Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;  a few books collectivly. Dover Clip Art CD ROM books.

Dover Publications; Clip Art CDROMs & Books

Dover Publications; Clip Art CDROMs & Books

  • Publisher: Dover Books

My Reason for Buying

I’ve had these books for a while now. I wanted some oriental images for cards and book covers and it was getting very expensive to buy stamps. With the CD ROMs I have the option of resizing the image in a graphics package. Useful if I want to make a batch of similar cards/projects.

I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

These books contain the images that you will find on the CD ROM. When you put the CD into the computer you need to instal the reader for the images, but not the images themselves so it doesn’t take up too much space on your computer. Some of the books contain pre coloured images, others just black and white outlines. Refer to the copyright agreement in the front of the book to check what is and isn’t acceptable use of the images before you start using them.

Pros/Cons

Pros

  • Space saving; To get this many images in rubber stamps would take up an awful lots of space, the discs and books offer you lots of images on each disk and take up next to no space to store.
  • Cost effective; You get a lot of images on each disk, it would be a lot more expensive to buy stamps for each image.

The biggest advantage for me was the option of being able to print multiple images on a single sheet and to be able to resize the images too. You do need to take the jpeg that is on the desk into a graphic packgage or Word document to be able to do this. Straight from the disc you would get a single image on your page in the size the disk gives you.

Cons

Not a con as such, but if you do choose to enlarge the image in a graphics package, don’t over do it. If you increase the size of the image from the disc too much it will pixilate.

Value for Money

Excellent, these are a great visual resource. You can use them for all kinds of creative work. Simply print an idividual image to colour in, or use as a template to create on a range of surfaces. I’ve printed one of these off and traced a design onto a wooden blank to burn using Pyrography. Do check the small print for what is and isn’t acceptable use for the images before you create something for profit though.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes, I am building quite a collection of these books on a range of subjects.

Summing up

These books are great. The book gives you a visual reference for whats on the disc, which is nice as you can sit and browse through till you find an image you want to use then print off your favorite one. Once you open the image if you put it into something like Word you can alter the size, which is useful. I like these books and highly recommend you try them out.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Sirdar Knitting Pattern

Sirdar Knitting Pattern

  • Title: Sirdar Knitting Pattern 9135
  • Publisher: Sirdar

My Reason for Buying

This was an impulse buy but a great one. I wanted to knit legwarmers and this pattern looked doable for a new knitter like me. There is an added bonus that the pattern has a sock patter that I can knit on two needles not 4. So in time I’ll try that too.

I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

This pattern has three designs on it in, sizes for children as well as adults. There are also instructions for how to adapt the pattern for different sizes.

  • Leg warmers
  • Socks
  • Gloves

Pros/Cons

Pros

This is a great pattern for newbie knitters! My late Mother taught me to knit when I was little, and although years ago I did knit a jumper (and never wore it). I haven’t knitted since. People always say if you can do knit stitch and pearl stitch you can knit anything as all other stitches are combinations of that. Well although that’s true there are a lot of patterns too hard for newbies, but this one is GREAT.

I have knitted the leg warmers, and although I had to check out how to do a couple of stitches for increasing and decreasing when it got to the change between rib to pearl other wise I got on just fine. The gloves look like they would be equally achievable for a newbie, but I haven’t tried those yet.

There are sizes for men on the socks and sizes for children and adults on the gloves and legwarmer patterns.

I’ll be honest and say the socks are beyond me at the moment, but I reckon that is a case of sitting down and just working it out. I always re write patterns in long hand, K1P1 gets written out to knit one purl one and so on. It’s so much easier when you are new to do that. I understand why the makers write it in the condensed format and they fully explain what their abbreviations mean.

This particular pattern has text that is a quite a good size too, not as small a print as is often available. Which is very useful. :)

Cons

Not got any

Value for Money

Excellent, I have paid much more than this for a single design on Etsy and on this pattern you get three and all in multiple sizes. Great value for money and the garments all take so little wool they make very affordable makes.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes! I’ve recommended this pattern to everyone who will listen. Any of these garments would make lovely gifts and you could also make them as a matching set if you choose.

