Sally’s Baking Addiction is a visual delight. In the opening section, Sally shares her list of kitchen essentials and provides more details about theSally’s Baking Addiction is a visual delight. In the opening section, Sally shares her list of kitchen essentials and provides more details about the ingredients (such as which brands and types of peanut butters she used).
The book primarily consists of recipes – 76 in total. In each recipe, there’s a “Sally Says” section that includes tips or more details.The book also includes vibrant photographs (usually two or three for each recipe), and it’s organized into eight chapters:
Breads & Muffins includes 9 recipes, Breakfast includes 8 recipes, Brownies & Bars includes 10 recipes, Cakes, Pies, & Crisps includes 10 recipes, Candy & Sweet Snacks includes 10 recipes, Cookies includes 10 recipes, Cupcakes includes 8 recipes, and Healthier Chocies includes 11 recipes.
One of my favorite details about the book is that Sally includes information about how (and how long) to store each item after baking at the end of the recipe.
Like me, Sally has a fondness for peanut butter and chocolate, Nutella, and bananas. The recipes lean heavily towards the sweet side of things. (The book’s subtitle is Irresistible Cookies, Cupcakes, and Desserts for Your Sweet-Tooth Fix.) I would say the title of the “Healthier Choices” section is a bit dubious, but that’s ok. I don’t think any one is picking up this book with the expectation of finding anything remotely healthy inside!
Other than the tendency towards super sweet (which may or may not be your baking preference), there isn’t much I didn’t like about this book.
I made the Brown Sugar Glazed Apple Bread, and it was a hit. I actually skipped the glaze because I thought we might go into sugar shock, but in my younger years, I probably would have added it.
One thing I didn’t like about the book is that when ingredients are divided, it wasn’t noted on the ingredients list. So, when making the extremely delicious apple bread, I actually added all my chopped pecans into the batter because when I glanced over to the ingredients list to check the amount, it didn’t indicate they would be divided. That’s a relatively minor flaw.
I would highly recommend Sally’s Baking Addiction if you enjoy baking sweet treats – especially over-the-top sweet treats! It has great pictures, recipes that cover a range of goodies, and helpful storage hints. If you aren’t into super sweet desserts, you should skip it as there won’t be much for you inside.
Full disclosure: A free copy of Sally’s Baking Addiction was provided by the Best Buy Wedding Registry. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions....more
Doris Chan is well known for her flirty crochet garments and her focus on lace. Crochet Lace Innovations, first published in 2010, is a pattern book tDoris Chan is well known for her flirty crochet garments and her focus on lace. Crochet Lace Innovations, first published in 2010, is a pattern book that explores three specialized crochet techniques (broomstick lace, hairpin lace, and Tunisian crochet) along with what Doris calls “exploded lace” (crocheting lace patterns similar to what you would see in thread in yarns with a larger hook for a better drape).
The book opens with an introduction where Doris shares her passion for crochet. This is followed by a How to Use This Book page.
The next 3 sections, Broomstick Lace, Hairpin Lace, and Tunisian Lace, include an overview of the crochet lace technique along with a written and illustrated tutorial and a list of tips for success. The next 3 sections focus on variations of exploded lace: Exploded Motifs, Exploded Doily Lace, and Exploded Lace Trim. The book closes with a section called Garment 101, where Doris shares detailed annotated patterns for Jacket 101 and Skirt 101. Finally, there is a resources section which includes a guide to crochet stitch symbols and abbreviations, and links to yarns, tools, and crochet websites.
Skill level: This book is geared towards an intermediate to advanced crocheter. There are 8 easy patterns, 6 intermediate patterns, and 7 experienced patterns.
Techniques: There are 3 broomstick lace patterns, 3 hairpin lace patterns, 4 Tunisian crochet patterns, and 11 exploded lace patterns.
Project types: There are 8 top patterns (including jackets, vests, sleeved tops, and a poncho), 4 skirt patterns, 4 wraps/stoles/scarves, 2 belts, 1 dress, and 1 collar.
