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4.3 out of 5 stars
How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2010
Format: Paperback
An easy read, How to Sew a Button is going to be a resource for future generations. Due to the technology overload of generations such as mine and younger, so many of us no longer know how to do practical things that our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents could do without skipping a beat. When starting to write this book the author, Erin, no longer had her grandparents to consult with for wisdom. Therefore, she rounded up ten grandmothers from different backgrounds, all across the country, to give her grandmotherly advice and knowledge.

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!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
I expected to like this book much more than I did. I really agree on the overall premise. I think we could learn a lot and utilize our resources much better if we took a cue from the older generations. I know many women who can't sew a button.

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.
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67 of 85 people found the following review helpful
Format: Paperback
Conveniently, as we've all begun to tighten our purse strings, this book has appeared on the scene to offer us more than 100 straightforward and step-by-step how-to's for everyday life. Each is written in a practical yet humor filled and very approachable tone -- as if your best friend suddenly morphed into a Donna Reed-Tina Fey hybrid.

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.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on January 5, 2012
Format: Paperback
I ordered this along with a host of other "domesticity reclaimed" type books, and found it to be the most disappointing of them all.

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.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
This book made me feel a little nostalgic. It reminded me of things that I have learned from older relatives through the years. It's great for people who didn't have a chance to know someone from the depression era that they could learn from. It's very informative and entertaining. I suggest giving it to someone young for a gift. They would learn from it and enjoy the read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this book after checking it out from the library.
You can't begin to imagine how much is covered in this handy little book. Unless you checked the Amazon preview; then you have a very good idea what's in this book. That alone is reason enough to buy it.
I can't accurately describe the writing, but I can give an example:
How to Make a Budget: "Calculate your grand total [(3 months' expenses x4) + once-a-year expenses]. Yell ai-ooooga! And then put your eyeballs back in your head."
Humor aside, the book is filled with solid information. If Julia's Kitchen Wisdom: Essential Techniques and Recipes from a Lifetime of Cooking By Julia Child is my go-to guide in the kitchen, How to Sew a Button: And Other Nifty Things Your Grandmother Knew is my go-to guide for (nearly) everything else.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book and was a bit bummed I couldn't renew it at the library (there's a waiting list). There's a little something for everyone (or most people at least) in this book. I was inspired from this book to start cleaning more with baking soda and vinegar, to grow herbs, and to start canning fruit. There was also plenty of stuff I either already knew or wasn't interested in, too...but I think the author expects that. Something else I took away from this book was the reminder that I need to make sure I pass along the skills I value to my own children.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
Lovely, simple advice on how to handle just about everything in your life. I was raised by my grandmother and I do know how to sew on a button but this book is so much more than that. This book covers so many different topics. Each chapter distills information that you might otherwise buy a whole book to learn. The book itself is such a bargain with all the wonderful information and the ideas have already saved myself and my family money. Thanks so much for this book! We love it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 27, 2013
Format: Paperback
Checked this book out from the library and returned it the same day. The majority of the how to stuff in this book was extremely basic like how to mop a floor, or if it was more detailed it was about weird things that I don't care about, like how to make beer (why am I going to read this book if I want to make beer?) None of the advice in here is worth buying a book over, you could easily find better guides on a blog for free
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
In a time when it's too easy to buy things ready-made and toss things that are frayed, this book and its premise are a refreshing resource.
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