The Best Thing You Could Do

“In our world, being an artist was the best thing you could do. That was my parents’ version of me being a dentist or a doctor or a lawyer.”

—Livia Cetti, in an interview with Martha Stewart Living

 

A new visitor to Abrams might be struck by the number of paper flowers in the office—cherry blossom branches are tucked into odd corners, and roses sit in pencil cups alongside prints by Robert Indiana and Fletcher Martin.

These were taught to us by Livia Cetti, whose first paper flower book was published here in 2014, and whose second—brighter, bolder—title is released this week. Livia describes The Exquisite Book of Paper Flower Transformations as “more me”—a quote she delivered along with a box of hand-dipped tissue paper and a bagful of clipped wire in the midst of an early-March snowstorm.

If that is the case, we are grateful for it! The startlingly realistic blooms are photographed by Kate Mathis against vibrant (near-neon) paint-spattered backdrops created by Livia herself, with the result that the book is as visually energizing as it is informative.

After a chapter on the deceptively simple dipping, cutting, and wrapping techniques that form the basis for each bloom (the most complicated items on a spread of tools are a hot glue gun and Fiskars zigzag scissors), readers learn step-by-step methods for 26 different flowers—from the globe-shaped Eden Rose and Hydrangea, to the arcs of Honeysuckle and Lily of the Valley, bells like Crocus and Narcissus, saucers, and even spikes: Delphinium, Lupine.

 Eden Rose by Livia Cetti, photograph by Kate Mathis

Eden Rose by Livia Cetti, photograph by Kate Mathis

From there it’s on to a dizzyingly beautiful “Part 2” filled with decorative projects: garlands, wreaths, a Blooming Chandelier, and even a Dutch Still-Life Centerpiece.

Cetti credits her success as floral designer to her time spent observing nature over a childhood in the mountains outside of Santa Barbara, and now in her own yard in the Bronx’s Riverdale neighborhood. It’s a causal sequence that perhaps only sounds startling to city dwellers—we recognize her work from magazines and John Derian shops, ad campaigns for Burt’s Bees, or luxurious displays at Tiffany and Co. and the French ceramics boutique Astier de Villatte. But Cetti’s familiarity with her muses shines through on every page.

 Author, floral stylist, and paper flower artist Livia Cetti 

Author, floral stylist, and paper flower artist Livia Cetti 

Pore over a sample of The Exquisite Book of Paper Flower Transformations below, or try your hand at two of the simplest projects here, or at The House that Lars Built.

We are also giving away several of her paper flower kits on Instagram! Until Friday, April 7 try The House that Lars Built, and check back over the next few weeks with Paper Trail and Flax and Twine

 

 

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.

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. 

Kick off NaNoJouMo with Dawn Sokol's Year of the Doodle

The fall is a time for reflection for many as we start to feel the effects of the changing seasons—moving clocks back, taking sweaters out of storage—and we begin to look forward to the holiday season and a new year. This November, we're giving ourselves a chance to sit back and take the time to explore those changes more mindfully through the process of art journaling. Available this week, Dawn "Doodle Queen" Sokol's latest book, The Year of the Doodle: 365 Drawing, Collaging, and Mark-Making Adventures, is the perfect way to get started.  

 

On the first of the month, Dawn kicked off her annual National November Journaling Month (or "NaNoJouMo") with daily prompts on her blog. We wanted to try our hand at art journaling as well, so we spent this past week trying out a few prompts from the book. Check out the results of our early November doodles from inside the Abrams office below. 

Feeling inspired? Head over to Dawn's blog where she's giving away a few copies of her book. Join us and start a daily journal challenge of your own!

With the changing seasons, we're shaking things up over at STC Craft

The shifting seasons mean lots of exciting things for us here at STC Craft: a new list of books to share with you, new projects, and new growth and colors all around us. We are excited to present to you a whole new roster of books to get you motivated, teach you something new, and empower you to add a handmade touch to your world. Click on the covers and catalog below to get a feel for what's in store this fall.

We also want to share some news with you. As you may already know, we are entering a new chapter with the departure of Melanie Falick, founding editor of Melanie Falick Books. We celebrate the wonderful program she created here, and we are dedicated to continuing to provide the beautiful, inventive, and inspiring craft books for which STC Craft / Abrams is known. There are many great things on the horizon as the craft and DIY marketplace evolve, and we're so excited to have a front row seat to our readers' creative pursuits— and to broaden and enhance our craft list as a part of it.

