21. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags:

Dreamscapes: creating magical angel, fairy, and mermaid worlds in watercolor by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law, read by Marsha, on 08/19/2014

download (1)This is a fantastic book for the beginning fantasy watercolorist with information on faces, hands, feet, and everything in between.  It also has beginning watercolor instruction for those not well-versed in it already.  I absolutely loved this book and plan to add it to my personal collection soon.  It was exactly what I was looking for!

21. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags:

Fantasy Art for Beginners: create fantasy beings step-by-step by Jon Hodgson, read by Marsha, on 08/12/2014

indexThis is a great book especially for those wanting to begin with oils, acrylics, or digital media.  Watercolorists would have to adapt the shades of the washes from lightest to darkest.  Hodgson lays it all out step-by-step as the title implies, instructing the artist on drawing out and painting fantasy characters and backgrounds.  He walks the artist through six different paintings, all using various methods, creatures, and poses.  A good reference to keep on hand as well.  Just wished it was geared a little more for watercolor too.

21. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags: ,

10 Secrets of the Laidback Knitters by Vicki Stiefel and Lisz Souza, read by Marsha, on 08/03/2014

downloadA fun read for knitters everywhere.  While the secrets are not necessarily new revelations to those of us knitting for awhile, the book brings humor and good-hearted advice to the craft.  Some of the patterns are truly delightful and I can’t wait to knit them up.  I ended up adding this book to my personal collection because I just enjoyed it that much.  Sit back with a cuppa and read Stiefel and Souza.  You won’t regret it.

21. August 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Marsha, NonFiction · Tags:

Joy of Scrapbooking by Lisa Bearnson and Gayle Humpherys, read by Marsha, on 08/02/2014

This is nice for beginning scrapbookers as it gives a list of essential tools one needs to begin this craft.  It is also good for intermediate scrappers because the book contains a refresher course on some of the techniques for scrapping as well as pages and pages of inspiration.  This is the updated and expanded edition that came out a decade after the original and it has so much more as well as updated pages for inspiration since tools and techniques have changed somewhat.  A great reference for anyone to have on hand!

bibliocraftThis book is excellent for anyone who wants to learn more about the different types of libraries and how to use them.  Even if the reader is not a crafter, there is much information to be gleaned from this book about how to make the most out of library resources and how to find what you are looking for.  The author gives a lot of tips and websites for various types of collections that might interest crafters, as well as sites for digitized collections.  Tips are also given for what to expect when viewing rare books and what some of the policies may be for libraries who hold them.  The second half of the book has a lot of information about projects and how the creators for each project used their libraries as inspiration.  Inspiration can come from images from books or even from the architecture of the library itself.  While many of the projects are not to my personal taste, I did think the explanations for making something similar were clear enough.  The projects had information about the original images that inspired each piece so that the reader could see just how the designers’ minds worked.  Very interesting book.  Even if the reader doesn’t craft, the first half is a must read for any library patron.

 

30. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

The Repurposed Library: 33 Craft Projects That Give Old Books New Life by Lisa Occhipinti, read by Marsha, on 04/30/2014

libraryThe projects in this book are fantastic!  This might be another one I order for my personal collection.  This book is all about altering books and making them into something new.  The projects include lamps, lampshades, ornaments, mobiles and wall hangings.  Like Playing With Books, which I reviewed earlier this month, the instructions are written clearly.  The one thing that has me on the fence about purchasing this particular book is that the accompanying images for the directions for each project are drawn diagrams rather than photos.  Still, the diagrams seem fairly clear.  I am looking forward to delving into the projects in this book.

 

studioThis book has some nice projects in it with different types of bindings.  However, it is not meant to be a book for beginners.  Some of the instructions assume the reader has made at least a couple of books before and therefore glosses over certain steps.  The instructions use photography rather than drawn diagrams, which is nice.  This would be a great book for someone who has already done a little bit of book binding before.  It might be something I add to my library at a later date.

