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A book of gifts

September 8, 2011 2 comments

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I ordered this book a couple of weeks ago, and was thrilled when it finally arrived on my doorstep. A nice treat to come home to after work!

There are a so many beautiful patterns in this book that I want to try making, from little decorative ornaments to more practical items like bags. Some of the fabrics I got from the yard sale might work perfectly in some projects from this book, especially ones that I don’t plan to use to make a quilt. I’m looking forward to getting some sewing practice here, and making some very beautiful things!

It also happily goes into some of the history and tradition surrounding gift-giving in Japanese culture, which was nice to read. If you’re interested in Japanese gifts, or if you have a lot of fabric scraps and no idea what to do with them all, then take a look at this book if you get the chance. It’s worth it!

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Categories: books

Review: Sew Kawaii, by C Knight

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I was privileged to receive a digital copy of Sew Kawaii from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Just looking at the cover makes me want to find some good material and get sewing, and that’s just my first impression. Based on the cover alone, this is probably a book I would pick up if I saw it in the store.

The book is a relatively thin one that starts off with a little bit of info as to just what kawaii means, not only the literal meaning but also from a cultural standpoint. A good little background for those who may not be so familiar with Japanese words and concepts. (It keeps this up by introducing Japanese words for various projects throughout the book, which is fun to see.) It also does what every craft book does and tells you a little about the types of materials you’re going to need, along with an overview of the basic skills needed to make the projects.

The projects range from easy to a little more advanced, but none of them are particularly hard to accomplish. The types of projects vary, from cute little keychain or cell phone charms to large items like character hats and scarves. Naturally, there are patterns here for cute stuffed animals, too. The book doesn’t stop at giving directions for accessories, either. There are instructions for altering clothes to make them cuter or give them animal attributes, and to make larger items of clothing.

Some of the accessories are cute but impractical. While I can imagine someone wearing a plush scarf with a cat face at an anime convention, I can’t see some of these things being used in daily life. The charms and stuffed animals, though, are both easy and make great gifts, and can be enjoyed by many people at many times. Most of the larger clothing patterns are more practical, too, while still being stylish and cute.

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Not all, though. The squid dress, for example, may be cute but goes right back into the realm of something you can probably only wear at a costume party or a convention. And I dread to think about how many times those hanging tentacles could make a person trip.

It’s safe to say, though, that if you like cute things, you’ll find something in this book that you’ll really enjoy making. There are more than a couple of patterns that I have my eye on that I think are going to be very cute!

Categories: books

Craft book review! Fabric by Fabric: One-Yard Wonders, by R Yaker & P Hoskins

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(I am privileged to have gotten a review copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions expressed here are my own and I was not financially compensated for them in any way.)

Fabric by Fabric starts off, as any good craft book should, with a review of instructions of skills needed for the projects within, like basic sewing machine use, different supplied needed, and a very convenient chart of different fabric types and the best ways to handle them. This information is not only good for somebody new to sewing, but also good as a quick and easy reminder for those who are more experienced.

When we get past the introduction and into the patterns, everything’s organized by fabric type, and you quickly become amazed at the large number of things you can accomplish with just a single square yard of fabric. Children’s clothes, scarves, pillows, bags, and other household accessories sure to bring a touch of style to the place you live.

The clothing patterns are such that they skirt the line between looking handmade and storebought – neat and tidy (not sloppy and badly made – we all know that stereotype behind handmade items) while still allowing for a personal touch that means you can make your wardrobe your own. And also, while the patterns are clearly marked to be sewn with a machine, it’s still possible to sew them by hand if that’s the way you prefer to do things. (I know I prefer hand-sewing to machine-sewing.) The instructions are clear and well-written, easy to understand by novices and the experienced alike.

Just looking at the patterns in this book is inspirational, and I want to spend my days sorting through my fabric stash and sewing up some wonderful new things. I highly recommend this book, both for the sheer amount of creative patterns in it (just over 100 in total) and for the amount of skills it teaches in its pages. If it introduces something that people may not know through basic sewing experience (smocking, for example, or folding kanzashi flowers), it throws the tutorial in, giving people access to new skills and new ways of expressing themselves through fabric and thread. If you have the chance to get this book, I recommend doing so. You won’t be disappointed.

Categories: books

New books!

May 27, 2011 3 comments

I ordered some books from The Book Depository not too long ago, which, by the way, is a wonderful site because it offers free shipping without a minimum order, and takes PayPal as a form of payment. The books finaly arrived the other day, and I’m so happy I just have to show them off!

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I’m a big fan of lace knitting, and Marianne Kinzel’s books are must-haves for lace knitters! I’ve also been interested in temari for a while, and I can’t wait to get some balls and start experimenting with patterns!

I also got something to expand my cooking horizons.

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There are so many recipes in here that I want to try, not just specifically for bento but just because they look so good. I’m looking forward to trying some of them out, and I’ll be sure to post and let you all know how they turned out.

Categories: books