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Our Recommended Reading List

Simpler Lifestyle Books
Choose to Reuse Beyond Recycling: A Re-user's Guide
Kathy Stein/Paperback/Published 1997
Price: $10.47

Although we recycle more, our mounds of garbage continue to grow. The EPA expects the total volume of municipal trash generated annually in the USA to grow to 223 million tons in 2000. Confronting the problem, Stein concludes we must stop throwing things out and re-use materials and products--not recycle them. To this end she presents 336 ways to re-use 70 types of common products and names businesses and organizations that accept products not suited for household re-use. Good ways to help both the environment and your pocketbook!

Choose to Reuse

Choose to Reuse: An Encyclopedia of Services, Business, Tools &Charitable Programs That Facilitate Reuse
Nikki Goldbeck, David Goldbeck /Paperback/ Published 1995.
Price: $15.95

A "must" resource for individuals and businesses trying to cut waste. The Goldbecks' three "Rs"-- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle -- are guidelines for conscientious consumerism.  This  comprehensive encyclopedia contains more than 2000 services, products, programs and charitable organization that help prolong the life of  everything from air filters to zippers.

Clean and Green

Clean and Green: The Complete Guide to Non-Toxic and Environmentally Safe Housekeeping
Annie Berthold-Bond /Paperback/ Published 1994
Price: $9.95

Clear the cupboard of brand-name specialized cleaning products.  Stock a few inexpensive ingredients: borax, vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, vegetable-oil-based liquid soap.  And follow Berthold-Bond's simple recipes.  The ones I've tried produce the same results as store-bought ones.

Conscious  Style Home: Eco-Friendly Living for the 21st Century Conscious Style Home: Eco-Friendly Living for the 21st Century
Danny Seo/Hardcover/Published 2001
Price: $20.97

Environmental activist Danny Seo believes that small choices, made every day, can change the world. To prove his point, this book chronicles his three-month makeover of his parents' standard suburban home in Pennsylvania. Using only earth-friendly products, Seo transforms his parents' home and garden into "a comfortable, stylish living space without harming our planet." Contains many decorating ideas and "how to" tips using readily available products.

ecoDesign: The Sourcebook

Ecodesign: The Sourcebook
Alastair Fuad-Luke/Paperback/Published 2002
Price: $24.50

A farsighted guide of functional design, this book shows innovative everyday items that are recycled, recyclable, renewable and/or energy efficient. Featuring work by designers and manufacturers from 30 countries, "the book is intended to stimulate new ways of thinking," and prove we can live comfortably while treading lightly on the planet. It shows biodegradable furniture that can be broken up and added to the compost pile, lawn furniture made from compost, pool rafts made from soda bottles and more.

The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living

The Good Life Lab: Radical Experiments in Hands-On Living
Wendy Jehanara Tremayne/Paperback/Published 2013
Price: $13.58

A book about the odyssey of Wendy Jehanara Tremayne and her partner Mikey Sklar's transformation from New York professional urbanites who left the rat race to "digital homesteaders." They moved to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, bought an old RV park and, through trial and error, built a comfortable home for themselves, while living off the waste stream. The book is part memoir, part "how to" manual, and part inner diary of her search for, and satisfaction with, a decomodified life, documenting her transformation from a "consumer" to a "creator."

They learned everything from scratch and the amount of hands-on information is generous. She shares successful disparate results, learned through sometimes messy trial and error: how to make mead, tempeh and kombucha; how to turn a shipping container into a building; and how to locate, store and use medicinal plants to cure common ailments and to roast your own coffee beans--to list a few. This is an information-rich guidebook for other homesteaders. For the willing and able, there's enough information to allow you to stay in place and do more for yourself, more of the time.

Living Cheaply With Style

Living Cheaply With Style: Live Better and Spend Less
Ernest Callenbach /Paperback/ Published 1993
Price: $11.16

A "how-to" survival handbook for living fulfilled lives while consuming less to save both our pocketbooks and the earth. It offers sensible advice on a wide range of topics including buying inexpensive watches, economical travel, child care, holiday celebrations and water conservation.

Use Less Stuff

The Salvage Sisters' Guide: to Finding Style in the Street and Inspiration in the Attic
Katleen Hackett & Mary Ann Young/Hardcover/Published 2005
Price: $15.61

The Salvage Sisters say, "When in doubt, DON'T throw it out." And then they show how many roads lead to Rome. To mention a few: Need a bookcase? Use mismatched drawers. A large decorative bowl? Use the top of a broken birdbath. A bed? Put a mattress on a pile of wooden pallets. The Sisters also see an indoor stair railing in retired dock line and a dory oar, room dividers in lengths of shredded silk and a toilet paper holder in a wrought-iron plant stand. The book contains 50 DIY projects (well illustrated with 125 photographs) by the Sisters, who have both contributed to Martha Stewart's and other lifestyle publications. While all designs may not appeal to every reader, and the book may be offer the most practical help to people setting up households, the "can-do", "consider-all-the-options" attitude is one that may appeal to all readers.

Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things
John C. Ryan and Alan Thein Durning/Paperback/Published 1997
Price: $14.95

The authors asked themselves "What happens around the world to support a day in the life of a North American. . . ?" To find out, they investigated the routes that coffee, a pair of shoes, a can of cola (among other daily "staples") take to get here. It shows that a two-cup of coffee a day habit will annually consume 18 lbs of beans produced by 12 Columbian coffee trees. Forty-three pounds of pulp will be stripped from these beans and tossed into the rivers. Enlightening. Not an easy book to read--best taken in small doses.

