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Monday, 4 July 2011

Alice Crafts

Everything Alice: the Wonderland Book of Makes
The only summer crafting guide you need!
I'm a sucker for anything themed...especially a party! Yesterday I was working out  the number of themed parties I've held over the past few years....a jungle fiesta, under the sea, village fete, winter wonderland.....disappearing into another land and pretending to be someone else is one of the most fun things you can do. We do it all the time in our imaginations - as children we speak about these experiences more yet as adults we keep these fantasies to ourselves.
But the child in us, no  matter how much we suppress it manages to pop out whenever we see something that puts a smile on our faces. And that's why Everything Alice is a craft book that from just one mere flick through will make you happy. It's a remedy to every day stress allowing you to dip into a secret place where anything is possible.

'Alice' of course needs no introduction....she is Alice in Wonderland. Lewis Carroll's remarkable story about a little girl and her amazing adventures involving a secretive white rabbit, a smiling cheshire cat, teeny tiny doors and tempting tasty morsels. In this book (released today) the authors have delved deep into Wonderland and designed 50 projects that celebrate Alice and show you how to capture a piece of her imagination in your home. 
Authors Hannah & Christine
And here they both are, showing off mosaic masquerade masks, one of the projects in the book.

Craft ideas

Craftwise there are some fantastic and original projects that will bring sparkle to your life like a teapot flower pot, giant rose lights and playing card bunting alongside more classic projects that you've seen before like shoe bags, a notice board and tea cosy. (This isn't a bad thing - just an observation. Regardless though they are lovely and useful so no complaints from me!)

Holiday activities

But it's not the craft projects that stand out and make this book different. The truth is these days there are too many fantastic craft books out there.  When I was the editor of a crafts magazine I saw so many craft books on a daily basis I used to tear my hair out because 90% of them were dull and unappealing. Six years on craft books are glorious and most are like coffee table inspiration books that keep you coming back for more.. Another analogy is the fact that craft books these days are very much like craft porn, people just buy them and look at them but don't actually make anything.
What I like about this book most is the short one page ideas and projects that have minimal instructions like fabric covered furniture and the vintage cake stand. I've never liked following instructions so these smaller simpler projects work better for impatient crafters like me who just don't have time to read lots of 'what to do' paragraphs.
There are also activity ideas like making a shadow puppet play (above)....now that's the kind of thing a parent should see and feel inspired to do with their children over the summer holidays.
Yummy ideas
'Pure craft' books seem also to have been replaced by generally 'making' and in this DIY vein, the book also includes scrumptious recipes. Alongside these beautiful red velvet cakes (which look more pinky than the usual recipes) the Duchess Macaroons are my favourite. The ultimate treat, French style macaroons are as stunning to look at as they are tasty. And these ones sound like the yummiest flavour in existence, rosewater with lavender cream I am salivating just imagining them. The truth is I will never make this recipe because I don't have the confidence to make a macaroon; they are too special to go wrong. I would rather once year on my birthday go to Laduree and buy myself one (one because that's pretty much all I can afford). But Alice's macaroon is like a fantasy, one I'll look at from time to time and imagine eating. I have a total lavender obsession when it comes to edible things - lavender tea, lavender shortbread....it just tastes so special! And for the ultimate refreshing 'Drink Me' cordial, there's also a recipe for Lavender lemonade. Yum!
For those not feeling crafty

Just incase you are more of a craft porn hoarder than a maker, the authors Hannah and Christine will soon be launching their own Alice stationary range so you can own something Alice themed without having to make it! (Sounds good to me! For time saving reasons -obviously I shall never stop crafting!)

So, overall, should you get this book? If you own lots of craft books then don't just get this to add to your collection - it will be wasted. Get it because you honestly want to make something different and have someone in mind to make it for...(admit it most crafters never have time to make things for themselves but presents are always a good motivation).

Also get this book if you need to keep children occupied over the summer holidays. It's a very summer friendly book, don't leave them alone to make things themselves; these projects were made for enjoying with groups or friends. You could invite your friends over for an afternoon of Alice themed craft activities (cake and tea compulsory). This is what I would do if my flat was bigger and made for entertaining. Sadly it isn't and I don't have a huge garden like the one in the book but I guess if I use my imagination enough just like Alice there's always the communal concrete courtyard where I hang my clothes out to dry!

Images taken from the Everything Alice website (thanks!)

The book is out now priced £14.99 from Quadrille Publishing. 

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