Yarning with Mad Martha about Bless This Mother-Effing Home

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Cheerio my dears!  If you’ve ever thought that your dwelling could do with a bit more decor proclaiming shocking swear words and snarky sentiment then today’s book is one that you don’t want to miss!  Bless This Mother-Effing Home: Sweet Stitches for Snarky Bitches by Katie Kutthroat (not her real name, methinks?) is the perfect crafty tome for those who would love to adorn their home with traditional cross-stitch designs, yet lack the skill, time or desire to create such things themselves.  We received a copy for review from the publisher via Netgalley and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

The combination of sugar and spice is irresistible in this adorable and appalling collection of cross stitch. Laugh out loud fun through crafting is found in these biting yet precious patterns.

Katie Kutthroat’s warped and witty cross stitch has taken the internet by storm and has been featured on TV shows like HBO’s Girls. Cute but snarky, each cross stitch pattern featured in Bless This Mother-effing Home evokes laughter and irony. Perforated pages allow for readers to hang up or share favorite entries, spreading the cross stitched love.

bless-this-mother-effing-home

I, my friends, am not proficient at cross-stitch, bless my little fabric heart.

I would like to be.

I have dabbled in pre-printed long stitch kits with some success.  But painstakingly threading those tiny little crosses into a delightful pattern is something that I have not yet developed the patience to indulge in.

I do, however, love the look of cross-stitch, and this book is a little ray of genius sunshine for all of those out there, who, like me, like the design appeal of cross-stitch but can’t do it themselves, or don’t have an aunt, grandmother, (insert distant relation here) who can whip up a piece for them.

It took me a little while to twig to the brilliant formatting feature of this book, so I’m going to leave it to the end to draw out the excitement and talk about the designs instead.

If you are a fan of traditional cross-stitch samplers, look away now.  In fact, you should probably shut your eyes and never open them toward this title again, because there is no sugary-sweet sentiment here.  Nope, this book features antagonistic, sarcastic and downright anti-social slogans rendered in beautiful, folksy detail.  From the mild and amusing “Go to Hell”, to the thought-provoking “Deflowered not devalued” to the eyebrow-raising “I have a raging heart on”, there is something for all tastes in this collection, unless of course you don’t appreciate sweary personal attacks.  I nearly had to reach for my smelling salts after seeing “Shut your whore mouth” but I am an old-fashioned kind of gal.

Cheekiness levels aside, I did mention that this book has one genius feature, and here it is:

The pages are perforated.

This means that you don’t need to have any cross-stitch talent whatsoever and you can still display these delightful designs in your very own home!  Just carefully tear out the design that takes your fancy, pop it in a frame and ta-da! Everyone will think that you are the instigator of a new snarky take on traditional folk art!

Some of the designs in this book won’t be to everyone’s taste, due to levels of sweariness and general antagonism, but there are lots of benign, funny designs in here too, that won’t cause your mother to rage or your grandparents to disinherit.  If you are hankering after some modern cross-stitch art to hang in your home but lack the ability to bring your dream to fruition, let Bless This Mother-Effing Home do the dirty work for you.

Adios until we meet again,

Mad Martha

Yarning with Mad Martha about…Crochet Taxidermy!

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Tally-ho, fellow craft-lovers!  Today’s book is one for those who love crochet, animal parts and ironic home interior trends.  We received a copy of Crochet Taxidermy: 30 Quirky Animal Projects, From Mouse to Moose by Taylor Hart, with great excitement from the publisher via Netgalley.  Unfortunately, time got away from me and despite the best intentions I was unable to actually complete any of the projects in this compendium.  I have had a good old pore over it though and have formed some firm opinions, so here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Crochet Taxidermy puts a new twist on amigurumi, the popular Japanese method of creating considerably cute stuffed animals with oversized heads. In this delightful collection, heads of animals from farm and forest, sea and safari come to life with irresistible details like the drowsy eye (for the shy deer and sleepy octopus) and fuzzy yarn (for the skittery skunk’s stripe and lazy lion’s mane). Step-by-step instructions and adorable photos guide you through these 30 easy crochet patterns. Most require just one skein of yarn, so they’re affordable and quick to crochet!

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If you are a crafter with a basic understanding of amigurumi techniques – crocheting in the round, completing a magic circle, attaching limbs etc – this would be a fantastic pick for extending those skills in a way that allows for guilt-free construction of what are, essentially, plushies.  Being an avid maker of amigurumi, I know the internal conflict that arises from wanting desperately to make another cute little plushy, but feeling the guilt of not having an immediate purpose or recipient in mind for said toy.  Attaching the completed product to your wall is a perfect solution!

The book provides a diverse range of cute critters to display around the interior of your abode (or work cubicle!), with projects ranging from the quick and adorable mouse, chicken, owl and cuttlefish designs, to the more substantial moose, cow and hippo. Animals are divided into habitat categories, so if you have a particular decorating theme in mind, you can draw on a whole wall-full of inspiration.  Similarly, the patterns for related animals seem to use standard shapes, so once you have mastered one animal, completing others of its ilk should be a doddle.

I had two main issues of contention with this title though.  The first is that, as a more experienced amigurumi maker, the animals didn’t quite have the quirky facial character I was hoping for.  This is simply an issue of preference however, so I can’t really hold that against the designer.  The second issue however, which can be noticed upon close inspection of the completed photographs of the projects, is one that poked at the frayed nerves of the perfectionist in me.  One of the key features of amigurumi is the use of small, tightly woven stitches, but in the project photos the stuffing is clearly showing on a number of the animals, which means that the stitches are larger than they probably should be – or alternately, that the pieces are too tightly stuffed, stretching the fabric too widely.  This could be related to the fact that some of the projects are quite large and designed to be completed quickly, but it seemed like something that should have been ironed out before the final patterns were made up, to give the finished product a more professional look.

If you are at the beginning of your amigurumi journey though, or someone who needs a watertight excuse to make more cute, quirky plushies, this book really does have everything you need to achieve a successful and jolly faux-taxidermy look for your home.

Yours in yarn,

Mad Martha