Monday, July 25, 2016

Zen Origami Kit Review & Giveaway

Zen Origami: 20 Modular Forms for Meditation and Calm by Maria Sinayskaya – Paperback released April 15, 2016 from Race Point Publishing. Kit includes a 128 page book and whopping 400 sheets of origami paper. Modular origami is the technique of folding 2 or more pieces of paper identically and then assembling them into a single unit. I start with the first project a Square Coaster requiring 4 sheets of paper to make. It's a design I haven't come across before and I find it both attractive and practical. I move on to the Giant Star (8 sheets) and Two-Faced Flower (6 sheets) with striking results. Having successfully completed the 3 warm-up designs my confidence has grown and I'm ready to tackle my first Fasett Sonobe. I begin with the 6-unit cube assembly and am delighted to be able to fold it. I am enjoying this book, the instructions are very clear and the designs sound. I like the paper too. There are 400 sheets measuring 3" x 3", mostly patterns with solid color reverses, all have matte finishes. It's nice to see some new patterns. A terrific modular origami kit.  Get your copy below! 

Basic Instructions and Symbols
Paper Tips and Folding Tricks

Square Coaster
Giant Star
Two-Faced Flower

Fasett Sonobe
Lorence Sonobe
Florence Sonobe
Gemstone Sonobe
Este Sonobe
Esterre Sonobe
Isolde Sonobe
Selene Sonobe
Curly Sonobe
Imperial Rose Sonobe
Lotus Crown  Sonobe

Sky Star Kusudama
Skella Alpha Kusudama
Skella Beta Kusudama
Skella Gamma Kusudama
Rocca Kusudama
Fiorella Kusudama

About the Author

Two-Faced Origami Flower
Zen Origami is available worldwide at Race Point Publishing. Check out their unique catalog at Race Point Publishing. Race Point Publishing is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA. Quarto has generously offered to giveaway a copy of Zen Origami! One winner will be selected at random. Open until August 8, 2016. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden Review & Giveaway

The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden: Over 45 Beautiful Floral Designs to Embroider, Plus 20 Great Project Ideas by Yuki Sugashima– Hardcover released November 2, 2015 by Kodansha USA. Japanese blogger Yuki from Y*Handmade shares her original designs for hand embroidery and practical projects featuring those motifs. The combination results in lovely handmade items you can use or gift. Her style is quiet and uncomplicated. Sew your way through the seasons with over 45 garden embroidery motifs ranging from only a few stitches to the addition of wire, bead and ribbon. Twenty tasteful project ideas introduce a variety of creative techniques. For even more possibilities mix and match. Or simply add a few extra stitches to your favorite accessories giving them a whole new look. Projects include thorough text, diagram and photographic instruction. Generally geared to the novice/intermediate level, patterns vary in difficulty. It's projects like these that build your skill and boost your confidence. Get your copy below!


A Year in Stitches: Spring
Violet sewing machine cover
Butterfly pincushion
Spring snowflake scissors case
Daffodil hanger cover
Red clover cushion cover

A Year in Stitches: Summer
Dayflower drawstring bag
Strawberry key chain
Cosmos compact mirror
Ranunculus phone cover
 Fern leaf shirt

A Year in Stitches: Fall
Bittersweet oven mitt
Rudbeckia apron
Aster napkin ring
Acorn egg cozy
Fall leaves coaster set

A Year in Stitches: Winter
Snowberry brooch
Barrette with yew sprig
Flowering-kale necklace
Camellia scarf
Plum-branch pouch

Getting started
Stitch directory

A true novice, I'm making a leaf pincushion (Spring project). First I'll embroider a simple Chinese tallow leaf (page 57) onto a piece of fabric and then sew by machine. A collage of the materials I've chosen is above. All instructions are in the book, though I'm mixing and matching to suit my ability.

 A Year in Stitches: Summer

Cosmos Compact Mirror

Ranunculus Phone Cover

The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden is available worldwide at Kodansha USA. Check out their unique catalog at Kodansha USA. Kodansha USA has generously offered to giveaway a copy of The Hand-Stitched Flower Garden! One winner will be selected at random. Open until July 26, 2016. Canadian and USA addresses only. Good luck!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Sketchy Stories Review

Sketchy Stories: The Sketchbook Art of Kerby Rosanes Flexibound by Kerby Rosanes (Illustrator) – released May 31, 2016 by Race Point Publishing. Kerby Rosanes is a Filipino Freelance Illustrator who works with pen and ink. You may know him as author of  New York Times bestseller Animorphia: An Extreme Coloring and Search Challenge or other popular titles Doodle Invasion, Never Quit Drawing and Imagimorphia. You can now peek inside this talented artist's personal sketchbook. His 128 page Moleskine contains over 200 detailed black ink doodles, each titled and dated. His sketches come to life on top quality 5 x 8  inch, heavy cream-colored paper, with rounded corners and elastic closure. Every picture tells a story. Magical. Inspirational. Get your copy below!


