Monday 8 August 2016

Tilda Memory Lane & Cabbage Rose blog hop

Today's blog post is part of a blog hop courtesy of stitch, craft, create who sent me this gorgeous Tilda Memory Lane and Cabbage Rose fabric to use and review.  Can I firstly say a big thank you to Nadine for organising this and sending the fabric over - it really is gorgeous.

I couldn't initially decide what to make with my fabric.  I wanted something that I would use, but what?!  Yesterday though inspiration took hold as I have wanted to make some bunting for my lounge for ages now to go across my window as I have an unused curtain pole that runs along the ceiling that is crying out to be decorated - I'd use my fabric for that!

I got busy cutting and stitching yesterday and I love the effect. 

I saved one of the pieces because I'm going to make a cushion for the lounge at a later date but can I say, do check out this fabric as the feel, quality and pattern of the pieces I was sent are excellent and I think it's a range I will be buying more of in the future.

G x

Monday 1 August 2016

Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside

Let your Kids go Wild Outside by Fiona Bird
Published by Cico
Paperback Edition
18th February 2016

Creative ways for children to spend time outdoors and discover nature.

In an era when the iPad is often more appealing than the park, it can be difficult to encourage kids to get off the couch and go outside. In this inspirational book, with ideas for children of all ages, foraging expert Fiona Bird shows the value of playing outside and discovering nature for children and families alike.

First Fiona teaches children about their environment, including conservation guidelines and tips on how to forecast the weather. Armed with this knowledge, the outside adventure goes Into the Woods, in Chapter 1, with outdoor crafts including making leaf art bunting, a dream catcher, and a woodland broom. In Chapter 2, Meadows, Hedgerows, and Hills, ideas include wild face paints, natural dyeing, and making potpourri. Onward to Chapter 3, Seashore, where children learn how to go beachcombing, identify different seaweeds, play beach hopscotch, and make a mollusk wind chime. In Chapter 4, Water and Wetlands, children learn to make their own charcoal and go on an animal track and poop hunt! For those who don't want to move far from home, there's plenty to do in My Wild Garden and Kitchen, Chapter 5, such as making a snail holiday village and attracting bugs, as well as developing hunting and gathering skills, with seasonal recipes made from natural ingredients.
So let your kids go wild outside, and enjoy watching them learn and blossom.

To be honest, there isn't much else for me to say here as the blurb from the book does it all so neatly that I would only be repeating it.  As the summer holidays are upon us, this is a great book for encouraging less screen time and more outside 'doing' time.  It's a particularly apt book for throwing into the suitcase and taking on holiday with you as some of the chapters lend themselves particularly well to this, especially if, like me, you don't actually live near the sea!  This book certainly has enough ideas inside to keep yourself, and your little ones busy all year round!

G x

Sunday 22 May 2016

Still here....

I'm still here - are you still there?! This blogging business is getting so sporadic. I just don't seem to be able to find the time to actually sit and blog, I guess that's the problem with using instagram so much, it's so much more well instant.

Anyways, what has everyone been up to?  I've been back up to Hope & Elvis for a mixed-media workshop with Mrs Bertimus, but I think that deserves a blog post all of it's own which I will try and do soon, promise.  I've also been spending some pennies.

New books:

New oracle cards by Lucy Cavendish and @lisamcloughlinart

Handmade treasures

This is Telling the Bees handmade by the fabulous Hettie Brown

and not doing very much crafting at all! Why does work get in the way so much?! Speaking of which, I've got some planning to be getting on with so better dash and do....

G x

Friday 8 April 2016

Miss Marlo Dress

Well I was going to make the Weekend Dress from this months Mollie Makes magazine but then I cut out the pattern and got in a pickle with it so decided to abandon that idea pretty promptly. 

I've not sewed anything for so long I think I had convinced myself that I had forgotten what to do, so I reverted to a tried and tested method instead - the Miss Marlo dress from Pip Lincolne's Sew La Tea Do book.

