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    • Canon PGI 5BK / Printer Consumable / 51 Readings / 49 Ratings
      More +
      17.03.2014 18:01
      Very helpful


      • Reliability


      The black ink cartridge affords a quality rich pigmented shade furnishing good coverage.

      Flying With InkJet! ~ My usage experience

      I purchased a Canon Pixma printer because it seemed to have all the features I was looking for. My printer has to be fitted with several ink cartridges, black being one of them. I was wondering if the printer would fulfil the promises made by the manufacturers; on the printing front the cartridges are excellent. Although there are many internet sites that provide compatible ink cartridges from other brand names at a fraction of the cost, I've stayed with the manufacturer's brand of ink cartridge to avoid the warranty becoming invalid should a fault appear.

      This black ink cartridge is vibrant, clear and is smudge resistant. Due to the components of the ink, the pigmented particles of the cartridge apparently settle into the hemp of the paper and adhere as the ink dries. This has the effect of making the printing more resistant to fading, lasting well and gives a rich fluid finish.

      For my coursework, secular task and printing in general, I have found that the 26ml ink cartridge provides me with approximately 360 A4 pages of printing as long as I adjust my PC to print at 5% ink coverage; which is adequate for all my printing needs. But I do tend to operate on a deeper shade for CV's, exam coursework and legal documents. The manufacturers enclosed leaflet on the package the product comes with, asserts that the Canon PGI 5 is compatible with twenty-four Canon Pixma printers.

      'Loose Cannon' ~ Loading Replacements

      The product is very simple to load into the printer. The instructions are on the leaflet. This is how I replace a used cartridge: I lift up the cover on my printer. The ink cartridge carriage slides very easily out from the printer's ink compartment. I gently remove the empty ink cartridge clasping the sides and carefully pulling upwards. Then, with the replacement cartridge to hand, I remove the small sealing tape on the ink head before carefully installing the cartridge in exactly the same angle as the original empty one I took out. Next, I gently press down until I hear a click sound that indicates the cartridge is now securely in place. I then simply close the cover of my printer, and proceed to print a test page just to ensure that I have installed the cartridge correctly.

      'Hot Off The Press ~ Supplementary Material ~ Recycling

      'Canon's toner cartridge recycling programme allows customers from selected European countries to print a freepost e-Return label for the return and recycling of their empty genuine Canon toner cartridges... If you are having technical problems generating a label, you may request a pre-printed label through our feedback form .' {http://www.canon.co.uk/recycling/faq.aspx

      'The Small Print' ~ Would I Recommend?

      Yes. I find this PGI 5BK black ink cartridge gives me a quality finish on my printing facility. I initially purchased the cartridges at Argos for £14.99 but Amazon has them currently available £12.52 on their 'FREE Delivery in the UK'. Due to its extensive coverage, the lower cost at Amazon, makes it fairly economical to use. The product is even covered by a 12 month warranty supplied by Canon.


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      • More +
        18.02.2014 10:37
        Very helpful



        On the surface 'a simple point and shoot' but in reality, anything but! :~(

        The Product~ 'The digital camera is a great invention because it allows us to reminisce. Instantly.'

        The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FS50 product dimensions are a slim 1.8 x 9.3 x 5.5 cm and only weighs in at a light 86 g. The camera requires 2 AA batteries required but these are included in the box. The camera comes with a case with strap to keep in when not in use, an 8GB Micro SD, AC adaptor, USB connection cable and CD rom. I will comment further on the camera and accessories under the sub-heading 'My Usage Experience'. I have the black model but the camera is also available in red, purple and white.

        My Usage Experience ~ 'Stay focused'! :~)

        My Son purchased this camera via Amazon for me as my previous camera, an AGFA DC-1030p digital camera, had broken. The USB connection terminal became too loose to hold the lead and the warranty had run out!

        *CD ROM*

        I would have preferred a paper format for the instructions as I find this a far more practical method of viewing guidelines for such times that I am not home and need a quick reference for usage of the unit. When I first used the camera I was at my daughter's home and wanted to use the video feature to picture the grand-tots at play. I didn't know how to see the completed video and a paper instruction leaflet would have been very helpful! But I have to admit that the CD is comprehensive and has everything I need to know concerning the camera.


        I found the camera very simple to set up. The directions on the product's pamphlet are clear but unfortunately too basic so I need to rely on the CD to follow directions on all of the camera's features. The camera took around just over two hours to charge, with the charging lamp located on the back of the unit indicating the operation in progress. Be warned though that these features, as well as all other operating buttons, are very small! This is a real drawback for me as it means that I need to take extra care to avoid pressing the wrong option I require during usage! To avoid accidents like dropping the camera, I attached the wrist strap after popping the batteries in the unit.

        * Intelligent auto mode*

        The Intelligent auto mode makes my task very easy. In fact, this is a great setting for those just starting out on this fun and rewarding activity. I was thrilled to read from the instructions that such modes as 'Scene detection, Back light compensation, Intelligent ISO sensitivity control, Auto white balance, Face detection [Exposure/zoom/Red-eye removal/Stabilizer] and more are all taken care of when using this facility. To take advantage of this utility all I need to do is press the MODE shutter button that is located the top right of the camera. This is the smaller of the two silver toned buttons and I found that I need to press this quite firmly to operate! I then need to press the MODE button that is clearly marked on the back of the unit. And by selecting the clearly marked red AI symbol I can then press the MENU button to confirm choice which is seen on the viewing display when turning the camera on. This is a good reminder for me that I have this setting in motion when I next use my camera. This gives me the prod I need to either keep the setting or choose to manually operate the camera's features.

        *Taking pictures*

        Once I got to grips with the icons, I found this camera very simple to use. It really is a very basic apparatus, and if the user doesn't require more elaborate technical features to take 'National Geographic' type shots, then it only requires the user to point at the chosen subject matter and click! I am happy with this simplified no nonsense utility on the camera because I am not looking to submit my photographs to the National Geographic! :~D I mainly use the intelligent auto mode when taking pictures of my grand-children and such things as products for my reviews. This means that I only need to press the SHUTTER button halfway to focus on my chosen focal point when the FOCUS INDICATION LIGHT, which is green, lights up and the subject, is focused. The screen details the auto focus areas, such as on faces, are then shown by arrow indicators by means of the FACE DETECTION function. I find this ideal in making the task of taking accurate pictures so simplistic. This feature also furnishes me with confidence in that all I need to do is point and click, nothing else is required. Even the flash can be set on automatic!

        Once I can see that the image is centralized, I just press the shutter button down fully to take the picture. I don't think I will ever come fully to grips with the amazing technology of these little gadgets. For example, when the portrait mode is set, the camera automatically detects a person's face and it will adjust the focus and exposure! The gadget automatically adjusts for usage with tripods too. The picture quality is fair but for the price, there are other models available that are better! Please see under 'flash' for further disappointing aspects here! Added to the flaws mentioned, I find it very annoying that the camera takes too long after turning it on before it's actually ready to take a picture, which is bothersome because I miss spur of the moment opportunities, like when the grand-tots do something amusing but all too brief to catch in time. However, once the camera is ready, there is only a short of around '0.3 seconds' between pressing the shutter button and the photo being taken!

        *Screen, Buttons and Symbols*

        The buttons are too small for my personal choice and comfort but are touch sensitive enough to get by using the finger tips. Although the shutter button needs a little more pressure to operate! The text on the buttons is mostly abbreviated and very small but this is understandable considering the size of the camera! There are eight scene modes, and because I only need the camera as a basic tool, these are plenty enough for what I require. I am pleased that the recording mode button is in bright poppy red to help me quickly locate this for those magical moments the grand-tots do something memorable, like taking their nanny off! The flash timer, 10mm in width and is located on the front of the unit. The symbols are easy to understand. For instance, to set a portrait mode, the symbol comes up as a miniature head shape with a moon to indicate night portrait mode. For night scenery, the symbol is shown as a little white mountain, stars and moon set against a black back-ground. All symbols are clearly identifiable through the CD ROM's tutorial support. As for the screen, I am pleased to say that it 42cm x 31cm which is large enough for me to focus without the need to wear my glasses!


        I must say that I found the range of flash settings confusing and still haven't come to grips with this entirely. I am relieved though, that as long as the camera senses little 'jitter' the flash can be as little as I second in duration! The directions are clear as too the flash range but in reality, when taking unplanned shots, easy to get wrong. I have taken many pictures whereby they have been spoiled due to the flash being far too bright. Due to the flash inadequacies, and imperfect focusing camera's capabilities, I have found that this can leave indoor shots overexposed. Even outdoor shots tend to lack sharpness and can often look pale. But the 'Image stabilization' is good and helps to remove flaws in camera shake.

        Would I recommend? ~ '"Never forget that all the great photographs in history were made with more primitive camera equipment than you currently own" :~)

        No! The negatives outweigh the positives which mean that I cannot in good conscience recommend this model. I am happy with some of the features including the clear video recording when the camera is set up in preparation. But, for the price, there are many more cameras on the market that will exceed on the capabilities of this model. I find the numerous notes on obtaining the best picture and video sequence too complicated when in fact, many digital cameras are pre-set to take the hassle out usage! I'm perplexed that the manufacturers need to offer so many instructions; it is as if the camera is so sensitive that without a course in the intricacies of using, a great picture is inaccessible to the user! My previous simple AGFA camera didn't need a PHD :~( yes, the camera does furnishing reasonable picture quality and once set to my choice, fairly simple to use. But to avoid hassle in switching modes, I really need to be satisfied with a 'one-trick pony'! The inconvenience of swapping various modes, poor focusing and the lengthy time in starting up are just a few of the aspects that leave me feeling disappointed. Now that I have the camera, I will stick with it but in time I will replace!

        The camera is widely available but this one was purchased via Amazon for £76.47

        Thank you for taking the time to read my review :~) xXx


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        • More +
          14.01.2014 15:55
          Very helpful



          Lovely book offering fun patterns as smart way to furnish 'fashionable protection' for phones & PDA

          ~*~The Book~*~

          This 48 page book is one in the selection of Twenty to Make craft books published by Search Press Ltd (4 July 2013). The small dimensions of 0.6 x 15.9 x 21.6 cm make for a very easy to handle book which fits well on my book stand. Although advertised as a paperback, I am pleased to confirm that the cover is firm and resilient against the constant handling. Amazon quotes knit Today concerning the book's contents as containing '20 colourful and imaginative designs complete with step-by-step knitting patterns, to suit all tastes and ages. Make a sock with sophisticated stripes or funky poodle yarn, or choose one of the fantastic sheep or owl sox to make. They make wonderful gifts and are so simple that even knitting newcomers can have a go.-Homemade with Love Jazz up your mobile - and protect it from scratches at the same time - with your very own hand-knitted phone sock. These fabulous little knits make ideal pressies for all your friends and family, too, as they come in so many different styles. There are 20 in this book to choose from, suitable for all ages. And since they're so small, mobile phone sox make great projects to knit on days out and when you've got five minutes here and there to spare. So it's good news that this book is just the right size to pop in your handbag'. I was certainly hoping that the patterns would 'suit all tastes and ages' as I was hoping to gift many of the designs!

          ~*~ The Author~*~

          Amazon notes the author Susan Cordes as having 'knitted her first jumper when she was 11 years old and created her first patchwork quilt when she was 16. Susan's love of all crafts has led her, over the years, to try out folk art, Castle and Roses barge ware painting, cross stitch and embroidery, rag rug making, jewellery making, crochet and not forgetting knitting! A contributing writer for a series of international knitting, jewellery and painting magazines, Susan also teaches many of the crafts she loves'. I was relieved to read that the author of this book has had vast experience in this craft as her experience would no doubt show through in her accurate instructions within the knitting patterns.

          ~*~Reason for Purchase~*~

          My Son purchased this book as a gift to me knowing how much I love knitting and enjoy the Twenty to Make series of craft book. I love looking for more unique ideas to knit gifts too :~)

          *Abbreviations, Contents list and Introduction*

          Both of these listings provide good clear information. The abbreviation's list includes all the relevant information to understand the terms on each pattern. I am pleased to say that the Content's list is in a lovely large font which makes locating a specific pattern very easy. The Introductory notes are clear and concise with reassuring comments on how 'every pattern is easy to follow and quick to make'. Even as an experienced knitter, I am always relieved to read that patterns I will be following are straightforward! As a taster, there are five of the twenty designs features on the introductory page which makes me even more motivated to get started! :~)

          *Knitting Know-How*

          There are some really practical general notes on these two pages as well as very helpful tips on knitting techniques, finishing and decorating work and crocheting methods. I find crocheting difficult so having tips on such task as chain stitching, edging and similar guides really effective in helping me accomplish certain patterns without too much time and effort.

          *Purple Poodle*

          This is the first pattern in the book. I really appreciate the little boxes entitled 'knitting note' on some of the patterns. For instance, on this design the author comments that 'poodle yarn is usually composed of a combination of yarns (e.g. mohair and acrylic) any item knitted in this type of yarn needs to be washed in cool water'. It would be pretty disappointing to take the time to knit one of these phone sox only to have it spoiled in the washing machine due to the wrong cycle or temperature! I love the appearance of this design; it really does look like poodle fur so an apt name for the yarn! :~) The colour of the sox is in a variegated purple that has hints of pinks and cerise which make this cover so pretty to look at. The little attached knitted I cord handle and large shaded pink button complete the trendy look.


          ...is exactly that! A very easy pattern that alternates knit and purl stitches throughout to furnish a lovely basic pattern which is topped off a third way up towards the opening with a plain stitch and then a practical ribbed 1 inch ending. I love the colour of teal the author has used for the sox. In fact, the author uses a variety of colours throughout the book for different covers that complement the patterns exceedingly well. This is a beautiful classic design and is perfect for smaller phones as it clips snuggly against slimmer handsets. As an extra beneficial tip the author comments that 'if you need to make it deeper to fit your phone, just knit more rib'. This may seem obvious, but when I first began following patterns, I found tips like these very helpful.

          *Elegant Pearls*

          I really like this style although a simple block pattern. The design is pretty with its four alternating cream sections of four in purl and plain rows. I simply adore the way the author has accessorized this jacket with carefully placed pearl beads on the plain segments of the work. A gorgeous mother-of-pearl button is used for the button closure. This stylish cover would fit in wonderfully well on an up-market evening out, perhaps tucked inside a matching purse bag so when revealed a little wow factor is exposed. Well, I can dream can't I? :~D

          *Shooting Star*

          When I first set eyes on this design I have to admit that the cover didn't motivate me to knit! The jacket is knitted using a very deep blue but then after reflection, I realised that in actual fact the colour is perfect to display its theme of a night time sky! The author has cleverly accessorized the cover with a couple of gold 'shooting' stars on the front. Little trails of gold thread furnish these stars with the 'shooting' effect. A dark blue star button is used as the catch to close the case. In my opinion, this is a very fitting case for the more youthful among us, although I'm sure astronomers will love this fun design too! :~)

          *Black Cat*

          One of the excellent features of this book is that the author has shrewdly designed patterns for all type of knitting abilities. This one is wonderfully suitable for beginners because only a simple purl and plain row is used throughout the work. Additionally, the black cat that adorns the front of the cover is knitted in an easy garter stitch with very straightforward instructions to follow. There are no attachments needed to close the jacket as the ribbed opening is designed to clip the phone snuggly. I'm not a great fan of crafting these jackets without a proper closure as phones can fall out too easily!

          *All Square*

          Another very simple knit for beginners that looks more complicated than it is through a cleverly disguised technique where the plain stitches are dressed up using blocks of co-ordinating purples to great effect! I love the way the author uses colour to freshen what could be a dull piece of work. The lilac in combination with deep purple looks so gorgeous, especially in this chequerboard manner. The author leaves a great tip here when knitting these varied colours together. By twisting 'the yarns or loops loosely across the back of the work' it will 'prevent holes appearing where new colours join'. Though I will say, not too loosely, it can be difficult to obtain the right tension, but time and experience will benefit the new crafter.

          *Love Hug*

          This cosy is as simple as the 'black cat' one on page 16. In fact, I'd say even easier as the tiny heart in the centre of this plain knitted cover only takes up a very small segment of the sox. As before, the author using colour to great effect, here she combines a mulberry red yarn for the heart and gorgeous cream wool for the main part of the cover. The photograph furnishes this lovely valentine themed cosy wonderfully well by setting the cover on a fresh and bright chequered tablecloth. The additional small oblong red with white spots tray that holds small heart shaped red and white checked and spotted chocolates set the romantic scene. What a lovely presentation this would be to gift the sox to a loved one! :~)

          *Funky Orange*

          This is such a pretty design and yet no at all difficult to knit. The cosy is knitted in a vibrant burnt orange yarn for the more extroverts among us! :~) The author has shown how easy it is to dress up a jacket by cute and fun adornments. In this case a lovely sparkly sequinned rick rack braiding strand has been used to attach to the jacket as a neat practical little handle. A lovely orange heart shaped button is sewn to the cover as a closure attachment. The seersucker stitching furnishes a pretty textured look and feel to the sox. The author provides very practical information throughout the book. For example, in a small box underneath the photograph of the cover, the author advises that 'this sock is aimed at those with an intermediate level of knitting experience'.


          This design is the same one that is featured on the front of the book and as it's knitted in garter stitch, it is another neat pattern for beginners to follow. The combination of lilac and white yarn and knitted on a slant gives the appearance that the design is quite intricate but in fact is so simplistic. The yarn used for the white sections is Chenille which furnishes a beautifully soft texture but can be expensive. But the great thing about knitting these sox is that they use such small amounts of wool that it won't break the bank! :~)

          *Team Stripes*

          This one is for the lads with the bold black and moss green yarn. The author offers yet another neat tip where she suggests knitting this cover in 'your favourite team's colours'. Because the jacket is knitted in simple plain and purl stitch, it is a very quick to craft little gem. This is another reason why I really like this book. If I'm on a time limit to produce a quick knit for a gift, this book contains a fair amount of patterns that can be crafted in an hour or so.

          *Jolly Roger*

          I cannot wait to knit this fun design for my oldest grand-son. The sox is knitted in black yarn and dressed up using a skull and cross bones logo. Due to the design of the pirate themed logo, this pattern would be more suited to intermediate and above experienced knitters. This pattern is a great example of how clear and concise the author writes the instructions. This means that I can follow each tutorial without any time wasted. I can easily locate each step with the rows clearly marked in systematic formatting. This is such a fun design, that even older 'pirates' will love this too! :~)

          *Curious Sheep*

          Unfortunately, this particular design only shows a swatch of the sox! The cover is shown in the picture with only the top ribbed enclosure resting just above a jean's pocket :~( Although, the section that is shown reveals a very cute sheep's head and little legs which is black against the cream yarn of the cover. On the pattern page there is a circular picture that reveals how the jacket is closed using a press stud. I like this idea because it makes the envelope closure look neat and does not distract from the cute accessory of the sheep. I really appreciate the way the author and Search Press give the sub-headings a bold black font which makes locating the next step in the pattern easier to follow. But, as with other book in this series, the instructions are in a very small font!


          Not the most original of titles but a neat design nevertheless! I love the carefully co-ordinated colours in this plain stitch knitted cosy. Only small amounts of maroon red, turquoise, cream and green are used to make this appealing little jacket. The turned over doubled up ribbed makes for a snugger fit for the top of the sox. The author inspired ideas, one of which is making sox that fit personal choices. I will be making this one for my daughter but using more subtle shades in colours I know she loves.

          *Hot Air Balloon*

          This is the only one in the whole of the book that I am the least impressed with! Unlike the title, the balloon looks more like an Alien ship out of Star Trek! :~D As for the basket, only two rows of four stitches is used to give the appearance of a kind of crate to hold folk! A strand of around four threads are used either side of the basket to attach to the balloon to represent the ropes, but this looks a little amateur. The deep mauve blue back-ground to the cover doesn't add enthusiasm either :~( The only thing that I do like is the two pretty blue daisy buttons that are attached either end onto one side of the cover. But, all is not lost for me, as every pattern can be used as a blue-print for one's own motifs and colour choices. All the patterns are accurate in sizing so by following the needle sizes, amount of stitches and so forth, you can still produce something that suits your own taste!

          *Christmas Crystal*

          This is a beautiful captivating cosy with its sumptuous warm red jacket that is adorned with a pure white snowflake. I love the little white heart interlaced border that leads to the ribbed upper closure of the jacket. This design is such a gorgeous seasonal pattern for the winter months. I am going to love knitting this as gifts for friends and family. The appropriate smaller needles used for the ribbed closure sections make for a neat and snug fit to keep phones safer from falling out. Though, as I've mentioned before, I do prefer adding a small button, press stud or such like to give extra protection from the phones falling out of the sox.

          *All Cabled Up*

          I feel that this particular design will have wide appeal! The sox is knitted in a lovely cream yarn that has two bold cables running up either side of the jacket with a simple plain stitch for the centre of the jacket. I can imagine this one as a great gift for those that love walking in autumnal weather with their chunky woollen jumpers, sorry imagination running away with me again. Even novices can have a go at this design as the author gives clear directions on how to produce the cables on a little brown box beneath the instructions for the cosy. Because the jacket is knitted using cream yarn it will match many outfits too.


          Loving this cuter than cute design. Now this will be a real winner for female dog owners for sure. I love the way the author has matched up such great colours for the design, very fitting. The sox are knitted using a simple plain and purl stitch which makes for a great start for beginners to knit. If novice knitters feel that the Scottie dog motif may be a little too difficult to include, folk can purchase Scottie dog buttons and embroidered motifs online through such sites as Amazon. The author has made an excellent clear chart for the design of the Scottie dog. Because the chart has used the same bold colours as the actual sox, the template is very easy to follow.

          *Halloween Pumpkin*

          A very fun design here with a fun orange pumpkin sitting boldly on the front of the black back-ground sox. I love the practical design of the side opening to this jacket as it affords easy access for larger phones. This pattern is really suited to more experienced knitters, but as I mentioned above, one can still purchase fun motifs etc. on line so that the sox can still be knitted using the same theme but instead crafting the cover in all black and attaching on the buttons or other when jacket is complete.

          *Golden Pineapple*

          Yet another reason why I really like this book, so many fun designs that make me smile! Unlike the Air Balloon pattern this cute cover really does look like a pineapple :~) The author has knitted this in a warm orange for the pineapple and a rich deep mottled green for the foliage enclosure. One corded strand for the drawstring is crafted in the orange yarn, while the other is in the green. This is a fun quirky design. The one drawback (excuse the pun) is the drawstring as this does not furnish quick access to phones, but, it does ensure phones are kept secure and safe!

          *Wise owl*

          This is the last pattern in the book and it is my absolute favourite. I am going to be so happy knitting this design as gifts because I know the fun Owl motif will bring a smile to recipients! :~) The author has produced a book with such wonderfully varied designs. I was concerned before I received this book that it would be uninspiring, samey, perhaps even on the boring side. I thought to myself, 'just how many ways can one knit a cover for a phone that would still is unique'? But thumbs up to the author, she has formulated patterns that fit in so many great themes, beautiful colour schemes and exceptional designs. I love the beige yarn that is used as a great back drop to the Owl, with its big bold funny eyes standing proudly out from the envelope section of the cosy. A practical explanation of the stitching used for the eyes in given on the instruction page. Following the 'making up' part of the pattern is written in a very helpful condensed manner that makes for a far quicker finishing guide. This cheeky cute Owl will have as a wide appeal as many others in this wonderful book.

