Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The Sustainable Home by Christine Liu

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The Sustainable Home
by Christine Liu


ISBN-13: 9780711239692
Hardcover: 160 pages
Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Released: Oct. 16, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
An inspirational and practical guidebook to maintaining a more environmentally friendly household. Christine Liu takes you on a tour through the rooms of your home – kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living area, garden – offering tips, tricks and step-by-step projects designed to help you lead a more low-impact lifestyle. Whether its by making your own toothpowder, growing your own herb garden or upcycling old pieces of furniture, there are numerous ways – both big and small – to make a difference. Make small changes on an individual level to make a difference.


My Review:
The Sustainable Home is aimed at people who want to be more environmentally friendly in their behavior but don't know where to start. It's basically a collection of suggestions about simple ways to reduce how much waste you produce, minimize what you buy, and support more sustainable practices. The author went through the main rooms in a house plus briefly discussed work and eating out. She talked about things like buying food at a farmer's market, using natural light when you can, unplugging electronics when you aren't using them, growing house plants or a garden, recycling, buying used, and composting. I had expected more DIY projects from the book description, but there were only a few recipes and DIY instructions. While a decent book if you're new to this and don't want to be overwhelmed, it was much too basic for me. I've been doing most of her suggestions for years.


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.


Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Paint, Play, Explore by Rae Missigman

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Paint, Play, Explore
by Rae Missigman


ISBN-13: 9781440350283
Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: North Light Books
Released: Sept. 4, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Mixed-media artist Rae Missigman identifies herself as a "mark-maker." With an adventurous, anything-goes attitude to expressing herself, she is just as likely to use a celery stem, a sewing machine or a cardboard tube as she is a brush, a palette knife or her own hands. Missigman helps you discover those marks that define you as an artist, and weave them into your art in new and interesting ways. Through page after page of creative exploration, you'll become a collector of tools--traditional and unconventional mark-makers that will become an extension of your unique voice.

You'll become a tinkerer as you recycle and repurpose, striving to turn something ordinary into something extraordinary. You'll become an explorer as you draw with your non-dominant hand, create "blindly" using resists, stamp with your own handcrafted organic ink, and follow other creative prompts to widen and shape your artistic world.


My Review:
Paint, Play, Explore is an art book where the author encourages the reader to try a large variety of tools, mediums, and materials to make unique marks. She suggests a variety of tools to try (from brushes and pencils to leaves and cardboard tubes) and marks to make (finger marks, circles, dots, lines, and more). But she basically tells people to experiment on your own and record your observations in a journal. There wasn't a lot of guidance--or, as another reviewer described it, she provides exercises in chaos. It's more suggestions to stimulate you to think of new things to try in your own painting play and exploration.


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.


Saturday, September 29, 2018

When Your Kid Is Hurting by Dr Kevin Leman

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When Your Kid Is Hurting
by Dr Kevin Leman


ISBN-13: 9780800723064
Hardcover: 273 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: Sept. 4, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Children today live in an unpredictable, disruptive, and often violent world. Whether your child is dealing with a difficult family situation, bullies, the loss of friends, the death of a loved one, discrimination, abuse, a teen pregnancy, or even just trying to make sense of what they see in the news, this compassionate and practical book will help parents equip them to process, learn from, and rise above their situation.

Rather than seek to save them from the hard things, parents must teach their kids how to cope with and rise above their problems. Internationally known psychologist and bestselling author Dr. Kevin Leman shows parents how to be good listeners, tell the truth even when it's difficult, find balance between being protective and being overprotective, approach hurt and injustice as a learning experience rather than fostering a victim mentality, and much more.


My Review:
When Your Kid Is Hurting is a parenting advice book. The first half of the book looked at some things that parents should and shouldn't do when their kids are facing tough situations. The author also briefly covered issues that your child might hear and worry about (like a school shooting, rape, gang violence, discrimination, etc.) or might face (like divorce, adoption, abuse, pregnancy, bullying and cyber bullying, betrayal by a best friend, grief, etc.) and suggested some things you might say to help your child.