Use Less Stuff

Use Less Stuff: Environmental Solutions for Who We Really Are
Robert M. Lilienfeld, William L. Rathje/ Paperback/ Published 1998
Price: $5.29 and up

"Lilienfeld and Rathje hit the nail on the head with this excellent book. They demonstrate convincingly that we can not recycle our way out of environmental problems. The challenge is more fundamental -- we must learn to live in a way that places less demand on material and energy resources. Yet theirs is not a Luddite call to 'return to the caves.' Rather, they outline literally hundreds of ways to use less stuff while simultaneously improving the quality of our lives." Stuart Hart, Professor of Management Kenan-Flager Business School. University of North Carolina

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Crafts Books for Children
The Body Book: Recipes for Natural Body Care

The Body Book: Recipes for Natural Body Care
Anne Akers Johnson/Hardback, Spiral-bound, Published 2001
Price: $15.37

This clearly written book provides recipes to fill everyone's grooming needs from head to toe (literally). You'll find recipes to help care for your face, hands and feet, hair as well as bath products. And, best of all, most of the ingredients can easily be found in local grocery and health food stores.The book comes with a starter kit including a facial brush, pumice stone, bath infusion bag (to hold herbs you immerse in your bath water), nail buffer, headband and three vials of essential oils. Fun for all ages!

Bottle Cap Activities Bottle Cap Activities
Cathy Cisneros/ Paperback/ Published 1998
Price: $13.27

After reading this book, you too will build collections of plastic bottle caps( any type), 2-liter plastic bottles, detergent scoops, popsicle sticks and plastic grocery bags.  With little effort, these objects can be easily transformed into toys, decorations and games. Fun for all ages.

Bottle Cap Activities Green Crafts for Children
Emma Hardy/Hardback/Published 2008
Price: $13.57

Emma Hardy, whose previous work focused on styling rooms for interior design magazines, offers her savvy for presenting good design ideas using natural, recycled, and found materials, to the toughest audience of all: children, ages 4-up. (But adults might also like to explore the projects too!) Covering 35 eco-friendly projects, the book is divided into four sections: Salt Dough, which shows how to make play dough; the Paper Mache and Paper section, which shows how to make masks, bowls and sandals; Recycling, which shows how to turn corks into animals, a mobile from old magazines, and more; the Natural section, which is filled with games and toys to make from walnuts, driftwood, shells, pine cones, etc; and Fabrics, which shows how to make creatures from old gloves, peg dolls, French knitting and more. It's engaging enough to lure the whole family away from the computer for a little while.

Squashing Flowers Squeezing Leaves: Squashing Flowers Squeezing Leaves: A Nature Press & Book
Klutz editors/Hardback, Spiral-bound Published 2001
Price: $13.97

This is an unusual looking book. The "book" itself consists of words and pictures, but the back cover opens into a three-panel press to squash and squeeze any plant you can find. The book also contains a packet of supplies--sturdy rubber bands to keep the press tightly closed and a few materials used in the projects. After you've gathered a good supply of dried flowers, the wonderful illustrations and instructions show you how you can easily decorate stationery, gift tags, place mats, stickers, light switches, window hangings, lampshades (and more) with dried plants.

Year-Round Gardening Projects for Kids

Windowsill Gardening: Year-Round Gardening Projects for Kids
Klutz editors/Hardback, Klutz Guide Format Published 1999
Price: $4.95

Learn how to grow plants from seeds, seedlings, carrot tops and sweet potatoes in your home, at any time of year and in any climate. This book also tells how to grow and dry herbs, grow gardens in old lunchboxes and boots, and make a coat hanger topiary. Great for city dwellers who don't have a garden patch of their own.

Year-Round Gardening Projects for Kids

Nature Smart: Awesome Projects to make with Mother Nature's Help
Terry Krautwurst, Gwen Diehn, Joe Rhatigan, Heather Smith and Alan Anderson
Price: $12.98

Written for ages 9-12, this unusual book is divided into two sections and contains 150 craft projects. The first (and largest) section, Seasonal Natural Projects, helps the reader understand how the natural world works by providing random essays e.g., Why Do Flowers Have Colors and Different Shapes? and Incredible (But True!) Hummingbird Facts interspersed with clearly explained projects to make a pocket sundial, a daylily leaf hat, a twig wreath and turnip lanterns, among others. The second section, Awesome Eco-Adventures (Ecology Crafts) focuses on the importance of recycling and keeping cast-off materials out of landfills. It contains essays about Earth Day; Recycling Kids, Inc.; and the Rain Forest. It also contains craft projects made incorporating recycled and reused materials and art materials found in nature including birch bark baskets, bottle gardens, a sketch-and-press nature journal, an eggshell mosaic and a bat house. Some projects require an adult's supervision.

Recycled Crafts Box: Sock Puppets, Cardboard Castles, Bottle Bugs & 37 more Earth-Friendly Projects & Activities You Can Create

Recycled Crafts Box: Sock Puppets, Cardboard Castles, Bottle Bugs & 37 more Earth-Friendly Projects & Activities You Can Create
Laura C. Martin/Paperback/Published 2003
Price: $8.76

Written for ages 9-12, this amply illustrated book begins with a brief history of trash including a "trash time line" showing the invention of disposable products (1810--tin cans through 2002 -- disposable cameras) and explains how these conveniences have created mountainous waste. Making a case for recycling, it makes suggestions how each person can reduce the waste stream and a list of books and websites for further study. The craft projects are organized into sections: paper, plastic, metal and fabric.

Awesome Things to Make with Recycled Stuff

Awesome Things to Make with Recycled Stuff
Heather Smith with Joe Rhatigan (who collaborated with 15 kids who tested all the projects and posed for the pictures)/Paperback/Published 2003
Price: $14.95

Written for young adults, this collection of 50 practical projects range from making pick-up sticks with used bamboo skewers to making a tin can xylophone to turning a used pizza box into a vanity case. Easy to read and well illustrated, it contains diagrams showing where garbage goes when you throw it away, suggests activities to make your house earth friendly and contains random tips and facts like: "According to the nonprofit organization, Conservatree, nearly 3 billion magazine issues a year are never even read. That's enough magazines to circle the Earth 20 times."

