Showing posts with label how-to. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how-to. Show all posts

Book Review: Cat Lady Embroidery: 380 Ways to Stitch a Cat by Applemints

Cat Lady Embroidery: 380 Ways to Stitch a Cat by Applemints was originally published in Japanese in 2016, this is its first publication in English. Fat, striped, cheshire, or grumpy, this books offers more than 300 embroidery stitch patterns for cat lovers. Each set of patterns offers a range of ideas in different styles, shapes, genres from simple to more complex. Original designs and clear instructions make this book a must have for any embroidery enthusiasts library. 
Cat Lady Embroidery: 380 Ways to Stitch a Cat offers readers exactly what the title suggests. There are cat faces, cat butts, cats sleeping, cats in action, cats sharing their thoughts, cats in floral motifs, holiday cats, and more. The full size templates and stitch guides are precise, although there is room for customization. I think embroidery fans that also happen to love cats, or want to add cats to their skill set, will want to add this to their collection. The use of a grumpy cat look alike made me curious about copyright or trademark rights, and some text did not work as well after being translated. I am not sure that I would recommend this for beginners, but those with a basic grasp of embroidery terms and skills will be happy with the book. 

Book Review: Countertop Gardens: Easily Grow Kitchen Edibles Indoors for Year-Round Enjoyment by Shelley Levis

Countertop Gardens: Easily Grow Kitchen Edibles Indoors for Year-Round Enjoyment by Shelley Levis is for readers that want to grow some of their own food in their kitchen. Whether you have a huge yard in a warm climate or a tiny apartment in a city with harsh winters, you can grow edibles year-round in the comfort and convenience of your own kitchen. The book walks readers through the challenges, benefits, and how-tos of growing inside and presenting the wide array of methods available. In addition to going over the pros and cons of a wide range of ready-made hydroponic, aquaponic, and vertical gardening systems, author Shelley Levis describes how to make your own DIY setups--from simple space-saving container designs to more creative and complex soil-free solutions. 

Countertop Gardens: Easily Grow Kitchen Edibles Indoors for Year-Round Enjoyment is a well organized and comprehensive guide to growing indoors. The book detailed the factors necessary in growing indoors and the variety of needs plants can have. She also offered solutions and tips for the majority of problems that gardeners might face, as well as sharing some of the difficulties that she has faced over the years.  I like that Levis listed several different types of growing mediums and methods, this was not just another book about making sure your indoor plants get enough light and water. Instead she detailed the whys and hows as well as offering commercial and do-it-yourself options for getting a kitchen (or house-wide really) indoor garden going. THe included recipes and index at the end of the book were helpful as well. I already have some visions of rearranging my kitchen and den to make room for some herbs, spinach, and lettuce. Since light is usually what my plants are lacking- and some of the products suggested were already on my wish list- I feel better prepared to make this happen.
 
Countertop Gardens: Easily Grow Kitchen Edibles Indoors for Year-Round Enjoyment is a great resource for growing indoors, and can offer valuable information and inspiration for gardeners that want to move some of their efforts indoors. 

Book Review: Dig In: 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell, Jennifer S. Larson

Dig In: 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps by Kari Cornell, with photography by Jennifer S. Larson, is an instruction book helping gardeners of all ages grow their own fruits and vegetables from nothing but kitchen scraps. Instead of throwing away leftover food in your kitchen, you can use them to grow more. Learn how to turn a single sweet potato into a pot full of them. Grow a salad from the end bit of lettuce and a lemon tree from a single seed. Several of these projects require nothing more than a jar, a windowsill, and a few pieces of food that would otherwise end up in the trash or compost. Step-by-step drawings and photographs make it easy to follow along, and fun recipes will help you enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Dig In: 12 Easy Gardening Projects Using Kitchen Scraps is not just for families looking to be more environmentally friendly or frugal. This book is also great for school or classroom use, and after school activities. Information like soil pH and other things important to the growth and health of plants is included- as are growing zones and the tools and supplies needed. The instructions for growing food include romaine lettuce, celery, leeks, lemongrass, herbs, pineapple, garlic, ginger, sweet potatoes, bell pumpkins, peppers, and lemons. I like that there were recipes to use the freshly grown food, and a full glossary or the words readers might not already know. I found the resources listed at the end of the book to be helpful for interested readers, and information for finding gardening supplies to be a great starting point for children, schools, and families that are getting ready to try some of these projects. I do wish that there were more experiments available, because my only issue with the book was that I wanted a slightly larger selection of food to grow and care for. 

