Tag Archives: crafts

Book Review: Dogs in Origami – 20 New Designs

Dogs in Origami

By: Nick Robinson

As I review Robinson’s Dogs in Origami, my beloved mixed breed sits by my side. I am sure many of you have or have had a dog that has touched your heart and possibly taken over your home with tennis balls, squeakless toys and unmatched faithfulness and love. This new book of origami is for you.

There are 20 projects complete with instructions and diagrams to assist novice and seasoned origami folders. As in Robinson’s previous books, the first few pages gives the reader tips and instruction on folding, choosing the correct paper and various techniques that are used in the book.

The projects are cute, but most of them do not especially say “dog” when I look at the pictures. Some of them could be any four legged creature – I felt the busy patterns on the origami paper detracted from the finished product. A couple of them are super “doggish”. My favorites are Woof! Woof! Puppy, Bodo’s Dog and Nodding Dog. The funniest one, and by far my favorite is Perro Liberando. This cute little pup is in action, doing what dogs frequently do – pooping. Yup, poop is funny in any medium, origami is no exception.

This is not a book for younger children due to the detail of these designs. They may be difficult for a younger child, especially one that has never done origami before. That being said, adults and teens should have no trouble following the explicit directions given by Mr. Robinson as well as the other contributors to Dogs in Origami. The Biography section at the end of the book highlights each designer that contributed to the book, so be sure to see which of the contributors is your favorite.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Bookies Bookmarks to Crochet – Giveaway from Dover Publications!

5.19.19 lily

Elmer Unicorn

Bookies

Bookmarks to Crochet

By: Jonas Matthies

Throw away those sales receipts, pieces of string or whatever else you are using for bookmarks and replace them with Bookies, cute little bug eyed creatures.  Bookies take only a few hours to make. Each one has a personality that you can create out of inexpensive, washable cotton yarn. Some are crazy, some are funny and all of them are cute. With stuffed heads and flat bodies they look adorable hanging out in your book all the while holding your place.

The directions are written and several pictures are included to assist you. I am a visual learner, so it helps me to see what the finished head, legs, or other body part of the Bookie should look like when it is completed.

There are a total of seventeen Bookie patterns rated from level 1 to level 3. I completed the Elmer the Unicorn as well as Gloria Giraffe for the kids next door. Both are level 2 projects. I let each of the children pick the Bookie they wanted and both of them, as well as me, are happy with the completed project.

5.19.19 giraffe

The basic stitches are given for the crafter, but because of the construction, changes in color and small details, I would recommend these patterns for an experienced knitter. I have made that comment before, and will again tell you that if you are a novice knitter and want to create a bunch of Bookies, don’t let me rain on your parade. Go for it!

Matthies has an intro section in the beginning of the book telling the reader about his interesting journey as a person and a crocheter. Be sure to read it before you dive into creating your own Bookies.

Dover Publications has graciously agreed to mail a copy to one lucky person. To be entered into the random drawing, just like this post, leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook or other social media with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know how you have shared this post by leaving a comment so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

 

 

 

 

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Book Review: The Making of a Milliner – Hats off to a Great Book

The Making of a Milliner

Hat-Making Projects

By: Jenny Pfanenstiel

The Making of a Milliner is a book that gives detailed instructions to make beautiful hats, but it is so much more. It begins with explaining exactly what a Milliner is and the history behind the art of creating hats. Originating in the sixteenth century and hailing from Milan, Italy the English called the hat merchants Milaner – which evolved to “milliner” as it still is today.

Not so many years ago, women of all ages and socioeconomic levels would have never left the house without a hat. Then hats slipped to holidays and special occasions. Now, unless you are attending a formal even, are a member of the British Royalty or going to the Kentucky Derby, you most likely don’t even think about wearing a hat. But a quote from a woman on the very first page resonated with me, because my very active eighty-something aunt always says people no longer see her anymore. Ms. Pfanenstiel shares Julie’s quote, “ …That hat was like magic.” and “…at least 20 men and women tell me they loved my hat.” Maybe it is time for women of all ages to embrace hats again.

