Make Your Own Cape

You need an item that isn’t commercially available. You want something unique. You want total control over the materials, color, style, and details. You want a custom fit. You’re on a budget. You enjoy that smug “I made this” feeling.

The reasons that Vogue Patterns editor-in-chief Gillian Conahan gives to cosplayers, performers, and even once-a-year Halloween costume shoppers for learning how to sew (even a little bit) are the kind that we always champion at ABRAMS Craft, but they’re all the more important for those creative souls whose dream projects aren’t just hard to find at the mall—but pure fantasy. Her book The Hero’s Closet: Sewing for Cosplay and Costuming is on sale as of last week!

The Hero’s Closet is a practical introduction for anyone who wants to forget about generic, store-bought costumes, including a complete primer on sewing technique, plus patterns for 11 basic pieces that can be combined, altered, and adapted into 9 full-blown costumes. Will James at GeekDad calls the “Getting Started” section “worth the price of admission alone,” but even an advanced sewist might be surprised by sensible advice like Conahan’s for dealing with fake fur: “it should be cut from the back side using a razor blade or craft knife so you don’t cut the pile, which will help to minimize the fluffsplosion.”

In this excerpt from The Hero’s Closet you’ll learn to create a “luxuriously swishy” cape with stacked box pleats at the shoulders. It connects to your outfit with snaps, so you can “swiftly detach in the event of an emergency.”

Cape

Cape

Excerpted from The Hero’s Closet

TOOLS AND MATERIALS

Sewing essentials
  • Sewing Essentials (see above)
  • Lightweight fabric with a soft drape, such as blouse-weight cotton, silk/cotton blends, silky polyester, charmeuse, crepe de chine, or even lining fabric—amount based on step 1 (I used 3½ yds/3.2 m of 54"/137 cm wide gray plain-woven cotton shirting.)
  • 10" (25.4 cm) of twill tape, ½" to 1" (1.3 to 2.5 cm) wide (Anything in this size range will work.)
  • 1 yd (.9 m) of bias tape, ½" (1.3 cm) single-fold (optional)
  • 6 large sew-on snaps
  • Large safety pins
  • All-purpose thread in a matching color
  • Trim or decorative medallions for the shoulders (optional)

NOTE: Choose stable fabrics that don’t stretch or fray much, and make sure that both the garment you’re attaching the cape to and your chosen fastening method can stand up to the weight of the cape. If you want to use a heavy, bulky fabric like velvet, you may need to reinforce the attachment point with interfacing or a piece of twill tape behind the snap area. If you’re attaching the cape to a stretch garment, stick with very lightweight fabrics for the cape to avoid straining the fabric.

PATTERN

Download the cape pattern at the link above. Fold the fabric widthwise and cut 1 on the fold; see steps 2 and 3 for details.

INSTRUCTIONS

⅜" (1 cm) seam allowances are used for this pattern.

1. Begin by determining how much yardage you need to buy for your cape. The amount of fabric required will be twice your finished length + your shoulder width (measured across your back) + 16" (40.6 cm) for shoulder extensions and hem allowance. Excess width will fall into draped folds down your back, so if you like that look, feel free to exaggerate it by adding even more width to your shoulder width measurement. (Because the pattern is cut on the fold, any adjustment in the measurement should be halved when placing the template.) The maximum cape length will be the width of the fabric minus 9" (22.9 cm) unless you want to add a seam; for a long cape, make sure you’re buying a sufficiently wide fabric. For this cape, 3½ yds (3.2 m) of 54"- (137 cm-) wide fabric was used, based on a finished length of 45" (114 cm) and a shoulder width of 16" (40.6 cm).

2. Fold the fabric along the cross grain, aligning the selvages. Place the cape template at the top of the folded edge, making sure to place the half-shoulder width mark at the appropriate distance from the fold. (Compare your shoulder width to the bar on the cape template to determine where to place the template on your fabric.) Use the pleat lines as a guide to extend the cape to the desired length, adding the same amount onto the end of each pleat line and at the center back (A).

