Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Review Bonanza: Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing

** Ack! This review was supposed to go live *last* Thursday, but got eaten up somehow so I had to redo it. Sorry for the delay in that! Enjoy! **

This is the third installment in this week's Book Review Bonanza. Check back to Tuesday's review of Susan Beal's Button it Up and Wednesday's Review of Jenny Ryan's Sew Darn Cute. Today, I'm looking at Kathy Cano-Murillo's Crafty Chica's Guide to Artful Sewing.

Artful Sewing is a perfect extension of Kathy's bright, energetic, fun personality. The projects combine her love for her heritage along with her endless optimism and enthusiasm and result in a lot of fun, inspiring projects. The subtitle of Kathy's new book is what really caught my attention: "Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter." Hey! That's me! The Average Jane Crafter!
I love the idea of a book geared toward the crafter who is looking to have some fun and had a bit of color and personality to their lives. Perfection is not really in my vocabulary, so I appreciate the bevy of projects in this book that lend themselves to easy and "carefree" attention from the crafter. Sometimes I'm looking for a challenging project with perfect lines and precise stitching, and sometimes, I'm looking for something more along the lines of this Collage Messenger Bag where free form (read: kinda wonky) stitching is not only allowed, but is part of the actual design!
One of the things I love best about Kathy is her writing style. If you've heard Kathy speak before, you can really hear her voice as you read this book. And just as when you hear Kathy's voice, her words seem to actually ... smile. There is an energy that exudes from Kathy that has been captured in every element of this book - from the projects, to the writing and even to the colors and patterns adorning the inside covers (which makes sense, since Kathy's husband, Patrick, was the illustrator for the book)
Aside from great instructions and inspiration, Kathy has also sprinkled in random bits of fun stuff, like a listing of movies that feature sewing and tips and anecdotes from dozens of crafters. One of my favorite pieces she's included in the book is a cautionary tale of why you should always carry and emergency sewing kit. It involves a skin-tight skirt, a stapler and some chivalrous action on her (future) husband's part. It's hilarious.
What I've always loved about Kathy and her work is that she gives a great, fresh, fun, bright point of view to the craft world. I love how she embraces her culture, her personality and all her sparkle and throttles through her crafty life without hesitation and always with immense gratitude. Her voice is such a welcome and enjoyable addition to the craft world, and reminds all of us: when in doubt, hit it with a bit of glitter.


  1. Rachel, I love your book reviews! they are the best. You do such a great job of letting us know what to expect, but also the feeling of the book. I love how you describe kathy's smiling and energy coming through, and the approach of sewing in a way that doesn't have to be perfect, and in fact is successful however it comes out... that describes her so well!
    sounds like a fabulous book :)

  2. Beautiful book and great review too. Thanks Rachel. I don't get to browse the bookstores, as you can imagine, so this is a real treat for me.

  3. I just checked this out at the library! The pictures are great though I am not sure I would wear any of the stuff... Im more of a plain jane... but I love the purse

  4. Thanks for the review, I still haven't seen this book at my local bookstore so I'm glad to see some info on it!

  5. Great review, Rachel! This looks like a fun book for my book shelf. I especially love the skirt made with scarves!


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