I 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.
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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.
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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.
Since 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.
We 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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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!
Some of you may be aware that I am developing my own website based around archaeology activities you can do with your kids. It’s not ready yet (finding the time is hard). However I thought I’d flag up this brilliant simple activity we did at one of our local museums. It’s basically Roman headdress making, but could be turned into an Olympic themed activity. In fact, should you want to adapt it you could make anything your heart desires. All that is needed is a stapler, some paper and some card. Self evident, something we have all done in the past, but lets face it, often the simplest old fashioned ideas are the best and it’s worth remembering them!