I bring you something a bit different today. I hadn’t realised Pen & Sword also published crafts books, and when I mentioned it in relation to a crocheting book (more on that to come), Rosie Croft suggested I had a look at this book. I realise it won’t be available until the end of the month, but as I know some of you like to plan their gifts, I thought I’d bring it to you now.
Craft Your Own Happy: A collection of 25 creative projects to craft your way to mindfulness by Becci Mai Ford
Craft Your Own Happy is a collection of mindful craft projects to make you smile! Perfect for those moments when you need a bit of self-care and relaxation time.
Do you ever feel like you spend too much of your day staring at screens, feeling anxious or stressed out? If the answer is yes – then you need this book! The cute colorful projects have all been designed with the feel-good-factor in mind. Crafting can help to take you away from the worries and pressures of your daily life, and give you back those moments of slowness and focus which can help to reduce anxiety.
Unlike other craft books, this is a book that you can dip into and find projects based upon how you are feeling. So you can craft to suit your mood! There are 25 beginner friendly projects to choose from including cross stitching, embroidery, paper craft and more… Why worry when you can craft happy!
About the author:
Becci Mai Ford is a smiley maker who loves color. A keen crafter who enjoys making a mess, Becci started crafting at a young age and hasn’t stopped since! She is now the founder of Ellbie Co. a mindfulness craft kit company that aims to spread happiness through making!
Inspired by all things cute and a desire to combat anxiety by crafting. Becci currently works in Brighton out of her tiny rainbow filled office space (The make happy corner!). Where she designs new crafty projects, blogs and tries her best to brighten as many peoples days as possible. She is making life up as she goes along – and so far it’s been a lot of fun!
I thank NetGalley and Pen & Sword books for providing me an ARC e-book copy of this book (and thank Rosie Croft for recommending it to me).
I am not a great expert in crafting. Quite the opposite. Although I love crafted and hand-made objects, I have very little skill, and I am quite clumsy (I can do very basic knitting, and I am not too bad at crocheting, but that’s about it), so it is not something I pursue often. These days, though, with the forced lockdown due to the pandemic, many people have turned to doing craft projects at home, either on their own or with their children, and as I have been interested in Mindfulness (and meditate regularly) since I attended a workshop six years ago, this book seemed to tick several boxes.
The author of the books sells craft kits, has appeared on TV, and has been interviewed by many well-known UK magazines, and she explains that she saw this book as an extension of her craft kits.
The book is divided into a number of chapters: Basics (where she gives basic instruction on embroidery for absolute beginners); Chapter 1. Anxiety makes, which includes: daily ritual embroidery, flower wall decoration, needle felted unicorn keyring, relaxing rainbow cross stitch); Chapter 2. Get outside, including: clay leaf ring dish, gratitude stones, ocean scene resin necklace, pressed flower phone case; Chapter 3. Happy home: kawaii concrete planter, pompom footstool, resin art clock, yarn wall hanging; Chapter 4. Gratitude makes: the grateful game, clay diorama, kawaii felt card, origami lucky paper stars, peg prompts; Chapter 5. Tidy mind makes: macramé jewellery organiser, kawaii taco felt headphone organiser, kawaii toast make-up bag; Chapter 6. Self-care crafting: embroidery patch, ‘you are enough’ felt banner, kawaii tassel necklace; Chapter 7. Hibernate: heated hand warmers, honeycomb quilted cushion, eye-mask; and a section with the templates of the projects included in the book.
The author explains in the introduction her personal experience with stress and anxiety and how, after trying more standard forms of mindfulness, she realised that to stop her mind from racing and making her anxious what really worked for her was to keep herself busy doing something that was not only not too taxing for her brain, but also something that she enjoyed and made her and others happy. That’s how she started crafting and this book has projects that would suit all levels of skill, although she breaks them down into easy-to-follow steps, so even I would dare to try some of the most complex ones.
She uses a big variety of materials (resin, cement, paints, wood, buttons, shells, sand, tree leaves, cotton, and wool…) and as you can see from the list, creates a large variety of objects, some very simple, and some more elaborate. I particularly liked the fact that she provides practical advice (she warns readers of messy projects, tells us how long they might take, and also explains which ones can be done over a long period of time and are suitable to just work on for a few minutes a day), and she includes projects that are fast and easy to complete, and some that might take a long time to finish, so readers can find something that suits their mood at any given time. She includes a list of materials at the beginning, breaks down each activity into individual steps, illustrating each step with its own image. I am sure those readers who are creative and imaginative when it comes to crafting would find plenty to inspire them here. And many of the projects are eminently suitable for team working, so if you run out of ideas of what to do when you are looking after children or stuck in the house with your nearest and dearest, I’d recommend picking this book up.
The author is full of encouragement and positive advice, that although common-sense and not new or ground-breaking we often forget in the whirlwind of our daily lives. I particularly enjoyed the way she emphasises that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to crafting, home decoration, or even happiness, and how little things can make a big difference.
Just a couple of quotes from the book:
For me, I think a happy home is a home that doesn’t live in the pages of interior design magazines. A happy home is where you have made your own mark on the environment. A happy home is a place where you can look around and see the love and meaning in the objects surrounding you and a place that actively connects with your personality.
Self-care consists of all the things you do to take care of yourself, to protect your mental well-being. It isn’t about doing specific activities; it is about doing what is right for you in order to ensure your mental wellness.
In sum, this is a book for people who like crafting, or who’d like to try it but don’t feel confident enough, for those looking for something different to keep their minds occupied, and it would make a great gift to people who might benefit from these kinds of activities, even if they have never given it a thought. No degree of expertise is required, and I found it inspiring and full of positive energy as well. Although I read it in e-book format, due to the nature of the projects and to the section of templates, I recommend getting a paperback copy if possible. Don’t forget to visit the author’s website for more information and to check some other projects.
Thanks to the author, to NetGalley, and to the publisher for the book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click and keep reading, reviewing, smiling, and always to stay safe.