Book Review: Washi Tape Crafts as a Last-Minute Holiday Gift for Your Craft-Loving Friends!

washi-tape-crafts-book-review-cover-chic-stealsThis is such an adorable book, I can’t stop raving about it.

Washi tape has been around forever and I’ve been an avid collector of it for many years, ever since I first spied it while living in Japan 15+ years ago. My stash has grown and grown – and somehow just looking at all those pretty patterns and colors puts a smile on my face.

But what to do with all of that tape? Besides using it on my planners and calendars, I also have been known to use it as home decor on my walls. And wrapping presents of course. But besides that…? I’m kind of at a loss with how to use it in a cute and functional way.washi-tape-crafts-book-review-washi-tape-chic-steals

Enter this awesome book, jam-packed with tons of tutorials and crafts for finally putting that washi tape to good use! With 110 ideas for using your tape (plus 10 original included tape rolls for you to play with!) this book can kickstart just about any project or idea for gifts, decor, accessories, office supplies, kiddie crafts…and on and on and on.washi-tape-crafts-book-review-project-1-chic-steals

Written by the one and only Amy Anderson (of Mod Podge Rocks! fame – and accompanying Mod Podge universe website), the book brings Amy’s whimsical sense of design married to practicality and easy-to-follow step-by-steps.washi-tape-crafts-book-review-project-3-chic-steals

After first laying out basic techniques and skills when working with washi tape like cutting clean edges, creating corners, weaving, punching shapes, and making patterns, the book dives into the projects section.washi-tape-crafts-book-review-project-2-chic-steals

Between Goods and Gifts, Home Decor, Jewelry and Fashion, Holidays and Celebrations, and Just For Fun, there are so many projects to choose from. Though some projects may seem pretty basic (Embellished Envelopes, Photo Coasters, Wall Art) – I guarantee there will be many that make you go “I never thought of that!” and send you scurrying to your tape stash.washi-tape-crafts-book-review-project-4-chic-steals

Some are incredibly innovative, like the Paper Planes Wall Mural, Wishy-Washi Window Blinds, Faux Floor Rug, Headboard, Party Mask, and Faux Floral Bouquet that are so fun to try out.washi-tape-crafts-book-review-back-cover-chic-stealswashi-tape-crafts-book-review-project-5-chic-stealswashi-tape-crafts-book-review-project-6-chic-stealswashi-tape-crafts-book-review-project-7-chic-steals

If you have a craft-loving friend, this book would be an excellent holiday gift for them – and will keep them crafting well into the New Year!

Get Washi Tape Crafts: 110 Ways to Decorate Just About Anything Here

(aff. link)


You can also get in on the washi tape fun at Amy’s website


FTC Disclosure: I received one complimentary copy of Washi Tape Crafts for review purposes. I have not been otherwise compensated for this review. My full Disclosure Policy is here.
Leave Comment

The Magic Pattern Book Review


I love multi-function and time-saving shortcuts – and pattern books that offer variations on a single pattern are right up my alley. I was thrilled to receive a copy of The Magic Pattern Book: Sew 6 Patterns into 36 Different Styles! by Amy Barickman to review for my blog.

As the founder and designer of the pattern company Indygo Junction by Amy Barickman, Amy is a skilled patternmaker and has sold over 2 million patterns over the past 20 years (!). Amy’s new book is an indispensable guide to sewing an entire wardrobe and its accessories, based on only 6 patterns. It’s a unique DIY spin on sewing basics, which is perfect for what I do all the time!


The book has a detailed introduction that has a great discussion of basic sewing tools, sizing reference, and tips and techniques. (The section on Alterations is worth its weight in gold for a DIY’er since the ability to alter garments and patterns will allow you to work from any raw materials you may come across!)


The 6 patterns included in the book and accompany CD-ROM are a U-neck Tank Top, an A-line Skirt, a gathered-neck pull-on Dress, a collarless Cardigan, a standing neck lapped-front Coat, and an Accessory (3 hat styles, 1 scarf, and 2 drawstring bags. For each pattern, 6 variations (named after women) are included, that may lengthen or shorten the pattern, add design details, or alter the silhouette slightly.

magicpatternbook_review4 magicpatternbook_review5

The instructions are illustrated with step-by-step hand-drawn illustrations. The alterations are quite simple and easy to follow – and just a small variation can create a totally different look in the finished piece!magicpatternbook_review6 magicpatternbook_review7

The book also includes a CD-ROM with patterns and templates for all the projects as well as a how to use the included patterns guide. This means you can start right away with your making!magicpatternbook_review8 magicpatternbook_review9

There are also notations for when you can used repurposed items or fabrics for the projects, as well as suggested fabrics for each design.

The level of the book seems geared to a less-experienced sewist, as there is a great deal of explanation and hand-holding along the way. (GREAT for those who are just graduating from beginning sewing to looking for more of a challenge!)

However, I personally am not a fan of the suggested fabrics or the model styling; though the photography is beautiful the styling choices seem somewhat dated. The fabric choices also leave something to be desired, but it does provide a starting point for your own ideas and choices – and highlights the versatility of a single pattern.



If you like multi-purpose patterns and adding and removing elements for the ultimate DIY take on your sewing, definitely try out the patterns in this book! The Magic Pattern Book is available on and major booksellers.

Check out The Magic Pattern Book Here



FTC Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the above book from Workman Publishing for review purposes. I have not been compensated for this post. The above opinions are my own. To read my full Disclosure Policy, click here.


