Getting Creative Without Quitting Your Day Job Kelly Wilkinson always felt like her crafty side was at odds with her professional life, but now she has a book that incorporates both. Weekend Handmade provides instructions for quirky crafts that virtually anyone can do.
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Getting Creative Without Quitting Your Day Job

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Getting Creative Without Quitting Your Day Job

Getting Creative Without Quitting Your Day Job

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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We?ve got an investment in all things weekend on this program. And that?s what drew our attention to a new book called ?Weekend Handmade,? which illustrates and explains quick craft projects that probably almost anyone - present company excepted - can do for refreshment or challenge and enjoyment. And all these crafts have a kind of quirky feel. Think of a hipster Martha Stewart. And, thankfully, they all have simple instructions. Kelly Wilkinson is the author of "Weekend Handmade." She joins us now. Thanks very much for being with us.

KELLY WILKINSON: It?s my pleasure to be here.

SIMON: And you say in the book that part of your fascination with crafts on the weekend is that you are fully employed during the weekdays.

WILKINSON: That?s right. This book is sort of the culmination of two very different parts of my life. I actually work at the NPR affiliate in San Francisco, KQED. And I grew up in a really creative, crafty family. And actually, I grew up in a renovated barn. Our house was really sort of like summer camp. And then I went into the world and made my way, but I would quit every so often and - because I wanted to do something more creative. And so I would go work in a knitting design studio or - then I would go back to reporting, and I?d work in a jewelry design studio. And it felt like these two parts of my life were really at odds with each other, and then this book emerged.

SIMON: The book is broken down into three categories of crafts, and if you could walk us through them. First is Make.

WILKINSON: Yes. The Make chapter is really projects to decorate your home with or to give as gifts or make for yourself. And then the next chapter is Grow, which uses a lot of inspiration from gardens and farmer's markets, and brings nature into a lot of projects. And then the last chapter is Gather. That offers a lot of projects for setting a pretty table, or having people over or a picnic -and really informal but really relaxed, creative gatherings.

SIMON: All right. Well, I mean, let?s get specific. In the Grow section, you have pressed flower luminaria.

WILKINSON: I love this project. I mean, I love all the projects, I should say, but?


SIMON: Of course. Luminaries are things that kind of hold candles.

WILKINSON: That?s right. Yes. Basically, you're making this wax paper cube. So you start with dried flowers or wild flowers or leaves or anything that?s botanic, and you lay it in between two pieces of wax paper. And when you pass a hot iron over it really quickly, it fuses the wax - the sheets of wax paper together. And it makes this thicker, more sturdy piece of wax paper with these flowers in between. So you make four of those, each side of the lantern.

SIMON: Right.

WILKINSON: And then you seam it together with a piece of Japanese - it?s called washi tape, which I?m sure, it sounds like, you?re familiar with, with your crafting expertise.

SIMON: Washi tape?


WILKINSON: Washi tape, which is this - it?s masking tape, basically. It?s this low-tack tape.

SIMON: Masking tape I know. But that wouldn't do it, right?

WILKINSON: Well, I mean you could. I guess it would have a more sort of, you know, utilitarian look to it, I suppose. But if you want to add some color or some pattern, I use this beautiful tape. I mean, it?s gorgeous. It comes in all of these different colors and patterns.

SIMON: Yeah.

WILKINSON: And you just seam the two pieces of wax paper together, and you do that all the way around the lantern, and it really creates this beautiful glow. I mean, if you set it outside and the sun is going down - and the flowers are backlit, and it has this really soft, gorgeous, warm glow.

SIMON: It looks beautiful in the book, I must say.

WILKINSON: Oh, thank you.

SIMON: We're going to put your principle to the test now. We have asked, arguably the least crafty man that we personally know, to come into our studio now. And he?s made something from your book. Let?s open the studio.

WILKINSON: Oh. Terrific.

SIMON: Tom Bullock, senior producer.


TOM BULLOCK: Hey, Kelly. How are you?

WILKINSON: I'm great. How are you?

BULLOCK: I'm good.

SIMON: Tom?s got a menacing looking bottle in his hand?


SIMON: ?which I think is the payoff. Tom, tell us what you did from this book.

BULLOCK: I went for the spritzer.

SIMON: Spritzer used for refreshment, right?

BULLOCK: Exactly. The book actually has some pretty basic instructions: Pick some botanicals, pick some vegetables - cucumbers suggested - and some kind of a citrus fruit.

SIMON: Mm-hmm.

BULLOCK: So I, being a former bartender, decided to stick with what I know.


SIMON: A margarita spritzer?

BULLOCK: Actually, more the mojito.

SIMON: All right. Yes.

BULLOCK: I've got mint and cucumber and lemon.

SIMON: Yeah.

BULLOCK: A ratio that?s basically a liter of distilled water per one to two cups of whatever ingredients you want to put in.

SIMON: Mm-hmm.

BULLOCK: And I timed myself, and it took me maybe 15 to 20 minutes to finish everything. And then I let it seep in the fridge for a little while. And I have bottled it in this lovely little spray container that you mentioned.

SIMON: I just spray this in my face. All right. Let me, let me try it. Ready? Do I close my eyes when I spritz or ...

BULLOCK: It's kind of a personal choice.

SIMON: Kelly?

WILKINSON: I?d close your eyes.



SIMON: You know, I do like this.


BULLOCK: And I have to say, Kelly?


BULLOCK: was really simple, and it was actually kind of fun. And for someone like me - I think my last craft project was oh, it was probably one of those picture frames with macaroni glued on it - this was a delight.

WILKINSON: All right. I'm so glad to hear it. It?s a great first project, 'cause it'll do exactly what it did for Tom - which is, inspire confidence so you can go on and tackle the next thing.


SIMON: Well, Kelly Wilkinson, thanks so much.

WILKINSON: Oh, thank you. It?s been really fun.


SIMON: Kelly Wilkinson is - that was a spritz - is the author of "Weekend Handmade," which just arrived at bookstores. Tom?


SIMON: I don?t mean to put you on the spot, but does my face look hydrated and refreshed?

BULLOCK: Of course.

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