Sweet, Sweet Sunday

Hobbies

st 26…Be Kind to Humankind Week

August 27……Just Because Day

August 28…

August 29…More Herbs, Less Salt Day

August 30…New Ideas

August 31…New Goals

  • 10. Enjoy a work of art…If you are tired of sitting in from of your computer hoping for inspiration to come, don’t waste your time. Go out and meet it on its way to your place. Visit an art gallery, go to the cinema or watch a new play in the theatre. You will enjoy spending time there and forget about your writing. New ideas will come as soon as you relax.

4. TravelThe moment you leave your country is the moment you realize the world is a giant book and you’ve only seen the first page.When you travel, you expand your horizons, become open-minded, see different and unusual things, feel in a way you’ve never felt before, see amazing places and world’s phenomena, meet interesting people and learn about their cultures.If that doesn’t inspire you to the fullest, I don’t know what will.
1. Look around and observe….There are plenty of things that may inspire you if you look carefully. Ask yourself “why” and “what” while looking at people and things, and you’ll discover the stories you were searching for.2. Listen to music and dance….Take a break and listen to music you enjoy. Music elicits a lot of emotions, helps to relax and definitely inspires. And f you are the active type who doesn’t like to lie on the sofa, you could listen to music and dance! Dancing, you won’t just relax, but also train your body while enjoying the whole process.

8. Listen to Musicmusic is the strongest form of magicToo often we have a speaker shoved in our ears whilst we go about our daily business. It’s rare that we take the time to indulge in the tones and the notes of the music. Music is a powerful trigger in the mind. Whenever we listen to a track from our childhood, the memories associated with the music return as if it all happened yesterday.Try to listen to different genres of music. Every type of track has something to offer you, even if you don’t really like what you’re listening to.It’s exactly why films constantly opt for music tracks throughout crucial scenes. This evokes additional feeling and somehow helps us to sympathise with the character on-screen.

2. MusicOne song can create so many emotions, memories and feelings. Choose songs that make you more energetic, ready to do something with your life and motivate you. That’s when music is used as a source of inspiration
1 Unique Craft Storage…One thing almost every crafter can use is more storage for all their supplies. Sure, you could just buy an organizer at a box store, but a gift becomes so much more meaningful when it is homemade and unique. This supply organizer is simple to make and extremely versatile. If your recipient is into painting, brush lettering or watercolors, gift them a pencil or brush bag. This DIY version, made with fabric scraps and a VELCRO® Brand closure, lets you personalize the fabric and color to match their personality—and use up any craft supplies you may have on hand!

2 DIY Class…No matter how advanced someone is at their craft, they can always learn more. In-person or online classes help crafters stretch their creative wings. Check with your local recreation department, community colleges, crafting groups, clubs and craft stores for classes in your area. If you’re searching for someone long distance, you can also look into online classes such as Craftsy, Udemy and Skillshare.hobby magazine subscription

3 Hobby Magazine Subscription…Even the most creative person needs inspiration every once in a while. Help them stay on the cutting edge by signing them up for a year’s subscription to a periodical in their field. They’ll be reminded of you every time your gift shows up in their mailbox!

4 Funny Mug or T-shirt…If your recipient has a sense of humor about their love of crafting, there are countless funny gift ideas that show just how much you understand them. You can find T-shirts and coffee mugs with unlimited quotes about almost any hobby on handmade sites. Buying personalized gifts directly from crafters on sites like Etsy helps you support local artisans, too.

5 Gift Card…What do you get for the crafter that has everything? There’s always the good old gift card! Allowing your recipient to splurge on something at her favorite craft store means that he or she will end up with the perfect gift Opt for a gift card to a specialty shop rather than a box craft store. These smaller shops often have a wider variety of specialty crafting supplies. You can find stores for everything from quilting, knitting and crocheting to scrapbooking and jewelry making. For the avid woodworkers or DIYers, a gift card to a hardware store or lumber yard can kickstart their next project.

6 Personalized Wall or Desk Art…If your crafty friend has her own logo, brand or blog, let them show it to the world with these DIY printed wood blocks. Of course, if they don’t have a logo, any cute phrase or photo relating to their craft would work, too.If wall art is more their style, consider a printable in a beautiful frame. There are unlimited numbers of free and commercially available printables online. You are sure to find one that can convey almost any message or style.

7 Charm Bracelet Charm…Let your gift recipient carry a tiny part of you with them whoever they go, by giving them a personalized or inspirational charm. Charms are available in a wide variety of designs and price ranges. You can find handmade versions on Etsy, or brand name versions such as Pandora, Pugster or Rembrandt.