          ~*~Would I recommend?~*~

          Most certainly! So many folk own phones and there is such a wonderful trend of folk returning to traditional home made crafts that this is a perfect book as a gift to crafters. The designs offer a fun and smart way to furnish a 'fashionable protection' for mobile phones and PDA's. The designs are so varied, both in classic and modern patterns that they will have wide appeal which makes them perfect for gifting. The assorted patterns encompass styles that are suitable to beginners to the craft as well as intermediate and experience knitters. This book is wonderful for those that need to follow a tight budget like myself as all sox use very little yarn! I am very happy with this book indeed!

          This lovely book is widely available. My son purchased mine via Amazon for the inexpensive price of £3.74 which was also delivered free using the site's offer.


          Thank you for taking the time to read my review on sox for the phone not for the feet! :~)


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            14.01.2014 15:50
            Very helpful



            A delightful book packed of fun animal patterns

            ~*~The Product ~ 'Go Ape'!~*~

            The book comes in paperback, 128 pages and published by Gmc (7 Oct 2009) The book's dimensions are 21.3 x 23.6 cm. The author of this book is Sarah Keen, an experienced knitter. 'She has an exacting approach to all her projects and thoroughly enjoys creating wonderful characters such as those found in this book. She goes to great lengths to produce the beautiful backgrounds featured in the gallery section, hand painting them on to fabrics and also producing scenery, such as bamboo canes, flowers and grass to make for wonderful, unique settings'. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1861086709

            ~*~My Usage Experience ~ 'Straight from the horse's mouth'!~*~

            My first introduction to the craft of knitting was when I was five years old. At the time my dad was based in Scotland and I attended a school in Edinburgh for a couple of years. My memories of the teacher are not fond at all. I loved making my first craft, a hair band but the teacher was harsh and lacked patience. I only returned to this craft when my first child was born twenty years later! I recalled little from the first introduction to knitting, other than knowing how to knit simple plain and purl stitches. My mother-in-law, an experienced knitter, helped me to read patterns and progress in knitting. I knitted many clothes for my children, relatives and friends from then on. As the children grew into adults and my secular employment became ever more demanding, I left off from knitting until three years ago when I began to knit toys, dog coats, winter accessories etc., I feel I'll continue to enjoy this craft until arthritis finally takes its toll!


            The index of the fifteen animals is located on page 7 under the heading 'Where those wild beast hide', which is a good indication of the fun text and imagery that is consistently found throughout this lovely book. Also on this page can be found the page numbers where the 'acknowledgements', 'Introduction' and 'Gallery' can be found. There is a subheading entitled 'Techniques' that furnishes beginners with an excellent taster section of hints and tips on how to accomplish the task of knitting the animals. For instance, on page 119 the reader can find out how to increase and decrease while on page 124 it gives a listing on abbreviations. I wish I had this book when I first started knitting properly as an adult because these sections give such concise and simplistic explanations on how to master certain stitches, along with clear close up photographs of these. I doubted that starting to knit toys as opposed to more elementary items wouldn't be appropriate for beginners in this craft. But after browsing through these advisory pages, I am convinced that one totally new to this craft can succeed if they follow the directions closely.

            *Pictures and their relation to the patterns*

            The front cover of this cheerful looking book has a monkey sat proudly on the page. Under the title the author notes 'A collection of adorable animals to knit from scratch'. If the picture of the monkey is anything to go by, I was in for a treat. The monkey's body is in a lovely chocolate brown with co-ordinating fawn face, ears, paws and feet. At first I didn't notice that the monkey was holding a knitted banana that has a mustard coloured peel and cream fruit. Such a cute addition to bring a little realism for tiny tots.
            Every page has either an animal image or things like paw prints that make for a fun to use craft book. The first image the knitter comes across of an animal to craft is of an elephant on page 9. This close up look of this fine creature looks so cute with his grey trunk knitted in a combination of plain, purl with intermittent knitted rows to afford a layered effect that gives the nose an authentic appearance. The tusk is pure white which stands proudly from the grey on the elephant's face.

            The Giraffe looks hilarious, with its rotund tummy as he is in a sitting position. The co-ordinated yellow
            and browns look effective as the pattern for a giraffe but I am disappointed that the neck isn't as long as one would expect for such an elegant creature from the wilds. But the giraffe still looks authentic. When I come to knitting this particular toy, I will increase the rows to furnish the animal with a longer neck!
            The zebra on page 13 looks so funny with his black and white frame. I often get disappointed by certain patterns that are produced that simply use a horse pattern and change the colour of the wool to represent a zebra. But there are no half-hearted measures here. The zebra looks distinct and genuine with its curly ruffled mane and cute face.

            The lion isn't as captivating as the elephant or zebra. I have found better patterns, one recently in a knitting magazine that comes out monthly in stores. Nevertheless, there is no mistaking that this is meant to be a lion with his full looped mane that surrounds his face. I do like the way the author has used the co-ordinating colour of burnt orange to furnish the lion with a pronounced jaw and mouth line. The snout, face and body are knitted using a sunset yellow yarn which sets the burnt orange on the paws and feet lovely.
            I suppose, if I had to choose, the tiger is the least original looking animal out of the set. To me it appears like a teddy pattern with only the pointed ears and colour difference to set them apart. The only authentic looking piece on the animal is the snout in the same burnt orange as the body and the cream lower jaw. The arms and legs look over-filled and far too rounded to represent a fierce wild animal that would appeal to little boys.

            The crocodile looks amazing with his deep olive green yarn with varied knitted stitches. I adore the way the author has given him striking teeth, just by simply sewing pure white yarn in a haphazard fashion along the shaped mouth. The crodiles eyes look hilarious, big black pupils surrounded by a white half-moon circle, with sleepy looking lids, this croc is the tops! This image is an excellent example as to why effective photographs are so important. If one were simply reading the instructions on stitching the crocodile's teeth, it would be fairly difficult to comprehend the formatting along the jawline and how it should appear. But having such a striking picture is a real asset on showing exactly how the teeth ought to look for a wonderful finish to the toy.

            The next wild animal in line is the Rhino which I can see by the close up photograph that this toy is knitted following the same pattern as used for the tiger etc., the silver grey yarn looks well suited for the toy and the pure white horns stand out from the snout. But the toy doesn't have enough details to make it unique although for a young child, he would be adored I'm sure. The next photograph is the monkey as seen on the front cover of the book. At a slightly different angle, one can now observe the long thin fawn tail. The banana is much clearer to see in this picture. The ears aren't distinctly shaped as on a real monkey but this toy is as cute as can be.

            The picture of the snake only shows a side profile of the head and a very small portion of the body. Overleaf the snake is again photographed but only at a slightly different angle than the picture on the other side of the page. But with its mulberry purple face with sleepy looking black and yellow eyes, it certainly looks appealing enough to knit for my grand-sons. On the page opposite proudly sits an adorable looking Koala. The animal is knitted in silver grey yarn with a creamy white tummy. The same white yarn is used to great effect on the edging of the toy's ears. There are similarities in the pattern with the other toys but the paws and feet are quite different making this a more authentic looking creature.

            Next in line is the cutest looking penguin with his black rounded head, bright orangey yellow upper neck and pure white body. I love the flippers which are a wonderful mixture of black on the outer side and white for the inner sections. The grey flipper feet look as sweet as his large rotund torso seems to rest on the feet. The bright burnt orange beak stands out against the black face very well. The hippo is knitted in the most beautiful shade of blue grey. This toy looks so simplistic yet with black yarn detailing the eyes, nostrils and mouth it looks delightful. The huge snout and mouth areas make this appearance of this animal immediately identifiable to even younger children so would fit well as a gift for tots too.

            The warthog looks hilarious with its rustic orange body, pronounced snout and warts! I'm not so sure of the look of the hooves so when I come to make this particular toy, I will make adjustments to the pattern. Overall, this is a lovely looking toy although I'm not convinced it will be recognizable to the younger consumer! The panda looks authentic but I really do not like the rather startled look he has for the eye and patches design! The pattern appears as if it is a teddy bear design and the cheeks do not look pronounced enough for a panda. The body looks really good as it shows the wonderful ample shape of a real panda! The animal has a knitted sprig of bamboo resting against him knitted in off cream and olive greens.
            The moose looks so charming with his bulging snout and proud ornate antlers. Knitted on beige with co-ordinating fawn yarn I think our own 'Mary moose' would love this toy. Many would probably like this as a seasonal toy but I feel it is a star for all year round.

            On page 39 and 40 all the animals are pictured together. I feel that pictures to knitting books are very important to me. I will often choose what to knit simply by browsing through patterns. The look of the photograph shows me how easy or difficult a product would be to make without even having to see the actual pattern. All the pictures, except for the snake, are very clear and often showing a picture on the reverse of the page of the same toy at a different angle. Every pictured toy has a little symbol in cream that shows the toy featured and in black the page number the pattern can be found along with the name of the animal. I really appreciate the simplistic but most effective presentation of the toys before coming to the patterns. It is really lovely first leafing through the book to see which toy I'd like to knit first. The illustrations look very professional and detailed.


            Every pattern begins with a subheading entitled 'measurement' which notifies the knitter the finished size of the toy. I find this a valuable piece of information, because if the toy isn't as big or too large for the finished size I am aiming for, I can simply use smaller or larger needles to complete my chosen requirements. The next subheading details the 'materials' that are used in creating the toy featured on the page. Now it is here that I have to mention how thrilled I am that 'any' double knit 'yarn' is used to make all the toys. In the majority of patterns, knitters find that yarns mentioned are normally name brands. This can sway many to mistakenly think that only that named yarn will do to accomplish the fine results shown which can result in a very expensive project! This is inaccurate, just as this gem of a book shows. The materials noted are simply shown to be how much of the double knit yarn will be needed in the varying colours. I will say here though that it is wise to choose a washable yarn as we are all aware, toys get dirty! A good wool and acrylic mixture will give flexibility too. Acrylic is a great choice as it 'washes without shrinking'. The needle sizes are given in mm but in brackets they are also given in US and UK numerals which means that knitters can go into second hand stores and pick up needles at vastly reduced prices armed with this practical size list! There is a sub heading that notes 'tension' that shows how many stitches by how many rows will give the finished correct size to the toy. But I am never overly concerned with tension when it comes to knitting things like toys as it is certainly not as important as a jumper etc., There are subheadings on 'pattern notes' and 'abbreviations' that are very handy for beginners.


            I have knitted the elephant, the snake and the panda and am thrilled with the results. If the patterns had been inaccurate in any way, the results would have been very different. The text is written in such an understandable straightforward manner that I was able to complete much of the work while be distracted by radio talk programs! As long as I keep notes as I knit, it doesn't matter if I'm watching a program on the television either. The print is fairly small, approximately a 10 font but each 'row' instruction begins in a bold 12 font. I wear glasses for craft work so the smaller text isn't a problem. I am very happy as are my grand-tots, who would soon tell me if their toys aren't up to the standard they desire! I have to give credit to the fine detailed but uncomplicated method used to explain each task. I personally feel that this book is suitable for beginners, intermediate and experienced knitters.
            5/5 {as credit to the author not me :~)]

            *Advisory notes*

            This author has proven to be conscientious in her preparation of this book. For example I was very happy and relieved to read under the chapter heading 'Techniques' and subheading 'buying yarn' that Sarah has advised knitters to be careful when choosing yarn for toys that will be given to young children. She wisely notes that knitters should 'be cautious about using a brushed or mohair type yarn if the toy is intended for a baby or very young child as the fibres can be swallowed'. This advice is excellent and a practical follow up to the patterns as she notes 'any DK yarn' can be used to knit the toys. Therefore, including this important notation is necessary.



            There are a couple of added features to this neat book that I adore. One of which is that each pattern gives a brief forward about the animal the toy represents. For example, under the heading for the pattern 'Giant Panda' there is some really interesting information that I wasn't aware of. I was aware that pandas are 'native to China' but the paragraph goes on to reveal that here they are called 'large bear-cats'! I knew that pandas spend half their day eating but didn't realise that they can 'consume as much as 84lbs (38kg) of' bamboo shoots! I always was under the impression that pandas are 'pretty quiet' but was very amused to read that in fact they 'bleat, roar, growl, honk, croak and squeal'!

            Some of the toys I like to make for my grand-tots and although many are surprises for them, sometimes I like them to choose which they'd like me to knit next. Well these wonderful informative sections have proved a big hit with the grand-tots. They love reading about the habitat and other relevant information about their chosen wild animal toy! On some of the pages there is an extra little section entitled 'did you know'? For instance, on the pattern page for the crocodile it notes 'A crodile cannot stick its tongue out, however much it may want to'! Such gems have my grand-tots in fits of giggles. The author has really done her research well to furnish this craft book with an innovative approach. I am a great fan of unique presentations that give life to a traditional craft which makes following patterns fun; this author has succeeded in doing just that.

            ~*~Would I recommend? ~ Having 'a whale of a time'! :~D~*~

            Yes indeed! This book is described as a book that will 'Delight children and adults alike with a fabulous range of cuddly knitted wild animals. Inside this fun, colourful book there are 15 wild creatures to choose from, each with a very distinct personality, including: Elephant, Giraffe, Zebra, Lion, Giant Panda, Monkey, Koala, Penguin and many more. A colourful gallery showcases the animals, featuring both front and back views. The clearly presented knitting patterns are easy-to-follow and an illustrated techniques section makes these accessible to all level of ability'. I absolutely agree with the author's sentiments, this book is a true delight to use in my craft work.

            The Knitted Wild Animals Paperback version is available at Amazon, which is where my son purchased it as a gift for me. It is currently available for £8.84 '& this item delivered FREE in the UK with Super Saver Delivery'.


            Thank you for taking the time to read about my 'wild' antics! :~)


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            • More +
              14.01.2014 15:42
              Very helpful



              An inexpensive cook book full of wonderful recipes

              ~*~ The Author ~ '"To know your onions."

              Paul Gayler certainly does 'know his onions'! This renowned author is the head chef at the Lanesborough Hotel in London. Gayler has experience in exotic cuisine having worked both in Chinese and Indian restaurants and is familiar as a celebrity chef. Paul has produced some fine cook books and the recipes in this Vegetarian Cookbook are as culturally world-wise as one would expect from such an impressive guy. The book is said to "change the way you think about vegetarian cookery". I have many cook books of the vegetarian genre but I purchased this at the time when I had far fewer thirteen years ago! I hope to explain why this book remains a firm favourite on my bookshelf well over a decade later!

              ~*~The Product ~ '"Apple of my eye"~*~

              This book is in the format of a hardcover and contains 168 pages.
              The publisher of the book is Dorling Kindersley Publishers Ltd and is in its first edition published 1999. Unfortunately the book is too large for my book stand with dimensions of 28 x 23.2 x 1.8 cm! I will include further information concerning the book's lay out under the next sub-title 'My Usage Experience'.

              ~*~My Usage Experience ~ 'Having a finger in every pie'!~*~

              My eldest daughter came home from college one day declaring that she now wanted to become a vegetarian. I proceeded to undertake a copious amount of research to ensure that I would be able to comply with her wishes whilst endeavouring to provide a wide variety of nutritious meals that would provide my daughter with a complete and balanced dietary plan. This is one of the first books I invested in. I was drawn by the wonderful simplistic layout that displayed such mouth-watering pictures of the foods I could rustle up by following the comprehensible recipes.


              The contents are clear and concise, located on pages 4 & 5 of the book. I remember feeling so happy at the time that, unlike my reviews, these introductory pages were not long winded! :~)

              *Equipment & Techniques ~ Pages 34 to 39*

              I passed the book on loan to both my daughters through the years and although they were not new to preparing meals, they found the section under the
              heading 'Equipment & Techniques' so helpful as a great reminder but also as a constructive tool on knowing what to list down as essential equipment needed for their kitchens before getting married. It was during this time that I compiled a wedding list and realised that my own kitchen could do with certain tools such as a pasta machine! As a start out guide to novice cooks this portion of the book furnishes the reader with 'a step-by-step guide to all the essential basic techniques'. These pages also provide a straightforward easy to understand guide on how to prepare such ingredients as a Bouquet Garni, something I used to purchase but now follow the simplistic instructions. There are pictures that accompany each stage of preparation that make this an invaluable asset to beginners.

              *The Pictures*

              There is an extensive gallery of the most colourful sumptuous photographs of the ingredients and completed recipes throughout the book. The pictures consist of examples from wonderfully sophisticated soups to gorgeously indulgent desserts. You have to check out the pictures of the stuffed peppers that I will discuss in more detail under my sub-heading 'Recipes'. The photographs make my mouth water as my eyes drift over the glazed bronze, honey, olive green, sunshine yellow and poppy red cooked peppers that are over flowing with colourful sumptuous seasonal and exotic vegetables. The Art, Photographer and Design managers have succeeded in doing an amazing job of making this book a feast to the eyes!
              The picture to the recipe 'Chocolate & Chilli oil tart' on page 113 that I will also discuss under the sub-heading 'Recipes' looks so appetizing. The fawn honey dew thin crust looks as palatable as it rest against the blue glazed earthenware plate. The deep moist rustic mulberry brown filling looks so delectable with its light dusting of icing sugar. I only prepare this luscious dessert when I have plenty of time to spare as it takes 1-1 ½ hours to prepare and cook with a full 4 hours resting time!


              One of the fundamental factors of why I appreciate this book is that it really does change the way I used to feel about vegetarian cooking. I once felt that it was going to be a negative issue of preparing samey seasonal vegetables by a boring conventional method. How wrong I was! This book has provided me with a wealth of new and exciting approaches to enhance my enjoyment of cooking without meat and poultry. I love the variety of taste that can be obtained in using the exotic cuisine from around the globe. This book incorporates a wide range of produce to use and the wonderful flavourings that is available around the world. I enjoy incorporating the new interpretations that the recipes in this book give to classic recipes. The combinations that are given to ingredients furnish meals with novel ideas and results that have given my meals striking results that believe me, they needed! :~)

              I will mention a couple of recipes from the copious amounts I have made using this book. Firstly, the one meal I have great pleasure on preparing is that of the 'Stuffed Vegetables'. This one includes a brief quote from Henry David Thoreau, the poet, naturalist and essayist (1817-1862) another factor on why I find this particular cook book so enchanting. I love to Perouse these little interesting and fun extras when stirring a sauce or waiting for a portion of the meal to finish cooking. The variety of fillings for the peppers can consist from only a few but very carefully chosen ingredients to the more elaborate ones that furnish pretty amazing and very luxurious effects! I have used these recipes for both a quick and simple lunch to a rather grand starter!

              The particular stuffed pepper recipe that is one of my firm favourites is on page 113, 'Golden peppers with courgette peperonata'. The recipe uses thirteen ingredients that include chilli flakes for that little spicy kick! There are only four instructions and the preparation and cooking time is under an hour which I find makes for a great quick and easy starter or luncheon meal. I found the bustling flavours of capers, olives and chilli makes this a refreshing most delicious meal. I tend to double the amount if serving as a lunch as there are only 234 calories per portion. The 'Chocolate & Chilli oil tart' that I mentioned previously is on page 130. Although it does sound rather a strange combination it works as the introductory paragraph to this recipe states, 'Mexican cooks often include a little chocolate in spicy dishes....it gives a warmth and depth of flavour that counterbalances the sweetness beautifully'. Like the author, this too is 'one of my favourite desserts'!

              *Menu Planner*

              I really have to mention the 'Menu Planner' that is located on pages 158 to 163. Although this is a fairly brief section it has made my life so much easier when planning meal courses for special occasions. It has helped me ensure that not only to consider fundamental elements such as how many guest I will be proving a meal for but also their individual taste. This section has even helped me to consider the availability of ingredients that previously has resulted in a less than rewarding setting! The pictures of some of the courses have actually helped me decide on the variations I finished making! There is meal planner's entitled 'Family-style supper', a great one for an extra special treat that includes a wonderful 'Root vegetable pie with polenta crust'. There is also one entitled 'Garden Party' that has a smashing recipe of 'Chocolate & chilli oil tart', mentioned above, a lovely example on how the author has combined ingredients that taste marvellous together, ingredients I initially thought would be anything but tasty!


              Every recipe is clear and so easy to follow. The step by step numeral guide makes following the most intricate of recipes so manageable. Each recipe is preceded by a concise paragraph that explains a little about the meal to be prepared. For example, for the Caponata on roasted garlic bruschetta, the introductory paragraph says, 'Caponata, a sweet-and-sour stew from Sicily, makes a wonderful topping for bruschetta. Roasting the garlic gives a mellow sweetness that contrast well with the piquancy of the vegetables'. I used this information when deciding on a starter & finger food for a friend who has an Italian husband. He loved the reminder of his home and the breakfast treat ingredients that his dear mum often includes on his return during the holiday season.

              These paragraphs as well as the 'Ingredients' list are in italics which makes the Calibri font on the 'Instructions' a lovely easy on the eye contrast in formatting. Alongside the recipes are symbols. For an example I will use the recipe noted on page 97 of the Pinto bean, aubergine & Tahini moussaka recipe. There are four symbols here, one of an oven with the instructions alongside 'Oven preheated to 200C/400F/Gas 6. As I have both an electric oven and gas top oven this is a quick no nonsense method of locating the guide to preheat my cooker. Next is a little clock symbol that is accompanied by the information that this meal is going to take between 3 and 3 ½ hours to prepare and cook.

              I really appreciate this separate listing that I can locate quickly to decide immediately whether or not I have the time to prepare this particular meal. The next symbol that follows is of a tiny plate and serviette. This shows me how many servings this recipe will provide for. I now can decide whether I want to double the amount according to how many folk I need to furnish the meal for. The final symbol to this recipe is of a heart. This information given here is of the nutritional values the meal provides. This is a tool that I have found excellent when deciding on meals for my grand-children to ensure they are receiving a good balanced diet when at nanny's home (giving mw 'Brownie' points with mummy!)....though I won't mention the sweet treats in-between meals! ;~)

              I also love checking this information when needing to watch my calorific intake!
              I love the clear and concise numeral instructions. These range from one to seven according to recipe in question. Each numeral led paragraph is written in comprehendible graspable language! I dislike convoluted instructions that delay progress in cooking but this superb layout makes preparing meals a delight. There are even size and amount equivalents given in brackets that make information fathomable for older cooks like me that prefer former Imperial measurement tables! :~)


              Out of the many recipes that I have prepared and cooked from this book I have concluded the following results:
              Instructions~The instructions are clear and have proven precise in furnishing me with the results promised by the author


              The ingredients to the meals that I have prepared using this cook book have combined well to afford skilful results...which my culinary talents need! :~D


              Oven times~
              The approximate times are spot on, affording me an anxiety free finish!


              Preparation & cooking times~
              I timed myself recently and can confirm that the preparation and as noted above, cooking times are flawless.


              The portion allowances are fairly good. It isn't an easy issue to accommodate as everyone is individual and have dietary wishes that can vary considerably. So Although I will give this portion one less point it is only because I needed to adjust the servings according to the individual desires of the folk I was preparing the meals for. But as a guide, the serving amounts are pretty accurate!


              Nutritional values~
              For the review I undertook some research on various recipes within the book. Each of the recipes from different sections of the book proved that the nutritional values given are exact.


