The Artful Bride: Wedding Invitations

By Laura McFadden and April L. Paffrath 80 pages. Retails $12.99. Quarry Books, imprint of Rockport Publishers.

This was one of the books that I could find on making wedding invitations. The wedding invitations and stationery featured are wonderfully diverse and range from those fitting for an Asian-inspired wedding to destination weddings, to a country affair. The end results are professional-looking with an artsy feel. I imagine seeing several of the pieces in InStyle Weddings, The Knot, or Martha Stewart Weddings. The 24 projects are divided into elegant invitations; concept invitations; and announcements, save the date cares, shower invitations. The introductions for each project and short pieces on elements of an invitation make for interesting reads. Large photos illustrate what each card would look like. The instructions are easy to follow, supplemented by templates at the end of the book. The projects come with a variation idea, tips, or both.

Examples of my favorite projects include:

  • A fold-out card featuring a heart made with two red overlapping thumbprints
  • A sunprint lacy delight invitation made with paper doilies and pressed flowers
  • An petal fold card held together with an Asian frog and decorated with Japanese papers
  • A tropical invitation sent in a bottle and decorated with shells
  • A magnetic couple poetry kit
  • A champagne bottle label
  • A magnetic save the date card for the refrigerator
  • My favorite! – A destination card made with a hangtag and a country map of the wedding locale

The Artful Bride: Simple Handmade Wedding Projects

By April L. Paffrath and Laura McFadden 80 pages. Retails $22.00. Rockport Publishers.

This was the book that launched the Artful Bride series. The cover picture sums up the creativity and stylishness of this book. It’s a picture of a red flowered triple tier wedding cake that upon closer examination, is made of cardboard and actually a cardbox for the wedding! The 30 projects are varied in style and type and are divided into correspondence; gifts and goodies; ceremony details; and reception and d├ęcor. Although most of the projects are stylish, some of the projects are more fun and cheesy, such as the windup monkey name cards. Each project comes with large picture illustrations, with the more complicated ones accompanied by several photos and excellent instructions. Beginners can easily make many of the projects. There are also two articles providing tips on budgeting time and crafty ways of finding help.

Examples of my favorite projects include:

  • Eco-Invite – enclosing a small green leaf
  • Origami announcement
  • A picture frame decorated with glass pebbles magnifying words and flower pictures
  • Beaded ring, necklace, and bracelet
  • A guest survival kit for the hotel room
  • Retro ball-bearing toy
  • Flower shoe decorations
  • Candles wrapped with pictures of the bride and groom
  • Japanese style photo album with ribbon binding


Belle Armoire Jewelry Volume 2

Published by Stampinton & Company.
After having read the first issue of Belle Armoire Jewelry, I couldn't wait for the second issue. It does not disappoint. The 144 pages features no less than 38 unique and beautifully photographed jewelry projects. Techniques and materials used include textiles, glass slides, polymer clay, crochet, wood tiles, mica and PMC, just to mention a few!

The projects do require some familiarity with jewelry arts and not all of the projects have detailed instructions.

My favorite projects include:

  • A complex bracelet by Pat Bolgar using polymer, PMC, and fringe that looks like brilliantly colored sea urchins clustered on twiggy beeded branches.
  • A lavish free-form peyote stitch flower necklace by Myra Wood.
    An artsy vine jewelry set (necklace, bracelet, brooch) by Lilla Le Vine using textile piece, gold ribbon, silkk covered cord, glass beads.
  • A flip-opennable storybook pendant by Louise Duhamel using PMC for the bookcovers and mica for the pages.
  • Hip sixties-looking mosaic pendants by Sarah e. Smith using glass slides and solder
  • Two projects by Deryn Mentock - a wire and mica necklace using collage, and colorful collage doll pins using found objects.

Somerset Studio March/April ‘07 Issue: Women in Literature

Published by Stampington & Company.
This is one of my favorite magazine for paper arts. Published six times a year, the magazine is jampacked with inspirational ideas provided by contributors and readers on paper crafts using stamping, lettering, and a variety of other techniques. All the projects have a folkart-ish and romantic feel to them. I also use it as a source for identifying suppliers. I picked up the March/April ’07 issue because of 3 articles.

The essay by Michele Heather Pollock (pg 26) describes her paper quilt art which “features abstract human images and hand-embroidered poetry.” Inspired by the sculptures of Gustav Vigeland in Norway, her art is a merger of paper, textile and poetry using the tracings of the photos that she took of the sculptures.

In the Melange section of the magazine – “a lively romp through journals, zines, and art adventures” – the article by Pam Garrison (pg 52) tells of the creation of her blog and served as an inspiration for me to plunge in and start my own blog.

Jar Scenes (pg 78) which features clear jars of all shapes and sizes serving as vessels of paper art works. It’s sculpture meets 2-D paper arts.


The Artful Bride: Wedding Favors & Decorations

By April L. Paffrath, Paula Grasdal and Livia McRee. 79 pages. Retails $12.99. Quarry Books, imprint of Rockport Publishers.

This book stood out on the bookstore shelf when I was looking for favor inspirations for my own wedding. The style of the favors is like the type that you would find in InStyle Weddings or The Knot. They are colorful, fun, and unusual and would work well for bridal showers and bridesmaids luncheons. There are 14 different favor projects, all with large photo illustrations and examples of variations that can be created using the same techniques. The favors will also be fun to make by a group at a party.

Examples of my favorite projects include:
  • Heart-shaped chocolate lollipops
  • Henna party kits
  • Bonsai starter kits in a box
  • Sleep masks decorated with loose silk flower petals and ribbons
  • A wishing tree message center for guests to hang love messages

Adorn Magazine Summer '07 Issue

I just picked up a copy of the latest issue. There is a great article for DIY brides. It has good tips for for brides who are thinking about personalizing various elements of the wedding such as invitations and favors by making those themselves. It has several good examples of handmade wedding components. It also has a good sidebar of advice for what not to take on and the tradeoffs that are made between time and personalization.

Instant Gratification Cards by Sterbenz and Sterbenz

By Carol Endler Sterbenz and Genevieve A. Sterbenz. 108 pages. Retail $15.94. Chronicle Books.

This is the type of craft book that I would buy for a friend who is a non-crafter or beginning crafter. The 36 sophisticated-looking card projects are simple and require few tools that one can find around the house such as scissor, x-acto knife, pen, torn newspapers and ribbons. Each project has a full page photo followed by a full page set of instructions. The book is divided into project chapters titled Birthday, Love, Home and Hearth, Work and Travel, Holiday, and General. The last chapter, Envelops, provides instructions for creating gatefold, square, and standard envelops. Beautifully illustrated with photographs that are softly filtered with light, and well-laid out instruction pages, it also makes for a great coffee table book.

Examples of my favorite projects include:
  • A card with words amplified by flat-bottomed glass gems
  • A prettily decorated matchbox with a love note inside
  • A card that doubles as a scented lavender sachet
  • A holiday card that can double as lantern when slipped over a votive candle
  • A coupon gift book created using a sewing machine