What I like about this book: Doris has a conversational style but isn’t too chatty. The designs are striking and the photos make you want to pick up your hook and start crocheting! There are schematics including for the garments and there are stitch symbols for most patterns in addition to US pattern abbreviations. This book allows you to explore several different crochet techniques while making women’s garments and accessories.
Some challenges about this book: A true beginner to some of the special techniques may find the illustrations difficult to use as a primary learning resource. Luckily, there are many online tutorials for broomstick lace, hairpin lace, and Tunisian crochet. There isn’t much discussion about under layering. It would be great if Doris would have shared more ideas about how to layer to wear these designs in real life. Like all mostly pattern books, your enjoyment will be based on how many of the patterns you want to make. All designs from the book have pictures on the Ravelry source page so you can browse and see if these fit your taste.
Overall, I would recommend this book to an intermediate to advanced crocheter (or an adventurous, confident, and patient beginner!) who enjoys crocheted women’s garments and accessories. I give this book 4 out of 5 stars....more
This is a concise guide to self-publishing for the first time on a shoestring budget. If you are already a fan of Simon's podcast, much of the informaThis is a concise guide to self-publishing for the first time on a shoestring budget. If you are already a fan of Simon's podcast, much of the information will be familiar, but it doesn't hurt to have it organized and available in the more searchable ebook format. If the intersection of your perfectionism and your (lack of) budget is holding you back from self-publishing your first book, Simon's tips for changing your mindset may be particularly helpful. He also has specific recommendations for reducing expenses in each part of the publishing process....more
I read a newer version of this book, How to Write & Sell Non-Fiction Books for Kindle: 5-Step Blueprint to Quickly Write & Publish Your Book iI read a newer version of this book, How to Write & Sell Non-Fiction Books for Kindle: 5-Step Blueprint to Quickly Write & Publish Your Book in 72 Hours or Less. It was not quite what I was looking for as it focuses more on a research-based book (or a book based on interviews, etc. and not your own expertise). Also, I can't help but think 72 hours is way too short for writing a book unless you are a full-time freelance writer, but I digress.
The book is broken up into a section outlining Nancy's 5 step plan and a section on publishing your book to Kindle with some ideas for marketing your book and organizing its launch. I think the guide would be most helpful to someone who has a writing background in journalism or blogging and who needs a push to get organized to self-publish their first book as an Amazon Kindle ebook. ...more
A very straightforward book to motivate entrepreneurs, consultants, and other experts to write and self-publish a book. This is less of a "how to selfA very straightforward book to motivate entrepreneurs, consultants, and other experts to write and self-publish a book. This is less of a "how to self-publish book" and more of a "tough love for procrastinators" book....more
While flying across country, I had the chance to finally read several ebooks that have been queued on my Kindle for months, and this one by Carla KingWhile flying across country, I had the chance to finally read several ebooks that have been queued on my Kindle for months, and this one by Carla King was my favorite. Although I've read quite a few self-publishing books, this one was comprehensive without being "too long." Carla does a great job of talking about the terminology, different resources for authors, as well as the pros and cons of going DIY vs. outsourcing, in a balanced way and without making you feel like an idiot because you aren't familiar with the lingo.
The book is fairly repetitive, but in a good way. Carla refers back to different sections at various points, so if you are the type to look at the table of contents and skip to the section you are most interested in, you won't miss out on topics discussed earlier in the book. Each chapter includes an intro with a list of subtopics and a summary, so it's also easy to skim.
The chapters are Your Author Toolset (focused on software/online options for writing and formatting your book); Your Publishing Path (exploring different self-publishing and hybrid options), Trusted Vendors (sharing information about vendors who are affordable - not "cheap" - and work well with author-publishers), Your Publishing Business (examining the business end of being a self-published author), Your Author Brand, Websites and Blogs, Marketing and Promotion, Social Media Marketing, Editing and Proofreading, Book Design, Meta Data and Discovery, Ebooks, and Print Books.
