Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Great Encyclopedia of Martha

Random House Canada, c2009.
416 p.

I love Martha. No two ways about it, despite my lack of domestic ability and the disdain for her we all cultivated in university, I love Martha.

That is why I was so thrilled to receive a copy of her huge new Encyclopedia of Crafts from Random House Canada. I thought, I will make one or two of these crafts and post pictures! This will be fun! But then I was reminded of how I am really not up to Martha's expectations. My craft attempts look more like preschool activities than decorative objects you would be proud to put on a wall. Still fun, though, and perhaps on a second try I'll have gotten the hang of it a little more (there is a reason I am a book blogger and not a craft blogger, you know).

This encyclopedia is amazing, though. If you are a big fan and have bought and kept most of her magazines you probably won't need this. Most of the crafts are recycled from earlier publications and Martha Stewart Online. But, if like me, you don't have a collection of MS Living magazines and like to look at all the pretty pictures for inspiration, you will love this book. Like all of her publications, the photos are gorgeous. Everything looks so Perfect and so genteel. But there are ideas that are very simple and yet lovely, honestly. Ones even I can do. There are over 400 pages of ideas, plus a wonderful reference section of commonly needed supplies, plus templates for many of the crafts. There are full instructions and lots of pictures to guide you. What else can you expect from Martha but perfection? It is an endless source of inspiration and I am sure that after a bit of practice a couple of the ideas here may turn into Christmas presents this year. Now if only I could suddenly become as disciplined as Martha as well...

I'll attach a photo from, one which is in the book as well, which I think was my favourite idea, new to me. I've purchased a few supplies but haven't tried it yet. I have three huge pine trees in my back yard so thought this would be easy enough to try out -- I think it's a beautiful creation. Florets from pinecones, how brilliant. You have to admit these are pretty:


  1. They are pretty!

    I think the value of craft is in the self-satisfaction of doing it, not so much in the result. After awhile, one's craft improves, so you can always replace the third-grade output with later efforts, although many people still keep their third grader's drawings stuck to the refrigerator door.

  2. Would you say this is sort of craft porn? I'm more of a looking than a do-er when it comes to crafts, but even I'm tempted by this!

  3. Jeff - thanks for the encouragement; if only I was as accomplished as you are! :)

    Tara - ha ha ha...yes, perfect description. Pretty pictures...;)


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