april diy + business book club

dear-handmade-life-diy-business-craft-book-club-a-1I am a die hard magazine lover. In high school I would close my bedroom door, put on my favorite mix tape and lay down on my bed for hours reading Sassy magazine. I went to an all girls catholic school and lived in a somewhat conservative area. Flipping through Sassy’s pages and finding other girls who were considered weird for wearing thrift stores and writing poetry made me feel less alone in the world.

Sassy was the only place I could find DIY craft tutorials on how to make a dress from a pillowcase or articles like “Is this Job Weird Enough for You?” or confessional stories like “My Alcoholic Father” or fashion photo shoots inspired by Twin Peaks. Now you can find all this on the internet. Back then not only did we have dial up but I didn’t even get my first email address until I went to college. There were no blogs or Pinterest or Twitter, only Sassy in all its full color glossy paged ‘you’re not the only who feels or looks this way’ glory. Sassy empowered weird artsy girls like me to embrace who they were and get out there and make something.

The year I graduated high school, Sassy passed away. Luckily I had just discovered Bust magazine. Bust was even more avant-garde than Sassy was but it was kind of perfect since by then I was a little more avant-garde as well. Bust took over where sassy left off. My college roommate and I spent many a day sitting in the laundromat not just reading bust but reading every single word. After my Bust magazine had been thoroughly read, I’d take a pair of scissors to it and clip out my favorite images and articles, which I then pasted in my sketchbook.

Debbie Stoller (Bust co-founder/knitting queen and one of my personal idols) said that when they created Bust they aimed to produce a magazine “as fierce and as funny and as pro-female as the women we knew.” Guess what Debbie? You did it! Bust is as good today as it was in that laundromat where I scraped together three quarters and shoved as many clothes in the washing machine as I could during my broker-than-broke college days. Bust started as a black and white photocopied zine. Now with full color profiles on strong independent creatives like Amy Sedaris, Sarah Silverman and Mindy Kaling, Bust has grown into one of the most important publications for women around.

If you weren’t with Bust since the beginning like I was (or even if you were, but sadly let go of all your past issues) you’ll love the Bust DIY Guide to Life that we’re featuring in our Dear Handmade Life DIY and business book club this month. It’s brimming with 250+ projects collected from 15 years of issues and covers crafts, recipes, decorating, finance, family, beauty and fashion and more!

Want to win your very own copy of The Bust DIY Guide to Life + Spruce: a Step by Step Guide to Upholstery and Design (because whose furniture couldn’t use a little DIY love)? Just follow the instructions below to be entered to win. Good luck!

-nicole s.




1. Bust DIY Guide to Life by Laurie Henzel and Debbie Stoller

2. How to Make Money Using Etsy by Timothy Adam

3. Spruce Upholstery and Design by Amanda Brown

4. Still Writing by Dani Shapiro


Want a chance to win two of these books – the Bust DIY Guide to Life and Spruce Upholstery? All you have to do is…

Leave a comment on this post by April 29th at midnight telling us what your favorite magazines are. Make sure to include your email address so we can get your address and ship you some lovely things to read.

We’ll announce the winner on Twitter on April 30th, so be sure to follow us there.

The contest is now closed. Congrats to our winner Serenity!


  1. Wow – such fantastic books! Sassy was after my time (but I’m for sure going to check out a subscription to Bust), and I wish it or a magazine like it had been around when I was a teenager.
    Though I grew up in Canada, I now live in South Africa. There is an amazing culture of entrepreneurship here, and the creativity exhibited is out of this world! My favorite magazine just now is Ideas, which is all about being creative. I also enjoy reading Surface Design, very Filzt Und zuge Naht (a German felting magazine which includes translations into English for all of the articles), and Felt – and Australian felt makers magazine.

