Book Reviews: Craft Fail, Rag Dolls and Wool Sewing Projects

Happy 2015 to you and your family! Here's hoping your family had a wonderful holiday season and is taking the time this week to relax and reflect before putting away the decorations and new toys as a fresh year begins. With the craziness that tends to come along with the hustle of the holiday season, it's natural to feel less than creative. If you and your family are more interested in relaxing than tackling a new DIY project, here are a few books to enjoy with friends and family in the coming days for a boost of artistic inspiration!

Craft Fail

By Heather Mann

Have you ever looked at a project on Pinterest and thought, "That's cute, but will the finished results really look like that?" Many times the answer is "no!" Luckily, craft blogger Heather Mann has collected some of the more epic, and popular, failed craft projects in Craft Fail: When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong to remind us all that not every project is a winner – but that can be fun, too.

The book is a coffee table-worthy collection of some of the updates you can see on her Craft Fail website. It features an entire chapter dedicated to kids projects, but keep an eye out for some crass language here and there! Definitely a fun read to share with other craft-minded friends who have found themselves yelling at a Pinterest pin from time to time.

The Making of a Rag Doll

By Jess Brown

When I think of winter, especially the month of January, I think of quiet crafting – from starting on a new coloring book to practicing a new skill. I also think of working on a new project as a family. Jess Brown's simple-yet-lovely book, The Making of a Rag Doll: Design & Sew Modern Heirlooms, is the answer to quiet crafting as crafters of all ages can learn how to create stripped-down rag dolls that are sure to become treasured friends.

In this book, Brown shares her inspiration for making these beautiful dolls – inspiration that is easy to make your own. Patterns are included to get your family started after a flip through the book's image-heavy pages. To get an idea of her design approach, take a look at her Jess Brown online store.

Hand-Stitched Home

By Susan Beal

This author writes some of the best, easiest-to-understand crafting projects around today. Beal's latest book, Hand-Stitched Home: Projects to Sew with Pendleton and Other Wools, features on sewing simple projects for the home with woolen fabrics, like those created by well-known mill Pendleton. Offering project ideas that range from blankets to flower hangers, the all-wool approach makes the cold winter days not seem so long.

For budding sewers in your home, this book is a fun read – as it has projects that are both small and big in assembly requirements. The projects are also incredibly useful. So if you're already starting to think of gifts that need to be given in the new year, this is a great way to stay committed to handmade offerings.

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