Stamp, Stencil, Paint Your Way to a Colorful Life!

Textile artist Anna Joyce believes that we should all live with color and pattern every day. Now, with the release of Stamp, Stencil, Paint, so can you!

In this beautiful and approachable new book, Anna Joyce shares her signature hand-printing techniques for adding color and pattern to ready-made surfaces like fabric, ceramics, paper, leather, furniture, walls, and more. Inspired by vintage fabric, folk art, shapes in nature, and exciting new color combinations, Anna’s distinctive projects showcase the beauty of the unexpected and the mark of the artist’s hand. Following beautiful step-by-step photography, you'll learn new, easy skills to stamp, stencil, and hand-paint wonderful projects for your homes, wardrobes, families, and friends.

Anna's joy for making things by hand is truly infectious, and if you're in Portland this weekend or New York the week after, you can see for yourself at one of her exciting tour stops:

Portland, Oregon Events

New York City Book Tour

Can't make it to one of the events above (or can't get enough of Anna)? You can still get involved and learn from her with this fabulous giveaway from our friends over at Creativebug, going on now! .

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

8 Quick and Easy Personalized Gifts To Make (And Finish!) This Weekend

There's no better way to make someone feel special than with a unique and personalized gift. But creating a one-of-a-kind handmade offering doesn't always have to be time-consuming! This weekend, pull out your craft supplies and channel your loved ones with one of our favorite quick and easily customizable projects:

Silhouettes on Canvas from Crafting a Meaningful Home by Meg Mateo Ilasco

Stationery Suite from Heather Ross Prints by Heather Ross

Empire-Inspired Plates by Julia Rothman for Past & Present by Amy Azzarito

Happy Birthday Pillow from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

Biographical Bracelet from The Repurposed Library by Lisa Occhipinti

Customized Mugs from The BUST DIY Guide to Life by Laurie Henzel & Debbie Stoller

Printed Notebooks from Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin


Made-By Patch from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson

Lena Corwin's Made by Hand Premieres Today!

We're thrilled to announce that Lena Corwin's Made by Hand is officially on sale today! From knitting, embroidery, and weaving to screen printing, tie dye, and jewelry-making, this book is a treasure trove of beautiful, inspiring projects for both the beginner and the creatively adventurous.


And, of course, Lena's lovely book trailer is not to be missed. For a big dose of creative inspiration, watch the whole thing above or take a peek at the images in our photo gallery (seriously, does it get more beautiful than that cover?). But be forewarned—once you do, you won't be able to fight the urge to go out and make something!

Lena Corwin's Made by Hand is available now, wherever books are sold.

Designing Fabric with Heather Ross--Lucky Me

Last week I hit the jackpot when it comes to being a craft book editor. I learned how to design my own fabric with none other than Heather Ross. We were working together on her next book, Heather Ross Prints, which we will publish in Fall 2012. While Weekend Sewing, Heather's first book, was a tour de force full of gorgeous, doable sewing projects, her next book will focus on all manner of crafts that can be made using fabulous repeating designs, hers (see sampling below) and your own (just keep reading). 

One of the first chapters in Heather Ross Prints is dedicated to teaching crafters how to make their own repeating designs using artwork of their making and/or choosing. Up until last week, this section of the book was making Heather and I feel both nervous (“How exactly will we do this?”) and excited (“It will be so cool if we can do this!”). So, once Heather had written her first draft, I printed it out, wrote out a million notes and questions, and headed downtown to Heather’s apartment. After being treated to an amazing homemade lunch—Heather is 8½ months pregnant, and so, according to her, lunch is a “big deal”—we sat down at the computer and started reviewing the manuscript.

About five minutes into the process, I turned to Heather and said, “I really think it would be most effective if I tried to create my own repeating design following your instructions…you know, to see if it works.” And so she handed over a sketchpad and said, “Sure, what would you like to draw?”

As she warned in her manuscript, this would be the scariest moment of the design process. What should I draw? Can I draw? These questions were running through my head. But before I committed to just drawing a simple circle or star, I thought, I’d like to try to draw my favorite animal: a bear. With some artistic tips from Heather regarding the shape of the nose and the hulk of the belly, I suddenly had a bear (shown below alongside Heather's bafflingly cute donkey.)

Once the sketch was done, we scanned it into the computer and Heather taught me how to turn it into an illustration. It was my first time drawing with a stylus, and true to another warning in her manuscript, it was pretty awkward. While coloring in my bear, I could not stop laughing every time I got near the “outline,” knowing that mine would be super wobbly. But after some practice, I got the hang of it and could make fairly controlled strokes.

After about an hour or so of coloring in the background, playing with different hues, and shading some areas of the bear, we saved the file and uploaded it to Spoonflower—a site where you can print your own designs onto fabric of your choosing and buy it by the yard.

Next we played with the repeating design.

Seeing my silly little bear design up on the screen felt so empowering. It was unbelievable that in just an afternoon, I was able to use my humble artistic skills to create a fabric design that I will proudly use to make pajama bottoms for the whole family next Christmas. How cool is that?

Having gone through the process myself now, I feel confident that this is something anyone can do, and I personally can't wait to sit down and do more. But for now, I should probably get back to the editing.

