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Posts tagged ‘books’

ADVENTURES: Notes from Hay


The last week of May is always the now internationally renowned Hay Festival – in Hay-On-Wye on the Welsh borders.  We love the town and often visit out of season, spending hours with the kids browsing the many book shops – in particular BOOTHS, probably the most well known, and certainly the biggest.  Filled to the rafters with vintage and new books, it is a place to sit cross legged on the floor and lose yourself for hours reading about whatever takes your fancy.  It is the one shop in the world where my children dont drive me crazy!

This year they had a veritable feast of celebs and authors, from Benedict Cumberbatch to Bear Grylls and Stephen Fry.  From business inspirations to a day in the life of a fly – the single field (it is not big) packs a punch of fabulous things to listen to and interact with.

We have booked next year again already…  I recommend you do the same

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Supersize Crafts Day 1: Supersize Granny Test

This week my book SUPERSIZE STITCHES finally hits down from the printers (towards the end of the week I am told)…  which makes me beyond excited!  It’s my first book and it is quite a big deal for me and definitely one thing ticked off my bucket list! Last month Cross Stitcher published an extract from the book and one of my customers Gill has whipped up her version of my Granny Square cushion already!  Puts me to shame the speed of her needle, but I am thrilled that as the book promises the projects are all quick stitch affairs on supersize bases. Think you can agree she has done a cracking job {pic below}

Every day this week I will preview a new project from the title to tempt you to BUY IT

Happy Stitching – J x

Books: Love to Knit?

Last week I received this delectable book LOVE TO KNIT, LEARN TO KNIT from Quadrille Press.  It is the first book by new Knitting talent Laura Edwards – who has a fresh and accessible approach to this age old craft…  some rocking designs and fabulous blue nails for the ‘how to’ sections.

Learning to knit is not new – but as well as classic scarves, bobble hats et al – she has some fabulously fashionista retro clothing and accessories like these gorgeous polka dot socks

Love it

Book: The NOTHS Girls Business Bible

Last Friday I received 2 parcels from Amazon.  One was my copy of the new book by Not On the High Street (NOTHS) Founders Holly Tucker and Sophie Cornish that I had preordered from Amazon… “Build a business from your kitchen table”  and the second?  A personal signed limited edition copy of the same, sent from the ladies themselves (both a lovely touch and brilliant marketing tool).

So on Sunday, I sat down with my morning coffee (kids jumping all around me) and managed to read it cover to cover.

The book is not a preachy business bible – and there are plenty of books that moot the highs / lows of the trend of building a business from home.  Why I found this a good read was for 2 reasons. Firstly it came from a very personal perspective – part autobiography, part lessons learnt, sprinkled with some secrets to success – the chapter on work life balance made me cry … the story touching home.  There was also a chapter entitled “Its Ok to Fuck Up”, “phew” I sighed to myself, deciding to get out my yellow highlighter.

Which brings me on to the second reason – I felt that in part it was my story.  We have been partners of NOTHS since 2008 and have grown phenomenally with their support over the years, even being a finalist in their inaugral MAKE AWARDS for Entrepreneur of the Year.  But it is more the story of mum juggling life, work and ambitions to conquer the business world – the human side – that I identified with the most.  It made me feel that I am not alone, and that the highs, lows and life lessons are not just mine. Working from your kitchen table / shed / basement can be a lonely affair.

I left a corporate career in 2004 after 12 years of a regular (very nice thank you) pay cheques every month.  I started a family – and with 2 babes in arms started my business…  no maternity leave for me, I was at the post office posting samples when my waters broke!  Yes I was crazy, but I was bloody minded in my determination to make it work.  Then when my husband lost his job, it meant this little business also had to support our whole family… and worse we had to learn to work together – not something we planned!

We learn lessons almost every day – and if I had read this book back in 2005, I may have saved ourselves of some of the more painful ones!  But at the same time it has made me realise that we should stop and pat ourselves on the back..  we have come a long way in very tough times, and like the NOTHS girls we are nowhere near finished!

Well done Holly and Sophie – I cannot recommend your book enough to budding Mumtrepreneurs… right best get on, I have some juggling to do!


Supersize Stitches Website Live

My first book SUPERSIZE STITCHES is being published in September 2012… and today its website went live..  it has the latest gossip and gallery and information.

We are also on twitter @SupersizeStitch so you can follow our latest updates

Let us know what you think

Book Translation News

Well lordy me… SUPERSIZE STITCHES is out in the UK and US on 10th October this year and whilst promoting at the London Book Fair last month, my publishers have also secured translations into 4 other languages – Finnish, French, German and Swedish (plus a couple as yet unconfirmed)… so Bienvenue, Willkommen … and ..?  Sorry my school girl linguistic skills end there.  Best leave it to the experts!