Book Review: Drawing Cute with Katie Cook: 200+ Lessons for Drawing Super Adorable Stuff by Katie Cook

Drawing Cute with Katie Cook: 200+ Lessons for Drawing Super Adorable Stuff by Katie Cook
teaches readers how to draw everything adorable in her first tutorial book. These are quick, easy-to-follow step-by-step lessons with some silliness on the side. All you need is a pencil and paper, or a napkin or a wall depending on how confident you are in your drawing ability. Readers will be shown how to turn curvy blobs, shapes, and squiggles into more than 200 different things. Some subject included are fuzzy animals, cute food, and inanimate objects like yarns balls, luggage and a toaster. Add details like nubbins, floof, and smiley faces to anything and everything to transform it into something really, really cute.

Drawing Cute with Katie Cook: 200+ Lessons for Drawing Super Adorable Stuff is a fun read, even if you are not terribly interested in becoming better at drawing adorable critters and such. Cook includes plenty of cuteness and humor along side the drawing tutorials. I love that she simplifies each of the drawings into things like basic shapes, but often in terms of produce, i.e. eggplant, potatoes, and seeds.  I think this is the perfect instruction book for those that want to draw and doodle adorable things, but do not have a ton of faith in their own artistic skills. The instructions are well written, in a relaxed and fun way, that should set even the most trepidatious sketcher's heart at ease and allow them to have some fun with the process.   As a bonus, fans of puns, fun facts, and Doctor Who will find little references and jokes to make the read even more fun.

Book Review: Summertime Crochet: 30 Tops, Bags, Wraps, Hats, & More for Sunny Days & Balmy Nights by Helgrid van Impelen and Verena Woehlk Appel

Summertime Crochet: 30 Tops, Bags, Wraps, Hats, & More for Sunny Days & Balmy Nights by Helgrid van Impelen and Verena Woehlk Appel is a collection of instructions and patterns that take advantage of today's cotton and linen yarns. These yarns are perfect for lighter apparel like tanks, motif tops, and cute hats.  Breezy articles that can all be crocheted and are just right for warm-weather style.

Summertime Crochet is a well organized collection of patterns with bright, bold photographs that capture the feel, drape, and possible styles for the featured pieces. The instructions are understandable, with notes about skill level and options to adjust sizing. I really like that the notes about yardage often includes matching or related items from the book. I really likes some of the ideas and patterns, like the espadrilles. However, I found some of the patterns to look much like theses easily found on free pattern websites. I also found a few that had me thinking, just because you can does not mean you should- or maybe I am just old- because crochet bikini pieces make me shudder (and they always have).  I do like that the basic instructions for the stitches and terms is included at the end, for some of the beginner crafters than want or need the additional support.

Summertime Crochet is a small collection of patterns for working in cotton and linen yarn. I was not greatly impressed by it, but think that it would be helpful for those that prefer to work in these yarns, and do not want to go looking for the patterns every time they want to make a lightweight hat, shawl, or handbag. 

Book Review: Snuggle and Play Crochet: 40 Amigurumi Patterns for Lovey Security Blankets and Matching Toys by Carolina Guzman Benitez

Snuggle and Play Crochet: 40 Amigurumi Patterns for Lovey Security Blankets and Matching Toys by Carolina Guzman Benitez is a nice collect of crochet projects. Snuggle up with a crochet comforter or play with a colourful character--this unique collection of 40 amigurumi patterns are simple to stitch and super cute! Featuring crochet toy patterns including boy and girl dolls, dogs and cats, bears and bunnies and many more, this amazing collection will give you over 40 different crochet toys to create.