The second half of the book was Q&A: questions that people have asked the author regarding their specific situations and his responses. They were about common situations that you may also deal with. If you've read some of the author's other books, the advice might sound familiar, or at least similar. The advice was generally was good.


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.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Painting with Bob Ross by Bob Ross Inc

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Painting with Bob Ross
by Bob Ross Inc.


ISBN-13: 9781633226524
Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Walter Foster Publishing
Released: Oct. 9, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In 1982, The Joy of Painting made its debut on public television. The unrehearsed, unedited show soon became a favorite among aspiring artists and painters. Almost 40 years and 403 episodes after his on-air debut, and decades after his untimely passing, Bob Ross still has enormous global popularity.

Painting with Bob Ross introduces you to the tools and materials you need to paint beautiful landscapes, as well as basic painting techniques, such as how to load your brush and how to paint with a knife. Following the introduction are 16 painting projects, each with a complete list of tools and materials needed and instructions for preparing the canvas. Jump into painting with step one, then follow the full-color painting progressions and clearly written instructions until you’ve reached the final step. This is the only Bob Ross book with all-color images.

Throughout this book, Bob’s quotes encourage you to keep going. You can paint graceful mountains, ocean waves crashing onto rocks, a winter cabin, a lakeside path, a deep forest river, and many more breathtaking views.


My Review:
I grew up watching The Joy of Painting. Bob Ross made oil painting look so magical. His encouraging words have stuck with me. He's the reason that I started painting (though not just oil painting) as an adult. I'd highly recommend his videos, though I'll mention his system requires that you buy his brand of paint and tools if you want to follow his methods exactly.

Painting with Bob Ross shows how to paint 16 of Bob Ross' paintings. The book started by describing the basic techniques of how to load the brush and such and then how to paint a basic tree, mountain, etc. This section was clearly explained, though it's even easier to follow if you can watch Bob Ross do it on a video. The 16 paintings are signed Bob Ross paintings, which suggested to me that there might be videos showing Ross painting them. Yup. I put several of the painting's titles into YouTube (like "Bob Ross Forest River") and it pulled up the original PBS video showing Bob Ross painting the scene. You can watch every step fully explained and demonstrated in real time on the video. Happiness!

So is the book still useful? It tended to have steps like, "Use these colors to make a dark green and follow the tree technique to create a line of trees at the base of the mountain." The accompanying illustration showed what the end result should approximately look like. Basically, if you're familiar with Bob Ross' method, this book should be fairly easy to follow and will help you produce a wide variety of landscapes. If you're a complete beginner or have no idea who Bob Ross is, you might be better off watching the videos.


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.


Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Kumihimo Wirework Made Easy by Christina Larsen

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Kumihimo Wirework Made Easy
by Christina Larsen


ISBN-13: 9781632506351
Paperback: 114 pages
Publisher: Interweave
Released: Sept. 11, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Whether new to kumihimo or looking to take your skill to the next level, Kumihimo Wirework Made Easy is the companion you need. Author Christina Larsen will show you how easy it can be to transition from traditional kumihimo materials to wirework with her expert guidance, comprehensive instruction, and inspiring designs. In this must-have resource, you'll find:

A complete guide to understanding wireworking tools and materials specific to kumihimo wirework.

Full step-by-step tutorials for 3 basic kumihimo braid structures perfect for wirework jewelry designs.

Project instructions for 20 inspiring kumihimo wirework designs including earrings, bracelets, and pendants.


My Review:
Kumihimo Wirework Made Easy describes how to create wirework jewelry using a kumihimo square. I've done kumihimo using thread or cords, and the beautiful pictures tempted me into reading this book. However, I think the actual weaving of the wire will be too hard on my arthritic hand...though there's one beginner project I intend to try.

The author described the basic equipment you need--basically, a kumihimo foam square, some soft, thinner wire, and some jewelry making tools and materials. She described her method of making the wire weave neatly and how to do the three basic braid patterns that she uses in the 21 projects. She also described how to finish the jewelry when you complete the wire weaving.

