book review

Must-reads from the team for Read a Book Day

We asked Etsy Dallas members to share their must-reads to celebrate Read a Book Day, September 6, and the highlights are listed below. Read on for our suggestions if you're looking to take your business to the next level, work on yourself and your creativity, or just enjoy some fun fiction reads as we get into fall. Happy reading, bookworms!

Transform your business and working habits

Several of our members have raved about The 4-Hour Workweek, which is full of ideas to help with that elusive work-life balance, whether you have a creative business or not. If you're looking for a way to ramp up the profits and the way you think about your creative business, Profit First will get you thinking about how to trim the fat and start making more money. If you're an artist looking for some guidance about how to better monetize your craft, look no further than Lisa Congdon's essential guide, Art Inc., and move confidently forward in your business.

Never stop exploring your creativity or yourself

You've surely heard friends raving about Big Magic, but if you haven't found the time to read it yet, let our members be the next to urge you to read this inspirational guide this fall. It's always a good time to get yourself out of a rut and take a stab at The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron's eye-opening course in discovering and recovering your creative self. And if you just want to find a way to work on some good habits and find small life-hacks to be more productive as we get into the new school year, we recommend Gretchen Rubin's Better than Before (or her Happier podcast, if that's more your thing). 

Get ready for Halloween with some spooky reads

We loved knitter-author Chloe Benjamin's The Immortalists, a story about how one family's life plays out after the children hear a psychic's eerie prophecies. As a bonus, you can follow her writing AND knitting on Instagram @chloekbenjaminInterview with the Vampire is a classic that we've all heard of, but have you actually read it? If you haven't read a good book in a while, this classic will draw you in and give you a passion to read again. Finally, if you need a campy, nostalgic thriller a-la-Stranger Things, check out My Best Friend's Exorcism and you'll surely be ready to decorate for Halloween.

Book Review: The War of Art

Hi guys!  I'm sharing a post from my personal blog today to introduce you all to a concept known as resistance.  I hope you enjoy, and find it to be inspiring!

I always find myself with a creative block after a big show or project.  It is like I have run out of creative fuel, and my idea bus is stranded on the side of the road at night in the middle of nowhere.  Often, I take this as an opportunity to enjoy the stars, or clean the windows until my tow truck comes along.  This could take days.  Or weeks.  A few times it has taken months.  After my daughter was born, it took years.  My tow truck driver is Steven Pressfield, and he's coming in The War of Art
Personally, I listen to this short "jump start" of a novel on Audible because I need busy hands while listening to non-fiction.  But, however you best receive information, I encourage you to imbibe this knowledge.  I would have never considered this book, in favor instead of something more recent, or maybe with prettier cover art (shameful admission).  Regardless of a few dated references and some really out there topics, the heart of this novel is timeless and imperative for creatives, or anyone who believes in a higher purpose.  If I were a professor, my semesters would begin with this book specifically to introduce everyone to the formerly unnamed phenomenon he calls "resistance."
If you haven't already taken the link above, and claimed your copy (new perspective on life) of The War of Art (clever name, I know. I revel in word play), allow me to further convince you.  Resistance is a broad term to define that which distracts you or repels you from doing your work.  Not just any work, I am referring to the significant work of your life.  What is your purpose, your genius, the thing that defines you and separates you as a person?  What is your God given gift or talent that you can share?  Well dang, heavy questions for this early in the morning, right?  Drink your coffee and think.
My life's work is art.  Whatever medium I can get my hands on that will communicate with the world (or even just one lost individual) a message of hope or encouragement.  I want to move people in a way that brings them to action or resolution.  I aim to inspire people to believe or have faith in themselves.  So, it is no wonder that the concept of resistance resonates with me.  If my message in life is to encourage others to try again, resistance isn't just my personal enemy, keeping me from doing my own work.  Resistance is my enemy in you, also.
Did I lose you?  Hold tight, I am going to break it down.  Resistance is the sensation that arrives when you are just about to embark on a spiritual/physical/artistic calling for growth, and suddenly have the overwhelming need to do the dishes.  Or play a video game.  Or begin a different unrelated project.  Whatever excuse that keeps you from not following your revolutionary path at class/church/gym/practice is resistance.  Resistance loves addiction, and insecurity- he has you right where he wants you.  "The more important a call or action is to our souls evolution, the more resistance we will feel toward pursuing it."  Resistance arrives wherever courage is required; it is fueled by fear.
Do you know what I am talking about?  Can you relate?  Seems impossible, right?  Now, imagine if you could learn to use that sensation as a compass to navigate where your best efforts should be spent.  Progress.  Transformation.  Fulfillment.  This book can reprogram your mindset about procrastination and reinvigorate your passion.  I have not even touched any concepts beyond the second chapter.  So, #treatyoself to something different this weekend, I can't wait to hear your thoughts! 

Crafty Book Review: Paper Made!

Kayte Terry may have your dream job. According to her bio, she is the merchandising manager for Anthropologie, a crafter, and a freelance fashion and prop stylist. Swoon!

She also happens to be the author behind the super fun craft book Paper Made!, which features 101 projects all made with paper. And, of course, the photography and styling is gorgeous.

You can find Paper Made! on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble. Prepare to lose yourself in a paper wonderland!

The projects are beautiful and would make lovely handmade gifts for the holidays. You don’t have to be a creative genius to successfully complete the projects. The instructions are clear and easy to follow and Kayte always lists all the items you need to complete each project.

The book begins with some tips on techniques and tools. There is also a great list of resources, suppliers and blogs to check out.

Projects are rated by level (1-5) so you can create something as simple as the Piece of (Cup)cake Paper Flower or as complex as the Modern Fete Silhouette Chandelier. There are instructions for everything from shelves made of books to jewelry made with paper. What a crafty way to recycle!

Posted by Rori of MadeByRori.

Crafty Book Review: Big-Ass Book of Crafts and Big-Ass Book of Crafts 2

Ok, crafty people, get out your supplies, clear off your table and get ready to make something awesome as Rori from Made by Rori reviews the Big-Ass Book of Crafts and Big-Ass Book of Crafts 2 by Mark Montano.

The Big-Ass Book of Crafts features 384 pages of projects including olive oil body lotion, a drinking-straw starburst hanging light, and kid-art napkins (also pretty fun for us grown-up kids). This full-color collection was published in 2008. The photographs by Auxy Espinoza are beautiful and make it hard to choose which project to start first.

The Big-Ass Book of Crafts 2 is the same length as the first and was published in 2011. It’s not quite as good as the first, but the projects are still pretty great. New projects in this follow-up include concrete planters, zipper pumps (pretty awesome way to add new life to an old pair of heels), and 99-cent-store shadow boxes.

One of the great things about both BABC books is how customizable the projects are. It’s incredibly easy to personalize just about all the projects to suit your taste or the taste of a lucky recipient. The best part of these books is the explanation and instruction provided. Although some of the pieces require access to a sewing machine or certain tools, most just require collecting the supplies, grabbing some glue or scissors and getting creative. There are more than 300 projects between the two books, so every artist and craft addict will find plenty to love.

Mark Montano is the crafty guy behind both BABC books. He has written several books including The Big-Ass Book of Home Décor, Pulp Fiction, and Dollar Store Décor. You might remember him from TLC’s While You Were Out and other TV shows. You can find Montano’s on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.

Mark Montano on Etsy 

BABC on Amazon  

BABC 2 on Barnes and Noble