Thursday, 21 June 2012

Review: Crafts Beautiful Issue 243 (August 2012)

Soooooooo, I usually get my copy of Crafts Beautiful a day or two before it actually comes out in the shops (Friday), but this week, it had arrived on Monday.  I was sooo excited, and it instantly brightened up what had been an otherwise pretty rubbish day.

Sooo, after doing a couple of jobs and having my tea, I settled myself on the sofa to read the magazine.

This month's issue comes with free stencils, including lettering and number stencils, and one of the first projects in the magazine is ideas on how to use these, including a rose-stencilled jug, a cupcake birthday card, a notebook and a seahorse-stencilled scented sachet.  I really like the scented sachet idea and it has inspired an idea in me.  For the time being though, I'm not going to share, as it will be (hopefully) the subject of a future blog post.

The issue has all the regular features, including Dawn Bibby's column, which this month is about her new craft range, the Diamond Collection.  There is also the baking section, which features an interview with Ruth Celems of The Great British Bake Off fame and some biscuit tags.  Card School shows you how to effectively paper stitch, and I love Corinne Bradd's bird designs, one of which is featured on the magazine cover.   Finally, of course, there are the giveaways, which this month are for:
  • a Sharpies goody bag;
  • a Cuttlebug and embossing dies;
  • Lucky 8 punches;
  • a sewing machine;
  • an Ultimate Pro from Crafters Companion;
  • Tonic Studios punches;
  • an Easy Roller from Heavenly Cake Pops;
  • copies of the new Craft Ribbons CD-Rom; and
  • an i-Rock bundle

Quilling With Claire has some lovely fairies (like the one on the magazine cover), flowers and butterflies, which really make me wish I could quill, but I am afraid that I have resigned myself that this is one craft I just cannot do.  Another quilling project is Into The Blue, which has some lovely sea-inspired designs, featuring dolphins, an octopus and fish.  Crafts Beautiful also has a little teaser in this project with a card that can only be found online (  I really like this design, and as it doesn't involve too much quilling, I might be able to make an attempt at it.  I suppose it is one way of getting the readers to utilise the website.

Barbara Gray continues the nautical theme in Sea Views, using stamping and brayering techniques.  Brayering is totally new to me, so something I think I need to look into.  These cards would be good ideas for mens' cards, which as we all know are the hardest to design. 

The nautical theme is further continued by Cathie Shuttleworth's paper folding in All At Sea.  I really like the Bon Voyage card, featuring some pretty little yachts.  This also looks really easy to make, and I think I will give it a go.

One of my favourite projects is Treat Yourself by Andrea Willis, which has some lovely free-hand style card designs, similar to this one which featured in last month's issue and I had a go at making myself:

I also like the cute card designed by Joanna Sheen in Sweet Notes, which is unusual, as I generally find her cards a bit fussy, but this one, featuring a cute duck and bear, is simple and clean and would be a perfect new baby card. 

Away from the card making, I like, and once I have an embroidery hoop will have a go at, Baby Bunting, which is not what it says on the tin, but in fact an applique motif.  In fact, I could make the actual motif and get an embroidery hoop later to finish this off.

Another applique design is featured in Birds of a Feather, which has a cute applique owl bag and a cross-stitch owl card.  I'm big on owls at the moment, as a future post will show, so this project has really struck a cord with me.

One project I'm going to get my sister to do is the Folksy Fashion girls' shrug, which I think my nieces would love.  It is a very hippy-style shrug, and there is also a pattern for a matching headband.  I think it helps that the little model looks a bit like my youngest niece, but a bit more angelic.

Another of my favourites is Sunshine Days, which shows how to make a cute baby girls' sun hat.  I'm tempted to attempt this when the twins are born in a month or so, but with the so-called summer we are having I'm not too sure I see the point.  If the sun comes out and inspires me between now and then, I will give it a go.

I love the cute cushion in Cushy Number.  Although similar to a project in a previous issue, it is good to be reminded of techniques and bring the ideas back to the front of your mind.  The previous project had been stored somewhere in my (very bad) memory, but I now want to make the nieces a patchwork cushion each (along with all the other orders for things they want me to make) and the pretty pastel colours in this would be perfect.  My sister has said that she is redecorating their bedrooms though, so I may wait until then and see what the theme is for each.  I might even be able to get the eldest to help me.  Not sure I trust the youngest with a needle yet though . . .

Finally, I like Style Council, which features some lovely vintage fabric made into a bag and purse.

From the best of the rest, Cut Out & Keep has some wedding-themed cards utilising doilies for some unusual, modern designs and Brenda Harvey has some brit pop inspired card designs.  Colette Smith has some great kids' card designs in 7 Ways With Pirate Motifs.  Jane Gill's Petal Pusher cards has some pretty embossed cards with a twist.  Stephanie Weightman shows you how to use silicon moulds on your cards in Pretty as a Picture and Party People by Zoe Pierson features some cute zoo animal designs for cards, gift bags and hats, perfect for kids.  Utterly Buttonly also has bag and card designs, and also a wreath design, utilising paper flowers and shaped buttons.  Best Buds shows you how to make your own 3-D flowers using modelling film, using them, to rejig a photo frame.  I think this would make a great present for any lady out there.  Seaside Flair is another nautical theme, with picnic ideas, as is Shell Suits, which uses shell motifs and actual shells for a photo frame,  a cushion, a card and some candle buckets.

There is also an article on scrapbooking, instructions on how to make a collage pendant, a sports-themed card and jewellery roll, instructions on how to make Kirstie Allsop's ribbon flowers and an interview with Anthea Turner, along with a project showing how to refresh old ornaments with decoupage and home accessories decorated using mosaic. 

Finally, something new to Crafts Beautiful is a feature on flower arranging and gardening by Natalie Osborn, something I am interested in, having completed a short course a couple of years ago, and when I have the time (and money) I want to take up again.

Overall, I have got lots of ideas and inspiration from this issue, despite the slight nautical overkill, but I suppose that it is supposed to be summer, and we are an island nation, but the magazine is bright and summery and many of the projects can be easily adapted for other seasons.  As always with Crafts Beautiful, I still think that my subscription is one of the best little treats I ever bought myself, and I hope they keep up the great standard.

Now, to get trying out some of the projects and wait (im)patiently for the next issue.

Happy Crafting


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