Book Review: Mini Makers- Crafty Makes to Create With your Kids by Laura Minter and Tia Williams

mini makers

This is the third book from the brilliant team behind Little Button Diaries and just like The Knight and The Princess Craft Books it doesn’t disappoint. The book provides a wealth of inspiration for original, on trend crafty projects to do with your children. There were loads which I thought were simply brilliant as they were so original but on reflection so simple and basic I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of them myself.

My favourite has to be the pegboard Giant Cross Stitch Art project, this is a lovely project for children and adults alike. I must admit, I’m going to have a go myself. The idea of using a pegboard is so simple but so very effective, not only for children but also perhaps for those who have difficulties being accurate with their hands. Of course, the end result would also look stunning on the wall.

There are lots of projects contained within the book which require minimum outlay in terms of the equipment needed. I loved the Foldaway Cardboard Boat project which although nothing unusual in conception at least (who hasn’t turned a cardboard box into something?) provided the measurements to makes something stunning.

The book is nicely presented, it looks good and is well laid out with loads if images (these are essential when crafting) and clear sections which also detail the sorts of skills your child will learn if participating in these different projects.

Again Laura and Tia have produced a book which is very difficult to fault. If you enjoy doing crafts with the kids as I do, this is a fabulous book to have sitting on your shelf at home and it comes highly recommended from me. In fact, chuck out those old dated craft books and treat yourself!

Watch out for some of our crafty makes from this book on my Instagram.

Mini Makers is published by GMC and you can find out more here.

Book Review: The Knight Craft Book and The Princess Craft Book by Laura Minter and Tia Williams

KnightCraft_Cvr PrincessCraftlCvrI must admit, i’m not the biggest fan of craft books for children as I tend to find that they recycle ideas. However, these two books intrigued me because I wondered how they could actually think of enough things to make for each book. So I agreed to look at them for a review.

I have been astonished by these books. In all honesty, I don’t think the covers do them justice because they are little gems. These are not books full of crafts to do with the children, rather they are books which enable you to make your children’s dreams of becoming a Knight or Princess come true. Packed with lots of ideas, simple tutorials and excellent patterns you’ll find 15 projects in each book.

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been making things from both books. The bows and arrows and shoebox catapault have been brilliant hits from the Knight Craft Book. However, I have to say, I think the Princess Craft Book is a goldmine of projects which are incredibly versatile. The patterns contained are second to none and I’ve been really impressed.

A horse #sewing #craft #worldbookday #costume

A photo posted by Claire Thornton Walsh (@clairevictoriawalsh) on


For World Book Day we have a dress up as a Shakespeare character day and my daughter and god-daughter have both decided to be a horse. I’m thinking Richard III horse but alternatively they could be Bottom from Midsummer Nights Dream. My daughter is a massive horse fan so I knew her costume wouldn’t be wasted. The Princess Craft Book has a brilliant tutorial and pattern for making a ride on horse. I used the pattern and tutorial for the head to make their head-dresses. That’s the fantastic thing about these books; the patterns can be adapted. If you want any sort of cape, armour, crown, tabard then you needn’t look further.

Knocked up this horses head for a head-dress. Recipient exceptionally pleased. Result! #sewing #craft

A photo posted by Claire Thornton Walsh (@clairevictoriawalsh) on


I’m seriously impressed with these books, not only are they great if you’re trying to create costumes, there are loads of other activities, many which can be adapted to do alongside your kids. If you’re a museum education officer you’ll also find them a goldmine of information. They have clear step by step instructions, excellent patterns and are exceptionally good value at just £6.99.

If you enjoy making stuff for your children then you cant go wrong with these. You can get hold of The Princess Craft Book here and The Knight Craft Book here.

 

Review: Oglee Poglee Craft Boxes

Oglee Poglee boxSince I’ve had a major craft cupboard clear out I like the idea of ordering specific little boxes for craft activities. It means that you don’t have to store random amounts of odd things (sometimes never to use them) and that there is a little bit of a focus to the activities.

 

 

oglee pogleeWe were sent a Bugs and Butterfly Oglee Poglee craft box to investigate. This is one of a series of brilliant little boxes each based around a story book which comes with the box. Oglee Poglee is the made-up world in which a little creature called Oglee Pip lives. Oglee Pip goes off having adventures with his little button, which is provided with the storybook. I thought this was a wonderful little touch and the children really did cherish their little button as a result of it being part of the story.

