Review: The Spinner’s Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose

The Spinner's Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose
The Spinner’s Book of Fleece: A Breed-by-Breed Guide to Choosing and Spinning the Perfect Fiber for Every Purpose by Beth Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received this book about a week ago from the publisher for review.
I have not put it down since!

I don’t know how I could live without this book for so long!

What a wonderful resource!!!

This book will NOT teach you how to spin. It will teach you how to spin a yarn that suits the fibre you have! We(well I anyway) think about our projects and what the end result will be and then go from there. I have not ever started with the fibre. This book has toppled my spinning habit on it’s head! I cannot wait to go and find some of the breeds Mrs. Smith is talking about in her wonderful book and spin them into the perfect yarn for the perfect project!
I have always loved to knit with my home spun yarn, but this will make the whole experience even more rewarding, I think. To know the best way to show off any fibre’s strong points and really make it work for you and the project.

Mrs. Smith also gives a bit of a background on the sheep breeds, she discusses in the book. Couple this book with The Field Guide To Fleece and you are pretty much set for any fibre market, or breed auction you could imagine! I CAN’T WAIT TO TRY OUT SOME OF THE TIPS she gives for choosing your fleece at an auction, or a fibre festival! :)
I feel so much more confident to go and buy a fleece instead of processed fibre. I feel armed and ready!

But wait! There is more!
The book also teaches you how to identify the random bits in your stash, to which you lost all notes and labels. (yes, I have those too!! LOTS of those!)
So much information about the breeds and how to keep your head on straight when going to fibre shows and how to pick fleeces, or more processed fiber.

I honestly believe this book is a necessity in every spinners library. No matter if you are a beginner, or an expert. We all can use a refresher course from time to time and a little place to look things up. We can’t keep EVERYTHING in our heads, all the time.

Thank you, for such a wonderful resource book! I know I will recommend it to all my fibre friends.

The information is well written and easily understood and put in, are o practice. I find it always so important that even books like this one, for plain information are written well and in an engaging manner. This is absolutely the case for Beth Smith. She knows what she is talking about and gets it across in a way that doesn’t make you fall asleep three pages in.

I feel so much more confident in picking my next fleece and processing it myself to really show it off to it’s best.

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Review: Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids

Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids
Little One-Yard Wonders: Irresistible Clothes, Toys, and Accessories You Can Make for Babies and Kids by Patricia Hoskins
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ok… I got this book for review and my first thought was: Aaawww, I don’t have little ones….
Then I opened the book.
Oh my gosh! I LOVE everything about this book! I love (nearly) all the patterns in it. I ADORE the fabric choices! I love how easy to understand the instructions are.


If you know me, I do not often give five stars….but this one deserves it.

The fabrics chosen for the samples in the book were absolutely delightful! They made you want to run out and get sewing. I kid you not! One of the few times, I actually read the source in the back of the book, to see where I can get these scrumptious fabrics.

The patterns in the book are relatively easy and straight forward. They are cute and practical and a few whimsical ones.

As I was sitting and squeeee-ing over the book, my daughter came to check it out with me and even she (18 year old teenager) thought the patters were absolutely adorable and she found a few things she would like to make to use for herself. (no, no babies on the way, or even in our circle of friends, just really great ideas on the pillow and bag- front)

All in all: If you even have a remote chance of having a little one around the house and are a seamstress: GET THIS BOOK! Even if you DON’T have little ones, this book will inspire you to get sewing! It certainly has for me!

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Review: Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles

Buffi's Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles
Buffi’s Dress Design: Sew 30 Fun Styles by Buffi Jashanmal
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

First off, let me tell you: I don’t think I am the right target audience for this book. I am a middle aged woman and an intermediate beginning seamstress. I also have a VERY specific taste when it comes to my clothes.

