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Woot for summer! But wait, it’s pouring rain outside today. Boo! What to do? Seek out Cathy Callahan’s Vintage Craft Workshop, our June Book of the Month.
Like many of us, Cathy Callahan’s role models are women who paved the way. Growing up with a mother that imbued a 60’s and 70’s DIY aesthetic into her home, Cathy was happily occupied throughout her childhood by kitschy craft projects. As an adult, she started collecting vintage craft books, like Make It with…Yarn ‘n Burlap, and became part of the current crafting community at local fairs and online. Through this tight-knit community, Cathy met talents whose works are included in this book.
Successful crafters, such as the editor of World of Geekcraft, Susan Beal, contribute their interpretations of projects from forgotten books and magazines. Seeing images of original pieces, like the cover of 1970’s Serendipity in HiStraw, not only bridges vintage crafts with modern, but it encourages you to interpret these projects as your very own. That’s exactly what I did with the “Citrus Slice Bulletin Board,” seen in progression below!
Vintage Craft Workshop is not just a collection of projects and steps, it’s an anthology. Best of all, sprinkled throughout the book are profiles of mid-century DIY heroines. For example, dÃ©coupage wouldn’t be the same without Jan Meyerson Wetstone, the inventor of Mod Podge. The interior designer from Atlanta, GA, wanted a more efficient varnish and developed the mixture in her garage. Since 1967, Mod Podge has been the go-to goop for collages and more. Rock on, Jan Meyerson Wetstone!
Lastly, I must add that this book has got style. I’m so into the “Festive Gift Boxes'” model’s swingin’ floral shift and daisy cocktail ring – the shades of warm oranges and pinks, “flower child” prints, and cateye frames worn by crafty ladies (including Cathy herself) are enough to make me want to create a retro extravaganza from my closet to my kitchen.
Vintage Craft Workshop is not just for DIY’ers. It’s a great gift for your vintage-loving friend, especially one that insists she or he is not “crafty.” The projects are pretty easy – save the two projects that require the crafter to already know how to crochet, anyone can create something from this book. For the decorated cork board I made here, I did appliquÃ© for the first time, which was way easier than I’d expected! Basic materials like burlap, felt, yarn, embroidery floss, and tissue paper are used in many of the projects, and are things that won’t break your bank. So, when it’s raining on your summer day, this book will definitely keep you entertained.
Wanna get retro? Leave a comment below in response to this month’s discussion question and you could win a copy of Vintage Craft Workshop!
Tell us about a craft-savvy lady or gentleman in your life! How does this person inspire you?
Also, if you purchase the book from us, leave your own review of the book right here on the site, or on our Goodreads group!
books, crafts, diy, retro
Ever since I was little I went to a little arts & crafts camp. We learned how to make felted landscapes, octopuses out of paper mache , cupcake collages, tea party collages, and even Harry Potter castles. The lady who ran the camp, Holly, was the craftiest person I know. In camp she would always make the best pieces. She would sculpt with paper to make bunnies and frogs! She could turn tape, paper, glitter, tins, and found objects into a cupcake, and magic wands out of a stick. Holly had the most creative ideas, and could make any found object into a masterpiece. She inspires me to be creative. Holly would take the me and my camp on walks to the local garden and tell about how she was inspired by the garden and was making fairy houses to be put on display next to the flowers, and how the flowers should inspire us too. She is a great teacher and artist.
Oh definitely my Nana! She makes the most incredible things! She is a beader extraordinaire! She literally spends hours beading, making the most beautiful earrings, tea cosys, literally anything (though all featuring adorable pictures!) When I was nine she gave me a doll with the whole dress made of of beads! It is so amazing, it now lives on my desk so I get to see it every single day!
A family friend of mine, Chrissy, is a wonderful source of inspiration for me. She takes simple things like curtains from Ikea and items found at thrift shops to create the most beautiful living spaces. Her home is a magical fairyland filled with little wonders that are all d.i.y. projects. It’s encouraging to know such a person who keeps whimsy and enchantment alive even into adulthood.
my craft inspiration would be Megan Allan Cole, she has a youtube channel called ” craftzine” i lover her diy crafts, she makes them easy and they come out really cool, but besides her i would say most of my family, my aunt and grandmother both crochet, but sadly my grand mother past away. i would say i inspire myself though because when i asked my aunt to show me how to crochet she said i would never understand, so i thought i could lear myse;lf, which i did, i can also sew, knit, paint, needle felt, sculpt, and anything else. almost everything i own is made by my own two hands, and i am proud of myself for them!
