Crafts & DIY Reviews, September 1, 2012

Benson, Matthew. The Photographic Garden: Mastering the Art of Digital Garden Photography. Rodale. 2012. c.182p. illus. index. ISBN 9781609610876. pap. $24.99. ART INSTRUCTION

Benson (contributing editor, Organic Gardening ) encourages readers to view their own familiar gardens in a fresh way by outlining design basics and explaining how cameras see light. Also included is an up-to-date overview of digital cameras, digital workflow, and postproduction software, such as Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop. Beginning and intermediate photographers will learn the most from this guide. VERDICT Provides excellent crossover appeal for avid gardeners who would like to document the transitory beauty of the plants they grow.

Mornu, Nathalie. A Bounty of Bead & Wire Necklaces. Lark Crafts: Lark Books. 2012. c.160p. illus. index. ISBN 9781454702894. pap. $24.95. CRAFTS

This collection features 50 different necklace designs from a variety of designers and focuses on beads and wire in jewelry design. For most of the projects, only basic wire-working supplies and techniques are used, and the basics are fully explained. The step-by-step directions include helpful illustrations and photographs for many of the steps. Styles range from simple and streamlined to extravagant and over-the-top, and, in most cases, swapping out the color or style of beads used will change the entire look. VERDICT With 50 projects in a variety of styles, there is something to suit most tastes—and many of the projects are easier to create than they may seem.

Wasinger, Susan. Artful Halloween: 31 Frightfully Elegant Projects. Lark Crafts: Lark Books. Sept. 2012. c.128p. photogs. index. ISBN 9781454702474. pap. $17.95. CRAFTS

Halloween continues to be a favorite holiday for many crafters, and Wasinger’s latest collection of projects capitalizes on the classy-macabre trend in crafting. There’s abundant variety, with projects ranging from paper craft to basic stamping to simple sewing, as well as ideas for pumpkin decorating. A number of the projects incorporate found or recycled materials, turning them into low-cost decor options. VERDICT Crafters interested in bringing a bit of style and eco-chic to their Halloween festivities will appreciate Wasinger’s take on crafting for the holiday.

Gray, Michael E. & Linda E. Auto Upkeep: Basic Car Care, Maintenance, and Repair. 3d. ed. Rolling Hills. Sept. 2012. c.200p. illus. index. ISBN 9781627020060. $75; pap. ISBN 9781627020015. $40. DIY

An automobile is an expensive commitment—one that should last for a good long time. The Grays, authors and experts, revise the 2007 edition with updated text and illustrations, reflecting changes in the automotive industry and fuel options. Diagrams incorporate new car designs and cost figures. The format remains the same, discussion and instruction, but with QR codes linking to online material. Photos and diagrams are now in color and layout is easy to follow. VERDICT This is a very good introduction to car care for the novice. Instruction is clear and understandable. Significant changes in this edition supersede prior editions. A solid addition for high schools, colleges, and larger public libraries. Recommended.

starred review star Griffin-Grimes, Kristeen. French Girl Knits Accessories: Modern Designs for a Beautiful Life. Interweave. Sept. 2012. c.120p. illus. biblio. index. ISBN 9781596684904. pap. $21.95. FIBER CRAFTS

The sequel to 2009’s popular French Girl Knits helps stylish knitters create accessories that will add charm and flair to any outfit. The collection is organized by type of project (hats, mittens and socks, and shawls and wraps), and each project is lovingly styled and photographed. Skills required to make the projects include intermediate-level lace and colorwork, though there are some simpler projects suitable for adventurous beginners. VERDICT The popularity of Griffin-Grimes’s patterns, combined with the variety of small projects (always popular with knitters) make this an excellent addition to knitting collections.

Rogers, Lindsay. Tatting Collage. Guild of Master Craftsman, dist. by Sterling. Sept. 2012. c.86p. photogs. ISBN 9781861089052. pap. $12.95. FIBER CRAFTS

This reissue of a 1997 publication is not a how-to-tat guide, but a design dictionary for tatters, with some suggested applications for each design. The designs themselves are small scale—think bookmarks and dollhouse-size doilies—but individual motifs can be combined to create larger items. Rogers also includes helpful hints for improving the quality of the finished product. VERDICT Few books are available about tatting, but novices will find this book frustrating because of its lack of basic directions. Beginners may prefer Rozella Florence Linden’s 1999 title, Easy Tatting , which provides a full overview of the basics.

starred review star Schmidt, Denyse. Denyse Schmidt: Modern Quilts, Traditional Inspiration. STC Craft: Stewart, Tabori & Chang. 2012. c.160p. illus. ISBN 9781584799009. $29.95. FIBER CRAFTS

Schmidt is one of the biggest names in contemporary quilting, and her second book (after Denyse Schmidt Quilts: 30 Colorful Quilt and Patchwork Projects ) is a feast for quilters who love traditional design but prefer modern color palettes and fabric patterns. Each of the 20 projects focuses on a specific pattern (churn dash, courthouse steps, mariner’s compass) or type of quilting (Hawaiian appliqué, wholecloth, broderie perse). The directions are thorough, and many of the projects are surprisingly beginner friendly, given the stunning results. It’s all completely modern, yet there’s not a “wonky block” in the collection. VERDICT It’s wonderful to see quilting traditions treated with reverence in a modern quilting book, and the variety of designs, combined with the wealth of information on both quilting and the traditions of each design, make this an essential addition to quilting collections.

McGrath, Suzanne & Lauren McGrath. Good Bones, Great Pieces: The Seven Essential Pieces That Will Carry You Through a Lifetime. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. 2012. c.208p. illus. ISBN 9781584799573. $29.95. INTERIOR DESIGN

The McGraths, the mother and daughter team who write the popular blog, identify items of furniture they feel add extra flair to residential interiors: the love seat, demilune, bench, dresser, slipper chair, side table, and occasional table. With close to 200 color photographs, the McGraths justify their choices by describing the pieces’ versatility—a bench can provide seating at a dining table—the use of the pieces in their own homes and residential commissions, and the color and decorative accessories to complement each piece. For each item, they offer a selection of various styles with emphasis on quality construction and timeless design. A list of resources is provided. VERDICT The decorating tips contained in this book will give amateurs an abundance of ideas for adding special touches to their decor.