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Stitching with Jane Foster by Jane Foster

Source: QuartoKnows
Hardcover, 52 pgs.
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Stitching with Jane Foster by Jane Foster is similar to the Suzy Ultman book of stitching with its templates and fun designs.  Many of these are animals, which my daughter loves. You need the same materials for this: embroidery thread, embroidery needles, and a needle threader.  This one also has step-by-step instructions for cross-stitching.  We haven’t gotten to that step yet, but I’m sure we will.  There are other stitches as well, including seed stitching and back stitching.

This one includes bookmarks, which I’m hoping she’ll make me one.  Some of these designs also can be colored by the artist before they do the stitching.  This has so many possibilities for little artists.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stitching with Jane Foster by Jane Foster is another great project book for kids as young as age 6.  She has a great time picking out her templates and matching the colors.  She creates her own designs with simple stitches.  Since her and nana started, she can’t seem to stop making them.  Right now, she’s working on a frameable one and it is only 9 a.m.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Jane Foster is an illustrator and screen printer living and working in south Devon. Her work, which is strongly influenced by Scandinavian and British design from the 1950s and 60s, has been featured in many publications including Vogue, Homes & Antiques, and Mollie Makes. She is a designer for Clothkits and has done commissions for Ikea. Jane’s products are stocked throughout the world.

She’s recently been working with the company Make International who are using her designs on ceramics, glasses and kitchen textiles. These are sold globally.  Jane is the author of Creative Craft With Kids (9781909397439) and Fun with Fabric (9781908449900), published by Pavilion. Jane’s recent two books (May 2015) are for pre-school children – 123 and ABC, published by Templar.  Follow her on Twitter. Visit her Website and check out her Instagram.

Fun with Stitchables by Suzy Ultman

Source: QuartoKnows
Hardcover, 36 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Fun with Stitchables! by Suzy Ultman is a simple way to get kids interested in creating things through sewing. My daughter and I had to grab some essentials for this book, such as embroidery needles and embroidery thread.  It took me a while to grab these materials, but once we got them, she was off to the races.  She even learned how to use a needle threader when her nana was here visiting.  She already learned how to make knots at summer camp with the Girl Scouts, so she had that part down.

It was good to see her enthusiastic about these designs and learning to use different colors in the designs.  The book includes step-by-step instructions on how to thread the needle, how to tie the knot, and some stitching basics, as well as knotting the end.  The book includes frameable prints, ornaments, embellishments for greeting cards, and so much more.

Fun with Stitchables! by Suzy Ultman is a fun activity for kids to learn about sewing and coordinating colors and creating patterns.  My daughter and her nana had a fun time creating together, and I’m sitting here next to her while she does another one.  She must love it if she keeps going back for more.

RATING: Cinquain

About the Author:

Suzy Ultman was born in Pennsylvania, but colorful and vibrant Amsterdam also plays a large part in her work. She has lived on three different continents and embraced the culture and communities of each, allowing them to influence her visual aesthetic. Suzy’s style of illustration is influenced by her childhood, love of nature, and travel experiences. She enjoys being in beautiful habitats among nature’s playful palette of forms, textures, and colors. Suzy explores the worlds within our world, the little details that make us smile, and the connections that make us all part of the global community.

2017 New Authors Reading Challenge

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

Source: Public Library
Hardcover, 592 pgs.
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Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi traces the origins of racism in the United States, noting that it began long before the civil war.  In this volume, Kendi explores anti-racist ideas, uplift suasion (the idea that white people could be persuaded away from their racist ideas if they saw that Black people had improved their behaviors), and racism through the lens of five historical figures — Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Angela Davis.  Through these interwoven histories, the myths of ignorance and hate causing racism and discrimination are dispelled to reveal that racial discrimination begot racist ideas and bred ignorance and hate, which to me should have been well understood by now.  The fact that a comprehensive book of this nature is still needed and probably not as widely read as it should be shows how little we have traveled away from our past.

