Martha Stewart's Encyclopedia of Crafts is arriving at just the right time - lots of people are turning to crafts for cheap decorating ideas, or handmade gifts and if it's the latter, you could do a lot worse than seek inspiration from Martha - you know all her projects will be very professional looking. This book is geared towards the amateur crafter and there are many activities that you could do with kids. It's organzied by type of craft from Albums to Wreaths, with a general introduction and list of materials and supplies, followed by specific projects, some more appealing and practical than others. For example, I'm not too keen on decorating wastepaper baskets with shells, or covering candles (or anything for that matter) with glitter, but the chapters on beading, jewelry making, leaf prints (making fabric sun prints in particular) and photo crafts, have given me all sorts of intriguing decorating ideas. And for the person who likes to create their own gifts or cards, there are very good chapters on making soap and candles, and innovative stamping and heat embossing techniques. Though some of the projects look to be time-consuming, none of them require skills that can take a long time to master; thus no chapters on knitting, crocheting or quilting. As with all of Martha's books, the interior design and photographs are quite gorgeous to look at. I find some of her cookbooks a bit intimidating (too many expensive ingredients), but this craft book definitely is not - my only problem now is trying to keep my list of projects shorter than my to-be-read pile.
Other crafty books coming soon that I have my eye on:
Felt Furnishings: 25 Accessories for Contemporary Homes by Anne Kyyro Quinn ( I have a lot of old wool sweaters that are pilling or have tears in them and I'd love to turn them into funky pillows).
I'm hoping the emphasis is on "simple".