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Crafts & Hobbies


French Vintage Decor Author Teaches Breakfast Television Host How to Make Plaster Dipped Flower Art

Check out Page Street Publishing author Jamie Lundstrom discussing her new book Vintage French Décor : Easy and Elegant DIY Projects for Any Home (9781624145421) on Breakfast Television Vancouver:

Jamie is the founder of the blog So Much Better With Age. She has been featured on HGTV and the Today show, as well as in Country Living and Better Homes & Gardens. She lives in Vancouver, Canada.

You can read about her whole day with Breakfast Television on her blog here: Plaster Dipped Flower Art from French Vintage Decor on Breakfast Television Vancouver





Add That Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi to Your Home, Effortlessly

Rustic and elegant French décor never goes out of style and with easy yet sophisticated accessories for your home, these 70 projects will transform your space and add that special touch to any room.

Jamie Lundstrom's projects use easy-to-find and recycled objects, as well as new materials, to bring her French vintage style into your life. Projects span every season and category, from sewing to painting and upholstery, including provincial antique baskets, a fantastique Trumeau mirror, a jolie gold leaf frame, boutique plaster of Paris-dipped flowers and a chic antique chair. Featuring simple step-by-step instructions with beautiful photos to help guide you, these projects can be created in just a few hours or less.


CLARA PARKES Talk & Book Signing at A GOOD READ | Abrams Books

On October 29th, 2013 join A GOOD READ as they host knitter extraordinaire Clara Parkes for a talk and book signing. A Good Read Yarn Whisperer Clara Parkes EventIn The Yarn Whisperer: Reflections on a Life in Knitting (9781617690020 | Abrams Books), Parkes ponders the role knitting plays in her life via 22 captivating, poignant, and laugh-out-loud funny essays. Recounting tales of childhood and adulthood, family, friends, adventure, privacy, disappointment, love, and celebration, she hits upon the universal truths that drive knitters to create and explores the ways in which knitting can be looked at as a metaphor for so many other things. Put simply, “No matter how perfect any one sweater may be, it’s only human to crave another. And another, and another.” Read more at:


Praise for The Yarn Whisperer:

“In this charming series of linked essays, Parkes metaphorically puts the fast whorl on her wheel and spins something entirely new, showing that she’s not just a good writer but a great one. Funny, sweet, and trenchant and offered in twenty-two digestible bits, this book is not only the quintessential sampler afghan of knit lit, it is also the ‘It’ gift of the season. Buy a stack to stuff inside the handmade stockings of your knitting-circle friends.” —Vogue Knitting

“If you are a knitter, or even if you are not, read this book for the sheer joy of her writing, for the way she strings ideas together and brings you into her world . . . I would compare her to Mark Twain because of her dry humor. Honestly, she’s that good.” —New Jersey Courier News’ In Sticthes blog

“It is seriously the best book about knitting experiences ever. I absolutely LOVED it!” ­ —Sweetly Made

I'm Flipping for Flip Dolls & Other Toys

Remember those old-timey Little Red Riding Hood dolls that revealed the Wolf/Grandma when you flipped the skirt over? Well, author Laura Wilson has taken that concept to a whole new level in Flip Dolls & Other Toys That Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab & Go. Fresh off the press, I dashed home with this gem and whipped up a Superhero Flip Doll in the likeness of my four-year-old. Mild-mannered girl on one side, fantastic SuperGirl! on the other, ready to save helpless stuffies everywhere. IMG00570-20130716-0816                                                                      Next up: Vampire and Bat Flip Doll. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! This book is just too much fun.

Mad for Mel!

Swoon! Mel Clark's newest knitting book, Knitting Gifts for Baby (9781570765544), is just as gorgeous as her first two (Knitting Everyday Finery and Knit 2 Together), as my well-worn copies can attest. Mel's designs are wonderfully modern and vintage at the same time, and even though I don't have a baby to knit for, her clever twists on classic techniques are inspiring me to apply them to my own projects. I'm drooling over the Butterfly Cardi, an apricot alpaca/silk two-button sweater with fluttering butterflies slipped through eyelet holes around the entire yoke. And, I happen to know a sweet 4-year-old girl who would love this as much as I do!9781570765544

Stocking Stuffer Guide!

