Sew with the Crafty Chica

When the Crafty Chica — aka Kathy Cano-Murillo — asked for bloggers interested in reviewing her latest book, I could not reply fast enough. Seriously. It was the Internet equivalent of yelling “pick me! pick me!” while raising your hand up in the air and jumping up and down.

Yeah, I’m not known for my subtlety. But I really dig Kathy’s work; it’s this uninhibited artful fun that I aspire to create but am too chicken to venture “outside the lines” to do myself.

Her latest book, “Crafty Chica’s Guide to Artful Sewing,” features 30 projects, everything from purses to wearables to home decor items. The book’s subtitle — “Fabu-Low-Sew Projects for the Everyday Crafter” — should clue you in to the fact that many of the projects start with ready-made items like canvas tote bags, towels or curtains. I am itching to make the “My Life is an Adventure” Pocket Bag, which uses slide protector pages cut and sewn together to make a see-through tote with tons of tiny pockets to dress up with paper, vintage photos or ephemera.

If you’re the kind of crafter who needs step-by-step photos or illustrations of the assembly process, this may not be the book for you. Many of the projects include only written instructions. Personally, I’m having a tough time visualizing how to sew the Chop Top Frock, which turns a man’s dress shirt into a cute halter top (the directions never tell you what to do with the sleeves). This may be in keeping with Kathy’s “kamikaze style” approach to sewing but it’s a challenge to my ADHD brain. LOL!

The book is a visual delight and features lots of personal anecdotes and fun stories that bring a little bit of Kathy into your craft room. And the photography is colorful and fun, echoing the artsy feel of the projects. It’s definitely an inspiring read for anyone who’s interested in trying a less rules-oriented approach to sewing or who wants the freedom to embellish her heart — and more — on her sleeve.