Monday, October 21, 2019

Mastering Modern Calligraphy Review

Develop your own modern calligraphy style! From the bestselling author of Modern Calligraphy: Everything you need to know to get started in script calligraphy comes Mastering Modern Calligraphy: Beyond the Basics: 2,700+ Pointed Pen Exemplars and Exercises for Developing Your Style by Molly Suber Thorpe. This is a pointed pen calligraphy practice book. Its focus is on modern pointed pen styles. Modern calligraphy intentionally bends the strict rules of traditional calligraphy. If you know how to use a pointed pen this book is for you. It picks up where the authors first book (above) left off. To complete the exemplars and exercises in this book you only need a few supplies - a pencil, penholder, several nibs, good ink and practice paper. An expert in the field Molly shares the supplies that are popular, her personal favorites and sources worldwide. Then it's practice, practice, practice! I've listed the complete table of contents below. It includes pencil warm-ups, stroke drills, a breakdown of the components of modern script, letterforms and ligatures, step-by-step guidance for refining your unique lettering style, layout design, flourishes, lettering guide sheets and more. The spiral binding of this book allows for lay-flat, hands free study. I had no difficulty following along in this attractive and well-written book. Molly is an experienced and dedicated teacher who generously shares the tricks of the trade. I found her book organized, thorough and progressive - a course in mastering modern calligraphy! Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin released this 240 page spiral-bound on October 8, 2019. A Kindle version is also available. Get your copy below!



Methods for Effective Practice
Principles of Modern Calligraphy Styles
Letter & Grid Construction
A Guide to Supplies
Help Desk

Warm-up Exercises & Drills
Pencil Warm-ups
Stroke Drills

Modern Calligraphy, Letter by Letter
The Building Blocks
Arrow Key
A Modern Basic Alphabet
Modern Variations: Letters, Numbers & Symbols
Modern Ligatures

From Letters to Words
One Change at a Time
Word Explorations

Five-Complete Alphabets
Cream Soda
Blackboard Monoline

Majuscules & Monograms
Chubby Bunny
Vice Versa

Small Layouts
Layout Practice
Writing on Curves & Slants
Envelope Addressing
All-caps Styles

Flourishes & Borders
Flourish Drills
Decorative Flourishes
Illustrative Flourishes
Wreaths & Laurels

Grids & Guides


Additional Resources

About the Author

Back cover.

Anatomy of the grid.

Pencil Warm-ups.

Pencil Warm ups.

 Stroke Drills.

Stroke Drills continued.

Flourishes & Borders. 

Mastering Modern Calligraphy is available worldwide at St Martin's GriffinISBN-13: 978-1250206992. St Martin's Griffin is an imprint of Macmillan Publishers.

Molly's first book Modern Calligraphy is available worldwide at St Martin's GriffinISBN: 9781250016324St. Martin's Griffin released this 192 page paperback on September 24, 2013.

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Draw Any Animal Book Review & GIVEAWAY

This very special book is now in print: The Draw Any Animal BookOver 150 Simple Step-by-Step Drawing Sequences for Every Kind of Creature by Robert Lambry. The French author and illustrator originally created these lessons for a weekly children's paper in the 1920s and 30s. Later these same illustrations were compiled into a book and published in French as Les Animaux Tels Qu'ils Sont (Animals as They Are). Now for the first time these vintage images are available in a freshly bound book in English. Lambry shows how to draw a wide range of realistic animals (listed below) using simplified geometric forms. So delightful and compelling are his images you'll want to pick up a pencil and begin drawing, no matter your age! And you can on the adjacent pages, left blank for that purpose. Beautiful in their simplicity and easy to understand these original illustrations stand the test of time! The only tools you'll need are a pencil and eraser. Quarry Books released this 176 page paperback on October 15, 2019. Get your copy below!

table of contents

General notions
Simple shapes

More cats

Rats and water voles
Small rodents
Ground hogs, mongooses, and beavers
More beavers
Ermines and sable

Hedgehogs and porcupine
Stags and deer


Sheep and goats
More horses
Donkey and mules
Pigs and boars
Roosters and hens
Hens and chicks
Turkeys and guinea fowl
Partridges and quails
Geese and swans

Owls and bats
Crows and magpies
Seagulls and pigeons
Flightless birds

More lions
Big cats
More big cats
Apes and monkeys
Hyena and jackals
Lynx and cheetahs
Antelopes and gazelles

Lizards and crocodiles

Seals and sea lions
More shellfish
Snail and slugs
Penguins and auks

More bugs
Butterflies and moths
Locust, crickets, earwigs

Stags and deer, page 50.

Pheasants page 82.

Giraffes page 140

Les Animaux Tels Qu'ils Sont
par R. et L. Lambry

Les Elephants
Page 19

Round ... Pigs, boars
Page 21

The Draw Any Animal Book ISBN-13: 978-1631598418 is available worldwide at Quarry Books, a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Check out their unique catalog at Quarry Books. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until October 31, 2019. Prize includes shipping. Canada & the USA only. Good luck!

