Saturday, July 17, 2021

Little Creative Thinker's Exercise Book Review & GIVEAWAY

Can creativity be learned? Yes, says Danish creativity expert Dorte Nielsen. Designed especially for children, the Little Creative Thinker's Exercise Book is a spin-off of the Creative Thinker's Exercise Book. It's based on the ideas presented in The Secret of the Highly Creative Thinker also by Nielsen. She theorizes that at the core of creative thinking is the ability to see or make connections. And that you can improve this ability by training it. Her book features 40 practical exercises designed to strengthen children's connection making skills. Kids can complete them on their own. Just add pencil or pen. Begin by looking carefully at the page. Follow the kid-friendly (diagram or text) instructions. Complete the exercise by drawing your answers in the space provided. A clear example is given. The activities, challenges and exercises may be done in about 10 - 30 mins each. It's a wonderful way to nurture creative thinking in children. They'll just think it's fun. I had to try the exercises. Though it's intended for kids - I loved it. I completed the 3 exercises shown below. Whose creativity would you like to encourage? BIS Publishers released this 111 page paperback on January 4, 2019. Get your copy below!

1. Getting started.

4. Shape connections. 

7. Unexpected places.

Some sample pages.

4. Shape connections - my answers from page 14 and 15.

The Little Creative Thinker's Exercise Book ISBN-13 : 978-9063694913 is available in Canada at Indigo Books and worldwide on Amazon. It is published by the Netherlands BIS and distributed by LKP. Laurence King Publishing has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until August 3, 2021. CANADA ONLY. Good luck!

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Saturday, July 10, 2021

Origami Jewelry Review & GIVEAWAY

Make wearable origami! You only need to look on Etsy to see how popular origami jewelry is. In her pretty little book Origami Jewelry, Mayumi Jezewski shows how to make your own. By combining the arts of paper folding and jewelry making she's created 35 earrings, brooches, bracelets, necklaces, rings and hair accessories. You'll need some origami paper and basic jewelry making supplies. The fundamental supplies are listed with a description and photo. The techniques used to mount the origami to the jewelry are clearly shown and explained. The origami key is your guide to the basic folds and symbols. All projects come complete with a materials list, exact paper measurements, easy to follow instructions and plenty of cute photos. The paper folding instructions and the jewelry making techniques are straightforward. So far I've folded the heart, box and butterfly easily. While I haven't made any of the jewelry I feel like I could. With the array of origami paper available the possibilities are endless! The use of varnish or vinyl glue to finish your models is optional. What's your favorite piece of origami jewelry? The table of contents listed below. Dover Publications released this 64 page paperback on July 20, 2016. An electronic version is available. Get your copy below!


Mounting Techniques
Key to Origami Terms


My Own Page

Jewelry making materials from page 7.

Origami paper samples from page 7. 

Heart bracelet from page 17.

Rosette earrings from page 27.

Menko necklace from page 67.

Origami Heart

A pretty heart I folded from page 14. It measures approximately 3 x 3 cm.

Origami Jewelry  ISBN-13 : 978-0486805641 is available worldwide at Dover Publications. Dover, Great Books, Variety & Value Since 1941. Check out their catalog at Dover Publications. Dover has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until July 27, 2021. Canada & USA only. Good luck!

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Thursday, July 01, 2021

Cloud Spotter Review & GIVEAWAY

Look up! What’s that cloud? Learn how to identify clouds with Cloud Spotter: 30 Cards to Keep You Looking Up by Gavin Pretor-Pinney. He is founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society (2005) and a bestselling cloud author. Inside you'll find a set of 30 cards designed to help the beginning cloud spotter recognize and learn about common cloud types. The front of each card features a hand-painted watercolour cloudscape by illustrator and artist Marcel George. On the back you'll find a paragraph of information about the cloud pattern, for example - name, description, characteristics and distinguishing features. Highlighted and listed on the right are mood, altitude, precipitation, etymology, rarity rating and classification. The text is written for a general audience. The Cloud Spotter cards remind us to pause and look up. They provide a fun way to learn about the wide variety of clouds freely accessible to us all. This tech-free, family-friendly activity encourages an interest in science, weather and the environment. The Cloud Spotter cards come in a sturdy box for easy storage and portability. They would make a cool and unique gift. Cloudspotting has given me a new appreciation for the ever-changing skies around me. I'm enjoying it even more than I expected. The best place for cloud spotting is right where you are! Laurence King Publishing released this boxed set on April 27, 2021. Get your set below!

Box size: ‎ 10.8 x 3.49 x 13.34 cm (4.25 x 1.38 x 5.25 inches).

Some examples of the Cloud Spotter cards - both sides.

The fluctus - count yourself lucky if you spot this cloud formation.

Cloud spotting on the patio.

Included pamphlet on how to be a cloud spotter. 

Cloud Spotter ISBN-13 : 978-1786278883 is available worldwide at Laurence King. Established in London, England in 1991 Laurence King Publishing is one of the world’s leading publishers of books and gifts on the creative arts. Check out their unique catalog at Laurence King. Laurence King has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until July 18, 2021. CANADA  ONLY. Good luck!

