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Kirsty shares her secrets..........
on 15 October 2010
This isn't a purely a project book. It's a book about Kirstie's style and how she goes about achieving it. It's a very pretty book and full of inspiration and ideas. There aren't any specifically Christmas makes in the book - I hope this is because Kirsty intends to bring out more books in future years. I can understand the choice to bring out something more generic - homemade HOME - for the first book and (hopefully!) specialise subsequently.
The book is in 3 sections:
Part 1: Room by Room - includes sections on The Kitchen, The Sitting Room, Bedrooms, Bathrooms, Children's Corner, and Garden and Entertaining. Each of the sections is broken down further to provide guidance on some main elements in that room; The Kitchen for example includes Storage, Worktops and Surfaces, Cookers, Displays and Dressers, Tables and Chairs, and Crocks and Pots. Kirsty goes through the house, room by room, telling you how she achieves her style. She is full of hints about how to achieve things cheaply (second hand, auctions etc). These sections are a wealth of information. Kirsty has a very nice writing style - non-preachy and very friendly, although her commonsense approach does shine through.
Part 2: Getting Stuck In - this is the crafty section. Broken down into further sections, it includes: All Sewn Up, Beautiful Things, Child's Play, Ligh Fantastic, Upholstery, Crafts to Take your Time over, Best of the Rest. Many of these crafts are recognisable from Kirsty's Homemade Home series. The Best of the Rest section includes those crafts that you can't do at home (unless you're already one of these crafts people!): Blacksmithing, Glassblowing, Pottery, Spinning and Weaving, Stained Glass, and Willow-working. Kirsty provides guidance on how to get into these crafts - there is a good section on vraft course websites at the back of the book. Delving into one the craft sections - Beautiful Things - Kirsty includes, Flower arranging, Cake decorating, Gilding glass, Soap-making, and Stencilling pictures. The step-by-step instructions are very thorough, with illustrations and photos. Often each sub (sub-sub?!) section actually includes multiple projects - there are two projects in flower arranging, and two in cake decorating. There are actually 26 projects - that's not at all bad given that, for some, we are talking about full knitting patterns and chair renovations!
The final section is called Search and Find: Here Kirsty shares her hints and tips on sourcing old things. Broken down into further sub-sections: Choosing second-hand, Antiques Shopping, Auctions, Salvage and Reclaimation Yards, Markets, Skip-diving, and the Internet. To quote Kirsty 'There are numerous TV programmes and books that talk about money and antiques. This book is not one of them. I say buy what you want for the best price you can negotiate, and, unless it's a major investment (i.e. something you might need to sell one rainy day) don't worry about what it's worth. What's important is what it's worth to you. How much would you be prepared to part with to have that item in your home?'. I like that: go your own sweet way on what works for you. This section really is quite a treasure trove of encouragement and ideas on how to source things.
The book ends with a directory: numerous contacts and internet addresses. Admittedly, by location, quite a few of the auction/antique houses are in Devon or London, but Kirsty does include plenty of internet sources. This section alone is 15 pages long - I've not seen so many sources in any other book of this type!
The pages are non gloss and littered with lovely photos. Even the section headings are beautifully drawn. This is a book I will refer to again and again - maybe only to dream, but we all need those! I hope Kirsty brings us more.