Category: Art



The Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments, Prints and More from NatureThe Organic Artist: Make Your Own Paint, Paper, Pigments, Prints and More from Nature by Nick Neddo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay. I didn’t read this word for word. It isn’t that kind of book. I doubt I’ll ever read it that way. This is a reference book of how-tos. It is well illustrated and the instructions for each craft is well-written. I loved what I saw here so much that as the book became due back to the library I had to go to Amazon and buy my own copy. By the way, our librarian recommended it to me. Thanks, Julie! I can’t wait to try some of these crafts!

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Today Is MondayToday Is Monday by Eric Carle

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What can I say? It’s Eric Carle!

I picked this up at the library because I wanted art inspiration. I have always thought Mr. Carle’s work visually exciting. From the Hungry Caterpillar and Angry Ladybug, I was in awe of the way Eric could make his own prints and cut them into amazing pictures. The other side of that is his books are so much fun to read aloud to kids.

Having had a few accidents where crepe paper got wet and left an interesting stain behind. (Cleaning said stain wasn’t fun but I loved how the stain looked–though it didn’t belong there.) I realized when I read the first Eric Carle books to my kids that this was crepe paper stains cut and reformed into fantastic illustrations. I have learned since that he uses tissue paper to make his own prints. Makes me want to play with this method.

This book had pictures that looked less like crepe or tissue paper but the visuals didn’t disappoint. The story was rhythmically satisfying. And at the end of the book, the words are placed into a song. I think it would be a fun way to teach a little songwriting or other musical lessons. So with this book, we get so many things to learn.

I didn’t miss how inclusive the author was to minorities and the handicapped. All done in a sneaky way that most children or adults might not notice. But on each reading of this book, the onion can be peeled back to show children new lessons.

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The Land of Lost Things / El Pais de Las Cosas PerdidasThe Land of Lost Things / El Pais de Las Cosas Perdidas by Dina Bursztyn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a fun little book for anyone, young or old, trying to educate themselves in Spanish or English. Timely in my case since I am working with colored pencils. And I seem to lose things. And obviously, I need more work with past tense in Spanish. And–And I see how much more work I need on word order. As if I am good in my own language!

The pictures were wonderful! Imagine a forest of blue pencils! Or an umbrella garden! Very creative! And what if you could look into a hole and see all your lost things? If only most of my lost things didn’t happen during my multiple moves or in that storage unit we gave up on. Still, there are things I think made it here. My old glue gun, my polymer clay? I know I’ve seen them since I moved here. My hands put them away without informing the brain!

Anyway, this is a fun book and it helped me on quite a few levels! And I’m not a kid!

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How To Color With Colored Pencils: The Complete Step-By-Step Beginners Guide To Color Palettes And Coloring Techniques For AdultsHow To Color With Colored Pencils: The Complete Step-By-Step Beginners Guide To Color Palettes And Coloring Techniques For Adults by Margaret Fox

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, while preparing to write this review I couldn’t find a page on Amazon to read stats and reviews about the book. I did find a place from a link in Margaret Fox’s book to place a review so I will copy this there next.

I read this a couple nights ago when I was between fiction books and not ready to get involved in a deeper story. It fit the bill. It inspired me to get out my pencils and start playing again. As much as I love my coloring books, though, I am not enjoying ‘coloring’ with the pencils. I think I’ll start trying sketching and coloring in my own work so as to really experiment, and pull out my Crayola (not some cheap knockoff that is always way too waxy) and work in my coloring books that way.

Does anyone find themselves over-inspired most of the time? I’m planning out my NaNo for this year–hey, I have one character–that makes it less ‘seat of the pants’ than former years. I don’t like my stories when I pants it. I continue loom-knitting toys and comfort items for charities. I have started working on needle felting. I still think about and sometimes get in and spend time at the piano or singing, or just listening to music to keep my musical brain happy. I still try to work on Japanese, Esperanto, Spanish, and German on DuoLingo daily. So when I find a book that inspires me to action I have to weigh what to give up or lessen to have time to devote to the new creative avenue. So much fun to try and so little time!!!!

Anyway, this book did the job. And, of course, I learned of new items I will have to buy to try some of the technics I learned in Ms. Fox’s book. But there are plenty of endeavors I can try with what I have. I think I will use colored pencils to draw my characters as they develop.

I hope this book will be available for others to try soon. It is a good beginner’s book or one to inspire and get you started playing again.

