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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Martha Stewart's Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations"

Published by:  Crown Publishing Group/Random House
Pages:  369
Genre:  House & Garden/Crafts

Here's the Scoop:

There is no question that Martha Stewart has long been the reigning queen of DIY home crafts and decorations.  In this holiday-centered book, she has gathered the best of her ideas, giving us up-close and fully realized directions on how to create extraordinary crafts and gifts for home, family and friends. Martha doesn't disappoint her fans, and anyone is bound to find something beautiful to create in this holiday crafting book.

Major holidays are segmented and ideas for crafts, home decorating and gift giving are shown for each one:  New Year's, Valentine's Day, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas...and all others in between!   The large spread photographs are lovely, the ideas are not expensive, but are easily accessible; and, the resulting crafts present bright, festive, magical, and even enchanting pieces.

Here's What I Liked:

Valentine's Day
Red tulips in double glass vases with red cinnamon candy hearts were vibrant, beautiful and made an easy presentation for a dinner arrangement.
Also, a carnation heart made of multiples of pink carnations on floral foam to make a centerpiece is quick and gorgeous!

Easter :
Fabulous egg-dyeing techniques using natural formulas made from coffee, cabbage, blueberries, beets and spices made incredibly beautiful and exotic eggs.  And, Martha gives specific directions for marbleizing eggs!  Actually, most of her egg crafting was exceptional.

Thanksgiving :
Gourd candles made from hollowed out mini gourds with colored, melted candles are just amazing little jewels!  Pumpkin carving is fabulous!

Christmas :
I loved the cookie cutter ornament ideas made from various paper goods, family pictures and such.  The gilded, and verdigris Polish inspired eggs, and the ribbon poinsettia wreath was just to die for.

Hanukkah :
Paper packages, a menorah, and satin stars are glowing and sparkling in Martha's hands.

Here's what I found lacking:

Often the crafts are more complex than one would want to become engaged in. 

The directions are not clear cut; that is, they are not in a "recipe/materials" format, but are listed in text, which I found to be more difficult to follow.  I needed to break it down for myself on my own paper.

Diagrams sometimes took too much for granted, or at least seemed to expect the more experienced crafter could "fill in the blanks."  I wasn't up to some of that!

Several projects were quite time-consuming for very little return or impact.

And, finally, I found the pictures too small in the working segments.

Overall Rating:  3 stars ~ I can't highly recommend it, but it's a good book to check out of the library...




Stewart makes some beautiful things that are difficult for the average person to duplicate.

Teresa Cypher

Straightforward food for thought here. I like craft books, and after reading this review, will probably avoid this one. Thanks, Deb!

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