              Like the section under 'servings', taste is a matter of individual preferences. But on the whole the majority of recipes that I have prepared have turned out to be most flavoursome. I am only taking a point off as taste is according to personal choice. I will reiterate that I have found the majority of recipes that I have prepared from this book have been delicious with only a few a little less so, but none proved bland and unappetizing.


              The appearance of the food from the pages to the results of my cooking skills at times showed difference but this is due to my faults not at all to do with the author's directions so full points awarded here!


              ~*~Would I Recommend? ~ ''"Cream of the crop"~*~

              Yes, yes, oh and yes! This book is such a wonderful asset to any cook, whether beginner, intermediate or expert. The highlights for me are the simplistic instructions and delightful photographs. The ingredients used are so varied and obtainable. I have gained such confidence in combining ingredients I once thought were far too varied to chance and have been thrilled with the results. The extensive index provides a great tool to select a meal. The recipes are presented in such an appealing fashion. So many traditional recipes have been uniquely and tantalizingly transformed by using a few exotic ingredients. I would recommend this book to everyone who loves to experiment with food; you will not be disappointed!
              This book is currently available through Amazon for only £1.97!


              Thank you for taking the time to read my review on this book that is a delight to 'anyone who loves good food'!


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              • More +
                14.01.2014 15:36
                Very helpful



                A few lovely recipes that are worth the £3+ price!

                ~*~The Product~ 'Living off the fat of the land'!~*~

                The dimensions of this book, 21.8 x 16 x 1.8 cm, make it a perfect fit for my kitchen cook book stand. It has a strong hard cover and contains 128 pages. This edition was published way back in 1985 by Guild publishing. The author, Sarah Bounds has written a fair few salt free, fat free and other healthy cook books.

                ~*~My Usage Experience~ 'It ain't over till the fat lady sings'!~*~

                *Reason for purchase*

                I purchased this cook book not long after my third child was born. I had put on more weight carrying my third child than on my two previous babies. So when I came across this book with the striking green title 'fat-free cooking' I picked it up even without taking much notice of the contents! I was fully aware that I needed to do something about the excess weight I had gained and so I had hoped that the recipes within the book would inspire me not only to lose weight but also 'to inspire' me 'to better health' as the author's objectives were in writing this book.


                A few pages into the book, after the usual information on credits and acknowledgements are the 'Contents'. There are only eight chapters in this small book with a very practical 'Appendix' and also an 'Index'. I like flicking through the thick pages which make locating a favourite recipe effortless.

                *Introductory notes*

                On the next page after the 'Contents' listing is an 'Introduction' that the author mentions some poignant thoughts. Bounds makes an analogy concerning our bodies. She writes about an 'engine requiring four-star fuel will not be able to reach optimum performance on the poorer quality petrol', a simple but effective message on the benefits to be had by paying attention to the food we eat, as Sarah wisely puts it 'we expect' our bodies 'to keep running for seventy years or more' yet at times 'ignore or abuse the body by paying little heed to its basic nutrient needs'! The author's endeavour in writing this book 'aims to show how easy it is to achieve and enjoy a healthy, low-fat diet'! For me the optimum word here is 'enjoy'!

                *'The good, the bad and the ugly'!*

                One of the aspects of this book that I really enjoy is the supplementary notes such as found on pages eleven to seventeen, entitled 'What is Fat'. Many folk are well aware of such subject matter as knowledge becomes ever more accessible. But there are some gems contained in this chapter that, for me, was a neat reminder that not all fats are bad! It is sad that many of our younger generation are bombarded into thinking painfully slim is the way to be and fats are damaging. I am so thankful that products are becoming more explanatory with colour coded guides to show good fats, as noted in this section of the book, polyunsaturated. This portion of the book is an excellent teaching support as it deals with fundamental material on fats, such as how 'polyunsaturated fatty acids are converted perform a range of functions', which the proceeding paragraphs explain. I really enjoy scanning down the list of 'Table 1' which furnishes the reader with some brand name butters and margarines detailing their saturated, unsaturated and PUFA %. Pretty eye opening information indeed!

                *Planning a low-fat diet'*

                The next section, beginning on page eighteen deals with planning and choosing foods low in fat. I really enjoyed refreshing my memory by reading over the material in this book that I had seen so many years ago when I first purchased this book. This division of the book gives such practical information that remarks on 'foods to choose and foods to avoid'. It isn't an extensive list but the advice is certainly enough to get folk on the right track. One thing I will say is that the negative of this book being published so long ago is that some of the information on these supplementary pages is that some comments are out of date! For example, on page 21 the author states that 'clearer labelling is definitely required so that the fat content of foods can be easily established on the shelf'! Of course, as we are all aware, this nutritional information is now standard on most food products.

                *The Recipes*

                There is a practical forward to this brief concise introduction. I was very happy when I read that Olive oil is included in some of the recipes as I am a huge fan of the flavour and as the author notes, it 'contributes some of the more important polyunsaturated fatty acids'.


                There is a lovely forward to this all too brief chapter on breakfast. In fact, there are only four recipes in this section which I found disappointing. On the times that I am attempting to behave it is so important for me to have plenty of variety in each meal, including breakfast, so that I will not feel the need to stray! There seems to be more content in the forward than the actual recipes under this heading. Although I do appreciate the handy information, much, like my reviews, could be dispensed with! :~D For instance, the author mentions trying our hand at 'baking' our 'own loaves' of bread, though she has helpfully included the recipe page to assist the reader in this. But as most of the ideas in this forward is actually covered in the actual recipe pages it really isn't essential to cover.

                The one favourite recipe out of the four given in this category is entitled 'own mix muesli'. The recipe only contains eight ingredients but these are well chosen and combine in flavours well. A neat numeral four step guide is given to make the recipe. Almost all of the recipes begin by detailing the nutritional values and servings the recipe provides. I found this information and the easy location of the material very valuable in deciding whether to continue on to make the meal. Unfortunately, well for my personal taste is that, many of the recipes do not have a photographed picture on the ingredients or finished results. I prefer to have pictures to recipes as it helps me to follow the serving presentation ideas far better. It's not that I feel it as poignant as "A picture is worth a thousand words" but it does help! Where there is no photograph of the recipe there are instead very basic and simple black and white sketches that do not enhance the pages of this cook book.

                *Healthy Lunch Breaks*

                A more extensive chapter than the 'breakfast' section at sixteen pages furnishes me with far more choices. There is no long forward to this chapter, which is probably for the best! There are only two brief paragraphs with bullet points whereby the author gives practical information on making more beneficial decisions with certain foods, providing alternatives that I found very helpful. There is only one double sided page of photographs in this chapter which firstly shows 'healthy ingredients for a low fat diet' and overleaf of 'delicious low-fat ingredients for this family favourite. Baked potatoes'. The pictures are not as vividly colourful as I'd have hoped for and the foods appear dull, not mouth-wateringly sumptuous as some more present day cook books design their illustrations.

                There are plenty of salad recipes but I've only marked a couple of favourites here, one being the 'country vegetable soup', which I found to include some very wholesome seasonal vegetables and hearty beans. Although the book seems very dated to me now, the recipes are very well formatted, clear and easy to comprehend. This is important to me as it reduces the amount of mistakes I could otherwise have made! Because there is a fair portion of space on many of the pages it means that I can add notes if I wish too. On this particular recipe my daughter added a couple of her own notes when she loaned this book. Alongside 'white cabbage' she has put 'or frozen veg from the freezer' and alongside 'swede' she has written 'parsnip'! The lovely thing about many of these traditional recipes is that folk can swop certain ingredients without spoiling the flavours. I do like the idea of making the recipes more personalised in this way.

                *Main Courses*

                There is a four paragraph forward to this section that mainly deals with insights that include 'simple ideas which can be altered to create different dishes'. I found the 'chicken stock' recipe a valuable one to mark as a favourite as it compliments many poultry dishes. I'm pleased that there are a full thirty pages to this important category. Although I value recipes on breakfast, snacks, lunches and suppers, main meals come the top of my list being a mum and grand-parent. I have placed a star symbol next to my favourite dishes that I have prepared from this book. I couldn't help smiling when browsing over this book again for this review that I came across the recipe with my little 'favourite' symbol entitled 'shepherdess pie'. I smiled because all these decades later of cooking copious amounts of meals, I realise now that at the time of purchasing this book I was a young mother. This is a very simplistic recipe that folk would probably grin at me for not knowing how to do from my own imagination. But I wasn't the sharpest knife in the draw back then, and neither can I claim to be now! :~D

                Unfortunately, looking back over the recipes now, the ingredients are very samey! There isn't much variation in ingredients other than herbs, some vegetables and stock variations. Much of the meals are classics, traditional meals handed down throughout the generations when many grew their own produce and made do with more humble ingredients. Thankfully, growing one's own produce seems to be on the increase and the more exotic spices and foods add that kick that often changes a 'bubble and squeak' meal into a weekend beloved favourite. Nothing against 'bubble and squeak' mind you, I was brought up with left overs combined that kept us kids going! I adore butter beans so no surprises that one of the recipes I have often returned to is the 'butter bean goulash'. This is a tasty meal that includes sweet corn and well-chosen herbs. Although I used to soak the beans overnight, I now buy the tins with pre-cooked beans for quickness and less hassle. Some recipes just don't work for me, like the 'black-eye beans with mushrooms'. It consists of mostly spices and one variety of beans! There are a fair few recipes in the book that seem an odd combination but I have many favourites that work great.

                *Vegetable Dishes*

                One of the few favourites I have in this category is the simplistic 'low-fat ratatouille'. There are only three instructions and it includes my beloved olive oil! This is a quick to prepare meal that only takes ½ hour to cook. One of the reasons why I do return to this rather out-dated cook book from time to time is that it really does provide some firm family favourites of meals that can be made using cheaper ingredients which I find very handy on 'short' weeks! The book also provides recipes that are very quick to prepare and take little time to cook. I tend to rely on such recipes when I have been out visiting my children and get home too late to be bothered to cook a more elaborate fare! It is a shame that the photographed pictures on the pages between 80 and 81 (strangely not numbered!) are so dull. I adore curries but these dishes are very pale mustard coloured, and it's not because this book is well over two decades old! Sadly, the pictures have always appeared discoloured and lack vibrancy.

                *Home Baking*

                Section seven is a favourite with both me and my eldest daughter. She loves the first recipe located on page 85 'banana cake'. I haven't made this but I adored it when my daughter cooked this for me. It is a wonderfully moist delectable cake that contains honey and cinnamon that gives it such a delightful moorish flavour. There are only six recipes in this section but a couple of those are simply wonderful to prepare and enjoy. I love making the 'digestive biscuits' as these are such a lovely alternative to the high in saturated fats found in many of the commercial brands. The crystal clear instructions make preparing such recipes so simple but also furnish folk with confidence if they are apprehensive about making the more comprehensives recipes.

                *Entertaining Ideas*

                The picture of the 'rich vegetable casserole' would probably put you off trying out this recipe contained in this category but don't be if you buy this book. It really is a very flavoursome hearty meal, wonderful for those cold winter evenings. This is another straightforward recipe that I double the ingredient amount as it would only serve four and I like to prepare it for more when I cook it. The serving amounts are pretty accurate so I am pleased that there isn't much tweaking that I need to do to fill in discrepancies. Yet again, because the instructions are given in a concise and clear manner, preparing this dish was so manageable. The 'hazelnut and banana gateau' is a must to cook if you do buy the book. The recipe is located on page 114 and only uses 7 ingredients but wow what a great dessert to treat family and friends with. I found it so surprising that the cake contains no extra fat as it is so gratifying and luscious. Within this final section of the book there are ten practical boxes that contain 'Menu' ideas which I found very helpful. In fact, I ended up combining some of the ideas to make my own menu.


                Now this portion of the book is a very practical resource. I'm disappointed though that each category is quite brief but nevertheless an asset that is good to check now and then as a good reference guide. The appendix records the fat and calories of foods under the titles 'dairy produce', 'meat', 'poultry and game', 'offal', meat products', 'fish', cereals', cakes, pastries and biscuits' and 'miscellaneous'. Unfortunately some of the products mentioned such as mayonnaise list the fat content in this case a momentous 78.9 and calories of 718 but do not stipulate which brand the food is; though the first page indicates that the fat content is measured in grams and calories in 4 ounce weights.


                The index consists of all the recipes and only takes up two pages as it is printed in size 8 fonts! Be prepared to use your glasses if you have vision like mine! :~)

                ~*~Would I recommend? ~ "I guess I don't so much mind being old, as I mind being fat and old."_ Benjamin Franklin~*~

                I'm really in two minds over whether to recommend this recipe book. At the time the book was published it certainly had more advantages, but twenty-eight years later, we are spoilt with exotic foods from around the world that are included in state of the art designed books with accurate statistical findings on everything from nutritional research to recommendations for personalised body data. The book fails to excite the visual senses through bright artistic delivery. The forwards are at times out dated in and inaccurate. Many of the meals lack variety in ingredients and tend to stay in the comfort zone of traditional menus. But, on the plus side, I have a handful of recipes that I still return to after all these years; the 'butter bean goulash' and 'banana cake' being two of my particular favourites. The recipes are well formatted, clear and easy to comprehend. If you want a taste of nostalgia of a small low-fat cook book from the past, you could do worse!

                As the book can be obtained for as little as £3.37 it won't break the bank to purchase and mark a handful of recipes that will stand the test of time. I have fond memories of when I first bought the book, with the little side notes my daughter added and the star symbols of the first time I tried out a recipe and loved it. Therefore, I will recommend it for those reasons! If you are looking for an all-out advanced level modern recipe book with quality photographs this is not for you. If you want to reminiscence a little and pick out a few classic old favourites then you will not be disappointed :~) The book is available on a few websites, but I tend to log into Amazon as a first choice for the competitive prices is affords consumers.

                http://www.amazon.co.uk/heres-health-guide-fat-free-cooking £3.37

                Thank you for taking the time to read my review on this quaint little cookbook from the past! :~)


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                  13.01.2014 14:02
                  Very helpful



                  Some adorable baby shoe patterns contained in the book

                  ~*~The Book~*~

                  The 48 page paperback book was published on 25 Oct 2011 by Search Press Ltd in their 'Twenty to Make' series. My son purchased this book via Amazon as a gift for me. The book is promoted as that 'No-one can resist knitting a pretty pair of baby bootees for a new baby - so here are twenty of them, all unique but all equally irresistible, in a range of colours and styles. Each pair of bootees requires relatively small quantities of yarn and can be knitted quickly and easily using the clear, step-by-step instructions provided. Each project is accompanied by lists of the materials and equipment required and a stunning full-colour photograph. Suitable for babies from new born to 6 months.

                  Whether you're looking for something quick to knit or want just the right item to add to a larger gift, baby bootees are perfect projects to cast on. The tiny feet treats in this book can be personalised in a number of ways, and Val Pierce has designed 20 adorable makes to suit boys, girls or both. Use up your yarn oddments to make little hi-top laces, add pom-poms, or thread bits of ribbon around the ankles to make a cute accessory for a fancy outfit. Sizes range from new born to 6 months.-Love Knitting for Babies'. I was attracted to the idea that the booties would all be 'unique' and 'adorable' looking. In addition to this, the idea that I could use up remnants of wool as each set only 'requires relatively small quantities of yarn' was an added bonus.

                  ~*~About the Author~*~

                  I always like to have information concerning authors of such books because if they have a good background experience in the craft, I feel that it is more likely that there will be far less inaccuracies such as measurement information. Amazon furnishes some insight as the author is described as having a 'passion for knitting' and she 'began when her father taught her to knit at the age of five. Later in life she began home knitting for yarn manufacturers, and since then she has made a huge range of items, from evening dresses to teddy bears. She later began designing items of her own, and before long Val's designs were appearing regularly in national knitting and crochet magazines. She also teaches knitting, as well as a range of other needlecrafts, to both adults and children. Val lives and works in Shropshire'. This quote used by Amazon is from the introductory page of the book. The author's accomplishments afforded me confidence that the book's contents would be quality, both in design and expertise!

                  ~*~My personal Usage opinion~*~

                  I love to knit gifts and one item keeps coming to the fore year after year, that of booties. Both relatives and friends ever increasing families mean that I am in constant need of new and exciting designs for babywear. My son is always on the lookout for craft books for me so when he introduced me to this one; I couldn't wait for it to be ordered! Amazon furnish the opportunity for customers to have a 'look inside' some publications so I was able to see some of the pictures. I felt that this book would make a great addition to my babywear knit books.

                  *Introductory Notes*

                  I really love the clear and cheerful layout of this series of books. The first information that greets the reader is a brief paragraph about the author and this is followed by nineteen small titled covers of other craft books available from the publishers. Page two and three contain an excellent abbreviations listing for the knitting patterns and a contents list. These notes are clear and concise...unlike my reviews! :~D There is a lovely message in a little box on page two that says 'I dedicate this book to new born babies everywhere. May their tiny toes enjoy the warmth and comfort that these lovingly knitted booties will bring! How cute is that, made me smile :~) On page 4 of the introductory notes I was very pleased to read that the booties take only a very small amount of yarn to make, browsing through the patterns I could see that 50g was the maximum for each pair! I am teaching my grand-daughter to knit and I was absolutely thrilled when I read that 'even children who are learning to knit can have a go at making a pair of bootees'. My grand-daughter loves to give gifts and we have friends that have recently had babies so this will bring delight to both the recipient and my little grand-daughter.

                  *Hints and Tips*

                  These two pages are excellent. Even experienced knitters can find valuable hints and tips to assist them in producing great results! For instance there is a note regarding using a 'blunt-ended needle' instead of a pointed one when it comes to embellishing with ribbons and so forth. I hadn't thought of using this tool to prevent 'splitting' or 'catching' the fabric before1 for novices there are many tips such as making pomp oms to give booties a fun finish. There are even instructions on how to cast on using the thumb method that helps to give a 'more elastic edge' which is needed 'to enable the baby's foot to fit into the bootee when it is sewn up'!

                  *Daisy Chain*

                  I instantly fell in love with the design of these booties the moment I turned to the page! These cream booties co-ordinated with deep pink ribbon and flower braiding of pinks and whites make the footwear look so adorable. Although the materials noted indicate that these shoes are made using cashmere yarn, I will substitute this for 4-ply wool as cashmere is rather expensive. But as a tip, please look out the oddments of yarns that can often be found in many second hand shops. I have managed to obtain some lovely yarn such as Mohair for a fraction of its usual price! If you ask, some will even let you know when any wool comes in to the shop.

                  *Tiny Trainers*

                  These little sporty shoes would suit any little baby boy, in fact, I intend to increase the needle size stated so that these will fit a toddler :~) The denim blue wool with co-ordinated bright poppy red trim looks well matched. I love the front fake lace stitching that furnishes the bootees with the trainer look; these will bring a smile to everyone that sees them! :~) The lovely thing about the author's choice of yarn is that any Double knit wool would work out fine. The photographs of the booties match the rest of the book by their wonderful clarity and well-designed back-grounds.

                  *Pompom Bootees*

                  I'm not too keen on the lime green fleck yarn used to knit these booties but the solid style is lovely. Like other books by this author, her designs are very inspirational. By simply choosing another colour I am able to adapt the shoes for personal appeal. The pompoms add fun to the appearance and as long as careful attachment is made, the little wearer can have fun playing with their booties too! :~) I really appreciate the neat formatting that is used to display the 'materials', 'needles', 'Instructions' and making up information. The bold black sub-titles make for easy locating when following the pattern although the text is rather too small at a Calibri 10 font! I usually wear glasses when knitting so this doesn't pose too much of a problem but of course, I'd have preferred a larger text size.

                  *Baby Snugs*

                  These booties have a real Nordic flavour. I feel that the style is something one would come across in Scandinavia. I absolutely love the design of these adorable booties. The white eyelash yarn that is used to trim the upper soles and ankle areas furnish a snow capped feel. The soft beige yarn fits perfectly with the appearance. Tiny pompoms are used as the ends of the cord ties which add to the cute image. The stitching that is used to define the central parts of the shoes affords a clever touch to ornate the design with a true stylish professionally hand-crafted product. Again, cashmere is used for the prominent areas of the booties but any soft 4-ply wool would serve the purpose well!

                  *Moon Boots*

                  I really cannot make up my mind whether I truly like this style although it does look cute! The booties are made up of two yarns, the eyelash mixture of blue and green are used as a substantial trim on the edging of the shoes whilst the simple design of ridged cable is produced using a double knit white yarn. I do love the way that many of the designs in the book, including this one, are made to look intricate and fussy but accomplished just by a clever mixture of well-chosen yarns. I am very pleased to say that this book certainly furnishes the knitter with great ideas on how to craft quick and easy styles that look difficult to do :~)

                  *Simply Blue*

                  Is a pattern for a very basic style bootee. For me, these appear far too simplified in design to furnish a 'cute' appeal. I do like the pattern though because it furnishes me with easy instructions to make these and then I can add bows or other decorative accessories to make the booties look attractive. It only takes 44 rows of pattern to make these warm cuffed shoes.

                  *So Sweet*

                  The titles to each pattern are not very original but the majority of patterns do inspire creativity! These particular booties are certainly 'sweet' with their little bobble edgings on the upper soles and ankle rims. A very clever usage of multi shade baby yarn affords a twist that gives the impression that effort was entailed to get the speckled look when it really is only accomplished using this ornate pretty wool. The booties are complete by threading through a slim pink ribbon but using a blue speckled yarn with co-ordinating ribbon will make the shoes suitable for baby boys too. This pattern will be among my top favourites to knit. The author has shrewdly made use of repeating patterns! This one is taken from the Nordic design booties on page 14. One could feel a little cheated on the patterns being duplicated but I feel that the author shows that by simply changing yarn types and shades whilst also incorporating a variety of accessories, one can make the booties look very different!

                  *Pretty in Pink*

                  These shoes look adorable, a traditional style bootee in bright pink. I love the way the author has competently designed this pattern so that there is a clear definition between sole, with its knitted edges, and the upper front toes and foot knitted in purl and plain then cleverly decreased to furnish an adorable gathered look towards the open rim. The bar is also knitted in plain stitch to furnish a ridged feel. I love the way a simple rose bud is popped on the gathered edge so that it is completed with a pretty accessory but small enough to avoid covering up the lovely gathered shaping. Very clear instructions for the left and right booties ensure that the shoes will be placed on the correct feet! :~)

                  *Baby Boy Stripes*

                  This particularly pattern can be clearly identified as a replication of the 'simply blue' shoes along with others! But again, the author shows that with a smart usage of varying yarns in this case brown, blue and green, one can make the same pattern booties that will actually look pretty different. I do feel though that I would have rather had a book full of unique patterns as opposed to similar or same but using alternative colours, yarns and styles! The book as a whole is inspirational and fun but this one disappointment is pretty big in my opinion! :~(

                  *Bumble Bee Boots*

                  I just love these lengthier booties that would suit, in my opinion, an older baby/toddler. The alternating black and yellow stripes furnish the boots with a real 'Bumble Bee' appearance. The canny addition of sewn on eyes and smiley mouth complete the great look to these fun boots. I will be making these for my youngest grand-daughter. But I will be substituting the sewn in eyes for screw fixed eyes that are bold and bright but safe too!

                  *Spring Flowers*

                  Is an aptly names pattern for these cuter than cute booties which I feel would suit a new born. The shoes are knitted using predominantly white yarn with oddments of green and yellow to embroider daisy like flowers along the upper toe, middle and upper calf areas. An ornate white embossed ribbon bow is used to complete the look. I feel that this pattern is suitable for both boy and girl babies with the author's wise choice of colours. The instructions on all of these patterns for 'making up' the booties are very clear and concise which makes it great for novice knitters too.