A.jpg

 

3. Connect the marks into a smooth curve to create the hemline of your cape. Cut along the hem curve, around the top edge of the cape template, and parallel to the selvages for the straight front edge (it’s best to trim the selvages off as they’re more tightly woven than the rest of the cape and may pull or ripple). If there is a gap at the center back neckline, simply cut straight across to the fold. Mark the pleat positions with small snips in the seam allowance.

4. Sew a narrow or double-fold hem (see page 67) on the two straight front edges of the cape. Finish the curved neckline edge with a narrow bias facing, as shown on page 65 (B). The facing used here is a bias strip (see page 66) cut out of leftover cape fabric that is 1" (2.5 cm) wide and stitched on with a ⅜" (1 cm) seam allowance.

B.jpg

5. Use the snips you made in step 3 and the center notch as a general guide to form the pleats on each shoulder. Arrange the pleats to your liking and pin in place (C). For example, you may want to make the pleats shallower or deeper to adjust the amount of shoulder coverage. Make sure both sides match.

6. Place a 5" (12.7 cm) strip of twill tape on top of the end of the pleats on the right side of the fabric as shown in (D). Sew in place along the upper edge of the tape.

7. Wrap the ends of the twill tape around the edges and fold to the underside. Stitch around the edges of the tape through all layers. Attach the male side of the snaps to the twill tape (E) and the female side to the garment. Repeat steps 6 and 7 for the second shoulder.

8. Clip the shoulder pieces to a hanger and let the cape hang for a day or two so the fabric can relax. Pin the cape on a dress form or safety pin it to a helpful friend and check the length. Trim if necessary to make it nice and even and sew a narrow double-fold hem around the long curved edge (F). If you like, attach trim or decorative medallions to hide the shoulder ends.

To see the finished cape in action as part of Conahan’s “Superhero 2” costume, browse a sample of The Hero’s Closet below. Be sure to check back here at ABRAMS Craft for news on Gillian Conahan’s appearance at New York Comic Con this fall. 

We're Celebrating National Puppy Day with Our Newest Release, DIY For Your Dog

Today is National Puppy Day!

While your dog may technically not be a puppy anymore, as all dog lovers know, our furry friends will always be puppies to us. To help us celebrate this special day, we are turning to the pages of our latest book, DIY for Your Dog, which features 30 lovingly handcrafted projects that will show you how to make, bake, and sew delightful treats for your dog.  

Suitable for all breeds, from Chihuahuas to Great Danes, these sweet and easy projects are presented in four sections—“Eat,” “Nest,” “Play,” and “Wear”—and include everything from a cozy traveling dog bed, a knitted blanket, and a throw-and-catch bone to an adorable neckerchief, a colorful crocheted leash cover, and a made-to-measure coat for gray days. There are even recipes for wholesome and easy-to-make treats like Doggie Pops, Bite-Size Biscuits, and the ultimate Doggie Birthday Cake. Fun, practical, and irresistibly cute, DIY for Your Dog will inspire you to channel your love for your puppy into a handmade gift from the heart.

For a peek at the projects in the book click through the images below or check out the book on our site.

Whether you’re hand-making a gift, purchasing a treat, or giving your dog a warm hug, make sure your puppies know that today is their day.

Entertain from your bookshelf with these simple, elegant projects

If you're like us, you're in the midst of hosting --or frantically preparing to host-- friends and family this time of year. If you're also like us, you can't help but add a few little flourishes along the way. Here are some quick and simple projects from our bookshelf to help you add a little something extra to your home or holiday table. These also double as great host gifts!

Wrapping paper placemats from p. 77 of Victoria Hudgins's  Materially Crafted

Wrapping paper placemats from p. 77 of Victoria Hudgins's Materially Crafted

Garden to Table Place Settings from p. 138 of Jacinda Boneau and Jaime Morrison Curtis's  Pretty Prudent Home

Garden to Table Place Settings from p. 138 of Jacinda Boneau and Jaime Morrison Curtis's Pretty Prudent Home

Winter Garland from p. 155 of Livia Cetti's  The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers

Winter Garland from p. 155 of Livia Cetti's The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers

Vintage Ribbon Coasters from p. 62 of Rebecca Ringquist's  Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

Vintage Ribbon Coasters from p. 62 of Rebecca Ringquist's Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

No-Sew Felt Tree Skirt from p. 214 of Boneau & Curtis's  Pretty Prudent Home

No-Sew Felt Tree Skirt from p. 214 of Boneau & Curtis's Pretty Prudent Home

From our bookshelf:

Are you planning to add a little handcrafted flair to your holiday table? Show off your work online and tag @stc_craft on twitter and instagram.

