Amy Sedaris gets crafty with Simple Times

First aired on Q (11/29/10)

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"Dear Lord, please give us the strength to accept the things that we have made, the courage not to take credit for what we have not, and the wisdom to know the difference."

This is the prayer of a woman who may be one of the great craftmakers of our time. Amy Sedaris shares her wealth of crafty knowledge in her new book Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People.

It's the second book for Sedaris, a comedian and satirist who reached cult status as the creator and star of the subversive television comedy Strangers with Candy. Her first book, I Like You: Hospitality under the Influence, was a quirky, tongue-in-cheek guide to food and party preparation that quickly became a bestseller. Whereas that book focused on entertaining others, Simple Times is all about getting things done with your own two hands. With the help of glue guns, cotton balls, toothpicks and felt, Sedaris offers the reader surprising crafts like "hobo fire in a can" and "crafty candle salad."

According to Sedaris, crafting is an excellent antidote to today's hectic pace of life.

"I do everything myself," she told host Jian Ghomeshi in a recent interview on Q. "Little things like that make me feel like I'm grounded."

Simple Times is divided into themed chapters, such as crafting for Jesus, crafts for rabbits and an entire chapter dedicated to crafting with sausages. For the less nimble-fingered, it also contains a helpful section on how to avoid common crafting accidents like severed fingers and choking to death on feathers.

Sedaris is not alone in her love of glitter and glue. She enlists a roster of celebrity friends, including influential American artist Cindy Sherman and actor and magic enthusiast Neil Patrick Harris, who also share their craft inspiration.

If the book has one constant, it's that Sedaris is having a lot of fun. She even dresses up in elaborate, and often hilarious, costumes for each chapter. So is this advanced satire? Is Sedaris mocking traditional femininity and the home-decor industry? Or is she embracing it?

For Sedaris, the answer is obvious.

"I always embrace things," she said. "I think the humour comes out of taking things seriously."

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