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Janice Eaton Kilby - Crafting for Good Feng Shui

This book basically establishes the sub-genre of feng shui and crafts. Feng Shui Flowers by Jo Russell (also published by Sterling) is probably in the same category, but the Kilby book covers every kind of craft that I could think of, from sewing to "faux" stained glass. The crafts on the front cover photograph look "Eastern," but don't let that put you off if that isn't your style. There are many styles of home decorating represented in the exquisite color photographs within the book.

Folks who want to incorporate some appropriate Chinese characters (i.e. prosperity, long life, etc) in their décor will appreciate the excellent templates ready for copying and enlarging. Kilby has done an great job of making each craft doable --- step by step instruction, tools needed, and many diagrams.

For those who aren't crafters, pages 7 through 38 are a well-explained introduction to feng shui and the whys and wherefores of which way to orient the bagua. She does a great job of explaining the differences as well as the commonalities of the Form and Compass schools. She even mentions a Compass method that is seldom written about, whereby the bagua is aligned by placing the Health and Family Gua in the west. The four diagrams of the four possible ways to orient the bagua make your choices quite lucid. All that remains is to choose one and use it. Me --- I use the Form School "mouth of chi" entrance.

My favorite craft project was the corner plant shelf on page 60. It neatly solves the problem of a poison arrow from a projecting right angle wall. However, the very next project had me rolling my eyes. She recommends (as many feng shui consultants do) snake plant (sanseveria) for the bathroom as a yang element to counteract the excessive yin of the bathroom. Then the project is to embellish (make yin) the pot with multicolor macramé and crystals which strongly point down (yin again.) The original pot was simple and yang and a better choice for a bathroom. Think "easy to clean." I vote for leaving frew-frew out of the bathroom.

There is a very interesting chapter (seven pages) with before and after photos of a feng shui makeover. The photos indicate that Kilby's style leans toward "more is better." I would have banished at least six of the decorative pillows on the bed on page 87 to make room for people. Almost every time I suggest fewer decorative pillows on a bed, the wife immediately says, "My husband will love you."

The publisher has included absolutely no information whatsoever about the author, which seems odd since ten of the crafters featured in the book have nice little bios.

Sterling Publishing Company, New York, 2003, 1-57990-364-9, 160 pages (all in color), color photographs and drawings, paperback, $19.95

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