Snuggle and Play Crochet: 40 Amigurumi Patterns for Lovey Security Blankets and Matching Toys is full of cute projects that have me itching to try them, but knowing that amigurumi is just not my thing. I mainly crochet while reading or watching television, so projects that require that much attention and detail are ones I tend to bypass. However, this huge collection just might get me to working making a small menagerie. I know I will be making one or more of the loveys in my near future.  There was a good amount of instruction and explanation for those that need it, and that he patterns and charts were accurate and clearly written. 

While there are many toy and blanket patterns out there, and in my collection to be honest, I liked this particular selection and the sheer number of options that this collection can take crocheters. I thought the zebra, rhino, and bunny were particularly nice, and know that I will be making the cat (possibly the hippo, fox, and frog) lovey in short order. I really loved all the little details included, the clothes and accessories for the toys. I only wish I had this book when my animal loving daughter was younger, and less likely to pay attention to what I am working on. The only thing I did not like about the patterns, is something I can easily customize on my own finished projects- the angle of the eyebrows. I thought all of the animals and people looked very concerned, and I would change that. 

Book Review: The Book Blogger Platform by Barb Drozdowich

The Book Blogger Platform by Barb Drozdowich is a resource for bloggers that want to share their love of books, and their thoughts on the books they read.  Are you a book blogger or do you want to be one? Are you having trouble handling the technical details of blogging? The Book Blogger Platform can be a "user manual" for your blog! A book written by a book blogger for book bloggers and that answers all your questions! 

The Book Blogger Platform covers the basics off book blogging, complete with technical advice and over 25 how-to videos that are included at the end. The book covers everything you could need, including a breakdown of why many bloggers get started, how or where you can host your blog, what you should include in your blog, and the importance of networking with other bloggers (my shortcoming).  The information was clear and well organized, and the technical instructions were concise and understandable to beginners and seasoned veterans. I am glad I read the book because it reminded me that I had some updating and twerking to do, and that I had been seriously slacking in the social aspect of blogging. 


The Book Blogger Platform is a good guide for beginning bloggers. I will say that some of the links are no longer useful, because of blog catalogs or groups having disbanded or changing names, but as a general rule this book would be handy for those starting out, and for reminding those of us that have been at it awhile to keep updating and evolving with technology and our lives. 

Book Review: Doodletopia: Manga: Draw, Design, and Color your own Super-Cute Manga Characters and More by Christopher Hart

Doodletopia: Manga: Draw, Design, and Color your own Super-Cute Manga Characters and More by Christopher Hart is a book that combines instruction, inspiration, and interesting illustrations. The instructions are clear and concise, with activities and ideas that aspiring artists can use to expand their skill and comfort level with a variety of anime and manga style art. There is a great deal of information as well as exercises and challenges. Sections include opportunities for readers to draw a companion for an existing character, create their own emojis, and finish their own scenes. Readers can design manga bookmarks, stationery, and even get started developing their own graphic novels.


I think Doodletopia is a good buy for readers that are looking to expand on their drawing skills, particularly in this style of artwork. I would suggest photocopying a few of the challenges and activities, only so you can complete them more than once and see how you skill and style grows. 

Book Review: The Fantasy Artroom by Arron Pocock

The Fantasy Artroom by Arron Pocock is a book that will help you brush up on your skills and add new tricks and techniques to your repertoire. Sketching, line art, watercolors, mixed media, composition, rendering methods ― The Fantasy Artroom is your all-in-one traveling companion into the world of fantasy art. These step-by-step demonstrations offer easy-to-follow methods for drawing trees and landscapes; forming dwarves, witches, mermaids, centaurs, and other characters; and putting them all together into enchanting compositions. Introduce a new dimension to your drawing, line art, and watercolor images with this richly illustrated guide and its helpful exercises, tips, and suggestions.

The Fantasy Artroom is a nice blend of explaining the whys and hows of fantasy art. Arron Pocock explains their techniques and preferences in the genre. I like the way the process is discussed, including technical skill, intent, and inspiration. I find that all three are important in all art forms, and there is no exception here.  Everything was covered thoroughly and there was plenty of encouragement along with the discussion of skill and practice. I think inspiring artists could benefit from this material.


The Fantasy Artroom was a well organized, beautiful, and instructional book. readers that are interested in expanding their art skill, particularly in dealing with fantasy worlds and creatures, will find much of interest here. 

