Saturday, November 12, 2016

Beadbloggers and a photo of a Blythe custom by Zaloa Studios wearing Dolly Molly

Liath in Dolly Molly! 


Monday, November 7, 2016

a review of Creative Leather Jewelry, 21 Stylish Projects that Make a Statement, by Christina Anton

Creative Leather Jewelry
21 Stylish Projects that Make a Statement
by Christina Anton

As Christina Anton says in the introduction to Creative Leather Jewelry, "My jewelry designs are an expression of my background in design and architecture." She also explains why she has chosen leather as the medium of focus. She says, "You can easily shape, stamp, cut, dye, paint, and sew it into anything, which is especially good for crafting."
She notes that templates are included in the book so that the reader will easily be able to jump right in. 
She finishes the introduction by saying, "Whether you are a beginner or advanced, I hope to introduce methods that will spark your creativity and take your jewelry making to the next level."
Which is exactly what she does!
In the "basics" section she discusses tools, techniques, materials, and even the inspiration the reader might need. Delightfully, the author then adds that "the key is to have fun and let your creativity take over."
Colored, dyed cowhide in different weights is one thing the reader will be looking for. If you are Vegan, choose to go for Vegan options, which are available. Another material which is mentioned and which will make an appearance in this book is feathers (there is a fantastic bead, leather and feather necklace to look forward to, for example). 
Some of the tools which jewelry designers may or may not already have are: a rotary hole punch, a cutting mat, cutting knives and leather glue. The remaining tools and the components are items which most designers probably already have. 
In this basics section the author then demonstrates how to use a cutting blade, hole punching, opening and closing jump rings, making loops on a head pin, and more. Everything is photographed beautifully, in striking brilliant colors. The final technique you will learn is how to cap feathers for jewelry use. This was new to this reviewer and I really loved it.
The main body of the book comes next, along with templates. It is nicely planned out, with book flaps at the beginning and the end, so you can keep your place. 
The first project is Geometric Cutout Earrings. These are gorgeously colored leather earrings, cut out by hand, with three shapes per earring, each attached with jump rings. Really easy, really hip, and really pretty. 
Project number two is one of my absolute favorites. It is very similar to the first project however small embellishments of hand cut out leather are added to the bottom. These are perfect: bold yet beautiful! 
Following this comes a tutorial on how to make leather tassel earrings, and after that the reader will be introduced to the "Geometric Fringe Leather Earrings". These have so much going for them, they are ballistic. The description says, "Combine a fun fringed look with geometric cutout elements. Use the tassel technique and cut out a geometric lattice to hang in front of the fringe." The colors of the leather, combined with the great shapes, make these fascinating and fabulous!
The reader will see this sort of inventiveness continue on throughout the book. The leathers used in each project will be offered in numerous color choices, such as orange, hot pink and turquoise, purple, yellow and lime green, and turquoise, indigo and orange, all for the same project. This collection of choices for each project helps inspire the reader to really get her creativity flowing.
Later on in the book, metallic leather makes an appearance (as it does on the cover). The "Geometric Tassel Necklace" comes in three color offerings and it is a wow of a project. As the author says, "Create a layered geometric necklace with tassels. A touch of metallic leather can make any design have a high-end look. I like to use multiple shades of the same color on the tassels for added "pop". 
The designer's Leather Circle necklace and the variation, the Leather Geometric necklace, demonstrate even further how flat out amazing and artistic she is in her choices of color and shape. 
It is like studying with a great teacher, when you create a piece with Christina Anton by your side, using her book, Creative Leather Jewelry
You will not only learn how to work with leather, you will learn another way of understanding the beauty which is always a part of art. 
Creative Leather Jewelry, 21 Stylish Projects that Make a Statementby Christina Anton is a unique and lovely book which all jewelry designers should own!

Monday, October 31, 2016

review of Big Flies by by Keith Hirshland

What is a "perfect crime"? 

You will have to read this book to find out!

review of Big Flies
by Keith Hirshland

The phrase "Big Flies" is a part of a quote from Honore de Balzac. 
The full quote is on the cover of the book:"Laws are spider webs through which the big flies pass and the little ones get caught."

