Community & Languages Newsletter for June

Take time out to unwind and celebrate the winter season. Let us inspire you with a fabulous selection of new books featuring craft ideas and projects, gardening tips and delicious recipes, new DVDs, including an array of critics’ favourites, delightful Spanish fiction and more … Enjoy the challenge!

Library News

New Zealand

Animals, plants, politics and poetry feature this month in the New Zealand collection.

Syndetics book coverNew Zealand inventory of biodiversity / edited by Dennis P. Gordon.
“Appropriate for advanced high school and college students as well as working scientists, this intriguing guide is the first of three volumes that will chart the progress of a scientific inventory of New Zealand’s living and fossilized biodiversity. An international effort involving more than 220 New Zealand specialists, this project, when completed, will include every one of the almost 55,000 known species of animals, plants, fungi, and micro-organisms in the country. Part of Species 2000, an international scientific project, the long-term goal is to enumerate all known species on earth into one seamless list called the Catalog of Life, which will function as an online biological catalog. To date, only New Zealand has compiled a checklist of its entire biota.” (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverAn extraordinary land : discoveries and mysteries from wild New Zealand / written by Peter Hayden ; photographs by Rod Morris.
“Our isolation has been a huge advantage. It turned New Zealand into a wild laboratory where evolution could conduct experiments that lead to weird and wonderful outcomes like the kakpo and the giant weta. It was also a museum, where ancient creatures could exist long after their kind disappeared from the rest of the world. More recently, scientists are discovering how little we know about species we thought we knew so well. An Extraordinary Land brings us up to date with these discoveries and gives us a snapshot of what makes New Zealand wildlife unique”–Jacket flap.

Syndetics book coverHis own steam : the work of Barry Brickell / with essays by David Craig & Gregory O’Brien and new photography by Haruhiko Sameshima.
“Potter extraordinaire, conservationist, railway enthusiast and iconoclast Barry Brickell is one of New Zealand’s most important ceramicists … In essays by David Craig and Gregory O’Brien and with both newly commissioned photographs by Haru Sameshima and historic images, His Own Steam: The Work of Barry Brickell charts Brickell’s career in its entirety and in the context of his life and times, timed to coincide with a survey exhibition of the same name at The Dowse Art Museum”–Publisher information.

Syndetics book coverParadise past : the transformation of the South Pacific, 1520-1920 / Robert W. Kirk.
“In the 400 years from Magellan’s entrance into Pacific waters to 1920, the lives of the people of the South Pacific were utterly transformed. Exotic diseases from Europe and America, particularly the worldwide influenza pandemic, were deadly for islanders. Ardent missionaries changed the belief systems and lives of nearly all Polynesians, Aborigines, and those Papuans and Melanesians living in areas accessible to westerners. By 1920 every island and atoll in the South Seas had been claimed as a colony or protectorate of a power such as Britain, France or the United States. Factors aiding this imperial sweep included European outposts such as Sydney, advances in maritime technology, the work of missionaries, a desire to profit from the area’s relatively sparse resources, and international rivalry that led to the scramble for colonies. The coming of westerners, as this book points out, was not entirely negative, as head-hunting, cannibalism, chronic warfare, human sacrifice, and other practices were diminished–but whole cultures were irreversibly changed or even eradicated.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverApollo in George Street : the life of David McKee Wright / Michael Sharkey.
“David McKee Wright was the most prolific poet in Australia around the First World War, and the influential literary editor of the Sydney Bulletin. This biography brings to life aspects of the literary culture of New Zealand in the years before its independence, and of Australia in the early years of Federation.” (Syndetics Summary)

Syndetics book coverA history of Antarctica / Stephen Martin.
“This revised and expanded book – first published in 1996 – traces the patterns of human activity in Antarctica, from the southern journeys of the 16th century to the modern expeditions of adventurers and tourists. Using material from diaries, letters, and fresh research, the book illuminates the main themes of Antarctic history with the personal stories and images of the men and women who explored, worked, and lived in this frozen and remote continent. The book examines such topics as the early Polynesian explorers, the amazing diversity of flora and fauna, the detailed geological features, etc. A History of Antarctica is about the people of Antarctica – those who have chosen to endure the risks and enjoy the rewards of conquering the world’s most forbidding land.”(Syndetics summary)