Summing up

This is the only the second ‘real’ knitting pattern I’ve bought and I’m very impressed. Etsy is great for one of a kind knits and you get back up from the authors but it can be an expensive way to buy patterns. I was very impressed with the price point at under £3, I’d be paying more than that for a magazine on knitting just to get a single pattern I like.

Although my dexterity issues mean knitting is something I can only do for very short periods of time, when I sit and knit it is as relaxing as people say and really calms me down :) Personally I’m a summer knitter as the light is better. The knitted gloves I’ve made people for Christmas 2010 went down well and it has encouraged me to create more handmade gifts in the future.

Knitting patterns have sure moved on from the ones my Mum used to use, there are lots of fun, funky modern designs to suit all ages. It is very satisfying to take time to create something for friends and family as you think about the person you are making for and how they might use something as you go along. These knits will make lovely gifts and if you start early you take the pressure of Christmas. MUCH better than a mad rush round the shops for the same old stuff that has always been around, just in different packaging.

Take the Handmade Pledge and create something with love. Time is the one gift that no one can buy and really makes the person feel special. Far better than the commercial stuff really!

Links

Here are links to the manufacturers and the pattern details.

Sirdar Sirdar Yarn manufacturers. Although they don’t sell direct from the site, there is a store locator on there.

9135 This is the pattern details.

This pattern is for a DK yarn but there is also a variation on the pattern for the Chunky version of the yarn available.

If you check out Ebay you can often find sellers offering patterns and also yarn as well.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Book: How to Make Polymer Clay Beads

How to Make Polymer Clay Beads

  • Title: How to Make Polymer Clay Beads
  • Author: Linda Peterson
  • Publisher: Cico Books
  • ISBN: 978-906094-43-0

My Reason for Buying

Last year I had a go with polymer clay and it didn’t go that well. I painted my finished beads and although I liked how they looked, they never did dry :( I saw this book briefly in a shop and immediately put it on my wish list. I needed to go back to square one and find out how to use the clay before I could get the best from it. My best friend Glitter Monkey gave me this book for Christmas and I am thrilled with it.

I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

The book begins with; Introduction, Tools, Materials and Techniques. After which it moves onto plenty of projects under each technique.

  • Chapter 1; Simulating Stone Effects. 21 Projects
  • Chapter 2; Mokume’ Gane’ Technique. Three projects
  • Chapter 3; Sculpted Beads. 4 projects
  • Chapter 4; Millefiore Caning & Skinner Blend

At the back of the book there are templates and lists of suppliers

Pros/Cons

Pros

Cons

Value for Money

Excellent! For the amount of techniques and inspiration, it covers a lot in just 128 pages.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes and recommend it to everyone.

Summing up

This book delivers! There’s nothing I hate more than books entitled ‘The Complete’ or ‘The Bible of X product’ which simply do not deliver.

This book on the other hand has an unassuming title ‘How to make Polymer Clay Beads’ and as the advert says, it does just what it says on the tin. You can make some truely stunning pieces using the instructions in this book but if like me you tend to read instructions as a jumping off point and like to take them in your own direction then this book is ideal. The book teaches you techniques, which once mastered could be used in many ways for all kinds of projects.

  • If you have never tried polymer clay and want to find out what its all about, get this book.
  • If you just want an ispiring book full of beautiful designs, get this book.
  • If you want to expand your techniques with polymer clay, get this book

Links

Here are links to Linda Peterson’s

Website

Blog

How to Make Polymer Clay Beads on Amazon (UK)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Me and my sewing Machine - Book by Kate Haxell

Me and my sewing Machine - Book by Kate Haxell

  • Title: Me and My Sewing Machine A Beginner’s Guide
  • Author: Kate Haxell
  • Publisher: Apple Press
  • ISBN: 978-1-84543-353-6

