A Year in Crafts
52 seasonal projects to make and give
By Clare Youngs
Hardcover (spiral-bound) £14.99 UK, £ 24.95 US, $ 29.95 CAN
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.