Tuesday, February 28, 2012


For more than 20 years, the studios of Classic Elite Yarns have created enduring patterns that beg to be knitted with their sumptuous products. In this pattern collection, the focus is on quick-to-make accessories. Knitters of all skill levels will love this value-packed collection of 100 patterns for socks, wraps, hats, gloves, bags, scarves, and more.

I guess about the  best thing you can ask from knitting books are new designs explained beautifully and I think Classic Elite Quick Knits really brings it nicely.  I really liked the clean knits and classiness of the hats, mittens and socks in this book. The patterns are clear to understand and the finished look is very polished (although that could be due to the knitter!). The pictures are very clear and there's a large variety of things you can knit depending on your comfort level with knitting. I've definitely got my eyes on some casual laid back patterns (which, honestly I find ironic - I'm putting so much effort into making something that looks casual). The one thing is: I think this book is better suited to seasoned knitters since the pattern formation might be hard for a beginners as some designs are a little intricate.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Handmade Chic - Laura Bennett

Handmade Chic: Fashionable Projects That Look High-End, Not Homespun

In Handmade Chic, Laura shares simple strategies for creating 40 small luxuries and high-fashion accessories, from a smart leather iPad portfolio to a feather-embellished evening bag. With sections organized in skill-building order and based on type of accessory—small leather goods, agendas and notepads, electronics, bags and wallets, and evening items—Laura offers patterns, easy-to-follow diagrams, and detailed instructions for fabricating each glamorous project, whether it involves sewing from scratch or embellishing a prepurchased garment. While showcasing her own creative designs, she provides readers with the basic techniques and encouragement they need to come up with variations and create their own signature pieces.
Packed with Laura’s signature flair and finesse, vibrant four-color photos, step-by-step drawings, and a complete list of suggestions on where to purchase materials, Handmade Chic is an accessible guide to at-home crafting that is elegant enough for the most modern, fashion-savvy of women.

How can you make something hand made look high-end? Is there something wrong with all the crafts people do that makes them fall short of commercial stuff? To be honest, I've found the thing that counters this the creativity that goes into these projects. I love crafting and I've found that you can almost always create something on par with commercial stuff if you know what you're doing. Laura Bennett brings to the front is that the starting material is what basically gives your hand made stuff that extra special something that'll give you finished product the polish it requires. 

The material of choice for this book is (p)leather. I can understand it. Nothing speaks class as classic cut and sewn leather pieces and Laura is known for her classic cuts and designer pieces. 

I do feel, however, that other materials could have been included as not everyone is comfortable with the material she chose to portray. It would have been a better pitch if she had chosen some cheap polyester material and 'made it work', I guess. The other thing which I felt was lacking was that most of the stuff made were accessories which are fine but some old crafters would have preferred other items (or jewelry stuff maybe for kids so everyone can get on the bandwagon?) 

I did like the ideas however. The pattern is well explained. The thing are well made (no surprise), look expensive and yet easy enough to be tried. The ideas are aplenty and this book can and will serve as an inspiration to both novice and experienced sewers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

First Date - Krista McGee

First Date

Addy Davidson is the last girl in the country who wants to be on the new reality TV show to win a date to prom with the President's son. She's focused on her schoolwork so she can get a scholarship to an Ivy League college, uncomfortable in the spotlight, never been on a date, and didn't even audition for it.
But she got selected anyway.
So she does her best to get eliminated on the very first show... right before she realizes that the President's son is possibly the most attractive guy she has ever seen in person, surprisingly nice, and seemingly unimpressed by the 99 other girls who are throwing themselves at him.
Addy's totally out of her comfort zone-but that may be right where God can show her the most about who she is . . . and who she was meant to be.


I loved the concept of the book. It sounded fun and relevant, exactly what a YA novel should sound like...But...well, let's see: 

The good: 
The character development was nice. Kara specially was really well written (perhaps too well?). I also liked the back story of Addy's parents. It brought tears to my eyes, it felt that real and the pain was tangible. 

I did however had some issues with the story 
a) I think the story just progressed unnaturally. Why'd Addy get chosen? I never understood that and the supposed answers didn't satisfy me. 

b) The constant complaining (or at least the statement by the author) that Addy didn't want to be there. Yes, we got that but you made a commitment...let's move on 

c) Jonathan. I just don't understand him running into Addy whenever. These reality shows really control these sort of interactions so that just rang false with me. Yes, I know... it's fiction but still. 

d)The religious element just got in the way of the story for me. I might've said I'm not meant to read christian stories but that'd be false because I not only managed to read The Next Door Boys by Jolene Perry without a problem, I actually enjoyed it. 

Still it was  a cute book with some very nice elements and with a healthy dose of how people are manipulated on these reality shows to be portrayed as really mean and angry (and selfish)

Monday, January 23, 2012

OMG Pancakes!: 75 Cool Creations Your Kids Will Love to Eat by Jim Belosic

OMG Pancakes!: 75 Cool Creations Your Kids Will Love to Eat

Over 75 recipes for crazy pancake concoctions... Good-bye cupcake...Helloooo, PANCAKES!

When Jim Belosic started making pancakes in unusual designs, he was just trying to earn some cool cred with his daughter, Allie. Little did he know how happy he'd make her-and the millions of fans who eagerly await his latest creations on the Internet.

I was super impressed with Jim's daily escapades in order to entertain his daughter and I have to admit I requested this book to learn a trick or two from him. Boy, did I ever... 