Read more

DVDs

New DVDs for May include an array of critics favourites from the new version of ‘Les Misérables’, Ang Lee’s ‘Life of Pi’, ‘Beasts of the southern wild’, & ‘The Master; to Hollywood blockbusters like ‘The Hobbit’ & ‘Gangster Squad’…

Cover imageLes misérables.
“Les Misérables is a deeply powerful film that’s rich with raw feeling, the grittiness of life in 19th-century France, and the conflict between right, wrong, and the concept of redemption.
Les Misérables takes viewers on an emotionally exhausting journey as it follows ex-convict Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) after his release from prison. Valjean breaks parole, but he is granted a second chance by a kind bishop. He then moves from place to place throughout France, trying to live an honest life while ruthless policeman Javert (Russell Crowe) hunts him relentlessly. Valjean meets the broken-spirited Fantine (Anne Hathaway), promises to care for her daughter Cosette (Amanda Seyfried) as Fantine is about to die, and finds his own life completely changed as a result of that promise. Like the stage play, the film is dark, gritty, and passionate, but it enhances the sense of place in early- to mid-1800s France as a staged version simply cannot…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageThe hobbit : an unexpected journey.
“It took some time for Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson to return to Middle Earth, but the wait was very much worth it. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey starts off by playing strongly to its links to the previous adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy, before setting off on an adventure of its own. The first of three films based on The Hobbit, An Unexpected Journey isn’t a fast film to get going, but it does spent quality time introducing its key characters. Most moviegoers are more than familiar with Sir Ian McKellen’s Gandalf of course, but the collection of dwarves and Martin Freeman’s take on Bilbo Baggins are all brought together, and the adventure ensues. It’s a journey that’s punctuated by terrifically orchestrated action sequences, a swirling score, and lavish production design…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageCeleste and Jesse forever.
“Celeste (Rashida Jones) and Jesse (Andy Samberg) are high school sweethearts who married young and are now at a crossroads at the age of thirty. While Celeste is a success in business, Jesse is unemployed and adrift. Celeste thinks that if they divorce now they could still remain friends. Jesse passively accepts the decision even though he is still in love with her. As reality sets in, Celeste slowly and painfully realizes she has been cavalier about their relationship, but her timing with Jesse is less than fortuitous…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageQuartet.
“Oscar-winning actor Dustin Hoffman has never been one to zig when he can zag. Not only did he wait until he was in his mid-70s to direct his first feature film, but his crowd-pleasing adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s 1999 play is a thoroughly British affair. Set at one of England’s most scenic estates, the fictional Beecham House for Retired Musicians, Quartet centres on four opera singers. Cecily (Pauline Collins), Wilfred (Billy Connolly), and Reginald (Tom Courtenay) are busy preparing for the annual Verdi Gala when word spreads about a famous new resident. After Reggie catches sight of the elegant figure, his excitement about the benefit gives way to sorrow: it’s his ex-wife, Jean (Downton Abbey’s Maggie Smith)… If Quartet doesn’t offer many significant surprises, Hoffman skillfully honours the humour, the romance, and the wall-to-wall music of Harwood’s warm-hearted script…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageTo Rome with love.
“To Rome With Love sees Woody Allen back in front of the camera for the first time since 2006’s underwhelming Scoop, heading up one of the collection of stories that make up the film. For the movie brings together a collection of four unconnected narratives taking place in the city of Rome, with Allen playing a frustrated opera director who’s always on the hunt for new talent. He finds some too, with a little help from a shower. Elsewhere, Roberto Benigni’s Leopoldo gets a brief brush with fame, a young couple find themselves parted, while Jesse Eisenberg’s Jack finds the predictions of Alec Baldwin’s John close to the mark. It’s a bit of a mixed bag, though. At its best, From Rome With Love is witty, breezy and just a little bit bonkers…It might not be a vintage Woody Allen feature, but it’s still with more merits than you may have been led to believe…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageGangster squad.
“The turf explored in Gangster Squad may not be entirely accurate to historical truth, but it sure looks like the world of the movie mobster: the basics are instantly recognizable if you’ve seen L.A. Confidential and The Untouchables. Take a post-World War II Los Angeles, plunge it in noir, drop a ruthless gangster into the mix, and let loose an extralegal squad of cops to break the mob’s rule. The crime kingpin in question is Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn), and his LAPD adversaries include a detective so square his fedora appears permanently affixed to his skull (Josh Brolin) and a ladies’ man (Ryan Gosling) whose dalliance with Cohen’s escort (Emma Stone) might not be the best idea for a smooth relationship. Their squad includes stalwart character actors such as Anthony Mackie, Michael Peña, Giovanni Ribisi, and an especially droll Robert Patrick. With all this talent on display, the movie must surely have some bang in its Tommy gun–but alas, director Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) has opted for a peculiarly lighthearted, bantering tone for much of the action…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Cover imageThe man from Beijing.
“A mass murder, a female judge and diary entries from ages ago judge Brigitta Roslin has to make a dangerous journey before she discovers the background of this crime. Police believe a madman was behind the brutal act. Not only Brigitta Roslin s parents are among the dead; almost all the victims were related to her. Brigitta soon becomes convinced that the police are on the wrong track, and she starts to investigate on her own. Her search for the murderer of her entire family leads Brigitta to China, where she is confronted with the gruesome machinations of a millionaire businessman. The two-part thriller is based on the internationally bestselling novel by Henning Mankell (the Inspector Wallander series)…” (Description from Amazon.com)