“But no racial group has ever had a monopoly on any type of human trait or gene — not now, not ever.  Under our different-looking hair and skin, doctors cannot tell the difference between our bodies, our brains, or the blood that runs in our veins.  All cultures, in all their behavioral differences, are on the same level.  Black Americans’ history of oppression has made Black opportunities — not Black people — inferior.”  (pg. 11)

Beginning with Aristotle and the barbarians of old, racism has a deep-seated hold on humanity, and these chains must be broken.  The term “race” first appeared in a poem in 1481 called “The Hunt” by Jacques de Brézé, and it was used to refer to hunting dogs, but over the next 100 years it was used to “animalize” Africans.  Reading this makes it clear to me that the penchant humanity has for categorizing everything into neat little boxes has only divided us for very little reason.  The term “negars” was used in 1627, placing African slaves below servants in a hierarchy following the death of George Yeardley and the court decision regarding his estate.  Africans were little more than cattle under this decision.  It is these moments in history where a lack of understanding and a failure to properly research another culture and people have led European and American societies to denigrate the African people and their culture.

Repeatedly, throughout history, the victims of this failure are abused — sometimes at the hands of their fellow Africans and blacks.  Even W.E.B. Du Bois failed to grasp anti-racist ideals after he was afforded a college education that many of his brethren would never achieve.  But here’s the rub, his education was at the hands of those who already had failed to properly research and understand a culture unlike their own and who had quickly labeled it inferior because of their own failure to understand or wish to understand.

Kendi also delves into the inferiority of the Black woman, who as a group has been placed lower than the Black male because white men could not help but want to sleep with them and their mannerisms were not like the demur, white woman.  Many of the stereotypes heaped on Black women today stem from these times, and they were never more plain than they were in the early suffragist movement.  Even when it was clear that Africans knew more about how to combat smallpox, many white physicians failed to heed their advice because they are an inferior race.  Logic and research again failed to permeate this scientific world.

In more modern history, Kendi examines the role of the NAACP, providing a wider perspective of their role in racism.  Although Kendi makes valid points about the group relative to his over-arching arguments, we also must remember that in our wider failings some good can be achieved — small as it may be — though after more than 200 years of oppression one can see why there is a growing impatience and anger about the continued racism against a people that are not inferior.  There also is a section on Harper Lee’s book in which Kendi decries the classic as more racist propaganda in which Blacks must wait for white saviors like Atticus Finch.  This perspective made me view the book a bit differently because I had always viewed it as a book in which a young girl first realizes that discrimination exists against Black people and that her father was fighting against that discrimination.

One point I thought was really well made was on cultural appropriation, such as when cornrows were worn by Bo Derek and when Eminem rose to rap fame.  “What was the most amazing about the whole uproar … was the hypocrisy of Black people.  Some of those Black people who had permed their hair — an appropriation of European culture — were now ridiculing Bo Derek and other White women for braiding their hair and appropriating African culture.”  (pg. 421)  He also points out the economic policies of Reagan as harmful to not only Blacks, with the “median income of Black families declin[ing] by 5.2 percent.”

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi is a comprehensive look at American racism through the Obama administration’s first years.  It is not only Whites he takes to task for their racism, as he point out how Blacks also held racist ideas about their own culture and brethren.  In the epilogue, he offers some ideas about how racism can be eliminated, such as the elimination of the mechanisms that generate racial disparities and the use of local protests to focus on immediate areas of discrimination and ensure greater equality.  This is a book that should be read in classrooms and by everyone.

RATING: Quatrain

About the Author:

Ibram X. Kendi is a New York Times best-selling author and historian located at the University of Florida. He won the National Book Award for Nonfiction for his book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America.

2017 New Authors Reading Challenge

Mailbox Monday #442

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what we received:

Unbound by John Shors for review from the author.

With Unbound, Shors recreates an ancient and celebrated Chinese legend about a pair of young lovers separated by war and the Great Wall.

The year is 1548, and the Chinese Empire faces an imminent Mongol invasion. All that prevents the violent end of a dynasty is the Great Wall. Yet even this famed fortification has weaknesses, and against his will, a talented Chinese craftsman is taken from his home and wife, so that he may labor alongside the wall’s defenders.

Fan has been missing for a year when his wife, Meng, decides to do the impossible—to leave everyone and everything she knows in a daunting effort to find him. At a time when many women fear even stepping outside their homes, Meng disguises herself as a man and begins a perilous journey of deliverance.