Early Book Review: Natural Hair Coloring: How to Use Henna and Other Pure Herbal Pigments for Chemical-Free Beauty by Christine Shahin Wood

Natural Hair Coloring: How to Use Henna and Other Pure Herbal Pigments for Chemical-Free Beauty by Christine Shahin Wood is currently scheduled for release on May 17 2016. This book shows readers that they do not need to choose between ditching boxed dyes and dying your hair. Natural hair care expert Christine Shahin shows readers how they can use nontoxic natural plant pigments;henna, indigo, amla, and cassia to color hair naturally.  There are clearly written instructions and step-by-step photography, along with comprehensive information and details about each of the ingredients and processes used in the book. Shahin shows you exactly how to apply these pigments, alone or in combinations, to achieve a full range of shades of brown, black, and red. She also includes instructions for transitioning from chemical dyes to natural ones and for using chemical and natural dyes together.
Natural Hair Coloring is a detailed resource for anyone that really want to give up boxed or salon dyes, or someone that wants to change up their hair color without starting to use them. The information includes details about hair health, the ingredients she uses in her recipes, and how readers can create their own recipes and proportions depending on the results they want and the health of their hair. I think the fact that she includes specifics for every hair type, color, and ethnicity makes this a resource for individuals, library collections, and those that want to help others ditch the chemical treatments. The fact that the ingredients and tools that she uses are fairly easy to get a hold of makes everything even better. Now I have to explore and experiment a bit more on my own hair- I sense several purchases in my near future.


Natural Hair Coloring is a detailed and comprehensive resource for anyone looking to try all natural coloring. It is not for everyone since it is time consuming, but for those interested in making the jump this book would be a great introduction or clarification for any questions or difficulties.  

Early Book Review: Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies by Judith Durant, Edie Eckman

Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies: 101 Projects for Infants & Toddlers is a nonfiction book that is currently scheduled for release on May 3 2016. This book collects one hundred and one patterns that use one skein of yarn or less. Projects include Hats and caps, bootees and socks, mitts, dresses, tops and bottoms as well as blankets, bibs, soft toys, bottle cozies, diaper bags, and more. Most of the patterns are accessible to crocheters of all skill levels, although there are some stitches and patterns that will keep more experienced crafters thinking as they work as well. A nice collection for crocheters that are looking for small projects and cute gifts to make.


Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies is a nicely organized and varied collection of crochet patterns for young recipients. Single skein projects are great for keeping in the car, working on while traveling, or for stash busting. I will admit to using these projects for all three. The patterns are interesting enough for all crocheters, with plenty that can be done by all skill levels. These are all original patterns were contributed by 54 designers from around the world. Each project comes with complete instructions, charts, schematics, and beautiful photographs so that no matter how you like to work (I like following a pattern while the charts only confuse my many times) you can complete a perfect project. Particular favorite patterns of mine from the book are the April Showers Cape, Dad and Me Necktie, and the Kitty Kat Lovey.


I would recommend Crochet One-Skein Wonders® for Babies for crocheters that love crafting for the little ones, and will get much use from these patterns.  

Early Book Review: Outdoor Math: Fun Activities for Every Season by Emma AdBage

Outdoor Math: Fun Activities for Every Season by Emma AdBage is a book that helps parents, teachers, and children to find ways to get outside and do some math at the same time. It is currently scheduled for release on April 1 2016. The book includes twenty-two outdoor activities, organized by season. With these activities, children will learn about numeracy and arithmetic, as well as math concepts such as shapes, time, greater/less than, even and odd numbers, patterns and grids. The activities have simple-to-follow instructions and are accompanied by adorable illustrations that provide clear visual demonstrations. The natural materials required (stones, pinecones, snowballs, worms) are easy to find in many environments. Supplementary spreads introduce the numbers 1 to 10 and further explore addition/subtraction and multiplication/division, with simplified explanations and illustrated examples. There are also science lessons here, regarding the properties of nature and how things change during the four seasons. Many of the activities can be done in pairs or groups, promoting teamwork and cooperation. A list of activities in the back matter indexes the activities and categorizes them by the math skills they develop.