8 Handmade Phone Case…Since nobody is ever far from their phone, tablet or laptop, you can give your gift recipient a way to protect them while still looking cute. Even the craftiest friend can appreciate a homemade padded phone case! Grab some VELCRO® Brand closures and craft an easy cloth pouch that can be used to stash everything from phones to business cards, office supplies or sunglasses.

9 Subscription Kit…Services like KiwiCrate, CrateJoy, DarbySmart and Makers Kit will deliver crafting supplies directly to your favorite crafter’s doorstep every month. There are even specialty kit services for hobbies like scrapbooking, calligraphy and fiber arts.

10 Sketchbooks or Journal…The mind of a creative person is always running, and inspiration can come when they are least expecting it. Help them capture fleeting ideas with a beautiful sketchbook or journal paired with a nice pen set, high quality colored pencils or sketch pens.

A great gift doesn’t have to be expensive or difficult to make. The best gifts come from the heart and show that you understand someone’s passion and what they love. By encouraging a crafter’s creative side, you show them how much you care and how you love them for who they are.
It seems that many beginner sewers aspire to sew a quilt. A lovely, well made quilt has an heirloom quality to it – something to be treasured and past down. Yet despite these aspirations, it seems many sewers (both beginner and even those with more experience and skill) are daunted by the prospect.

1) Start small – this is the beauty of quilting – your project can be as little or as big as you want it to be. If even a cot quilt seems to big, perhaps start with a dolls quilt, patchwork cushion cover or something similar. This will help get your confidence up.

2) Start with a simple design – straight lines and squares (more on this soon.)

The basics:

a) Materials required

quilting needs2K+

Pins for the piecing stage

Basting / safety pins

Rotary cutter

Thread

Sewing scissors

Seam ripper

Quilting ruler

Self healing mat

Fabric pencil / marker

I will explain the use of some of these further, later in this post.

The one thing that I left off accidently is my

quilting pencil – a very helpful tool that I use to draw my

quilting lines on during the

‘quilting stage.’ This pencil’s markings wash off.

And of course you need batting and bias binding too.

b)

Quilting demystified – jargon and the stages.

A standard/traditional

quilt is essentially made up of three components:

1) The ‘quilt top’ – The design on the top made up of lots of quilt blocks in rows and often surrounded by a border.

2) The ‘batting’ – The wadding the middle that gives the quilt it’s substance. You’re local sewing/ quilting shop should stock various different types of batting. The more expensive ones will most likely be made of natural fibres – cotton, wool, or bamboo, whereas the polyester or poly-cotton blends should be cheaper. They also vary in thicknesses.

3) The ‘backing fabric’ – This is essentially the bottom of the sandwich (with the quilt top being the other piece of bread and the batting being the filling). It is worth checking the width of your selected fabric (compared to the width of your quilt) before buying it, to see if you will need to join two pieces together. For most larger quilts you will need to do this, but for smaller ones this may be able to be avoided.

In my view there are essentially four stages to making a quilt:

1) Preparation – selecting a design and fabric, washing fabric.

2) Making the quilt top – cutting and ‘piecing’ (sewing) together the blocks.

3)Quilting – sandwiching the batting in the middle of the

quilt top and backing fabric and sewing them together. (You can choose to do this yourself or get it professionally done.)

4) Binding – sewing the binding on to make the edges all finished and nice and neat.

1) PreparationGet a quilt design you like. You can either find these online (ask Mr google or Pinterest.) Or design your own. Either way as a beginner quilter you probably want to be going for something simple with mainly squares and rectangles. In my opinion simple is often better and more effective anyway.In the world of quilting everything is pretty much done using inches, and most quilt blocks are built on a (finished) 6 inch square.I use 1/4 inch seam allowances, so if I want a finished 6 inch square I will cut it 6 1/2 inches square (to allow for the 2 x 1/4 inch seam allowances on each side.)Once you’ve finalised your quilt design, you need to select your fabric. Most fabric stores will have a selection of pre-packaged co-coordinating fabrics for quilters. Or you can choose to pick the fabrics yourself.When selecting your own fabric, one helpful tip I’ve found is that on the selvedge of the fabric you often find something like this above, which shows the colour tones used in the fabric. Once you have selected your feature fabric you can take this into the fabric shop and match coordinating with it.If you have one or two pretty busy fabrics, then perhaps consider getting something with a simpler design.

2) Making the quilt top…This is the most time consuming stage of your project and often the cutting process can feel the most tedious. Cutting accurately very is important so that all your corners match up crisply. This is why we use a rotary/ roller cutter.I fold up my fabric so can cut through a few layers at one and then line up a corner of this fabric with the markings on your self healing mat, to give a right angle. (You may need to neaten the raw edge of the fabric first, if it is not already cut in a straight line.)Then you line up your quilting ruler to give the size you need to cut. Before you cut check that the ruler is lined up properly both at the top and bottom.You basically keep making your blocks and join them together with other blocks until you have a full row. Then make another, join the two rows together and you so on and so forth …

ironing

pinning….pay special attention to meeting up vital corners and junctions and make sure that I pin at these points.