As two armies gather at the Great Wall, the fates of Fan and Meng collide with a Mongol horseman seeking redemption, a Chinese concubine fighting injustice, and a ruthless general determined to destroy them all.

What did you receive?

The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy by Jennifer Joy (Audio)

Source: the author
Audible, 9+ hrs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy by Jennifer Joy, narrated by Nancy Peterson, takes place after the first two in this mystery series, and I would recommend reading these books in order. I love Joy’s turn of plot and her characterizations of Mr. Darcy and Lizzy Bennet. As grief appears to weigh very heavily on Mr. Bennet, Lizzy and Darcy must navigate their engagement and desire for a quick union. A secret correspondence is discovered, and Lizzy is concerned about the influence of her sister on Miss Darcy, who is taken with the cute pup Lydia has adopted.

But is her father merely ill with grief, is Mr. Collins plotting to gain his inheritance earlier, and is Lydia planning to tie her matrimonial fortunes to Miss Darcy?  Joy is adept at creating successful mysteries in this time period, while adhering to social norms and bending them slightly.  After solving several murders in Meryton, it would seem that Darcy and Elizabeth would never be separated by the likes of Lady Catherine. The intrigues are intricate, but the love between these main characters are never lost in the shuffle.

Elizabeth grows ever concerned about her father’s health, but when it appears to be more, she worries that someone has become incredible desperate because murder or attempted-murder has to be an act of desperation.  The Inseparable Mr. and Mrs. Darcy by Jennifer Joy, narrated by Nancy Peterson, is a wonderful diversion in the Regency era with two of the best classic characters created.  Joy’s mysteries are often very surprising in one way or another, which can be a breath of fresh air for people who can easily discern the perpetrator ahead of time.

RATING: Cinquain

Other Reviews:

About the Author:

When Jennifer isn’t busy dreaming up new adventures for her favorite characters, she is teaching English, reading, perfecting her doughnut recipe, or going to the park with her family. She currently lives in Ecuador with her husband and 2 beautiful kids. All of them are fluent in Spanglish. Visit her Website.

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel

Source: St. Martin’s Press
Hardcover, 356 pgs.
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The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel is loosely based on Jane Austen’s Persuasion.  Ruby Atlas is a tough young woman making her career in advertising on her own, while Ethan Bailey is a young, handsome billionaire who made a revolutionary app.  It has been 10 years since they’ve seen each other when they broke up.  Ruby is filled with anxiety at the reunion because she harbors a terrible secret about why she broke up with him after a wonderful summer of love.  Like Persuasion, Ethan (our modern Frederick Wentworth) is barely in the novel with many of his appearances happening in the past.  The novel alternates points of view between Ethan and Ruby and between the present and the past.

Both have lost their mothers — Ethan’s mother ran off and Ruby’s mother died when she was a young girl.  When her sister Piper decides to marry Charlie, Ethan’s best friend, neither one can avoid the inevitable, being once again in close proximity.  Ethan is a quiet and passionate man, and his dark handsome looks and big bank account make him a bit target at Piper’s wedding, and Ruby is incredibly jealous.  It’s at the wedding that she realizes she never stopped loving Ethan.

Pimentel’s characters are all incredibly nice and adult, though there are a few moments of female jealousy (tame at best).  There are some fantastic turns of phrase and bits of humor as well.

“We were rebranding them as the ‘Airline of Adventure,’ complete with GoPro footage of various lunatics jumping off buildings and abseiling down crevasses.  Because surely, at this point, it was only those lunatics who would willingly board one of their rickety planes.” (pg. 3)

“…she would sit upright and alert, like a gopher peering up and out of its hole.” (pg. 208)

This was the perfect summer read.  I enjoyed traveling to Europe with Ruby’s family and friends, and seeing Ethan and Ruby navigate their reunion with kid gloves.  There are Austenesque misunderstandings between them, and of course, there is the healing of Ruby who has been lost for the last decade.

“I had forced myself to love that place for so long.  The idea that I didn’t belong there — that I couldn’t belong — had been so crippling that I’d molded myself into someone who did belong, sharpening my elbows and edges every morning before I left the house.” (pg. 348)

The One That Got Away by Melissa Pimentel is about a young woman who strove to make it in the Big Apple because it was the last memories she had of her mother, and because of her independence, she molded herself to a life that left her less than satisfied.  But it is equally about the enduring rock of love where you can break yourself against it like Ethan and Ruby or embrace its strength and move forward together.  Pimentel had my attention from page one this summer, and the novel was more than satisfying.

