Curious Creatable Creatures
April 19th, 2019 by diane92345

Why didn’t they have books like Curious Creatable Creatures when I was young? I made a model of Frankenstein that just stood there (and would be worth a lot more now if I had never even opened it).

Many of these twenty-two creatures light up, make music, and move! Two even spit! While your kids are having fun, they are also learning valuable math and science concepts from geometry, chemistry, earth science, electricity, and more. All of the instructions have a difficulty and cost rating. What’s nice is the most difficult, and awesome, projects are not always the most costly making this an ideal book for home schooling moms on a budget.

Curious Creatable Creatures is an ingenious and relatively inexpensive way to get your child into STEAM projects. Plus they will have fun doing it. There are simple projects involving yarn, pipe cleaners and googly eyes for younger primary graders with a parent’s help. There are more complex battery-powered creatures for older elementary age children. Overall, a good choice to see where your child’s interests lie. 4 stars!

Thanks to Voyageur Press/Quarto Kids and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in Children, New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Kawaii Origami
April 3rd, 2019 by diane92345

Kawaii Origami combines the cute Japanese pop art with more traditional paper folding to create original art using only colored paper and a few simple tools.

If you or your crafty child love Japanese culture, this is a perfect choice for some fun-filled hours. The set includes fifty sheets of colored paper but I would highly recommend practicing on cheap copy paper first.

All twenty-five projects include a difficulty rating of one to five stars. Even the pictures of the five-star Twinkle Star and Flower Bowl look complicated but the results are correspondingly impressive. Many of the easier projects, like the one-star Lucky Stars, two-star Tea Bag, and three-star Cute Purse are pretty enough to display or give as gifts.

Spend a few hours being a maker and create some cute paper decorations using only Kawaii Origami and some scissors. Your choice of color will make each result uniquely your own. 4 stars for going beyond the usual frogs and birds of traditional origami books!

Thanks to Race Point Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.

Posted in New Books, Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Delicate Crochet
November 26th, 2018 by diane92345

Delicate Crochet uses a lightweight yarn (#3 or below) to create almost a lace effect in the twenty-three projects described.

The projects include four cardigans, two pullover sweaters, one vest, one poncho, one summer top, one skirt, one necklace and a pair of fingerless gloves. There are also four wraps, three shawls, one cowl, and three scarves. All have extensive pictures and schematics of both the size and the stitches used to make the garment. Sizes extend from extra-small to extra-large depending on the pattern. The techniques vary from regular crochet to broomstick lace to Tunisian crochet.

If you like to crochet, Delicate Crochet is perfect. It has new ideas for how to modernize the crochet look to be more polished. It has excellent instructions and illustrations. 4 stars!

Thanks to Stackpole Books and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Weaving on a Little Loom
September 22nd, 2018 by diane92345

Everything a beginning weaver needs to start Weaving on a Little Loom.

This book has clear and concise instructions—most with pictures or diagrams. It begins with the tools needed. Next, the author describes the different weaving and edging techniques. Finally, there are five project plans: a wall hanging, a clutch bag, a placemat, a pillow and a larger tote or laptop bag. What is nicer are the explanations of how to plan your own projects from the conceptual drawings to yarn selection to spec sheet creation. The spec sheet includes all the detail about the project allowing it to be replicated later.

I love the easy “friend talking about their favorite hobby” feel of the text. The author, by clearly laying out the requirements, makes weaving sound less intimidating than in other instructional books. I especially like the low cash outlay necessary to see if weaving is for you. A reader could do their first small project using only inexpensive yarn, a cardboard loom, a finger skein shuttle, a standard dinner fork, a ruler and scissors. Overall, if you are interested in trying weaving, Weaving on a Little Loom is a great book to jumpstart your success. 4 stars!

Thanks to Princeton Architectural Press and NetGalley for an advance copy.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Handmade Houseplants
September 3rd, 2018 by diane92345

Handmade Houseplants shows a beautiful use of paper and your creativity to liven up your home or office.

Using various painting, cutting and gluing skills, the author gives step-by-step instructions for 30 different plants. From carnivorous to poisonous to cactus, most plants you have heard of and a few you haven’t are included. After the reader has done a few of the step-by-step plants, the author includes five more advanced projects like place settings, centerpieces, table/mantle runners and a trellis that is adorable. The finished projects vary in size from 4” to 4 feet wide or tall. The initial supplies needed can be acquired cheaply assuming you already have a glue gun, scissors, iron, wire clippers and needle nose pliers. The book includes a resources page with inexpensive art websites like dickblick.com.

These projects are gorgeous and look totally Instagram or blog ready. If you are tired of making origami frogs, this a great next step in your paper odyssey. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Timber Press, and NetGalley for an advanced copy.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Origami 101
August 29th, 2018 by diane92345

Using just four simple shapes, Origami 101 teaches makers to create 43 different figures from a simple penguin to a human being.

I love the simplicity of Origami 101. Everything is clearly explained. The use of a glow to indicate which part of the paper is moving when folding is brilliant. The step-by-step instructions and the slow increasing of the reader’s skills when following the order of projects within the book ensure everyone’s origami success. 4 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Quarry, and NetGalley for a copy.

Posted in Non-fiction Tagged with: , ,

Hanging Kokedama Potless Plants
June 8th, 2018 by diane92345

Hanging Kokedama: Potless Plants contains instructions for 25 beautiful Kokedamas. The book includes orchids, cacti, ferns, bulbs, herbs and even trees. Kokedamas are created by removing the plant’s pot and replacing it with moss tied with string or wire into a ball shape.

The instructions are clear.  The book gently teaches the necessary skills by beginning with the easier plants. There are excellent watering tips too for each plant type.

Great choice for the DIYer who enjoys a minimalist (think Ikea) perspective. 5 stars!

Thanks to the publisher, Jacqui Small Pub, and Edelweiss+ for a copy.

#FrugalFriday short review.

Posted in Diane's Favorites, Non-fiction Tagged with: , , ,