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Archive

All your favourite posts from my previous blog!

Filtering by Tag: book review

good reads : My Rag Doll + book giveaway

emma lamb

Hello my lovely blog buddies! How was you Easter break? Mine was filled with sunshine, good company and lots and lots of chocolate of course! The last of the sugary bunny was devoured yesterday and now I'm back to savouring little squares of delicious darkness and walking a little further than usual to combat said sugaryness!

good reads : My Rag Doll + book giveaway | Emma Lamb

Anyhow, today I am super excited to be rounding off a wonderful blog hop celebrating the launch of this adorable new craft book...


My Rag Doll is the second book by author Corinne Crasbercu and is currently a #1 bestseller in Amazon UK's soft toy section even though the official release date isn't until next month, May 14th! And there's a mighty fine reason why this book is already doing so well - it is absolutely beautiful! Although I haven't got my hands on an actual copy yet the ebook has me completely smitten. I know. I know. Ebooks aren't my favourite but I'm thinking of it as a preview to the actual copy I can hold in my own two hands. And when the preview is this good you can't help but fall in love with it!

good reads : My Rag Doll + book giveaway | Emma Lamb

My Rag Doll is a beautifully presented craft book celebrating Corinne's childhood passion of creating her own dolls and stitching entire wardrobes for them, something that inspired her career in dressmaking for film and TV. Although the idea isn't new Corinne takes the basic rag doll concept and updates it so beautifully in this book. It is divided into three main sections - the first guides you through creating the basic rag doll, with six different ideas for hair colours and faces, the second consists of thirteen different outfits with full written instructions and all the templates you will need can be found in the last section.

The presentation throughout it's pages is fresh, light and airy and the doll designs are pretty but not too girly - alongside the bride and ballerina is the doll in dungarees (pictured on the cover) and the doll in a raincoat. The beautiful photography, styling and page layout match this not to girly approach and are what grabbed my attention most of all. It is simple and unfussy with great attention to detail, I mean how gorgeous is that tall skinny font!? I love it! Below is a peek of a few pages from one of my favourite doll designs, the doll in a raincoat. Each design includes a title page with hand drawn pencil sketch and cute illustrations (see those tiny clouds below!) as well as a mood board of materials - I totally swooned over that one too!

good reads : My Rag Doll + book giveaway | Emma Lamb

And the colours? Well all that white space totally gets my vote and while there is a lot of pink in there it is perfectly balanced with denim blues, orange and red. Corinne's fabric choices throughout the doll designs are spot on too - stars and stripes with tiny florals and a sprinkling of Liberty loveliness. All in all an absolutely perfect combination making a very beautiful book. This is exactly the kind of book I wish I had had when I was a wee girl. Although I wasn't a huge fan of dolls and never really played with them I did love to knit and crochet clothes for them and I think I would have loved this book and spent many happy hours stitching. And now as an adult I so can't wait to have an actual copy in my hands!

Hopefully by now you are excited as I am about owning your own copy too? Well here's the really great bit - a giveaway! As part of this blog hop I have one copy of the book to give away to one of my very lucky readers, yay! This giveaway is open internationally and all you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is share the picture below then come back here and leave a wee note in the comments telling me about your favourite doll as a child. You'll also need to include a way for me to contact you, by email preferably but no Twitter handles since I'm not on there yet, and that's it! I shall close the giveaway on May 3rd 2014 and will announce a winner soon after. Good luck everyone!

good reads : My Rag Doll + book giveaway | Emma Lamb

For more reviews and giveaways of this beautiful craft book check out the previous blog hop participants - Kestrel Makes, Dolls and Daydreams, Follow the White Bunny, Whipstitch, A Spoonful of Sugar, Feeling Stitchy, House of Pinheiro, A Stitching Odyssey, iCandy Handmade, Shimelle, Heather Bailey.

My Rag Doll is available for pre-order at Stitch Craft Create here or through my Amazon book shop here.

Emma, x

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good reads : Flow, Book for paper lovers + a giveaway

emma lamb

Flow, Book for paper lovers + a giveaway | Emma Lamb

Okay, so there's not an awful lot to read in this book but there is sooooo much to play with and it will keep you busy for hours and hours. Flow, the Magazine For Paper Lovers, is celebrating it's fifth anniversary with a bumper book of papery crafty goodness, a very special Book For Paper Lovers!