A Milliner’s world is full of skill, color and beauty. Full color photos beautifully pull the reader into the past then on to the present. The art and skills involve wool, hat blocks, feathers, beads and almost any other kind of adornment you can imagine. I am fascinated with the different types of hat blocks that are shown and the uses for each are detailed. I love the Puzzle Block. It would look so cool on a bookshelf and would surely become a conversation starter with or without a hat on it.

The materials a Milliner uses are pictured with paragraphs next to them detailing the use, availability and pros and cons of each. For example, horse hair, also known as crinoline, cannot be blocked, but can be used to create effects, can be frayed, or used on a brim or as a veil. I love learning new and unexpected facts. I would have never guessed the old crinoline slip of my mother’s was made of horse hair!

The instructions to make your own hats are accompanied by a list of materials and where to purchase them, as well as detailed instructions of the techniques. As in the previous sections, the color photographs help show exactly what the instructions outline.

Another thing that pulls me into the story of hat making is the fun facts that are listed along with each hat. Did you know Coco Chanel created the first cloche hat? Or that the term “mad as a hatter” relates to the effects of the exposure to mercury vapors milliners experienced while working with the wet wool?

I loved reading the history and art of Millinery. While I don’t think I am up to making a hat of my own, I am going to pay more attention to hats in the future, and cannot wait to pick one out for a special occasion. If you are wondering why someone would even consider wearing a hat, muh less making a hat in these casual times we live in, read this book. Hats are elegant, charming and reflect the wearer’s taste and personality. Even though I am more likely to smack a baseball cap on my head, I love trying on posh hats and have been known to purchase a few to keep the hot summer sun off of my face. Think of Julie’s quote – she felt beautiful wearing her hat and you should too.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: An Introduction to Hand Lettering – Crafter’s Essential Guide

An Introduction to Hand Lettering with Decorative Elements

By: Annika Sauerborn

Have you ever looked at a hand lettered card, decorative sign or wall plaque and thought you would love to be able to do something like that? Ms. Sauerborn has written the book that will give you the instructions and the inspiration to master hand lettering with a little practice.

An Introduction to Hand Lettering is divided into several helpful sections. Most importantly is the Materials section. You have to use the correct tools to eliminate frustration and elevate success. You probably have most, if not all of the materials needed to begin. Pens, pencils, rulers, and sketching paper are a few examples.

Following the layout of the book, you will start with borders, frames and lines, and then work your way up to images as well as various alphabets. If you feel unsure about drawing freehand, be sure to have some tracing paper on hand to practice.

There are countless uses for Ms. Sauerborn’s Decorative Elements. Handmade birthday and holiday cards will wow your friends and cost a fraction of the price you would pay for a greeting card these days. The section entitled “Seasonal Illustrations and Occasions” is my favorite. Making your own gift tags for Christmas is cost effective and will add a sweet personal touch to every gift this holiday season. Making personalized signs for the holidays is also fun. You could hang one at the front door to greet visitors. They just might want you to make one for them!

This book is designed for teens and adults because younger children would most likely become frustrated if they tried this on their own. I say this because there are no set designs, but you are given all of the elements to create hand lettered items that are only limited by your imagination. Even if you aren’t a “crafty” person, you can trace the images and letters to create whatever you envision. If you are artistic, you will be delighted by the inspiration and ideas you find inside these pages.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

 

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Book Review: Cats in Origami – Cute and Clever

Cats in Origami

By: Nick Robinson

In the intro to Cats in Origami, the author explains that he chose cats for this book because he wanted to capture that fluid motion of these beautiful creatures. He states that in the origami world, “…cats are rather rare and were usually flat, quite lifeless designs.” His designs are full of life and motion, bringing the featured felines to life.

With full color pictures as well as the obligatory pages if instructions, you will be able to create 20 amazing projects. If you are a novice, I suggest you grab some practice paper after reading the type of paper you need to be successful and then turn to the pages detailing folds and techniques. There are only four pages of these and just like any other new craft or art, it is probably best to practice to ensure success.

All of the designs are cute and much to my delight some of them can be very useful. For example, the Cat Envelope design paired with the Cat Card will be perfect for your cat loving friend’s birthday card. There are two different cat boxes, Cat in a Box and Cat Box. I can picture both of them done with holiday paper holding a tiny treasure for someone special.

My favorite design is the Neko Bookmark. In Japanese, “Neko” means cat. These adorable bookmarks will help you save the place while reading and can easily be slipped in a cookbook or diary to hold your place. If you are giving a book as a gift, make it more personal by creating a Neko Bookmark to accompany it.

While many origami books are for all ages, the detail of most of these designs may be difficult for a younger child. That being said, adults and teens should have no trouble following the explicit directions given by Mr. Robinson as well as the other contributors to Cats in Origami. Be sure to check out the Credits and Biographies sections to see which designer created your favorite cats as well as their history in origami.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: A Year of Stone Painting: Mindful Thoughts & Beautiful Designs

A Year of Stone Painting

52 Mandala Designs to Inspire Your Spirit

By: F. Sehnaz Bac

A Year of Stone Painting takes us thoughtfully and mindfully through an entire year of meditative creativity. In ancient Sanskrit Mandala means “circle” or “completion”. Mandala represents the universe, and per the author, “In Buddhist tradition, the act of creating a mandala represents transformation of the universe….”. And he goes further to say that mandala design begins with a point in the middle, then develops with different shapes such as rectangles, squares and most commonly circles “…and the beginning of a journey toward knowledge and wisdom….” .

The author gives the reader guidelines as to the type of stones you need, how to prepare them and the other tools and materials that are required. Techniques are outlined to ensure your success. You can choose how you want to draw the designs on your stones, either freehand, freehand with concentric circles or freehand with a grid of concentric circles and lines in case you want to be absolutely sure your design is balanced. There is a page with illustrations of shapes and motifs that are used in the designs in the book so that you can practice drawing them on paper instead of straight on the stones if you choose to do so.

Each week for a year is represented with a different design and mindful thoughts to accompany your painting. For example, week 5 is the Peace Wreath Mandala. We are told that “Each one has to find his peace from within” and this particular design symbolizes every step we take to reach that peace.

Week 32 is entitled Feel. It reminds us of the times we feel good and the times we feel bad. Unlike most of the others, it is only red, white and black. The weekly designs are inspirational and beautiful. I can imagine restful hours of painting that will enable you to slip into mindful thoughts. Too often we are bombarded with noise, the hustle and bustle of everyday life and electronic devices. Maybe a little inspiration and creativity will help renew and rejuvenate your spirit.

If you don’t want to search out stones, consider using paper instead. You could easily create all of these designs on small or large pieces of paper. If you choose to use paper, you might want to use pens or pencils instead of paints. However you approach these beautifully inspirational designs I am sure you will enjoy the peace and serenity you will experience while creating them.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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Book Review: Beautiful Press-Out Butterflies – Taking Paper Airplanes to a New Level

Beautiful Press-Out Flying Butterflies

By: Richard Merrill

Beautiful Press-out Flying Butterflies takes paper airplanes to a whole new level. By following the simple instructions on the first page, you and your child can create a squadron of brightly colored, detailed butterflies. Each of them has information as to where in the world that particular butterfly lives as well as interesting facts.

Not all butterflies eat the same nectar. For example, the Julia butterfly can be found from Brazil to Texas and Florida but in the summer migrates to Nebraska. It usually eats nectar from the Lantana flowers, but also alights on caiman’s heads (relatives of crocodiles) irritates the caiman’s eyes with their proboscis then drinks the tears. That is one brave butterfly!

Each page will teach your child about butterflies. Then with a few simple folds and a coin (to help balance your butterfly when it soars, your child will spend countless hours flying them indoors and outside.

Merrill dedicates his book to his late grandfather, Dr. A. I. Good, who was an avid lepidopterist (butterfly expert). Thanks to Dr. Good’s inspiration, we can all learn about and enjoy butterflies with this enchanting book.

DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy from Dover Publications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Copyright © 2019 Laura Hartman

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