Thursday, 23 October 2014

Christmas Crafts, by Catherine Woram. Review.

Christmas Crafts
35 projects for the home and for giving
By Catherine Woram
Cico Books 2014
Paperback, £12.99

Star rating: **1/2

The clocks go back this weekend – December’s fast approaching. Time to get crafting. Christmas Crafts is a sumptuously photographed, classily-styled collection of trad  festive decs and makes. It looks great. Flip through the pages and you’ll want to make a cup of hot choc and start a hobby session. Full marks for the art direction. Sorry to say, I was underwhelmed by many of the projects. There’s not much new here – and some of the projects are so simple that the presence of accompanying step-by-steps is a bit of a stretch. I guess the book is targeted at the time-poor person new to crafting. 

The book is divided into five chapters:  Decorations, Table Settings; Cards, Giftwrap & Labels, Edible Gifts, and For Children.  What’s here for the papercrafter? Découpage letterforms – mantelpiece graphics attractively covered in checks and polka dots. The effect is pleasing – similar to washi tape. The letterforms are purchased – so the project is a no-brainer – just gluing on paper strips. Strictly for  newbies. Paper pompoms – ginormous tissue paper fluffballs. These are sort of obvious, but nice in that the project bigs up the pompom trend and translates it into paper. There’s also a good tip about cutting the pompom tips into different shapes.  Silver box place holders – purchased boxes.  Not much of a project. Silver crackers, made from paper-covered cardboard rolls. The step-by-steps are helpful for those new to cracker-making (the crackers reappear in gold later in the book). It would have been fun to include instructions for making a tissue-paper cracker hat as a bonus. In the kiddie section, you’ll find paper snowflakes and paper chains. If you don’t know how to make these, you’ve missed childhood. The snowflakes do look attractive arranged in a wreath. The new spin to the paper chains is using decorative edgers and paper punches to cut the strips. Not papercraft, but in the kiddie section:  like the jam jar snow globes – a project that most kids would find engaging.

The Edible Gifts chapter is very inviting. Here you will find do-able ideas – choc truffles masquerading as Christmas puddings, Christmas cookie tree decs (suspended by grograin ribbon loops), mini Christmas cakes, and candied peel. 

A strong point of the book is that it effectively channels current trends – you’ll find lots of festive bling (glitz, crystals, pompoms); pompoms, jumbo typography; home sewing and embroidery. Although not for the experienced crafter, this title might be a good gift for a busy nest-builder seeking  easy-make ideas. 

Note:  I was provided with a review copy of this book.