Cover imageLife of Pi.
“There are only so many filmmakers fearless or foolhardy enough to tackle a challenging novel, like Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, but adaptation specialist Ang Lee (Brokeback Mountain) was well positioned to take it on. As a structuring device, he uses an interview between a journalist (Rafe Spall) and Pi Patel (The Namesake’s Irrfan Khan), a Montreal immigrant with an unusual back story. As he tells the writer, his parents oversaw a zoo in French-Indian Pondicherry, and he found himself drawn to the Bengal tiger, Richard Parker–the name resulted from a clerical error–but his father (Adil Hussain) warned him to stay away. On his own, Pi became entranced by Islam, Hinduism, and Catholicism, which comes in handy when his family relocates to Canada by freighter and a brutal storm–as believably horrific as anything in Titanic–leaves Pi (now played by Suraj Sharma) stranded in a lifeboat with a zebra, an orangutan, a hyena, and the tiger…” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Cover imageThe master.
“Gaunt, tightly wound, and eerily reminiscent of Montgomery Clift, Joaquin Phoenix plays Freddie Quell, an ex-naval officer suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. Since World War II, he’s had difficulty holding down a job due to his hot temper and affinity for paint thinner-spiked potions, but the charismatic Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman in a more subtle, but equally skillful turn) finds him irresistible as a project, a surrogate son–maybe even the shadow self that he normally keeps hidden (Dodd shares Quell’s propensity for the occasional splenetic outburst). Lancaster welcomes him to join the Cause, a movement that recalls Scientology by way of Freud, since he focuses on the elimination of past trauma through a pseudo-psychoanalytic exercise called processing…The lack of clear-cut conclusions will leave some viewers cold, but you’ve never seen a performance–simultaneously riveting and repellent–like Phoenix’s before…” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Read more

Community Languages

Take a look at our latest additions to our Foreign Collection. If you are learning Spanish at the moment, these delightful mysteries and historical fiction will help you to enrich your vocabulary. Enjoy!