My Reason for Buying

Remember when you got your first car and started to learn how to drive? You can imagine the possibilities, know where you want to go etc but have no idea about quite how to go about it. That’s me and my sewing machine :) I’ve got ideas about what I’d like to make and a few books on how to make things, but I thought to get the most from my machine it would be a good idea to find out how to use it properly, rather than doing it damage by using it incorrectly. That’s why I was interested in getting this book. I tell you this as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;)

Contents

  • Introduction
  • My Sewing Machine
  • Getting Ready to Sew
  • Seams Simple
  • Hemmed In
  • Fastened Up
  • Around the Corner
  • On The Edge
  • Fancy That
  • Make me, Make me

Pros/Cons

Pros

It’s a good-looking book, fun and full of really useful pictures. The author has a really approachable style of writing, that is informative without being intimidating. As the author says this is an introduction to sewing, it’s not trying to tell you how to do dressmaking! A lot of other books are very intimidating to new sewers and can get too far into the subject and be overwhelming.

Cons

Haven’t got any.

Value for Money

Excellent, this is a must have book  for a new sewer! It maybe isn’t as comprehensive as other books around, but it isn’t as intimidating either.

Would I buy it Again?

At the time of writing, I haven’t yet bought it, I’m reviewing a library book ;) (budget restraints and all that). This is definitely going on the wish list though. I NEED this book

Summing up

Superb book, I love it! I’ve been practicing some of the techniques in this book and its going really well. The tutorials are really well explained with useful photos along the way.  At the back of the book are some projects, its personal preference as to if you like them or not, I’m not keen on the clothing one’s myself but the soft furnishings look nice and the shopper bag I’ve made and looks wonderful. I even modified it a bit to my own dimensions and it all worked great, and is my best bag yet.

Tote Bag #3

Tote Bag #3

If you or someone you know has inherited a sewing machine and is bewildered by it, get them this book! It’s really approachable and has excellent advice to get you enjoying your sewing machine and sewing.

Links

Me and My Sewing Machine by Kate Haxell on Amazon

I couldn’t find a blog for Kate Haxell, if you read this review and know she has one, do leave me a link to it in the comments. I’d love to leave a link to her in the review too.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing the following:

The Sewing Machine Book

The Sewing Machine Book

Title: The Sewing Machine Book

Author: Alison Smith

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley

ISBN: 978 1 4053 3555 3 (Hardbacked version)

Price: £25.00 (Hardback) (Correct at time of writing 2010)

Being new to sewing I am looking for a simple to follow book that has lots of clear instructions for me, but expecting no prior knowledge that I do not have. I’d had a brief leaf through this book in Hobby Craft and was very pleased to find a copy in my local library.

Contents

The book is broken up into three main sections, with sub sections that go into greater detail;

Tools

  • Sewing Equipment
  • Fabrics
  • Patterns

Techniques

  • Stitch essentials
  • Darts, tucks, pleats and gathers
  • Facings and necklines
  • Collars
  • Waistlines, belts and tie-backs
  • Sleeves and sleeve finishes
  • Pockets
  • Hems and edges
  • Fasteners
  • Linings and interfacings
  • Professional techniques
  • Mending

Projects

  • Directory of fashion and soft furnishings
  • Glossary
  • Index, acknowledgements, and Useful websites

Pros

I love the layout style of this book, it makes it very easy to find the things you are looking for. There are visual step by steps to back up the written descriptions and the detail the book goes into is perfect. If you are trying to follow a pattern and don’t understand a term or need more details on how to achieve a particular finish the book shows you how. I found the visual reference to different kinds of fabric VERY helpful, especially as it also lists thread and needle type next to each one :) Superb!!!

Cons

Haven’t got any, I have a hardback from the library and my only advise to anyone purchasing this book is to go for the hardback rather than the soft cover as it is such a good reference book, it’s likely to get a lot of use and the hard back will be better wearing in the longer term.

Value for Money

Excellent!!!! This book is like a dictionary for sewing, if you have a question, look it up in here and it’s probably got the answer. The hard back may be a considered purchase but for the content included its well worth it. It’s quite a sizable book and needs the hardback to make it robust.