 

 

Stuck on your holiday list? Give the gift of craft!

With time running down, there's still a chance to get some of our faves from this year for the folks on your list (or maybe just to treat yourself—who's looking!?) Check our list below for a little something for every kind of maker.

For the One Always Looking to Try Something New

For the One Who Needs to Relax (and Doodle)

For the Fabric Store Junkie

For The One Who Always Seems to Set Her Own Trends (and looks fabulous doing it!)

For the Novice Crafter, Nester, or General DIY Enthusiast

We hope some of these lovely books find their way to your bookshelf, or to a craft table of someone you love, sometime soon! You can find more of our books online here.

4 fabulous gift ideas straight from our bookshelf!

With the holiday season kicking into high gear, we're looking for inspiration for everyone on our list this year. 

These sweet and simple gifts (and the books they came from!) are some of our favorite picks for simple handmade gifts for everyone from your neighbor to your work wife.

  • Dressing up your dishware has never been so easy. Try adding this personalized touch as a host gift at a holiday or dinner party—and top it with home-baked cookies!
Playful Ceramic Platters  from p. 86 of Anna Joyce's   Stamp Stencil Paint

Playful Ceramic Platters from p. 86 of Anna Joyce's Stamp Stencil Paint

  • For the crafter who you can barely keep up with (also adaptable for other handmade projects: try a smaller version for knit sweaters, pouches, and other sewing projects!)
Hand-Drawn Quilt Labels  from p. 128 of   The Spoonflower Handbook

Hand-Drawn Quilt Labels from p. 128 of The Spoonflower Handbook

  • A cute and simple way to make something special for someone special.
Traced Wildflower Hankie  from p. 68 of   Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

Traced Wildflower Hankie from p. 68 of Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops

  • We love this simple yoga (-or- ukulele -or- farmers market) bag—easy to customize for friends who are always on the go!    Cecilia Yoga Bag from p. 58 of Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

Straight from our 2015 shelves:

Have you made anything inspired by STC Craft on your bookshelf this year? We want to see it! Show it off online and tag @stc_craft on twitter or instagram. 

There's still time to add a touch of handmade this holiday season

Whether you're headed to visit family, planning a dish for a friend's New Year's Eve party, or staying home with the kids, here are some ideas for last-minute gifts to add a little handmade element to your gifting this year.

Last minute stocking stuffers (or gifts for the people you definitely didn't forget):

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Textile Bookends from Novel Living by Lisa Occhipinti

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Wool Rose Fascinator from BiblioCraft by Jessica Pigza

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Pencil Holder Heads from Playful by Merrilee Liddiard

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Patterned Stationery Set from BiblioCraft by Jessica Pigza

For the gracious host or hostess:

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Denim Apron from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

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Wool Felt Oven Gloves from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

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Antiquarian Animal Votive Holders from BiblioCraft by Jessica Pigza

Gift toppers to add a little flair to your wrapping:

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Christmas Corsages from Handcrafted Christmas by Susan Waggoner

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Arts and Crafts Ex Libris Set from BiblioCraft by Jessica Pigza

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Pocket Notecards from Novel Living by Lisa Occhipinti

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Needle-Felted Snowman from Handcrafted Christmas by Susan Waggoner

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Lavender Wand Sachets from Handmade for the Garden by Susan Guagliumi

Don't see what you're looking for? Try our posts from recent holiday seasons: 6 Quick & Easy Gifts to Complete in an Evening and 5 Handmade Gift-Packaging Ideas

Holiday Gift Guide: Give the Gift of Books!

Running low on time and ideas for those hard-to-gift in your life? How about giving the gift of books?!

