Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

March 3, 2024

Wise Craft {Giveaway}

In an act of serendipity, I was contacted to review a new book from a blog that I had only just stumbled upon the day before.  Have you ever visited Blair Stocker's blog, wise craft?  It's a remarkable site, filled with crafts, quilts, upcycling and repurposing, and general inspiration for creative types (or would-be creative types).  Actually, it's very much what I'd like to see my blog turn into, someday, when little hands and bodies aren't always in my face.  But I digress...

Blair Stocker's new book, out this month from Running Press, is called Wise Craft: Turning Thrift Store Finds, Fabric Scraps, and Natural Objects into Stuff You Love, and it's full of inspiring projects to transform things you already have into beautiful and useful craft objects.
Arranged by season, the projects incorporate a variety of materials from paper, fabric, leather and found objects.  There are so many clever projects in this book, from Zombie Barbies (!!!)
to cross stitched pegboard Christmas trees
and even a reimagination of an old standby like a crocheted placemat.
This book is filled with so many creative and more importantly, DO-able projects.  Flipping through the book, I was already noting which projects I had the materials for in my stash, like these book pot holders/trivets.
At $20, this is a reasonably-priced paperback craft book, especially with 60 projects included.  For me, I love that the ideas in this book are a jumping point for coming up with ways to upcycle items from around my home or that I see in a thrift store. 

Wise Craft is And thanks to the author for including this cute little bunting made from fabrics used throughout the book.  It brightens up my living room!
This book trailer does a better job than me at showing you what's inside the book

(I'm so jealous of her studio space! )

You can learn more about Wise Craft via Blair's blog or by looking through the book on
One lucky reader will win a copy of Wise Craft.  Leave a comment on this post telling me something you've made this winter.  Get another entry by sharing the giveaway on Twitter and leave a separate comment. Contest ends March 12, 11:59pm EST. I'll contact the winner by email.  Good luck!
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

February 6, 2024

Never Been Stitched {Giveaway}

This time of year, housebound with kids underfoot, I often look for a project that is quick and satisfying.  Sometimes that involves a sewing machine, but often it does not, since even sitting down at mine, uninterrupted takes effort.

Thankfully, Never Been Stitched by Amanda Carestio showed up at my door.  This book, filled with 45 no or low-sew projects is a great way to chip away at the winter doldrums.
There are instructions for home decor items like pillows, pictures and as well as clothing and accessories, like socks and scarves.  One of the simplest projects is the Map Bunting, which uses just scissors and glue to cut a map into a festive decoration.

Some of the other projects use items like fusible webbing, grommets, and wood embroidery hoops.  There are a few projects geared toward kids, like the Fleece Octopus and Felt Pencil Roll, which would be great for making with my son on a weekend afternoon.

I like that this book is a collaborative effort which includes projects from bloggers; it's interesting to see different styles and approaches to crafts within the same book.  The best part about Never Been Stitched is that it's a great way to quench my artistic craving when I'm bored and looking for a quick fix.

BONUS: Lark Crafts is generously sharing three downloadable projects for free via their website,
Click on over and get started on one of these creative projects.

One lucky reader will win a copy of Never Been Stitched
Comment below with your favorite book from Lark Crafts.  Winner will be chosen on February 22nd, and I'll email the winner.  Share the giveaway via Twitter tagging @LarkCrafts for an extra entry, and leave me the link to your tweet.
UPDATE: WINNER is #2, Linda.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for review. All opinions are my own.

February 21, 2024

Wee Felt Worlds: Sweet Little Scenes to Needlefelt

I can't resist books on fiber arts.  Whether it's knitting, sewing, embroidery or felting, I love working with all kinds of fibers and fabric materials.

When these kind of books relate to kids, that's a bonus for me.  Not only can I enjoy the process of making something, but it can amuse my kids of those of friends, either in its final result or in the creation of the object.

Wee Felt Worlds: Sweet Little Scenes to Needle Felt by Amanda Carestio is a new, adorable book from Lark Crafts that focuses on needle felting.  And the projects included in the book are so stinkin' cute!
Using dyed, combed wool, you too can create these magical little scenes.  I have a stash of carded wool in my art supplies, so I'm quite eager to create some of these little creatures and settings for myself (forget the kids, I want these.  And without grubby fingerprints on them).

