Fast & Festive 50 Christmas Designs Design Works Crafts

61aFaVMn4qL._AC_US218_Pub: Pepin Press

Fast and Festive – 50 Christmas Designs features charming cross stitch designs to use in a variety of creative projects. All are similar in size (with a stitch count of approximately 40 x 60), so all you have to do is choose a design and then choose your favourite finishing technique and start stitching. Instructions are included for making framed pieces, embellishing garments, covering a photo album, decorating a pillow, making a gift bag and creating an ornament edged with cording. Designs include angels, snowmen, Santas, bears, reindeer, penguins, cats, dogs, mice, stockings, trees, candles, wreaths and holiday greetings. Full-colour charts and basic cross stitch diagrams and instructions are included.


My review 

I love Cross stitching, I find it is a quiet time craft and is one that doesn’t require a lengthy sitting session.

This festive project book is filled with 50 cute and beautiful Christmas designs that can be completed in just a few hours.

Snowmen, Santa and Christmas Trees, are all simply designed but so so Christmassy.

I have decided to make a Christmas Sampler using my favourites.

There are some suggested ideas, from a Covered Photo Album to Creating an Ornament, but as this book is very inspirational it will not be long before you have decided on your own beautiful creation.

Small enough to embellish cushions and large enough to make your cards, these wonderful motifs come with full picture diagrams, and a colour suggestion. Of course you can add your own touch using beads and shimmery threads.

This is a beautiful book that every Cross stitch fan will love. Even a beginner can follow the instruction and it will make a perfect crafty gift.



I am going to make a Christmas Sampler. It won’t be finished in time for this Christmas but I plan on making it an ongoing project for next year.

I am using a large piece of 14 count Aida.

2018-11-16 16.40.59

The designs are adorable and very nicely sized.

2018-11-16 16.41.30  2018-11-16 16.43.06

This is the center of my sampler and only took a couple of quiet stitchy hours to complete.

The designs do have a suggestion of colour and design but I am using my own colour scheme.

2018-11-17 08.14.27  2018-11-17 11.57.13

And this is how it is going to progress..

2018-11-17 12.43.05  2018-11-21 15.01.29 2018-11-27 20.17.59


Happy stitching x


About the Author

One of the most trusted names in instructional publishing, Leisure Arts is a leading publisher worldwide of lifestyle how-to books, DVDs, and on-line content ( Leisure Arts publications cater to caring people who want to enrich their lives with relaxing pastimes, creative fashions and gifts, unique home decor, and so much more that contributes to The Art of Everyday Living!





Buy the book..




The Complete Decorated Journal, Gwen Diehn

Pub:  Lark


Now two of the most successful books by Gwen Diehn, The Decorated Page and The Decorated Journal, are bound together into one comprehensive and inspiring volume. The combined contents offer readers an unmatched collection of great ideas and techniques, from the latest supplies (papers, adhesives, paints, pens) to innovative layouts (mandalas, diagonals, cutouts, grids). Sidebars highlight specific genres, such as pillow books, nature journals and illuminated manuscripts. Plus, newly added content includes journaling artist profiles along with galleries of their work, new techniques and a new project where readers learn to make a journal from a butter box.


My Review 

I love making journals and this book gives every hint and tip you could ever need.

I love the techniques that have been recommended, and will definitely be trying them on my handmade journals and notebooks. 

The authors work is just amazing and very inspiring. What I loved the most, is that any medium can be used. It doesn’t have to be new card, or expensive paper. Old books and newspapers are a fabulous way of adding interest and can be fabulously decorated.

The journal themes. range from nature, memories and even chairs. There are layout ideas, bookbinding tips and not only is it beautifully presented, the writing is superb, which makes it a good read.

It is easy to follow and is probably the only book you will ever need on this subject.

The ideas are simple but effective and I am getting started right away.



I made 3 flip journals using some card. 

My card was 15 1/2 x 6 and scored at points to make the ‘book’. 

Each journal has 4/5 pages, and I used layers of matching coloured card to help give the pages rigidity.


To decorate each journal, I have used different techniques.

I ‘scribble’ coloured a page from a colouring book and used this as a decorative cover. I think it looks very effective. 

The second journal, I covered using some patterned card. Each of my journals will have a different theme.