My sister is so creative and crafty! She made me the cutest owl pillows for Christmas. Her room, and whole house actually, is gorgeous. Just being there makes me feel inspired to craft or bake or write something beautifuL!
Ever since I was a little girl my mom has always done crafts with me. She taught me how to be creative and that it is okay to be different and follow your heart. Through our craft times all throughout my childhood, an unbreakable bond was formed. She is my best friend and as I get older we continue to do creative projects and share our ideas fir dfferent crafts together.
My paternal grandma has been the crafty lady in my life since she made me a pink polka dotted quilt when I was a baby. When visiting her, I always marveled over her handmade teddy bears and painted gourds.
oh man oh man i think i need this in my life. i swear i was born in the wrong era. i was made for the 60s-70s and i craft pretty much everyday. crafty lady in my life would have to be my grandma and my mom…even though i am the one teaching her the ins and outs of crafting and knitting!! this would be perfect.
My old nanny was an amazing artist and crafter and would do craft projects with me all day from the age of 3 to 10. She is an old family friend and I still meet up with her today to sketch, paint, sew, or do other crafts. She gave me my creativity and made me who I am today.
My mom has been the only crafty person in my life by far. She’s the one who taught me ow to sew and knit. I can recall when I was younger she used to make me clothes and Halloween costumes, just writing about it is taking me into memory lane *smiles* I love crafting, and I have her to thank for it!
My mother is the most inspiring crafty person I can think of. She’s amazing; she manages to think outside the box with just about everything. She’s a children’s librarian, and basically spends all day making crafts and props so that kids will have fun while they’re at the library. She’s made giant paintbrushes out of yarn, aluminum foil, and those giant cardboard tubes that carpet comes on… she’s made an origami crane out of taped together newspaper that took up the entire living room when unfolded, and three people to fold right (it ended up being almost four feet tall!). I guess she isn’t the traditional crafter who knits and crochets, but you can be sure that my mom will come up with the most insane and fun projects you can think of. And it’s that unpredictability (she came home one day and announced we would be making truffula trees, swomee swans, and bar-ba-loots from Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” for a library play.. they came out really neat) that makes her so inspiring. You never know what’s going to come next! I only hope that when I grow older I can bring the same fun and creativity to my friends and projects too : )
My sister-in-law is a crafty kid. She creates the most gorgeous and unique stuffed toys, art canvases and table runners. I’m always inspired by her fun designs!
My Nana has been the craftiest person in my life. She knitted outfits for me when I was younger- one of my favorites was a bunny print sweater and skirt, with a fluffy bunny tail on the back of the sweater. In addition to knitting, she was a wonderful sewer and outfitted all of the dolls in my dollhouse. She also was a fantastic counted-cross stitcher, and I have several of her pieces hanging up in my house. She passed her love for crafting and passion for creativity on to me. I remember sitting at her dining room table and sewing my own doll clothes, to match hers. She taught me how to cross stitch and some of my fondest memories are of sitting on the swing in front of her cabin, enjoying the serenity and stitching. As I grew older, I have delved into many other areas of crafting but the one I still hold closes to my heart is cross stitching. My Nana is still around, however, her eyesight has deteriorated. She no longer is able to craft, but the passion that she instilled in me at a young age continues to thrive. She has been such an inspiration to me and I wouldn’t be the crafter I am today if it wasn’t for her.
My grandparents owned a little craft shop when I was a kid. It was my first “job” – I was only 6! I used to love visiting them after school and during the summer – the three of us would sit and craft for hours in between the customers. My mom’s house was always full of the little things we’d crafted for her, and our Christmas tree is a hodge podge of clothespin angels, tri bead wreaths and candy canes, and felt picture frames. Today, my crafting has gotten a little more sophisticated, and I have my grandparents to thank for getting me started.
my mum always inspired and still inspires me. she’s got lots of ideas and used to make new, beautiful things for our home all the time. since i moved out it’s something like a game everytime i come home: what is new this time? she’s really talented but i think only my dad, my brother and me know. but we love it.