How sweet is this little woodland scene?  Felt and wool seems so fitting for the natural setting.
Any of these felted scenes would be a magical gift that encourages imaginative play in a child.

The Circus Maximus scene is also very cool.  I like the look of the characters (designing figures always stumps me, 3-dimensionally) and I like that the instructions are easy to follow for making one's own.
Prior to reading this book, my understanding of needle felting was cursory, at best, but having read through Wee Felt Worlds, I have a better handle on how to create items out of wool (appendages had always puzzled me).

While the book may intimidating for some in terms of securing the materials needed (really though, so much can be found online now), once you have the wool and a few tools, you're set.  The step-by-step techniques will hold your hand through the whole process.  Kudos to the author for explaining it so well, and also adding helpful illustrations throughout. 

With over 50 projects to make, there's something for everyone's taste in Wee Felt Worlds.  And for around $8, it's a beautifully illustrated, informative book on a craft that you might want learn more about.  You can purchase it via Barnes and Noble.

Why not try this sample project, for a Squirrel, as seen below (just click on the photo, then right click to enlarge).  Enjoy!

Disclosure: I received a sample copy of Wee Felt Worlds for review purposes. 

February 1, 2024

Inspiring New Books from Roost: Imagine Childhood and I Love Dirt {Giveaways}

Do you get as excited as I am when a new book comes out from one of your favorite blogs or bloggers?  I recently bought and devoured the Young House Love book this month, but also got to peruse a copy of Imagine Childhood: Exploring the World through Nature, Imagination and Play by Sarah Olmsted.
It's pretty incredible how in this day and age, one can pour their creativity and talent into a blog, and then turn it into a book, and Sarah Olmsted did just that.  Well, actually, her Imagine Childhood website is part shop/part blog/ part community forum, but regardless, it's inspired parents and kids everywhere to explore their natural surroundings and their imagination. 

The book is a perfect complement to the online Imagine Childhood site.  It's filled with open-ended projects like creating outdoor houses out of dirt or leaves (both for big kids and little dolls/figures), making boats out of simple materials like newspaper, and sparking one's imagination through activities like nature walks, costumes, and creating play forts and magical spaces.  Quite a testament to hands-on learning, for sure.

I love this quote from the book's introduction.  I think it sums up the book perfectly.
Nature teaches us how the world works.
Imagination teaches us how to dream.
Play teaches us how to make our dreams real.
                               --Sarah Olmsted.

Imagine Childhood would make a wonderful addition to your home library or a friend's.  I think it would encourage not only children to explore the world of imagination and play, but adults as well.

Speaking of play and nature, I Love Dirt!: 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature by Jennifer Ward is another fun new release from Roost.
I can't wait to get this book dirty when using it on walks and trips to the park.  I Love Dirt contains 52 short but inspiring ways to immerse your kids and yourself in playful yet dirty activities.

It's divided into seasonal sections, all of which have ways to explore nature through art, science, writing, and simple observation.   It's really applicable to country-dwellers who live in climates with dramatic seasons, like myself, however anyone can use this book, no matter where you live.  Those living in warm locations will probably not be able to do any of the snow-related activities, however there are suggestions for other ways to get the most out of the seasons.

I want to raise my boys with a close connection to nature, and I Love Dirt is a creative catalyst for getting us outside to explore the world, no matter the season or weather. 


One lucky reader will win a copy of Imagine Childhood and another lucky reader will win a copy of I Love Dirt!  Please enter via the Rafflecopter widgets below (you can leave one comment in the post for both giveaways; no need to duplicate).
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Disclosure: I received copies of the books reviewed here.  All opinions are my own.

