Summer Reads

If you submitted ATCs for the blog swap in May, I’ll be sending mine to you in mid-July. So sorry it’s taken me a couple of months, but we’ve had a rather intense publishing schedule for both May and June. I also might have missed some people for the Grant of Rights forms, and I’ll send those along in early July.

I’m about to embark on a rare break from All Things Publishing to go hiking in Arizona for a week (there’s nothing like two straight months of constant rain that will have you hightailing it to the desert at summer’s zenith to dry out.) I’ll be sure to bring along my sketchbook and watercolor pencils, but will also be bringing a few poolside reads. For fiction, I’ll be reading Adriana Trigiani’s Rococo, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, and since I’m the last of our species to read it, The Time Traveler’s Wife. I thought now would be a good time to mention some good art and craft reads.

Recent Favorites This Summer

Making Family Journals: Projects and Ideas for Sharing and Recording Memories Together by Linda Blinn

Linda’s one of those rare souls who is both an exceptional writer and artist, and both of her talents coalesce beautifully in this wonderful book on family journaling. There’s a full review in the latest Cloth Paper Scissors if you want specifics, but in short, let me say that if you have kids and want to keep them from tugging your shorts and whining summer’s famous phrase, “Mom, I have nothing to do!”… this book will help keep them quiet in industry. And there’s plenty of intricate, beautiful art ideas to keep adults happy, too. Even though I don’t have kids (none of the humankind, anyway) I love the innovative and whimsical projects and concepts presented. I have three canine and two feline children and I’m determined to create a mixed-media diary using Jenn Mason’s house book on page 72 to celebrate our multi-species family.

Puzzle Quilts: Simple Blocks, Complex Fabrics by Paula Nadelstern

I sent many of my art quilting friends into a state of apoplexy when they learned I actually made a quilt without adding a single bead or embellishment to it. In January C & T sent me an advanced copy of Paula’s book and I was immediately seduced by the idea of closely examining patterns in fabrics to create a contemporary quilt sans embellishment. This is a terrific book if you’re like me, and you don’t do a lot of traditional or patchwork quilting––but want to be successful at it. Trust me. The sewing isn’t that difficult and the different pattern and fabric combinations can really teach you to examine designs in textiles more closely.  Below is a puzzle quilt I just finished for a dear friend. (I’m so shocked I actually completed something.)


Mixed-Media Explorations: Blending Paper, Fabric, and Embellishment to Create Inspired Designs by Beryl Taylor

I admit it: This is blatant plugging for a book we just published, but the truth is, I love this book. I’ve learned so much from Beryl about design and mixed media and there are lots of experiments and techniques (check out chapter two) to help expand your repertoire.

These are just few of my recent favorites but I have hoards of other books I keep on my keeper shelf for design, paper arts, fiber arts, mixed media, creative embroidery, and fiction—if you’d like, just tell me what you’re interested in and I’ll give you my input. (And I’d love to hear yours.)

If you’re still with me, I’ll spill the insider scoop that the 2008 Quilting Arts Calendar contest will invite quilters to visually interpret a favorite fictional read with needle, thread, and embellishment. So until we reveal the details in the next issue, now’s the perfect time to hit the beach and re-read a cherished novel.

Happy reading!