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Non-Fiction Books for Children
A Handbook for Kids Recycle! A Handbook for Kids
Gail Gibbons/Paperback/Published 1992 and Reprinted 1996
Price: $6.95

Striking illustrations and fact-filled text explains where all the trash goes. The book examines five different types of garbage--aluminum, paper, glass, plastic and polystyrene--and shows how these items can be recycled by individuals and industries. It is filled with dramatic facts that might remain in a reader's mind for a lifetime (e.g., "New York City alone throws out enough garbage each day to fill the Empire State Building.") Ages 4-8.

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Crafts Books for Adults
Altered Shoes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Footwear Fabulous Altered Shoes: A Step-by-Step Guide to Making Your Footwear Fabulous
Marty Stevens-Heebner/Paperback/Published 2009
Price: $15.63

Author/designer Marty Stevens-Heebner provides 20 projects for refreshing old shoes or adding zing to new (but boring) ones to add your own personal stamp, rhinestones, ribbons, paint....etc. as decorations and easily brighten your wardrobe. The book provides easy-to-follow directions for a wide range of techniques.

A simple makeover, Flower Power Pumps, only needs some beads arranged in a pattern and glue gun to attach them -- as many or few as you'd like. Use the same technique to make a pair of Santa Baby Stilettos by gluing some round Christmas ornaments, some floral decorations to the front. Buy an inexpensive pair of flip flops and turn them into a fashion statement with ribbons, silk leaves, buttons, rhinestones and a glue gun.

Using other techniques: stamping, gilding, paint, iron-on transfers (all explained) you can create looks you never imagined for shoes. There are makeovers for boots, running shoes, men's shoes--the book covers a lot of ground. These ideas are a wonderful way to extend the life of scuffed shoes and embellish inexpensive ones with a minimum of supplies and time.

Arborscultpure Arborsculpture: Solutions for a Small Planet
Richard Reames, Paperback/Published 2005
Price: $23.00

The author is an arborsculptor who patiently grows tree furniture, houses and other things for himself and clients. His inclusive book provides a brief history of the tree and its importance to us, and another history of tree shaping including coppicing, pleaching and topiary. It also documents his arborsculpting projects and techniques and provides instructions and diagrams for do-it-yourself projects such as how to grow your own chair.

Ragwork The Art of Painted Furniture (New Crafts)
Anita Rosenberg/hardcover/Published 2002
Price: $19.57

The book is filled with many beautiful pictures of painted furniture and accessories by the author (whose painted furniture is collected by well known people). It also features the work of six guest contributing artists with distinctly different ideas and styles. The pictures will lure even the most casual reader into picking up a brush and trying something, too.

Bottlecap Little Bottlecap Bottlecap Little Bottlecap: Four Art Projects for Children, Families, Schools and Non-Profits Utilizing Recycled Plastic Bottlecaps
Michelle Stitzlein/Published 2008
Price: $19.00

This is a self-published book that is not available through Amazon. Available online as a print-on-demand publlication: http://www.lulu.com/content/2508533

A lavishly illustrated "how to" book about using recycled, plastic bottle caps from milk jugs, orange juice cartons, water, cola and shampoo bottles and margarine tubs to make decorative projects. The author is a professional artist who uses recycled materials in her work which has been featured on HGTV's "That's Clever." The book contains detailed, step-by-step instructions to make Mod Magnets ( "flowers" of various sizes to decorate a refrigerator); Lollipop Flowers--outdoor yard flowers; a mural (either a bottle cap mural (either an interpretation of a well known painting or an original design) -- a great group project for children and adults to work on together; and a group project to make 65-75 "flowers." Because the projects require a cordless drill, adults should be around to help out with children up to 14.

Cheap Frills book cover

Cheap Frills: Fabulous Facelifts for Your clothes
Jennifer Knapp,David Magnusson (Photographer), David Armstrong (Photographer)/Hardcover/Published 2001.
Price: $13.27

Cheap Thrills includes 40 projects with a free-spirited approach to adding zing to stale clothes and accessories languishing in your closet. Best of all, you don't have to spend a fortune to do it. Using sequins, ribbon, rubber stamps and other easily found materials, you can convert a baggy T-shirt into an Italian peasant tee; overhaul an old skirt by adding a panel of color and decorative ribbon; create an easy drawstring evening bag; and decorate bobby pins, chokers and hair clips, in no time at all. Some makeovers can be done by hand; others require minimum experience using a sewing machine.


Creative Candleholders
Deborah Morgenthal/Paperback/Published 1999
Price: $16.95

Provides instructions for 60 different candleholders designed by 26 designers. These designers transform lead pipes, 18-gauge steel wire, terra cotta pots, drinking glasses, bottle gourds and new rubber drain plungers (among other things) into candleholders. Some projects can be done quickly and require little work while others require more time.

The Envelope Mill: Recycle Magazines into Beautifully Crafted Envelopes

The Envelope Mill: Recycle Magazines into Beautifully Crafted Envelopes
Haila Harvey/Spiral Bound (book and templates)/Published 1995
Price: Used from $6.01

If you have pages from a glossy magazine or calendar, bits of wallpaper or other scrap paper; a ballpoint pen; scissors or a small blade knife; and a glue stick, you can create your own postal-ready envelopes. Just use one of the three templates provided with this 30-page book and follow the large colorful illustrations. Use a self-adhesive label or thick black marker for the mailing address.

Fantastic Recycled Plastic: 30 Clever Creations to Spark Your Imagination Fantastic Recycled Plastic: 30 Clever Creations to Spark Your Imagination
David Edgar, Robin A. Edgar/Paperback/Published 2009

With the proliferation of consumer goods comes a proliferation of plastic bottles to contain them. Unfortunately, this packaging material is not biodegradable and very little of it is recycled. According to author David Edgar, approximately 63 pounds of plastic packaging per person per year goes into U.S. landfills.

