Zakko Embroidery Yumiko Higuchi

615YMd2eh7L._AC_US160_ Pub: Shambhala Publications Inc

Embrace a simpler approach to stitching with bold one- and two-color embroidery motifs

Zakka Embroidery presents designs that are an elegant blend of Japanese and Scandinavian style. The motifs and patterns are spare and graphic, yet softened with organic shapes and imagery drawn from nature. The result is embroidery that evokes a personal feel and conjures a sense of nostalgia.
The task of picking just the right palette for an embroidery project can be overwhelming to beginners and experienced stitchers alike. But when you take away that challenge, a whole world of texture and style becomes available. Here Japanese designer Yumiko Higuchi presents embroidery motifs to be stitched using just one or two colors–creating patterns and designs that are more evocative for their form than for a play of colors. Each embroidery design is paired with a simple craft project, transforming the stitched fabric into a functional object, including pouches, pillows, aprons, and more.

With beautiful photographs, clear step-by-step instructions, and detailed diagrams, Zakka Embroidery will be an inspiring guide for those new to embroidery and a delightful experience for those experienced with needle and thread.

I love how serenity just leaps from the pages of this wonderful book.

Set in two parts, the first for one color embroidery and the second for two color embroidery, the projects are far from what you might think boring.

These rather effective and beautiful projects from flowers and insects to sailboats and birds, brighten up any garment or bag.

Yumiko is amazing at what she does and her book  is filled with ideas. Along with a stitch guide, patterns and templates, this is a book that I think every stitcher will love.

It will be inspirational for beginners and a perfect gift for advanced level sewists.

It is a cute size book with 191 pages of color pictures just crying out to be brought to life. These simple and gorgeous designs will keep me a happy crafter for a long time.



I decided to make a gift bag.



You don’t need a lot of materials to get started on any project from this book.

A needle, some embroidery thread and some fabric.. or just a t shirt that needs something extra.  You could even go mad and decorate a denim that always looks effective.

I traced the outline onto some old cotton fabric and just relaxed.



After an hour I was happy with my design, so I stitched the sides together and added some ribbon to make a drawstring bag.

Embroidery is such a gentle craft, it is one that needs no thinking and you can just sit for however long and create. It is even good for sewing on the go.. such as long car journeys.

Happy Sewing.

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Crocheted Baby Shoes Val Pierce.

51TwJcKrABL._AC_US218_Pub; Search Press Books


Looking for a unique baby gift? Here are twenty gorgeous shoes, booties and pumps to crochet in a range of colours and styles, for both boys and girls. Choose from red strawberry-style shoes with flowery toes, smiley car shoes, Christmas booties and even shoes shaped like frogs! Each pair of shoes requires relatively small quantities of yarn and can be crocheted quickly, easily, and on the go using the clear instructions provided. Each project is accompanied by lists of the materials and equipment required and inspiring photographs. As all babies are different, sizes and age suggestions are given for each project, from birth to twelve months, but general advice is also given at the beginning of the book on how to increase or decrease the size of the projects.

This gorgeous little book is filled with adorable baby shoes for you to crochet.

In full glossy color there are 20 booties and shoes that every baby, boy or girl would be happy to wear.

There are cars, elephants and even Boating shoes all beautiful and oh so cute.

The sizes of the shoes range from 0-3 mths  3-6 mths 6-9mths and 9-12 mths and there are plenty of styles to choose from in every color.

The instructions are easy to follow, but you do need to know how to crochet and what certain stitches are, as book book does not tell you how to do that. however there are many ‘how to’ such as You tube if you get stuck, and to be honest, crochet is so simple once you have the hang of it this book is certain to delight and inspire.

This book is part of a 20 to make series by Search press books, I think that all the projects are just amazing and each book has something for every crafter.

I might just get them all.


I chose to make the ‘Kimono Slippers’..


I needed a 3mm hook and my choice of wool.  The instructions are simple to follow and each tells you what materials. hook gauge for tension and the size. So you just cannot go wrong.

IMG_20170622_172050    IMG_20170622_174002



The book does not have diagrams for each stage, which I think would be helpful for beginners. I have been able to crochet for a couple of years, but I am still learning.

