18 Sep 2008

Birthday Swag (or Book Review Night)

Ah, looky, longtime no post. Sorry, been busy, y'know, up and down the hill to school and back 4 or 5 times a day ...... Leggies are a bit tired, back protests, knee totally wonkered. Mummy has to sit down and do a lot of nothing each afternoon in order to recover...

That aside, last month, I posted a pic of my birthday swag, which mostly consisted of a good pile of books! In no particular order, I received:

The Littlest Matryoshka (Corinne Demas)
All Year Round, A Calendar of Celebrations (A Druitt, C Fynes-Clinton, M Rowling)
The Children's Year (S Cooper, C Fynes-Clinton, M Rowling)
Bend the Rules Sewing (Amy Karol)
One Skein (Leigh Radford)
Fashion DIY (Carrie Blaydes and Nicole Smith)
Omiyage: Handmade Gifts from Fabrics in Japanese Traditions by Kumiko Sudo

All really interesting. On my birthday, I looked at the pictures in most of them, and since then, I've been reading them properly. Already I've made one of the gifts in the Omiyage book - the marble bag for a friend's son's birthday, and it was very happily received, and I'm currently working on a popcorn stitch crochet bag from the One Skein book.

Omiyage is a beautiful book, gorgeous photos, clear diagrams and templates and evocative text. It is an inspiration, if only to start writing a new fabric stash wishlist - silky kimono material galore! One Skein is mostly knitting patterns, not many crochet (I will have to brush up my knitting, sigh) and all created from one skein of yarn. There are some lovely hats, scarfs, mittens, bags and socks in here, all fairly easy to follow and nice photos to illustrate the projects, but the one that really caught my eye was a rug made from a knitted tube of all the colours you could imagine - their suggestion is to use all your odds and ends up - fabulous!

The Children's Year, and All Year Round, are lovely - both illustrated with lovely hand-drawn pen sketches (no photos) and absolutely stuffed full of things to make, do, read and enjoy with your children or other family members.

The Last Minute Fabric Gifts is an inspirational kind of book, together with Fashion DIY. Although some of the Fashion DIY projects are a bit out of my style area, there are a lot of good tips for customising, altering and generally jazzing up your clothes. The gifts in Last Minute Fabric Gifts are sectioned into roughly how long they take to make - ideal when you're running around the house looking for something for so-and-so five minutes before you have to leave to go to theirs... I will be making the little fold up garden, complete with soft bunnies - so cute!

Bend the Rules Sewing is something I've hankered after for a while, and I was delighted to receive this in my birthday parcel. Amy has a relaxed approach to sewing, which really appeals to me as it's the way I do things, and there are some fantastic projects in the book (nice bags!), coupled with many useful tips, that I will be deploying on my next machine sewn project.

And last of all, The Littlest Matryoshka. Not a craft book, but a story. It's for children really, but I love Matryoshka dolls and this book so appealed to me - I'm so glad I got it - the illustrations and story are just lovely. The children love it and I have to read it to them in the morning before school. Although it currently resides on the shelf at the end of our bed at the moment, I think it will deserve a place in my pile of 'Mummy's special books' that I keep upstairs in my living room, together with Down Buttermilk Lane, Brundibar, The Keeping Quilt, and the family monster atlas! Hopefully, a classic for all to enjoy.

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