With all that plastic to work with, Edgar wants us to consider it an art medium and helps us find ways to use it with this book. He starts with basics: Information about its history, qualities and the tools needed to work with it. What follows are 30 projects, ranging from easy to technically sophisticated, grouped by use: Wearable Art, Dimensional Figures, Holiday Decorations, More Dimensional Figures, Lighting and Toys.

Large and clear photographs throughout the book are helpful. Several illustrations of work by other artists working with plastics provide an idea of the medium’s possibilities.

Flea  Market Finds & How to Restore Them Flea Market Finds & How to Restore Them
Caroline Atkins/Hardcover/Published 2002

Flea markets are designed for optimists. It's not too difficult for some to spot potential in a piece of broken furniture, grubby oil painting or rusty metal tray. The trick is to know how to go about restoring these finds. Flea Market Finds provides answers for many common problems and advice on what to look for before buying anything. It also offers advice on caring for these treasures and how to display them.

Flea Market Jewelry Flea Market Jewelry
Binky Morgan/Hardcover/Published 2001
Price: $17.47

If you've impulsively bought too much castoff jewelry for a song at the close of a church bazaar or yard sale and now don't know what to do with it--this book is for you. Lavish with ideas and photographs, it shows how to either transform slightly damaged old jewelry into attractive accessories or use it in different ways (e.g., stringing necklaces around a chandelier, vase or framed picture). A brief section offers tips on collecting and caring for vintage jewelry.

Furniture Facelifts Furniture Facelifts: A Paint Recipes Book: A Step-By-Step Guide to Revamping Your Furniture
Liz Wagstaff, Mark Thurgood/ Paperback/ Published 1998
Price: $15.96

Cinderella projects for transforming homely yard sale furniture into just what you've always needed. Step-by-step instructions for no-sew slip covers, distressed-paint makeovers, and mosaic tiling, among other techniques.

Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt
Megan Nicolay/Paperback/Published 2006
Price: $10.17

Don't empty your closet of old T-shirts before checking out this book, a collection of stylish ideas (some have an edgy, punk-like look) to help convert the ubiquitous T-shirt into a personal statement. Megan Nicolay - who learned to sew from her mother, a professional clothing designer - shows how to turn ordinary shirts into a basic tote bag, tank top, tube top, peasant blouse, T-skirt, leg warmers, drawstring purse, beanie, pillow, pot holder and braided rug. Non-experienced tailors will also find something of interest here, too; one-third of the projects require no sewing.

Generation T: Beyond Fashion: 120 New Ways to Transform a T-shirt Generation T: Beyond Fashion: 120 New Ways to Transform a T-shirt
Megan Nicolay/Paperback/Published 2009
Price: $10.85

Megan Nicolay, the DIY T-shirt Diva, came along at the right time. Her first book, Generation T, deconstructed and reinvented the way we wear T-shirts just as the DIY movement gained steam. It was structured around your wardrobe.

Now, the projects move into all sectors of the reader's life. Following a section on techniques--knotting, sewing, braiding, lacing and embellishing, she shows how to use T-shirts to make more clothing--halters, gaucho pants, a hooded scarf. But then moves into baby bibs, baby mittens and other gifts, plant hangers, a a beach caddy, a grocery tote, grill mitts, a picnic blanket, a cat toy, a padded laptop sleeve, and more. Who knew the T-shirt could be used for so many things? Projects range from simplest, no-sew, and are labeled according to technical difficulty. Filled with clear instructions and illustrations of finished people--everything you need but the T-shirt to get started.

Instant Period Costume: How to Make Classic Costumes from Cast-Off Clothing (Paperback)

Instant Period Costume: How to Make Classic Costumes from Cast-Off Clothing (Paperback)
Barb Rogers/Paperback/Published 2001
Price: $18.76

This 87-page book provides creative suggestions for transforming flea market finds and out of date personal clothing into period costumes, without sewing. The author recommends substituting a low melt glue gun for stitches because it takes less time to do and allows people with more imagination than sewing skills, to pitch in and improvise costumes for Halloween, fancy dress parties, historic re-enactments and low budget theatrical productions. Black and white illustrations only.

Making Bits and Pieces Mosaics Making Bits & Pieces Mosaics: Creative Projects for Home & Garden
Marlene Hurley Marshall/Paperback/Published 1998
Price: $11.87

Bits and pieces (also known as memory ware, putty pots and pique assiette) is a freewheeling and universal folk art which adapts the techniques of traditional mosaics. Piece of broken china, pottery, glass,buttons, marbles and jewelry are cemented on a base to create a new surface. Think lamp base, fireplace, kitchen backsplash, birdbath, garden walkway -- almost any form can be used as a base and any combination of bits and pieces can be applied. Amply illustrated and containing detailed instructions for projects for both home and garden.

Perfumes, Splashes & Colognes

Perfumes, Splashes & Colognes: Discovering and Crafting Your Personal Fragrances
Nancy M. Booth/Paperback/Published 1997
Price: $10.47

A knowledgeable and easy-to-read guide for determining and crafting your own personal fragrances. It contains: recipes for scents preferred by men, women and teens; miscellaneous ways to add fragrance to your home; gift packaging tips; and a list of suppliers. Most of the ingredients used are easily found and, best of all, some can be grown in your garden. Great gifts for you and your friends.

The Practical Guide to Container Gardening

The Practical Guide to Container Gardening
Susan Berry and Steve Bradley, Paperback, Published 2001
Price: $11.87

A comprehensive sourcebook for container gardeners. Amply illustrated, it includes information on what types of containers work best for specific plants, seasonal planting schemes; care and maintenance, dealing with pests and diseases. Provides a directory of more than 100 plant species and detailed information on how to grow them.