Happy Journalling x 


About the Author

 Gwen Diehn has exhibited her artwork internationally and has worked in many private and public collections, including the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. She has taught college art as well as workshops for many years and is the author of numerous books, including Making Books That Fly, Fold, Wrap, Hide, Pop Up, Twist & Turn and Simple Printmaking. Her most recent book, Live & Learn: Real Life Journals, was listed as one of the top ten crafts books of 2010 by Booklist





Buy the book..

Kraft-Tex Designer 6-Color Sampler Pack: Kraft Paper Fabric

download  C&T Publishing

Wait until you get your hands on this sampler pack of the vibrant, rugged paper that looks, feels, and wears like leather, but sews, cuts, and washes like fabric. kraft-tex is supple, yet strong enough to use for projects that get tough wear. 8 1/2 11 sheets are perfect for adding embellishments or making smaller projects. This sumptuous surface is prewashed, preshunk, eco-friendly, color-fast, tear-resistant, and so much more.


My review 

Products such  as this make crafting a absolute joy.

Kraft Tex is paper that is very textured, and I like to describe it as … paper that thinks it’s fabric or fabric that thinks it’s paper.

It is a versatile and amazing piece of kit to add to your crafting table.

You can stitch it, glue it, die cut it, stamp it and even inkjet print it. You can even wash and iron it and it keeps it’s beautiful texture.

The sheets are 8 1/2 x 11 inches and can be used for almost every project.  Home decor, card making, journalling and so much more. The bright vibrant colours are stunning, and what I loved was how easy it is to handle.

It is 100% and is a vegan product.



I made a cute gift tag..


There are six vibrant colours within the pack.

2018-11-11 09.49.01

I decided to die cut some shapes to use on my tag and they went through my tiny die cutting machine with ease

I cut my shapes and embroidered some French knots onto my leaves.

2018-11-11 10.11.58  2018-11-11 10.13.44  2018-11-11 10.20.40

Stamping was a breeze, and the image was very clear.

2018-11-11 10.22.39  2018-11-11 10.24.40

The Kraft Tex can be manipulated and I made my flower 3D with a ball tool. I glued them together with a hot glue gun and added a sticky gem.


My completed Gift tag turned out amazing..

2018-11-11 10.39.09

Happy Crafting x





Buy the product..


Stitch-onary Intermediate Knots



My latest design to stitch for Craft Yourself Silly  is one of their new Stitch-onary’s.

The Stitch-onary packs are amazing and perfect for beginner stitchers and those who just want to polish their skills.

These designs are becoming very collectable and every month Craft Yourself Silly, bring out new packs, each with a certain stitch.  These clever stitch samples cut through the center which then make a stunning stitched ‘book’.


The samples are printed with several designs,all very different and with some fabulous shapes to challenge your embroidery skills. Threads and a needle are included.

Full easy to follow stitch instructions are given, all you need to add is your own creativity and some imagination..

2018-11-03 07.33.31

The swirls were probably my favourite, these are stitched using a Double Knot Stitch.

2018-11-03 07.33.39    2018-11-03 09.35.11

The skull is a quirky design and using a Square Boss Stitch I gave him a face.



The fireworks were another favourite of mine to stitch,  these are stitched using a Pistil Stitch.

2018-11-03 13.19.32 (1)   2018-11-04 08.09.39

Here is the finished Intermediate Knot Stitch-onary, I think it looks fabulous!!

2018-11-05 07.56.45

The panels are really lovely to sew and I admit I am not the best embroiderer, but I found that by the time I finished each panel and the stitch needed, I was more confident and felt much more accomplished.


Happy sewing!


Buy the products..


Paper Cutting: 10 Creative Projects to Make Claire Culley Amy Phipps

51XWDEeP3TL._AC_US218_Pub: GMC Publications Ltd

Making things is fun, but making things with friends is even better. So grab some paper, scissors and some crafty pals there’s no end to what you can create together. In this quirky step-by-step guide you ll find 10 fun and fabulous projects to get your creative teeth into, from jolly party hats to sophisticated papercut pictures. With all the basic know-how and handy templates, there’s everything you need to make great gifts and decorations


My review

This is a basic paper craft book with some very delightful projects to make.

The templates need to be photocopied and enlarged, and from boats to flowers and even a lion, they can be used as decoration for your home.

