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Crafty Book Reviews & Giveaways!

I love books!  Fact, fiction, crafts...they're all good!  Today I'm going to share with you some great new books that I was sent to review. Rest your mind at ease, when I get review books I read them and if I don't like them I don't review these ones passed! :)  I'm so glad they did too because the publishers were nice enough to allow me to give a copy away to my readers and also some of the finished projects! (see the giveaway details below)


Cute Crochet World, A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More by Suzanne Thompson


This paperback book is chalked full of little crochet projects. 144 pages worth! It's divided into six sections:

  • Critters
  • Food
  • Growing Things
  • Seasons
  • Toys, Tools, Transportation
  • Home

Make sure you read the "read me first" section of the book to make sure you know what supplies you may need as well as helpful techniques and tips.  Each project will tell you the normal information you'll need: the skill level, materials & tools, pattern notes, abbreviations, and most importantly, the instructions.  A lot of the patterns also have note on how you can use your finished piece.

Here's a few of my favorite projects from the book:

Cute Crochet World - Donut
Cute Crochet World - Donut
Cute Crochet World - Donut

About the author: Suzanne Thompson has crocheted and knitted since childhood. In junior high, she earned a fortune (of several hundred dollars) by crocheting and selling granny-square handbags. However, she later chose writing and designing over mass production. The author of Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden, Suzann also teaches and writes about crochet, knitting, and polymer clay. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Dublin, TX.



Sew Quick Sew CuteSew Quick Sew Cute by Fiona Goble

Who loves simple and speedy projects? -This girl! And good news too, because there are some cute ones in this paperback book! All the projects in the book are designed to take anywhere from an hour to a weekend so you can actually get them done instead of adding them to the "work in progress" bin!

Some of my favorite projects are:


Each project lists the approximate time it takes to make it, supplies and templates, step by step instructions with photos. With 142 pages of projects you'll be sure to find a fun one to work on!

About the author: Fiona Goble is an accomplished knitter and the author of many craft books and articles. She also owns a small business making woolen bags and home accessories. She lives in England.



5 lucky blog readers will randomly win a prize of either one of the books or a finished project from the book!  Enter below by commenting and then hitting the +1.  There are additional entries as well, see all the details below.

Comments and entries are now closed and winners have been choosen.

Excerpts reprinted with permission from Cute Crochet World © 2014 by Suzann Thompson, Lark Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Lark Books.

Excerpts reprinted with permission from Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble. Copyright © 2014 Ivy Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy this from these links it won't cost you a penny more but I make a little bit of money (not enough for a pony).




Making a Banner for a Garland Exchange

My friend Emmy is raising funds to adopt and it's been really fun to have crafting be apart of it! I participated in their hoop exchange, and now am doing her garland exchange.


#ijegarlandexchange - Home Garland Banner 2  by ErinBassett
I had to try my banner on my mantel before I mailed it off. ;)


...which lead me to bust out my ScanNCut™ so I could cut out letters out of fabric. (It worked great for that by the way!)

#ijegarlandexchange - Home Garland Banner CloseUp2  by ErinBassett

...which lead me to sewing fabric which I haven't done in ages.  I missed it! I need to do more of it!

#ijegarlandexchange - Sewing Home Garland Banner by ErinBassett

Also, on a side-note, I find it weird that I had to go to 3 stores in order to find the pom-pom trim to add to this. What's up with that? Thank Goodness that my local scrapbook store had some since JoAnn's and Michael's didn't!



Disclosure: I am a paid consultant for Brother International Corporation and have received a ScanNCut from Brother to evaluate. However, the opinions expressed are entirely my own and based on my use of the product.


Hoop Art

Erin Bassett - Hoop Exchange 1

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably saw my posts about Emmy's Hoop Exchange fundraiser (#itsjustemmyhoopexchange) to raise the funds to adopt again.  Well my hoop is finished & headed off to it's new home!  I really hope my hoop-mate likes it!!! *fingers crossed*

Erin Bassett - Hoop Exchange 1I did some embroidery and added some beads and sequins to it as well.  I'm really happy with how it turned out!

Erin Bassett - Hoop Exchange CloseUp6

Erin Bassett - Hoop Exchange 1
Erin Bassett - Hoop Exchange 1

If you're bummed you missed this swap then no fear, Emmy is doing another one! This time it's a Garland Exchange...check it out HERE and help them add to their family!