I learnt: 

-You really need to think a little bit outside the box to make the most mundane thing fun 
-Simplicity really is everything. All those designs I thought were complicated? Weren't. Great tutorials and schemes 
-Epic fun is epic fun! The book illustrates some of his popular designs but they also provide inspiration for you to experiment. 

A great activity to with kids ( or even adults) which gives me an idea...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Getting Over Garrett Delaney - Abby McDonald

Getting Over Garrett Delaney

Can a twelve-step program help Sadie kick her unrequited crush for good? Abby McDonald serves up 
her trademark wit and wisdom in a hilarious new novel.

Seventeen-year-old Sadie is in love: epic, heartfelt, and utterly onesided. The object of her obsession - ahem, affection - is her best friend, Garrett Delaney, who has been oblivious to Sadie's
feelings ever since he sauntered into her life and wowed her with his passion for Proust (not to mention his deep-blue eyes). For two long, painful years, Sadie has been Garrett's constant companion, sharing his taste in everything from tragic Russian literature to art films to '80s indie rock
- all to no avail. But when Garrett leaves for a summer literary retreat, Sadie is sure that the absence will make his heart grow fonder - until he calls to say he's fallen in love. With some other girl! A
heartbroken Sadie realizes that she's finally had enough. It's time for total Garrett detox! Aided by a barista job, an eclectic crew of new friends (including the hunky chef, Josh), and a customized selfhelp
guide, Sadie embarks on a summer of personal reinvention full of laughter, mortifying meltdowns, and a double shot of love.

Oh, boy...does Sadie have a problem or what? Getting over her best friend? Yup - that's gonna be toughie. 

Okay. Here's what I think: Anyone who' ever crushed on, fallen in love with, or gotten dumped by someone will love this book. It's the kind of book that's meant for young adults but will mostly be circulating among the older crowd. It's experience talking. Mine, yours and your friend's whom you talked out of contacting that no-good love interest of hers. I mean, really. That's pretty much why I clicked on reading the ARC of this book to see if maybe I could get some self help in fiction form. Did I? Well, not really but it did affirm a couple of things for me: 

1-Recognize the problem: You know, Falling in love is just like being on drugs. There are severe consequences from the withdrawal symptoms. 
2-Bitching helps. A lot. The bitching that girls do with other girls is the first step towards getting over someone 
3-Stay busy. DO NOT allow yourself time to think about the other person. 
4-Let someone else monitor your contact activity so you're not tempted. 

And I was happy to see these general rules being followed. Was everything resolved? Not quite, but then again not everything has a happy ending and no matter how much women fantasize about their exes coming and begging for their forgiveness, they do realize it's a fantasy for a reason. 

I liked the story, overall. It was engaging and mostly true. The things we overlook in the guy when we're in love are so glaring visible to other people and it's okay to stand back and re-evaluate a friendship once in a while to see what you're really getting out of it. That's what I learnt and I'm happy with that.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fabric by Fabric One-Yard Wonders by Rebecca Yaker, Patricia Hoskins

Fabulous Fabulous Fabric One-Yard Wonders

The best-selling authors of One-Yard Wonders are back with another all-new amazing collection of 101 sewing projects. Responding to the increasingly diverse range of fabric weights and types now available, Fabricby-Fabric One-Yard Wonders is organized by fabric type. From home dec to knits, wool to flannels, corduroy to cottons, these patterns show how to make the most of each fabric’s unique characteristics. 

Sewers will love the affordability and ease of these patterns, each requiring just one yard of fabric. There’s something for every skill level and interest. Waterproof coated cotton fabrics are perfect for a gym bag or set of bicycle panniers, wool makes a warm cap for the outdoor enthusiast, knit jersey whips up quickly into a ruffle scarf or sassy dress, corduroy makes a sturdy farmers’ market tote, lightweight cotton voile is perfect for a little girl’s smocked sundress, and cozy pink fleece makes an irresistible mother pig and piglets stuffed toy set. The perfect blend of fabric and function is evident throughout this wide-ranging collection.

Every project is shown in a full-color photograph, accompanied by detailed step-by-step instructions and illustrations and a complete cutting layout. All required pattern pieces are included in a secure envelope inside the book. 

Honestly, the projects are Ah-mazing! They really are. Very very inspiring. And the sheer amount of projects that can be done is astounding! The photographs are high quality and the instructions are clear and understandable. I only wish the ARC had the patterns that I could have printed and then experimented with. I mean what am I gonna do without any patterns, you tell me?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Brain Trust - Garth Sundem

Brain Trust: 87 Top Scientists Reveal Lab-Tested Secrets to Surfing, Dating, Dieting, Gambling, Growing Man-Eating Plants, and More!


Clearly one of the best books I've read this year (and the year's just started, yay!) - What I loved about this book is it's ability to suck you in right away in it's folds. I am a scientist and obviously this book made a lot of sense to me since I'm one of those people who question their lot in life (If you wanna see my queries, here you go ). But, I can also see people from all walks of life benefiting from this book. There's scientific info about health, wealth, love and life which would appeal to any thinking person combined with examples which are easy to understand and interesting. An obvious comparison for this scientific study is of course the book 'Freakonomics', except this book is MUCH more data-sturdy. It doesn't just say one thing, it proves it. I can't wait to discuss the related material with my folks. They'll eat this sort of info up and debate it with respect to their own experiences. 

The Beef: I'm sorry, I'm not from a country where gambling's popular (or baseball or car racing) - so the sports portion of it was pretty much wasted (as well as speed-dating...Oh, well!) - Info on Cricket was good, though.