Book Review – Arts and Crafts

Book Review – Art on the Rocks by F. Sehnaz Bac, Marisa Redondo, Margaret Vance.

3 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Quarto Publishing Group – Walter Foster for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Don’t let my mid-range score make you think this is a mediocre book as it’s not! It was, however a hard electronic ARC to read (kept freezing and glitching) and, to be honest, there are so many good books, Pinterest sites and blogs on rock art right now and unfortunately I didn’t feel ‘Art on the Rocks’ stood out enough to get more than an average score.

But, again, this isn’t me saying it wasn’t any good… it was great and some of the art designs are divine – I even went out and bought paints and brushes to try some… when I find the right rocks – but, as said, there is a LOT of media out there right now on rock painting and there needed to just be that little be extra spark in there to make it stand out… and it wasn’t there.

However, from another book on rock painting I have read, I need to say that F. Sehnaz Bac is an artist I now greatly admire and do so love her art and style. That fox on the front cover…. And the instructions within the book – I MUST try that! What a talent!

What was the book all about? Well, rock painting – duh! But it didn’t just cover how to paint on rocks, ‘Art on the Rocks’ teaches techniques too. From what materials (including rocks) you should source, through to the best paints, brushes, pens and inks to use. There is not only an introductory section that covers this, but each rock design continues the lesson explaining the best techniques and tools to use to achieve the final piece. Because of this, I felt the book excellent for all levels of painters from beginners through to people just wanting to fine tune their techniques.

‘Art on the Rocks’ also covers different styles of painting from animals, mandalas to nature and petroglyphs. Don’t forget to read up on the artists who took the time to make the book!

For the formal side of things – format, layout, etc. – the book is well constructed, easy to read and each section and design is set out in manner that makes it easy to follow while reading or, as my daughter found out, while replicating the design. Hers isn’t finished so I can share a pic, sorry!

All in all it was a fantastic book that not only teaches techniques and painting, but is full of projects to try, to inspire and to encourage the painter to branch out and try something new.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. As, it’s good. Yes I have just said it’s not above average but I am perfectly imperfect so have the right to now recommend it as, quite frankly, I love the designs and styles within it.
And I would recommend it to anyone – of any artistic level – to read, try and buy. Though will say this isn’t a book for little kids. I’d let my 10 and 12 year olds have a go, but they are above average in their abilities and have had their work displayed in galleries… but, yeah, parent’s discretion as to whether your child is ready for this… I personally see it as being more for the late teens to adults who have better co-ordination skills with brush and pen.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I might… But to be honest I’d much rather borrow it from a library first. How cruel of me I know!

But basically, I would want to borrow it and try it out a few times before deciding whether I was good enough to try and do rock art all the time and not just as a passing hobby. If I was to take it up as a permanent way to relax and unwind then yes, this is indeed the book I would buy.

In summary: a great book that doesn’t just teach designs to paint, but techniques too.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – The Art of Stone Painting by F. Sehnaz Bac.

art-of-stone-painting

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Dover Publications for providing me with a free ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

I initially requested to review ‘The Art of Stone Painting’ for my two very artistic daughters to look over with me, but I soon fell in love with it myself and am now dying to have a go!

This proves it’s a great book for young and old alike I guess! Plus it comes across as good for all skill levels as the initial projects are very basic and simple, and the further you progress into the book, the higher the skill level required. But, in all honesty, if you’re a beginner like me and paced yourself and did each project as you go – one a week or longer – you could quite easily have the skill level required to do the trickier ones when you got to them! And if you are already experienced in this sort of art, you could easily pick and mix skills from throughout the book.

As I am a formatting and layout diva, here is my take on those – excellent! Clear, concise formatting, every picture and all the instructions are clearly marked and easy to follow. There is a great introduction into this type of art and includes the materials needed. So it truly is a great book for all ages from I’d say around the 8 to 10 year olds and up… But I am basing that on my own children who are very arty and love to read. All the same, the instructions and clear and easy to follow for children and adults alike. I, personally, would still do the project along with the child – one for them to make, one for me, as it’s something I’d love, we’d both enjoy and would give us some creative time together.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. The projects, instructions, clear images – all of it so simple and easy to use that it encourages people to give stone painting a go. Anyone interested in having some “me” time, or even parent and child craft time would really enjoy this book. So many things to try and so many ideas to share.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would, and it’s in my Amazon wish list right now. Loved it, was inspired by it and can see it as a fantastic way to spend some crafty hours with my children in the coming years ahead.