RATING: Quatrain

Photo Credit: Ryan Bowman

About the Author:

MELISSA PIMENTEL grew up in a small town in Massachusetts in a house without cable and therefore much of her childhood was spent watching 1970s British comedy on public television. These days, she spends much of her time reading in the various pubs of Stoke Newington and engaging in a long-standing emotional feud with their disgruntled cat, Welles. She works in publishing and is also the author of Love by the Book.  Visit her on Twitter and on Facebook.

New Authors Reading Challenge 2017

Mailbox Monday #441

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Kawaii Doodle Class by Zainab Khan for review.

The Japanese word kawaii translates to “cute,” and this how-to book is chock-full of super-adorable images of tacos, sushi, smoothies, clouds, rainbows, cacti, doodle monsters, Christmas trees, lipsticks, teacups, and more for your adoration.

Popular kawaii artist Zainab Khan shows you how to draw 75 super-cute characters with simple step-by-step illustrations and instructions. She has also included fun search-and-find images and inspiration boards that show you how to give your characters different facial expressions and zany accessories.

Thanks to this crash course in Kawaii Doodle Class, soon you will be enhancing your notebooks, stationery, artwork, and more with your own unique kawaii world!

Catdoodles by Akiko Masudo for review.

Cat lovers unite! Now you can doodle away your days like never-before with of fun prompts for doodling, drawing, and decorating hundreds of kitty cats. From cat feelings to cat colors, and cat dances to cats clothing, this drawing book will never let you down with its collection of fun, creative collection of prompts in the style of the beloved game Neko Atume. Scribble, doodle, draw, color, and love this cat-extravaganza.

 

Playful Painting: Pets by Faye Moorhouse for review.

From an affectionate French Bulldog and astute Boxer to a sassy tabby cat, if you love animals and art, then your tail will be wagging with each of our easy-to-learn lessons and the humor that goes with them. You’ll be an expert in gouache, pencil, and ink in no time!

Playful Painting: Pets is the first title in Walter Foster’s new compact and portable Playful Painting series, and it is aimed at artists, doodlers, and painting enthusiasts. There has never been a better time to learn to paint and illustrate whimsical portraits of your pets and favorite animals! Startup is easy, with minimal tools and materials required.

You’ll be inspired to create when you see our gallery of dozens of cute cat and dog breeds (plus mixes!) as well as birds, pigs, rabbits, and other favorites. Then, when you’re ready, dive into exclusive bonus content to see how to use finished artwork in fresh and clever ways.

Artist Faye Moorhouse illustrates this book in her signature friendly, quirky style. Not an artist? Playful Painting: Pets is a perfect gift for the animal lover in your life and a must-have for anyone who’s shared their life and living space with furry or feathered friends.

What did you receive?

Guest Post: Wonderland’s Poetry by Alexa Adams

Today’s guest, Alexa Adams, and I’m particularly happy to say I got to stretch my poetry skills and help her modify some of the poems in her latest Pride & Prejudice inspired novel, Darcy in Wonderland.

Please give Alexa a warm welcome.

Thank you so much, Serena, for inviting me here to discuss the poetry in my new book, Darcy in Wonderland (with which I was so fortunate as to benefit from your expert advice).

Alice in Wonderland is chock full of poetry. Lewis Carroll began his publishing career as a poet, only writing his famous children’s stories after a whimsical request from a young friend. It is, therefore, unsurprising that he would choose to include his preferred literary medium in his novels. However, most of the poems in the book are not original compositions, but playful parodies of famous verses of the time that most contemporary readers would immediately recognize. His ready borrowing from others I took as license to subject his lines to the same treatment, turning his parodies into my own and inserting a heavy dose of Jane Austen into them. I thought I’d take this opportunity afforded by Serena to look at two in context, charting their mutation from proper poems, to Carroll’s whimsical renditions, into my Austenesque odes.

