504 Main by Holly Lefevre: book
Showing posts with label book. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book. Show all posts


Happy Homemade: Book Review

I love fashion. And so does my daughter.
I used to sew all the time, and have been enjoying it again recently.
My daughter wants to sew too (we are slowly working on it).
She has recently started to ask me to make her clothes.
I look forward to getting settled in our new home so I can get a jump start on this.
For now we are both enjoying the Happy Homemade book by Yoshiko Tsukiori,
and my little girlie is quite busy selecting which pieces I "must" make her. 
Happy Homemade book review

I received three books, 2 of which focus on children...but of course, the ladies (mainly me) cannot be left out! Sew Chic: 20 Simple Everyday Designs by Yoshiko Tsukiori is a collection of 20 patterns for easy to make fashionable pieces. There is an easy relaxed elegance to all of these pieces. I can see the tops, pants, and dresses working into any stylish ladies wardrobe.
Happy Homemade book review

In the back of the book is an envelope with the patterns. Although I have not used the patterns yet, I do have a background in patternmaking and the patterns in the book seem simple to use and straightforward.

These books are so easy to follow along, and are comprehensive in their information. But, I love the eye candy too -  each book begins with a series of beautifully style photographs showcasing the garments. So chic!

Happy Homemade book review

Happy Homemade book review

The book focuses on some Basic Techniques, including basic tools, sewing tips, and how to make a paper pattern and place it. 

Happy Homemade book review

Each garment has a very detailed and comprehensive diagram for sewing the garment together.
Happy Homemade book review

With the tools and tips provided in this book, making a few of these garments should be a snap...even for a beginner!

As I mentioned I also received a couple of other books.
I love that this book includes not only girls clothing but boys styles too.
Happy Homemade book review

How darn cute is this pullover Parka? Or the Boy's shirt?
Happy Homemade book review

My daughter was smitten with Girls Style Book
Dresses, blouses, pants - all of them are so cute. I bet we make them all!
Happy Homemade book review
Happy Homemade book review

We are also getting ready to move from a fairly cool coastal climate to Texas and I think many of these items will be perfect for those warm (HOT!) summer days as well as transition into the other seasons!

Happy Homemade book review
 Do you sew?
This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre
disclosure: Copies of these titles were provided to me for review. Other compensation may be involved. All opinions are mine own.


A New Christmas Tradition: An Unexpected Christmas

I did not grow up with religion in my life. I attended church on and off with some friends. I have celebrated Christmas with presents, Santa, and family, but here was never much religion involved, but my kids are very interested in all aspects of Christmas. Recently my daughter went to a church event with a friend called The Streets of Bethlehem. She was fascinated and has been talking about how she "Saw Baby Jesus in God's Old World." (I love how a six year old describes things) Clearly, she wanted to know more.

Thankfully, I had just received the book An Unexpected Christmas by Simone Graham. I have "known" Simone for awhile and was thrilled to read this story she created. It was exactly what my daughter wanted to hear. She could understand more about Baby Jesus, and the book did a better job explaining it all to a child that I ever could.

Whether you are religious or not, this book is a wonderful read. I do believe it will become one of our Christmas traditions.

You can also head over to You Tube to watch a short video of An Unexpected Christmas.

An Unexpected Christmas is available on Amazon, in print or Kindle edition.
This post is written and created at 504 Main by Holly Lefevre
a single copy of the book was provided to me for review. affiliate links are contained in the post.


Let's Talk Fashion: Stylish Dress Book Review

I have mentioned before that I attended design school and worked in fashion for many years. And truly a day does not go by that I do not think about re-entering that field. I adore fashion and it holds a special place in my heart.

Any time I have the opportunity to play with read about and indulge in fashion I am a happy girl. Recently I was sent the Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom by Yoshiko Tsukiori, published by Tuttle Publishing.

"Japanese style has long been admired for its grace and artistry. Add to that a sense of fun, and you have the Stylish Dress Book." - Tuttle Publishing

When I received the book, I immediately fell in love.
The book is GORGEOUS! Beautiful photos, great styling of not only the garments but the book itself.  The book contains full color photographs of the designs as well as complete instructions and patterns to make these fun and fashionable dresses.

I adore the dresses in this book.
There are beautiful and whimsical fabrics used, and the dresses exude a fun easy style that is totally chic and fashionable. Many (most) of the dress are easy to wear tunic or babydoll styles reflecting a relaxed style.

I did not have a chance to break out my own sewing machine yet and try a few of these, but I am putting it on  my list. I absolutely adore quite a few of the garments in the book and can see them fitting into my wardrobe effortlessly.

You can purchase the Stylish Dress Book on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble.

