- ‘Print Workshop’ by Christine Schmidt If there’s one thing that Irish women should be known for (and are, unfortunately, not known for) is that we love a good doodle. Ok, that’s a fairly crass generalisation, but drawing is a large part of the feminine Irish education – as opposed to, say, painting portraits in oils or naked performance art. ‘Print Workshop’ is a grounding in the easy techniques of printmaking (potato carving, anyone?) and features some great projects to casually show off around the house and give as presents – the personalised deck of cards is a perennial firm favourite as a birthday present for the poker-oriented friend while the personalised stationary set, complete with wax seal, makes an excellent milestone gift.
- ‘DIY Couture’ by Rosie Martin Books that advocate making your own clothes are either for those already well-versed in sewing machine and pattern-cutting or so simple that everything you make looks like a potato sack, but ‘DIY Couture’ manages to strike the balance between ease of use and wearability. You don’t need a tape measure or anything apart from basic skills and a working sewing-machine. The book’s layout is simple and easy to follow, the garments (split helpfully into themed collections) won’t fall apart and there’s ample room for inspiration and improvisation.
- ‘Everything Oz: The Wizard Book of Makes and Bakes’ by Christine Leech and Hannah Read-Baldrey A craft book based entirely on a much loved children’s book is a weird propostiion, but Leech and Read-Baldrey make it work. It’s part cookery book, part craft project and a liberal dash of suspend-your-disbelief whimsy streaks throughout. Recipes include an Over The Rainbow Cake and Emerald City Pistachio Popcorn (the popcorn is probably the best popcorn you’ll ever make, despite the greenness) and projects include a pair of Ruby Slippers, natch…
- ‘Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas Robots and More’ by Christen Haden In referral to the first point I made about Irish women and craft, what we’re best known for is knitting and crochet – or maybe I’m just a little scarred after six years of trying unsuccessfully to complete a cable-knit pillowcase in a Presentation Sisters primary school. This is crochet beyond the norm, full of critters that nightmares are made of – although making them yourself out of soft’n’fluffy wool tones down the bloodcurdling aspects just a smidge.
- ‘Design*Sponge at Home: A Guide to Inspiring Homes – and All the Tools You Need to Create Your Own’ by Grace Bonney Website Design*Sponge has long been a daily read for clued-in people looking for new and easy ways to spruce up the homestead and the material for this book is gathered from the best that the website has to offer as well as original pieces. It’s not just about projects, but rather giving the reader the courage and the know-how to make their homes an expression of themselves.. There are projects though – the reader can learn to arrange flowers as well as make a much-need cat-scratcher, as well as upholster furniture that has been better, catscratch-less days.
Sarah Waldron @The_Licentiate