Gelli Print Quilted Paper Wall Art

I love, love, love my gelli plate for making mono-prints!  I have a big box of papers that I went to town on painting so now I have a ton of fodder for collages and other mixed media projects. I dug through my box to find a couple of sheets to use to make a paper quilt and then cut them into 1/5" strips.  I then adhered them to a sheet of 12" x 12" paper.

Gelli Plate Wall Art 5

I put them down in a patchwork like fashion so that it would look quilt like.
Gelli Plate Wall Art 5

Then I did zig-zag stitches down every row.
Gelli Plate Wall Art 5

And then framed it.  I initially hung it up here, but I think it's too small to go there so I'm moving it to another wall...but I really like how it turned out.
Gelli Plate Wall Art 5
Ignore all the dog stuff in this's a real life photo. ;)

Oh, and the frame & mat are from Ikea.  



Got Fabric Scraps? Look what you can make!

Erin Basset - Fabric Scrap Yarn1

I have a big basket of fabric's actually about ready to bust it's so full so I decided I needed to do something with some of it.  So first I grabbed some of my recently added fabrics and ripped them into 1/4" to 1/2" strips.  (I wasn't very precise.)  I then sewed together each of the strips randomly with a little zig zag stitch on my sewing machine until I had some fabric scrap "yarn".  (Once again, it wasn't precise...I just quickly did it not caring what it looked like.)


Erin Bassett - Fabric Scrap Yarn 2

While this photo shows the original cute ball of almost softball-sized "yarn" I made, I ended up having to make about twice as much for this project.

I then searched ravelry for a tutorial to get me started.  (Most of the time when I crochet from a tutorial I just use it to get me started, or give me an idea and then I tweek it to make it work for whatever I'm doing.)  I found this nesting basket tutorial and decided to use the pattern for the medium sized basket with a few tweaks to it (see below).


Erin Basset - Fabric Scrap Crochet Basket3


So I made a few changes to the instructions...I did half double crochet (hdc) stitches instead of single crochet (sc) and I didn't do the last 4 rows since I liked how tall it was without them. (hdc stitches are taller then sc stitches.)


Erin Basset - Fabric Scrap Crochet Basket2


This basket ended up measuring 7" x 2".  Which was perfect for me.  I will admit that it was much harder to crochet fabric then yarn....maybe it was because it was ripped or maybe too thick???  It definitely took some effort!  But it was a quick project and I think I like how it turned out...I'm not 100% sure yet LOL.  But hey, I used some scraps so I can't really complain too much.  ;)


What do you do with your fabric scraps???  Please post you links in the comment section!



Baby Beanies Made with the Knook (ebook)


Hoot! Wise Owl Mixed Media Project

I'm excited to share my first Basically Bare project with you guys!  It's this little owl...

BLOG - Erin Bassett - Owl Wall Decor

I used the owl Stack-a-Bellies to make it, you can read about how I did it here on the Basically Bare Blog...I'd love if you could leave a comment over there too!

Here's some close-ups:

BLOG - Erin Bassett - Owl Wall Decor - CloseUp1

I used a Zig pen to draw the faux stitching on the embroidery hoop and make the little "wise" tag.  Thank goodness my girlfriend helped me figure out what word to put on it!!
BLOG - Erin Bassett - Owl Wall Decor - CloseUp3
BLOG - Erin Bassett - Owl Wall Decor - CloseUp3
You recognise that heart?  Yep, it's this one!  I almost used it on the necklace.  Oh and that safety pin...well it used to be silver...I painted it with some Tattered Angels Glimmer Glaze.  It took two coats, here's how the first coat looked:

BLOG - Erin Bassett - Owl Wall Decor - Tattered Angels safety pinsSo, as you can see I'm still liking owls.  :)


CHA Winter 2012

So I've been back from the Craft and Hobby Association's annual winter trade show (aka: CHA-W) for a few days now...and now that I've had time to relax and catch up on the home front I thought you might like my two cents.  ;)


Cha show
photo credit: CHA

The Show...

