So, this blog actually originated as a DIY/ craft/ let’s make not buy blog. Although, what with the recent influx of Sample Sale reviews, it’s reading more like a “I do nothing but shop” blog at the mo (I promise, DIY jewellery/ home decor/ etc tutorials are coming very soon!!!)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, in my enthusiasm for getting the blog off the ground, I decided to attack the local library and check out all the Crafting books to see what was currently being offered in this space. Here are 4 that I picked up, from L to R:

1. Made for you

2. Making Stuff: An Alternative Craft Book

3. Junk Book Jewellery: 25 inspirational budget projects (Best of 4 for beginner jewellery makers)

4. Pearl Lowe’s Vintage Craft (Best of 4 for “mood board” or “inspiration bible”- obviously only if you love vintage)

Did I actually find any projects that I wanted to make? Sad to say, no! And here are the reasons why….

Made for you

For the aspiring knitter, there is a techniques overview in the front of the book with step-by-step pictures. (LOVE step-by-step pictures! Most crafty people are super visual so I can’t imagine WHY you wouldn’t have them) Unfortunately, the pictures are not matched with their corresponding step so you need to figure that out yourself. In addition, they are kind of small, making it slightly difficult to grasp what’s being done!

Who would I recommended this book to? People who already knit/ crochet/ felt (or are looking to do a couple such projects) and who want an inspiration guide!

2. Making Stuff: An Alternative Craft Book

As with the previous book, projects seemed too tiresome to do and were mostly knitting/ crochet/ felting/ fabric-projects. Also lacked the Step-by-Step photographs that I was just rhapsodising about. And some of the projects just made me go “????” such as the paper cut necklace on page 62- whilst the paper cut was pretty, now how many times do you think I could actually use such a necklace? Hello rain, bye bye all my time and effort…

Who would I recommend this to? People who really want a craft book and have read everything else out there…

Junk-box jewellery

Full disclosure: I’ve been making jewellery since before I could walk (slight exaggeration only) so my comments may not reflect the general DIY-ers views

Furthermore, I think some of the recycled materials were quite unique and an inexperienced crafter might have problems thinking of alternatives to substitute them with. Maybe some alternative suggestions at the end of each project would have been nice?

Last but not least, step-by-step photos were not matched with the written instructions… Why do people make things harder than they need to be??

Who would I recommend this to? People who enjoy recycling their old stuff

Pearl Lowe’s Vintage Craft

Instructions too wordy. (Basically the project consists of a photo of the finished piece and then text, text, text instructions….

Who would I recommend this to? People who are looking for coffee table books on vintage/ crafts (although the size is a bit small), or just an Inspiration Bible.

[Cocktails?? How old are these girls??]

… is definitely better than the last 4 I reviewed (link here). There are a couple of projects that I would actually want to do!  And the photos are gorgeous- hey, a picture paints a 1000 words! (Yes you’d think I’d take my own advice and have better photos for this blog: I’m working on it…)

It’s divided into 4 sections:

“Party Prep”

“Craft Projects”

“Boudoir Beauty”

and, last but not least, “Savvy Savouries, Sweet Treats & Cocktails”.

It’s an…. interesting book. When I first picked it up, I thought it was a book that aimed at tween- and teen- girls (which seems to be the age group of the models used in the book). I could see tween girls going for it, or well-meaning relatives buying it for teen girls (who were now at the “I’m too cool for a party book” stage). In fact, I thought it was the modern version of 1 such book that I’d received as a kid myself

And there are some cool projects such as “Floral Felt Fascinators” (p.25), “Lavendar Salt Hand Scrub” (p.98- I suspect I like this project because it uses lavender essential oil and I was just wondering what-on-earth I was going to do with the bottle that I’d bought in Morocco) and “Bunting necklace” (p.41).“Bunting necklace” actually looks like something we could get at a shop (i.e. teen girls would not be embarrassed to wear it out of the house) and is easy & quick enough to do for a fun party. However, SNAG: you need a leather hole punch for this project. Now how many of us keep that around the house? And if we don’t, would we really buy 1 for just this 1 project? I do think craft books should be more practical- if it features a special piece of equipment, then there should be multiple projects that use that equipment!! (Random thought: maybe we could improvise with a regular hole puncher?)

Other projects seem a bit random: “Pin Up Girl Tea Towel” (p. 30) and “Simple Sewn Skirt” (p.35). Would teen girls REALLY be interested in tea towels? (Maybe if they were future Stepford wives in the making…) And can you really see a group of young girls sitting around for an hour sewing a not-very-stylish skirt at a party? (I’m sure you could sew a skirt in less than an hour- but then it’d probably come apart in the first wash! So this project is dubious to me as you either spend a lot of time on it or you get something that doesn’t last…)

Not to mention- flip on to p.77 and the project is “Showgirl Tassels” (To stick onto nipples)???? Hmmm… not quite the project I’d want for my 12-year old (if i had 1). And on to p. 156 which is the section on alcoholic cocktails- now what’s the legal drinking age again???

As for the the recipes- besides being (supposedly- no comment as I’ve not tried them) delicious party food, they don’t seem any different from recipes I could get off the Internet. As they are for a party, wouldn’t it make sense to only feature pretty party food (“Cupcakes in a Jar”, p.138- now this recipe I want to save! ) or 15-minute party foods (since most hostesses end up rushed for time. “Slug Cake” on p.144 seems yummy and quick but there is no guidance given on the amount of time required- another thing which I think is essential for party-planning!)? Right now, it reads more like a random collection of recipes…

Would I recommend this book? No, not if you have to pay for it. If you’re picking up a book at the library, then yes, it’s worth a flip through. But it’s too much a random collection of tutorials & recipes that don’t fit any particular age group to be worth the cash.

Have you read this book? Would love to know what you think of it!