I just noticed that you can still ship items 2nd day air from Amazon until 3pm PST today (that means you have practically all day to dawdle, east coasters!) and overnight until 3pm PST tomorrow, so I thought I’d post up a couple of craft books that crossed my desk recently that could make a fun gift for the crafter in your life. Now that it’s too late to make any but the quickest knits in time for Christmas, a good craft book is always a luxury that someone might not indulge in unless it’s under the tree on Thursday.
pumpkinsandgourds.jpg
Decorating Pumpkins and Gourds by Deborah Schneebeli-Morrell
This is a gorgeous and creative little book, chock-full of great things to do with gourds. If you’re like me, you still have a few sitting around from Halloween and Thanksgiving, and now you can transform them into decorations for Christmas or New Year’s Eve (although frankly, many of the ideas would be beautiful to have around the house year round). The author explains how to choose a gourd, demonstrates a bunch of carving techniques, and then has a plethora of great projects, from turning a Little Gem pumpkin into a tea light holder to packing a carved Kabocha squash full of fairy lights. My favorites are her Pierced Gourd Lanterns, which look like porcelain, and the pale green Bengali gourd lamps (both can be seen inset in the cover image). They can be cured and reused year after year. I had no idea what I’d been missing when I just assumed pumpkins were for All Hallows Eve!

lyeinwait.jpgheavenpreserveus.jpg
Lye in Wait and Heaven Preserve Us but Cricket McRae
This pair of Home Crafting Mysteries would make a great present for the mystery-addicted crafter you know. I loved Lye in Wait (but haven’t read Heaven Preserve Us yet); it had been years since my Agatha Christie days, but I dove right in. It’s a light, quick read with fun characters and even a little romance thrown in for good measure. I’m not a soap maker myself, but Sophie Mae, the crafter who discovers a dead body in her workroom, makes soap for a living, so it was fun to learn about the process as she simultaneously unraveled the mystery.

crafternoon.jpg
Crafternoon by Maura Madden
This would be a fun gift to give to a bunch of people you want to lure into crafting and would like to spend more time with! While a touch too basic for people who are already pretty handy, it’s a nice guide to a wide range of how-to projects, like quilting, quilling, jewelry-making and knitting. I like that Madden includes recipes to make for group crafting sessions, too!
cushionsquiltsthrows.jpg
Cushions, Quilts & Throws by Lucinda Ganderton and Lucy Berridge
This book is full of eye candy and thoughts on creating, well, cushions, quilts and throws. Some are a little more involved, like making your own chunky mattress cushions, but others just involve simple techniques, like elegant cut-out flower motifs bonded onto white net with an iron or attaching flea-market costume jewelry to an already-existing pillow. The book covers a ton of decorative styles and techniques to recognize at the flea market, like broderie anglaise, but also teaches techniques like ladder hem stitch.