Would I buy It?

YES definitely!!!! This is on my wish list at Amazon and I really intend to buy this, when funds allow. I’ve spent weeks on the internet searching for tutorials and information on basic sewing terms, this book would have saved me so much time! Sometimes books are easier than the internet after all ;) Long live the book :) :) :)

Summing Up

This book is perfect for the beginner to sewing either hand sewing or machine, the layout means you can go directly to a given section very quickly and easily. The sections are even colour coded to make searching simple. A really good reference book for all things sewing. If you have just bought a new sewing machine and feel a bit bewildered by everything then get this book. The world of sewing is much less intimidating with this book on your shelf, if you get stuck or come across a new term, this book will tell you all about it. I think this book would be the perfect gift for someone wanting to advance from basic sewing to more adventurous projects too. If you want to try dress making, or soft furnishings there are sections for that too.

Links

The Sewing Book. Here is the book on Amazon, currently under £15 for the hardback version ;)

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing;

Book; Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam

Book; Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam

  • Title; The Bag Making Bible
  • Author; Lisa Lam
  • Publisher; David & Charles
  • ISBN: 13:978-0-7153-3624-3
  • ISBN: 10:0-7153-3624-X
  • RRP: £14.99 (at time of writting)

My Reason for buying

Having received a sewing machine for my birthday in June, and making my first couple of tote bags, I was hooked. I have another book on making bags but Lisa’s book looked like it went into a lot more detail, regarding choosing materials and options for closures and handles. I’ve been reading Lisa’s blog for a little while and looked forward to her book being published.

Contents

  • Foreword by Amy Butler
  • Introduction
  • Basic Equipment
  • The Sewing Machine
  • Anatomy of a Bag
  • 1: Getting Started
  • 2: Choosing Fabrics
  • 3: Structure and Reinforcement
  • 4: Linings
  • 5: Closures
  • 6: Handles and Straps
  • 7: Pockets
  • 8: Edgings and Trimmings

At the back of the book are details about suppliers, more about the author Lisa Lam and a pattern sheet.

Pros/Cons

Pros

Each of the chapter sections go into details about a different features of a bag, these are FANTASTIC. They have a list of each of the options that are going to be described in the chapter, the benefits of each and suggested uses of which styles work best with different options. There are pictures on the opposite page to give examples about what is being described as well. The chapter then goes on to have really detailed step by step directions for every option mentioned. They are superb and if you are new to sewing, you can still follow them and apply them to simpler projects you already create if you find the projects within the book beyond your current skills.

Each section is colour coded, which makes it quick to find things if you are using this book for reference.

There is a comprehensive suppliers section at the back of the book, which will help you find the tools and items needed for the projects, if you don’t have a sewing shop near you.

Cons

The one thing that lets this book down from the point of view of someone new to sewing, is the placement of the projects within the book. If they were all placed at the back of the book then referencing techniques from different sections around the book would be fine. If the project at the end of the section used only techniques shown so far, again it would be fine. As it is, there is a project at the end of each section, but the projects often refer to techniques from sections further on as well as what has been covered so far. The references do quote the page numbers of the techniques needed, but if you are new to sewing this is very confusing and to be honest, I gave up trying to follow the project instructions at this point. In fairness to Lisa, the book does say in the introduction that it is aimed toward the more confident bag maker. I continued to read the rest of the book, without the projects and I’ve learned lots!

Value for Money

This book is very much worth the £14.99. A good reference book for bag makers of all levels.

Would I buy it Again?

Yes

Summing up

I’m really glad I bought this book, and I’ve learnt so much. This is one for me to grow into, as I am still very new to sewing. I am going to practice the techniques shown and add them to more basic bags, which is my current skill level. Once I am more used to my machine and the techniques then I’ll have a go at some of Lisa’s designs.

