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Artsy Book Reviews

I love a good book, especially art books!  Here's some great ones that I've had the pleasure of reading through recently. 

Just Add WatercolorJust Add Watercolor

by Helen Birch

This book is only around 5" x 7", but don't let it's cute small size fool you, this book is packed full of inspiration & painting techniques from contemporary artists. It covers everything from traditional watercolor, gouache, digital, mixed media, other water-based media, and non-paper media and contains material needed, tips, instructions, and a super handy visual index that I've used to find paintings I was interested in when first reading through it.

The author, Helen Birch is a prolific artist based in the UK.  She is also the author of the highly popular blog drawdrawdraw.  Her previous book is Freehand:Sketching Tips and Tricks Drawn from Art. Birch teaches courses in art and design, fine art, and illustration at Bradford School of Arts and Media.

 

 

Daily Painting - Paint Small and Often to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Succesful Artist by Carol MarineDaily Painting - Paint Small and Often to Become a More Creative, Productive, and Succesful Artist

by Carol Marine

Confession: this book came at the perfect time for me. I have been stuck in a creative rut, only making time for the creative work that I have to do and not doing any of the ones that I really want to do & that feed my creative soul.  I'm working on applying a lot that I've read in this book, so stay tuned for an upcoming article on that.  (<--- HERE'S my article)

Author Carol Marine, who blogs at Painting a Day (or Almost)  was herself suffering from painter's block - until she discovered the now wildly popular method of "daily painting." The idea is simple: do art (usually small) often (how often is up to the individual). It's such a great discipline to establish for yourself!

In the book she offers a unique system for jump-starting artistic creativity, encouraging experimentation and growth, and increasing productivity for artists of all levels. In addition to some basic lessons on composition, color, and supplies, Marine provides advice on the benefits of having a daily painting practice and offers tips on setting up a routine, taking the pressure off & the ego out of creating art, fitting art into a busy life, ways to combat artist's block, learning the rules and then breaking them.

 

 

Sketch - The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life

Sketch - The Non-Artist's Guide to Inspiration, Technique, and Drawing Daily Life

by France Belleville-Van Stone

Urban sketching, the process of sketching on the go as a regular practice, is a hot trend! Author, France Belleville-Van Stone, a self-taught French artist who now lives and teaches in New Jersey, encourages readers to craft a sketching ritual of their own and devote more time to art, even if it's just 10 minutes a day. She offers motivation to move beyond the comfort zone, as well as instruction on turning rough sketches into finished work. 

Besides all the great illustrations and techniques, the author includes a list of daily sketch prompts, tips , ideas on how to draw when time & resources are limited, and going digital with your work. By sharing her own creative process, Belleville-Van Stone inspires you to rethink your daily practice and to sketch for the pure joy of it and to document your life and the world around you.

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So, if you're in a place in your life like I am where you need to find new ways to relight the creative flame or get practical advice on how to apply skills then these books are worth looking into!  All of them are available at Amazon and other fine book sellers.

 

 

 Disclosure: 

 Book Review - I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Affiliate Links - Some of the links in the posts are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission...and it won't cost you a penny more. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Thanks for purchasing through these links, it keeps this blog up and running!

 

 
 

ERIN Sig


Crafty Book Reviews & Giveaways!

I love books!  Fact, fiction, crafts...they're all good!  Today I'm going to share with you some great new books that I was sent to review. Rest your mind at ease, when I get review books I read them and if I don't like them I don't review them...so these ones passed! :)  I'm so glad they did too because the publishers were nice enough to allow me to give a copy away to my readers and also some of the finished projects! (see the giveaway details below)

 

Cute Crochet World, A Little Dictionary of Crochet Critters, Folks, Food & More by Suzanne Thompson

Cute-Crochet-World

This paperback book is chalked full of little crochet projects. 144 pages worth! It's divided into six sections:

  • Critters
  • Food
  • Growing Things
  • Seasons
  • Toys, Tools, Transportation
  • Home

Make sure you read the "read me first" section of the book to make sure you know what supplies you may need as well as helpful techniques and tips.  Each project will tell you the normal information you'll need: the skill level, materials & tools, pattern notes, abbreviations, and most importantly, the instructions.  A lot of the patterns also have note on how you can use your finished piece.