My friend and former coworker Jenny has been such an inspiration. Anytime we hosted events at my workplace, Jenny would whip together amazing posters, games, toys (for people and animals) table settings and even window coverings practically overnight. She also knits, sews and crochets, all while raising 3 kids. Her creativity and seemingly endless energy are contagious!
Hmm… that’s a difficult question. I think I have many crafty people in my life that inspire me. First of all, my mom, she always used to sew the most perfect clothes and some unique knitted sweaters. Then my dad. He takes a useless piece of wood, furniture or whatever and he can give new lie to it. He is so crafty! Also my best friend’s mother, Mrs Joyce, who have taught me how to crochet!
Thankfully, I have many crafty people in my life. I have to give props to my Grandfather- not only did he hem my jeans, but he also taught me the finer art of ‘recrafting.’ He would constantly find furnature in the street and give it new life with paint and stain. He would repurpose kitchen gadets into fun toys and always have a fun sculpture in the backyard for tomatoes to grow from. He inspired me to look at the old and make it new- if not for me, then for someone else. Thanks Grandpa!
My mom is definitely my craft inspiration. Ever since I was younger, she would sew blankets for my sister and I, and she still does! Sometimes I even help her make them, but I get on her nerves so she shoos me away. Recently, she helped me make a memory box for my best friend’s birthday. It took a lot of hard work and effort but it turned out wonderful. My best friend loved it. Any crafty projects for school my mom will most certainly be there to help. Usually she takes over though. When I was younger, almost all of her gifts were something she made herself. She has definitely inspired me to take on different crafts. She’s such an amazing person.
My boss is super crafty. She knits, quilts, bakes and gardens. on occasion I impress her with my crafty ways and it makes my day. I would love to do the crates in this book with my BFF. It’s right up our alley.
I immediately thought of my best friend Carly and her mom. She is such a unique person! Her mom and her go out to garage sales and they find the strangest things. They then clean and spruce them up a bit and the pieces look as if they are works of art! They re purpose the pieces so well. They inspire me to be more crafty and unique. And, of course, to not be afraid to spray paint something red!
My mom inspires me through her crafting with paper. My mom has always been crafty, me and my sister used to do all kinds of craft projects as kids. A couple of years ago my mom started doing paper crafts. I am amazed at what she can create out of paper whether it be a card, box or any of the other wonderful creations she makes. Some of the best times I have with my mom are spent crafting on the weekends.
My aunt Nancy taught me all I know. She sews, crochets, knits, you name it. When I was little all of my clothes were custom made for me and I had a huge hair accessory to match every outfit (it was the 90’s, after all). It didn’t go unnoticed – I was awarded best dressed in kindergarden. I had my own crafting table at her house where we’d tye-dye and bead. She taught me how to use a sewing machine when I was old enough and our first project was making fleece beanies we donated to our local hospital. She then taught me how to crochet (which I love!) and knit (which unfortunately didn’t work out). Other projects include recycling plastic bags into “plarn” (yes, plastic yarn) and making clutches out of little folded candy wrappers. She’s always been the craftiest lady I know. She has taught me the ins and outs of crafting and continues to inspire me every day!
My mum is an excellent sewer! I can barely reinforce buttons, so she and I work together on projects. She sewed her own graduation dress as well as my eldest sister’s, and she often helps me put together costumes and do alterations on clothing. I’m slowly learning a bit, but I doubt I’ll ever be as crafty as she is!
