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Nicola Williams (Oxford, England)

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The Night Circus
The Night Circus
Offered by Audible Ltd

5.0 out of 5 stars Story telling at its very best!!!!, 23 Nov. 2012
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This review is from: The Night Circus (Audio Download)
This is my favourite book for 2012!
This is such a captivating, imaginative, spectacular and magical book I have ever read!!! It's like an amazing fairy tale for adults and older children alike. I was totally captivated, spell bound, and in love with the whole creation of the tale. A book I would love to read to my grand children one day.
I love books which are beautifully written, where language is an art form where it spins the imagination, creating colour, movement, texture, fabulous personalities, and a storyline you can step into and feel a part of. You can smell the food around you, step into the fascinating rooms, each one totally unique like you have never dreamt of. The story spins you round and round and catches you off balance. The ending is excellent, and I am hoping with bated breath there might be a second book to tantalise readers further???
This book deserves to win awards for its spell binding creativeness!

The Busconductor Hines
The Busconductor Hines
Price: £5.63

25 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No thank you!!!!, 23 Nov. 2012
I liked the synopsis when I read it. I have a very broad range of reading matter and I am willing to try books I might not normally gravitate towards to stretch myself further. Language is an art form, to me a book is like holding another life form in your hands. I do not mind if its harsh or gritty, I am ex army, I have experienced the grit, grime, harshness, hard work and bad language, but this book is poorly executed. I hate how band language/swearing is an excuse for 'normal' language, a bit here and there I can accept, but endless reams is not a way to engage a reader, it's not a way to express harsh realities, it's a poor excuse. I want to be able to read expressive language, real language. I switch off mentally when I hear reams of bad language, said just for the sake of it.
I down loaded the 'try me' part of the book, and I never made it to the end. It sat in my mouth like a foul taste.
Comment Comments (7) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 17, 2015 9:00 PM GMT

The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year
The Woman who Went to Bed for a Year
by Sue Townsend
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A funny light read, 21 Nov. 2012
This is my first Sue Townsend book I have read, so I was not sure of her writing style???
This is a very light hearted book, and very funny in places. I will confess it took me a while to get my head round the story line, and the style of humour. I just loved when the twins went to Uni, I could totally relate to the craziness of halls of residence, as I went through 'off the wall craziness' when my daughter went to Uni too.
I would have liked to have given this 5 stars but some of the craziness went a bit too far sometime.
I read this book while I was ill, and stuck in hospital and it really cheered me up no end, exactly the right book to make me laugh when I needed it!!
I will definitely read more of her books with interest.

The Tiger's Wife
The Tiger's Wife
Price: £1.99

5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favourite books for 20012, 20 Nov. 2012
This review is from: The Tiger's Wife (Kindle Edition)
There are so many reviews here which goes into the story, which people can read.
What drew me to this book was it was chosen by the Orange booker prize for 2011 as their top award for fiction, so I was expecting it to be REALLY good with a lot of substance. I can say, it sure did with style!!!
I loved the old folk law and mystical essence of the stories which were so beautifully interlinked. It's of an age long gone, where people cared for others unconditionally, and loved and cherished the simple things in life.
The young author who wrote this is exceptionally talented and I will love to read more of her works to come.
This is one of the rare books which I will keep and will want to re-read. This story I hope will become a modern classic. It will live on in my heart with all the positiveness. I hope you will enjoy this incredible book!!!

Creative Machine Embroidery (Textiles Handbooks)
Creative Machine Embroidery (Textiles Handbooks)
by Linda Miller
Edition: Paperback

