Saturday, August 11, 2012

Things to make and do.

When I was little, my absolute FAVOURITE book was 'Things to Make and Do', by Douglas Downey, a craft and creative bible full to the brim of toilet-roll projects, make-your-own puppet-theatre instructions (complete with scripting advice), yarn dolls (where I learnt the word 'yarn' meant 'wool') and the like. If I came to my mother bored she'd point me in the direction of this glorious book, and I'd be a happy little Vegemite for hours. Over 200 pages thick, and just over A4 format, it was a treasure chest of goodness. I can remember very clearly flicking through it's pages for some inspiration, and do you know what? Even though I used this book full-time from the ages of three to ten, I can't remember ever having 'finished' it. It always had a new promise unfound on a new page.

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I haven't thought about this book in a long time, but the title - Things to Make and Do - sits firmly in my consciousness.  I was reminded of it again last night when I compiled the new 'Things I Make' page of this blog. It feels nice to have made a connection back to my childhood roots, and it feels even nicer knowing that something that bought me so much joy back then still fulfills me now. Happy sigh.

On searching the interwebs for an image of and info about this, my favourite childhood tome, I came across some pretty strong opinions! On one page I found great scans of the original book, but the page is called 'Awful Library Books'! No! This book is not awful! It's wonderful!

Another blog I stumbled across is actually one that has joined my reading list. 'Baking With Medusa' has some great original photos of the book, and a fabulous updated project using the 'Dancing Clown Puppet' page. I'm feeling a little bit inspired again...

I also found out that the book was part of a set, thanks to this Etsy listing. Which, unfortunately, was already sold. But made me inspired again for a new search...


  1. so glad you found my blog posts about this book... and thanks for posting the link back to my site. i've been meaning to continue my Things to Make and Do with Boris Karloff series, thanks for reminding me. please keep me posted if you should get around to crafting your own projects from/about/based on Things.

    1. Will do, Michelle! I was browsing through it tonight (my Amazon order came through a couple of days ago) and I'm finding myself quite enamoured with the Yarn Doll brooches and, strangely enough, the Sweet Potato Vine!