While it felt like a smaller winter show then past years (there were "networking parks" set up where I assume they tried to sell booth space and failed, and all the booths combined were only in two of the halls), it was still a great show!  This year I was blessed to be able to "walk the floor" and not be stuck in a booth all day.  (Don't get me wrong, I love to teach and talk, but boy does it wear you out!!)  So I actually got to see outside the path from the booths to the food & restroom!  It was such a nice change!


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some of "Love My Tapes" display

The Trends...

The major trends I saw at the show were washi tape, chevron patterns,'s still hot!  -Loved Lawn Fawn's twine since it's lightly waxed it's perfect for mixed media, alterables are still big along with DIY jewelry....everyone from Imaginisce and Creative Imaginations to Darice (who partnered with Tori Spelling) has a line coming out.  And of course mixed media stuff!  Check out "my favs" below to see what I love!

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The Celebrity....

Speaking of Tori Spelling, I got to go to her launch party with Darice for her new [Styled] line of jewelry.  It was an intimate get together, with mostly media in attendance.  Tori got up and told us about the new line and how easy it was to use and we got to see the pieces and meet the design team that helped develop the line, and then it was time to mingle! Tori was very gracious with taking photos and talking to people.  I was thankful to be sitting with my friends from Northridge Publishing who were interviewing Tori for an upcoming piece, so we got to chat for quite awhile.  I do have to say that she comes off as "real"...and I mean really she could live next door to you real.  She talks like a real crafter...knows all our slang, and has such a mother's heart.  She puts her family first and it was just really heartwarming to listen to her share examples of how she does that.  

After Tori had to move on to talk with other people, everyone at my table were chatting about how down to earth she is.  Talking with Tori was very much like talking with any of my friends in the crafting industry in that she's a real woman, wife, mother, and entrepreneur.  It was good to see!


Tori and Erin
Tori & Erin at the [Styled] launch party

Oh, and Tori liked my necklace.  ;)  Every time she saw me she'd tell me that she was still loving it.  Funny thing too, since I changed my top, shoes, and jewelry for the event because I love it too!


My Favs...

These are my top 5 favorite products (in not particular order) that are coming out this year:

1. Basic Grey Canvas Frames....they come with a pre-printed design on them that you can add paint, fabric, canvas, photos, etc to in order to make it your own.


image from


image from

2. SEI's fabric spray...Yes, finally a permanent color spray for fabrics!  Hello new obsession for Erin!!


image from


3.  Ranger & Crafter's Workshop Dylusions masks...and just about any mask Crafter's Workshop makes.  ;)  Love them!!


image from
image from


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 4. Kreinik...a new to me manufacture...has iron-on thread!!!  Seriously, my heart skipped a beat.  Of course I love regular thread, but iron-on?  How awesome is that????


image from
Here's they are showing us how to make our own cording.


5. Kodak and Avatrex partnered up to create this cool substrate that you can print on and then apply it to surfaces such as shoes!!  It's really cool and the perfect answer for people who have been trying to jazz up textured surfaces like yoga mats and flip flops with the look of screen-printing (ie: YuDu) and were unsuccessful!


image from


image from



What about paper-crafts?

Well, there wasn't a lot that's ground braking's more of a "flowers in 'new' colors" type of year!  There are lots of awesome papers and stamps coming out, punches too, just nothing that made me feel I have to have that right this instant....which is a little sad.  I will give some honorable mentions for....

1. Bazzill's new washi tape and antique paper.  The paper is thin...kind of like tissue paper but a bit thicker then really has a neat feel to it like old paper.


image from


image from

And Margie (a vintage, totally Margie, line) and Janet (a travel-ish line) also came out with new great lines for Bazzill.


2. Heidi Swapp and Pink Paislee teamed up for a new release.  Now I will have to admit that when I got the sneak peek emails online prior to the show I was not too thrilled with the line...however seeing it in person is MUCH more appealing!  It has a less juvenile look in real life then the emails showed....also, the display & samples in the booth were terrific.

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Love the concept of using these cool file folders for scrapbooking
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Love the patterns for the Color Wonder line

3. Love the new colors of Gelatos from Faber-Castell as they continue to expand the Design Memory Craft line.


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I uploaded all the photos I took at CHA to my Flickr account so you could see feel free to browse through the slide show of them.  I tried to take photos of the manufactures name when I was in a booth so the photos around the "name" photo are where those products and project samples came from...I will update the photo descriptions on Flickr when I have time.