First Winter in NY… Bought this gorgeous wool headband to keep my ears warm in the snow…. with a gorgeous bow… you know what I am talking about…Got home for Christmas and told my grandma about it, explaining what it was without showing it to her. She calls me the next asking how many colors I want cause its so easy to do… She did bows and everything and asked me which decorations I wanted in each of them… When we went in vacation I would show her pictures of flowers and she would complain how I hadn’t brought back a pot with the flower… There was not a flower she did not try to grow, one embroidery she did not turn upside down to see if she could do it herself. She was 86 that Christmas, still able to live by herself, still decorating the local church by herself every Friday, weddings, christenings, communions… Next she asked me if I wouldn’t rather she make me a beret…
My sewing teacher! She inspires me so much. I haven’t been sewing long, and I have always been worried that I started at too much of a old age to amount to anything. But she showed me no matter how old or how young you can always been crafty and sewing whatever you put your mind to! This book is so cute, and would be great for my next project! My sewing teacher is the most crafty and inspirational person I know.
My bestfriend Norah is such a creative, and inspirational person to me. She always has some new project she’s working on, it might be a scarf she’s knitting, or a costume she’s sewing together, or perhaps she’s making curtains and pillows for her home. Whatever it is I know it will always be beautiful. So of course when she got married, I knew there were lots of DIY projects in her future! And not only did she make all of the invitations and favors she even made her own wedding dress! Norah also embroidered and beaded her dress by hand. It looked fantastic as do all of her crafts, and for that reason she is an inspiration to me.
My husband and I are definitely not craft-savvy by any means, but we don’t let that stop us from trying! We like to paint together, and every Christmas we make the presents for our quite numerous family instead of buying them! We also don’t get each other presents, we just spend the time together working on everyone else’s presents. In the past we’ve decorated ornaments and worked with polymer clay for the first time. But we’re nothing compared to his stepmommy, who is like a super knitter and is starting to get really recognized in the knitting world :] She’s always designing something new and it’s so amazing to just watch her knit away.
When I first met one of my college roommates, Shannon, we knew pretty quickly that we were kindred spirits. We’re floaty, loud, Jesus loving artsy fartsy, girls that could spend hours in an antique store and even longer working on our lastest creations at the couch. When we both got married we’ve been keeping in touch and switching ideas but man, do i admire her technique and style. She is a stay at home mom with a beauty named Ruby. I would highly suggest her blog. http://shanderson.blogspot.com/ Favorite Ruby’s 1st Bday Party, “Tea for Ruby”
My mother is a kindergarten teacher and by nature a very crafty person. Whenever I see something interesting or fun, she’s always the one to say “I bet we could make that!” She helped me make a t-shirt quilt even though neither of us had attempted quilting before (and it came out perfectly!). Together, we both explore different craft projects, and learn as we go. She had a natural ability to figure out and invent as we go, and the finished product is always amazing!
My mother. She radiated with creativity. As a child I wanted so badly to be able to do the kinds of things she made look so easy. Every year she made beautiful Christmas wreaths and would eagerly put together these remarkable halloween costumes from just an image in her mind. She made gorgeous cards filled with doilies and pop out images and my name written in sparkly puff paint. It was magic to the eyes of a 5 yr old. The craftsmanship and skill she put into everything for me always expressed her love. I think being a mom was a great outlet for her to shine artistically. It’s what she loved to do.. beading, drawing, ceramics, decoupaging everything from frames and jewelery boxes to our huge toy chest. She was amazing. Recently, she passed away. When i think back, I see twenty years of inspiration. These days, happy or sad, i find myself only wanting to craft. it’s so fun and innocent and calming and i feel connected to her.
My mom was always making all different kinds of crafts, from cross-stitching to doll clothing to pillows. I have many of the things she made when she was alive and although I was only ten when she passed away, I inherited her love of crafts and am constantly making new and different things.
My sister has always been the crafty one in our family. On summer days our mother would take us to Ben Franklin for crafts supplies. While I went for the Fuzzy Art or Paint-by-Numbers, she always found the most creative things. She made pillows for my house that seriously look like they were made professionally. Now she’s in a visual arts program in her high school and makes some of the most creative and inspiring pieces. Her pop-arty picture of a chicken slashed with blood over a McDonalds made me go vegetarian (only for a week, but it counts) this is my last summer at home with her and this book looks like just the thing for some last minute bonding 🙂
My mom’s the crafting, cooking, and costume queen of the family. She started crafting in the late ’60s growing up and has been honing her skills for 40+ years making clothes, home decor, and lots and lots of food. In the ’80s she would make the most beautiful evening dresses that gave her the reputation of best dressed at all company parties. Every Halloween I remember her always whipping out whatever my sister or myself needed each year from Cleopatra to a little pink lion to the infamous dead deer hunter costume my siser wore in ’97. Oh yeah. From observing her creativity I was inspired throughout my childhood to create things of my own, benefiting from her brilliant suggestions (“A hobbit? I’ve got some leftover tweed and we can use eyeliner for your feet!”). Without her creative influence my life would probably be quite a bit less fun.
