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Baby Knits For Beginners
Baby Knits For Beginners
by Debbie Bliss
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.94

3.0 out of 5 stars I think it's just a personal taste thing as some people seem to love these patterns, 3 Feb. 2015
Lovely presentation and delightful designs, but sadly the patterns just don't speak to me. I keep making mistakes. I'm not a total beginner, as I've knitted both of my daughters plenty of cardis, dresses and other bits and bobs but I bought this book, as with two kids under three, I don't want anything too complicated or that takes too long. I've made several things from the book but quite honestly I find free patterns on ravelry much more satisfying, as they are tested and rated by hundreds of knitters. I started the moss stitch shoes several times and eventually decided life is a bit too short, as I seemed to keep messing up the pattern when increasing. I've since made half a dozen pairs of cute knitted shoes from patterns online and not had any problems. I think it's just a personal taste thing as some people seem to love these patterns, whereas others, like me, can't seem to quite follow even the simple patterns without making mistakes.

Cute Clothes for Kids
Cute Clothes for Kids
by Rob Merrett
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely but sizing a bit frustrating, 30 July 2013
This review is from: Cute Clothes for Kids (Paperback)
Lovely book, very imaginative and creative but achievable patterns. They are nicely presented and easy to simplify (or dress up) and to create your own version based on the ideas in the book.

Perhaps my only gripe is about sizing, as I found it frustrating that firstly a lot of the nicest patterns are only available in tiny baby sizes and secondly that no measurements are given for any of the garments. The first section is 3-9 months then it skips to 1-2 years, which is so vague! I am a nap time sewer without the time or inclination to make calico versions first - shame the editors didn't put a basic sizing chart at the front of the book, as almost all online patterns do now. My 15 month old is tall so it can be really hard to judge sizes for her without a chart.

Anyway I have made a couple of things from the book and just reworked the patterns to my daughter's measurements with trial and error and so far it has worked, as I have a fair amount of experience with dressmaking. The dresses I have made I have also polished a little with topstitching and a few amendments, which have probably been left out to prevent the instructions getting too long winded and off putting for a beginner.

I recommend the book highly but if it ever gets reprinted I hope they include a sizing chart!

Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones
Amy Butler's Little Stitches for Little Ones
by Amy Butler
Edition: Hardcover-spiral
Price: £15.99

1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nice patterns but only up to 12 months, 29 May 2013
Perhaps I should have checked more carefully but I bought this to add to my increasingly huge collection of baby sewing books, and I had rather assumed this would cover children past 12 months of age. My little one is 13 months old and rather big too, so I am going to have to do quite a lot of work to check all the sizing on every pattern and possibly remake all the patterns to fit her. I probably wouldn't have bought it if I had known. Most patterns I have bought for "little ones" have versions for tinies, toddlers and little children. Bit disappointing and I feel a bit short changed, as I just won't get that much use out of it.

The book however is nice and I will make a few of the things from it, mainly the clothes (the kimono PJs and the empire waisted dress are lovely), as I have changing table covers, soft toys etc coming out of my ears! It's a nice inspiration book too, which definitely has its place - complete with utterly gorgeous babies and delightful fabrics.

Worth buying if you are expecting or your baby is very little, you have decent sewing skills and you don't already own similar books.

Little Helper Baby Highchair (Aqua)
Little Helper Baby Highchair (Aqua)

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great value and ideal for a weaning baby, 29 Jan. 2013
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Fantastic chair bought for my 6 month old and after 3 months it is still great. Price is good, it is easy to move, clean etc. The only reason I haven't given it the full five stars is that the headrest is a little hard. I have made a small insert cushion, as my little one has a tendency to get a bit impatient when her food doesn't come quick enough (!) and whacks her head on the back. Problem was easily solved and probably wouldn't be a problem for a less greedy bub!
The aqua colour is nice too for a boy or a girl.

River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook
River Cottage Baby and Toddler Cookbook
by Nikki Duffy
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £10.49

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bit dumbed down and some duplication, 29 Jan. 2013
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I bought this book because I think HFW is brilliant but this book is rather disappointing. It explains how to boil corn on the cob as a "recipe" and I hardly feel porridge needs a whole page of discussion in a recipe book.

As I have the River Cottage Everyday, which I use all the time and love, I didn't need to buy this as a lot of the ideas seem to come from the Everyday book but less well presented, much less choice and not terribly inspired.

I would have returned it but my 9 month old had already had a good chew of the cover the minute it was out of the packaging. Now it is here to stay I will probably use it, but a bit reluctantly.

Of the 200 odd pages, only 100 are recipes - the rest is lots of fluff about weaning and problems with feeding, none of which is of interest to my family who are all on solids and eat with gusto and pleasure.

My recommendation - buy River Cottage Everyday and just leave out the salt and sugar for the little members of your family.