December 10, 2023

Deck the Halls with Country Living {Giveaway}

On the tails of my last review of a Christmas book from Country Living is yet another delightful book for the holidays, Country Living Deck the Halls

I LOVE this book.  It's filled with lots of ideas for do-it-yourself holiday decor, packaging, ornaments, recipes and crafts.  Its subtitle, Christmas Notecards, Labels, Ornaments and Other Festive & Fun Projects, there are pullout recipe cards, table toppers,  ornaments, gingerbread-house templates, and more, all rendered in a modern and simple style.  These are actual pull-out cards, not things that you need to bother enlarging on a photocopier or scanning into your computer.

Other than the lovely photography, the pages have pretty illustrations in a whimsical, sketchy style.  Each page contains either a pull out item or an idea for a craft, recipe  Some of the ideas have been featured in Country Living Magazine and are revisited in this book.  Chapters include Delicious Gifts from the Kitchen, Dazzling Decorations, and Wrap it Up!

There are so many inspiring projects in Deck the Halls that will help bring a modern, country holiday into your home this year and for years to come.

One lucky reader will win a copy of Deck the Halls!  Enter via Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of Deck the Halls for review.

December 6, 2023

The Farm Chicks Christmas from Country Living {Giveaway}

When it comes to decorating with a vintage, country flair, The Farm Chicks are experts.  I've admired their work in Country Living magazine, as well as on their website and blog.  While one half of the duo is now retired, Farm Chick Serena Thompson is still creating projects to inspire homemaking, cooking and entertaining.
Thomson is shown in the book above, wearing the red coat
The Christmas book, The Farm Chicks Christmas, now available in paperback, is filled with ideas and tips for creating a welcoming atmosphere in your home for the holidays.
From baking to decorating to crafting, The Farm Chicks Christmas is a great resource for creative and non-creative types.  There are simple ideas like stacking vintage books, spelling out Christmas-y words with Scrabble tiles, and covering cones in fabric,
as well as more involved projects like a holiday scalloped bunting and felt gift card holders
The book is peppered with Serena's stories of family and friends, where she writes of Christmas traditions shared with the ones she loves.  The accompanying photography is gorgeous, whether its subject is a visit to a tree farm to cut down a Christmas tree, or of the beautiful interiors decked out in vintage charm.
Also included are three pages of cute note cards and stickers, which I'm eager to use to accentuate handmade gifts this year.
The Farm Chicks Christmas is a visual delight, and will be a festive resource that I look forward to opening up every December to inspire a homemade and homey Christmas.


One lucky Katydid and Kid reader will win a copy of The Farm Chicks Christmas!
Please enter via Rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of The Farm Chicks Christmas for review.  All opinions are my own.

December 4, 2023

Fresh from the Oven: The Old Farmer's Everyday Baking Almanac {Giveaway}

Many of my go-to dishes are from The Old Farmer's Almanac cookbook, which I received as a gift a few years ago. I reference it all the time for classic dishes like macaroni and cheese and biscuits.  Naturally I was eager to see that they've published a cookbook especially for baking--The Farmer's Everyday Baking Almanac.
It's as good as my original book, and especially handy this time of year.  I made the Pecan-Top Apple Pie last month which came out perfectly.
I do wish I had dressed it up with the recommended Caramel Sauce, however I didn't have the time to do so.  Though the pie was sweet enough on its own.

I like that the Everyday Baking Almanac includes tips and tricks for better baking, like why the best way to use eggs is at room temperature (cool eggs affect the consistency of butter and other room-temperature ingredients in the dough).

I do wish that the book was more substantial in appearance; it has the look and feel of a magazine, rather than a book.  While the amount of recipes is great (118), I wish it was available in hardcover or was spiral bound for posterity.  The photography is excellent, and unlike the Everyday Cookbook, most recipes have a photo to go along with them, which is something I appreciate.

There are so many tempting recipes in this book, like the Chocolate Mud Bars. They might be great with a teaspoon of peppermint extract and some crushed candy canes to make them more festive for the Christmas season.


From The Everyday Baking Cookbook, page 54


1 ¼ cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons packed light-brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted


½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
¼ cup cake flour
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and set aside.

For crust: Combine the graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Mix well with your hands. Add the melted butter, stir well with a fork, then rub the ingredients together well with your fingers until thoroughly mixed. Press the mixture evenly in the prepared pan to form a level layer on the bottom with a lip extending about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan. (Do not prebake the crust).