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Monday, October 07, 2019

Art Starts in the Heart Review & GIVEAWAY

Get personal with your art - Art Starts in the HeartCreative projects and inspirational ideas for learning to make expressive, mindful art. It is written and illustrated by Erin McManness whose previous works include the best-selling Art Starts with a Line. Develop your drawing skills and personal style with this inspiring collection of tutorials, projects, prompts and practice space all on large 9 x 12" (23 x 30 cm) pages. The author begins by sharing her favorite tools and materials. You will need tools for drawing, adding color and ideally a mixed media sketchbook. Use the supplies of your choice. Warm up with some basic drawing, lettering, coloring and digital techniques practice. Learn some design, composition and layout fundamentals. Draw (step-by-step) six decorative frames. Create (step-by-step) five art prints. Put it all together on 44 pages of prompts designed to encourage self-reflection in your art-making. It's like a personal art journal! Walter Foster Publishing will release this 128 page paperback on October 8, 2019. It is available now for pre-order. Get your copy below!



How To Use This Book
Suggested Tool & Materials
Drawing Techniques
Lettering Techniques
Working in Color
Digital Techniques

Creating a Pleasing Design
Composition Tips & Tricks
Creating a Beautiful Layout

Framing Devices

Step-by-Step Art Prints
 Hand lettered Floral Quotes
 Embellished Portrait
 Illustrated Map
 Symmetrical Folk Art
 Portrait of Your Pet or Favorite Animal

Inspiration for the Journey
Creative Prompts to Spark Your Imagination
Vision Board

About the Artist

Pages 10/11.

Pages 14/15.

Pages 18/19.

Pages 20/21.

My copy.

Art Starts in the Heart ISBN-13: 978-1633228108 is available worldwide at Walter Foster. Walter Foster is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Walter Foster is one of the most recognized names in art instruction. Check out their unique catalog at Walter Foster. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy! One winner will be selected at random. Open until October 21, 2019. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Butterflies in Origami Review & GIVEAWAY

Many origami butterfly models exist but I haven't come across these ones before - Butterflies in Origami by Nick Robinson! Inside, the British origami master has hand-picked 20 lesser known, though wonderful, origami butterfly folds. These unique designs are from a variety of noted paper folders including the author himself. Each has large, clear diagram and text instruction, as well as colorful project photos. All models start with a 7 inch square. I really like the paper-to-model ratio that is included. Each design has a difficulty rating and the designs increase in difficulty. If you do get stuck, there is a link for each project to a step-by-step video tutorial. I was hooked after making the first butterfly. Dover Publications released this 128 page paperback October 17, 2018. Get your copy below!


How to fold - choosing paper

9-Fold Butterfly
Pinwheel Butterfly
Emerging Butterfly
Butterfly Envelope
Sunbathing Butterfly

Yoshizawa's Butterfly
Australian Butterfly
Donahue's Butterfly
Meadow Brown
Moth Silhouette

Daisy Butterfly
Snyder Butterfly
Spotted Butterfly
Butterfly Card
Gigandet Butterfly

Loving Butterflies
Donachie Butterflies
Butterfly for Nick Robinson
Crowding Butterflies

9-Fold Origami Butterfly

This is the 9-Fold Butterfly I folded. Its design is by Lee Armstrong.

Butterflies in Origami ISBN-13: 978-0486828770 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 October 17, 2019. Canadian & US addresses only. Good luck!

Friday, September 20, 2019

My First Knitting Book Review & GIVEAWAY

Learn to knit with patterns that are easy to read, not just a bunch of confusing abbreviations! My First Knitting Book: Easy-to-Follow Instructions and More Than 15 Projects by Hildegarde Deuzo. Starting with the basics you'll learn how to cast on and off, knit and purl, increase and decrease stitches and finishing. Finishing includes weaving in loose ends, seaming, button loops, fringe and pompoms. The garter, stockinette, seed, moss, and basket weave stitches are taught. Practice those skills with a variety of knitting projects perfect for new knitters (listed below). All directions are clearly laid out, with a materials list, text and diagram instruction, as well as photos. You can see from the photos below that there are some lovely knitting projects. Working your way through the projects in this book is an excellent way to get comfortable knitting and increase your confidence. With the techniques you'll master the possibilities are endless. A sweet first knitting book, particularly for girls, but I like it too. A variety of knitting needles, yarn and sewing notions are required to complete the projects. Dover Publications released this 64 page paperback on July 20 2016. A Kindle edition is available. Get your copy below!




