Newest Crafts Reviews

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search

Press Out and Decorate: Unicorns by Kate McLelland

4star.jpg Crafts

It's the weekend and I've been indulging myself. There's something about a unicorn which appeals to me and a little bit of research into a book of press-out unicorns, clouds and rainbows seemed like the ideal way to spend a Saturday morning. You get twenty designs in the book and they're all decorated with pink foil: even if you don't want to add any further colouring they're still going to look great, but because the pages are a substantial card you have the opportunity to use crayons, felt tips or even paints to add your own personal touch. Full review...

Make and Play: Nativity by Joey Chou

5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I always feel a slight disappointment for children at Christmas when they're presented with a tree to decorate with a box of ornaments and a nativity scene (sometimes quite precious, so it's Not To Be Played With) which is set up Somewhere Safe. Where's the imagination, the creativity, the sense of pride in that? How much better to have a child create their own nativity scene, which they can then play with? That's exactly what they get with Joey Chou's Make and Play Nativity. Full review...

Embroidery: A Maker's Guide by Victoria and Albert Museum

4star.jpg Crafts

In Embroidery: A Maker's Guidewe get a brief introduction to the craft by James Merry, embroidery artist, information on the tools you'll need, materials you can utilise and a guide to the stitches you'll be using. If you're just thinking about starting embroidery and not certain which type will suit you best or someone who's experienced in one area but wanting to branch out this book could be an ideal starting point. There are over 230 glorious photographs (of items from the V&A collections) and illustrations covering 15 styles of embroidery and giving all the information and designs you'll need for 15 projects. Full review...

Patchwork and Quilting: A Maker's Guide by Victoria and Albert Museum

4.5star.jpg Crafts

Patchwork is a magical craft: you can take relatively small pieces of material and turn them into another piece of material with an entirely different pattern. Quilting converts a topper and a backing fabric with some wadding in between into a fabric of an entirely different weight. Combine the two crafts and you have something more than magical, occasionally fashionable but always deeply satisfying. But where to start, when there are so many different styles of both crafts? One answer is to read Patchwork and Quilting: A Maker's Guide which looks - as the cover says - at styles from Italian trapunto to Korean jogakbo and then delivers fifteen projects inspired by the V&A collections. Full review...

Gift Boxes to Colour and Make: A Year of Celebrations by Eilidh Muldoon

5star.jpg Crafts

Have you ever tried wrapping a small gift, or those handmade sweets or biscuits you've prepared for a friend? It's not easy is it? If you use wrapping paper the gift tends to lose presence and once you start to use glass jars the gift becomes really quite expensive and less easy to transport. Do you find colouring relaxing and rewarding but somehow it feels just a little bit too indulgent if all you do is turn to the next page and start colouring that? Would you get more out of it if you could use what you've coloured for a practical purpose? The ideal solution to both problems is Gift Boxes to Colour and Make: A Year of Celebrations by Eilidh Muldoon. Full review...

Pug-a-Doodle-Do! by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

4.5star.jpg Crafts

I was reading a book so utterly different to this the other day, it has to bear mention. It was an exceedingly academic book about graphic novels and comics for the YA audience, and it featured an essay picking up on the way books like the fill-in-bits-yourself entries in the Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries series (such as this one) let you interact with the franchise, and also to create your own content. There was some weird high-falutin' academic language to describe such books – but you know what? I say (redacted) to that – let's just hang it and have fun. And this book, spinning off from the four books this partnership has so far been responsible for, is certainly a provider of that. Full review...

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Unicorns and Rainbows by Rebecca Jones

5star.jpg Crafts

I've a problem with many colouring books for children: some initial effort goes into the colouring, but the chances are that little will be kept on a long-term basis and it's not particularly satisfying. How much better would it be if the colouring produced something which could be sent to someone else, who would appreciate that it's unique and that effort and care has gone into the card? How much better to give a child something like The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: Unicorns and Rainbows than an ordinary colouring book which will soon be discarded? Full review...

My Year in Small Drawings: Notice, Draw, Appreciate by Matilda Tristram

4.5star.jpg Crafts

In recent years there has been an upsurge in the publication of 'interactive' books, designed to spark our creativity. Colouring books for adults, as well as my teenage daughter's current favourite: Wreck This Journal, seek to tap into our creative side, whilst promoting mindfulness and relaxation. By actively encouraging us to slow down and look at the world around us, books like these enable us to take time out of our busy lives and just enjoy the present moment. And this method must be working, because they are proving incredibly popular. I was intrigued, therefore, at the idea behind My Year in Small Drawings, which invites readers to create a visual diary of the world around us by creating a series of small pictures on a given subject. Full review...