It gives you a hint of the what the book will be about. Some of the most intriguing characters in the book are sort of like "big flies". Possibly they will be able to pass through those figurative spider webs in all sorts of fascinating ways. 

Get ready, sit back, and enjoy this book, because the author really has a way with words as well as a fun and fascinating plot at hand. 

In the prologue, four famous crimes are mentioned. They all actually happened and have never been solved. For example, one is the D.B. Cooper case which took place in 1971.
How the four famous crimes are linked is something else the reader will have a ball reading Big Flies to figure out. It is all theoretical, but it could have happened this way. 

Opening in the present day, we meet the young protagonist, Leland, attempting to write his first novel. He is falling a bit flat. The reason he is trying to be a writer is because of his father. His father was supposed to be a well-known travel and food critic (and was famous for this), however Leland has made a discovery. His dad Chester actually used all sorts of magazines like "National Geographic", "Look", and "Life" to make up his reviews. Leland figures if his father was so clever at writing, perhaps he should give it a shot, too.
The mystery then goes back into the past. Chapter two brings the reader face to face with Leland's father, Chester, at age eight. He is celebrating his birthday and coming to the realization that a book he has been given, a Hardy Boys mystery, is just the ticket to understanding what he will be interested in becoming when he grows up.

Big Flies goes back and forth between Leland, and his father Chester, going from the present to the past, and back. Each chapter is titled "These Days" or "Those Days" for clarity. 

If you love action and surprises, you will get your fill here. 

If you enjoy things on the humorous and witty side, this book will fit the bill that way as well.

The story presents solutions to four cold cases: the D.B. Cooper case, the theft of the priceless gold and emerald Tucker Cross which had been brought up from a sunken ship off of Bermuda, the famous Chicago First National Bank Robbery, and the missing obsidian monkey which was stolen from Mexico's National Museum of Anthropology.

Don't expect to be able to figure Big Flies out. Just enjoy Big Flies, right up until the delightful ending, when all will have been explained.
Big Flies has plenty of great characters (both past and present), good buddies to enjoy you'll want to be pals with too, a bit of mystifying romance, and some vivid and marvelous scenes (especially if you love early Vegas, before Frank Sinatra was banned from his own casino).There will be mystery stacked upon mystery, some cool 8 track tapes with great choices in music thrown in, and fantastic, detailed twists. 

And if you like dogs, Leland's Bernese Mountain dog, "Harriet Potter", will make you feel cozy if you happen to be reading this on one of those rainy, cold nights people are always writing about. 

Get swept up in this fabulous, fun mystery by Keith Hirshland !

to read more about the author:

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Reviewing for a virtual authors book tour!

I am one of the reviewers on a book tour. I will be reviewing a book for Virtual Authors Book on Nov. 3rd. 
Bookmark that date and come back to this site for my review of the book which I read for the tour!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Jean reviews Metalsmithing Made Easy, A Practical Guide to Cold Connections, Simple Soldering, Stone Setting, and More! by Kate Ferrant Richbourg

Metalsmithing Made Easy
A Practical Guide to Cold Connections. Simple Soldering. Stone Setting, and More!
by Kate Ferrant Richbourg

In her introduction, the author says, "You and I have something in common. We both like to make metal jewelry."
She goes on to add, "The more you learn and build on your technique, the easier new or difficult things become. That's why I wrote this book. 
I'm here to share my tips, steps, tricks, and methods, to answer your questions, and to coach you through the tough spots."

With those heartening first words, off we go into the exciting world of metalsmithing. It begins with a brief but thorough explanation of how to use the book, including how to set up your studio. The author suggests that the reader follow the book from beginning to end before a tool is even picked up. 
This overview will come in handy when you work with this book. 
The first chapter is titled "Lets Talk about Solder". This chapter alone is worth the price of the book. It anticipates and answers the numerous questions a reader might have about soldering, torches, the how-tos of soldering, and more. 
The second chapter introduces you to "Tools". One of the most helpful aspects of Metalsmithing Made Easy is that the author explains each tool that the "DIY Metalsmith" might need very well. Because of this, the reader will be prepared and will have all of the tools needed. The few you might not have will be addressed by the author and there will be suggestions for substitutions. This is a wonderful chapter.
Chapter 3 covers "Metals and Materials". It includes metals such as copper, fine silver, sterling silver, gold fill and brass and looks at the forms they come in. It also discusses stones, patinas, and polishes. The photographs are excellent. The reader will see and understand how different patinas affect different metals.
When the reader reaches Chapter 4, it is very exciting, as this chapter is all about the rotary tool, a very useful tool for a metalsmith to understand. It will be covered in this chapter every which way plus loose! 