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Saturday, June 19, 2021

Stitched Textiles: Animals Review & GIVEAWAY

New 6th title in popular textile series just released - Stitched Textiles: Animals by Mrs Bertimus! From inspiration to final design the UK artist shows how she creates her wonderful animal-themed stitched textiles using freestyle machine embroidery and a little bit of hand stitching. She says the thread becomes the pencil and the fabric becomes the paint. Her book is divided into 5 main parts - Where to start, Composition, Going further, Telling a story and Projects. It's packed with insight into her creative process - from the materials she uses to step-by-step demonstrations of a whole range of techniques. There are 3 stitched textile projects - Sausage Dog, Midnight Fox and Acrobat Mouse. Templates are included. Delightful examples of the author's work are featured throughout. As well as machine embroidery you'll find collage, printing, drawing and some of the authors stories plus the methods she used in the work. An amended table of contents is shown below. I have individually listed every topic. You won't find this anywhere else. Publisher Search Press released the 128 page paperback on May 28, 2021. Get your copy below!


Fabrics, Embroidery, Art

Where to start 
Core techniques
Engaging with your subject
Choosing colors: my palette
Making your drawing
Tonal value maps
Fabric collage
Freestyle machine embroidery
Sheep skull

It's all about balance
Orientation - the horizontal and the vertical
Composing: Whitby Sheep
Identifying tones
Planning the stitches
Composition challenges
Refining the fabric collage
Letting the character emerge
Composition of the fabric collage
Composing with sticky notes
Into abstraction

Going further
Advanced techniques
Paper collage
Paper and stitch
Gel-plate printing
Using gel-plate printing alongside other techniques
Making your own printing plates
Printing fabrics
Using the printed fabrics
Masks and stencils
Layering prints and combining techniques
Reserving areas
Creating texture

Telling a story
Starting points
Stories, sketches and photographs
Acrobat Mice
Story and colour
Story and style: old photographs

Sausage Dog
Step-by-step project

Midnight Fox
Step-by-step project

Acrobat Mouse
Step-by-step project


Sausage Dog - Project #1.

Midnight Fox  - Project #2.

Acrobat Mouse - Project #3.

This layout is from the chapter on composition. It's a look at backgrounds. If you read the text under the images then look closely at the image you'll be able to see exactly what Mrs. Bertimus means.

Sticky notes technique.

Freestyle machine embroidery technique.

Charming examples of Mrs Bertimus's work.


Queen of Sheba

Minuet and Mouse in a Spotty Teacup. 

How to set up your machine for freestyle machine embroidery, page 24.

Party Lurcher from page 43.

Stitched Textiles: Animals ISBN-13 : 978-1782218227 is available worldwide at Search Press. Search Press is an independent, multi award-winning, family owned art and craft book publisher. Check out their unique catalog at Search Press. Search Press has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until July 6, 2021. Canada & USA only. Good luck!

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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Big Stitch Quilting Review & GIVEAWAY

Learn how to hand quilt in the big stitch style! Carolyn Forster's brand new book Big Stitch Quilting: A practical guide to sewing and hand quilting 20 stunning projects is now out. Inside, the UK's expert quilter, master teacher and best-selling author introduces big stitch quilting - also known as utility quilting. Don't let the word utility mislead you - these quilts are beautiful. This method of hand quilting uses longer stitches, thicker threads and a bigger needle to hold the layers of the quilt together. It makes the quilting process easier and therefore faster. The stitches add texture and visual appeal to the quilt. I love the distinct look of the stitching. The 20 projects in this book are quilted using a range of big stitches inspired by Indian kantha and Japanese sashiko and boro style stitching. This includes a selection of 9 quilts and 11 smaller projects. All are lovely. The small projects are perfect for building your skills and confidence while using up scraps. You'll find patterns complete with measurements, requirements, fabric cutting and instructions. To make the process easy to follow, all methods are explained step-by-step, include diagram instruction and generous photography. All of them are beginner friendly. Full-size templates are provided. Big stitch quilting is ideal for the modern quilter who wants a handmade element with a quicker process. Of the 11 quilted items shown below which is your favorite? The complete table of contents is listed below. Publisher Search Press released the 144 page paperback on May 25, 2021. An electronic version is available. Get your copy below!


What is big stitch quilting
Historical and cultural examples of big stitch quilting
Tools and materials
Stitching the patchwork
Quilt designs
Quilting stitches 

The Quilts
Navy Borders
Swedish Bars 
Fabric Stack
Stepping Stones 
Every Last Piece 
Scattered Flowers 
Quilted Vines Mini Quilt 
Dolly Quilt

The Gifts
 Furoshiki cloths 
Kitchen table topper 
 Sewing roll
Ruby McKim Tulip Pillow
Knot bag
Hot Water Bottle Cover 
Golden pincushion
Lavender bags
Table centre


From the Quilting stitches section, pages 36 - 37. 

From the Binding section, pages 38 - 39.

Five of the 9 quilts, pages 44 - 45.

Navy boarders quilt, pages 48 - 49.

Swedish bars quilt, pages 58 - 59.

Fabric stack quilt, pages 64 - 65.

Stepping stones quilt, pages 70 -71. 

Lavender bags, pages 132 - 133.

Coasters, page 99.

Sewing roll, page 109.

Furoshiki cloths, page 101.

Every last piece quilt, page 77.

A very useful tip from page 14.

Big Stitch Quilting ISBN-13 : 978-1782218210 is available worldwide at Search Press. Search Press is an independent, multi award-winning, family owned art and craft book publisher. Check out their unique catalog at Search Press. Search Press has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until June 27, 2021. Canada & USA only. Good luck!

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