Book Review: Woolbuddies

Woolbuddies: 20 Irresistibly Simple Needle Felting Projects

You can see how cute these Woolbuddies are. You’re not going to believe how easy it is to make them! Tired of searching for special toys that weren’t mass-produced, former Lucasfilm animator Jackie Huang created the beloved Woolbuddy, a collection of all-natural stuffed animals that reflect his unique imaginative vision. He went on to capture fans at craft fairs, Comic-Con, and specialty boutiques. Here Huang teaches readers, using just some wool and a needle, how to needle felt a wide-eyed owl, a toothy shark, a fuzzy sheep, a towering giraffe, and more. With step-by-step instructions and helpful how-to photographs, crafters can create clutchable keepsakes to be instantly enjoyed and forever cherished.
Review:
I wanted to learn needle felting and was lucky enough to come across this book — I absolutely love it.
It starts with instructions for the basic techniques and tools, something I found invaluable and easy to follow. Then there are 20 projects divided by skill level. There are photos clearly showing how to do each step. I also love the Woolbuddy projects — they are fun and interesting, and kind of cartoonish. Both kids and adults really like them and there is lots of room for variation and personal touches.
I highly recommend this book for beginners, especially if you are not looking for realistic looking projects. The techniques are all clearly laid out and there are a good variety of projects to choose from. This is now my go-to book when I’m looking for inspiration for needle felting.

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Book Review: Writing the Natural Way

Writing the Natural Way: Turn the Task of Writing into the Joy of Writing

For those who yearn to write but falter at the sight of a blank page, the unique, student-proven techniques in Writing the Natural Way will help unlock natural writing style and storytelling abilities. First published in 1983, this popular classic has been revised with five completely new chapters and a wealth of field-tested exercises. Since 1973, Dr. Gabriele Rico has pioneered a dramatically different approach to writing that releases creative potential by tapping a rarely accessed part of the brain. Writing easily, meaningfully, and spontaneously is a simple matter of flowing with, rather than resisting, the mind’s natural cooperative rhythms. By abolishing formal rules and quelling the painful inner critic, Writing the Natural Way helps writers of all levels acquire the spontaneity and ease of uninhibited self-expression.
Review:
I absolutely love this book. I’ve actually had it for years and have dabbled with it off and on, always finding the exercises useful, but recently decided to read it cover to cover and do the exercises at the same time. I really enjoyed it and found something useful in every chapter, and even ended up with some decent work. More importantly, I kept my creative juices flowing.
Rico bases her work on right and left brain differences, what she calls Sign and Design mind. She uses a process called clustering to access that part of the brain that sees patterns and to (temporarily) bypass the internal editor in order to get ideas down on paper. She is a proponent of playing while writing and trying to re-discover that child-like wonder that many of us have forgotten.
For me, this is a wonderful approach, as I like to get my ideas down, get the words on the paper, play with words, and then edit it later. I found myself often coming full circle and making interesting, just like she said natural writing often does. And most of the exercises take 5 minutes or less.
I highly recommend this book for new and experienced writers. Rico’s approach is fun and easy — deceptively so, teaching us to trust ourselves and our brains to make connections and write from a natural place. As she illustrates in her book, this method works for both children and adults. If you are a writer and have ever experienced writer’s block, don’t know where to begin, or are looking to explore your creativity, I highly recommend checking out this book.

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Zeus

I’ve been working hard on getting healthier, and one of the things I’ve been doing is reading Writing the Natural Way by Gabriele Rico, as well as doing the exercises. I highly recommend this book, by the way — lots of deceptively simple exercises and information about how the brain works. I thought it would be fun to start sharing some of these poems here on my blog.

Today I wrote a poem following the structure of another poem, in this case, Portrait VIII by e.e. cummings. His poem was about Buffalo Bill. I’ve chosen Zeus from ancient Greek myth.

Zeus

 

Zeus is

     king

     who can take any form

     to seduce whoever strikes his

          fancy

     and wield onetwothreefourfive thunderbolts

          justlikethat

     By the gods!

he was powerful

          once

          sitting on his throne in Olympus

               governing all

but where is he

Now?

 

 

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Writing Tips to Get Your Creative Juices Going

I’ve compiled a list of writing tips for the teen writing workshop I’m doing next week and thought I’d share. I wanted the kids to have something to take home to help with ideas when they’re feeling stuck.

Anyone have any favorite tips?

creative-juice-box

Some ideas for getting your creative juices going: Read more

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