    1. hi jill!
      yes, for sure check out bust! it’s awesome! there are so many amazing crafting and design magazines out of australia and the UK. i need to check out ‘ideas’ thanks for the heads up about that one 🙂

  2. Ohh, favorite magazine?? That’s hard to just choose one: stampington magazine Where Woman Create, Flea Market Style, or any DIY magazine!! I will have to check out Bust and add it to the reading list 🙂

  3. My favorite magazine is Architectural Digest and Dwell. AD has had some of the most amazing interiors, but it also have articles on things that I am equally interested in like a man who rebinds books in leather. And Dwell is such a cozy magazine.

  4. I love to peruse beautiful, glossy color magazines and I really appreciate this post’s info and inspiration. I just picked up a copy of Mingle (new to me…) and will definitely check out Bust as a complete 180 to it. The two books are very interesting to me as I explore ideas on how I can quit the 8-to-5 and become a full-time creative type! Thanks for the chance to win them. @papermadebakery

  5. I love Mollie Makes, Stitch and Martha Stewart Living. They each inspire me in different ways. I can NOT wait to check out Bust. 🙂

  6. Choosing just one favorite magazine…. mmm, difficult. I usually gravitate to Flea Market Style first. But… love, love looking at stampinton magazines! The articles, pictures, and lots of inspiration shown! Looks like I will have to add Bust to the list of must reads!

    1. oh man! flea market style. i recently discovered this magazine at the grocery store. i was en route to a weekend trip and in need of some magazines and i’m so glad i found it!

  7. I have two all time favs – Domino -no longer printed 🙁 for it’s awesome post-its that came with each issue cause who doesn’t like to tag all their fav pages! and Real Simple – i love the editors writing and I never read the editor page of any other mag plus, and i know this is wierd but the size and paper weight of each page made me feel like i was reading a coffee table book, plus plus it always has great diverse topics on DIY, simplying life, cool patterns and design and good stuff for the mind. Bust sounds right up my alley – thanks!

      1. Seriously you just make my day! I’m on a mission now to get it with all it’s juicy pages to tag, flag and dog ear!

  8. My favorites are Domino and Where Women Create- two inspiring magazines for women who want to start creative businesses.

  9. my current fave magazine is Real Simple. Because, it’s just that 🙂 real simple! it’s got great ideas, recipies, just a simple little quick flip thru

  10. Not reading magazines but love blogs like 3191 miles apart, 101 cookbooks, flicker these days in french life, orangette, paris breakfasts.

  11. Oh wow these books look amazing, I want to check them out. Hmmmm favorite magazines are Crochet Today which has been replaced by Mollie Makes but I’m trying to like it so we’ll see. Also Real Simple and I used to like Martha Stewart Living but I kinda just let that one go. Oh well!

  12. Print is really my first love! My first creative job was as an editorial assistant at, of all places, a wedding magazine, and I read and subscribe to loads of print mags. I love Interweave Crochet for challenging patterns and learning new techniques. I’m super sad about Crochet Today! folding but it is cool that there will be a US version of Mollie Makes. I still subscribe to New York magazine even though I haven’t lived in the city for almost 8 years now. And I’ll always read the New Yorker for the short fiction and long journalism.

  13. Hi there! My fave magazines are: Mollie Makes, Uppercase, Juxtapoz, and Readymade (when it was still around).

  14. My favorite magazines are:
    Youth Magazine (amazing visuals, quality articles highlighting artists, etc. & an overall great aesthetic)
    Currently Sunset Magazine because I am growing a lovely garden at the moment!


  15. So hard to just choose one since I am a Magazine Aholic (is that a word). But if I had to pick one it would be flea market style.

  16. My favorite magazines are:
    “Sunset” I imagine myself visiting all those places!
    “Stampington” Has some amazing work by everyday artists, so inspiring!
    “Us Weekly” Celebrity gossip – oh yea!

  17. Currently I am enjoying Burda Style Magazine because they include sewing patterns! I also like to read Mary Jean’s Farm that offers great homesteading projects that are easy to do.