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How to Make a Needle Felted StarfishHow to Make a Needle Felted Starfish by Loretta Alvarado

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Of all the Kindle versions of felting books I’ve read, this is the most inspiring. Since I am working on a seahorse, a starfish seems the most logical next project. The pictures were beautiful and well presented so one might not need the words to do the job. The instructions were short and to the point.

If you are thinking of needle felting, this may be a good first project for you. Great job, Loretta Alvarado!

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Though this book had a lot of fun things to make, they were all wet-felted. Worst of all the pictures were not visible in any way. I read it on the PC because it makes the font and pictures bigger than on my Kindle Fires. But this one it didn’t help at all.

Still, the instructions didn’t seem impossible to understand so if you wanted to make the product reading could get you there. This is another one I will revisit next summer when I can handle getting wet. It is almost too cold to do the dishes in our house right now. Sure your hands are warm while in the water but the minute you put the last dish in the drainer your hands are cold. I’ll stick to the less painful, yet occasional prickly needle felting. Weird that I prefer blood to cold.


FELT IT for beginners: 25 PROJECTS FOR DECORATION AND THERAPY (THE CRAFT OF FELTING- FUN AND THERAPY Book 1)

Though this book is about felting, it is more about wet-felting. And though there is a bit of needle felting and some ideas for what to do with defective or broken needles, it wasn’t enough for me and my need to learn about needle felting.

Another cool thing about this book is that it is for parents or teachers/counselors of children with disabilities. I can see how the wet felting could be fun and how it could be a great bonding experience for everyone. And the squishing wonderful feeling of wet felting has to be a lot of fun. Maybe as good as making slime, but you get to keep the item you make, not just clean it up.

But for me, it is getting cold and I just don’t have the room that is warm enough to do wet felting. Maybe next summer I will revisit this book and this part of the craft of felting.


Needle Felting for Beginners: Sculpting with wool - cute, easy projects with step-by-step tutorialsNeedle Felting for Beginners: Sculpting with wool – cute, easy projects with step-by-step tutorials by Lori Allen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I want to give this book 5 stars. I really do. But with no Text-to-Speech for some of us, it is hard to read. Maybe I could give it 4.5? Because…

It is the perfect book for a felting newbie. It really does start with cookie cutter easy felts. And there are a few websites to go to from the book. Too bad they aren’t links. And you can’t copy the URLs to paste into an address bar, so … just not as well formatted as it could be.

STILL, for those just getting started on this craft, this may be the best book to get. I have ‘leafed’ through it several times on several of my readers. The best one is the PC Kindle as the pictures and fonts are much larger.

Maybe a warning I just picked up on, one shouldn’t use upholstery foam because it has fire-retardant. I cut up an old neck pillow that I gave up on a while ago. Since I’ve already spent my fun cash for this new hobby, I can’t afford another. But I’ll try to get a new felting cushion soon. I hope I don’t get to the point of it being dust that would be bad for my lungs.

So get this book if you can. There’s a lot to learn in it despite the formatting.

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Felting: The Complete GuideFelting: The Complete Guide by Jane Davis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a beautifully illustrated, how-to book. I loved that it was ring-bound rather than a glue and stitching binding. It makes it easy to hold the book open on the page as you try the methods. If I were working on the projects presented I would be ever so grateful. But I’m trying to make other things.

I think if one were working on a wet felting this would be even better as your hands would be too wet to turn pages that accidentally flip.

If I had read this before the era of YouTube I might have given it five stars. But, hey, there are so many tutorials out there to walk you through everything. So, if you don’t have a computer go check this out at the library, or if you have the cash, buy it. You’ll love it. I’d love to see what you make!

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Heart Felt Knits: 25 Fresh and Modern Felting ProjectsHeart Felt Knits: 25 Fresh and Modern Felting Projects by Tamara Mello

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

How can I fairly review this book? The wool that was donated to us is good for cores of toys but I don’t think it will do well for wet-felting. It certainly can’t be spun into a decent yarn. This book centers on felting that is done from knitted items.

Yet, if this appeals to you, and the pictures are certainly appealing, you might want to go out and buy good wool yarns and get busy. In fact, the scarf featured on the actress on the front of this book is beautiful. If you recognize her, from the show Popular, it may be even more fun to read this book. Ms. Tamara Mello spent much of her downtime on set, knitting. Reading about her path of learning knitting was fun. I loved the looks of all the items pictured in the book. The instructions, even for learning to knit, were thorough and well illustrated.

So I guess I should mark this 5 stars, even though it isn’t helpful now. Who knows how far I will get into the felting hobby? I may find myself buying this book later instead of borrowing it from the eBook library.

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