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Simi Bignall (England)

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Handmade Baskets
Handmade Baskets
by Susie Vaughan
Edition: Paperback

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful and inspirational, 10 Aug 2010
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This review is from: Handmade Baskets (Paperback)
I bought this book a few weeks ago because there are a lot of willow trees and hedgerows in my area that I pass regularly when I walk our dog. I kept meaning to find ways of utilising these natural materials in a practical way and being in love with cottage crafts, I thought basket-making would fit the bill. So I signed myself up for a local basket-making workshop and bought this book to prime myself beforehand. Well, the course was good, but this book was better.

Each stage in the basket-making process is clearly explained, step-by-step with diagrams. You can take your time practicing each step without being rushed on a course as I was. The author encourages you to look at the natural materials available to you in your environment as well as plant materials that you can grow in your own garden and tells you exactly what the essential tools are to get you started: a pair of secateurs and a screwdriver or knitting needle. That's it!

The unusual and original baskets that one can create after acquainting oneself with the simple techniques in this book are the stuff of heirlooms. I particularly like the way the author weavers cones, leaves of ivy and bay and oak apples into the basket.

I am now looking at my rather overgrown Rosemary bush and whip-like Wisteria stems with various baskets in mind, whereas ordinarily the prunings would have ended up in the compost bins.


Zel
Zel
by Donna Jo Napoli
Edition: Paperback
Price: 4.22

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rapunzel re-told...better than the original, 4 Aug 2010
This review is from: Zel (Paperback)
Donna Jo Napoli has created a very special atmosphere in Zel that keeps you gripped until the very end. Luckily, this is a book that can be read in one night.

This book has more of a Brothers Grimms feel than a Charles Perrault feel in that it does not cover up the gritty realities of life. It is not a scary book, however, and one is led to understand the motivations behind things.

The reader is given an insight into the thoughts and actions of the three main characters, namely, Zel, Mother and Konrad. Consequently, a progressively updated psychological profile on each character manifests as the story moves on. Although the story shifts from one character to the other, the transition for the reader is seamless.

To sum up, this is a simple yet deep book that captures the imagination and transports it to a world of everyday magic.


Heidi (Wordsworth Children's Classics)
Heidi (Wordsworth Children's Classics)
by Johanna Spyri
Edition: Paperback
Price: 1.89

8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The good spirited girl, 3 Aug 2010
The character of Heidi is an inspiration. She is wonderfully natural in speech and manners, kind, thoughtful and loving. I grew up watching the serialization of this book on television and reading this charming book for the first time in my 45th year has been joyous.

I wish Heidi was the current role model for children, showing the transformative power of natural, unaffected goodness.

Oh dear, I fear I am beginning to sound like the elders of every generation, waggling their fingers and complaining about "youngsters today"!

I love this book and recommend it wholeheartedly.


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