book tour

I am so pleased and excited and proud to be part of Jennifer Casa’s blog tour for her new book Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crafting with Kids published by Wiley. I have worked with Jennifer on a few projects, and followed her blog for a few years and know what a beautiful crafter and lovely person and creative mother she is – and am very proud to know her. So onto the book.

There are so many good things about this book – Crafting with Kids is for smaller children, pre-school age I think it is aimed at. And gives parents lots of ideas for weekend activities they can do with their kids. I also have to say that it is a big book, lots of projects, within lots of different themes. And the projects themselves are clearly laid out (as you can see by the page excerpts below), with photos and explanations of materials required and steps to take. Older kids could use this book to tackle these projects on their own too.

The chapter on ‘Spring cleaning’ is all about making home decor projects from recycled materials (sun-catchers and patchwork lanterns); ‘Summer vacation’ – outdoor play and enjoying nature (Garden gnome and wind chimes); ‘Back to school’ – hands on play and planning the year ahead – educational projects (memory game and alphabet toss); ‘Winter wonderland’ – games to brighten up wintry days (snowflakes and birdseed garland); ‘Happy holidays’ – celebrate special occasions (Glow in the dark ghost wreath and felted wool valentines); ‘Thanks bunches’ – ways to thank friends and family (wild flower gift garden and vegetable wrapping paper); ‘Lets party’ – organising a handmade kids party with party favours and games (party pencil favors and no trouble bubbles); and ‘Game time’ – family games to make and play using materials you already have (peg pals and scavenger hunt).

Whoo! as you can see there is a lot in this book – with 5-20 projects per chapter, this book will keep you and your little family entertained all year – no worries about being bored on weekends or without inspiration come party time!

Follow along on the tour with chances to win a copy of the book

Yes there is a giveaway here too: Wiley and Jennifer Casa are offering a signed copy of Teach Yourself VISUALLY Crafting with Kids (Teach Yourself VISUALLY Consumer) to one reader! So leave a comment here telling us your crafting with kids biggest / funniest adventure. – 48 hours

Winner will be notified via email.

Tuesday, April 5 (release date)  –  JCasa *handmade
Wednesday, April 6  –  The Crafty Crow
Thursday, April 7  –  Sparkle Power
Monday, April 11  –  WhipUp
Wednesday, April 13  –  A Stitch in Dye
Friday, April 15  –  Smile and Wave
Monday, April 18  –  Elsie Marley
Wednesday, April 20  –  Maya*Made
Friday, April 22  –  Stitches in Play
Tuesday, April 26  –  Aesthetic Outburst
Thursday, April 28  –  Artsy Crafty Babe


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Welcome to author and knitwear designer Bruce Weinstein. The author of new men’s wear knitting book,knits men want, provides an insight into the male psyche with a series of irreverent essays and some lovely knitting patterns – giving women (and men) the secret to knitting garments that their men will actually love to wear.

Knits Men Want: The 10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man~ Plus the Only 10 Patterns She’ll Ever Need by Bruce Weinstein (Author), Jared Flood (Photographer). Published by STC Craft/A Melanie Falick Book (April 1, 2010).

Why men can’t tell their a** from their elbow. Ever notice that your man wears t-shirts inside out, puts on socks that don’t match, or wears jeans that should have been washed or even trashed weeks earlier? Learn why and what you can do about it.

If I had a dollar for every time my partner Mark wore a polo shirt inside out – even out to lunch with me and friends – I’d have enough to buy those 2 bags of Super Chunky Debbie Bliss Cashermino I’ve been dying to knit with. But he’s not the only one who’s oblivious. My friend Richard owns a knitting store with his wife Barbara and he’s always got a cabled scarf on backwards so you can’t see the cables. For my part, I wear jeans so long, that when I visit my mother for the holidays, I have to fight with her to keep from burning them in the fireplace – yes, I am nearly 50 years old, yes, I still have a mother, and yes, she still treats me like a child sometimes. But I can’t blame all this on age. Back in college, my roommates and I all kept our socks in a big jumble in a laundry basket and we each wore whichever 2 came out first. The only ones who seemed to notice, or care, were their girlfriends.