For filling: Combine the butter and chocolate in the top of a double boiler over not-quite-simmering water. When melted, whisk to smooth, then remove the pan from the heat. Scrape the chocolate into a medium bowl and cool to lukewarm. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Whisk the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the lukewarm chocolate. Stir in the cake flour, mixing until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Scrape the batter over the crust and smooth with a spoon. Bake on the center oven rack for 35 minutes only - no longer. Cool on a rack. Refrigerate an hour or so before slicing. Serve at room temperature. Makes 16 bars.

For you bakers out there, I have a copy of The Everyday Baking Almanac to give away!  Please enter via Rafflecopter below:
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Disclosure: I received a copy of the Everyday Baking Almanac for review.  All opinions are my own.

September 19, 2023

Side by Side {Book Review and Giveaway}

Whenever I come across a book or website that encourages art making in children, it pleases me, hoping that it might foster a lifelong love of the arts in a young person.  Even more exciting is when the activities invite adults to create alongside children.  After all, we adults need to reconnect with that imaginative side that often lies dormant under the obligations of everyday life.

Most recently, I had the chance to review Side by Side: 20 Collaborative Projects for Crafting with Your Kids, a new book by blogger Tsia Carson from Roost Books.
This book is a great resource for parents and caregivers for creating art with their children using simple, fairly open-ended projects that don't require fancy materials or specialty tools.

Tsia Carson, who blogs at SuperNaturale, (a blog that I now eagerly have subscribed to, having only discovered it through this book) is keen on encouraging a collaborative art-making relationship between children and adults.  That doesn't mean that we caregivers are stuck making googly-eyed puppets along with the kids.  The projects in this book are suitable for both adults and kids, and are adaptable for all ages, like the Pom Pom garland.
 And how cool is this giant newspaper snowflake?  I totally want to make one!
Carson focuses on using natural and recycled materials throughout the book, which also pleases me.  From objects collected on a nature walk to things found in our own kitchens, the projects in this book are inspiring and beautifully photographed.

Side by Side is a great addition to your home library; I'm eager for my boys to pull it out on an "I'm bored" day to engage in some creative "together time".
TWO lucky readers will win a copy of Side by Side!  Please enter via Rafflecopter below
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a copy of Side by Side for review purposes.  All opinions are my own.

May 18, 2023

La Tartine Gourmande {Book Giveaway}

As a home cook, I love paging through cookbooks and blogs looking for inspiration to change-up the usual menu in my kitchen.  Most recently I came across La Tartine Gourmande, both the blog and the subsequent cookbook of the same name, and both by Beatrice Peltre.
What a fabulous book, both in its photography and content.  La Tartine Gourmande, Recipes for an Inspired Life, is a beautiful read, filled with foods for all times of day, snacks and desserts included.  Oh yes, desserts!  Like the Spiced Panna Cotta below, the recipe of which can be found here.

The book has inclinations toward French food, due to the author's French heritage, however the recipes are simple and accessible (really, isn't most French cuisine like that anyway?  Fresh ingredients, simple and traditional techniques, etc.).
Beatrice Peltre writes in a friendly, upbeat manner and her charming stories and vignettes pepper each chapter, reflecting on her upbringing in France and her experiences in the US and abroad.

I like that her recipes use fresh ingredients and are also encouraging of gluten-free diets.  Peltre herself has a gluten intolerance, so many of her recipes use flours other than wheat-based ones.  Yet the recipes don't seem fussy or weird; I doubt I'd miss wheat much if cooking my way through this book.

While I've yet to really knead my way through the recipes, I did have a chance to make her Nutty Maple and Vanilla Granola.
Super-delicious, really easy, and great for her yogurt and fruit parfaits.
I'm certain it's will be my go-to granola recipe from now on.  The pumpkin seeds are a wonderful addition.
La Tartine Gourmande is a great companion to my kitchen, and I look forward to trying more of Bea's recipes throughout the year.

One lucky reader will win a copy of La Tartine Gourmande from Roost Books!  Enter via Rafflecopter below.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of La Tartine Gourmande for review purposes. All opinions are my own.
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