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A DIY Library for Lifelong Learners

DIY: The surest path to creativity, capability, and confidenceAnybody who knows me knows what a big bibliophile I am. I love books. I love reading. I love learning new things.

When I was a young girl in school, the section of the library I camped out in most frequently was the Creative Arts section.

Granted it didn’t take up nearly as much space as Junior Fiction (which filled a whole wall) or history and biographies (another couple of cases), but there were at least three or four shelves dedicated to “How to” and “Do It Yourself” books.

Those are the ones I devoured.

Crafting, pasting, sewing, baking, crocheting, painting, sketching, and building — many of the things I can do quite capably and confidently now have their roots in time I spent reading and experimenting as a child.

DIY books contain so much scope for the imagination!

They teach useful skills, give step-by-step directions for finishing the featured projects, and provide lots of inspiration for completing countless projects of your own using your newly acquired skills.

So when Ultimate Bundles released their 2015 DIY Library, I felt just like a kid in a candy shop. I was so impressed by the variety, depth, and detail of the books offered.

The bonus offers are terrific, too. In fact, just the Craftsy class alone is worth more than the cost of the entire collection.

Here is a sampling of the titles that appeal most to me, although with over 75 books included, this Ultimate DIY Bundle truly has something for everyone:

Sewing School 101I learned to sew by trial and error. Lots of error. A book like this would have saved me many ruined projects growing up, which is why I’m so excited to have it for my girls — budding seamstresses in their own right — to read as they learn and grow in their stitching abilities.

Sewing is such a useful skill to know! I’ve saved all sorts of money by making my own curtains, quilts, comforters, costumes — I even sewed my own wedding dress. But as I’ve tried to teach my daughters to sew, I often forget to mention some of the basics they need to know to sew well. This book covers everything: hand sewing, machine sewing, pattern fitting, fabric selection, thread tension, plus all the necessary tools and how to use and care for them. It’s a great resource for beginners (or refresher for the rusty).

On Becoming a WriterThis is a short book — only 89 pages — but well worth the couple of hours takes to read. It outlines a very balanced viewpoint bloggers would do well to keep in mind. From where to what to why to how we write, the author shares her thoughts and convictions in a conversational yet thought-provoking way. She writes of “sharing experiences and connecting with kindred souls,” and it didn’t take many chapters for me to realize I’d met a kindred spirit in the pages of this book. I love her personal mission statement for writing (and I share her fondness for m-dashes, as well).

Although this book is intended for bloggers, it contains pointers that would be helpful for any kind of writing. The writing prompts at the end of every chapter would, in fact, make very good lessons for teaching creative writing to students, which is what the author does by trade and what I intend to do with my homeschooled children.

21 Inspiring Thrift Store TransformationsI’ve always been a huge fan of garage sales and thrift stores. I view them as a treasure hunt!

I especially enjoy finding old things and transforming them into something pretty and new. The majority of my home decor has been acquired in just such a manner — for a fraction of the cost of buying similar stuff new.

This book includes tips and techniques for a variety of projects, plus pointers for what you should look for in choosing pieces to transform — all easily adaptable for remaking thrift store finds of your own.

PinterestingI love Pinterest. Don’t you? Not only has it altered the way I collect, sort, and organize other people’s ideas, but it has also changed how I promote ideas of my own.

If you are an artist or a writer, Pinteresting will give you lots of helpful tips on using Pinterest to put your work in front of the public. It includes strategies for building and maintaining boards, what and when to pin for best results, how to gain new followers, etc.

Say NO to AutoI have a wonderful camera capable of taking all sorts of wonderful, artistic, thoughtfully composed photos, but I usually just point and shoot with all the switches set to “auto.”

This book uses before/after photos to illustrate clearly why “auto” settings are not the best choice for getting the best shots. Best of all, the author breaks things down into three basic settings you need to consider when shooting manual photos, with clear, concise instruction on how to do it.

My more tech-savvy children have tried to explain these concepts to me in the past, but my eyes usually glaze over about halfway through the explanation, and I usually just hand over the camera and let them take the pictures.

This book gives me hope that I may finally be able to grasp and put into practice what my shutterbug offspring have been trying to explain to me all along.

Easy Mod Podge DecorI’ve done a little mod podge in the past. Once I even mod podged a botanical border with prints I cut out of a yearly planner onto a bedroom wall. But I had no idea how very versatile this medium was before reading this book.

Although the brightly colored, art deco sort of projects featured in the book wouldn’t really mesh with my particular style, the techniques — so beautifully detailed and illustrated with step-by-step photos — are easily adaptable to projects that would blend in beautifully with the more traditional decor I fancy.

In fact, thanks to the inspiration found in the pages of this book, I already have several such projects in mind. 🙂

Getting Started with Social MediaA quick-start guide to using social media as a marketing tool, this little gem is full of advice on content creation, posting strategies, brainstorming questions, and action points for a variety of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google+. Thorough and easy to read, it provides a good overview, whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been at it for awhile.

Thrifty Decor Chick's DIYMy father was a general contractor, so I grew up knowing about power tools and DIY home repairs, with lots of hands-on experience as I helped him with various projects and observed countless others.

As a result, I’ve never been afraid to tackle most of the things that need fixing around our house. I can replace broken window panes, install lighting fixtures, repaint cabinets, hang wallpaper, replace faulty lightswitches — I’ve even taken apart a car door to fix a window that wouldn’t roll up.

For readers who weren’t blessed with such DIY-oriented upbringing, the Thrifty Decor Chick provides a great, easy-to-follow guide for doing those sorts of projects, as well as many others. I especially like all the finishing woodwork touches she’s added to the windows and doors of her house. Inspiring!

A Year of Art JournalingThis is a really neat book far more ideas for art journaling that I would have ever dreamed up on my own, although I’ve been journaling and scrapbooking for over forty years now. My daughters enjoy this pastime as much as I do, so I’ll be sharing this book of widely varied techniques and projects with them, as well. The instructions are simple enough for beginners, while the scope is challenging enough that old veterans will enjoy it, as well.

Go ahead. Take a peek at the other books included in this bundle. You can buy with confidence, as the bundle comes with a 30-day, money-back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied.

Please note: This post contains affiliate links. You may read my full disclosure statement here.

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