Photo Craft

Retro Revamp: Funky Projects, from HandBags to Housewares
Jennifer Knapp, Teresa Domka (Photographer)/Hardcover/Published 2000.
Price: $12.57

Have fun while turning "useless objects" into stylish urban folk art! The book's 39 projects (beautifully photographed) include decorative techniques to spruce up any hideous piece of furniture, instructions for making free-form stuffed animals from leftover fabric (unlikely combinations, welcome), and a beach bag made from an embellished potato sack.

Rustic Accents for Your Home : 45 Projects from Vines, Twigs & Branches

Rustic Accents for Your Home: 45 Projects from Vines, Twigs & Branches
Laura Donnelly Bethmann and Ann Ramp Fox/Paperback/Published 1999
Price: $19.96

"The natural world is our home, and we like to bring a little bit of it into the house," writes Laura Donnelly Bethmann in the preface to this unique home decorating guide. She and co-author Ann Ramp Fox practice twigology, which they define as "the art of forming whimsical, practical, naturally pleasing twig things while enhancing one's knowledge of the unique characteristics and beneficial qualities of trees."

45 Home and Garden Projects Using Reclaimed Architectural Details

Salvage Style: 45 Home and Garden Projects Using Reclaimed Architectural Details
Joe Rhatigan with Dana Irwin/Hardcover/Published 2001
Price: $19.56

Architectural details--doorknobs, flooring, windows, doors, etc.--are removed from buildings during renovation or demolition. Projects in this amply illustrated book incorporate discarded salvaged pieces into new designs- where the salvaged pieces have an entirely different function. Balusters become lamp bases, basement doors are used to construct a chest, a double-hung window with casement is transformed into a curio cabinet. The book contains projects for all skill sets: beginners through master handypersons.

The Scented Room:  Cherchez's Book of Dried Flowers, Fragrance and Potpourri

The Scented Room: Cherchez's Book of Dried Flowers, Fragrance and Potpourri
Barbara Milo Ohrbach, Joe Standart (Photographer), Anne Marie Cloutier (Photographer) Hardcover/Published 1986
Price: $14.00

A classic reference for making potpourri, sachets, pomanders, flower arrangements, herbal waters and more by a popular author who creates fragrances for the home.

Note: Because the book was published in 1986, the list of suppliers is out of date. For current sources for supplies, see the list on our Crafts page.

Simple Fountains

Simple Fountains for Indoors & Outdoors: 20 Step-by-Step Projects
Dorcas Adkins/hardback/Published 1999
Price: $18.87

A beautfully illustrated guide to help novices add the sound of falling water into daily life. The book's varied projects include table top fountains, a small mosaic fountain incorporating found objects (clay shards, beads, coins, beach glass, etc.), a birdshower fountain, and directions for creating a small waterfall and pond.

The author, who has professionally designed and created fountains and other garden art for ten years, also tells you where to buy materials, and how to maintain your fountain. She lists plants and animals that enjoy living in outdoor water gardens.

Stylish Storage: Simple Ways to Contain Your Clutter

Stylish Storage: Simple Ways to Contain Your Clutter
Paige Gilchrist/hardcover/Published 2001

A guide for people "who want practical, easy ideas for containing some of the clutter that their busy lives generate." Provides practical suggestions for making space and finding places for "must haves" in every room of the house. Also includes a few carpentry projects for building wood shelves, storage units and ledges in potting sheds (and more). Non handy-people will find this useful, too.

Super Crafty:  Over 75 Amazing How-To Projects

Super Crafty: Over 75 Amazing How-To Projects
Susan Beal, Torie Nguyen, Rachel O'Rourke & Cathy Pitters/Paperback/2005
Price: $12.89

Written by four designers who meet regularly at their crafts club, the book contains unusual DIY projects for all ages, including oilcloth placemats, home shrines, decorated bike helmets, leg warmers for dogs, sweater clips and a knitting needle organizer. There is a section of five projects designed to recycle commonplace materials, but many supplies needed for other projects can be easily found at yard sales and flea markets. Some have exact patterns and directions while others are open-ended - they provide enough information for readers to use their own experience and imagination in developing the design. Each project is marked with a symbol indicating degree of difficulty, appropriateness for kids and expense of materials.

Terrarium Craft: Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds

Terrarium Craft: Create 50 Magical, Miniature Worlds
Amy Bryant Aiello & Kate Bryant; Photography by Kate Baldwin/Paperback/Published 2011
Price: $12.89

Terrariums have been a popular way to grow plants indoors since 1840s. They are traditionally clear glass or plastic containers filled with small plants to recreate an outdoor garden in miniature.

"Terrarium Craft" takes a 21st-century approach to creating space for a bit of nature in your own home. Written by two experienced horticulturists, the book provides amply illustrated step-by-step instructions that you can follow literally or use to develop your own variation on a contained garden with what you have on hand.

For the most part, the 50 terrariums presented here are easy to care for — some designs contain no plants at all and are created with crystals, feathers, seashells, porcelain bits and other trinkets. Today's containers are untraditional, too. Candidates include tiny spice jars, old bottles, cake trays, science glass and wine and beer glasses. The book shows how to do it and where to find supplies.

Trash Origami: 25 Paper Folding Projects Reusing Everyday Materials

Trash Origami: 25 Paper Folding Projects Reusing Everyday Materials
Richard G. LaFosse, Richard L. Alexander/Hardcover/Published 2010
Price: $13.57

Forget origami kits and special paper. These paper folding projects use old envelopes, potato chip bags, magazine subscription cards, old calendar pages and other papers found in your wastebasket. And you can fold them into useful things: photo cubes, modular chess and checkerboard sets, candy wrapper butterflies, snack bag wallets, paper hearts--there is something for every taste and level of origami skill. "How to" illustrations are plentiful, large and clearly draw. But the book also comes with a DVD guiding us through each project, step-by-step which will make the directions easier to understand for some. Some designs are traditional while others have been created by contemporary paper folding artists.

Trash To Treasure

Trash to Treasure: The Recycler's Guide to Creative Crafts (Memories in the Making series)
Ann Van Wagner Childs (Editor), Leisure Arts, Inc./ Hardback/ Published 1997
Price: $19.95

140 easy ways to transform everyday household discards into gifts, home accessories, holiday decorations and assorted projects that children can help make.

Urgent 2nd Class

Urgent 2nd Class: Creating Curious Collage, Dubious Documents and Other Art From Ephemera
Nick Bantock, Paperback/Published 2004
Price: $13.57

The author/illustrator of Griffin & Sabine shares his techniques for combining paper memorabilia - maps, engravings, money, photos, stamps, photos, seed packets, etc. - with photocopying, rubber stamping and collage techniques to produce personal visual poems. Each technique is fully explained in general (no step-by-step instructions) and well illustrated with nearly 200 pictures in all.

The Wrapping Scarf Revolution The Wrapping Scarf Revolution
Patricia Lee, Paperback/Published 2009 by Leisure Arts Inc.
Price: $11.53

When Patricia Lee learned that the United States produces an additional 5 million tons of waste during the year-end holidays — including 4 million tons of discarded gift wrapping paper — she decided to do something about it. She brought back the tradition of using wrapping cloths to her Korean-American home, and now has translated that tradition into a guide to making the tradition your own.

Wrapping scarves are available in a rainbow of colors and can be reused indefinitely. The book provides instructions for making creative gift wrap, shopping bags, backpacks, tissue box covers, a basket liner wrap, among other practical projects. The author also looks at the fascinating and little-known history of the cloth wrap in Korea, and how this wonderful alternative to paper and plastic can ease the strain on our landfills.


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Non-Fiction Books for Adults
1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse 1000 Ideas for Creative Reuse: Remake, Restyle, Recycle, Renew
Garth Johnson/Paperback/Published 2009
Price: $15.67

This book consists of 1000 curated craft pieces, each photographed individually, made from previously use materials. by hundreds of trained, professional artists located throughout the world. Sometimes there are multiple submissions by one artist. The book is organized in categories: reused paper goods and assemblage; jewelry and adornment, geek craft and man craft; housewares and furnishings; art, inters, and installations. A good cross section of today's ideas and source of inspiration; but no "how to" instructions included.

The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese-American Internment Camps 1942-1946 The Art of Gaman: Arts and Crafts from the Japanese-American Internment Camps 1942-1946
Delphine Hirasuna/Hardcover/Published 2005
Price: $23.10

Shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, 120,000 Japanese-Americans were ordered to leave their homes and move to 10 inland internment camps for the duration of the Second World War. They were allowed to bring only what they could carry and left their homes and possessions behind. They moved into wooden barracks furnished only with a light and a pot-bellied stove.

While in the camps, the internees foraged for scraps of wood and found materials to make tools, furniture, musical instruments, religious shrines, toys, games, teapots, paintings – items to provide comfort and then embellishments for their stark lives.

The author discovered 120 camp-made objects, many stored away and nearly forgotten, and has written a tribute to the courage and creativity of the internees — none of whom was ever found to be a threat to the United States. “Gaman” is a Japanese word for endurance with grace and dignity in the face of what seems unbearable. This moving perspective on the history of WWll contains color photos and a map of the camps.

Confessions of an Eco-Sinner Confessions of an Eco-Sinner: Tracking Down the Sources of My Stuff
Fred Pearce/Hardback/Published 2008
Price: $15.20

In our consumerist world, we often take the "stuff" of our lives for granted: coffee, jeans, cell phones, for instance. We rarely ask ourselves where it all comes from and what are the underlying costs. Veteran science journalist Fred Pearce asked the question and took a 100,000 mile around-the-world journey from his home in England to find out. He shows us what it takes to sustain our current lifestyle by meeting the people who produce our "must haves" to learn about their working conditions and the environmental effects. The book will open your eyes to the stuff right in front of your eyes, at your fingertips, and on your person.

Celebrate Green Celebrate Green: Creating Eco-Savvy Holidays, Celebrations & Traditions for the Whole Family
Corey Colwell-Lipson & Lynn Colwell/Paperback/Published 2008
Price: $24.95

Parties and celebrations provide the perfect occasion to start adding eco-traditions to your life. In this well researched and easy-to-read book, the authors offer helpful tips to people who currently live green and to those who want to start now, but don't know where to begin. They show how to make easy, eco-friendly changes to large and small celebrations, including office parties, family reunions, Halloween, Mother's Day, 4th of July, Christmas, Hanukah and more, in order to keep the fun while cutting the waste. There's another reason to celebrate!

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health

Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health
Jo Robinson/Hardcover/Published 2013
Price: $18.46 Hardcover; $13.69 Paperback; $11.04 Kindle Edition

A practical guide by author Jo Robinson, who explains that some fruits and vegetables are more nutritious than others. Robinson explains why this happens and lists the most nutrient-dense ones that can be found in most grocery stores and farmer's markets. Explanations are written clearly for non-scientists so we can all identify the healthiest produce available.

Filled with surprising and scientifically up-to date information, such as:

  • Eating only one serving of whole cranberries a day can lower the risk of bladder infection by more than 50 percent. They can also defeat many food-borne bacteria, including staphylococcus, listeria and E. coli.
  • Slicing, chopping, or pressing garlic, and letting it rest for ten minutes before cooking, boosts its ability to fight cancer and cardiovascular disease.
  • Canned artichoke hearts are among the most nutritious vegetables in the supermarket.

In Katrina's Wake

In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster 
Susan Zakin (Author), Bill McKibben (Author), Chris Jordan (Photographer)/Hardcover/ Published 2007
Price: $23.10

Chris Jordan, a photographer whose images put a concrete face on abstract concepts of runaway consumerism, visited New Orleans in November and December of 2005, following Hurricane Katrina, show the cost of Hurricane Katrina on a personal scale--a refrigerator in a tree, gate with no fence beside it or a house behind it, a tattered phone book in the mud with no phones and no people near it. Along with the pictures, are first hand accounts from Jordan, conservation writer Bill McKibben, science and nature writers Elizabeth Royte and Susan Zakin and poems by Jordan's wife, Victoria Sloane Jordan. 