In summary: An easy to follow, inspiring and highly creative book that will have everyone’s inner artist wanting to try stone painting.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review -Make in a Day: Paper Flowers by Amanda Evanston Freund.

make-in-a-day-paper-flowers

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Dover Publications for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

This is most definitely the perfect book to do with your kids on those days they are stuck inside and bored! Creative, colourful and oh so easy to follow!

And I do love how it shows the reader how to make some flowers from paper your children can colour in, or even dye with food colouring, rather than you needing to have a whole rainbow of crepe paper stashed away.

Though I will add, if you were to but this book I seriously would have a stash of the needed papers, glues, straws and tape put aside just for the days it is brought out to entertain. And I really do think it will indeed entertain! I have a 7, 9 and 12 year old – all of which loved the ideas and instructions. Yes, the younger the child, the more you would have to help out – but don’t helicopter, let them do it.

The layout and formatting was clear and easy to follow. Each flower had a bit of an introduction and all in all the only thing I felt it lacked was a bit of a glossary at the back about the different equipment needed, and an index. But maybe that is just me being a tad pedantic. It is a child’s craft book after all.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. ‘Make in a Day: Paper Flowers’ would be the perfect book to include in your craft library and one that you and your children  – of varying ages – could turn to again and again when they want to be creative and crafty and make gifts, decorations or just while away a rainy day indoors.

Would I buy this book for myself?

I probably would, but would honestly have to leave the final say to my children, as they would be the ones using it the most. And I am pretty sure they would say yes.

In summary – a fantastic, simple little crafty book on how to make paper flowers. Easy to follow, well laid out, fun for the kids.

Until next time,

Janis

Book Review – Origami Jewelry by Mayumi Jezewski.

origami-jewelry

5 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Dover Publications for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Please note this book was actually reviewed by my 11 year old daughter – and resident origami artist. Although I’m writing the review, I’m basing it on the feedback she has provided to me. And the score out of 5 stars is all her!

My daughter – known as Eldest Horde online – really liked this book. She liked the outlay of the pictures – formatting, how the instructions were set out, etc. As well as the pictures of the origami jewellery and props (little ceramic animals and the like) that were used. She felt these pictures and props really made her want to try and make things just as pretty.

The instructions for each project were clear and easy to follow. As my daughter has been doing some origami for a while, she followed the picture instructions more than the written instructions, but did also refer to the written instructions if she got stuck.

The book inspired Eldest Horde to make more origami and turn it into different gifts for her friends and family by making it into jewellery as shown in ‘Origami Jewelry’. Quick and easy little projects, perfect for rainy days like the one we’ve had today.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. It is the perfect little book of ideas to amuse crafty hands of all ages. It contains clear and precise instructions that talk you through each project – suitable for your novice through to the more experience paper folder.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Not for myself… but Eldest Horde has asked this be put on my Amazon wish list so I remember to buy it for her next time she needs a new craft book. Not so subtle hints about Christmas coming up too! 😉

In summary: A great book showing how to turn tiny little origami into simply beautiful homemade jewellery.

Until next time,

Janis.

Origami by Cas.jpg

Three pieces of ‘jewellery’ made by Eldest Horde from this book. Crane, heart and butterfly.

Book Review -Clay Play! JEWELRY by Terry Taylor.

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Dover Publications for allowing me a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

This book was reviewed with the help of my 8 year old crafty daughter and the score comes from both of us. We loved this book!

Clear, concise instructions with pictures to guide you along the way, an introduction that talked the reader through all they would need to continue – this book had it all!

Then there are the different themes of foods, animals, bugs, and more. Just the right assortment to get any beginner clay player interested.

My daughter’s feedback is she loved how you could follow how to make something from the ‘ball chart’ and step by step pictures and then, if you got stuck, there were the written instructions to help you understand it better.

We both agree it was very easy to follow, while being fun and full of great ideas. And yes, yes we will both be saving our pocket money to go buy some clay and get jewellery making now!

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. I would even give this book as a gift to children and families into crafty afternoon fun. The perfect gift and the perfect book to keep creative minds and hands busy! The great thing is the projects are small and so won’t take up too much time and so your children shouldn’t get bored in doing one or two of them at a time. Pace yourselves though!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. It’s on my Amazon wish list! Daughter and I really loved it, enjoyed having a go at a few and all in all can see it as a great addition to our craft library.