Magical Metal Clay Jewellery: Amazingly Simple No-Kiln Techniques for Making Beautiful Jewellery
Magical Metal Clay Jewellery: Amazingly Simple No-Kiln Techniques for Making Beautiful Jewellery
by Sue Heaser
Edition: Paperback
Price: £14.18

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good beginners book but projects aren't inspiring, 1 Jan. 2013
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The book contains everything I needed to experiment with metal clay for the first time but I must say the projects are pretty amateur looking - fairy castles and cartoon dragons are featured as projects. I didn't buy the book for the ideas, as I have been goldsmithing for some time now and have my own ideas but for anyone looking for inspiration I would probably try elsewhere. The information in the book is good so if you just want a practical guide then I would recommend this one.

No Title Available

7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible, terrible product, 4 July 2012
The cups leak everywhere. Our fridge and kitchen floor are constantly sticky from leaked milk. You have to screw the caps on so tight to prevent leakage that you can't get them off again, least of all when holding a wriggling, crying baby in the middle of the night.
Leakage problem is made worse by the fact that the plastic warps from being washed in hot water so the lids hardly fit at all now (have had them for 3 weeks).
The quantities printed on the side are so faint I can only just see them with all the lights on and wearing my glasses, again not great if you are using these to feed baby in the night.
Just spilled 100ml of expressed breastmilk all over the floor for the second time this week and all the tubs are going in the bin.
Very unamused.

Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear
Sew Serendipity: Fresh and Pretty Designs to Make and Wear
by Kay Whitt
Edition: Hardcover-spiral
Price: £15.58

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely book, easily modified for maternity wear, 13 Oct. 2011
A really nice book.

I have made a skirt, a tunic and a dress so far, and will be making the Parisian Jacket as soon as I find the right fabric. The tunic and dress patterns do take quite a bit of time due to the professional finish - lots of topstitching, edge stitching and general dotting of i's and crossing of t's.

The only word of warning I have is that the sizing is very generous - huge in fact. And the designs are not easy to modify at the end, they are fitted together beautifully but like a tetrus puzzle. Invisible zips on the side seams, for instance, mean you can't just pull in the seams if you realise half way through that it is a bit big.

I am pregnant and have modified the patterns to cover the bump and this works really well, being lots of empire lines and ties that you can pull round the back to tighten or loosen at various stages of pregnancy. A great perk as there are so few stylish books for those 9 months when you could really do with a bit of colour and flair!

I am a UK 10-12/EUR 36-38 and I would usually have gone for a Medium size with the measurements it gave, but went for Large to allow for pregnancy and the first tunic I made was big enough for several baby elephants! It will be useful in a few months but it really is large. Ordinary measuring is fine but because there are lots of ruffles and gathered areas, you do create a 'large' look. Just a word of warning for anyone about to start. Serves me right for being cocky not making a muslin version first, as the book recommends!

My only other comment was that some of the instructions in the techniques section may as well have been written in Chinese. The main text is very clear and easy to follow but the zip section was really not clear to me - possibly a British/American English thing. I have done lots of these in the past and found the instructions pretty murky. Even when I had done it successfully, I re-read the section and found the wording rather odd and unclear. I can imagine a beginner getting a bit stuck.

Overall a great book to learn on - the skirts are a cinch, whereas the jackets take a few more skills.

BaByliss 2289U Glamour Waves Curling Tong
BaByliss 2289U Glamour Waves Curling Tong
Price: £17.95

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Another one to add to the once-used pile, 13 Oct. 2011
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This product is hair dependent. And it is definitely not for my hair. I have long, wavy hair and I was hoping this would add a bit of shape to the front curls, a bit of bounce and sheen, perhaps. Definitely didn't work - some attempts made my hair flat, some wonky, some tightly curly, others just, well odd. I am sure I could get my hairdresser to work some magic but isn't that kind of the point that you should be able to use it at home? I have been styling my hair for nearly 20 years and I can tell pretty quickly what works and what doesn't. Maybe for straight hair? Also my hair is quite thick and it would just take all day.

On the positive, it heats quickly, and is obviously a functionally good product. The results just weren't what I was after.

One design down side for me was the clasp that grips your hair at the end while you wrap the hair round the shaft is sort of flat and therefore makes an odd kink at the end of your hair. Would be better to have made it less tight of a grip so it curls with the rest of the hair.

Not for me but not to say the product is sub-standard. And for the price, I can afford to give it away and try something else.

Antonio Carluccio's Southern Italian Feast [DVD]
Antonio Carluccio's Southern Italian Feast [DVD]
Dvd ~ Antonio Carluccio
Price: £7.00

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Bit disappointing, 22 July 2011
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A very jolly and agreeable man in general, but not a great DVD.

Much time spent watching Antonio filling his face and chatting in Italian with the odd recipe thrown in (briefly) for effect. Perhaps it's just me but the recipes aren't terribly inspiring either - little leadweight dumplings sauteed in several kilos of butter just doesn't do it for me and I expect you would be left feeling like you had accidentally swallowed an anvil.

Beautiful scenery and probably could be great if the recipes or food were actually described, explained or in any way accessible for anyone living outside of Southern Italy.

Sorry, just not my cup of, well, fish, as Antonio would rather bizarrely say.

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