Jordan wrote, "From that perspective, my hope is that these images might encourage some reflection on the part that we each play, and the loss that we all suffer, when a preventable catastrophe of this magnitude happens to the people of our own country. Katrina has illuminated our interconnectedness, and it makes our personal accountability as members of a conscious society ever more difficult to deny. " Book proceeds go to hurricane relief.

Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving The Planet One Cat Toy At A Time Make Your Own Cat Toys: Saving The Planet One Cat Toy At A Time
Hollly Tse/Paperback/Published 2008
Price: $11.95

If your cat, like mine, shows more interest in the label ribbons than the actual organic cotton toy filled with catnip , you need this book. It provides more than 50 ideas for cat toys, all easily made from materials at hand with no special skills required. You’ll never look at corrugated cardboard, spare shoelaces, toilet paper rolls, plastic juice tabs and rings on beverage bottles, unwanted CDs, hemp twine, even old socks, the same way again. I love the suggestion to first wash the socks and then wear them around the house for an hour to make the resulting toy more appealing to Kitty.

If even after working your way through the book nothing tickles his/her fancy — we are talking about felines here — at least it’s a way of doing things together.

Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet Plan Bee: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About the Hardest-Working Creatures on the Planet
Susan M. Brackney/Paperback/Published 2010
Price: $5.58

The subtitle says it all. This easy-reading volume is a great introduction to the increasingly threatened world of the humble yet critically important honeybee. From who's who in the hive to vital bee statistics, from what plants attract bees to your garden to what to do with harvested honey and beeswax, Plan Bee offers an overview of the sisterhood of bees and the challenges they face – and how the backyard beekeeper can help keep the pollinator population healthy.

Show Me How: 500 Things You Should Know Instructions for Life From the Everyday to the Exotic (Paperback) Show Me How: 500 Things You Should Know Instructions for Life From the Everyday to the Exotic
Lauren Smith, Derek Fagerstrom and the Show Me Team/Paperback/Published 2008
Price: $17.60

Need to know how to create a chain-mail bikini? Or something more useful, like how to use chopsticks? This entertaining book has answers to everyday questions ranging from practical to almost useless (but interesting). Written by 38 experts, Show Me How shows you how to (among other things):

  • Fit a dovetail joint together
  • Hang a basic shelf
  • Weave an inner-tube chair seat
  • Twist balloon animals
  • Treat a snake bite
  • Remove a stain
  • Design a French parterre garden
  • Determine a box turtle’s gender
  • Make a tin-can luminary.
  • Well designed, easy to read and filled with clear illustrations, it’s a good gift for all ages and occasions. And if you can't find what you want to know here, there's always Google.

    Art Books
    Fine Art of the Tin Can

    The Fine Art of the Tin Can
    Bobby Hansson/ Paperback/ Published 1996
    Price: $15.37

    You'd never believe what artists can do with a tin can! Bobby Hansson teamed up with 90 artists to demonstrate the versatility of this medium. (Aluminum cans were excluded.) Their creations include a 42' long mural in the San Francisco Airport, armor made from beer cans, and a collection of objects made from Kikkoman soy-sauce cans.

    Hansson, a professional photographer, has produced art from found objects since 1955. In this book, he set out to explore the formerly uncharted parameters of the tin can.

    This book is fun. It's an eye-opener.
    (Learn more about Bobby Hansson in our newsletter.)

    Found Art Found Object Art
    Dorothy Spencer/Hardcover/Published 2001
    Price: $49.95

    Lavishly illustrated, the book presents a varied collection of extraordinary art created by 86 artists who give new life to objects most people throw away, Author Dorothy Spencer is also a designer, She curated a show of recycled art in 1994, and has continued to conduct extensive research about artists working with found materials. This well-illustrated book includes: pointillist-like pictures consisting of painted postage stamps, sculptures made from recycled brass zippers, a purse made from expired grocery store coupons, a basket woven from Sunday comics. Who knew? You may never see trash the same way again.

    Making Bits and Pieces Mosaics Manufractured: The Conspicuous Transformation of Everyday Objects
    Steven Skov Holt, Maria Holt Skov/Hardcover/2008
    Price: $23.10

    This book explores pioneering work by 11 artist/craftsmen featured in a 2008 exhibit presented at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, Oregon. instead of working with traditional methods and raw materials, this group used their imagination and devised new (and often painstaking techniques) to deconstruct manufactured, everyday objects such as pocket combs, plastic bottles, tin boxes, traffic signs, toy soldiers, and lipsticks to create personal comments on today's culture. The authors, who also curated this exhibit, argue that the Crafts movement, which some considered would be doomed in the current post-industrial age, is actually lively and keeping up with today's times. Steven coined the title, "Manufractured" to describe this emerging contemporary movement which repurposes and transforms mass production's carbon copy utilitarian products into unique works of art. Contains 40 illustrations.

    The Practical Guide to Container Gardening

    Pure Sea Glass: Discovering Nature's Vanishing Gems
    Richard LaMotte, Sally Lamotte Crane, Celia Pearson Published 2004
    Price: $23.07

    Helpful to both beginning and advanced sea glass hunters and collectors, this coffee table book is filled with helpful information: the history of sea glass, the history of sand, different types of sea glass, and tips for finding and identifying glass. Includes 150 beautiful photographs.

    Recycled Re-Seen Recycled Re-Seen: Folk Art from the Global Scrap Heap
    Charlene Cerny (Editor), Suzanne Seriff (Editor), John Bigelow Taylor (Editor) Paperback/Published 1996
    Price: $17.95

    This catalog, for a traveling exhibition of the same name, is a spritely survey of folk art from different continents produced from salvaged materials (e.g., bottle caps, license plates, sardine cans, rubber sandals).Contains essays by twelve prominent scholars on recycled folk art and aesthetics.

