review: Road Food

Road Food

Road Food: An eater’s guide to more than 1,000 of the best local hot spots & hidden gems across America by Jane & Michael Stern (10th edition)

Fans of The Splendid Table will recognize these authors as regular guest experts in finding and reviewing food across the United States. This book divides the country into regions and focuses on a dozen or so eateries in each state in each region. Michigan’s entries include some of the most famous places you’ve already heard of such as Lafayette Coney Island, Northside Grill, and Zingerman’s Deli. Most of the Michigan restaurants are either up north or in Southeast Michigan, with a few exceptions on the west side – disappointingly nothing at all inland between Ann Arbor and Traverse City. Still, it’s a good guide for someone traveling and I have no doubt that the food at all of these places is excellent.

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books

Anchors Aweigh!

Anchors Aweigh Sweater for Blythe

Ahoy! Fashion above deck! This three-quarter length sleeve sweater for Blythe is nautical-inspired but fashionable in any situation. It has a narrow stripe and roll neck and is a classic style. I originally designed this back in 2011 for a swap and recently found my pattern notes and made it again, so here it is!

Heave ho-ver to Ravelry, Etsy, LoveKnitting, and Craftsy to find this pattern.

review: Grow Native

Grow Native

Grow Native: Bringing Natural Beauty to Your Garden by Lynn M. Steiner

I’m already on board for using native plants in the garden – they tend to be lower maintenance, thrive with little attention, sustain habitat for butterflies and birds, and fit into my cottage garden aesthetic. Besides, they belong here, right? This book focuses on identifying plant communities that would have existed in your area before it was developed and recreating them in your gardens. A several page chart offers ‘instead of that, plant this’ suggestions to avoid weedy and invasive flowers, groundcovers, grasses, shrubs, vines, and trees. Throughout the book, color photographs show both individual plants and gardens with a combination of plants, providing lots of inspiration. About half the book is instructive and the other half provides one-page entries for a variety of recommended plants. This is one that I may purchase for myself because it has such a wealth of information and ideas that I know I’ll want to refer back to it.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Fenton Branch of the Genesee District Library through the awesome MeLCat ILL system

review: Quilt Giving

Quilt Giving

Quilt Giving: 19 Simple Quilt Patterns to Make and Give by Deborah Fisher

Many people, myself included, love to make quilts to give as gifts. It’s fun and gratifying to create the quilt in the first place, but sharing it with someone else is gratifying on another level. The nineteen projects outlined here are relatively easy to cut and put together, so the time investment shouldn’t be too daunting. Some quilting basics are provided, including a few piecing techniques used in some of the quilts. Also included is a short section covering things to consider when making a quilt as a gift, such as considering size and shape and selecting materials. Most of the patterns are minimalist and/or modern but designs have been included for a range of audiences – some are clearly aimed at children or parents of infants, for example. I’m usually one to make up my own pattern rather than following someone else’s, but many of these quilts are very appealing, so I might make an exception in this case.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Monroe County Library System through the awesome MeLCat ILL system

review: All the Presidents’ Gardens

All the Presidents' Gardens

All the Presidents’ Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses – How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America by Marta McDowell

This book traces the role gardens have played at the White House from the 1790s to 2015. Color images are included throughout the book: paintings, drawings, plans, and photographs of the grounds, gardens, greenhouses, statues, seed catalog and magazine pages, and more. There is a short section with paragraph biographies of the fourteen men (yes, all men, BOO) who have served as First Gardener and another listing all the plants known to have been planted at the White House. I found it interesting to learn more about which presidents and first ladies were super into the garden being a vital part of the White House Grounds and how this changed over time in light of different political events.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Baldwin Public Library through the MeLCat ILL system

review: Simply Stitched

Simply Stitched

Simply Stitched: Beautiful Embroidery Motifs and Projects with Wool and Cotton by Yumiko Higuchi

The projects in this book combine wool embroidery thread and cotton embroidery floss. Most of the projects I’ve seen use either one or the other exclusively, so this combination allows for a different look than many other embroidery projects. Fourteen projects and sixteen motifs are included here, all inspired by nature, mostly plants and animals. The motifs and finished projects are shown in large color photographs while the project and motif instructions are provided in black and grey illustrations. The floral motifs are pretty but not fussy and have a classic feel. The creature motifs seem simple but perfectly represent their subjects without anthropomorphizing. I especially love the bees (with segmented legs and french knot bodies) and roosters.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Sterling Heights Public Library through the awesome MeLCat ILL system

Batty for Bat Sweaters

Batty Sweater

Last Halloween I participated in a swap and made one of these sweaters for my swap partner. Bats are one of my favorite Halloween icons and I wanted this one to be mostly on the creepy side but maybe just a tad cute as well. This pattern is written and charted, so you can use whichever format you prefer!

Flap over to Ravelry, Etsy, Craftsy, and LoveKnitting to bite this pattern.

review: How to Pack

How to Pack

How to Pack: Travel smart for any trip by Hitha Palepu

As a habitual overpacker, I am always looking for insight on how to do that less. My biggest issue is that I always want a bunch of extra of any given item just in case, so I’m not sure that any plan is going to help me get rid of that impulse. But I’m interested in learning regardless. This cute little book’s cover is designed to resemble an old-fashioned suitcase and is divided into sections addressing pre-packing, choosing clothing, selecting accessories, figuring out what toiletries to bring, how to maximize space in your luggage, and tips for dealing with airports and such. It also includes a number of checklists for various types of travel and destinations. Appealing hand-created illustrations are included throughout.

full disclosure: I received a review copy of this book from Blogging for Books


Hannah Sweater for Blythe

Hannah Abbott is a not-super-well-developed character in the Harry Potter series, but she IS a Hufflepuff and thus seems worthy of inspiring this sweater. This sweater is empire style with a fitted bodice that fits Blythe perfectly. It has a two-color star pattern that is sweet without being overly fussy.

Grab some flue powder and head to LoveKnitting, Ravelry, Etsy, and Craftsy to grab this pattern.