Fairy Houses

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Fairy Houses
How to Create Whimsical Homes for Fairy Folk

Sally J. Smith
Cool Springs Press, 2017

From the back of the book, “It is a rare hobby wherein the world of fantasy and imagination merges so seamlessly with the practicalities of fabrication. If you add a touch of spirituality and a distinct love of nature to the mix, you can only be talking about one pursuit: building fairy houses.

“In her new book, Fairy Houses, Sally J. Smith reveals the secrets behind her amazing fairy house creations. The founder of Greenspirit Arts, Smith has captured the fancy of thousands with the unrivaled beauty and breathtaking design that are the hallmarks of her fantasy creations. Crafted exclusively from natural elements gleaned from the forests near her studio in the Adirondack Mountains, these miniature fairy homes will delight anyone with even a passing interest in mythical creatures or gardening and crafting in miniature. Inside you will not only see inspiring photos of the dozens of houses Smith has created, but you will also find out exactly—in full step-by-step detail—how she did it and how you can do it too.”

This book is filled with beautiful and small fairy houses (after all, fairies are small, tiny in fact) and I loved them. It would be so cool if my human dad would build a few for my backyard; then I could go out and catch some fairies and bring them home to live! The houses are built from bark or rock or sticks or flowers and even from icicles! As beautiful as they are, the houses’ construction is not for the remedial crafter. In order to be successful, the builder should ideally be familiar with measuring and cutting, different types of eco-friendly glue, hammer and nails, dry construction with rocks, basic construction techniques, and most important of all, an eye for design and beauty. In other words, if I would try to build a fairy house with my four left paws, it would be a hot mess!! But don’t let that dissuade you from at least enjoying the beauty of someone else’s art work. The pictures are amazing!!

Rating 3 out of 5 paws, only because the techniques presented in the book are not for the faint of heart!




Thanksgiving Origami

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Thanksgiving Origami

Ruth Owen
PowerKids Press, 2013

There is no publisher’s blurb, but basically this book is about origami. The author provides a bit of the history of this ancient Japanese craft plus background on the origin of some Thanksgiving traditions.

There are instructions for folding a pilgrim, turkey, pumpkin, ear of corn, apple and autumn leaves. The illustrated instructions are detailed, but to be perfectly honest, are not easy to follow. I tried folding a turkey but with my paws I could only get so far. I did end up folding a pumpkin, apple and leaf – but not very well. Maybe if mom had bought some real origami paper instead of plain old printer paper, I could have done a better job. Well, not on the turkey. I only got as far as step 6 before I gave up. I think if the reader knows some origami basics, the book would be easy to follow. But for novices – it’s sort of difficult!

Rating 3 out of 5 paws only because I found the instructions difficult to follow on my own.

Reviewer: thanks-danaSimon



thanksgiving origami fHere’s my leaf (left), apple (lower right) and pumpkin(upper right).

Tiny Hats on Cats

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Tiny Hats on Cat


Adam Ellis

Grand Central Publishing, 2015

From the back of the book: “Blogger and illustrator Adam Ellis’s amazing paper hats became an instant internet sensation when he posted photographs of his cat Maxwell wearing his creations. In Tiny Hats on Cats, Adam has fashioned the only book dedicated to taking your cat millinery hobby to the next level. Inside you’ll find pictures of his headgear being rocked by feline models. And once you’re feeling inspired, you can follow step-by-step instructions on how to create thirty-six different hats—one for every occasion—from party hats and fedoras to hats fit for safaris and for solving crimes. All you need are a few basic crafting materials and a healthy level of interest in your cat’s wardrobe, and you’re all set to begin! Tiny Hats on Cats will ensure your feline has the purrfect accessory to don at any soiree!”

I must admit it, the hats in this book are really adorable – but you won’t catch me wearing one of them! Thank goodness, I don’t live with my cousins and my Auntie. She’s already snatched the book from me and is making plans to make hats!!!! Poor Toby – I know he’s going to be her preferred model! The instructions are very detailed and easy to follow, so we’ll have to see how the creations come out!

If you’re crafty – or even marginally so – this book looks easy to follow! You’ll at least enjoy looking at all the gorgeous felines stylin’ and profilin’ in their chapeaus!!!

Rating: 4 out of 5 paws for cool hats and appearing to be very easy to make (again, we’ll see!)