Seriously, this more than an inch think lump of a book and is choc full of postcards, cute craft papers, gift tags, envelopes, stickers, pretty patterned writing papers, pull out inspirational quote posters, fold out dioramas, wrapping paper, a pop-up landscape and even papery bunting! With lots of designs contributed by incredible talents such as Helen Dardik, Caroline Ellerbeck, Studio Ping, Marloes de Vries, Amy Blay, Deborah Van Der Schaaf and many more. The book is divided into three main sections - Write, Craft & Gift - and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the loveliness you can expect to find within those chapters...

Flow, Book for paper lovers + a giveaway | Emma Lamb
Flow, Book for paper lovers + a giveaway | Emma Lamb
Flow, Book for paper lovers + a giveaway | Emma Lamb
Flow, Book for paper lovers + a giveaway | Emma Lamb
Flow, Book for paper lovers + a giveaway | Emma Lamb

So much pretty! I want to use it all but have yet to get over the hurdle of loving a pristine new book and not wanting to tear pages out of it... *gulp* ...I really want to pin the Socrates 'Wisdom begins in wonder' quote up on my wall and as soon as I've plucked up the courage to gently tease it out of the book I know I will be tucking into the rest of the papery goodness with gusto!

I also have some colourful papery goodness to share with you guys too and have 10 packs of these Flow goodies to give away... **Just to clarify, the giveaway is for 10 packs of paper goodies as pictured below, not the book which I only have one of.** ...I may add a few bits and pieces of my own to each package to make each one unique :)

Flow, Book for paper lovers + a giveaway / all images © emma lamb

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what you would do with your pack of papery goodness should you win and leave a way for me to contact you directly. This giveaway is open worldwide and I shall pick the ten lucky winners next week. Oh, and to find out more about Flow stop by their website, Facebook page or Twitter feed to see what they're up to.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone!
Emma, x

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good reads : Mollie Makes Crochet + a giveaway!

emma lamb

Hello my lovelies! I'm running a wee bit a lot late with today's post but hopefully it will be worth the wait since it's the first of two lovely giveaway's this week!? Was that a 'Yes' I heard you murmur!? Okay then, let's get on with it shall we!?

good reads : Mollie Makes Crochet, including 11 exclusive new designs by Emma Lamb

I am sure many of you will have already have seen Mollie Makes Crochet since it has been out for a few weeks now. I didn't get to talk about it sooner thanks to all the nonsense that's been going on in my little world but I'm a firm believer in the old adage 'better late than never'! And of course it can never be too late to share my excitement about this being the very first book to feature some of my crochet designs. Eep! Yes, an actual book! It's such a thrill to be able to flick through it's pretty pages and see my creations immortalised for all to see, for years to come!


The designs I contributed include a vintage inspired doily, two retro modern potholders, an updated doily and coaster set and a bouquet of seven different flower motifs...

good reads : Mollie Makes Crochet, including 11 exclusive new designs by Emma Lamb

It's safe to say that any review I give of this book will be totally biased because, you know, I'm in it alongside a whole bunch of fellow crocheters that I admire greatly - Pip Lincolne (Meet at Mikes), Beata Basik (Rosehip), Ilaria Chiaratti (IDA Interior Lifestyle), Anita Mundt (A Creative Dimension) and Cara Medus! So with that in mind I'll try to keep my review a little more factual...

First of all this is a book aimed squarely at beginners. The patterns make up the first half of the book and are simple enough for newbies to learn the basics via a few sweet designs. Alongside my doily, potholder and flower contributions there are place mats, blankets, gadget covers, pillows, edgings and amigurumi style Russian dolls. They cover a wide range of techniques including working in the round, basic hexagons and squares, joining motifs, puff and popcorn stitches, increasing and decreasing, simple lace work, the aforementioned amigurumi and more. While the second half of the book is dedicated entirely to explaining these techniques as well as lots of other crochet basics. It's fairly in depth with plenty of clear illustrations and photos of the projects side by side so it is easy to compare the two.

good reads : Mollie Makes Crochet, including 11 exclusive new designs by Emma Lamb

As for the look and feel of the book, it's a hardcover with spiral bound pages inside which I'm not overly fond of. I think this makes it feel like a manual instead of a lovely craft book and in my mind doesn't really fit with Mollies Makes overall informal and pretty style. That aside, Rachel Whiting's photography throughout the book is really, really pretty! She has totally captured the playful feel of the colourful projects which are beautifully presented. The styling is very much Scandi inspired with lots of painted white backdrops to really make the colours pop and tons of vintage props to compliment crochets retro heritage. Think granny chic at it's prettiest!