My craft inspiration has changed throughout life, but it’s always been a friend! I have at least 3 friends I can think of, but if I have to choose one my first friend who was really crafty was a friend I had in high school. She always had a fix for everything and a way to use every scrap of paper and since then I’ve been the same way!
My aunt taught me to crochet. And it keeps me motivated when we are both working on projects to see how they will turn out! My Grandma crochets too but never learned to read a pattern and it just amazes me the things she comes up with off the top of her head. From blankets to dolls clothes!
My grandma, all the way. She’s made me so many amazing things…the best being a quilt that illustrates the entire Night Before Christmas!
a classmate of mine always crafts the best things all by herself and that always inspires me to do something as well. also my grandma taught me a lot of skills, like knitting or sewing.
My Grandma, easily! Weeks (possibly months) before Halloween I would start drawing out EXACTLY what my costume would look like. My Grandma and I would go over my poorly drawn idea and magically (it seemed like magic as a child) my Grandma would construct my costume exactly how I had envisioned it. Aside from Halloween costumes, my Grandma made me dresses and skirts, funky hairbows and charming little pillows. My Grandma is one of the craftiest people I’ve ever come across in my life thus far! That, and I owe her big time for teaching me so much about vintage EVERYTHING!
My two grandmothers, both of whom have already passed away, are definitely my crafty inspiration. One of them was a knitter and made me all kinds of sweaters, hats, scarves, and mittens to survive the snowy winters in New Jersey. My other grandmother was a seamstress and made her own patterns for sewing. I only wish I had an eighth of her talents with sewing! She made my aunt’s bridal gown, as well as the bridesmaids’ gowns, and all without even being here in the US. We sent her our measurements via phone call, she made the dresses, and then she did a final fitting right before the wedding when she arrived from overseas. She was so amazing and made a lot of my dresses growing up.
My mother is completing inspiring! Growing up she taught my sister and me that with a craft store nearby, and a good hot glue gun, you can make just about everything! From spray-painting a cosmic design on a desk to making pillows out of old t-shirts, she taught us that with a fresh perspective you could give something old new life. My sister and I continue to be DIYerâ€™s, and my craft skills have been coming in handy with my wedding in October. As I make bunting, pinwheels, invitations and such, my mother is still right beside me helping me be crafty.
My Nina is the craftiest person I know. She’s not the most affectionate grandmother (I wasn’t allowed to call her grandmother as a child because it made her feel old) but she always made me feel special when she would craft things with me or teach me a new skill. She taught me to crochet when I was five, embroider when I was ten and knit when I was twelve. She spent hours creating whatever tickled her fancy in the evening after dinner…when I’d kiss her goodnight she’d always have some handiwork in her lap. I remember when she made a lace vest for herself and it was beautiful. She had the teeniest hook in her hand and the thinnest thread in her basket. It never takes her long to finish anything! She built a dollhouse for my cousin in weeks; complete with scaled food crafted of clay. She made me the ever so 1980’s fashionable bed-dolls…big poofed skirts on plastic dolls that were designed to sit on the end of your bed. I had one on my bed until I was sixteen. In the winter we’d pluck pinecones and acorns from the yard and milkpods from the creekbeds and glue them together to make angels for the Christmas tree. We’d spray them gold and hang them by golden threads. They always looked magical illuminated by the soft lights on the tree. Her tree was always full of handmade ornaments which is something I love doing with my own tree. My grandmother lives on an unpaved road in the country, right on the banks of Lake Erie. The woods have wonderful vines that i would collect with my aunt to make wreaths for the doors of the house and cabin. her paintings adorn the walls of her home…even in the bathroom! She painted lovely roses on the cabinets. She build things from wood with her bandsaw (she showed me how to put down a subfloor in my mother’s house, and then create a mosaic on the kitchen wall). I can remember when she showed me a new crochet stitch she created. It was so cool! It looked like a twisty popcorn stitch. She made rows of them in an afghan she was making and it looked really good. My room was always full of blankets and doll dresses and scarves and hats and mittens that she would make for me. My grandmother may have never shown me affection in the “traditional” way, but I know she loved me by the things she made for me. If I don’t have something in my hands to do, I feel lost. If I’m not working the needles or a paintbrush or feeding fabric through my sewing machine, I don’t feel like myself. Sometimes I think I’m a bit too much like my grandmother; I feel affection but can’t truly show it unless I’m creating something for someone. I hope to someday say that I am as crafty as my Nina, but also learn to say “I love you.”