    Recycled Re-Seen Signs on the Wind: Postcard Collages
    Lenore Tawney, Hardback/Published 2002
    Price: $15.72

    A unique collection containing 81 postcard collages which Ms. Tawney (1907- ), a prominent weaver whose work is contained in collections of the New York's American Craft Museum and the Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., mailed to friends and family between 1961-1990. Most were made of paper - photographs, newspaper clippings, magazine ads, musical scores, illustrations from art history books, manuscript pages in foreign languages, letters from friends - in addition to her own drawings and notations. They contained no written personal message or signature and were sent through the mail without protective covering because Tawney considered the postmark to be a record of passage to be included in the design. The book also includes an essay by New York Times art critic Holland Cotter.


    Trashformations: Recycled Materials in Contemporary American Art and Design
    Lloyd E. Herman/Hardcover/Published 1998
    Price: $18.95

    Watch out! This beautifully designed catalog for a recent traveling exhibition, Trashformations, will either provide validation for the creative reader who saves string and haunts yard sales for tools or broken necklaces for future projects or encourage you to do so. The collection of 80 pieces (selected from thousands of entries) was created in the 1980s and '90s by environmentally aware artists throughout the country. It's sometimes hard to believe that this ingenious jewelry, furniture, clothing, etc. is made from discarded sink drains, suitcases, plastic garbage bags, lineoleum floor tiles and other materials we wouldn't normally see as art supplies.

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    Ani's Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes

    Ani's Raw Food Kitchen: Easy, Delectable Living Foods Recipes
    Ani Phyo/Paperback/Published 2007
    Price: $13.12

    An "uncookbook" for people who want to incorporate raw foods into their diets but don't have much time to prepare it or reoutfit your kitchen to do it. After spending years in the catering business, the author discovered raw food cuisine and discovered the diet changed her productivity and sleep. As a result, she has focused her career on developing recipes and consulting with companies and individuals who want to adopt this lifestyle. You'll find recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner--with a healthy assortment of desserts )cakes, icey kreams pies and soups. Provides tips on essential tools, key ingredients and how-to kitchen skills.

    People's Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn's Coolest Pop Shop

    People's Pops: 55 Recipes for Ice Pops, Shave Ice, and Boozy Pops from Brooklyn's Coolest Pop Shop
    Nathalie Jordi, David Carrell & Joel Horowitz/Hardcover/Published 2012
    Price: $11.55

    Seasonal and locally sourced ice desserts? Yes. This book helps us create unique dessert pops and snacks with a wide range of fruits herbs and vegetables easily, and all year long. Intriguing pops include Blackberry, Yogurt and Honey; Peach and Jalapeno, Corn and Blackberry,Cranberry, Star A Anise and Campari, and Pears with Cognac. All that's needed is an ice pop mold (store bought or improvised) and sticks, a food processor or blender, a simple sugar syrup (recipe provided) and the recipe's ingredients. Easy way to end a meal and spend more time with the dinner partners than in the kitchen.

    The Use-It-Up Cookbook

    The Use-It-Up Cookbook: Creative Recipes for the Frugal Cook
    Catherine Kitcho/Paperback/Published 2003
    Price: $11.87

    The Use-It-Up Cookbook by Catherine Kitcho, a former caterer, is designed to be a friend for cooks trying to think outside the box. It is organized alphabetically, by ingredient (from Applesauce to Wine with Bananas, Jam, Olives, Tomato Paste and other staples inbetween) and offers five recipes for each ingredient just to get you started. The book encourages readers to develop their own recipes and provides space for handwritten notes. Vegetarians will have to adapt several recipes which contain meat, fish and milk products.

    The Vegan Slow Cooker

    The Vegan Slow Cooker: Simply Set It and Go with 150 Recipes for Intensely Flavorful, Fuss-Free Fare Everyone (Vegan or Not!) Will Devour
    Kathy Hester/Paperback/Pubished 2011
    Price: $11.15

    These recipes in this book will please anyone who enjoys eating good food -- not just vegans. In addition, these recipes take little effort to prepare and use mostly inexpensive and easily found fresh ingredients. The big surprise for me is that in addition to cooking slow cooker classics--soups, stews, and curries, there are recipes for pastas, sandwich fillings, breads not from your oven, party snacks, desserts and beverages. The dishes are tasty and interesting: they include herbs, an international assortment of spices and other flavoring agents.

    Vegan Slow Cooking For Two - or Just for You

    Vegan Slow Cooking For Two - or Just for You: More than 100 Delicious One-Pot Meals for Your 1.5-Quart/Litre Slow Cooker
    Kathy Hester (Author) and Kate Lewis (Photographer) /Paperback/Published 2013
    Price: $11.99 Paperback; $9.99 Kindle Edition

    Designed specifically for 1.5- to 2-quart or litre slow cookers, the recipes provide just enough for a meal and a few leftovers -- a boon if you don't want to eat the same thing for weeks, especially if the recipes don't freeze well. For me, the book's biggest surprise is the scope of meals and courses that can be prepared in a slow cooker: breakfast, dips that can be eaten as appetizers or a main meal; soup; stews, curries and chiils; sandwich and taco fillings; one-pot risottos, pastas and pasta sauces; full-meal dishes; drinks, syrups and desserts.

    Hester develops sophisticated recipes (tested by 40 people) including: Eggplant Tapenade; Asian Shiitake Sliders; Simple Red Pepper Garlic Bean Dip; Oatmeal and Dried Fruit Cookie for Two; and Blueberry Lemon Cake. Generously illustrated with full color photos.

    Non-vegans can add meat and cheese where appropriate, or simply add a piece of meat on the side. Recipes use mostly whole foods and are designated soy-, gluten-, and oil-free as appropriate.

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