Tag Archive: non-fiction



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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Chasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban CrisesChasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban Crises by Debora Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Less than a decade ago my husband and I were delivering newspapers in Corona California. We were quite surprised by how many coyotes we saw out in these beautiful neighborhoods. We didn’t think of them as more than just nuisances who got into the trash. Turns out this book tell accounts of coyotes in the even bigger cities of Orange County that were around when we lived there and got worse in years since we left.

I think when I saw this book’s description that I was getting some Urban Fantasy about Native American tales of coyotes, the tricksters. At first, I was a bit taken aback. Then I was pleasantly surprised at where these stories took place. Then the book inspired in me a healthier fear that I never had before.

If you live in big cities in Orange County or L.A. County or Riverside County in California, you should read this book. I suggest you get the hardback or paperback so that you can keep the guidelines of how to get rid of coyotes, that could kill your toddlers or grandparents or cat or dog. Use it to get in touch with the people, like the author, who are trying to make your neighborhoods safer.

Look, where I live coyotes walk brazenly down our dirt roads. I live in the country. There are wild rabbits and other creatures that coyotes like to eat. But now I know another reason why my cats and dog are not allowed outside alone in our yard, besides the threat of hawks and eagles, that like small pets. We are trying to find a way to fence in our yard better to keep out coyotes or bigger predators. (The first winter we were here we found antelope footprints right next to our bedroom window. So imagine what could come in.) But we expect these beasts out here. In the cities, I thought our biggest problem were mice, rats, and opossums. But I was wrong.

Please read this book. Be aware so that you can be prepared.

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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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The Rules Do Not ApplyThe Rules Do Not Apply by Ariel Levy

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a fan of fiction more than any other kind of reading, it is alway hard for me to “grade” an autobiography. It isn’t up to me to judge another’s life or path, so I feel I am invading a bit when it is time to review. Yet this book called to me from NetGalley as one I might like to read and review.

I have to admit it kept my interest. Many reviewers say the author’s emotions are raw in this memoir. That may be so. I just found them honest and refreshing. As a fertile-Myrtle, who had, as most of my generation, my children in my early twenties, I never heard that egg-timer to get pregnant or forget it. I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice to have another?” and boom I was pregnant. So the despair of the author seems another reality I’ve not been close to. In that case, I think it right to go into the depth with her and see what her reality has been. Would my story of a baby every couple years and only at home ever be as interesting to her generation? So I find her lucky to have experienced so many things I never got to see. That she had the freedom to explore her sexuality after being an adult, who got to see the world I may never see, isn’t sad. Those were the parts of the story I truly enjoyed.

But I don’t want to demean or in any way put down her path and especially not the sad parts of it. That need to reproduce is very strong in many of us and to have that turn out so badly hurts my soul for her.

That is why I like to read autobiographies. I can lead many lives that way. I can see how things might have been had I made other choices or had nature played nasty tricks on my life. I think it helps to develop empathy to read another’s story. And this may be one you might like. Give it a try.

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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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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and DivorcedI Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Thank you, Yvensong, for suggesting this read.

I was able to pick up the Overdrive and Kindle versions from the e-library. I loved the narrator: Meera Simhan. She did a great job reading for what was supposed to be a 10-year-old.

This is a great book to open the discussion of how girls and women are treated worldwide. When we look at what this poor girl and other like her have gone through, we, here in America, think that could never happen. But we have not gone far enough here. There is so much more work to show that equality is what is needed for a better world for everyone.

Nujood Ali has written a book that is short and sweet. I do believe that it could be read by all ages, and should be read by males so they can move to better understanding.

What I loved about reading along on the Kindle as the Overdrive narrator read to me were the foreign words that were hyperlinked to definitions. Even so, there weren’t so many that one couldn’t guess by context as to what they meant. I suggest everyone read this treasure.

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This World We Live In (Last Survivors, #3)This World We Live In by Susan Beth Pfeffer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This may be my favorite book of the series. I love watching the development of the main character, Miranda. I think the author did a good job giving us a picture of how life could get if anything happened to our neighbor the moon. With tides and volcanic action, the world becomes one that is trying to survive. But with volcanic ash in the sky messing with the weather, and lack of warm sunshine, food, and clean water are a constant struggle to find. Miranda has long since given up on the life of a teen with proms and homework. Now she is just trying to help her family survive.

