Sunday, November 22, 2015

Field Guide to Peppers: 400 Varieties, Where They Come From, How Hot They are, Dave DeWitt and Jamie Lamson. Timber Press, 2015

Dave DeWitt has been working with peppers for decades, is the founder of Chile Pepper magazine, and has been dubbed “The Pope of Peppers”. Jamie Lamson is the “Chile Goddess”, and the owner of, which grows 500 varieties of hot and sweet peppers and ships plants in spring and fresh chilies in September. This duo is uniquely suited to write the definitive book on peppers.

The book covers the five main domesticated species of peppers; Capsicum annuum has a number of subsets such as jalapenos, Europeans, pimentos, wax, Asians, and bells so that section is subdivided. Did you know that there are 27 different named cultivars of cayenne peppers alone? Each entry has a color photograph, the cultivar name, where the pepper first came into cultivation, the size of the plant and of the pod, the time to harvest, and the heat level. Here’s the only problem I have with the book: they give the heat levels by ‘mild, medium, hot,” etc instead of the Scoville units for the peppers. There is a chart that tells what the range of Scoville units is for each category, but still, ‘Medium’ covers 2500 to 10,000 Scoville units and that’s a heck of a range. I’d prefer to see the actual SHU for each pepper. Some entries also have comments about the pepper, such as uses in cuisine, growing tips, etc.

I think it’s a great book; I get so confused looking over huge sections of pepper seeds and wondering how they compare to each other. This book will unravel a lot of that confusion.This would be a great reference for the chile head on your holiday gift giving list! 

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The above is an affiliate link; if you click through and buy something- anything- Amazon will give me a few cents. 

I received my copy free from Net Galley in return for an honest review. This in no way affected my review. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Bead & Wire Fashion Jewelry, by Jessica Rose. Guild of Master Craftsmen Publications, 2014

This book is a great one for learning the basics of wire working. It has step by step photographs of each process, making learning the bends and turns easy. The author shows how to make and use the basic findings: jump rings, head pins, wrapped tops on large beads, clasps, earwires, loops, simple charms, and how to crimp. Then she has eighteen projects: bracelets, necklaces, earrings, and rings- rings aren’t something you find in very many jewelry making books.

While the book doesn’t go into fancier things like making a jig and creating extensively wrapped pieces, it can be the basis for a solid foundation on wire working. You can’t do the fancy stuff without mastering the basics. And being able to make your own findings can save you a lot of money when you’re making jewelry!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Book Review: Upcycle Your Wardrobe


I was pleasantly surprised by this book. I've seen some upcycling books that are 
very poorly done- poor sewing techniques, shoddy looking projects. Most of the 
projects in this book are well done, and many are quite sophisticated. The author 
demonstrates good sewing techniques, and even finishes her seams. An A+ for not 
just doing a few cuts on a shirt and calling it upcycled, and for creating things
that a person would actually buy if they found them in a store!