102 Terra Cotta Projects book cover

Subtitle: Pretty & Practical, Whimsical & Wonderful Ideas for Terra Cotta Pots of All Sizes
Written by: LeNae Gerig
Published by: Hot Off the Press

An artist's dream: a flexible, cheap, readily-found material. Just a dream? No longer...the answer seems to be terra cotta pots! From holidays to special occasions to everyday, 102 Terra Cotta Projects has something for every reader's needs. Not just pots, but also the saucers and so on are utilized in this clever and inspirational book. You really have to hand it to the author; she's turned these humble, ubiquitous household objects into something interesting--a tall order indeed.

The book's inside front cover gives the reader a bit of information about the author, lists of necessary general supplies, and some tips for working with terra cotta pots. The rest of the book is devoted to the titular 102 projects, representing such a wide range of uses and styles that even the most finicky of readers is bound to find some things to make. Some of my personal favorites were the Peal Votive Cup, Bubbler Fountain, Gum Ball Machine, and Bird Feeder.

The projects themselves represent a wide range of styles. There is masculine (Green Copper Tile Mosaic), cute (Tiny Turtle), elegant (Tissue Paper Toile Collage), pretty (Purple Hydrangeas), patriotic (American Flag), and so on. Pretty much anyone on your gift list could be satisfied by one or more of these projects. It's also important to note that many of these projects, if not most of them, are not meant for plants. Gerig turns terra cotta pots into boxes, wind chimes, candle holders, dishes, potpourri holders, food servers, decorations, birdbaths, and more. Her creativity is truly amazing and inspirational. One great thing about most of these projects is that they are flexible; if you don't like the colors shown, for example, you can easily change those details to suit your taste.

Each project has a color photo of the finished sample, as well as step-by-step directions and a list of necessary supplies. The directions are easy to follow even for readers who have never heard of words like "decoupage", and most of them are easy enough to do with your children or your significant other.

After the projects themselves, the end of the book has a couple pages of templates for use with the projects. The inside of the back cover has some additional hints on making bows, some painting tips, and a note on transferring the patterns to your project surface.

Anyone looking for inexpensive but cool gift ideas will love this book. As cheap as terra cotta is, you may want to do something with them for gifts or to decorate your own home, and it's great that now we have a book to help us know what we can do with them. No one will think you've lost your mind when you hand them one of these finished objects, and you'll certainly want to keep several of these creations for yourself.

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