The book begins with a handy chapter on basic techniques, which I, for one, can always use. And the photography is terrific; it’s well plotted, beautifully executed and shows each step to perfection. I read through the chapter with zeal, eager to read about and select my first project. I turned the page and . . . wha???!!! The first page of the chapter entitled “Young at Heart” is called Crunchy Chocolate—it’s obvious we’re not talking pillows here, despite that there are photographs of pillows on the page. I am confused. I feel as if I have fallen into a Rachel Ray cooking show, filled with Yumm-O quips and perky cooking techniques. I scan the page. Yes. There’s a paragraph that actually begins with, “In a heavy saucepan . . .” So, I’m not dreaming. This is a recipe . . . and . . . it’s making me hungry.
Flipping to the next page, not knowing what to expect, I am greeted by a charming novelty pillow, and then another. The rest of the chapter is devoted to cute flap pillows, pillows shaped like daisies, stars, hearts and a “My Hero” pillow with fabric photo corners to allow insertion of an actual photograph. The photos are engaging and the copy is concise. I love this fanciful, fun chapter. I turn the page with great anticipation. The next chapter is entitled, “Just Dreamy.”
But . . . let’s start with Rhubarb Custard Pie! I scrunch my face up in a typically sarcastic/quizzical fashion. And yet, the thing is . . . I read on. I’m starting to get into the spirit of this mixed up book. This recipe will actually come in handy what with the piles of rhubarb my garden delivers each spring. Truly, good rhubarb recipes are hard to find, I think to myself. Dear reader: I confess, I marked the page.
And then I read “Just Dreamy,” filled with pillows harboring Celtic motifs and monograms. The pillows are gorgeous. You might consider it a drawback that the chapter relies heavily on elaborate embroidery techniques if you are like me: decidedly without that particular function in my sewing repertoire. But for those who can, the accompanying CD-ROM (more on that later) has some incredible monogram embroideries already loaded.
So by now, you must know that as the next chapter looms, we must once again push ourselves away from our pillow creations and retire to the kitchen. What’s on the menu tonight, honey? Ah, that would be Cream of Wild Rice Soup. Hey—sounds good . . . but what? Heavens. The recipe requires a large jar of Cheese Whiz? Run away! Oh, heavy sigh. I do remember being horrified as a teenager when I witnessed my mother dumping a large jar of grape jelly into a holiday meatball recipe . . . and then ate my words with gusto when the meatballs turned out to be fabulously delicious. But for some reason, the Cheese Whiz deters me.
In any case, perhaps it’s apropos. Cheese Whiz soup (I mean, Wild Rice) kicks off the “It’s a Guy Thing” chapter, though I know my husband would take offense at this association with CW, wrinkling his nose in disgust in his very endearing way. But he’s kind of different. Most men—and women—probably eat this stuff?
Oh—the pillows! Tidy, masculine accent pillows, embroidered with leaves or embellished with tassels, and even a convertible ottoman with mounted castors (clever!) fill the chapter.
ABOUT THE CD-ROM
Each chapter in the book coincides with a directory/folder on the CD-ROM, which is best viewed in Windows Explorer and Adobe Acrobat. You will find embroidery files and patterns corresponding to each project in the appropriate chapter/folder. A handy index completes this interesting how-to book.
I had a few complaints (besides how wrong it is to put unnaturally orange food products into anything)—the font choice makes the book somewhat hard to read and the print job, done in China, had bad ink coverage, with text going faint at the edges of the pages, making it even more difficult to read. Now, I know my eyes are going bad in my advancing age, but this was definitely just bad typographical choices and bad press proofing. But don’t let that hinder your decision to buy—the photos and the CD-ROM make this book definitely worth the money.
Later! I have to go make some crunchy chocolate yummo thingies for my company this weekend.
Kathleen Stoehr is the author of Dream Windows, Historical Perspectives, Classic Designs, Contemporary Creations and Dream Floors, Hundreds of Ideas for Every Kind of Floor, [both from Randall International, 2005]. She is also owner of Chemistry Creative, an editorial and graphic design company in Minneapolis, MN. She can be reached at email@example.com.