Tag Archives: books

christmas vacation reading.

i thought i’d share a couple of my most recent book acquisitions: junk genius by juliette goggin and stacy sirk + homemade gifts vintage style by sarah moore. (i also had to include in the photo this really cute little felt owl pin cushion which was handcrafted here in adelaide by fleecidesigns).

i plan to curl up on the couch this afternoon with these reads and start bookmarking some fun projects for the house, gift-giving and to share here on the blog. anyone read or completed projects from these books?!


vintage book gift tags (for christmas!)

the past week home in the u.s. has been amazing.

nothing compares to this time of year in the midwest. the cool temperatures and endless community spirit are infectious (infectious in a very good way). it’s going to be hard to head home to the warmth, but knowing that a smiling man with a big mustache (full fledged movember) is waiting for me in oz – makes the trip back to australia a welcome one.

in typical american tradition, my mom and i put up the tree and household decor this past weekend (anything prior to thanksgiving would be a sin). now that the tree and decorations are up, the wrapping can begin.

last year i bought some great handmade tags and bows on etsy, and this year i decided to make my own. i knew that i wanted to incorporate a little recycling + a bit of nostalgia, so i went looking on ebay for supplies. i picked up a few little golden book christmas stories. 2 of the 4 books i purchased i actually had as a child (twas the night before christmas and the biggest most beautiful christmas tree). since i’d already decided on kraft wrapping paper, vintage inspired ribbon and christmas rice tape for the packaging – the books were purchased to make some nostalgic gift giving tags. using the book pages paired with a few supplies (including some super cute stamps from michael’s $1 section), i whipped up these little creations.


my handmade vintage children’s book christmas gift tags

make your own vintage book tags this christmas (or for any upcoming holiday)…

what you’ll need: scissors, hole punch, self sticking hole reinforcements, glue stick, cardstock and books that you are happy to repurpose – optional: stamps & stamp pad

christmas-gift- tag-supplies

supplies you’ll need to make vintage book gift tags this christmas

book page paper hearts

paper hearts made from pages of a used book

well, my friends, i realize that it’s been nearly 3 months since i tied the knot and i’ve yet to share any real projects or photos with you all. my apologies!

let’s kick it off with this one… paper hearts made from the pages of a used book.

our wedding combined elements of vintage + rustic – and among other random things, travel + library decor. to play up the library theme we incorporated a lot of books, accessories + diy. i experimented a bit with various paper projects, but finally settled on this little gem. it’s super easy and they look pretty cute. my mom and i made around 100 of these one evening (over wine + tv).  while you can easily string the hearts to make garland, we opted to scatter them around in some wire baskets. (see below for a photo of the hearts in use at our wedding!)

what you’ll need: an old book, scissors, a stapler

how to create your hearts:
1) rip the pages from the book
2) cut each page into 1 inch strips
3) take 4 strips of the paper, stack them on top of each other and staple them together at one end
4) take the other ends, holding 2 with one hand and 2 with the other
5) bend them backwards to form a heart shape touching the loose ends to the stapled end
6) pull the inside strips down a bit to create a smaller heart inside the bigger one
7) cut off any excess paper
8) staple the loose ends to the already stapled end
9) … and the hearts are ready for display!

the paper hearts on display at our wedding in august!

get your read on…

earlier today i muttered the words “there are a lot of creative people out there” to a friend – this was in response to the fact that there are so many damn cute and creative shops on etsy! whether it’s your work, a friend’s or a stranger’s – handmade is inspiring.

the authors below have the creative gene + are pros at curating it (something i strive for here on little ol’ Howd.i.y).

so… i bring you 4 new handmade books worth checking out (+ some worthwhile stocking stuffers for the crafter in your life!)

oh, happy reading!