  18. I’m still a “novice” crafter, but I’ve been knitting for a few years now and starting to think about seeing if my creations are worthy of being sold. I love browsing through “Interweave Knit” and “Real Simple magazines, but don’t have a subscription yet. My mother-in-law has given us a gift subscription to Southern Living and I enjoy checking out the recipes and gardening ideas from there every month.

  19. My favorites are flea market style & domino. My head starts doing cartwheels when I open them up. Love them!

  20. My favorites are many….I have piles of magazines by my bed…but love Flea Market Decor and Stampington’s Life, Handcrafted, and Home magazines.

  21. There are so many good magazines however recently I’ve been drawn to Real Simple. They have so many simple ideas in there and usually at a good cost.

  22. My very favorite magazine was the now defunct ReadyMade. I loved that mag. BUST is also a favorite — always look forward to the crafts and the profiles on awesome ladies.

  23. I mostly read books, but I remember having subscriptions to Jane and Seventeen Magazine back in the day. And also this Spanish language magazine called “Eres”. It’s too bad a lot of magazines are no more. Recently I actually really like Good Housekeeping for the tips and recipes.

  24. Hi guys, I have not read any of the books mentioned above however I would be thrilled if I won a copy. I’m a huge fan of the patchwork show and although I spend my days selling insurance I day dream of someday having more time to spend sewing and making stuff to sell or to give away.

  25. this post made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve flipped through a magazine; I haven’t subscribed to anything since I moved into the school dorms last August. I really miss reading Sunset and The New Yorker, though I have been visiting the local bookstore to peruse craft books, which is probably one of my favorite past times. That, and scrolling through Dark Rye (from Whole Foods) after a day of gardening. I’m interested in getting a craft mag subscription for the next school year, though! (I really like reading paper magazines much more than those online.) Can y’all give me some suggestions?

  26. Hmmm… I have to say that my favorite magazines are actually the (feminist and DIY-themed) zines that you can buy from or trade with some amazing and creative people. After that, Flea Market Style and Ms. magazine.

    I’m loving reading the other comments for ideas of some magazines I should clearly check out! Thanks all!

  27. When I’m not making things, I love reading Psychology Today to find out more insight about our motivations and behavior.

  28. My faves are Domino, Dwell, HGTV, and Martha Stewart Living. <3 I think I will have to pick up a couple of new magazine subscriptions as i heard from other users above! 🙂

  29. I really like Manual Dexterity and Lucky Peach , I do however seem to always buy Yoga Journal and Skateboarding. Sew Simple is always fun too, oh and how could I forget Organic Gardening that’s I suppose, my very fave!!

  30. I love Kolaj magazine covering all things collage. Selvedge is a lovely magazine from the UK all about fabric, style, historic designers, diy-ers, wool, shows. Love it.
    Uppercase is my favorite design magazine covering graphic designers, makers, writers, artists and a whole lot more. They do such a good job putting out a quality magazine.
    The upholstery book has been on my buy/favorite list for awhile and it would be awesome to win.

  31. My favorite magazines are definitely Bust and B*tch! I loved your description of reading Sassy as a teenager. I loved Sassy, too, and I was so upset when the magazine suddenly turned into a lesser imitator of all the other teen mags. I’d love to see some of those old black and white zine versions of Bust. 🙂

  32. Well, as far as magazines- sadly until last year favorite was US Weekly. But, since I am currently expecting our first child, I’ve recently taken up reading Family Fun and Parents. They’re actually pretty good- and Family Fun has great DIY projects to do with kids (and even without kids) . It’s definitely my new fave!

  33. I came upon Handcraft Illustrated about the last year it was in print in the 1990s I believe. It was a thrill to find book cloth bound copies in annals on eBay some years back. I have all the issues now!

  34. I love interweave knits, where women create and Debbie Bliss Magazine. Deep down I want to be ultra organized so I just read a magazine cover to cover about organizing but now I can’t find it. I don’t tweet, I can’t seem to figure it out so if I am lucky enough to win can you email me? Thanks so much for taking time to having a giveaway, I’m sure you are super busy right now.


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