I’ve been meaning to write a post about my Christmas and birthday books for a while, but haven’t quite managed. But I had one of them out recently to plot and plan sewing projects and it jogged my memory. I love a good book. At the moment, I love a good crafting book. They may not be as up-to-the-minute as blogs, or have the virtue of pausing and playing (and re-playing) of You Tube tutorials, but the tangible, cool hard presence of a book can’t be beaten. I like being able to look something up, or stare at it intently to work it out, and I like having a library of books, old and new, that I can turn to. Many of the projects, motifs and designs from the last crafting bonanza in the1970s are very much in vogue again (think Orla Kiely; I bet your great auntie has a pie dish or two to rival her flowery designs) and so my grandmother’s books from that time actually feel really fresh.
But my new books are, in fact, newly published too. First up is Meg McElwee’s Growing Up Sew Liberated.
A former Montessori teacher and mum of two littlies, she has a lovely style of sewing and a parenting ethos that resonates with my own. The book is a nice blend of sewing projects for children and tips on things like toys, encouraging creative play, and meaningful work for children. Some of her ideas are fairly dreamy (don’t clean or do laundry when your children are napping! Get them involved with your sweeping etc! Um, no thanks. A bit of light dusting, yes; toilet cleaning, no), but others are inspiring and things I try to do (toy reduction, taking simple responsibilities like setting the table). Projects include clothes, a tipi, Waldorf-style doll and a fab looking cape I’m definitely going to make for Sol’s dressing-up box.
I loved dressing up as a child and poor Sol doesn’t even know what it is! Meg also has a lovely blog which chronicles her family and crafty life.
Another birthday book is Things To Make and Do by Nikki McClure.
This is very similar to The First 1000 Days, a beautiful baby journal and my current favourite present for new mums (when my sewing hasn’t kept up with the flow of babies). Nikki is an American paper cut artist and all her images are cut from black paper, scanned, and then digitally coloured. They celebrate simple, everyday things, with an emphasis on nature and ecology. Things To Make and Do has lots of blank pages interspersed with paper cuts and loose categories such as ‘Grow,’ ‘Dream,’ ‘Plan’ and ‘Learn.’ It’s beautiful and inspiring and makes for a much nicer place to jot ideas down than the backs of envelopes!
Nikki McClure’s site, full of her gorgeous work, can be found here.
Lastly, I was thrilled to unwrap Made in France: Cross stitch and embroidery in red, white and blue, which I had blogged about ages ago.
I’m afraid to say I had judged this book by its cover months ago, and my judgements were right: it’s stunning. Beautifully shot and oh so chic, it contains simple but gorgeous ideas and motifs you can easily transfer to a multitude of items. This makes it one of the more versatile books I’ve come across, and very inspiring, reminding me that embroidery can be added to almost anything. This marriage sampler and Russian doll holiday napkin even have me contemplating cross stitch, a craft which has so far left me cold:
So that’s three out of my Amazon shopping basket; but like a hole in the sand near the sea’s edge, it soon fills up again…