Outdoor Math is full of pictures and detailed instructions and suggestions for engaging children in games that can help solidify math concepts. There are some very simple games and activities for the youngest learners such as working with shapes, there were more advanced activities that included multiplication and division. I think some of the games and pictures seemed a little dated to me, like the guides my teachers and parents had when I was a kid, the ideas are still sound and would be engaging for the right children. I did like that there was a good variety of games to chose from, and some for every season. It is a useful book, one that would be a good resource to have on hand or for checking out of the library and making copies of the activities you are most likely to implement with your own children or the group you work with or care for.


Outdoor Math is a great resource for parents and teachers to have at their disposal. Using these activities they can help teach or reinforce math lesson, all while having the children playing outside and active. A win-win as far as I am concerned. 

Book Review: Baby Crochet Design: Hats and Boots by Graziana Materassi

Baby Crochet Design: Hats and Boots by Graziana Materassi that offers patterns matching caps and booties range in style from cute little animal motifs to fruit and flower-adorned costumes. Sixteen unique crochet patterns feature complete instructions for hats and booties, accompanied by full-color illustrations. A pretty pink piglet, wide-eyed owl, busy bee, sweet strawberry, and a tropical pineapple are but a few of the playful designs. The hat patterns can be adapted to accommodate the heads of older children as well.

Baby Crochet Design is a useful resource for those looking to make a variety of fun hats and matching booties for babies and young children. The owl and fruit hats were very cute, but I have to say that there were new designs that seemed fresh and new to me. They are ll worth making and learning the patterns for, but I did not find them overly special. Unfortunately there were also some minor formatting issues with the digital galley I received, which I havre to assume were fixed before the final version was released. There was nothing lacking or wrong with the patterns, my only problem was that I frequent several craft stores and craft communities and have seen similar patterns over the years.


Baby Crochet Design is a good resource for those looking to make a variety of baby hats and matching booties. I did not find the designs included to be anything new or previously unavailable, but they were cute.

Early Book Review: Naturally Bug-Free by Stephanie L. Tourles

Naturally Bug-Free: 75 Nontoxic Recipes for Repelling Mosquitoes, Ticks, Fleas, Ants, Moths & Other Pesky Insects by Stephanie L. Tourles is currently scheduled for release on February 23 2016. This book is a resource that offers the information you can use to protect yourself, your children, your pets, and your home from bugs without using store bought chemicals. There are 75 simple recipes for safe, effective bug repellents you can make at home from all-natural ingredients. The recipes can offer protection from mosquitos, ticks, and other biting insects. There are also recipes for pets, such as herbal shampoo, bedding formulas, and flea-and-tick collars and powders. The book also includes repellents for the home, such as sachets that repel moths, carpet powders that repel fleas and ants, and essential oil repellents to keep your pantry pest-free. A detailed ingredient dictionary explains the properties of all the herbs, essential oils, and other key ingredients.

Naturally Bug-Free is a wonderful resource for readers that want to explore natural avenues in home and health care. the book goes into great detail about the why and how anyone can go about using all natural recipes. There are concise and informative descriptions about each possible ingredient, tool, and storage container that you might use. There are recipes sprays, balms, body oils, and tinctures, with scents ranging from eucalyptus to floral, lemon, vanilla, and woodsy spice. I like the level of detail and information included, as well as the variety of recipes. While I tend to stick to the most gentle sprays, there is something for everyone willing to take the leap into natural repellents. The inclusion of personal insect repellents, as well as those for pets, homes, and prevention really make this a resource that can be utilized by all skill and interest levels. All of the information included is important, some of it necessary reminders for those that might think themselves already experienced or highly knowledgeable on the subject.


Naturally Bug-Free is a useful and highly informative resource for anyone looking the defend themselves, their family, their pets, or their homes from pests without using harsh chemicals that might cause damage to the environment (or themselves). This would be a great addition to home or library collections. 

Book Review: Modular Crochet: The Revolutionary Method for Creating Custom-Designed Pullovers by Judith Copeland

Modular Crochet: The Revolutionary Method for Creating Custom-Designed Pullovers by Judith Copeland is a reprint of a crochet book from 1978. This book shows basic crachet technigues with plenty of detailed photographs to demonstrate how to crochet clothing using modular crochet techniques. The garments are worked in the same basic shape, which consists of eight modules, or rectangles. Yarn, color, size, and stitches used can turn the basic format into a variety of finished projects.

