Woodworker's Central
Woodworker's Gazette
Gazette Archive 3/13/99

A Book Review: by Pat Lupori

Title: Holiday Woodworking Projects:
90 Patterns for Festive Decorations

Authors: Joyce and John Nelson

Available from Barnes & Noble.com
Softcover, 192 pgs, $12.96

Holidays are those wonderful times each year when we all try to decorate our houses to fit the season. With the help of this book, you will no longer have to run out to the local Super K-Mart to find that perfect accessory which will help you to finish your decorating. Now you can head to the scroll saw, create that perfect piece in the size that you want and paint or stain it to match the rest of your decorations.

This book contains patterns covering the range of Holidays for the year around. From Halloween Black Cats to an Apple for the Teacher, Christmas Ornaments and Easter decorations, celebrate spring and summer's Fourth of July. There are patterns here for all four seasons and many Holidays.

But these are also MORE than just scroll saw patterns. Joyce & John Nelson have gone a step further and actually teach you how to paint these projects to really make them stand out from the crowd. I have never been a painter. I can follow a pattern to cut it out with ease, but put paintbrush in my hand and the inner child reverts back to Kindergarten when hand eye coordination was non-existent. A big part of my problem is that in my mind I see a delicate painting similar to the finest works of art, and my hand creates something that looks closer to a very bad paint by number. The instructions that the Nelson's have provided make it easier for imagination and reality to blend. With concise directions on what kind of paint to use, how to use it, and how to finish it once the decorating has been accomplished, you have a recipe for success.

This is exactly the book you need if you are just starting to make projects that require decorating (painting). If you already have experience doing tole painting, then you need to glance through the patterns to see if they offer enough new designs to make it a worthwhile purchase for you. But for those of us who don't feel like artists, the instructions here will help to bring out the inner artist.

You can start with some simpler projects like the kitchen magnets. Once you are more comfortable with decorating you can keep progressing through the book with various projects until you have created the "Village" with all the various buildings to make your own decorative street scene.

From what I have seen at various craft shows, these items should also sell well. Decorated items catch the eye of the prospective buyer quicker and keep them at your booth longer to inspect what you are offering. Two keys to selling are just that: Catch their interest, keep them looking.

I would recommend this book to all scrollers, but most especially to those people who want a start in decorative painting. The instructions are clear and concise, the materials list is complete, and the projects are new and useful.

Pat Lupori

Editor's Note: Pat Lupori is the webmistress for the Scrollsaw Association of the World. You can also visit John Nelson's website to get his books directly.

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