Christmas All Through the House!

 

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Author: Chris Malone

Genre: Non-Fiction, Crafts.

Published: July 2015

Pages: 48 pages

With Christmas quickly approaching, I’m sure many of us are turning our thoughts to decking the halls and putting up the tree – if you haven’t already! If you’re a crafter you know there is nothing more satisfying than hanging your own decorations each year, for you and your visitors to admire. This year, Annie’s Craft Store and Search Press have brought out the most irresistible collection of stunning quilting projects for all abilities, that you will love making and hanging year after year!

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Once Upon A Time in Crochet

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Author: Lynne Rowe
Genre: Non-Fiction, Crafts, Crochet.
Published: May 2015
Pages: 96 pages

Once Upon A Time in Crochet is an adorable collection of crochet amigurumi projects from those timeless fairytales that we all know and love. I had initially been eyeing up this book because I’d always said that when I have kids I would want a fairytale themed nursery (although I’ not going to need that for about a decade I’m hoping!) As a literature lover all things that amalgamate my two loves, reading and crafts, always peaks my interest and this one certainly didn’t disappoint! The moment I first picked it up and started flicking through it made me want to pick up my hook and get started!

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June 2015 Goals

Hello!

I hope you’re all doing well 🙂 I can’t believe June is here already! Where is 2015 going??? Almost half way there already! Anyway, here is the roundup of my May goals so you can see how I did, as well as my goal setting for June – these lists seem to be growing and growing!

May Outcomes:

Once Upon a Time Sampler – In May my aim was just to fill in the square for that month and I managed that without any problems. I seem to fly through these at the beginning of each month then it gets shelved and almost forgotten until the next month comes round! It’s a shame because it is such a lovely project and I do want to dedicate more time to it to get all of the extra elements in but until the Barcelona Sunset is out of the way it will have to wait!

Storytime Sampler

Barcelona Sunset – This month I wasn’t too far off my goal. I still had some of the third quarter to finish off which I did, then I wanted to complete half of the next quarter. Ideally, I wanted to get the lizard stitched in so that I just had the big grey wall at the bottom to finish off this month. I didn’t quite make it there due to illness and various other things taking up my time in May, however, I’m really pleased with what I achieved. If I hadn’t been full of cold for the last five days I would have managed to fill in that grey section that I’m working on, and I would have felt satisfied with that, but I’m prepared to let it go because I still feel rubbish! Continue reading

Books that Inspire…

Hello! I hope you are all having a lovely bank holiday weekend!

As you all know, I’m a book lover. I always have been since I was a child (a long time before I was old enough to read them!) and right now my house is crammed full of bookcases as well as boxes of books that I can’t fit on them!

What I do love more than anything though are the books that really inspire you, and I was lucky enough to find two of them on a recent trip to Salts Mill with my parents while James was away.

What inspires me most about these books is that they are completely unique – I have never encountered books like them before. They have stunning graphics  that really speak for themselves, so prepare yourself for a photo heavy post. Because of this, I’m only going to  give them the briefest of introductions, then let the pictures get you inspired too!

The first book that I bought was Snail Mail: Celebrating the Art of Handwritten Correspondence which is simply an essential for anyone who, like me, loves snail mailing. It is a stunning hardback volume with over 200 pages crammed full of inspiring stories, tips and crafts for avid snail mailers. The author is truly passionate about the art of snail mail and really presents it as an art form through the beautiful photographs. Mackintosh shares the origins of her love of snail mail from her Dad’s romantic telegram messages to her mother, and walks you through the etiquette of the hobby. The most inspiring thing about this book however, is the wonderful abundance of ideas that this book invokes – everything from font styles to handmade envelopes and gifts, to stamps and decoration, which really urge you to dig out you stationary straight away and get started! See if you can make it through the next twenty photographs without rummaging around for a pen and the address book!

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Craft A Creative Business Review

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Author: Fiona Pullen
Genre: Non-Fiction, Crafts.
Published: 2015
Pages: 240 pages

Craft A Creative Business is a book for anyone who has ever considered running their own creative business; whatever your craft might be! It is a really genuine exploration of what it means to run your own business, not just looking at the advantages but presenting a realistic image of what you can expect, which unfortunately does require a fair bit of hard work! However, Pullen’s honest portrayal of running your own business is drawn from her own experience so she know what she is talking about, and though realistic, she doesn’t make it look scary. This is a complete handbook to everything you need to know about setting up a successful creative business and it is explained in such a straight forward and easy to understand way that won’t leave you confused or frightened (even the scary legal stuff!)

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20 to Make: Papercuts

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Author: Louise Firchau of Paper Panda
Genre: Non-Fiction, Crafts.
Published: March 2015
Pages: 48

I’ve always been a huge fan of the Twenty to Make series; they cover every craft imaginable, have a great range of projects and are amazing value for money – and Papercuts is by far one of my favourites! This book first appealed to me as over the last year or so papercutting has started appearing everywhere! There are a number of small businesses that specialise in it popping up and suddenly there are papercut cards in every high street shop! And obviously, as a crafter, my first question is, how can I do that myself? Luckily, Twenty to Make: Papercuts has the answer!

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March 2015 Goals

Writing my 23 Before 23 Review last week has got me motivated to set some goals for myself. I’m the kind of person who works much better if I have a deadline and I am super productive if I set myself a challenge. I have set myself some long term goals to achieve this year which I will blog about shortly, but I have also decided to set myself some shorter monthly goals too. These monthly goals will sometimes be ones that help the general progress towards my long term goals, or will otherwise just be shorter goals or jobs that I want to complete before the end of the month. I have tried to pick a range of goals from different areas of my life such as crafts, reading, fitness and blogging, to help inspire me to achieve everything that I want to achieve by breaking it down to regular milestones each month.