From Novel Living by Lisa Occhipinti

With a solid roster of books from the past year ranging from knitting compendiums to personal memoirs, we have a little something for everyone on your list: 

For the DIY Home Decorator:

Novel Living; BiblioCraft; The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers; Handmade for the Garden

For the Babysitters, Parents, & Others Looking to Keep Kids Busy:

Playful; Handcrafted Christmas

For the Avid Knitters and Sewists:

Unconventional & Unexpected; How to Catch a Frog; Living Color

For the Digitally-Inclined: check out our full selection of e-books on sale, available via Open Road Media, plus this trailer featuring STC Craft authors!

Don't see what you're looking for? Check out some of our past gift suggestions: Holiday Gift Guide: 12 Books for Crafters and Holiday Gift Guide: 15 Books for Sewists & Quilters

Holiday Decorating with STC Craft

While some people rush to pick out their tree and pin up their stockings as soon as stores open their doors for Black Friday sales, some of us need a bit more time to get into the holiday spirit. With a potentially calm weekend ahead and only a few weeks left to the holidays, here at STC Craft we are looking to take a load off, cozy up, and get crafting--this time, for our homes!

Won't you enjoy these projects with us?!

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Pinecone Wreath from Handcrafted Christmas by Susan Waggoner

Secret Message Snowflakes from BiblioCraft by Jessica Pigza

Tabletop Tree from Handcrafted Christmas by Susan Waggoner

Candy Stripe Christmas Stocking from Handcrafted Christmas by Susan Waggoner

Chenille Poinsettia Garland from Handcrafted Christmas by Susan Waggoner

For more holiday (and every day!) decorating ideas, check out these books:

Happy Weekend and Happy Crafting from your friends at STC Craft!

Holiday Crafting Memories and a Recipe Treat from Susan Waggoner

Well, we've had our first official snowfall here in New York City, and it's beginning to look a lot like the holidays! We can't help but feel a little giddy at the thought of all of the upcoming baking and sipping and  time spent with friends and family. Excited as we are, sometimes we look up and realize the calendar is nearing dangerously close to a party or holiday commitment and we're feeling underprepared!

Fear not, Susan Waggoner, author of Handcrafted Christmas: Ornaments, Decorations, and Cookie Recipes to Make at Home, is here with a holiday memory and a delicious recipe to get you inspired and in the spirit! Here's Susan:

Forget Black Friday and the insanity of 5 a.m. store openings. To me, the day after Thanksgiving will always be the day Christmas crafting and decorating begin. My mother me this. Start your crafting and decorating early and it will be fun; wait until mid-December and pressure will steal away the joy.

The day after Thanksgiving, a card table would go up in the family room. My mother would already have a list of things she wanted to make for gift exchanges, and a stack of magazine pages with decorating ideas she wanted to try. My father would be called away from the football games for engineering and carpentry input, and we’d be off and running. As my mother got out supplies and decorations, my job was to make a list of all that needed to be replenished and replaced.

Over a dinner of hot turkey sandwiches and mashed potatoes, we’d plot our path through the craft stores the next morning. Saturday afternoon and all day Sunday would be our work days, and by the end of the weekend, we’d have a good start on all we wanted to do. We were ready for snow. We were ready for Christmas.

The card table remained up throughout the entire season. When the crafting and decorating projects were done, it became our wrapping table. My frugal mother did not believe in buying expensive paper or matching tags. She saved cards sent to us in previous years, bought tissue paper, glitter, tape, glue, and ribbon (never pre-made bows) and let us decorate our own packages. I loved going through the old cards and finding an image that was just right for the recipient of the gift - outdoor woodland scenes with deer for my father, chic modern-looking motifs for my mother, skating Santas or Beatrix Potter scenes for my sister, who eventually confessed, as an adult, to disliking Potter’s art.

After Christmas, the table was cleared and brought upstairs to our den, where it held the annual jigsaw puzzle Santa left by our stockings. I have no idea what became of that card table, but I know what became of the memories - I still have them.

So take time to start your crafting and decorating early. Make the most of every Christmas minute and you’ll double your stock of good memories.