Once you have finished all your rows, add any borders that you require to give the desired size (I usually google or measure old quilts/duvets to get the size I want.)

3) Quilting…Before you can begin quilting you first need to ‘sandwich’ your batting in between your quilt top and backing fabric. I find it easiest to do this on a large clean bit of floor. (It also pays to remove curious babies and pets at this point!)

First lay down your pre-washed and pressed backing fabric with the wrong side up on the floor (remember you may have had to join a couple of pieces together to get the right size.) Ensure that this is very smooth. Then place your batting on top, followed by your

quilt top, right side up. smooth all layers out. The backing fabric and and batting should be bigger than the quilt top. You can trim around the edges later.Once you have it how you like it start pinning through all layers of the quilt with safety pins. These serve to hold all layers of the quilt together until it is quilted. As this is a very important job I say the more pins the merrier!Once you have all your pins in you can now trim the batting and backing fabric down to size. in line with the quilt top.Then draw your quilting design with a quilting pencil and ruler.

quilt on the diagonal through squares and find it easy to keep this straight.

you shouldn’t have more than a hand’s gap between any two lines of quilting so that your quilt holds together really well

it is good to quilt a large bit in the centre to really ‘anchor’ your quilt to start with.

Obviously remove your safety pins as you go.

Use a long stitch and take it slow to avoid puckering (and unpick if necessary!)

If your making a large

quilt it can be tricky at times dealing with so much fabric, but persevere, it’s worth it!

Some people choose to get their quilts professionally quilted, obviously there is a cost to this but the results are amazing and can save you a bit of work (and possibly stress) – so this always is another option.

4) BindingHold on, you’re on the home stretch!

Some people choose to make their own bias binding – and if you wish to do so there is a really good tutorial here.

I personally am a bit lazy and prefer to buy nice wide binding from my local fabric store.

There are few different options when it comes to sewing on your binding.

I personally like to follow this but finish the back by hand sewing using a blind stitch.

I would also recommend this tutorial if want to use rounded corners instead.

The Good Life, Delivered: Our Favorite Home & Garden Subscription Boxes

by Brittney Morgan, apartmenttherapy.com

February 6, 2017

The products of a Knit-Wise coaster kit, $30Knit-Wise

There’s something to the whole “retail therapy” idea, but sometimes the best way to treat yourself is with a surprise monthly gift, and now there’s a subscription box service to do just that—for just about everything you could possibly need or want. From cleaning and gardening to DIY-ing and decorating, here are 16 subscription boxes that will always make your month.

BloomsyBox…BloomsyBox is a flower of the month club that sends subscribers a hand-picked variety bouquet every month. It’s all the perks of having fresh, unique and beautiful flowers in your home all the time, without the hassle of going to the store and picking them out yourself.Cost: There are 3 subscription options available—the S for $39.99 per month, M for $43.99 per month, and L for $48.99 per month.P.S. Want more flower delivery options? We picked our favorites.

The Incense Box…For essential oils or incense (or both!) delivered straight to your front door, The Incense Box has you covered. Each box also comes with a month-long meditation challenge and a mandala coloring exercise.Cost: $14.99 per month for the Incense Only package, $15.99 per month for the Just Oils package, $19.99 per month for the Incense Surprise box, and $25.99 per month for the Incense + Essential Oils box.

Wordy LoveWordy LovIf you need art for your home and enjoy inspiring quotes and stylish fonts, Wordy Love is a service that sends subscribers a new canvas print each month (along with a metal clip to hang them on your first month)—all for not much more than you’d pay for Netflix.Cost: $10 per month for a 16×22 print, or $12 per month for a 20×28 print.

Art CrateBare walls got you down? You can leave it up to Art Crate to curate the art in your home for you—just pick your budget and fill out the service’s style quiz to get started. You can preview the art chosen for you and pick your favorite, or let the curator decide, and you’ll get a new print each month.Cost: $39 per month for small (8×10 or 10×10) prints plus an additional optional $40 per month for framing, $49 for medium (11×14 or 12×18) prints plus $50 for framing—again, optional—or $69 per month for large (16×20 or 18×24) prints plus an optional $80 per month for framing.

Jade CanopyJade Canopy is a great subscription box option for the garden-obsessed. Each box comes with different gardening supplies and seeds to grow produce and flowers—past boxes have included broccoli, sunflowers, garden soap and more.Cost: $35 month-to-month, or you can pre-pay for 3 months for $95 (or 6 months for $190).

