review: The Flower Book

The Flower Book

The Flower Book: Let the beauty of each bloom speak for itself – natural flower arrangements for your home

Fans of flowers will be delighted with the full color photos in this large book. Step by step instructions are provided for creating professional-looking cut flower arrangements and bouquets. Recommended specific flowers are profiled, including a wealth of information in addition to a huge close-up color photo. These flowers are listed individually and then several are used to create a mixed-flower arrangement. Even as someone who appreciates flowers almost exclusively where they grow in the garden, there is a ton of inspiration here – from which flowers might look good together to the facts about the plants themselves.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Grand Rapids Public Library via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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review: Quilted Celebrations

Quilted Celebrations

Quilted Celebrations: 18 Designs to Capture Life’s Milestones with Needle and Thread by Amanda Murphy

There’s virtually no limit to the number of occasions on which you could gift a quilt. Murphy includes ten designs for new baby, birthdays, religious rites, graduation, wedding, anniversary, and commemorating a life here. She also includes ideas for personalizing the quilt to the specific recipient. These ten projects utilize a variety of quilt blocking techniques, and could easily be adapted to suit another occasion or no occasion at all. Templates are included.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the East Lansing Public Library via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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review: Colour Confident Stitching

Colour Confident Stitching

Colour Confident Stitching: How to create beautiful colour palettes by Karen Barbé

Color is such a big part of so many creative projects. Barbé starts out with a primer on color theory, so even if you haven’t studied art, you’ll have the basics. She then moves into using color in the world as inspiration and how to capture the colors you have seen elsewhere in the materials you’ll use to make. Finally, she offers five projects with instructions so you can make them yourself and see the concepts from the book illustrated. DMC color numbers are listed for the sample palettes included.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Baldwin Public Library via the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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review: Everyday Watercolor

Everyday Watercolor

Everyday Watercolor: Learn to paint watercolor in 30 days by Jenna Rainey

Like a lot of folks, I’ve always admired the beauty of watercolor paintings and I feel like it’s a medium that appears to be more simple than it is – it’s not that it’s hard to use, but it’s hard to use well. This book takes you from color theory and other basics through the essential techniques all the way to complex layering. Each of five sections offers half a dozen daily assignments so you can build your skills and, as you add on to your previous knowledge, build a repertoire of techniques that will allow you to do whatever you want with watercolor. Each assignment includes the amount of time required to complete it, most of which are an hour or less.

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

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review: Color Index XL

Color Index XL

Color Index XL: More than 1,100 new palettes with CMYK and RGB formulas for designers and artists by Jim Krause

If you’re a designer or work with color in some other way, this book may be a handy tool. It is exactly what the subtitle says: it’s a collection of color palettes you can use to create a professional and pleasing look to the things you make. Each page has four versions of a palette – bright, light, dark, and muted – which include a lovely color image accompanied by the CMYK and RGB codes for each color used. The designs which demonstrate each palette are reminiscent of the tangram puzzles you may have enjoyed as a kid and may also be used as inspiration for creators. I can definitely see myself using this book as a tool while designing quilts and knitting designs. In addition to being useful, this book is also fun to flip through as a sort of art piece, if you’re into this sort of thing.

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

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review: A well-crafted home

a well-crafted home

A well-crafted home: inspiration and 60 projects for personalizing your space by Janet Crowther

This book is part of the current trend of making decor that will appear to be used or vintage. For many of them, you might be able to find materials at an estate sale or flea market, but you could also use new materials from Home Despot or your local hardware store. Each project is designated with a skill level and includes a finished size, so it’s easy to see at a glance if a particular project will work for both your ability and the space you have in mind. This aesthetic of this book, with matte color photos filled with tone-on-tone shades of cream, and its projects will appeal to fans of the decor on Fixer Upper. I feel like a few of these might actually be things that they’ve done on that show! The textiles used in the sample projects make you wish you could put your hands on them – you can almost feel the linen used to make a pillowcase and duvet. The book closes with instructions for a few of the techniques used, including several types of dyeing, a few ways of sewing seams, basic woodworking techniques, leather cutting, and distressing a mirror for an antique look. Like most books of this type, you may end up spending more on materials than you would buying a pre-made shabby chic item at a big box store, but the goal Crowther espouses is to enjoy the process as much as the product.

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

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Review: The Keto Reset Diet

The Keto Reset Diet

The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot your metabolism in 21 days and burn fat forever by Mark Sisson with Brad Kearns

This is a diet plan for those who are looking for a way to lose weight and aren’t shy about eating a very specific selection of types of foods. The idea behind this plan might sound familiar – it’s designed around eating high protein and very-low-if-any carbs. You follow this extremely strict plan for three weeks and then gradually ease up on those restrictions. This book includes both general guidelines and detailed meal plans for those 21 days. It also provides charts outlining grams of carbs, fat, and protein and total calories for the ingredients/portions used in the meal plans. All the recipes using those ingredients are also provided, so you can make all the items on the meal plans. I’m not good at restrictive diets myself – I tend to go overboard and then get mad at the world when I’m unsatisfied – and I’m not a medical professional or scientist, but I’ve heard from other folks that it has worked well for them. Your mileage may vary!

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

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review: The Garden in Every Sense and Season

The Garden in Every Sense and Season

The Garden in Every Sense and Season by Tovah Martin, photographs by Kindra Clineff

Gardeners looking for inspiration in the form of color photos will not be disappointed here. Martin focuses on each of the five senses as she moves through the four seasons, picking out favorite plants and parts of the garden (including earth and creatures) for each combination. She tells this story from her own first-person perspective with a cordial, friendly tone, which really draws you through and makes you want to find out what she’ll focus on next. She even finds things to appreciated during an East Coast winter!

full disclosure: reviewed from a NetGalley digital copy

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review: Knitting Ephemera

Knitting Ephemera

Knitting Ephemera: a compendium of articles, useful and otherwise, for the edification and amusement of the handknitter by Carol J. Sulcoski

Knitters will likely recognize Sulcoski’s name from her many books and articles, hand-dyed yarns, and speaking and teaching engagements. This is one of those cute little books that makes a great gift and can be enjoyed by dipping in here and there to read one or more of the short entries. These entries are provided in no stated order and include a biography of the patron saint of knitting (oops! there isn’t one, but a few possibilities are detailed), knitting-related world records, a list of knitting acronyms, definitions of yarn color effects terms, facts about knitwear through the ages, and many more. This would be a lovely book for a coffee table, waiting room, or other spot where someone is likely to pick it up for a few minutes and enjoy the facts they happen upon.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from the Kalamazoo Public Library through the MeLCat interlibrary loan system

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review: Wise Craft Quilts

Wise Craft Quilts

Wise Craft Quilts: A guide to turning beloved fabrics into meaningful patchwork by Blair Stocker

So many people I know have quilts like this – created from shirts and other items that have special meaning. I have not seen many books focused specifically on these, though, so this is nice to see. Stocker offers 21 designs using a variety of types of material, including baby clothes, a wedding dress, table linens, and even bike race numbers (used to create a picnic blanket). Surprisingly, a t-shirt quilt is not among the projects here, but there are tons of instructions for creating those online. Many of these projects could be adapted to use whatever material you want to use – it wouldn’t have to be reuse of something existing, or could be a combination of reuse and purchased fabrics. There are a lot of options here, as well as inspiration for repurposing existing materials.

full disclosure: I borrowed this from my local public library, the Chippewa River District Library System

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