Archive for the ‘book review’ Category

I borrowed this book from my local library, (it appears to be out of print, but there are used copies available on Amazon).  This book is targeted to children and it is simply written and has interesting pictures and fun facts about plants to entertain and educate.

My children, especially my son, are really interested in plants and seeds.   Most of the plants in this book are common, except for the wheat berries, I have nooooo idea where one would buy those, maybe a health food store?  I liked that how the plants sprout and grow was explained and is was made clear that most of the plants would not bear fruit indoors and what could and could not be eaten.

We have started our first project from the book, an avocado tree!avacado 1The seeds have to be dried overnight and peeled.  Peeling was hard, I found that the pointy bit of my pot scrapper worked great for removing the outer skin with out damaging the inner seed. avacado 2 The seed is then skewered and the bottom is immersed in water.  Now for a few weeks in the dark and we’ll see what happens.  I was hoping to start three seed, but one of them was damaged and broke in half when it was time to be skewered.

I am excited to see if anything will grow and if it doesn’t I’ll just be forced to make more guacamole to get some more seeds, wouldn’t that be terrible!

pineapple 1Guess what we’ll be planting next =D.

I did enjoy this book and it was a quick read, I would buy it if I found it on a yard sale or in a thrift store, but I am not inclined to purchase it for $10.00 online.  So thumps up, but don’t buy, borrow.  I’ll let you guys know how the avocados turn out.

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Halloween is my favorite holiday and so there is a lot of Halloween crafting at my house. I have quite a large collection of Halloween books and magazines, a few years ago I purchased this book, Halloween: A Grown-Up’s Guide to Creative Costumes, Devilish Decor & Fabulous Festivities by Joanne O’Sullivan.There are a lot of really great projects in this book, but my favorite was the instant cemeteries. I loved it the moment I saw it, but the instructions said to find clip art on the internet or in books and I just could not find anything I liked, so I decided to draw my own.

Here’s the cemetery I sent irasema for the Halloween ’07 swap (BTW thank you for taking such an awesome picture irasema!!!) These drawings were inspired by cemeteries that I’ve been to and pictures that I’ve seen. This is a set of eleven. I’ve decide to add a few more tombstones to the collection this year and so I have been looking at pictures online and from my collection.

Here are two that I completed last night, I still need to modify the sizes, but I think they will go well with the rest of the tombstones. Once I get all the drawing finished I mount them and put fold able stands on the backs and then I customize a recycle tin to store them in.

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I was really excited to get this book, I have seen some fabulous resin jewelry lately and was interested in the learning basics. There are not a lot of current resin books out there and the reviews of this one were promising. This book is very informative about safety, the different types of resin that are available, and finishing techniques. I also liked how the projects in the book list specific resins and provide the names of suppliers for the findings. There is also a chapter about ready made molds, the author, Sherri Haab also has a website where her molds are available for sale.

I was especially interested in the chapter about making your own molds that talks about several different mold making products. I have seen the commercial molds in stores and it seem like everyone is using the same ones. There are ample pictures with all the projects(I am so visual!) and I like how she recycles food containers the make the molds.
While I may not love every project in this book, it is a good starting point for resin use and I think that it has given me enough confidence to give it a try.
Projects of interest, retro stretch bracelet(page 63), making your own molds for casting(pages 78-105, the whole chapter), and techno polymer clay bezels(pages 113-115).
I recommend this book for anyone interested in starting to work with resin and you can also check out Sherri Haab’s website.

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My husband and I went shopping today and I came home with oodles of new crafty stuff. I am really excited about this book:I love pin-ups and would love to work with them, but since I sell a lot of my work I don’t want to be concerned with copyright infringement. I am hoping that this book will help me to draw my own! I will definitely be talking more about this book in the near future.

I also bought some new tools to try with polymer clay, a clay gun and a push mold. I had so much fun making the filigree pill box that I would like to make more, so hopefully a clay gun will make the process a lot faster. I have also seen art dolls being made with faces of polymer clay, this is the mold I bought:
I like how round they are, they remind me of the moon. I can’t wait to start playing with them.

That is just a sampling of what I bought today, I’ll be showing off more of my new projects soon.

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I bought this book because I am a visual person and every page is filled with images of amulets. This book inspires me to use my sketchbook to explore my own personal amulets, symbols and beliefs.
I like how this book is organized. It is easy to read about and see spefic symbols, materials, and colors. It also illustraits various cultures and beliefs. I enjoyed Ms. Paine’s explainations and found her observations informative. It made me realize that many people have amulets, for example taxi drivers may hang a CD from their rear view mirror to divert the evil eye or even something as mundane as a wedding ring can be an amulet.
I would recommend this book as a reference tool for people interested in amulets and also people interested in cultural studies.

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This book is visually stimulating with a wide variety of art dolls. I really liked that all of the dolls shown have the artists’ vision included with the description.

This book starts with a basic overview of tools, materials, and techniques and also includes a list of what your basic sewing kit should include. Ms. Le Van has created three “blank canvas” doll patterns(clarity, energy, and strength) with basic instructions. The blank dolls are there interpreted by four different doll artists using different styles and techniques. There are also instructions for twelve other original dolls. At the end of the book is a gallery of even more art dolls, patterns, and brief bios of contributors.

Projects of interest – Lois Simbach’s Hearts Desire Wish Doll(pages 108-109), Pamela Hastings Folk Art Dolls(pages 86-87), and the Author’s Strength Doll(pages 60-62). Inspiration – Dolls for sacrifice(page59), dolls for magic(page 71), and dolls for fertility(page 107).

I recommend this book for someone interested on making art dolls. It has enough basic information to get you started, however an experienced doll maker may find it less useful.

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This book is written for the beginner. It covers basics like supplies, layout, blank book selection and customization. Each of the techniques that she speaks about is clearly illustrated in step by step instructions.

My favorite part of this book is all of the journal pages from various artists. I also enjoyed Illogical Illuminations(pages 30-32) and The Pillow book of Sei Shonagon(pages 100-101).

Overall I liked this book, however I recommend that you borrow this one from the library before purchasing.

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This book does exactly what the title says, “spark your creativity.” The tone set by Ms. Simanaitis is engaging and entertaining. I laughed like a school girl when I read this on page 97, “I swear, one of these days I’m going to gather hundreds of my unmounted, unused rubber stamps, stitch them together into a dress, and develop a performance art piece that involves rolling around on a giant ink pad and bouncing on a canvas covered trampoline.”

This book is heavily illustrated with works from over a dozen artists and is beautiful to just fan through the pages. The short(1-3 page) projects are easy to understand and reproduce. Projects on my to do list: Arting and crafting with metal(page 36), magick portable shrine(page 62), mail art to self(pages 42 and 62), and pockets of inspiration(page 86). Favorite article, That voice inside your head(or as I like to call it take a witch out for a latte week).
I would recommend this book to anyone looking for new and creative ideas.
Suzanne Siminaitis publishes ARTitude Zine and can be found on the web here.

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