Book Review: Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies by Judith Durant & Edie Eckman

Book Review: Crochet One-Skein Wonders for Babies by Judith Durant & Edie Eckman Review by Dawn Thomas 288 Pages Publisher: Storey Publishing Crafts & Hobbies, Crochet, Yarn I was so happy to get this book. We are expecting our seventh grandchild this fall. The parents have decided not to know the sex of the child so I am planning making neutral color projects until the baby arrives. The book is divided into different themed chapters. Little Hats & Caps: There are hats for newborns and toddlers in this section. There is even a hat for a doll with a matching child’s hat. Little Socks & Bootees: I had such a chuckle when I saw the Sunshine Boot Toppers. There was also a pattern for Mommy and Me leg warmers that are so cute and practical. A few patterns are given in multiple sizes so they can be made for babies and toddlers. Little Tops & Dresses: I found a pattern called Dad & Me Necktie Shirts for a father and son look alike moment. There is a pattern for a Tiny Tango Vest that is adorable with ruffles along the bottom. Little Bottoms: This chapter had several patterns for diaper…

Book Review: 24-Hour Crochet Projects by Rita Weiss

Book Review: 24-Hour Crochet Projects by Rita Weiss Review by Dawn Thomas 128 Pages Publisher: Dover Publications Crafts & Hobbies, Crochet, Yarn I am a beginner at crochet and have attempted simple projects. So far, I have made wrist warmers, a scarf, blocks for an afghan and a dozen Granny squares that are anything but square. I was excited to read this book for inspiration and quick projects. I still have the Granny square afghan my grandmother gave me a when I was a teenager. My goal is to make something for each of my grandchildren. This book has 23 different projects. They range from headbands and hats to sweaters, purses and blankets. There is even a pattern for beautiful lace doilies. I love the Heads Up hat and it only takes two hours to make. The Baby Dreams blanket looks amazing and takes 14 hours to complete. I am going to attempt to make the Child’s Helmet Hat for one of my granddaughters who loves that style. I just purchased yarn to make the Huggable Afghan for another granddaughter. Now I just need to plan on the ten hours it will take to make it. At the end of…

Book Review: Arc of the Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts

Book Review: Arc of the Goddess by Rachel Patterson and Tracey Roberts Review by Dawn Thomas 272 Pages Publisher: John Hunt Publishing Ltd / Moon Books Religion & Spirituality This book comes from a year-long online course they developed together. Each chapter is dedicated with a theme for the month. Within each chapter, the authors explore a different goddess as they travel the wheel of the year. What I liked about this design is they included the stages of a woman along with the elements and the seasons. There is a beautiful wheel diagram, which shows how the themes are connected. The authors include nine goddesses for each month. Since nine is a goddess number, this makes sense. There are also devotions, crafts and recipes written specifically for each month. I also like the authors’ advice that you do not have to wait until January to begin the book. You can begin at any point of the year. So many books do that and when I come across one in June or July I do not really know what to do. Sometimes I put the book aside for the new year and then forget about starting it. Since this is…

Book Review: Living in the Moment by Dani DiPirro

Book Review: Living in the Moment by Dani DiPirro Review by Dawn Thomas 128 Pages Publisher: Watkins Publishing Self-Help, Health, Mind & Body This is the second in a series by Ms. DiPirro. Like her first book in the series, Gratitude, this is a short book about being mindful. She begins the book with a couple of definitions of living in the moment. One quote in the book states that forever is composed of nows by Emily Dickinson. I found that to speak volumes. Everyone that rushes through life does not realize they need to live for the now. She tells the reader why it is important to praise yourself and have self-confidence. I liked her advice not to dwell in the past or have regrets. The author gives readers an assignment to do something that your future self will thank you for doing. There is a quote by Benjamin Franklin not to squander your life away. The author advises the reader to make the most of each day and evaluate how you spend your time. I believe her statement to learn how to say no is very important. This is something many people have trouble doing. I know I…

Book Review: It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron, Emma Lively

Book Review: It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron, Emma Lively Review by Dawn Thomas 295 Pages Publisher: Penguin Random House LLC Self-Help, Personal Health, Aging The secondary title of the book is “Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.” I have read several of Ms. Cameron’s books and thought this one was timed perfectly for me. At 54, I was wondering what I should do with myself since graduating from the University of Florida in 2014. Her advice that it is never too late to begin again gave me the confidence I needed to pursue other creative projects. The book is designed to be read over the course of twelve weeks. Each week is dedicated to reigniting a sense of something. There are several tasks to be completed during each week that continue throughout the course. These are Morning Pages, Memoir, Artist Dates, and Walking. The description for Morning Pages is to write three pages as soon as you wake up in the morning. There are no instructions or directions. She just recommends writing whatever pops into your head. I find this idea intriguing. When I first wake up I usually wonder what the day…