These are the soles of the slippers



The sides of the slippers are next and these are built up with a number of stitches added to the sides.



How to make up the shoes are precise instructions, and each slipper took me about one hour to make. I am sure it will take faster crocheters less time, but making them is an enjoyable process, so why rush.



So after a couple of hours and with added buttons and decorative stitches I have the cutest pair of slippers  These are for a baby aged 3-6 mths and quite honestly I cannot stop cooing over them.

If you know a little girl who would love these..leave a comment 

winner picked Wednesday 28th June.

Happy crafting!!


The  winner is : @TheQuietKnitter  Well done Kate x



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The Collector Nora Roberts

51qElOtgxQL._AC_US218_Pub: Piatkus

Lila Emerson is fascinated by other people’s lives. As a house-sitter, she loves looking after the glamorous homes she could never afford herself. And as a writer, she enjoys dreaming up stories for the people she sees from her window. But then one day she witnesses something only too real – the shocking murder of a young woman living across the street in New York. Now Lila is in mortal danger from an audacious, single-minded assassin who kills for profit and for pleasure.

With the police following a false lead, Lila’s only hope is to team up with Ashton Archer, an artist with his own complicated reasons for getting involved. Lila wants to trust the passionate, quick-witted Ash – but is she letting her feelings blind her to his motives? Either way, she will never watch from the sidelines again…

I bought this book way back because I liked the cover and it’s been sitting on my shelf for a long time.

I am however glad I picked it up as it was a very good read.

Lila has a fab job as a house sitter, and she has stayed all over the place and in some fabulous houses.  While sitting on the balcony at her current stay she witnesses a woman falling from her balcony after an argument with her ‘boyfriend’.

Like Lila, I love a good people watch, but even she couldn’t imagine how the drama would change her life.

This is a wonderful read, and one i enjoyed. Nora Roberts is a good write and the historical and descriptive aspect of this novel  held my interest.

Although it isn’t a great literary piece, it is very enjoyable and appealing.


Paper Quilling Elizabeth Moad

51A6S37-jML._AC_US218_Pub: Search Press Books



Elizabeth Moad takes you through simple step-by-step techniques to show you how to make beautiful quilled cards, gift boxes, tags and wall art for family and friends. Modern motifs, vibrant papers and funky framing can be used to transform this ancient craft into contemporary designs that appeal to all ages. Elizabeth uses elements such as patterns and colour combinations as a starting point and then translates them into exciting quilling ideas.

Using minimal equipment and featuring flowers, balloons, hearts, owls and more, create unique and lovely gifts for the special occasions in your life.

I am new to the art of Quilling..

But Elizabeth Moad makes it look so simple.

Paper Quilling has 20 projects suitable for all occasions and they are so pretty and perfect I cannot see how anyone will not want to try them.

This book has glossy full size pictures and easy to follow instructions, Elizabeth Moad gives practical tips and even gives an interesting history of the art of twirling paper.

Quilling is not a difficult craft although it is fiddly. It is perfect for relaxing and you can achieve good results in a little amount of time.


This is my effort.. not perfect but very effective.



and after a little bit more practice….


IMG_20170621_095027  IMG_20170621_095032


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Improv Paper Piecing Amy Friend

51Mdyic7vwL._SX398_BO1,204,203,200_ Pub: Lucky Spool

Create unique improvisationally based block designs using the traditional paper piecing methods and use them to build repeatable patterns just like traditionally pieced quilts. As the first to explore the possibilities of this technique, Amy Friend shows quilters how to introduce the repetition of an improv sketch that results in secondary patterns. This repetition of shape causes the eye to move across the quilt top and creates unity instead of the chaotic jumbled appearance found in some improv piecing. The book is divided into three sections where the blocks are designed based on traditional blocks, shapes, and objects. Because new techniques are best understood after following a pattern, each of those is illustrated with 3 quilts. Although 12 patterns are included for those who want to use this as a pattern book, the goal is to teach others how to design their own blocks using this exciting modern technique.