Leave Comment

Book Review: The Sewists: DIY Projects from 20 Top Designer-Makers

thesewists_book1I was recently sent a copy of the new book The Sewists: DIY Projects from 20 Top Designer-Makers by Josephine Perry to review for my blog. It’s a super-cute, handmade take on the DIY movement, chock-full of neat techniques and profiles of 20 makers.

The projects range from a handmade pincushion to a gathered waist skirt to an adorable stuffed monster plushie to a piece of embroidered jewelry.


Many of the projects use only a small amount of fabric, upcycled materials, or ecologically-sourced items. Textile arts (including textile printing, patchwork, applique, embroidery, screen printing, cross stitch, and hand-sewing) feature heavily in this book, so most of the projects are time- and labor-intensive.thesewists_book3The book truly focuses on the labor of love that is crafting, and features in-depth profiles of many designers and makers in the homemade movement. It’s fascinating to read everyone’s story, and one gains a greater respect for all of these artisans and their work.thesewists_book4 thesewists_book5There is a quaint charm to the projects, which harken back to your grandmother’s time, updated for today.thesewists_book6The book also includes a CD-ROM with patterns and templates for all the projects, which is extremely helpful since no tracing from awkward book pages is required and you can just dive in and start making!thesewists_book7

My only minor quibble with the book is that on the project step-by-step pages there is dearth of visual interest. One would think with these artisan studios full of inspirational items, it would not have been that much more difficult to include more images of their work on the tutorial pages, or at least some illustrations of stitchery, DIY supplies, or other layout extras that could have livened up these areas. However this is only a minor note; the rich introductions to each artist serve as an excellent backdrop to their painstaking projects.



If you’re into trying out a range of different projects and techniques and enjoy handmade crafts, textile arts, and homespun charm, this book is definitely for you! The Sewists will be released on September 16, 2014, available on and major booksellers.

Preorder The Sewists: DIY Projects from 20 Top Designer-Makers Here


FTC Disclosure: I was sent a copy of the above book from Laurence King Publishing for review purposes. I have not been compensated for this post. The above opinions are my own. To read my full Disclosure Policy, click here.

Leave Comment

Studs & Pearls Book Review & Giveaway

Studs & Pearls : 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion is from the eponoymous blog Studs & Pearls by Kristen Nunez, founded in 2010. We’ve been reading each other’s blogs for quite some time, and we’ve been frequent commenters on each other’s projects. Kristen’s DIY’s are always fun, simple, and have major visual impact. With this book you can get a ton of ideas for how-to’s that can easily take your basics and jazz them up a notch.


The book covers DIY basics, like Tools and Supplies, and then dives straight into the projects. It includes 30 projects, with multiple variations on each so you can put your own spin on them.  studsandpearls_book5It covers a variety of techniques, including fabric dyeing, stamping, no-sew projects, trim embellishment, and painting.   studsandpearls_book8Plus the photography features real-life girls (like in street snaps) modeling the finished creations so you can get an idea of how the DIY’s will look when worn.studsandpearls_book3

Most of the projects are extremely easy so even beginners or kids/pre-teens can get in on the fun. It’s a great jumping-off point for those just getting started to DIY.studsandpearls_book6studsandpearls_book7It also includes many projects that speak to current trends, like the embellished sunglass case-turned-clutch trend, trim-detailed mini-skirts, tie-dye, embellished sunglasses, beanies, mixed media embroidery thread-and-chain bracelets, and cocktail rings. Many of the project use easily-available or unusual materials, so supplies are a cinch to come by. (There’s a directory of sources and where to buy in the back.)studsandpearls_book9

This statement clutch turned out so pretty with some well-placed painting!studsandpearls_book10An interesting take on the plastic tube bracelet.

studsandpearls_book11These cocktail rings from buttons are particularly pretty.studsandpearls_book12 studsandpearls_book13

Overall: It was nice to see all the variations on all of the projects. Many of the techniques are quite simple, which speak well to a young audience maybe not so familiar with DIY blogs and projects elsewhere. (There are 3 projects that do require a higher skill level, with dyeing and sewing a dress, but they stood out as somewhat incongruous next to the other projects.) It does provide inspiration and ideas on the variations, as well as styling tips, so it can be very useful in planning out your project. This would be a great book for a young teenager or someone who is just getting started to DIY.



One lucky winner will receive a copy of Studs & Pearls : 30 Creative Projects for Customized Fashion by Kristen Nunez.

Enter using Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!



FTC Disclosure: I was sent a copy of Studs & Pearls for review from Laurence King Publishing. I am sponsoring the giveaway and shipping the item to the winner at my own expense. The above opinions are my own. To read my full Disclosure Policy, click here.

Leave Comment

Must-Have Books for the DIY Home Decorator

undecorate-christiane-lemiI spotted this over on Joss & Main and thought to re-post here. Though I don’t share a lot about home decor here (I am planning to though, in the near future!), I figured books are easy-access, wonderful sources of inspiration and ideas. Decorate away, fellow DIY’ers!

Must-Have Books for the DIY Home Decorator

And you can always turn to Joss & Main for a chic, on-trend selection of curated home decor finds – it’s been such a source of inspiration to simply receive their newsletters in my inbox showcasing all sorts of possible rooms and design schemes…they always get my crafty cheapskate DIY-or-die mental wheels a-spinning!

Check Out Joss & Main Here (invite link)



Leave Comment

Pin It on Pinterest