Syndetics book coverLa biblia de los caídos / Fernando Trujillo.
“El mundo cuenta con un lado oculto, una cara sobrenatural que nos susurra, que se intuye, pero que muy pocos perciben. La inmensa mayoria de las personas no es consciente de ese lado paranorma… ni de sus riesgos. A veces la gente se topa con esos peligros y desespera, se atemoriza, y no sabe que hacer ni a quien recurrir. pero no todo esta perdido… Dicen que en Madrid reposa una iglesia muy antigua, cuyo origen es desconocido. Alli, en su interior, frente a una cruz de piedra esculpida en uno de sus muros, se puede alzar una plegaria. Tambien dicen que aquel que no tiene alma la escuchara, y si la fortuna acompana, el ruego sera atendido. Pero exigira un elevado precio por sus servicios, uno que no todo el mundo esta dispuesto a pagar. Mejor sera asegurarse de que se quiere contar con el antes de recitar la plegaria. Eso es lo que dicen”. (Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverEl lector de Julio Verne / Almudena Grandes.
“Nino, hijo de guardia civil, tiene nueve anos, vive en la casa cuartel de un pueblo de la Sierra Sur de Jaen, y nunca podra olvidar el verano de 1947. Pepe el Portugues, el forastero misterioso, fascinante, que acaba de instalarse en un molino apartado, se convierte en su amigo y su modelo, el hombre en el que le gustaria convertirse alguna vez. Mientras pasan juntos las tardes a la orilla del rio, Nino se jurara a si mismo que nunca sera guardia civil como su padre, y comenzara a recibir clases de mecanografia en el cortijo de las Rubias, donde una familia de mujeres solas, viudas y huerfanas, resiste en la frontera entre el monte y el llano. Mientras descubre un mundo nuevo gracias a las novelas de aventuras que le convertiran en otra persona, Nino comprende una verdad que nadie habia querido contarle. En la Sierra Sur se esta librando una guerra, pero los enemigos de su padre no son los suyos. Tras ese verano, empezara a mirar con otros ojos a los guerrilleros de Cencerro, y a entender por que su padre quiere que aprenda mecanografia. / Nino sworn never to be policeman like his father. He begins typing classes in a farmhouse, and now understands a truth no one had wanted to tell. In the Southern Highlands there is a war, but his fathers enemies of are not his enemies. After that summer, he will begin to look at the guerrillas with new eyes, and to understand why his father wants him to learn typing.
“. (amazon.com summary)

Syndetics book coverLa conjura de Cortés / Matilde Asensi.
“La conjura de Cortés culmina la trilogía de Martín Ojo de Plata: en la Nueva España se desarrolla una historia plagada de intrigas, corrupción, aventuras e imaginación.
Catalina se ve obligada a desenmascarar una conjura de sus enemigos para derrocar al rey de España. La aparición de un mapa que desvela dónde encontrar el legendario tesoro de Hernán Cortés desempeñará un papel clave en el plan de Catalina para descubrir a los traidores y cumplir su palabra de acabar con los Curvo. La doble personalidad de Catalina Solís / Martín Nevares enfrentará además un grave peligro para su equilibrio: el amor. Una vez más, Matilde Asensi sorprenderá a sus lectores con un final inesperado.” (Adapted from Amazon.com review)