The Desert BoxThe Desert BoIf you’re more into succulents than gardening and fresh flowers, The Desert Box might be the perfect subscription box for you—the service delivers cute little succulents in hand-made planters for you on a monthly or quarterly basis. And a nice green bonus: Every planter and all the packaging materials are made from recycled goods.Cost: $19.95 for the monthly Uno box ($21.95 quarterly) or $26.95 for the monthly Dos box ($28.95 quarterly).Nelle Clark Photography / Plowbox

PlowBoxPlowBox is another must-try subscription service for plant lovers to make gardening more convenient. You can choose from one of two subscriptions: PlowBox, which delivers 4 boxes per year (1 per season) of 100-percent organic non-GMO garden seeds, tips and other unique items; or PlowBox Green, which is a monthly box of microgreens to grow indoors.Cost: PlowBox ranges from $45-$150, and PlowBox Green ranges from $14.95-$135, depending on how many months you want to purchase in advance.

Anchor of HopeWant your decor to be as charitable as it is unique and stylish? Anchor of Hope is a subscription box service that gives back. Each item is handmade by survivors of human trafficking, refugees and others in vulnerable situations who live in the United States, and the service aims to empower them. The money you pay for each box goes directly to the artisans, and boxes come with items like ceramics, soaps, spices, home goods and jewelryCost: $34 per month.

NorseBoNorseBoxNorseBox is a subscription service for all things Nordic design. Each box (you’ll get 4 per year, so one each season) comes with 1 to 5 unique items valued at $85-$100. The service works with multiple brands, including Muuto, Darling Clementine, Stelton, FERM Living, Royal Copenhagen, and more.Cost: Subscriptions start at $54.95 plus shipping.

Home Made LuxeIf you prefer a DIY approach to decorating your home, Home Made Luxe has you covered. Each month you’ll get a new project delivered to your door—they come with written and video instructions, so you’ll know exactly how to make them. You can also purchase one-time projects if you’d rather not keep up a monthly subscription, but want something stylish to work on.

Knit-WisKnit-WiseWhether you’re just getting into knitting for the first time or you’re a long-time knitter, Knit-Wise is a fun subscription box that will send you new projects like coasters, wall hangings and more to work on each month (complete with yarn, needles, step-by-step instructions and anything else you might need).Cost: You have to select whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate/advanced knitter, but the prices are the same regardless—a month-to-month subscription costs $29, or you can pre-pay to get a 3-month or 6-month subscription for $79 and $149, respectively.Cost: $29.99 month-to-month, or $83.97 to prepay for 3 months ($155.95 for 6 months).

Squix QboxThe Qbox from Squix is all about cleaning and fighting germs. Every product (organic or not) is antibacterial, and you get 3 full-sized products and free gifts in each box. You can also subscribe monthly or bi-monthly and pause your subscription at any time. The service works with brands like Seventh Generation and Eat Cleaner.Cost: $14.98 per month, and you can get a free trial which features 1 full-size product and 2 free samples if you pay $2.95 shipping.

Quilters Candy BoxLove to quilt? With Quilters Candy Box, you’ll get new quilting supplies every month—think various fabrics and other necessities—along with other surprise goodies like chocolate, candies, mugs, tote bags, and moreCost: $42.95 every month.

WickboxWickboxTo keep your home smelling lovely without ever having to step foot in a store, you can sign up for Wickbox, a luxury candle subscription. Each box comes with either a medium or large candle in a seasonal, trendy container along with a dust bag to protect it—and you’ll get a different brand each month.Cost: $29.95 month-to-month for the medium candle box ($28.95 per month if you pre-pay for 3 months, or $27.95 if you pre-pay for 6 months), and $39.95 ($38.95 per month if you pre-pay for 3 months, or $37.95 for 6 months).

Estate Crate…Estate Crate is a great option for people who love shopping for vintage items but don’t have a lot of time—the service delivers a new box of hand-picked vintage and antique decor items and accessories each month. Every box includes different items, so each month you’ll get a new package of mystery treasures from the past.Cost: $54 month-to-month.

Grove CollaborativeGrove Collaborative is the box for you if you’re in need of sustainable and natural cleaning products for your home and for yourself (everything from non-toxic laundry detergent to good-for-your-skin argan oil). Each box is custom-curated, but you can edit your basket before it’s delivered if you want specific products or don’t like something that’s been chosen for you.Cost: You can get an annual VIP membership for $39.95.

http://www.agirlandagluegun.com/2017/02/50-craft-rooms.html

http://www.agirlandagluegun.com/2017/02/50-craft-rooms.html

When it comes to quilting, one thing’s for certain: Good tools make for stunning stitches, and an even more beautiful finished product! And that’s especially true if you’re dedicating time to our Block of the Month. From refreshing your thread and cleaning your iron to selecting a new rotary cutting blade, start with these tips and tricks for ensuring your tools are in tip-top condition.