Do you sew?

What's your favorite style of dress?
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disclosure: I was provided with a copy of the Stylish Dress Book for review. All opinions are my own.


So You Think You Can Write? I Didn't...But I Do!

This is the post that appeared on my agents blog back in October 2010, and, partially, here in December of 2010, but it seem to be relevant again...so here goes!
Over the last few months, I have seen a lot of posts about writing books and "how to" and "what to" and "why to" all over the Internet, facebook, and discussed at various conferences I have attended.

I have also had a number of people tell me (in person) or email me that they were surprised to see that I actually write books.
Me too!
I still am not sure I consider myself to be a writer -
it was never in  my plans, never even a thought,
but here I am, 7+ (non-fiction) books later,
and I am going with it.

Last year, my agent asked me to share the story of how I parlayed my area of expertise - wedding planning - into writing books.

While my area of expertise maybe in weddings at this particular time, I do have other projects in the works...but most importantly, the basic plan of how to write a non-fiction book is essentially the same, so this topic applies to many, many people.

I have thought about writing an ebook, but really it is easier to put this information I have in a blog post or multiple blog posts (and focus on finishing my own proposals).
If you all are interested I am happy to do a few more posts covering topics of:
Finding your niche
How to write a book proposal
How to find an agent
What to do after you sell it!
Or other various topics that I just may know something about.
Feel free to leave any questions of topic ideas in the comments.
"Can You Write?"
I am a planner….that is what I do. I went to school and landed my dream job as a fashion designer…I was set…I had it planned out. I knew my path. Writing was NEVER a part of my plan. I never had any intention of writing anything. It found me.

In fact my first foray into the publishing world was an accident of sorts…a 7 am phone call from an acquaintance jolted me out of bed with the simple question  “Can you write?” To which I carefully replied…”I got an A in English.” Little did I know this phone call would send me down a path I never expected.

In an instant, I became an accidental author. My very first book deal was as co-author of a book titled “The 100 Careers in Fashion and Modeling,” and I solely got that gig because I was in fashion, was knowledgeable about the business…and could write. It did not happen because I was brilliant. It did not happen because I got that A in English. It happened because I parlayed my expertise in my career into a tangible idea.

Soon after this writing experience, I married and used my status as a recent bride to explore a new area of expertise. This led to a second book, one about wedding planning from a bride’s perspective.  Taking this all one step further, I veered off my plan again and switched careers. I was now a wedding planner. I embraced all things wedding and set out to parlay my experiences and knowledge of weddings into writing. I had already seen what happened when I presented my self as an expert in one field…this same idea could easily be parlayed into another field and into subsequent books.

So, how did I do this twice? First I established myself as an expert in my field…and yes, that meant volunteering for some things….I spoke at bridal seminars, I worked as the editor of a local bridal publication, I wrote small articles (for free), and I made myself available to professional organizations to speak and to be a part of their professional meetings. All of this helped spread my name and establish me as a go-to wedding gal. Not only did this help my “new” career as a wedding planner, but also it strengthened my role as a writer, and subsequently author of multiple wedding books.

Do I mean go out and volunteer and give your precious time away for free, not for the long haul…but you have to plan and work to establish yourself as an expert in any field and to gain the credentials you need to make the publishers believe you are the one who knows the most about your chosen subject. Find professional organizations that cater to the client, the reader you want to reach and offer your knowledge.

Of course you may not be the only looking for this route to authorship, so you also need to know who else is out there writing books in your market – what are there credentials? Are they better than yours? Do you need to improve yours? Continuing to educate yourself in your field, as well as making yourself available and accessible to those who can benefit from your particular field of expertise will establish you as an expert and just may lead to the many opportunities that are out there waiting for you.
So, that's it...my story.
These are my books
(The links to the books are affiliate links with Amazon)

I am inspired, still, to write about weddings to reach out to brides and offer my expertise and insight. I am also inspired to write about what my daily life consists of now - kids, cooking, crafts, whatever! I truly want to dive into the fiction realm - that stretches my comfort zone, but it makes me question my talents - but I want to, need to, give it a shot.

So...have you ever considered writing a book?
Feel free to leave any questions of topic ideas in the comments.


Microcrafts....Tiny Crafts with BIG Appeal

I am a sucker for a book - any book,
but especially craft books
(OK, and fashion books, and vintage cookbooks,
and etiquette books, and wedding books...)

Anyway, I am a huge fan of
real - life - hardcover - glossy - pages - in - my - hands - books.

When asked if I would take a peek at the new book
Microcrafts: Tiny Treasure to Make and Share from Quirk Books
I jumped at the chance. And I was not disappointed.