I loved the Watermelon Stationary Set and the Bicycle Paper Cut is a project that will appeal to many paper craft addicts.

Not a book for younger children, as a scalpel is needed, but there is no reason and afternoon of crafting cannot be enjoyed by them, as some projects need to be decorated with paint and glue.

This is a great craft book, 10 paper craft projects are delightfully showcased and are very easy to achieve.


2018-11-10 14.30.18 The paper Lion would be an ideal project to get the younger ones involved with. He is so cute.



About the Author

Amy Phipps and Claire Culley are designer-makers and creatives who have written several craft books for GMC Publications. They run Women Who Create UK: an active community and online platform offering practical and creative advice for women in business.




Buy the book..

Bandana Crafts: 11 Beautiful Projects to Make Jemima Schlee

61NQBfULyUL._AC_US218_Pub: GMC Publications Ltd

From its practical origins in the Wild West, to a fashion statement today, the basic size and design of bandana’s has altered little over the years. Available in an array of colours and patterns, the timeless bandana can create a striking design statement when upcycled and transformed into these eye-catching and practical makes. Projects include: notebook cover, shopping bag tidy, knitting bag, card holder, camera strap, needle case, flag, covered coat hanger, wreath, nightdress case, and shoe bag.


My review 

This colourful book is filled with 11 easy projects using just a bandana.

Of course, you do not need to use  bandana, as all the projects have fabric measurements and along with all the other items needed, they have full instructions and handy hints and tips.

Each project is gorgeous and useful.

I just adored the Covered Coathanger, which can be given as a gift, and the Nightdress Case is absolutely beautiful. It can easily be converted into an evening clutch bag.

The instructions have a picture and a written format so they are easy to follow and the projects are simple to achieve, so even the beginner sewist can make them.


2018-11-10 13.09.32 The Nightdress case was one of my favourite projects



About the Author

Jemima Schlee is a prolific writer and contributor to craft magazines, including Country Homes & Interiors. She has a BA (Hons) from Bath University in Visual Communication. Jemima worked as a graphic designer and was Art Director for Laura Ashley Ltd (Interiors and Fashion worldwide). She then trained as a teacher and moved to Brighton on the south coast of England, where she now teaches deaf teenagers, in addition to her crafting. Jemima has also written several books for GMC Publications.




Buy the book..

One-Shuttle Tatting Lindsay Rogers

51cuunwx02L._AC_US218_Pub: GMC

This easy-to-use book shows us just what can be achieved by the inexperienced lace maker using the minimum of tools, just one shuttle of thread, a crochet hook and, perhaps, a few beads. Perfect for complete beginners to this intricate and traditional craft, as you work through this book of patterns it will soon become apparent that by using only one shuttle, a great variety of designs are possible. Stunning pieces can still be created using very simple techniques. The basic patterns include edgings, flower patterns, round motifs, jewellery, square designs and cobwebs. Ideas for how the basic patterns can be developed are included, as well as suggestions such as creating very different looks by varying the thread used. Perfect for learning the art of tatting, this beginner’s book shows a simple technique using only one shuttle and no chains. The 14 basic patterns are suitable for beginners and easy to use simply photocopy your chosen pattern, pick up your shuttle and thread and get started.


My Review 

While I still have not mastered the art of tatting, this book makes the craft really easy to understand.

The spiral bound cover is fabulous. it lays completely flat..this is something I wish all craft books did, just for convenience.

I loved the demonstrations,  it starts with making a simple knot and covers using the shuttle, making a join and even adding beads.

The projects are beautiful, Flowers and motifs are included and can be used for simple decoration, earrings and bracelets.

While it looks complicated, the picture instructions make it simple and with handy hints and tips, this book makes a good teaching aid for us beginners.




About the Author

Lindsay Rogers had been embroidering and tatting as a hobby since childhood. In 1987 she joined the international organisation Ring of Tatters and was increasingly sought out by individuals and commercial concerns for help with design and technique. Lindsay’s mastery of the craft and deft skill at conjuring up her own wonderful designs and patterns highlighted her expertise and she was invited to teach in Japan where some of her work has been exhibited. Apart from her time in Japan, she has lived in Invergarry in the Highlands of Scotland since the 1960s and her designs are inspired by her love of the countryside.
Buy the book