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Craft Book Reviews

Silk Ribbon Embroidery Bible
The Essential Illustrated Reference
to Designs and Techniques

By Joan Gordon
ISBN: 0-89689-169-0  

The book is small enough to carry with you at 6.5" X 8" and less than 2" thick. Inside the hard cover you will find a wire spiral binding allowing the thick pages to remain flat when opened. This makes an ideal carry along with your project for quick and easy reference.

There are colored pictures and diagrams on almost every one of the 133 pages. I particularly like the diagram showing the pattern, key to stitches used and order of work on one page with a picture of the finished work as well as the list of materials needed, to complete the project, on the facing page. Diagrams and patterns are drawn in color making them easy to follow.

This 'Bible' includes an introduction by the author followed by a section on how to use the book itself. The chapter on Equipment and Techniques has a great deal of information on the supplies you will use, ways to transfer your patterns, dye your ribbons, how to mount, frame and care for your finished work.

There is an illustrated stitch collection showing the stitch, the method as well as examples of how to use the stitch. This is followed by the Motif Library a section of patterns shown on facing pages so everything is right in front of you to complete the piece.

Even the sections have been color coded making it simple to find what you are looking for in seconds. This is detailed enough for the beginning stitcher but there is enough information included that an experienced stitcher will find it an essential reference for anyone working with silk ribbon embroidery.

Digital Delights for Scrapbooking

Simple Techniques--Dynamic Results
by Sue Martin
ISBN: 1-57120-342-7 

As stated in the book "Great scrapbook pages start with great photos." and this book will show you how to take great photos. In the chapter "You, Too Can Take Perfect Pictures" we are told how to fix cool tones, use Polarized sunglasses to enhance our pictures, take beautiful outdoor photographs, zoom in on small objects, straighten the horizon and how to get the very best pictures with your digital camera.

This chapter is filled with tips and ideas of how to make your picture into a spectacular scrapbook page with the addition of special papers and embellishments.

The "Printing intriguing photos" chapter tells us about the different papers used to print your photos with side by side examples shown and more tips to explain the different results. Instructions on how to achieve special effects with examples of the same photograph and how it will look using each. Different page set ups are shown with the different effects but the same picture.

Black and white, sepia and antique photos are discussed and shown with different background pages to bring out the best in the photos.

We are shown photo collages, photo matting and how to mask the pictures. There is a section on printing on fabric and canvas along with tips on products used to build a better page. Finishing the pages is covered along with embossing inkjet paper, use of transparency film, vellum, handmade paper, cork, cardstock, printed paper and Mulberry paper. With a final section on heat embossing to give your pages a unique look.

Throughout the book each new scrapbook page shown has a box that lists the materials used on that scrapbook page and the company to contact for the materials. At the back of the book there is a source with contact information on all the suppliers. A must have for your scrapbook library.

Scrap Your Stuff

Keepsake Scrapbooking to Capture Special Memories
Edited by: Jan Mollet Evans ISBN: 1-57120-352-4 

Twenty seven top artists show you how to capture your memories and all those special occasions in your life.

Scrap Your Stuff Edited by Jan Mollet Evans Create unique keepsake albums to display and share! Jan and 27 talented scrapbook artists will help readers sort, sift, and select treasures to create amazing pages. Includes step-by-step instructions and materials lists for 28 projects.

Altered Board Book

Basic and Beyond
For Creative Scrapbooks, Altered Books & Artful Journals
Jan Bode Smiley
ISBN 1-57120-309-5 

Forty eight pages chock full of ideas and instructions to make beautiful, meaningful keepsake books.

The techniques include painting and textured backgrounds, how to add the text, create a niche, set eyelets and even how to dry plant materials for embellishing the pages. The entire book is full of colored photographs detailing the different techniques and sprinkled liberally with tips.

The author has provided an on-line resource list which has the URLs making it easy to locate supplies. There is also a list of contributing artists most with their URL as well.

Everything you need to know for personalizing a blank board book and creating an altered-book masterpiece!


Ready-to-Go! Blank Board Books

Many different sizes and styles of Acid Free blank board books that need no prep and each contains an idea brochure. They are ready to cut, stamp, glue, paint, draw and embellish any way you like. They make great "occasion" mini scrapbooks. Decorate and fill with memories of every day fun or special events and holidays. These board books are also a wonderful way to introduce children to journaling and scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking Plus,
More Than Just Paper

by Kathleen Greco & Nick Greco
Create & Treasure Publishing
ISBN # 1-57120-349-4 

Scrapbooking Plus, More Than Just Paper is filled with great ideas for embellishing your scrapbook pages several different ways: from buttons, to embossing powder. It covers the basics as well as some advanced methods of making your pages "pop" with color and excitement. It also has a list of free fonts that you download, as well as a list of resources for the exciting embellishments shown in the book.

