A week or so ago, the folks at Simon & Schuster had asked whether I'd be interested in taking a look, and possibly reviewing, a new crafting book of theirs. Given I'm the madwoman who'd decided it might be fun to varnish Marshmallow Peeps and turn them into Easter decor, I really couldn't resist a look-see. So today, we're going to take a gander at Rosie O'Donnell's Crafty U book, a clever compilation of craft ideas parents can do with their children to while away a rainy day-- or big kids like me might use to get new crafting ideas.
Now, up-front I want to say, this isn't a paid review or anything. Just like I don't have advertising on my hobby sites, I don't do paid reviews, either. To me, it's about learning and not endorsing. So this was done just because I like to mix things up here on The Thrft Shop Romantic, and this seemed like a topic we might all enjoy.
In fact, when I got the book, I set out to examine it with a harsh, critical eye. While crafting is fairly subject to taste, how many of us haven't seen craft project which seems to serve little purpose, just isn't that pleasing to the eye, or appears to be more trouble than it's really worth? (Macrame owls come to mind.)
But this book addressed my overall concerns quite well. Projects range from simple efforts which can be done from things you'd already have around the house, to more elaborate endeavors which would likely require a trip to the craft or fabric store. We follow Rosie and her young crafters throughout the year, so projects are arranged seasonally, though many could be adapted and enjoyed year-round.
In addition to the projects themselves, the book discusses how quality craft time can help children and parents learn and grow together. It also encourages crafters not to follow plans specifically, but to use instructions to get the creative juices going. I appreciated the spirit of that.
You can see just a few of the spreads here. From Halloween costumes which involve little sewing (though some help from Mom or Dad) to science projects and cute projects which the young'uns can use to decorate their rooms, there's a nice mix of ideas here. I was also pleased to see both Hanukka and Kwanzaa were included, in addition to Christmas, within the winter holidays section.
Now because this is a cheap romantic decorating blog, I thought I'd especially share with you a couple of the crafts I think can be used or altered a little for nice home decorating projects. My favorite is the glitter shells below. How cute would these be as a part of a centerpiece for a summer picnic? Or on a package as a special little extra?
It's one of those projects I can't believe I never thought of doing myself sooner!
I liked this pounded leaf art for a wall display, too. I would need to try it out (I apologize that time didn't permit) to see if it works the way the instructions indicate. But the idea is nice and the end-product has potential to be fairly elegant.
Given a number of us here are into paper and cardboard crafts with a vintage look, I thought you all might like seeing these party pinwheels for the Fourth of July. What a simple project, and yet the effect is really festive.
Lastly, I got a kick out of these decoupaged light switches. Candy wrappers and stamps have been used in these examples, but I was thinking vintage photos, old luggage labels and any number of other bits of your favorite ephemera could be scanned, printed out and decoupaged in the same way.
Overall, I think the projects in this book are unique enough, and simple enough, that it could empower crafters-- young or old. The only drawback I can see is there may be some projects within this book that kids have already done in their arts and crafts classes in school. The painted tin cans which can be used as pencil cups, for instance. But there aren't a ton of these more common projects within its pages, and I think there's enough freedom of creative license given that even these could be done in newer ways, to hold the kiddies' interest.
Well, that's all for this Sunday. I hope you'll join me Wednesday for a new Treasure Box feature, and next Sunday I think we'll talk about the latest cottage decorating swap I was involved in-- and wonder why, why, why a package going from Pennsylvania to New Jersey took FIVE DAYS through the USPS. Good gravy!
- Oh, and for folks who missed last Treasure Box Wednesday, I hope you'll pop by here. Just click away!