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CoolCrafting (Hincaster, Cumbria, UK)

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Patch!
Patch!
by Cath Kidston
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.90

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars On Trend Inspiration, 30 Oct 2011
This review is from: Patch! (Paperback)
This eagerly anticipated book is the fourth in a series of titles by Cath Kidston with a giveaway kit - everything you need to create the cover bag or cushion shown on the cover. A great idea to kick off the creativity that is contained in the book.
33 projects in total, the emphasis is on using patchworking techniques to create beautiful accessories to wear and for the home.

What sets the book apart from other patchworking titles, is the emphasis on the design of the finished product, how desirable Cath, the Queen of Kitsch, makes this traditional skill - and we love that. The finished items would look great in so many homes today.

Another key element is the emphasis on machine sewing, making the projects timeframed and achievable in our busy lives. Projects I have added to my 'To Make' list include the Boudoir Cushion and the Suffolk Puff Cushion. The Suffolk Puff technique is featured quite heavily within the book.
Possibly a little repetious with the number of bag projects included, it would have been nice to see a pinny or a tea cosy with some patchworking treatment, or a focus on reinventing clothing with patchwork.

This is perhaps not a book for the experienced quilter or patchworker, as there are no projects which include more advanced patchworking/ quilting techniques - but if you are looking for fashion relevant ideas, and love the CK vibe, this book will leave you inspired to make. Patch is published by Quadrille.
This is an extract of a review from the CoolCrafting Website


Natural Soap
Natural Soap
by Melinda Coss
Edition: Paperback

9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sumptuous Soap Making, 6 Oct 2011
This review is from: Natural Soap (Paperback)
Natural Soap by Melinda Coss, focuses on using natural ingredients in soap making, and the soaps within the book could not look more beautiful. Whether you are looking for an introduction to the art of soap making, or are experienced, this book and it's wonderful recipes will have you ordering Sodium Hydroxide faster than you can say it.

Soap making is thought of as being technically difficult and a little on the dangerous side of crafting. However, with Melinda's wealth of experience, she has perfected a cold process method which simplifies soap making. The book majors on this method and the techniques section is comprehensive and understandable.

The beginning of the book focuses on the required ingredients, and the method of making soap, and yes, there is a lot of information, but it's necessary stuff. Diving into the actual recipes themselves should be enough to persuade you that getting through the technical sections will be worth it. There is no denying that the ingredients will have to be specifically sourced, but there is a thorough section at the back of the book for sources especially those in the UK.

The photographs and styling are stunning, seductive to the potential soap maker. Each recipe, and there are over 40, has suggestions for variations and packaging. Here at CoolCrafting, we like that.

I didn't expect there to be other product types included in the book, but along with traditional Bar soaps and Liquid soaps, there is a great section on Creams, Balms, Whips & Melts.

On my soap making list are Fig & Honey, Laurus Nobilis, and Bollywood. The heavy creams such as Sleeping Beauty sound like the perfect antidote to the oncoming Northern winter, and I love the idea of Flower Milk. With a little forward planning I could be growing some of the ingredients for my very own soaps and creams from my very own garden - could it be more satisfying!

I particularly like the fact there is an emphasis on building a business around your soap making. Many crafters enjoy their hobbies so much, they would love to make a living out of it. Melinda has some great advise, some of it tough love, about starting up, and more helpful information if you decide it could be for you.

In summary, this is a seductive book, which gives enough information for the beginner to start soap making, and enough inspiration for the experienced soap maker to take their hobby to a business level.

This is an extract from a book review on the CoolCrafting website


Cool Craft: Explore Your Creativity!
Cool Craft: Explore Your Creativity!
by Bridget Bodoano
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.78

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Very Contemporary Crafting Book, 3 Oct 2011
Cool Craft by Bridget Bodoano is aimed at bringing contemporary crafting to people of all ages. The projects in this book are simple enough for the complete beginner with clear instructions and tips on basic techniques. There are many craft titles on the market at the moment, but what sets this book apart are the project designs themselves and the graphics/ illustrations.