                  *Fairy Slippers*

                  Another duplicated pattern but made to look slightly different using cashmere lilac yarn. Just as a little tip, and similar sized yarn, in this case 4-ply wool will be fine as a less expensive fibre will do fine. These are pretty booties but because there are few accessories and changes in design, these look far too similar to the previous Nordic designed shoes to appeal as innovative! But nevertheless the booties are pretty and a love easy pattern to follow. But with a few adjustments, such as adding motifs or accessories, will liven up the pattern to look less similar to the other designs.

                  *Roses and Violets*

                  Is a copy of the pattern on page 20 :~( but thankfully still is as delightful. This time the author has skilfully intertwined a subtle pink every three stitches and the same in alternating rows of powder blue yarn to give an impression of little hearts. The knitted double blue rose buds that lay either side of the pink bloom complete the bootee wonderfully well. Because there is the lovely speckled tiny hearts throughout the pattern, it really doesn't matter that the pretty gathering of stitches near the upper foot are fairly covered up. I do like the bright pink slim ribbon that is used instead of buttons on the side of the bar tie.

                  *Candy Pink Toes*

                  Although, yet again this pattern is a copy of some previous ones, the astute addition of a lace look co-ordinated coloured stitch gives this design a very individual appearance. This style bootee would look great for party affair :~) These are very ornate dressed up shoes completed with a delicate transparent ribbon with embossed pink hearts. As a tip, Amazon and The Range will furnish the crafter with great choices of ribbons in varying widths that are fairly competitive in prices. I hope that those with less experience to this craft will not be put off when they see the picture of these booties. The shoes appear to be very elaborate but the instructions are so clear and well explained that I am sure even novice knitters can accomplish knitting these booties without too much difficulty. This is one of the things that appeals to me about this book, the majority of patterns are suitable for any level of knitter to make.

                  *Little Blue Shoes*

                  Oh dear, another copy! But the deep navy blue yarn joined at stages with the pure white wool gives a fresh appearance to these small shoes. I do like the way the author has cleverly intertwined the blue yarn to furnish the booties with a fake bar and then by adding a striped blue and white knitted centre bow, the shoes are made to look distinct from the other patterns. As a tip, I noticed in the pictures of the shoes on each pattern that there are carefully chosen back-drops that furnish the crafter with some neat ideas such as how to present gifts of booties. For instance, these pair of booties is saying upon a pretty cushioned fabric topped box. A satin sky blue ribbon is used to tie the lid to the base of the container. There are many craft sites such as DIY Craft Projects on Face book and copious other internet craft sites that give great instructions on how to make one's own gift boxes.

                  *Berry Bootees*

                  This follows the same pattern as the Bumble Bee Bootees among others but the wise use of red and green yarns afford a contrasting appearance to what could have resulted in a boring copied appearance! Again a pretty alternating spacing of yellow yarn as practiced with the 'Roses and Violets' pattern but this time with the 'hearts' upside down provides an excellent decorative feel against the poppy red yarn. The astute pairing up with olive green yarn provides the more authentic 'berry' look to the bootie's design. I really am impressed with the knitted white and yellow flower that is used to finish off the shoes. These booties would suit a toddler as much as a baby therefor I will use this pattern to knit my youngest grand-daughter these for this winter.

                  *Baby Lace*

                  Aww this pattern is so beautiful. The style is given a really lovely boost by its filigree legging. I adore the turquoise yarn and matching ribbon against the baby yarn in white. Inexperienced knitters need not be concerned about trying to knit this ornate pattern as online tutorials such as found on You tube make this a very simple design to follow. The instructions by the author are very straightforward and as long as the crafter uses a pen and paper to mark off the rows as they go, I feel they will get to grips with the pattern in no time at all! :~)

                  *Lavender Rose*

                  Now this pattern is my number one favourite from the book. For me, the shoes deliver an image of a baby's cradle with its adorable traditional design of full length toe to upper foot coverage and elaborate picot edging. The author has made the shoes appear even more charming by using a soft light lavender yarn against the creamy white wool. Again the author incorporates little hearts within the pattern to create 'cute' appeal to the style. To bring the lilac shaded yarn that is used throughout the work together, a collection of three tiny lavender buds surrounded by olive green foliage is topped off on the central area of the shoes. A generous soft white ribbon and tails is used to tie the ankle bars together. I will be knitting these captivating shoes as a gift that will be used for a special occasion.

                  *A Pair of Ducklings*

                  A lovely unique pattern as the previous in contrast to many others from the book! I adore this pattern and have alternated it for a gift package I made for a friend. A tiny funny baby duckling head proudly sits on the center of each bootie. I really like the bright sunset yellow yarn that firs in so well with a spring time feel to the shoes. The top back plain stitched area is turned to form a neat cuff. The beak is knitted using orange yarn and only one row is needed! The duckling head along with the beak is knitted separately which I prefer as it helps me avoid complicated techniques that make work more effortful!

                  *Rosie Toes*

                  This pattern completes the bootee selection to this book. These gorgeous booties are knitted in plain stitch throughout and have the same picot edging as given for the 'Lavender Rose' shoes. The pale pink yarn used for the sole edging and cuff rims are a beautiful contrast to the delicate white yarn. Again, the author uses a pretty collection of rose buds; this time in satin pink with green leaves to add decoration to what could have been a rather plain effect. The elegant picot edges afford a more enhancing effect against the rather plain stitching. The author constructively gives the UK and US numerical knitting needle sizes on all patterns in brackets for those that are not using tools given in mm sizing.


                  The fine photography skillfully produced throughout the book by Search Press/ Some unique adorable designs/Uncomplicated instructions/ Bold sub-headings/Excellent comprehensive abbreviation listing


                  Many replicated patterns/Small tutorial text/Only a few unique patterns

                  ~*~Would I recommend? ~ 'Goody Two Shoes'!~*~

                  Yes I would recommend this book even although it has many duplicated patterns. I am disappointed that many patterns throughout the book are copied but the author cleverly uses a combination of different coloured yarns and accessories to furnish each design with its own individual style. A few of the patterns uses more expensive yarns like cashmere but the amounts are small enough to not 'break the bank', and crafters can use other fibres as long as they are the same ply. The book isn't expensive so the few favourites I have within the book make it well worth adding to my library.

                  My son purchased this book for me via Amazon for only £3.74 and is offered with free delivery in the UK :~) http://www.amazon.co.uk/Knitted-Baby-Bootees-Twenty-Make/dp/

                  Thank you for taking the time to read my shoe review :~) xXx


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                    13.01.2014 13:57
                    Very helpful



                    Beautiful and varied bunting patterns to decorate the home and more

                    ~*~Author ~*~

                    "Alistair MacDonald is a successful fashion designer whose clothes are stocked by Liberty, and he has also created his own range of textile products and gifts popular in the UK and as far as Norway and Japan. Originally from the Isle of Bute, Alistair MacDonald studied fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and is the founder of prestigious fashion label, House of Alistair which he operates from his studio on London's Saville Row. Though primarily a fashion designer, Alistair's love of Liberty fabric has fuelled his imagination to design and create an incredible range of haberdashery products and gifts. With its expanding haberdashery range, House of Alistair is known for its unique fabric covered buttons, bias binding and quirky style. Stockists include Liberty, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Alistair has distributors in Norway and Japan".

                    ~*~The Hype!~*~

                    "Here he has created twenty fantastic designs for mini bunting to decorate your home or party venue for special occasions or at any time. There will be something for everyone among Alistair's fresh, modern and quirky designs, which include mistletoe bunting for Christmas, tweedy bunting with button ladybirds, green shamrock bunting for St Patrick's Day and flag themed bunting with gold ropes and skull and crossbones. Techniques are explained at the beginning with diagrams, and then it is straight on to twenty fantastic designs". I was about to find out whether the advertising plugging would prove founded!

                    ~*~My usage Experience ~ "I only craft on days that end with a Y"!~*~

                    I looked into this craft during this year when a friend who knew I liked various crafts asked if I made bunting! She wanted some help with making a pretty display feature for her up-coming wedding but I had never given this craft much thought before. My son took a look on Amazon for me and found this wonderfully practical little book so ordered it as a gift. I have two other books in this craft range by Search press, Easy Knitted Scarves and Knitted beanies, both of which I have reviewed previously. The book contains twenty bunting patterns of which I had hoped would be simple as I am new to the craft.


                    The contents list is presented in a clear and good sized font which I found particularly quick and convenient when wanting to locate a certain pattern. There is a photo of pretty gingham kite bunting flags in blue and yellow that is pictured alongside the list. I love such fun pictures as they give instant ideas of appealing flags that motivate me to want to craft.


                    The first thing that caught my eye on pages 4 and 5 is the gorgeous photograph showing five various bunting displays. I enjoyed scanning slowly down the picture feeling very excited as I knew that I was going to enjoy this book because the patterns looked so bright and cheerful to make. Reading through the introductory notes ended up being more interesting than I initially thought it would be. The author explains that 'bunting can be made from virtually anything and is a fantastic way of using up the fabric scraps and hoarded bits and pieces that we just can't seem to part with"! I thought for a moment, does this guy know me, has he seen my boxes of crafting supplies! :~D I love to keep pretty material, some from clothing the grand-tots have outgrown as it makes lovely paw fabric for teddy bears that I like to make. Now, this craft presented even more fun ways of using up such colourful fabric.


                    As I had never crafted bunting before, I found the method pages 6 and 7 invaluable. Although, it would be difficult not to get to my 'granny' age and not pick up experience in certain stitches as mentioned on these pages, such as 'blanket' and slip' stitch. But the information on 'clipping' and 'using the templates' for the flags has proved so beneficial. The author's instructions have helped me to avoid mistakes and prevent unnecessary wastage of fabric. The diagrams are so simple to follow. For example, the stitches needed in different patterns are presented in 1" diagrams with the material demonstrated in sky blue and the thread represented in a crimson red. Using these colours make the stitching instructions stand out clearly.

                    *Floral Bunting*

                    The pictures that present this pattern are so pretty. The flags are a delicate alternation of various floral designs, blues, lilacs, yellows, greens and reds adorn the photograph. I love the way the photographer, Paul Bricknell, has displayed the flags of each pattern so that they blend in well with their appropriate settings. For instance, the floral flags are displayed against part of a dresser that has vintage botanic prints on the plates adorning the shelves. This is yet another feature of the book I really appreciate as it furnishes me with inspirational ideas on crafting certain fabric for the most suitable settings. Each pattern has three bold type text sub-headings of 'materials', 'tools' and 'instructions'. But unfortunately, the following text is very small, no larger than a 10 'word' font, so I need to wear my glasses when following the patterns.

                    *Mistletoe Bunting*

                    I used to think that bunting came in one shape, a flag, but oh how wrong I was! This pattern shows that any shape and design can still be classed as bunting. The Mistletoe design shows four little felt leaves, two olive green and two light green. In the center of the carefully placed collection of leaves are three glistening pearlite beads. Each floral flag is set upon a burgundy ribbon. The design looks so cute with its miniature botanical displays. Yet again, browsing the creative pictures truly inspires me to take some of the ideas and make something of my own. For instance, I love the idea of using such jewelry as the beads to create bunting for a girl's bedroom. I know my grand-daughter would love such an embellished and ornamental display to cover her pelmet frame in her little bedroom. The book affords wonderful ideas to make bunting that can be made suitable for both male and female taste.

                    *Christmas Bunting*

                    Although seasonally entitled, the bunting flags shown on page 13 would fit into any month of the year! Looking at the pretty flags of pepper greens and brick reds embossed with delicate floral templates makes me feel that making this bunting for autumn would greet the colourful month in wonderfully. I love the way the author has completed the design by having coordinating red buttons to separate each flag along the claret red ribbon. The pictures cannot help but arouse thoughts of mixing and matching such appealing displays.

                    *Pirate Bunting*

                    Now this pattern indicates how well bunting can be made to suit both sexes. I am going to get such a blast out of making this bunting because I know that my youngest grand-son will adore the design for his bedroom. The author has created an innovative design of mixing oblong and triangular shapes together to make a fun diverse appeal. Yet again, the author has constructed a brilliant variety of materials to make this bunting stand out as unique. Some flags are arranged with a cross bone white fabric set against an oblong black flag that is very effective. There are pieces of curled up simple knotted twine to adorn the red and white flags. The assorted colours of blues, red, blacks and whites in vibrant shades furnish this bunting with a nautical feel that will spark the imagination of the little pirates among us! :~)

                    *Gingham Bunting*

                    This particular pattern is what I formally envisaged bunting to be, with its pretty checkered fabric of pinks, blues and yellows. A lovely traditional classic display of alternating colours has me imaging that I am sitting in a quaint little café by the seaside. But, yet again, the author adds a twist to the display by separating each cute flag with a crochet ball 1" in diameter. The little fun colourful balls range from bright fuchsia pinks to subtle browns. I have been so affected by such ingenious ways of using different shapes, colours and materials that I feel that one could let their creativity loose without restraint! :~)

                    *Nautical Bunting*

                    The author mixes up two shapes of oblong and triangular as he does on the 'pirate' bunting display to furnish this arrangement with a little twist on perhaps a more no nonsense exhibit. The flags range in a variety of blues that certainly do give a nautical feel. I can imagine this feature looking great at a yachting club and alike. I'm not as enthralled by this pattern as others due to it lacking the other more colourful and fun aspects that I prefer.

                    *Tweed Bunting*

                    Umm I certainly haven't made up my mind whether I feel motivated enough to attempt this pattern! The flags are made using 'an assortment of tweed wool fabrics' that look a little dated, but I should probably use the term vintage! The fabric looks warm and thick with its gorgeous shades of grey blues, fawns and copper reds but I still can't feel excited enough to get out the sewing machine! I do like the coordinating summer yellow ribbon that the flags are attached too, the author certainly knows how to co-ordinate colours to afford the best effect. There is no doubt in my mind that the bunting gives the effect of a rich autumnal feel but it won't be at the top of my list to make yet!

                    *Busy Bees Bunting*

                    Now this is the type of bunting that I love to make. The cute fuchsia pink felt pastels that lay against the soft white wings look simply delightful. The author has arranged funny little yellow and black pompoms to look like bumble bees onto some of the floral/butterfly flags. I love the amusing appeal that looking at these buttons cannot help but make folk feel. I will be making this bunting for a garden display in the summertime for when the grand-tots come round.

                    *Irish Bunting*

                    No guesses on the lovely colour shades for this bunting, yes, wonderful greens. There is a mixture of calming Nile greens, vibrant seaweed dusk, Emerald Isle shades and Amazon moss to adorn the fine collection. This bunting arrangement evokes beautiful natural and peaceful warmth. The balance of greens make this sample for an alluring appeal with its accessories of Shamrock embellishments completed with a collection of tiny buttons. The alternating shapes of oblongs and triangles supply yet another media of variety within the context. I am inspired yet again, this time, by using the same arrangement but by simply changing the accessories, I'll be able to adapt it into an arrangement for a garden feature for the spring time.

                    *Valentine Bunting*

                    Cute, cute, cute springs to my mind when I look at this pattern, the author has spread the bunting against a pin board and I must agree, the little embroidered hearts of reds and whites appear so charming. I'll add here though that the hearts themselves look a little too plain so I will be adding heart buttons to adorn the shapes. In addition to this, some kind of beaded embellishments to decorate the red ribbon the hearts are attached to too. But this is the wonderful fact about this book, I really feel that the pictures help to conjure up so many exciting personal ideas that folk will be excited to use. Looking at the amazing variety of effective displays of assorted bunting that the author has cleverly crafted is an absolute gem to use as a base template to create one's own ideas.

                    *Japanese silk Bunting*

                    A beautiful embroidered design furnishes a splendor on the enveloped arrangement on these flags. I simply adore the colour composition of Admiral Blues with luxuriant embossing of gold with dragons and exotic oriental flowers that adorn the purses. The turquoise tassels that hang from each silk pointed enveloped closure complete the elegant effect. One of the many aspects of this advantageous book is that the author shows how folk can choose between a more frugal array of bunting or splash out on something a little more grandiose! But, no matter whether I use off-cuts from an economical fabric or purchasing a few meters of finer material, the patterns will make the bunting appear luscious! No matter how difficult this pattern initially appears, it is like all the rest, simple! The instructions are so straightforward and in bite-size format so that I never feel overwhelmed when taking the next step. Once I have laid out the materials, ensured I have all the recommended tools, following the comprehendible numerical charted directions are uncomplicated. I will add though that I am not very good with distractions and to avoid mistakes, particularly on the more intricate designs such as this pattern, I tend to make sure that I craft the bunting when I have a quieter environment!

                    *Advent Stocking Bunting*

                    Cute little red booties with white cuffs numbered between 1 and 25 adorn the green ribbon they are affixed too. Another example of features of this book that really appeal to me is that the tools and materials used do not vary too much between patterns. Many of the items needed to create such delightful designs are things many crafters already have acquired. Co-incidental to this, many tools used is household items most folk have to hand already. For example, tools required on most of the patterns consist of such items as pencils, scissors, iron, tweezers, sewing needles and printers! I am very happy that I have had to spend out very little to make many of the bunting patterns. In fact, I only ordered some bias binding, embellishments and a variety of colourful threads to start my bunting craft.

                    *Bow Tie Bunting*

                    Yet again, the author shows his talent for designing fun bunting. All the little striped ribbons are made into bows that are affixed to bright coloured oblong flags which are then hung using a golden yellow bias binding. I really appreciate the way the instructions are written in such an uncomplicated manner that makes following the pattern almost effortless. When I come to make this bunting, I will be changing the plain oblong flags into shirt shapes as I want the bow ties to represent a tuxedo image. We have a surprise going away party for a friend so I feel this bunting would look great to hang around the beams in the party venue. I love the way that the large sharp photographs give clear images of the bunting as this helps me visualize in my mind's eye how I could swap and change accessories on the bunting flags to make my own creations.

                    *Vintage Style Bunting*

                    This style is subtle and delicate; to me it wouldn't look out of place in a professionally run residential home or a whimsical little tea shop. The colours center around beiges fawns and soft browns for the background. The floral fabric Liberty print consists of graceful little pink and green flowers. The photographer matches each bunting arrangement well with appropriate back grounds. This time, a pine dresser is used to display the bunting, which also holds fine bone china plates and mugs with gold handles. The title of 'vintage' works well with the design that conjures up imagery of bygone days when life was slower and communities had time to relax and enjoy one another's companionship. I am so surprised that such a small book can contain so much to work with. All the designs are unique and span the distance of time without making the creations look dated in a negative light!

                    *Yoyo Flower Bunting*

                    This bunting pattern will remain one of my firm favourites. I loved the look the moment I set eyes on the picture. The photographer has draped the author's wonderful exhibit over an ornate wicker chair. I can't believe that I was so naive to think bunting came in one shape, a flag! Here is a little mixture of circular ruffled flower shapes, one smaller to be placed in the center of the larger one. The author cleverly uses a floral fabric and plain cream material, alternating both to be used as both larger and smaller to afford variety along the ribbon they hang from. Of course, as the author notes in his patterns, one can choose the material they want. I will be adding actual tiny flower embellishments to fix to the center of each completed yoyo. The author gives practical tips where folk can purchase certain equipment, like the craft yoyos needed for this pattern.

                    *Kite Bunting*

                    This bunting wouldn't look out of place in a nursery or baby's room; children love fun shapes and bright colours, these have this and more. Each kite shaped flag has a mixture of checkered gingham fabric, plain brightly coloured coordinating fabric and the most gorgeous use of pretty ribbons that hang delicately from each shape. I love this arrangement because I know how much it will delight the grand-children when they see their play room decorated with these fun and mood lifting little kites. I am thinking about making little parcels of these completed kites as gift packages for friends expecting babies. My local Avon lady has just has a little girl so I am thinking about following this pattern but using the woman's favourite colours that she has chosen for her little baby's nursery. This is how the book affects me; I am simply filled with excitement at the thought of which one to make next. All the patterns are so varied that each would suit many situations, events, ages! If you love this craft, you will enjoy the simple techniques that create such an assortment of presentations but in such a brief time. Many of the designs take little more than a quiet afternoon and so fun to make.

                    *Folded Flag Bunting*

                    Wow this just looks so lavish and expensive. The traditional shaped flags have a little twist to the design in that the author has folded each bunting over the cotton rope it is hung from, around an inch. Then two horn buttons are placed on either end of the fabric. The material is striped cotton, and the shades look very appealing; creams, whites, fawns and smokey greys make the arrangement look exquisite. The clever use of white rope to hang the flags from looks very fitting. The way the author provides tips I find very beneficial. For example, in this pattern he explains that 'it can be a good idea to have longer rope length than intended as the flags have not been permantly attached. This allows you to space the flags closer or further apart depending on the space to be decorated'. I find such knowledgeable tips have prevented me from making costly mistakes!

                    *Alphabet Bunting*

                    Love, love, love this design. The sharp dazzling colours of little flags, each with their bold alphabet felt letters look so adorable. Now this bunting would look amazing in a primary school setting. I love the way the author has used a contrasting coloured thread as a running stitch to outline each shape. The author is correct when he describes making this as 'easy as ABC'! :~D Different adhesives are used to attach accessories, in this case glue. Although not stated here, I will use a glue gun; the author recommends fabric glue. Another great thing about the designs is that some can be match up together. For instance, I will be making a few meters of this pattern and a few meters of the Kite bunting for the grand-tots play room.

                    *Easter Bunting*

                    All the flags in this pattern are oblong and have mostly contrasting eggs shapes glued to the central part of them. But this is the great thing about these patterns; folk do not have to use the shapes as noted down in the 'materials' list. Once you have the pattern for the shape, any chosen shape that fits your choice for the intended space one is crafting the bunting for will look wonderful. The author's measurements for templates and materials are accurate which gives me confidence when preparing such designs that I intend to use more costly fabrics for.

                    *Red, White & Blue Bunting*

                    This pattern completes the series of bunting. I like the sharp bold colours the author has used in this arrangement. It is not one of my favourites but an interesting use of triangular and oblong shapes furnishes the display with interest. The author cleverly haphazardly arranges the flags that lends to a more cheerful fun appeal. I will be using this idea in other arrangements to afford an attractive and amusing display.


                    The author extends a welcome to readers to visit his website: www.houseofalistair.com I browsed through and this is a professional looking website whereby customers can purchase products such as sewing materials and storage containers. The author even has a 'peg bag project kit' but this is quite expensive at £25! Items such as bias binding are fairly reasonable whereas button collections are not that competitively priced, but then again, they are designer creations! There is presently a free postage and packing offer though. The Search press publishers have also catalogued an extensive list of other craft books available.

                    ~*~Would I Recommend ~ Sew many crafts, sew little time! :~)~*~

                    Yes, absolutely! I really am hard pressed to find any disadvantages in this book. I suppose that if I had to mention anything that I didn't find appealing, I'd have to say the font is rather too small so I need to use glasses when following the patterns. But, I need to use my glasses for all my craft work anyway so it really isn't a problem! The instructions are straightforward, uncomplicated which makes it very easy to follow. The majority of the materials needed are inexpensive. The photographs are so beautifully presented. This book will leave crafters inspired and very excited to start creating :~)

                    The Mini Bunting (Twenty to Make) [Paperback] by Alastair MacDonald is currently available for £3.74 & Amazon offer 'this item delivered free in the UK with' their 'Super Saver Delivery'. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1782210040

                    Thank you for taking the time to read my latest crafty capers! :~


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                    • More +
                      13.01.2014 13:52
                      Very helpful



                      A variety of stylish scarves to knit for those cooler months!

