Thursday, October 27, 2016

Natural Color by Sasha Duerr

book cover
Natural Color
by Sasha Duerr

ISBN-13: 9781607749363
Hardback: 272 pages
Publisher: Watson-Guptill
Released: Aug. 23, 2016

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
An exploration and appreciation of the brilliant spectrum of colors derived from plants, with seasonal, project-based ideas for using these natural dyes to color your clothing and home.

Natural Color explores the full spectrum of seasonal plant dyes, using nature as a color library. Unlike its competitors, Natural Color is structured by season, not plant, focusing on achievable projects with easy-to-follow recipes for dyeing everything from dresses, scarves, and hats to rugs, napkins, and table runners, ensuring that even the most savvy home decorator will be inspired.

My Review:
Natural Color explains how to use certain, common plants to make dyes and how to use them on natural plant and animal fibers. The projects included dying napkins, pillow covers, curtains, scarves, dresses, and more. The author started by explaining the basics and what tools and equipment you'll need. It looks fairly easy and safe and can be done without a lot of equipment or expense as I already have many of these things lying around.

The author talked about 28 different plants that can be used for dying, including avocado pits, rose petals, plum branches, mint, calendula, aloe, indigo, hibiscus, fennel, weld, onion skin, rosemary, black walnut, maddar root, red cabbage, blue spruce, sweet gum leaves, and citrus peels. Some of the other plants are common in California but less so elsewhere, like redwood cones.

For each plant, she explained what colors it produces, how much plant is needed per amount of fabric, what fabrics it works best on (and how to prepare them), and a step-by-step project so you can learn how to dye with it. The author also explained various ways to apply the dye to make different patterns and effects.

She explained things clearly, so I feel quite able to do these projects or to be able to dye with these plants on projects of my own. Overall, I'd recommend this book to those interested in using natural dyes on natural fibers.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

America the Ingenious by Kevin Baker

book cover
America the Ingenious:
76 World-Changing Inventions and the Visionaries Who Made Them Happen
by Kevin Baker

ISBN-13: 9781579656942
Hardcover: 276 pages
Publisher: Artisan Books
Released: Oct. 4, 2016

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Here are 76 of the most intriguing, important, and ingenious inventions realized in America, from the Panama Canal, the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater to the oil rig, the electric sewing machine, and the telephone. Who came up with these ideas? How long did they take to realize? What were the complications? This book will satisfy the curiosity of history and miscellany buffs alike.

My Review:
America the Ingenious explores 76 important or interesting American inventions. From covered wagons (prairie schooner) to cars (Lincoln zephyr), planes (transcontinental plane), trains (NY subway, transcontinental railroad, etc.), ships (yankee clippers, container ship), and spaceships (Apollo 11). From canals (Erie Canal, Panama Canal) to tunnels (Hudson and East River tunnels). From the rotary printing press to transatlantic cable, microprocessor to 3D printing, sewing machines to athletic shoes, and more.

Each invention had about 3 pages of text plus an illustration or two. The author talked about why the invention was built and the people and efforts involved. He provided interesting details about the challenges faced during the building of the project or by those using the product. He usually discussed how it worked only in general terms. Overall, I'd recommend this book.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.