Chapter 5 is titled "Sampler". These little beauties are 1 X 1 inch and each one is packed with information from the author to the reader about a specific metalsmithing method. For example, one square ("sampler 7") teaches dapping and soldering domes. Sampler 15 instructs the metalsmith reader how to make a tube setting, which has a stone bezel set in it. 
Once Chapter 5 is mastered, the reader is ready for Chapter 6: "Projects".  As the author writes, "Time to make your skills shine!"
This lovely chapter offers earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets and pendants. All the projects are amazing and you will be able to make them because of this book. If you like one but are looking for a slightly different look, there are design alternatives, too! Gorgeous, lovely and hip designs which you can make yourself and add your own signature touches to. 

This is art jewelry of the highest quality and the reader will be thrilled to know that is is possible to create these pieces from this fun and fabulous book by Kate Ferrant Richbourg. It has everything you need to get you started on the path to metalsmithing. 

Metalsmithing Made Easy is a brilliant book by a great instructor and designer!

Friday, August 26, 2016

Beadbloggers and some photos of a Blythe by jean

This girl is from Spain. I only have one other girl from Spain and her name is Bebe. Bebe wears my most outrageous outfits when she models. This is Freckles. Freckles has beautiful red hair and "cat eyeliner"--waaaay before that was in,  and, as a contrast, she has all these freckles! At the time she was customized, no one was doing the freckle look, so I was really happy I got her. 
She is just totally cool. 
She is wearing a dress by Cindy Sowers and a bow by Mab Graves. I bought so many bows from Mab Graves she may have stopped making them just because of me. Well, it's a possibility!--jean


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

beadshop's lookbook and my bracelet--hooray for the lookbook and a second autumn challenge, this year

Simply irresistible!
is running another Autumn challenge! You must check it out!
You can see my bracelet, and what inspired me, in their wonderful "lookbook" from last year! You can download the lookbook by going to,<-- here. They are having some great discounts right now, as well! Simply irresistible!--jean

In this collage they made, my photo of my bracelet is on the top right!

Friday, August 19, 2016

BEADBLOGGERS and a Blythe photo by jean

Jewels all decked out in Pollymakes, wearing a Pollymakes couple of adorable dolls, Dusty and Floss! Here are some further adorable designs by Pollymakes, now know as Jane Pierrepont. She is ravishingly successful on ravelry!


Beading Arts
Cyndi explores how to make a Shamballa bracelet using larger beads!

Snap out of it, jean! There's beading to be done!
Jean reviews the book for knitters, Self-Striping Yarn Studio by the wonderful instructor and knitter/designer Carol J. Sulcoski!

Clay Pottery Repair of Heirloom Cookie Jar 
Seamless clay pottery repair can be a challenge sometimes. But unless the pottery is in smithereens, you can DIY one with a few simple supplies. Here's how.

Swirly WIP
Check out Connie's latest stitching project and find out the materials she's using for it.

Sewing for the Home
Home Sewn is a new book out that has lots of creative and simple sewing projects for household items.

Jewelry Redo
Terry Jeanette, aka Tappingflamingo, shows another jewelry redo. This time, a pair of earrings becomes two necklaces...

Monday, August 15, 2016

Jean reviews Self-Striping Yarn Studio Sweaters, Scarves, and Hats Designed for Self-Striping Yarn by Carol J. Sulcoski

Self-Striping Yarn Studio
Sweaters, Scarves, and Hats Designed for Self-Striping Yarn

