Thursday, February 14, 2008

A Few Good Books

The girls and I go to the Monroe County Public Library at least twice a week. On Tuesdays there is storytime with the guy who juggles and has puppets, on Thursdays there is Spanish language playgroup with Miss Nancy, who can play the guitar and breastfeed baby Mateo at the same time, and there are always thirty or so books and a computer game and a DVD to check out. Some of my favorite things to get are books and magazines about making stuff. Not much is specifically geared to what I like to make, although some is, but nearly everything has something to appreciate, however chintzy. Here are some of my favorites:

, by Melanie Graham, is a little-known book on remaking clothes for children. Graham has you take all your kids' measurements and then apply some of them to these templates she has in the back--armpit, sleeve, crotch and hips--basically all the curves. So, you stick the curve templates the right distance apart based on what you measured, and there you go, couture kids' clothes. Even better than that, though, is that she shows you how to get the kids clothes from adult clothes--you know, set the pattern out just like this to get jumpers or overalls from pants, set it out like this to get shirts or dresses or rompers from shirts, set it out like this to get pants from sleeves. Some of her styles are pretty outdated, but I like her techniques. It took two tries to get the templates right, and then I went and lost Willow's, and I've only set two sets of sleeves correctly, but my jumpers and dresses and pants work, and I think it's just really smart.

by Lisa Bluhm is what finally taught me how to solder, that and the hot pink soldering iron I also bought from Simply Swank. Mind you, I was suffering from psychosis brought on by studying for qualifying exams, and the resulting lack of sleep and surplus of caffeine, but I managed to break more than one soldering gun, including one that my Papa had given me that he'd probably had, successfully, for 30 years, before I finally broke down and just bought quality equipment. Imagine! Anyway, Bluhm has well-explained instructions and clear illustrations, a welcome change after trying to figure out how to do everything by reading Craftster forums. I wish she'd break down and give some actual product suggestions, because I still need to buy a decent glass cutter, and I probably won't ever do any of her actual projects she includes, but the techniques alone are well worth it, as is my "Solder Your Art Out!" inscription.

by Kathy Cano-Murillo is notable for reassuring me that my taste for the gaudy in decorating is not demented, but ethnic.

by Hannah Rogge and Adrian Buckmaster and T-Shirt Makeovers: 20 Transformations for Fabulous Fashionsby Sistahs of Harlem are inspiring in that I might even, sometime soon, or, well, sometime, cut down my whole huge stash of men's T-shirts into something vaguely feminine and flattering.

I have a million more books I love. Know more? Share!

What I made today: stuffed panther cut out from the image on a T-shirt depicting the local high school's mascot

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