Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home + Win a copy!

Thomas Allen & Son sent me a copy of Handmade Living in exchange for an honest review. Here’s what I think. 

You don’t have to be God’s gift to crafters to make most of the projects in today’s book, nor do you need a lot of time. Which is ideal any time of the year, but especially coming into the holidays when our to-do lists are long and our patience is short. Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home by Willow Crossley has a wide variety of lovely DIYs to gift and keep, many everyday objects made more personal with bits and bobs you might already have around the house. Turn an old book into a secret place for safe-keeping, trim a plain-jane basket with spare ribbon to make a pretty piece, and make a personalized print using old stamps, buttons or Scrabble tiles. AND NOWHERE DID I MENTION A SEWING MACHINE (aka THE BANE OF MY EXISTENCE.) Granted there are a few projects where a stitch or two is in order but no one said you couldn’t do it by hand. Handmade Living: 40 Step-by-Step Projects for Crafting a Beautiful Home + Win a copy!

She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own by Erika Kotite + Win a copy!

Quarto Publishing sent me a copy of She Sheds Style in exchange for an honest review. So here’s what I think. 

With a backyard not much bigger than a postage stamp we don’t have room for a shed, but if we did I would love to turn it into a little refuge I could call my own, aka a she shed. It would be light and bright with all the mod cons (I BIRTHED TWO BABIES ALLOW ME HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AND WIFI) and space to blog, shoot flatlays, and stretch out with a book. Which might seem like a tall order but people do it. We saw that in Erika Kotite’s first book, She Sheds: A Room of Your Own, which introduced us to artists, yogis, gardeners and others who have turned tiny structures into spaces to work, dream and treasure. Now in her new book, She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your OwnErika shows us how to plan and style our sheds (real or imagined) so that they reflect our own design sensibilities.  She Sheds Style: Make Your Space Your Own by Erika Kotite + Win a copy!

Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith

Penguin Random House Canada sent me Hello Color in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart. 

Sometimes a book falls into your lap just when you need it and that was exactly the case with the with the one I’m talking about today. With the end of the school year not far off and the kids soon home for the summer, I’ve been stressing about finding things for us to do. Enter Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith. While it’s not a kids’ book per se, it’s filled with all kinds of fun and inexpensive projects my 9- and 11-year-old would love to do with me, and even a few they could do on their own. (And not junky things either — I mean things we could actually use that would add a bit of cheer and crafts we could personalize for a thoughtful gift.) And for anyone looking how to incorporate colour into their home, there’s a colour theory 101, tips on how to create a colour scheme, and how-to’s for colourful conversation pieces for every room. Learn how to set a charming table, how to style a beautiful bookcase, how to stock a bar cart and how to photograph your projects so they’ll shine. And even if you never get around to making anything, there are pretty prints to tear out and frame that’ll add a bright pop of colour to any space. I picked three of my favourite projects in the book to show you here.  Hello Color: 25 Bright Ideas for DIY Decor by Rachel Mae Smith

Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built + Win a copy!

Abrams Books sent me a copy of Craft the Rainbow in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and from the heart.

Well our spring buds are taking their sweet time to bloom and I am itching to see some COLOUR. So let’s BRING IT ON! Today I’ve got the first of two new books to share with all kinds of brilliant DIY ideas to invite your favourite hues into your home and your wardrobe. Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built by Brittany Watson Jepsen (remember her Flowers and Cactus colouring books?) explores everything colour-related under the sun, from why certain colours work together and how to use them, to fun facts in colour history and quotes from artists and designers who share their favourites. And the projects! Three for each of the pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and white chapters, followed by 16 rainbow crafts for those who love them all. There are party crowns made from drinking straws, tasselled curtain tiebacks made of crepe paper and wooden blocks, paper plants in every colour of the rainbow and shoe clips that turn cupcake liners into works of art. Sounds amazing, right? Just wait ’til you see inside.  Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built + Win a copy!

DIY marbled eggs and entertaining tips + A giveaway!

Two Oceans sent me some wine and craft supplies to facilitate this post. All opinions are mine and from the heart. 

With Easter just around the corner I’ve got a fun craft for you today that would make a cheap and cheerful addition to any Easter table and a quick and easy activity to do with family and friends. Let’s make some DIY marbled eggs! Handmade Jungle‘s Victoria Stacey developed this clever craft for Two Oceans Wines and I’ll show you eggs-actly how to do it, plus share some of Victoria’s entertaining tips and a giveaway to get you started. Let’s hop to it!  DIY marbled eggs and entertaining tips + A giveaway!

DIY valentine soap + A giveaway!

Thursday Plantation Canada sent me some samples to try free of charge, but all opinions are still my own. 