If you've read a few books or blogs (or listened to or watched podcasts) on self-publishing, you'll probably be familiar with some of the things Carla explains, but I learned about several new-to-me resources and appreciated how Carla organized and shared the information. In particular, the Meta Data and Discovery chapter covered a lot of detail I haven't seen often discussed elsewhere. If you know you want to write a book but aren't quite sure how to get it out into the world, this book will definitely be a helpful guide!...more
I had a chance to read several short ebooks that have been queued on my Kindle for months during a cross-country flight, and this was one of them. I hI had a chance to read several short ebooks that have been queued on my Kindle for months during a cross-country flight, and this was one of them. I have had a non-fiction book idea mulling around for ages and though I do a lot of writing as a blogger, I have not yet been able to crank out a book. Steve's suggestions and timeline for writing an ebook in 21 days are very straightforward and there's a very good chance I may finally follow through. In particular, I found his suggestions for separating the editing process from the writing process to be very helpful.
If you are someone that prefers to work from a timeline or schedule template and you are interested in writing a book, I highly recommend How to Write a Non-fiction Ebook in 21 Days. If you are looking for a detailed guide to self publishing, this is probably not the book for you because it focuses heavily on getting over the barriers to writing with minor attention to publishing an Amazon Kindle ebook....more
Knits for Boys: 27 Patterns for Little Men + Grow-with-Me Tips & Tricks by Kate Oates from Tot Toppers and When I Grow Up is more than just a knitKnits for Boys: 27 Patterns for Little Men + Grow-with-Me Tips & Tricks by Kate Oates from Tot Toppers and When I Grow Up is more than just a knitting pattern book. It’s a great guide to knitting for children and for adjusting garment patterns.
The book opens with an introduction where Kate explains that her book features not only “classic designs with a modern edge” but also great suggestions for making knits that children will love. She shares her approach, which is that "Every child is unique and has his own style and preferences, and the various designs and options in this book give you plenty of ways to create knits your boys will want to wear."
Kate also shares her four steps for creating customized projects for boys: Flatter Them With Fit, Tempt Them With Texture, Captivate Them With Color, and Offer Them Options. Naturally, she provides more detail than I have about how to follow each of these steps, most of which are great tips for gift knitting in general.
Kate then shares a 25 page section, Grow-With-Me Sizing and Styling, which includes detailed information about gauge, blocking, taking accurate measurements, adjusting patterns (for fit and for style), sizing charts and growth patterns for children, and adding pockets and hoods. Kate also includes 9 detailed tips for creating designs that children can grow into. While Kate always writes these notes in reference to knitting for boys, many of the tips are applicable to knitting garment in general.
The next section, Materials, Techniques, and Abbreviations, is 7 pages long and provides some great tips on yarn substitution and written (and sometimes photographic) instructions for several techniques including I-cord, multiple cast on and bind off methods, wrap and turn, buttonholes, and zipper installation.
The next 3 sections focus on patterns. Grow-With-Me Projects, includes 8 patterns for tops and and a set of long johns (with top and bottom). Touch Me Texture includes 10 patterns for accessories and tops. The Color Collection includes 11 patterns for tops and accessories. Each pattern includes lovely full-page photos as well as numerous smaller pictures. Most patterns include notes and all of the garments include large schematics. Kate includes details in her patterns that will allow knitters to easily make all of the adjustments she describes in the earlier sections. For instance, she labels each part of the pattern to indicate which part of the garment is starting and whether it is an increase or decrease row. The book closes with a visual index that will help you find a cherished design later.
As with all pattern books, your enjoyment will probably be increased if you like the designs, and you can find great pictures of all of them on the Ravelry source page. However, because this book includes so much more than just patterns – discussions of the math of knitting, a primer on customizing garment patterns for picky recipients, etc. – it is well worth purchasing if you are new to creating garments and want to know more about the details.
Kate’s writing style is conversational but not overly chatty, and you feel like you might be taking a class with her. The patterns are in contemporary colors and are vibrant but not too “fussy” for the average young man. I would give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars for a knitter who likes to make projects for children, or one wants to learn more about customizing garment patterns for style and fit.