Around the World Colouring Book by Thomas Flintham

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Colouring books are a useful way for children to relax, develop manual dexterity and explore colour, but in the dash to appeal to the child so many miss the opportunity to be gently educational and to still appeal to the young. The two are not mutually exclusive! Look for instance at this colouring book: it's got page upon page of pictures to colour (with just a little narrative to set the scene) with the added attraction of four pages of stickers. You'll see grey shapes - and that's the signal to get stickering! Full review...

Rainforest Masks: Ten 3D Rainforest Masks to Press Out and Make by Gavin Rutherford and Tanya Batrak

4.5star.jpg Crafts

I have been having the most tremendous fun making rainforest masks: you know the effect that you get when a really talented face artist does a young child's face and you see the tiger? Well, this is an even better result and it's in 3D. All the creatures are, as you would expect, from the rainforest regions of the world, but there's decidedly more here than the usual suspects. You get a green iguana, toucan, jaguar, emperor tamarin, blue morpho butterfly, red-eyed tree frog, Brazilian tapir, giant otter, blue-and-yellow macaw and the emerald tree boa. Never heard of some of them? Well, don't worry: the book is gently educational, with a paragraph telling you just enough about the creature. Full review...

Star Wars: Imperial Assault Activity Book and Model (Star Wars Construction Books) by Emil Fortune and Neal Manning

4star.jpg Crafts

Bobby, my U-Wing model, was feeling lonely. Sure, he had a few select critters from Harry Potter on his shelf, but nothing else from his world. Luckily, now he has a companion. Unluckily, however, it's a baddy – one of the AT-ST Scout Walkers those nasty Empire people like to use to stride around and attack the good rebels. But that aside, it is a very handsome companion. Full review...

Doodle Dogs: Best in Show by Tim Hopgood

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Doodle Dogs introduces a wide variety of artistic styles through the idea of a dog show! Tim Hopgood shows us different kinds of dogs, all of which can be created very easily, and you soon find that doodling a dog can be a lot more detailed, and interesting, than you perhaps previously appreciated! Full review...

Origami, Poems and Pictures by The British Museum

5star.jpg Crafts

Sometimes you find a delight of a book. On an afternoon when it was unseasonably cold and decidedly wet I discovered Origami, Poems and Pictures and I was transported to Japan. As the title suggests we're looking at three celebrated arts and crafts: the ancient art of paper folding, haiku poetry and painting. I'll confess that it was the origami which caught my attention, but I was surprised by the extent to which the rest of the book caught my imagination. We begin with something very simple: a boat and in case you're worried, all the entries have a degree of difficulty (from 'simple' through to 'tricky') and this one is at the lowest level. Full review...

Harry Potter Colouring Book Celebratory Edition: The Best of Harry Potter colouring by Warner Brothers

4star.jpg Crafts

Imagine pages and pages of images from the Harry Potter books and films for you to colour as you wish. You might have seen some of the images before - I know I have - as they've appeared in the Harry Potter Colouring Book, Harry Potter Magical Creatures Colouring Book, and Harry Potter Magical Places and Characters Colouring Book, but there are several exclusive never-before-seen images which will please the collector of Harry Potter memorabilia. If you're in need of inspiration as to colours then you'll enjoy the sixteen pages of film stills, unit photography and concept art at the back of the book. Full review...

Lift-the-Flap and Colour: Ocean by Alice Bowsher

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

When you think about it, it's quite startling that oceans cover most of our planet and they're home to nearly half of all species, apart from humans. We don't know a lot about the oceans either - less than 5% of the area has been explored, but it is an area of outstanding beauty. With Alice Bowsher's Lift-the-Flap and Colour: Ocean children as young as two have the opportunity to do a little exploration and to colour their own pictures. The flaps are a stroke of genius: when we look at the sea we see little more than the movement of the water, but how different it would be if you could see a little of what is going on underneath. Full review...

