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PROJECT KID: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun by Amanda Kingloff

PROJECT KID: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun (Artisan Books; $22.95) by Amanda Kingloff is an innovative new kids craft book reviewed by Ronna Mandel.
Kingloff, former Parents magazine lifestyle director, is a DIY pro so there’s really no need to go elsewhere.

—Publishers Weekly, starred review

Credit: “Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.”

Here’s one of the best things about being a kid – making stuff!! Here’s one of the best things about being a parent, grandparent or caregiver – making stuff with kids!! Here’s one of the best things about Artisan Books – they’ve allowed Good Reads With Ronna to share the beautiful Bookworm Envelopes Project with you! Scroll down to find instructions then, after trying the craft, visit the Project Kid website at to get as excited as I am about the book.

I have a “craft closet” that has traveled around the world with me. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of you reading this have one, too. I’ve also got hundreds of buttons I’ve been saving since the sixties that have been used countless times in a myriad of ways. Maybe you’ve been hanging onto your favorite old fishnet tights, or perhaps you stockpile single socks whose mates were lost in the laundry long ago … whatever you keep on hand (toilet paper tubes, yarn, mesh produce bags), I am confident you’ll find a creative use for them with Kingloff’s inspiring and easy-to-use new craft book.

After the introduction inside Project Kid, you’ll find Kingloff’s provided helpful Getting Started spreads showing Essential Tools, Crafty Materials and Household Items, all sharply photographed and well-labeled. Parents will appreciate the safety note, too. The contents pages describe the seven main sections of the book which are called Animal Kingdom; Hold Everything; Home Sweet Home; Playtime; Ready To Wear; The Great Outdoors; and Abstract Expressions. Additionally Resources, Acknowledgments and a Project Index are included. Plus if the book isn’t hands-on enough already, there are six Art Lessons throughout the 270+ pages from pom-pom making to fabric dyeing.

Alexandra Grablewski’s photographs in Project Kid are excellent and give such a good idea of exactly what each craft is and its size. Here’s a sampling of some of my personal faves: Needlepoint Flyswatter on pg. 52; Dolly’s Oven-Mitt Sleeping Bag on pg. 150; and Bedazzled Branches on pg. 224. I hope you’ll consider Project Kid: 100 Ingenious Crafts for Family Fun your new go-to activity book and wish you months of crafting pleasure with your family!  Now, don’t wait another minute. Pull your kids off the couch, put away any electronics and go get crafty with ’em!


Since this is a book review blog, what better project to share with you all than one involving old book jackets? I can’t tell you how many times my daughter removed the book jackets from her books only to eventually donate the books without said covers. What happened? I became the proud owner of dozens of abandoned book covers I couldn’t bear to throw out. With this clever project you can breathe new life into those old book jackets and bring joy to their recipients.

Credit: “Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.”

69_Bookworm Envelopes.jpg
Credit: “Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.”

Bookworm Envelopes from PROJECT KID!

What you’ll need


Dust jackets

Pen or pencil


Glue stick

Ruler or bone folder (optional)

1. Carefully pull apart the seams of an envelope.

2. Trace the flattened envelope onto a dust jacket and cut it out. Make sure to position the template over your desired section of the jacket.

3. Fold your new dust-jacket envelope to match the original envelope template and glue the overlapping edges together, leaving one flap open. (You can use a ruler or a bone folder to create good flat creases for your envelopes.)

4. Use a glue stick to seal the envelope for mailing.


Use these envelopes to hold receipts, photos, memorabilia, or a note from a BFF on a bulletin board—or use one to mail grandparents a thank-you note for all the birthday books they’ve sent.

68_Bookworm Envelopes.jpg
Credit: “Excerpted from Project Kid by Amanda Kingloff (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2014. Photographs by Alexandra Grablewski.”


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Girls Get Stitching! & Fabric Paper Thread: 26 Projects to Stitch with Friends

FSS_logo_lgToday Mary Brown reviews Girls Get Stitching! by Shirley McLauchlan & Fabric Paper Thread: 26 Projects to Stitch with Friends by Kristen Sutcliffe.

The recent surge in DIY crafts can be seen in the number of bright, attractive books that are available to aspiring crafters who want to explore new, creative endeavors. Young people (okay, girls) are encouraged to learn the basics of sewing, embroidery and related crafts – that maybe skipped their moms’ generation. We’re looking at two of these books today, both of which seek to teach tween girls how to do basic embroidery and hand sewing. They each have their own charms.

Fabric Paper Thread: 26 Projects to Stitch With Friends by Kristen Sutcliffe, C&T Publishing.

BE CHIC & UNIQUE! Fabric Paper Thread: 26 Projects to Stitch with Friends (C&T Publishing, $21.95, Ages 10-13) by Kristen Sutcliffe provides instruction for the basic skills needed to complete the fun projects that are featured. The emphasis is on hand-embroidery and hand-stitching, with some felting, leather, and glue gun action. No machine sewing is included. This book’s best attribute is its modern, spare aesthetic. It’s clear that Ms. Sutcliffe loves the look of the Anthropologie store chain; think of this book as the tween-craft harbinger of Anthropologie taste. The designs feature dainty graphics in a hipster palette. There is little variety amongst the images; if you go for the general look, you’ll like the book. If this isn’t your style, try a different C&T book. The introductory material does a good job of presenting the materials and skills that will be needed to create the projects.  The basic five embroidery stitches are fully explained in both picture and text. However, not all aspects of the projects are fully taught, and the kid creator might well get confused. For instance, the ‘Easy Wrapped Bracelet’ tells you to use needle-nose pliers to crimp the clasping hardware, but there are no illustrations or even detailed instructions to help the crafter execute the task. Depending on the age of the crafter, this might present a challenging obstacle, especially as the items in question require real manual dexterity. Some of the projects lack appeal for the target age group. The ‘Arrows Wallhanging’ is a head-scratcher – neither the task nor the finished product are tempting, and good luck finding that driftwood. There is a slight disconnect in the book, between the age and experience required to make the crafts, and the appeal of the end results for a tween girl.

Girls Get Stitching! by Shirley McLauchlan, C&T Publishing.

GO FROM DRAB TO FAB! Girls Get Stitching! (C&T Publishing, $21.95, Ages 10 and up) by Shirley McLauchlan does a better job of wrangling the interests of the tween craftgirl. Like the previous book, this one fully describes the basic skills and materials needed to start out. However, the emphasis in this book is on cute embroidery designs to embellish items the crafter already owns. T-shirts are enhanced with a darling graphic of a fawn, utilizing both embroidery and simple applique. The design is modern and pleasing, and the tween can use a shirt she already owns. The same is true for many of the other projects in the book, like embellishing an existing pillow, hat or apron. There is also more variety amongst the graphics, along with encouragement to use one’s own imagination in creating the designs. While the aesthetic of Fabric Paper Thread is attractively hip, the actual instructional information of Girls Get Stitching! is more appropriate to the targeted reader. The projects are more doable, both in terms of difficulty and availability of materials. Fabric Paper Thread might be good for a self-starting tween girl who already has some crafting under her homemade belt. Girls Get Stitching! is a better choice for the tween just starting out in the crafting world. This book and a little packet of needles and embroidery floss would make an awesome springtime gift, as well as a worthwhile summer activity.

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