Remember an eon ago when I shared my collection of magnets? And I said I would gradually share all my other collections with you? Yes, well, I don't think I meant quite this gradually...
But onwards and upwards hey? Here is collection number two - foreign language craft books. Or more accurately Asian language craft books.
Living in Hong Kong I'd practically trip over cute, quirky craft books at every turn (mainly Japanese, but increasingly Chinese too). I'd pop in to my local book store and there'd be dozens of little tomes featuring ace things to do with buttons or ribbon or left over take away boxes. Worse still, every 7-Eleven in Hong Kong (and there is one on every second corner, actually there is one on every corner) would have at least a few crafty gems on their magazine shelves. And now here in Korea I'm confronted by an even bigger selection of local and Japanese crafty goodness.
And it doesn't even matter that you can't read the language. Most of these books have rather detailed step by step instructions with diagrams, patterns and photos, so provided you've got a tiny bit of crafting nous you can muddle through just fine.
As they tend to be picture heavy I mainly use them as inspiration, rather than the source of whole projects. It might be the combination of materials used, a particular design element, a print or a pattern. I especially like the paper craft ones (you can see more about one of my favourites - Paper x Paper - here), and I have recently discovered the beautiful and endlessly inspiring Japanese embroidery guides (Fumiko Nakayama's Color Embroidery is particularly wonderful!).
Those last three featured are: a fantastic Korean book on paper cutting which comes complete with a ton of ideas on how to use them and a CD of patterns; a book called 'Animal Mascots Made of Wool' which features the 'heartwarming whale'; and a ridiculously cute Japanese book on felt softies. If you want more information on any of the books you see just get in touch and I'll pass on the ISBN.
ps. I do have an ulterior motive for sharing this collection with you. Without giving too much away it may have something to do with the words 'give' and 'away'... All will be revealed tomorrow!
ps. Also if you live in a place with great craft books in a language-other-than-English and want to do a swap please get in touch!