1. Clean your sewing machineThe nicer you are to your sewing machine the better it will behave. This goes for the fabric you use, the thread you sew with and, of course, how often you clean it out. Sneak a peek at the dos and don’ts for giving your own machine a good cleaning before stitching your Blazing Star quilt!

2. Check your threadTime is not always kind to thread. Believe it or not, light, humidity and dust can all take their toll on the strength of your thread. Read on to determine if your stash can still be stitched, or if you should splurge for a new spool.Read On

3. Clean your iron…Dust, dirt, detergents, spray starch and melted fabric fibers can do damage to your iron’s soleplate. Even worse, when your iron is dirty, the grime drags across fabrics, creating stains or marks on your heirloom quilt. The good news? Learning how to clean an iron is easy.Read On

4. Make your own fabric starchStarch or pressing spray is essential for maintaining crisp, straight seams and accurate piecing for each month’s block. If you’re out, you can make your own at home in a pinch! This quick recipe uses natural ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen.Read On

5. Sharpen your bladeDull blades can lead to messes and mis-cuts! Hit refresh and pick up a replacement before cutting the Blazing Star pieces. Did we mention these Olfa Refill blades are Craftsy best sellers?Once your supplies are in good shape, join us in the FREE 2017 Block of the Month class and learn to make the beautiful Blazing Star quilt.

Top 10 Must Have Craft Supplies to Keep on HandFebruary 19, 2017 by Brooke Riley 1 CommentFacebookpinterest

When you are an avid do-it-yourselfer/crafter/try to be thrifty decor changer upper (yes, that is totally a thing) like me- there are a few supplies that are crucial to have on hand at ALL times, in my humble opinion 🙂You see, I am one of those people who simply loves to make things out of nothing. Sometimes it is a worn down piece of decor that has great potential, but needs some work and sometimes it is simply a space that needs filled and I have no budget to buy new (most of the time these days! haha) During these creative moments when I need to get in my stash and get my hands dirty, there are certain items that I have come to see are simply a must have. I practically ALWAYS use at least half of these on any given project. Those are the supplies that I always like to have readily available, so I thought I would share them with you today, so that you too can be prepared for that next bit of DIY magic! **I went ahead and used some affiliate links for your convenience! These are all my recommendations that I love.**

1. Hot Glue Gun (and glue sticks, of course!)hot glue gun- a must have for crafts!There is no telling how many times a week I use my hot glue gun! That bad boy comes in so handy in all kinds of situations. I use it to adhere letters onto wood for signs, add embellishments to frames or other decor to spruce things up a bit, to “fix” little chips and breaks in my decor (some new, some thrifted to fix up). It is just an absolute MUST have in my stash. And make sure you have plenty of glue sticks or you will be in a big ole bind 🙂

2. Chip BrushesChip Brush for CraftingChip brushes are super cheap, and they are good for many many things. I love them for dry painting, painting small pieces (such as small frames or smaller decor pieces) and applying mod podge. Everytime I go to Walmart or a craft store, I try to pick up a couple for my stash. They are usually less than $1 and just handy dandy to have around!

3. Mod PodgeMod Podge

4. Scrapbook Paper or other decorative paperI LOVE me some pretty scrapbook paper! This is one of the cheapest and easiest way to add a fresh look to your home. Putting paper in frames and covering letters for signs are some of my favorite ways to use it. It is so fun to change out paper in frames for every season and occasion. It will change the whole look of a room with just a few cents worth of paper! #winnerHere is a fun and easy frame magnet that I made using several of these supplies (scrapbook paper, spray paint and fun embellishments!DIY Magnetic Thrift Store Frames

5. Acrylic Craft Paint (a good supply- but especially white!)At $.50/bottle, you absolutely cannot go wrong with stocking up on a few of your favorite colors! It comes in handy for lots of small paint projects, such as small little wooden pieces to use as embellishments or canvas art.

