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  • Charms by Melissa Oesch

    One of my favorite things about wearable mini-books is that I get to use leather journals as jewelry without being a pretentious twit about it.

    That was the habit when I was 18 and a freshman English major: using such things as self-adornment, as an insecure suburban teen trying desperately to look intellectual and literary is wont to do. I leaned toward unadorned leather journals in which I earnestly wrote bad prose and worse poetry in a very public manner. Why, yes, I believe there were kreteks involved.  

    Even though I’ve given up the poetry (you’re welcome) and have switched to writing bad prose on a laptop, I still have a soft spot for the accoutrements of the newly minted English major which is indulged by these Etsy shops. Check them out.

    These mini-book necklaces by Philadelphia’s Margaux and Walter Kent at Peg and Awl are a callback to those more fanciful days.

    The Kents hand make each piece using reclaimed leathers from sources such as vintage sofas and antique doctors’ bags.

  • Rich and Brenna Neeley, two clever book-loving crafters from Southern California, rescue discarded books and turn them into absolutely beautiful docks for your iPod, iPhone, and/or iPad.

    But how can anyone chop up such gorgeous books? A lot of the books featured in their Etsy shop are really quite stunning. Well, according to their profile page, Brenna only recycles "books that haven't been appreciated elsewhere" with "more than a few [sneaking] their way into [their] personal collection." So you can be quite sure that the book being used "was not being loved as it should be." 

    Visit their Etsy page for more. I'm definitely ordering one soon.

  • We're pretty huge fans of Parks and Recreation here at the Quirk HQ. Seldom does a week go by that Margaret doesn't bring up chickie-chickie-parm-parm or reference the Ron Swanson Pyramid of Greatness. So when our crafty friend Mei Pak emailed us about her necklace appearing in an episode, we flipped out.

    Mei, who was featured in our recent craft book Microcrafts, creates adorable food-inspired jewelry under the name Tiny Hands. Her scented waffle necklace was featured in the Valentine's Day episode Operation Ann (here's a link to it on Hulu).

    According to Mei, she'd been in contact "with the show's wardrobe stylist, sent her some pieces of jewelry, and then all of a sudden... there it was on TV."

    You can read the entire story about how it happened over on Mei's blog. Congrats, dear! We're proud of you. 

  • There is nothing more uninspiring than the drugstore Valentine aisle. Forget Hallmark this year and impress your Valentine with a love letter from their favorite author tucked inside a paper mailbox -- complete with a hinged door and quaint red mailbox flag.

    For this DIY-Valentine you’ll need the following materials:

    - 3 sheets of card stock
    - double-sided tape
    - single hole punch
    - paper fasteners
    - craft knife
    - pen
    - mini envelope and card
    - craft scissors

    Feel free to use this lovely template from her Craftacular Highness, Martha Stewart, if you’re artistically challenged like me or create your own version of the 3-D paper mailbox.

    Once you’ve assembled your mailbox, inscribe a note with a short quote or passage from your Valentine’s favorite author, slip it inside a mini envelop and deliver it to your “mailbox.”

    Hopefully, your beau’s favorite writer is someone romantic like poet, Pablo Neruda. You’ll have an easy time finding lovey-dovey quotes encapsulating your true feelings. But perhaps your Valentine is more into stark Russian prose. Not incredibly romantic but -- fear not! Your letter will just be that much more unique.

    I’ve chosen to use a quote from one of my guy’s favorite authors, Fyodor Dostoevsky, but you can borrow from any author that has meaning to you or your Valentine.

    On the small note tucked inside the mailbox, I wrote:

    We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at
    first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.

    Works every time. You're welcome.


    Short. Sweet. And completely unique. Your beau will appreciate your creativity and hey, you remembered their favorite author! Bonus points.


  • Contest is over! Thanks!

    Today's Five Days of Quirkmas giveaway is a Snowed in Survival Kit... aka, all of our crafting books. Spend those chilly Winter days huddled up working on crafts with your friends, family, and potentially, your cat!

    Microcrafts by Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz, & Margaret McGuire: A celebration of all-that-is-small, Microcrafts dishes out 25 projects no larger than a spool of thread. Micropapercrafting, microsewing, microcrochet, and even microgardening... there are lots of super cute tiny projects in here.

    Witch Craft by Alicia Katchmar & Margaret McGuire: Lots of spooky-yet-adorable projects fill Witch Craft, from marshmallow skulls to plush poison apples.

    The Museum of Kitchy Stitches by Stichy McYarnpants: Well, this isn't really a craft book. It's a showcase of hilarious stitched up projects.

    Creepy Cute Crochet by Christen Haden: Love amigurumi? Adore monsters? Perfect. You want this book. Creepy Cute Crochet contains more than 20 patterns for zombies, ninjas, Vikings, vampires, aliens, robots and more. 

    Knitted Icons by Carol Meldrum: Not happy with just crafting famous monsters? How about famous people?

    Crafting With Cat Hair by Amy Hirschman & Kaori Tsutaya: This hilarious, strange, and rather cute craft book will show you how to make projects using your cat's fur. Buttons, portraits, cat toys, picture frames... plenty of projects that you and your cat can make. Together.

    How can you enter? Just leave a comment telling us about your favorite crafting activity. Are you a knitter? Crocheter? Papercrafter? Let us know. I'll select one of you at random and send you a package full of books, as well as some sample crafts we've got around the office. Don't forget to leave your email address! I'll need to get a hold of you somehow, right?


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