10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars no picture projects to use, how sad :(, 2 July 2012
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I am an ex City and Guilds stitched textiles student, and have an amazing collection of textile books over the past 10 years.
Like most stitching enthusiasts finding up and coming textile designers, its great to collect their books. For me, I love to explore how other tutors teach.
Machine embroidery is my weak point as we were taught so little of it, even at level 3. I have been to workshops, but I come back to books, as they are a main source of information.
I will confess, I love to try out projects set in books, as they are excellent learning sources. I love to have black and white pictures I can trace direct to fabric, and learn stage by stage. I chose Linda Miller's book as I LOVE her whimsical characters, which just grabbed me. I was totally GUTTED when there were NO pictures to trace or recreate!!!!!!
I can understand Linda's possible concern re. copy right, but if you are that bothered, why produce a book at all? There are 3 projects, non of which have traceable pictures. There are hearts you can try, circular flowers, which can be made into a little trinket box, and some semi circles you could make a mini picture from. Sorry, but non of these are exciting in any way!!!!!
The book does show some of Linda's stunning pieces of work, and gives details of basic how to's.
If you like like Linda's work, and hope to try and recreate some of her pieces, then you will be totally out of luck!!!!!! There are NO PLANS, NO CHARTS, to me that totally lets the book down. When textile artists do this, its like 'they want their cake and eat it', they want to make money from their work, but are not prepared to let students use pictures they hope to use to learn by!!!!!
Buying from Amazon is brilliant, but the only draw back at times is you do not always get to view all the books before hand.
I already have how to do basic machine embroidery books, I bought this on the high reviews from others, plus I wanted to have a play with some fab images before going off and designing my own, so this book was a great disappointment to me!!!!!!
Please Linda create another book this time with lots of pictures, and fun things, to enable nervous machine embroiders to enjoy this form of art work!!!!!!!!

Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects
Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects
by Salley Mavor
Edition: Paperback
Price: £21.00

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a textile dream of a book!, 13 Feb. 2010
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my name is nicky, and I just wanted to tell you that this book is a textile dream!
I have been doing textile art and design for 4 years, and 3 years of City and Guilds in embroidered textiles, and Gold work embroidery!

This book is just the best, and if you love embroidery, i promise you will just love this. This book is wimsical, which makes it so special to me too!
The work Salley has done here is first class. She has taken the very old art form, going back hundreds of years called 'Stumpwork' embroidery.
If you are unsure of what Stump work is, pop the name 'Kay Denis' into Amazon's search engine, and you will find out. Kay Denis is British and she teaches stump work through day courses and City and Guilds level 3. She writes books on the subject too. Also Google stumpwork embroidery, and you will find out more about its history!

Going back to Salley's book, what makes Salley's book unique is the fantastic methods she uses. Her methods are very simplistic which is a dream. So it does not matter if you have never stitched before, you can read this, see the step by step photos, and away you go!

This book is the best book of its kind for this type of work. Stumpwork can be very complexed in some respects, but I am so thrilled Salley has made this art achievable to EVERYBODY, and I have never found a book as good as this before. Its excellent for beginners as well as experienced embroiders and stitchers alike!!!! Its a dream of a book, and worth its weight in gold!!!!!

The projects are so adaptable too! I like making cards, and small gifts like glasses cases etc. to sell at our local hospice centre. These projects are so easy, so adaptable and such fun. You can buy sheets of coloured felt and away you go. Felt sheets do not fray like other fabrics, so that makes it great for children to do too, under supervision!
I also teach crafts and needle work for free for those who suffer from FM and ME, and projects like these would make easy and fun projects for students to do, to help those who live with chronic pain and chronic fatigue as a form of occupational therapy. As its wimsical too, this breaks down the barriers and makes every one so light hearted which is just amazing!!!!

THANK YOU SALLEY, for one of the best dimensional embroidery books I have come across in YEARS!!!!
PLEASE can you design lots more!!!!

From Nicky (Bicester, just out side Oxford in England!)
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2012 5:53 PM GMT

Inspired to Stitch: 21 textile artists
Inspired to Stitch: 21 textile artists
by Diana Springall
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £30.00

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE MOST NEEDED BOOK FOR TEXTILE STUDENTS!, 11 Jan. 2010
I have studied textile art and design for 5 years, and done many courses at different levels, with different tutors at different venues.

Part of any textile course is the requirement to research and write about different textile artists, this is a very good reference bookt book for this purpose!

This book is very nice, and very informative, but I did find this book overly expensive, which is not good in comparison to other textile books, being a student this book is dreadfully expensive, specially as it reflects the times and skill level of the artists when it was published, which now makes it out of date, the published date is 2005 and now we are in 2010!

Out of all my vast collection of textile art and design book, this one is the most sort after books friends have wanted to see, and have raced out to get their own copy as its such an excellent reference book!

What would be fantastic, would be if the author, Diana Springall, could bring out other books to follow, to keep in trend to what is happening in the textile art and design world as a whole!
New and fantastic textile people are being discovered, new students are qualifying and have produced amazing work for their qualifications.