Here’s a Christmas treat from Susan that you can make ahead and set aside for holiday gifts and parties, or snack on while you craft and decorate:

image (c) Lori Lange, 2011. 

Almond Roca

For this you will need a candy thermometer and these ingredients:

2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup packed light brown sugar

Big pinch of coarse salt

1 pound whole roasted salted almonds (may substitute roasted salted peanuts or pecans)

 

First, prepare a pan by placing a silicone mat or bakers parchment on a clean cookie sheet.

In a medium heavy‑duty saucepan, heat the water, butter, both sugars and salt over low heat. I have found that the secret to making good buttercrunch is a slowed-down heating process. Cookbooks suggest this can be done in 15 or 20 minutes, but this makes it easy to scorch the mixture or end up with a grainy result. I spend 30 to 45 minutes on this and have always been rewarded with crisp, perfect candy. Start over low heat, stirring and scraping down the sides occasionally to make sure everything is blended and the nothing is sticking to the corners of the pan.

Fit the candy thermometer onto the saucepan, making sure the is not touching the bottom of the pan.

You are now going to cook this mixture until it reaches a temperature of 300° F. (150° C.). Raise the heat slowly at first, and more quickly as you near the end. Stir mixture and scrape the sides of the saucepan occasionally at first, more often as the heat rises, and nearly continuously when the mixture begins to boil and foam.

The minute the temperature reaches 300° F., remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the almonds and spread immediately onto the prepared pan. You need to work quickly, as the mixture begins to set up as soon as it’s off the burner. Use a spatula to spread as thinly as possible.

Allow to cool and set up several hours or overnight. Store in a lidded tin lined with a napkin or a lidded plastic container.


 

For more ideas for cozy vintage-inspired crafting and baking  from Susan's latest book, view our image gallery or order it online. 

 

Holiday Crafting: 1 Month to Go!

The lingering smell of firewood in the air and the ever-earlier holiday decor in storefronts can mean only one thing: the holidays are quickly approaching, and we're sticking with last year's vows to not wait until the last minute this time! To provide some inspiration from our own crafting wishlists, here are four really beautiful projects from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis that a bunch of us in the office have our hearts set on making:

Leather Journal fromCloth by Cassandra Ellis

Natural Leather Purses fromCloth by Cassandra Ellis

Wool Overnight Bag from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

Linen Slippers from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

Still looking for more inspiration? Check our post from last week: 5 weeks out, and our tips for decorating your Thanksgiving table. Looking for even more? How about our ideas from last year: 8 Quick and Easy Personalized Gifts to Make (and Finish!) This Weekend.

Guest Post from Wendy Bernard + Creativebug Giveaway + Holiday Crafting - 5 Weeks Out!

With T minus 5 weeks until the holidays, we're back with more gifting ideas that you can get started on now. As a special bonus, we also have author and knitter extraordinaire Wendy Bernard here with words of wisdom on knitting inspiration, info on adding new stitches to your needlearts repertoire in time to create a holiday gift, plus a giveaway from Creativebug. From Wendy: 

I think it was just about 11 years ago when top-down knitting caught my eye.

I had started knitting again after a more than 30-year hiatus when I was expecting my daughter—grandma taught me when I was young and I never really knit after that. Of course, I knit my newborn one of those hats that resembles a strawberry. It sort of seemed like the right thing to do.

Fast forward to now. I’ve been so happily knitting and writing books that feature patterns that are knit down from the top: Sweaters, hats, you name it. For some reason, the idea that you start at the top and work your way down to the hem seamlessly made sense to me. And ever since I figured out how to do it and how to make patterns this way, I have wanted to share my ideas with other knitters.

Books will always be here with us, they are so wonderful: we can hold them in our hands and mark them up with post-its. They sit on our shelves and make us happy. The Internet has added another dimension for me, though. With streaming online videos growing in popularity, it is possible for you to take online classes that aren’t live, which means you can pop in whenever you like and follow along at your own pace. Creativebug is that sort of place and I’m so excited to tell you that I have a four-week course on Creativebug where I share with you how to knit two types of sweaters, from the top down, seamlessly!

