Crafts & DIY Reviews, November 15, 2011


Horovitz, Ellen G. Digital Image Transfer: Creating Art with Your Photography. Pixiq: Sterling. 2011. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781600595356. pap. $24.95. ART INSTRUCTION
Horovitz (director, graduate art therapy program, Nazareth Coll.) offers a variety of techniques to incorporate photography into art in novel ways. Detailed, step-by-step projects walk readers through transferring images onto fabric, polymer clay, glass, metal, wood, and other surfaces. Fine-art photographers have been using solvents to transfer photographic prints to alternative surfaces for decades, but the advent of digital imaging has greatly widened over the last ten years the possibilities for this technique. Horovitz discusses both familiar and new methods, including basic information on essential software like Photoshop and Studio Artist. This is a natural complement to your library’s digital photography and crafts sections.

van Vliet, Rolina. Abstracts: 50 Inspirational Projects. Search, dist. by IPG. 2011. 160p. illus. ISBN 9781844487158. pap. $25.95. ART INSTRUCTION
Abstraction is not as often discussed in art guides as figurative painting. Given its subjectivity, abstraction is inherently difficult to teach, but van Vliet ( The Art of Abstract Painting ) commendably spends as much time covering concepts and inspiration as she does technique. The 50 short exercises function well as experimental jumping-off points for readers rather than as finished projects. In these lessons, van Vliet emphasizes process through a wide-ranging, succinct discussion of many different materials. This book will appeal to beginning and intermediate artists who want to try something new.


Block Printing: Techniques for Linoleum and Wood. Stackpole. 2011. 90p. ed. by Sandy Allison. illus. ISBN 9780811706018. pap. $19.95. CRAFTS

Block printing‚ the technique of carving a design into wood or linoleum to create individual prints‚ has been used for centuries by artists around the world. Allison (editor, Basic Jewelry Making ) includes art by Robert Craig and photographs from Alan Wycheck in this slim yet informative volume. Proceeding step-by-step from selection of tools, blocks, and paper through carving, inking, and printing, the contributors make block printing seem accessible to all artists. This isn’t a comprehensive work, but novices will find the clear directions, most with multiple photographs, useful as they experiment with printmaking.

Hayes, Derek. Woodturning Design: Using Shape, Proportion, and Decoration. Taunton. 2011. 176p. illus. index. ISBN 9781600853999. pap. $24.95. CRAFTS

Hayes, a wood-turning and design enthusiast, presents a collection of lessons on design for artists who work with wood. The author’s background in adult education has strongly influenced his book, which is presented as a design course that wood turners can work their way through. As a result, this isn’t a how-to book for beginners but a crash course in design technique for experienced wood turners. However, novices (and anyone who appreciates good design) will find themselves inspired by the example objects (bowls, vases, and other decorative pieces) shown in full-color photographs, even if the information presented is beyond their current needs.


Do It Yourself: 100+ Paint Projects. Wiley. (Better Homes and Gardens). 2011. 208p. illus. index. ISBN 9781118031636. pap. $19.99. DIY

This glamorous book features wall and floor treatments and paint effects on furniture, cabinetry, and fabric. Particularly stunning are the painted stair runners. All these lovely projects have only minimal instructions for completion, and painting technique guidance is tucked in the back. This book is similar to This Old House Weekend Remodels in showcasing great ideas for inspiration but lacking instruction. For good painting technique how-to, see Painting and Wallpapering Secrets from Brian Santos, The Wall Wizard . Recommended for libraries that can afford another painting idea book.

Ultimate Guide: Home Repair & Improvement. 3d ed. Creative Homeowner. 2011. 608p. illus. index. ISBN 9781580115285. $29.95. DIY

This hefty manual, updated from the 2006 edition, completely covers the repairs most home owners need. Much of the content, illustrations, and projects have not been significantly altered, but there is a greater emphasis in this latest version on money-saving and environmentally friendly projects. The photos are clear and well placed but lack the finer detailing of those in the old standby Reader’s Digest New Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual . Still, the arrangement has been improved, with clearly defined chapters and projects. This strong manual is highly recommended.