It's that time of year again: making merry at holiday parties, trimming the tree, wearing the ugly Christmas sweater, listening to the dulcet crooning of Nat King Cole or the upbeat melodies of the Boney M Christmas album. Whether your an uber organizer with all the presents bought and wrapped, sitting snugly under the tree (give the rest of us a break, will you?), still scrambling to buy everyone presents (that's more like it), or the person who hasn't even started shopping yet (eeeek), chances are stocking stuffers are the last thing on the list and the last thing on your mind. So, to keep you a) stress free and b) from re-gifting last years sundry trinkets and hotel soaps, we here at Manda have created a rockin' Christmas guide to soothe your stocking stuffer blues. We have something for everyone!

The Hipster

Too cool for traditional stuffers? For even the TRENDIEST hipster: the Great Moustache Magnet Set (The Unemployed Philosophers Guild) is for anyone missing the funny facial hair that was rampant in 'Movember.'

The adorable Little Book of Vintage series carries horror, crime, combat, romance, love, sci-fi, and sauciness titles (Ilex). These authentic vintage comics and old print advertisements are hilarious, awesome, and come in miniature with a rockin' retro fridge magnet in the back!

And for good measure, why not throw in the small format book by Ryan Mecum, Dawn of Zombie Haiku (How Books, 1440312869). It's a short fiction narrative haiku that is ugly-cry in public funny. "Shall I compare thee to a luscious frontal lobe? If so, thou shall LOSE." Good to know zombie. Inspiring. Really.

The Sweet Grandma (Or Gran, Nonna, Oma, etc)

I don't know about your grandma, but mine really likes to knit. I'm planning on rolling up some of D&C's Simple Knits pattern booklets to put in the stocking opening. Cushions & Pillows has some really nice patterns.

Christmas Joy by Susan Branch (Little Brown, 0316106828) is a small book brimming with holiday spirit. It is everything Christmas, and a perfect reminder of what makes the season so special (there might also be a few delicious cookies that my Grandma is sure to want to add to her repertoire.)

A beautiful deck of cards always comes in handy, especially if your grandmother likes to invite friends over for bridge and Bellini nights! Pomegranate makes some beautiful decks, and these ones, modeled after Charley Harpers Under the Sweetgum Tree (9780764960277) are particularly delectable.

Throw in a beautiful art cube puzzle by Made in Museum and you are good to go. The Splendors of Portuguese Ceramics puzzle is really beautiful.

The Adorkable Darling

(aka nerd, gamer, pop-culture fanatic, perpetual child, 0r actual child)

Oh Doctor Who mug. What else can I say?

Oh wait... The tardis will dissappear and transport into deep space when this ingenious Unemployed Philosophers Guild mug has hot liquid in it? NO WAY. All it takes is a cup of coffee for you to become the next time traveling Doctor Who. Now the question is are you a Matt Smith or a David Tennant kind of Doctor?

If your stocking owner hasn't quite reached THAT level of nerd yet, then a great alternative is the Game of Thrones coffee mug that Dark Horse produces. Whether the dork in your family is a fan of the television show, the George R.R. Martin books it is adapted from, or both, the mug will be a big hit.

 MiniMates are another fail proof option. Little kids, big kids, and kids at heart all love to play with these Lego-like figurines. Cult favourites include Spider man, Iron man, Thor, Captain America, the X-men, and even some feature characters from the video game Halo. Diamonds got both comic book aficionados and gamers covered.

 And an adorkable stocking would not be complete without the Marvel Star Wars Millennium Falcon bottle opener produced by Diamond Select Toys.

The Alcohol Enthusiast

Start the stocking off right with Jiggle Shots, a little book by Abrams Image that helps get the party started with delicious and hazardous recipes.

And for the connoisseur?

A 2013 Wine Calendar in extra small by Andrews McMeel Publishing that has a years worth of tips and facts about wine. 

 If you want to top your drinks off with the perfect garnish, try DC's Darth Vader, Batman, or Superman shaped ice cubes. Nothing says your drinking a Darth Vader cocktail like his ice cube likeness floating in your glass.

Last but not least, the hilarious pocket book 50 ways to Cure a Hangover (Octopus Publishing Group, 9781846014055) is the perfect stocking stuffer for the morning after the party is over. Written by Cara Frost-Sharatt and illustrated by Jason Ford this cute little book proves that a little laughter is always the best cure.


Everyone's A Photographer Now

Everybody has a camera phone these days, The most notable of which is the iPhone. Not only can you take a goofy picture of your friends, but you can also process it through a number of apps before posting it for the world to see before they know what's what! ISBN: 9781600599231 Publisher: Sterling CAD $23.95

The Art of iPhoneography will teach you everything you need to make the most of your iPhone photography! You will learn to build your photo crafting arsenal with anything from Photoshop Express to tweak your pictures, to adding your own personal touch with Photo FX.  But the list doesn't end there! If you're interested in expanding your mobile creativity then you'll definitely want to check out the rest.

