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Review | Little House Coloring Book

It seems these days that there is a coloring book for almost any topic or theme that a coloring book fanatic could imagine. There is, literally, something for everyone. For coloring fans of the generation that grew up on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and the Little House on the Prairie tv series, that something might just be the Little House Coloring Book.

[Disclosure: Some links in this article are affiliate links that pay a commission when a purchase is made after a click.]

Little House coloring book

I was gifted Laura Ingalls Wilders’ classic series of books by my grandparents for holiday gifts over a series of years when I was in elementary school. I read them obsessively and became such a fan that our family visited the Ingalls/Wilder historic sites in DeSmet, South Dakota on a family vacation during my high school years.

So when I saw the Little House Coloring Book containing some of Garth Williams’ illustrations from the most famous edition of the series – the edition that I own in hardcover – I just couldn’t resist adding it to my library of coloring books! Williams’ illustrations are just as iconic as the stories themselves.

The book contains illustrations from all of the books that are considered part of the original Little House series (Little House in the Big Woods through The First Four Years). Since the Ingalls books were not heavily illustrated and some of the illustrations were small, the coloring book adds in text elements and combines some smaller elements to make repeating patterns on pages.

Little House coloring book page

One of the challenges of working in a coloring book such as this is that you are working with and trying to emulate the style of a familiar artist. Most of the Little House illustrations from Williams that are included in the coloring book were published in black & white sketch form, so there isn’t a specific example to copy from for coloring them. But Williams’ style in the images that he did complete in full-color for the books (such as for the covers) is very beautiful and distinctive.

For those who grew up loving and admiring the Williams illustrations and want to color in that same look, you may be interested to know that Williams usually worked in colored pencil and ink wash for his children’s book illustrations (he’s also famous for illustrating other books such as Charlotte’s Web by EB White).

For the illustration above, from On the Banks of Plum Creek, I used watercolor with limited success to try to mimic the look of Garth Williams’ ink wash look. I should have diluted my colors more.  For the illustration in progress below (from the same book), I am using colored pencil with a blending pencil.  This technique has me much happier with the results compared to the look of Williams’ work, but I have still not entirely got it nailed yet.

Little House coloring book page

This coloring book has been a lovely nostalgic walk down the memory lane of one of my childhood favorites, and also an artistic challenge.

Little House Coloring Book has 90 coloring pages and a cover price of $15.99 (but is currently available on Amazon for around $11).

Books | Craft Fail: When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong

Ever get the feeling looking at Pinterest that you’re the only one whose craft projects don’t come out picture perfect every time? CraftFail: When Homemade Goes Horribly Wrong to the rescue!

Craft Fail cover

Craft Fail is a website – and now a book – that is the brainchild of Heather Mann (who also writes the blog Dollar Store Crafts).

Rather than show moments of crafting perfection, Craft Fail focuses on enjoying those other sorts of moments every crafter has all too frequently: the moments when vision ends up in a different zip code from reality.

The book pairs photos of internet tutorials with photos of real crafters’ attempts at replicating them. (Lest you think Craft Fail is making fun of poor unknowing crafters, rest assured that the crafters are in on the joke and submitted their disasters to Craft Fail.) The results are howlingly funny, and not just because of the crafts gone wrong. Heather’s sly and at times slightly off-color narrative ties it all together into a package that will entertain you while delivering the reminder that no crafter achieves perfection 100% of the time. Sometimes, the joy  – and humor – is in the process itself, not the outcome.

So, if you’re looking for a crafty gift this holiday season, or just some crafty fun…don’t miss CraftFail!

Books | The Crocheter’s Companion by Nancy Brown

Reported by Angela Butler-Carter

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

I do not knit. That’s not to say that I’ve never knitted, but I currently do not knit because I was not good at it. It was frustrating because I so wanted to be good at it. I have a co-worker who is an exceptional knitter, and she makes the most wonderful things for her kids and family. Being the crafter that I am of course I wanted to try it and so a knitting soiree was had. I tried –  I really did – and I had moments of proficiency and then it vanished. Just like that! I’d do so well for a few rows then ruin! And I never picked it up again. I sadly thought my time playing with yarn was done.

Then I received this book, The Crocheter’s Companion, written by Nancy Brown and published by Interweave Press.

Crocheters Companion cover
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Using the book I was able to try crochet, which I find to be so much easier that knitting! I still didn’t have much success by my high standards but I must say that the book was a great help. With it by my side for reference, I was able to understand many of the crochet videos I was watching and learn a lot.

The Crocheter’s Companion is intended as a reference book, so it has an extensive table of contents to easily find the topic you want. There’s also a spiral binding so it will lay flat while your hands are kept free to crochet. The book is thorough, with plenty of illustrations on every topic. International readers are taken care of with British and Metric measurements, and there’s reference for international stitch symbols, too.

Pros:

  • Measurements provided in U.S., UK, and Metric sizes
  • Illustrations at every step including yarn labels, and each crochet stitch
  • Reference for abbreviations & international stitch symbols

Cons:

  • Yellow orange tones of all the drawings can be a bit drab for reading.

The Crocheter’s Companion: Revised and Updated by Nancy Brown is available on Amazon.com for around $15.00.