Modular Crochet is a technique that I have never really used, having taught myself to crochet via internet instructions and a few fantastic books while I was pregnant with my oldest child (who is just shy of 9). The idea is sound, and has been around for awhile, since this is a republication. I have to admit that I am intrigued and might be testing out the method when I finish up my current project. The technique is described well, and the photographs used do a good job of illustrating the technique. However, I will admit that I found the book to be dated, which is not completely unexpected. I think anyone that has the basic crochet stitches mastered, but is still intimidated by patterns and clothing could use this book to help master freeform or improvisational crochet. Not a bad guide, but definitely dated, although I guess we could just call it retro?


Modular Crochet is a well done guide, and would be useful to those wanting to try making clothing without using a prewritten pattern. The diagrams, instructions, and photographs work together to explain everything very well. My only complaint is that the book does not seem to be updated from the 1978 version in this publication.

Early Book Review: The Herbal Goddess Guide: Create Radiant Well-Being Every Day with Herb-Inspired Teas, Potions, Salves, Food, Yoga, and More by Amy Jirsa

The Herbal Goddess Guide: Create Radiant Well-Being Every Day with Herb-Inspired Teas, Potions, Salves, Food, Yoga, and More by Amy Jirsa is a non fiction resource that is currently scheduled for release on April 21 2015. Amy Jirsa offers recipes and ideas for exploring and embracing the distinctive qualities of twelve herbs; chamomile, rose, dandelion, holy basil, nettle, calendula, lavender, turmeric, echinacea, elder, cinnamon, and ginger. Recipes for teas and foods, skin and hair care treatments, complementary yoga poses, meditations, and more are well explained.  

The Herbal Goddess Guide is a great resource for those that are interested in more knowledge about herbs and how to live an all natural and healthier life. The information on each of the herbs, along with the recipes and yoga poses that follow, are well organized and very detailed. these are wonderful photographs that accompany each page. This book really is about bringing the mind, body, and spirit together via herbs and lifestyle. So, if you do not care for that style of help, then this book is definitely not for you. I am not rigorous about this lifestyle, but still found much of the herbal information and recipes for tea, food, and body care to be valuable. i know i will be blending some of these teas, salves, and creams but am not likely to start the meditation and yoga any time soon. I did not find the advice and information preachy, it was very well stated and straight forward, it is just not my cup of tea.

The Herbal Goddess Guide is a wonderful starter book for those looking to use herbs and lead a holistic life. If you are looking for detailed herb information and some fantastic recipes, then this book is still a great resource and it is easy to skim or skip the information that is not as interesting to you.

Book Review: Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects - Easy to Pick Up, Hard to Put Down by Sophie Maletsky

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects - Easy to Pick Up, Hard to Put Down by Sophie Maletsky is an easy-to-follow and understand guide to creating duct tape projects. The book includes photographs alongside directions in order to make creating a wallet and making a bag easy while providing a variety of options for making each project truly your own. The instructions each include icons showing difficulty level, project time, and helpful hints; such as how to keep your scissors clean and what to do with the end pieces.
 
Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects is a solid instructional book. The details and photographs are put together to make everything easy to understand and follow. Some of the creations, like the tablet cover and clutch purse were very cute. Like any craft book, some of the ideas are ones that I have seen before, either on Pinterest of floating around on my Facebook feed, but some were new to me. The layout and little icons and hints made me happy, and I think most people interested in crafting with duct tape will enjoy this book and make use of a good number of the projects.

Sticky Fingers: DIY Duct Tape Projects offers readers some great information, tips, and projects for working with duct tape. Avid makers just might want to add this to their home library, while dabblers and those just curious about what others are doing with this one utilitarian item might want to check it out from their local library. 

Toilet Training Books for Parents Informative Books to Help and Reassure

Toilet training is something all parents both dread and look forward to in our child's development. We look forward to having a diaper free house, but not the battles and set backs that can take place. Here are some books to read to help decide if your toddler is ready, and ideas and techniques that can help you and your child on the path to being completely diaper free.