Whether you're trying to embarass your friends, or you find yourself in the perfect moment, The Art of iPhoneography will help you make it better.

Slam On The Brakes!!

Yard sale season is fast approaching and if you're one of the thousands who loves to hunt front lawns for a steal, we have the book for you!        The sleek, tall-backed Danish modern chair that Lara Spencer snapped up for $350 at the Rose Bowl flea market goes for $1,750. That gorgeous black leather bench — a steal at $40 at an estate sale. Those fantastic 1950’s armchairs in her kitchen — a major score at just $10 for all four at a yard sale.

 In I BRAKE FOR YARD SALES: And Flea Markets, Thrift Shops, Auctions, and the Occasional Dumpster (Stewart Tabori & Chang; April 1, 2012; CAN $27.95), the sparkling, savvy anchor on “Good Morning America” reveals her talent for spotting diamonds in the rough to polish and showcase in her “double life” as a successful interior designer and antiques dealer.  The book includes 200 color photos of rooms, finds, and fixes that she has created, and Lara shows you what top designers and antique dealers have known for years — style isn’t about money. It’s about knowing what to look for, and how to put it together to achieve blue blood looks on a blue-collar budget!




What Are YOU Wearing?

Have you noticed how what you do in a day has quite a lot to do with what you’re wearing? You forget your glasses, you miss the bus.  You wear lucky underpants and suddenly everything goes your way.  If you’re one of those people who doesn’t want their journal to be about feelings and bad poetry, grab a copy of What I Wore Today and start scribbling about your wardrobe!  

Let your imagination run wild.  Use author/illustrator Gemma Correll’s little mannequin to sketch yourself and fill in the blanks about the day – its highs, its lows, and what you’ve been up to.  From shoes to umbrellas, you can be as creative with your style as you like.  You’re never too old to get lost in a doodle!

What I Wore Today: Doodle Yourself into a Style Icon By Gemma Correll | $14.99 CAN | 9781846013959

What a Display!

We just had to share this killer display of Pomegranate journals and puzzles put together by The Bookmark in Halifax! Who wouldn't get excited at the thought of sinking their teeth into a 1000 piece Jackson Pollock puzzle on a cold winter's night?  1000 pieces!?  Whoa!

Pomegranate products are spectac for many reasons, not the least of which being the impeccable quality of the craftsmanship and raw materials that go into every greeting card,  journal and book they create.  They also get props for being fully fluent in the language of Canadian art


Scissors, Glue & Pine Cones

There's something heartwarming about receiving a handmade holiday card.  Knowing someone went through the effort to find the scissors, draw some nostalgic mistletoe and craft a personal note gets me every time.  Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that I'm a sucker for handmade decorations too.  On any given tree, my eyes seem to gravitate towards the papier mache angel hung with a piece of frayed red yarn, or the paper snowflakes heavy and wilted with copious amounts of white glue and glitter.  Images such as these send me back to grade school during that last week before Christmas break when all children are expected to do is decorate ginger bread, sing carols and go on nature walks seeking out the perfect pine cones and tree branches for endless craft projects.  The stuff great memories are made of.


Enter now the fabulous new book from Stewart Tabori and Chang, Have Yourself a Very Vintage Christmas: Crafts, Decorating Tips, and Recipes, 1920s - 1960s (9781584799238, CAN $22.95)

Author Susan Waggoner recaptures the magic of holidays past with vintage crafts projects that, if you’re anything like me, you’ve been craving. Inspired by treasures from the 1920s through the 1960s, she includes simple instructions for a variety of decorations that allow crafters of all ages, naughty or nice, to deck their halls with cellophane wreaths, glittered glass ornament balls, beaded bell garlands, and whimsical, tinsel-bedecked miniature trees.

To keep spirits merry and energy flowing, the book includes a sampler of easy-to-make candy recipes. Yum.

Merry, merry everyone!




The Circle Craft show was in Vancouver this past weekend, and yesterday I decided to brave the crowds and check out the handmade goods.  I'm glad that I did, because I picked up several original tree ornaments, some pickled garlic and a big bag of gourmet candy.  (perfect for stockings... if it lasts that long!) The experience got me to thinking, as I often do around talented "makers of things" that I should really try to indulge in my creative side more and try my hand at sewing, knitting or the like.  Unfortunately, such projects just don't hold my attention and I end up abandoning ship halfway through.

