The 1977 book Bright Ideas is earnest as Amy Sedaris’ Simple Times: Crafts for Poor People is tongue-in-cheek. In fact, you could switch the dust jackets and no one would notice. Published by New Zealand craft guru Valerie Scott, Bright Ideas has one of the most misleading titles on the self-help shelf. It teaches the reader how to make planters out of margerine containers, earrings out of lasagne and salt shakers out of plastic cordial bottles stuck together with perspex cement. Most ‘ideas’ are both unappealing and unsanitary but there are some good tips for teens with some time and spare coat hangers on their hands.
—Kate Jinx is a designer and writer living in Sydney who blogs at Abracadabra Department and hosts Too Much. She spent most of her teenage years making zines and agonising over mix tape structure.