Book review: "eco craft" -- more eco, please

eco craft
I really wanted to like Susan Wasinger's book, eco craft: recycle, recraft, restyle (2009). The cover promises "30 Eco-friendly projects" for my home. And flipping through the hardback at my local library, I saw some cool ideas.

But then I read the introduction.

It was a turn off. The author begins:
"I'm so tired of eco-guilt...aren't you? I'm tired of tripping over my big, ugly, gawky,embarrassing eco-footprint. I'm sick of feeling bad and frivolous for being audacious enough to want things. I'm depressed by the not-so-subtle messages that underlies the green movement..."
I felt tired too. Tired of Susan and her whining. Later, she boasts "Now I'm a re-psycho (and proud of it)!" Hunh? The intro left me confused and defensive. I almost put the book down. But I wanted to explore the meat of the book -- those 30 projects.
Psycho movie
OMG, I've been putting PE-5 plastics in my recycling bin!
Each one starts with photo of the finished piece and a list of materials and tools. Then come step-by-step instructions, with both photos and text. These are my favorite part. The close-ups show exactly what you need to do, and the text is a good back-up if you need more explanation.

It took me awhile to figure out that the small rectangle next to the materials list actually had a purpose.
frilly graphic or useful info?
The hodge-podge of fonts made me think it was just another graphic frill, but in fact, the box holds lots of useful information -- particularly the time estimate.

Some of the projects make "green" sense, like the bowls made out of junk mail envelopes and plastic bag lunch sacks. I love the tip about sanding plastic milk jugs to make the surface more interesting.
re-using milk jugs
Haunted by your carbon footprint?
But other projects seemed like just another "buy stuff at Michaels" project, like the pots of light. These are made from bowls, LED lights, and glass beads (the kind you put in clear vases with fake flowers). Definitely low on the green scale.

A few of Susan's projects were truly beautiful but impractical. Like the room divider made out of 40 plastic six-pack holders. I could be wrong, but I doubt folks who like to recycle have 40 plastic can holders on hand. 

And it may be the Joan Crawford in me, but I don't want to refashion wire hangers using yarn and sticks.
wire hangers
Sorry, Susan. I really wanted to love your book.