The House Simon Lelic

51mnopWTRuL._AC_US218_Pub: Penguin

Londoners Jack and Syd moved into the house a year ago. It seemed like their dream home: tons of space, the perfect location, and a friendly owner who wanted a young couple to have it.

So when they made a grisly discovery in the attic, Jack and Syd chose to ignore it. That was a mistake.

Because someone has just been murdered. Right outside their back door.

And now the police are watching them…

 

It was the cover that attracted me to this novel.

Jack and Syd were chosen to purchase their first house after attending an open viewing, the owner requested that a young couple buy the house and inherit all the belongings left inside.

Syd is an ‘ex’ junkie however at the smallest chaos can easily turn to her help of choice and Jack being very laid back is quite the opposite.

After moving in Jack notices a smell and discovers something in the attic. We are led to believe this is something grisly but I was disappointed and felt very early on that the blurb to this book had left me feeling deceived.

I loved the suspense of The House, but overall felt that this was book that started out leading one way and ended up another. I feel that the whole plot gave me the impression of being about a house but in reality was more about the people that lived there.

I have to be honest that whilst I enjoyed the read I didn’t love it. It is grippy and I was compelled to turn the pages but Lelic left me feeling flat. This was mainly due to my expectation not because it isn’t written very well, or that there is isn’t a story in the pages.  I just thought that it would be more like the one described on the back.

The cruelty of the fathers was horrendous and I think could trigger some deep emotion among some readers.

This is going to be a ‘marmite’ read. Some will love it and some will not. However, this was not for me but I haven’t been put off reading more by the same author. Lelics style is good to read and this was a mystery that will appeal to most.

4*/5

 

 

 

 

Vivian Conroy Cover Reveal

Welcome to Cornisea island and spend your summer holidays in a Cornish Castle.

I am happy to be part of this fabulous cover reveal.

It is a cozy mystery set in my beloved Cornwall.

 

Pub: HQ Digital

 

Death Plays A Part is book 1 …

Guinevere and her trusted dog Dolly have arrived on Cornisea island in Cornwall for the summer. But what should be weeks of cataloguing books and sunny walks on the beach turns deadly when murder strikes!

 

Rubies In The Roses is book 2 ..

Guinevere and her Dachshund Dolly are happily enjoying their summer by the Cornish coast – sun, sea and delicious food. Until a long-lost treasure and a mysterious death turns her holiday into a search for justice!

Both books are available on Amazon from July

Artful Log Cabin Quilts Katie Pasquini Masopust

61JQQ7euFkL._AC_US218_C&T Publishing

Take the first steps to becoming an art quilter with popular teacher and best-selling author Katie Pasquini Masopust. Starting with an inspiration image, choose fabrics to create your own artistic log cabin quilts. Learn to navigate visual pathways and composition, applying easy techniques and experimenting with color. Student work is showcased to prove that anyone can create an art quilt! Design and make your masterpiece with freeform log cabin blocks using this versatile method.

I love making quilts..

but I have never made a Log Cabin quilt. This book talks about the history of such quilts and also teaches us how to construct and plan a beautiful Artful Quilt.

This glossy, informative and inspirational book is a joy and Katie has been making them for over 30 years, so I guess what she doesn’t know isn’t that important.

Katie use of fabric is clever and she makes some amazing quilts from photographs. She illustrates certain techniques and I learned a lot from her methods.

5*/5

I decided to make a Log Cabin quilted cushion cover.

The history of a Log Cabin is designed for practical use and usually has a red center square that depicts the warmth of the hearth in the home.

1.

I had some fabric with colors that I decided would show my love of the ocean.

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2.

Starting by cutting the fabric into 1 1/2 inch strips, these colors are perfect for the sand, sky and the deep blues and greens of the sea.  The red striped fabric reminded me of a distant lighthouse so I had to include it.

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3.

Starting with a bright yellow square, this would be the warmth of the sun and the heat of the sand.

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4.

The Log Cabin quilt is constructed by adding strips of fabric to each side, each one fitting the side as it ’rounds’ the center square.

