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Summer Fun: Activities For When You're Not Reading!

Thursday, August 21, 2014
With summer still going on in full swing, I thought it'd be fun to step away from recreational reading to how-to books on some fun summer activities to do. The perfect opportunity came in the form of the Summer Bloggin' blog tour hosted by Zest Books.

The Green Teen Cookbook
edited by Laurane Marchive, Pam McElroy

Genre: Contemporary   Paperback: 149 Pages
Publication: July 29, 2014 by Zest Books

Going green is hard to do especially when it comes to food. There are acronyms to learn, labels to decipher, seasons to accommodate, and grocery stores to navigateand that's before you even turn on the stove! The Green Teen Cookbook cuts through the chaos and shows teens how to shop smarter, cook more consciously, and eat a healthier diet. And in addition to the 70+ incredible recipes (created by teens, for teens), the book also includes:

* Illuminating essays about freeganism, flexitarians, vegetarianism, and more
* Tips about how to shop on a budget and get the most out of what you already have in your pantry
* A seasonal key that ensures the freshness of the recipes (and a minimal carbon footprint)
* Photos for each of the 70+ recipes

The original British edition of this book was honored as The Best Sustainable Food Book in the UK, Gourmand World Cookbook Awards 2012.

This a great book filled with simple recipies by teens for teens. These range from breakfast foods to soups, salads, and sandwiches, to snakcs and sides to main courses to desserts. Best of all, this is a cookbook dedicated to being green and healthy. This doesn't necessarily mean becoming a vegetarian (there are meat recipies in here!). It means being eco-friendly and eating ethically. It means becoming aware of the impact of our diets and choice of food on the world. If you're interested in learning more about this, there is a section in the front of the book that you may peruse. Otherwise, this is a fantastic cookbook for anyone but especially young adults.

As a college student, this is the kind of cookbook I want. It provides simple easy recipes. The ingredient lists are short and easy to fulfill, and more importantly, they tell me exactly how long I should expect to be cooking and how many servings I can expect to make. My first priority is my studies; I don't have time to try and figure out where to buy my ingredients and how long I'm going to spend cooking. Thankfully, these recipes don't take more than an hour to make for the most part.

The procedures are also simple and easy to follow. I love how "quick tips" are provided on how to really bring out the flavor in the recipes or change up the recipe. Sometimes, I may like a recipe, but I don't want to keep eating the same thing. These quick tips provide easy guidelines to follow when I want more variety in my diet while keeping true to what I love.

I haven't had a chance to try out one of the recipies yet, but there are a few I have my eye on (like the energy bar—it looks like it'll make a good snack or breakfast-on-the-go). I look forward to making a home in my kitchen for this fantastic cookbook!

A copy was provided by Zest Books for review

Sticky Fingers
by Sophie Maletsky

Genre: Nonfiction   Paperback: 240 Pages
Publication: July 1, 2014 by Zest Books

Sticky Fingers is a vibrant, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide to creating amazing projects with the hottest crafting material on the market today duct tape! The book includes tons of photographs alongside directions designed to make creating a wallet and making a bag even easier, while also providing a steady stream of ideas for personalizing and embellishing your duct tape creations. Each project includes icons showing difficulty level and project time, as well as helpful hints, such as how to keep your scissors clean and what to do with end pieces. So grab a roll of duct tape, pick a project, and get started!

This is the perfect book for someone looking into getting into duct taping. It starts out with teaching the basics and moves on to more complicated projects. The book is divided into clear sections with the various projects grouped into related clusters from wallets to purses to wearable projects to school and room-related projects. I mean it when I say there is a variety of projects to do in here. There are even variations of the same theme (for example, just check out the whole section dedicated to duct-tape wallets).

I love how clear the instructions are. Total beginners to duct taping (or even crafting in general) can follow them. I especially like how sample pictures of various stages of the projects are provided. I'm a very visual person, and it really helps to be able to see how your project should look as you progress through the step-by-step instructions. The book also provides an estimated time to complete the project and a difficulty level, so you'll be able to plan your schedule accordingly.

