Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Book Review: The Cute Book
I must say, I was pretty excited about Aranzi Aronzo's The Cute Book. Before I saw the book online, I wasn't that familiar with the whole kawaii craze. But then a gaggle of Aranzi Aronzo kitties showed up on the cover of Craft Magazine and I started reading about these little guys on the blogs and boom, I was hooked. So, I was pretty pleased to get my hands on this book, which is an English translation of the Japanese patterns.
Basically the book is full of instructions on how to make over a dozen different "felt mascots." There are bunnies and sheep and monkeys and slightly more sinister little guys like Bad Guy and Liar. They're all pretty basic and very very small -- generally meant to hang off of your bag or on a keychain.
Anyone used to Western craft books might be a little weirded out by the book -- the instructions for making these mini-toys are as wacky as the little mascots themselves, which is why I love the book so much. Each little dude has his or her own personality description, which will appeal to anyone addicted to the idiosyncrasies of Japanese pop culture. The book is small and super colourful -- so much so that Ruby has spent huge periods of time leafing through it herself. In fact, she's claimed it as her own and keeps pulling it off my shelf to put it with her own kids books.
Of course, I've already tried my hand at making one of these little guys -- I thought I'd start simple and make the Bear (shown next to my favourite tea cup for scale). It was fun and fairly easy -- though I'm thinking that such miniature crafting isn't necessarily my forte (note how wonky his face is). I'm pleased with the end result, but I didn't really enjoy putting this guy together as much as I like, say, knitting or embroidery, so I'm not sure how many Aranzi Aronzo mascots will be populating my craft room. That said, I'm dying to make the Liar, my favourite character in the book.
Speaking of which, the Aranzi Aronzo people have already put out a companion book The Bad Book, which features stories of the Bad Guy, often in heated battle with the Liar. It's really fun, and although not really craft related per say, a must have. I think there are a bunch more Aranzi Aronzo story books on the way, so if I do end up making more of these guys, I'll be able to play along.