I am not a big fan of wild prints and bold colours. (Maybe as a splash of colour, but I do not like to walk around dipped in hot pink, or bright yellow, if that makes sense. Most of the sample dresses in the book, have either big prints, or really bold colours. So I had to look past that to “see” the dress.
Most of the dresses are also too short for a woman like myself. I do not hold that against the designer, however. There are plenty of people, not minding their underwear showing, when they bend over.
I guess this is easy to fix, by simply making the dress longer. Not a big deal. Most of the designs appear simple at first glance, but are not really just cut and go. One has to be aware at every stage what is going on. I am not sure, if these designs are for absolute beginners.

Also: The sample pieces do not fit the models properly. That is disturbing to see. It makes me wonder, if the dresses will fit me. I do not want to put all that hard work and money in, only to find out it won’t fit. Nice fabric is not cheap. This is not just my opinion. I have let several other (accomplished) seamstresses look at the book. They all concurred. I let them check it out, since I didn’t trust myself judging this. The dresses sag, strain and bunch up in the wrong spots.

The Chapters one and two (Fabrics and tools, Slopers, Patterns and Muselins) are actually quite interesting. In my opinion there is not much in this book, that would appeal to a 40 year old woman. I have no idea about younger generations (although my 17 year old daughter agreed, she didn’t like any of the fabrics chosen, or the way the clothes fit on the models). Take that for what it’s worth.

I am not saying stay away. I really think there might be people out there, that love bright colours and garish prints and short, short dresses. Go, give it a once-over when you’re in the book shop.
I might try one of the patterns in the book and see. I will amend my review at that point to reflect the experience. Please don’t hold your breath though, it could take a while.
Again, this review is not meant to put the designer down, it is just my opinion about the patterns offered in the book.

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Review: Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community

Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community
Quilting with a Modern Slant: People, Patterns, and Techniques Inspiring the Modern Quilt Community by Rachel May
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I just got a copy of this book for review this past week from the publisher.
Initially, I always leaf through new books, after taking them out of the envelope, then set them aside to read later on. This book gripped me and would not let go. It was rather late, so I *had* to put it down, but I finished it up the next chance I had.

It has a few patterns and “how to’s” in it, but this is not the reason I would call it an instructional book. I read the Bios of all the artists. This is more inspirational and instructional and uplifting than any patterns they could have given.

It is amazing to read how other artists handle inspiration, go about their work and what process they follow. What got them into their medium and how they love it with abundance.

Now, I am not sure, if it was intended, but here is what I got out of this book:
I would even recommend this book to non-quilters. The colours, the photos, the stories… it will get you excited. It will get you ready to start something in whatever medium you choose.
It will make you feel amazing about the idea of creating something. Something simply YOU. While reading this book, I felt a big burden come off my shoulders. The words of the other artists, telling me through these lines that it is ok to make something nobody but myself will like. To make something JUST FOR ME. I have always worked this way, since I kept myself in some isolation by not joining ravelry and other knitting sites. However, I have felt bad ever since I did join, though. Was it ok, to continue making things for me and simply sharing my taste and my preferences?
I know it si weird to credit a book with this epiphany, but it really hit me while reading. I am doing what I love, I should keep doing it. Keeping my own spin on things will keep me relevant TO MYSELF. It will show in my art, in my work and in my life.

A truly inspirational book.


Review: Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup

Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup
Soup Night: Recipes for Creating Community Around a Pot of Soup by Maggie Stuckey
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have been asked by the publisher of this book, if I wanted to participate in a “blog hop” in celebration of the release.
Ever since that email came and I agreed to it, I was waiting by the mailbox for the book to arrive!! I have to let you all know: I was dang set on trying out a recipe from the book for this review…. then I got the flue. Now I am sitting in bed, reading through the book and dreaming about all the wonderful soups I could have. (Dh is sticking to the tried and true chicken soup from the heart, to pamper me through this spout.) However! This is not to mean I will not dive in when I am better! SO get ready for an update next week-ish!


YUM! Squash soup!

P.s.: Read all the way through to the end. There is a surprise coming! ;)

I LOVE SOUP! There. I said it.

I love soup, warm or cold, summer or winter, lunch or dinner.

