When I first looked at Erin Bried's book How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew, I thought, huh, maybe I should buy this book and actually learn something.
But, as with all my good intentions, I got over it. I enjoyed the book, and there are a lot of useful things in it, but the majority of the tips and how-tos cover skills and tasks I'm simply never going to do. Every now and then I would just pick it up to flip through it a little bit, and it always opened to the chapter on "how to make an apron." This was unfortunate, as I have a perfectly good apron that I stole from Country Kitchen the summer I worked there (if you could have seen my tips from all the old couple customers, you'd know I EARNED that apron), and I'm not about to dink around trying to sew a new one. But I digress.
Other chapters include very handy outlines for the following: how to roast a whole chicken (this I should actually learn); how to compost; how to install a clothesline (this I really do want to learn); how to kill mildew; how to shine your shoes; how to unclog a drain; and many, many, more. Actually, the more closely I look at it, the more I think it is kind of a neat little book. Sadly, though, most of the directions are not hand-holding enough for me. The clothesline instructions, for example, are basically: "Dig two holes in the ground about 1 foot wide and at least 1 foot deep in your desired location. Prepare your cement according to the instructions on the bag. Spray one hole with water, fill it halfway with cement, plumb your pole, and then top of with cement..." (p. 70.)
Uh, yeah. It's nice to make it sound that easy, but it seems like plumbing the pole should involve more steps than me eyeballing it in a half-ass kinda way (which is, really, how I end up doing everything). Or maybe I'm just making everything harder than it needs to be.
Anyway, my issues notwithstanding, it's still an interesting concept for a book and I give Bried kudos for throwing it together, and for encouraging self-sufficiency.