Isaac Watts (1674-1748), known as “The Father of English Hymnody” (despite his nonconformist faith), was a prolific writer and English minister. Many of his hymns remain in use today, and he is credited with ushering in a new era of English hymnody, one based on original poetry instead of biblical psalms (though his most famous, Joy to the World, is based on Psalm 98). His poem “Against Idleness and Mischief” from Divine Songs for Children was particularly famous in its day. It is not just referenced by Carroll, but also makes an appearance in Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield.

How doth the little busy Bee
Improve each shining Hour,
And gather Honey all the day
From every opening Flower!

How skilfully she builds her Cell!
How neat she spreads the Wax!
And labours hard to store it well
With the sweet Food she makes.

In Works of Labour or of Skill
I would be busy too:
For Satan finds some Mischief still
For idle Hands to do.

In Books, or Work, or healthful Play
Let my first Years be past,
That I may give for every Day
Some good Account at last.

It is a poem that children would have learned in the schoolroom at quite a young age, both for its moral value and to practice their recitation skills, highly valued at the time. Alice attempts to recite it in the second chapter of the novel, as a test of her memory. As she says, “It comes out all wrong.” This is Carroll’s version:

How doth the little crocodile
Improve his shining tail,
And pour the waters of the Nile
On every golden scale!

How cheerfully he seems to grin,
How neatly spreads his claws,
And welcomes little fishes in,
With gently smiling jaws!

Carroll is quite clever in turning a poem about industry and the dangers of idleness into an exotic tale of a languid creature, intuitively going about its business of feeding on its prey. His mockery of Watts’s didactic purpose beautifully suits the overall absurdity of Wonderland, where all morality and natural law is entirely turned on its head. Following in his path, I chose to make my parody a tribute to Lady Bertram of Mansfield Park, or more particularly her pet pug. Both are models of sloth. It felt quite fitting to me.

How doth the little lazy pug
Improve his fine physique,
While snoring all the day away
And nipping at my feet?

This is not the only incidence when Carroll makes Watts the subject for his wit. He parodies another one of Watts’s instructional verses for children later in the book: “The Sluggard” from Divine Songs for Children. Again, it occurs when Alice is attempting to recite a familiar verse to test her memory, this time at the behest of the Gryphon. Here is Watts’s original:

‘Tis the voice of the sluggard; I heard him complain,
“You have wak’d me too soon, I must slumber again.”
As the door on its hinges, so he on his bed,
Turns his sides and his shoulders and his heavy head.

“A little more sleep, and a little more slumber;”
Thus he wastes half his days, and his hours without number,
And when he gets up, he sits folding his hands,
Or walks about sauntering, or trifling he stands.

I pass’d by his garden, and saw the wild brier,
The thorn and the thistle grown broader and higher;
The clothes that hang on him are turning to rags;
And his money still wastes till be starves or he begs.

I made him a visit, still hoping to find
That he took better care for improving his mind:
He told me his dream, talked of eating and drinking;
But he scarce reads his Bible, and never loves thinking.

Said I then to my heart, “Here’s a lesson for me,
This man’s a picture of what I might be:
But thanks to my friends for their care in my breeding,
Who taught me betimes to love working and reading!”

And here is Carroll’s version:

‘Tis the voice of the Lobster: I heard him declare
“You have baked me too brown, I must sugar my hair.”
As a duck with its eyelids, so he with his nose
Trims his belt and buttons, and turns out his toes.
When the sands are all dry, he is gay as a lark
And will talk in contemptuous tones of the Shark:
But, when the tide rises and sharks are around,
His voice has a timid and tremulous sound.

I passed by his garden, and marked with one eye,
How the Owl and Panther were sharing a pie:
The Panther took pie-crust, and gravy and meat,
While the Owl had the dish as its share of the treat.
When the pie was all finished, the Owl as a boon,
Was kindly permitted to pocket the spoon:
While the Panther received knife and fork with a growl,
And concluded the banquet by —

It’s generally assumed that the last line finishes “by eating the owl,” only Alice is interrupted by the Mock Turtle. In my parody, which is based upon the conversation that tales place between Catherine Morland, Mr. Tilney, and Miss Tilney during their walk to Beechen Cliff in Northanger Abbey, I allow her to finish her recitation.

