Crafts & DIY Reviews, May 1, 2012


Martín Roig, Gabriel. How To Paint Light. Barron’s. (Pocket Art Guides). 2012. 95p. illus. ISBN 9780764164545. $9.99. ART INSTRUCTION

Evoking the phenomenon of light by means of mere paint on canvas is one of the most difficult feats in realistic art. This slim guide breaks down for the reader how humans see light, including a brief discussion of the science of light rays and photons. In three sections, Basic Concepts of Light and Shadow, Shading Studies, and Painting Light, Roig (Practical Course in Drawing and Painting) offers many examples of two-dimensional pictorial representations of light painted by master artists and over a dozen short exercises and experiments highlighting a variety of techniques using shading, value, and color to portray all forms of light and shadow. VERDICT This title will be popular with beginning and intermediate hobbyist painters.


Bartkowski, Alli. Quilled Flowers: A Garden of 35 Paper Projects. Lark: Sterling. 2012. 128p. illus. index. ISBN 9781454701200. pap. $16.95. CRAFTS

Bartkowski’s (Paper Quilling for the First Time) first quilling project was a flower. The art of coiling, rolling, and shaping paper strips lends itself to flower designs. This collection of projects showcases ways to embellish a variety of decorative items and accessories with quilled flowers. Getting started is easy: only a few supplies are needed, and Bartkowski provides information on all of the basics of forming and shaping paper into floral designs.VERDICT Quilling books are fairly rare, and this is a nice one. Many of the projects would also make attractive wedding crafts‚ always a popular category.

Easier-Than-Ever Scrapbooking Treasury. Leisure Arts. (Creating Keepsakes). 2012. 288p. photogs. ISBN 9781609003821. pap. $19.95. CRAFTS

Scrap lifting‚ the practice of adapting a predesigned scrapbook page layout‚ is akin to following a recipe for baking a cake. This collection, curated by the staff of Creating Keepsakes magazine, features over 150 page designs for scrapbookers to adapt. There are pages for a variety of events, from the special to the everyday, and a no-fuss scrapbooking pantry approach means that most scrapbookers will have the necessary supplies on hand. VERDICT crapbooking is a popular hobby, and this collection features something for every occasion, which makes it a nice addition to library collections.

Do It Yourself

Hughes, Steve. The Homebuilt Winery: 43 Projects for Building and Using Winemaking Equipment. Storey. Jul. 2012. c.208p. illus. index. ISBN 9781603429900. pap. $19.95. DIY

Wine making at home can be an expensive pursuit; equipment and supplies can cost hundreds of dollars. Hughes, a winemaker and contractor, attempts to assist home winemakers in building their own equipment and storage. After a general introduction to the hobby, the varied projects cover, e.g., fruit processing and storage. Although Hughes includes lengthy lists of materials, he omits information on tools needed to do the projects. Illustrations are minimal, lack good measurements, and do not show construction details. VERDICT This specialized book is for advanced hobbyists. Purchase only where there is demand.

Fiber Crafts

Japel, Stefanie & Aimée Herring (photog.). Mom & Me Knits: 20 Pretty Projects for Mothers and Daughters. Chronicle. 2012. 132p. illus. index. ISBN 9780811879293. $22.95. FIBER CRAFTS

Just in time for Mother’s Day, designer Japel (Fitted Knits) and photographer Herring present this collection of matching or coordinating sweaters (and one shawl) for mothers and daughters. Each design is presented as a pair of patterns: one for babies and young children, the other for adults (sizes XS through XXXL). Japel’s specialty is custom-fitted knitwear, and that’s where her patterns shine‚ each of the adult sizes is cleverly designed to flatter the wearer’s shape.VERDICTThis attractive collection features flattering, appealing garments for adults and adorable, age-appropriate garments for children.

Jones, Katy & others. Fat Quarterly Shape Workshop for Quilters. Lark: Sterling. May 2012. 144p. illus. index. ISBN 9781454702825. pap. $21.95. FIBER CRAFTS

The online magazine Fat Quarterly (FQ) is at the foreground of the booming modern quilting movement, and this first book from the publication’s editorial team is a treat for quilters of all tastes. FQ‘s vision of modern quilting is about more than taking traditional blocks and making them wonky‚ it involves everything from fabric choice to design to the quilting itself. Organized by shapes, the book includes everything from simple squares and rectangles to elaborate polygons. VERDICT The pieces range from full-size quilts to small projects to help quilters get their feet wet, and the projects are plentiful. An excellent purchase.

Palanjian, Amy. So Pretty! Crochet: Inspiration and Instructions for 24 Stylish Projects. Chronicle. May 2012. 160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781452103600. $22.95. FIBER CRAFTS

It’s easy for contemporary crafters to say, This isn’t your grandma’s crafting, but owing to changing trends, it may well be. This collection of crochet projects has that vibe: if your grandmother crocheted in the 1970s, you’re likely to have pieces similar to these. Palanjian (former deputy editor, ReadyMade magazine) collects projects that are pretty in a retro-hipster way and generally easy enough for beginners. VERDICT Some of the projects are stunning, especially the crocheted necklaces, but others are just odd‚ like the crocheted net‚ covered river rock, which supposedly helps us remember our connection to nature. Crocheters who enjoy vintage-inspired designs may appreciate this collection.

Radosevich, Jenni. I Spy DIY Style: Find Fashion You Love and Do It Yourself. Potter Craft: Crown Pub. Group. 2012. 160p. photogs. index. ISBN 9780307587145. pap. $21.99. FIBER CRAFTS

Radosevich, a designer at the celebrity glossy InStyle, was inspired to start her DIY fashion blog ( when coworkers complimented her on her clothing and accessories. This collection of simple projects gives thrift store and back-of-the-closet finds new life by adding basic embellishments. These projects do not require a sewing machine, so they are easily accessible to crafters of all skill levels. The designs are inspired by contemporary and classic Hollywood glamour as well as high-fashion runway looks. Radosevich provides photos of her inspirations and of the finished project. VERDICT These easy, no-sew, pop culture‚ inspired projects will have wide appeal, especially for teens.

Interior Design

Hague, Sylvia. Simply Stylish Faux Flowers: Gorgeous Everlasting Arrangements To Adorn Your Home and Celebrate Special Occasions. Barron’s. 2012. 128p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781438000381. pap. $19.99. INTERIOR DESIGN

Professional floral designer Hague, whose arrangements have graced the British ambassador’s official residence in Rome, demonstrates how to create beautiful arrangements of artificial flowers for the home, holidays, and weddings. She describes specific uses for 100 individual flowers and greenery and accompanies each description with a color photograph and information on the necessary supplies, proper care and storage, and online businesses that stock these fakes. Step-by-step instructions and photographs are provided for assembling 24 floral arrangements. VERDICT With complete information needed to make artificial floral arrangements, this book will appeal to interested amateurs.

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