Love to Sew: Quilting on the Move Alistair MacDonald

61+hjetnzll._ac_us218_ Pub: Search Press(UK)

18 beautiful, quick and easy portable hand-sewn patchwork gifts to make using English paper piecing

English paper piecing is a popular and easy method of creating handsewn patchwork designs. Fabric is cut and folded over a paper template and shapes are stitched together by hand, making it ideal for sewing when you’re out and about, travelling, or sitting quietly at home.

Following in the style of the highly successful Love to Sew series, author Alistair Macdonald provides 20 fabulous projects, including a baby’s playmat, a scarf, a scatter cushion, a hobby bag, a tea cosy, a tote bag and a make-up purse. All are hand-sewn using the English paper-piecing method. Templates for all the projects are included, and there are basic, step-by-step instructions on this classic technique at the beginning of the book.

My review 

The best book for beginner sewists, which uses the simple art of paper piecing that everyone can do.

18 wonderful projects with simple step by step instructions, and with the inclusion of templates makes this a book for mindful sewing.

Paper piecing is a hand sewing technique, which involves cutting shapes of paper and wrapping your chosen fabric and stitching them together to make stunning and useful items. Cushions, bags  book covers and quilts

I actually started paper piecing when I first learned to sew, and started making a small lap quilt which when I eventually finished was a kingsized quilt which now adorns my bed and is very warm.. This craft is very addictive so be warned.



I decided to make a  Storage box 

Having chosen my fabric and cutting my paper shapes, I started to tack the fabric to the paper…. this needs to be removed later so a loose stitch is fine  These are then sewn together to make a ‘tube’.

The base of the ‘box’ is a piece of wadding sewn to the tube. to create the box.

The tacking stitch and the papers are then removed.

2019-01-26 13.10.13

I created an ‘inner’  for my box. I stitched this together using my sewing machine and placed my paper pieced box inside..right sides together.

I stitched around the top of the two pieces leaving an opening for turning the box into the correct way. I then top stitched around the top to close the gape and neaten the edge.

2019-01-26 13.24.31

It needs to be pressed but it’s perfect for sewing notions.

Happy stitching x

Here is my kingsized quilt that started as a small project ..very addictive !!


About the Author

Alistair Macdonald studied fashion design at Central St Martins School of Art and Design in London and set up his own womenswear label, House of Alistair, in 2008. Working from his own studio in London, Alistair now works on a wide variety of projects including high fashion, film costume and a very successful haberdashery and giftware collection. Gifted with a highly creative imagination, Alistair is known for his fun, quirky and stylish creations.



Buy the book..


A Passion for Needlework Inspirations Studio

514ktsfy8il._ac_us218_Pub: Inspirations

Exquisite and innovative hand stitched pieces to create sophisticated needlework. This brand-new edition brings to life another twelve masterpieces, this time in the singular, spectacular setting of Factoria VII. A Passion For Needlework Factoria VII tells the story of beautiful, sophisticated needlework juxtaposed with a rustic, industrial cottage. It comprises of twelve unique and individual stories with one unified aesthetic. The book comes with premium specification upgrades including a hard cover embellished with foil, a luxurious fabric spine, two pattern sheets with a pocket for storing them and a beautiful 15mm ribbon bookmark.


My review 

This is a book with the absolute WOW factor.

The title just says it all.. it truly is inspirational. Even if like me you are not a advanced embroiderer, this books has some fabulous projects that I can take bits from and practice my stitch work.

Beautifully photographed, my favourite pieces have to be the 3D projects, such as the edinburgh etui and the very elegant flower pots.

It is quite hard to believe that these beautiful  works of art are stitched.

There are full sized pattern templates and a complete guide demonstrating each item. The guides include all you need to complete a stunning masterpiece.

Various stitch techniques are covered within the pages, and to be perfectly honest even if you cannot embroider but your passion for needlework is just that, then this book is for you.

It is divine.



About the Author

Based in Australia Inspirations Studios has a rich history forged with needle and thread. A tapestry of needlework publications spanning over 30 years that have delighted the needlework community. They also publish Inspirations needlework magazine.



Buy the book..

Death Row: The Final Minutes Michelle Lyons

51gp6t+97ol._ac_us218_Pub: Blink Publishing

First as a reporter and then as a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Michelle was a frequent visitor to Huntsville’s Walls Unit, where she recorded and relayed the final moments of death row inmates’ lives before they were put to death by the state.

Michelle was in the death chamber as some of the United States’ most notorious criminals, including serial killers and rapists, spoke their last words on earth, while a cocktail of lethal drugs surged through their veins.
Michelle supported the death penalty, before misgivings began to set in as the executions mounted. During her time in the prison system, and together with her dear friend and colleague, Larry Fitzgerald, she came to know and like some of the condemned men and women she saw die. She began to query the arbitrary nature of the death penalty and ask the question: do executions make victims of all of us?