 

24. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

Playing With Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book by Jason Thompson, read by Marsha, on 04/24/2014

playingPlaying With Books is a book about altering other books.  This a terrific source of ideas for the reader who wants to take old books and make them into something new.  There are project ideas packed onto every page. The projects range from simple to more complex with an artists’ gallery for further inspiration if the projects aren’t enough.  Most of the projects use tools that the reader might already have at home or can easily find in craft and hardware stores.  The steps are explained fairly well, but the reader might need other books to explain some of the sewing or other skills used in making the projects.  The photography is wonderful and shows the projects at their best while demonstrating the techniques being taught in the written instructions.  There are even ideas for sources of free books the reader can use for the projects.  This was an exciting book to read and I have already put it on my wish list to add to my library at home.  I can’t wait to get started!

 

24. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

Making Books by Hand: A Step-By-Step Guide by Mary McCarthy and Phillip Manna, read by Marsha, on 04/23/2014

Making Books by hand takes the time to show the reader steps not often shown in other books, such as how to fold the corners of bookcloth on a cover.  This is a nice little reference book to keep nearby for that reason. The text contains instructions for several different types of books including accordion books, journals and scrapbooks, photo albums, and box books.  Some instructions are more detailed than others and some of the photos really need to have been taken closer up so that the reader can see the details of what the author is referring to.  But many of the instructions are well-written and the photography does not interfere with the reader getting a grasp on the content.  There is even a chapter titled, “New Directions: Trends and Traditions” that has a more uncommon accordion book and a scroll.  Included is also an artists’ gallery, which is sure to generate lots of new ideas.  While this is not necessarily a book I plan to add to my library, it is one that I will probably check out and peruse again once I start making my own books.

 

23. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon, read by Marsha, on 04/23/2014

stealKleon has written a fantastic little book that may be a quick read, but should be read again and again as it is jam-packed with content.  The book lists 10 things the writer wishes he had known when he started creating and they are fairly universal no matter what the reader makes (and everyone should be making something).  Kleon is a writer and artist but this advice applies to anyone who has the least bit of a creative streak, which is EVERYONE.  Don’t miss out on this little gem because of it’s size.  There are many things the reader can learn from reading and re-reading Steal Like An Artist.  This book is now on my Kindle!

23. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Marsha, NonFiction

Expressive Handmade Books by Alisa Golden, read by Marsha, on 04/21/2014

handmadeIf the reader is looking for a new way to express oneself, look no further!  Golden has written a wonderful guide that not only gives some bindings to consider, but also has many different forms of accordion folds to experiment with.  In addition, the author presents a preparation section for most projects that includes a prompt for doing a book similar to the one featured in the project.  The steps are easy to walk through and the diagrams are fairly clear.  The prompts give a detailed look at the author’s processes as she developed her idea.  Overall, this is a great book and one I am thinking of adding to my personal collection.

17. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Informational Book, Marsha, NonFiction

Bookworks by Sue Dogget, read by Marsha, on 04/17/2014

bookworksBookworks is a text about bookbinding and gives a lot of information about different methods of putting books together.  To begin, I should mention this may not be the best book for a complete beginner.  Some of the diagrams are rather unclear as are the instructions.  The author seems to assume the reader has done some bookbinding prior to picking up her text.  This is not to say the book is all bad, however.  There is a marvelous section accordion folding that I have not seen in other texts of this nature.  It has a lot of different ideas for using the said folds for various applications.  Dogget also keeps the number of bindings she tries to teach to a minimum, thus not overwhelming the reader with all the different ways available to bind a book.  The areas I feel could be improved include embossing covers and cutting recesses.  These features were glossed over and I feel she could have spent more time with them.  There are lots of great ideas in here, including a method for making a clasp for a diary you won’t want to miss.  It is worth picking up Bookworks and giving it a look.

09. April 2014 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Marsha, NonFiction

Real Life Journals by Gwen Diehm, read by Marsha, on 04/09/2014

JournalsThis is a great book for learning more about the craft of bookbinding.  There is a lot of terrific material in here for beginners with thorough instructions for each step, as well as lists of materials and where to find those materials.  Diehm even includes a couple of websites to check out in case the readers’ local craft stores do not carry bookbinding materials.  The book is a wonderful resource and has a pamphlet for creating your own “bookbinding adventure,” which allows the reader to answer a series of questions and, depending on the answer, flip through to the appropriate binding for the project the reader has in mind.  Diehm even walks the reader through this process using nine examples of real journal-keepers as they made decisions about what kind of book they wanted for their journal.  Diehm followed up with each reader to find out what they liked about their journal and what they would improve for next time. The final chapter of this book contains background information about journals, including famous journal-keepers such as da Vinci.  I highly recommend this text to anyone looking into creating their own journals.  I am even planning to add this volume to my own personal craft library.

