Freebie Friday: Cherry Blossom from 75 Flowers For Cake Decorators

28 Mar

Spring is here! Which is why it is currently raining out side. If it were a Saturday, I’d be curled up on the couch with a book, some tea and cake.

Cake makes everything better and today we have a FREE PROJECT from the recently released 75 FLOWERS FOR CAKE DECORATORS by Helen Penman that makes a perfect cake topper or icing on your cupcake! I don’t think you have to be a cake decorator to enjoy them!

75 Flowers for Cake Decorators by Helen Penman

75 Flowers for Cake Decorators by Helen Penman

Astonish your party guests with amazingly lifelike flowers to top off a cake or cupcake. Learn how to create a lush bouquet of blossoms—from simple blooms, like daisies and hydrangeas, to the elegantly exotic, such as irises and orchids. Whether you’re using fondant or modeling paste, making piped, pulled, or freehand flowers, stenciling or using brush embroidery, all the techniques are covered in clear easy-to-follow directions paired with step-by-step photographs. Organized by medium, each flower is  presented in an “exploded” view that clearly shows all the individual flower components and how they all fit together.

Crucial cake-making skills and recipes are given, like how to prepare cake tins or how to choose a cake shape and side designs. Plus there’s troubleshooting advice to help bakers create balanced flower designs or whip up a batch of identical cupcakes. 75 Flowers for Cake Decorators ensures that bakers of any level will learn how to master all the components to make a showstopping culinary masterpiece.

Love this free project? Order the book today!

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Also available in March and April!

3D_Serger's 3D_75Flowers 3D_Quiltopedia BrightBazaar (2)

50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet Goodreads Giveaway!

18 Feb

Be honest, dear crafter: How many times this month have you stepped on one of the many sewing needles you have strewn about the house? Well, lucky for you we’re giving away just the book you need: 50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet: Stash Your Sharps in Something Cute and Handmade by Cat Thomas, which goes on sale today!

This pretty collection of functional yet decorative pincushions not only keeps pins and needles in one place; they also make charming accessories that can be displayed in your workroom or given as gifts to fellow crafters. Colorful crocheted hexagons, knitted fruit motifs, elegant flowers, charming woodland creatures, prickly cacti, and other fun shapes are quick and cheery projects for crafters of every skill level.

Is it finally time to give all those wayward pins and needles a home? With this book you can knit or crochet them an entire pincushion city!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet by Cat Thomas

50 Pincushions to Knit & Crochet

by Cat Thomas

Giveaway ends February 25, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Can’t wait? Order the book now!

50 Pincushions cover

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En Garde! Are you a KNITnick or a CROCHETista?

13 Feb

 

My mother taught my sisters and me how to crochet when we turned eight or nine, just old enough to handle the crochet hook. I used to call the hook a needle, which is what my mother still calls it, until a few years ago when I learned the proper term was ‘hook.’ There’s also, by the way, a crochet hook with a hook on each end known as the cro-hook, which I’ve never used. Knitting, on the other hand, uses needles.

Cat-&-Dog_Craft_outfitted

I inherited many of my mother’s crocheted blankets and pillows and I pull them out whenever I want to throw some color onto my normally all white bedding, change up the overall mood of my apartment, or the look of a piece of furniture.

Crochetpillows

Crochetwingback

Last month, my wingback chair felt too girly and cold, so I tucked two of my mother’s more eclectically shaped stripy throws (she makes them out of leftover yarn) around the seat and back cushion to give the chair a little edge. Will Taylor of the uber-popular interior design blog Bright Bazaar would, I like to think, be so proud. His new gorgeous book, Bright Bazaar, BrightBazaarCover_tiny comes out in the US this April, but you can order it ahead of time now.

I prefer crocheting over knitting. Yes, I’m a Crochetista. The single hook feels more natural than a knitting needle in each hand. It’s likely I just need more practice knitting. Erika Knight’s Simple Knitting: A Complete How-to-Knit Workshop with 20 Projects will come in handy for that.

SimpleKnittingI’ve met many people who knit, crochet, and do both but most expressed a preference for one over the other as well.

