Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Books to Help You Get Stuff Done!

Focus for this list:
I occasionally do something other than read. No, really, I do! Mind you, when that happens, I frequently go in search of books on the topic. Really! In any case, I hope some of these books will help you get stuff on your list done as well. 
NOTE: all photos are of my own doing, of my own projects! 


1.  Quick Quilts to Make in a Weekend, edited by Rosemary Wilkinson
This was the first quilting book that didn't scare me. In fact, I ended up making one quilt loosely based on one of these patterns. It took me about a year to get it done, but then again, it was only my second quilt!

2.  Around the Block with Judy Hopkins: 200 Rotary-Cut Blocks in 6 Sizes  by Judy Hopkins
This is my favorite reference work on how to make organized quilt blocks without breaking my brain doing math.

3.  That Dorky Homemade Look: Quilting Lessons From a Parallel Universe by Lisa Boyer
This is the book that liberated my soul, and gave me the heart to keep quilting. 

4.  Cut-Loose Quilts: Stack, Slice, Switch, and Sew by Jan Mullen
After Lisa Boyer turned me loose, Jan told me how to make it REALLY interesting!!!  :)
Yes, each square is centered by a fussy-cut flamingo doing something at the beach: dancing the flamenco, riding a motorcycle, snorkeling, shopping, etc, etc, etc. 

Really, this is a quilting book for how to make the whole thing relaxing. That is, unless you're someone who particularly enjoys parallel lines. Some do!

5.  The Lazy Indoor Gardener: How to take care of your house plants with the least possible effort by Roberta Pliner

Mr. Turkey Bird just found this book at the library book sale, and yet, it describes my philosophy of plant care just perfectly. We took it along to the store when shopping for new victims! 

Mind you, Hubert, the philodendron cuddling up to the poetry and nonfiction shelves, has survived three different moves, and has lived in 4 different cities in 3 different states.

6. Western Garden Book of Edibles: The Complete A-Z Guide to Growing Your Own Vegetables, Herbs, and Fruits  by Sunset Publishing
As you can see, we're pretty ambitious for folks living in an arid climate. 
This is a photo of the only pepper to actually form and ripen last year. The tomatoes did a fabulous job, and we'll replant them this year, AFTER having consulted our new encyclopedia of plants that Might actually survive here!

7.  The Organic Lawn Care Manual: A Natural, Low-Maintenance System for a Beautiful, Safe Lawn by Paul Tukey
A gift from our dear friend, on the occasion of our first lawn, this was actually a fascinating read. 

Painting (with Watercolors):

8.  The Complete Watercolorist's Essential Notebook by Gordon MacKenzie
9.  Brush With Watercolour: Painting Landscapes the Easy Way by Terry Harrison

I spent a year living in New Mexico recently, and my mother got me involved with watercoloring, which led to a class in painting with acrylic. Only one of the paintings on the wall is mine (the little one that copies the bigger one) but I'm still wildly proud of my efforts! If you, like me, spent all of your electives in music or science class, these two books will help you branch out and explore your artistic side.

FUTURE projects!

10.  Treehouses: The Art and Craft of Living Out on a Limb by Peter Nelson
No. I don't have a picture of my treehouse yet. I don't live near any trees that are big enough or sturdy enough, which, most of the time is just fine with me. I tend to feel that most trees are out to get me. (Redliners by David Drake. 'Nuff said)

Still, I read this book with the intensity of someone who is in desperate need of an arboral retreat. So, when the revolution comes, I may be perched in a tree, happily reading a book, and ignoring the rest of the universe. Oh, and blogging!!!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Library Book Sale

Focus for this List:
I've discovered, over the years, that one never knows what can be found a library book sale. There is a great little Library Book Store in Roswell, and another just a matter of blocks from our house. This list is a fairly random sampling of the treasures we found!  Now, here's the kicker: these are all new books, so I can't offer much in the way of commentary.  Rather, this is just a sampling of what we may be reading in the next little bit!

1.  Richard Armour: My Life with Women: Confessions of a Domesticated Male
Published in 1968, this is a funny little book with wry commentary, cute illustrations, and amusing verse.

2.  Lillian Too: 365 Feng Shui Tips
It was pretty!

3.  Azar Nafisi: Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books
I've heard good things about this one. 

4.  Sue Grafton: 'A' is for Alibi
I'm normally not much of one for reading mysteries, but I think I'll like this protagonist. 

