Saturday, 10 March 2012

Kirstie Allsopp's 'Craft' Book Review

As my last crafty book review (on ‘Everything Alice’) prompted such a lot of feedback and discussion (thank you, LOVELY blogging friends ), I thought I’d write you another one – this time on Kirstie Allsopp’s ‘Craft’.

You might already have picked up on the fact that I’m a HUGE Kirstie fan.  In fact – I’ll let you in on a little secret here – if they ever made a ‘Kirstie’s BFF’ TV show (like the Paris Hilton one, where crazy girls battled it out to have the have the chance to become her new best friend), I’d be first in line with my application form!  Well, wouldn’t you???  Oh, the crafty fun we’d have together!!! 

Anyway, I was sure I’d love the book, just from looking at the charming basket of crafty bits and bobs in the photo on the front cover.  And – yippeeee – I was NOT disappointed!!!  I LOVE this book!!!

I love the fact that the book is a hardback, and the fact that the pages are thick and lovely to touch, and..... well, it even SMELLS good!  Does anyone else like the smell of certain books, by the way?  Or should I have kept that statement to myself? 

The book contains 47 projects, and these are split into seven sections – needlecrafts, textile crafts, paper crafts, food crafts, garden crafts, flower crafts, and gift crafts.  Each section has its own super-cute little symbol (a cotton reel for ‘Needlecrafts’, for example, and a watering can for ‘Garden Crafts’).  I love extra little details like that!  

Each section has a few introductory pages, in which Kirstie talks about her experiences with that type of crafting, offers a bit of crafting history, and gives some tips on sourcing materials and getting started with related crafts.  These parts of the book make it a lovely book to have just for the ‘reading’ experience.  

The ‘looking’ experience, though, is (for me at least) the best thing about this book.  The photography is stunning, and the diagrams are clear and visually appealing.  There’s a good mixture/balance of completed project photos, in-progress photos, instructional diagrams, and photos of Kirstie enjoying herself (making things and attending county shows).  Even the TEXT in this book looks good.  For each project, the heading, subheadings, stage numbering and tips are printed in coloured fonts, which ‘go’ beautifully with the colours in the project photos and diagrams.  Everything matches!  The style of the photos and diagrams, as well as the pretty fonts and regular lay-out of the pages, tie the eclectic assortment of projects together beautifully.   

The ‘crafting’ experiences that the book offers are fabulous, too!  There’s a great mix of easier and more challenging projects, quick projects and ones that would involve weeks (or months) of work.  There are projects that you could do with kids, projects that you could do with friends, projects for the home, and projects that would make lovely presents (for all occasions).  As the section titles suggest, the book offers an enormous variety of projects.  

As I did in my last book review, I’ll give you a potted list of ALL the projects..... vintage bunting; appliqué cushion; embroidered handkerchief; table runner; coasters; stack & whack quilt; cross-stitch cushion; devoré silk scarf; needlefelt bird; felt heart decorations; natural dying; paper sculpture bird; paper bead necklace (which I’ve made already); paper dolly chain; piñata; paper baubles; greeting cards; handmade paper; family scrapbook; fruit cake; ice-cream balls; marzipan penguins; banana cake; sugar flowers; scones; damson jam; garden pickles; carved window box; elderflower cordial; mosaic chair; birdseed cakes; scarecrow; willow nesting box; petite flower exhibit; flower table centre; garden wreath; corsage; floral line design; seedhead mirror; ribbon roses; perfume; lavender bath creamers; lavender bath bombes; silver button necklace; silver leaf pendant; AND decorated candles!  Have a little look at some of them.....

If you’re looking to perfect a certain skill, this book’s probably not for you.  But, if you’re looking for fantastic ‘general’ craft book, and fancy dabbling in a wide range of different crafts, you need look no further! 

Although I wouldn’t want try out ALL the projects in the book (anything involving power tools or acidic chemicals would, for me, be a no-no), I would be interested in having a go at most of them.  So far, I’ve only made the paper bead necklace.  The instructions were clear and easy to follow, and the diagrams and photographs were very helpful.  I also really appreciated how the intro to the project, and the ‘top tips’ box, offered ideas on how the project could altered and experimented with, to yield something slightly different.       

So, in summary, I’d definitely add this book to my ‘need’ list again.  I’d by it as a gift for creative friends.  And I’d recommend it to anyone remotely crafty!!!

I’d love to hear from you if you have this book already – let me know what you think of it, and which projects you’ve tried out.....

Until next time......




  1. Oh I love this book so much! I got this as a christmas present and read it from cover to cover! It is such a delightful read and a feast for the eyes. I have not made anything out of it YET! But have never tried quilting and really fancy the stack and wack project. I'm afraid I would be a serious competitor for kirsties BFF ;) xxx

  2. Hi Carly - what a fab review! As soon as I have finished leaving you a note, I am going in search of this book online. I adore Kirstie too - this series just started on TV here last week and I loved it. I have been intrigued by your necklace since you posted it so can't wait to see how it is done! Thank you hon - I know I'm going to love this book now.
    Have a fab week.

  3. I loved the book too.I treated myself when I noticed they had it for £7.99 in Sainsburys a couple of months ago.I just love Kirstie although she drives my husband up the wall! and I would just love to be her!! Heck, I have just watched her Home made home series on the internet Channel 4 site and have still got the christmas editions on our sky recorder!And did you know you can hire her Devon cottage for holidays (hellishly expensive but it does sleep about 12) so you can even spend time in her home from home.Loved your post, count me in as a Kirstie fan!

  4. Thanks for such and in-depth review.... what a great book! I can't wait to check it out.

  5. Thank you, my lovely! What an informative review.
    I shall be looking out for this one now. (I too worship at the feet of Kirstie's crafty throne and would be in the running for the BFF position!!)
    Have a great weekend xx

  6. I LOVE Kirstie! The thing i find with books like this, is that I love them, dream of having them on my bookshelf...but they are always SO EXPENSIVE and i never ever make any of the projects out of them!!
    I know exactly what you mean about the smell and feel of books. Kindles. I mean really? How could you get a book like this on a Kindle? it just would not be the same!

  7. I'm a kirstie fan too but hate the way she has been airbrushed on the front cover! It is a great book, helpful and clear but also nice to browse....I got it cheaper from The Book People if any use to anyone!

  8. Thanks for that....I've looked at the book – but for some reason never got it.

    Lou xxx

    PS. I loved your last post....

  9. are you today?
    Cheers for popping by my blog....lovely to hear from you!
    I'm really loving my lamp!


  10. Hi Carly- fab review. The book is on my ever expanding wishlist on amazon! In the UK there are always great offers for these books but here in Ireland they cost up to 30 euro sometimes so I'm holding off for a bit. Love Kirstie - I even watch the repeats of the show!! x

  11. I have never heard of this book! Thanks for sharing and thanks for the great review!! What a great variety of projects!! I doubt I'd be able to stop looking at the pictures! I'm totally with you on the new book smell.... I like the smell of old books too... I guess that sounds gross, but I think it's because used bookstores make me so happy!


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