Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Birthday haul

One of my favourite traditions when it comes to Birthdays and Christmas is gathering up all my presents into a pile somewhere and admiring them all for a week or two before I find new homes for them and they become part of my day to day possessions. Perhaps Librarians really are dragons and this hording of mine has something to do with me building up a pile of treasure? Does anyone else do this with their gifts?

This year I have amassed quite a large pile of books and they are all so lovely, new and exciting.

From the top:

1) "Family roundabout" by Richmal Crompton
This was one of the domestic fiction books recommended by Jane Brocket in her fantastic "The gentle art of domesticity" - I've been borrowing what I can from the Library, but as I had no luck getting hold of this one I decided to treat myself.

2) "The wonderful weekend book" by Elspeth Thompson
With a little boy in tow our family weekends seem to have become a bit restricted so I've been looking for some inspiration to try and break out of our routine and make the most of our weekends together.

3) "Cherry cake and ginger beer" by Jane Brocket
Who could resist a cook book about childhood treats inspired by children's fiction? Not me that's for sure!

4) "Garden plants & Gardening techniques" by Andrew Mikolajski and Jonathan Edwards
With all the extra time I've been spending at home I've been getting into the garden more and to help me improve my gardening know how (which is pretty basic at best) I also received a couple of surprise gardening books this year.

5) "Simple Sewing" by Lotta Jansdotter
I've heard very good things about this book - it seems that all of the craft blog reviews have only good things to say so I'm really looking forward to having a read through and trying a few projects.

6) "Homemade" by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson
This is such a beautiful book - so good in fact that it while having a quick look through I got hooked and read it from cover to cover. My review of it is below.

7) "Weekend sewing" by Heather Ross
This is another well known sewing book that has received great reviews - the pattern you may be seeing here is simple and quick so hopefully these projects will give me the confidence to dust of the sewing machine and have a try.

8) "Gardeners advice" by RHS Wisley Experts
This looks to be a beautifully presented book on gardening which has all kinds of useful information, especially for garden novices like me.

"Homemade" by Ros Badger and Elspeth Thompson
ISBN: 978-0007284795

From my huge stack of Birthday books I've so far only managed to read through one, but it was certainly one that was worth taking my time over.

"Homemade" is written in seasonal sections giving you plenty of ideas and inspirations for some beautiful and simple things that you can make or do. Most of the projects have brief instructions, but some are just ideas accompanied by beautiful photographs to give you the freedom to create something unique. The projects range through a wide crafty spectrum including baking and gardening to sewing, knitting, crochet and card making as well many other types of projects that are so simple there isn't really a term for them.

There is a real emphasis on re-use in this book which I just love. Most of the suggestions for keeping back items that most would just throw away I was pleased to find I already did. Hopefully my large stash of 'too nice to throw away' items will start being found uses for, I've already thought up a few things to do with the lavender shown in the photo that I have been carefully snipping from our garden.

Friday, July 17, 2009

From old into new

I'm very sorry that I didn't manage to do a blog post for you all last week, instead of getting up to my usual craftiness I had my annual Birthday as well as a party, so I got distracted planning for that. On the plus side though as a result of the Birthday I've been very lucky in receiving pretty much everything that I asked for from my Amazon wishlist so there will be some more craft book reviews coming this way soon.

The old looking frame in the photo on the left is actually an old cupboard front that we found whilst clearing out our loft after moving into our new home last year. Most of the stuff in the loft was junk, and the cupboard that this frame came from was also in pieces so everything but this went to the tip. I hung on to this frame though as I had a vague idea about turning it into a pin board, and now almost a year later I have finally done this.

After a good amount of sanding and then a few coats of a nice silky blue paint I had a frame to mount a piece of cork board into. I'm also hoping to alter some drawing pins by adding a little wooden ladybird to each which I've had in my stash for, oh only about 15 years! This pin board can then be hung in my little one's room where I can keep an eye on all the baby related events that are coming up and not forget about them like I usually do.

As well as getting coated in blue paint I've also been reading through another craft book from the Library:

"Childhood Treasures: Handmade Gifts for Babies and Children" by Caroline Zoob
ISBN: 978-1845972158

This has got to be the most beautiful and inspiring book of craft ideas to make for children. The photos within it are just gorgeous and Caroline has obviously gone to some effort to find all the treasures that are shown.

The book shows handcrafted toys and blankets which the author has made herself as well as many items that she has borrowed from the homes where they are treasured. Using these as inspiration she gives instructions and ideas for items that you can make for the special little one in your life, some nice and simple and other projects with a bit more time and effort needed.

The main idea behind the book seems to be that giving a little one a beautiful item that you have made for them to love and cherish will mean much more to them than an item bought and only played with for 5 minutes. There is also the idea that beautiful things should be shared with children so that they can remember them as part of their childhood and perhaps even pass them on to their own children one day.

This really is a lovely book - I've spent weeks gazing at the photos in it and even though I can borrow it when I like from the Library I think I'm going to have to add it to my list of books to buy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Slightly frantic

The last week seems to have whizzed past at a super fast rate with me being a crazy mum and dashing about with the push chair like a woman possessed.

On top of general life hectic-ness there has been the added complication that it seems like most of my friends and family manage to have their Birthday in July - and I somehow forgot this. So after realising that my little niece's Birthday was fast approaching I had to make my crochet hook a blur to get her a present made in time.

Looking at this little green guy you probably wouldn't have been able to guess that he came into the world in such a hurry, he seems to be far to relaxed for any of that nonsense. He has told me that I need to calm down and he is now setting off to my niece's home and hopefully he'll be there in time (he was muttering something about being faster than a hare...).

In other crafty news that I wanted to tell you about something came through the post for me from the wonderful M.Patrizio ( A while ago she offered to send out some of the spare Art Star Craft Bazaar postcards that she had and so I asked if she would post one out to me all the way over her in the UK. She very kindly did and she also sent me some of her gorgous fruit stickers (with a little Timmy on them too) which I love :-)

These stickers have already been started by my husband who wanted one of the mushrooms - so now I must hide them away. Oh and check out the cute Timmy sticker on the back of the envelope that they came in - so sweet!