Tag Archive: instructional



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.


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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Ultimate Guide For Starting Your Own Hydroponic GardenUltimate Guide For Starting Your Own Hydroponic Garden by Nathan Scheer

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

‘Ultimate’ is the word I most object to here. I felt I got a small introduction to the subject. And worst of all no pictures. A whole chapter was about making a small hydroponic planter. But, and this may be my fault, I couldn’t picture what the author was trying to do.

Illustrations would make this book better, but it certainly isn’t the Ultimate Guide to anything. As many books, it starts with the old sales trick of why one should have what the author is selling. It was neither compelling nor helpful.

But then again, maybe that was just me.

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Loom Knit Safari CollectionLoom Knit Safari Collection by Scarlett Royal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can finally give a review of this book! I made each and every animal featured in this book. Yet I have to take responsibility for the less than 5 stars here. That makes me a little sad. You see, I am not as good at reading patterns as I would like. I have been loom knitting since about February of last year. Mostly I feel I have learned to watch YouTube instructions better and better. In the process, I am gaining the ability to read patterns, but still not there.

What does this have to do with the book? Well, each of the patterns in this book has a corresponding tutorial on YouTube. Except for the giraffe. That one leads you to a Ravelry page with a picture of the giraffe but nothing else. So there was my problem. I only had the pattern and did my best to help the giraffe come to be. I think I did okay. If you follow my blog you will see my nearly finished giraffe and a hat to go with it. I need to add eyes. I want to make the long lashes I love so much on giraffes so for now, the baby is sightless.

Oh, the other problem I have to own is my inability to count. The poor lion had a few curls that were a bit too long. But that is not the fault of the author. She did a fantastic job writing the instructions and filming the tutorials. Maybe she could teach us some hints as to how she keeps track of small rows and the like?

Anyway if you go to darsword on wordpress you will see my results. (I can’t put an URL on here. Hope you can find me.) This book was reasonably priced. I just wish I could afford Scarlett Royals other books. She is a great designer of loom knitting items. I can’t wait to learn more from her.

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Here are pictures of what I have made:

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I made the elephant first. Since the yarn is donated I often don’t have the right colors or enough of said colors. Hence the psychedelic elephant.

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I didn’t like how the monkey’s muzzle turned out so I added lips. I don’t have glass eyes that Scarlett Royal suggests. So I made these on the spool knitter. The lips I did that way, too. The hat is Tuteate’s pattern. I followed her tutorial on YouTube as I do most of my knitted things. The reason I made a hat with ears is I made most things with the donated yarn for charity and my group said that they gave my things to the local clinic. I thought that the hat and monkey would be fun together.

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See what happens when I run out of the right color yarn? Colorful arms! I still haven’t made the eyes for this guy. Again, I don’t think the glass eyes would be good if the recipient of the gift might put them in their mouths and choke. My brother suggested whiskers. You can’t see them very well here but they are there. The nose was done on the spool knitter.

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The giraffe was the hardest as I had to use just a pattern. Still, I think he turned out okay. I still need to make the eyes. I hope I can make eyes with long lashes like real giraffes have. The hat was the Tuteate patter except I used the ear pattern from Scarlett Royal’s animal patterns so I didn’t have to sew it on. And I didn’t close the way Tuteate does hers. I used Scarlett Royal’s Kitchener stitch to close. I think it worked out quite well. Oops, I just noticed I need to sew close the ears. Well, I wasn’t finished when I finished the book. If I think it makes a big difference I will post the finished products here.

And though he isn’t in the book here is another stuffed animal using Scarlett Royal’s YouTube:

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My friend suggested steam or flame from the nostrils so I added a those bits.

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Eyes are done on the spool knitter. Since this is going to an adult I will get the glass eyes instead.

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I love how the spike knit up. I added the wings from Scarlett Royal’s bat pattern. I will add pipe cleaners to these so they can stand out. I made this dragon with my own materials is for one of my best friends who is crazy for dragons.

20170715_13272820170715_13275120170715_132803I love him! I can’t wait to make more of him for me and my other friends who are dragonphiles.

But will this next one has nothing to do with the book it is the latest of my tiny dolls. This pattern is by Denise of LoomAHat. This is the cupcake doll. I added the ears–just because I wanted to! These are so fun and easy and versatile. This will go to the clinic.

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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear SugarTiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One day, in the last couple of months, my daughter kidnapped me so I could spend a week back in Reno. It was one of those serendipitous things that made me very happy. I got to spend time with her and with other family and friends.

My daughter loves to listen to podcasts on long trips. When she learned that I had read and watched Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, she pulled up the Dear Sugar podcasts and we enjoyed a long listen.

Once back at home I found the Dear Sugar websites and other books by Cheryl Strayed. I looked at the eBook/Overdrive local library copies. I found this copy but it was just an eBook with no text-to-speech and no audio version. I tried very hard to enjoy the book. There was wonderful advice given here.

I wanted to keep reading past the mid-point that I thought I got to, but with no way to listen it was hard to read. I will try to keep an eye out for the Audible or Kindle with TTS to read later. Besides, most of it was written for younger people. I played the kind of game I used to play with the Dear Abby advice column, see if I can give the same advice the writer does. I was pleasantly surprised that Ms. Strayed gave more personal answers and helped in deeper ways than Abby or her sister Ann Landers ever did.

I think this is a wonderful book for young people to have. I think Dear Sugar is a good podcast for those under forty. I hope to find this book again in an easier form for me to read.

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Fluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the WorldFluent in 3 Months: How Anyone at Any Age Can Learn to Speak Any Language from Anywhere in the World by Benny Lewis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this a couple days ago. No, I was not in the haze of wanting to stay with the story or characters. This is a non-fiction about learning other languages. I didn’t want to leave this one because it helped me so much and I want to re-read it a lot more times.

As many of you know, I have been working with Duolingo learning Spanish and German. I have taken two levels of both in school but would like to be fluent in both of them. Right now I can read a bit but I feel so very elementary in both of them.

There are so many good ideas on how to learn a language and get to the point of fluency! And I read this using the Audible with the author’s voice. What a delight to hear his accent and enthusiasm! And he is a polyglot. For those of you like I was, who don’t know, that means he is fluent in many languages, all learned since he was an adult.

The best part is that there are web-links to study certain aspects of each chapter. I didn’t follow those with the first reading, but I will with the next. And I will take notes and make flashcards.

This is the best book about languages I have ever read. If you are thinking about studying another language, this should be your first book to read to give you the best start.

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