                      ~*~The Product~*~

                      The book is published as a 48 page paperback and is released by Search Press Ltd (7 Sep 2013) This book is of hand-able at dimensions of 21 x 15.2 x 0.4 cm. Amazon advertise this craft book as "an appealing range of simple scarves for you to knit. Stylish and practical, this book contains patterns for twenty great scarves in a variety of styles for you, your friends and your family. The book contains 20 variations, and all the information you need on materials and terminology. It's a great way to make gifts for your friends, and they're so simple, even knitting newcomers can have a go". I was hoping that this new addition to my craft books would turn out to be just so!

                      ~*~The Author~*~

                      I always feel that it is good to know a little about the author of books before I purchase. I have bought some books only to find out that the contents were far from satisfactory. Therefore, to read that the author of a chosen book has experience in the information held within furnishes me with far more confidence in buying the product! In the author's own words, she says' "I run a small knitting business called The Knit knacks where I design all my own patterns and knitting kits to go with them. I regularly have patterns in knitting magazines and am constantly working on new ideas. I love working with natural yarns and where possible these are sourced within the UK. I teach knitting workshops and have recently taught master classes as part of Campaign for wool.

                      I have a website www.theknitknacks.co.uk where you can see my work and catch up on the latest news". But I often like to hear folk's unrelated to the author's views, "Monica Russell is a qualified Teacher and Art Therapist, and has worked in schools, Further Education and Mental Health services. In 2009, she set up a knitting and cake-stand making business using her creative skills. Monica designs all her own patterns and sells her knitting kits, which use only natural fibres, through her website. She attends many craft and knitting fairs and loves craft challenges. Since setting up her craft business, she has had patterns featured in Knitting magazines and books". A little more research confirmed these findings. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Easy-Knitted-Scarves-Twenty-Make/dp

                      ~*~ My Usage Experience~*~

                      I must say that I was very excited when I first received this book. The package was quickly delivered by Amazon and the book looked very appealing with its cheerful front cover selection of various scarves to knit. Winter is a busy time for me, knitting warm clothing for the grand-tots etc. so I was hoping that the promise of 'easy' knitted scarves would prove true as I don't have time to be hassled with intricate designs!


                      Pages two and three of the book furnish the crafter with a very practical 'abbreviations' list and contents directory that are both written in clear concise formats. I would say here that the abbreviations contain information that intermediate and expert knitters will already be aware of but is essential for beginners. Even although I have been knitting for decades, I still feel such abbreviation charts are ideal as a reminder!


                      The introductory section is only a page long and mainly covers information that the scarves are 'practical and smart', an array of yarns can be used to make the scarves 'suitable for all seasons'. I felt very pleased concerning the latter as my daughters love wearing fashionable light weight scarves to match clothing throughout the year. The author promises that there would be some styles that would be contemporary as well as classics. This made me feel very happy because I have friends of all ages so I could 'gift' suitable presents that would be agreeable to the recipients! :~)

                      *Knitting Know-How*

                      This section covers information on general notes concerning the patterns within the book. I feel that the majority of material covered here would be very beneficial to beginners in the field of knitting. The contents include such things as the various yarns that are used and why. There are notes on needles, crochet hooks and stitch markers, all of which afford a valuable insight on their uses and assets concerning the patterns in the book. The author provides a couple of photographs of the scarves to show how such equipment can result in some lovely effects, especially depth and design features incorporating certain tools.


                      I love the look of this scarf with its fun bobbles that line the central part of the scarf throughout. The scarf is knitted up using chunky wool so I know that it will be practical as a warm accessory for our cold winters. And the extra bonus here is that using chunky wool will mean it will knit up fast, though the bobbles will slow up the procedure to a degree! I hope newbies will not be put off by the bobble design as the technique is explained in a lovely simplified way on page two under 'abbreviations'.


                      To me this looks like a very basic designed scarf but thankfully made more interesting by the author using a variegated yarn. There are also tassels added to the design for the ends of the scarf which gives additional appeal. I do feel a little 'short changed' on this pattern because it is a very basic pattern but then I can't complain as the book is entitled 'easy' to furnish all levels of experience to enjoy! I have to admit that the author's usage of yarns such as the mottled one for this scarf furnishes me with ideas to use on other designs too.

                      *Heather & Skye*

                      This scarf looks so sumptuously perfect with its twirled moor-like texture and colours. No surprises that the author's inspiration for this scarf came when she visited Scotland, with their wonderful cottage industry in Skye. I adore the varicoloured yarns of olive greens, warm purples, smoky greys and bottle blue hues. The really amazing thing about using this yarn is that no finicky pattern is required; the wool is so beautifully manufactured with its soft intense colouration and depth of texture that the design would not look out of place in the most expensive of stores! This is my ideal of a perfect gift for those with the more expensive taste but without costing the earth! :~)

                      *Frivolous Florence*

                      A fun name for this lacy little number! I really like the pattern with its alternating holes furnishing a neat symmetrical pattern but I'm not too sure on the colours used! Of course, we all have various tastes so the shades may well appeal too many but the hues look a little too deep to enhance the lacy pattern; overwhelms the ornamental design in my opinion. Nevertheless, I do feel the multicolour purples and greens would very much suit some other wintery designs within this lovely book. I am so looking forward to knitting this particular design for both my daughters for the summer as the lace pattern is achieved by repeating just four rows yet looks very effective. I feel that soft summery shades like lilac, pinks and sky blues would set this design off wonderfully.

                      *Steely Tweed*

                      This pattern is very aptly named as the strong shades of mottled blacks and mid greys make this scarf appear like an imperturbable veneer that could take on the coldest of climates! A young man is sporting the scarf in the photograph, with a snowy forestry background that sets off the image beautifully! I simply love the look of this scarf, it is a simple ribbed design but the shades make it look perfect to keep the lads warm yet 'cool' looking! :~) My son prefers the 'macho' look so I don't think I will get any complaints gifting this little gem for the winter months ahead! :~D


                      Not sure this is as aptly named as the 'Steely Tweed' scarf, but the neck-ware would look pretty gorgeous using perhaps a more colourful shade! The author uses a clever two repeated row technique to acquire a soft airy laced effect for the scarf. The scarf has been knitted using a pretty 4-ply yarn in fawn. This makes the scarf perfect for spring and summer seasons and the shade would fit in as a subtle accessory to classic clothing of browns and creams. I will be using the same pattern but with lemon yarn to co-ordinate alongside a patterned summer dress I have stored away ready for those warmer days.

                      *Red Rooster*

                      I love the look of this extrovert appealing colour with its thick deep textured wool and fun frilled style. The author has the scarf wrapped around a rather cheerful comical snowman which suits the ambient mood this style evokes. I will definitely be knitting this lively amusing but very practical scarf for the winter. The pattern incorporates cabled rows that afford depth which makes the scarf perfect for the coldest of weathers. The scarf is predominately made to cover the neck and shoulders so a warm buttoned up cardigan or jumper will be needed to complete the practicality of having this aside for our particularly biting chilly weather! This pattern may pose some difficulty with beginners to the craft due to the cable needle that has to be used in addition to the needles used. So 'easy' may be not the correct term for real novices to the craft!


                      Love the bright fun colour to this scarf but not a fan of the design which looks like the neck-ware has been laundered using too high a temperature resulting in a tired stretched and un-ironed appearance! The actual pattern within the scarf is pretty but the overall scraggly appearance lets the design down in my opinion. I will however, be incorporating the wonderful snappy and sprightly colour on other patterns contained in this appealing book.


                      Love, love, love this design. I instantly adored this chirpy youthful pattern the moment I saw it, so much so that it was the first scarf I knitted from the book. Even although I have been knitting for many years, I cannot recall a time that I had used the pattern that the author incorporates in her design of this scarf. I initially thought that it may present some problems as the pattern is new to me but I am thrilled to say that I soon got the hang of it. The author presents her instructions in such a clear straightforward manner that I have experienced no problems whatsoever following them. I hope that folk that are new to the craft of knitting will not be put off by the swirly complicated look of the design because in reality, it is child's play! :~) I am simply delighted by the effect the pattern affords, such buoyant animated frills furnish the wearer with a playful and cheerful appearance. I made this for my grand-daughter but even as a grand-mother I'd wear it in a heart-beat! :~D This is the pattern that should have been entitled 'Frivolous Florence'! :~)


                      I can't say that I was blown away by the design of this scarf. It looks too long and thin to be of practical benefit for our stark wintery weather. The photograph shows a man adorned in the scarf in a playful setting of about to throw a snowball, the background displays a snowy scene. Yes, this scarf does have a cheery gamesom appeal but I wouldn't make it so long or slim. But that is one of the aspects of this book that I do like, the ideas behind the styles inspire one's own thoughts on merging certain aspects of the author's patterns into folk's own knitwear designs. For instance, I like the way the author has used a combination of orange, red and cream to design a block effect that would appeal to guys perhaps for football matches or similar sporting events. In fact, the design looks great as a college style for students too. Although, when I come to knitting the scarf, I will increase the amount of stitches and shorten the length so that the neck-ware will fit in well for those brisk autumn evenings!


                      This scarf invokes a wonderful carnival feel where one could sport at a festival and similar with confidence. Lovers of traditional and classic styles may feel that the style is a little too extrovert and boisterous but for the gregarious type, this will be a winner! :~D The scarf is knitted using a super simple garter stitch pattern so no difficulty rating here. The author amalgamates green, yellow, red and black to furnish the scarf with a bold and daring effect that makes a fun and adventurous statement! I will have great fun knitting this quick to assemble scarf with its bobble bunting like border!

                      *Bow Tie*

                      I wasn't too sure about the appearance of this scarf until I read the author's note on page 31 concerning this innovative design. The author explains that this scarf is 'very feminine' and 'has a vintage feel to it'. By Wapping 'the middle section' around the neck and making a bow tie with 'the right side facing' it can be worn 'at the side' of the neck' or in many other ways to give it a lovely appearance to fit the mood. I realised then that my eldest daughter would adore this stylish scarf as a neat accessory to suits and ornate blouses for special events. The scarf is knitted using a mustard coloured yarn named ochre but I will make it in shades of my daughter's choosing so that she will be able to co-ordinate it with certain clothes. The effect of the 'bow-tie' is achieved mainly by increases and decreases so simple enough for even novices to make. Just as a little tip for patterns such as this one whereby there are several alternating sections to follow within the pattern, I like to use a pen and paper to note down row numbers and any other practical abbreviations to assist whilst knitting. That way, the crafter can mark off the rows as they go to avoid mistakes.

                      *Parisienne Chic*

                      There is nothing I would want to change in the author's design of this adorable scarf! The scarf is aptly named as it really does have a Parisian look to it. I am so drawn to the soft elegance of the ornate filigree pattern that furnishes a most feminine appearance. The light pink yarn compliments the style and even although this is a lengthy scarf, it only uses a 100gram of wool! I will be knitting this for not only my daughters but gifting it as a present for friends too. This scarf could present some difficulty for those just starting the craft of knitting as it does use some methods that even experienced knitters would need to take care to concentrate on.

                      I feel that a bold notation just underneath each pattern would have been most helpful, perhaps symbolised with a small icon of wool and knitting needles to denote experience level best suited for. I really do not feel all the patterns cover the idea of 'easy' to make. I was introduced to knitting at the age of five but only using the simple technique of plain and purl stitches, no other pattern know-how skills were introduced at my tutorials. It wasn't until I became a young mum that my mother-in-law taught me how to read patterns and increase my knowledge that I finally got round to making more elaborate products other than hairbands! :~D By my memories of how I found reading patterns and learning how to accomplish different techniques, I'd have found certain patterns within this book fairly difficult to begin with.

                      *Candy Stripe*

                      Certainly no offence to the clever author of this book but I do feel that this pattern is a simple copy of the 'Autumnal' scarf on page 26 of the book. Apart from differences in colour blocks this pattern is almost the clone of the one I mentioned :~( The author has included very practical most helpful notes throughout the book such as here where she advises twisting the yarn 'every second row to avoid large loops as you knit the scarf'. The patterns are very functional. For example, the author has made many patterns, such as this one, flexible to enable the crafter to adjust the instructions easily to fit the recipient better, as in this case, from a child's sizing to an adult.


                      The simple idea of adding a few pompoms to the ends of this scarf transform it from a rather mediocre design to a pleasant and merry looking item. The pompoms here are in white but I would probably use an array of smaller coloured ones to furnish the scarf with an even younger appeal as I'd like this design for my youngest toddler grand-daughter. Again, the author shrewdly notes that the pattern can be adjusted to one's own choice and this is very easy to adapt too. It is a very simple scarf to knit which adds to the appeal for me as I just do not have the time to craft certain items at this moment in time. This is yet another reason why this book appeals to me so much, I can follow one of the more simpler patterns to knit up a scarf in as little time as an evening but because the author uses a combination of thoughtful stitches that give the appearance of being ornate, I can still make something that looks time-consuming to knit and effective to wear for family and friends.

                      *Simple Lace*

                      Not the most original title for a scarf but a really smashing pattern nonetheless. The symmetrical design throughout the pattern of this scarf furnishes it with a well-balanced proportional effect. The author has knitted this using silk blended variegated wool in green and blue shades, though any double knit yarn of choice would be fine I'm sure. I often swop yarns to make such items more affordable. As a tip, searching online for reputable yarn outlets will furnish the consumer with some pretty competitive rates on yarn so a little extra time looking around the internet for good sites will be prudent for sure. Many great sites include an excellent run through of practical information on their yarns such as machine washable and suitability for certain items in clothing. I feel that this particular pattern is going to become a firm favourite as by simply changing the colours I can make several scarves for an array of folk but still accomplish a uniqueness to avoid a clone effect in 'gifting' the items! :~)

                      *Autumn Haze*

                      This scarf looks like a no nonsense and practical scarf but with a pretty pattern that sets this accessory off to have a wide appeal. In fact, although sported by a woman in the adjoining photograph, the pattern has a unisex appeal to it in my opinion. The tripled basic stitch isn't ornate enough to be confused as an all-female affair so chaps, do not be put off and ask the love of your life to knit one up for you :~) The author has used a lovely blend of fawn and grey multi-coloured yarn that would fit in with traditional colours wonderfully well. Of course, any colours of choice would look equally effective. The moss stitch combined with the number 7mm needles and quadruple double knit hanks the author has used for this design affords texture and depth.

                      *College Stripe*

                      Simple idea that looks pretty effective is the way I'd describe this pattern. The author uses a lovely rich rust yarn to add a strip on either side of this predominantly smoky grey scarf. It is a simple knit using a combination of just purl and plain stitches so would appeal to beginners to the craft too. The author notes that one could use a variety of colours to form 'vertical stripes' also. This is the type of pattern one could knit whilst watching a favourite programme as it really takes no concentration at all, with its easy two stitch repetitive design and no increases or decreased to worry about!

                      *Zebra Razzle*

                      I really haven't made up my mind whether I love or hate this design! It's a little like Marmite; you either love it or hate it! The scarf has been knitted in a combination of black and white stripes to furnish it with a zebra like pattern effect. An interesting twist has been added by the author whereby she has added a strip strand that runs through the entire centre of the pattern. There is no doubt that this neck-ware is how the author describes, 'a funky little scarf But it simply isn't something I'd wear myself and unsure I'd enjoy knitting it either! The scarfs is knitted in Alpaca wool, but beware, this can be pretty expensive yarn. I feel that it would have been beneficial if the author had made a small note on each pattern of less expensive yarns that could also be used for the same design.


                      A fun design ends the book with this amusing little scarf, its large clown like bobbles placed at the ends. I love the way the author has introduced a double knitted row every ninth row to break up what could look like a rather monotonous and mundane pattern! The clever increase build up on the initial twelve rows make this scarf interesting and fun. The scarf is knitted in an appealing turquoise yarn that comes in a super bulky chunky weight so that it is not only fun to wear but practical too. I know that my young grand-sons will love this scarf knitted in their favourite colours. I am thinking of adding some embroidered symbols of their favourite characters such as Moshi Monsters too :~D


                      The book includes practical information where crafters are furnished with other interesting and fun books introducing a variety of titles by the same publishers. In fact, the publishers also give information on how to apply for a free catalogue of titles available. In addition to this, there are details of social web sites such as Twitter and Face book where folk can 'follow' the publishers online. I find such 'likes' pretty neat for keeping up-to-date on latest offers and so forth.


                      Many style, both traditional and modern/Adaptable patterns/Many easy patterns to suit beginners and those that wish to make a scarf quickly/Excellent simplified easy to comprehend instructions/Good introduction in using a wide variety of yarns/Pattern yarns can be exchanged for less expensive wool/ Superb clear photographs and formatting


                      Some 'cloned' patterns/Not all patterns are suitable for beginners/Small text/No degree of expertise symbols on patterns/No information given on cheaper yarns that may be used instead of those stated/Some patterns are not 'easy'

                      ~*~Would I Recommend? ~*~

                      Yes, indeed I would certainly recommend this book that provides lovers of this craft with a variety of fashionable scarves that come in a lovely range of both contemporary and traditional classics. Some of the patterns can be easily adjusted for choices in length etc., there are patterns I prefer more than others but there are enough variations to provide a good choice. A few patterns are cloned for want of a better term but by using a clever change of yarn type and colour, the author furnishes the crafter with ideas on how to be inspired to create a scarf of one's own choosing. The book inspires creativity and fun.

                      The Twenty to make easy knitted scarves by Monica Russel is available via Amazon for the very reasonable price of £3.74, and even on a 'Super saver delivery' offer too! http://www.amazon.co.uk/Easy-Knitted-Scarves-Twenty-Make

                      Thank you for taking the time to read even more of my craftier antics of late :~) xXx


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                      • More +
                        13.01.2014 13:46
                        Very helpful



                        Twenty fun to knit patterns for beanies

                        ~*~The Book ~ "I'll eat my hat if"! :~)~*~

                        The book consists of only 48 pages and published by Search Press Ltd (30 July 2012). With product dimensions of 11.2 x 1 x 23.9 cm the book makes for a neat hand-able size. The book is described as "fun, fresh and inspiring, and will appeal to a wide range of knitters. From traditional to contemporary, fun and funky and knitted in bright, vibrant yarns to muted pastels, there is something for everyone. Susie has designed patterns suitable for men, women, children and babies; for a relaxed look, go for the oversized Slouch Beanie, a little girl would love the cute Charm Beanie, choose the soft, cream Baby Beanie for a new arrival and the Beastie Beanie for a fun-loving lad! Knitted beanies also make fantastic gifts for special friends and relatives", I put this to the test! http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1844487075

                        ~*~Reasons For Purchase ~ "I take my hat off to you"! ~*~

                        My Son knows how much I love to knit and surprised me with this book so that I could obtain a fresh take on knitted winter-wear:~) I was thrilled to add this neat little book to my collection as I wanted to craft some new hats for the grand-children for winter 2014

                        *Contents ~ "pass the hat around"!*

                        The 'Contents' section begins with an introductory page that mostly comments on the delights of a beanie and brief remarks on the patterns within the book. I wouldn't say that the Introduction was captivating but a neat little piece to start with. The opposite page shows a cute pic of two little girls sporting two of the beanies and inspired me to look for the patterns within. The next portion of the 'Contents' deals with 'Techniques'. There are four types of stitches the author explains, along with 'Making pompoms' and adding 'Buttons' to the designs. I've been knitting on and off for around four decades so although the material is written in a concise and interesting manner, I feel that beginners would probably find the information more instructional. The diagram and tutorial pictures are clear and fit in well with the information detailed under this section.

                        * Very Easy Beanie*

                        The patterns for the Beanies begin on page 8 with a 'Very Easy Beanie'. I love the clear formatting and the way the instructions are laid out for each of the patterns but a real drawback for me is the rather small text measured by 'Word' 9. But on the plus side, the photographs are presented in a fun, colourful and clear manner. Pictures are important to me and these motivate me to want to try the patterns out. The images furnish me with such fine illustrations; I can make a choice almost instantly whether I am in the mood to make a simple or more intricate hat. Each pattern design is on two facing pages which I find very appealing. Sometimes brief patterns are drawn over pages which mean turning frequently whilst trying to knit. This means that I would need to stop and start too often to make the task enjoyable but the author has presented the material in an easy format to avoid this negative. I love the way each pattern is displayed in bold font the 'Materials' and 'Needles' needed, along with the desired 'Tension' required to obtain the correct size, the 'Measurements and sizes' the pattern is designed for. There are also the 'making up' notes and a neat picture of part of the beanie on the tutorial page with a brief notation of why this particular beanie has the apt title for the pattern.

                        * Button Beanie*

                        I love the pattern for the 'Button Beanie' on page 10 because it shows how adding a few accessories can liven up the plainest of styles. I was so affected by this pattern that I decided to knit this as the first from the book. Instead of buttons though I decided to knit a flower as the adornment because this beanie was for my grand-daughter. . and she loves flowers :~) This beanie is knitted in three sections but the author's clear directions make this beanie as simple as can be so that even beginners would accomplish it in no time at all. I was pretty disappointed that, like many of the patterns in the book, only a one or two sizes are given so I had to adjust the needle sizes and wool to ensure the pattern's final measurement would fit my young grand-daughter's head. I feel that the book is probably more suited to intermediate and expert knitters as opposed to beginners when taking into consideration the lack of sizing varieties given! :~(

                        * Beret and Blossom Beanie*

                        The 'Beret Beanie' is lovely and so super simple to knit. The lovely twist to this straightforward pattern is that the eyelet row that is located in the centre of the ribbed band creates a lovely subtle band of double thickness with a neat picot edge. I love so many of the patterns because even the plainest of beanies have a cute and interesting twist that adds fun and uniqueness to the hats. The 'Blossom Beanie' that was shown on the initial introductory pages is located on page 14 and looks so adorable. It was this gorgeous picture that gave me the idea of knitting a flower for the 'Button beanie' instead of sewing on buttons. I love that the patterns are so decoratively versatile. The pictures inspire creativity. The 'vintage petals' really set off the beanie's style and I feel that the author displays her talent in imaginative designs to make beanies so fun and attractive to wear.