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5.

Building up each layer, the quilt is quickly put together. In a traditional Log Cabin quilt the strips are put together with  light and dark fabrics.

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6.

As I have said, this is a fast project, in an hour or two you can easily complete a cushion cover top…. all ready to quilt.

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The Log Cabin quilt is an easy starter project. The measurements have to be exact and this includes the seam allowance when sewing.

Artful Log Cabin quilts is the perfect addition to add to your bookshelf. Even if you are a beginner, this book is full of ideas and inspiration for you to work up to. And honestly, having tried this, they look a lot more difficult than they actually are.

 

 

Kawaii: How to draw really cute stuff Angela Nguyen

516FU3vd6uL._AC_US218_Pub: Search Press UK

Kawaii: How to Draw Really Cute Stuff teaches you how to draw anything and everything – people, animals, food and everyday objects – in an adorable manner. You don’t need any specialist tools or materials to start drawing cute stuff: all you need is a biro or Sharpie, then you’re ready to go!

With artist and illustrator Angela Nguyen, start by learning the techniques of kawaii through quick and easy exercises on the basic shapes, effects and style. You can then dive right into making your kawaii characters, as the step-by-step, how-to sequences inside make drawing cute stuff really simple.

A perfect book for beginners – add cute-appeal to any drawing in no time at all!

Kawaii is a Japanese trend and it’s all about how to draw the cutest things in the cutest style.

Kawaii is Japanese for cute.

I absolutely cannot draw to save my life. So..with this in mind I threw myself right in to ‘try’ and come up with something good.

I love all crafts, and I adore making ATC’s (Artist Trading Cards) and these tiny little drawing are just perfect for that.

I do think that mostly Kawaii is all about the coloring in rather than the drawing itself, but Angela Nguyen’s book is the ideal way to get started. It’s simplicity is what drew me to wanting to try Kawaii.

These childlike drawings can be anything from bees to cupcakes, and using simple shapes, such as circles, squares and squiggles you can create something that is quite pleasing to the eye.  Who knew that just by drawing an everyday object such as a toaster and giving it a pair of big eyes and grin could be the cutest thing ever.

4*/5

So here goes…….

You do not need anything special or technical to use this book. Just a pencil, some paper and something to color your masterpiece in is all that’s needed.

1.

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This is my little stash ..(excuse my OCD organisation)

2.

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Using Kawaii: How to draw really cute stuff .as my guide I started by drawing a simple circle. Which then turned into a moth.. it doesn’t look much but then it kind of transformed..

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one tip..you will need an eraser, for any mistakes and to rub out your pencil marks once you have blacked the outline.

3.

As I said before, the drawings don’t look much until they are colored in..

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4,

I got a bit carried away.. this was so much fun..

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Everyday objects can be used for Kawaii, it’s easy just to create and use your own imagination.

5.

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I cut the drawings into shapes and I think they now look  bit cuter 🙂

6.

My last stage was to stick them onto cards and add some ink stamps..

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This was a lovely hour to spend and I can imagine that if I had small children it would make a lovely craft day to spend together. Even so, which adult coloring all the rage, it was good to doodle and just do something silly and fun.

Happy crafting.

 

Raised Embroidery Kelley Aldridge

51ZqBzITI4L._AC_US218_Pub: Search Press UK

This practical, contemporary guide to the exciting and varied world of raised embroidery is written by Kelley Aldridge, an expert teacher with the Royal School of Needlework. Part of a new series showcasing the RSN s traditional techniques, technical excellence and contemporary flair, it contains a complete grounding in raised embroidery stitches and techniques, three beautiful projects and galleries of inspiring work.
The book features an introduction to the RSN and its prestigious heritage. It reveals the history and context of raised embroidery and showcases galleries of inspiring raised embroidery work. This is primarily a practical, instructional guide that offers a complete grounding in the techniques you need for raised embroidery: it contains a comprehensive stitch guide and leads the reader through each technique using clear step-by-step photography and easy-to-follow expert guidance. The book contains three beautiful projects that put these techniques into practice and showcase additional advanced techniques.