Lucky for me, the new BUST DIY GUIDE TO LIFE is now available in stores and is full of fabulous tips on how to do....stuff.  As early promoters and staunch supporters of the DIY movement, BUST magazine founders Debbie Stoller (of Stitch ‘n Bitch fame) and Laurie Henzel thought it was high time they collected the best do-it-yourself knowledge into a single hefty volume. The result is a book that not only teaches readers how to knit a scarf, but also teaches a new generation of women how to create a life on their own terms. Debbie and Laurie present the best of BUST’s archives: more than 250 DIY ideas for everything from how to style your home and how to style your hair to how to support your immune system naturally and how to support yourself financially. Fun right?!

The BUST DIY Guide to Life , STC Craft | A Melanie Falick Book; CAN $32.95 | ISBN: 9781584798965


Angry Birds fans can now indulge their creative side with the Angry Birds Big Doodle Books!

Each book features 100 unfinished drawings of the Angry Birds and their enemies, the Bad Piggies, and the young (and the young at heart) can complete the drawings then color them with crayons or markers. The Angry Birds: The Big Red Doodle Book has the Angry Birds and the Pigs in settings from the game, while the Angry Birds: The Big Green Doodle Book takes the Angry Birds and Pigs on vacation to a tropical destination! All of your favourite characters from the game are present, now it’s up to you to finish their adventures and color them in!

Both Angry Birds Books scheduled to ship in late November, just in time for the holidays.

BIG GREEN DOODLE BOOK: Diamond Book Distributors, ISBN: 978-952-276-003-6, CAN: $12.50

BIG RED DOODLE BOOK: Diamond Book Distributors, ISBN: 978-952-276-002-9, CAN: $12.50

Deliberate Mayhem & Serious Fun!


For budding spies, there’s no better way to conceal clandestine activities than to miniaturize one’s secret agent arsenal. Hide a tiny catapult in a breath mint tin. Turn a Tic Tac case into a vest pocket candy shooter. Transform a milk jug cap into a fake wristwatch that launches tiny paper darts.  This book offers a whole new array of inventive DIY projects to turn office supplies and household items into the ultimate rubber band flinging, eraser zinging weapons cache, perfect for rainy days and playful office espionage!

All of the projects in Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction 2 are built from inexpensive, commonly kept items: binder clips, playing cards, rubber bands, markers, clothespins and discarded packaging materials. The projects—modeled after real-life gadgetry—range from “agent sidearms” and “weapons in disguise” to “villain mini weapons” and “surveillance and intel,” and cost mere pennies to assemble. Each project includes a supply and tool list, italicized safety tips and step-by-step instructions supplemented by clearly marked, illustrative diagrams. This book will thrill and entertain budding spies and crafty villains alike!

MiniWeapons of Mass Destruction 2: Build a Secret Agent Arsenal, by John Austin; Chicago Review Press, Distributed by Independent Publishers Group; October 2011, CAN $18.95, ISBN: 9781569767160


Ten years ago Dan Pearson found an extremely rare, large city plot and set out to design and create a garden space within the neglected urban oasis. His own personal garden amongst the city objects and beings. Home Ground records a year in the life of Dan’s experiences, whose beautifully crafted words reveal his personal thoughts as he watches the garden mature and develop over the course of a year.  Inspiring!

From the book:

Central, was the idea of the oasis, as I wanted to create a place that was an antidote to the hustle and bustle, the hard edges and the sheer number of people competing for space. It has been a demanding brief for the garden to be all of the things that I need it to be whilst retaining serenity and as an environment, it has to offer up considerably more than mere aesthetics. I need to be able to experiment and to continue to learn about my raw materials and because a garden is never static or finished, there has to be room for it to shift and change. I want nature, or a version of it, to be present here too and I want the seasons to be mapped in the changes."

Home Ground: Sanctuary in the City by Dan Pearson, photographs by Howard Sooley, Conran Octopus, September 2011, $35.99 CAN; ISBN: 9781840915372

Oliver + S Little Things to Sew: Book Trailer

Oliver + S Little Things to SewHome sewers love to dress the children in their lives in garments they have hand-crafted. No one understands this better than Liesl Gibson, who is both a mom and the founder of Oliver + S, a sewing pattern company known for its contemporary yet classically sensible kids’ designs, its precise, easy-to-follow instructions, and its charming paper doll–inspired packaging. In Oliver + S Little Things to Sew (STC Craft, ISBN 9781584799108), you’ll find 20 acessories for children, such as a hat with bear ears, scarf, vest, tutu, art smock, backpack, and quilt—all impeccably photographed by Laurie Frankel. The book includes two full-size pattern sheets and, as an added bonus, two cardstock paper dolls that can be dressed with "clothing" cut from the book’s jacket—a little something extra to keep young ones occupied while grownups stitch new items for their wardrobes! Have a look at the trailer below.


