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)