That was okay, not too gushy right!?

Right then let's talk 'giveaway'! I have a spare copy of Mollie Makes Crochet just floating around my studio and I would very much like to send it off to a new home where it will be able to work it's magic and teach someone a few new tricks! So if you, or someone you know, are longing to learn to crochet and would like an early Christmas present, here's how you could get one...

First share the below picture via Pinterest, Facebook or the like with a link to this blog post, then come back here with a link to your 'share' and tell me why you want this book. Simple!

Edited to add: For folks not sure how to link to their 'share' page - all you need to do is copy the URL (the web address starting 'http' or 'www') for the page you shared my picture on and paste it into a comment on this blog post. I hope that makes sense for everyone?

Giveaway time! Mollie Makes Crochet, including 11 exclusive new designs by Emma Lamb

This giveaway is open worldwide and I shall randomly choose a winner in one weeks time. Good luck everyone!

Oh, but if you can't wait to get your hands on a copy you can find it in my Amazon store here.

Emma, x

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good reads : Hoop-La! blog tour + a giveaway

emma lamb

Hoop-La! by Kirsty Neale, 100 things to do with embroidery hoops | Emma Lamb

Hello my dears, I have another lovely creative book to share with you today, it's Hoop-La! by the wonderful Kirsty Neale, whom you may already know through her lovely blog Ginger & George? So yes, this book delivers exactly what it says on the cover - "100 things to do with embroidery hoops" - but not just any old 100 things, 100 super cute crafty things!


Take a peek at the promo video, for me it totally sums up the cuteness of this book...



As you can see Hoop-La! is choc full of great ideas, these just being the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and it covers a good range of crafty techniques. The bulk of which is fabric, embroidery and applique based as you might expect but it also includes things like crochet, cross stitch, stencilling, cyanotype fabric printing, 3d softie making and even tells you how to turn a hoop into to your very own mini printing screen!
The book is divided into four key sections - First up is a wee intro to hoop treatments which suggests a few fun ways to decorate your plain wooden hoops as well as tips on how best to fix different fabrics securely into your hoops. Next is 'The Projects' with it's wealth of cute ideas and designs. Some of my favourites include 'Dear Diorama', 'Joined at the Hip', 'Oh, Dear', 'Him and Her' and 'Man-broidery' (see below). After the projects is a wee section explaining a few embroidery, crochet and patchwork techniques that are used in the book. Lastly there is the templates sections which also does what is says and gives you all the applique, embroidery and cross stitch templates you'll need for the projects right there in black and white.
With the exception of a couple of projects (such as the 'Mix Tape Screenprints' which includes some visual explanation) this book isn't a step by step how to with lengthy descriptions and photo tutorials. Instead it gives concise and clear written instructions for each project, which is all you will need as many of the designs are very straightforward if you apply your common sense and crafty know how. This is in no way a bad thing about this lovely wee book as the value of it is the wealth of cute ideas and adorable inspiration you will be able to glean from it! If you've never created a piece of 'hoop art' before Hoop-La! will give you all the info you need to get started and then you can use it as an inspirational jumping off point to do your own thing and go completely hoopy!

Hoop-La! by Kirsty Neale, 100 things to do with embroidery hoops | Emma Lamb

Hoop-La! is available as both a paperback and ebook (you can find both in my Amazon shop). I have to honest and say that I much prefer the hard copy as ebooks, especially crafty ebooks leave me a little cold. They lack a certain something for me. When Kirsty first got in touch to tell me about Hoop-La! I remember talking to her about how much I love that so many great crafty bloggers are getting to publish their own books right now. With most of their work and connections with people being in the virtual world it is wonderful to have something more tangible like a book to be able to share with others, and who doesn't love that new book smell!? Also, I think having a tangible object such as a book is such a beautiful way to commemorate someones work, almost like a wee creative time capsule don't you think?

Hoop-La! by Kirsty Neale, blog tour giveaway at www.emmallamb.com | Emma Lamb

Now onto the really fun bit, the giveaway! Kirsty is generously giving away a whole bunch of hoops from Hoop-La!, how great is that!? I asked if I could giveaway another of my favourite projects from the book, the 'Dress up Doll'. I think this is such a cute design and has so much potential for any little ones in your life. You could work with your son or daughter to make the hoop and then let them explore their creativity by creating their own wee outfits. You know I'm so tempted by this idea myself but I'm not sure how into it Spanner would be ;) Haha! Anyhow, if you would love to win this hoop for you and your little one I want you to leave a wee comment on this post telling me what you prefer - ebooks or real books? Simple!

