Wise Craft : Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects Into Stuff You Love
by Blair Stocker

Overview -

Wise Craft is a guide to the homemade life, turning old things into special new objects that enhance the home. Based on the popular blog of the same name, this guide focuses on creating a homemade atmosphere that reflects your family, without spending a fortune.  Read more...

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More About Wise Craft by Blair Stocker

Wise Craft is a guide to the homemade life, turning old things into special new objects that enhance the home. Based on the popular blog of the same name, this guide focuses on creating a homemade atmosphere that reflects your family, without spending a fortune. Instead of throwing away old shirts and boring dishes, or passing up thrift store finds that aren't quite right, author Blair Stocker teaches how to remake, adding special touches to make them work for her home--and yours . The book is divided into four seasonal chapters, with designs that reflect different holidays and the changing seasons, allowing you to update your home according to the weather outside. Many projects are portable or perfect to do during a family movie night, making the Wise Craft lifestyle an easy one to attain.

Sixty projects include May Day cones and recycled floral mirror frames--perfect for a teenager's room--plus throw pillow updates, a picnic blanket made from a pile of men's shirts, spooky Halloween dishes, advent calendars, and recycled gift jars. Beautiful photography and illustrations make each project a snap, no matter your crafting background.

  • ISBN-13: 9780762449699
  • ISBN-10: 0762449691
  • Publisher: Running Press Book Publishers
  • Publish Date: March 2014
  • Page Count: 184
  • Dimensions: 9 x 7.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.45 pounds

Related Categories

Books > Crafts & Hobbies > Mixed Media
Books > Crafts & Hobbies > Decorating
Books > Crafts & Hobbies > Seasonal

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-02-17
  • Reviewer: Staff

Stocker, a blogger who had a career in apparel and textile design before staying home to raise children, offers 60 projects in four seasonal chapters, with holiday nods going out from May Day (sheet music and paper bag floral cones) to Halloween (naked zombie Barbies, painted delightfully white). Most undertakings require only an open mind as a skill set, though a bit of sewing (patchwork jeans from thrift store shirts or the picnic blanket fashioned from men’s apparel) or crochet (glass fishing bobbers as casual décor or tree ornaments) skills will help. Even the most gifted repurposer should find inspiration in the woven chair back, crafted from yarn and a lucky side-of-the-road find (a set of mid-century modern dining chairs). “Sometimes,” says Stocker, “what seems blah at first glance just needs an open mind and a little love to be completely transformed.” A keeper for thrift-store divas and dumpster divers. (Mar.)

BookPage Reviews

Lifestyles: Craving a good cuppa?

Have you had a good cup of tea lately? What does “good” even mean? For Cassie Liversidge, good means that you grow, harvest and brew your own. The author of Homegrown Tea: An Illustrated Guide to Planting, Harvesting, and Blending Teas and Tisanes breaks the process down into doable steps, whether you’ve got a whole garden or just a windowsill. As the subtitle suggests, Liversidge makes the distinction between proper “tea”—from the tea plant, Camellia sinensis—and tisanes (infusions) made from other leaves, seeds, roots, flowers and fruits, but happily, the word “tea” is used generically throughout. Readers get the basics for nearly 50 plants (including the tea bush), which include how to grow and harvest, store, blend and prepare. Many—like rosemary, lavender, thyme and mints—are already garden staples. My own favorite, lemon balm, is particularly easy to grow. Medicinal benefits are listed, but any homegrown pot of tea cannot help but be healing, all the more so because when we grow our own, we can opt out of pesticide contamination, which is good for us and good for the planet.

Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love, by Blair Stocker, features 60 DIY projects organized by the four seasons, a fitting strategy for a book meant to give us the power to “decorate and freshen” our homes. After all, what’s fresh in February might well be stale by November. Power comes in the form of creative tweaking, of being able to change what does not quite suit us—whether it’s a dish, mirror, sweater, frame or just about any old thing, even if you just brought it home from a yard sale. Each season begins with a thumbnail grid of the 15 beautifully photographed projects featured, giving us an at-a-glance pinboard of ideas. Carve a print tablecloth into pillow sheaths; cover a river rock with leather; write on china; craft a necklace from beach glass; or transform a juice glass into a specimen display. The important thing is to make a few things to ignite our innate creativity so that we become ripe for inspiration’s urgings.

The best part about Handmade for the Garden is that the projects are not only attractive, but also constructed from stuff we already own. Author Susan Guagliumi up-­cycles preowned possessions into prepossessing and utterly useful tools, such as a garden hose hider made of coiled, leaky soaker hoses and a bracket from a trowel. An old window screen is trimmed into a soil sieve; random sticks become tuteurs (towers) and tripods—both plant supports—while bottle caps and broken crockery tessellate as mosaic surprises underfoot. Even the moss-covered hypertufa fairy house is useful apart from its own whimsy: If the fairies snub it as real estate, a toad or other lover of secretive shade might just move right in.

Of the 75 projects, two of the most humble are my favorites. They set the DIY bar low enough to admit all, and they guarantee success: folded newspaper pots and plant markers. Who has enough seedling pots and plant markers? I even run out of popsicle sticks for the latter, but these shards, tiles and bits of metal are far nicer, and they’ll make me feel like a DIY genius.


This article was originally published in the May 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

BAM Customer Reviews