‘Tis the voice of the Lobster: In tones not muted,
“Take no pleasure in novels? Intolerably stupid!”
Like a lady when shopping for muslins and lace,
Our minds shout agreement, even as our hearts race.
“Little boys and girls should be tormented,” he said,
But only so long as it is good for their heads:
“To torment or instruct: words found synonymous.”
All precision of language has now simply gone amiss.

I passed by his garden, and to my surprise,
Something shocking indeed was happening inside.
“Indeed! Of what nature!” The questions were fret.
“More horrible than anything we’ve met with yet.”
“Good heaven! A riot? Give me peace of mind!”
“I expect murder and everything of that kind.”
Laughing, “The riot is only in your own brain!
The confusion there might drive anyone insane.”

I felt this scene from Northanger particularly suited to a parody of “The Sluggard” because it is about novels, and novel reading was traditionally derided as a waste of time and bad for the brain. I also found Mr. Tilney’s highly playful teasing quite at home in Wonderland. Austen’s earlier works, like Northanger, are far more absurd than her latter writings. Her youthful mind is much more in harmony with the atmosphere Carroll creates than her later, more mature novels.

For more derivations of Carroll’s verses, I heartily recommend you visit alice-in- wonderland.net, an excellent resource on the origins of his work, and where there is a page dedicated to the poetry included in his novels.

Thanks again, Serena! I hope your readers found this conversation both enlightening and
entertaining.

Keep in touch with Alexa via her blog, Austen Authors, Alexa Adams Author Page, Facebook, and Twitter

Thank you, Alexa, for joining us today.

Hand Lettering A to Z: A World of Creative Ideas for Drawing and Designing Alphabets by Abbey Sy

Source: QuartoKnows
Paperback, 128 pgs.
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Hand Lettering A to Z: A World of Creative Ideas for Drawing and Designing Alphabets by Abbey Sy offers new letter artists a great deal of advice from what tools they can use to different types of fonts they can experiment with. I’ve never really considered creating new letters an art form, but as a teen, I used to do different kinds of bubble letters in notes to friends (yes, I’m dating myself). It was fun to make these notes visually interesting. I considered it a way to doodle when bored in class. In today’s high-tech world, it’s clear that lettering will be considered more of an art, rather than a way of writing.

Book Trailer:

Tools range from different types of paper and different types of pens and markers, but did you also know that you should have a good light source, a compass to ensure your lettering is on target, and clips. Carrying a sketchbook around can also be helpful when you have time to work on your lettering techniques, which reminds me of the small notebook I carry around for writing poems. Users will learn the technical terms for certain aspects of letters, such as those swashes or flourishes that are applied to certain fonts. There are techniques for slanting the letters and applying watercolors, among other things.

Hand Lettering A to Z: A World of Creative Ideas for Drawing and Designing Alphabets by Abbey Sy can help you improve your lettering or just be a great way to relax and enjoy creating something new and colorful. Kids will love this as they learn their letters, allowing them to explore their alphabet in a new way and letting their creativity bloom.

RATING: Quatrain

Peek inside the book:

About the Author:

Passionate about both art and travel, Abbey is best known for her hand-lettering work and travel illustrations. She is also Founder and Creative Director of ABC Magazine, a magazine for artists, crafters, and makers. She has written best-selling books on hand lettering and journaling, and continues to explore ways to make art and share stories through her own eyes.

Mailbox Monday #440

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog. To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links. Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Martha, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

Stitching with Jane Foster from QuartoKnows for review.

Stitching with Jane Foster includes 37 quick and easy cross-stitch sewing cards with punched holes for easy stitching, as well as a 36-page project book featuring instructions for designing your own unique stitching patterns and color combinations. Gather all the tools and materials you need to get started and learn stitching basics, including the straight stitch, cross-stitch, back stitch, and more. A project gallery then shows examples of how to use your adorable stitched cards: everything from bookmarks and journals to greeting cards and ornaments. The simple stitching patterns taught in this book promote growth and development, hand-eye coordination, and creativity and imagination. Includes 37 adorable punch-out templates to get you started! Color them, stitch them, press them out, and play with them; Stitching with Jane Foster will entertain and delight crafters of all ages and is sure to inspire a lifelong love of embroidery.

