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How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew Paperback – December 15, 2009
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"Erin Bried makes being happy and healthy so simple and fun. She's a girl after my own heart!"—Jillian Michaels, Biggest Loser trainer and author of Master Your Metabolism
"Thank goodness for grandmothers and thank goodness for Erin Bried, who compiled his compendium of useful, clever, need-to-know advice, wisdom and practical information. With this book, every woman will feel they are at their grandmother's knee, learning the most vital life skills any of us need to be smarter, happier and better people too. Happy reading!"—Lucy Danziger, Editor-in-Chief, SELF magazine
"How to Sew a Button is fun, funny, and empowering. With high good humor, Bried provides instructions on how to do really useful things. Take control of your life with this great handbook. It'll give you confidence. Learn and enjoy!"—Mildred A. Kalish, author of Little Heathens: Hard Times and High Spirits on an Iowa Farm During the Great Depression
"Erin Bried's How to Sew a Button is full of crystal clear, friendly, and funny instructions on how to do hundreds of little things that your mother forgot to teach you-not just sewing on buttons, filleting fish, and making gravy, but balancing your checkbook, tying a necktie, and (my personal favorite) how to waltz. A fun, valuable home book for just about anyone, male or female."—Cheryl Mendelson, author of Home Comforts
"A breezily useful guide to timeless home-ec skills."—O Magazine
"If you wish you could hem your pants without waiting for the tailor or unclog a drain without paying a plumber, you need to read How to Sew a Button...[it] might save you money, time, and lots of frustration.—Redbook
"Combating domestic illiteracy one button at a time, How to Sew a Button is a refreshing take on DIY and self-care, valuable for women at any stage of life."—Bookpage
"The perfect book for these hard economic times when money is tight, but ingenuity is plentiful…As comforting as a hand-sewn quilt, and filled with beguilingly retro illustrations, the tips are a snap, empowering, and fun…Bolstered with nostalgic charm, every page is filled with age-old wisdom for brand new do-it-yourself empowerment."—Boston Globe
"How to Sew a Button is a handy guide to running your household and, in many ways, your life."—Washington Post
"For the domestically challenged among us, there is hope. Her name is Erin Bried."—Detroit Free Press
"Charming and timely. Unlike dry household manuals or tomes of thrifty tips, this is filled with brief, clear, step-by-step advice coupled with good-natured humor and the loving spirits of grandmothers, teaching us to take good care of ourselves, our relationships, and our treasures. Even readers who learned practical household skills from their elders will relish its reminders on the soft skills involved in being a good friend or fine neighbor, volunteering, and speaking up at city hall."—Library Journal
"Each [tip] is written in a practical yet humor filled tone — as if your best friend suddenly morphed into a Donna Reed-Tina Fey hybrid."—ErinCooks.com
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Top Customer Reviews
One of the issues is with the writing style which is forcefully cheeky. Sometimes you find this forced humor funny and other times, annoying. Also, the book is peppered with illustrations of various retro women engaging in the tasks being explained, but what it really could have used are a few illustrations to clarify the more complicated instructions.
There is some very useful information in this book, but not any you wouldn't find through a google search in a much more clear and concise manner with pictures included.
The book covers topics such as:
- How to make a pie, which Erin tried to do for a group of friends and failed miserably at. I, myself, consider making a pie getting a slice of pumpkin cheesecake pie from Outback during the fall.
- How to properly fold a fitted sheet, the keyword there being properly. I know you all probably think you know how to fold a fitted sheet, but balling it up and tossing it in the linen closet doesn't count. I have been blessed with this lost art, so this advice wasn't needed on my end.
- How to iron a shirt. Now, you may be laughing, but while watching trasy TV the other day I saw a boy on MTV's made who told his coach he had never ironed anything. Seriously? He may need to read that section.
She also has some pretty cool how-to information, like:
- How to scent your home without candles
- How to love your body at any size
- How to brew your own beer
And information on the lost art of thank-you notes. She'll teach you how to write one. With your hands... and a pen... and paper.
And of course, you'll learn How to sew a button.
Erin has a great sense of humor which is reflected in her writing. You'll chuckle while learning a thing or two!
The author definitely has a sense of humor. However, her humor doesn't flow very well, and instead just feels "tacked on", such as added steps to recipes or directions that are simply put in for a joke. I thought they were funny, but also pretty annoying.
Despite the fact that the book was supposed to be about what your Grandmother knew, and what you don't, I didn't feel like the voice of the "grandmothers" she interviewed to get this information was very well translated. There was too much of the author's words, and too few of the grandmothers'. At the start of each chapter, she includes some random quote from one of the grandmothers that is neither inspiring nor useful, and often only vaguely relevant. It felt tacked on as an afterthought.
I was hoping to use this book as something of a reference, but it's not good for that. It feels more like a slightly funny smorgasbord of good and thrifty ideas, with a couple of recipes thrown in. I am by no means very qualified in domestic matters (thus the reason I picked up a bunch of books... I'm an academic!), but even I knew half of the things in here already.
Worst of all... there are all these pictures of what I suppose are meant to be retro housewives (which I actually found far more annoying than cute... Me trying to learn domestic skills is not me trying to be a 60s housewife, thankyouverymuch), but NO diagrams or illustrations of how to do any of these things. Telling me the proper way to sew a button is very confusing to read. A simple drawing would have been vastly more useful. Scrap the stupid "retro housewives" illustrations and give me something relevant.
Because of all these things, this book will be thrown into a box of books to donate. I read the entire thing cover to cover and walked away more irritated than informed.
There is so much amazing content between the covers of this guide including how to: hone a knife, iron a shirt (wow do I need to study up on this one), clean an oven, tie a necktie, make a hot toddy, barter, start a book club, wear red lipstick, and my personal favorite how to make a Manhattan. My boyfriend's grandparents always serve Manhattans when we visit and even though I've observed them being mixed a number of times I always seem to forget the steps (probably because one lovingly composed Manhattan goes straight to your head).
I'm confident that you'll find dozens of useful tips in this book. I even discovered additional insights while reading write-ups on tasks that I thought I had down to a science. How to Sew a Button is a fantastic addition to your bedside table. In addition, I believe this title would make an excellent holiday present. Freaking out over what to buy for that friend, relative, or co-worker who has everything? Why not give them the gift of practical knowledge?! It will certainly last longer and be more appreciated than a box of chocolates or a scarf. Besides, after reading this book they'll be able to knit their own.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this every time I want to remember how it was like when Granny was still around.Published 6 days ago by J. Phillip Rose
I got this book for my Son-in-Law, and he liked it so much I ordered a copy for me ! Full of really interesting information I wish I'd known a long time ago !Published 21 days ago by Kathryne H.
This is the Sweetest Homemaking and/or Home Economics book! I like to see the inside of a book before I purchase so see my 2 photos of the pages inside! Read morePublished 23 days ago by Jane Martin
This is going in my daughters hope chest for when she graduates high school. This book is filled with really cool everyday items that you need the answer to or recipe from... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dezeri Royce
I've actually consulted this book numerous times. My favorite is about how to clean just about anything with vinegar and baking soda. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Liz E