                        *The Charm and Beastie Beanie*

                        Of course with all craft books, there will be some designs that do not 'grab' one as much as another and this book is no different. We are all unique and our opinions vary, which makes for variety especially when it comes to arts such as these. The Charm beanie is cute pictured in a medium soft pink and some delicate little charms emanating from the crown of the beanie, but for me, the actual design looks too plain and baggy! Unlike the hilarious 'Beastie beanie' pictured on page 28, sported by an adult male! :~D Now this beanie is in true Amiguri style with its monster mouth and eyes in headlights startled look. Fans of Moshi Monsters are going to adore this design for sure :~D I am so inspired to make this for my youngest grand-son who loves bright and fun clothing etc., the wonderful thing about this particular beanie is that it looks intricate to make but is in actual fact very simple. The pompoms give the style an extra burst of amusing appeal. Although the beanie is predominantly red, any fun bright colour of choice will bring out the entertaining appeal to the hat :~) Surprisingly, the measurements for this beanie is given for an average sized adults head and not a Childs! :~(

                        *Panda and Rolled up beanie*

                        When I first browsed through the book, I instantly made a note of page 20 where the 'Panda Beanie' is located. My oldest grand-daughter loves Pandas. I recently made her a panda toy and this beanie looks as if it was made to co-ordinate with it! :~) On my middle daughter's wedding anniversary, we all make it a special present day for the grand-children too. So along with crafting a patch work panda pillow, I will also be knitting this hat. The funny wobbly stick on eyes look great in the picture but for practicality and safety issues, I will be using special screw/clip eyes. Although there are some wonderful accessories to many of the beanies, the consumer needs to use discernment concerning the safety and suitability on whom the beanie in question will be made for! The 'Rolled up beanie' had me feeling the same as I did with the 'Charm' beanie, too simplified and baggy to appeal, well to me personally. But as everyone differs in taste, others may feel they like this design. And that is another aspect of this book that appeals to me; the designs are pretty varied so there will be something in the book that will surely appeal to all taste.

                        *The Long, Cool Beanie and Pompom beanie*

                        'The Long, Cool Beanie' is presented in a bright poppy red that really sets off this plain but well-designed hat that looks suitable for young and older males. Sadly, yet again, the measurements are only provided to fit an average adult head. I'm sure that many mums and grand-parents would love this design to available for children too :~( The pompom beanie looks very contemporary with its co-ordinating colours of lilac and purple shades and bright orange collection of pompoms. The patterns certainly afford some innovative ideas of mixing up colour ranges and setting the beanies off with various accessories. I love the way that the author's own ingenuity sparks off one's own thoughts on variations of the same beanie. I truly feel exhilarated when I am perusing the book, as the pictures give rise to so many ideas I want to try out on the beanies.

                        *The Big Beret and Flower Power Beanie*

                        The Big Beret beanie on page 30 is the same one that is featured boldly on the front of the book. Although it looks complicated to knit, the hat is actually knitted in self-striping wool so no inter-twining of various yarns here! :~) Now this is a pretty stunning beanie, made all the more attractive by the author's chosen wool. Any double knitting multi-coloured wool will do and this is another great aspect of this book. One can choose the colour that fits with folk's own choice as long as they follow the author's guide of using Double knit, 4-ply and so forth. The 'Flower Power Beanie' is very cute but it looks a little small for the child's head that is wearing it. I feel that the knitter needs to evaluate whether it may be more prudent to either lengthen the author's pattern measurements or change needle sizes to enable them to obtain the sizes they desire so that the beanies will remain practical whilst fun to wear.

                        *The Slouch Beanie and Rainbow Beanie*

                        Although both of these beanies look fun, it is the Rainbow beanie that really appeals to me. It is knitted in an assortment of yarns, pale blue, pale green, plum, turquoise, pink, yellow and orange. The author's usage of these materials means that the knitter can use up various colours of 10-15 grams of wool. I love that this makes for a frugal design yet looks anything but! :~) 'Hats off' to the author for clever and thrifty thoughts on this one...excuse the pun! :~D And again, if beginners to the craft are put off by the thought of having to carefully intertwine materials, a simple multi coloured wool will fit the design just as well.

                        *The Lacy and Knit Knit beanie*

                        These two designs are very different but just as appealing, one for females and the other for little tots. But like so many other of the author's designs, these beanies can be made to suit the recipient! The lacy beanie looks intricate to knit but actually is a very simple repetitive pattern that results in a very charming hat. I'm not so sure about the 'nipple' crown finishing though, if you purchase the book, check out page 37 and see if you agree! :~D The Knit knit beanie is perhaps not the most original title but looks adorable nevertheless! The soft stripes give the hat a gentle feel that would fit in with the youngest of wearers. I love that all the beanies presented in this enchanting little book use such small amounts of yarn. This means that I do not need to spend out too much. Co-incidental to this, the author presents yarns that are easy to come by and affordable.

                        *Bow and Pigtails Beanie*

                        A large bow dominates as the central point on the aptly named Bow beanie. The crown doesn't look large enough to fit an average adult female's head, though that is the author's measurement guide. Upon browsing through the pictures and information, I feel that many of the beanies seem to be slightly on the small side when it comes to female and children gauged heads! For intermediate and expert knitters this may not present too much of a problem as alterations can be made through experience of the crafter. But when it comes to beginners, such adjustments could manifest some issues. It cannot be easy designing a resourceful book that provides each pattern to fit all capabilities and retain interest so I can appreciate why some beanies will differ in ability to craft. Perhaps an initial entry would have been beneficial so consumers would know beforehand that this book isn't entirely suited to beginners to the craft of knitting. As an example, the 'Pigtails Beanie' is best suited to intermediate and above knitters as it involves an integrated pattern using a separate yarn along with additional ear flaps and shaping that would present difficulty to amateurs of the craft. In fact, thinking about it, if I were a newcomer to knitting, I'd find it really beneficial to have a sub-title in bold formatting located beneath the title of each pattern indicating whether the tutorial is suited to a beginner and so forth. That way, it may save time and energies to the knitter on whether it would be a suitable pattern for them to follow or not.

                        *Classic and Baby Beanie*

                        It is a shame that the Classic beanie is the only one of two (Rolled up beanie page 22) I noticed that has a notation box which provides details on how to alter the adult pattern to make it child-sized also! I feel that even as an experienced knitter, there are times that I just don't want to deal with the hassle of adapting patterns to fit! This is where the book causes unnecessary frustration for me. I really wish the author had organized every pattern with instructions to accommodate each size range. The Baby beanie is so adorably cute. A very simple design made all the more engaging by the pale blue and pink strands completed by bows against the cream yarn of the beanie's band. The photograph alone is enough to make me want to grab my needles and start knitting :~)

                        ~*~Extras ~ "pull a rabbit out of hat"!~*~

                        On page two of the book there is a list of abbreviations used in the instructions of the patterns. A practical addition to this is a few UK and US terms to assist the reader. On page 48 is a 'publisher's note' that furnishes newbie's to the craft with a message of a book entitled 'Beginner's Guide to Knitting', though I feel this is a little like 'shutting the gate after the horse has bolted' if you catch my drift! :~) On the reverse side of the back page is a really handy list of a wide range of various craft books available from the publishers. Furthermore, the publishers also provide a scan app so that folk can 'follow' Search Press on social media such as Face book. There is a Twitter web address too. I find such information a really valuable addition to help keep up with current publications on craft books etc.

                        Designs inspire creativity/excellent clear and fun photographs/ Superb formatting with straightforward instructions/

                        Small text/Individual patterns do not cover complete age range/

                        ~*~Would I recommend? ~ "at the drop of a hat"!~*~

                        Yes, though beginners to this craft need to be aware that a fair amount of patterns will present some difficulty. The author is correct, these patterns are 'gorgeous' and 'fun to make', but 'easy to follow' is only applicable on most of the patterns for intermediate and up crafters. I love that there is such a variety of beanies that cover the spectrum of traditional classics to contemporary trendy designs too. This book only furnishes the consumer with twenty patterns but they're plenty to inspire innovative ideas of one's own creations. Once one has the basic pattern to hand, the rest can be accessorized to folk's own choices. One can tell that the author is 'an experienced crafter' as this book clearly shows. I am thrilled with this book and although I dearly wish the author had made each pattern to cover all ages, I am nevertheless inspired to tweak many of her wonderful patterns to create my own custom made beanies for family, friends...and of course, my grand-tots! :~)

                        The Knitted Beanies (Twenty to Make) by Susie Johns is currently available for £3.74 & delivered 'FREE in the UK with Super Saver Delivery' from Amazon.

                        Thank you for taking the time to read my latest crafty antics! :~D


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                          13.01.2014 12:53
                          Very helpful



                          A lovely book of varied designs to keep your brew warm :~)

                          ~*~ Book Description~*~

                          This forty-eight book was published on 15 Sep 2010 and is part of the Search press Twenty to Make series. The book's Dimensions of 15.5 x 0.5 x 21.6 cm make for easy to rest on a book stand for ease of usage.The Amazon UK website describes this book's contents as follows, 'Mug cosies are a new and growing trend in home knitting, and are arguably the most stylish way to keep your hot drinks warm. Now you can knit them quickly and easily using the simple patterns in this book. There are 20 'mug hugs' to choose from and 20 alternative colourways, ranging in style from traditional to contemporary, fun and funky to cute and homely. All the designs can be easily adapted to match your home style or colour scheme, or to complement your favourite set of coffee cups. They make fantastic gifts too for special friends and relatives, or indeed anyone you share a coffee with regularly. And why not make a personalised one for each member of your knitting or sewing group, book club or staff room? There are endless possibilities'. I was hoping that the book would stand up to the hype!

                          ~*~ Reason For Purchase~*~

                          I have a few reasons as to why I would want to own this neat little craft book. I love making novelty gifts and Amazon's description of the cosies within 'make fantastic gifts...for special friends and relatives, or indeed anyone you share a coffee with regularly' enthused me to purchase the book. In addition to this, because the designs were promised to be a selection of 'from traditional to contemporary, fun and funky to cute and homely' I knew that I could make them for the varied taste of both friends and family members. My second reason as to why I wanted the book is that when I am concentrating on work in progress, my hot drinks can be left to stand a while as I get wrapped up in my task. Therefore, such practical little mug jackets would be great for keeping my drinks warmer for longer!

                          ~*~ The Author ~*~

                          In my personal opinion, it is important that the author has good experience in the craft as this furnishes me with confidence that the book will contain little mistakes if any! I have purchased a fair amount of books from Val Pierce and found her to be an excellent author. The first page of this book describes 'Val Pierce's passion for knitting began when her father taught her to knit at the age of five. Later in life she began home knitting for yarn manufacturers, and since then she has made a huge range of items, from evening dresses to teddy bears. She later began designing items of her own, and before long Val's designs were appearing regularly in national knitting and crochet magazines. She also teaches knitting, as well as a range of other needlecrafts, to both adults and children. Val lives and works in Shropshire'.

                          *Safety Note*

                          On the second page of the book there is a very practical safety note which encourages the crafter to 'ensure' they 'wrap' the 'mug cosy around' the 'mug or cup and secure it before filling the mug with hot liquid' and 'once filled, the mug or cup should be held by the handle when in use' to avoid accidents!


                          This list is on page three of the book and I am pleased to say that the format is clear and in large print. Alongside the listing are snapshots of six designs from the book. These pictures enthuse me to want to delve into the book as they looked so much fun to knit. One particular photo was of a lilac cosy with little bows attached, one I knew my grand-daughter would love!


                          Four brief paragraphs make up this lovely introductory section. For those that are new to the crafty, the author explains that 'the patterns are easy to follow' and for me, I'm thrilled to say 'quick to make'! And because the jackets only use a 'small amount of yarn' the covers aren't expensive to make. I hadn't thought of this before now so I was inspired when I read the idea that one could 'make a matching set of mug hugs to compliment...favourite tea or coffee cups. I love the idea given in this portion of the book that I could personalise 'one for a special friend or close relative' and to celebrate 'special' occasions. On my daughter's anniversary, I have fallen into the habit of giving an extra little gift of a Vistaprint photo mug, but I think this year I will make two personalised cosies with identical mugs for her and hubby. The photographs of the varied designs surrounding the introduction are truly inspiring.

                          *Hints and Tips*

                          On page seven of the book is some excellent practical information such as an abbreviation list of the stitches required, UK and US terminology and even the button sizes the mug hugs take! A great thing to know is that one doesn't need to be too concerned with tension and that if a cosy is required to be knitted to fit a certain cup, one can simply adjust the pattern by knitting 'more or fewer rows before completing the button hole band'. I smiled when I seen the black rounded mug with a cute black jacket with green leaf and pink rose but attachment as this cup is the very similar to the one I keep back for my daughter when she visits. It is her favourite mug and so I will be following the pattern on page 36 to make for her cup as a little surprise:~)

                          *Snowflakes and Stars*

                          The photograph to this pattern is of two mugs each adorned, one in plain red, the other in plain blue cosies but accessorised with stars, the blue with white stars, and the red in gold stars. The mugs are fittingly placed on the US flag. The lovely pattern on these covers is simply made through alternating groups of plain and knitted stitches which gives a very effective design. The white snowflake buttons are placed on the flatter surface of the plain blocks. This design invokes ideas as by simply swapping colours and accessories, crafters can come up with very creative ideas to vary the look. The snowflake buttons furnish a lovely seasonal appearance to the jacket. The pattern is so simplistic to follow and can be made very quickly which fits my busy schedule! :~)

                          *Cosy Christmas*

                          This is a very seasonal design but can easily be adjusted to convert to any occasion just by removing the tree buttons and even the olive green that surrounds the cream yarn. This is one of the wonderful aspects of this lovely book of cosy patterns; designs can be changed very easily. I feel that this particular pattern would be suited more too intermediate and experienced knitters as it does involve some fiddly stitches but sites such as YouTube give excellent tutorials if beginners would like to have a go at this ornate pattern.

                          *Leaf Fall*

                          This is a gorgeous design that conjures up warm thoughts of the colourful autumnal season. Debbie Patterson is the photographer of the pictures in this superb little book. She does an amazing job of setting each mug cosy against appropriate settings that inspires creativity. In this picture, the luscious tones of warm browns, beiges, chocolate and reds captivate the senses beautifully. A hessian fabric with flora foliage makes an alluring back drop to the two mugs of tomato soup. A rustic wholemeal broken crusty roll adds to the sumptuous feast of colour. This is another ornate design but so easily made using just four simple rows repeated throughout. I appreciate the author's amazing patterns whereby they give the appearance of looking difficult to make yet so straightforward in reality. There are three knitted leaves in alternating colours of red, chocolate brown and fawn that rest on the centre of the beige jacket. Two tiny fun cute ladybird buttons rest either side of the cosy as well as one in the middle of the leaves. The other cosy is made using oddments of olive and lime green yarns for the leaves and chocolate brown for the cosy. A simple embroidery stitch is used to sew veins onto the leaves furning them with an authentic appearance. This is one of my favourites in the book, a beautiful gift idea indeed!

                          *Butterfly and Beads*

                          Before buying this book, I thought that mug cosies were to keep drinks warm but page fourteen of this little gem has changed my thinking on these cute jackets! I adore these feminine covers in soft lilac and pink. A beautiful collection of silver embroidery beads adorn the outer edges of the cosies making them delightfully ornate, just right for evening party drinks that add flair in a most tasteful way. The author has attached a tiny butterfly motif and even added two silver beads to match the strands around the edges for the eyes on the cute insects. To prevent the edges curling up and giving a misshapen look, the author has designed all of the patterns with the same garter stitch surrounding rows. Because the inner patterns contain pretty stitching, each jacket looks different.

                          *Buttons and Bows*

                          Some of the patterns are quite similar but as I mentioned before, the accessories furnish each design with its own uniqueness. Although the picture shows two colours for each cup, only the lilac is considered in the pattern. I am very attracted to the light powder blue cosy displayed in the photograph. The pretty oddments of wool to knit the bows look so lovely, all in a variety of sunshine yellows, fuchsia pinks, lime greens and sky blues. Some of the cosies are knitted using size 4 needles but this one is knitted in size 10, which produces smaller stitches giving the design a more subtle effect and slimmer jacket. This design using smaller needles works well when the chunky bows are added. Again, only four rows are repeated to produce this fine pattern. I really appreciate the practicality of the information the author gives in each pattern. For instance, on every pattern, the author notes the completed measurement for the cosy being knitted. This avoids mishaps when making a cosy for a chosen cup. Of course, the nature of wool is that it affords some stretch but such a small piece needs to be fairly accurate to fit the utensil well.

                          *Cat's Whiskers*

                          Fun, fun, fun! This is how I describe this mug cosy. The bright jackets, one in orange, the other in deep pink have very cute cats head knitted onto the covers. There are even adorable whiskers and green beads for the eyes to furnish them with a credible appearance :~) the author furnish crafters with great gift ideas throughout the book, and this one is no different. Val confirms that 'animal lovers will adore these brightly coloured mug hugs'. She even goes further with hints and tips by saying that the crafter could 'try altering the colours to match your own pet, or with only slight changes to the pattern you could try knitting a mouse, rabbit or dog on the mug hug instead'! I just love the reams of great tips the author gives that inspires such creativity and fun ideas. My grand-tots have a gerbil and two cats, so I can hardly wait to make these for them :~)

                          *Celtic Plait*

                          The charming interlace pattern on these cozies had its origins in the art within the late Roman Empire.[1]In fact, knot patterns first made an appeared in the 3rd & 4th centuries AD and can be seen in Roman floor mosaics of that time. Throughout history, these extraordinary patterns can be found around the globe and have special meaning within many cultures. I love the design for its intricate beauty. As the pattern involves using a cable needle as well as knitting needles, novices to the craft may find it a little tricky but it is well worth the effort. The pattern as well as the usage of number 8 needles makes this a chunky jacket for those cozy nights in front of the fire :~)

                          *Cottage Garden*

                          These colourful cozies have a spring feel to them. The amalgamation of two complimentary colours makes this a fun design. The green yarn for the base and blue wool for the upper section produces a great garden and sky effect. The additional inclusion of embroidered stems with flower buttons sewn flora completes the scene wonderfully well. This design will appeal to garden enthusiast as well as outdoor fans :~) The author affirms that 'these pretty mug hugs are perfect for keeping your drink hot during a well-deserved rest from tending the garden'. My neighbour enjoys gardening very much so I have plenty of time to rustle up this quick-knit before spring as a gift for her :~)

                          *Fair Isle Hearts*

                          I really like the design of these mug hugs with the delicate little strands of alternating hearts along the length of the cozy. This pattern is probably more suited to more experienced knitters as it does involve careful tension control as the yarn for the hearts are carried behind the reverse side of the work. The jackets are knitted using a combination of two yarns. One of the cozies is knitted using pure white wool alongside a poppy red yarn. The other cozy is knitted in a light blue with pink wool for the hearts. The mug hugs certainly furnish a romantic feel but can be made to adorn a beloved cup set or even for that special friend :~) The author has provided a very clear squared chart that makes following the design for the hearts very easy. Instead of marking the book to score off the rows of the chart completed, I prefer to get a separate sheet of paper and write the number rows and tick them off as I go; this book is too lovely to mark!

                          *Coffee and Cream*

                          Now these are truly sumptuous covers with a wonderful cream textured yarn sitting on black wool like a hot chocolate bountifully topped with squirty cream! The mouth- watering picture of two creamy coffees crested with lavishly topped cream, one in deepest black yarn, and the other in burnished fawn looks so appealing to the eyes. My daughter's friend adores making special concoctions of hot chocolate and coffees for their weekly coffee mornings with friends so I will be delighted to knit a few of these awesome cozies. Although the stitch is a simple variation of purl and knit, the change to cream textured wool to look like cream looks amazing. The designs that I have knitted so far have come out well, so a thumbs up to Val for her faultless patterns! :~)

                          *Highland Hugs*

                          This is one design that didn't immediately appeal to me until I read the author's idea that she puts in a little highlighted box onto each photograph! On this mug hug pic Val declares 'hot coffee and marshmallows wrapped in stylish mug hugs - how better to end a brisk walk in the countryside or a day on the ski slopes'! Now armed with that idea I can see how the graceful pattern gives a wonderful hearty appeal. The diamond strands that interlace the cozy band look so effective, especially when knitted using the coordinating colours of lilac and mauve. Although the copper and white cozy doesn't appeal to me as much, any combination colours of choice will furnish a great effect according to one's own taste.

                          *Gold Fish*

                          Another cute offering here that includes little golden fishes knitted in gold-coloured yarn set against the back-drop of an harmonizing coloured wool, here as one cozy in light lime green, the other in a gorgeous deep mauve blue. Where applicable, the charts are presented in a clear black on white format using cross stitch markings to denote where the coloured pattern motifs should appear. The 'make-up' instructions are in a concise uncomplicated manner. This adds to the brief time it takes to make these engaging little mug covers. The author suggests that these could be kept back in a picnic basket for lovely outings. I really appreciate the author's great suggestions for usage throughout the book, and will be taking advantage of these! :~)

                          *Lady's Smock*

                          This is such a pretty mug cozy with its glass beads used to decorate the pattern joins within the design. The arrangement has a traditional feel and the author's tip and photograph presents 'a contemporary twist' to serve tea in China cups :~) The treble garter stitch edging serves well in giving the appearance of a more rounded patterned area that looks like the central areas are slightly bulging out making the pearled beads more of a noticeable feature. The pattern looks more complicated than it actually is another clever twist from the author's adept designs.

                          *Rambling Rose*

                          I certainly agree with the author that these simple but pretty jackets can make one's favourite mugs 'even more eye-catching'! Knitted in a simple and easy moss stitch, it is the rose buds, stems and leaves that are embroidered on afterwards that give this design a tasteful flare. I will probably add a few pearl beads to the center of the roses just to add a little shimmer to the floral arrangement. O every pattern, the author and Search Press have made the sub-headings bold to enable the crafter to locate their place with ease. Unfortunately, as with other book in this series, the font to the text is rather small! :~(

                          *Warm and Woolly*

                          Two alternative designs are given under this title for a mug hug, both of which are really lovely. There is a light sky blue cozy that has a sheep placed in the center of the cover knitted in boucle yarn. I am going to make this jacket for my youngest grand-daughter for her special cup; she loves animal motifs on her clothes and accessories so I think I will be in her good books for this little gem! :~D The other cozy is the one I referred to under 'hints and tips' on page 6 of the book. This one will be for my daughter; a lovely rose bud creatively adorned against the black cover will be a winner with her :~)

                          *Ship Ahoy*

                          A nautical flavour is given to this cheerful cozy. I absolutely love the deep navy blue and pure white alternating stripes with little knitted bunting flags hanging from the upper edge of the cover. I can imagine myself sitting on a beach with family and friends supping warm refreshments out of maritime adorned mugs on a cooling evening. When I first considered purchasing this book, I never imagined how varied the patterns for mug covers could be; the author is one talented woman indeed. This is one of the fundamental reasons that make this book such an excellent buy, the vast singularity of each design.

                          *Strawberry Fair*

                          This is such a delightful cozy with its pretty strawberry pattern and motifs. The additional sunflower buttons added on the second cozy instead of the strawberries look just as cute and summery. In place of a drink, strawberries overflow in a white cup with the gorgeous cover which inspired such inventive ideas. It seems that every page I turn gives my inspiration to get creative! I really cannot believe that this book is being sold at such a great price, it is bursting with originality.

                          *Time for Tea*

                          Although the cozy on this page seems a little too simplistic with its rather plain garter stitch, the cute 'teabag' with flora motif hanging from the upper edge of the cover looks just so adorable. Yet again the author furnishes the crafter with another novel idea of adding 'buttons or motifs to the teabag that reflect their favourite colours, pets, hobbies or interest'. I love to craft personalized items that show I've taken the time and care to produce something that represents their personal interest. This pattern will be in my firm favourites list for sure!