Cool Craft is divided in to 7 chapters: Knitting, Sewing, Stitching, Accessories, Paper, and Design & Technology. Each chapter includes a 'Getting Started' guide and Tips are highlighted on the project pages. The different craft types are brightly colour coded, and the strong colours of the graphics give a clean, functional feeling to the projects. The book is not overly prescriptive and I think this is really important. If you haven't got something to hand, there are suggestions for alternatives - handmade should not be about consumerism. Plus, how often do you put off starting something, because you don't have everything you need? Your project might just end up better because you have used what you have, and been inventive.

The illustrations are contemporary in a retro manner, clearly demonstrating techniques and the results of the projects. This is not a coffee table book, with beautiful photograghy, and pretty projects for whimsical things. It is bold, practical and refreshingly modern in it's approach to the crafts. It is a relief not be flooded with twee prints. Maybe we are at the tail end of Vintage, and so Retro is far more interesting.ional feeling to the projects. There are 50 featured projects, an example of which is pictured.

The book features traditional skills, but with today-relevant applications, such as making a laptop cover, and a very 'on trend' duffel bag. I particularly liked the section covering jewellery, with ideas for using hardware - the stuff you'd find in Homebase & B&Q - and upcyling broken, old jewellery into something new and fashion relevant. On my to do list - Project: 21 Make a sketch book cover - I might not use the cross stitch design, I might use something else out of the Templates section instead, but the instructions are clear enough to give me that flexibility.

On a practical note, and this really feels like a practical book, the spine of the book has been designed so that the book will lay flat and stay open, whilst you work on your project. We like attention to detail and good design here at CoolCrafting. The author and illustrator of Cool Craft, Bridget Bodoana, has a number of published titles, covering DIY and home interiors. You can view these here.

What was missing? There is a big, fat, gaping hole called Crochet, that I would have expected to be included.

In summary, I think Cool Craft by Bridget Bodoano is a great place for someone starting to craft, the techniques are well explained, the approach modern, the results fairly instant. It will provide a springboard for your own ideas, all these projects are starting points. Any crafter will know that once you have made something, you can instantly see a new/different/better version for next time.

This review first appeared on the CoolCrafting website on 22nd September 2011


Knits to Give: 30 Knitted Gift Ideas
Knits to Give: 30 Knitted Gift Ideas
by Debbie Bliss
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £15.19

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Book to Create A Handmade Christmas, 29 Sep 2011
If, this year, you are committed to a handmade Christmas, this book could be a just the inspiration you need to get started. Knits to Give is a collection of 30 gift ideas from top knitwear designer Debbie Bliss.

If, like me, you only give presents that you actually want yourself, then this book should provide you with a few solutions to what to give close family as well as friends. I particularly like the covered bangles, because they look quick and stylish. The striped pencil pot covers are fun, and there are some great projects 'For Him' - I love the skinny Moss Stitch Tie, the Rice Stitch Scarf is a refreshing change from all those stripy scarves men have had for Christmas in the last couple of years, the Fingerless Gloves are a must for our touch screen generation, and the Walking Socks are fab - I might try these just as Wellie tops rather than knitting the whole sock.

I like the fact there is a preface to each project which shows how you can flex the projects with use of different colours and yarn. This element is an important part of today's crafting movement. Projects need to morph with what you have to hand and what you need the end result to be.

As for the instructions themselves, very clear, well laid out and easy to follow. There has been no pressure to squeeze a pattern onto one page - there are a good number of photographs per project that give a very clear idea of what the end result should be.

Any niggles? I would have liked some of the 'For Her' projects to be more fun - for example, the charmingly mismatched Kids Stripey Long Socks would be fantastic as an adult pattern - I would think Johnnie Boden would be proud to have those in his range. I think the front cover photograph is a bit to very dull, and there are much better images within the book. And lastly, I must have looked at the Home Is Where The Heart Is Cushion photograph 5 or so times puzzling why it was called that, because all I could see was the shape of an arrow rather than a house shape. Possibly just me, I never could do those Magic Eye tests in the '90's.