Featuring Patterns from Fiona Ellis, Sandi Rosner, Brooke Nico, and more

Carol J. Sulcoski
author of Sock Yarn Studio and Lace Yarn Studio

This  book by the wonderful author Carol J. Sulcoski, is a part of her Yarn Studio series of books, preceded by Sock Yarn Studio and Lace Yarn Studio.
As it states on the back, the "Yarn Studio series...selects a category of yarn that's often misunderstood and provides clear and accessible technical instruction for using the yarn accompanied by more than 20 creative patterns."
In this, her latest book in the series, the reader will learn through the "extensive technical section how to use and manipulate self-striping yarn, gradients, and 
ply-shifters through detailed knitting illustrations and instructions, photographs of sample swatches, and example color charts--something no previous pattern collection has offered."
After learning the instructions and tips, the reader will look forward to trying one of the 25 new designs, 11 of which are easy, 12 intermediate, and 2 experienced. 
The knitter is offered patterns for shawls, scarves, sweaters, fingerless mittens, and more. Contributors include Marlaina "Marly" Bird, Barb Brown, Fiona Ellis, Erika Flory, Amy Gunderson, Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton, Patty Lyons, Elizabeth Morrison, Brooke D. Nico, Sandi Rosner, and Andi Smith as well as the author herself.
This brilliant book begins with lessons by the author on how to understand self-striping yarn. This is titled "all about self-striping yarn". It contains explanations of yarns which have different lengths of color in them and and what to expect from them, and it discusses true stripers versus gradients. It explain ply-shifters and has a section on troubleshooting. It discusses felted joins, which are useful for animal fibers, and has a section called "The Case of the Backward Skein". The author will fill you in on how to understand why your colors won't pop. too, and how to fix that. 
There is a discussion called "Matching Fiber to Project" which is very illuminating for a beginner and interesting in any case. The piece on pattern selection is explained extremely clearly and excites the reader's imagination, especially when we see the photos. Finally, the book's last opening piece is called "On Oddballs". 
This explains to the knitter what to do with all those little leftover bits of yarn: use them in stripers! And how to do it properly. 
Following the thorough first section, come the first projects, in a section called "fingering weight patterns". Knitters' eyes will light up with pleasure and delight at the designs shown. The first sweater, an intermediate project, is the Hexagon Sweater, with a pattern designed by Amy Gunderson. You will see a photo of the sweater being modeled, an explanation of how the color changes were made by the yarn itself, sizes, finished measurements, materials and tools required, gauge, and notes. In the following pages knitters will get the pattern stitches, the instructions for all the sections of the sweater, including the edging, and then on to the sizes. The knitters will be able to alter the sweater and knit any size from extra small to 2X/3X. This one sweater gets six pages of instructions plus an opening beauty photo.  And it is beautiful! 
Not all of the patterns have or need that many pages. For example, the Chamounix Mittens, designed by the author, with a skill level of easy, appear to have a Fair Isle look but as the author says, "the yarn does most of the work". They don't come in multiple sizes so they only require 2 pages of instructions. There is a full, adorable beauty shot of these mittens being worn, and a smaller picture of them lying in the sand by the seashore. It will be a snap for the knitter to picture making these for a friend for the holidays. They are knit in the round.
The next section is titled "dk weight patterns". This section contains a number of easy and intermediate patterns to try, from a tam to scarves, to a brightly striped jacket for a baby. The pretty pillow which winds it up is designed by the author. Called the "Hillaire Pillow", she says above the instructions, "Watch how the colors of this DK weight yarn repeat and play off against each other when they are knit multidirectionally." Just one more of the stunning offerings in this book you will want to try immediately, and it is in the easy skill level. The gorgeous colors of the yarn perfectly illustrate what the author meant when she explained in the beginning how to work your striped yarn to its best effect.
In the section called "worsted weight patterns", there is a lovely stole designed by Brooke D. Nico. It has a skill level of experienced. The description of it goes as follows: The rich colors of a self-striping yarn form the center motif of this shawl, which was inspired by a stitch pattern from a vintage counterpane. The long "wings" of the shawl wrap around you like a knitted hug. 
There is so much beauty in the color of this Sunflowers Stole the knitter will look forward to learning more and more until she can make it!
Carol J. Sulcoski is a wonderful teacher and designer. It is incredibly exciting to have her book, Self-Striping Yarn Studio, Sweaters, Scarves, and Hats, 
Designed for Self-Striping Yarn, the third in her "Studio" series, available for us to learn from and love. She and her contributors have created a stunning book for knitters everywhere!