Here's a few of my favorite projects from the book:

Cute Crochet World - Donut
Cute Crochet World - Donut
Cute Crochet World - Donut

About the author: Suzanne Thompson has crocheted and knitted since childhood. In junior high, she earned a fortune (of several hundred dollars) by crocheting and selling granny-square handbags. However, she later chose writing and designing over mass production. The author of Crochet Bouquet and Crochet Garden, Suzann also teaches and writes about crochet, knitting, and polymer clay. She lives with her husband and two daughters in Dublin, TX.

 

 

Sew Quick Sew CuteSew Quick Sew Cute by Fiona Goble

Who loves simple and speedy projects? -This girl! And good news too, because there are some cute ones in this paperback book! All the projects in the book are designed to take anywhere from an hour to a weekend so you can actually get them done instead of adding them to the "work in progress" bin!

Some of my favorite projects are:

Bag
Bag
Bag

Each project lists the approximate time it takes to make it, supplies and templates, step by step instructions with photos. With 142 pages of projects you'll be sure to find a fun one to work on!

About the author: Fiona Goble is an accomplished knitter and the author of many craft books and articles. She also owns a small business making woolen bags and home accessories. She lives in England.

 

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5 lucky blog readers will randomly win a prize of either one of the books or a finished project from the book!  Enter below by commenting and then hitting the +1.  There are additional entries as well, see all the details below.

 
Comments and entries are now closed and winners have been choosen.
 

Excerpts reprinted with permission from Cute Crochet World © 2014 by Suzann Thompson, Lark Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Lark Books.

Excerpts reprinted with permission from Sew Quick, Sew Cute by Fiona Goble. Copyright © 2014 Ivy Press. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. If you buy this from these links it won't cost you a penny more but I make a little bit of money (not enough for a pony).

 

 

ERIN Sig


Happy Saturday Craft Book Review & Giveaway

Aren't you glad it's the weekend?!  I sure am!

I've been catching up on my craft book reading this week and I really think you'll like these books, I know I did! (Oh, and there's a giveaway below too!!)

Book Giveaway

 

Art-journal-freedom-by-dina-wakley

Let's start with Art Journal Freedom: How to Journal Creatively With Color & Composition by Dina Wakley (visit Dina's site HERE).  -As soon as I heard Dina was writing a book I was beside myself.  I love, love, love her style and have taken a class or two from her online and was really impressed with the depth of knowledge & passion, and her ability to communicate it well in her classes, so I was hoping that her book was more of the same.

For the record, I purchased this book.  Which means two things....1) I want to support people I love even if I probably could have gotten a review copy and 2) these days I don't buy real books...I'm pretty much a digi reader girl...BUT this book has SO many awesome photos in it I just had to have it so I could hug and caress feel it in my hot little hands. (PS - I swear I'm not stalking Dina even if that last sentence sounded like it, LOL.)

Ok, so this book is beautiful, it also has fantastic content.  The chapters covered are...

  1. Tools and Materials
  2. Symmetry and asymmetry
  3. White space, Continuance, and Closure
  4. Proximity
  5. Dominance and repetition
  6. Color Basics
  7. Contrast with Color
  8. Color as a Composition Tool
  9. The Power of Black and White
  10. Putting It All Together

And, it also has a QR code you can scan for some digi content (a video & pdf) along with a resource section at the end of the book so you can track down any supplies and what not that you need.

While I've been art journaling and doing mixed media for a long time, I still found the tons of handy information inside that I can't wait to use on my future projects. -So if you're new to art journaling or been doing it forever, you will get something out of this book...after all it does have an overall 5 star review on Amazon. ;)

 

 

VogueButterick2

Vogue/Butterick Step-by-Step Guide to Sewing Techniques: Revised & Updated Edition by the editors of Vogue and Butterick patterns has been revised & update for even more great content, but still has all the great things in it that the original publication had from the 1980s.

