There is something magical, endearing, charming, and so heartfelt about the handmade, the homemade.
Martha Stewart’s Handmade Holiday Crafts: 225 Inspired Projects for Year-Round Celebrations is what you would expect it to be. The table of contents begins with New Year’s and ends with Christmas. No Kwanzaa but there are Hanukkah crafts so there’s one nod to being multicultural in how one defines holidays.
Now, if you ever go to the Martha Stewart website in search of a craft or gift you can make yourself, you have probably seen some of these crafts already but there are enough new ones to justify having them all in one place. Of course, there’s something lovely about having things all collected in a single book and trying to find something on the internet depends on remember the right key words, a website not being up and running, and all sorts of other factors.
For instance, the “Paper Party Hats” in the New Year’s section is on the website, as are the “Paper-Cone Party Favors,” but I wouldn’t want to make the former while I would the latter, as I do the “Glitter Balloons” which are not on the website.
Everything from decorations to tabletop centerpieces is included. But New Year’s is not traditionally a gift giving holiday so it’s not until Valentine’s Day that gifts above and beyond party favors. “Love-Knot Bracelets” and even a little something for your cat! Naturally there are cards and a project to up-cycle one of those heart-shaped boxes from a previous year's holiday.
Simply flipping through the pages, it’s evident that most of the crafts are on the beginner and intermediate levels. Nothing too labor intensive although a few may require buying materials. Some are even easy enough for children to do, with some supervision, depending on how young your little helpers are. Bonding over making things together is an opportunity to make great memories, too!
I wasn’t overly impressed with the Father’s Day section because the crafts were predictable, ties or tie-themed cards, coasters for drinks, and a box for poker night. Really? Have men not come any further than the Mad Men days? I showed the book to my husband and he found several projects he would like. Botanical soap because men like to be clean. The ""Iron-On Transfer Tote" with a design made specifically for the recipient because men need reusable shopping bags too. Event the "Custom Canvas Bag" was something he said he would like. Seriously. Admittedly some men do like to wear ties, play golf, and even have poker games. But not all men do and it would be nice to see "Father's Day" suggestions that are not so stereotypical.
If the Martha Stewart crew are not be more creative in what can be made for Father’s Day, the creative crafter can at least use some of the ideas in other parts of the books across the seasons. For instance, I can’t be the only one who thinks that some glitter balloons would be fun to have any time of the year. And the glittered pumpkins can certainly be left out after Halloween to enjoy through Thanksgiving. I’m pretty sure that a creative person (and anyone who is interested in this book is bound to have some creative abilities) will find ways of modifying something in another section into something any father will love.
I’ll be borrowing this book from my library many times in the foreseeable future . . . unless someone decides to give it to me.