Good Books

Working at the library gives me a distinct advantage of checking out books before buying them. Here are some discoveries that will be going on my wishlist. And, while I do read fiction, I don’t usually buy fiction. Most of my purchases are nonfiction.

Here are a few of my current favorites.

 Gardening season is starting to wind down. Now is the time of year when I plant my pansies, yet more daffodil bulbs and a mum or two. I am beginning to put away my various garden furniture, doodads and mow the lawn one more time. I will only rake the leaves once, so I wait until November when the trees are naked; no earlier.

Still, when the skies are gray and the rain is going at it with no let-up in sight; when the furnace actually kicks in for the first time, it’s the perfect time to read the gardening books and dream of warmer, sunnier days in the garden. Gardening for all Seasons, published by Creative Homeowner, is a hefty volume packed full of beautiful pictures and gardening tips for the year. The first four chapters cover the basics and is helpful for the beginning gardener without being intimidating. The rest of the book follows each season with plant lists and descriptions and tips on new beds, propagation, pruning, plant divisions, mulches, blooming schedules, forcing bulbs, indoor gardens and on and on.

Gardening books of this caliber are usually published in the U.K. where the blooming times are off kilter for American gardens. Each chapter of this book covers what to expect in gardens in the cooler climates as well as the warmer climates.

  When I began blog surfing, I enjoyed checking out all the art and crafters writings. I kept seeing references to ATCs but with no explanation as to what they were. When I googled the term and found out the ATC stood for Artist Trading Cards, I felt as though I had learned the secret handshake to an underground club. Apparently this is the “in” art technique to crafters. In essence, these are the artist’s business cards, each hand made and traded in swaps. The only rule is that the size is 2 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ and that the artwork is on one side while the other side contains the artist’s information including name, date and number in a series, and email address. I originally found 1000 Artist Trading Cards by Patricia Bolton, who is editor-in-chief of one of my favorite magazines, Cloth Paper Scissors, at the bookstore but decided against buying it. It was a little overpriced for a single book and I had some other titles I wanted to buy first. I was happy to see it on display at work as I was passing the new titles the very next day. It is a really great book.

A little time is spent at the beginning explaining what Artist Trading Cards are and giving some instruction on making ATCs. The better part of the book is a large gallery of pictures showing 1000 sample of the cards by different artists and using different techniques.

Just enough information is given to teach the novice how to make these little cards, the rest of the book acts as inspiration and gets the creative juices flowing as encouragement for the reader. I know it gave me a few ideas that I’d like to try for myself.

    I really enjoyed another new craft book, Simple Sewingby Lotta Jansdotter. One problem that I noticed with many sewing books geared toward beginning sewers is having projects that are boring and outdated. When working on my very first sewing project in my 7th grade home economics class, we had a choice of making a curler’s cap (This was just as hot curlers and curling irons were just coming in vogue – not to mention that long, straight hair was in, not curly) or a small duffle bag.

Simple Sewing has easy projects that look good, are well designed and have clear instructions. I must admit, I got more excited (and somewhat distracted) by the beautiful fabrics that were used. I kept wondering where I could get these fabulous prints. I know our local fabric stores don’t have anything quite so wonderful.

I think I have a different idea about beginning sewing techniques. The author preferred to use 1/4″ hems, turning the edges under twice before machine sewing. I always felt that it was easier to use linings, stitching the front and back together and leaving a hole to turn the item to the outside, then just topstitching around the outside edges. Pinning hems takes a lot more time and can be discouraging to a novice sewer.

  I just wanted to mention a group of art magazines that I can’t live without. They are published by Stampington Press and some of my favorites are The Artful Blogging, Somerset Studio, Sew Somerset, and the newest title I found Somerset Holidays and Celebrations. These periodicals are practically books and the cost reflects this. They are not cheap….but also there are relatively no advertisements to distract the reader. I can’t really afford a subscription but I can buy them by the copy, so I check out the area bookstore about once a month to see if any new titles turn up. Check them out.

The last time I was in the bookstore I saw a tote bag that I wanted to buy. I didn’t need another book bag, but it had a quote that I loved. I had to have it… so I bought it.

It said:

“When I get a little money, I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” Erasmus

I can relate….


About Jill-O

a girl who likes lakes, trees and critters; making an attempt at living the artistic life.
This entry was posted in books, crafts, gardening, sewing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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