Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Linda's Review of "My Favorite Felt Sweets" by Joie, Inc.

I have been eyeing some needle felting and felt craft books for a few months now and have taken a particular interest in the little felt cupcakes that a lot of crafter's have been making as centerpieces for their children's birthday parties.

They just looked so real and yet so inviting. I decided I wanted to learn how to make some. In fact, I wanted to make a whole 3-tier level centerpiece of nothing but felt cupcakes.

Well, low and behold, last week I got an email from Tomoe Sumi of Kodansha America, LLC asking me if I'd like to review "My Favorite Felt Sweets" by Joie, Inc. translated by Yoko Ishiguro.

Well, we talking about a Japanese felt crafting book containing pictures and instructions for making 106 of the cutest felt food items around. And, we are not just talking about cupcakes. We're talking about all sorts of sweets.

My imagination was getting the better of me. Either that or I was really hungry when I decided to answer Tomoe Sumi and tell him I'd be delighted to review "My Favorite Felt Sweets" book.

The book came the other day and I have to tell you that I've been hungry ever since. You just have to see the pictures of these 106 sweet, delectable treats to understand why my mouth is watering.

Forget the real food. Give me the mouth watering non-caloric felt desserts any day.

I keep envisioning a whole table filled with nothing but 3-tier china plates containing felt petit fours, cakes, donuts, and even chocolates. Oh, my! How beautiful and colorful would that picture be!

Couldn't you just imagine giving a friend the perfect diet gift. A box of chocolates filled with nothing but tiny felt chocolates. How marvelous would that be. Not caloric and a gift to last a lifetime.

My Favorite Felt Sweetsis 97 pages long. The first 32 pages are filled with the most mouth watering pictures of 106 different felt edibles you'd ever want to see. The remaining 65 pages are filled with drawn pictorial instructions for making the edibles plus FULL size pattern piece sheets.

They also provide instructions for transferring the patterns, cutting the felt, preparing embroidery floss, how-to's for the various sewing & embroidery stitches, and hints for stuffing and/or cutting foam.

Both the drawn pictorial instructions and the pattern sheets are very easy to follow. My only complaint with the book would be that I think some of the drawn pictorial instructions and pattern piece sheets would have been better suited had they been spaced out a little more and away from the binding of the book. This would have made them easier to read and made photo coping of some of the pattern piece sheets a lot easier. I just hate to destroy the binding of a book just to photocopy some of the pages.

However, the beautiful photographs, the inclusion of 106 marvelous felt sweet projects, and clear instructions more than offset any negatives I may have.

I'm sitting here thinking of all the delectable sweets I'm going to make. Definitely the sponge cake, all the petit fours, the heart shaped tart, mixed beery pie, chocolate vanilla cookies, pinwheels, pancake sandwiches, chocolate gift basket cake, and Christmas cookies.

Plus, the box of chocolates! Oh, my!

I'm having visions of the most colorful holiday dessert table filled with nothing but mouth watering felt desserts and envisioning every one's face upon seeing them.

Oh, my! This is going to be FUN!

I can hardly wait!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Linda's Review of Rainbow Sheep by Kim Chatel

I received an email a couple of weeks ago from Kim Chatel telling me that she's an author of children's books and that she had a new book called Rainbow Sheep that was released in May. It was a children's story illustrated with needle-felted fiber art and also contained 2 simple felt crafts for kids.

Kim asked if I would be interested in reviewing it. A children's story with needle felt crafts for kids!

Hmmm.... It didn't take me long to consider Kim's request. Of course I would review it. I was intrigued by the needle felt illustrations and the projects for the kids.

Kim not only send me the book, but sent me one of her wonderful needle felted sheep. It's the cutest blue needle felted sheep and is currently sitting on the top of my computer monitor.

Well, I have to tell you that I just loved Kim's "Rainbow Sheep" book. It is a wonderful story that is warm, enchanting, and lovingly illustrated with the fiber art.

It's the story of a shepherdess named Genevieve who has a very vivid imagination. She encounters a sad rainbow cloud and does everything she can to make him happy. Finally, she does make the cloud happy and when he starts to cry happy tears his colors return. In the middle of this the sheep are caught in the colorful rain drops and forever transformed into rainbow colored sheep.

Kim's book contains 12 wonderful fiber art illustrations. My favorite by far is the mermaid and whale. It is just adorable. It is followed by the jousting seahorses.

In the back of Kim's book there is a short section explaining what needle felting is with a picture of a felting needle and two easy to do felted craft projects for kids: felted soap and needle felted sheep. The former requires no adult supervision. The latter requires adult supervision and is only recommended for children 8 years and older. Both sets of instructions are very easy to follow.

Kim is an accomplished photographer and fiber artist, as well as gifted writer of children's stories. Her website is geared towards children and filled with an array of pages for kids to learn about her books, fiber art, her photographs, etc. It is well worth the visit.