Maribeth C. (mbcinhouston) - Reviews

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1,001 Gardening Secret The Experts Never Tell You
1,001 Gardening Secret The Experts Never Tell You
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 1/27/2010


I've started browsing through, and not sure if I'm going to keep it or not. The secrets are numbered, and categorized in chapters - so if you're looking for something in particular, you kind of have to look around the entire section. About half the "secrets" are common sense gardening, if you've ever done any kind of garden work before, you already know them. Lots of tips on frugal gardening included, which is kind of nice.


200 Sewing Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets: An Indispensable Compendium of Technical Know-How and Troubleshooting Tips (200 Tips, Techniques & Trade Secrets)
Review Date: 12/7/2010
Helpful Score: 1


Wonderful reference. The book includes wonderful photos plus descriptions of different needles and their uses; different machines; and of course, multiple techniques to solve common sewing problems.

Sections include useful tools (some of which I've never heard of, and I've been an amateur seamstress for 20 years), troubleshooting your machine with photos of skipped stitches, puckering, etc, for easy identification; hand smocking; embellishments including instructions on how to make fabric flowers; underlinings; edges; minor repairs.

This is a must-have reference book for everyone who sews.


365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do with Your Child
365 TV-Free Activities You Can Do with Your Child
Author: Steve Bennett, Ruth Bennett
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 45
Review Date: 1/28/2011
Helpful Score: 1


This is a nice standby reference book - small enough to keep in your purse or diaper bag. Some of the activities are old standbys, some are new for us, but it's just really nice to have them all in one place.


All Dolled Up: Sewing Clothes and Accessories for Girls and Their 18-Inch Dolls
Review Date: 12/7/2010


Three stars for the book, six stars for the DVD that comes with it.

The patterns are ok, the instructions ok, I wasn't crazy about most of the styles shown in the book - they weren't classical enough for my taste, and the skirts ran a bit short.

On the other hand, there are FANTASTIC hints about picking patterns and materials; patterns are sized for the American Girl Doll with adjustments for Bitty Baby; and for girls size 4 and 6.

The DVD is FANTASTIC. Rather than trying to puzzle out the written instructions, the DVD takes you step by step through how to construct EVERYTHING in the book. If you like Sewing with Nancy on PBS, you'll love watching Nancy tell you how to turn a pair of old jeans into a spectacular skirt and vest for doll and girl.


The Backyard Homestead: Produce All The Food You Need On Just A Quarter Acre!
Review Date: 4/18/2012
Helpful Score: 1


This homesteading really does focus mostly on food production in your yard. The various planting layouts are helpful, as are the detailed farming instructions. This is an EXCELLENT book for a beginning gardener who wants to homestead.

Good instructions, yield information, and preservation information. Information in zones 8 and 9 is pretty limited, though.

All in all, it's worth a spot on your shelf.


The Big Secret for the Small Investor: A New Route to Long-Term Investment Success
Review Date: 8/17/2011


This is a very fast read, and I'll summarize it here: Value Weighted Index Funds, and "hang in there" are the answer.

You're still probably going to want to read this book - to get the "whys" answered, in a very clear and concise manner.


The Chaos Crystal (Tide Lords, Bk 4)
The Chaos Crystal (Tide Lords, Bk 4)
Author: Jennifer Fallon
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
 3
Review Date: 6/26/2011


Spectacular ending to the series, and it tied up all the loose knots.


The City Homesteader: Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage
The City Homesteader: Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage
Author: Scott Meyer
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 4/14/2012
Helpful Score: 2


By far, my favorite urban homesteading book.

Why? Because it's FRUGAL. You don't have to go out and spend hundreds of dollars to save tens of dollars, with the suggestions in this book (like most of the other urban homesteading books I've found).

Sections include gardening, including which crops are "most efficent" at getting the most produce for your space; preserving foods; working with animals in the city; and home care (including cleaning, laundry, pest control, etc).

It's very specific, suggesting, for example, which breeds of chickens are best suited to how much back yard you have, and including instructions and recipes on making your own flypaper, soap, cleaners, home remedies, and more.

This is definately a great reference book, and would also make a lovely housewarming gift.


Closet Monsters: Stitch Creatures You'll Love from Clothing You Don't
Review Date: 12/7/2010


I'd give this six stars if I could.

This book has excellent illustrations, and great ideas, for making monsters out of old clothes. It gives you step by step instructions, on how to deconstruct a variety of clothing, and how to reconstruct it into the monsters. The instructions for cutting the pieces are very clear, and nothing has to be exact, or measured.

You can easily mix and match bits of pieces to create your own custom masterpiece monsters. I love this book.


Conned Again, Watson! Cautionary Tales of Logic, Math, and Probability
Review Date: 5/8/2010


I don't like math.

I loved this book. It amazingly puts forth Sherlock Holmes style mysteries, that are solved with practical applications of logic, math, and basic probability solutions. A very few charts are included, to help illustrate the point.

Highly recommend this one!


The CPCU Handbook of Insurance Policies 6th Edition
The CPCU Handbook of Insurance Policies 6th Edition
Author: AICPCU
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
 1
Review Date: 5/26/2011


As an insurance geek, I love this book. It's much more clearly written than the 5th edition. I will use it a lot.


Cross Stitch Fairies: Over 50 Enchanting Designs
Cross Stitch Fairies: Over 50 Enchanting Designs
Book Type: Paperback
  • Currently 1.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/14/2010


This is a great book for beginning stitchers, with a few caveats. There are maybe THREE large charts in here. The vast majority, are under 50 x 60, and the alphabet letters are about 50 x 35. It's all whole stitches, with some backstitching. I DON'T like that most of the charts are just colored squares - very few symbols, except in the largest chart (I prefer symbols to colored squares).