02. December 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Informational Book, Kira, Memoirs, NonFiction

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee casts off the yarn harlot's guide to the land of knitting by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee , read by Kira, on 11/28/2013

castoff froganatomy-of-a-knitter1  knit steph Stephanie Pearl-McPhee uses the format of a travelogue to humorously describe knitter’s foibles (including the STASH). She also incudes a number of quizzes so you can find out what type of knitter, stasher, etc. you are.  It was quiet funny and I actually learned a few things I hadn’t know (I am Not a tumblr_loylymBblY1qcg6wqo1_500process knitter).

20. May 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Kira, NonFiction

Hook, Loop 'n' Lock: Create Fun and Easy Locker Hooked Projects by Theresa Pulido, read by Kira, on 05/18/2013

hook loop  hooking loopshooknloopNot too many books out there on Locker Hooking.  One of the instructors at Camp Shannondale in Southern Missouri teaches this craft, and I’ve been intrigued.  I really love the modern look achieved with brighter colors, and fancy fabric, like recycled sari silk.

This book contained both excellent instructions for beginners, as well as “patterns” for cool projects.   I’ve seen a lot of  the photos/projects in her book on the Pinterest website.

26. March 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Christmas Crafts Scandinavian style by Tone Merete Stenkløv and Miriam Nilsen Morken., read by Kira, on 03/10/2013

 

Cmas Crafts Scanda

A very nice collection of Christmas crafts.  I’m Not sure that the projects are all that different from other Christmas craft books.  But the projects look much classier than a lot of others, I couldn’t tell if this was mainly due to the color choice (lots of creams, beige, neutrals) or because of the high quality craftpersonship.  It is inspiring – but I have enough knitting projects at the moment, not to have been tempted to carry out any projects.  cmas crafts 2

 

cmas crafts scanada 3

27. February 2013 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

The Knitter's Book of Yarn: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing, Using, and Enjoying Yarn by Clara Parkes , read by Kira, on 02/27/2013

I reknitterYarnally liked this book!  Parkes (of the very useful site http://knittersreview.com/) provides detailed information about the various qualities and classifications of yarn available on the market.  I appreciated the fact that she examined so many different varieties of yarn sources (eg vicuna) including hybrid sourced yarn, starting off with a family-tree” of fiber types. She discusses different methods of plying, ways to prepare fiber, as well as the various sources of fiber (animals, plants, manufactured).

I learned a lot.  For example I learned  about woolen-spun versus worsted-spun yarn – most yarn on the market is woolen spun, where they leave the short fibers in, creating a loftier and warmer yarn and therefore warmer material.  The worsted-spun yarn takes only the longer staples of wool, and creates a more tightly plied – and therefore less warm – yarn, that really shows off stitch patterns, and its probably more expensive since they’re using more refined material, going that extra step.

She also provided many side by side comparisons of a given wool in one form versus the same wool but in another form (eg worsted spun versus woolen spun).   She provides patterns specific to each yarn type that she examines.  Though I liked that she provided brand name examples of the various yarns she discussed, I really wish her lists had been longer with more diversity.  For example, for the worsted spun yarn, all her examples were 100% Cotton, cotton has no elasticity and hurts my hands, so nside by side compone of the examples were helpful to me.

Overall though a really great book, I’m so glad we have it in our collection!  I think I need to read all of her other books.

Interesting jewelry projects alongside a simple story of an artist being commissioned by THE  Fairy Queen to create jewelry for her various friends.  Excellent description of how to make wings, using tissue paper and modge podge and wire.

15. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Crafts, How To's, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Angel crafts : graceful gifts and inspired designs for 47 projects by Harrison, Holly , read by Kira, on 03/14/2012

Angel craftsHarrison presents an amazing variety of crafty angels you can make – ranging from tin cans to strips of fabric, and an Elvis Presley version.

15. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Cats, Crafts, How To's, Kira, NonFiction

Crafting with cat hair : cute handicrafts to make with your cat by Tsutaya, Kaori , read by Kira, on 03/09/2012

Loved the little cat puppets.  I suspect my short-haired cats fur would be difficult to work with.  Its interesting to note that most of the projects used felt as a background for felting a picture on top of.