2018-09-13 / Editorial

Christmas is coming, crafters. Books available

Library Links

As I write this, there are just 104 days before Christmas.

“What?” you say. That’s a good long time if all you are planning to do is to go out and buy a few gifts. But now, (not Nov. 30), is the time to begin planning if you are going to make some of your Christmas gifts. With that in mind, I took a walk through the non-fiction stacks of Dyer Library, thinking about clever hand-made gift how-to books. Here is some of what I found.

The easiest (in my opinion) Christmas gifts are those that you can whip up in the kitchen. “Gifts from the Kitchen” by Jean Pare (641.5 P) features lots of clever, not-to-tricky recipes for jams, relishes, cookie mixes (just add water!), rice mixes and drink concoctions, along with gift-wrapping ideas. For more giftwrapping suggestions, consider “Creating the Very Best Giftwrapping” by Judi Williams (745.54 W), a book that’s a feast for the ideas and a compendium of extreme cuteness.

Perhaps carpentry is your thing? In that case, how about “Easy to Build Birdhouses” by A. J. Hamler (690.8927 H)? This nifty book has materials lists, patterns and easy-to-follow instructions for some very interesting birdhouses, including a really attractive lighthouse that would be a very perfect gift for any Maine bird lover (or any Maine bird, for that matter.)

Dawn Cusick brings us “Making Bead & Wire Jewelry” (745.594 C). Except for stringing a few beads, I’ve never tried jewelry making so I’m taking Dawn’s word for it that these things are easy to make. They don’t look easy, but the necklaces, bracelets and earrings she includes are just stunning. How about a sea glass necklace? What Maine lady wouldn’t love one of those?

I had to choose a couple books from the knitting section since knitting is my passion. One I’ve admired for a long time is “Knit Your Own Dog” by Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne (746.43 M). This amazing book includes patterns for 25 varieties of dogs. Most of them are about six to eight inches long, so quick and inexpensive to make and fabulous to look at. This book might not be here when you come to check it out because I may just have to knit border collies for all of my family members (we are a BIG border collie family). “Knitted & Felted Toys” by Zoe Halstead (746.432 H) includes patterns for 26 different toys, some of which are felted. The mermaid is unbelievably clever, so pay attention, all you crafty grandmas.

Finally, what homemade Christmas gift book list would be complete without something from Martha Stewart, the somewhat-maligned but ever-so-clever craft guru? Her book, “The Best of Martha Stewart Living Handmade Christmas” (745.594 S) has some of everything, all of it looking professional and very, very polished. The directions are clear and relatively simple (for Martha, who once featured velvet wrapped acorns in her magazine,) and the final products would make outstanding gifts. Anyway, now is the time to hit the shelves for the how-to books that will steer you to an outstanding gift-making and giving season – and (crafters beware), give you the opportunity to go shopping for really fun supplies.

Leslie Rounds is executive director of Dyer Library/ Saco Museum.

Return to top