Make Stuff Together: A Book to Inspire Family Crafting and a Giveaway

I was drawn to Bernadette Noll, co-author with Kathie Sever of Make Stuff Together, 24 Simple Projects to Create as a Family, the first time I saw her online. Now, it could be that she co-produces Slow Family Living, and here I am at Slow Family Online. Or that she was so friendly when we initially chatted about supporting each other’s efforts. It could also just be — and I suspect this is true for people who know her in person, too — that she exudes creativity and deep connection in everything she does, whether it’s sharing a tutorial on her Future Craft Collective blog, which she created with her Make Stuff Together co-author, the equally compelling Kathie Sever, or candidly revealing lessons learned along her and her family’s journey on her more personal blog, Just a Minute.

That same spirit I initially saw is evident on every page of Make Stuff Together. Bernadette and Kathie put much of themselves into this book, which is as much about creating a joyous and expressive family life as it is about creating objects — though of course the objects are delightful, too. It was on Future Craft Collective that I first read about “upcycling”, and many of the projects in Make Stuff Together feature clever re-use of such items as bird-seed bags, inner tubes, billboards, neoprene and fabric samples, as well as ideas about where to find such things. Fittingly, the authors note that their sense of community deepened during their search for materials — they met and befriended people they wouldn’t have otherwise, and their kids benefited from that experience.

Make Stuff Together also has wonderful information about working with kids on sewing and other crafting projects. I find these deeply helpful and comradely. Among the suggestions, which the authors expand upon:

Let go of expectations
Honor process over project
Decide what your boundaries are, in terms of space, chaos, and materials
It’s okay to help when necessary
Not everything is sacred — sometimes re-doing, un-doing, or starting over is just the right act
Slow down, connect, and enjoy!

Of course, the meat of the book is its projects, and each is delightful, with colorful, inspiring photography and easy-to-follow instructions and patterns. My family and I are especially drawn to the Family Flags and Appreciation Banners the Game Board and Caddy, and the Napkins and Napkin Rings, which are shown in vintage fabrics and buttons.

Many of the projects are as useful as they are lovely, such as the Water-Bottle Holster, Tool Roll and Nature Pouch, Armchair Caddy, and Birthday Crown. There are games to make, items to grace a table, and fun, quick projects that would make wonderful gifts or keepsakes.

Make Stuff Together makes me want to grab my daughter, dust off the sewing machine, dig out our scrap fabric and start creating together.

To celebrate Make Stuff Together I am giving away a copy to a lucky reader. To enter to win, simply leave a comment below by Midnight, U.S. Eastern, Friday, July 1 and tell me your favorite thing to craft or something you’d like to make this summer.

Photos courtesy of Bernadette Noll.

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23 Responses to Make Stuff Together: A Book to Inspire Family Crafting and a Giveaway

  1. I love to knit, but am hoping to figure out the whole sewing thing soon. I recently came across this project (http://www.soyouthinkyourecrafty.com/2011/04/us-scrap-map-tutorial/) which combines my love of geography with my love of not throwing things away. I’m thinking of doing a world version and putting it on a pillow.

  2. I would love to make some prayer flags for the garden and paint some gazing balls.

  3. I love all types of arts and crafts. I’m sort of a Jill-of-all-trades, and therefore a master of none. This summer I’m planning on making a Waldorf-style doll for my youngest. Being the mum of 5 creative daughters, I’m intrigued and inspired by the philosophy behind Make Stuff Together and so hope to get my hands on a copy soon.

  4. Just got a sewing machine and would like to make some pillow covers and experiment w/ some cloth diapers.

  5. My daughters + I love to bake pumpkin muffins or apple empanadas together. We’re always finding art/sewing projects…so many crafts + not enough hours in the day! We can’t wait to read through this cool new book for fresh ideas!

  6. I’m getting my first sewing machine this summer and I plan to start out making a couple sets of napkins. We always seem to run out before I can get them all washed. I’d love a copy of this book!

  7. I would love to make a special softie for my two year olds birthday, and dolls with our family members faces for my other son.

  8. I would like to make nice personal walking sticks for my kids to use when we go hiking. Just a thought.

  9. i try to make something every week; i just finished some 4th of july wreaths & buntings. my big project for the summer is a circle quilt i’m working on. i think my 2 girls would grow to love this book!

  10. Greetings Mel, Diane, Rebekah, Nicole, Christiane, Sara, Jenny, Oliver, and Michelle! I’m so glad you all visited. I’m thrilled to hear about your craft projects. They all sound lovely — I’m very inspired by them. I know you would all enjoy Make Stuff Together and making stuff together.

  11. I don’t know if I could pick a favorite craft. :) Love sewing, paper, yarn stuff, too many to choose from. I would like to finish my kiddos name signs for their rooms this summer. And maybe some bunting for the babies room.

  12. Every summer my two boys and I build a geodesic dome out of newspapers. Each time we build it we add details like tissue paper walls or make it an extra row taller. I love working with simple recycled materials and building something wonderful that we can inhabit.

  13. I love working on all kinds of crafts with my boys and they love it all too. This summer I’d love to make make a calendar and a couple of pouches/bags for my boys to keep their art supplies in. This looks like a fabulous book.

  14. great giveaway…thanks for offering it! my favorite thing to craft? at the moment its paper mache.

  15. Hi Shannon, Amanda, Naomi, and Lizabeth! Thanks so much for visiting and for sharing your fun and inspiring craft projects. You’re all doing such fun things. I’m eager to make a “Slow Family” banner. I have all the fabric picked out.

  16. My teenage daughter is always looking for more craft ideas, particularly if it gives her ideas for her sewing machine. Thanks for the chance to win!

  17. Hi Eric! Great to see you here. I love everyone’s ideas and passions.

  18. i saw this great idea to make a sounding board in the back yard with old pots, pans, and other different discarded implements. this book looks fun too! i am always looking for inspiration as a full time working mom who wants to make every minute with the kids special:) i know this is a lofty goal – but i am trying my hardest – have a great weekend!

  19. We love crafting at our house and enjoy making all kinds of crafts. One craft we are most looking forward to making this summer is a woven sun using fabric scraps and tree branches. It will be in honor of our good family friend, Naida, who recently passed away. Her smile was always like a bright ray of sunshine and this will help us to remember her.

  20. My girls and I hope to make a few dolls together this summer! I love watching them learn to love a craft that I also love…not much better!

    Thanks for the fun giveaway! Great review! This book certainly has m interest! :)

  21. This sounds like the perfect book for the group of children I work with. I would love a copy! Thank you :)

  22. Hi Lacey, Kimberly, Kristy and Chris. Great to see you here and learn about all the lovely projects you are doing with your kids . Kimberly, the woven sun to honor your friend sounds like just the right tribute. Thank you, everyone, for coming by and leaving comments. I will choose a winner by random computer generator shortly.

  23. Congratulations, Rebekah!! Winner of a copy of “Make Stuff Together”. I will send you an e-mail to collect your snail-mail address and send out the book.

    Thank you all for entering the drawing. I hope you’ll purchase copies of “Make Stuff Together”, fulfill your and your families creative dreams, and create beautiful memories along with lovely and useful items.

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