Syndetics book coverEscupirán sobre mi tumba / Jaime Bayly.
“What awaits writer-turned-murderer Javier Garces in Buenos Aires? First, there is the city with its cobbled streets, its cemetery and river, a place where he feels right at home, where he is neither a foreigner nor an intruder. Then, there are all those Argentines with their endless chatter, their arrogance and charm, their loud-mouthed chaos. Finally, and to his heartfelt regret, there are still some scores to be settled. What choice is there? If he wants to live he has to take the life of others, as he’ll do to certain characters he either hates or despises. The vain bookstore owner, a famous and belligerent radio and television reporter, the handsome owner of a high-end restaurant, a talented and dissolute actor, and a hateful neighbor are part of Javier Garces’ Argentine selection. While he plots and carries out his missions in wild and appalling episodes, the bloody thread that has dogged him since Lima is about to catch up to him. With Escupirán sobre mi tumba, Jaime Bayly concludes the Morirás mañana trilogy. Here ends the long and gruesome journey that began in Lima, passed through Chile and culminated in Buenos Aires. A bloody expedition in which our main character finished off his enemies while painting a vivid fresco of the largest cities in the region, a fresco that gazes past architecture and geography to portray the soul of its people.” (Courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverLa civilización del espectáculo / Mario Vargas Llosa.
“The author puts forth a hard and somber interpretation of our times. Our civilization has turned into entertainment, gossip, enjoyment, and has adopted a carefree, devil-may-care attitude, ignoring what is happening as long as it has its fix of soccer, bull fighting, baseball, cheap entertainment, talk shows, irresponsible yellow journalism, and exploitation of the poor. The idea is: have fun, keep boredom at bay, and avoid what bothers, worries and anguishes us. In fact modern culture makes it a social mandate.” (Courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverEl prisionero del cielo / Carlos Ruiz Zafón.El Prisionero Del Cielo
“Barcelona, 1957. Daniel Sempere y su amigo Fermín, los héroes de La Sombra del Viento, regresan de nuevo a la aventura para afrontar el mayor desafío de sus vidas. Justo cuando todo empezaba a sonreírles, un inquietante personaje visita la librería de Sempere y amenaza con desvelar un terrible secreto que lleva enterrado más de dos décadas en la oscura memoria de la ciudad. Al conocer la verdad, Daniel comprenderá que su destino le arrastra irremediablemente a enfrentarse con la mayor de las sombras: la que crece en su interior. Rebosante de intriga y emoción, El Prisionero del Cielo es una novela magistral donde los hilos de La Sombra del Viento y El Juego del ángel convergen a través del embrujo de la literatura y el enigma que se oculta en el corazón del Cementerio de los Libros Olvidados.” (Courtesy of Syndetics)

Syndetics book coverCasa de mi padre [videorecording] = House of my father / Nala presents a Gary Sanchez production ; a Nala Films production.
“Will Ferrell is Armando Alvarez, a simple Mexican boy who is proud to work on his father’s sprawling ranch. In spite of his wide-eyed enthusiasm for ranch life, the stupid, yet optimistic Armando can only play second fiddle to his glamorous brother, Raul. But when Raul brings his sexy bride, Sonia, home to meet the family, the sexual tension between her and Armando is only the start of the trouble, as the brothers soon find themselves in a war with Mexico’s most feared drug lord”–Container.

Read more

Cooking

Everything green and fresh and wholesome is on the menu in this month’s selection of cook books.

Syndetics book coverWild About Greens : 125 delectable vegan recipes for kale, collards, arugula, bok choy, and other leafy veggies everyone loves / by Nava Atlas ; photographs by Susan Voisin.
“Atlas (Vegan Express) successfully elevates leafy greens beyond the salad bowl with this collection of recipes that will appeal to vegans and meat-eaters alike. Though she excludes cabbages and common lettuces, Atlas introduces a host of other dynamic greens-from the “bold” arugula, to the now ubiquitous kale, to the “peppery” watercress-and includes plenty of tips for buying and preparation.” (Publisher Weekly)

Syndetics book coverThe Art of Cooking with Vegetables / Alain Passard ; [translation by Alex Carlier].
“This is the English-language version of Passard’s 2010 Collages & Recettes. Chef and owner of the three-Michelin-starred Parisian restaurant L’Arpege, Passard illustrates these 48 sophisticated vegetable recipes-organized by month-with his own paper collages. The visual effect is whimsical, recalling children’s books like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The quality of vegetables will matter here; Stand Up Asparagus, Globe Artichokes with Bay Leaves and Lime, and Yellow Beetroot Baked in a Dome of Coarse Salt all have five ingredients or fewer, and their simple preparations require attention to detail. VERDICT Readers who regard cooking as art will love this title.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverVegetables, Revised: The Most Authoritative Guide to Buying, Preparing, and Cooking, with More Than 300 Recipes
“This revised edition of Peterson’s 1996 classic vastly improves upon the original through the addition of color photographs that illustrate the vegetable varieties and step-by-step techniques. Peterson has reorganized the content into two sections: “Techniques for Preparing and Cooking Vegetables” and “The Vegetables: A to Z.” Library Journal

