Tuesday 17 February 2015

Torie Jayne's Stylish Home Sewing

Stylish Home Sewing by Torie Jayne
Published by CICO Books
12th February 2015
Hardback Edition
rrp £14.99
 I am thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour for Torie Jayne's beautiful new book Stylish Home Sewing, alongside these other fabulous bloggers:
Torie Jayne is a successful young designer, blogger and author with a keen interest in creating beautiful accessories for the home. Her blog receives over 100,000 hits a month, and features her trademark sewing in beautiful saturated pastels, as well as baking and other crafts. Now Torie has created over 35 projects for you to make, to bring some of her style to your home.

The kitchen chapter includes table linen, a bread basket and utensil holder, while the bedroom chapter features an eye mask, make-up bag and a padded headboard. The entrance hall chapter includes useful storage projects, such as square storage boxes made from fabric plus fabric and oilcloth bags. The garden chapter showcases practical projects such as a garden kneeler with carry-handles and a polka-dot tool belt, as well as decorative bench cushions, a child's play tent and bunting.

Every project is in fresh, appealing colours, and reflects Torie's sewing expertise, as well as her eye for patterns.
So...the question is, does this book offer something different from the multitude of other craft books out there?  Actually I think it does which is a welcome relief from the same old, same old that is sometimes regurgitated. 

In Torie's trademark pastel shades, which is a refreshing change from the brights that many books are choosing recently, the book is sectioned into various rooms in the house -  from the entrance hall, to the bedroom, and finally ending outside in the garden, there is something to craft for every room in your home. 

Whilst some of the projects do look a little tricky initially (see the headboard above), every project is accompanied by lots of photos and clear instructions.  I think my first project might be making a wigwam for the garden this summer!

Thanks to CICO books for supplying these fabulous images from the book taken by Sussie Bell.  You can purchase your copy of Torie Jayne's Stylish Home Sewing now from Amazon for only £10.49!
G x

Monday 16 February 2015


Five: 150 effortless ways to eat 5+ fruit and veg a day by Rachel De Thample
Published by Ebury Press
5th February 2015
Paperback Edition

We all want tasty food that’s good for us. Key to that is ensuring we eat our daily intake of fruit and vegetables.

Most of us aren’t even getting half the fruit and veg we need in a day. In Five Rachel de Thample makes delicious food effortless, offering over 150 easy, flavoursome recipes that will boost your daily intake.

Rachel’s inspirational treasure trove includes such dishes as Fig, Almond and Orange Blossom Water Muffins, Moroccan Beetroot Soup, Wild Spring Spaghetti and Carrot Cake Scones, as well as themed and seasonal menu suggestions. Whatever you choose to eat, each dish is clearly flagged with the number of portions of fruit and veg each serving contains – some even offer a full 5 portions. So you always know you’re eating both well and happily.

This is a wonderfully inspiring book encouraging us to get as many of our 5 a day into our system as possible, but in newer ways then we probably do at present - or at least for me that is true.  Divided into Breakfast, Lunch, Fast and Feast, Rachel covers every possible meal, including a section dedicated to feeding children too. 

There is also a list of what makes up one portion of fruit and/or veg so you can actually see what you need to be having, because, to be honest, I had no idea how many strawberries or carrots made up my 1 a day (and if you are wondering too, it's 5 strawberries and 1 medium, or 2 small carrots)! 

I'm such a picky eater, with very few vegetables in my diet, but I am determined to eat more of them and I think that Five is probably one of the books that is going to help me on my way!

G x

Saturday 14 February 2015

A bit more knitting

I've been knitting a bit more than usual recently (though not this past week and a half as I'm teaching full-time for the next few weeks which leaves me so tired I'm no good for anything).  I decided that I'd like to make a hat for my friend's baby girl and because there was a lovely one in the More Last Minute Knitted Gifts book, I thought I'd give that a go. 

Nope, sorry, just don't understand them old instructions one little bit so it was back to the drawing board.  I flicked around on Ravelry and there I saw a gorgeous hat called Twiglet Pixie by Robyn Devine and that was it - sorted. 

I went onto her website for the pattern and then found one called Midtown Ribbed Pixie which looked a little more suited to the winter weather.  It took me a couple of hours to knit up in cream aran and I'd quite happy with it.

My friend's baby wasn't quite so keen but I'm hoping that's because she was feeling under the weather when we popped it upon her tiny head!  I'm now about to begin another for her from one of my Debbie Bliss books - the pompon beret!