6. Pallet BoardsIf you follow this blog, you know this is a no brainer! I am the pallet board sign queen (a title I wear proudly!). I have made so many pallet signs, and I love them! I love the look of the worn wood, and 1 board is the perfect size for lots of signs. To make larger signs, use more! Usually, these boards are free- so you truly can’t go wrong!Here are some examples of a couple of signs I made (Just click on the link above the picture to see how I made these signs-all SUPER easy):JOY Pallet Sign

Chalky Paint or other sample paints(This is one of the chalky paints I tried to always keep on hand. This is a pretty good chalky paint, but what I love most is the beautiful color. I have used it on lots of things- such as my daughter’s chest and my Christmas JOY sign)Vintage Market & Design Glacier Chalk PaintChalkyt paint is great because there is no prep work, which is fabulous~especially in some cases where the piece just really needs some quick love and you don’t want to have to spend much time on it! I love to keep as much on hand as I can when I come across it. You can DIY it, but I haven’t given that a try yet. I know LOTS of people do it, and it will definitely be something I try one of these days- but I haven’t needed to just yet. I have way too much on hand right now! I also love to go to Lowes and buy those little sample paints to use on projects! I have painted LOTS of furniture with those sample paints and they have turned out great. You can get them mixed in ANY color, and they are only about $3 each. You do need to sand your furniture down some before using so that it will stick better!

8. Spray PainTHIS IS MY FAVORITE SUPPLY OF ALL! You all, if you are still holding out on spray painting things—please tell me WHY?!?! You can spray paint everything and change it dramatically! Old things become new. New life is brought to worn out items with the press of a button! It is an absolute must have. I could share countless projects that I used spray paint on, but I will just share a couple of my favorites- plus a round up of some of my favorite spray paint projects by myself and other bloggers!

Random Cute Fabric…You can find deals on fabric left and right. When I come across a clearance pattern that really catches my eye, I try to go ahead and get a nice little piece of it for my stash. Small upholstery projects come up with all of my thrift store shopping, and I need something readily available to spruce my piece up! I also love to frame beautiful fabric or even use it to mod podge onto stuff. It is great to have around for lots of reasons!This cute little bench was a simple makeover with some adorable fabric!

10. Fun Embellishments…I love to add cute, fun embellishments to things to change the looks and add that little bit of “extra” to it. My thrifted frame magnets that I made (picture above under the scrapbook section) were made MUCH cuter with the addition of the little flowers. The one frame was pretty bland until then. It is fun to add them to frames, letters and all kinds of projects.My DIY Paper Towel Vases were a fun project that was taken to the next level with the use of some pretty flower embellishments that I had on hand!

13 Cute & Clever Things Voracious Readers Will Loveby Marlen Komar, apartmenttherapy.comFebruary 20, 2017If you constantly have a nightstand piled high with books, are on your local bookstore’s newsletter, or always tuck a paperback into your bag, then it’s safe to say that you’re a book lover. And while it’s easy to jump into your story while riding the train or stealing a few minutes before bed, sometimes you want to make a bigger deal out of your book reading session.It just feels so much more relaxing and special when you can make a cup of tea, put on a pair of comfy socks, and wrap yourself around a blanket. But what if you take your “me time” one step further and basically give everything you own a literary theme? Below are 13 things you need to support your voracious reading habit—because everyone needs a bibliophile coffee mug!

ConnoxA Convenient Book Mark…Rather than dog-earring your book to an inch of its life, get this triangular bookmark, the Ritterbach Book Hook from Connox (€45/$50), instead. You can put it on the coffee table or leave it on your nightstand, and simply place your book on it turned to whatever page you’ve left off at. That way you’ll never lose your place again.Packagery/Etsy

Library StampAre you the diligent reader in your group, and so you lend out your collection to all your friends? If you constantly have at least 10 books circulating outside of your house, invest in this fun library stamp ($26) from Packagery to make sure they always come back home to you. And even if you hoard all your stories to yourself, this will make a nice personalized touch on your most favorite of books.From Flora With Love/Etsy

Cheeky Tote BagIf you’re taking your reading outside of the apartment, then there’s no other way to carry your novel than in this cheeky tote bag ($27) by From Flora With Love. From coffee shops to parks, this is a playful way to carry your books.Wine a Little Gifts/Etsy

A Pair Of Reading SocksIf your new thriller or romance novel came in the mail and you’re all ready to plop on the couch, don’t forget to change into these reading socks ($14) from Wine a Little Gifts. That way when you prop your feet on the coffee table, everyone will know you’re deep in reading mode and can’t be disturbed for a couple of hours. Also, they’re too cute, so there’s that!First Edition Tea Co.