What makes me even more excited is that my latest book, Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary shows you how to knit more than 150 stitch patterns not only flat, but in the round, and top-down as well. This means, as you watch my courses on Creativebug, you will be able to swap out the plain ribbing in these sweaters and insert other ribbings that strike your fancy. Same thing for the other parts of the sweaters: if you want to spruce up the otherwise plain stockinette stitch, do a little shopping in the book and insert another stitch pattern that you like even more.

Working with Creativebug.com was so much fun. The crew even came out to my home studio and hung out with my family for a day so we could share with you a little of my background and my love for knitting and crafting. You can watch the trailers and videos for a bit of background. And speaking of crafting: Creativebug isn’t only about knitting. The classes they feature range from jewelry-making to quilting to ceramics, and even working with leather. This new online genre is a great one and I hope that you’ll check it out!

And without further ado, here are more holiday crafting ideas at five weeks out from Wendy and some of our other 2014 books:  

Slouch Cap from Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard

 

Pleated Mittens from Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary by Wendy Bernard

Breve Cowl from Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

Heima Slippers from Magpies, Homebodies, and Nomads by Cirilia Rose

Cotton Scrap Rag Rug from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

Metallic Leather Sling from Cloth by Cassandra Ellis

 

If the ideas above have your creative gears turning, but you're stuck on a step or technique (or maybe you want to learn something entirely new), why don't you go ahead and try out Creativebug on your own? Enter here for a chance to win a copy of Wendy's book, Up, Down, All-Around Stitch-Dictionary, 2 project patterns, and yarn courtesy of Blue Sky Aplacas. The best part? The prize package also includes a free six-month subscription to Creativebug, so you can take all of Wendy's classes, plus any other crafting courses that strike your fancy! But hurrythe contest ends in 4 days!

'Tis the Season for Handcrafted Christmas!

If author Susan Waggoner had her way, every Christmas would be a handcrafted one...

... and now, yours can be too! If you've been spending these last few chilly evenings hearing those sleigh bells ringing and dreaming of a blanket of white snow, then prepare to sate your holiday yearnings with Handcrafted Christmas: Ornaments, Decorations, and Cookie Recipes to Make at Home! This collection of more than thirty-five warm, inviting projects and recipes inspired by the treasures and flavors of the 1920s through the 1960s are certain to make you nostalgic for Christmases past.

Get ready for the most wonderful time of the year by taking a look at the image gallery here. And start planning your own vintage-style celebrations with everything from pinecone wreaths and punched-tin votive holders to beloved cookie swap recipes like Chocolate Sour Cream Drops and Pecan Tassies. Handcrafted Christmas is in stores now.

This Mother's Day, Give the Gift of Creativity

If you're still searching for the perfect gift for the moms in your life, may we suggest one of the books in our gift guide below or from our catalogue here.

For the crafty bibliophile mom, there's BiblioCraft from NYPL librarian Jessica Pigza, with over 20 projects inspired by the library and lots of invaluable guidance for mining library collections for inspiration.
Textile-minded moms will love Cassandra Ellis's Cloth, an inspirational guide to the beauty, history, and utitlity of natural textiles, with over 30 sewing projects for the home made out of linen, cotton, silk, wool, and hide.
For the mom with a green thumb, check out Handmade for the Garden from Susan Guagliumi, with over 75 ingenious ways to enhance your outdoor space with DIY tools, pots, supoorts, embellishments, and more.
Moms with less of a green thumb will love Livia Cetti's The Exquisite Book of Paper Flowers, where they'll find step-by-step nstructions for creating 27 realistic blooms—no weeding required!
For moms looking for a little inspiration to write, paint, or otherwise create, consider Natalie Goldberg's Living Color, one part creativity guide, one part memoir from the bestselling author of Writing Down the Bones.
Moms with an affinity for great storytelling will love fabric designer and illustrator Heather Ross's captivating tales about her unconventional upbringing in her memoir How to Catch a Frog: And Other Stories of Family, Love, Dysfunction, Survival, and DIY
Knit-savvy moms will savor the all-encompassing Up, Down, All-Around Stitch Dictionary from Wendy Bernard, featuring over 150 stitch patterns to work top down, bottom up, back and forth, or in the round. 