Stay tuned! We'll begin to unveil our new crop of projects soon. Meanwhile, kick back, relax, craft on, and savor these remaining weeks of summer.

—Your Friends at STC Craft

 

The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters is Coming to a Shop Near You

The final piece in our fabulous lineup of spring releases is Sherri Lynn Wood's Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting, and Living Courageously.

For the quilter looking to break free from the confines of step-by-step instructions and predictable patterns, Wood (of Daintytime.net) brings a flexible approach to quilting that knocks traditional instruction aside. Instead, she presents 10 frameworks (or scores) that create a guiding, but not limiting, structure.

To help quilters gain confidence, Wood also offers detailed lessons for stitching techniques key to improvisation, design and spontaneity exercises, and lessons on color.

Every quilt made from one of Wood’s scores will have common threads, but each one will look different because it reflects the maker’s unique interpretation. Featured throughout the book are Wood’s own quilts (more on view here!) and a gallery of contributor works chosen from among the hundreds submitted when she invited volunteers to test her scores during the making of this groundbreaking work. For inspiration, you can check out some variations on her Rhythmic Grid score in this image gallery.

Sherri is also coming to a shop or guild near you! Check back later this week with more info on her in-store national book tour. First stop: this Friday, 5/8, at 6:30 pm at Sew Modern in LA!

And that's not all—all month long, Sherri will be making digital appearances on favorite blogs from Sew Mama Sew to Spoonflower. Check out the full list of blog tour participants here!

A World of Artist Journal Pages is here!

Next up in our list of spring releases is A World of Artist Journal Pages by Dawn Sokol!

9781617690778.jpg

Art journaling is typically a private activity, but anyone who has ever journaled knows that there's no inspiration quite like seeing the work of other artists you admire. In this colorful and exciting new book, Dawn Sokol breaks into the journals of over 230 artists from all over the world to showcase a selection of over 1000 captivating pages.

worldartistjournalpages_p044-045.jpg

As an added bonus, behind-the-scenes interviews, plus a list of techniques and materials used for each page, give you a glimpse inside the minds and toolboxes of new and established artists.

worldartistjournalpages_p174-175.jpg

A World of Artist Journal Pages is available now, everywhere books are sold! Check at our gallery of sample pages and scoot over to Dawn Sokol's blog for Q&A outtakes.

worldartistjournalpages_p188-189.jpg

And enter to win a free copy by entering Dawn's giveaway before April 28 here.

It's time to create your own Pretty Prudent Home!

Jacinda Boneau and Jaime Morrison Curtis, the creative and fashionable ladies behind the leading design and lifestyle site PrettyPrudent.com, are back with more of their inspiring advice for making beautiful things, food, and experiences for family and friends. We are in love with all of the charming yet modern projects, ideas, and recipes featured in their new book on sale this week, Pretty Prudent Home: Your Ultimate Guide for Creating a Beautiful Family Home.

Part design book, part DIY guide, Pretty Prudent Home offers us projects both simple and sophisticated, plus decorating ideas, party plans, and more, to inspire us to create a home both stylish and liveable, all interspersed with charming banter from these two long-distance BFFs. 

 

 

We've been crushing on so many of Jaime and Jacinda's adorable projects on these pages, and we're excited that we finally get to share to share them with you! Check out our image gallery for more sneak peeks from inside the book, read about their Pretty Prudent-inspired sale (and how you can win a $250 credit at Zulily!), and watch their adorable book trailer below!

 

Drawing Is Magic: Grab Your Pen and Discover!

Have you ever been stuck with the problem of not knowing what to draw? Do you  feel a longing to create "something" that is yours alone? "Something" that you can explore and own?

In Drawing is Magic: Discovering Yourself in a Sketchbook, John Hendrix, professional illustrator (maybe you've seen his work in Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone, or the New Yorker) and associate art professor at Washington University in St. Louis, takes you on an exhilarating journey of self-discovery and challenge. Pick up a pen and follow his prompts and you are on the path to finding your visual muse.

"Outfitted with your trusty sketchbook as a new lens, you're going to see your everyday life in a new way."

"This sketchbook is a shiny new set of playground equipment. And you are a kind who can't play the wrong way."

So . . . 

Check out more pages from Drawing is Magic here. And head over to John's Tumblr to see doodles and drawings from his students, illustrator friends, and maybe even a guest post or two from us!