Trixi Symonds launched the Sew a Softie project with the aim of encouraging people of all ages from all around the world to take up sewing. Now, with Sewing Simple Softies with 17 Amazing Designers, which she has co-written with Deborah Fisher, she hopes to encourage even more people to pick up a needle and thread and let their creativity run wild. Among the seventeen delightful soft toys that the book teaches readers to make are Pocket Panda, Blossom Bee, Valentina Ballerina, and Yummy Sandwich, and they are all just as cute as you would expect. In addition to the guidance and templates required to complete the various sewing projects, the book also includes information on different stitching techniques and the use of several types of materials. The book is particularly useful for those who are still quite new to sewing, as the instructions are clearly written and accompanied by helpful illustrations while every project can be hand-sewn, which means there is no need to invest in expensive gear in order to craft a cute character. After working through some of the included projects, readers should be able to design, plan, and craft their own super-lovely softie.
In The Backyard Homesteader, Alison Candlin provides a raft of information, tips, tricks, and warnings for those looking to live off the land and enjoy a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Her clear, no-nonsense guidance aims to set people up right from the very beginning of their self-sufficiency journey, which includes obtaining the relevant permits and filing the necessary paperwork, clearing the land, and improving the soil quality. She certainly doesn’t sugar-coat the amount of hard work involved in being a homesteader. She describes how the growing conditions of almost every piece of land can be enhanced by building a greenhouse, installing fencing, and ensuring there is sufficient drainage, and she explains how to make the best decisions concerning planting and crop rotation. She also provides some helpful information on animal husbandry for those seeking to increase their sustainability by raising pigs, chickens, or cows, among other animals. There’s no need to own a smallholding to make use of Candlin’s tips though, as she also provides information for those seeking to cultivate far more modest spaces such as allotments or residential gardens. Candlin’s comprehensive account of how to get started and progress as a homesteader, as well as the hundreds of helpful photographs and illustrations that accompany her text, make this book a “must-read” for those seriously considering off-grid living and those looking to daydream about an alternative way of life.
Kerby Rosanes is truly outstanding when it comes to crafting intricate pen and ink drawings and doodles that contain fair more detail and meaning than is initially apparent, and his work is extremely well-suited to being featured in coloring books. When putting together the images for Fragile World: Color Nature’s Wonders, Rosanes turned his attention to endangered and threatened animals from around the world. There are illustrations, either single- or double-page spreads, of fifty-five animals featured in the book, including pandas, cheetahs, and polar bears. Each illustration is amazing in terms of its detail, in addition to being a huge amount of fun to color in. It really is a coloring book for people of all ages, and it will particularly appeal to those who are interested in wildlife, ecosystems, and conservation. Toward the end of the book, Imogen Currell-Williams provides information on each of the fifty-five animals featured, including the degree to which each is endangered, which really enhances the impact of the book and ensures that it both entertains and informs. Plus, royalties from the book are being donated to the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation, which means that buying it helps to support the foundation’s efforts to conserve animals and their habitats worldwide.