                          Well, this pattern will be right at the top of my favourites list, even before the 'time for tea' design. My youngest daughter adores sunflowers and this one is all about the flora! I love the turquoise yarn mug cover with the accessories of sunflower and bee buttons along with centralized knitted orange sunflower with green leaves. One of the cozies is knitted in a light purple yarn which makes for a stunning back-ground for the attached motifs. The 'country feel' to the mug hugs is simply delightful. As the author says, these 'will cheer up your tea or coffee break whatever the weather'! :~)

                          *Candy Twist*

                          This pattern completes the selection of wonderful cozies. Love, love, and love the design for this fun covers. In fact, the photograph says it all! The covers adorning the cups are displayed against the back-drop of plates laden with Kipling Iced Fancies and liquorish Allsorts. One simple cable runs through the center of a coordinating coloured yarn; simple but effective. To add to the fun, I am going to add tiny cake and sweetie buttons! I was thinking of presenting these little covers when the grand-tots come round for lunch on Sundays :~)

                          ~*~ Would I Recommend? ~*~

                          Absolutely! This is a wonderful book. The ingenious cosies are so varied, and made to not only keep our drinks hot, but can be used to adorn ornate cups that hold berries and other colourful fruits! The majority of patterns can be knitted by beginners though there are a few more challenging designs that include such methods as Intarsia, cable and Fair Isle. But many of the projects are reasonably plain yet dressed up with cute buttons or other accessories. The author furnishes the crafter with many ideas for making these adorable covers, such as gifts. I love the idea for using the finished pieces as fundraisers and suchlike. The book contains enough variations to appeal to a variety of taste from Celtic to floral. I particularly like the animal arrangements on some of the jackets. As a last tip, I will say that it would be prudent to look carefully at the picture of the cup or mug that is used to model your chosen hug, as this will be of great benefit in determining the type of mug or cup it is meant for and also the shape of the handle.

                          I purchased my book via Amazon and it is currently available for only £3.74 and available as a 'delivered free in the UK' item. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Knitted-Mug-Hugs-Twenty-Make

                          Thank you for taking the time to read my hug for your mug review :~) xXx


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                            26.11.2013 06:04
                            Very helpful



                            A beautiful traditional game

                            ~*~Product description ~ "Beyond being merely a game, to enthusiasts Go can take on other meanings: of a nature analogous with life, an intense meditation, a mirror of one's personality, an exercise in abstract reasoning, or, when played well, a beautiful art in which Black and White dance across the board in delicate balance" { Terry Benson~*~

                            Measuring 31cm x 31cm, the Go game's board playing surface is distributed into 361 angles or intersections, 19 by 19; the two players position their stones on the corners of the squares, with the object of surrounding the pebbles of their opponent. This Vectis edition of Go is presented as a medium brown wooden, aesthetically pleasing veneer game board. It is very durable and fairly heavy. The shiny plastic black and white pebbles actually have the appearance of stone ornamental pellets. Even to the touch, the pebbles have a beautifully cool and smooth feel of a masonry mineral!
                            This game comes with excellent instructions of game play and is full of neat diagrams and examples. With cleverly designed slide out drawers for storing the pebbles, which makes for safe and secure containment of the small pieces. Although the game is acknowledged to be suitable for six years upwards, a smaller 13 x 13, or even 9 x 9 will afford an easier game-play for young ones and beginners. Perhaps i should be playing on the 9 x 9!

                            ~*~Game play and Usage experience ~ "The board is a mirror of the mind of the players as the moments pass. When a master studies the record of a game he can tell at what point greed overtook the pupil, when he became tired, when he fell into stupidity, and when the maid came by with tea" {Anonymous Go player~*~

                            Go boards come in three sizes of lines, 9 by 9, 13 by 13 and 19 by 19. 9 by 9 lines is a good size for children as it affords a simpler game. Our board is 19 by 19 lines, appropriate for my son's proficiency, bad for my amateurishness! We start with an empty board. I generally take the black stones, whilst my son plays with the white ones. The object of the Go game is to use the stones to form what is called territories. This is accomplished by surrounding as many vacant areas on the board as possible. Additionally. It is important to capture your opponent's stones by surrounding them; doing this prevents them from expanding on the board! As with chess, general terms often used in military strategic invasions are incorporated in the game play.
                            The player with the black pebbles start first, um cough, that's why I like to choose the black stones! Taking turns, we place one of our stones on a vacant point of our choice; the pebbles are placed on the intersections/corners of the horizontal and vertical lines not inside the squares. As my son often reminds me, once the stone has been played, they are not to be moved but they can be captured, removed from the board, and then kept by the player as their prisoners!

                            Once the game is completed, this is when a player cannot make any more territory and unable to capture any more stones, the player has to pass his go (excuse the pun) handing (or flinging!) the opponent, a pebble as a prisoner. We count one point for every unoccupied point inside our own territory, also, one point for every pebble we have captured. Whoever has the overall total of territory and prisoners is the winner. I have yet to own that title!

                            My son became adept in playing the game of Go by reading on-line strategic game play scripts. Additionally, he played many on-line games with others along with very helpful on-line teaching interactive game play modes, thus developing his game strategies. Initially, I was pretty confused about where to place my pebbles because one can play just about anywhere on the Go board (I admit, I'm not the sharpest knife in the draw! :D) I tend to play using the same format; placing the stones at wide points in an attempt to control as much of the board as possible. The difficulty here is that my son follows up by placing his pebbles around mine. As the game progress' he is able to completely surrounded me and eventually remove my encircled pebbles. If I keep an eye on, and have the opportunity, being my turn, I may be able to escape being encircled by connecting another of my stones.

                            My son taught me to visualize the board into sections. So, by dividing the board firstly in a centre circle, around 5x5 squares from the centre. Think of the board's outer diameters as numbers and letters. A to T would represent the base and top of the board's length, whilst the numbers 1 to 19 would represent the sides. Therefore, the centre circle would cover 5 to 15, and E to P. Visualizing my four corners on the board would cover on the left side, B to E and 2 to 5 and 15 to 18. The corners on the right would cover the same numbers but P to S. Then, the four sides would cover, on the left, 6 to 14 and B to D at its widest oval point, the right incorporating the same numbers but Q to S at its widest oval point. It is vital to 'see' the board as a middle, corners and sides in order to accomplish a good strategy of game-play. With my son's help and gaining experience, I now realize that it is more efficient to surround domains or territories from the corners as opposed to the middle. Both I and my son start our game by trying to claim the corners of the board.

                            Example of one of our games ~ "The difference between a stone played on one intersection rather than on an adjacent neighbor is insignificant to the uninitiated. The master of Go, though, sees it as all the difference between a flower and a cinderblock. Certain plays resonate with a balletic grace, others clunk, hopelessly awkward, and to fail at making the distinction is a bit like confusing the ping of a Limoges platter with the clink of a Burger King Smurfs tumbler" {'From The Challenge of Go: Esoteric Granddaddy of Board Games, by Dave Lowry'!

                            As an example, our games will generally begin by me placing my black stone on the right, no.16 letter Q. My son will follow by placing a white pebble on D 16. Then, Q 4 will be my next choice. D 4 will be my son's next choice. C 10 helps me widen out. My son will copy this play by covering the R 10 line. By covering F 3 I propose to son's D 4 white pebble! C6 helps my son protect this move. C 13 assists me to stay close to my pebble on C 10 but also begin to surround my son's D 16. But to combat my move, my son places his pebble on the D 16 line. D 2 ensures a better corner area for me but covering C 3 gives my son an edge. J 3 lengthens my line whilst R 6 affords my son a new link. Seeing this move, I too widen out with a move to O 4. My son continues his strategy of widening out by moving to R 13. As I do not feel under threat, I have a choice to move to O 17. Sneakily moving to C 15 furnishes my son with a clever link to his D 16 and G 17 stones. I attempt to prevent further links by placing a pebble on the J 17 junction.

                            Therefore, our first four moves around the four corners help us both to begin claiming these territories and expand to the side areas. By this game's openings, all four corners and the sides comparatively belong to either my black or my son's white pebbles. Now this is where I tend to make mistakes, because as I try to claim the corners and the sides because they are fairly easy to obtain initially, I find that it actually can make it more difficult to move toward the centre. Though, if I don't move my pebbles to the middle, it will impede my game-play once an assault is started because, just as in the game of chess, the pebbles in the centre afford an influence to every angle.

                            As the game progress', I find myself occupying B 2, 3, 4 and C 3 corner. Unfortunately, my son has managed to surround me by occupying B 5, C 2 and 4 and D 3 and 4! But as my black is secured by having enough eyes (spaces) where white can't play, my black is blocking my son's white pebbles at the base of the right corner. But, my son's expertise shows when he continues to play cat to my mouse, continually surrounding my efforts to escape being surrounded and neglecting to attack and expand!

                            ~*~I APPOLOGIZE! ~ "You're striving for harmony, and, if you try to take too much, you'll come to grief" {Michael Redmond 'American Go player when 23 years old and already a 5-dan professional'.~*~

                            In order to provide usage experience I needed to give an example. With such games as Chess and Go, this involves rather lengthy formats. I decided not to continue the example any longer than necessary out of fear of readers nodding off! Am I forgiven? :D I hope that you can now appreciate that Go is really an interesting and an exciting game. To get more adept at this exciting game, one has to keep playing regularly. There are many reputable sites in order to learn, spectator and play with other folk. As for the philosophical sub-titles, they relate to Go seen through the eyes of some well respected folk. And of course, it's one of my random flavours I use in my post! You may question whether i am trully sorry, as i've continued to add these extras! :D

                            ~*~Benefits of playing strategic games ~ "Studying go is a wonderful way to develop both the creative as well as the logical abilities of children because to play it both sides of the brain are necessary" {Cho Chikun, 'among the world's strongest players and one of the three great prodigies in Go history'!~*~

                            Strategic games are in fact, an excellent workout for our brains in several ways. Many strategic games involve seeing patterns and using logic. With such games as Go, the players need to analyze each move. This remarkable skillful training can be applied to everyday living situations and problem solving. My son has often referred to life's dilemmas as a game of chess; wise moves affording positive conclusions!

                            Benjamin Franklin, one of the Founding Fathers of the USA, 'a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat' referred to chess, another strategic game alike Go, that folk can learn foresight, 'which considers the consequences that attend an action', Circumspection, 'which surveys the whole scene of action, the possibilities ... the probabilities ... the consequences ', Caution, 'not to move too hastily', and finally, 'the habit of not being discouraged by present bad appearances in the state of our affairs, the habit of hoping for a favorable chance, and that of preserving in the search of resources'! What more excellent benefits could we desire for our dear children, family, friends and ourselves; and such a fun way of obtaining these skills.

                            ~*~Maintenance ~ "Go is to Western chess what philosophy is to double entry accounting" {Shibumi, 'bestseller by Trevanian'.~*~

                            The board simply needs a light polish from time to time. To keep the pebbles grime free and hygienic, I clean them with antiseptic wipes.

                            ~*~Recommend? ~ "Go uses the most elemental materials and concepts -- line and circle, wood and stone, black and white -- combining them with simple rules to generate subtle strategies and complex tactics that stagger the imagination" {Iwamoto Kaoru '9-dan professional Go player and former Honinbo title holder'~*~

                            Absolutely! The fun one derives from this game is second to none in board games; up there with chess if I could play that game half as well! I have gained far more enjoyment the more I've played. There are numerous methods one can take to secure territories which furnishes the game with an ever evolving play. The game can take from an hour or much longer, depending on my ability to withstand my son's ingenuity!
                            We purchased this from Amazon for £25 but it is presently available for the lower price of £22.95. For the excitement and pleasure the game gives, this is a very reasonable price. An exciting, amusing recreational game that affords many more benefits than just participating in a strategic board game!

                            Thank you for taking the time to read my 'concise'!!!! review :~D xXx


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                              08.11.2013 13:39
                              Very helpful


                              • Reliability


                              An excellent affordable digital cordless phone with consumer friendly features

                              ~*~The Product "Call Me Maybe"~*~

                              The fundamental features of this phone are, 'Hands free speaker with volume control, 50 name and number phonebook with copy between handsets, 1.6 Two-line dot matrix display with blue back light, Do not disturb mode and Easy access to call divert, 3 way calling and call waiting'. I have documented these features within the review and my opinion of their attributes. The phone is delivered in BT's latest professional looking contemporary packaging. The box is tastefully covered with details of the products qualities and features. This particular phone was released this year but surprisingly inexpensive. The 'box contains' the 'Handset, Batteries, Base Unit, Charger' and 'User Guide'. http://www.amazon.co.uk/BT-2000-Cordless-DECT-Phone/dp/product

                              ~*~Reason for Purchase "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore"~*~

                              The phone that had to be replaced is the same that I reviewed back in April 2011, the BT Décor 1100 which was a cord phone, a very basic model costing £16. I was so surprise when I came across the BT 2000 Cordless DECT Phone on Amazon for only £4 more! The previous phone's cord had become ridiculously tangled, so much so that the connecting wires frayed and caused connection problems. No amount of careful detangling helped come the end so Splashing out £20 was the only way to go! :~D

                              ~*~My usage experience ~ "Hanging On The Telephone"~*~

                              I felt a little overwhelmed when I first looked online for a cordless phone, with the multiple features that the advertising spiel gives on the copious amounts of products of this nature available but this phone is designed to make using such media so easy!


                              I love the classy stylish appearance of the phone. The phone is situated where the décor has mainly black and white schemes of shades along with silver and black vinyl quotations set on adjoining walls so the predominantly silver base and handset that is set of with co-ordinating black strips looks made to match. I wouldn't say that it truly matters to me to co-ordinate, a home needs to be a 'home' not a show house, but the shades look great so I'm happy with the appearance of the product. The phone is wonderfully light yet feels sturdy enough to cope with little accidents!

                              *Getting Started*

                              Plugging the base plate is child's play as I only needed to turn the plate to the reverse side, and connect the line cord to the socket on the base though connection to the phone wall power mains had to be done once the phone was fully charged! I didn't use the phone for twenty four hours to ensure it was fully charged for uninterrupted usage. I am pleased to say, that unlike so many other products, this phone came with batteries! A little tape separated the batteries from the connections and with one gentle tug, the seal was removed and the handset lit up. The User guide provides brief simple instructions on setting up.


                              As I have gotten older, I dislike fussy intricate novelty features that tend to confuse and complicate rather than make life easier so I instantly fell in love, if that's the correct phrase, for the phone's handset. The buttons are large enough to be easily located in numerical order and the icons are chosen to be clear and simplistic to enable the user to operate the product efficiently with ease; this is exactly how I find the set-up. There are 19 keys on the handset. Just beneath the screen are two small oblong buttons that feel smooth and springy to the touch. I appreciate that the tips of my fingers do not slip off the surface as some inferior designs can cause issues with. Even when I have answered a call with wet hands through rushing from a task in the kitchen, this has had no effect on the rubber button's surface! Here are two white symbols of a tick and an X that is set against the black surface. When I gently press the tick icon to the left of the handset, this will take me to an array of options such as the main menu settings as well as the sub-menu locations of which confirmations are displayed clearly on the screen.

                              Below the two icons are four buttons that range from oblong and square shapes. I can now appreciate why the diverse shapes enhance the consumer's usage experience because even in lower light settings, I can quickly tell that I am pressing the button of choice. The little book icon ensures that I can access contacts quickly. The ^ Vol button is the same button with the v Calls icon but because the link dips between the two alternating icons, I have as yet not experienced any issues of inaccurate dialling. The bright green phone/speaker icon button furnishes me with a luminous like feature to assist me in making calls effortlessly. The crimson red phone down/stop icon is equally handy to locate in an instant. The next buttons are the numerical/lettered buttons, all white set against the black surfaces which I find particularly helpful as my eyesight isn't what it used to be. The numerals are large enough for me not to need my glasses when using but the lettered images are in small font!

                              *Making Calls and storing contacts list*

                              This really couldn't be simpler! For me, simplicity in technological designs is paramount to me, an aging grand-mother! :~D All I need to do to make a call is press the green phone icon, dial the number, then simply press the red phone down icon to end the call. But I only use this for utility calls etc. as storing close contacts is wonderfully easy too. The phone has the capability to store fifty name and number call list (that can even be copied between handsets!) and a twenty number redial list. I haven't stored many numbers in the fifty directories, apart from acquaintances and utility information but my twenty redial lists is full! I have family, friends and numbers like the surgery and children's school stored in this category. I love that at the touch of only a couple of buttons, I can be almost instantly connected. Time is precious and no one wants to be taking even the briefest of times with the boring task of redialling numbers, so this feature is an absolute gem for me.

                              Storing new contacts o the fifty directories is another straightforward task I am thrilled to say. All I need to do is press the little book icon button, select the option tick button, add the new contact I wish to enter, press the tick button once again and the information is stored. Adding details of the contact's name is simply accomplished by using the letters on the keyboard of the handset and pressing the tick icon to confirm. In fact, it is almost identical as texting on a mobile phone; all I need to do is keep pressing the tick icon button until the correct letter for the person's name appears on the screen. Pressing the tick icon saves the information as you go. I have made a few mistakes when entering details, not due the phone's design but my clumsiness! But I only had to press the red X button to erase the inaccurate info.
                              I love the speed dial feature because it is so quick and easy to access. To save a speed dial entry I just press and hold the speed dial button that I want to store the number under, there is a choice of between 2 and 9, and a confirmation tone will register that the task has been accomplished.

                              *Screen and caller display*

                              The screen is small at only 1.6" but because it is lit up be a blue backlit screen I can clearly identify callers and information without any difficulty. In fact, the blue really looks lovely in the evenings with low light settings in the lounge. Whoa ark at me! :~D The light does go off after a brief period if away from the handset but goes on instantly when a call comes through. If you are subscribed to a 'caller display' function this will show up on the screen but I cancelled mine in an endeavour to reduce the utility cost!

                              *Handset Ringer, Melody and Volume*

                              I found setting the ringtone as easy as the aforementioned functions. I just pressed the menu call scroll button to the settings and the ringtones are displayed. By pressing the tick icon I can set my choice. In fact, anything to do with choosing the ringtones, melodies and volume is all done by selecting the menu button and scrolling down the settings that clearly identify options. By simply using the tick feature, I can set, save and so forth. This really is a much uncomplicated design that I have come to appreciate more and more with usage. I normally get my clever son to set technological products but even I can manage this little gem! :~D The reception is excellent no matter which room I am in. For a cordless phone at the price it is being sold for, I am thrilled with the clarity of reception.

                              *User Guide*

                              As guides go, this is pretty meagre in paper, no Amazon Rain forest concerns here! :~) The guide consists of one sheet folded into three. But where the guide lacks in space, it makes up for in its conciseness. There is everything one needs to know to set up and use the phone. I used the 'Check box contents' section to ensure the package had all the components I had ordered. The diagrams are very clear and the instructions are consumer friendly. I will mention here though that I had to put my glasses on to read the small text that surrounded the phone diagrams as the font is around a 8/9 on 'Word' gauging. I have scoured the guide and cannot see anything that a consumer needs to know that has been omitted! But, the manufacturer has still included details of how to obtain more information should the consumer feel they need it. There is even a 'General Information' section with some very practical info such a warnings, disposal and guarantee details.


                              There is even a mute button, which my son uses a little too often! :~) I like to use the mute button so that the phone won't disturb the grand-children in the evenings when they stay over. I would like to add to the notes concerning excellent reception that I made above. The phone has 'an outdoor range of up to 300m & an indoor range of up to 50m combined with a battery life of up to 12hrs talk time or standby for up to 120hrs on a full charge you can be ready to make & receive call with confidence'. Now that is stats that really fit the bill for me as it means that in the summer time when I am out in the garden, I can still make and receive calls without hassle! Eco credentials come as standard with this BT Phone and it's good to know the packaging it comes in is recyclable. "The BT2000 uses a low energy power supply so is kind to the environment as well as your wallet". I need to ensure that cost is kept down so this feature is very practical for me indeed! There is even a clock that is handy so I can make sure I don't chatter on too long! :~D And even an alarm, which my son finds very practical for waking up too. There is a low battery alert signal that helps me avoid running the phone down and charging it up in time. "The new menu structure makes it easy to access a number of really useful BT Calling Features, so it's simple to divert calls to your mobile when you're out of the house, hold a 3 way call with your friends, or accept a call from call waiting. There are also options to Cancel Ring back, Reminder Call, Call Barring and Anonymous Call Reject". http://www.amazon.co.uk/BT-2000-Cordless-DECT-Phone/dp/product

                              ~*~Would I Recommend? "Your phones off the hook but you're not"! :~)~*~

                              Yes, absolutely. This is a really lovely efficient phone with many features that make using the product a delight. My son is looking forward to get another handset so that he can make an internal call to me to get a brew on...a feature I wish the BT 2000 didn't have! :~D The set up 'Wizard' feature is a great asset in quickly starting up with its practical and clear prompts taking the consumer through each step. This phone removes the frustration of coiled cords, restrictive usage in rooms and furnishes the user with many facets that make phone calls an effortless and fun task.

                              The BT 2000 Cordless DECT Phone is currently available through Amazon for £19.00 'Delivered FREE in the UK with Super Saver Delivery'.

                              Thank you for taking the time to read my story on getting mobile with the home phone! :~)


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                                03.11.2013 13:50
                                Very helpful


                                • Reliability


                                A wonderful inexpensive device for reading and lots more!

                                ~*~The Product ~ "The instruction we find in books is like fire. We fetch it from our neighbours, kindle it at home, communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all."~*~

                                The following product specifications are from
                                http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B007HCCOD0. I will be explaining how these and more relate to my personal usage experience of the Kindle.

                                Display: Amazon's 6" E Ink Pearl display with optimized font technology, 167 ppi, 16-level grey scale
                                Size: 166 mm x 114 mm x 8.7 mm
                                Weight: 170 grams
                                System Requirements: None, because it's wireless and doesn't require a computer to download content.
                                On-Device Storage: Up to 1,400 books or 2 GB internal (approximately 1.25 GB available for user content)
                                Cloud Storage: Free cloud storage for all Amazon content.
                                Battery Life: A single charge lasts up to one month with wireless off based upon a half-hour of daily reading time. Keep wireless always on and it lasts for up to three weeks. Battery life will vary based on wireless usage, such as shopping the Kindle Store, web browsing, and downloading content.
                                Charge Time: Fully charges in approximately 3 hours via the included USB 2.0 cable. UK power adapter sold separately.
                                Wi-Fi Connectivity: Supports public and private Wi-Fi networks or hotspots that use the 802.11b, 802.11g, or 802.11n standard with support for WEP, WPA and WPA2 security using password authentication or Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS); does not connect to WPA and WPA2 secured networks using 802.1X authentication methods; does not support connecting to ad-hoc (or peer-to-peer) Wi-Fi networks.
                                Content Formats Supported: Kindle Format 8 (AZW3), Kindle (AZW), TXT, PDF, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, DOCX, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion
                                Documentation: Quick Start Guide (included in box) [PDF]; Kindle User's Guide (pre-installed on device) [PDF].
                                Warranty and Service: Kindle is sold with a worldwide limited warranty of one year provided by the manufacturer. If you are a consumer, the limited warranty is in addition to your consumer rights, and does not jeopardise these rights in any way. This means you may still have additional rights at law even after the limited warranty has expired (for further information on your consumer rights, click here). Use of Kindle is subject to the terms found here.
                                Included in the Box:Kindle, USB 2.0 charging cable, and Quick Start Guide

                                ~*~My Usage Experience ~ "To waken interest and kindle enthusiasm is the sure way to teach easily and successfully."~*~

                                My son purchased this for me as a gift and has now announced he wants to up-date this for a more elaborate model. But I am so happy with my Kindle. I feel that Amazon has done very well in efforts to keep this a very competitively priced ereader by keeping the features simple.