My friend Carrie inspires me by creating beautiful pieces from unexpected items- salvaged leather, bullet casings, broken agate slices, you name it! She somehow manages to create rugged, yet refined pieces with such ease. I love and model my own vision a bit after hers!
My grandmother is definitely the biggest craft inspiration to me. She is the speediest seamstress and sculptor extraordinaire. Not many people in my family have an appreciate for crafts or any kind of art talent for that matter, and I think I got the knack from my grandma. She truly does inspire me, and shows what a true love for something is.
My Nanna is definitely my craft muse. She taught me to knit when I was 10, and helped me sew stuffed toys of my own (crazy) design. Whenever I sit down at my sewing machine I think of her making clothes for herself and the kids, back when it was a necessity rather than a luxury. She passed away five years ago, along with so much crafty know-how. There are so many things I wished I asked her when I had the chance!
I LOVE Erika Domesk of P.S. I made this. Being a native-nyer (like me!) she pinpoints all the great supply shops to go to and I find that her projects are really accessible for anyone to do. I also love how she takes runway looks and makes them mainstream for anyone to match from anywhere.
My godmother is a true domestic goddess! Her house is a testament to the power of crafts. She knits, sews, crochets, decoupages, cooks, bakes, and paints. As a kid, I’d watch her spin yarn on her spinning wheel – she even had a loom, and would weave blankets for me and my best friend (her daughter). She also takes old books and creates beautiful artwork out of them. They’re the most lovely and elaborate pop-up books you can imagine – but they look so inconspicuous on the shelf. Best of all, she throws amazing tea parties . The themes are amazing – one of them featured homemade cakes and pastries that all featured tea as an ingredient. I never knew you could bake chai cookies til Dana made them! She’s an incredibly creative and inspiring woman.
There are so many people in my life who are amazing artists, craftsmen, and generally creative! My sister, has been drawing for forever, and she really is talented, though she refuses to admit it, one of my friends is the most incredible ‘from memory’ artist I’ve ever met in my life. She is absolutely INCREDIBLE, ask her to draw anything from Winnie the Pooh to Harry Potter, and she draws it spot-on. My grandmother, who I would consider the biggest inspiration, was a professional artist. In fact, in WWII she drew maps for the army! She used her gift to the fullest extent, sharing it with others by holding classes, attending them, making crafts for anyone who needed anything, why, according to my father, the last thing she made was a paper mache crocodile for her church, which was animate, it nearly came to life, which she worked for the children of the church, even though she would frequently suffer from pain in her hands from arthritis. She continued to help me in life even after she passed on by helping me to appreciate my other grandmother much more than I did at the time; to appreciate her life, her quirks, her views and opinions, just everything. Everyone has at least one person who they aspire to be like, and my grandmother is that one.
My crafty inspiration is a family friend, Teri. My mom has been friends with her since high school and I’m so glad they are still friends to this day! She’s always been big into sewing and making clothes, and even made my mom’s wedding dress! Her house, especially at Christmas-time, is a do-it-yourselfer’s dreamland. She has a themed christmas tree in every room, and makes a lot of the decorations herself. She’s started into so many other fields of crafting, going so far as to buy a circular saw and planer for her basement to make her own furniture and wood crafts! She just amazes me and inspires me to try many new things in the world of crafting.
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