Crafts and Hobbies

A Big Book of Crafts

Crafts & Hobbies
A Step-by-Step Guide to Creative Skills
Reader’s Digest
1979

This is one of those all encompassing craft books. I can get on board with a big book of crafts, but some of these are more complex that a 1-2 page write-up. The step by step process from the title is a bit thin. Most of the articles are just an overview and maybe some detail of a particular technique. I doubt experienced crafters are going to find anything of value since the material is pretty superficial. Craft newbies probably would find this lacking as well. Since I am not sure the experienced crafter or the newbies will get much out of this book, who is it for?

Macrame Hangers cover

Macrame Hangers for Small Spaces

Macramé Hangers for Small Spaces
Craft Course Publishers, Inc.
1975

Submission: I found this crafty little book hiding in our stacks recently. My family’s first apartment in the 80’s had the same wallpaper as page 13.

Holly: You know, the house I grew up in had similar wallpaper in our kitchen! We also had the macrame hanger.

Mary: I got a similar wall hanging (pg. 7) for a wedding present. I re-gifted it to a friend, and she did similar. I am sure it is in a landfill, where it belongs.

Creative Arts with Older Adults cover

Elder Artwork

Creative Arts with Older Adults: A Sourcebook
Weisberg and Wilder, Eds.
1985

Submitter: Found in the stack of this public library – It’s not truly awful, but it is old and uninspiring. The photos are poor and the image/printing quality is terrible if you’re BIPOC. I also think we have moved away from the term Geriatric.

Holly:¬†Sometimes books like these can be downright condescending, when older adults may well be master artists. I do understand that physical conditions related to aging can affect one’s ability to make creative arts, even if they had high-level skills at any point in their lives. However, the first page below suggests making everyone aware of everyone else’s disabilities so that they’re all sensitive to each others’ needs – which is something I would NEVER do.

Make-Up Art cover

Make-Up Art

Make-Up Art
Freeman
1991

Submitter: This book looked like a good choice back in 1991. However it has not circulated in some time. It’s pretty grubby with what I hope are just makeup stains. Some of the sketches are let’s say… Interesting.

Holly: Ummm…yeah. The Chinese Mask is definitely a no-go. Cultural appropriation is not cute. The back of the book (image below) says it’s the “most modern” on the subject. This is a series – I wonder what’s in the other volumes??

sewing made easy cover

A Sewing Reference

Sewing Made Easy
Sara
1986 (original copyright 1950)

On a good day, I am awesomely mediocre at sewing. Actually, my ability to craft anything is pretty mediocre. Sewing was a requirement for girls in my junior high school days. This book was probably made for people like me. I liked sewing, but not enough to get super proficient at the skill. Having a book like this was great to refer to some of the more rigorous projects as well as some easy home decor. This book was built as a basic reference for the average housewife.

sew easy menswear cover

Keeping him in stitches…

The Sew-Easy Guide to Menswear
or How to Keep Him in Stitches
Sear
1975

As a mediocre sewer on my best days, I have always been under the impression that menswear is tough to manage. A pair of trousers would probably have me crying. There is a lot of detail to a pair of men’s pants. Call me skeptical for a title that says “sew easy” as part of the title. From the illustrations and just the number of pieces in the patterns, I am sticking to my original thought that menswear is out of my league.

country crafts cover

Country themed crafts for home decor

American Country-Crafts
Time-Life Books
1989

This is part of a 15 volume set on country themed art. The books have various themes: Country Kitchen, Country Quilts, Country Style, Country Entertaining, Country Furniture, etc. I guess if you really want to be “country-styled” this is the set for you. Personally, I think this is probably overkill. This book isn’t really for the “how-to” craft crowd. It is more about stylized decorating with the crafty looking items. I can’t imagine what the library was thinking by adding this book. Want to bet it was in a donation pile and someone thought it looked like it was in great shape?

serger gifts cover

A Surge of Serger Crafts

Distinctive Serger Gifts and Crafts
Baker and Young
1989

I have always been a bit fascinated by a serger or overlock machine. For those not in the cult of fabric, a serger finishes seams but also cuts the fabric. They look kind of cool with all the spools of thread and they usually have a neat finish to the seams. As a sewing hack, I have always wanted one. Serger-related materials are definitely worth collecting. I probably would have bought this (back in the day) based on the title alone.