Oglee Poglee craft box

Looking at the story book and button

The box contained a specially written storybook with a selection of craft activities at the back which related to the story. Everything you needed to make some of the things suggested in the book and a few more bits and pieces were included so that your child can use their imagination. The key thing being that its up to your child to make what they want and how they want to make it rather than it being very prescriptive.

oglee poglee craft box

Using the box to make a butterfly

These boxes are aimed at 3- 7 year olds (perfect for my little brood) and I think from experience it was pitched absolutely brilliantly. The thing which I liked the most about it was that there is no monthly subscription. This means you can pick and choose as and when you might need one. It also means that they are perfect for giving as little gifts for birthdays and Christmas.

My children loved this box and have spent hours and hours making different things (perfect!). They keep returning to the box in moments of boredom. Just brilliant, we loved it and can highly recommend this innovative little box of fun.

Oglee Poglee craft box

The finished butterfly

Our Bugs and Butterflies box cost £17.99, there are loads more in the range from the Space Adventure box through to the seasonal Little Crafty Boxes priced at £9.99

childrens craft- snail

Making a snail

childrens craft

The seven year olds bracelet

Make sure you go and have a look for yourself over at www.ogleepoglee.co.uk or via Etsy

oglee poglee1

Crochet Projects

crochet

Finding peaceful quiet time is difficult in our busy household. Despite having a playroom in which to make mess and noise the children tend to invade my personal space at every opportunity. I’m seriously considering moving into their playroom, but that is another post. I need time to relax calmly, to read and craft. I love reading but I find knitting, sewing and crochet more therapeutic.

I love the feeling of creativity and the satisfaction of an end product. I’ve got several projects on the go at the moment, another jumper for myself, a tie for the husband, a poncho for Fifi.

For sometime I’ve been desperate to learn how to crochet, i’ve tried several times to teach myself with mixed results. I think that is because i’m a natural knitter and so familiar with the ebb and flow of knitting that crochet seemed so alien. Anyway, after several failed attempts at convincing friends to teach me I decided to take myself off to a course. Clearly that was the best solution as my confidence with crochet grows daily. So far i’ve made wrist warmers, headbands, a tie, some snowflake bunting and lots of little flowers. I’m finding crochet to be a relaxing craft with rhythm. Its lovely that it progresses very quickly, providing a real sense of achievement.

Yesterday I treated myself to some beautiful Rowan Pure Wool DK which although limited in the range of colours, seemed perfect for what I had in mind; something for our living room. The results so far are photographed above. The question now is do I make a cushion cover or a blanket? I can’t decide. What do you reckon?

Book Review: More Monster Knits for Little Monsters by Nuriya Khegay

I’ve recently started knitting stuff again and I’ve already got a huge backlog of requests. Its not that I’m even very slow, it just seems that there is so much out there that people want and cant buy in shops. I’m having to relearn my skills fast, so I was thrilled to be asked to review a knitting book. If there is one thing which is a guilty pleasure for me its craft books. They combine my love of books with my love of crafts. In fact my ultimate place would be a bookshop with a craft workshop/ tea shop. Wouldn’t that be amazing!

Monster Knits for Little Monsters is a knitting book which features 20 different animal themed hat and mitten sets. I must admit I haven’t had time to knit anything yet, although I’ve read the patterns in detail to work out which ones I will be able to make quickly. Since the majority seem to go up to age 2-3 years my nephew is going to get quite a few. I think this is a bit of a shame because my older children would love most of the hats here and I suspect I’m going to be adapting the patterns as Fifi (aged nearly 6) is desperate for the cat hat and mittens.

One of my big issues with knitting books is that I find that I cant get hold of the yarn easily or cheaply. However, this book does feature a good range of different yarns, including my favourite Paton and Rowan yarns so I don’t think that would be too much of an issue.

This book has a really useful knitting techniques section with clear diagrams which would be handy for a beginner knitter and makes the patterns much more accessible. It also had large colour photographs of each of the designs. These are incredibly handy as they mean you can actually see what you are trying to achieve, this isn’t the case with lots of knitting books so this is a big thumbs up from me! I also really like the way that its presented, its really nicely laid out and looks fresh, fun and contemporary.

If you want to make your new baby a funky hat this is the book for you, the patterns are clear and precise and are also relatively simple. I think its a delightful book and I cant wait to get started on my Monster Knit!