Casual craft poll: Tell us here or on Facebook. Are you a Knitnick? or Crochetista?

Next month is National Crochet Month (Stay tuned! We have a Crochet Challenge and chance to win some books starting next week!). When was National Knitting Month? I ought to know… I googled it and came up with a slew of different answers. There was a Knitting week held in October one year, and like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), NaKnitMo (National Knit Month) seems to happen in November. No matter…

Rest assured, Knitnicks, for sure we’ll have a Knitting Challenge. And whaddyaknow! We have the perfect knitting books for your warm-up routine! Happy knitting! Happy crocheting!

KnitPlain

Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Amazon
Books-a-Million
Powell’s Books
Walmart

SimpleKnitting

Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Amazon
Books-a-Million
Powell’s Books

KnitEncyc


Barnes & Noble
IndieBound
Amazon
Books-a-Million
Powell’s Books
Walmart

 

 

How to Show & Sell Your Craft Goodreads Giveaway!

2 Feb

Happy Sunday, Crafters!

Team SMP Craft is so excited about How to Show & Sell Your Craft coming out next Tuesday, February 11th that we just had to give some copies away! The giveaway starts in two days and you’ll have one whole week to enter to win a free copy of the book.

Torie Jayne has written a must-read for any crafting entrepreneur hoping to make money off their hobby. With highly visual, step-by-step tutorials, you will learn the best ways to merchandise and sell your items online, at craft fairs, markets, pop-up events, exhibitions, and in shops. You’ll also learn how to optimize your workspace to improve creativity and profitability, and how to build a strong brand name and online presence across multiple social media platforms. Reading this book is sure to set yourself up for success!

 

Goodreads Book Giveaway

How to Show & Sell Your Crafts by Torie Jayne

How to Show & Sell Your Crafts

by Torie Jayne

Giveaway ends February 09, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

 

Author of the Month Q&A with Jay Sacher

30 Oct

Once in a while we come across a book so simple and extraordinary that we can’t believe we survived without it.  HOW TO HANG A PICTURE: And Other Essential Lessons for a Stylish Home by Jay Sacher and Suzanne LaGasa is definitely one of those books. As such, we couldn’t resist sitting down with Jay Sacher to find out what inspired him…

 

How to Hang a Picture

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Q&A with Jay Sacher, author of HOW TO HANG A PICTURE

SMPCraft: I’m always curious when I come across an author duo – so tell us, how did you meet & why did you decide to write this book together?
Jay Sacher: For many years, Suzanne and I both worked at a publishing house in San Francisco. I was an editor and Suzanne was a designer, but we rarely if ever worked together professionally. We became friends over our love of art—making it, discussing it, seeing it. We both lived in Maine for two years, where the idea for How to Hang a Picture came up over a dinner conversation. Hanging art well is one of those things that’s a perennial issue for people, and it comes to the forefront whenever you move into a new place. It’s not rocket science, but it’s easy to overlook or misunderstand. Exploring this topic just felt like a great intersection of both things we love and questions we wanted answered.

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SMPC: People are definitely going to ask – can you really write a whole book about HOW TO HANG A PICTURE?  (i.e. Give us some insight about the surprisingly wide range of cool things you cover in the book.)
JS: We’ve always looked at hanging art well as a hallmark of personal style; it’s one of those little things that can make a big difference. What we found as we researched the book, talking to curators, gallerists, artists, home-décor experts, and just folks with cool style is that while there is no single “right” way to hang a picture, there are plenty of wrong ways—it’s one of the reasons we’re all so intimidated by the process, or why we tend to put it off to the last possible moment. Everybody has that pile of art sitting under their bed or in the closet, waiting to be framed and hung. We wanted to write a book that would provide some simple guidelines to follow so that you can develop your own style without ruining your wall or your art in the process.

