Wetstone, an antiques dealer from Atlanta, Georgia, the Mod Podge line of products has undergone mind-boggling expansion. There’s a Mod Podge formula for exactly the craft purpose you require and/or look you wish to achieve: matte, gloss, satin, pearl, sparkle finishes. Mod Podge for fabric, paper, dishwasher safe. And many more product permutations. This book is the ultimate guide to all things Mod Podge, providing the lowdown on product suitablility and use.

The handiest part of the book is the upfront section, which describes the range of available Mod Podge products and how to use them. Prepping surfaces, application technique – it is all here. Following the basic how-tos are more than 90 projects from creative contributors. I have to admit, not all of the projects are to my personal taste, but they do open up a load of new possibilities regarding Mod Podge use. (The photo-transfer idea is very cool.) The instructions are clear, generously accompanied by how-to photos. There’s a lovely big pic for each project.

This book could be indispensable, say, if you you are planning to pimp some IKEA furniture. For instance, the Trompe L’Oeil Desk by Design Samaritan (Paul Bowman) is big fun. (Notebook and pencil, plus vintage telephone are among the objects realistically placed on the worktop.

So, although this book is promoting particular products, they are products most crafters will want to use, and the know-how this title imparts is good to know indeed. Yes, it’s a glue, it’s a finish – it is Mod Podge and we love it.
Note: I was given a review copy of this title.

Friday, 24 March 2017

The Button Box, by Lynn Knight.

The story of women in the 20thcentury, told through the clothes they wore

Lynn Knight

Vintage paperback 2017

£ 8.99 UK/$18.99 CAN

ISBN 978-0-099-59309-6

This has nothing to do with papercraft, although I have noticed that papercrafters are incredibly fond of button embellishments. Neither is this a book review – because I have not yet read this title. I am so very excited about my excellent find, I want to share it with you. This is just out in paperback. I can’t imagine I missed it when it was published in hardcover last year.

Anyhow, this is a social history of women told through the buttons in Lynn Knight’s family button box. (I had a button box – it was black and had a golden embossed swordfish on the lid... my mysterious treasure trove.) Lynn Knight has also written a bio of Clarice Cliff, the renowned (and very collectable) ceramic artist, which is also on my very long reading list. Each chapter of The Button Box has a flagship illustration of a button – jet button, shank button, toggle... :) Are you tempted to read?

This book is surfing on a lit trend – using objects as a way in to biography or social history. I heartily recommend The Real Jane Austen, a life in small things, by Paula Byrne, which was, I think, the first of its kind (all credit to Paula Byrne, admired and copied by many). Nothing papercrafty about that either, although Jane Austen had a lovely writing desk which is featured within.

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Paper Stars, by Karen-Marie Fabricius. Review.

25 festive decorations for every occasion

By Karen-Marie Fabricius

Guild of Master Craftsmen Publications, Ltd.,  March 2017

Paperback, £12.99

ISBN 978-1-78494-337-0

Star rating (very appropriate!):  ****

This delightful new title from Danish papercrafter  Karen-Marie Fabricius will surely brighten your crafting day. In Denmark, paper stars are part of the festive tradition. Making paper stars is Karen-Marie’s pet project – and in this title, she shares her star-making know-how with you – folded, papercut, woven and most prominently, stars fashioned using a quilling comb. The stars would make superb party decs – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries   and come into their own at Christmastime, of course. 

The Woven Star section contains some designs you may be familiar with – the 3-D Froebel Star, made out of woven paper strips, popular mini Lucky stars (wishing stars), Swing Star (curled segments, in strips). The Origami section contains pleasing modular designs – Faaborg is a swirl of interlocking elongated triangles, Svendborg is a mind-boggling modular origami 3-D extravaganza. Many of these stars provide good opportunities for using mixed prints – always a cheerful option.  The kirigami section is perhaps the weakest (it is the least 3-D), but here you will find the neat idea of using two interlocking shapes to construct the finished star. 

The Quilling Stars are splendid. Fabulous filigreed extravaganzas. There are excellent construction step-by-steps for these (and all the projects in the book) – so you can create the stars in a methodical manner. Foolproof! Some of the stars use only the quilling comb, others use comb plus conventional quilling tool. Some are purely geometric, others are shaped into graceful organic curves.

The author had thought of everything – she has even included a tutorial on how to magic your own quilling comb out of paper and cocktail sticks, should the need (or inclination) arise. And, at the back of the book, are handy templates with grids and concentric circles, for keeping your stars on track.

Each section has a welcoming intro blurb – hygge – in which the author shares her personal take on the projects to come. A sprinkling of historical info, some personal reminiscences, suggestions for project end-use. Nicely done, and very Scandinavian on-trend .:)

Note: I was given a review copy of this title.