Creating and Crafting Books

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Creating and Crafting Books

(Alternate Title – Megan Daley has a Meltdown on her Blog About School Lunches)

School holidays are approaching and I could not be more pleased. I adore working in a school and I am lucky that my own children seem to enjoy the daily routine of school and kindy. The lunch packing however, has been soul destroying. DSC02011

If there was one job I could outsource it would be lunch packing. I love cooking and preparing all manner of breads, cakes, meals, vintage picnics,  high teas and dinner parties. Lunches however, simply destroy me. Day in, day out: pack lunches each morning; empty contents into chook pen every afternoon; wash teeny tiny containers because I refuse to use packaging; REPEAT Monday to Friday.

My children don’t eat them anyway – what is the POINT I ask you. I bribe, scream, bribe, cry, beg, bribe, cry some more, involve them in the process, bribe – and they still don’t eat them. I spend hours making creative lunches and they don’t eat them. I involve them in the entire process and get them packing their own lunches and they still don’t eat them. I simplify them down to a sandwich, crackers, apple, carrot and they still don’t eat them. Don’t even bother giving me suggestions on how to solve the dilemma – I’ve tried everything under the sun.  Sheesh – I’ve even written blog posts about lunch ideas and lunch related cookbooks and created downloadable printables  – hope they work for you because they aren’t working here.

It appears this post about the upcoming holidays has turned into a therapy session for me about school lunchbox packing. Let me start again… crochet

The school holidays are approaching and I am so looking forward to completing the projects that PudStar has been begging me to help her with for weeks now. She loves nothing more than a craft book (as I did at her age and still do) and she has used up an entire stack of Post-it-Notes marking up all the things ‘we’ shall be doing.

I tend to stay out of the craft versus art debate as I see merit in both. I take my children to QAGOMA regularly, my mother (former art teacher, now TL) spends lots of time talking to her grandchildren about art and PudStar is rarely seen without her sketch book – hell there is a whole CHAPTER on her artwork in an academic textbook here.  Art is process driven not product driven. Craft projects are undoubtedly product driven, but please don’t get all snooty on me about that because there is nothing better than a house filled with homemade items and many ‘crafters’ are also ‘artists’.

Craft projects with children and teens are fabulous for teaching techniques, brilliant for purposeful reading, and they create in our young people a desire to tinker. Jackie Child AKA Best Teaching Partner Ever has totally sold me on libraries being makerspaces (read more about that here) and the school holidays are simply the best time ever to allow young people the freedom and time to create, tinker, imagine, innovate and learn some new techniques.  P1180426

I am very picky about the craft/making/creating books I add to the shelves in my library  and/or at home. The ones below are my favourites at the moment and PudStar has most of these in her bed, Post-it-Note-ing them all like a demon. Craft book are an investment – but so worth it as they will be read  and referred to for years to come (I still have some of my Women’s Weekly favourites from my childhood!). If you have a makerspace in your library…the books in this post are a must in my opinion! P1180414

To add these books to your home, school or library collection click on titles or cover images. craft-for-the-soul

First up, one for young adults and total actual adults (man being an adult is tiresome). ‘Craft for the Soul’ by Pip Lincolne is essential reading for anyone who needs to awaken their creativity from hibernation, ‘Craft for the Soul’ has it all –  an intro by Clare Bowditch (swoon), inspirational words, a smattering of excellent recipes and some very fab creative projects. So many adults don’t ‘craft’. just this weekend Eden Riley proclaimed herself not a lover of craft in her slam poem, ‘Mother.Hood’ (here) at the Empowering Women Conference  and I always laugh so hard when I read Beth from BabyMac ranting about glitter and kid craft because Eden and Beth are both such incredibly creative people – and would have a fabulous time at a pom pom making party! Just try and tell me you don’t craft after a pom pom party. Pom pom crafting could solve many of the worlds problems I think – one cannot be stressed out and one cannot help but beam from the inside when one is making pom poms. There is nothing that doesn’t look better with a pom pom attached. Every child in the Junior School recently made pom poms in library lessons – the library is full of them and I love it.

Pip Lincolne’s ‘Craft for the Soul’ is as much a story as it is a craft/making/baking/inspirational book, and I do so love a story. The contents page below gives some insight into the themes of the book, which can be read from cover to cover as one would read a novel, or can be dipped into whenever inspiration is needed. I have just finished reading ‘Snail Mail’, and the two are beautiful books to read and house together…review of ‘Snail Mail’ next week…BECAUSE I WON’T BE MAKING SCHOOL LUNCHES. Craft for the Soul Contents

Side note: I have long adored Pip’s projects and I particularly love her Instagram account, mainly for swooning over pom poms and crochet projects (which I get my nan to create, like this rug for Eden here). I used to fly to Melbourne in my 20s just to visit Pip’s store, ‘Meet me at Mikes’ (now no longer a physical store, but a blog) and stock up on outfits for raves, looking the part at uni and being ever so creative looking at work – a large craft store which shall remain nameless but at which I taught all manner of workshops…including pom pom making. I am SO having a pom pom party. crochet