My review

This is a fabulous read and one that stirred emotions and thoughts that I never thought I had.

Michelle Lyons witnessed over 300 deaths. The men and women sentenced to death by the state of Texas were sometimes the worst that society had bred, some were just unfortunate to have been given a death sentence for a crime that in other places would have justified a life sentence and others… well.. the thing this book does best is that it gives the reader a chance to decide for themselves.

The process of a death sentence is sensitively told, but what’s more is that each of these people are given a respectful and quiet representation, and even though their crimes are the most heinous, they are all portrayed as people first, and their personalities and their characters are told with some affection.

That said, in no way does the author try to preach, her own views and reasons for them are strongly given. Her life among this people along with the friends..and enemies she has made throughout her career are interesting and fascinating.

Her job has forged a life for her that would have been a lot different if she had for instance been doctor or something else, and her story is well worth a read.

I was left with the notion that everyone she came into contact with was all the better for having known her and the compassion she had shown them, at least gave them a moment of joy.



About the Author

Michelle Lyons was a prison reporter before becoming a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. In both roles, she witnessed the executions of some of the most infamous inmates of Texas death row. In 12 years, she saw nearly 300 inmates die by lethal injection, and this is the story of how those executions took their toll. The thoughts of Larry Fitzgerald, Michelle’s dear friend and former colleague, also form part of her compelling narrative.




Buy the book…

A Talent for Murder Andrew Wilson

51bepoq1abl._ac_us218_Pub:  Simon & Schuster UK

Agatha Christie, in London to visit her literary agent, boards a train, preoccupied and flustered in the knowledge that her husband Archie is having an affair. She feels a light touch on her back, causing her to lose her balance, then a sense of someone pulling her to safety from the rush of the incoming train. So begins a terrifying sequence of events. Her rescuer is no guardian angel; rather, he is a blackmailer of the most insidious, manipulative kind. Agatha must use every ounce of her cleverness and resourcefulness to thwart an adversary determined to exploit her genius for murder to kill on his behalf.

My review

I started this book with mixed feelings..

Agatha Christie is my favourite author of all time and I have collected her works in all forms..  books. audio CD’s and films.

A Talent for Murder is a fictional tale of the time when Ms Christie disappeared for eleven days in December 1926. No one knows the exact facts of this time, but this novel is a unique and intriguing read of what ‘might have happened’.

It is superbly written, at times a little gruesome and I was absolutely hooked. It was a one sit read and I loved it.

Agatha is approached by Dr Kurs and given a ultimatum, one that she feels she has no choice but to go through with. Her child’s safety and her wayward husbands reputation are at risk, and Agatha truly believes she has no choice but to commit …murder.

This book is a little exaggerated, and I think some fans of Agatha Christie will scoff at the ‘far fetched’ plot… but it is an entertaining tale and one I would love to see as a TV film. It has all the tension, and suspense of an AC novel and includes some of the facts of her actual vanishing act.

I am looking forward to reading book 2 in this series.






Buy the book..

The Perfect Neighbours Rachel Sargeant

51wpqe7zisl._ac_us218_Pub: Killer Reads

Behind the shutters lies a devastating secret…

When Helen moves abroad with her loving husband Gary, she can’t wait to meet her fellow expat teachers from the local International School. But her new start is about to become her worst nightmare…

As soon as the charming family across the way welcome Helen into their home, she begins to suspect that all is not as it seems. Then Gary starts to behave strangely and a child goes missing, vanished without a trace.

When violence and tragedy strike, cracks appear in the community, and Helen realises her perfect neighbours are capable of almost anything…


My review 

This is such a great read and what I loved the most about it is plot is so considerably far fetched but is a story that has actually happened and probably several times!!

Helen has finally joined Gary in Germany where is  teacher at the International school.

On meeting her new neighbours she takes an instant dislike to Louisa. Louise is perfect. She organises get togethers,  she is the chair of almost everything and Helen decides that instead of ‘fitting in’ she will do her own thing. Being a swimming champion, one of the things she does is swim in the open air pool in Dortmannhausen, which is where she strikes up a friendship with Sascha.

This is a twisty tale. I loved how the tension builds and The Perfect Neighbours for me was a one sit read.

It is gruesome in parts, The truth in part is very sad, Manipulation of people is never a good thing and the author did a brilliant job of the ending.

I loved the guessing game and, kept changing my mind as to the truth, and while in part I did guess, I did not for one minute get it absolutely right.

For me this was a ‘WOW’ of a tale.


About the Author

Rachel Sargeant grew up in Lincolnshire. She spent several years living in Germany where she taught English and she now lives in Gloucestershire with her husband and children. She is a previous winner of Writing Magazine’s Crime Short Story competition, and her writing has appeared in My Weekly. She has published three novels and her most recent, The Perfect Neighbours, became a top ten Kindle bestseller.