Introduction by Chuckie Campbell
Drawings 2012 - 2016
Thank You

Coronation 2014

Lost City 2015

Eclipse 2015

Owl Castle 2015

Sketchy Stories is available worldwide at QBOOKSHOP. Race Point Publishing is a division of the Quarto Publishing Group USA and is dedicated to producing high quality illustrated books, calendars and journals in a variety of subjects ranging from art, cooking and crafts to entertainment, performing arts and the natural sciences.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Giveaway Hop - The Colors of Asia Coloring Book

Welcome to the Giveaway Hop! My prize is a copy of  The Colors of Asia: An Anti-Stress Coloring Book for Calm and Creativity, paperback released May 24, 2016 by Tuttle Publishing. It features 90 stunning decorative designs and patterns, based on porcelain and textile objets d'art, from across the exotic continent of Asia–  Indonesian batik, detail from a Turkish plate, an Indian elephant pattern, a silk embroidered dragon from Myanmar and more. Color using your own pencils and/or fine markers. Printed on large 10 x 10 inch sheets of thick white paper. Various styles and levels of difficulty. Printed on both sides. About the drawings at the end of book. So much fun to color! Get your copy below.

Thumbnails of motifs
90 motifs
About the drawings

#4 Indian floral pattern © Sherbinina (Dreamstime)

#6 Koi pattern © Ssstocker (Dreamstime)

#11 Indian paisley ornament © Liudmila Horvath (Dreamstime)

#12 Cranes, long life © Dtvector (Dreamstime)

#25 From a painted China bottle, plate 77 from Examples of Chinese Ornament: Selected from Objects in the South Kensington Museum and Other Collections by Owen Jones (S. & T. Gilbert, London 1867)

The Colors of Asia Coloring Book is available worldwide at Tuttle Publishing. Check out their unique catalog, rooted in Asian culture, language and history at Tuttle Publishing.

TUTTLE Publishing has generously offered to giveaway a copy of  The Colors of Asia Coloring Book. One winner will be selected at random. Good luck! Canadian and USA addresses. Until July 4, 2016.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more great prizes visit the other stops in this giveaway hop. Most are USA residents only.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Kumihimo Jewelry Simplified Review

Kumihimo Jewelry Simplified: Learn to Braid with a Kumihimo Disk – by Rebecca Ann Combs, released March 18, 2016 by Kalmbach Books. Kumihimo is the traditional Japanese technique of braiding. It is a centuries-old art form that today can be done with a kumihimo disk, a modern, compact braiding disk that lets you create braids with flexible cord or wire. Simply set up your fiber on the disk and then move it around the disk in a pattern forming a beautiful braid. The technique is simple and yields dozens of complex and intriguing patterns perfect for jewelry making. In her 128 page paperback experienced kumihimo instructor Rebecca shows you how to make 26 pieces of contemporary jewelry using the kumihimo braiding disk. She begins with a thorough introduction to kumihimo, followed by comprehensive instructions for 5 different braids. These 5 kumihimo braids serve as the starting point for the 26 sophisticated bracelet and necklace projects. Project instructions are meticulous and include a supply list and text, diagram and photograph instruction. The results are impressive. This is Ms Combs second book on kumihimo jewelry making, the first a best seller in it's category. Get your copy below!



Kumihimo Toolkit
Braiding Fibers and Other supplies
Kumihimo Math

Chapter 1:  Eight-Warp Basket Weave
Double-Take Necklace
In the Loop Bracelet
Rodeo Queen Bracelet
Pirouette Necklace

Chapter 2:  Eight-Warp Half-Round Braid
Charm Bracelet
Leather Wrap Bracelet
Harmony Necklace
Mythic Adventure Cuff

Chapter 3:  Eight-Warp Square Braid
Midnight's Treasure Necklace
Stretch Goal Bracelet
Crystal Morning Necklace
Bridge Bracelet

Chapter 4:  16-Warp Hollow Braid
Check Me Out Necklace & Bracelet
Silk Ribbon Lariat
My Garden Bracelet
The Ombraid Bracelet

Chapter 5:  16-Warp Trapezoid Braid
Ancient Geometry Necklace & Bracelet
Bling Bracelet
The Waterfall Necklace
Triple-Threat Bracelet

Chapter 6  Mixed Messages
On the Vine Necklace
Sampler Necklace
Sunset by the Lake Bracelet
Mighty Micro Braids Necklace

Acknowledgments and About the Author

Traditional kumihimo wooden marudai.

Chapter 2:  Charm Bracelet

Chapter 2:  Leather Wrap Bracelet

Chapter 5:  Triple-Threat Bracelet

Kumihimo Jewelry Simplified is available worldwide at Kalambach Publishing's Jewelry & Beading STORECheck out their catalog at Kalmbach Publishing Co.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ultimate Wrap Bracelets Review & Giveaway

This kit contains the materials for 3 and the instructions for 12 bracelet designs.