Book Review: Gratitude by Dani Di Pirro

Book Review: Gratitude by Dani Di Pirro Review by Dawn Thomas 128 Pages Publisher: Watkins Publishing Self-Help, Health, Mind & Body This is a short book discussing the attitude of gratitude. It begins with a definition of the word. The first section shows the reader how to recognize, appreciate and rejoice gratitude. There are affirmations in each section. The first affirmation is “Today I am grateful for what I have right now.” The second section asks the reader to tell people how grateful you are. This is followed by another affirmation and quotes. The next section addresses appreciation followed by a task of writing down a memory. The author asks the reader to find wonderment in everyday experiences.  She also advises to look for the positive instead of the negative and appreciate life. This an uplifting book. Although it is small, there are many quotes throughout the book that make the reader take notice and feel good about the small things in life that are often overlooked. She discusses the importance of courtesy and giving back. At the end of the book, there are several top ten lists of ways to be grateful. This is a book that can be…

Book Review: Before We Visit The Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

Book Review: Before We Visit The Goddess by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni Review by Dawn Thomas 224 Pages Publisher: Simon & Schuster Fiction, Families, Mothers & Daughters The story opens with a telephone call from Bela to her mother, Sabitri. Tara, Bela’s daughter, wants to drop out of college. Bela begs Sabitri to talk Tara out of it. Sabitri is in India and begins to write Tara a letter. What begins with a simple request for Tara to stay in school, turns into the story of her life. From her letter, we see Sabitri as a girl and her desire to get an education. Sabitri has the opportunity to live with a wealthy family in order to go to school. She meets the son, Raj, and a relationship begins. When Raj’s mother finds out about them, she throws Sabitri out of the house. Shamed, she returns to the school and cries. Bijan, her math professor sees Sabitri and comforts her. The story changes from Sabitri to Bela and we hear about her childhood. Bela seems to always cause controversy and I wonder if that is her desire. One of her actions causes a rift in the family from which it cannot…

Book Review: Cast Iron Cooking by Rachael Narins

Book Review: Cast Iron Cooking by Rachael Narins Review by Dawn Thomas 96 Pages Publisher: Storey Publications Cooking, Food & Wine I have a cast iron frying pan and use it almost daily for almost 20 years. I like the fact it heats evenly and retains heat. Another important aspect of cast iron is that once it is seasoned, the foods will not stick to the pan. This cookbook begins with why and how to buy cast iron. There are several different shapes and sizes to consider and Ms. Narins covers them all. The author follows it up with how to season and care for you cast iron. The second section of the book is devoted to recipes. As expected the first set of recipes are for breakfast dishes. The recipes range from a type of German popover and full English breakfast to a dish that resembles breakfast nachos and the traditional breakfast potatoes. The next set of recipes includes lunch and dinner options. She includes not only grilled cheese sandwich but also a twist on tomato soup. I was surprised to see a pizza and spanakopita cooked in a cast iron frying pan. Ms. Narins also includes cultural dishes…

Book Review: Bead and Wire Fashion Jewelry by Jessica Rose

Book Review: Bead and Wire Fashion Jewelry by Jessica Rose Review by Dawn Thomas Pages Publisher: The Tauton Press, Inc. Nonfiction (Adult), Crafts & Hobbies I love reading craft books. They give me great ideas for future projects. Although this book is suggested for adults, there are several projects I would do with my granddaughters. This is an excellent book for anyone interested in making jewelry. The book has several categories listed in the table of contents. It begins with tools and materials. From there, it progresses to different techniques. In this section, the author describes how to make different types of wire shapes as opposed to buying them premade. Her instructions are so easy to follow; I plan to have my teenage granddaughters make projects this summer. The following sections each address a specific type of jewelry. At the beginning of each project, the author provides a mood board and design process. This includes images that inspire the finished piece. The first section covers necklaces. I think my favorite piece in this section is the sea breeze layered bead necklace. She uses ocean themed colored stones in this creation. The paradise necklace reminds me of Carnival. The chain attraction…

Book Review: It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron, Emma Lively

Book Review: It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron, Emma Lively Review by Dawn Thomas 295 Pages Publisher: Penguin Random House LLC Self-Help, Personal Health, Aging The secondary title of the book is “Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond.” I have read several of Ms. Cameron’s books and thought this one was timed perfectly for me. At 54, I was wondering what I should do with myself since graduating from the University of Florida in 2014. Her advice that it is never too late to begin again gave me the confidence I needed to pursue other creative projects. The book is designed to be read over the course of twelve weeks. Each week is dedicated to reigniting a sense of something. There are several tasks to be completed during each week that continue throughout the course. These are Morning Pages, Memoir, Artist Dates, and Walking. The description for Morning Pages is to write three pages as soon as you wake up in the morning. There are no instructions or directions. She just recommends writing whatever pops into your head. I found this idea intriguing. When I first wake up I usually wonder what the day…