Books + Magazines

Published on July 26th, 2009 | by Julie Finn


Crafty Green Book Review: Organic Crafts by Kimberly Monaghan

Bryan CreekOrganic Crafts: 75 Earth-Friendly Art Activities, by Kimberly Monaghan, is technically a crafting book for children, but as I played with some of the projects in it with my girls, I noticed that many of the projects had the kind of simple-looking sophistication–an effect, I’m sure, of the usage of natural materials to create the projects–that I really like to see in the projects that I, myself, do.

And so, this green crafty book review will look a little different than my review of Weekend Sewing or the Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing. I’m starting from the presumption that many of the projects in Organic Crafts will be too simple to appeal to an adult crafting for herself, and that’s okay.

Some projects, however, are pretty awesome, and it’s those that I’m going to review.

Organic Crafts, even though it is a children’s craft book, definitely has a place in an adult’s crafting world. It is actually a really terrific primer for crafting with natural materials, for anyone of any age. The first three projects in the book, for instance, are recipes for natural glue, natural paste, and cornstarch paint. These are effective recipes, slightly different from ones I already use with my girls, that can avoid the usage of animal-based glues or chemical-laden paints, or that can be used to make a completely biodegradable art installation. Very cool.

My worry with any book about crafting with natural materials is that it will simply encourage people to defoliate trees or pick all the flowers in the neighborhood just to make some tacky something, and I was pleased to see that Organic Crafts asks crafters to, for instance, collect the leaves or bark or sticks they want to use from the ground. It would be nice if each materials list reminded the child crafters of this imporant guideline, but we’re adults and we already know that, so it doesn’t bother me for my purposes here.

Other projects from the book that I think would be worthy of creating by an adult crafter include the homemade paper done in a blender, the trivet woven from fabric strips and twigs, the garden chimes made from drilled seashells, the homemade potpourri, the terrarium (terrariums are VERY popular right now), the toad house recycled from an old flower pot, and the broken china mosaics. There are other projects in the book that might inspire an adult to do something similar, and many more projects that clearly would mainly interest children.

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About the Author

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

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