My Dear Sophy by Kimberly Truesdale, a Kindle freebie.

Sophy Wentworth loves her life in sleepy Milverton…

Twenty-three year old Sophia Wentworth lives a quiet life in the small country town of Milverton. Here she helps her Papa, the town doctor, visits with her friends, and attempts – usually unsuccessfully – to keep her younger brothers Edward and Frederick out of trouble. When the opportunity to marry the handsome and attentive young curate who’s just moved into the next town presents itself, Sophy is tempted by a life of pleasant repetitions and obligations, a life that will keep her at the center of the town and the community she loves so much.

Until a stranger arrives…

Captain Conrad Croft grew up in Milverton, where his father is the rector. He has spent the past fourteen years traveling the world with the British Navy. On a surprise visit home, Conrad meets Sophia – who was just eight years old when he left. He becomes intrigued by this woman, the silent core of strength for the entire town. When his attempts to draw her out succeed, Conrad discovers an intelligent, witty, strong woman who might just be his perfect match. He only has to convince her of it before he sails away again.

Fifteen years before the events of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, this is the story of how the Admiral and Mrs. Croft first meet.

Pride and Persistence by Jeanna Ellsworth, a Kindle freebie.

Undaunted by a threatening storm, Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley insists he must deliver his letter to Miss Elizabeth Bennet–– then tragedy strikes. Riddled with guilt, Elizabeth comes to the aid of the comatose Mr. Darcy and stays by his side until he regains consciousness. She soon learns that although Mr. Darcy has awoken, he has not returned to himself. And with no memory of his first disastrous proposal, he has concluded that there is nothing he wants more than to propose to Miss Elizabeth.

This humorous journey of love leaves one asking, can persistence pacify prejudice? Can Elizabeth see the real gentleman behind the injury, a man who persists in professing his love to her every chance he gets? In this Regency variation of Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet both learn the value of persistence.

The Young Phantom by David Coward, a Kindle freebie.

The tale of the murderous Phantom of the Opera and his addiction to Christine is one that is known around the world. But the early years of the horribly disfigured Erik remain shrouded in mystery.

His life begins in a lonely tavern on a deserted, French road. An emergency birth and the only help available is from the man-midwife, Père Lapôtre. Unskilled and unfeeling, Lapôtre’s gruesome attempt at the child’s delivery dooms the child to grow up to be the one called the Phantom. Rejected by his parents, only Françoise truly cares for him. When his mother reclaims him, it is only to humiliate and punish him for sentencing her to a life of pain and misery. Cast out again to fend for himself, he embarks on a life of loneliness and danger which takes him to the other side of the world.

He returns to France where he seeks human love only to find it is written that he is not made to know human happiness.

Stubborn by Heather C. Myers, a Kindle freebie.

Ronnie Bixby is a sassy, foul-mouthed American college student with a penchant for Joel McHale and dancing to Katy Perry songs. Aiden Shawe is a sarcastic, uptight Englishman with more money than either of them can count. When they collide, steam rises and puddles form. Due to social situations – including but not limited to: Aiden’s sister becoming Ronnie’s college roommate, Ronnie’s sister falling in love with Aiden’s best friend – they are forced to interact with each other. As they slowly start to get closer, an old school acquaintance of Aiden’s enters the picture and does something that could potentially ruin any chance Ronnie has with Aiden, especially if Aiden’s influential Aunt Judy Solomon has anything to do with it. But that’s only if Ronnie and Aiden can overcome their respective pride and admit to having feelings for each other in the first place.

Gardening 101: Friendship Gardens by Henry Owen and Katherine Metzo, a Kidle freebie.

At Friendship Gardens, we believe everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food and the knowledge to grow it themselves

Friendship Gardens is a nonprofit project teaching gardening and growing food for Friendship Trays, Charlotte’s meals on wheels program. This ebook is our ‘Gardening 101’ guide designed to help gardeners grow more food.

In this book you will learn organic and sustainable growing practices on a range of gardening topics: Garden bed preparations, soil life, spring gardening, summer gardening, fall gardening, watering, composting, planting, and more. This book has great general gardening information that will be helpful to any gardener new or experiences, and it includes some specific information about gardening in our climate and clay heavy soil here in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.

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