Friday, August 16, 2013

Book Review: Recycled Crafts: Crafts Made Using Recycled Materials

Happy Friday!  Today is going to be short because I have a big sale tomorrow I still am getting ready for (the Donna Lexa Memorial Art Fair in Wales, Wisconsin) and because the kitten is trying to eat my words and my computer as well as trying to drink my water.

I'm not going to do this very much, but I'm going to post a review I wrote on Amazon for a Kindle book, Recycled Crafts: Crafts Made Using Recycled Materials by Kara Kelso and her 10 year old daughter, Jillian.  Kara has a blog, Idea Queen, where she discusses recycled crafts as well as other crafts, food & recipes, home & garden, and shopping & saving.  While a number of her posts and crafts are geared towards parents and what can be done with their children, I think I'm going to have keep an eye on this blog.  She has some great ideas!

This is from the Amazon website so I'd have an image to pin on Pinterest.  :)

Onto the book.  Like with her blog, many of the crafts would be fun for children, but I do see some that I'm going to try, and some have planted other ideas in my head.

Here's the review I wrote for Amazon:
I like that this book has a range of ideas and techniques. There is sewing, painting, decoupaging, and more. Each technique is described in good detail so even a novice should get great results.

There are a number of materials used (water bottles, CDs, T-shirts, jeans, boxes...) with cute, imaginative ways to dress them up for functional items. The full-color pictures are wonderful, and I like that multiple examples of some projects are shown.

I also like that the author's cat, Stella, is in a few pictures. The poor cat thought she was going to get a dolled-up box that was destined for another purpose. I hope the author and her daughter dressed up a box for Stella, too.

Unfortunately I did find some formatting problems:

The table of contents is not functional. If I want to go back to a specific project, I either need to scroll through the book to find it or set bookmarks for each of the projects ahead of time.

In some places, the picture and the description are on different pages. Once I thought the description was for the picture right above it (on the same page), but it was really for the one on the next page. I'm not sure if there's anything that can be done to fix that, though. Maybe a page break?

In the T-shirt pillow section, there are a number of white squares that appear with the black or sepia background. I have sepia turned on because I do a lot of reading when I can't sleep (like tonight), and it's less jarring in the dark. I checked them with the white background, and they aren't visible. I don't know if those are missing pictures or something else.

Later in the book, starting in the "Computer Art" section (specifically the line above "Window Art" and down until a few lines after "Step 1"), it appears that lines are highlighted. It occurs in "Keyboard Necklaces", too (the whole section), and just the heading for "Word Magnets". Again, I wouldn't have noticed it if I was using the white background (I checked). It doesn't distract from the instructions, but I found it a bit odd.

All in all, I recommend this book. Hopefully the author can get the table of contents working to make the book easier to flip around in, but don't let that detract you from getting this book and trying out these projects! The next time my husband is ready to toss a pair of jeans, I'm going to make catnip mice for our cats, and I'll keep in mind the other projects as we have the available items!

Yes, I did go on a bit about formatting things, but I would want to know about it if it was my book.  Fortunately, Kara agreed and wrote a reply to my review:
Thank you so much for the feedback! Your suggestions for formatting and table of contents will be fixed in the second edition. So glad you found a lot of useful crafts for you and your family.

Oh, and Stella does have her own decorated box (two, actually) that Jillian made for her :)
Steve can tell you, I was very tickled at this reply.  I've written 11 reviews on Amazon so far (most of them in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep, so I hope they're coherent), and Kara has been the only one to respond.  I was also genuinely happy that Stella the cat has her own decorated boxes.  I may have to do that for our cats.  I think Steve thought I was nuts, going on and on about Kara replying to my review and about Stella having her own fancy boxes.  I guess I'm still in that "authors are out THERE" mentality that I mentioned in my Sweater Quest book review a few weeks ago.  (Oh! Adrienne Martini linked to that review on her her blog.  I was so excited!)

Like I mentioned in the review, I recommend Recycled Crafts: Crafts Made Using Recycled Materials, especially if you have kids and are looking for ways to recycle materials meant for the trash.  I look forward to reading more about what the "Idea Queen" comes up with!

1 comment:

  1. Oh my, thank you so much! Yes, I am a little bit the crazy cat lady, and sometimes they "help" me craft more than my kids do. (See Serenity's version of helping me make a purse: But I love them so very much! It would be extremely boring trying to accomplish anything without them. :)

    Again, THANK YOU!