"Do It Yourself" (DYI) and other instructional books are very useful. Whether you are looking to build a shed, fix a leaky pipe, build a small cabin, decontaminate your home, make some drapes, learn about art, use greener energy or grow your own food you'll find something to your liking in the books below.Sheds Step-by-Step
John D. Wagner and Bill Hylton
2009, 112 pages
Sheds can come in handy for a variety of uses. Sheds Step-by-Step not only describes how to build a shed, it provides guides "to building three popular garden sheds" - a saltbox garden shed, a gambrel yard shed and a gable potting shed.
Chapter one addresses the tools and materials required to build a shed while the second chapter looks at the types of foundations, working with concrete, footings, piers and more. Chapter three contains "Building Basics" and features : floor framing, wall framing, windows & doors, framing roofs and adding electrical power.
Chapter four pertains to building the saltbox garden shed while chapter five is on the gambrel yard shed and chapter six is all about the gable potting shed. Diagrams, material lists, photographs and informative text will help you create a useful and attractive shed.Plumbing Step-by-Step
2007, 2009, 112 pages
Whether you do some of your own home repairs or you get a "professional", it is good to have some good books on fix it yourself projects. If you attempt the repairs yourself, a good DIY book can be invaluable and if you get someone else to do it, at least the book will educate you a little on what is involved which will also be useful.
Plumbing Step-by-Step is divided into chapters on: plumbing basics, drainpipes, water pipes, toilets, sinks & faucets, faucet repairs, tubs & showers, water heaters and dishwashers. Informative text and lots of colour photographs along with some diagrams provide the reader with a good step-by-step procedure of what needs to be done to complete various plumbing jobs.Compact Cabins: Simple Living in 1,000 Square Feet or Less
2009, 216 pages
I've been looking for a book like this for some time. A book with lots of plans for eco-friendly, small cabins. While a few of the cabins are over 700 square feet, most are much smaller. The cabins are arranged by size, from the smallest to the largest, with the first cabin, "Micro Cabin" at 162 square feet. In all there are designs for 50 small cabins.
With the various cabins options are given - such as if a pitched roof could support solar panels or if a deck can be converted to an open or screened porch.
Besides the cabins included in the book, there is lots of other good information pertaining to nature living with a small footprint. A chapter on design includes information on local building codes, aesthetic concerns, location, access, budget, construction materials and more. Other chapters contain valuable information on bedroom features, heating, fireplaces and stoves, composting toilets, outhouses, solar heating and much more.
I've looked through several books about small cottages and cabins and this is easily the best I've seen. When it comes to living with nature, smaller is better and Compact Cabins offers lots of small, attractive, efficient structures you can build for your nature retreat.Squeaky Green: The Method Guide to Detoxing Your Home
Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry with Rima Suqi
2008, 158 pages
We live in a world largely contaminated by toxic chemicals. And this includes our indoor living areas. In Squeaky Green the authors provide considerable information about how to rid homes of dangerous chemicals and make them truly clean.
The book is divided into sections for the living room, kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, laundry room, kids' rooms and pets. The authors cover areas such as paints, carpets, vacuums, furniture, antibacterials, plastics, nonstick coatings, floor cleaners, no-iron sheets, candles, mattresses containing PBDEs, triclosan in toothpaste and mouthwash, antibacterial soaps, fabric softeners, paints and markers, PVC plastic toys, wipes, flea collars, pet grooming supplies and much much more.
People spend considerable time, cleaning material and money to make their homes cleaner. But are they cleaner? Often they are not as dirt is replaced with chemicals and other nasty items. If you are interested in making your home healthier and safer for your family, you might start with reading Squeaky Green.You Can Build: Plumbing
2010, 239 pages
Another informative book on plumbing is You Can Build: Plumbing. This Sunset Publishing book is divided into nine sections: 1. Plumbing in Your House, 2. Tools & Materials, 3. Upgrading Bathroom Fixtures, 4. Fresh Options for Your Kitchen, 5. Other Plumbing Projects, 6. Pipefitting, 7. New Plumbing Lines, 8. Outdoor Projects and 9. Help Section.
The first two sections provide information on home plumbing systems, conserving water and plumbing tools and materials. Section three looks at projects in the bathroom such as installing bathroom faucets while section four pertains to the kitchen and includes adding a faucet and sprayer, installing a dishwasher and upgrading to a new sink. Other sections cover water heaters, different pipes and many other projects.
Several items featured in the book to help the reader include safety notices, skill level required, shopping guides, how long a project will take and tools required. Lots of photos, diagrams and illustrations complement the text.Renewable Energy for Your Home
Alan and Gill Bridgewater
2009, 192 pages
Looking to reduce your carbon footprint? Want to reduce energy bills along with your impact on global warming? If you answered yes then Renewable Energy for Your Home should be on your reading list. The various energies are included - each with it's own chapter.
The first chapter is "Getting Started" and looks at what off-grid energy is. The other chapters cover: solar, wind, wood fuel, bioenergy, water energy, geothermal, gas and storing energy.
Lots of illustrations, diagrams and sidebars complement the informative text. Whether you want to know how composting toilets work or basic information on geothermal energy you will find it in Renewable Energy for Your Home.
Dave Bonta & Stephen Snyder
2009, 160 pages
If our species is to better protect the environment, solar heat will play a significant part. In The New Solar Home the authors look at various solar homes. The homes are of various sizes and in different locations including cities, suburbs and remote sites. Besides featuring various homes the authors include a chapter on "Solar Basics". "Energy-conscious lifestyle tips" and "Great Green Features" are included with the different homes.
