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Editorial blog

Martha Stewart’s Top Craft Books Picks!

08 Jun 2019

Angela Sara West chats with Martha Stewart about her own book, along with a few of the other authors of her favourite craft titles about how it feels to receive such an amazing endorsement and why they think they made Martha’s cut.

Did you know that world-renowned lifestyle guru and crafter, Martha Stewart, has selected no fewer than FOUR Search Press titles among her nine craft book picks for 2019? FIVE, if you include a book that Search Press stock and exclusively distribute in the UK and Europe on behalf of the California-based specialist sewing and textile publisher, Lucky Spool.

America’s much-loved, and most trusted, lifestyle expert is the author of around 100 books on crafts, cooking, decorating, homekeeping, gardening, entertaining and weddings. In fact, she’s the go-to source for the best answers to practically ANY question! As an authority on the diverse genres upon which she has built her domestic empire, she advises on anything and everything; whether it’s making or organising, cleaning or celebrating, she’s the queen of assistance on all sorts, including essential life skills.

Having spotted Martha’s article, which is full of praise for a whole handful of Search Press titles, the ‘world’s finest art and craft book publisher’ and the leading supplier of arts and crafts books in the UK tell us they’re “super thrilled” to rate so highly among Martha’s top craft book choices.

“We were truly delighted to find out, almost by chance, that not one, or two, but Four Search Press titles were chosen by Martha Stewart as part of her Top Nine Craft books of 2019,” says Mary Ellingham, Publicity Manager, Search Press. “It was a wonderful surprise and a terrific endorsement of our books from an inspirational figure in the craft industry.”

1. The Martha Manual: How To Do (almost) Everything’ By Martha Stewart

Publisher: Houghton Miffl in Harcourt

Not surprisingly, Martha’s top pick is her very own top title, ‘The Martha Manual: How to Do (Almost) Everything’. The highly-respected teacher of (almost) everything has brought her time-tested, Martha-approved strategies and solutions for the not-so-common conundrums together in one beautiful and practical handbook, with hundreds of tips and ideas, useful insights, easy-to-follow instructions and inspiration a go-go. This is the manual you need to learn not only how to craft, but how to do everything—the Martha way! From how to make your bed and paint your floors, to advice on fixing leaks and building a fire, Martha covers practically everything in her much-loved manual.

Martha’s team say: “Whether this is the year you vow to throw the best dinner party ever, revive the art of letter-writing, or (finally!) organise your craft room, you can find the ultimate how-to’s in Martha’s latest book. The beautifully illustrated guide features her best party tips, DIYs, decorating ideas and more that’ll leave you inspired all year long - and beyond.”

Martha tells me why her very own book recommendation is well worthy of her top spot.

“This book is for people of all ages and at different stages in their lives”, she explains. “Young people on their way to college or moving into their first home can read this book and have a good basis in home organisation. And, for the more experienced person, it helps with cutting back, cutting down on chores and actually accomplishing tasks that you may never have thought you’d be accomplishing!”

2. ‘Crocheted Cactuses - 16 Woolly Succulents To Make For Your Home’ By Sarah Abbondio

Publisher: Search Press

Martha and her team say: “This might just be the perfect book for anyone who can’t keep a plant alive, no matter what they try. ‘Crocheted Cactuses’ will share 16 patterns inspired by actual cacti species. The book starts with a quick technique section, making sure you’ll have a good grasp of the craft before you take on any actual projects.”

“I am SO grateful that Martha Stewart has selected my book as one of this year’s top craft books,” says Sarah of the amazing accolade. “It makes me extremely happy and humble to be among those selected. I think one of the reasons why the book made the cut is because it’s whimsy. Although the patterns imitate real cactus species, there is something humorous about the cuddly and soft result. Making this book has been a journey. Every like and comment on Instagram is appreciated and seeing all the results inspired and crocheted from the book fills me with joy. My second book, ‘Crocheted Succulents’, published in Danish, continues where I left off with ‘Crocheted Cactuses’, with an increased difficulty level. I have another book in Danish in the pipeline, marking my return to the first thing I ever crocheted – Amigurumi. Thank you, everyone, so much for the support - it gives me the perfect motivation!”

3. ‘Seasonal Flower Arranging’ By Ariella Chezar & Julie Michaels

Publisher: Ten Speed Press, part of the Crown Publishing Group, Penguin Random House

Martha and her team say: “We know the power of flowers to brighten your day, but creating your own arrangement is a whole new level of happiness. No need to sign up for a single class. Renowned floral designer Ariella Chezar provides step-by-step instructions for 39 seasonal floral arrangements (to fill your home with blooms, branches and foraged materials all year round), making her the perfect person to learn this delicate craft form.”

