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Saturday, July 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Handcraft Magazine Has Projects That Are Practical, Simple, Doable

Karen E. Klages Chicago Tribune

The winter issue of Handcraft Illustrated includes a project for embossing your own velvet for a homemade pillow and saving a lot of money in the process.

It involves bending armature wire into flat coils, placing it on the base of an overturned pot, draping a piece of velvet over the coil, spraying on some starch and pressing with a hot iron to “emboss” the coil design into the velvet.

Sound like another Martha Stewart is on the loose?

“Her universe is a broader universe and also a broader discussion. We have narrowed our discussion to things you can really do. We are very practical,” says Handcraft editor Carol Sterbenz, in drawing the distinction between her world and Stewart’s.

Handcraft is a quarterly publication devoted entirely to home crafting. (There are no advertisements. Subscription and newsstand sales support the magazine. There are no interiors. There are no impossible recipes, a la Stewart.)

Each issue includes approximately 15 (or more) doable projects. Completion time: “We aim at a maximum of a couple of hours,” says Sterbenz, who started the magazine a little more than two years ago, has written 20 books on crafting and is the mind behind all of the projects she features.

Other projects in this issue: a beaded candle shade, French buffet tray, faux suede and crocodile backpacks, lavender bolster pillow.

A rose is a rose is a rose: Not true, according to the February issue of Victoria, which offers a pretty story featuring all sorts of fancy creams, lipsticks, tea sets, fabrics, wallpapers, etc., bearing a rose motif.

Some of the products make great gifts for those who want to be creative this Valentine’s Day. Like: A package of 500 Jungle Rose petals (they’re from the Amazon, where roses have unusually large petals) and a vial of rose oil - everything one needs for a petal bath; rose water or a rose bush gift certificate from an organic nursery in Maine.

What’s cooking: If you’re thinking of remodeling your kitchen, check out “Today’s Kitchens” in the February issue of House Beautiful for some great ideas on how to use ordinary materials in extraordinary ways.

One of the featured kitchens (all are real kitchens in real people’s homes) is sheathed in honeyed maple veneers - from the four walls to the extensive built-in cabinetry. Actually, it’s a multi-ply plywood that comes with a maple veneer. New York architect Bill Petrone designed the inexpensive, custom kitchen by working within the parameters of that material. He sized the cabinetry according to the standard size of the plywood sheet. He kept the plywood’s edges exposed. And, instead of getting elaborate with finishes, he simply had the cabinet faces sanded and treated to a clear finish. The result is “impressively posh,” as the copy states.

Another kitchen shows how to push Formica to new levels of style and grace. This homeowner, New York interior designer Charles Morris Mount, used Formica Surrell to surface his oversize center island, all of the cabinets, even the refrigerator. And then, he used it as flooring, laying it in alternating strips to create a striped effect.

Undercovers: The February issue of Martha Stewart Living lets readers in on the next hot collectible: vintage blankets. “Quilts and linens already have the antiques trade’s attention, but the world of blankets is still a backwater of best buys,” writes William Hamilton, who goes beyond domestic bed blankets and covers vintage carriage and car robes, Pullman-car blankets, Army and horse blankets, crib blankets, coverlets and homespun blankets, as well.

Great photography shows off a number of these blanket types - and how to use them on a modern-day bed. Cleaning information also is provided.

Color me ocher: “Polished Edges” in February’s House & Garden is a must-see for anyone who fears brushing big color on their walls. Sure, the featured farmhouse, with walls in shades of yellow and ocher, is in Tuscany, Italy. And sure those exact colors, which come to life with a spark of Mediterranean sunlight, might not be appropriate for a Chicago area home.

But the writer lets readers in on the homeowner’s inspiration for his color palette: nature. He looked at the shades of the earth outside his windows and recreated them on his walls. It’s a source of inspiration that anyone, anywhere can tap into.

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