This book is beautifully put together with teeny tiny crafts that anyone can recreate - even me and I am a big messy crafter! In fact a friend was here flipping through the book and she said "Even I can make some of these!" (she thinks she is not that crafty...but she is very creative!)

The quality of the book and the images is pretty enough to leave out as a coffee table book - HUGE PLUS! The crafts range from sweet little stuffed toys

to miniature books

to sweet pendants.

There truly is a little something for everyone.

The authors, Margaret McGuire, Alicia Kachmar, Katie Hatz, and Friends have done a magnificent job compiling a unique, fun and very doable collection of tiny crafts you can treasure. I have my eye on completing quite a few.

This would be a really fun gift for a crafty (or semi-crafty) friend.
What do ya think? You ready to give Microcrafts a try?

Disclosure: One book was provided to me for review from Quirk Books. Please see my full "Disclosure" in the top navigation bar


The Big Ass Book of Crafts 2 Is HERE! There's a Giveaway 2! - GIVEAWAYCLOSED

On Saturday I helped organized the SoCal Social
and we were BEYOND excited to have a very special guest...
Mark Montano!
Not only did he join us for the entire event - to shop and to eat, he spoke to us and took Q and A from the audience...and he brought along his NEW book, The Big Ass Book of Crafts 2 which comes out TODAY. I was H-A-P-PY to walk away with an autographed copy.
After a long and FABULOUS day with Mark and some cool SoCal Bloggers, back at the hotel, I dove into his book (I will be sharing all of the details from the Social soon).
Here is why I LOVE this book!
First - The title is the best! Catchy, no?

Second - There is something for everyone. From zip ties to doll heads, to art pieces to jewels and ornaments, you will find at least a bajillion "big ass" ideas in this book.

Third - The supplies for these crafts are easy to find - you do not need to special order glitter from a crazy lady living in a cave somewhere or grind your own acorns to make a special paste or anything like that!

Fourth - Mark is pretty awesome - full of energy and ideas and sincerely a cool dude to come and hang out with almost 40 ladies for the day!

Fifth - My kids and I can do some of these crafts together and a resource with cool crafts that I do not have to invent is much appreciated!

Sixth - He did not tell me I look 70 (He was the host of 10 Years Younger on TLC, after all!)...so I love him!

Today is the launch of Big Ass Book of Crafts 2
(and if you have figured it out, there is a "Big Ass Book of Crafts")
and this is your chance to support a talented designer, artist, and crafter.

You can grab it at Amazon, The Big-Ass Book of Crafts 2,
or at Walmart 
or at a local book store!


The Scoop...
  • Your email must be linked to your profile or left in the comments
  • Giveaway runs from RIGHT NOW through Sunday 10/16 at midnight PST
  • Winner has 72 hours to respond

MANDATORY ENTRY (no other entries count unless you do this one): Tell me what your favorite type of craft is in a comment here.

Extra Entries:
  1. Go follow Mark's Blog or LIKE his Facebook Page (or both, one comment each) 
  2. Follow 504 Main (if you do not already)...leave me a comment.
  3. Tweet or facebook the giveaway...be sure to tag @504main: A Big Ass giveaway...Win the Big Ass Book of Crafts 2 by @MarkMontano from @504 Main! http://tiny.cc/g218a


Read my disclosure policy by clicking on the tab in the navigation bar under the header


Cinch! Winner

Thanks to everyone who entered.
The winner of the Cinch! book
(as selected by random.org)
Shannon Bogan

Shannon email me with your info!

Comments off


Cinch! Review and Cinch! Giveaway - CLOSED!

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in reviewing Cinch! Conquer Cravings, Drop Pounds, and Lose Inches by Cynthia Sass (I LOVE her last name). She is also the  coauthor of The Flat Belly Diet and a registered dietitian. I did a little poking around and liked what I saw and agreed to review Cinch!

In the past I have struggled with my weight...in fact on Monday I pulled a long, lost post out of the archives to tell you my weighty story. The one thing I strive to be is honest and real here and I feel like you should know where I am coming from...I have tried many plans and menus that are considered to be healthy. I am open to new ideas, but I firmly believe in eating real food and conquering with my mind, body, spirit - not a quick fix.

On to Cinch!
When I first opened the book and started reading, two things jumped out at me. Early in the book there is a section entitled "What's Different - Cinch!"
The first two points (and I am paraphrasing) are:
#1 - An emphasis on portion control and balance instead of counting calories. YES - Score #1 for me - as soon as you tell me to count calories I feel deprived...my successes in the past have all been based on not counting calories.
#2 - A strong emphasis on whole foods and local and organic foods. YES - Score #2 for me - this is huge in my belief system on food. I am striving to do away with processed food in our house, and have switched over the pantry to include whole and organic foods (an occasional junky-something makes it in there however).

Cynthia's approach, as also descried in the book is one of a "whole person perspective" - physical, emotional, social, occupational, intellectual, spiritual, and environmental. Because of these and many other statements in the book, I was getting excited and completely on board with trying this plan. 

So, I made the decision...I am doing it. I am doing the 5-Day Fast Forward to jump start my results (I am an instant gratification type of person...results keep me going). You do not have to begin with the 5-Day Fast Forward...the meals are the same for the 5 days and the food choices are limited to 5...but it is only 5 days...and I happen to like all the food choices.

For the first five days, you eat combinations/meals of these 5 foods:
  • Spinach (fresh of frozen)
  • Raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • Almonds
  • Organic Eggs
  • Nonfat plain yogurt (I am using Greek yogurt...YUM!)
  • (You can substitute tofu)
There is no soda (even diet) and only one cup of coffee - that is hard for me (I rely on my mochas way too much!). I have actually cut back on the coffee by not purchasing my special Coffee Bean No-Sugar Added Mocha Powder - it is just not as good without it, so that makes it easier to not drink it. Tea, water, flavored calorie-free seltzer water, and flavored calorie-free flat water are all OK.
Cynthia is lucky enough to have a cool last name - SASS - that also translates into Slimming and Satiating Seasonings, which include citrus juice or zest, vinegar, hot peppers, tea, and herbs and spices you use to dress up your meals. In our house we use these on a regular basis anyway! Another huge SCORE!

So, I am starting my 2nd day of the 5 Day Fast Forward tomorrow...I have practiced for a few days...I simply decided that to start while the kids and hubby were all on vacation and we were all over the place was not ideal.

The menu for the remaining 25 days - the Cinch! Core - is much more diversified and sounds fabulous. It also include vegetarian and vegan options - HUGE points there!
Some of the recipes include:
  • Open-Faced Pesto Egg Sandwich
  • Strawberry Vanilla Hazelnut "Ice Cream"
  • California Sunshine Salad
  • Spinach Walnut Feta Pizza
  • Chilled Herbed Chicken Pasta Salad
So, as you can see the variety of meals is immense...it is only if you do the 5-Day Fast Forward that you are limited (for only 5 days)...after that it is all about eating like clockwork and eating from the 5 pieces of the puzzle:
  • Produce
  • Whole grain
  • Lean protein
  • Plant based fat
  • Seasonings - SASS)
My family will easily enjoy many of the meals, and I will feel good preparing and serving them as they are wholesome healthy meals. There is even a 5-piece puzzle cheat sheet to assist you with planning the meals.

Additionally...you get to enjoy some chocolate with Cinch! Yes, you heard me...find some time and some dark chocolate and enjoy it, really enjoy it.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the fact that while I know a decent amount about nutrition, Cynthia covers a lot of information about nutrition and also touches on emotional eating and how food issues begin when we are young (yes, I have given my kiddos a lollipop to sit in the shopping cart...I am guilty). I enjoyed these sections very much, because I do believe this is where the root of my issues lie and I am trying to not pass that on to my kiddos.

In my opinion, Cinch! it is a sensible, healthy, approach to getting on track and conquering the scale. It is definitely a book I would pick up at the book store. It is a plan that works or appears (cannot tell you for sure until I am done!) that it would work for me and my family (I just cannot prepare multiple meals at dinner time).

As I go about this plan, I am hopeful...I am ready to conquer this little demon of mine. This plan gives me flexibility while providing quality guidelines...I can live with that! I'll keep you posted!

UPDATE: I think I left this out and feel it needs mentioning....I know the only way to get and maintain the results I desire are through a lifestyle and attitude change. So, I am incorporating the good habits into my life and workign on staying on track.

Now...how would you like to win your own copy on Cinch!?
There are multiple ways to enter...You must leave a comment for each entry. If your email is not visible in your profile or linked to your profile, you must leave it so I can contact you. Giveaway ends 1/11/10 at 12:00 am PST. Winner will be announced on this blog.
1. Mandatory---Be a follower of 504 Main via Google Friend Connect.
2. Like 504 Main on FaceBook.
3. Like Cinch! on Facebook.
4. Follow 504Main on Twitter and Tweet the giveaway. "Win a copy of Cynthia Sass's Cinch! @504Main." Leave url in comment.
5. Post on your Facebook wall.

Here is a little taste of Cinch! from The Early Show.
One2One Badges
Disclaimer: I was provided with a proof copy of Cinch for review. The opinions here are my own.