I particularly liked the "Bonta Home" which is located in Weathersfield, Vermont. The eco-friendly home, which includes an off-grid guest cottage, is located in a beautiful setting.
If you're looking to live off-the-grid or are interested in a solar home or cottage then you'll want to read The New Solar Home.The Complete Book of Curtains, Drapes and Blinds: Design Ideas and Basic Techniques for Window Treatments
St. Martin's Griffin
2009, 288 pages
Looking at adding or changing some of your curtains, drapes or blinds? Wendy Baker has gathered together lots of window dressing designs that provides the reader with lots of ideas and ways to dress up your windows.
The chapters are: 1. Getting Started, 2. Essentials, 3. Finishing Touches, 4. Basic Headings, 5. Traditional and Modern Designs, 6. Alternatives to Curtains, 7. Shades and Blinds, 8. Beds, 9. Accessories and 10. Skills and Techniques. Lots of illustrations provide the reader with an idea of how window designs will look.
I was surprised at how many items are involved in dressing up windows - everything from fabric tie-backs, hold-backs, burlap curtains, steel poles for bay windows, shades, shutters and much much more.
If you have windows, know that you want them designed, but you're not sure how or with what, then this book will give you lots of ideas!Art: The Definitive Visual Guide
Foreword by Ross King
Dorling Kindersley Limited
2008, 612 pages
Art: The Definitive Guide contains an incredible amount of art information - particularly art history. The first section is on "Looking at Art" and pertains to such things as subject and composition, perspective and viewpoint, light and shade, media and techniques, colour and brushstrokes and texture.
Next, the impressive book looks at art through the ages beginning with "Prehistory to 1400 CE", which features some beautiful cave paintings, to "1945 Onwards". Also covered is art during the 15th and 16th centuries, 17th and 18th centuries, 19th century and early 20th century. The book covers an impressive number of works of art (more than 2,500) in colour which are "...presented as a chronological catalogue..."
Also contained in this large volume are profiles of more than 700 artists including some of their works.
Art students and those who appreciate art will enjoy the considerable information packed in this impressive volume.Eco-Beautiful: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Beauty and Wellness
2009, 194 pages
Lina Hanson is a "celebrity makeup artist" and in Eco-Beautiful she informs you how to use beauty products that are good for both you and the earth. Hanson covers eco-friendly makeups and toxic ingredients to lookout for - and avoid, skin treatments, beauty foods such as artichokes, beans, beetroot and blueberries and various other beauty tips with the planet in mind. There is even directions for making your own eco-friendly lip balm.
An informative glossary as well as lists of eco-friendly makeup companies, skin-care companies, green web sites, green shopping web sites, green blogs and books for an eco-friendly lifestyle and healthy eating are at the end of the book.Garden Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Plant, Grow and Harvest
editors of Rodale Gardening Books, compiled by Judy Pray
Black Dog & Leventhal
2010, 496 pages
If you are looking for information on gardening, have you come to the right book! Garden Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Plant, Grow and Harvest contains an incredible amount of information pertaining to gardening.
Chapter one covers "getting started" and includes information on soil, compost and tools. Chapter two deals with gardening techniques including planting, mulch, pruning and watering. The flower garden is the focus of chapter three while the edible garden (vegetables, fruits, herbs) is what chapter four is all about. Chapter five is about the landscape garden (lawns, groundcover, trees and shrubs, vines) while chapter six is about gardening indoors. Chapter seven has considerable information on attracting wildlife to your garden. Chapter eight covers garden design and landscape while chapter nine is about garden projects. "Weeds, Pests, and Disease" is the final chapter.
The oversized book is packed with information, illustrations and sidebars. The pages are divided into three columns and the pages are thin. Reading this book is enjoyable - sort of like reading a compact, thick newspaper. According to the book's cover there are "7,354 charts, lists, tips, instructions, diagrams, and illustrations".
No matter how experienced a gardener you are, you are sure to find lots of good information in this impressive book!
Happy gardening.Grow Your Own Herbs in Pots: 35 Simple Projects for Creating Beautiful Container Herb Gardens
2010, 144 pages
I like herbs and they're so useful in cooking. I've also used certain herbs to make a nice cup of tea too. In Grow Your Own Herbs in Pots: 35 Simple Projects for Creating Beautiful Container Herb Gardens the author provides 35 projects for making herb gardens in a container. And while these projects are interesting, there is so much more offered in the book.
In the section on "Getting Started" there is information on growing and selecting herbs as well as sowing seeds, buying plants, harvesting herbs and preparing containers. Next, the author describes projects for growing herbs. There is a section on herbs for cooking as well as sections on herbs for health and decorative and scented herbs. Often the herbs are grown in old containers providing an interesting look for the healthy plants. Projects such as "Salads and coriander in a galvanized tub" and "Indispensable basil in olive oil cans" provides fun ways to make attractive herb gardens while reusing containers you might not normally have a need for.The Encyclopedia of Herbs: A Comprehensive reference to Herbs of Flavor and Fragrance
Arthur O. Tucker and Thomas DeBaggio
2009, 604 pages
In The Enclycopedia of Herbs: A Comprehensive Reference to Herbs of Flavor and Fragrance Arthur O. Tucker and Thomas DeBaggio look at numerous herbs. Information featured includes the plant's botanical name and family, whether it's an annual or a perennial, the plant's hardiness and height, light requirements, soil type needed, water consumption and pH. Plant history, landscaping and craft uses, the chemistry of its essential oils and other information are also included. Chapters on plant identification, growing conditions, container cultivating, propagation and planting and keeping herbs healthy and the harvest are also included.
If you are really into herbs, you should check out this book.