                                ~ 'From Start to finish'~

                                When I received the sturdy card board package form Amazon, inside the device was securely contained in an ivory coloured plastic recyclable container that fitted around the shape of the Kindle. The screen was covered with a plastic film to prevent damage to the surface. Surprisingly so, apart from the 'quick-start' guide that came with the Kindle, it does not actually contain much detail. There are instructions on how to charge up the kindle but little else on the functions of the gadget.

                                I found far more beneficial material about the Kindle's features by logging onto Amazon! As my Son is very good with technology this didn't pose a problem for me. My Son went through each setting and feature with me and then he asked me to operate the various Kindle functions to ensure I could comfortably use it with confidence. But for those that need to start from scratch, there is actually a wonderful comprehensive manual stored on the actual Kindle.

                                This manual that is stored in digital format on the Kindle itself is entitled 'Kindle User's Guide' and it is so clear and extensive. I just click on the link and the first page immediately appears. The introductory paragraph states that the 'guide will familiarize you with many Kindle features, and can generally be read in' a brief time. It contains everything you need to know in getting started and finding your way around the device. If my patient Son hadn't been available at the time to take me through the Kindle's features, these easy to comprehend instructions would soon have got me up and running.

                                ~ 'Weight Loss'~

                                My Kindle is a fair bit lighter than the more complex designed ereaders. It weighs in at 168g which is so light to hold. When I am lying in bed reading from the kindle, I do not need to rest the gadget against anything. The feathery lightness of this device is so easy to hold whist I'm reading, at times, for long periods. As a comparison, it is only 29g heavier than Apple's iPhone 4, a mere 137g. But what is rather ironic is, that despite its lightness, this little tool is pretty robust! I have dropped it on laminate flooring and the plastic exterior has shown no signs of damage and there has been no indications of internal harm either. But I don't think the Kindle could cope with consistent accidents. BTW best not tell my Son this happened! :~)

                                ~ 'Low Key' and 'Font of all Knowledge'! ~

                                To access the keyboard I need to use the access button for this feature to activate the on-screen keyboard. There are two tiny circular buttons each, either side of a larger square button. The one next to the central button to the left of the kindle has a miniature keyboard symbol, this is the one that when lightly pressed will bring up the screen's keyboard. This feature takes no more than a little over 3" in length x 1 �" in height on the lower part of the screen.

                                Unfortunately, there is no touch screen feature to be found on this gadget as in contemporary phones etc. But, the numbers, letters and symbols are very easy and quick to locate, simply by tapping the arrow keys that go in four directions, north-east-south-west! To close the keyboard from the screen, I only need to touch the same circular button I tapped to gain entry of the feature. The keys are arranged in an a less convenient alphabetical format which I first felt a little disappointed as I am used to the QWERTY setting on my keyboard connected to the computer. But it was surprising to me how quickly one gets used to a change in format after regular use of the Kindle. Sadly, the display is only in black and white so it does lack visual variety appeal that colour would furnish.

                                Another feature that I love about my Kindle is the practical font size and font style choice. I can choose between a full eight font sizes and three font styles. I like a larger font as I normally read when I go to bed. I am generally tired so I can increase the font size by clicking onto the book I am reading, press the button next to the 'home' button on the far right. A box comes onto the screen and I scroll down to the second setting 'change font size' using the square central button, then I press the center of the same button revealing the font sizes available. If I want to read during the day or in better lighting, I don't even need to use my glasses! :~)

                                ~Kindle Store, Wi-Fi, magazines and newspapers~

                                I will begin under this sub-heading by mentioning that although my Kindle may seem rather sparse in memory, '2 GB internal, approximately 1.25 GB available for user content' as opposed to the maximum 32gb on the previously mentioned Kindle Fire HD, I can still store so many books that it would take me over four years reading a book a day! So I am very content with the memory my simple Kindle affords. This Kindle gives me full access to the online Kindle Store. I am thrilled that I can download an amazing amount of material. As an example, the Kindle can hold 'up to 1,400 books'! I love logging into Amazon as there is an enormous selection of books. In fact, Amazon states that I have 'Over 1.5 million books, newspapers, and magazines' at my disposal! I can choose classics, older novels, latest releases and so much more. I can pay from nothing to as much as I can afford on books.

                                One particular utility that I am really enthused by is that once I have purchased a book for my Kindle, I can read it from other equipment such as an iPhone or the PC. Having several choices available to me to view the material means that not only can I choose where and how I want to read the book but it doesn't cost me any extra. Owning my basic but flexible Kindle means that I don't need to go out to visit my local library if I choose not to. Amazon have made available a 'Prime membership' facility so that, even with my cheaper version I can choose from over 200,000 books to borrow, one each month for free. I am able to purchase a wide variety of newspapers such as 'The Telegraph'; I can even buy newspapers on subscription. There are a copious amount of magazines available to buy. I love the 'Real Food and Health' magazine that is only �1.49p a month! All I need to do is log onto http://www.amazon.co.uk, click on 'Kindle Store' in the search bar, and choose which category I want.

                                My Son downloaded 'Aesop's Fables' for free on my behalf. I obtained 'The Critique of Pure Reason', also free on the Amazon Kindle book store. I have since down loaded many more books. I even purchased some very reasonably priced quiz books to play on the Kindle. I am able to access the Kindle Store directly from my Kindle with my live Wi-Fi connection, downloading straight to the instrument in a matter of moments. Of course, one can also buy the eBooks from their PC and then transfer them to their Kindle via a USB cable, but the former is so much less fuss! Charging my Kindle is simple; I just use the same USB cable.

                                ~ 'The Energizer Bunny got arrested. He was charged with battery'!~

                                Apparently, this model has a reduced battery life from other more expensive ones such as the Kindle Fire HD which has an impressive 'Long battery life, with over 11 hours of reading, surfing the web on Wi-Fi, watching video, or listening to music on a single charge'. But I really don't find this presents me with a real problem as with a claimed three weeks of life with Wi-Fi on or a month with Wi-Fi off, this isn't be a big problem at all.
                                When I fully charge up my Kindle it will last up to two weeks with me reading an hour per day. But, if I keep the wireless on, it last even longer! I will say though, that when I have used the Kindle to browse online shopping, downloading etc., the battery life soon depletes. I tend to use my PC for things like online shopping so this doesn't really pose a problem. If I did want to use the internet through the Kindle, I'd like to apply it for games but this basic Kindle doesn't have the utilities to accommodate this kind of usage. I normally look on the large monitor of my PC to choose books from Amazon for my Kindle so my battery life is conserved for a good amount of time.

                                If I'm babysitting over my daughter's house, I will often take my Kindle and I can read for a considerable time without ever having concerns over the battery running low. But be warned, if you do require more storage space, there is no memory slot facility on this Kindle to add more! Another issue I feel is worth mentioning is that this Kindle, perhaps surprisingly though, does not have an audio player feature so I'm unable to listen to audiobooks or even music! This is quite frustrating to me as I do enjoy listening to audio books. I also enjoy listening to classical and similar music as a lovely background to reading. Concerning the safety of the battery, it must only be replaced 'by an authorized service provider' otherwise the warranty could become void. More information on this can be found at www.kindle.com/support.

                                ~ 'On the Silver Screen' & 'Reading between the lines' ~ Screen and reading~

                                The Kindle's 5" x3 �" screen (Kindle size 6.5" x 4.5" x 0.34") seemed a little too small for me at first, but I soon got used to the miniature monitor. I find that the text is bold and legible enough to read without difficulty, no doubt due to the effective 600 x 800 pixel resolution. But I will say that, probably due to my age and sight, I find the screen's background to be a little too dim in low lighting situations and there is no facility on this Kindle to adjust the contrast! So my Son purchased a 'Kandlo' light, a rather expensive (�10) clip on feature to illuminate the screen. Since I have this light that attaches easily to the Kindle, I have no problems whatsoever in seeing the text clearly.

                                I love that there is so little glare from reflections from natural daylight so I can read it out doors when I'm sitting in a park and so forth. If I find that the illusive Sun appears, a simple angling of the device rectifies any loss in being able to see the text clearly. As I mentioned under the sub-heading 'Keyboard and Fonts' that I can change the size of the text to whichever suits my requirements. But another excellent aspect of this Kindle is that I can even 'adjust the size of the spaces between lines of text' also! Added to this, I can adjust 'the number of words displayed on each line' too. Some material has rather poor formatting so I have found this to be a very helpful and practical benefit.

                                The Kindle has a feature called the 'whispersync' which locates where I last read from. I love this, as I never need to be concerned about losing my page if I have to turn off the Kindle in a hurry. This feature can also be combined with other technical gadgets such as an iPad. This practical feature will keep track of the page I was on, no matter which devise I was reading from at the time, and I can pick up from where I left off using a different device! The manual states how to synchronize the different devices to accommodate this superb tool.

                                ~ 'A real page turner' ~ Turning Pages~

                                Turning pages on my Kindle is quite good too. Although the length of the forward turning pages is a very slim line bar, it is a good 1" and can be accessed equally well for left and right handed users as there is a bar either side of the Kindle. But I found the reverse pages turning bar at only 15cm in length and right beside the forward page turning bar far too impractical. I often end up pressing the wrong bar to the one I want as they are connected but for a 1mm space! It is during the times when I am reading in bed that poses the real difficulty as the Kindle light is too dim to light up anything other than the screen, so the side panels are in virtual darkness. Although I have my clip on torch, I don't often stop reading to locate the bar to turn the page so the fluidity is lost when I have to look away from the screen or adjust the pages turned by mistake by pressing the incorrect bar! It would have been a better design if the forward and reverse page turning panel bars were located further apart and perhaps, colour coded.

                                ~ 'Take Care' ~

                                The internal manual on the Kindle does advise to ensure that the device never comes into contact with water so I make sure that I never take it into the bathroom to read as I would a magazine or book while soaking in the bath. Furthermore, the manufacturers warn the consumer not to spill food on the Kindle either. I love reading while I'm having a meal or snack but I do not do this with the Kindle to safeguard it from damage. If you do suffer an accident with fluids or food the manual has very clear instructions on what to do.
                                I only use a dry soft cloth to wipe the screen and casing of my Kindle. If the Kindle is a little grimy from finger prints, I will sometimes use a moist baby wipe but only for the casing, not the screen. I have kept my Kindle in a hand-crafted soft material bag but intend to purchase a Kindle cover soon. The Kindle, like most technical devices, must not be exposed to extreme conditions such as intense hot or cold environments. To ensure this, I keep my Kindle away from the kitchen, bathroom and various heat sources as radiators.

                                There is a one year limited warranty on the Kindle provided by Amazon. Full warranty information is provided in the Kindle's internal digital manual. There is even 'Parental Controls' which allow me to restrict access to the Kindle Store etc. so I can give my Kindle to my grand-children to use without any concerns. Out of concern for others, the Kindle should not be in operation 'where RF signals could constitute a hazard, such as health care facilities and construction sites'.

                                ~ 'Share and share alike' ~ Sharing Highlights! ~

                                I love that I can even link my Kindle up to social network accounts such as Facebook and Twitter so that I can share thoughts, highlights and notes from my eBook. Some books I've installed are textbooks that have been highlighted. There is a function, obtained by the box logo button right side of the central square button, where I can disable the high-lighted sections. I am also able to high-light my own chosen parts which I have found so handy. I have been able to highlight material that I wanted to take particular note of so that when I return to the pages in question, I can locate instantly what I wanted to make special note of. For example, in a cookery book, I have highlighted favourite recipes. In a magazine, I highlighted a quote that I found particularly thought provoking and inspirational.

                                The highlight function is accessed very simply. I place the cursor where I want to highlight, and then I press the center button which then allows me to select the 'start highlight' feature. But, this feature doesn't end there. To enable me to cut, paste, share or whatever I wish to do with the highlighted sections, the Kindle will save these to the 'home' screen under 'My clippings', how neat is that? It's like have a folder with file sections of several categories but without the space it would need and fuss of riffling through to find! As this is digital, I can edit (delete and export my notes too) and write, just like I do in the margins of my study text books. I can add such notes using the same buttons. I have made several notes as adding reference pages from another book that would co-ordinate well with the material I am studying or researching. No paper, ink or energy wastage here :~)

                                ~ 'Word Up'~

                                The dictionary is an especially practical tool I use time and again. I can bring up the dictionary from the tiny tool bar instantaneously to find out the definition of a word on the page I am reading. The Kindle gives me two respected dictionaries to choose from, The Oxford Dictionary of English and The New Oxford American Dictionary. For instance, the latter dictionary being very handy when I'm reading American reference literature. All I need to do is place the cursor over the word I want defined and the definition immediately shows on the screen. I can even use my five-way controller to elaborate thus obtaining a 'full definition'.

                                ~ 'Time waits for no man'~

                                I get carried away when I am reading so being able to set the time feature is so convenient. All I have to do is press the Menu button and the time is shown at the top of my screen.

                                ~ 'You've Got Mail'~

                                I have even been able to send material from me e-mail account to my Kindle! The documents are even stored in my 'archived items' ready for me to see at a less than moment's notice. I have used this function to send attachments my daughter has sent me to look at. If I'm in a hurry, I simply send the e-mailed material to view on my Kindle whilst travelling. That way, there isn't any extra draining on the Kindle's battery.

                                ~ 'Lost In Translation'~

                                I am currently learning Italian. I can change the language on the device to help me practice. Even my oldest grand-son finds this feature fascinating. A friend of mine recently gave him a little brochure on languages as he showed much interest; he used my Kindle to combine the two.

                                ~ "Personally identifiable information" ~ Personalize~

                                My name is featured in the upper corner of the left hand side of the Kindle which I found to be a fun novelty feature that I easily obtained by going to the 'settings' page, selecting the 'settings' from my home screen menu. I used the center button's arrows on the Kindle to locate the options and customize my device. There is a section whereby I can leave personal information. I feel this is an excellent idea as I have left my contact numbers and e-mail should I lose the Kindle, an honest :~) person will be able to notify me where I had left it to enable me to retrieve the apparatus.

                                ~ 'Zoom In'~

                                The screen is small so this could pose difficulties, especially when I need a close up image such as in my nursing manuals. No problem! I am able to increase the size of the image on the page by using the five way controller to place the cursor over the picture, a cute magnifying glass appears with a + sign. I then use the five way controller to zoom in. This function can also be used to view web pages, and believe me; it is small so I need to use this utility!

                                ~ 'Feeling Tired' ~

                                To save the battery if the machine is left unattended or not in use, the Kindle automatically goes into 'sleep mode' after 10 minutes. I have found this function ideal. When I have been called on the phone or distracted, I do not worry about the battery, as this facility will conserve the 'battery life by turning off the wireless connection'. The power button is located at the base of the Kindle as a small slightly protruding button. When I come back to my Kindle I simply turn it on by the power button as normal.

                                Pros: Light, inexpensive, excellent Kindle Store. Compatible with Kindle [AZW], PDF (in which the free eBooks are normally in), TXT, HTML, PRC natively, DOC through conversion, unprotected MOBI. Eight font sizes. Multi-book marking and highlighting feature. In-built dictionaries. Ample memory for my needs.

                                Cons: No Touchscreen facility may be a problem for some users. No colour screen, memory card slot and audio features. Viewing PDF files can be inconvenient & a little difficult at times! The forward and reverse page turning panel bars are too close together.

                                ~*~Would I Recommend? ~ 'Kindling a fire! ~*~

                                Yes I certainly would recommend this product. I am very impressed with the Kindle. Combined with the extensive range of books available via Amazon it makes for an excellent ereader. The overall features of this Kindle are very good; offering a wide range of uses for various usages. Loading an eBook is very simple and quick. The quality of the screen and its lighting is good for reading material but I support this with my click on Kandlo torch in the evenings when I'm reading in low lighting environments. There are so many ways to customize this Kindle that folks can easily utilize it for their personal requirements. With innovative features as highlighting, adding notes and editing, this is a tool that is of great benefit to students too.
                                My Kindle was purchased from Amazon but both PC World and Currys are also selling this device for the same price of �69 which apparently includes delivery also.

                                Thank you for taking the time to read my review :~)


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                                  03.11.2013 13:37
                                  Very helpful



                                  A lovely hand wash but fragrance could be stronger as with lather too!

                                  ~*~The Product~ 'backhanded compliment'!~*~

                                  The 500ml product comes in a plastic transparent container with a silver metal neck and black pump dispenser. The company name is written in a beautiful bold Castellar font. The container details the usual type of information for this type of product such as ingredients, directions for use, shelf life and safety guidelines. I have noted the ingredients in case consumers with skin sensitivity need to be aware of certain components in their hand wash. Worthy of mention is that the product has a twelve month shelf life, but unless there was such an amazing offer on worthy of buying copious amounts, like me, you'd probably need to replace the hand wash within a week or two of purchasing!

                                  The ingredients consist of Aqua (Water), Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamide DEA, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Parfum (Fragrance), Benzophenone-4, Glycerin, Benzyl Alcohol, Citric Acid, Methylchloroisothiazolinone, Magnesium Chloride, Methylisothiazolinone, Magnesium Nitrate, Ascorbic Acid, Panthenol, Retinyl Palmitate, Limonene, CI 19140 (Yellow 5), CI 15985 (Yellow 6).
                                  The Directions for Use are concise, unlike my reviews! :~D Simply 'Apply to moist skin, lather and rinse well'. Concerning safety information, the manufacturer states that consumers need to 'Avoid contact with eyes. If product gets in eyes, rinse immediately with clean warm water'.

                                  ~*~The Company ~ 'Get the upper hand'! ~*~

                                  This product is one of the many diverse ranges that this well-known company supplies to stores, pharmacies among others. I didn't realise that the company also supply 'many retailers own brand lines' too. The company also state that 'many large department stores and fashion retailers seek' their 'expertise to source their own brand bath, body and cosmetic products. Full production from formulation development, packaging design and distribution are offered in this bespoke service'!

                                  I was also surprised to read that as the company have 'a presence as the licence manufacturer in the bath and body market with exclusive offerings is also a strong hold for' them as 'aimed mainly but not exclusively at children' their 'diverse range includes Mr Men and Little Miss, Timmy Time, Jelly Belly, Peter Rabbit and Thomas The Tank Engine'. I had no idea that this company is the manufacturer behind many of these popular ranges!

                                  'Based in Redditch' their 'design and development facilities are incorporated within a state of the art, purpose built distribution centre. This 150,000 sq. foot base ensures ideal storage facilities for the wide variety of products. The sales networks are supported by a fully computerised stock control and purchasing system. This is crucial as' they say, because the company 'produce in excess of 15 million bottles of bath gel, ten million soaps and 12 million body scrubs each and every season'!

                                  The company's contact details are as follows:
                                  Baylis and Harding plc.
                                  Nash Road
                                  Park Farm
                                  B98 7AS

                                  ~*~My Usage Experience~ 'Putty in hands'! ~*~

                                  *Reason for purchase*

                                  I love the stylish appearance of Baylis & Harding products but tend to steer away from purchasing as they tend to be pricier than store named brands. As Sainsbury's are currently selling these hand washes on offer, I eagerly ordered them on my online shop. I love the bouquet of fruity aromas in such products so I happily arranged for the 'mandarin and grapefruit' hand wash to be delivered.

                                  *The container's appearance*

                                  As Leonardo da Vinci once quoted "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." And the design on the bottle certainly speaks elegance and style. The familiar large black bold Castellar font against the bright yellow contents oozes refinement. The container could easily pass for an expensive Harrods top toiletry product. Because the container doesn't bombard consumers with copious amounts of information and images, the product wouldn't look out of place in the rest rooms of an expensive renowned hotel. There is only one logo on the reverse side of a mustard coloured mosaic circular symbol. The material that is tastefully placed on the container is relevant and in my opinion, all that is required.

                                  *The content's appearance*

                                  I love the colour yellow; it makes me feel optimistic, uplifted and happy. With its soft lemon hue, the contents of this product appeal to me as a pure and wonderfully warm cleansing hand wash.

                                  *Ease of use*

                                  The pump action dispenser is very flexible to use. A simple twist to the 'open' mark produces an easy to depress lever. I keep the pump nozzle on the 'open' position because the contents remain intact without overflowing or dripping after each use. The fluid comes out in a gentle flow around the size of a fifty pence piece per pump action. I am pleased that the pump only releases a small amount when used by my grand-children; the grand-tots tend to be overly enthusiastic when it comes to toiletries! But when I use the hand wash I tend to use the pump twice to furnish me with enough of the fluid to be effective on my larger hands!

                                  *The Scent*

                                  Umm, this is where I was in for a surprise or more like a disappointment. I thought that as the manufacturer had listed one of the aromas as mandarin that I would perceive a wonderfully sweet orangey scent. But no, I could not detect a mandarin fragrance at all. As for noticing a striking citrus bouquet from the grapefruit component, well this eluded me too! In fact, instead of a fruity aroma it gives off an odour similar to spicy incense sticks. When I asked my son if he could detect a specific balm, he said sandalwood! So there you have it, the perfume to this hand wash is so delicate, so incredibly subtle that it is very difficult to define an exact aroma. I feel that the fragrance can be summed as slightly floral with an undertone of a woody base. Although the scent is certainly not abhorrent in any way, it is simply too weak and faint to leave a definite impression. Even after washing with the product, the dainty scent dissipates leaving no noticeable essence other than a 'clean' bouquet on the skin.
                                  1/5 (The scent is not undesirable simply not noticeable!)

                                  *The Feel*

                                  The liquid has a soft and gentle feel against my hands, so much so that I initially wondered whether the hand wash would be effective enough as a cleansing product! My grand-children also use this hand wash when they visit and it is certainly gentle to the touch for even the smallest of hands! I love the gel honey like consistency that remains on the hands without dripping onto the basin, thus being economical too.

                                  *The Lather*

                                  You will be disappointed if you prefer copious suds and lather to your hand washes as this product only produces a fine understated white foam. I do like plenty of froth and suds to hand washes generally but as long as the soap is effective it really isn't a problem for me. Although having said that, if I have been out in the garden working hard on clearing and tidying task I find that I need to apply far more hand wash to afford enough cleansing action!
                                  3/5 (Low mark if one prefers more bountiful lather!)


                                  Where the scent and lather disappoints, the effectiveness as a cleansing agent doesn't. The hand wash works well at cleaning my hands from debris such as when I have done arts and crafts with the grand-tots using such items as glue and sticky tapes. The hand wash successfully removes food odours such as garlic. There are no signs left from task undertaken such as messy gardening or housework. The fluid does leave a slight tacky feel but not so much as to be distracting or uncomfortable. I have found no sensitivity problems using this product.

                                  ~*~Would I recommend? ~' shows of hands! ~*~

                                  As an effective cleansing agent I most definitely would recommend this product. As an added bonus, the product has a lovely sophisticated appearance that would enhance bathroom shelves. The colour is bright and cheerful. The disappointment is that the fragrance is far too subtle, leaves no after bouquet on the skin and is difficult to discern the scent components. The lather is very delicate and may not appeal to consumers who prefer more generous foam like substance. I wouldn't fork out on the hand wash on full price but certainly very happy to spend that little extra that I normally would on store ranges when the hand wash is on offer!
                                  The Baylis & Harding sweet mandarin & grapefruit cleansing 500ml hand wash is currently on a 33% saving from £2.00 to £1.33.

                                  Thank you for taking the time to read my review on this 'Soap Opera'! :~)


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