27. December 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction

The Handknitter's Yarn Guide: A Visual Reference to Yarns and Fibers by Nikki Gabriel, read by Kira, on 11/14/2012

There is so much for knitters to know about yarn.  And this book is a good place to start – actually I’ve been knitting for about 3-4 years and still learned a lot.  Each page presents several swatches of a yarn and how it knits up – including how it knits up in different basic patterns (eg. garter versus stockinette).

Note they do NOT review by yarn manufacturer, only by gauge (or weight).




30. November 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, NonFiction, Tammy · Tags:

Tea with Jane Austen by Kim Wilson, read by Tammy, on 11/29/2012

A history of tea and tea-time in England with emphasis on Jane Austen’s lifetime as well as examples of different tea traditions from different levels of British society and quotes from Austen’s novels that illustrate these traditions.

Did you know that coffee appeared in England before tea? Some households even served coffee or hot cocoa instead of tea at tea time but since tea had become the fashionable drink of high society and royalty this afternoon or evening repast became refered to as “tea.” The book includes recipes for tea treats and other drinks served at tea time with both traditional recipes and modern forms of the same recipes.

29. June 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, Children's Books, How To's, Informational Book, NonFiction · Tags:

From Cover to Cover: Evaluating and Reviewing Children's Book by Kathleen T. Horning, read by Angie, on 06/29/2012

From Cover to Cover is an excellent resource for anyone who talks about, reviews or purchases children’s books. It has clear and concise chapters on every type of children’s book: nonfiction, poetry, chapter books, picture books, etc. While the subtitle states this book is about evaluating and review, the majority of the book is on evaluating books. Reviewing doesn’t come in until the final chapter. Not that it is a bad thing. The information in the evaluating chapters is great. Horning goes into the history of the literature, the different parts, what you should look at and how to evaluate it. She even gives examples of excellent books in each genre. Great resource and very helpful.

15. June 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Tracy

Mr. Food's Meals in Minutes by Art Ginsburg, read by Tracy, on 06/15/2012

If you hate to cook, like me, this cookbook is for you. Most of the recipes use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. Just a few fresh ingredients make a quick trip to the store which is another job I hate. Art’s instructions are easy to follow and he even gives tips on each page to make the recipe even more convenient. I tried the stove top meatloaf and it took 30 minutes and he recommended using instant mashed potatoes. What’s hard about that. My next recipe will be carrot cake cookies. Everything goes in one bowl, bake and your done. There is a section for Dinner for Two. There are no recipes with more than eight ingredients. Spend less time cooking and have more time to do fun things like eating.

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.

04. April 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Brian, How To's, NonFiction · Tags:

Do One Green Thing by Mindy Pennybacker, read by Brian, on 04/03/2012

Like or not, Doing things better for the environment helps everyone in the long run and if you don’t believe it, it doesn’t hurt either. Do One Green Thing is a book which gives ideas on how to save the Earth through simple choices.  There are chapters on: food & drink, healthy homes, transportation, personal care and so forth. I recommend taking a look at the book and finding areas you would like to work on and see how easy it is to help change the World with very simple steps.

26. March 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Upcycling : create beautiful things with the stuff you already have by Danny Seo , read by Kira, on 03/25/2012

UpcyclingI try Not to stereotype women and men, but I really was Not surprised to learn the author was a dude, it explained the more urban riveting look, with less beauty.   A number of them looked really junky.  He did employ a really wide variety of objects in his different projects.  There was one project I wanted to try, but now without the book in front of me, I cannot remember it – rats!

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

The cloth paper scissors book : techniques and inspiration for creating mixed-media art by Delaney, Barbara, read by Kira, on 03/17/2012

The Cloth Paper Scissors BookVery Nice Eye-Candy – beautiful pics.  Unfortunately, this appears to be highlights instead of in-depth detailed instructions.  One of my favorite artists Beryl Taylor has 2 pieces in here, however she covers one of these highlights in her book Mixed media explorations : blending paper, fabric, and embellishment to create inspired designs across several chapters.  So they highlights are inspiring, but they won’t provide a lot of details

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: How To's, Informational Book, Kira, NonFiction · Tags:

Block printing : basic techniques for linoleum and wood by Allison, Sandy, read by Kira, on 03/10/2012

Block printingSomehow the examples were kinda’ dark, not very appealing to me.  It did show you how to carve on Linoleum and wood, instead of just speedball rubber.  It also gave very detailed instructions on transfering using graphite paper, but I didn’t see anything on using fingernail polish remover, like I’ve done in the past (nasty-smelling, but easier than the graphite paper work).


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.

