Bergers Book Reviews

Knit, Hook and Spin

Knit, Hook and Spin
Author: Laurie Carlson
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Genre: Crafts
ISBN: 978-1-61373-400-1
Pages: 144
Price: $14.99

Buy it at Amazon

Fiber crafts are a fun way to use our hands to create pretty and useful objects. In Knit, Hook and Spin, author Laurie Carlson walks kids through the process of crafting several interesting projects using yarn and fabric.

Yarn crafts begin with spinning and dying, and kids are taught how to manufacture their own yarn. Felting, knotting and braiding, weaving, knitting, and crochet are introduced, with a brief description of each process. Within each section, a few fun projects are presented, so kids can turn these new techniques into hand-made objects.

Although this book is meant for kids, I felt the desire to create some of these cute items, myself. But I found the directions and pictures accompanying the projects to be skimpy and vague. While Knit, Hook and Spin may give kids the interest in exploring new fiber crafts, they may need to turn to more detailed instructions to master these intricate techniques.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

August 26, 2016 Posted by | art, crafts, creativity | Leave a comment

I Can Make Dolls’ Clothes

I Can Make Dolls' Clothes
Authors: Louise Scott-Smith and Georgia Vaux
Publisher: Thames & Hudson
Genre: Children / Crafts
ISBN: 978-0-500-65051-6
Pages: 176
Price: $19.95

Buy it at Amazon

Fashion doll clothing can be simple and inexpensive for girls to make. A few scraps of leftover fabric, some thread, buttons, and snaps can quickly turn into dresses, skirts, purses, and coats. I Can Make Dolls’ Clothes provides easy-to-use instructions and patterns for 9 pieces of clothing and accessories designed to fit standard 12″ fashion dolls.

Most patterns use a single square of fabric along with embellishments to make the item unique. No elaborate sewing skills are needed – just a simple running stitch and the ability to add buttons, velcro and snaps. And for the creative younger girl, no-sew glue could always be substituted. Basic sewing instructions show exactly how to make the stitches, and the authors encourage girls to use these techniques to come up with their own variations.

Dressing up dolls allows girls to be creative by mixing and matching outfits to design something new. When they make their own doll clothes, they can enjoy the process even more. I highly recommend I Can Make Dolls’ Clothes as a source of inspiration and guidance, as well as a pleasurable crafting experience.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

September 17, 2015 Posted by | children, crafts | Leave a comment

Brazilian Bracelets

Brazilian Bracelets
Author: Florence Bellot
Publisher: Schiffer Books
Genre: Crafts
ISBN: 978-0-7643-4557-9
Pages: 64
Price: $24.99

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Friendship bracelets are fun to create, and there are so many interesting patterns. Knowing the technique makes it easy. In this book, Florence Bellot provides helpful instructions and colorful pictures as a guide to getting started.

Beginning with the basics, she shows us how to make the traditional knots along with several variations. Colorful wraps are explained, as well as how to add charms and beads to the bracelet. A 5-thread starter pack is included.

I have some familiarity with making these bracelets, and I found it easy to follow the designs presented. But if you’ve never tried this fun craft, it might be helpful to have an experienced friend show you the basics. Once you’ve mastered the technique, you can have lots of fun following these patterns.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

March 11, 2014 Posted by | crafts | Leave a comment

How to Price Crafts and Things You Make to Sell

How to Price Crafts
Author: James Dillehay
Publisher: Warm Snow Publishers
Genre: Small Business / Arts & Crafts
ISBN: 978-0-9710684-7-6
Pages: 132
Price: $12.95

Author’s website
Buy it at Amazon

Being profitable in a small arts & crafts business is not a matter of luck. There is a system to pricing merchandise to encourage people to buy your crafts. While covering your own cost to produce the item is important, there are other factors involved in making sure you get the best price for your merchandise.

James Dillehay is a craft artist, gallery owner, and author of nine respected finance books on this subject. In this book, he offers suggestions for an arts & crafts business owner to be successful. Topics such as studying the market and pricing your items appropriately, increasing perceived value, determining the cost per unit and your target profit margin, where to sell your merchandise, how to buy your supplies more cheaply, and working more efficiently are all covered in depth.

As an accountant, I reviewed the financial calculations and strategies closely, and Dillehay is accurate in his advice. However, in the realm of taxes, I would advise caution and the guidance of a tax professional, before implementing some of the suggestions offered. How to Price Crafts and Things You Make to Sell is a wealth of information that can ensure your small business is successful and profitable.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

May 13, 2013 Posted by | business, crafts | Leave a comment

The Pocket Paper Engineer Vol. 1 & 2

popupsAuthor: Carol Barton
Publisher: Popular Kinetics Press
Genre: Crafts / How-to / Children’s
ISBN: 978-0962775208 / 978-0-962775222
Pages: 67 / 72
Price: $24.95 / $26.95

Author’s website
Buy them at Amazon

Pop-up books and cards delight children and adults with their unique and clever designs, but how are these intricate pictures created? If you’ve ever wanted to make one yourself, The Pocket Paper Engineer will show you how.

This set of two volumes focuses on basic pop-up forms, platforms and props in a fully hands-on manner. Designed to be taken apart and used in construction, the pages are sturdy and include pockets to place your finished products. Clear directions and illustrations show you exactly how to put these pop-up designs together, and then explain how to use these newly acquired skills for creations of your own.

The Pocket Paper Engineer is well-designed, and the step-by-step instructions are easy for anyone to follow. I highly recommend these unique how-to books on crafting pop-ups.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

December 11, 2008 Posted by | children, crafts, how-to | 1 Comment