That aside, I want to make at least half the projects in this book, and I want to start right now. I can't see anything overly technical in the book, I am confident that what I need to know is explained clearly because I trust Debbie Bliss to deliver good design and thorough instructions. As a committed stitcher, who is no knitting expert, I know I am going to use this book and that I am going to enjoy giving the things I have made from it.

The full review of this book can be found on the CoolCrafting Website.


The New Gypsies
The New Gypsies
by Iain McKell
Edition: Hardcover

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Photography, 17 Aug 2011
This review is from: The New Gypsies (Hardcover)
Is this the arty side of MBFGW? If it is, it seems there are some very photogenic 'New Gyspies' out there, although when I showed the book to a photographer, he grunted and said that everything looks good with a turquoise background. I loved leafing through the pictures, looking at the weatherbeaten faces. It all seemed a little contrived though to stumble across Kate Moss in the book, and that is why I didn't rate it more highly - didn't seem quite as raw.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 24, 2013 5:18 PM GMT


Reprodepot Pattern Book: Flora: 225 Vintage-Inspired Textile Designs (Reprodepot's Pattern Book)
Reprodepot Pattern Book: Flora: 225 Vintage-Inspired Textile Designs (Reprodepot's Pattern Book)
by Djerba Goldfinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.05

4.0 out of 5 stars Must Buy The Set, 17 Aug 2011
What a great idea, prints to use in your crafting projects and all downloadable from the included CD. We love the fact that we can use these prints and designs to make pretty gifts, and things for the home. Well designed and easy to work through. Think that the project section at the back of the book could have been a bit more inspiring but the selection of designs and the fact they are easily downloadable from the CD, make this an excellent buy. A floral theme that is trans trend.


Reprodepot Pattern Book: Folk: 225 Vintage-Inspired Textile Designs (Reprodepot's Pattern Book)
Reprodepot Pattern Book: Folk: 225 Vintage-Inspired Textile Designs (Reprodepot's Pattern Book)
by Djerba Goldfinger
Edition: Paperback
Price: £15.28

4.0 out of 5 stars Clever Idea, 17 Aug 2011
What a great idea, prints to use in your crafting projects and all downloadable from the included CD. We love the fact that we can use these prints and designs to make pretty gifts, and things for the home. Well designed and easy to work through. Think that the project section at the back of the book could have been a bit more inspiring but the selection of designs and the fact they are easily downloadable from the CD, make this an excellent buy.


No Title Available

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Piece of Crafting Kit, 17 Aug 2011
I ordered this in order to make some fabric origami boxes, and it does exactly what it says. Using the microwave to set the sprayed fabrics gives instant results. Not only does it stiffen, but we use to stop cut edges from fraying when we are making fabric corsages. An important crafting piece of kit!


Everything Alice: the Wonderland Book of Makes
Everything Alice: the Wonderland Book of Makes
by Hannah Read-Baldrey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £10.49

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Truely Inspiring Craft Book, 17 Aug 2011
This charming new craft book is full of delightful things to make and do, using inspiration from Alice in Wonderland. 50 different projects cover a wide variety of techniques and abilities. What makes the whole thing so enjoyable is the attention to detail, and how much fun has been had in the making of the projects and the book.

I was interested to see how a childhood story could be translated into relevant products for today's crafting climate, and the authors have done a fantastic job, that carries the magic of the original story through into all varieties of activities. The projects that are now on my `to do' list are the Red King Slippers, Playing Card Bunting and the Tea Cup Mad Hatter Hat. To accompany the book, there is a supporting website [...] and I can see that Quadrille are running Alice themed events with the authors.

When so many craft books promise so much, it is a delight not to be disappointed, as can so often be the case. My only bug bear are the hand drawn pattern pieces which I would have liked to be more precise.

Parts of this review originally appeared on the CoolCrafting Website.


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