Lisa and I met through her former workplace where I would hit her up for prizes and giveaways for my blog and guilds with which I am involved. I even got her to join CQFA for a year. No renewal, sadly, but I live in hope.
Craft Your Stash is Lisa’s first book, but she writes a column for her local paper and writes a blog, marketing copy for her clients and, generally, knows how to put her thoughts into words. I think this book reflects that.
The first 18 pages are intro and background for the projects. If you read the introduction, which is only half a page, you will get a feel for what you can expect from the book.
The first section is called Tools and Techniques. Guess what it is about?
In this section, Lisa has a note about the metric system. She accompanies all of the measurements with an equivalent metric measurement. I have never seen that in a quilt or craft book that I can remember and I think it is a great idea. Yes, our friends who are used to metric are probably smart enough to convert, but really, why should they have to do calculations before they start a project? Great job, Lisa!
The subsection on Stash Essentials is broken up into several sections, which are fully supplied with your must-haves in that category:
- General tools
Each subsection is then broken down and Lisa writes about differences in quality, amounts, fun points and gives examples of how things look. She has a photo of two different grades of acrylic paint and how they look on the same type of paper (pg.9). Nice touch, I think.
Next comes a section on organizing. The main image for this section is fantastic. It really makes me want to buy some little bowls and containers. The problem is then I would have to also buy the charms and shells to put in them. 😉
Lisa’s tone is very conversational, but written in a way that is still grammatical and not offputting. As I read, I thought “she is just like me” and, though I know Lisa and I know she is just like me (except way better at embellishing and painting!), I appreciated the tone and style of writing, because it wasn’t boring craft book prose. It made me want to read on.
In the section on organizing, Lisa shows pictures of different solutions from the pricier to those you can pick up at your favorite thrift store AND how to use them (pg.14-15). Each item has a brief description of what she uses it for and how the reader can use it. If none of these work for you, you will get ideas about how a slight variation could work for you. The other thing I noticed was that everything was labeled. First purchase: label maker!
Clearly I didn’t read the table of contents as carefully as I could have because I was surprised by the Design Basics section. On the first page (pg.18) is what Lisa terms “a crafter’s best friend”, the Color Wheel. this lovely surprise is followed up with the various color wheel combinations: primary colors, tertiary colors, warm and cool colors, analogous color schemes, etc. This is a good reference to have if you don’t have these tools in another place. Refer to them!
This section also includes some of my pals, design principles and elements. Balance is first (pg.22-23), followed by Unity (pg. 25) and some others (I can’t give away all of Lisa’s secrets.
With all of this preparation under your belt, you are ready for the projects, which start on page 26. The projects all have variations, so the reader is encouraged to use the projects as a guide, though there are complete supply lists and tools required for each project. One of my favorites is the Mosaic Scrapbook Layout (pg.31), which looks like a game board. I might have to send Lisa a blank scrapbook page from my sadly neglected son’s scrapbook project and say pretty please. 😉 If she won’t make it, the directions are very clear for me to make on my own. Now you can stop laughing.
The projects flow into each other, but are unique. From personalized cards (like business cards) to the Mosaic Scrapbook Layout to Shaker Cards (pg. 34). The idea seems to be that if you have your paper out, let’s use a bunch of it while adding some skills and not boring the reader.
The photos are really fantastic. I find myself wanting to look closer and closer at the detail, which is very clear. I also love the colors and color coordination on each photo. Lisa has a lot of in progress photos and does some black and white layouts (pg.40-43) to show placement for the greeting card set (pg.37-39).
The projects have a lot of elements, pieces, parts, but there isn’t a sense of too much nor of charms and beads added to move them through the stash. These projects are well designed and I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have any of them at my house. I would use the cards right away, hang up the suncatcher (pg.50-53) and gift the shadow box. No qualms.
For those of you with a lot of fabric around, there are three projects for you to try so you can make some space for new fabric.
The tips and techniques shown in the projects can be extrapolated out and used in your own ideas. I see this book as a skillbuilder as well.
And last, but certainly not least, there is an index. It is one page, but it is a full page and it is an INDEX. I love indexes and am so glad to see it. It makes things so easy to find, even in craft books.
Finally, Lisa is having a nice big giveaway on her blog as well. She will have a giveaway using Rafflecopter as part of the tour. The prize will be a copy of the book, plus a generous selection of crafty swag to add to YOUR stash – She is willing to ship internationally to the winner, so get busy adding your name. Check out the posts below:
If you don’t win, go buy a copy. Here’s how (as if you didn’t know):