I just adore EPP (English paper piecing} and Amy Friend has taken this craft to another level with this fantastic book. There is nothing like a handmade quilt and especially one that you have designed yourself.

This book takes you through every process of quilt design and with fabulous pictures along with fabric choices and design ideas you will have no trouble in creating your very own.
Filled with inspiration, there are templates to help you along the way and with Amy’s instruction in how to make a simple and traditional quilt block it looks so easy to achieve.
The thing I love about this book is the way Amy talks about how to make even the simplest block look completely different just by moving the block around.
This book is full of expert advice and one that will be asset on any crafters bookshelf.


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The Things we Thought we Knew Mahsuda Snaith

51cAIC26nVL Pub: Transworld

Ravine and Marianne were best friends. They practised handstands together, raced slugs and went into the woods to play.

But now everything has changed.

Ten years later, Ravine lies in a bed plagued by chronic pain syndrome. And her best friend Marianne is gone.

How did their last adventure go so wrong? Who is to blame? And where is Marianne?

I don’t usually enjoy books in which the characters are ill, but The Things we Thought we Knew  is beautifully written.

Ravine has chronic pain syndrome, and when she is given a journal for her birthday she decides to write about her life, her friends and her feelings.

Set in Leicester,  this descriptive tale brings to life all that goes on within Ravines Bangladeshi culture and life on the council estate on which she lives.

While this debut will not win any awards ( just my opinion)  it does hold the readers attention, and the plot is smoothly told.  Ravines family is quite heartwarming, but the disappearance of Marianne didn’t appeal as I thought it might.

I think that Snaiths novel will appeal to some and not to others.


Stitched Sewing Organizers Aneela Hoey

61YEvklGV8L._AC_US218_Pub: Search Press

Celebrate and use your sewing skills with Aneela Hoey’s 15 stylish yet functional patterns for a wide variety of sewing organizers. Designed to work together, many of the smaller projects fit into larger ones and can be made into a coordinating set. Showcase trendy fat quarters and half-yards or use up scraps of your favorite fabric as you make cute containers for yourself, to give to your friends, or to bring to swaps!

This is the perfect book for beginners and experienced sewists alike.

Like all good  project books, Stitched Sewing Organizers starts with the basics of sewing. Aneela talks about fabrics, fleeces and fusible, she discusses sewing machine techniques and covers how to fit zippers.

With 15 projects, each varying from a simple Pincushion to a Needle book and a more fiddly Triple pouch and Boxy  pocket pouch.

With each item simple and easy to follow instructions are given, with measurements and even drawn basic diagrams that are uncomplicated and clear.

This colorful craft essential will be to the delight of most sewists and would make the ideal gift. It is a wonderful book to have to hand and if you have a piece of fabric no matter what size it is there is bound to be a project in it for you or a gift for a loved one.

What I particularly liked is that each project can be adapted. Either add a pocket or leave one off depending on your needs and it becomes the perfect item for your organising needs.

The book comes with a double sided pattern sheet for each project, and Aneela also gives exact measurements for each part of whatever project you are working on.


I decided to make the Boxy Pocket Pouch. 


This is a super useful item and I decided that it will perfect for my sewing notions. Because the pattern sheet is double sided I traced the piece I needed onto a separate sheet. I like this as it keeps the original sheet in pristine condition for re-use again and again. Don’t forget to transfer any markings to your traced pattern!!



I decided to use a ‘pleather’ fabric so I did not need any wadding to pad the bag out. I also decided on a cotton back pocket. (in the book she uses the same outer fabric)

It’s best not to us pins on ‘pleather’ so I used pattern weights to steady my pattern while I cut it out.  You can make this quite easily 😀


3 .

I cut out all my pattern and marked them with ‘post its’, so I wouldn’t forget what pattern part they were.



Then following the instructions, I made up the first part of my Boxy Pouch. Because of the material I used it was better to use quilt clips rather than pins.



After a couple of hours I have really cute boxy pouch



This was not an easy project as it got quite fiddly.. but as you can see it is achievable. This was the last project in the book and as I said before the projects start easy and get more advanced.

I love this book,  I would recommend it to every level of stitcher as it is one that i think every project will be completed.


Happy sewing




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