Syndetics book coverWelcoming Kitchen : 200 delicious allergen & gluten-free vegan recipes / Kim Lutz with Megan Hart.
“Cooking for those with special food needs can make the pantry feel like an obstacle course, and for parents faced with cooking for a group of children with any number of unknown restrictions, the problem can feel almost paralyzing. Thankfully, Lutz and Hart (The Everything Organic Cooking for Baby & Toddler Book) have created this collection.” (Library Journal)

Syndetics book coverVeggiestan : a vegetable lover’s tour of the Middle East / Sally Butcher.
“Written in her trademark engaging and knowledgeable style, Sally Butcher takes a fresh look at many of the more exciting ingredients available on our high streets today as well as providing a host of delicious recipes made with more familiar fare.” (Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverQuick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking : more than 150 tasty, nourishing recipes that practically make themselves / Carla Kelly.
“Finally, a cookbook of hassle-free meals for vegans – with more than 150 delicious recipes that both experienced cooks and slow-cooker newcomers can create and enjoy! For on-the-go vegans and others looking to eat healthy-Quick and Easy Vegan Slow Cooking is the answer. Utilizing easy-to-find, economical ingredients, Carla Kelly crafts practical main meals that readers will make and eat daily.” (Books in Print)

Syndetics book coverThe Gardener & the Grill : the bounty of the garden meets the sizzle of the grill / Karen Adler & Judith Fertig.
“Known as the BBQ Queens, Adler and Fertig (coauthors, 25 Essentials: Techniques for Grilling Fish) are barbecue instructors and competitors. Their latest cookbook is full of creative ideas for grilling with garden-fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs ….This book does not illustrate the finer points of grilling, so readers will need some prior knowledge of equipment and technique. VERDICT A refreshing departure from meat-centric BBQ bibles.” (Library Journal)

Read more

Crafts

In this month’s splendid selection of new books we offer you inspiring ideas and techniques to make fabulous handmade projects for your home and family. Enjoy experimenting with contemporary and traditional crafts such as, felting, quilting and knitting using timeless knitwear designs, as well as, recycling and repurposing materials for your beach house, caravan or home. Happy crafting!

Syndetics book coverThe crafty minx at home : 50+ handmade and upcycled projects for beautiful living / Kelly Doust.
“The Crafty Minx is about making gorgeous things from pre-loved, remnant and vintage items. It is written especially for non-crafters who are desperate to be more creative but don’t know how, and shares the delicious rewards of living with and giving away beautiful handmade objects. Kelly Doust shares her practical tips to help make your own delectable crafts from discarded materials, and a positive impact on the environment in the process. Including over 75 projects which give traditional crafts a modern makeover – from brightly patterned summer beach bags and cotton apron tops to cosy lambs’ wool throws and cashmere-covered hot water bottles, or a soft toy for a friend’s new baby – this book is broken down into the four seasons of the year for easy inspiration, and to carry you through the year creatively. Bringing you stories about great vintage finds and new ways of looking at the treasures within our own homes. No matter where you live or what your circumstances, discover just how easy it is to be a crafty minx” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Syndetics book coverKirstie’s vintage home / Kirstie Allsopp.
“Transform your home from shabby to chic, with the help of Kirstie Allsopp. Looking to the past for inspiration and embracing vintage style to create something unique and beautiful, Kirstie continues her love affair with everything handmade.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverFabric surface design / Cheryl Rezendes ; photography by John Polak.
“Sensational sewing projects demand fabulous fabrics! Fibre artist Cheryl Rezendes shows you how to create an astonishing array of surface designs, simply and safely, using textile paints and printing ink. She covers a wide variety of techniques: stamping, ancient Japanese Shibori, silkscreen, soy wax and flour resist, image transfer, marbling, nature printing, foils and metal leaf, and more. Step-by-step photos illustrate every technique, and Rezendes shows you lots of innovative ways to combine and layer techniques for stunning results.” (adapted from the Syndetics summary).

