I'm starting a book review series!
Why? Well... I remember first starting out as a paper florist and feeling absolutely LOST and ALONE. I had spoken to Margie (from The Lovely Ave) briefly via email, and she was truly LOVELY and gave me tons of advice (THANKS MARGIE :D), but I was the only one in Singapore and I was intimidated by all these paper flower giants I saw on Instagram. They seemed to be such professionals and I felt too much of an amateur to actually approach them directly. I'm also someone who doesn't really like to ask for help - its just my personality - I always prefer to find my own way. Researching online helped me tremendously, and as for book reviews, I'm sure there are tons of good reviews out there, but I think I would like to just share my point of view and reasons why I love each book. Also, I'm hoping to inject a more local perspective, especially when many of these books are outrageously expensive in local bookstores or have to be shipped in.
The very first book I'm reviewing is Paper to Petal by Rebecca Thuss and Patrick Farrell. Its up first because it was the very first book I invested in and it cost me $42.95 from Kinokuniya (I found it in the Hobbies/ Crafts section). I can't believe its selling at less than SDG$30 now on Book Depository! OUCH my heart!
If you'll like a peek into the book, click HERE. (I've included some of my own photos in this post, but I try not to give away too much content!) This website is an awesome supplement to the book as you can download the templates - so that you won't have to tear our pages from your book - and there are sneak peeks at the layout and you can also get a sense of the theme of the projects - its super colourful, whimsical, fun, and unconventional in a good kind of way!
PLUS, if you'll like some free tutorials from the same authors, check out this link! These tutorials aren't in the book but they're a good taste of the type of whimsical projects you'll find in this book!
To be honest, maybe this isn't really a review because I'm not rating it or anything, but just sharing reasons why I love this book and who I think its best for!
No. of projects: 75 flowers
Main Materials: ALL KINDS! A combination of german and italian crepe, tissue paper
Sections: Flower Projects, Materials, Skills, How-tos, Templates
Templates provided?: Yes! At the back of the book and also available online as pdfs
REASONS WHY I LOVE THIS BOOK:
1. GET INSPIRED! The number ONE reason why I ask people to buy this book is that it teaches you about FINDING INSPIRATION and translating that into your craft projects. Right after the intro, the authors delve into the very first step of any craft project - finding something that inspires you. I think this is something I sometimes take for granted, a lot of times we buy books for specific instructions and we just follow without really thinking too much, but this book really encourages you to look around you, take different elements/ things you love (quirky buttons, cute prints, a certain mood, etc.) and really CREATE something uniquely yours.
2. THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX. Be warned, if you're looking for an instruction manual of making specific life-like blooms, that's not what you're gonna get. There are some CRAZY flowers in here. And by crazy, I mean it has such a wild pattern or colour scheme but yet it still looks like a flower and it still looks AMAZING! Its kind of mind-blowing. All kinds of materials are used - not just Italian crepe. The authors really went outside the box - different materials are combined in ways I never thought of (such as doily paper! Very creative!). You have the basics - petals, stem buds, leaves - but everything else (colours, patterns, texture, material, etc.) is left to the imagination - really you can go crazy and have fun with it!
When I had projects that required more unconventional blooms, this was the book that gave me the courage to TAKE RISKS! There's definitely a lot more trial and error involved, but it results are worthwhile! (Take a look at my Kate Spade inspired photoshoot! The large blooms with the polka dot center was inspired by their roses, the pink and white bluebell-like flowers were inspired by Project #21, and those small blooms with the striped centers were made from striped ribbons)
See what I mean? I don't really copy a single project, but I take different bits and pieces from the different flower projects to create my own whimsical blooms.
3. THE VISUALS. Ok, this is a superficial reason I suppose, but buy this book for the GORGEOUS PHOTOS. The styling of the flowers is top-notch, and I love that they place these crazy out-of-this-world blooms in real life settings. For me, making the flower is the easy party, styling it and finding a nice vase or photographing it with a nice background is something I find challenging to THIS DAY. This book does a fantastic job showing you 1000 ways your flowers can be used - flowers for your hair, for gift wraps, for cakes. If you don't end up making any of the flowers, just having this as a coffee table book is well worth the money too.
WHO I THINK SHOULD BUY THIS BOOK
Beginners! Start with this book! The projects aren't too difficult and its not so technical as to scare you off - I like that their instructions aren't very text-heavy, and how the different elements are shown clearly in the photos so you know exactly how each part should look before assembly (in fact, the pictures are so good that I don't really need to read the detailed instructions). Plus, this book has wonderful detailed explanations of the different tools/materials, including the different types of crepe paper, which is helpful if you're just starting to learn about crepe, plus a whole section on SKILLS that are the foundation of making any paper flower.
At this point you might be wondering, "But I don't want to make whimsical blooms? I just want to make life-like blooms! Is this book still for me?" I would say YES! Even though most of this projects aren't "practical" in that sense (a lot of them are more for party decor/ festive occasions than for everyday display/ gifting), creativity is the foundation of any craft, and this book trains you to think out of the box and express your unique artistic voice and that is truly the beauty of any craft - you're not stressed out about making your flower look as realistic as possible.
Plus, you can always go on youtube for videos on how to make life-like flowers, but there aren't videos online to teach you how to make these out-of-this-world blooms. *wink*
For me, this is a book I go back to most frequently, have left the most post-its in, and I'm inspired by something new every time I browse through it, be it colour combinations, a petal shape, a texture, a leaf shape, etc. I don't necessarily follow each project step by step, or duplicate their blooms wholesale, but the beauty of this book lies in showing you the limitless world of paper blooms. :D