5. Visiting Langston by Willie Perdomo and illustrated by Bryan Collier
Gorgeous artwork in this one, with lots of references to his poetry. It is a good conversation starter, and should be a great way to introduce a kid to the poet behind the poetry!
Visiting Langston

6.  The Krazees story by Sam Swope, pictures by Eric Brace
A delightful book to read when you (or your little ones) just can't manage to sit still. The onomatopoeic language is reason enough to buy the book though! 
The Krazees

7.  Women at War edited by Lois McMaster Bujold, and Roland J. Green
A collection of military sci-fi stories written by women, and edited by one of my favorite authors.  What's not to love?  I've been enjoying this one already.  Among other jewels, it's got Elizabeth Ann Scarborough's story about the beginning of Peytabee (Powers That Be).

8.  Langenscheidt Pocket Russian Dictionary
Why?  Because Mr. Turkey occasionally plays music by Russian composers, who write notes on the music in Russian.  No really, that's our reason, if one needs a reason to buy a cool dictionary!

9.  Charlaine Harris: Shakespeare's Trollop
How could I resist that title?  Apparently it's a mystery series, with Shakespeare being the name of the town, but still, I had to bring it home!

10.  David Korr: Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree
Ok, so we found this one at a yard sale, not at a library sale, but still, when you find a book from your childhood, it behooves you to give it a good home!  (BTW: follow the link on the author's name . . . did YOU know there's a muppet wiki???)
Cookie Monster and the Cookie Tree (a Little Golden Book #109-32)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Classics: Lavishly Illustrated Picture Books

Focus for this list: I have a weakness for elaborately illustrated picture books; I also love the classic fairy tales, myths, and legends. This list focuses on the intersection between those two passions. And yes, I do love the Pre-Raphaelite artists.
In this age of Disney and Pixar adaptations, I often wonder if the kids have ever heard the original story. Mind you, these picture books are written as read-alouds, and so your little one probably won't be able to read them independently until late elementary - early middle school.  As read-alouds for 1st - 3rd graders, they're fabulous!

1.  Snow White as retold and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
One of my favorite artists, her very realistically drawn scenes draw one in. If you look closely, you'll usually find someone, or something looking back at you!  This is one of my all-time favorite books.
Snow White

2.  Little Red Riding Hood as retold and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
This book won the Caldecott Honor Medal in 1984, and remains my favorite take on that tale. 
Little Red Riding Hood

3. Rapunzel as retold by Barbara Rogasky, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
This is the classic version, with the eyes and the twin babies. Having read some of Jane Yolen's commentary on the story, I see it a bit differently now.

4.  The Sleeping Beauty as retold and illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Did I mention that she's one of my favorite artists?  I meant it!  She also does a wonderful job of retelling the stories using language that is clear, and yet complex enough to retain the beauty of the story.
The Sleeping Beauty: Silver Anniversary Edition

5.  The Twelve Dancing Princesses as retold by Marianna Mayer, and illustrated by K. Y. Craft
See? This isn't just a list of gorgeous books by T.S.H. really, it isn't!  If you've not heard of this story, you're missing out. Enjoy!
The Twelve Dancing Princesses (Mulberry books)

6.  Tam Lin as retold by Jane Yolen, and illustrated by Charles Mikolaycak
Of all the fairy tales, I think this one is perhaps the spookiest. It's also one of my favorites as it hinges on the bravery of the female protagonist. Jane Yolen has a talent for breathing life into these stories that few can match.
Tam Lin

7. Cupid and Psyche as told by M. Charlotte Craft and illustrated by K.Y. Craft
It's one of those stories that you're supposed to learn, perhaps by osmosis. This book illustrates it powerfully. 
Cupid and Psyche

8.  The Mightiest Heart by Lynn Cullen, illustrated by Laurel Long
This is a tragic but beautiful Welsh legend, retold.  Dog lovers, beware, this one will make you weep.
The Mightiest Heart

9.  Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave as told by Marianna Mayer and illustrated by K.Y. Craft
This has the most (delightfully) horrifying portrait of Baba Yaga I've ever seen. If you're going to read it to a child, though, keep in mind that the beginning is rather terrifying, and that it gets better. 
Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave 

10.  The Dancing Pig by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Jesse Sweetwater
This retelling of a classic Balinese story is just charming. I'm trying to track down other books illustrated by Jesse Sweetwater.  Enjoy!
The Dancing Pig