And now to more child-focused crafting books for the holidays…

create-your-dream-room dream-create-inspire

‘Dream, Create, Inspire’ and ‘Create Your Dream Room’ are by Melbourne based writer, children’s book editor and crafter Sophie Splatt. They are perfect for the modern kid or teen: very on trend projects (pineapple anyone? Flamingo?) that are still ‘timeless’; many use found or upcycled products; both books are visually stunning; all instructions are straight forward and  there are loads of options for changing things up – because every project should look different and be personalised. Both titles also include a section of templates and other press out items – some of which are one-use items but most of which can be re-used. In the library the one-use items are now on display near these titles in the non-fiction section to entice students and the templates are in a plastic slip that get loaned with the book – easy! Be prepared dear readers – there will be a barrage of photos on social media for projects we have created with these books over the next few weeks…


 ‘How to Make Small Things with Violet Mackerel’ is a spin off craft book from the fabulous, faultless ‘Violet Mackerel’ series, which I have reviewed here. Last year, author Anna Branford made PudStar the most stunning felted nativity scene you will ever lay eyes on. She creates teeny tiny felted elves and creatures, to leave round her neighborhood and her blog is awash with the most stunning projects. Regardless of whether you’ve read the Violet Mackerel series this book is a must-have and you can read my full review of it here.


I long-adored the blog of Maggy Woodley before I purchased ‘Red Ted Art’Using recycled materials and bits and bobs collected when out and about, create projects from adorable peanut shell finger puppets to walnut babies, loo roll marionettes and egg carton fairy lights, fabric mache bowls, stick men and shell crabs, stone people, and many more.


‘Time to Create is 128 pages jam packed full of information, ideas, and activities for process driven art explorations with young children. Whether you are a total art novice who has decided that you have no skills to offer and art will have to happen at kindy; or you are an avid art gallery visitor who wants practical, child friendly ideas on how to foster a love of all things art in your young one…you will find something for you in ‘Time to Create’.


‘Lazing on a Sunday Crafternoon’  took me back to my 80s childhood when ‘The Womans Weekly Craft Book’ was my most treasured non-fiction book! You can read my full review here. 


The ever-creative Jenny Stubbs introduced me to ‘Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop-Up, Twist and Turn’ and I ADORE it. SO MUCH. Book Week 2015 Artists Book Exhibition here we come. There is book-craft projects to create books which magically unfold like a map, contain cards that slip into pockets, include pop-ups perfect for celebrating all types of occasions, and tell stories on a scroll. There’s even one that unrolls like a movie.


‘Sew Together Grow Together’ has 20 projects to create, collected into four themed chapters and with creations that will appeal to all. No sewing machine is required and Trixi’s experience in teaching young children to sew is evident in her clear instructions. You can read my full review here. 

For children’s books focused on sewing see here (knitting and crochet books for children next week)

For children’s books focused on gardening (and gardening craft!) see here. 

For non-fiction books which explore the ideas of the #makerspace movement see here. 

For books which encourage tinkering and the idea of trying/failing/succeeding see here.

For colouring books and dot to dot books for adults which dispel lunchbox rage see here. 

A few of our own craft projects can be read about here: bookshelveswalnut babies; gumnut babies; and story stones. Enjoy!

1-P1090672 Creating and Crafting Books

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  1. edenland on Jun 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    I’m just so stoked to introduce the term “Glitter.:The herpes of craft” to you earlier today.

  2. Julie Grasso on Jun 24, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Laughed so hard re the lunches. Um, you will just want to implode after reading this… A lovely gal on our blog hop, does story themed lunches!!!! I too have a munchkin that never eats. I feel your pain!!!!

    • Megan Daley on Jun 24, 2015 at 8:21 pm

      STORY THEMED LUNCHES?! Sheesh! I totally have to see this!

  3. Shannon on Jun 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Praise be to you Megan Daley….lunches pfft who needs them?! Usually the lunch gets eaten for afternoon tea and only with the promise/bribe of more EJ Spy books. Thanks also for the crafty stuff!! Lazing on a Sunday Crafternoon is great though it’s a pity my crafting skills aren’t….

    • Megan Daley on Jun 24, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      Ha! I’ve tried the lunch for afternoon tea thing too…it can go on until dinner and then I CRACK IT!

  4. Jo Bevan on Jun 26, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Hi Megan,
    I so need to get my creativity happening. After reading this as my students arrived I discovered most of them do not know how to make pom-poms so this afternoons plan is out the window & we will be making pom-poms.
    Thanks for such an inspirational blog.
    Keep up the good work.

    • Megan Daley on Jun 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Oh THANK YOU…for teaching your kids how to pom pom!! I love through plans out the window!

    • Megan Daley on Jun 26, 2015 at 5:51 pm

      Oh THANK YOU…for teaching your kids how to pom pom!! I love through plans out the window!

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