I’ve been reading a lot about self-care in the blogosphere over the past week or so and feel like I’m getting better about identifying (and maybe even embracing) what fills my cup (as uber cheesy as that sounds). Making something tangible with my own hands is huge for me. (This poster = TRUTH.) When I leave the camera or the kitchen or the blog for more than a few days it nags at me; I feel listless and ghost-like, like if I don’t make some sort of impression, something solid, then I don’t exist. Is that weird? Maybe as a lead-in for a fun and easy DIY. Maybe a little dark for this happy valentine soap. But it is what it is, and I have to tell you I was elated by how well these turned out and how much I enjoyed the process. If you’re a maker or think you might be one, show yourself some love with a sweet DIY you can keep for yourself or gift to family and friends. Valentine’s Day may be a few weeks away yet, but love is in the air with this super cute and good-smelling soap.    DIY valentine soap + A giveaway!

Quick DIY pom pom magnets for last-minute gifting

I partnered with Staples Canada who sponsored this fun DIY post. The creative content and opinions are my own.

I’m flattered if you think I’ve got it all together for Christmas but ha! That is so not true. The house is upside down, the tree is bare (we just brought one home last night), I have gifts to wrap and groceries to get, and I should probably wash my hair at some point. If this is you too (and I kind of love you if it is), you might feel like you don’t have time for one more thing but yes you do, because this DIY last-minute gift is quick and easy like you won’t believe.  Quick DIY pom pom magnets for last-minute gifting

Spruce up your holiday decor with an evergreen DIY yule use all year round

I partnered with Staples Canada who sponsored this fun DIY post. The creative content and opinions are my own.

If you’re looking for a fun and easy way to make your holiday cards part of your decor, have I got a plum pudding of an idea for you! DIY — and by that I mean Display Individual Yuletides — with this festive and evergreen display yule want to use all year round.

Spruce up your holiday decor with an evergreen DIY yule use all year round

Sweet! Celebrations: The Ultimate Dessert & Party Planning Companion by Elise Strachan

I need someone to have a baby. Or a birthday. Or a bar mitzvah. Or maybe we’ll just make up our own occasion because there are so many fun, festive and new-to-me ideas in Elise Strachan’s Sweet! Celebrations: The Ultimate Dessert & Party Planning Companion  and I want to try them all. Simon & Schuster Canada sent me a copy to review so here’s the skinny including the couple of treats I tried — one quick and easy no-bake, one a bit more persnickety that I turned into a no-bake — and both super cute and delicious.  Sweet! Celebrations: The Ultimate Dessert & Party Planning Companion by Elise Strachan

DIY Woven Art by Rachel Denbow + Win a copy!

I’ve been following Rachel Denbow’s weaving series on A Beautiful Mess for a couple of years now, so I was so excited when I saw she’d come out with a book, DIY Woven Art: Inspiration and Instruction for Handmade Wall Hangings, Rugs, Pillows, and More! (released this past August). Written for beginners and more experienced weavers looking for fresh inspiration, there’s fruit of the loom for a variety of skill sets and tastes. Step-by-step instructions (and three DIY looms!) take you through 15 projects and several different techniques. Make a loom from a scrap of cardboard and some thrift-store yarn and try a simple wall hanging in candy-coloured stripes or use your trusty frame loom and that special wool roving you’ve been saving to make a more complex statement piece.  DIY Woven Art by Rachel Denbow + Win a copy!

“Create your life as your design” — Gems from Tiffany Pratt + A giveaway

Ah, those Tiffany Pratt hugs. If you’ve been lucky enough to get one like Jessica Levasseur here (snapped by Laura Benn of LLB Creative at this month’s BlogPodium conference in Toronto), you know how warm and soul-lifting they are. The rainbow-tressed stylist, designer, HGTV star and author (her first book, This Can Be Beautiful: Simple DIY Projects to Style Your Home and Redesign Your Life, comes out October 11) shared all kinds of inspiration (and love!) as BlogPodium’s keynote speaker, and had me writing furiously to get some of it down to share with you. Well, to share with you and the Twitterverse, since there were 20 copies of Tiffany’s book to win for anyone who tweeted highlights of her talk and you know I was all over that. “Everything I do, I do with love,” Tiffany says. “Whatever I’m thrown into, I just think, ‘make it work’. I like to hustle hard, find solutions, and be totally happy doing it all.” How does she do it? Maybe by following her own advice.  “Create your life as your design” — Gems from Tiffany Pratt + A giveaway

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring

Last night we said farewell to summer by drawing our names in the dark with the last of the sparklers, and today we’re welcoming fall with a return to the books. And with my guys back to school, I’m counting on more time to read and share a dozen new titles with you, starting with a fresh and budget-friendly approach to party planning that comes just as the shorter days and cooler nights beckon us to gather inside with family and friends. It’s Decorate for a Party: Stylish and Simple Ideas for Meaningful Gatherings by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring, and it’s full of all kinds of wonderful ideas and easy DIYs to add a warm and personal touch to any gathering, make your guests feel extra welcome, and relieve the pressure to be perfect so you can have fun in the process. I like to think of it as decor within reach — aspirational and inspirational, yes, but most importantly: totally doable. Splashy parties with grand gestures and even grander budgets have their time and place but that’s not here: Decorate for a Party is a party where everyone is welcome.

Decorate for a Party by Holly Becker and Leslie Shewring