Craft Activism: People, Ideas, and Projects from the
New Community of Handmade and How You Can Join In
Author: Joan Tapper
($15.63, Amazon.com – released: September 27, 2011)

Make Hey! While the Sun Shines
Author: Pip Lincolne
($39.95, Readings.com.au – released: October 1, 2011)

Weekend Handmade:
More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Crafting

Author: Kelly Wilkinson
($17.62, Amazon.com – released: September 1, 2011)

Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts:
225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations
Author: the editors of Martha Stewart Living
($16.01, Amazon.com – released: September 27, 2011)

artist spotlight, plus handmade giveaway: crowbiz

to kick off Howd.i.y.’s new home… we are also introducing a new addition to the blog where we will feature unique and extraordinary handmade artists, the ARTIST SPOTLIGHT!

our first artist came to me as a stumble upon. i was browsing etsy one night looking for eclectic pieces that would make for a nice focal point on the walls in our new home. well, i found it. so, enter into the picture, www.crowbiz.etsy.com. CROWBIZ fuses nature & everyday prints w/ vintage materials such as old books & maps – making for art on art (even better, it’s ‘affordable art’. the majority of prints run $10 – 13).

*fox on a vintage piece of map from Quebec, Canada*
you could win this print! read on for more info….

i recently caught up with carol wannemacher the genius behind this ‘etsy shop that could’ (she’s had nearly 3000 orders!) and here is what she had to say. (ps – make sure you read to the end… as we have an exciting bit of info to come)

Tell me about yourself…
I currently reside in Buffalo, New York, and grew up in Western New York. Fortunately, my craft has turned into full-time work for me and provides most of my income. However, my background is probably an atypical one for a crafter or artisan; I have a doctorate in cognitive psychology and have taught at local colleges for many years. Giving in to creative impulses a few years ago sort of took over, and fortunately, I was able to parlay my art into income. I do still teach a couple courses per year, which gets me out of the attic and in contact with real humans where I can use big words. Sometimes it feels like a weirdly double life.

What is the background of Crowbiz?
Using recycled, repurposed and found materials has always been an interest. My husband and I collect of lot of humble, vintage items and appreciate beauty in the simple and the real. Part of it also stems from my frugal German background which dictates “waste not, want not.” The idea of having to invest in lots of new material to create something different doesn’t appeal to me, and it’s a creative challenge when you try to employ what’s already available. There is such an wealth of useable materials out there that people overlook. I can never believe how many books end up on the curb.

CrowBiz developed around 10 years ago (I was doing ornaments and work with clay), but took a back seat as my two boys came along. Officially, I launched CrowBiz three years ago when I started to sell items locally and when I opened my Etsy shop. My debut sale was a set of pig magnets which I still sell today. I participate in a few shows and markets around the Western New York area, but only a select few “fun” ones. I hope to ease into larger venues and maybe do one or two local large festivals in 2011. Wholesale orders, which I’d like to increase, are another smaller segment of my business and I have items in shops around the U.S., and a few in Canada and Australia.

What is your “process”?
Well, I don’t really have what you’d call a process. I make what appeals to me. When I was more heavily into making magnets and 3D pieces, my motto was “I glue stuff to other stuff.” Sometimes I sit on the floor, look at the materials around me – books, maps, blocks, found objects, jewelry supplies, etc – and a thought pops up about what might go together. Clearly, I like a vintage vibe, text, and themes of nature, biology, anatomy. Because day-to-day life and business tend to be so busy, I don’t have as much creative, experimental time as I’d like, but the ideas are always on the back burner.

What is your favorite material to print on?
My favorite material for prints is probably maps. Every print comes out so different. I have a cache of topographical maps which I love, which have a nature feel, and plenty of vintage atlases for the “world” feel. Like a lot of crafters, I go through phases where I get into making one kind of thing, then switch gears and get on a jag with another. Prints, block, pendants, back to prints, and so on….

What can we expect to come from Carol & Crowbiz?
Time is always a factor, but I hope to roll out some new lines in coming months. I’m starting to learn letterpress techniques at the Western New York Book Arts Center (http://www.wnybookarts.org/) , a wonderful resource for this re-emerging art. And my other new fascination is cyanotypes. I’m all set up and ready to experiment with images, but I want to make them outside, and Buffalo in the fall/winter can be a little iffy with UV light (sigh…). Timing is everything.

GIVEAWAY: if you’d like a special giveaway print from crowbiz – well you may be in luck! we are giving away the lovely *fox on a vintage piece of map from Quebec, Canada* as seen above. entering is easy, simply add your info HERE. entries close october 26.

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