Full disclosure: An electronic review copy and paperback giveaway copy of Knits for Boys were provided by Stackpole Books. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions....more
My First Crochet Book is a comprehensive crochet book geared towards children. The book opens with a 1-page Tools and Materials overview, followed byMy First Crochet Book is a comprehensive crochet book geared towards children. The book opens with a 1-page Tools and Materials overview, followed by an 8-page Crochet Techniques section that includes written and illustrated instructions for basic crochet stitches, increasing, decreasing, and more. The book uses bright colors and includes cute illustrations of animals playing with yarn or hooks throughout.
The book then moves onto the patterns, which are organized by project type. The first section, Clothes and Accessories, includes 11 patterns. Jewelry includes 7 patterns, Bedroom Essentials includes 7 patterns, and Perfect Gifts includes 10 patterns. Each pattern is written out in U.S. pattern abbreviations and includes multiple illustrations. Some are informative (e.g., to show how to finish a project) and others are entertaining (e.g., an elephant holding a pair of scissors). There are also several full color photos of each project. The book ends with a list of suppliers with links to websites and a written index.
Although the subtitle on My First Crochet Book by CICO KIdz is “35 fun and easy projects for children aged 7 years +,” I would actually recommend it for older children in their tweens and teens for several reasons. It is fairly text-heavy, relies on illustrations rather than progress photos to provide instruction, and uses pattern abbreviations in the patterns. I think younger children would struggle with the translation from English to crochet pattern abbreviations (I know many adults do!), so I recommend this book for an older audience that has stronger reading skills and a longer attention span. Also, because the patterns are arranged by type rather than by skill level, I think a younger child might get frustrated if s/he unknowingly chooses a project that is too difficult. However, for an older child, or with parental guidance, I think this book has some really fun projects for kids. The cute illustrations and varied color palette make it visually appealing as well.
Full disclosure: A free review/giveaway copy of My First Crochet Book was provided by CICO Books. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions....more
Crochet for Kids is formatted like a high quality beginner crochet book but with details that make it just right for children learning to crochet. ItCrochet for Kids is formatted like a high quality beginner crochet book but with details that make it just right for children learning to crochet. It opens with some great introductory material, including A Short Guide to Yarn, Basic Equipment, and Crocheting Step-by-Step. Each of these sections includes many pictures and is written with simple, straightforward sentences. The Crocheting Step-by-Step section includes photo tutorials for all the basic crochet stitches, increasing, decreasing, and more.
The next section, Ready To Go! includes 12 beginner-friendly patterns that kids would love to make, like finger crochet shoelaces, a unisex brimmed hat, and hacky sacks. The patterns are written out in words without abbreviations and include lots of progress pictures to help. The next section, Moving Up, includes 10 slightly more advanced projects, like a slouchy beret with a bow, and appliques to sew on to to t-shirts or jeans for customization. The last section, Projects for Pros, includes 5 more challenging projects. These projects don’t necessarily require more skills, but they do require more patience! These include a blanket and other larger projects with frequent color changes. The book ends with a visual index (so it’s easy to find a favorite pattern again) and a bio of the author.
Although the book was originally written in German, it does seem to be translated clearly and I don’t anticipate children struggling through it. I do wish the lighting was better in the Crocheting Step-by-Step photos, but I’m sure that most children have better eyesight than I do! The book is filled with brightly lit pictures of children crocheting and wearing crochet gear, so it makes crochet seem really fun. It also doesn’t ask children to make the mental translation required for reading pattern abbreviations. The author seems to really understand how to teach children to crochet. If your child is confident about reading, this would be a great book to nurture a love of crochet.
I have read through many books on teaching children to crochet and have also taught children to crochet. This one seems to do the best job of combining a developmentally appropriate approach to learning to crochet with an appealing visual presentation.