4. ‘Norwegian Knitting Designs: A Collection From Some Of Norway’s Leading Knitting Designers’ Edited By Margaretha Finseth

Publisher: Search Press

Martha and her team say: “If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to knit, doing so from a master of Scandinavian sweaters is the way to go. Margaretha Finseth is a designer and brand manager at House of Yarn in Norway and this book will bring you through more than 30 traditional Scandinavian designs.”

5. Woven Art’ By Elena Vilar

Publisher: Search Press

Martha and her team say: “This isn’t your typical project book. ‘Woven Art’ pulls inspiration from your own travels, personal objects and experiences to help you create woven art for your home. You’ll start by learning how to make your own cardboard loom.”

“Writing a book has always been a dream for me,” beloved French blogger and crafter Elena explains. “Weaving gave me this opportunity so I could mix my passion of fibres with writing and try to convey the basics so that everyone can weave. I find it wonderful to see my book making its way, and I was really touched to see it in Martha Stewart’s top craft books for 2019. That’s a real recognition! I hope my book will be a good weaving companion and that it will reveal passions for some people.”

6. ‘Papercut Landscapes’ By Sarah King

Publisher: Search Press

Martha and her team say: “Looking to expand your horizons, but tight on space? This book is all about making on the micro-level. ‘Papercut Landscapes’ is a guide on how to take your favourite geographies and turn them into unique pieces of artwork.”

“I’m absolutely delighted that ‘Papercut Landscapes’ has been featured by Martha Stewart as one of nine books to read in 2019!” says Sarah. “This is an amazing endorsement, both of my work and of the beautiful book that Search Press have created. Many papercutting books focus on single-colour designs, whereas I use joyful, uplifting colours in my papercuts, which makes them bright and attractive, adding to their naivety. There are plenty of step-by-step photographs throughout the pages, plus words of encouragement to help anyone create their own designs. I’m so pleased that Martha Stewart recognises this book as an inspiration!”

7. ‘Hand Dyed’ By Anna Joyce

Publisher: Abrams Books

Martha and her team say: “You’ll tackle projects for your home and wardrobe in ‘Hand Dyed’. You’ll learn how to transform everyday objects like an old robe, lampshades, or a duvet cover using ages-old techniques like Japanese shibori. Artist Anna Joyce will guide you through using natural compounds to make some incredible colours.”

“Having my book recognised by Martha Stewart is like winning an Oscar for crafts!” says Anna. “I think ‘Hand Dyed’ was chosen because it offers readers a sophisticated take on dyeing by hand for the wardrobe, home and family. This book shows readers exactly how to get great results in brilliant colour and beautiful indigo. I don’t have any other books in the works right now, but I would be thrilled to start working on a new project soon!”

8. ‘Painting With Wool’ By Dani Ives

Publisher: Abrams Books

Martha says: “Two years ago, we introduced you to the work of Dani Ives and her felted pet portraits on embroidery hoops. We admired her poignant style, expert technique, and skilful eye to detail. This year, artist Dani Ives shares her own style of needle felting with wool fibers to achieve a more painterly and textured look in ‘Painting with Wool’.”

“I was thrilled to receive the book endorsement from Martha Stewart!” says Dani. “Painting with wool, my two-dimensional style of needle felting, is becoming more popular and only a few instructional books address it. I think my book is a fresh and trendy take on needle felting that helps readers build their skills as they work through the projects.

Painting with wool is fun and addictive, and I think most folks who try it would agree! Although nothing is officially in the works, I have dreams and ideas for an additional ‘Painting with Wool’ book that focuses on my specialty - animal portraits.”

9. ‘That Handmade Touch: 20 Simple Sewing Projects For You And Your Home’ By Svetlana Sotak

Publisher: Lucky Spool Media, LLC (distributed in the UK and Europe by Search Press)

Martha says: “Looking to hone your sewing skills? Take notes from Svetlana Sotak whose talent for creating everyday essentials comes from her thoughtful use of fabrics, clean patchwork, and precise construction techniques. Now, in her first book, she passes on her expertise in projects ranging from quilts, baskets, accessories, and home décor.”

“I’ve been a fan of Martha Stewart and all the fabulous work she and her team do for such a long time… what a great honour to be featured!” says Svetlana. “What I most loved about working with Lucky Spool was their desire to ensure the finished book represented me - my work and my style accurately. They listened to my vision and provided guidance and support along the way, which made working with them an absolute dream come true.”

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