Book Reviews

Get DIY Holiday Tips in Danny Seo's Upcycling Celebrations: Extra Book Seating for Thanksgiving

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Tue, Nov 20, 2012 at 6:00 AM
click to enlarge Upcycling Celebrations - RUNNING PRESS
  • Running Press
  • Upcycling Celebrations

If you're still in Thanksgiving recipe denial, DIY guru Danny Seo's latest book, Upcycling Celebrations, offers up handy table decoration procrastination options -- particularly for those with "green" oriented Martha Stewart aspirations.

Inside, Seo will show you how to make Thanksgiving place card holders out of leftover Halloween gourds and chipped wineglass tea-lights with paper chandelier lamp shades for "a certain glow and ambiance" for this year's dinner. Even for homemade decorating skeptics, this book is a fun flip-through.

Our favorite, particularly this time of year, is the "extra book seating." It's a pretty clever idea for when you have a few extra stragglers at the table (all the more fun: put a few controversial titles on top). Get the details on how to make that book chair, and more DIY holiday gift wrapping ideas, after the jump.

Other clever ideas from Seo for Thanksgiving: a hilariously tall trivet made out of 200 pairs of old chopsticks clamped together and table place markers made from red potatoes held together with toothpicks to look like turkeys. Somehow, with those crayons as the "feathers" for kids to pluck out, they look much more design magazine-worthy than any new potato animals we've ever made.

click to enlarge "Extra Book Seating" - RUNNING PRESS/ LAURA MOSS
  • Running Press/ Laura Moss
  • "Extra Book Seating"

Sure, a few of the ideas are a bit of a "been there" stretch. We've all likely filled a used cardboard coffee container with some sort of homemade baked goodie (here, cupcakes), placed another cardboard container on top (upside down), and used it to a "coffee carryout cupcake carrying case" for the office.

But mostly, the ideas are pretty clever. If you're looking for Thanksgiving decorating projects for the kids, Seo's "shrunken apple heads" are made from over-the-hill peeled apples that are carved like a pumpkin. Slow-cook them in an oven until they've shrunk to 1/5 their size and they look like (friendly) head hunter heirlooms.

Other ideas: Soo's homemade holiday gift wraps include homemade fruit Loops "bows" and Kool-Aid tie-dyed old men's dress shirts that somehow look more hipster than we've ever managed with Kool-Aid (keep the cuffs on the sleeves and wrap a wine bottle with it; the sleeve becomes an abstract "bow" of sorts at the top). Seo also issues this handy reminder to use Kool-Aid as dye rather than its intended purpose: "I discovered that not wearing rubber gloves leaves your hands stained with tropical punch, cherry, and grape stains... that are very hard to remove without the aid of bleach."

As for Seo's "extra book seating" (photo above), it's literally a stack of large books, with the largest coffee table books at the bottom, novels, cookbooks or whatever else you have around piled on top to build your backless chair. The books are held together with men's belts, though as Seo notes, it's not exactly "upcycling," unless you happened to have recently lost a lot of weight. Good for you. The rest of us, already a few pies into the holiday season, will be hitting the thrift store.

Extra Book Seating

From Upcycling Celebrations by Danny Seo

Note: Per Seo: "When I lived in New York City, in a tiny one-bedroom apartment in the West Village -- despite the small size of my home, I made do with the lack of space and threw dinner parties all the time. Once, when a friend called at the last minute and begged if they could bring a friend, the gracious host in me said, "Why not?" The paranoid, anal-retentive planner inside me totally freaked out about where to seat them. And this is how this upcycling idea was born.


2 extra-large belts

A stack of books

1. It really helps to have two extra large men's belts. And I'm talking really, really large belts that can only be found in a specialty store like a Big and Tall shop. You can also search thrift stores to find them since you only need two. Then it's a matter of stacking books, wrapping he belts around them, and tightening them up.

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