Crafts & DIY Reviews, November 1, 2011


Campos, Cristian. 1,000 Ideas by 100 Manga Artists. Rockport: Quayside. 2011. 320p. illus. ISBN 9781592537143. pap. $24.99. ART INSTRUCTION
In his introduction, Campos (1,000 Ideas for Graffiti and Street Art ) argues that manga ought to be considered a philosophy more than a genre, and the book’s format reflects this broad view. This inspirational reference presents short interviews with and sample artwork from 100 different artists from Japan and around the world who either work in manga formats themselves or have been strongly influenced by manga art. Campos includes an unusual variety of styles via the 1000 illustrations, which flow well in dynamic layouts. Because the interviews discuss creativity generally, this title can be helpful to many types of readers.

Thittichai, Kim. Layered Textiles: New Surfaces with Heat Tools, Machine and Hand Stitch. Batsford, dist. by Sterling. 2011. 128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781849940085. $27.95. ART INSTRUCTION
Thittichai (Experimental Textiles), an established textile artist specializing in three-dimensional forms, presents a series of simple exercises designed to give readers a survey of textured fiber-based artwork, emphasizing process rather than finished projects. Many unconventional materials are featured, including newer synthetic fabrics and adhesives and recycled and found materials. Detailed photographs include varied examples of work by a dozen textile artists in addition to the author. Bridging crafts and fine arts, this book will have wide appeal.


Graham, Renata. Designing Bead and Wire Jewelry: Everything the Beginner Needs To Know. Griffin: St. Martin’s. 2011. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9780312591373. pap. $22.99. CRAFTS
Graham, who has taught beginning jewelry making for 20 years, here shares her knowledge of jewelry design and technique. All of the basics are covered, including selecting the right materials, choosing the best project for the recipient, finding inspiration, and purchasing and storing beads, tools, and other components. The projects are similar to projects taught in beginning jewelry-making classes‚ simple bracelets, earrings, and necklaces that are customizable based on the wearer’s tastes. Jewelry-making books for absolute beginners are difficult to come by; Graham’s expert approach makes this one a handy addition to library collections.

Microcrafts: Tiny Treasures To Make and Share. Quirk. 2011. 96p. compiled by Margaret McGuire & others. illus. ISBN 9781594745218. $16.95. CRAFTS
How do you make cute crafts even cuter? By shrinking them, of course! But cuteness is only part of the appeal‚ these crafts also use up the random odds and ends that most crafters accumulate as part of their creative process. From tiny stuffed cats and dogs to two-inch tall greeting cards to an impossibly cute mini‚ solar system mobile, there’s inspiration here for crafters of all types. Of course, it takes a lot of talent to work with tiny pieces of fabric, felt, clay, and paper, but with results this sweet, it’s worth a try.

Scraplifting Inspirations. Leisure Arts. (Creating Keepsakes). 2011. 288p. illus. ISBN 9781609002473. pap. $19.95. CRAFTS
Scrap lifting‚ drawing scrapbooking inspiration from others’ designs‚ is an excellent way to awaken your creativity and get all those memories and photos into your scrapbook. In their latest collection, the editors of Creating Keepsakes magazine present a collection of scrapbook layouts, along with designs inspired by each. These scrap-lifted layouts don’t mimic the original but take elements from it and turn them into something different. As with other books in this series, inspiring full-color scrapbook pages abound here, as well as tips and tricks for scrapbookers of all levels.


Do It Yourself Kitchens: Stunning Spaces on a Shoestring Budget. Wiley. (Better Homes and Gardens).2011. 192p. illus. index. ISBN 9781118031629. pap. $19.99. DIY
Ranked by budget, from $1000 up to $10,000, sample kitchen makeovers showcased here illustrate a range of possibilities. With spending breakdowns, stunning before-and-after shots, and lots of tips that make big differences, this book has wide appeal. For each makeover there are detailed instructions for selected projects, such as installing fixtures, resurfacing, and tiling. This is not in-depth how-to, but ideas and inspiration. Each sample kitchen is brimming with creativity and innovation. It’s time to update your kitchen renovation section with this book. Highly recommended.