This is a beautiful book by a serious professional..

However… as I have never done raised embroidery or ‘stumpwork’ as it’s also known I was up for the challenge.

I have only ever did cross stitch before and have always admired the beautiful embroidery work that I have seen.  So I have started this project as a complete beginner.

In her book Raised Embroidery, Kelley Aldridge gives a clear and concise guide of all the things you can use to learn and develop key key skills, and I think anyone can be successful and make a project with  just this book alone. Her experience shows, and she makes it look quite easy.

There are some beautiful projects and the insects are just adorable. It really is an inspiring and interesting craft.

5*/5

 

My ‘make’.

1.

I gathered all the items I would need. In her book Raised Embroidery, Kelley Aldridge gives a clear and concise guide of all the things you can use and most of which I already had.

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I have had some perle cotton for the longest time. As a crafter and sewist I like to buy pretty things even if I don’t know what they will be used for. Raised Embroidery is the perfect project for these items.

2.

I decided to start at the beginning and work my way through the stitches.

IMG_20170602_131156 This is couching stitch and really simple. I chose an easy shape (remember this is my first time)  just to get a ‘feel’ for what I was doing.

2.

The next stitch is bullion stitch. I had a bit of difficulty with this one and had to unpick it a few times, but I soon got the hang of it.

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3. This is called Turkey Rug and also known as Velvet work. It is a fun stitch and I love it. It is very simple and looks very effective.

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4.

Having tried all the stitches I have decided to make a book cover. This project is not in Raised Embroidery, there is a book cover to do which is beautiful, but I am not nearly as experienced to tackle it. I just want to see what I am capable of based on the authors direction.

I used some Calico fabric but you can use most fabrics. I would recommend using something ‘sturdy’ just so your work ‘holds’ nice.

Kelley suggests that you draw your starting pattern. I am not good at drawing so I used some ink stamps.

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5.

I absolutely love how this project has evolved.  For a first timer it is quite remarkable, but this is a testament to Kelley Aldridge’s instructions. I did have some difficulty but only minor ones, due to inexperience.

My favourite stitch is the needle woven picots. (the purple ones)  They are so cute and I can imagine them bigger and used as bunny ears.

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You can see from the next photo how the stitches are ‘raised’. it’s very effective and so cute.

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I will definitely continue with this new craft, I found it very peaceful and I plan to make a butterfly, using the wire techniques shown in Raised Embroidery. The projects and the possibilities with Raised Embroidery are amazing.

This is a book I am going to recommend to all crafters. If you haven’t yet tried Raised Embroidery I urge you to try it. I had fun and was really excited by what I achieved.

 

Buy the book ..

https://www.searchpress.com/book/9781782211891/rsn-raised-embroidery

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rsn-Embroidery-Techniques-Inspiration-Needlework/dp/1782211896/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496558879&sr=8-1&keywords=raised+embroidery+by+kelley+aldridge

 

 

 

 

The Skirt Emporium Madame ZsaZsa

61JhCvW32qL._AC_US218_Pub: Search Press UK

This fun, quirky book is packed with 25 gorgeous, colorful skirts for women of all sizes and girls of all ages. All of the projects can be easily customized using the full-size patterns given in the back: all can be made for adults or children, and advice is given on how to create maternity wear. Each design is shown made from several different fabrics and with different trims to inspire the reader to follow their own personal tastes. Choose from styles such as A-line, bell, circle, straight, gathered, wraparound and elasticated, and also learn how to add underskirts. With tips on stitching, advice on choosing fabric and a comprehensive guide to cutting and using the patterns, this book shows you exactly how to create your own fun and flattering designs!

 

Before I even read the blurb for this book, I thought, this book is fun.

The Skirt Emporium is full of bright glossy pictures of all the good things you can make. Madame ZsaZsa points us sewists in the right direction to make 25 skirts that can be for adults AND their offspring.

With tips on fabric, cotton, tools and an in depth ‘how to’, this delightful book is an encyclopedia for beginners and the more experienced among us.