This is a book that I can see accompanying me on a lazy afternoon when I'm looking for something artsy to do. I recommend it to anyone interested in getting into some kind of craft. If that craft happens to be duct taping, this just may be the book for you.

A copy was provided by Zest Books for review

Interview with Sophie Maletsky,
Author of Sticky Fingers

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into crafting.
I think I was born with a crayon in one hand and child-friendly scissors in the other. I’ve always loved to create. I used to make dollhouses and furnish them with whatever bits and snips I could find. My parents are artists and they were very young and definitely struggling when I was born. However, we never lacked for anything because my parents had such imagination, creativity, and skills. We had no money for Christmas decorations, so my mother baked gingerbread men and my dad took clothespins and painted them like toy soldiers. The tree didn’t need anything else but that- it sparkled with love!

Where do you find inspiration for projects?
From all over! A store window display may get my creative wheels turning. A magazine photo, something I see on the Internet. An advertisement. There is so much creative fodder out there. But my true inspiration form from the kids I work with day in and day out. They challenge me through their responses on youtube, at my workshops, and at my parties.

There are a lot of fun duct tape projects in Sticky Fingers. Do you have a favorite project in there?
Tell us about it. I think my favorite projects are the earring tree and jewelry stands because they use recycled materials as well. I love mixing mediums- and paper tubes are one of my favorites! The tape loves the tubes. It’s a marriage made in heaven.

What do you recommend to people just getting into crafting? 
Breath! Im very fond of saying, “there are no tears in duct tape”! Nine times out of ten a mistake is fixable as long as you don’t panic. Duct tape is very sticky, so “casualties” will happen. I actually have a “casualty ball,” which I take to events, and as mistakes happen I add them to the ball. I find that it takes that fear of doing something wrong off the table and allows people to experiment and make mistakes. Mistakes are all part of the learning process and are to be embraced. I make mistakes all the time!

What are the basic crafting elements that someone getting into duct tape will need to keep around?
As I write in chapter one, there are really only three things you need to craft with duct tape. 1.) Tape (of course) 2.) a work surface. I suggest either a plastic cutting board or if you can find them painting panels/ canvas. They are thin but very strong, and the canvas side is perfect for working with, but not cutting, take. And 3.) some sort of cutting device, scissors, X-acto knife, rotary knife…… oh …… my my book of course!

I saw that you're also an event planner. What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love working with kids! It’s the best part of my day. Day in and day out I get to create magical moments, whether it’s at a workshop or a party. When kids are being creative and having fun together, there is nothing better in the world.

What inspired you to start Sophie's World?
A client suggested to me that we should find a way to reach a larger audience. Up until that point, I’d only been able to share my joy of crafting with people in the San Francisco bay area through events. Now I get to share it with anyone who had our book in hand or a computer! It’s awesome! I hear from people all over the world now.

What are you working on right now?
Right now I’m working on duct tape back to school projects: Things for lockers, gussied up school supplies, stuff to help organize one’s busy day at school. I am also working on doll clothes with tarp backing. It’s pretty cool.

Anything else you'd like us to know?
Hummm…. How about that I am allergic to chocolate? Oh… and that I truly believe that anyone can craft if they are given the opportunity, the means, and the time to do so. It’s also a great group activity, and brings people together. We really need more community art outlets.

Thanks for interviewing!
Thank you so much for the insightful questions.

About the Author

Sophie Maletsky is a Nickelodeon Parents’ Pick award winner, a certified teacher on, and a duct tape expert. An award-winning children’s event planner, craft and kid expert, her website Sophie's World features thousands of ideas, how-to's and videos for crafts, games, and activities. Known as the “premier authority on duct tape crafting in the United States,” she lives and creates in San Francisco, California.

Connect with Sophie
Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Twitter

2 comments on "Summer Fun: Activities For When You're Not Reading!"
  1. I'm well past my teen years but that book sounds great!

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

  2. Oh, very cool! Pretty amazing what you can do with duct tape.


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