So onto the other news…. I have just had confirmation that my second book will be out in Spring 2013 .. so ‘watch this space’ (or follow the blog) for the latest news.

All a bit too much for a stitchy chick like me!.. off to celebrate with a custard cream. x

Supersize Stitches Book Cover Taster

Tada!  I am beyond excited to unveil the first release of my book cover / projects from Supersize Stitches.  There are more than 30 projects to complete – all in cross stitch and most of them in wool in 7 and 5 count canvas.  So if you are a fan of bold, bright and quick stitching – this is the book for you.

It out in September in the UK (October 10th in the US).  The publishers were umming and ahhing – but have settled on the XXL typewriter project of 3 cushions, alongside the mixtape ipad cover as the cover pictures..  I will be announcing more taster projects over the coming months – so follow our blog for the latest releases, or become a FACEBOOK FAN.

I really hope you love stitching the projects, as much as I loved creating them.

I am thrilled with the results and hope that you like it too.


Supersize Stitches Book – Shoot Part 2

Yesterday was the second shoot of my book SUPERSIZE STITCHES which is due out in September this year…  it was rather fabulous to have a jaunt out of the office, and watch a team of lovely talented people making my stitched creations look fab.

The photographer RUSSELL SADUR made it all look so easy – and the stylist ALICE KING had bags and bags of delightful prop goodies, which made everything look so pretty.

The first shoot was in Queens Park (London), but the house yesterday in Crouch End (nr Alexander Palace) was a gem – and Andy and Sue made us all feel very welcome.

I cant at the moment share any of the finished shots, but I did take a couple of ‘snaps’ of behind the scene action..

Free Sapphire Battersea Sampler by Jacqui P

Designed by Jacqui for Jacqueline Wilson (read about it here)..  We have made it super easy for you to download your free Sapphire Battersea sampler..  simply JUST CLICK HERE >>> FREE SAPPHIRE BATTERSEA SAMPLER to view and download your pdf pattern… available for a limited time only!

You can find instructions on how to stitch your design here with the official Jacqueline Wilson Mag here>> Sew with Sapphire Or you can follow them here:

Shopping list:

  • Embroidery Transfer Paper
  • White Cotton Fabric (an old shirt, sheet or pillowcase is fine) approx 25 x 35 cm
  • Embroidery hoop (4 inches is easy to work with)
  • Stranded cotton yarns (separate 2 strands out of the 6 strands to stitch with)
  • Needle
  • Scissors

Colours Used:

  • Red
  • Navy
  • Aqua Blue
  • Golden Yellow
  • Sapphire Blue (Teal)
  • Hot Pink
  • Lime Green
  • Pale Pink

How to Embroider PDF from Granny Knits >> FREE TO READ HERE

Craft Book Frenzy

I am lucky enough to be sent review copies of craft books by lovely publishers.. who like to get my crafty chatter feedback..

September is obviously craft month as I have been sent a total of 5 already this week.  Reviewing and taking notes in the sunshine today – ready to share with you later on…

In addition I have been busy finishing off all the projects for my first book out in Spring 2012 world wide (*hardly containing excitment*) and I am totally thrilled to say that I have books 2 and 3 in starting stages with the publishers too!  Only downside with this is that the whole process takes so long and I have to be secret squirrel about all the projects (not my strength) for over a year!

So back to the secret design desk it is …

Jacqueline Wilson’s Super Fan Party

Regular readers will know of my recent commission by Dame Jacqueline Wilson to create a crafty piece to coincide with the launch of her new book Sapphire Battersea.
Jacqueline Wilson is a legend – and the most borrowed author in British Libraries, selling over 25 million books in the UK alone.  Most famous perhaps for her character Tracy Beaker, she has very loyal young fans (including my daughter!).  I cannot tell you how thrilled and utterly honored I was to be asked to complete this challenge for her.
Today Jacky sent me this picture of her and the sampler at the Superfan Party for the book launch – so I thought I would share …
The sampler is in Septembers The Official Jacqueline Wilson Mag..  there are lots of events this Autumn for Jacky’s fans, including her very own festival.. so this really is a very exciting project… and you can download it for free here for a limited time only.
>>Buy Sapphire Battersea here
>>Buy Hetty Feather here

Free Jacqueline Wilson Sampler for Sapphire Battersea

This week is the launch of the new book by Jacqueline Wilson – Sapphire Battersea.

At the beginning of this year I was asked by Jacqueline and the team from Jacqueline Wilson Magazine (JW Mag) to design a sampler that Sapphire could have stitched over the course of her life.

It has to be naive enough to have been started when she was a tot – and only have a couple of stitches so that her readership of young girls would be encouraged to take up the craft!

The stitched framed sample was launched at the Book Launch and a the Super Fan event while I was ‘in recovery’..  and the fans seem to like it!  The sampler is going on tour with Jacqueline on her promotional travels over the next few months – including her own festival!

