Thursday 17 March 2022

Review - More lovely crafting books from Pen and Sword books

I received copies of these books in exchange for a review.

A few weeks ago I shared with you some fantastic new craft books from Pen and Sword, and today I'm delighted to be able to share a further three books from the series. I've been looking at Craft Your Own Happy by Becci Mai Ford, Paint, Make Create by Becki Clark and Bookbinding by Aimee Spillman. Each book is beautifully present, full of wonderful colour illustrations, and packed with ideas for unique crafting projects that will relax you, challenge you and most importantly put a smile on your face.

Pen and Sword craft books review

Craft Your Own Happy by Becci Mai Ford

Craft Your Own Happy comes with a really big emphasis on how crafting can be used to improve wellbeing and mental health, which really resonates with me. The book is divided into chapters that help you focus on different ways that you can bring some calm and happiness to your life through crafts, for example helping to deal with anxiety, getting outside and self-care crafting.

Craft Your Own Happy book review

The book contains twenty-five beginner friendly projects along with full illustrated instructions, templates where needed and lists of the supplies required. Many of the projects can be started using bits and pieces from your craft stash, and any other things needed are easy to obtain. Some of the projects are shorter, for example painted gratitude stones and paper stars, which will give you an instant burst of happiness and satisfaction. There are also larger projects like a patchwork cushion cover or pom pom footstool which will take longer to complete and in the process will really absorb and quieten your mind. 

All of the projects can be customised to suit your own preferences and the craft supplies that you have available. I have lots of scraps of fabric lying around and so I've been inspired to have a go at some patchwork - I can see how the repetitive nature of the sewing can be a meditative process when I want something easy to pick up and calm my anxious mind.

Craft Your Own Happy book review inside

Paint, Make, Create by Becki Clark

I've been doing quite a bit of painting lately, I find it a really calming activity and I love mixing colours and experimenting with different techniques. But I'm often in the mood for painting and yet find myself stuck for ideas, so this book is perfect for some paint filled inspiration. It contains twenty different project, grouped by season, and using a variety of different paints and techniques including watercolour, acrylic, fabric paints and paint pens.

Paint, Make, Create book review

I am lucky enough to already have quite a stash of paints and brushes but if you don't then the book has a really good introductory chapter explaining how different paints can be used and which materials and brushes are good to start with. There are also some exercises to help you get to know the different paints and how they can be used as well as a great introduction to colour theory and creating your own palettes for different projects.

Each of the projects in the book is clearly illustrated with step-by-step photographs alongside hints and tips as well as ways to customise them to fit your own style. I loved the wide range of materials that can be improved with paint - for example a fabric shopping tote, terracotta plant pots or ceramic eggs. I also enjoyed seeing the projects grouped by season as my crafting mood definitely changes throughout the year.

Paint, Make, Create book review inside

Bookbinding by Aimee Spillman

I love books - reading them, writing in them and collecting them - and so venturing into the world of bookbinding is something that has always interested me. As well as teaching you the basics of bookbinding this guide to Bookbinding also teaches you some ways that you can upcycle and repair your existing books.

Bookbinding craft book review

I found the book extremely informative. It contains a great introduction to the history of books and how they have been made and used over the years, as well as a detailed etymology of book related words and a glossary of bookbinding terms. Then the book takes you through a variety of different bookbinding techniques, beginning with a simple pamphlet sewn book and moving on to some intermediate techniques which will teach you to make section sewn notebooks.

Making your own book is a long process but I can see how the repetitive nature would be very therapeutic and I love the idea of customising my own notebooks.

At the end of the book there are also a couple of quicker projects, for example sewing together a batch of greetings cards so that you have a lovely keepsake of an important event, or some tiny book Christmas ornaments which I really love. This book has definitely inspired me to have a go at making my own books!

Bookbinding book review inside

If you enjoy crafting and are looking for some new project inspiration I would absolutely recommend having a browse through one of these books, and they would make lovely gifts for the crafter in your life as well. You can find all the books in the range here - Pen and Sword craft books.

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