Fiber Crafts

Chiaverini, Jennifer. Traditions from Elm Creek Quilts: 13 Quilt Projects To Piece and Appliqué. C & T. 2011. c.96p. illus. ISBN 9781607054023. pap. $27.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Chiaverini, author of the popular Elm Creek Quilts novels (e.g., The Wedding Quilt ), presents a collection of quilts inspired by her books. The projects range from traditional piecework to complex appliqué, and step-by-step cutting and piecing instructions (including templates where needed) are included. Most projects lean toward classic Americana in both design and color choice, but individual quilters can adapt and modify to suit their tastes. The collection is targeted to Chiaverini’s fans‚ she includes an essay on the inspiration behind her novels, as well as numerous excerpts‚ but the projects will appeal to quilters of all skill levels.

Obaachan, Annie. Tasty Cute: 25 Amigurumi Gourmet Treats. Barron’s. 2011. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9780764147272. pap. $18.99. FIBER CRAFTS
Trends in knitting and crochet come and go, but amigurumi shows no sign of waning. In her latest amigurumi collection, Obaachan ( Super Cute: 25 Amigurumi Animals ) focuses on crocheted food of all types, from traditional fast food like burgers and fries to salad‚ as well as plenty of desserts. Knowledge of crochet is required, but most of the patterns are easy enough for beginners, and basic crochet instructions are provided. This collection is less over-the-top whimsical than Twinkie Chan’s Crochet Goodies for Fashion Foodies ; Obaachan’s creations work well as decor or children’s toys rather than wearable crocheted food. Fans of amigurumi will have fun with this collection.

Post-Quinn, Alasdair. Extreme Double-Knitting: New Adventures in Reversible Colorwork. Cooperative Pr. Nov. 2011. c.199p. illus. ISBN 9780979201776. $29.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Double-knitting patterns have increased in popularity as the current generation of knitters continues to search for new challenges, but few works provide the necessary instruction and guidance on the technique. Post-Quinn, who has taught double knitting since 2005, brings his expertise to his first book, a combination of history, technique, and design that has the potential to bring double knitting to the masses. The designs are gorgeous, and the complexity will make your head spin‚ until you read Post-Quinn’s in-depth, easy-to-follow instructions, which make the prospect of multicolored double knitting with cables seem downright unintimidating.

60 More Quick Knits. Sixth & Spring, dist. by Sterling. Nov. 2011. 176p. illus. ISBN 9781936096213. pap. $17.95. FIBER CRAFTS
This third book in the 60 Quick Knits series ( 60 Quick Baby Knits ) focuses on projects knit in Cascade 220 Sport, an economical, sport-weight yarn available in a wide variety of colors. This collection includes 20 hats, 20 scarves, and 20 mittens knit via a variety of techniques, including cables, lace, stranded color work, intarsia, and double knitting. The majority of the patterns in the collection are designed for intermediate to advanced knitters, though the degree of difficulty listed on several of the projects seems inflated. Like other books in the series, these knits would make excellent gifts‚ there’s plenty of style for a small investment of money and time.


Palmisano, Joanne (text) & Susan Teare (photogs.). Salvage Secrets: Transforming Reclaimed Materials into Design Concepts. Norton. 2011. 256p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780393733396. $39.95. INTERIOR DESIGN
Designer and marketing consultant Palmisano, inspired by her quest for a distinctive kitchen island countertop, here explains how to reuse, reclaim, recycle, and repurpose building materials for the home. She provides a wealth of information on the various choices of wood, glass, metal, stone, and lighting fixtures; discusses how to locate, evaluate, select, and use the salvaged goods; and includes interviews with those involved in the salvage movement. Close to 200 photographs show renovated rooms of various decor styles. Whereas Lori Dennis’s Green Interior Design is aimed at professional designers, Palmisano’s purpose is design inspiration for amateurs looking for an individual, green alternative for building materials.

Anna Katterjohn About Anna Katterjohn

Anna Katterjohn ( is Managing Editor for the LJ Book Review and assigns books on performing arts, cooking, home economics, and crafts.


  1. Thanks for the lovely plug and review, Heather!!