Opening up the book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence by Amy Sedaris, is like going into another world: the world of Amy. For anyone who’s a fan of her work, from the Comedy Central TV show and movie, Strangers with Candy, to her many comedic scene-stealing guest appearances, you know and love Amy’s world. Opening up this book really grabs both sides of your senses. Your crafting sense will love the kitschy ideas. You’ll find yourself saying, “I want to make this!” (cupcakes, tea towels with pom poms, root beer floats, and lots more), and then your human sense kicks in and you just can’t stop yourself from laughing out loud hysterically (by yourself, alone, at home, to the point that maybe the neighbors can hear you) over her comedic genius.
If at any point you are looking at the beautifully shot photos and find yourself saying, “Wow, she looks absolutely gorgeous in that shot,” you only need to turn the page and see another photo of Amy in one of her many special funny faces. But don’t let the comedy overshadow this beautifully designed and well-written book. I love all the illustrations, photography style, and graphic design. I Like You is chock full of helpful and informative nuggets to help you make stuff out of everyday things. The underlying message and the humorous way in which it’s presented are major added bonuses!
I was really excited to get the chance to interview Amy Sedaris for the CRAFT blog, where we talked about the book, her projects, and growing up as a Girl Scout.
Nat: Your new book, I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence is filled with crafty projects on food and entertaining. What was the inspiration behind this book?
Amy: I can’t think of anything that didn’t inspire me. A lot I learned in Girl Scouts and Junior Achievements. Visually, I was very inspired by the old Betty Crocker books and Good Housekeeping books.
Nat: You mentioned in one of your TV interviews you got started in crafting from the Girl Scouts. Can you share with us a memory of something you made as a Girl Scout to earn a badge?
Amy: Bookends. We would wrap bricks in sticky shelf paper. We always made sit-upons, and we would make insect hotels like the one that is in my book.
Nat: What kinds of crafts do you enjoy the most?
Amy: I like mindless crafts. I like coming up with ideas and asking my friends who are good with their hands to make them.
Nat: You’re famous not just for your comedy, but also for the yummy cupcakes you make and sell. How did you get started doing this?
Amy: When I brought my first rabbit, Tattletale, home, I thought she needed to bring in some money on her own if she was going to continue to eat the amount of hay she was eating. I decided to start selling cupcakes, and the money I made went into a jar. I would spend that money on hay and vegetables. It was her allowance.
Nat: Craft fairs are happening everywhere lately, but I hear that you have your own kind of “special sale” that happens in your house after dinner parties. Can you tell us more about this?
Amy: I just sell items I don’t want anymore for 25 cents. It can be anything from half bottles of lotions to sandpaper, aspirins, old craft books, porterhouse steak bones, whatever. I usually cater to my audience. I use these quarters when I do my laundry.
Nat: What are some craft tips you can share?
Amy: For me, I think it’s cheating to go to a craft store to buy your supplies. I think crafts should be made from what you have at your fingertips. I don’t throw anything out. I wanted to make an earring tree for my book, and I made the tree from a screen door because I happened to have balsa wood, some screen, and some small hinges.
Nat: Do you have any favorite craft places you visit?
Amy: I see craft ideas in magazines that aren’t necessarily for craft making, and they always look good. But some crafts can look too good. I like the kind of crafts prison inmates make or 8-year-old girls or even retarded people. There is a school near San Francisco called Creative Growth; I have seen terrific things made by them.
Nat: What kind of crafty goodness can we expect from you in 2007?
Amy: I am all “craft” out right now. I will say I think felt is out. Let’s bring back dip a do.
Thanks Amy for this great interview! Don’t miss this segment on Conan O’Brien from last November when Amy appears on the show and talks about how to keep friends from peeking in your medicine cabinet. She also makes her pantyhose eye burrito project from the book. Too funny!
One of our favorite stores, Fred Flare, also carries goods made by Amy Sedaris. Here are some of things she makes and sells:
Instructions on how to make your own are in the book.