Syndetics book coverHandmade glamping / Charlotte Liddle & Lucy Hopping.
“Decorate your tent, tipi, caravan or camper van with any of the 35 stunning projects in Handmade Glamping. Using a variety of crafting techniques including knitting, crochet, quilting, embroidery, patchwork and applique, Charlotte Liddle and Lucy Hopping have created a wonderful range of accessories that will bring retro charm to your idyllic country getaway. Whether you fancy a quiet retreat to secluded beaches or are off to live it up at the summer festivals, you will find something to make your home away from home look stunning and feel cosy and comfortable. Divided into four chapters, start with Recycling and Repurposing and make the embroidered curtains using vintage fabrics or the hexagonal patchwork scatter cushions to put on the camp bed. In Campfire Cooking there is everything you’ll need for a romantic meal under the stars, including decorated plates, quilted placemats and a picnic bag.” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Syndetics book coverFelt with love : felt hearts, flowers and much more / Madeleine Millington.
“Felt With Love is a must-have book for anyone with an appreciation of adorable hand-crafted objects. It is a colourful one-off book, filled with 15 cute, fun and simple projects (plus some variations) made from felted wool. As well as easy to follow instructions and step by step photographs for each project, the book explains various stitching and embellishment techniques. Projects include mini hanging decorations, beautiful brooches, pincushions, various wall hangings, a couple Christmassy pieces, plus much more! The author has provided templates for all the projects so that everything can be replicated with relative ease. This book is a great collection of bright, affordable, and easy to sew felt projects embellished with simple stitching, buttons and beads. They are great to do ‘on-the-go’ and once completed you have a beautiful gift for a special person or a timeless treasure for yourself!” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Syndetics book coverTula Pink’s city sampler : 100 modern quilt blocks / [Tula Pink].
“Make a beautiful, modern quilt of your own design with the 100 original quilt blocks or try one of the 5 city-theme sampler quilts designed by Tula.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)

Syndetics book coverKnit to flatter : the only instructions you’ll ever need to knot sweaters that make you look good and feel great / Amy Herzog ; photographs by Karen Pearson ; photostyling by Karen Schaupeter.
“Amy Herzog’s primary focus in writing this book is to teach knitters how to assess their own body shapes: top heavy, bottom heavy or proportional and then knit accordingly. The concept for the book began as a series of blog posts. Fans of the blog encouraged Amy to continue fleshing out this concept, so she went on to create ten tutorials that give knitters the tools and techniques they need to create flattering garments. And now she has combined her tutorials with more than 20 new patterns and turned it all into a book. In Knit to Flatter, Herzog provides guidelines for silhouettes and styles that work with each body shape along with three or four sweater patterns per shape category. She then provides patterns for 10 additional sweaters and guidelines for customising each one of them to flatter each body shape. Each pattern is written in up to ten sizes, and garments are photographed on models with a variety of body shapes to keep the whole presentation real. No smoke and mirrors here. Just real beauty!” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Syndetics book coverKnit a monster nursery : practical and playful knitted baby patterns / Rebecca Danger ; [photography by Brent Kane].
“Knit up a delightful collection of fun yet practical monster themed projects your little ones are sure to love. From the creative mind behind the best-selling “Big Book of Knitted Monsters” comes an adorable collection of more than 16 knitted toys, clothing, accessories, and nursery decorations that you’ll love knitting for the little one in your life. Stitch a roomful of fun and practical items – suitable for both boys and girls, and for knitters of all levels – including an irresistible monster mobile, baby blankets, blocks, booties, bookends, rattles, hats, and more!” (Adapted from Amazon.co.uk review)

Read more