Ultimate Wrap Bracelets Kit: Make 12 Easy, Stylish Bracelets Step-by-Step by Patrizia Valsecchi (Author), Antonio Attini (Photographer) released– Feb 2 2016 by Tuttle Publishing. Boxed kit includes 600 beads, 48pp book, 6 charms, 3 button clasps, 3 cords and 12 bracelet video tutorials. To begin you need a needle, embroidery floss and scissors. The bracelets aren't terribly difficult to make, secure the cord to the provided board then sew the beads on, adding clasps, charms and closures along the way. Once you learn a few basics, the possibilities are endless. I followed the video tutorial, pausing and referring to the book if necessary. Additional supplies available from dollar store or craft shop. Great fun! I am very pleased with the results. Get your copy below.

My first bracelet. The blue cord is secured to the board and blue beads are sewn on with blue embroidery floss. Board, cord and beads from kit.


Materials and Accessories
Your First Double Wrap Bracelet
How to Make the Flat Knot

The Designs
The Marrakesh
The Carmen
The Grace
The Samba
The Pocahontas
The Bora Bora
The Navajo
The Acapulco
The Camellia
The Mozart

Ultimate Wrap Bracelets is available worldwide at Tuttle Publishing. Check out their unique catalog, rooted in Asian culture, language and history at Tuttle Publishing.

TUTTLE Publishing has generously offered to giveaway a copy of  Ultimate Wrap Bracelets. One winner will be selected at random. Good luck! Canadian and USA addresses. Until June 13, 2016.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

MagPOP! Magnesium Glycinate by Orange Naturals Review & Free Sample

I just finished my 3 packet sample of MagPop Magnesium Glycinate a new magnesium infused effervescent drink with magnesium glycinate, vitamin C and electrolytes from Orange Naturals. To use, empty the single-serve MagPop packet into a glass and add 150 to 250 ml of water, or to taste. The individual packets are handy, they save measuring and are highly portable but I found it difficult to get some of the MagPop out because it stuck to the insides of the packet. To avoid waste I brushed it off. With the addition of water it dissolved completely, I stirred. MagPop has an effervescent, light orange taste. I'm not a fan of sugar substitutes Stevia and Xylitol but their taste is not overpowering. After only 3 samples of MagPop I noticed an improvement in my health, I slept better! I love how good it is for me and that it's made in Canada. Came with a $4 off coupon. I recommend. Canadian residents sign up for your free sample at socialnature.

Monday, May 16, 2016

501 Enchanting Embroidery Designs Review & Giveaway

501 Enchanting Embroidery Designs: Irresistible Stitchables to Brighten Up Your Life Paperback by Boutique-Sha (Author) – released February 9, 2016 by Tuttle Publishing. The sweet designs in this book tempted me to try the art of hand embroidery. Following the instructions in Part 5   Embroidery Techniques I got out a needle, some embroidery thread and a little burlap pouch to practice on. I tried a few of the embroidery stitches on Page 47 the Backstitch, Outline stitch, Running stitch and Satin stitch. Some of my first stitches are photographed below. Next I'll be choosing a design, transferring it onto fabric and stitching! I'll need an embroidery hoop and a method for transferring the designs, either a dressmakers pencil or carbon paper. Instructions give floss color and stitch for each design. Already I'm looking at everything around me, from apparel to home decor, to see what I can add a decorative embroidery accent to. Want to add a simple charm and homemade aesthetic to your favorite items? Get your copy below!


Part One  Little Scandinavian Sketches 
A Scandinavian Cityscape
Cute Cups
A Cosy Room
A Tidy Kitchen
A Visit to the Flea Market
Scandinavian Forest Designs
Adorable items from Eastern Europe

Part Two  Sweet Little Sketches
The Music's Playing
I Love Fruit!
Sweet Things for Girls
Stripes and Polka Dots
Japanese Celebrations
Birds & Flowers
Tasty Tea Time
Lace Patterns

Part Three  Cross Stitch Motifs
Scandinavian Style Cross Stitch
A Cross Stitch Alphabet
Cross Stitch Dogs and Cats
Continuous Cross Stitch Patterns

Part Four  Let's Embroider
Stylish Pouches
Sewing Items
Signature Stitching on Camisoles
Travel Companions
Apple Motif Tea Cozy and Teapot Mat
Dishcloth and Apron
Pot Holder for a Budding Chef
Napkins for Adults and Kids
Butterfly Shaped Pot Holders
Holders Basket Cloth

Part Five  Embroidery Techniques
Transferring Designs
Using No. 25 Embroidery Thread
Threading the Needle
Starting to Embroider
Finishing Off
Removing the Design
Embroidering a Line
Embroidering to Conceal a Surface
How to Embroider
Cross Stitch
When Using Fabric Other Than That Meant for Cross Stitch

Diagrams and Instructions

Some of my first stitches.

Backstitch, Split stitch, Outline stitch and Running stitch.

501 Enchanting Embroidery Designs is available worldwide at Tuttle Publishing. Check out their unique catalog, rooted in Asian culture, language and history at Tuttle Publishing.

TUTTLE Publishing has generously offered to giveaway a copy of 501 Enchanting Embroidery Designs. One winner will be selected at random. Good luck! Canadian and USA addresses. Until May 30, 2016.