We cover the basics of both aesthetics and mechanics—how do you determine the best height for hanging your art? What if you want to create a salon or gallery-style wall? How do you integrate your art with the furniture and lighting of a room, how do you work with color? What if you need to hang art on a pre-war plaster wall, or brick or cinderblock, how do you use picture-rail hangers? What’s the best way to tie picture hanging wire or fishing line? What if you want to hang something really heavy? How much should you worry about museum quality or archival frames and materials? And should you want to frame art yourself, we show you the cheapest solution that doesn’t sacrifice from the overall aesthetics of your art, a DIY-light approach of store-bought and custom-cut materials.

Along the way, we asked our artist and designer friends, and other people whose homes we admired, to send us photos of their spaces with art hung with style and verve. I used those to paint the watercolors, showcasing the various lessons in the book or simply to act as inspiration for your own style.

SMPC: Have either of you been published before?
JS: Suzanne has designed numerous books, and I’ve written a few pop culture/history/what-have you books, including most recently,  A Compendium of Collective Nouns (Chronicle Books & Woop Studios) which came out this past September, and a book on the history of the Lincoln Memorial, which publishes in 2014.

SMPC: Other than being authors and art-hangers, do you have day jobs & what are they?
JS: Along with her book design work, Suzanne is an art director at an advertising agency, and I’m an editor at the visual culture publisher, Princeton Architectural Press. I live in Brooklyn, New York and Suzanne lives in Portland, Maine.

SMPC: What in each of your backgrounds led you to knowing about and having a propensity towards the topics covered in the book?
JS: It comes down to a love of art. I’ve got the messy, haphazard artist’s approach, and Suzanne has an art director’s eye and love of precise detail—of things placed just so. Our tastes and skills meet on the common ground of both loving the emotional and aesthetic power of art. In the end, we both want the art on our walls to look good and do its job. This book was all about the two of us discovering the best, cheapest, and simplest ways to do so.

SMPC: If someone is moving into a new apt & has a variety of art to hang – what are the five tools that they should have in their toolbox?
JS: Measuring tape, sturdy fishing wire (much easier to use than the metal picture wire stuff they use on the back of frames), a whole boatload of various “museum-grade” picture frame hangers, clean hands, and somebody to stand behind them and tell them it looks like hell.

SMPC: Have you ever had any “art-hanging” disasters?
JS: Almost everything I do is a disaster at first go, but trial and error is the key. The biggest lesson I took away from this book is it’s essential to plan things out when hanging art. For instance, if you’re cleaning your glazing (the glass of your frame) just before you hang your piece, you might be tempted to dry it with a paper towel rather than be patient and let it air dry. But that will cause static electricity buildup and probably leave you with an overlooked piece of lint stuck to the inside of your glazing in the worst possible place.

Don’t eyeball anything. Don’t assume you know what’s behind your wall. Measure twice and cut once and all those Boy Scout clichés are the TRUTH.

SMPC: What is the most ambitious art-hanging project you’ve ever taken on or helped someone else with?
JS: I’m most proud of our work on the centerpiece salon-style wall in Suzanne’s home. Suzanne had a vision to use some reclaimed wood beams from a 19th century church to build a series of low slung shelves for her art and design books, with a salon-style wall showcasing some of her favorite art above it. We did it in the dead of winter, sanding the soggy muddy beams in the freezing cold on the roof, and planning out a wall of staggered art that stretches across about fifteen feet. An illustration of a portion of the wall is in our book.

SMPC: Do you have a favorite wall of hung art?
JS: Looking at the art in New York’s Frick Museum always makes me think of my dad as an art student at Queens College forty-five years ago, and the crazy floor-to-ceiling arrangements in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston are the best example of personal vision trumping any sort of art-hanging “rule” you’ll ever find.

SMPC: The pictures in the book are so great!  Who did those and are they based on real walls or are they made up?
JS: I based most of the watercolors on real life spaces from friends whose walls we loved and tastemakers we reached out to, the real spaces are all credited in the book. Others are amalgams of things we’ve seen or that speak to lessons we wanted to convey, but the majority are based on real spaces. Some of the rad folks who let us paint their homes include people like Christine Schmidt from Yellow Owl Workshop, the textile designer Lena Corwin, the artist Mike Perry, the design studio Wary Meyers, and Lisa Wong Jackson from Good on Paper.

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