Thanks again, Heather!


Crafting for Dad + Free Book Giveaway!

Dads are kind of hard to shop for, right? Ask a typical dad what he wants for Father's Day and he'll likely shrug his shoulders and--with a smile, of course--say "I don't know." I don't think that they mean to torture us with their ambiguity. For many dads, it's simply a matter of not really having much of a wish list. Except maybe love, a little respect, and for someone to laugh at their corny jokes (or at least make fun of them). 

But for those of us who want to give a gift beyond love, respect, and laughter, we have to get a little creative. Lucky for crafty types, we've got creativity in spades!

For the knitters amongst us, look no further than Knits Men Want. As the subtitle states, it's all inclusive: "The 10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man--Plus the Only 10 Patterns She'll Ever Need." A few photos from the book are shown below, including lots of quick-knits for Dad, and even a few dude-approved sweaters. And for another classic dad gift with a knitterly twist, try your hand at the Rusted Elegant Tie from Knitting Classic Style (shown above). Father's Day is June 19--just over a month away--so get out your needles and get crackin'!


For the non-knitters amongst us--or for those who are pressed for time--we've got more great ideas for handmade dad gifts. Shown below, clockwise from top left:

Gus's Dog Bed from Printing by Hand (A screen-printed fabric that is then sewn into a pillow--this is the perfect gift for Dad and his best buddy.)

Pickles from Alabama Studio Style (Several recipes for making homemade pickles for Dad. Perfect for sandwiches or for a Bloody Mary brunch on Father's Day.)

Hexagon Storage Bin from Modern Paper Crafts (A receptacle you can make yourself to hold anything from fishing rods to recycled papers.)

Pajamas for Everyone from Weekend Sewing (An easy-to sew project for every member of the family. If the Dad in your life is a lounger, this is the perfect gift for him.)

Story Time Clock from The Repurposed Library (A unique clock, perfect for Dad's den or office. Pick a book tailored to his interests (golf, baseball, computers, a volume of an outdated encyclopedia featuring the first letter of his initials, or maybe even an old cookbook for culinary types).

Decoupaged Fridge from Crafting a Meaningful Home (A cool way for Dad to remember his favorite city. Or if he's more of a nature guy, use maps from a hiking trail. If Mom won't let you decoupage the fridge, consider decoupaging him a tackle box or a stepladder...or something else that can stay in the garage.)

So, readers, we hope this post gets your creative juices flowing! Tell us which of these gifts your Dad would like the most in the Comments section and you'll autmatically be entered to win the STC Craft book of your choice (see the choices here). Enter by noon on June 1. Three winners will be picked at random and notified that day. 

For official sweepstakes rules, click here.

April Classes at Lena Corwin's Studio


Lena Corwin, author of Printing by Hand, just let me know that there are a few open spots in the April workshops at her Fort Greene, Brooklyn, studio. They both sound great so if you live anywhere near Fort Greene, I encourage you to treat yourself and sign up. The basic information is below. To ask questions or sign up, email Lena directly (lena(at)

April Textile Stamping Class (Beginner Level)
Learn to print allover patterns on tote bags, cloth napkins, fabric yardage (and more) using handmade stamps.
Four 1-1/2 hour sessions
6:00pm – 7:30pm
Tuesdays, April 7, 14, 21, 28

April Sewing Tunic/Dress Workshop with Cal Patch (Intermediate Level)
Students must arrive at class with pieces already cut out and marked for the Simplicity 3964 Built by Wendy pattern, as this can take up to 2 hours and it will be otherwise impossible to finish in the allotted time. Lunch provided!

See the pattern here.

One 5 hour workshop
11am – 4pm
Sunday April 19th
(There will also be a 1 hour finishing class on Mon April 20th at 6pm, if needed.)


Printing by Hand - Deleted "Scenes"

We work with wonderful graphic designers on STC Craft books. After we send them photographs and sample copy (often a year or more before a book actually goes on sale), they design sample spreads. And once we've approved those, they generally work through 4 passes--over the course of many months--during which time the design and text are refined. Inevitably, there are times when we are unable to use a few of the most beautiful spreads.  When I suggested to Brooke Reynolds, the graphic designer of Printing by Hand by Lena Corwin (photographs by Thayer Gowdy), that we share some of those deleted "scenes," she jumped at the opportunity and sent me these spreads.

This is the original table of contents. Each circle shows a snippet of the artwork Lena designed for a project in the book.

This is the original introduction to chapter one. We ended up cutting it to 1 page because we were short on space.

We didn't have room for the photo of Lena working on the artwork for the Cafe Apron, but we did use the photo of her drawing pad in the section of Chapter 1 about transforming a design idea into artwork for printing.

To see more of what Brooke is up to, check out her new blog. And, while you're at it, check out Thayer's new blog too.

Meet Lena


I met Lena Corwin about 5 years ago when Kelli Ronci suggested that she illustrate her book Kids Crochet. Since then, I've met so many people that know Lena that I wonder if everyone is somehow connected to her in that strange way that everyone is somehow connected to Kevin Bacon. I'm excited to report that Lena's first book, Printing by Hand,  is hitting bookstores this week. I've posted a Q&A with Lena here. And a gallery of images from the book here.