This is a wonderful book, which obviously a lot of work has gone into, and it shows. I particularly liked the different options that Madame ZsaZsa gives, which means that the skirt patterns can be adapted to whatever and however else I want to do.

 

5*/5

 

I decided to make the ‘stripy skirt’ which is an A line skirt, and I made it for a  child. 

1.

The enclosed pattern sheet is double sided so you will need to trace which size you need onto paper..

Write all the relevant information onto your pattern so you don’t have to keep referring to the original pattern sheet.

2.

I marked where I wanted the stripes to be on the front pattern piece,

then I cut these pieces out. I also numbered the pieces for reference..I had 4 pieces in total for the front.

3.

I then pieced the paper to my fabric and added a 1/2 inch seam allowance around each piece….. you can add whatever seam allowance you are used to.. I also over-locked the seams with an overlocker, but you can easily achieve this by doing zig zag stitch on your normal sewing machine. It gives the garment a more professional and finished look.

4.

I chose to add a zip, some of the skirt patterns give you the option of an elasticated waist, which is easier if you are not  confident with zip insertion. I also added a hook and eye. The next step is to stitch the sides together.. Ta da.. we have a very pretty skirt.

5.

I then worked on the facing. This is to give the skirt some structure and to define the waist. I used a lightweight interfacing which I ironed on and I over-locked all the edges that would be visible.

The last thing to do is stitch the facing to the skirt making sure that the zip edge is neat so it doesn’t ‘catch’. When attaching the facing, remember to  line up the seam of the facing to the seam of the skirt for a neat finish.

6.

Once you have attached the interfacing, top-stitch along the waist edge of the skirt to give some definition. An under-stitch will give the same effect and/but you will not see the stitch line along the top edge.

7.

Don’t forget the hem…..and add any extras

 

8.

Lastly, give the skirt a press and ..bingo..ready to wear.

 

This is a fabulous book. The instructions were easy to follow. I think a knowledge of sewing is useful but I do think that inexperienced sewists will love this book.

Although I don’t know what the ‘fit’ is like, (I do not have a small child to test it on), I do have a wearable garment.

It was fun to make and I may make one just for me 🙂 .

 

Happy sewing.

 

 

Win..Win..Win

This skirt will fit a 4/6 year old ……..    ( remember.. I don’t know what the fit will be as I don’t have a small child. I just worked with the pattern available)

If you want to win it, like and leave a comment and I will pick a winner on Wednesday 7th June.

 

This competition is now closed and the winner is @Brizzlelass x Congratulations

 

Buy the book..

https://www.searchpress.com/book/9781782214106/the-skirt-emporium

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Skirt-Emporium-Fabulous-Designs-Sizes/dp/1782214100/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1496335746&sr=8-1&keywords=the+skirt+emporium

 

 

Do Not Become Alarmed Maile Meloy

51kFz7Fv-EL._AC_US218_Pub: Penguin.

When Liv and Nora decide to take their husbands and children on a holiday cruise, everyone is thrilled. The ship’s comforts and possibilities seem infinite. But when they all go ashore in beautiful Central America, a series of minor mishaps lead the families further from the ship’s safety.

One minute the children are there, and the next they’re gone.

What follows is a heart-racing story told from the perspectives of the adults and the children, as the distraught parents – now turning on one another and blaming themselves – try to recover their children and their shattered lives.

What started out as a Christmas treat ended up a nightmare.

Liv and Nora, decided on a  holiday cruise, so along with their husbands and their children, they rather excitedly prepare and set off.

We see the dynamics of the two couples and along with many other characters, it seems that all is not what it seems on the outside.

While the men go off and play golf, Liv and Nora take their children on a zip-lining trip. However, after a minor accident things  change, dramatically.

This is a tale that could be one of realism. It is scary and while I got angry with some of the characters and their behavior, I was hooked in and Do Not Become Alarmed is impossible to put down.

If I am honest, there were bits of the novel that were a bit pointless and I found myself skimming the pages, but the overall plot about the children and their plight, was very addictive. I did become emotionally involved with the parents and their grief and fear was expertly written.

3*/5