Simple Times with Amy Sedaris
Crafts are for kids. The adult version of crafts is a world referred to in shorthand as “DIY,” and it is a world that can be quite scary to a novice. DIYers have been known to rip out and reinstall entire bathrooms in a day, make their own processed dairy products, stitch Renaissance-era gowns and make and install their own kitchen cabinets.
That is, perhaps, a little out of reach of most people, both in terms of basic skill sets and financial resources. Because while making and installing your own cabinets is cheaper than buying them pre-made and having someone else install them, it still costs a pretty penny.
Crafting, on the other hand, is fun. It’s simple. It’s making necklaces, the occasional throw pillow or blanket. It’s Bedazzling…anything. Taking things you have and making them prettier, or taking things you have and turning them into other things.
This is the impetus behind Amy Sedaris’s latest book, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People. You might have first been introduced to her through Strangers With Candy, on either the large or small screens. Or in any number of smaller roles: in Rescue Me, Monk, Sex and the City, or (moving to the theater instead of the television studio) Maid in Manhattan, Elf, or School of Rock. Perhaps you’ve even read her first how-to I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence .
If you know anything about Sedaris, it’s that her sense of funny is finely tuned, delicately balanced, and bizarre. Even if you didn’t know anything about her, you’d probably be able to guess from the subtitles of her books. For Simple Times, Sedaris says that it’s supposed to invoke “being resourceful, making things out of necessity, using inexpensive materials, using what you already have.” And there’s certainly no shortage of that: we all have hair, right? How about making a hair lamp? Or, a tampon ghost?
Bizarre, yes. But don’t be fooled: there’s genuine value, as a “trigger idea” and also as a how-to. Where else are you going to learn the difference between a blanket stitch, a whip stitch and running stitch and have fun doing it? Hey, you might even get inspired to buy a drill and a table saw and make those cabinets after all.
Ultimately, that’s Sedaris’ goal: “I’m good at coming up with an idea and fantastic when it comes to telling people what to do so I can get what I want. I like creating books for people who can’t read and I like to inspire so hopefully this book will trigger an idea or two. I like Simple Times a lot- and I am very proud of it.”
So maybe we’ll have a lot of fun making necklaces and earrings from coconut shards, and that’ll be great. Or maybe some people will get inspired to do something larger, to move into full-fledged DIY territory. Either way, it’s a good thing.
Amy Sedaris will be at the Pabst Theater on Sunday, November 21, 2010. Your ticket gets you an evening of laughter and storytelling, as well as signed copy of Simple Times.