Well Being

Strangers With Pipe Cleaners: Q&A With Amy Sedaris, Author Of Simple Times: Crafts For Poor People

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Ever since the crafting hobby went all hipster and began to consume the free time of mommy bloggers and third-wave feminists, I’ve been trying to muster up some interest in macramé, felt, and alpaca yarn. The allure of this trend still eludes me, but for wackadoo actress, author, and comedienne, Amy Sedaris, crafting is simply an extension of her reinvention schtick.

A few years ago, Amy made us eager to immediately procure a crockpot when she authored her first book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence. However, it seems that all this time she may have been dying to answer the question of how best to entertain yourself when the guests finally go home.

Her newest tome, Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People, will instantly make you an expert insider of “outsider” art, with instructions on how to make everything from a toupee doorknob to a rusty nail wind chime.

This is not your grandma’s craft book, nor is it for your friend, the Etsy superstar. Simple Times has Amy’s brand of quirky written all over it, which somehow makes you see the humor, joy, and zen in decoupage.

I recently chatted with Sedaris about Simple Times. At the time of our interview she was engrossed in her bottlecap castanets project, and therefore could only provide Blisstree with brief answers.

Blisstree: In the Simple Times introduction you say that ugly people craft and attractive people have sex, so how is it that you came to write this book? You’re not ugly.

Any Sedaris: And I’m not that great of a crafter, and I know nothing about making love.

BT: Any DIY sex toys we should know about? Is there a safe way to make my own vibrator?

AS: Sure. Glue navy beans to a paper towel tube — let dry — fill the tube with live bumblebees and cover the ends with tin foil sealed with a rubber band. Enjoy.

BT: Sausage-making. When did that become a craft?

AS: Really? You don’t think making sausage is a craft?

BT: When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

AS: A lot of different things, but I always knew I wanted to be different people.

BT: Christmas and Chanukah are fast approaching. What projects do you recommend I make for everyone? I’d prefer something I can get done on Black Friday that won’t get too dusty by Christmas.

AS: Why don’t you try making some potholders. Order a kit from Klutz.

BT: Thanks. The subtitle of your latest book is “Crafts for Poor People,” but your book costs $27.99. That’s not cheap. What gives?

AS: You can find it cheaper than that or wait for the paperback.

BT: Is crafting just for times when the economy is in the toilet? If so, what can I make with those cardboard toilet paper rolls?

AS: You can always decorate the outside of your roll with some attractive rickrack and shove an extra pair of underpants in it for a clean back-up.

Now you can get as busy as Amy — minus the 15-plus-city book tour — and try some of these sample DIY crafting projects from Simple Times: