Tag Archives: gifts

Book Review: Magical Unicorn Christmas Activity Book – Great Gift Idea

Magical Unicorn Christmas Activity Book

Illustrated By: Sam Loman

If you have a youngster in your life obsessed with unicorns, this is the perfect, inexpensive gift. It is not the amount of money spent, it is about the hours of enjoyment he or she will have completing the fun activities on each page.

From word searches to make your own Christmas Cards everyone’s favorite activities are included. There are over 80 pages ranging from coloring a scene in a Christmas ballet to word search puzzles, there is fun on every page.

One of my absolute favorites are Christmas Creations on page 44. This activity has a picture of Candy and Snowy, two unicorns with a brief bio. On the corresponding page, your child can create his or her own unicorn, complete with name and which super power it has. Unleashed creativity is always something to encourage. Other pages also encourage creativity such as making up a song and a secret list of things you want to make for friends and family.

This book is appropriate for children from kindergarten and up. It includes activities that require reading and writing simple words. The Magical Unicorn Christmas Activity Book will entertain and delight the youngster in your life and spark their imagination. You may want to give it to them in early December to enjoy it throughout the season.

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: My First Knitting Book – Great How-To Knitting Instructions

My First Knitting Book

Easy to Follow Instructions and More than 15 Projects

By: Hilegarde Deuzo

My mom taught me how to knit when I was eight years old. But not everyone has someone who can teach them, but still would like to know how to create their own knitted items. My First Knitting Book is the perfect solution.

With colorful illustrations and easy to follow instructions you will soon be casting on (getting the yarn on the needles to start) and knitting your first few rows. The instructions will also teach you how to purl. You will need to practice making each of these stitches. The “Tips” section will show you how to change colors as well as bind off (which is removing your knit item off of the needles properly).

The combinations of knit and purl stitches are used in most patterns. The seed stitch, basket weave stitch and the moss stitch are introduced. They are combinations of the basic knit and purl stitches. It is fun to see the different patterns emerge as you follow the directions for each of these.

Finally you are ready to create something for yourself or loved one. Bracelets, scarves and hat patterns are included. If you want to make something small and quick there are patterns for coin purses and mug cozies. Knit in festive colors, they’d make great gifts for those on your holiday list.

Maybe you know someone who wants to learn to knit. If so, a copy of My First Knitting Book along with some needles (size 4 to 8) and yarn (worsted in a light color – not fuzzy) would be the perfect gift.

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: Cuddly Crochet Critters – Make Your Kids an Adorable Animal

Cuddly Crochet Critters

26 Animal Patterns

By: Megan Kreiner

Kids love stuffed animals of all types and Cuddly Crochet Critters will help you make soft, huggable toys they will cherish. Using basic crochet stitches, which are demonstrated with color pictures along with written instructions, you can bring these cute critters to life.

Be sure to read all of the “how-to” sections. The author gives excellent instructions about the assembly & embroidery stitches, general assembly tips and the materials needed.

Each pattern begins with the yarns and notions needed as well as the finished size of the critter. Following that are the step-by-step crochet instructions. The critters are done in pieces, and then stitched together (thus the importance of reading the how-to sections). You can either use plastic safety eyes (for older children only), satin stitch eyes or crochet eyes. I prefer satin stitch eyes, because you can add expression to the faces with your stitches and there is no choking hazard.

All of the animals are a basic chubby tube shaped. It works out well for most of them. Penny Pig, Danny Dog and Henry Hippo are my absolute favorites. But the shape does not lend itself to some of the animals, making them cute, but not easily identifiable for the animals they represent. For example, Ella Elephant has a tiny trunk with tusks that are the same length. And Maxwell Monkey looks more like a sloth. Don’t get me wrong, they are still cute stuffed animals, but just the wrong shape to create the animals they are supposed to be. The body shape works best for the whale, cow, beaver and other animals with round bodies.

Overall, these cuddly critters are adorable and the kids in your life would love to snuggle with them. Because there are twenty-six patterns, there is something for everyone. You may have to make a barnyard or zoo full because animals have to have friends! They would also be the perfect, easy to make baby shower gift.

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: Make in a Day Crafts For Kids – Fun Projects

Crafts For Kids

By: Cintia Gonzalez-Pell

Kids love crafts. Every kid I’ve encountered, including my own sons and grandsons love to make things out of paper, string, paint, glue…pick any medium and they have probably used it. So I was very excited to see a book of 15 fast and fun projects.

Definitely written with older children in mind, these crafts include Painted Animal Gift Boxes, Colorful Yarn Dreamcatchers and Decorated Wooden Bangles. Each project will require adult supervision as well as a list of supplies.

Younger kids could probably make some of the crafts, but will need more than a little bit of help. I would say the easiest is the Artist Abstract Painted Canvas. For this you will need a small stretched canvas, acrylic paint, removable stickers, painter’s tape and of course brushes, water and something to protect the table you are working on. Your child will begin by painting a colorful abstract background. When it dries, apply the stickers and painter’s tape. Then paint over the entire surface with white acrylic paint. When dry, remove the tape and stickers and your child will have a really cool abstract work of art to hang or their wall or give to a loved one as a gift.

Older children might like to create Fruity Plant Pots. Using paint markers, they can create these one of a kind works of art. If they don’t want to use the designs in the book, they can create whatever makes them happy to keep for themselves or give as gifts. Younger children could create these with a bit of help as well.

If you want to make something for the youngsters in your life, the Painted Animal Gift Boxes are adorable. This craft requires sketching the faces, painting the background, and then adding details like pompoms, felt ears and googly eyes. As previously stated, an older child may be able to create these, but younger kids might be frustrated with the various steps and fine motor skills needed.

Over all, there are some great ideas in Crafts For Kids. Kids and adults will love making gifts and decorations for their homes.

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 & Giveaway! Make in a Day Wedding Crafts

Make in a Day Wedding Crafts

By: Natalie Wright

Weddings these days can cost as much as our first house. I’ll admit that house was purchased in 1977, but wouldn’t you like to spend less money on your decorations and use that savings for your honeymoon? Natalie Wright has created cute, budget friendly wedding crafts to make your special wedding day perfect.

From place cards to centerpieces she has you covered. The complete, detailed instructions for each and every one of the 15 projects are included. Lists of materials, pictures and written instructions of each step as well as beautiful color photos of the finished items are included.

If you don’t have a wedding coming up in your family, look outside the box. This book will give you great ideas for birthday parties and other celebrations. You are only limited by your imagination. For example, the Glitter Sneakers are destined to be a hit with your daughter! Easy to make with four items, this craft would be a huge hit during a sleepover. Just have the girls bring a new pair of white canvas sneakers, you provide the craft glue and glitter and each of them can create something they will all love. As a mom, I would do this craft outside because we all know that glitter seems to magically multiply when used in the house.

My favorite craft in the book is the Wood Lantern. You can make it rustic or chic, depending upon your décor. There are two sizes so they could be used as centerpieces or decorations. Personalized by the stain or paint you choose as well as filling them with candles, fresh flowers or potted plants. They will fit beautifully in your wedding or party. The best thing about them is that they will be used after the festivities on your deck, porch or inside your home to remind you of your special day.

Dover Publications has graciously sent me a giveaway copy of this book. All you have to do is like this post, retweet or share to be in the drawing to win. The winner will be announced on my blog writeknit.wordpress.com March 5, 2019.

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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Whimsical Cross-Stitch – Adorable Designs for All Skill Levels

Whimsical Cross-Stitch

By: Cari Buziah

 If you love to Cross-Stitch or want to learn how it is done, this is the perfect book for you. More than 130 designs are included to tempt you to pick up your needles and start creating. It only takes reading the two pages of simple instructions and a few inexpensive supplies to get started. Even if you have never made anything like this before, you will be whipping out beautiful designs in no time.

The patterns are separated into four different categories:

Animals Real and Fantasy: Honestly who doesn’t love unicorns? Among my favorites in this section are the adorable hedgehog designs.  They are simply charming.

Dashing Designs: Beautiful tradition designs such as Celtic Knots, florals and borders can be found here. There is also an alphabet in this section to personalize any design of your choosing.

Home and Hearth: As you might suspect, this section holds designs that could go in any room in your home to brighten it up. My personal favorite is the Stack of Books. I can just see it hanging on the wall next to my bookcase. Next to my other bookcase (yes, I have several because I am a crazy book lady) I would love to make the other book design in this section. It has books standing up in the center with “Feed The Mind” on top of the books and “Free The Soul” at the bottom of the finished work.

Nature in Bloom: Last but not least this selection of designs includes butterflies and beaches, honeybees and hopping bunnies. Holiday designs are included as well. I love the Christmas snow globe; it would make a charming gift.

To ensure your success, the author has included detailed instructions for each design. The charts are large enough to easily read and follow. There is a color chart with each DMC thread color listed that was used in the for the sample picture which is also included as a color thumbnail picture at the bottom of the page.

It is fun to create art with needle and thread but not always easy. Cari Buziah has given us beautiful designs and simple instructions to ensure success. Both newbies and seasoned cross stitchers will love Whimsical Cross-Stitch.

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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