 

Looking for more ideas? Try Made by Hand, The Knitted Slipper Book, and The Yarn Whisperer

Whatever you gift the moms in your life this year, we here at STC Craft are wishing you a lovely day spent with people who inspire you to create beautiful things.

Get Your Crafting in Gear in the New Year with a Creativebug Class Giveaway!

The new year is right around the corner and here at STC Craft we are already looking forward to the excitement that 2014 will bring. Along with personal resolutions, the thrill of opening up crisp new calendars and planners, and the promise of a fresh start, we'd like to extend an exciting offer to you and a friend.

If learning something new is on your to-do list for the new year, we'd love to help! From now until the end of the month, we're offering one lucky reader a chance to win two free 3-month subscriptions to Creativebug classes—one for you, and one for a friend.

Launched last year, Creativebug is an innovative online learning site offering creative classes on subjects ranging from embroidery to bookbinding to wire jewelry-making, with options for well-seasoned and beginner crafters alike. Their all-star roster of instructors includes STC Craft favorites Natalie Chanin, Liesl Gibson, Heather Ross, and Kelly Wilkinson as well as our own Melanie Falick.

Enter by joining our newsletter in the form below by December 31st at 11:59 p.m. EST. One winner will be chosen at random. Current newsletter subscribers are invited to enter as well (and please feel free to follow us on twitter and facebook, too!).

Enter below for your chance to win. Click here for official rules.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you'd prefer to get a jump-start on a new crafting course while you have a little down time over the holidays, Creativebug is also offering special subscription rates—up to 50% off!—available now through December 31st:

3-month subscription for $30
6-month subscription for $60
12-month subscription for $99

To find out more about this offer, and to learn more about Creativebug, visit their site and blog.

5 Handmade Gift-Packaging Ideas

Wrap bits of leftover yarn over kraft paper for a beautiful rainbow effect, from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

 

It's a gloomy, stormy day in New York, the perfect kind of day to put on a pot of tea and start on that mountain of presents that still need wrapping. If you're a fan of a good handmade gift right down to the packaging, here are five unique and crafty ways to take your gift-wrapping to the next level.

 

Create your own wrapping paper designs in Photoshop, with instructions from Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross

 

Knit a delicate ruffled ribbon from Handknit Holidays by Melanie Falick

 

Make your own paper boxes from Modern Paper Crafts by Margaret Van Sicklen

 

Whip up a few of these fabric pom poms, from Last-Minute Fabric Gifts by Cynthia Treen

6 Quick & Easy Gifts to Complete in an Evening

Kim's Hats from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

For me, the holiday season seems to follow the same trajectory every year: At first, I vow to create special handmade gifts for all of my loved ones. Then days go by, lost in the whirlwind of get-togethers and winter cheer, and suddenly I find myself a few days out and nary a project is started. If this sounds familiar to you, you're not out of luck yet. Put aside an evening, gather some craft supplies, and get ready to make one of these unique, yet quick and easy, gifts!

Big Lace Scarf from More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

 

Sewing Box from The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti

 

Pieced Pillows from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

 

Rice Paper Lanterns from Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross

 

Assorted terrariums from Tiny World Terrariums by Michelle Inciarrano and Katy Maslow

Holiday Gift Guide: 12 Books for Crafters

From Weekend Handmade by Kelly Wilkinson

We all know one—that person who makes the perfect gifts every year without fail. This year, why don't you return the favor! Whether you want to please a Jill-of-all-trades or the hardcore artist, these books are guaranteed to delight any DIY maven on your list.

For the dabbler:

Lena Corwin's Made By Hand; The BUST DIY Guide to Life; The Gentle Art of Domesticity


For the weekend crafter:

Tiny World Terrariums; Weekend Handmade; Modern Paper Crafts


For the décor-obsessed:

Past & Present; The Repurposed Library; Crafting a Meaningful Home



For the art-inclined:

Art Doodle Love; Printing by Hand; Heather Ross Prints