In summary: Lots of fantastic, creative and easy to do clay play jewellery projects. They are all short/ quick to do and so children don’t get bored, nor are they too fiddly for certain ages too. The younger the child, the more help they might need. But for my 8 year old – a perfect book to help her keep herself amused for an afternoon or two. Highly recommend!

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Lazy Crafternoon by Stella Fields.

Lazy Crafternoon.jpg

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Capstone for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

This book was reviewed with the help of my 11 year old daughter. We both loved it.

Where to start with the praise? The pictures are colourful, inviting and really show off the craft ideas well. The instructions are clear, easy to read and follow and look great. And my 11 year old loves the washi tape used in most of it!

The variety of craft ideas were great too. Some basic, some a little harder and all of them unique and – as said by 11 year old – funky. We could both see ourselves spending a lot of time prettying up our house, stationery and other items with some of the great crafty ideas shown.

One minor constructive criticism is there appears to be a printing error in the ‘What you’ll need’ for the “Rainbow Fruit in glitter Cups”. It appears to be the same list for the “Sweet Snack” popcorn boxes. But as this was an ARC I was reading, I am going to assume that was fixed up before the final edit and publication.

Other than that, loved this book, enjoyed reading it with my daughter and we now both want to buy our own copy so we can get making!

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. It was fun, full of unique, gorgeous and mostly easy to make ideas. Seriously something all crafty families should have in their bookshelves for those lazy days. I can see it as a real ‘I’m bored’ busters!

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would. Loved it, have added it to my Amazon wish list and hope to own a copy one day soon. My daughter and I both really enjoyed the book and were greatly inspired by the craft ideas shown. So many little projects we now want to try!

In summary: A great crafty book for family, friends and fun. We loved the pictures, easy to follow instructions and great craft ideas. Definitely recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Macrame Fashion Accessories & Jewelry by Sylvie Hooghe.

Macrame Fashion accessories and jewelry

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Schiffer Publishing for allowing me an ARC of this book in exchange for an open and honest review.

Call me weird, but I have always loved macramé. Even when it went out of fashion and was seen as a hippy throw back or something only grannies did. Sadly, due to it falling out of fashion, most of the ‘how to’ books on macramé are rather outdated and don’t contain many things I would want to make.

Thank goodness for ‘Macrame Fashion Accessories & Jewelry’! I loved this book! The only minor ‘niggle’ I have about it is that I would have liked a little intro to each section. Just a few paragraphs about each project, why make them, the inspiration behind them and so on. I found the instructions themselves very clear, precise and very easy to follow… I would just have liked that intro to help me connect to it. If that makes sense?

Continuing on about the instructions, I’m really not too sure if I found them easy to follow because I’m a novice knitter and found the pattern similar to follow to a knitting pattern. I would worry that maybe people without any other craft experience may get a little confused at times… but the beginning of the book does cover the knots used and equipment needed very well, so maybe I’m worry about nothing! 😉

And something worth noting is the measurements in this book are metric (centimetres, millimetres) and not imperial (inches). When it comes to craft work I can generally muddle through on both, but do prefer metric as that’s what I grew up with. Folks who grew up with imperial measurements might want to find themselves a good conversion site to help out. However, measurements aren’t common as most of the instructions are simply how to make it.

I think my favourite design would have to be the butterfly. I can see that being the first project I try when I buy the book… Yes, I admit it here and now, it’s going on my Amazon wish list.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would, though it would really be more to someone who already has experience with handcrafts of a similar genre (knitting, crochet). However, as most of the people I talk to have experience in these areas, recommending this book to them won’t be an issue!

Would I buy this book for myself? Yes, as I blabbed above, I would indeed buy this book and hope to get a copy sometime soon (funds willing). Craft books are another genre I prefer in paper format so that I can curl up on the couch to go over with my stash of materials. There are so many projects in this book (butterfly, necklaces, coin purse) that I want to try it would be crazy of me to NOT buy it! That is my logic and justification for adding yet another book to my craft section anyhow. 😉

In summary: With it’s clear ‘short, sharp and shiny’ instructions, well matched pictures and fantastic designs – this is indeed a great book to add to your craft collection. Macramé has been a forgotten handcraft for too long! Go and buy this book and help it make the return to society it rightly deserves.

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO