SUMMER READS 2014: Make it a DIY summer with these great books

in Non-Fiction by

Now that the seasons have changed, it’s time to fill your bookshelf with titles that will get you ready for a summer of great outdoor do-it-yourself projects. Here are a few new books that will make your summertime more stylish, fashionable, and fun.

LivingLandscapecvrThe Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden, by Rick Darke and Douglas W. Tallamy (Timber Press, July 1)

Millions of people across the world enjoy festooning their homes with gardens, but how many of them see their growing spaces as part of a larger landscape that’s made up of multiple living layers? In this book, authors Darke and Tallamy, two important voices in the fields of sustainability and horticulture, give the reader insight on how to design a beautiful, biodiverse home garden. They explain what role your garden can play in the surrounding environment, and then put that information to use in helping you design a unique garden for your region. This beautifully illustrated volume will help both the novice and experienced gardener create areas that contribute to a home’s beauty and to the world around it.

Maker Dad Lunch Box GuitarsMaker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects, by Mark Frauenfelder (Amazon Publishing, May 6)

Hey Dads! How would you like to help your daughter make an ice cream sandwich necklace? Or a lunchbox guitar? Or a kite video camera? This book shows you how you can share these and a bunch of other awesome summertime projects with your favorite girl (or girls!). In these pages, Mark Frauenfelder, the editor-in-chief of Make magazine, shares the results of years of paging through do-it-yourself books and delivers his favorite father-daughter projects. From the classic silk-screened T-shirt to projects like the Drawbot and the electronic Friendstrument, Maker Dad will help fathers teach daughters valuable lifelong skills, including creative problem-solving, the use of handheld tools, and a lifelong affinity for math, science, and technology. Dads, this is the book that can help you geek out with your girls.

Alternative Art SurfacesAlternative Art Surfaces: Mixed-Media Techniques for Painting on More Than 35 Different Surfaces, by Sandra Duran Wilson and Darlene Olivia McElroy (North Light Books, May 23)

Set your creative side free and ditch the canvas—this summer, you’re going to create works of art on more surfaces that you ever imagined. With Alternative Art Surfaces, you’ll learn to paint on galvanized tin, mica, rawhide, nylon, slate, and much more. Additionally, this book will teach you more than 100 techniques for painting, sculpting, carving, printing, transferring, and a host of other artistic projects. Lavishly illustrated with dozens of inspiring finished pieces, Alternative Art Surfaces is the fourth book from noted New Mexican artists Sandra Duran Wilson and Darlene Olivia McElroy. It will be sure to jet-propel your creativity to places it has never been before.

Little FixesLittle Fixes: 54 Clever Ways to Extend the Life of Kids’ Clothes. Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose, Restyle, by Disney Powless (C&T Publishing, June 1)

Of course, before you know it, the summer will be over, and it’ll be time to take the kids shopping for back-to-school clothes. But what if there were a fun and easy way to recycle their old clothes into new and fashionable threads? In this book, Powless, the founder of the popular blog RufflesandStuff.com, shows you how to do just that. Whether it’s ripped, stained, too small, or out of season, it can still be a useful part of a child’s wardrobe. With these 54 simple restyling tutorials, all you need is some basic sewing skill and a little imagination, and the next thing you know, children’s clothes from sizes ranging from toddler to teen will find a new home in your kids’ closets and a new place in their hearts. A great idea for your kids—and for your budget.

 

Featured Image:  

Photograph by Rick Darke, taken from The Living Landscape by Rick Darke and Doug Tallamy (Timber Press, 2014).

Michael Ruscoe is a writer, teacher, and musician living in Southern Connecticut. He is the author of the novel, "From the Stray Cat Files: You’ll Do Anything," the anthology, "Baseball: A Treasury of Art and Literature," and numerous educational texts. An instructor at Southern Connecticut State University, Ruscoe is also lead singer and songwriter for the indie band Save the Androids! In his spare time he earns karma for his next life by ardently following the New York Mets. The proud father of two children, Ruscoe also cares for and supports a pair of goldfish, who, in all honesty, are not very good conversationalists.

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