Monday, 28 May 2012

Review: Crafts Beautiful Issue 242 (July 2012)

Soooo, my copy of the new issue of Crafts Beautiful came a day early last week . . . Eeeeek! . . . excitement-a-go-go.

This issue's freebie was a Shabby Chic Collection CD, which includes papers, tags, toppers, boxes, inserts and more . . . There are some lovely papers on this CD, but my small criticism is that my laptop (as it is a teeny tiny netbook) doesn't have a disc drive, so it's a bit of a faff to get the papers etc from the disc.  I had to get my fiance to download the files onto his laptop (with disc drive) and then transfer them to my netbook.  I've not actually used any of the papers yet, but I've had no cause to - it has been a very busy week doing everything but designing cards.

Anyway, back to the magazine . . . .

The cover advertises projects inside for a cute baby cardigan (which my sister wants to knit for the twins when they arrive), a pretty patchwork cushion (which I want to make), teabag folding (which I may attempt), some cute boxes decorated with doilies, and a few cards, of which my favourite is the 'Love Grows' card, which features a trowel - usual when described, but looks really good.

The magazine has all the usual features: letters page (not featuring me this month - I never did get my prize); how to use your free gift - I like the haberdashery inspired card; reader challenge results (I didn't enter in the end, I ran out of time); net savvy; crafty SOS, with storage solutions and a card by Joanna Sheen; Dawn Bibby's column and giveaways/competitions for:
  • olympknits
  • book How To Build A Robot (With Your Dad) by Aubrey Smith
  • a Sissix Big Shot die-cutting machine
  • union jack duck tape
  • Cakes, Cookies and Crafts baking goodies
  • tickets to the Knitting & Stitching Show
  • Uniform Memories paper bundles
  • a Jan Constantine cushion set
  • Berisford's Best of British ribbon bundles
  • Sarah Hurley Britannia CD
  • Ivy Press books
  • a Crafts Beautiful subscription.
I've already attempted one project from the magazine - Fairy Footsteps - with my own twist, naturally.  This card was for my grandma, from my nieces.  I wanted to make this pretty much straight away, but, again, the templates are only available online . . . Oh how I wish the templates were in the magazine again.  Anyway, this card is supposedly an 'intermediate' but I found it quite simple to make, and that was after my Pimms o'clock.

Other cards I like in the magazine include the 'Summer Loving' cards, which are lovely bright colours and utilise chalkboard paper for an unusual twist. 

A simple, but effective, card is the 'Lovely Lollies' card from the cut out and keep section.  It looks really simple to make, using a basic lolly shape, and would use up all those magnum sticks I have saved in my cutlery drawer.

I also like the quilled seaside themed cards in 'Bobbing Along', although I know that I don't have the patience for quilling.

'Let Your Love Grow' features some garden-inspired colourful cards, perfect for summer.  This includes the 'Let Your Love Grow' card I was trying to describe earlier.  This project uses bright patterns and bright, shaped buttons to make cards, seed packets and even little watering can decorations.

As for other non-card projects I like and want to attempt in this issue, there are loads . . .

My favourite, I think, has to be 'Flying Colours', which features colourful acetate butterflies (which I am going to have to make for my Grandma) and glass painting.  There is a lovely vase design that I want to try.  The best thing about these projects is that they can be adapted to any colour scheme, not just the red, orange and yellow in the magazine.  It is definitely a new craft I would like to try, if I ever find time.

I also like the cushion cover in 'Comfort from a Cupcake', which uses Cath Kidston-esque fabrics and cross stitch, so you could really show off your range of skills.  Again, this is another project that could be easily adapted, not only to other colours, but shapes and motifs also.

I am also once again wishing I could crochet, so I could make the cute storage cupcakes in 'So Sweet Storage.'

My sister wants me to make her an embroidered book cover a la 'Easy Peasy Embroidery', which I like too.  I also see a business opportunity here closer to Christmas - I'm thinking I could make these to cover diaries.

I also like 'Doily Days' which shows you how to accessorise table decorations to amazing effect with doilies, including favour boxes, votives and place cards.  It also gives instructions on how to dye doilies to your chosen colour if you can only find white ones - a great money saver.  If I had been getting married in summer, I would most definitely be trying out this idea - the decorations look perfect for a summer wedding.

Finally, I like 'Fold and Flutter' which shows you how to make origami butterflies, and I love them!  I even had the office making them on our lunch break on Friday.

Other features include a sweet toddler cardie in 'Sunshine Smiles'.  I'd like to make this, but I can't knit and I have no babies to make it for.  'Mother Nature' shows you how to involve your kids in flower pressing and what you can make them into.  'Stencil Style' has a cool robot design with which to make cards and pictures.

Corinne Bradd shows you how to do Iris Folding in card school, and Tracey Daykin-Jones has some great well done and end of term designs, which my sister thought they were great.  Cut-out and Keep features ice-cream inspired cards, and Niki Rowland has some cute tea party designs for cards, invitation and even cake boxes.  Then Claritystamp founder, Barbara Gray (along with some of her design team) has some London-inspired cards for you.  Using Claritystamps of course.

'Look Back With A Smile' shows you how to make a lovely photo album and 'Touch of Romance' brings some Parisian chic to a keepsake set, including a pocket watch! 

The baking section is also vintage-inspired with a tea party cake set and an interview with queen of vintage, Angel Adoree.  Ellen Kharade gives you some beach-inspired ideas for gift boxes, cards and jewellery in 'She Sells Seashells' (my most hated tongue twister because I have a bit of a lisp).  The beach theme is continued in 'Quilling With Claire'.  Amanda Walker teaches you how to make some gorgeous beaded accessories in 'Bead Bonanza'.  Finally, 'The Cat's Whiskers' has some accessory ideas for your cat, including a collar and a bowl.

This issue also has a feature on craft clubs, an article I was particularly interested in as I am currently setting up my own craft club - Fairy Elephants Sunday Brunches.  There is also an interview with stylist Selina Lake, with some gorgeous inspiration-filled pictures of her work.

Last but not least, there is a kids craft section with some great ideas to keep their little hands occupied.  I particularly liked this section as I was looking through it with my 4-year old mini-me (my niece) and it got us talking about crafty things.  She was telling me what she liked and what she wanted me to make (although I did tell her that her mother would have to make up the cake tea-set, as she is the professional cake-maker, not me).  She was also asking me how things were made and how she thought they were made.  It was good to get her looking at things and thinking about how they were made and she seemed genuinely interested when I was telling her how things are done.  She looked through the rest of the magazine too and we had a proper little discussion about it all, which was really nice.  Of course, it helps that I could cuddles in the process.  My other niece is already quite crafty and I like that it seems this one will be too.   I also think that it is important to get kids involved from a young age, so I hope this section will be a regular feature.

All in all, I have loved this issue of Crafts Beautiful.  In fact, it could be my favourite so far.  All I need now is the time to craft . . .

Happy Crafting.

Holly
xx


 

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