Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Book review...

I have a little collection of books on my window sill... I am REALLY lucky in that I don't really buy many books, I have some good friends who really know what I like and so many have been gifts... 

They are all really great and I've found them useful for finding ideas, altering patterns and sometimes just leafing through when I have nothing to make and I need a new idea. 

On my bookcase I have:

  • Selling in the Markethall IKEA manual, signed by Ingvar Kamprad during a recent visit. It's not crafty but I like to keep it close! 
  • Kerri Smith - How to be an explorer of the world, awesome notebook, gift from Kat. 
  • Wendy Mullen - Sew you and Built by Wendy dresses (we'll get to those later!)
  • IKEA 2010 catalogue in Swedish. Picked up in Almhult, home of IKEA at Christmas time. 
  • MUJI 2009 -2001 catalogue.... I LOVE MUJI
  • How to make money from your blog, which was lent to me by my friend Anne. I haven't started reading it yet as I never really thought about making money from my blog. But maybe one day??
  • Make your own clothes, which came with a CD with heaps of patterns on it.
  • Kitschy Crafts was a gift from Maria and it is GOLD!! So funny. Did you know that you can stick sea shells on ANYTHING and it is craft?
  • Home Sweet Home. My friend Richard gave me this for my birthday, it has SO many pictures of Banksy art. I'm sure my next tattoo will be either from this book or from "Street Art of Sydney's Inner West" which isn't on my book shelf as I was half way through reading it when I took the photos. 
  • Stitch and Bitch which was a gift from Maria and which she recently followed up with some gorgeous Japanese wool. She is a far better knitter than I. 
And finally (not counting my diary from last year and a cute photo album)  Meet Me At Mikes

One of the subjects of today's book review. 

I turned thirty this month and one of the most awesome presents I got was this book. My best friend Kat (who I've known for more than half my life now) sent me it! In Melbourne:

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They have a shop, which I have visited many times, they sell all sorts of cute handmade stuff & vintage things and they are also involved with a craft club called the Brown Owls. They have done REALLY well and now have this new book!

The front cover has an envelope which contains all of the pre-printed patterns... this is extra handy as I have run out of paper for my printer but still want to make something.

Inside there are heaps of gorgeous photos, it feels really three dimensional almost like a scrapbook. Some pages look like buttons have been spilt over them others are a collage of findings and ribbons and all sorts!

There are 26 projects to make, the instructions are easy to read and they are all simple enough to alter or personalise!

As if that wan't enough they also have a great website with links to heaps of other projects! Check it out!!


I have decided that when I get home today I will just open a page at random and make whatever I find....

Next up is Built by Wendy ...

These books are awesome. I would thoroughly recommend them, both for beginners and for seasoned dressmakers looking for inspiration and good basic block patterns. Between these two books you end up with the basic patterns for 3 basic dresses, 1 basic pant, 1 basic shirt and 1 basic skirt. BUT you also get detailed instructions on how to alter each of them so you can make 38 projects if you JUST copy what Wendy has recommended but there are literally 1000's of combinations! The Sew U book comes with heaps of pattern pieces for different collars & pockets and there are so many ideas for different lengths, shapes and fabric combinations! 

Basically for each basic pattern you get a number of suggestions on how to alter it, dress it up/down or add collars, different sleeves or embellishments.  For example the Dirndl dress is the basic but there are 6 other dresses based on that block... as you can see in the picture! The illustrations and instructions are clear and uncluttered and each item I've made had turned out really well (although the sizing is a bit tricky, most things came out a bit big, but hey! better than too small!) 

I have always been a keen crocheter, but knitting was a bit of a mystery as I only ever learnt the knit stitch and no purl stitch... however, my friend Maria is an excellent knitter and sent me this for Christmas! It has really clear instructions (I need them to be for 5 year olds...) and good images! There are 40 patterns all together and the photos of each are really cute and fun!  Not only does it have lots of tips and inspiration for individual projects there are also suggestions for starting your own Stitch and Bitch knitting group. Not sure if these have caught on in Ireland but in Melbourne and Sydney they are EVERYWHERE!!!

I found this group ; Dublin Knit Collective  who seem to meet quite regularly! 
There is also an "official" Stitch and bitch group in Dublin 

As well as the projects (which are funky and pretty modern) there are tips on which different yarns to use for certain projects, different needle types and heaps of instructions on different stitches. 

So...there you have my 3 favourite crafty books!!! 

Happy crafting... Hayley from Two Boos xx


  1. Ah that Sew U book sounds like just the thing! I got a sewing a-z encyclopedia kind of book for my birthday but its sooo stiff & boring! its great bedtime reading....zzzzzzz ;)

    By the way, I've dropped a link to your shop from my hairband listings - just to say thanks for all the lovely scrappage you gave me! ♥

  2. Hi Hayley,
    great article. Love your book collection. You have some really good friends who know you well.

  3. hey ladies! Thanks very much!!! Indeed, I'm very lucky!

    Tanya, thanks for the mention... could you convo me your address so I can post you some more in a little while???

    H :)

  4. I WANT MEET ME AT MIKES'S it sounds great. Great article interesting stuff!