This giveaway is open to everyone around the world but you must leave a way for me to contact you directly (Facebook, email and your own blog are great ways to do this). I'll aim to pick a winner this time next week so you have plenty of time to ponder your thoughts on which is better - ebooks or real books!?

Oh, and for the full list of stops in this blog tour and to find out which other hoops from the book are available to win hop on over to Stitch Craft Create.

Emma, x

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good reads : Woodland Knits, a Tiny Owl Knits collection by Stephanie Dosen

emma lamb

The Crafty Magazine blog tour : Woodland Knits, a Tiny Owl Knits collection by Stephanie Dosen | Emma Lamb

When Crafty Magazine got in touch a couple of weeks ago to ask if I would like to be part of their blog tour and review Stephanie Dosen's new book Woodland Knits, I couldn't say 'YES!' fast enough! Stephanie is a super talented lady, as well as being a singer-songwriter (working with incredible groups such as Massive Attack and Chemical Brothers, appearing on Later...with Jools Holland and releasing her own albums!) she is a passionate knitter and is constantly adding to her popular collection of designs under the name Tiny Owl Knits. If you haven't yet heard of Stephanie or Tiny Owl Knits I am sure you will have stumbled across her fabulous Bee Keeper's Quilt design on your travels around blogland!?


good reads : Woodland Knits, a Tiny Owl Knits collection by Stephanie Dosen / book review by Emma Lamb

Woodland Knits brings together a gorgeous collection of Stephanie's most loved designs including Mr Fox Stole My Heart, Catching Butterflies, Bo Peep Scarf, Woodland Hoodlet and Deer with Little Antlers hat as well as some brand new ones such as the Garden Gate & Ivy cowl and The Changeling Collar. Out of the twenty one patterns there are a few I will happily cast on, Bo Peep is already on my needles and I'm loving this simple yet sweet bow tie style scarf. In my photos you can see the Juniper Wishing Scarf hand knit by my Mam in a gorgeous grey, although she insisted that the cables were 'going the wrong way' it was a quick and easy knit and it will be a great scarf for me for the coming winter. Next on my list would be the super sweet Catching Butterflies hand warmers and maybe the Woodland Hoodlet, minus the hood I think it will make a fab winter wrap!

Alongside these simpler patterns are more elaborate designs that include colour work and felting techniques - I love the look of the Spirit of the Birch, such a great scarf design! Out of the twenty one designs featured I would say half have a broad appeal and can be easily adapted to suit your own taste and style while the other half are a wee bit more niche. Not that that is a bad thing, far from it! Although a few of the designs are a wee bit out there (in my opinion) - such as the Moonbeam Duster, Dragon Watcher's Hood and Midsummer Night's Dream hood - they perfectly add to the theme of the book and reflect Stephanie's wonderfully unique style.

I have to say though, before getting to grips with any of the patterns I was first stuck by the gorgeous styling and beautiful presentation, from start to finish the attention to detail is what makes this book a beautiful object in it's own right. The muted woodland colours and photography (by Tiffany Mumford) set the scene perfectly as well as the leafy patterned edges of the pages, I love that detailing so much! Not to mention the helpful tips and Stephanie's cute notes printed in hand written style fonts, oh and the super sweet 'Owl' experience gauge!

good reads : Woodland Knits, a Tiny Owl Knits collection by Stephanie Dosen / book review by Emma Lamb

All in all I think Woodland Knits is a gorgeous knitting book with great designs. It is beautifully presented and with the often fleeting nature of blogs and digital patterns it is lovely to hold a piece of Stephanie's enchanting and magical world in my hands. I love it! Of course the woodland theme is bang on trend this season so this is a very well timed release. If you need a Fawn Poncho or a Mr Fox Stole My Heart collar in your life this winter, then I highly recommend adding this gorgeous wee book to your library!

For more about the Woodland Knits blog tour check out Crafty Magazine's review and interview with Stephanie from Monday, Emma Varnam's review from yesterday and keep a wee eye on the following blogs for more reviews this week...

Thursday: Sincerely Louise by Louise Walker
Friday: Guthrie & Ghani by Lauren Guthrie
Saturday: Slugs on the Refrigerator by Kat Goldin

More from Stephanie Dosen and Tiny Owl Knits: blog - ravelry - etsy - facebook - twitter

Emma, x

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