FINALLY (it really didn’t take that long)!! It arrived! Oh boy!

At first glance, I fell in love. The picture on the book cover is scrumptious! It is of the Carrot Vichyssoise. I have never had that soup before and can’t wait to try it out.

The book’s front page is high gloss and I assume will wipe off easily, with little damage to the cover itself, if done immediately. (I always like cookbooks, where I don’t have to be afraid to take them in the kitchen. My kids are now all teenagers and very responsible persons. When they were little, however, they were not quite as careful around water and broth and other ingredients. I never let that stop me from having them with me and helping me to cook. So what if my book has a few dinner stains? It’s a cook book after all! (Quite frankly, I think it adds to the memories.)

What struck me next was, how heavy this book is. It does not look it, but it packs a punch!

Now, when I signed up for this, I purposefully avoided any other reviews of it and even the synopsis. I always want to give every book I review my undivided attention and my honest, unbiased opinion.
I thought it was a book about soup recipes(not that this fact alone already made giddy with glee), but this book turns out to be so much MORE!
It is about hosting SOUP NIGHTS at your house, in your neighbourhood.
In short, it is a recipe for community. For “together”. For “remember when’s”. For cozy nights, with the windows light up not only by light, but by laughter and happiness and the feeling of belonging. This might make me sound gushy, and naive, and old fashioned, and a bit of a sucker, but a sucker be I! This is truly what I got out of this book!

The Butternut and Acorn squash soup and the Spinach pot-sticker (and for my Asian friend, who always gets offended when I call them pot-stickers, it’s what the recipe calls them! :P ) soup are definitely ON TOP of our Must Make List!

It gets better from there! The recipes do not only include soups! There is desert! (You have to LOVE any cook book that includes this most important part of any meal lol.)There are recipes for an Oatmeal- and a Banana bread, Lemon-Raspberry Pie (can I hear a SQUEEEEEEE please?) and Peanut Butter-Chocolate chip cookies, among many more.
Or how about a Pumpkin Seed Flatbread? Anyone interested in making “Not your Grandmother’s Grean Pea Salad?

Ok enough raving about the contents. Now on to the nitty gritty. The book sports a handy Metric conversion char.(for our Northern Neighbours, or people like me, who grew up measuring in Metric.

I like how the recipes are divided into the seasons, since our family believes in seasonal eating. Having what is naturally available, rather than Greenhouse grown. (Ok, so, I DO have tomatoes year round, because I love them ever so much, but we are making an honest effort.)

Butternut and Acorn squash soup. ON MY MUST MAKE LIST!

Butternut and Acorn squash soup. ON MY MUST MAKE LIST!

The only gripe I have about the book is that the recipes are only listed by name in the index in the back of the book. I wish they would be listed in short in the chapters and I wish they had pictures. Sometimes (fine….. ALL THE TIME) I have trouble remembering names of recipes and I have to physically flip through the book to find the picture I want. I also wish that it had pictures of all the recipes in it. I find that a big plus in a cook book, if you can actually SEE what it is supposed to look like, or if your green and purple stew is just slightly off target. (you would not believe the vivid colours  REAL vegetables can add to your food!)

All in all I am sincerely recommending this book to everyone! Soup-addict like me, or not. We are going to have a soup night after we are done having the house renovated. (Ok do not freak out yet, we have to buy it first, then the invitations should roll out.)

I am very grateful to Miss Maggie Stuckey and all the other contributors, for going through all this work and putting out a book, that is not only feeding our stomachs, but also our souls!


So now to the promised surprise: I get to give away ONE COPY of this really delicious book  (no pun intended) to one of my wonderful readers!!!!!!

So please do leave a comment here, if you would like to be entered into the drawing. I will hold the drawing  Saturday, November 18th, alongside the recounting of my soup night adventures ;)

You have plenty of time to comment. Remember: The holidays are coming! If you don’t want the book for yourself, maybe you have a soup addict among your family and friends to give it to?