The cover fairy is BY FAR the prettiest one.

A large number of those "over fifty designs" are the alphabet charts and the fairies of the month..

If you're looking for A LOT of simple, fast fairy charts for cards or embellishments, you'll probably like this.

But if you prefer L&L, PR, or TW, you'll be heavily disappointed in this book.


Cross Stitch Fairies: Over 50 Enchanting Designs
Review Date: 5/14/2010
Helpful Score: 2


This is a great book for beginning stitchers, with a few caveats. There are maybe THREE large charts in here. The vast majority, are under 50 x 60, and the alphabet letters are about 50 x 35. It's all whole stitches, with some backstitching. I DON'T like that most of the charts are just colored squares - very few symbols, except in the largest chart (I prefer symbols to colored squares).

The cover fairy is BY FAR the prettiest one.

A large number of those "over fifty designs" are the alphabet charts and the fairies of the month..

If you're looking for A LOT of simple, fast fairy charts for cards or embellishments, you'll probably like this.

But if you prefer L&L, PR, or TW, you'll be heavily disappointed in this book.


Disney Pixar Cars Movie Theater Storybook & Movie Projector
Review Date: 9/24/2010


Well, I thought this book would be more fun than it turned out to be. The projector is great, but runs through batteries REALLY fast. The slides are hard, and kids can't poke out the "film" like they can in viewmaster slides. The projected pictures are clear and its easy to use and focus the projector.

My kids are just completely uninterested in reading the actual BOOK.

It was definately worth what I 'paid' for it on PaperBackSwap, but I don't think I'd buy one at the store.


Disney Princess Movie Theater
Disney Princess Movie Theater
Author: Rita Balducci
Book Type: Hardcover
  • Currently 2.8/5 Stars.
 2
Review Date: 5/26/2011


This was a very "expensive" book brand new, probably because of the projector and slides. On the bright side, the slides are MUCH sturdier than ViewMaster - can't punch out the images with a bored toddler finger.

On the other hand, it's pretty boring. You can't read the story AND watch the movies; the projector eats through batteries like candy, and the book holds NO interest for my children.

Pass on this.


Review Date: 9/30/2009


LOVE this book. It contains tons of common sense, everyday ways to treat AND PREVENT a wide variety of common illnesses and conditions - maybe there are 200 listed. There's also a section on pets. Conditions include but are not limited to: allergies, athelete's foot, bachaches, burns, chapped lips, cold sores, dandruff, diarrhea, ear infection, emphysema, fatigue, flue, gingivitis, gout, hangover, hives, infertility, irritable bowel syndrome, jet lag, kidney stones, lactose intolerance, menstrual cramps, nosebleeds oily skin, phlebitis, restless legs syndrome, snoring, sore throat, swimmer's ear, teething, toothache, ulcer, vomiting, warts, yeast infections.

GREAT for a family reference library.


Duped!: True Stories of the World's Best Swindlers (It Actually Happened)
Review Date: 3/7/2012


This is a delightful book and a very easy read. The hardbound edition is solid and well constructed. There are actually only 8 stories in it, and they alternate cartoon/comic style sections with text.

Without the cartoons, or if the book were larger than 5 x 7, it would be less than 100 pages, easily - so while it would make a lovely gift, it's probably not worth the "investment to buy yourself.

I very much enjoyed reading it once - and will probably never read it again.


Everyday Gluten-Free Slow Cooking: More than 125 Delicious Recipes
Review Date: 9/15/2012
Helpful Score: 1


I was prepared to be underwhelmed by this cookbook, but it's actually pretty great, especially for working folks who come in tired at the end of the night.

As usual to gluten free cookbooks, the first 33 pages are all related to the gluten free diet. After you get past that, there are sections on breakfast, snacks, soups & stews, vegetarian, seafood, poultry, beef, sweets, and "cook once eat twice".

There aren't any "way out there" ingredients in most of the recipes - although it is a bit heavy on rice. The main focus isn't to turn a "regular" recipe into a gluten free variation - these are naturally gluten free. No "go buy your gluten free noodles or flour base" type recipes, which I really appreciate. My hands down favorite: New England Style Baked Beans.


Exquisite Miniatures: In Cross Stitch and Other Counted Thread Techniques
Review Date: 7/3/2012
Helpful Score: 1


First of all, I'll qualify this review by saying that I thought I was buying a book of charts suitable for dollhouses. That's not at ALL what this is; it's really just small motifs.

Most of them are antique sampler or art deco style. What makes them miniature, is stitching over one, on 32 count fabric. Still, if you have good eyes, the designs are classical and quality.

The real treasure, though, is the end of the book, with instructions on finishing, and a variety of framing ideas.

Instructions are good enough for a novice, however, the 32 over one requires a neat hand so you don't have a tangled mess in the back.


The Gloriously Gluten-Free Cookbook: Spicing Up Life with Italian, Asian, and Mexican Recipes
Review Date: 9/30/2010
Helpful Score: 2


What an amazing book!! I'm a Bette Haggman fan in general, but wow, these receipes are easy, clear, and spectacularly yummy. Plus, if you have a standard GF pantry, you'll already have everything you need - no weirder than usual flours or ingredients to go out and get.

On the down side, if you're avoiding any OTHER allergen ingredients - soy, dairy, eggs - you might not get as much use out of this cookbook.


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