How To of Knitting
To Begin
Casting On
The Knit Stitch
The Purl Stitch
Binding Off
Mixing Stitches
Increasing and Decreasing

Pretty Bows

Pouches and More...
Coin Purse
Pyramid Coin Chain


Egg Cozies
Small Tassel

Tea Time
Mug Sleeves

Pretty Hearts

Soft Jewelry

Dark Pink Scarf
Purple Scarf
Pink Scarf with Fringe
Light Blue Scarf

Basic Knitted Hat
Elegant Wool Hat

And a Few More Things...
My Own Page

 Purple Scarf

Image result for My First Knitting Book: Hildegarde Deuzo

Light Blue Scarf
Pink Scarf with Fringe

Elegant Wool Hat


Mug Sleeves

Coin Purse


Image result for tricotin hildegarde deuzo

Egg Cozies


A heart I knit from page 48. Because the instructions were easy to understand it was fun making it! I tied a piece of yarn on it so I could hang it.

My First Knitting Book ISBN-13: 978-0486805658 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 October 6, 2019. Canada & USA only. Good luck!

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Friday, September 13, 2019

nugoo, Japan - Tenugui Review

The world is discovering Japan's tenugui (click for pronunciation)! nugoo Japan's on-line shop has a large selection (over 300) of gorgeous tenugui, also known as Japanese hand towels. This multi-purpose cotton towel with so many practical everyday uses such as wiping, wearing and wrapping can even be hung as wall art! See nugoo's specially made hanging rods. Tenugui are made of lightweight 100% cotton and measure about 32 cm x 92 cm (12.6 x 36.2 inches). nugoo specializes in authentic tenugui hand dyed by skilled craftsmen using the chusen method - making them highly desirable. Chusen is a detailed dyeing process unique to Japan. It involves a hand cut stencil, resist dying, cold water washing and then open air drying. A feature of chusen dyeing is that the same pattern appears on both the front and back of the tenugui - making the color exceptional. Because they are dyed by hand no two pieces are exactly alike. Motifs reflect the change of seasons in Japan. nugoo has an ever-changing range of both classic and contemporary tenugui designs. They release two new collections a year. To view their just released autumn collection click on the Tenugui tab. Tenugui retail starting at USD$10.80 or CAD$15 each. Subscribe to nugoo's email list and get $5 USD off your next order (bottom right of their web-site). Get yours below!

My collection of nugoo tenugui - spring (sold out)autumn (same stencil, slightly different colors) and cockateel red.

My autumn tenugui as a picnic table runner in the dappled September sun. Note that the sides of tenugui are selvage, while the top and bottom edges are cut. This allows for a fringe to develop with use.  

Learn how to wrap a gift with a tenugui. The tenugui used is nugoo's Arare Blue.

Learn how to wrap a tissue box with tenugui. The tenugui used is nugoo's Shippou Orange. Match your tissue box to your decor!

nugoo Japan's on-line products include - tenugui, bento® lunch wraps, square cloth scarves, tea, accessories and greeting cards. Their online shop is in English, with prices in US dollars and worldwide shipping. You may also check prices in 14 different currencies including the Canadian dollar, British pound and Euro. Founded in 2006 nugoo also has five retail stores and a cafe in and around Tokyo.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Harvesting Tomato Seeds Tutorial

The second project I've done from my new book Propagating Plants is harvesting tomato seeds. I looked up tomato in the index and was directed to page 307.

Above is an excerpt from pages 307. I followed the instructions for harvesting tomato seeds. "Aside from F1 hybrids, tomatoes come true to type, so it is worth saving seeds. If you are doing so, allow the fruits to ripen just beyond the eating stage. Cut open and squeeze the seeds and pulp into a bowl. Label and leave undisturbed in a warm place for 2-3 days. A thick skin should form, and the gel that coats the seeds will ferment. After 3-4 days (no longer), scoop the skin off the top and rinse the seeds thoroughly in a sieve under running water. Spread out on paper towels to dry. Seeds can be stored in a cool, dry place for up to four years."

A few tomatoes from the Bruce Botanical Food Gardens. I'm especially interested in the seeds from the tiny yellow tomatoes. I think they are an heirloom variety called yellow currant tomato. I would like to grow them next spring.

September 1st, evening. Seeds from the tiny ripe yellow tomatoes only. It doesn't take many. The seeds neatly squirted out. I going to top off with a little water so they don't dry out.


September 5th, morning. A skin has formed as indicated so I'll scoop it off, rinse the seeds thoroughly and spread them out on a paper towel to dry.

September 6th, morning. Here are my tomato seeds! When they dried I brushed them off the paper towel onto the above plate. Why harvest tomato seeds? It costs nothing, plus it's easy, satisfying and rewarding.

A scan of pages 306 and 307 from Propagating Plants.

Propagating PlantsHow to Create New Plants for Free ISBN-13: 978-1465480125 is available worldwide at DK CanadaDK US, and DK UK. DK was founded in London in 1974 and is now the world leading illustrated reference publisher and a member of the Penguin Random House division of Bertelsmann.

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