But from today you can download the sampler exclusively from Granny Knits FOR FREE HERE, for a limited time only.

I has been a complete honour to have been involved in this project – and I hope that it inspires some new young blood to take up stitching.


Knits To Give New Book

I have quite a few books from knitting designer Debbie Bliss – her style is simple and classic, and patterns uncomplicated.  So I was thrilled to receive my copy of her new book KNITS TO GIVE yesterday from the publishers Quadrille to add to my Crafty Book Shelf.

Riding on the wave of homespun gift ideas, the book is aimed at those with some knitting knowledge – and contains 30 projects of Knitted Gift Ideas.  The book is split into 5 sections For Her, For Him, For Baby, For Kids and For the Home – hitting all the main present sectors.

The projects are clever, as they are not labours of love – but quick and effective patterns across different levels.  The ‘Her’ projects contain pretty mohair shawls, belts, sparkly clutches and some fabulous Cable Stitch Cuff Bangles – which I think are a great idea.  The ‘Him’ section contains a tie, socks and a dog coat (madly in the for him section?) which are all very chic quick projects.

However it is always in the Baby / Kids sectors where I think Debbie comes into her own… The mini bow headband, bunny booties, knitted zebra toy, mini coat, blacket , tiger scarf, mini sun hat and romper suit are simply gorgeous.  With the ladybird backpack being a touch of genius.

What am I going to knit? Well I am going to give the Home is Where the Heart is cushion a go when I get a spare mo.  Simple yet stylish – the Bliss trademark.

Published September 2011 in hardback – just in time for Christmas stitching.  We think the book itself will make a perfect gift.


Pictures and images produced courtesy of Quadrille Press all rights reserved.

Liberty Special

Embroidered Book Covers to die for

 Of late I have been working on some new embroidery and quilting designs – experimenting until I get it right.  Part of the process has been to seekout contemporary embroidery “Style Muses” .. to see how they are taking this oldest of crafts into the modern age, maybe picking up a little inspiration along the way.
In the case of Jillian Tamaki, I just stopped and stared.  I am totally in love with these embroidered pieces, and had to share with you her stunning work.  She is an illustrator and comics artist by trade from the Canadian Prairies. Now living in Brooklyn, NY she is a regular contributor to editorial with her free style of illustration.  However one of her recent commissions/challenges was from Penguin to transform 3 classic titles – Emma, Black Beauty and The Secret Garden into her freestyle illustrative style, but then make them up as embroidered works.  It took her a little over 2 months and these are the results.
What is amazing is that she is a novice stitcher!..  So what truly inspires me (apart from their gorgeous colours and textures and free flowing illustrative style)  is that with a little time and care you can create something truly stunning with a few stitches and a little creativity.  Perhaps not in the same league as Ms Tamaki…  but none the less I am inspired.
The covers of the new limited edition books will be sculpturally-embossed with full wraparound images and french flaps. They will be available for sale in October, 2011 – and you can CLICK HERE to pre order / buy them

The Crafty Chic Bookshelf

We are SUPER excited today to launch our CRAFTY CHIC BOOKSHELF.
We love a good read at the crafty crew and are completely old school in our love of paper (no kimbles for us)…   The No 1 marketplace for books is AMAZON and we cannot hope to compete with their prices, choice and speediness of dispatch; so we contacted them and instead have launched a collaboration.
We review, and edit a CRAFTY CHIC bookshelf of our favourite finds, which Amazon dispatches for us.  That way you get the best books and the best prices.   We will be reviewing some of our latest finds here, and if we have missed something you think we should share – then let us know.
Each month we will have an TOP 10 HOT LIST which is on our coffee table as we speak (except for the EVERYTHING ALICE book, which is pre ordered for JULY.  One of this months finds is the DIY KIDS which our kids love, it seems obscure at first glance, but seems to inspire the children to get creative.  Personally I love the simplicity of childrens felt tip pen sketches  .. and my son loved the pirate maps – so I have been commissioned to come up with something for his room.
We hope you enjoy our selection – Happy Reading x

Everything Alice

EVERYTHING ALICE is a new book inspired by Alice in Wonderland… and is a wonderful mixture of CRAFTS and COOKING – obviously my 2 most favourite pass times in the world.  
The 2 ladies behind the book ( Hannah Read-Baldrey & Christine Leech)  have concocted 50 fabulous projects which I think would truly impress Alice (or anyone else for that matter).
My favourite of their little tasters are the RED VELVET upcakes fit for a queen – and the MINATURE teapot charm bracelet..  as well as puppet theatres, non sew projects and retro aprons.
I have of course preordered my copy from our CRAFTY CHIC BOOK SHELF – and the book will be published on 4th July and land on my mat.  Cant wait.


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