Crafts:

Once Upon A Time Sampler – So far I have been making good progress with my sampler and keeping up with each month well. This month I want to stay on track and complete the design, I also want to add the bottom row of 4 frames which I am still yet to add. So far I have stitched the first 8 frames, so if I can add the last of the frames this month, it only leaves me the banner at the top to complete at a later date ,then I am definitely on track to complete each design per month! If I can keep up with my plans, this will be the first year that I don’t have to play catch up…fingers crossed anyway!

Once Upon A Time Sampler

Barcelona Sunset – February was a good month for this project! I have been working on a ‘2 month’ basis for each quarter of the project, meaning that I had given myself February and March to get to the half way point. Luckily though, the quarter that I chose to do featured a lot of the sky, and as this feature large blocks of the same colour, as well as some blank areas, it stitched up a lot quicker than expected. This meant that I flew through this quarter in only one month! I was thrilled to watch the progress but the project is starting to take its toll now. I’m struggling to find the motivation to press on with this project, and as the remaining half features a lot of colourful areas that will require a lot of colour changes I know that progress will be slow. However, I don’t want it to go on the back burner since I am working to such a tight deadline, so this month I just want to complete half of the next section to feel satisfied. Continue reading

2015 Reading Challenge

Hello!

As you might remember from my 23 Before 23 Review, I mentioned that I had committed myself to a reading challenge with some of my colleagues from work. My colleague Marie spotted the Popsugar 2015 Reading Challenge on Pinterest before the new year and decided that she was taking part, and from then on the number has grown across our office of people getting involved. I wanted to sign up to the challenge initially because I had got out of the habit of reading. I have a pretty reasonable commute to work (averaging around 45 minutes each way but can be well over an hour depending on traffic) and shortly after I started work I put this time to good use by reading. I got so into reading on the bus that I managed to fly through 7 books in 2 weeks but then as the mornings and nights grew ever darker I just felt sleepy on the journey and couldn’t really pick myself up enough to read. Since taking on the challenge though, I am getting back into the routine of reading on the bus once again and I am (slowly) making a dent in the massive backlog of books that I have to read!

Here is the list of criteria for the challenge, and I have highlighted those that I have been successful in fulfilling so far:

Reading Challenge update 1

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I have made the decision to only count one book for each of the criteria (meaning that I have 50 books to read to complete the challenge!) whereas some people have opted to tick off all of the criteria that their book meets. To me this feels a little like cheating myself to do it this way, so I’m playing hard and fast by my rule! I have allowed myself to relax a little bit about the seriousness of the challenge though. Usually, if I set myself a goal I will work at it no end until I achieve it, but I fear that this may take the fun out of the challenge so I am approaching it with a relaxed plan, and my challenge is not to cross all of the books of in 2015, but to see how many I can cross off in 2015. I don’t want to force myself to read books for the sake of them, so I am using this as a checklist to manage my attack on the book collection that I already own as an excuse to get some reading done! And any that I don’t cross off in 2015? They’ll simply roll over into 2016 instead!

As you can see from the image above, so far I have managed to tick two of the criteria off the list and I am working my way through my third. The first book that I read was The Winter Book by Tove Jansson, meeting the criteria of ‘A book that was originally written in a different language’ as it was first published in Swedish. It is a collection of short stories for adults spanning the whole of her adult fiction writing career, from her first collection The Sculptor’s Daughter, published in 1968 to seven of her later short stories, the latest dated 1996.  Continue reading

Book Review: DK Handmade Gifts

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Author: Dorling Kindersley.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Crafts.
Published: August 2013.
Pages: 251.

Way back in December, people asked me to review the books that I got for Christmas 2013. I managed to review Crochet Boutique, but I never got any further! So I’m going to try and get back on track with my weekly book reviews, for the Christmas books that I have neglected.

In the past, I have never really paid much attention to DK craft books, but after discovering this one, I think I have been missing out! The minute that you open the book, you are introduced to its beauty!

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This book is laid out really beautifully, and it is really accessible. Following the introduction, the projects in the book are divided into seven sections; For The Home; Jewellery; Bags and Accessories; Pampering Gifts; For Pet Lovers; Edible Gifts; and Gift Wrap. There are then also sections on templates, tips and an index followed by a page dedicated to the authors and designers of all of the projects. Continue reading

The Crafter’s Guide To Packaging Handmade Products

Book 1

Author: Viola E. Sutanto
Genre: Non-Fiction, Crafts.
Published: February 2014
Pages: 176

When this book caught my eye, I was instantly intrigued. While I have hundreds of books on craft projects, I haven’t before seen any on packaging them. I thought that the concept seemed really interesting and it was something that I hadn’t thought about before, so I was interested in what the book could contain. When it arrived, I was thrilled to see how much was crammed into this little book, and I was surprised just how much I had to learn about packaging!

Book 2

 

As soon as you open the book, you are greeted with an adorable but accessible book. I love the way that the contents page is divided into three sections, which are identifiable from the tags at the top of the page. The first section, ‘Materials and how to use them’ is a section examining the different packaging resources that are available to you, and what different forms they come in that you can use. Section two, ‘Designing Your Packaging’ shows you some fun and simple ways to package your goods with the materials that you have selected from the first section. It uses some wonderful designs to inspire you to get creative with your packaging. The third section is a bundle of resources that you can use, including templates and useful information. This book follows a logical layout that enables you to progress through the book from choosing your materials to designing and developing stunning and unique packaging for your handmade gifts in an easy and leisurely way.  Continue reading