I've made this dress twice before and actually, with no buttonholes or zips, it's fairly straight forward to make. 

Version One

Version Two

I found some fabric I had bought from Abakhan and set to work.  I'll admit, I'm the worlds slowest sewer and I really took my time making this today.  I used my overlocker too for the seams and made sure everything matched up just right.  I even sewed the name of the fabric into the dress too as it's called Down to Earth and I thought that was nice!

Now the weather just needs to warm up so I can wear it, or rather them!

G x

Saturday 26 March 2016

Beauty Blogging

It's a little beauty post here on the old blog today - not something I usually do but here we go regardless.  I've been using the bestselling Cleanse and Polish from Liz Earle for a very long time, and when I recently ran out, I decided to look around and see what other products were available that were similar in nature but maybe not so in price.  I scoured the internet and came across the Pure range from M&S.  At twice the size, and half the price of the beselling brand, I figured I'd give their hot cloth cleanser a go. 

It comes in two varieties, the original, and rose, so I ordered both.  I've only used the original one so far but I have to say, I think it's as good as what I was using before.

I also managed to get my hands on one of the most talked about moisturisers around, thanks to India Knight and her review of it in The Sunday Times Style section a few weeks ago.  It's by Bliss who are a spa company and it's called Drench 'n' Quench.  It's billed as being a 'transformative cream to water moisturiser' and I have to say, I'm hooked on it already.

It looks like a turquoise gel and you apply and rub in for 30 seconds and then it transforms and feels more like a powder.  It doesn't contain an SPF or anti-ageing products but it plumps and fills your face with much needed hydration.  If you can get your hands on it, then at £29.50 for 50ml I'd say you have nothing to loose but it took me a lot of web-searching before I found this now sold-out product.

G x

Saturday 27 February 2016


And yet another month passes by in a flash.  Time certainly seems to be flying by.

I've still not really attempted any sewing at all.  I don't know if this is because Agatha Van is no longer my sewing haven, and it is now the fourth bedroom in my new house, appropriately named #notagathavan or what.  I've got so many projects I would like to be sewing, and the fabric to do it, and yet....something is stopping me.  I desperately want to begin my Merchant & Mills linen skirt.  It's been cut out ready to go for a good six months, if not more, and yet there it still sits, unstitched and destined to never be finished.  I did buy some gorgeous fabric the other week though - but what to turn it into?!

In other news, I made a mini crochet shawl the other week.  I'm not entirely convinced it's big enough but some very talented crocheters over on IG liked my picture which was incredibly flattering!

I've also restarted my hexipuffs from the Beekeeper's Quilt by tiny owl knits.  Since beginning this project, Stephanie has got married and had a baby and I've still only made a handful of these beauties.  I am improving though and can rustle one up in about 30 minutes, which when I started out on the double-pin journey I feared I'd never be able to make one, let alone 12!

I was heavily tempted to pop on over to Abakhan today for a fabric/yarn fix and then I got my sensible head on which told me to actually use some of the stash I've got here rather than buying more to sit unused in a cupboard.  I've started this project this afternoon and have already used almost one ball.  It's a quick easy knit, and the wool is really nice to use too.  It's nice to have something I don't really need to concentrate on, unlike those hexis!

I've seen a gorgeous project over on Instagram for this gorgeous cowl made by Chelsea Berkompas called Rooted.  I adore the colours she has chosen for this.  Maybe when I've finished the above project?!

Right, I had better away, I've at least 5 book reviews to be getting on with.  Don't forget, if you love to read, please pop on over to my book blog and say hello!  And while I remember, the winner of my Tiny Toys to Knit book was Henrietta Bird - so well done to you.  I'll be in touch shortly for your address!

G x

Monday 15 February 2016

January and a giveaway!