Full disclosure: A free review/giveaway copy of Crochet for Kids was provided by Stackpole Books. Although I accept free products for review, I do not accept additional compensation, nor do I guarantee a positive review. My reviews are based entirely on my honest opinions....more
60 Quick Luxury Knits: Easy, Elegant Projects for Every Day in the Venezia Collection from Cascade Yarns is another book in Sixth & Spring's 60 Qu60 Quick Luxury Knits: Easy, Elegant Projects for Every Day in the Venezia Collection from Cascade Yarns® is another book in Sixth & Spring's 60 Quick Knits series. As the title suggests, this book features patterns designed with Cascade Yarns Venezia Sport and Cascade Yarns Venezia Worsted. About 2/3 of the patterns are in Venezia Sport, with the remaining patterns in Worsted. There is a variety of accessory designs for women, including 20 projects for neckwarmers (9 snoods/cowls/infinity scarves, 8 scarves, 2 collars, and 1 kerchief), 14 hats and headbands, 12 projects for the torso (including 8 wraps/shawls/shawlettes and 4 capes/capelets), 7 armwarmers/mitts/mittens, 2 bags, 2 belts, and individual patterns for legwarmers, socks, and a necklace. About 2/3 of the patterns are at the intermediate level, with 12 easy projects and 3 experienced level projects. All patterns are written with U.S. pattern abbreviations, and 16 also include charts (typically for color, lace, or cables).
The book is beautifully presented and definitely inspires you to start knitting! However, as with all pattern books, you're more likely to enjoy it if you like the patterns included, so be sure to check out all of the projects in this book on its Ravelry source page. My favorites are the Bow Clutch by Devin Cole, the Button Cable Beret by Kim Haesemeyer, the Buttoned Cable Cowl by Angela Tong, the Knotted I-Cord Belt by Alex Capshaw-Taylor, Solid and Stripe Infinity Scarf by Steven Hicks, and the Two-Color Cloche by Elena Malo. Hmmm, I guess it's obvious that I like buttons and cables...
If you're an intermediate knitter who enjoys making women's accessories, this may be the right book for you!
A free review copy of 60 Quick Luxury Knits was provided by Sixth & Spring Books. While I accept free items for review from companies, I do not accept additional compensation for positive reviews. Additionally, when accepting a review sample, I do not guarantee a positive review to the company. My reviews are entirely based on my honest opinions. ...more
50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt: Patterns and Projects Packed with Lush and Vibrant Colors That You Will Love to Make by Kristin Nicholas is50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt: Patterns and Projects Packed with Lush and Vibrant Colors That You Will Love to Make by Kristin Nicholas is a collection of patterns for sunflower appliqués and motifs. The book begins with a 22 page Before You Begin chapter that includes an overview of supplies such as knitting needles, crochet hooks, yarns, and other notions; a review of basic knitting and crochet techniques and special stitches used in the book, with both written instructions and illustrations; tips and instructions for felting, stuffing, blocking, and embellishing with embroidery and beads; and an overview of color theory. A gallery of the projects in the book follows, and then the patterns are presented. There are 31 knit and 25 crochet patterns (yes, there are more than 50!), some of which are shown felted. The knitting patterns are written with U.S. pattern abbreviations, and the crochet patterns include both stitch symbols and pattern abbreviations. The Projects chapter includes instructions for transforming the designs into a variety of home decor and wearable projects.
Although the title suggests that only patterns for sunflowers are included, there are actually other types of flowers and leaves, and a variety of creatures you might find in a garden, such as bees, butterflies, lady bugs, and birds. This book is ideal for an advanced beginner or intermediate multi-crafter who loves to make portable projects. The layout is attractive and the large, colorful pictures of each project definitely inspiring you to pick up your needles or hooks.
A free review copy of 50 Sunflowers to Knit, Crochet & Felt was provided by St. Martin's Griffin. While I accept free items for review from companies, I do not accept additional compensation for positive reviews. Additionally, when accepting a review sample, I do not guarantee a positive review to the company. My reviews are entirely based on my honest opinions. ...more