Book Review: Paper Jewelry

Blogged under Good Books, Jewelry Designing by Tammy on Saturday 29 August 2015 at 1:54 pm

Here is my latest video book review for Paper Jewelry: 55 Projects for Reusing Paper.

Video Book Review: Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet

Blogged under Crafty Videos, Good Books by Tammy on Monday 24 August 2015 at 7:15 am

I discuss the book Super Cute Crochet for Little Feet: 30 Stylish Shoes, Booties, and Sandals to Crochet for Babies in this video book review.

Coloring Dream Mandalas

Blogged under Good Books, paper arts by Tammy on Sunday 23 August 2015 at 12:03 pm

Coloring Dream Mandalas: 30 Hand-drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation is published by Ulysses Press and retails for $10 in the US and $11.95 in Canada. The author is Wendy Piersall. I hesitate to refer to her as just an author because, obviously, she is a very talented artist as well.

I was not really surprised to receive this book as a review copy from the publisher because coloring books for adults is a super popular trend right now, especially among those who enjoy creating and crafting. It is suppose to help relieve stress, and of course, creative people are drawn to colors so it’s a good fit.

This is her third book of mandalas created with the idea that the read/user is able to color inside the book. The designs are all fairly intricate, and many of them also include inspirational saying such as “Follow Your Dreams They Know the Way.” Images she has drawn in the mandalas include dragons, fairies, castles, lots of wonderful fantasy-themed elements.

Wendy is making this a collaborative and interactive book by inviting readers to share their finished colorings on her Facebook page:

And you can also share images through Instagram by tagging them with #wendypiersall or #coloringdreammandalas .

This is a super fun book, and I’m thinking that this and a box of colored pencils might be a wonderful gift for a few people on my holiday gift list.

Video Book Review: Sock Yarn Studio

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Saturday 15 August 2015 at 1:18 pm

In this video, I review a book published by Lark entitled Sock Yarn Studio: Hats, Garments, and Other Projects Designed for Sock Yarn.

Crafting Memories!

Blogged under Good Books, My Crafty News, writing by Tammy on Monday 3 August 2015 at 8:16 am

Woot! I have been mentioning this through all my social media outlets and through my video podcast, but just in case you missed it, my new novel is out and available through Kindle download on Amazon. It is called Crafting Memories, and below is a brief description:

Tess Dudley Forrester finds herself forty, unemployed, and wondering: Had it been a mistake for her to leave her secure job as a craft book editor so many years ago to pursue a career as a teacher? How long will her husband’s good nature last as she navigates depression and tries to reconfigure her career goals? While Tess tries to understand the fickle nature of fate, along the way she discovers a distant family relative’s journal and letters that open up a tragic chapter from her ancestors’ lives, a mother/daughter suicide. At first, this discovery is just a distraction from her own troubles, but eventually, as she digs into her family’s past, she also takes a journey of self-discovery. Along the way, she reconnects with her knitting and crochet friends, is tempted by a man who may be the answer to her future in more ways than one, and remembers how much she enjoys the art of crafting, both with her hands and her words.

You can read the preface and first chapter for free if you go over to the listing (here) on Amazon and click on the “Look Inside” option.

Video: Knit Notes Book Review

Blogged under Crafty Products, Good Books by Tammy on Friday 10 July 2015 at 8:29 am

In this brief video (a little over 8 minutes), I show and tell you about an interesting book called Knit Notes that is more than just a book. It’s a crafting design tool.

Book Review: 60 Quick Baby Knits

Blogged under Good Books, amigurumi by Tammy on Wednesday 1 July 2015 at 10:06 am

60 Quick Baby Knits: Blankets, Booties, Sweaters & More in Cascade 220™ Superwash (60 Quick Knits Collection) is published by Sixth and Spring books and retails for $17.95 in the US and $21.95 in Canada. All of the projects are knit using Cascade’s 220 Superwash yarn, and the 60 projects were designed by a variety of professional knitters/designers. A few names that may look familiar include Jeannie Chi, Lee Grant, Tanis Gray, and Veronica Manno.

Of course, with 60 patterns that means you get a really big selection, and I have to admit a fondness for making baby items. They are smaller so usually quicker than adult patterns. Now as far as being really “quick” as the title suggestions, I think that may be kind of subjective depending on your skill level. All of the pattern are designated beginner, easy, intermediate, or experienced. The majority of projects are categorized as intermediate, so if you are a beginner knitter, that means these may not be that quick for you.

So for intermediate to experienced level knitters, these would probably be pretty fast to make. The photographs are also a good point of this book. There are lots of them, which means you can get a good visual idea of what the finished item will look like. For me, that’s a big plus.

If you have the skill level needed and want a good selection of patterns to pick from for your baby knits, then definitely consider taking a look at 60 Quick Baby Knits. For those with less experience, one nice point of this book is that you can have projects that will expand your skill level but are not a huge commitment since they are so small.

