Saturday, October 22, 2011

Terrarium Craft by Amy Bryant Aiello and Katie Bryant

My love for terrariums goes back to the 1970s when those large, spaceship-style plastic orbs were so popular.  Terrarium Craft by Amy Bryant Aiello and Kate Bryant is a wonderful book that has inspired me to bring some updated terrariums back into my home.

What I liked most about the book is that that the authors’ creations are from found materials. Instead of expensive Wardian cases, this book shows how to create beautiful scenes from a variety of glass objects you may have around the house or something you will be able to pick up at a thrift store. 

The authors provide good instructions for choosing containers and the proper planting materials to provide for a healthy environment for added plants.  There are many pages of inspiration for natural and unique materials to add beauty and charm to the desired scene.  Plants and mosses are also explained.  There are full-page sized photographs of most of the designs.

I especially appreciate the photographs that show step-by-step how to assemble the terrarium.  There are 50 terrarium projects with a list of contents and instructions for assembly.  They are divided into four groups based on inspiration – Forest, Beach, Desert, and Fantasy.  If you are not a plant person, some of these are so pretty that you don’t need to add plants!  Just in case you don’t have time to hunt and gather supplies, there is a list of resources to purchase a variety of plants, mosses, and décor.

This is a wonderful book for inspiration and instructions for creating terrariums.  It would also make a nice gift book.

Thank you to Timber Press for this copy of Terrarium Craft for review.  It is provided with the understanding that I give my honest opinion of the book. 

 I receive no compensation if the book is purchased through my link.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Make Your Bed by Leslee Evans

What a great idea to add color and style to the bed!  Instead of a full quilt, the patterns in this book are for pillows and reversible bed runners that drape across the bed. 

There are good basic instructions to make the runners, but also instructions to embellish sheets and pillowcases.  There is a how-to for making “The Easiest Pillow Ever” and pillow shams. The instructions are clear, with diagrams, color pictures, and full-sized templates.   

The beautiful Rose Irish chain Runner is an easy four-patch with a scalloped edge design. Perfect for the reverse side is the “Scattered Leaves” runner.  There are also instructions for matching pillowcases and sheets.  What a pretty set!

There is a “Houndstooth/Suits Me” set and a youthful Pizzazz/Starry Night set with appliqués and loose stitch-on decorations.  For your Batiks there is the serene Waves and for your brights there is the Playful squares set.  There is an elegant Floral Silk runner, the natural Forest Runner, and the cheerful Friendship Star. My favorite is the earthy Leaves-and-Trees with maple leaves and a tree scene. The flip side for this one is a bold Rail Fence.

This is one of my favorite quilt books this year.  There is something for all quilt skill levels, including beginners to quilting.

Link to purchase Make Your Bed by Leslee Evans. - Also available in E-book form.

I received a copy of this book for review from Martingale & Company, Home of That Patchwork Place.  I accept books for review with the understanding that I will give my honest opinion of the book. I receive no compensation if the book is purchased through my link. 

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Baker's Wife by Erin Healy

The first chapter or so was a little over-the-top because of the overly descriptive and flowery writing, but once I got past the beginning, the story fell into place.  The dialog helped to even out the writing.  This is an interesting story of a pastor falsely accused of a sinful act to protect a family member. The family’s life spirals out of control when an accident victim can’t be found.

This is a Christian book, and there are a lot of faith issues covered.  Some of the things interlaced into the story are the difference in the type of prayers the wife and the husband (former pastor) offered, sin, repentance, evil, and forgiveness.  

The characters are interesting and I did like the story, but there is one thing that I just couldn’t accept in a Christian fiction book. The preacher's wife participates in the occult.  I think it is an unfortunate addition to the story and completely unnecessary.   The author took the easy way out by portraying the main protagonist as a medium using articles of clothing to see and feel what a missing person was going through. It would have been much more interesting to have an interesting police/detective method of solving the crime, but instead the author took the occult route.

I received this book as part of the Booksneeze program from Thomas Nelson accepted only with the understanding that I give an honest review. I receive no compensation if you purchase through my links.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fast Fusible Flower Quilts by Nancy Mahoney

For those who like to make a bold statement in their quilts Nancy Mahoney has created a book with big beautiful flower quilts.  These patterns are great for beginners.  There are patterns for both easy appliqué and for a combination of appliqué and piecing.

There are instructions for making and placing templates, no trace cutting, starch appliqué, fusible appliqué, and finishing techniques.  The instructions and diagrams are clear and concise.

All of the patterns in this book would be appropriate for a beginner quilter, and there are even a few patterns for a person wanting to try appliqué for the first time. My favorite pattern in the book is Daisy Vines on p. 66.  It has a very easy pieced background for the three columns of large flowered vines, and the vines are divided by with easy pieced sashes. A desktop wallpaper photo of the Daisy Vines quilt is available at Martingale & Company website free of charge (see link below).

I recommend this book for beginners or any quilter wanting a quick easy project.

I received my copy of Fast Fusible Flower Quilts from the publisher for review with no expectation of anything other than an honest review. I post a link for purchase, but I receive no compensation if a book is sold.

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