MANDAtory Reading List 12.06.2010

The Globe and Mail published their selection of the year's most spectacular coffee-table books last Saturday - click on Gwenyth below to view the web version.   

 On another note, is it just me, or does the Globe Style section just keep getting better and better? 

Moving along, the Vancouver Sun also published a booklist on Saturday, but focused on the top 10 lifestyle tomes of the season.  It included Bunny Williams Scrapbook for Living, Miller's Costume Jewelry, and The World Atlas of Whisky.  I found the list spot on!

Trying to nail down clever drink ideas for an upcoming holiday shin-dig?  Impress your guests with these creative cocktail recipes put together by the folks at the Calgary Herald. My particular favourite is the Tequila Mockingbird adapted from Drinkology by James Waller.

Letty Halloran Flatt, author of Chocolate Snowball, was recently profiled on the CBC's Cookbook Club.  For those of you seeking that gem of a cookie for your holiday bake swap - look no further.  The Linzer Heart Cookie recipe was reproduced along with the interview.  These cookies are SO adorable.

The Canadian Living Craft Blog gave away a copy of The Farm Chicks Christmas last week!  If you're a crafter do yourself a favour and keep this site on your blog roll.  They give stuff away a lot.

And finally, for gift ideas for the food fanatic on your list, I suggest taking a  look at this list of the best cookbooks of the year compiled by The Montreal Gazette.  Our favourites from the list?  Plenty by Diana Henry and Rose Elliot's New Complete Vegetarian, your foodie friends will not be dissapointed.


Judith and Her Jewels

(ISBN 978-1845335632)

As the legend has it, Judith Miller began collecting costume jewelry at the beginning of the cultural revolution of the 1960’s, while a student at Edinburgh University in Scotland.  But whether hunting for her next piece in clandestine antique shops near the University or scouring for pieces at the Antique Roadshow, Judith has always had a knack for finding the unexpected, the beautiful and the rare at just the right moment.  When Judith launched the best-selling Miller’s Antique Price Guide in 1979, she helped fuel the desire for antiques, collectables and costume jewelry through her intellect, wit and sharp eye for dazzling objects that appealed to both new and old collectors.

This year Judith has once again reminded us how she is still one of the best at finding the most coveted gems and why costume jewelry still has its place in fashion and society with her new book Costume Jewelry (ISBN 9781845335632). This beautifully photographed book guides the reader through a comprehensive introduction to costume jewelry – through Ancient Egypt, Medieval France and 19th century America – and further provides the most authoritative information on 20thcentury jewelry by iconic names such as Trifari, Coro, Chanel and Dior as well as showcases exciting new designers like Erickson Beamon, Mawi and Eddie Borgo.

Judith recently visited Toronto, Ontario to talk about her book, her addiction to costume jewelry and to pick up a few Canadian pieces for her personal collection.   After Judith caught up with Dina on Breakfast Television, we followed close behind as she scouted jewels at two fantastic Toronto antique shops - Twice Found and Cynthia Findlay Antiques.  See photos below!


Crafters love the web...AND books!

KnittingIn light of the recent launch of our The Crafty Reader website, the following article is of particular interest. Industry news site says that crafts and UK craft book sales have thrived during the recession. In addition, Mel Arora, books marketing manager for GMC Publications and Distribution has this to say about the effect online content is having on book sales:

"It will impact, we are waiting to see. But it's difficult [to do projects online]. There's something about a book you can lay down flat. It's a worry, but it doesn't seem to be affecting sales at the moment. I'm not patronising [our core readers]—they are web-savvy—but there's still a culture of patterns, books and magazines."

The most important point here is that fans or followers of certain topics or activities will consume online content alongside printed book content (at least for now). And if that's the case, then one can certainly help to promote the other.

The question is, what topics lend themselves to this kind of arrangement?


Manda Site Launch: The Crafty Reader

The Crafty Reader logoThe first of Manda's new online verticals has launched. The Crafty Reader is a site dedicated to those who love books about crafting and the decorative arts. We will be posting book reviews, projects, news, and of course free book giveaways on a regular basis. So, if you or someone you know loves crafts and/or reading about knitting, beadworking, quilting, woodworking or any related crafty topics, please send them along to! If you sign up for the newsletter before the end of October 2010, you are automatically eligible to win 1 of 5 Custom Craft Libraries from Quarry Books and Canadian Manda Group.

Hope to see you there!