Book Review: The Funeral Dress

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Monday 15 June 2015 at 1:57 pm

The Funeral Dress: A Novel is written by Susan Gregg Gilmore and published by Random House. (You can read an excerpt of it on the publisher’s site here.) It is about 350 or so pages and runs $16.00 in the US and $18.00 in Canada for the paperback version.

This book somehow became my summer 2015 “read,” and I’m not exactly sure how that happened. I think I started reading it even last summer, and since then, it has been one of those books that I pick up and put down. I get hooked for a little while but not enough for me to just finish it already. It has been hard to determine why this is the case because the story is actually pretty good, and the historical connection to a clothing factory in 1970 Tennessee is a solid and interesting setting.

So why did it take me so long to finish this book? I have been wondering about this, and other than the fact that I am a very slow reader and really struggle with just reading for pleasure (probably due to so many years having to read and synthesis what I’ve read for a grade and/or for a research paper), the biggest hurdle for me on this book was the switching of point of view. This is a trend I’ve seen gain popularity over the years, and sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn’t, at least for me. I want the story to move forward, and when I’m forced to move back and forth and hop from one character’s mind to another’s, I get impatient after awhile.

I found that once I sat down and relaxed into the joy of just reading for no other purpose than falling into another world for a few hours, I finally got through the book and enjoyed it. However, I can’t help wonder if we were in just one person’s head (for example, Emmalee’s who I think is the protagonist) would I have finished this much sooner. It is a good story. I just felt like it moved slower than necessary.

(A review copy was provided by the publisher.)

Book Review: Knitting Beaded Purses

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Monday 15 June 2015 at 1:36 pm

Knitting Beaded Purses: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Own (Schiffer Books) is written by Nancy Seven VanDerPuy and retails for $16.95 in the US. It is a 64 page paperback with color photographs showing “how-to” elements as well as colored graphs for the patterns used to make seven beaded purses.

The beginning of the book includes some brief history about beaded knit purses and basically what it requires. This includes a discussion of materials, and this moves into a fairly good size techniques section. In the techniques chapter of the book, basic knitting stitches as well as casting on and off are covered, and this is where the full-color photographs are included. This is followed by more discussion of how to actually include the beads with the stitches and how to assemble the knitted purse once its parts are constructed.

The projects section starts with a basic explanation of how a beaded purse is made, and then each pattern that follows is really the same as far as how to make all the sections and put them together with the difference being the pattern such as a rose, beach scene, or graphic design. So once you get the concept of the basic bag, you then need to follow the graph pattern to form the different types of purse patterns. Sprinkled throughout color photographs of similar purses already finished.

The last part of the book show how to finish the bags. This includes lining if you want to do that, and then there is a gallery section showing of more beautiful knitted beaded purses.

The projects are obviously beautiful but also not for the immediate gratification type of crafter. While the instructors are thorough and there are plenty of illustrations to help guide you through the projects, just be prepared that each of the projects is fairly involved. While there are basics about knitting included, I would be surprised if a total beginner could take on any of these. However, for more experienced knitters who love the look of these cute purses, this looks like a good go-to book to get started.

To get a chance to win a copy of this book, head over to my Ravelry discussion group, and look for the June FOs thread.
(A review copy was furnished by the publisher.)

Book Review: 50 Garter Stitch Gifts to Knit

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Monday 25 May 2015 at 12:58 pm

50 Garter Stitch Gifts to Knit: The Ultimate Easy-to-Knit Collection Featuring Universal Yarn Deluxe Worsted is a collection of projects assembled by the editors of Sixth and Spring that showcase the yarns from the Universal Yarn company. This book sells in the US for $19.95 and in Canada for $22.95, and it is 144 pages in length.

Each of the fifty projects in this book has two to three color photographs, including one of the entire finished project plus one or two close-up or sectional type photographs to enable you to see the stitches more closely or to see specific details of a project. The skill level of each project is indicated by a key with either 1, 2, 3, or 4 rectangular shapes filled out indicating beginner, easy, intermediate, and experienced. I did not see any for beginners. Most are either easy or intermediate level projects.

The variety of projects seems to include just about everything from baby sweaters to accessories to home decor items. With fifty projects and the price point being around $20, that works out pretty well on a per project cost basis, and I think most items would appeal to the intermediate to advanced knitter. The back of the book includes brief instructions on knitting basics, but this is really a project-based book designed for someone who has taken a step beyond knitting basics. In other words, I would not recommend someone try to learn to know with this book and no other resources.

I was surprised to see color work and even a doll project in here. Garter stitch seems so limiting, but clearly that does not have to be the case. One item to keep in mind is that since these are geared toward garter stitch, most of the finished projects are on the thicker side, heavy shawls and hats. I saw plenty of projects here that would be good for gift giving but also for making and keeping.

(I received a review copy of this book from the publisher.)

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