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LoveReading’s Creativity section is perfect for those who want to make things with their own hands. Whether you’d like to learn the latest craft technique, see what others are doing as design inspiration and trying to keep up and have a go at the latest technological developments, have a look at the selection of titles we have below.
Simply gorgeous! Seriously everyone, this really is THE most lovely book. I don’t know about you, but I adore looking at beautiful houses, and boy is Cath Kidston’s home stunning, it is also deliciously homely too. Yes of course, this is Cath Kidston of the Cath Kidston vintage-inspired homeware and designer brand. She has sent a gorgeous invitation to wander around her home, telling us how they found it, and how each room came into being. Pavilion have created a perfectly sized and visually beautiful book. Stuffed full of vivid, colourful photographs (shout out to Christopher Simon Sykes), I sank into the pages. I love her quirky touches, such as the cracker adorned painting, and the colour, oh my, the colour just pops! Yes I am rather gushing over this book, that’s because it sang to me, and I have fallen in love with it. A Place Called Home would make the perfect gift, but make sure you buy one for yourself too! Chosen as a LoveReading Star Book, just because it is so beautiful.
A picture book of the very best kind, the captions explain the gorgeous photographs, and leave you thirsting for more. Abandoned civilisations surround us, give warning, elicit admiration, provoke questions. Kieron Connolly, choosing the most stunning photos, explores civilisations, explains the reasons for abandonment, and has left me wanting to know more. This is a large book, one that would be at home on a coffee table, or waiting on a shelf. It is a book that you can dip into, or immerse yourself in, turning the pages with wonder. Some of the locations are well known, though the image viewpoint may not be. I also found myself exploring the unknown, and have added to the places on my must visit list. ‘Abandoned Civilisations’ is rather lovely, you can either marvel and applaud the beauty, or take a step further and start to explore.
I must confess that I exclaimed with delight when I saw All Good Things for the first time. It is fabulously described as “a treasury of images to uplift the spirits and reawaken wonder”. The size is perfect, the cover divinely enticing, and it just beckoned me in. I simply sank into the pages of the most beautiful images of art from around the world and through time. You may already have heard of, or indeed follow Stephen Ellcock on social media. Over the last ten years he has shared his images with the world. And we have taken them to our heart. Here he “explores our world and the human response to it one realm at a time”, and so we visit various realms from ‘The Face of the Water’, through to ‘The Human Realm’ and ‘Gods and Monsters’. The images and their explanations sit patiently, just waiting for you to turn the page. I have quite fallen in love with this book, it is gorgeous. September Publishing has created a little masterpiece, and it has been chosen as a LoveReading Star Book and one of my picks of the month. All Good Things is a treasure of a treasury and would make the most perfect gift (but make sure you keep a copy for yourself!).
The BBC Proms is the world's biggest and longest -running classical music festival and one of the jewels in the crown for the BBC. It is one of the strongest brand names in the music world and attracts a glittering array of artists and orchestras from the UK and around the world in over 150 concerts, talks, workshops and family events around London every summer. Whether you're a first- time visitor or an experienced Prommer, watching at home or listening on radio or online, the BBC Proms Guide will help you to plan your summer of music and discover in depth what lies behind the Proms - from the composers to the performers to how the events are broadcast. The Proms Guide contains brand- new articles on featured composers and insights on performers, new music and accompanying events.
Sally Muir and Joanna Osborne are back with a new title in the Best in Show series. This time they have turned back time and delved into the fascinating prehistoric world with a collection of new patterns for dinosaurs and other creatures. There are 12 prehistoric creatures to knit, the T-Rex and Stegosaurus are particularly fabulous. Beginners can attempt some of the easier designs, more experienced knitters may be more comfortable overall though. It's worth noting that these are not toys, as wire or pipe cleaners are used as framework, however they would certainly brighten or frighten the other occupants of a bedroom shelf. Written with humour and including some fun dinosaur facts, this would make a lovely stocking filler for Christmas. ~ Liz Robinson
A book to fall in love with, to pick up and browse through again and again. I couldn’t put it down, I kept telling myself that I would read just one more page. So, let me introduce you to this treasure, take a look at the cover, at the stack of beautifully illustrated books, isn’t it stunning? Inside an Aladdin’s Cave awaits, glimpses of bookshops, literary facts, and recommendations galore. I’ve picked out a huge number of books to add to my TBR (to be read) pile and waved hello to a good many old friends. The illustrations by Jane Mount are truly delightful, they pop with colour and encouraged me to sink further into the pages. American bookstores and bookish people recommendations do feature heavily, however this really is beautifully world wide inclusive book, at the end of the day books are books are books! ‘Bibliophile’ is the most wonderful pick up and lose yourself in gem, it is absolutely crammed full of book love and would make the perfect present for bookish friends (or even of course yourself!).
