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Embroidery Stitches (A Book Recommendation)

The Complete Illustrated Stitch Encyclopedia

I’ve been getting interested in embroidery lately. Since I’m far away from any relatives who might be able to teach me about embroidery, I’ve had to rely on the local library. Fortunately, I came across this great book, The Complete Illustrated Stitch Encyclopedia, which has a comprehensive collection of stitches and very detailed illustrations and photos to teach you how to do each one. Once you’ve mastered the stitches, the book has a collection of projects that are easy to follow and allow you to try out all your new skills. And the projects are actually ones I want to do.

I love the clarity and thoroughness of this book enough that I’ve let SciFi Man know it would make a great Christmas gift. We’ll see if he got my very subtle hint, “You can buy this on Amazon to give me for Christmas.” (Of course, I give him these hints because I love him, and don’t want to him to struggle to think of what to give me when I can make it easy.) If you are interested in beginning embroidery, or all already familiar but want to learn more, this is a book worth checking out.

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Sewing and Craft Books

I’ve been being very good about not sewing anything while I’m supposed to be working on my dissertation. It’s been hard. It seems like the more time passes without creating, the more desperately I want to sneak off and make something. So I’ve been dealing with that by sneaking off and adding new sewing and craft books to my Amazon wishlist. Here are some of the books that I would love to read and play with:

Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts

Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts

Bend the Rules Sewing

Bend-the-Rules Sewing: The Essential Guide to a Whole New Way to Sew

Doodle Stitching: Fresh & Fun Embroidery for Beginners

One-Block Wonders: One Fabric, One Shape, One-of-a-kind Quilts

What are your favorite sewing or craft books? Are there any on my list you would or would not recommend? What books are on your wishlist?

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Reading Material

Playing around with Bloggers “Next Blog” feature this afternoon inadvertently led me to find a slew of books on Amazon that I’ve added to my list of books I need to read (probably to the detriment of my poor little dissertation.) Somehow, I ended up on a blog that mentioned The Wisdom of Crowds, which sent me off to Amazon to gather more information. Amazon then suggested several other books I might like, and several more once I clicked on those. Maybe I’m feeling highly suggestible today, but I added a bunch of them to my wish list to remember for later. Here are some of the books I’ve added to my to-be-read list:

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Clean: Zen Cleansing

I got a new little book this week that I’m pretty excited about. It’s Clean: The Humble Art of Zen-Cleansing by Michael de Jong. I put it on my Amazon wishlist awhile ago, not wanting to pay for it myself and not expecting anyone to buy it for me, but also not wanting to forget about it. Unexpectedly, my husband ordered it for me. (What a sweetheart. :))

It’s about cleaning mindfully. Or in other words, being present while you are cleaning, being aware of what you’re doing when you clean, and the impact cleaning has on yourself and your environment. As opposed to mindlessly cleaning (which has its charms sometimes, too.) In terms of being mindful of the effect your cleaning has on your environment, this book present an alternative to cleaning with harsh chemicals, which aren’t any good for the soil or the water, and probably aren’t good for your health, either. I’ve always wondered when I spray my kitchen counters with a bottle of some random “cleaning” chemical what sort of residue is going to end up on and in my food.

De Jong’s alternatives to chemical cleaning are the “five elements of Zen Cleansing:” baking soda, borax, lemon, salt, and white vinegar. I frequently eat 4 of those elements, so I’m guessing they are less harmful for me and the planet. And from what this little book says, I can clean anything with them! I’m excited to start tackling my stains more naturally.

This book is certainly not high literature. But it is a fun, brief, engaging discussion of cleaning. And it provides loads of tips for how to use each element alone and combined with the others to clean just about everything you might ever need to clean, from rings in your tub to dirty mudflaps on your truck.