In Sweet Paper Crafts, Mollie Greene demonstrates how simple it can be to turn every last scrap of your waste paper into a treasure trove of unusual things that are delightful to make and will enrich your home. Clear instructions and large photographs emphasize Greene’s crucial principle of sweetening—the alchemical process whereby already-used, otherwise useless piles of paper are transformed into crafty wonders. My favorite photo in the book shows the metamorphosis of pages from a road atlas index into a star cluster garland, festively festooning a window. There are more pragmatic projects to undertake as well, like place settings for a dinner party, a mobile to hang over your baby’s crib, a picture frame and a flowering chandelier. With Sweet Paper Crafts, you can make these items yourself with any paper at hand (or, alternatively, with the more ambitious resources listed in the back of the book), always with a minimum of fuss and a maximum of fun.
A MODERN TWIST
For those of us who squandered much of our youth (and white clothing) on tie-dyeing, the fact that the hippie-beloved fad has now become a hot 21st-century phenomenon is one of those mystifying quirks of fashion. Shabd Simon-Alexander’s new book about it is serious—and comprehensive. Want to find out how to set up your optimum work area for tie-dyeing? Necessary materials, the orderly steps for different processes of dyeing and the thrilling patterns that result—from the most basic to the most artistically complex—are all here, in Tie-Dye: Dye It, Wear It, Share It. The book itself is a visual feast. One particular spread looks more like it could be out of the catalog of a joint exhibition of Rothko and Pollock than a page out of a how-to manual on tie-dyeing. There’s a fascinating, illustrated guide to color mixing that puts Damien Hirst to shame. Whether you’re working with shirts or slacks, socks or scarves, Simon-Alexander gives you all the practical information and helpful guidance you need to enhance and expand your wardrobe with a gallery of abstract wonders. C’mon. You know you’re dyeing to.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
“To see a world in a grain of sand, / And a heaven in a wild flower, / Hold infinity in the palm of your hand / And eternity in an hour.” These are Romantic poet William Blake’s instructions for how best to take in and appreciate the beauty shining all around us. Blake might have been astonished at the literal application of his poetic principles in Janit Calvo’s Gardening in Miniature. Calvo provides guidance for creating dozens of tiny landscape designs, including furniture and accessories that lend each diminutive scenario its unique and complete verisimilitude. And of course, there are instructions for growing and caring for the wondrous living plants themselves, in all their bonsai-like glory. The objective is always one and the same in each design: to “Create Your Own Tiny Living World” (the book’s subtitle)—a task that should not be undertaken lightly, for it requires certain investments of time, energy and money. With infectious cunning, the author lays out how we might invent Lilliputian versions of our own lives, so that we might imagine inhabiting this or that little Eden of our own devising, lovely and perfect little places where all the things we love best in the world could be bound—perhaps even literally—in a nutshell.