Literature Themed TeasWhat’s a cozy book reading session with a big cup of hot tea? To make it extra special, get a tin that’s inspired by one of your favorite novels from First Edition Tea Co.—like this Jane Eyre currant & spice black tea ($12) or maybe a Pride & Prejudice citrus tea ($12)Amy Gale/Society6

A Cozy Blanket…What’s the point of even curling up with a book when there’s no blanket involved? This soft throw ($49) by Amy Gale on Society 6 features a mod bookshelf pattern—making for a stylish and beautiful decorative piece for your favorite reading room.BOOKMOUNT/Etsy

Bookmark ShelfThis is such a cool one! Not only is it a bookshelf that lets you display your favorite editions in an interesting way, but the raised point acts as a bookmark, where you can toss your book onto the bump and have your paged saved where you left off. Grab one ($60) from BOOKMOUNT.ElephanTees/Etsy

Book Reading SweaterIf you’re about to settle into a long read that’s going to take you way further into the night than you should be up, put on a cozy sweatshirt ($21) from ElephanTees that’s appropriate for such a page-turning event.Madeline Vy & Co/Etsy

“Please Go Away” MugIf you take your book into the kitchen or living room and you need to let the people in the house know that they have no chance of ripping you away from the plot line, then it’s time to fill up your coffee in this particular mug ($16)from Madeline Vy & Co. It gets the message across loud and clear./Etsy

Reading LampOne moment it’s the afternoon and you crack open your brand new book, and the next it’s midnight and you need to bring some light into the room in order to find out what happens next. Rather than blasting your main light, try this cute desk lamp ($127) from Oitenta instead. Not only is it convenient for your late-night reads, but it’s a quirky touch to any desk or nightstand.LiliLite

Shelf-Lamp-Bookmark HybriThis hybrid, the LiliLite (€149, $159) is a shelf, lamp, and bookmark all in one tool. You can easily store your “currently reading” books over your bed on the shelving unit, and the triangle acts as a bookmark for you to hold your place when you stop reading. While an amazing idea on its own, it gets even better: When there’s a book on the raised point, the light stays off. But when you bring your book down, the light turns on, offering you late-night reading.Wooden Androyd Studio/Etsy

Thumb Ring Book Holder…If you’re into reading paperbacks but get annoyed with how awkward they are to hold sometimes, then this thumb ring ($3.99) from Wooden Androyd Studio is going to make all the difference. You can hold the books one handed now without the novel ever snapping shut on youThePaperSpoon4U/Etsy

Hand Stamped Tea Spoon…If you’re in the habit of brewing yourself tea or coffee to go with your chapters, then make the little ritual a little more special with this vintage hand-stamped spoon ($20) from ThePaperSpoon4U.

If you’re lucky, your weekends are designated “me time.” Those are the days you get to unwind from work and delve into hobbies, passions, or side projects that take us out of the daily grind and let us flex our interests and creativity.But, you know, sometimes life gets in the way. You were supposed to practice with that fancy new camera lens you bought, but then a mountain of laundry beckoned. Or maybe you were going to finally start those Italian lessons, but then a friend asked if you could help them move.There’s always going to be something that pops up during the weekends, but the trick is to make your side project time non-negotiable. Rather than giving away your hours because of guilt or necessity and then feeling bummed you had no “me time,” here are a few sure-fire ways that will make room for your hobbies on the weekendsThe Day Designer, one of our favorite daily planners.Day Designer

Schedule It…It might sound rigid, but if you use a daily planner regularly or an app on your phone, then you probably know that if an appointment is made it’s basically set in stone. If the time is marked, you’ll show up to it. Following that logic then, if you see “yoga” or “beer brewing” on your Saturday afternoon schedule, you’ll be more likely to actually do it. Since it’s already blocked off in your calendar, you’ll have a smaller chance of giving that spot away to a brunch with friends or a quick nip to the laundromat.

Set Yourself Weekly Goals…It can be super easy to be diligent with your hobby one week, and then put it off for two more because things came up. What you need to do is find a way to make your me-time a priority. A great way to do that is to set yourself weekly goals so you have something to strive forFor example, say your hobby is writing. If you have a goal of writing one chapter per weekend (or one poem, or one pitch,) then you’ll be more likely to sit down at the computer and do it. You can make it more specific – maybe the first Sunday of the week you’ll write a chapter, and then the next weekend you’ll look up editors you want to pitch to, and the weekend after that you’ll read articles on how to properly write out a pitch. Having action steps mapped out for the month will help you motivated to continue on with your goals.

Think Of It As Play TimeRather than making it another thing to check off your list, reframe your hobby as “play time.” See it as a break from the usual rotation of chores, errands, and obligatory hangouts, and use your hobby time almost like recess: This is the part of the weekend you’ve been waiting for. The part that puts your interests front and center, and has no other purpose than to let you enjoy something for an hour or two. If you reframe your hobby that way, then not only will you look forward to it all week, but you won’t feel guilty for indulging. It’s not time away from cleaning your house or hanging out with your partner- it’s self-care.

Do It In The MorningIf you find yourself easily bogged down by commitments or out-of-the-blue emergencies, try tackling your hobby during the mornings. While everyone is still waking up and moving slowly, you can get a jump start and sit down with your blog, your camera, or your book club selection, and tackle your me-time before noon hits. If you get it out of the way first thing in the morning, you won’t have any excuses for not doing it.

