Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Denim by design

by Barb Chauncey

This books has a number of accessory projects to make with denim; a few use old jeans and others use flat denim fabric. There are detailed instructions and patterns are included.

I was disappointed with this book because I had expected more ideas for using worn-out jeans. I also didn't like what most of the projects looked like.


a novel
by Melody Carlson

Claudette Fior is an elderly widow who returns to her hometown because she can no longer afford the Hollywood lifestyle she is used to. She is afraid that she will be bored and lonely. She manages the move with a great deal of help from her step-son but when he leaves her on her own, she is almost helpless. She eventually makes friends and learns to do things for herself.

I truly enjoyed this book. It was a glimpse into a world and lifestyle that is far removed from mine. I liked the fact that the main character is old and I found it enlightening to see things from that point of view. The story was easy to follow, interesting, and alternately poignant and hilarious.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


A true story or war, love, and survival
by Dean King

This is the story of the "Long March" of Mao Zedong's Chinese Red Army in 1934-35 and especially the 30 women of the First Army division who walked the 4,000 mile journey. It tells of the incredible hardships of the trail, the horrific battles they fought, and the heartbreaking decisions made along the way.

This is the most fascinating book I have read since Baby Catcher; I was absolutely riveted. Before I read it, I knew almost nothing of Chinese history and geography. What an interesting way to learn! Because it is factual and written from old records and interviews with survivors, it is not a smoothly flowing narrative, but I did not find that in any way took away from the story. I very highly recommend this book.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Crafty activities

over 50 fun and easy things to make

by Judy Balchin

This book has dozens of projects to make, all arranged under the categories of printing, creative lettering, mosaics, papier mache, origami and handmade cards. The instructions are clear and there are many step-by-step photos.

Since I am homeschooling my children this year, I borrowed this book from the library for art class, and we did a couple of the activities. We had fun and they turned out well. I would recommend this book.