And is it any wonder? As children, we were given GRRRRR-Animals to wear, matching clothes by animal tags instead of being taught what colors go together. But there is help. And it’s not sewing pictures of Kangaroos on men’s pants and shirts into their middle age. It’s called knitting smarter for men. Using reversible cables and keeping their socks in all the same color palette so we can still knit for them and men can still be, well, men.

Find out more about this terrific knitting book and how to win yourself a copy over here. And follow the rest of the blog tour here.

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Today I welcome Diane Gilleland on her blog tour for her new book Kanzashi in Bloom: 20 Simple Fold-and-Sew Projects to Wear and Give. For a treat today Diane introduces us to a master artisan of this Japanese traditional craft.

Meet a Master Kanzashi Artisan

I thought it might be fun to do something a bit different for my Kanzashi In Bloom Blog Tour stop here on Whipup. I’d like to introduce you to one of the few remaining master Kanzashi artisans in the world. Her name is Kuniko Kanawa.

Kuniko grew up in a family who were immersed in the art of Japanese Kimono. As an adult, she studied this traditional form of dress, and began making her own Kanzashi hair ornaments to complete her Kimono designs.

Kanzashi is something of a dying art in Japan – only a handful of acknowledged Kanzashi masters remain. Because Kuniko is so passionate about preserving traditional Japanese culture, she sought out one of these master artisans and convinced him to take her on as a pupil.

Today, Kuniko makes beautiful traditional Kanzashi under the name Atelier Kanawa. She creates accessories for Kimono, weddings, and dance events. She is now one of very few artisans carrying the Kanzashi tradition to new generations. And she has used the internet to help her spread the word about this beautiful art form.

Visit Kuniko’s YouTube channel to see her making Kanzashi using the traditional method. She also offers a lovely video showcasing her creations, and a series of videos about her Kimono work.

Kuniko has an Etsy shop for her creations, and you can learn more about her in this article on The Storque.

Kuniko graciously allowed me to share pictures of some of her Kanzashi in the first chapter of Kanzashi In Bloom. Her work exemplifies the delicacy and grace of the traditional form of this craft.

[Photos by Atelier Kanawa, used with permission]

[ps – to win a copy of this book please leave a comment telling your favourite traditional Japanese craft – that you have tried or are dying to try – comments open for 48 hours]

Comments now closed – the winner will be notified by email – thank you to everyone for entering

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We welcome Heather Ross as she continues her blog tour for her new book – Weekend Sewing: More Than 40 Projects and Ideas for Inspired Stitching.

Such a great book – I particularly loved the hand-drawn illustrations. I also enjoyed the quirky indulgence of including a couple of weekend luxury cooking recipes. The photography – as always with John Gruen, is spotless – perfect combination of character and interesting details, with the ability to actually see the project in full focus.

And as well as all that the projects are pretty good too. Glamorous frocks and picnic skirts, stay-at-home slippers and dinner party aprons. A market shopping bag and lounging around all day unisex pants.

Today though Heather is giving us a lesson in sewing a “set in” sleeve
Take it away Heather.

One of the most intimidating things about sewing blouses, jackets, and sleeved dresses is the tricky step of sewing a sleeve into place. One of the things that I really hoped to accomplish with Weekend Sewing was to encourage new sewers to try sewing clothing for themselves, so it was really important to me that the book include some great “beginner level” sleeves that didn’t frighten anyone away. The method described below is one of my favorite sewing tricks and appears in several projects in the book including the Summer Blouse and the Shirt Dress.

Happy Sewing!

1. Prepare your sleeve by first adding a row of “ease-stitching” to the edge of your shoulder. This should be basting stitch, and you should leave extra long pieces of thread hanging from the ends. Don’t backstitch, you want to be able to pull these threads a little together this edge in order to shape it and push it into place in your arm hole.


2. With right sides together, sew your sleeves edges together. Turn right side out.


3. Turn your blouse or shirt wrong side out. Side and shoulder seams should be sewn already, so that your armhole is complete. Place your sleeve inside your blouse, pushing the sleeves opening into place into your armhole. Match your blouses side seams with the seam in on the bottom edge of your sleeve, and pin. Continue pinning the sleeve and blouse together. Use your east stitches to shape and even gather (by pulling your long threads) your sleeve if necessary to make it fit perfectly into your armhole.

4. Beginning at your side seam, stitch carefully around your armhole. Turn blouse right side out and press.