If you are totally new to sewing, the book I reviewed previously Sew What Bags by Lexie Barnes, is a much simpler place to start. If however you have been sewing a while and want to get into making bags, or to include really impressive features and finishes to your existing projects then Lisa’s book is for you.

Newbies, still buy this book for the impressive tutorials on choosing fabrics, linings, interfacings as well as how to incorporate more details into your simpler projects, that you already like to make. I’ve added a pocket to my latest tote and want to tackle the concealed top edge zip to a later project.

My skill level is still at ‘Sew What Bags’ but Lisa’s Bag Making Bible is a must have book, for moving forward and getting more professional looks to future bags.

Links

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

Welcome Back 

In today’s post I will be reviewing; 

Knitting For Dummies

Knitting For Dummies

  • Title: Knitting for Dummies
  • Author: Pam Allen, Tracy L. Barr, Shannon Okey
  • Publisher: Wiley Publishing, Inc
  • ISBN: 978-0-470-28747-7

My Reason for Buying

My wonderful mother taught me basic knitting; Cast on and off, increase and decrease, stocking stitch and pearl, but sadly she died when I was still young and it wasn’t until recently that I have been interested in giving knitting another go. I have a neighbour who has been wonderful, helping me when I get stuck but I thought it was about time that I got a book to help me through the basics and tell me what to do when I mess up. This book covered a lot and looked ideal.  I tell you all this, as often a review is based on how well the book lived up to the expectations of its reader, for their purpose ;) 

Contents

  • Part 1; Getting Ready to Knit.Three chapters on what you need to start knitting
  • Part 2; Knitting Primer. Six chapters covering the basic stitches and what to do if it goes wrong
  • Part 3; Techniques for the More Experienced Knitter. Four chapters of more complex stitches to take you further
  • Part 4; Making Garments; Five chapters on the ins and outs of sweaters and some project patterns to try them out.
  • Part 5; The Part of Tens; one chapter on easing aches and pains then another with ten knitting projects and gift ideas.
  • Part 6; Appendixes; One section including more stitches and effects, and one with a host of links to knitting resources. 

Pros/Cons

Pros 

  • Gets you started if you haven’t knitted before
  • Teaches you lots of different stitch patterns
  • Guides to the different needles, and yarns available and charts for comparing needles.
  • Plenty of patterns to try out the techniques you learn along the way
  • How to sort things out when it all goes a bit wrong ;)

Cons 

These are really just niggles, nothing to put you off buying, just niggles. 

  • A spiral bound or hard backed version of this book would have been nice. It would make it easier to keep the book open as you learn a technique.
  • The only images of the finished projects from the books patterns, are at the centre of the book. The picture links to the chapter where you can find the pattern, but it would have been nice to have a reference image or where to find its image, next to the pattern. See page ‘X’ for example. The finished project images are full colour, which is nice.
  • Terminology differences. This book is American, so the terms used are American. For example in the UK a stitch known as Stocking stitch is refered to as Stockinette. If you are using vintage or UK patterns and are totally new to knitting this could cause some confusion. BUT if you buy patterns from Etsy and USA companies then you should be fine. Those with even minimal knitting experience will recognize the knitting stitch shown by its image diagram. So it’s not as major a problem as it first sounds.

Value for Money

Excellent! This book covers the core skills needed to start knitting, then takes you further for the more advanced knitter. A valuable resource for knitters of all abilities. 

Would I buy it Again?

Totally! 

Summing up

This book has been excellent and I wouldn’t be without it. Don’t be put off by the occasional differences in terms, if you are buying well-known brands of patterns or patterns from Etsy, it is likely that the book will use the terms you will find in those anyway. You will recognise the stitch patters from the illustrations if not the names. Buy this book for handy reference, but If you are a visual learner, do check out You Tube tutorials as they will help back up what you are trying to learn. If you have even the  tiniest experience of knitting this book will really help you progress. 

Links

Knitting for Dummies; on Amazon I’ve been reviewing the second edition, published 2008 

My fave knitting tutor on You Tube; Knitting Tips by Judy 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie :)

Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 264 other followers