More interesting ideas – a lot of metal, so I don’t have the tools.  The stuff isn’t overly beautiful, or maybe it’d be more appealing to me.  Nothing that’s going to inspire me bring out the sewing machine and get flying.  But if you like unique looking stuff, made from everyday material, you ought to check it out!

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

Microcrafts : tiny treasures to make and share by Margaret McGuire, read by Kira, on 02/03/2012

MicrocraftsLot a neat ideas – though some are a bit sporky and not in my style.  But those owls, just looking at them, I want to run off and make them – don’t they look easy?  yeahh, as soon as I start to sew.

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

Attic dolls : the creation and design of artist's dolls by Linda Carroll, read by Kira, on 03/01/2012

art dolls An Art Doll book, in our library that I hadn’t seen yet!  I must be slipping.  That said, though the book was interesting – cool pics – it didn’t really give very detailed instructions, Not a step by step how to do it (except make sure your fabric is authentic).  It did give me some ideas however, and maybe someday I’ll break through that barrier and start sewing, by George (or I guess by Soaring Eagle).

18. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Informational Book, Melody, NonFiction

Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century by Dick and James Strawbridge, read by Melody, on 02/17/2012

Caveat, I am not the intended audience for this book.  I really was just looking for gardening tips and maybe some canning how-to.  I found that and more.  Some useful, selecting fruits to grow or making preserves and cheeses.  Some way beyond my ken, constructing a house out of straw bales or creating a waste water system out of sand and reeds.  Some horrifying, composting toilets and castrating livestock.  While I would like to be less wasteful and become more self-reliant, I enjoy be connected to the grid and love, love, love clean and safe water.  And toilets that do not require me to carry them out to the garden.  Definitely no toting my own waste.

03. February 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: How To's, Melody, NonFiction

Better Homes and Gardens Easy and Quick Curb Appeal by Better Homes and Gardens, read by Melody, on 01/17/2012

Quick and Easy Curb Appeal was a passable book.  Full of glossy pictures and breezy text but easy of course is a relative term.   Some project were quick and easy, making flower beds or painting the front door, but some like paving a patio or putting up a pergola were not in my skill set.  I took something of the buffet approach;” I could do that”, “no way”, “maybe steps 1 and 2″,” who are they kidding?”.

27. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Courtney, Graphic Book, How To's, Memoirs, NonFiction

Picture This by Lynda Barry, read by Courtney, on 01/26/2012

I had a good feeling about this one. You see, I loved Lynda Barry’s earlier work, “What It Is”, the ground-breaking, mold-shattering, genre-defying and above all, inspiring, book about creative writing. I had a sneaking suspicion that she might have adapted the same format with visual art in mind. And I was right. “Picture This” does for art what “What It Is” did for creative writing. They encourage letting go of preconceived notions of “good” and “bad” and promote experimentation. The format is highly unusual, combining full page works of art, comics and activities to get the mind operating in new and different ways. Barry never makes the reader feel as though they can’t do something; in fact, that is one of the best elements of her work. Her exercises do not intimidate. They are not pretentious. They make you realize you had the artistic streak in you all along; you just thought you were somehow doing it wrong and therefore had no talent. Barry wants you to know that you’ve had it in you all along. If readers of this book don’t feel like grabbing a paintbrush (or their art-related weapon of choice)upon finishing this book, said readers may not be human.

25. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Fiction, How To's, Tracy

52 Loaves by William Alexander, read by Tracy, on 01/24/2012

52 LoavesI can think of a lot worse things to be obsessed with than baking the perfect loaf of bread. William Alexander spent a year baking, growing wheat, touring yeast factories and flour mills and finally training a monk to bake  peasant bread. I can relate to some of his frustration having baked a few duds myself.  An enjoyable read for anyone who loves bread, baking and eating. He tries to answer the question “What is it about bread?”


I had high hopes for this book and unfortunately it didn’t pan out. I thought it was too broken up; I really didn’t like how separated everything was in the book. I was also hoping for more information on what to plant and when and this one doesn’t really give you information on plants like I wanted it to. It also doesn’t have illustrations or photos to show you the different plants. Definitely could have been better.

19. January 2012 · Comments Off · Categories: Angie, How To's, NonFiction · Tags:

The Kitchen Garden by Alan Buckingham, read by Angie, on 01/02/2012

This is a really good guide on how to plant your kitchen garden. I liked the month-by-month steps on what you should do and the illustrations/photos were excellent. I liked the information on different crops and when you should plant what. I thought that was really helpful. I do wish there was more information on actually setting up a garden, but the book assumes you have a working garden space already. Overall, a very good reference book for gardeners.