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Handmade Gifts

When you’re seeking shelter indoors from the heat and humidity of dog days, begin creating handmade garden gifts for loved ones.

Here are some books with inspiring projects. “How to Build With Bamboo” by Jo Scheer from Gibbs Smith features 19 delightful projects for the home and garden, including furniture and accessories. For the outdoors, there are porch swings, fences, garden gates, and a waterspout. For each project, the author provides complete, step-by-step directions. In the introduction, he covers all the techniques and terms you need to know.

“Projects for the Birder’s Garden” from Rodale was edited by Fern Marshall Bradley and the editors of Yankee Magazine. This guide features over 100 easy projects, including birdhouses, bird baths, feeders, and feeding stations, such as a donut feeder. The first chapter features easy projects that are suitable for novices. This volume provides all the information you need on what type of food each bird species prefers, and details on bird-friendly plantings. The appendix features a list of sources and resources.

“Bonsai” by Susan Lang and the editors of Sunset Books is the ultimate guide to creating and caring for these miniature plants. This is suitable for beginners and experienced gardeners. The plant directory features an A-Z guide of suitable plants, including native species. For each plant, the authors give a description, and details on its care, pruning, and propagation. The book walks you through the process from getting started and training the plants to pots and supplies that you will need. There are color illustrated instructions every step of the way.

“Preserves and Canning” by Birgit Rademacker from Silverback features wonderful recipes of all sorts for fruits and vegetables. The author provides all the basics you’ll need to know on canning and preserving with suggestions on spices and seasonings, techniques, and equipment. The recipes include carrot almond dip, kiwi pineapple salsa, and squash ketchup. This is beautifully illustrated in full color.

“Baltimore’s Country Cousins Album Quilt Patterns” by Susan McKelvey from the American Quilter’s Society has a host of ideas for garden gift ideas. It has a dozen appliqué blocks plus four bonus blocks you can mix and match to use for creating accessories, clothing, home accents, tote bags, table runners, miniature wall quilts, and other items. These designs are based on quilt patterns used along the eastern seaboard in the first half of the 1800’s. The author explains how to use additional techniques for embellishing these patterns, such as inking and stamping, and how to combine the various blocks to create personalized projects. There are also chapters explaining every step of the process from choosing fabrics and colors to constructing and stitching the quilt. There are color photos, full size pattern pieces, and complete instructions for each design.


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