Friday, 21 September 2012

Creative space

How do you organise your desk? Is it anything like mine?

It's tidy but it's a tidy mess. I have about eight pairs of scissors I bought when into papercraft and have only used about once. That red plastic flower has been following me all around the country since before university.

Whenever I really clear my desk it always returns a few weeks later when I wonder where my disappearing pen or my collection of needles has gone. Are you the same?

Friday, 14 September 2012

Book Review: Babes in the Wool by Fiona McDonald

During the last couple of months I've been knitting a doll which is called 'Rose' from one of Fiona McDonald's books 'Babes in the wool'.

She was a joy to knit and I had so much fun thinking about the clothes I would dress her in. I knitted a dress from another doll in a novelty glitter yarn and tied it up with a button belt.

Rose has settled in nicely to her new home on the sofa next to me. Strangely enough she seems to like the same TV programmes as me which is highly convenient.

'Babes in the wool' is such a fun quirky book. If you have lots of scraps to use up, love experimenting with novelty yarn and dolls then you won't regret buying this book.

The extent of the instructions meant that I had no trouble making up the doll. Fiona has again put extensive directions in the book for painting the eyes and finishing the faces. There are two pages of templates at the back of the book for lips, eyebrows and eyes. There is a wide choice so you can get the face you really want.

There are black, asian and white dolls to choose from giving the book a really funky multicultural feel. The dolls have their own identity and personalities which children will love. 'Willow' is a beautiful raven-haired doll who is obviously quite gothic, 'Jenny' is a stunning blonde and 'Samantha' loves to keep fit!

The clothes are just as ecletic with mad hair ideas, tights and underwear for the dolls.

There are nine dolls in total and 35 knitted clothes and accessories all together which are all interchangeable so you can do as I have and pick a dress for your doll or a top and jeans - anything!

There are 12 pages of instructions at the start of the book before the instructions for the individual dolls begin. There is so much advice on how to stuff the dolls, how to stiffen the back and neck and how to add blush if you want your dolls to look highly made up.

'Babes in the wool: How to knit beautiful fashion dolls, clothes and accessories' by Fiona McDonald is out now and is available to buy here from Search Press.

Thanks to Search Press for sending me this book to review.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Magazine Review: The Simple Things

This week saw the launch of a new magazine from Future Publishing who also publish Mollie Makes.

I took advantage of their introductory trial offer out of curiosity. I don't normally buy lifestyle magazines, preferring either political/current affairs magazines, 'women's' magazines like Marie Claire or complete craft magazines.

It's a wonderful magazine full of beautiful photography and articles about gardening and nature. Whole pages are taken up with pictures of apples, guides to trees and articles about what you should be doing with your allotment.

There's the usual look around someone's beautiful 'vintage' flat, an article about vintage radios and old signs in towns and cities which haven't been painted over yet.

It does what it says on the tin. It's encouraging a simplier life, a self-sufficient ideal which many people are indeed living now. However the craft element is quite lacking. There's a total of just five pages out of 130 which are directly about craft. Also I found the recipes extremely non-vegan although some of them are vegetarian. It's definitely aimed at the carnivore instead of the herbivore so I can only make a few of the dozen or so meals and foods.

Unfortunately I gave up my allotment last year so as much of the magazine is about allotment growing and gardening I can't say this appeals to me much either.

But if you are after a completely relaxing magazine to look at, love photography, can afford an additional magazine to your normal craft-based one, and love gardening and lifestyle based articles this is the magazine for you.

Issue one is out in the shops now and is priced at £4.99.
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