I can't believe the first month of the year has gone already and that we are now halfway through month two.  Time really does seem to be flying by.  I've also had the keys for my new house two months and that's a frightening thought.

In terms of crafting, I'm still carrying on with those projects started last year, ie that sleeve that still isn't finished but I came to a point where I needed to see some completion so I've been working on some smaller and quicker projects just so I could see some end results.

I haven't really done any sewing as such, but I did rustle up these bears for my girlies from an early edition of Love Sewing magazine that I've used before.  Thankfully there were both happy with them.

Last year I brought some Drops craft cotton yarn to make dishcloths with and it's been sitting around waiting ever since.  It's great to work with, comes in some fab colours and is less than £1.00 a ball (I got mine from Wool Warehouse which I love to use).  I made the first one (the raspberry shade) from a pattern in 30 Minute Knits and the mustard one I made up using my book 250 Knitting StitchesI have to say, having never used the cotton to make a dishcloth before that I wondered how it would last but I've used them constantly, they haven't lost their colour or shape and they still look as good as they did when they came off of the needles.  I've got another two balls left to use so I'll be whipping up some more when I get the chance.

Speaking of my 30 minute knits book that I borrowed from the library - it's not 30 minutes, no siree bob it's not, in fact I'd love to rename this book because I've used it before and it didn't take me 30 minutes then to make either the wristwarmers or the bobble hat and I'm not a particularly slow knitter either!  Anyway, the 7year old liked the look of the little bear in the book so I said I would make him for her.  He took hours and then she wanted a scarf for him too!  He's cute though.

If, like me, you are feeling the need to make something small, the fabulous people over at Search Press have given me a copy of Tiny Toys to Knit by Sachiyo Ishii to giveaway.  All you have to do is leave a comment right here telling me which design you would make first, or over on my Instagram page (@thecraftyreader) to be in with a chance of winning.  If you enter here and on my IG page, that's two entries.  I'll close the competition at 6pm UK time on Sunday 21st February so good luck and off you go.

G x

Saturday 23 January 2016

Baking books

Just how many cookery/recipe books do you own?  For the purposes of this blog post, I've just been to check, and I seem to have somewhere in the region of 35 in all.

Now for my second question: how many of these do you actually use?  Is this number dramatically less?

I use only a handful of my books if I'm totally honest.  I use my Primrose Bakery book for making my lemon drizzle and my banana and chocolate loaf cakes.  I use my Marian Keyes book for delicious rock cakes, and How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson produces fool-proof brownies.  The others I use rarely, if at all.

The one book I turn to again and again though is a little-known one.  I picked it up years ago in The Works for a smidgen of it's rrp and I use it constantly.  It never lets me down. 

Gill Holcombe's book entitled How to feed your family... is brilliant.  It contains recipes and whole meal suggestions for everything, and none of them require fancy ingredients or tons of sugar.  As I type I currently have the dough for some chocolate chip cookies resting in the fridge that the girlies helped me whip up this afternoon.

What's your fool-safe go-to baking/cookery book?  I wonder if it's on my shelf!

G x

Friday 1 January 2016

New beginnings

It's the start of another year, and I have to say, I'm quite glad to see the back of 2015 as I don't think I ever anticipated the events and twists and turns that the year would eventually take.

As it is, I am now fully installed in my girlie house of three.  All the boxes are unpacked and put away, and I'm attempting to sort the box room to make it into a sewing room due to lack of Agatha space.

Does anyone still read blogs anymore?  That is a question that I've read on a few blogs recently and I have to say, I echo those sentiments.  I know of some who used to follow me and no longer do, and I'm trying not to take it personally.  I'll keep going for now in the hope that someone somewhere out there is also reading this.
hair chopped and most of the colour with it - am embracing my silver highlights
The weekend is nearly here, and with it, planning for the new school term to complete and girlies to get ready for their new term ahead too. 

I don't know what this year will bring, but I hope to carry on with this regardless.

Happy new year all

G x