I did receive a review copy of this book, which I'm happy about because I don't generally buy sewing books since I feel I have the general skills I need to do the sewing projects I do...BUT, this would be a very handy purchase, even for me! ;)

It really covers everything from Applique to Zippers and has step-by-step illustrations to show you how to archive each of the nearly 500 techniques. It is a fantastic sewing guide and has definitely earned a spot on my bookshelf for when I'm stuck on how to do something!

 

 

 

SEW RED

Let me just say, I love this book!  Sew Red: Sewing & Quilting for Women's Heart Health by Laura Zander.

I was really excited to receive a review copy of this book, besides the 28 fantastic (& red) quilting, home decorating, apparel, and fashion accessory projects inside this book, there is information on heart-healthy living and personal experiences shared with in it.  Beautiful projects + lifesaving information = a priceless book, in my opinion! 

Many of us have had our lives touched by heart issues, in fact a friend of mine had a heart attack a couple of years ago...she is my age.  Big wake up call!!!  Heart disease is the #1 killer of women!! That's why it's so important to share this information with other women, and also to support campaigns like this (a portion of the proceeds of this book will be donated to the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health in support of The Heart Truth®).

Check out some of these projects

 

Beautiful, eh!  Well, my friends at Jimmy Bean's Wool want to giveaway a copy of this book to one of my readers!!  Lucky you!  

 

To enter to win:

Just leave a comment here on the blog post you are currently reading about what project caught your eye...or share your heart story with us!

I will draw a random winner from all the entries on Saturday, April 27,2013 and will promptly email them.  Winner must reply within 48 hours or a new winner will be drawn. 

Open to USA residents only.

Disclaimer: Jimmy Bean's Wool is providing the prize for this promotion at no cost to me. Prize fulfillment will be done by Jimmy Bean's Wool and I will provide them with the winners name, postal address, and email address. I received compensation for this promotion.

Comments are now closed and a winner has been notified

 

 

ERIN Sig


Who want to win some crochet books???

Woo-hoo, I love new crafty books!!  I just got two review copies of some great crochet ones and they look fabulous!  I can't wait to start on some projects with them!!

 

Crochetedflowers-PB-250Crocheted Flowers by Nicky Epstein is making me super happy!!  There's more then 50 different flower designs (and some leaves!) in here and twelve full-scale projects included in this book.

Just flipping through this book I don't even know which one to do first!  She covers everything...layered petal flowers, one-piece flowers, twisted-technique flowers, felted flowers, chain stitch & ball flowers, and leaves.

The color photography is goregous, and the patterns are clear and contain graphics when necessary.

 

51bFKGUhq+L._SL500_AA300_Vogue Knitting Stitchionary Volume Four: Crochet is a phenomenal resource for anyone interested in crochet.  Just as the other Stitionary books about knitting (check out my reviews here), this is geared to be a mega stitch and pattern resource since it contains so much information in it!

It's awesome for any skill level, from beginners to advanced since it has over 150 patterns.  Yikes, that will keep ya busy!  ;)

The color photos in this book are awesome too, they are close ups that show great detail.  There are also illustrations along with the pattern instructions.

 

Great new blog readers!!  

The publisher of these books is going to giveaway one of these books to a lucky blog reader!!  Please leave a comment below to enter.  A winner will be drawn on August 4th, 2012 and will be promptly emailed & announced here on my blog.  The winner will have 72 hours to respond by email before a new winner is chosen.

Good luck!!

 comments are now closed

Disclaimer: Sixth&Spring Books and SoHo Publishing is providing the books for this promotion at no cost to me.  Prize fulfillment will be done by Sixth&Spring Books and SoHo Publishing.  I will provide the sponsors with the winner's name, postal address, and email address.  I received a review copy of these products.

ERIN Sig