Disclaimer: I work with the following companies that are mentioned in this article and my doing so had no baring on me reporting on them in this article....I only report what I really think not what I'm paid to like.  ;)   (Imaginisce, Northridge Publishing, and Faber-Castell)



Handmade Valentine's Pillow

Handwriting on stuff is very trendy these days.  If you look on Pinterest there's a ton of tutorials on how people have made everything from scarves to home decor items with messy handwriting one them.  Often it's black lettering on a white background, but sometimes it's reversed like on my sunglass case.  -Which I wish I could write like.  ;)


Kensie Eyeware Case

So I went with that idea and wrote my own paraphrased version of 1 Corinthians 13:1-8 over, and over, and over again with a ZIG Textile Fabric Marker on to a white piece of fabric.

Erin Bassett - Love Is - Pillow - CloseUp2


The easiest way I found to write on fabric is to actually pin it to my ironing board so that it doesn't wrinkle or move when I'm writing. 

Erin Bassett - Love Is - Pillow - CloseUp3
Erin Bassett - Love Is - Pillow - CloseUp5


When I was finished writing I ironed it so that the ink would be permenantly set into the fabric.  Then I added a heart shaped piece of fabric to it and sewed it and a plain white piece of fabric into a pillow.

Erin Bassett - Love Is - Pillow - CloseUp1

And here's how it turned out!


Erin Bassett - Love Is - Pillow

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Sponsor: Kuretake/ZIG



Starting Fresh...A New Art Journal

Erin Bassett - Life Journal Cover 1
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A new year deserves a new art journal! I'm using this one I created for Stephanie's year long class (which you can still get in on until the end of January!!).

I just used what I had on hand for it: fabric, ribbon, & paper.

To create it I just cut a piece of fabric (mustard color) & a piece of canvas to the same size, I also cut out about a 4" wide piece of fabric (turquoise color).  I started off by ironing the edges of the turquoise fabric in (thanks Rowenta for the iron!!) and then sewing the it onto the mustard fabric first.  I just pushed it into wrinkles as I sewed it instead of doing a running stitch through it first.

Erin Bassett - Rowenta Focus Iron

Then I put the mustard fabric & canvas right sides together & sewed around it almost completely and then turned it inside-out  through the opening. I then ironed all of it making sure to press the edges well.  I also folded and ironed over a 2" spine down the center of the cover.  

I then punched holes for grommets in the spine with a Cropodile Big Bite, and then put the grommets in.

Erin Bassett - Life Journal Cover 2
For the inside pages I made 12 "signatures" (one for each month) out of file folders and then inserted a couple of folded pieces of cardstock inside each one.  Originally I thought I'd punch through the spine of all the pages to bind it and decided that wouldn't work out well and so I just sewed the signatures together individually and then glued them together.  -If you're not familiar with book binding techniques that all probably sounds really confusing!!  I wish I took photos at the time to show you, but maybe this next photo will give you a little bit of a clue to what I'm talking about.  (Oh, and ignore the two holes you see in each signatures spine!!)

Erin Bassett - Life Journal - How To1

I also cut out a piece of cardstock to wrap around the whole book before putting the cover on it, and punched two holes in it's spine.  I only glued the back side of it to the end of my book, but when my book is full I'll add some glue to the spine if I think it needs it.

So then I just took a ribbon and threaded it through two of the holes I mistakenly punched and then through the holes I punched in the the grommets on my art journal cover.

Erin Bassett - Life Journal - How To2

Hopefully that made sense!  If not let me know and I might do a video. ;)  Also, if you're looking for a new iron check out Rowenta's.  I've bought this brand since I was in college and it's always been a good one.  Even when we had problems with our Advancer model they gave us good customer service and took care of the problem.  I was especially happy when they gave us this new Focus model since I'd love to have an extra iron for my craft studio.  Can you believe it drives my husband crazy when I get craft gunk on our clothes iron?  Geez!  


I'll post some pages that I created inside it later this week!  Here's a sneak peek:

Erin Bassett - Life Journal - Sneak Peek



Disclaimer: I have been given a Rowenta USA iron for review.