Featuring over fifty stylishly rendered boards, this is an interactive doodle book with a difference, and certainly takes the lingering trend for adult colouring-in books to the next level. Most of the book comprises unfinished boards for users to transform into their own tabletop games – twenty designs in all, followed by twenty-five sets of rules for players to choose to follow, each of which encourages creativity with suggestions for fashioning your own versions of classic board games. There’s also plenty of options for users to invent their own entirely new games, with a superb “Stuck for Ideas?” section that suggests fun themes and mash-ups, among them “Throne of Crowns” and “Uninvited Ghost”. There are suggestions specially devised for younger players too (for example “The Magical Maze” and “Lost Pets”) making this a compendium of creativity for all ages. Taking an average of half an hour to create each game and a further half an hour to play, this provides a plethora of opportunities to exercise one’s cerebral muscles while having a whole lot of fun.
It’s not always easy to be creative—to give our minds space to roam while ignoring our inner critic, to stare down a blank page and make the leap from nothing to anything. It takes courage. Finding the courage to create is something the editors of Flowknow a lot about. Creativity is a central value of the Flow mission, evident in every issue that bursts with the wild imaginations of its artists, writers, and editors. In Creativity Takes Courage, Flowbrings together inspiration, hands-on projects, boundary-pushing activities, and special paper goodies to show readers how to unleash their inner artists. Organized around a series of twelve “dares”—including Dare to Fail, Dare to Be a Kid, Dare to Be Bored, Dare to Go Offline, Dare to Collaborate—Creativity Takes Courage encourages the reader to be fully present . . . and spend idle time staring out the window. To leave your comfort zone and start a project, without hesitation . . . and nourish yourself with museum visits and reading time. Each dare includes fill-in pages and prompts to go deeper into what motivates us or hinders us, like mindful questions to identify fears of failure, or a Dare to Commit notebook for recording both daily and weekly projects. It’s the illustrated and fully interactive gift of how to live more creatively and enjoy every minute of the process, no matter what the result.
Crochet is often the poor cousin of knitting for innovation and design so full marks to Kerry Lord for her totally original designs. Author of the delightful Edward's Menagerie, a range of soft toy animals, her new book features … Monsters. With the split page format giving endless permutations of pointy ears and toes, alarming spots and stripes and even lumps and bumps, there will be no limit on the monsters you can make. For the more nervous child there are many designs that bear more than a passing resemblance to bunnies and teddies but for the more adventurous you can go the whole hog with a one-eyed, web-footed and fork-tailed monstosity. ~ Sue Baker Like for Like Reading: Mini Knitted Safari, Sachiyo Ishii Edward's Menagerie: Over 40 Soft & Snuggly Toy Animal Crochet Patterns, Kerry Lord
Before appearing on the BBC's The Great British Sewing Bee, Chinelo Bally had never used a sewing pattern. She wowed the judges with her ability to create stylish, fitted garments using a freehand cutting method that was taught to her by an aunt. In Freehand Fashion, Chinelo lets us in to the secret of how she does this exciting sewing technique that is likely to be brand new to most people and even to experienced dressmakers. There really are no limits in learning to sew the perfect wardrobe - and the beauty of this technique is that it can be applied to any body shape. ~ Liz Robinson You can also join the conversation online and share your creations - #FreehandFashion A message from Chinelo: I am a Nigeria-born Brit with an overly healthy appetite for fashion and sewing. I have always loved fashion, but I began my dressmaking journey just four years ago... After only three months of sewing for myself, I began dressmaking and making clothes for family members and friends... I want to offer beginners a fresh take on home sewing, one that is fashionable and trendy and I also want to entice seasoned sewists to step away from traditional rules and try the exciting freehand method... This is a technique everyone can learn, and I look forward to walking you through it, step-by-step.
Fun with Fabric is Jane Foster's first book, and in it she presents 15 simple projects, using fabulous fabrics from her own collection. With a cheerful primary coloured retro design hardback cover, this is a small but perfectly formed book. It is stuffed full of information about retro and vintage fabric, where to find it and what you can do with it, from the tiniest scrap of fabric, to larger pieces. With vibrant photos, easy to understand instructions, hints, tips and templates for fun projects this would make a lovely present (possibly even for yourself). ~ Liz Robinson
Written by Mabel Haynes’s granddaughter following the fortuitous discovery of her grandmother’s connection to Stein, this is an innovative, intimate and complex exploration of an intimate, complex relationship between three women. While this book doesn’t follow a chronological form, its subject could be said to begin with Gertrude Stein’s first novel, Q.E.D., which was never published during her lifetime. Q.E.D. represents Stein’s attempt to deal with her first love affair with May Bookstaver, who was also the friend and lover of Mabel Haynes. All three were students at the same Boston medical school: “they came of age in the gilded age and were of a class that expected them to display themselves with the right cut of their garments, the right sort of bearing to carry it off.” While the impact and influence of these women on Stein’s writing has been examined, this is the first time the lives of the women themselves have been fully explored. Generously peppered with photographs, and drawing on multiple source types (private letters, Stein’s writing), this paints broad cultural brushstrokes alongside the deeply personal portraiture, and is a ground-breaking feat of biographical writing.
Our mass produced globalised world does give us all access to things from around the world but they do lack any personality and individuality so it's not surprising there is currently a real upsurge in making and creating beautiful and interesting things yourself.
As William Morris once said 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.'
Here is a lovingly chosen selection of books to get you creating some beauty for your home. Whether you would like to knit, sew, sketch or print, you can hopefully find a book here that will spark your imagination.