My first suggestion to read is the Everything Potty Training Book. I picked this book up of the parent shelf at the library, along with some others, and found that it gave the best summary of everything I needed to know. It gave the expected information on how to tell if your child was ready to use the potty, and a great description of several of the most popular techniques for potty training. The overview gives parents the information and confidence necessary to work with their toddler and succeed in getting them using the potty as well as dealing with any setbacks and issues that might arise.


Stress-Free Potty Training is another book that gives the basics of several proven toilet training methods, and information to help you decide which is right for you and your child. Since every child is different, we as parents need to be open to suggestions and advise from the experts. These two books had the most comprehensive and functional information that I have seen.

For the fiercely determined, to get potty training done quickly you might be tempted to aim for Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day, but honestly, it is not really one day. The method includes laying a lot of groundwork in the months prior to potty training day, including things that might otherwise be included in the potty training process. However, the actual potty action does happen in one day. I did not actually try this intense but fun .sounding method, which hinges on an all day potty party with the child being trained, however many of the preparatory training was useful in my home, and the theory of the method does seem sound. There is also Potty Training in Less Than a Day and Potty Train in Three Days.

For a completely different tone, try The No-Cry Potty Training Solution, which focuses on methods that are more relaxed, and child driven. These methods might take longer, but are also less likely to have serious set backs and struggles than the more pressured methods. This book is ideal for people without time lines such as needing to have your child potty trained to continue in day care or go to Pre School. The process is much more relaxed for both you and your child.



For those of us with stubborn boys that know what they need to do, but don't want to stop playing on a regular basis I suggest Potty Training Boys the Easy Way which talks about all the different issues that can arise with potty training boys whether they are starting early or late.

Every child is different, and no one method will work for every child. This holds true for twins and multiples. I suggest reading several books, preferably borrowing them from a library before spending money on any and only buying the ones you find specifically useful. There are many more quality books on toilet training out there, these just happen to be some of the ones that I have read and found helpful in my quest potty train my son. I am sure that one my daughter is ready it will be a completely different experience.

Book Review: Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree by Edie Eckman



Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree  by Edie Eckman is a helpful pattern collect for Christmas crochet projects. The projects include Christmas stockings, ornaments, and more. Beginners and experienced crocheters will get a lot out of the useful technique tutorials and will want to jump right in and start one of these twenty projects. 

Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree is a collection of projects that would be great for decorating you home for the holiday, or for giving away as gifts. Projects include a variety of stockings, ornaments and garland for trees, small tabletop trees, and embellishments for pillows and walls. I found the patterns to be easily understood and includes both the written pattern and a symbol chart. Each is also labeled with the recommended skill level, so crafters can decide what they want to complete. I was also very happy to see a variety pf stick techniques used, some of which add a special texture or look than the more ordinary crafts. 

Christmas Crochet for Hearth, Home & Tree is a well organized book, with very detailed patterns to help even the less experienced crafters successfully complete the projects. This is a solid resource for crocheters looking for holiday craft ideas.

Book Review: How to Knit by Leslie Ann Bestor


How to Knit by Leslie Ann Bestor is a well organized guide for learning how to knit. It has simple, fully illustrated instructions lead you step by step through the basics of knitting. This includes choosing the right needles, choosing yarn, reading a knitting pattern, casting on, executing knit and purl stitches, binding off, and blocking finished projects. Important techniques for increasing, decreasing, and repairing mistakes are also included. Even if you've never held a pair of knitting needles before, this easy-to-follow guide will have you knitting comfortably quickly.

How to Knit is a good basic guide. My mother has always been an avid crafter. She does just about everything to do with yarn or thread. I can do most sewing projects and am an avid crocheter, but had not yet mastered knitting. This guide is easy to understand and well organized. It is a great guide for new knitters as well as those that already know the basics but might need a refresher. I had not gotten much past casting on before reading and following the directions in this book, but now feel comfortable with some basic stitches and patterns.

While crochet will always be my favorite, I feel much more comfortable in the realm of knitting after reading How to Knit. The writing and illustrations are easy to understand, and offer encouragement and instruction without talking down to the readers. This book is a good resource for getting started in knitting.