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Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences



The Joy of Beading: More Than 50 Easy Projects for Jewelry, Flowers, Decor, Accessories by Anna Borrelli (Watson-Guptill Publications) More than 50 exciting projects; Multiple categories for beading—jewelry, decorative flowers, home décor, and personal accessories; Step-by-step techniques will appeal to beginners, beautiful projects will appeal to more advanced crafters

Beaded Earrings are nice. Beaded necklaces are nice, too. So are beaded bracelets. And The Joy of Beading shows how to make all those pretty things, in more than two dozen jewelry projects. But this book also takes beading in exciting new directions, showing how to make beaded rosebuds and plants, and how to use beading to create beaded picture frames, lampshades, scarves, wreathes, and many more innovative decorative accents and accessories. Crystal-clear step-by-step photos and directions make every beading technique accessible. Projects are simple enough to appeal to beginners, yet sophisticated enough for more advanced crafters.

Foam Decor: Carve 30 Elegant Home Accents by Kristy McNeil (Kraus) As droves of antique collectors seek out elusive treasure for home decor this summer, some will be crafting their own out of foam. Kristy McNeil, a member of the Society of Craft Designers, developed foam decor, a new crafting technique based on cutting, covering and finishing foam. In her new book, Foam Decor, she shares techniques of recreating antiquities from foam for a fraction of the money it costs to buy either authentic items or reproductions. According to McNeil, the greatest test of a foam décor project is whether or not people know it’s foam.

This book contains more than 30 foam decor projects and detailed instructions for crafters of all skill levels. Examples:

  • Chapter 2: Architectural Elegance: gothic floral plaque, medieval carved shelf, French scroll sconce, filigree accent lamp, flared box clock, doorway arch
  • Chapter 3: Contemporary Flair: deco influence console table, wavy wall sconce, sunburst curtain rod finial
  • Chapter 4: Garden Gathering: whimsical sundial, scroll ornament, garden party lights, garden statue, bird bath and feeder, flared box planter, floor fountain

To get readers started, McNeil thoroughly describes the recommended tools and techniques, as well as how to select the appropriate foam for the application. The projects included in the book are coded according to level of challenge. Each project includes safety tips, step-by-step instructions, needed tools and materials and photos of the completed project. A pullout sheet is pasted in the back of the book, containing full size patterns.

For the craft junkie, for the person who has the time and creative inclination, Foam Decor is a truly artistic and inspirational find.

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