Book Review: Quick and Easy Stitched Jewelry

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Wednesday 4 May 2016 at 9:57 am

Quick & Easy Stitched Jewelry: 20+ Projects to Make by Cathy Jakicic is published by Kalmback Books (2016) and retails for US $21.99 and CAN $22.99. It is a softcover book with a little over 100 pages to it and lots of color photos as well as some diagrams.

When most jewelry makers think of bead weaving, the idea of very tedious and time-consuming projects often come to mind. Of course, making large-scale bead weaving projects can give you hours of enjoyment as the maker of the jewelry piece; however, for those who want to make jewelry a little faster, it can be a turn off. This is especially true if you want to sell your finished jewelry designs since the time you put into a piece can be difficult, if not impossible, to get paid for when pricing your work. These are all issues that Cathy Jakicic considered while designing jewelry projects for this book. You can scale them up, and she shows you how to do this, but you can also construct a lot of simple to make jewelry items as well. Simple most often means less time when it comes to beadweaving.

Besides the time issue, another solution that the author has provided is the fact that she clearly states in the introduction that she will allow jewelry makers to resell items they construct with her design instructions. This tends to be a hot issue with some people claiming it is okay to do this anyway since they made the piece and others saying that they should get permission from the designer before doing this. Either way you want to look at this dilemma, though, it is always polite to ask (IMHO), and Jakicic tells you up front that she is giving you permission. How cool is that?!

As far as the 20 plus projects go, the idea of “plus” comes because she may show one design but then also spins off variations. For example, on page 74, she shows an Ombre Reef necklace, that is fairly complex and includes lots of branch fringe. However, her tones down spin includes branch fringe earrings and another necklace with less fringe on it.

I often had issues like this when I used to participate in arts and crafts shows. I enjoyed beadweaving but found the time input would not translate well into profits. While I was able to come up with a few seed bead type designs myself back then, they were pretty limiting. The projects in this book really answer that issue of time versus profit, and even if you don’t plan on selling your work, it is nice to spend less time on the “making” of a piece and more then the “wearing” of it.

Note: As with most books and crafting products reviewed on this blog, this book was provided as a review copy by the publisher.

Book Review: How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line

Blogged under Crafty Biz, Good Books by Tammy on Tuesday 19 April 2016 at 6:58 am


How to Create Your Own Jewelry Line: Design – Production – Finance – Marketing & More by Emilie Shaprio is published by Lark with a copyright date of 2016. It’s a hardback 178 text that, as the author explains, is pretty much everything Shaprio knows about the jewelry industry and how jewelry designers can not only create their own line of jewelry but go on to sell it. Obviously, this means there is a lot of information in this book, so it is not a casual read. I found myself hopping around to different parts and using it more of a reference guide. However, those with no jewelry business knowledge could start at the beginning where basics are covered such as taxes and how to set up a jewelry business and move on as each of the many areas required for this are covered in detail.

Because of the title, I thought this book would focus only on creating a jewelry line, so it was a pleasant surprise to see that much more is covered. In fact, the subtitle is “Design/Production/Finance/Marking and More,” and all of these subject areas are included in the book. It can be a little overwhelming, but again, I see this more as a reference book to go to when needed versus a step by step manual. It takes awhile to get to the actual idea of creating a “marketable collection,” which does not show up until page 41.

If this book’s purpose is to describe every single item you need to know for a successful jewelry business, then the only area I felt was a little weak is the part concerning social media. It seems to gloss over this, but there are books written about social media and business, thus this is understandable.

Clearly, Emilie Shapiro has a wealth of information, and in an industry that sometimes can be a little tight with information, it is refreshing to see a successful designer and business person like her step forward and share.

Video: Book Review: Japanese Contemporary Quilts and Quilters

Blogged under Good Books, Sew Simple by Tammy on Saturday 23 January 2016 at 10:21 am




Coloring Ocean Mandalas

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Thursday 17 December 2015 at 12:51 pm

Ulysses Press sent me a review copy of Coloring Ocean Mandalas: 30 Hand-Drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation, a followup to Coloring Dream Mandalas also by the same author, Wendy Piersall. Like the previous publication this also retails for $10 US ($11.95 CAN). Along with her very popular series of adult coloring books, Piersall has also started a YouTube channel where she shows her own processes for coloring, and she invites her fellow coloring enthusiasts to share their colored pages with her through various social media such as Instagram.



This latest book in her series has 30 pages to color, all with beautiful images from the sea like mermaids, whales, and shells. Each coloring page in the book is one sided so that you don’t have to worry about colors bleeding through. Some include inspirational nautical themed sayings as well.

Below is one of her videos where Piersall shows how she likes to color her hand-drawn designs.



Video: Yarn Craft Book Review: 101 Socks

Blogged under Crafty Videos, Good Books, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Sunday 29 November 2015 at 10:13 am


Video: Crochet Edge Book Review

Blogged under Good Books, crochet and knitting by Tammy on Sunday 15 November 2015 at 5:45 am



Video: Book Review: First Knits

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Tuesday 13 October 2015 at 11:53 am

I take a look at First Knits: Simple Projects for Knitters (First Crafts) in this video-based book review.



Book Review: Knitless: 50 No-knit, Stash-Busting YarnProjects

Blogged under Good Books by Tammy on Sunday 27 September 2015 at 1:13 pm


Knitless: 50 No-Knit, Stash-Busting Yarn Projects by Laura McFadden is published by Running Press. The copyright date is October 2015, and the retail price is $18 US or $22.50 CAN. It is a big, chunky paper back packed with 50 project that use yarn but do not require any knitting (or crochet) skills to accomplish.

The projects in the book are divided into 4 areas: For the Home, Wearable Accessories, Yarn Art, and Stationery and Gift Ideas. There is no technique section, as you might see in most craft books, because the techniques used are pretty simple. All the projects are really geared toward very basic yarn manipulation such as wrapping yarn around an object (such as a frame); making pom-poms (which are secured to a chair); braiding yarn (to create a rug); or stitching with yarn (to attach to objects like a lamp shade).

If you’ve been looking for simple projects to use up bits of yarn, want a way to decorate your home or create simple gifts that use yarn, or are in need of easy projects to do with crafters who have limited skills (like children or newbies), then I think there is a lot to offer in this fun book.

Video Book Review: Amigurume

Blogged under Good Books, amigurumi by Tammy on Monday 21 September 2015 at 8:59 am

In this video book review, I take a look at the very cool book called AmiguruME: Make Cute Crochet People by Allison Hoffman.



Video Book Review: Bead Crochet Jewelry

Blogged under Good Books, crochet jewelry by Tammy on Wednesday 16 September 2015 at 6:49 pm

I have a new video book review up! This one combines my love of crochet and jewelry making: Bead Crochet Jewelry: Tools, Tips and and 15 Beautiful Projects
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