Fitness in Minutes: Micro-Workouts You Can Do in the Time it Takes Your Coffee to Brewfizkes

Have A “Short Version” Ready For Busy Weekends…Rather than just hitting pause on your interests when the weekend gets busy, have a “short version” ready of your hobby for when schedules get hectic. For example, if you enjoy doing yoga, swap your usual 45 minute session for a quick 15 minute one on YouTube. Or if you love to bake on the weekends, try a recipe that uses five ingredients and takes 30 minutes to bang out, rather than picking one out of the fancy French cookbook that’s meant to take half the afternoon. That way you can still enjoy your interests and tackle everything on your hectic to-do list.

Block Out Recurring “Me Time” for the FuturOpen up your planner right now, and every 1 PM on every Saturday for the next year, block off an hour with the words “me time.” That way, no matter who asks you to lunch, to volunteer, or to help you with moving, you’ll know that you’re already booked. It’ll help you manage your time, but it also establishes a routine for you and your hobby that will help you accept it as a permanent part of your life: Every Saturday at one o’clock, you do it. After a month or two, it’ll feel like a natural part of the weekend.

Announce It To Your FriendsIf your friends (or partner) have a habit of springing plans up on you during the weekend, make a habit out of announcing that you need time for your hobby. So if they want to go to the beach or a flea market or get lunch, always respond with, “Well, I have my guitar lessons at two every Saturday,” or “maybe after my photo editing session at one.” By reinforcing that you have this weekly task that you make time for, they’ll begin to respect that time slot and not try to take it over. And even better—you’ll respect it more, too. By announcing it to others you’re making it a permanent part of your weekend, which will only make you take it more seriously.Sometimes responsibilities get in the way, and making room for personal hobbies or side-projects can get tricky. But follow some of these tips and your passions will have at least a fighting chance!

Ever since I saw Molly Ringwald’s character, Andie, craft her own prom dress in the eighties film Pretty in Pink, I have imagined what it would be like to sew your own unique threads. Of course I only ever imagined – I didn’t actually learn to sew clothing.My daughter has expressed an interest in taking sewing courses. (She’s almost as old as I was when I watched Pretty in Pink!) Maybe she can live out my dream by creating her own unique teen wardrobe? Either way, I thought it would be fun for us to explore some sewing books this Spring Break. Maybe we’ll start off with something a little more simple, like a toque or a pillow cover. I confess I often evaluate books by their covers. Do you?

The cover of Sew Happy drew me in with its sunny colours and bold polka-dot hoodie. It’s got 25 fun and funky sewing projects, from a cute reversible fleece and jersey hat to a flared skirt made from your aunty’s curtains. There’s even a high-waisted undies project (and they’re really cute)! There are non-clothing sewing projects too – like a plaid fleece blanket with applique roses, a tote bag and even a hammock. If you’re a sewing newbie, like me, you’ll want to start at the beginning with the sections on high-quality tools, sewing machines, fabric know-how, pattern making and cutting tips. This is just the book for the aspiring Andies of the new century.

Handmade Interiors is another book with any eye-catching cover. It gets me to imagining a house full of luxurious, hand-made pillows. This is a big, hardcover book with a wide assortment of projects, from a piped chair pad to a headboard slipcover to roller blinds to a really cute teepee for a child’s bedroom or playroom. Any kind of soft furnishings – you’ll find them here, with the clear, step-by-step photos DK is known for.You can even learn how to re-cover a drum lampshade in a pretty fabric to suit your decor. I have been looking to buy new covers for my IKEA chairs and I see a project, “Tub Chair Cover” using exactly those chairs. That might be a bit advanced for me right now though. I might just be able to handle curtains though. The book is full of really pretty projects with a contemporary aesthetic.

Pillows, Curtains, and Shades Step by Step: 25 Soft-Furnishing Projects for the Home has many of the same projects as Handmade Interiors, but focuses mainly on the pillows, curtains and shades (hence the title). So if these projects are your focus, you might be interested in this shorter, softcover, less expensive sewing book. Both books look at sewing machine features, essential sewing kit items, fabric types, widths and weights and types of machine and hand stitches. Handmade Interiors also looks at the tool kit needed for creating home furnishings. Both books explore various types of pillows, such as enveloped, zippered and bolster pillows. There are a bounty of projects to keep you busy sewing beautiful accessories for your home.

DK Canada has a great assortment of coding, science and crafting books to keep you and the kiddos making cool stuff throughout March Break (and the whole year actually)What topics would you like to explore in greater detail? Do you sew? Would you like to?Find These Books in Canada:Find These Books in the US:*This post contains affiliate links. Should you make a purchase after following the link, Woman in Real Life will get a small commission. Your price is not affected.

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