Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Year in Crafts, by Clare Youngs. A "cookbook" of craft-y "recipes". Review.

A Year in Crafts

52 seasonal projects to make and give

By Clare Youngs

Cico Books

Hardcover (spiral-bound) £14.99 UK, £ 24.95 US, $ 29.95 CAN

ISBN 978-1-78249-141-5

Star rating: ****

Popular author Clare Youngs is living the dream – for the past several years she had been crafting full-time, prolifically producing a stream of excellent project books.  Clare Youngs is a craft all-rounder, and  excels at papercrafts, embroidery, home sewing, and more. Her new book, A Year in Crafts, is a cookbook of crafty ideas to take you through the seasons – a fair share of papercrafts included.

The cookbook analogy is intentional. This book was designed to resemble a cookbook in appearance and purpose. The book is spiral- bound, with divider pockets (to stuff with notes) and a stretchy elastic band to hold it shut (presumably when bursting with ideas). You dip into it to find a seasonable craft project “recipe”, perhaps one that you want to tweak just  a little to make your own. 

The 52 projects convey Clare Young’s hands-on approach to crafting. She has taken thrifting to heart, and there are lots of projects fashioned  from recycled materials. Many projects are ideal for time-poor crafters, although there are few that require a bigger investment of time. 

Most of the makes fall into the home decor category – these are the sort of inviting objects that transform a house into a home. Cosy, smile-inducing stuff, identifiable as “loving hands at home”-made -  but in a very good way. Some of the projects are holiday-specific, like the delightful (and almost-instant)  papercraft Easter Egg Cessories (hats and fascinators for egg-cup occupants).

There are papercrafts, embroidery, sewing, and just a bit of D-I-Y lite. Papercraft  favourites include the Silverleaf Pinecones, and the charming Little Clog Advent Calendar – doily-decorated kraft paper  wooden shoe-shaped pockets hung as a bunting. The Festive Swans are a 3-D papercraft display, simply papercut. A delightful textile craft is the Rag Rug Circle, braided strips of recycled fabrics, with decorative loops cleverly incorporated into the design. Another winner is Dad’s Shoe Bag, embellished with a natty pair of embroidered brogues. A useful project is the Pinboard House, made out of cork-covered  foamcore board.  

So, to sum up – the cookbook concept works a treat, and the “recipes” are of consistently good quality. Highly giftable.

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