The projects detail what materials you need and the steps you take to make the project. There were pictures demonstrating each step. There were 7 beginner projects, 12 intermediate projects, and 2 advanced projects. The projects were mainly for making bracelets and earrings. There were 9 projects for making bracelets, 7 for making earrings, 4 for necklaces, and 1 ring. Seven of the projects used beads (plus some "variations" on other projects also added beads), and four projects wove leather as well as wire into the braid.


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.


Monday, September 24, 2018

Foundations of Classical Oil Painting by Lea Colie Wight

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Foundations of Classical Oil Painting
by Lea Colie Wight


ISBN-13: 9781440352423
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: North Light Books
Released: Sept. 25, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Professional painting instructor Lea Colie Wight demystifies the formulaic process of oil painting into a simple approach to help you paint confidently and accurately in full color. Develop a core foundational skill set to develop your paintings and discover a signature way of working from life that can be applied to figure painting, portraits, landscapes and still life. Though the focus is on oils, the methods in this book can be applied to all painting mediums including as acrylic, pastel and watercolor.

Informative lessons and simple exercises help to build confidence and lay the foundations for successful oil painting

Learn a straightforward system for painting realistically with a focus on accurate color.

4 full-length step-by-step demonstrations show how to paint a figure, a portrait, a still life and a landscape


My Review:
Foundations of Classical Oil Painting covered some basic, foundational principles behind painting that can be used to create still lifes, landscapes, and portraits. The author worked in oils, but the focus was more on the principles than specifically how to paint using oils. Also, she talked a lot about painting live scenes and how to work with models or changing light for stills and landscapes.

She first explained value and composition. She briefly covered anatomy and how to use it to draw people accurately. She also talked about three basic steps to get the proportions right and the values on the objects correct. She then talked about a way to add color to the scene so that the colors are accurate and so you don't gray out colors that need to be vibrant. She ended with some step-by-step demonstrations on how to do this entire process for figures, portraits, landscapes, and still lifes. I would recommend this book to painters who have trouble with these basics.


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.


Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How to Grow Mushrooms from Scratch by Magdalena Wurth; Herbert Wurth

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How to Grow Mushrooms from Scratch
by Magdalena Wurth; Herbert Wurth


ISBN-13: 9781615194919
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: The Experiment
Released: Sept. 18, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Yes, you can grow mushrooms from scratch! How to Grow Mushrooms from Scratch covers 19 varieties, from button (always versatile) to reishi (a medicinal powerhouse). Plus, here are delicious recipes, preserving methods, and more. Mushrooms will thrive in your garden, on your windowsill, and even in your basement. The key is to pick the right growing medium for your mushroom—a log, a bale of hay, or a simple pot of dirt—and give it a little shade.

Experts Magdalena and Herbert Wurth explain every step of cultivation—whether starting from a kit, a culture, or a grown mushroom you’d like to propagate. From protecting mushrooms in extreme weather, to troubleshooting pests, here is expert advice for beginners and experienced growers alike!


My Review:
How to Grow Mushrooms from Scratch explains how to grow 19 varieties of mushrooms, like button, several types of oyster, reishi, lion's mane, and more. The authors started by explaining how to grow mushrooms outside on logs or on straw bales. They explained what mushrooms do best with each method. They provided step-by-step instructions and photographs on how to use grain or plug spawn and logs or straw bales.

They also talked about how to grow mushrooms indoors on mushroom kits, use straw pellets, grow truffles in woodlands, grow mushrooms outdoors on a bed of hardwood chips or on freshly-made tree stumps (still in the ground). They talked about growing mushrooms on your patio in containers with companion plants or creating mushroom greenhouses. They discussed how to prevent or deal with various pests or diseases that might trouble your mushrooms. They explained how even amateurs can grow spore to spawn to propagate mushrooms.

They talked about 8 mushrooms that have known medicinal uses. They also included several recipes each for the most common mushroom types. The recipes were for things like breaded mushrooms, mushroom sauces, or powdering dried mushrooms for use as a tea. They also talked about selling your mushrooms at a farmer's market. Overall, this book was very informative, but I was left feeling overwhelmed by the process. It sounds more labor intensive than I'd thought.


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.