Build a ... Butterfly by Kiki Ljung

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I love butterflies: they're one of the delights of my garden and it's always a pleasure when there are children there and they see a butterfly close up, possibly for the first time, as it rests on a flower. Kiki Ljung has given us the opportunity to learn about butterflies and also to build a 3D model of our own. The book is primarily aimed at the five to eight year old age group, but I have to confess that I had a great deal of fun building my own painted lady. I learned quite a bit too! Full review...

Botanicum Activity Book by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Children and adults who enjoyed Botanicum (Welcome To The Museum) by Katie Scott and Kathy Willis are going to love the Botanicum Activity Book. Don't be misled by the suggestion that the book is aimed at the seven-plus age group: there's plenty in here for anyone who is still capable of holding a pen or pencil. Full review...

Forest Life and Woodland Creatures by DK

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

This book knows that if you're going to learn about forest life and the animals, plants and trees in it, then you're only going to be itching to go and explore the woods for yourself. It's for a very young audience, so always expects an adult hand to guide you – but provides a warm companion itself through several quick and easy tasks, and a few lessons. The balance between carrot and stick, or duty and reward, is great – but what exactly is the edutainment going to provide, and what will it demand of us? Full review...

Sharks and Other Sea Creatures by DK

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Never before have I found much cause to point out the sort of lower-case, almost-a-subtitle wording on the front of a book. I say that because very little of this is about sharks – so if you have a youngster intending to come here and learn all their bloodthirsty imagination can hold, then they may well be disappointed. If you take it on board that the 'other sea creatures' make up the bulk of the book, then all well and good. And even better, if you expect yourself to make the bulk of said creatures… Full review...

Star Wars Art of Colouring The Force Awakens by Lucasfilm

4.5star.jpg Crafts

Without giving any spoilers away, the end of The Force Awakens sees a character and their peace interrupted. While said person probably has The Force to give them some restful ease, you never know what else they used. They may, for one, have dabbled in colouring-in books, and their much-lauded effect on the mind – that of calming it, and providing a meditative, simple yet creative task for it. Whether that is the case or not, there are books set in the Star Wars universe for people to join in in that way – and this is the best I've seen. Full review...

Star Wars Make and Do by Katrina Pallant and Kate Rhodes

3star.jpg Crafts

For the right young mind, their favourite franchises just don't end with watching them once or twice and that's it. Given great characters they will want to write them into their own stories, or re-enact their dramas in the playground. If things get a bit more sedate, some of them can be convinced to sit diligently working on craft projects, which is where this book comes in. It latches on to the biggest names in the Star Wars universe, and allows you to either draw or create them, or both. But while the 'why don't you?' spirit is strong with this one, I remain unconvinced the results will please everyone. Full review...

Why We Make Things and Why It Matters: The Education of a Craftsman by Peter Korn

4star.jpg Autobiography

'My intuition from the day I first picked up a hammer was that making things with a commitment to quality would lead to a good life,' Peter Korn writes. As an aimless, free-spirited University of Pennsylvania student, he moved to Nantucket Island to earn the rest of his college credits through independent study and happened to be offered a carpentry job. That arbitrary job choice at the age of twenty would come to define the rest of his career. Manual labour was all new to him, but 'from the start there was a mind/body wholeness to carpentry that put it way ahead of what I imagined office work to be.' Full review...

Harry Potter: Magical Artefacts Colouring Book by Warner Brothers

4star.jpg Crafts

With a big production film you can be almost overwhelmed by all that's there to see, but what most of us forget is that in the film-maker's archive there's an awful lot which we never get to see. Harry Potter: Magical Artefacts Colouring Book is packed with stunning pieces of artwork from the Warner Brothers archive, giving you the chance to colour the magic of J K Rowling's wizarding world. There are the props from the Harry Potter films: an enchanted map, a piece of jewellery that can turn back time, vials full of liquid memories and newspapers with moving photos. What an inventive brain that woman has! Full review...

Star Wars Rogue One: Art of Colouring by Lucasfilm

3.5star.jpg Crafts

Colour me happy that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is around. While I've not had the chance of seeing it yet, I'm dead chuffed it takes place at a central point of the main arc of films' storylines, and not some nebulous place elsewhere in that galaxy far, far away. Yes, it does do what the 'new trilogy' did, and have much more gloss and many more technologies than the films set after it, but what is not to like? Well, the expected expenditure on tie-in books and articles, I guess – several hundred pounds on one collector's card is a little steep. But seeing as I handily mentioned colouring above, in the vernacular, why not take it literally and use this large format paperback, promising 100 Images to Inspire Creativity? Full review...

