HOW TO: Start your own crafty lit book group

If you:

– LOVE to read juicy novels

– Are a full-on glue gun totin’ craftaholic

– enjoy hanging out with the chicas

Well then, you must join or form a crafty lit book group!

Words can’t describe how much kooky fun it is to gather a group of wildly creative, wordy women and set them loose at a table of art supplies with a book as a topic of conversation.

The “Oh. My. God. No way!” stories take on a life of their own, the laughter machine unloads, and glitter flies everywhere. At times there are even tears shed for the characters’ achievements and heartaches – and how they relate to our own lives. And it all wraps up with a show-and-tell finale, where everyone takes a turn to hold up their masterpiece and brag about it.

Excited? You should be. Here are the basics of starting your own crafty book group.

P.S. Here is a Crafty Lit group I started with my friend, Silvia from Studio Mama, come join us!

Round ‘em up. Shake the tree – send a note out to family and friends explaining what you want to do. Ask them if they would like to take part in a monthly spectacular crafty book bash. If you feel daring, look for people outside of your normal social circles. Post note cards at craft stores, colleges or libraries. It’s a groovy way to make new comadres, and the varying styles will add a nice flavor to the clique. When you have enough willing souls, set up an email list or online message group so everyone can post important dates, notes, pictures and messages.
What to do? Find common interests in both book genres and crafts. Mysteries, chick lit, historical fiction? Knitting, collage, macrame? At your first meeting, do introductions, and then have everyone fill out a short questionnaire sharing a book they want to read with the group, and a type of project they want to make. Put them in a hat and take turns drawing. That way everyone can contribute. If you want to be really creative, you can theme the project to fit the book. Here are some ideas.
Where to meet: There are two ways that work really well. The first is to have a different person host the meeting each month. The host supplies the basics: glue, paper towels, scissors, ruler, paints, craft knife, etc. The other option is to make it a field trip every month. You can meet at the park, the food court at the mall, an open lab at a craft store, even a coffeehouse.
What to bring: Make it a crafty potluck (theme it around your book!). Each person brings a food or drink offering, a small bag of craft supplies to share, basic tools (favorite scissors, pens, stamps, etc) and whatever items they want to use for their piece. It’s more personable when everyone brings their current favorite CD. It keeps the music going and you get exposed to new tunes.
Other ideas:
– Make one of your craft projects a journal for writing. Pass it around so everyone can decorate page in each other’s books.
– Incorporate writing exercises in your group. Have everyone share a crazy, made-up line and then take turns continuing the story either on their own, or in the group.
Attend a book club meeting or craft class together. You can keep the group lively by enrolling together in a class/book group at a local arts/bookstore. This option is perfect for tapping into new trends and practicing difficult techniques, because a know-it-all instructor is right there to help!
Name your group. Have everyone submit ideas and choose one out of a hat or vote. Nominate someone to design a tantalizing logo. Come up with a catchy tagline for your group.
Set up a web site. Star a group blog or an actual site. Give everyone their own page with a personality questionnaire. If your members have web sites, promote them. Include a page that links to other craft groups in your community or around the country. Post pictures of completed projects, along with instructions. Any lessons you’ve learned, post them to inspire other crafters.
Throw a collaborative art show. Theme it around books, writing and reading! Check if your community has First Fridays (a night where all the galleries host openings). If so, visit local art spaces and pitch an idea for a show that unites all of your work.
Become crafty heroes for each other. If someone in your group is in dire need with a home renovating project, centerpieces to assemble or a room to re-do before out-of-town company arrives, devote a meeting to help out. You’ll find this will also extend to help with advice, relationships, cooking and more.
Buy an art booth at a festival. The trouble with art shows is the fee can be high, and it’s stressful to work the crowd all day. By joining forces like the artful wonder women you are, you can cut down on all of that.
Design and create for charity. Sew or knit blankets for a local shelter, or have the group sign up to volunteer for fund-raising events.
Invite mystery guests. Meet a talented artist in your travels? Invite them to come to a meeting and join in. Whatever book you are reading, look up that author’s contact info and see if they can do a speakerphone interview with the group. You can also check to see if the author is visiting your town. Better yet – support local authors in your area!
Take oodles of pictures and post book reviews. These will come in handy for the projects in this book. Post the pictures on your web site so the world can see how brilliant you all are! In addition, post book reviews on book sites, online book sellers.
Theme your meeting. Celebrate each other’s backgrounds and upbringings. Have Cuban day one month and Texas day the next. You get the idea!

– Look for online book groups that you can connect your group with.

Love & light,

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Kathy Cano-Murillo

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Hi, I’m Kathy, The Crafty Chica! My specialty is creative motivation. I’m an artist, author, and speaker and this is where I share my craft tutorials, artwork, articles, books, product lines, and workshops!

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