Nilsson, Malin & Camilla Arvidsson. Concrete Garden Projects: Easy & Inexpensive Containers, Furniture, Water Features & More. Timber. 2011. 132p. illus. ISBN 9781604692822. pap. $19.95. DIY
Interior designer Nilsson and photographer Arvidsson present stylish concrete vessels and creations for the garden and patio. The bulk of the book is a gallery of finished projects; the accompanying text offers tips and suggestions for personalization. These projects are generally simple; however, all of the instructions are tucked in the back of the book. While some of the instructions are sufficient for the project, the more detailed objects lack needed information, such as troubleshooting and finishing tips. This guide is similar to Malena Skote’s Easy Concrete but without the same level of color and creativity.


Bouquet of Blooms: 15 Quilts, Wall Hangings, and Pillows. Leisure Arts. 2011. 96p. illus. ISBN 9781609002428. pap. $19.95. FIBER CRAFTS
The unifying theme of this collection is flowers and floral motifs, and the projects include both straightforward applications (appliquéd dogwoods on a full-size quilt, wall hangings featuring pansies and irises) and stylized interpretations. Full cutting, piecing, and quilting directions are provided for each project, along with a full-color photograph of the finished item. The most eye-catching projects are also the most complex, but quilters of all skill levels will find something appealing or inspiring in this collection.

Hazell, Sarah & Emma King. Exploring Color in Knitting: Techniques, Swatches, and Projects To Expand Your Knitting Horizons. Barron’s. 2011. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9780764147395. pap. $16.99. FIBER CRAFTS
Rather than presenting techniques for color knitting with corresponding projects, Rowan Yarns design consultants Hazell and King begin with an exploration of color theory in knitting and share projects designed to explore ideas such as hue families and complementary colors. There are brief sections exploring techniques like knitting with beads, intarsia, entrelac, and Fair Isle color work, along with projects. The color theory section is more in-depth; knitters looking for techniques would be better served by another of the many recent color knitting books, such as Melissa Leapman’sMastering Color Knitting or Kristin Nicholas’s Color by Kristin .

Tsutaya, Kaori. Crafting with Cat Hair: Cute Handicrafts To Make with Your Cat. Quirk. 2011. 96p. tr. from Japanese by Amy Hirschman. illus. ISBN 9781594745256. pap. $14.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Japanese cat lover Tsutaya was astonished at the amount of hair her cats shed during their daily brushing, so she decided to make felt out of cat hair, then turn the felt into cute, cat-themed crafts. If hair balls come to mind, think again‚ most of the projects are quite subtle and feature cat-shaped cat-hair appliqués on household items and accessories. The pieces are simple enough that supervised children could make them, and the directions are clear. Tsutaya also includes fun facts about cats and plenty of cute pictures. These crafts aren’t for everyone, but cat lovers will have a lot of fun with this book.

Yaker, Rebecca & Patricia Hoskins. Fabric-by-Fabric One-Yard Wonders. Storey. Dec. 2011. c.416p. illus. index. ISBN 9781603425865. $29.95. FIBER CRAFTS
Yaker and Hoskins (One-Yard Wonders) present their second collection of sewing projects that require one yard (or less) of fabric. As expected, most are for small home decor, accessories, or children’s clothing and toys, and they tend to be quick, easy, and accessible to beginners. The organization of the book by fabric type allows sewers to find easily the right project for the fabric in their collections, and there are plenty of diverse choices. The directions for each project are clear and easy to follow, and extra tutorials on special topics (such as smocking) are included as needed. Sewers of all skill levels looking for quick, instant-gratification projects will find an abundance of choices in this collection.


Needleman, Deborah (text) & Virginia Johnson (illus.). The Perfectly Imperfect Home: How To Decorate & Live Well. Clarkson Potter: Crown Pub. Group. Nov. 2011. c.253p. illus. ISBN 9780307720139. $30. INTERIOR DESIGN
Needleman’s previous book, Domino, is a comprehensive guide for amateurs seeking young, sophisticated decor. She here focuses on professionally designed interiors‚ lending authority to her advice but diminishing the appeal for inexperienced home decorators. Illustrated with over 60 of Johnson’s watercolors of actual interiors, the book covers lighting, furniture arrangements, and the use of decorative accessories, along with scents, plants, and linens. Resources for products mentioned are provided. Books such as Grace Bonney’s Design*Sponge at Home and Christiane Lemieux’s Undecorate explain how to add a personal touch to decor, while Needleman shows how professionals approach interior design.