This field is so rapidly developing, and the work being produced is getting more fabulous each and every year, with the quality of work exceeding previous works.
Plus the professionals mentioned would have produced new and exciting work, which deserves documenting!!!!

As an avid textile art/designer and avid reader, please Diana can you write books to keep up with the time and the trends, to enable us all to be totally up to date with all the new and exciting developments happening in the world of textile, art and design!

with many thanks
nicky williams

Quilting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time
Quilting for Peace: Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time
by Katherine Bell
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £11.99

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For those people who want to make the world a much better place!, 11 Jan. 2010
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I would like to thank the author for producing a book in a million!

I am a person who LOVES textile, and able to use them in so many different ways. I love the designs, and the modern look to this whole book!
What is so extra special, is the fact that not only do you get such an amazing book, if you are a person who has a positive and giving ethos, (ie, wanting to help others who are in desperate need) this book will enable you to contribute to others or animals. This author has done so much research into so many charities, from premature babies, children in need due to different reasons, adults in need, injured soldiers from different countries, animal bedding for rescue centres, the list goes on!

The projects range from different sizes, from very small to single bed size, to making sleeping bags, animal beds, etc.

There are so many fantastic loving and giving quilt makers and people who do craft, who want to help some one else! As an avid quilt maker and general craft person, I have so much left over fabrics in my stash! What an amazing way to use up left over fabrics, in helping others! Its not costing anything extra, and you are putting to use your beautiful fabrics, which will get such a loving home in return!

If we only made 1 item from the book, and donated it to a charity mentioned in this book, what an amazing difference we could make to the world around us!
I think the tile "Quilting for Peace" could not be a better title!

(for those who are new to quilting and want to take part in making and giving to the charity of their choice, and want to use up left over fabrics, and are unsure colour wise how to achieve this by not having it look like a mish-mash of fabrics, the key is to find a single colour fabric which links into all the left over fabric. By having a 'focus' fabric, your quilt will not look like a crazy combination of fabrics, as long as they blend in with the key focus fabric you use!)

One of the other most important fact about the book, as its so modern, all the information about the charities will be up to date. The author has put in the different ways you can contact the charity of your choice, which is most important. Personally, being a person who already makes quilts for charity, its best to contact the charity before you make the quilt, to find out more about what they particually need at this exact moment of time, ie, they might need more female colours of quilts, or male etc. Find out also if that charity might have a local person who you can contact who collects quits in mass, and can send your quilt off, free of charge.

There are so many people in need, where what we do or make can make the biggest difference in the world to a person, having something warm, comforting and soft, can make them feel so much better! Its such a brilliant way to give a little which will mean a lot to others!

I have given this book top marks, as its an excellent book, modern and contempary patterns, as a stand alone quilting book, but the author has wanted to make something extra special, by helping us to give back to society. The concept is so compelling, totally new concept, and the author has done so much research into so many different charities with the hope there will be at least 1 you would enjoy making an item for!

This book would be EXCELLENT, if you belong to a guild or a group, where you can all work together in making item(s), and sharing out the work load, collating different fabric you have spare in your left over stash!

Another excellent concept, if you are in a group of stitchers, is to do an exhibition of quilts, make it a special event, with tea/coffee and cakes, have a donation collection too, to enable others to donate in a finantual way, and enjoy seeing your amazing work! I have known this happen for project Linus, which I belong to, and the money raised goes into paying for wadding/batting (inside of the quilt) which most quilters do not have left overs for, and is most needed for quilt making! Getting left over fabric is easy, getting the wadding/batting is not easily donated as quilters buy it at the exact size they need for the project they are working on. This is so often what is needed most of all! Having donation for making many quilts is so needed!

I would like to thank the author for coming up with one book in a million which helps us as an individual make such a loving difference to someone in desperate need!

This book is so beautifully made, and the quilt/designs are stunning!

If you are a giving person, who believes 1 person can make a big difference in the world we live, then this is the book which will makes the difference!
I am sure you will love this book, an excellent book for any craft/quilting/textile person!

I hope you will have so much fun giving these beautiful projects a go, its aimed at all levels of ability!


