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Book Review - Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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Winter can be a tough time for many with the shrinking of daylight hours and the near constant grey weather Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell is a manual of creative projects designed to help keep the winter blues at bay. During winter months because of the lack of sunlight mood elevating serotonin is at lower levels often leading to gloomy moods, crafting is known to raise levels of serotonin which in turn helps boost mood. Drawing inspiration from the natural winter world Mitchell has designed a beautiful survival manual of simple craft projects calling on a variety of skills to help people escape low moods during the winter. With perfect timing, at the darkest time of year, the book arrived on my desk to be reviewed.

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It is an attractive book with beautiful images of domestic cosines and creativity inspired by nature. Divided into chapters, each themed around the different phases of winter, there are several projects to fit the theme with clear step by step instructions. In High Days and Celebrations there's a recipe for streusel cake, a berry cocktail and woodland wreaths, it's a varied selection and none are too time consuming. I enjoyed the outdoors chapter Nature as Nurture, here Mitchell gently coaxes us out of the house, subtly persuading us with the promise of crafty joys such as preserving autumn leaves or making silver fossil pendants after a good walk observing nature. As a stylist I'm always trying to bring nature into interiors and there are lots of examples of this, and don't we all love spreading the love with specimen blooms in vintage bottles. There are also very beautiful crochet projects which I lust after, the hawthorn wrist warmers, with a bobbly berried design is very nearly enough to tempt me to pick up a hook and have a go.

Making Winter , with its beautiful images and full of plucky hope is a wonderful happiness manual to inspire, a great gift for a crafty friend, whether or not they find the winter months taxing.   Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months  by Emma Mitchell, out now in hardback, priced £14.99 (LOM Art).    If you liked this book review then why not read my book review of  Making Concrete Pots, bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek

Making Winter, with its beautiful images and full of plucky hope is a wonderful happiness manual to inspire, a great gift for a crafty friend, whether or not they find the winter months taxing.

Making Winter: A Creative Guide for Surviving the Winter Months by Emma Mitchell, out now in hardback, priced £14.99 (LOM Art).

If you liked this book review then why not read my book review of Making Concrete Pots, bowls, and Platters by Hester van Overbeek

Book Review - Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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Now more than ever we all want to learn new crafts and skills and the New Year is as good a time as any to start mastering one. Sadly, hat wearing has been relegated to special occasion wear, the book Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner has a varied collection and wearing one to top off a carefully curated outfit is made a real possibility. With its beautiful timeless illustrations, variety of hat designs and detailed techniques it gives plenty of information to help you get started creating your own unique hats. After a detailed browsing of this book, as an eclectic designer, maker, I felt fired up with ideas for the many possible occasions for sporting a distinctive and elegant hat.

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Have you ever wondered how a hat shape is made from a flat piece of fine woven straw or how to create a distinctive trim that is guaranteed to lift a bought hat from ordinary to extraordinary? With a wide choice of hat shapes and embellishment to create, Millinery is the book for you. A beautifully designed volume it is divided into two sections. The first covers the nitty gritty with equipment, materials and techniques each supported by text and images. The second section has twelve very different hat projects with easy to follow step by step instructions. Choose from soft sewn hats to a gorgeous feather creation to a full on felt trilby. I am drawn in by the detail, and long for a neat feathered tear drop, complete with the swish and flourish of a long plume. 

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Emphatically, yes, I would recommend Millinery, as it gives a glimpse into the art form and plenty of information for you to successfully make your own high-end millinery. With its wealth of inspiration and variety of techniques it won't be long before you have created a unique hat collection.

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    Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner  Published by GMC £16.99  Available from  www.thegmcgroup.com   If you like this book review why not read my review of  The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

Millinery, The Art of Hat-Making by Sarah Lomax and Rachel Skinner

Published by GMC £16.99

Available from www.thegmcgroup.com

If you like this book review why not read my review of The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

The Gentleman’s Wardrobe: Vintage Style Projects for the Modern Man by Vanessa Mooncie

Book ReviewsAmanda Russell
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I was really excited when The Gentleman's Wardrobe by Vanessa Mooncie arrived on my desk. I'm a designer maker and creating a capsule wardrobe that sums up your own unique style, seems like a very fine thing. There are lots of sources out there for women but what about the men? The book does just what it says on the cover with all the know how to make an entire gentleman's wardrobe. The garment collection was inspired by old black and white family photos showing beautifully dressed relatives taking great care over their immaculate appearance.

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This is a beautiful book packed with a wealth of contemporary lifestyle fashion plate images to give you all the inspiration you need to get cracking. The 14 projects cover a wide range of skills, there's an elegant garment or accessory for everyone to make following the easy step by step instructions and sewing patterns. All levels of sewing are covered from simple beginners projects like a cravat and for makers with a higher level of expertise there are more complex garments such as shirts and jackets. With a wide range of projects all styles are catered for, choose a different fabric and change the style of garment to create a unique expression of yourself.

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With its indepth knowledge and lots of attractive fashion images it's an easy and approachable way to start building a stylish gentleman's wardrobe. Flicking through the pages a young man with beginners sewing skills was blown away by the idea of making his own silk dressing gown and I was taken with the images for making a tweed flat cap. Whether you are a maker yourself or want to give this book as a gift it's the perfect book to turn to for both reference and a source of projects. With ideas for a quick project or something that will take longer this book would win long term space on my book shelf and remain there long after today’s love of vintage fashion has been superceded.

The Gentleman’s Wardrobe by Vanessa Mooncie

Published by GMC £16.99

Available from www.thegmcgroup.com

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If you liked this post why not read my book review of Quintessential Baking by Frances Quinn