Tuesday, 24 January 2012

'Everything Alice' Book Review

Thank you SO much to all of you who commented on my last post, asking for reviews of the books I got for Christmas!  I decided to review ‘Everything Alice’ (by Hannah Read-Baldrey and Christine Leech) first, as lots of you said you were interested in it. 

The problem is..... I think it’s the hardest one for me to review!  I was SO excited when I unwrapped this pressie on Christmas morning.  BUT, I’m not sure that I’m going to be making many projects from it.  I included it on my ‘need’ list because I’m a total sucker for anything (let alone ‘everything’) Alice-related, and because the front cover (the colours and style of the illustration) really appealed to me.  And I thought that the inside of the book (and the projects) would have a similar ‘look’.  So, I was a little bit disappointed to find out that this was not the case.

It has to be said that there is a HUGE (and very eclectic) range of projects in the book!  Maybe a list would be helpful if you’re considering buying the book.  There’s.....  jewellery; a toy rabbit; a letter holder/pin board; photocopiable paper dolls; lavender dormice; embroidery samplers; a cushion; two different bags; masks; a nutty snack mix; cordials; a Humpty Dumpty doorstop; cat hand warmers; cake and hat-shaped boxes; a wonderland mobile; a decorated (Humpty) egg; rose fairy lights; shadow puppets; teacup candles; fabric-covered teapots and furniture; cakes and biscuits; felt slippers; aprons; various stationary items; a cake stand (make from old plates and upturned glasses); cake/sandwich toppers; jams; a tea cosy; teas; napkin rings; paper playing card bunting; AND hats!!! 

A few of the projects would be suitable for children to make, and some of them would make nice gifts for Alice fans.  For me, though, the BEST thing about the projects is that lots of them could be incorporated into a little girl’s Alice-themed birthday party.  OR, indeed, a big girl’s afternoon tea party!!!  I'm planning mine already.....

[how about this for a table centre?]

Aside from that, these are the projects that appealed the most to me:

[I know I'm a little old for this one, so shhh]

[I like the idea of cushions that look like envelopes...]

[... and shoes with curled-up toes!!!]

[these would make cute pressies for friends...]

[... and these would make cute pressies for ME!]

One thing that really stuck me about the book is that projects vary massively in their aesthetic, and in the quality of their finish.  Some (like many of the baking and millinery projects) look VERY impressive and – to be honest – pretty unattainable (for me, at least):

Other projects, though, look (dare I say it.....) a little makeshift and unfinished (the ‘shabby chic’ look, perhaps?):

Some may see this mix as a good thing, in that there’s something for all levels of crafter.  And they's be right, I guess!  But these projects just didn't really inspire me.  My favourite crafty books are the ones with some kind of overall aesthetic or style, and this isn’t one of those books.

Even though I have to say that I was a bit disenchanted by the projects in the book, I do LOVE the drawings and quotations from the original story, the Alice 'facts', and the beautiful paper cut illustrations that pop up now and again throughout the book.  I think that, for me, this will be more of a coffee table book to flick through and read snippets from, rather than a crafty project book.

I feel like the odd-one-out here, as most of the other reviews of ‘Everything Alice’ I’ve read have been 100% positive.  I think that whether you’d like it or not depends very much on your taste and expectations.  If you like crafty books with an eclectic mix of projects (or if you’re after ideas for an Alice-themed party), I say visit Amazon and buy it right now – you’ll love it!  If you prefer books that are based around a particular ‘look’, though, you may end up (like me) a wee bit disappointed.

If you have this book already, I’d love to hear what you think of it!  Do you agree with any of my waffle, or do you think I’m just too picky?  Have you tried out any of the projects yet and, if so, what did they turn out like?

See you soon.....




  1. Hi Carly,there is a lot of lovely projects there love the envelope cushions.Love Jill xx

  2. thank you Carly that was a really informative review. I think i may get it just for the envelope cushions, they are so cute, i see a few projects that wouldn't appeal to me though.
    it was really lovely to have a peek inside.
    thank you
    love jooles x

    P.S i am having a little giveaway over at mine if you fancy a peek :o)

  3. I`ve heard this book is disappointing. I do like the look of those aprons tho and the yummy macaroons.

  4. Hi Carly
    Just popped over to say hello! and thanks for visiting my blog. What a good honest book review - some lovely ideas, I agree with Jill, I love the envelope cushions. They would be lovely as a wedding present.
    x Sally

  5. Yes,I agree with the other gals, those envelope cushions are so cute!
    And I agree with you, it looks like a lovely coffee table book to browse through, but maybe not one which inspires much actual crafty activity.
    Thanks for sharing- enjoy the rest of your week, hon.

  6. Hi I have learned something.I hadnt even heard of this book before but some of the projects look really good.I too like the envelope cushions. The food and drink projects could be something different to try.

  7. Hello Carly, I love the envelope cushions! Thank you for the review...

    Lou xxx

  8. This is a really great review! I must say, you are never too old for any of the projects. Last year my sister and I did a joint Mad Hatter Tea Party birthday party! We decorated, and our friends came in costumes! It was a blast. Anyways, I'm glad you shared what's in this book, and to me it does seem like a nice coffee table book. I absolutely love the illustration and colors on the front cover... it's too bad the inside didn't look the same!!
    Thanks for sharing this!!

  9. Hmmmm, great review. I think I am in the same corner as you are with the looks/contents of this book. Thanks for reviewing it for us.

  10. Those envelope cushions are really cute

  11. PS this is a great review - I love it when people do a proper, detailed review of craft books, so you can see what's in them before you buy online

  12. hi|! :) oh i'm so glad i found this post! I've seen this book on another blog and thought its just the type of book that i'd like to sit and look at on a cold winter evening, but as you say i probably wouldnt do any of the projects in it either! :)

  13. I agree with Claire, lovely to sit and read but maybe not do. Great review though, Carly. I do love the envelope cushions and an "Alice" tea party would be great. Shall we not invite the March Hare though? Looking forward to your review of Kirstie's book xxx

  14. Great review! I love the recipes the most, not sure I 'd do many of the other crafts.


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