Return to Cranford: And Other Stories
Return to Cranford: And Other Stories
by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.99

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my top book for 2009!, 11 Jan. 2010
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I bought this book with great excitement as I loved the first series of the BBC drama!
I found this book in the run up before Christmas, and seeing it being a festive looking book, I got it with great excitement!
I have not yet read the first book, but as I had seen the TV series I had a feel and knowledge of the characters.
I totally fell in love with the author. Elizabeth Gaskell writes so beautifully, genteel, and puts so much into her books, you feel like you could put your hand our and touch something within the story! (I have not experienced that with a book for a long time!) I LOVED reading something so gentle and the characters so honest and down to earth. There are so many brash books out on the market, where there is so much violence, sex, blood guts and goar, and I have not had the pleasure to find an author in such a long time, who is able to capture a reader without needing to shock, or use bad language to achieve this. This is the reason I have given this book top marks!

I do agree with the other people who hare written comments, about how the book being way better than the tv production. I loved the tv production very much. When I saw the tv production for this same book over Christmas, I was totally stunned that the BBC had not portrayed the book correctly! It is like the BBC had skimmed the essence of the story and made the rest up! Please do not let this put you off in anyway, as the book is SO MUCH BETTER than the tv series a hundred fold! Due to this, it made the book even better!

For Christmas I was given the first book in the series as I enjoyed this current book SO MUCH! I cannot wait to start that book, and find out all the story the BBC may have left out possibly? Reading the book is like the equivalent of seeing all the 'extras' on a DVD!

Even though the book is different to the tv series, if you loved the tv series then you will be in for an extra treat by reading the book!!!!!
I am so thrilled to have discovered this author, I am now wanting to read all her other works!

Do get this book, as its so magical with the characters and the innocents of that particular community at that period of time being totally captivating!
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Nov 23, 2012 6:12 PM GMT

Fabric Art Workshop: Exploring Techniques and Materials for Fabric Artists and Quilters
Fabric Art Workshop: Exploring Techniques and Materials for Fabric Artists and Quilters
by Susan Stein
Edition: Paperback

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars an excellent book to learn new skills, 26 July 2009
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Hi, my name is Nicky and I enjoy textile art and design. I have studied textiles in many different forms for over 6yrs at different colleges, teaching centres, and i belong to a selection of guilds here in England.
Due to health problems, I am unable to attend textile workshops like I use to, so now I do home study instead, and this is why I bought this book!

This book is excellent, clearly laid out covering a wide selection of topics to keep any textile enthusiast going for quite some time!
I bought this book, because I wanted to learn how to develope the art of marbling, exactly like the original designs you see on beautiful papers and inside old books, but to learn how to do the same on fabric! ( I have seen this method demonstrated, but I lost my original notes on this subject.)

I bought this book because it had the 'look inside' availability to it, which is excellent, and I wish all authors did this for online readers! This facility enabled me to look at the table of content to see exactly what topic were being covered by the author. Seeing some of illustrations inside, showed me what type of layout the book had and most of all how the author/tutor explained her methods. The back page of the book is well worth a good look for readers, as it shows EVERY THING, every item, topic, reference points etc, which gives even more detail than the content page! Look carefully at these details, as this information is so important in getting the right book for you! If the content page and all the details in the back of the book go way over your head, that is a good sign that a 'work shop book' may be more complexed than you were originally looking for. On the other hand for those readers/students who know the basics and want to expand, explore and experiment and have the million and one items on the requirement lists, which most textile enthusiast have, and have used the materials (paints, dyes, oil sticks, fuseable fibres, heat guns and other equipment confidently and safely) then you know what will be expected of you from this book.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars, as this book is an excellent 'home tutoring' book working with mixed media and combining it with fabric. This book had exactly what I was looking for at the level I am at.
Thanks for the Look Inside section, i was able to clarify this. I rarely buy books if I do not know what the book is like. The reason I did not give this book 5 out of 5, as this book states on the back of the book, that this book would be suitable for beginners/novices, which I would disagree with quite strongly. You would need to have prior knowledge of the products you are going to be working with which required with a degree of compatance, to be able to enjoy this book and to take your skills further to be able to succeed, with excellent results and a wonderful feeling of success! This book deserves to be read, and the projects explored, its too good a book to collect dust on any book shelf!

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