Though this is my shortest review of the series, you can see what I think of the rest in a bulk review here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show…

I do wish there were more books to this series!

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Lesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating DisorderLesbian Crushes and Bulimia: A Diary on How I Acquired my Eating Disorder by Natasha Holme

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I didn’t want to give this book five stars. Most of that is fear. I am afraid that young people might try to emulate this author’s eating disorder. The rest of this diary was an interesting read. I envy the younger generation and they way they are freer to try out their wings, sexual or otherwise. It is interesting watching how this student learns who she is and who she is more comfortable loving. I love how she is open with her partners to be about how it is more of an experiment to her than an emotional attachment. I like that she chooses to be protected in her quest to find herself. But when she gets hung up in her self-image and eating or not to be the size she thinks she ought to be, whoa, what a train-wreck.

So my five stars comes with a warning: please stay healthy and don’t get hung up in how you should look to others. Stay strong, eat healthily. Accept yourself.

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Wake Up, I'm Fat!Wake Up, I’m Fat! by Camryn Manheim

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

‘Camryn Manheim. Isn’t she the beautiful woman with all those earrings on that legal show?’ That’s what I thought a long time ago when I didn’t quite know who she was. She still remains the one I remember. The others were men or skinny minnies. They all look and acted the same. Not much has changed since in Hollywood’s movies and television. For someone that has a hard time differentiating faces of actors and actresses (remember how I told you I had a hard time with Rob and Jon on Game of Thrones?) Give me individuals! Ms. Manheim is a grand individual. I have tried to catch her on every show on the big screen or small. I was sorry to see her leave Ghost Whisperer. But then again I did love Aisha in the friend role. She, too, is unique. Both these two friends were more interesting that the overly sexed main actress.

So when my friend, Michele, offered to let me read this gem I was excited. A couple years later I have taken it off the shelf and actually read it. Sorry it took so long, Michele.

Now to the meat of this book. Fat. I’ve been skinny, I’ve been–well the size I am now. But I always felt fat. In my family were folks of all sizes so I felt accepted no matter what size I was. But go to the store and I often couldn’t find my size or the styles were ugly. The worst was when my daughter wanted to go shopping together. She didn’t inherit my size or anything else. We were at opposite ends of the rack. We rarely could find a store with both our sizes. But she liked the younger looks so I would get relegated looking at jewelry or standing around doing nothing. We stopped shopping together.

Camryn had it worse. Her chosen profession was into the world of men who only love skinny actresses. Her parents didn’t accept her. Well, don’t let me tell her story. See what one of us has gone through. Watch how she handles her life and grows. If you didn’t love her from the beginning like I did, hopefully, you will love her at the end of the book. Even more, this should be required reading for everyone who doesn’t shop Lane Bryants, or the flowered muumuus at the XX end of the rack. You think skinnies are the norm? They’re not. If you think telling the larger person to diet is going to change things, you are wrong. How about love. What happened to kindness and love?

By the way, the reason this book took me so long to read was the font size. I had to take it in bits. But those bits with a bookmark and bright light got me through. Still I would have liked the Kindle version better.

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Zentangle: Zentangle Art Basics: How to create beautiful patterns and shapesZentangle: Zentangle Art Basics: How to create beautiful patterns and shapes by Hailey Leman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have to admit that I have a bit of confusion going on here. I picked up two Zentangle books at the same time. One because it was free and the other because I could get it for free with Kindle Unlimited. This one was $2.99 last I looked. Though I got it for free. Now do I have you confused, too?

Either book is a good starting point for learning about the good that doing a bit of Zentangling can do for you. Both have written instructions for getting started. This one had a couple more illustrations. Just as a hint of the type of designs that one can do simply even if you are not an artist. In fact, that is a point made in both books.

Both books are quick reads, even without pictures. And so I read them both yesterday one after the other.

Which one is best? The one with more pictures. But only because of that. I wish either of them had more visual instructions. Can you imagine being taught to draw without anything to look at to compare to? Yeah. Oh, some are upset about the size of the pictures. I found if I clicked on the tiny picture I can enlarge it to a satisfying size.

My advice? If you see these for free, grab ’em and read ’em. After that head over to Zentangle.com and play around that site. Then go check out the Youtubes that the site recommends. Pick up a Zentangle kit. I did and have loved working with it. One of these days, I will post some of my resulting tangles here.

Now I am going to copy and paste this review into the other books review changing only the price range and a word or two here or there. Try Zentangling!

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