Buy the book..

Debbie Shore’s Sewing Room Secrets: Machine Sewing Debbie Shore

51gb4bpouml._ac_us218_Pub: Search Press

Step into Debbie Shore’s sewing room, where she will share with you her expert tips, techniques and trade secrets for successful sewing.

In this first book in her new Sewing Room Secrets series, Debbie Shore walks you through every aspect of machine sewing, revealing her top tips and providing in-depth and helpful guidance every step of the way.

Jam-packed with sewing know-how, and with ten gorgeous projects to help you practise what you have learnt, this book will build your confidence and skills in machine sewing – whether you are just starting out on your sewing journey or are an experienced sewer looking to perfect your working methods.

In her characteristically friendly and easy-to-follow style, Debbie begins with a section on sewing room essentials. This is your first peek into Debbie’s sewing room, where she guides you around your sewing machine and explains all the tools and materials you might need, including wadding/batting, interfacing, fabrics and threads. There is also a troubleshooting section to reassure and guide you when you encounter problems.

The second section of the book covers the key techniques you need to know, including inserting zips and piping, using shirring elastic, free-motion embroidery and appliqué. Debbie’s focus is on craft and home items, but she also includes some dressmaking and quilting tips for those looking to explore other areas.

The ten beautiful projects help you learn the techniques as you progress through the book, beginning with a simple pincushion before moving on to a pillow cover, a tablet case, a drawstring bag, a sewing machine mat and more.


My review

What Debbie Shore does with her fabulous new book Sewing Room Secrets is take the sewist back to basics.

If you are a novice stitcher this book is perfect for you, and if you have been sewing for what seems like an age then it is a brilliant guide to reminding you of some of the things you might have forgotten.

With ten projects included, Bags, Pillow covers, and a gorgeous Toaster cover, each project gives you the chance to use the techniques given and end up with a fabulous and professional looking usable item.

Debbie Shore also makes suggestions on how to organize your sewing space to make it more user friendly and practical.  Advice on what you need to start your sewing journey is included , a full guide on which sewing machine to buy and what the different parts are and what they do. and even what feet is best for your sewing project.

Tips and techniques are explained in a simple language that everyone understands. I love how Debbie doesn’t bombard us with ‘sewing speak’ that some professionals use.

What I love about this book is that everything is covered. Zips, Applique and so much more. Even shirring is explained and demonstrated, this is something I have never done but do plan on having a go.

This book is brilliant. It is beautifully presented and the photography gives a visual guide that makes everything come to life in perfect fashion.



About the Author

Debbie Shore started her career as a children’s television presenter and since then has appeared regularly on television both as an actress and selling products on a shopping channel. Debbie has also hosted live fashion shows with a major fashion store, produces her own range of instructional DVDs and writes for several popular sewing magazines. She is now a bestselling author and has written 17 books for Search Press, with several more under way. Debbie was voted Sewing Designer of the Year in the Immediate Media British Craft Awards 2017. She lives in Lincolnshire.




Buy the book..

Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags Akemi Shibata

51vf22yvprl._ac_us218_Pub: Search Press Ltd

Learn to sew 28 beautiful hand-quilted bags with Japanese quilt artist Akemi Shibata. In Sew Beautiful Quilted Bags, Japanese quilt artist Akemi Shibata combines elegant yarn-dyed fabrics with colour prints to demonstrate her signature patchwork style. With an astounding 28 hand-quilted designs, you’ll discover a trove of unique bags to make in all shapes and sizes including purses, pouches, shoulder bags, backpacks, sewing cases, cross-body bags, totes and more! Learn how to incorporate multiple techniques into the same project to create sophisticated, multifaceted designs featuring patchwork, appliqué, embroidery, beadwork and hand quilting. Full of ingenious Japanese construction methods, you ll learn how to create beautifully finished bags that can be considered works of art.


My review 

Japanese crafts always have a certain look that is just perfect.

I love the craft and skill that goes into each piece and you can just see the amount of care that goes into each project.

This is a beautiful book. The bags are stunning and each one is unique and stylish.

There are full sized double sided pattern sheets and each project comes with concise instructions, which are in written and a visual format.

These bags cannot be made quickly,  each one has a dedicated technique, that will advance a stitchers skills and give a stunning professional result.

The designs vary from totes to backpacks and zippers and pouches.

There is something for everyone.



Each quilted bag is beautifully photographed and each one is unique and stunning.

About the Author

Akemi Shibata is one of Japans leading quilt designers. Known for her unique Elegant de Kawaii, or Elegant and Lovely style, she is the author of several books. She owns a quilt shop in Tokyo, Japan and holds regular workshops and lectures on her art.




Buy the book..