British Airways Colouring Book by Paul Jarvis

4star.jpg Crafts

Over the past couple of years we've seen a lot of colouring books: flowers, patterns, fantasy creatures, characters and settings from television shows, films and books and lots more, but I can't recollect that we've ever before had one which featured a company. Mind you, British Airways, is rather special; iconic and rather more long lasting than most passing celebrities. It has heritage and tradition. The British Airways Colouring Book is based on exclusive posters, photographs and artwork from the company's archives and the 46 images allow the reader to recreate these as they wish. There's a bonus too: on the facing page of each image there's a potted history. I passed the book to someone with an interest in BA and he found the book interesting and informative without even thinking of doing any colouring. Full review...

The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations by Rebecca Jones

4.5star.jpg Crafts

I enjoy colouring: I find it relaxing and satisfying, but most colouring books have one big snag for me. When you've finished, what use is what you've done? If I'm investing quite a bit of time in producing something, I like it to be useful. I'm a bit of a puritan about such matters! It was therefore something of a relief when I found The Colouring Book of Cards and Envelopes: A Year of Celebrations - and before anyone starts to be pedantic about the title, you do get to colour the envelope too; in fact you colour the inside and the outside and all four faces of the cards. There are even some stickers for you to seal the envelope. Full review...

Incredibuilds: Buckbeak: Deluxe Model and Book Set (Harry Potter) by Jody Revenson

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

The general perception is that to become a leading British actor, you need the fillip of Eton or somesuch education. But you don't have to be an actor to make a great film. Gravity for instance has extended scenes where the only thing natural is the performers' faces – everything else, even their bodies, was made in Britain by people using computers. The eight Harry Potter films, also made in the UK, needed a lot of computing power as well, but also a lot of craftsmen with their hands on tools and a keen eye. What better way to start training the young reader into that side of things, than with tasking them with making a, er, hippogriff? Full review...

Incredibuilds: Aragog: Deluxe Model and Book Set (Harry Potter) by Jody Revenson

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Aragog the giant spider, don't you know, took six man years just to build, and weighed a ton. After countless trial models and pieces of visual design work, he could finally be constructed, and he stretched across eighteen feet of the studio floor. Or, conversely, he is about seven inches long and seven wide, and you put him together in a day or two, for the cost of this book-and-gift set and some craft paints. Full review...

Incredibuilds: House-Elves: Deluxe Book and Model Set (Harry Potter) by Jody Revenson

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

How do you create a house-elf like Dobby? Well, you have a tennis ball on a string, and point actors so they look at it, and say their lines to a pretty-much empty space. You then film Toby Jones doing the elf's lines, and use that sound file and his facial expressions as basis for your CGI creation – the first major character to come from the digital realm in the Harry Potter films. You can throw in a few puppets, and now and again a gifted small person, particularly at the end of film #7… Or, of course, you can get this gift set, and press the wooden parts out, muckle them together – and lo and behold, a six inch tall Dobby for your windowsill. Full review...

Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: A Colouring Classic by Vladimir Aleksic and Kate Ware

4star.jpg Crafts

A Christmas Carol has always been my favourite book by Charles Dickens. Perhaps it's the fact that it's a novella rather than the usual brick of a book, but the plotting has always seemed tighter and the story more fast moving. I also like to idea of Ebenezer Scrooge not so much getting his comeuppance as his seeing the error of his ways. I've read the book and seen numerous film adaptations - now I've had the opportunity to do some relaxing colouring of scenes from the classic story. Was it fun? Full review...

Crafting with Feminism: 25 Girl-Powered Projects to Smash the Patriarchy by Bonnie Burton

4star.jpg Crafts

For far too long it has been accepted that men will have free choice as to what they do and that women will somehow accommodate and adjust around them. It's been a hard fight to get to where we are now - and there's still a way to go, particularly when you read the views of people such as Member of Parliament Philip Davis, but the cause can't always be moved forward by being deadly serious, no matter how serious the cause: sometimes what you need is a little whimsy. We might take the cause seriously, but we don't take ourselves too seriously. And besides, what's better than to unleash your creativity? Full review...