I've also started a second blanket, this time for my yoga class.  The only problem being that my class is on a Tuesday morning and I've already missed 2 of the sessions I've paid for by having to work, and as I'm scheduled to be there for a few more weeks there won't be much yoga of my 10 week block remaining!  I decided that I'd do a simple garter stitch stripe pattern on circular needles, and due to my incompetence, have started using the wool I bought for my Tiny Owl Knits cowl.  I didn't realise until I'd finished it that I bought 6x100g balls of wool and not 6x50g balls of wool, hence the enormous amount left over!  I've since bought two more colours to add to the mix, a purple shade, and a dark grey though I may need more if it doesn't knit up big enough with what I've got here.

Now, mentioning blankets, I wanted to share this recent purchase with you, as I love it and think some of you might love it too.  Rachelle of Ted & Agnes fame posted  a photo on Instagram the other week of a blanket she had just purchased - a pure wool tartan one.  Oooh I thought, nice, I'll check out the website, thinking full well that it would be out of my price range - we are trying to be sensible this month!

A quick trip over to The Future Kept and I discovered that not only did the said blanket come in a fab range of colours but was also a mere £17!!!!!  These blankets are made in England and are 100% recycled from the remnants of other wool blankets so each one is unique.  I couldn't believed what value that was, so I ordered one pronto. 

I chose this Mountain colourway as the plan is for it to live in Enid caravan as it's perfect for snuggling under when we go away.  At the moment it's on the sofa and is a popular choice with everyone here.  Come to think of it, I think my mum is after one too!  If you don't want a blanket/throw/rug thing then do pop on over to their website anyway as they have lots of beautiful things on there.

G x

Monday 9 February 2015

Hooked! blog hop

The fabulous folk over at Stitch Craft Create asked me very kindly if I would be interested in taking part in another blog hop.  I happily said yes, and I have to say, when I saw the list for the other bloggers involved, I did a little big squeal to see that my name was among them.  The blog hop is for a new crochet book called Hooked! 

Hooked! 40 whimsical crochet motifs from weird to wonderful by Michelle, Cecile & Sylvie Delprat
Published by David & Charles
27th March 2015
Paperback edition

Hooked! is the work of mother and daughters combo Michelle, Cecile and Sylvie Delprat.  It contains 40 different motif ideas that can then be used to embellish all manner of other crafty projects.  There are already a vast number of crochet books out there, and it has to be said, that at times, they do seem to show the same projects again and again and again. 

Flowers that will never wilt and die
This is not the case with Hooked! The concept of writing a book containing only motifs is one I've not come across before, and whilst I've not had time to hook anything up yet, I'm excited to have a go at these projects.  The biggest dilemma I have is - which project to hook up first?!

There are flowers, hearts, and even gingerbread men to have a go at making, and then the ideas for using them are endless...keyrings, bunting, to embellish bags, clothes, the list can go on!

Flowers sewn onto a scarf
I thought the photography was very clear throughout the book, showing ever little stitch used in each project, and the instructions looked easy to follow too.  I've not worked with a teeny tiny hook before, but if you used a larger one you would just get bigger motifs, so the ability to adapt the projects easily is there too.

There is a chance for you to win a copy of the book, plus a hook and six balls of Stylecraft wool by just by following this link and popping on over to the Stitch Craft Create site.

The competition closes on 28th February so pop on over and have a go.  I know lots of you who can hook a motif or two!

G x

Saturday 7 February 2015

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts

More Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson
Published by STC Craft
13th September 2011
Hardback Edition
This is the follow up book to the highly successful Last-Minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson, of The Purl Bee, and in my opinion its so much better than the first book.  There are 30 projects in this book, and they are divided into time slots - less than 2 hours, 2-4 hours, 4-6 hours, 6-8 hours, and more than 8 hours.  I don't know if having a time indicator is a good thing or not, for how long one takes to knit is obviously individual but I think it helps to give an idea of how long it may take to achieve a finished article.
There are lots of projects I want to make from this book, and some do use dpns so it's a good opportunity to continue trying to learn how to use them successfully this year.  I love these lavender filled pyramid bags to keep your drawer smelling gorgeous, and I certainly know someone who wants a pixie hat for themselves!

I thought I'd have a go at learning something new, so I made the linen-stitch bookmark from the under 2 hours section.  I'd never tried linen-stitch before so it was good to try something different, and as usual, you tube came to the rescue with a great video to show me what to do.  I bought some 4ply wool as stated in the book but I wasn't happy with how it was looking so I changed to a dk variegated wool and the results were much more pleasing.  I also used more stitches than stated as I thought it looked a little narrow once I'd cast on.  My youngest daughter liked mine so much she asked for one too, so I made a second, this time two stitches narrower than mine, but two stitches wider than stated in the book.  I think they look fantastic!

G x