Wednesday, February 28, 2007

why do you craft?

This is something I have been contemplating recently, you see I have been reading "The Crafter Culture Handbook" by Amy Spencer.

I have had it for quite a while and I had intended to offer up my thoughts long before now but it has been quite hard to know where to start. You see the book isn't just a straight forward 'how to' of crafting, as the title accurately states it is also a book that looks at the whole culture of crafting today. I had thought I would probably just be posting some photos and going 'ooo I want to make that' and 'isn't that a lovely idea'.
Instead I found myself actually reading the book, rather than flicking from project to project, and thinking about why I craft. Am I making my own stance against consumerism? Am I part of a radical social resistance movement? Or am I nurturing my innate domesticity albeit with all its modern connotations. It certainly makes for a thought provoking and debate inducing read.
But don't panic this isn't some subversive book offering up anti-globalisation diatribes. It is after all is said and done a craft book and it does offer some wonderful projects. All the projects are supplied by the great and good of the crafting world and cover every possible theme. There is sewing from garment making, to refashioning, to embellishment, to cross-stitch, to adornments.

There is knitting and crochet with projects for hats, scarves, bags. As well as advice on kool-aid dying, setting up your own knitting groups. There is paper craft which delves into the world of Gocco printing (I would dearly love a little Gocco of my own). And shows you how to coptic bind a book or even a papier mache bangle amongst other things.

How about making your own soap, bath bombs and beauty preparations? - this book has that covered too. Then there is the electro-craft section, that seems to me, a mysterious world of soldering irons, LEDs, batteries and the like. I just love this idea it would certainly make answering emails much more fun. The whole list of projects featured in the book can be viewed here.

Each section is suffused with essays and introductions by the contributors on how and why they craft. There are lots of colour photos of the projects and clear, well laid out instructions. I really like a lot of the projects in this book and I plan to try some of them out in the not too distant future. The book is readily available from Amazon or you can order it direct from the publishers.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

cakes and hearts ...

where on earth does the time go? don't worry a purely rhetorical question but honestly where does it go?

My sister paid us a whistle stop visit on Sunday afternoon - so we had cake (as you do).

But not just any cake. I finally got around to making some cupcakes from the Magnolia Bakery recipe book that she brought back from New York a couple of years ago. I had flicked through the book,whilst my mouth watered, but never actually used any of the recipes. Sunday morning I was measuring and mixing up a storm. I decided to make the vanilla cupcakes and ice them with the vanilla buttercream which is alright in small measures but is rather sweet. And I didn't even add all the sugar suggested.

Anyway, it being St Valentine's day it only seems appropriate to leave you with a picture of a heart. A felt heart not made for Valentine's day but rather for a birthday. My nephew's 5th birthday is this weekend and he has a thing for hearts. He has a mini wire tree in his bedroom which he hangs them on for display.

Whilst making that heart I also made a couple of felt heart (or should that be heart felt?) brooches for no reason just the heck of it.

I am really enjoying the spontaneity of working with felt - I see much more of it on the horizon. But I would like to try using 100% wool felt rather than the wool/acrylic blend I'm using at the moment.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

photo heavy bliss...

a wet Saturday, a rubbishy film on the box (Camelot in case you were wondering) and a couple of delectable magazines. Divine truly divine.

Husband had to go into central London yesterday and joy of joy he came home bearing gifts. First up is the Spring issue of Marie Claire Idees.
Look at this gorgeous sewing room/corner. I can at least feel happy I put my Bonne Maman jam jars to a similar use but that's as close as I get to something so chic and cute or indeed so clean and neat.Who would have thought of such a novel use of an egg carton - those clever crafty people and Marie Claire that's who.I love this sewing screen. A really good idea for optimising a limited space.
There are also lots of other inspiring ideas - tulips on bags, on tables, on quilts. Yellow on jugs, on plates, on textiles. Lamp shades made from scoubidoos - oh, the list is endless.

Then there's Martha Stewart Living. Which has a hard act to follow but it succeeds with some of its ideas. I like the repackaging of shop bought sweets and treatsthe scanning of lace to create wrapping paper is a good idea too.
Anyway back to browsing and dreaming. Love is a guy who not only puts up with all of your magazines but adds to your stockpile.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I had meant to say much more in yesterday's post but it slipped my mind - it seems to be happening a lot at the moment.

I wanted to express my thanks to everyone who took the trouble to leave a comment on my hundredth post. It was such a buzz but the best thing of all was discovering some lovely new blogs via those comments. I may otherwise have never found them and Jo's is a good case in point.

Also, I forgot to tell you about the surprise package I got from Monica on Saturday. A copy of February's 'Real Simple' which I had been looking for all over the place without success and a mini heart shaped cake tin. Perfect for making some gorgeous chocolate confection. Thank you so much Monica.

The photo at the top is the first glimmer of Spring that has burst forth in our yard. The Japanese quince has decided to start blooming. Obviously no one has told it we have snow forecast for the next couple of days.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

belated drum roll please ...

and the winner is..... Jo.

We drew a name out of this glass container on Sunday morning. I was too tired Saturday evening because of a day out with the girls, but more of that later. With hand over eyes, no peeking and no cheating, little fella pulled out one piece of paper and so the bag is on its way to Jo. Sorry Jo, I haven't posted it yet but it will go in the post tomorrow - I'm a bit behind with wrapping it up and addressing it.

So back to Saturday. I got the train from Paddington over to Oxford to meet up with Ali and Monica. The weather was glorious and the train journey beautifully uneventful. Although if I had got the later train, the one I had intended to get, I wouldn't have made it to Oxford until after lunch - some train drama at Didcot apparently.

We had coffee and chatted and then went to a textile exhibition and wandered around the rest of the Pitt Rivers beautifully bizarre collection. We had a yummy lunch at the Ashmolean Museum Cafe - Ali's treat. Wandered around Oxford perused some fabrics and notions then more coffee and chat. It was a fantastic way to spend a day. Sorry I forgot my camera so no photos.

Friday, February 02, 2007

have you heard....

about this book?I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. If you loved the Crafter's Companion then I think you would be equally smitten with The Crafter Culture Handbook by Amy Spencer.

The projects are all listed here and my mouth is truly watering. As soon as I get my hands on a copy I'll let you have even more details but if you can't wait you can pre-order from the publisher.

Tomorrow, I am off out of this city and heading off to the city of dreaming spires to meet up with a couple of bloggy friends. I can't wait I am so looking forward to it. And don't forget tomorrow my little person will be drawing names out of a hat for the centennial bag.