The authors and creators of the scrapbook pages truly inspire the reader to get involved with the pages presented by adding personal background stories describing the pages, making it easier for the reader to visualize their own pictures and memories on the pages. The pages are also presented in such a way that ones own creativity is sparked with ideas to produce scrapbook pages or cards unique to them.

I was so inspired and intrigued with the ideas I almost forgot to write this review! I highly recommend this book for both beginning and advanced scrapbooker as well as those interested in making hand crafted cards.
Review by Cathy Temple

More Crazy Quilting with Attitude

By Barbara Randle
ISBN: 0-87349-975-1  

Barbara Randle's latest book is another winner. The many purses and bags are made following the detailed instructions, no pattern needed. The cover purse does have a full size pattern because of the shape of the purse. Included with the totes and purses Ms. Randle given us a diaper bag that any new mother will carry with Attitude.

This book is 128 pages full of instruction, pictures and diagrams for projects to tempt everyone. Those projects include the many bags , CQ pants, jackets skirts and blouses. The family dog is remembered with a pet bed that could easily work for the kitty in your life.

There are lamp shades, pillows and chair covers, even an upholstered chair. Benches and footstools as well as a dressing table and stool are also included. The final treat is a market umbrella that will provide a colorful shade on any patio.

Randle begins with quilting fabric, foundation fabric, tools of the trade, project guidelines and Crazy Quilting Techniques in the "Getting Started"section. She continues with three methods of Crazy Quilting, traditional, chevron and on the slant.

When it comes to embellishment use Randle's Rule: How to know when you've embellished enough. When it seems that there is enough embellishment on your work, add two more things!

This book is full of tips and techniques that make it a valued addition to your library. Even though your choice in color may be more traditional perhaps Barbara Randle can encourage you to try some more adventurous colors and give your next project some -Attitude.

Transforming Fabric

30 Creative Ways to Paint, Dye, and Pattern Cloth
by Carolyn A. Dahl

Carolyn Dahl has produced a comprehensive collection of thirty creative ways to change a plain white piece of fabric to a colorful work of art. This will be a valued addition to your resource library. Many of the techniques are old favorites but there are a number of new innovative ideas as well.

Ms. Dahl gives us the how to but also includes the why. The many pictures clearly detail the different techniques, along with the instructions, show us the results both those aimed for and the variations (not mistakes but different from the original aim).

Some of the techniques shown are Water Drop Pattern, Nature Patterns, Sponge and Moldable Foam Printing,Heat Transfer Dyes, Hand Cut Stamps, Wax Patterns and Silk Painting. This book includes techniques for the beginner as well as the more experienced among us. There is an extensive page of resources so you will be able to find all the supplies to reproduce Ms. Dahl's techniques.

More Amazing
Quilted Photography

By: Tammie Bowser
ISBN: 1-887467-51-3  
Mosaic Quilt Studio 

We are shown how a photograph is reproduced by pieces of fabric giving you a textured, painted look to the finished piece

The author tells us how art has inspired her and names a few artists that were of more influence in her development of this technique.

We are shown how to choose colors, the correct value and how to cut the fabric for the piece. Determine the right photographs to choose for this technique. Learn how to take photographs better suited to the technique and produce a quilted photograph to be proud of.

The instructions are easy to read and understand. There are plenty of pictures and diagrams to illustrate the instructions and help us make our own 'Quilted Photograph'.

More Amazing Quilted Photographs is also a very interesting read and would be a different addition to our library as well as your new techniques.

Fast Fun & Easy Fabric Boxes
Eight Great Designs - Unlimited Possibilities

Linda Johanson
ISBN 1-57120-265-4
C&T Publishing 

The book has very clear instructions with step-by-step how-to illustrations for the eight basic boxes. Some variations are also included. There are also ideas for embellishing the boxes. These boxes use the Double-Sided Fusible Stiff Interfacing or Timtex. Sources are given to purchase this interfacing and other supplies needed to complete the projects.

Throughout the instructions there are tips, fun ideas and easy ways to carryout the direction. There is also a full sized, pull out pattern sheet.

Make a box tonight for that gift you need tomorrow. These boxes are so fast, easy and fun to make you will have the ability to make all the gifts you will need.

Totally Tag Art

From Hot Off The Press
ISBN 1-56231-875-6 

141 Tags from simple to sophisticated, whimsical to wonderful.

This book begins with some general instructions and descriptions of the supplies needed and ends with patterns for the tags in between.

Each of the one hundred forty one tags are shown in color with the instructions, the Paper Pizazz papers used as well as where to find the papers. Some come from the books of papers (named) and others are available by the sheet both noted. The tags used are from Paper Flair Tags template and the designer's original shapes with patterns at the back of the book.

Many of your favorite designers have contributed to these great tags. They have chosen interesting embellishments to allow you to make tags for any occasion. Some are beautiful, dainty florals and there are a number of tags just for the males to either make or receive. You can find a tag that just fits your needs.

What is especially good about "Totally Tag Art" is the additional ideas that are sparked by the imaginative designs shown.

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