Apologies that this review is a little late this month, but the Challenge kind of got in the way. However, we do have a bumber crop of reviews for you this month, thanks to the amazing Wendy, who I think is keeping these magazines in business all by herself! Thanks also to Diane and Michelle.
Magazines Reviewed This Month:
- Craft Stamper ~ August 2012 [Michelle, CShell Card Designs]
- Mollie Makes ~ Issue 16 (August 2012) [Wendy,Fat Bunny Designs]
- Making ~ Issue 23 (July 2012) [Wendy, Fat Bunny Designs]
- Cardmaking & Papercraft ~ Issue 107 (August 2012) (Diane)
- Craftseller ~ Issue 13 (August 2012) (Diane)
- Handmade Living ~ July/August 2012 [Wendy, Fat Bunny Designs]
- Craft Beautiful ~August 2012 [Wendy, Fat Bunny Designs]
- Make Jewellery ~ Issue 40 ~ August 2012 [Linda]
- Making Jewellery ~ Issue 43 ~ Summer 2012 [Linda]
- Simply Homemade – Issue 19, [Wendy, Fat Bunny Designs]
- Cross Stitcher – Issue 255, August 2012 [Wendy, Fat Bunny Designs]
- Stitch ~ Fall 2012 [Wendy, Fat Bunny Designs]
- Beads and Beyond ~ August 2012 [Wendy, Fat Bunny Designs]
CRAFT STAMPER ~ August 2012 Issue [Reviewed by Michelle]
Here we are again one month on, doesn’t time fly! Here’s the August issue of Craft Stamper. This month’s issue is packed full of summery cards and projects. Again the projects all come with their own shopping list, so you’re not rummaging through your crafty stash halfway through and then find you haven’t got what you need.
1) The first project that caught my eye was Citrus Burst, page 6.
I love the colours used here and the simplicity of the stamps, perfect for brightening up the wet days we have been having. This is quite a simple project to do but does involve getting inky and messy – you have been warned!!
2) Delightful Highlighters, page 10
This is a definite project to try; I have a fondness for simple cards and love using different mediums. This one involves colouring with a highlighter pen and using ink over the top. I loved this project so much I had to give it a go, I also used this month’s free stamp, what do you think?
This was such a simple card to make and I love the result, by the way I only used cheap highlighters and the effects are just as good as the expensive branded ones.
3) Viva Croco, page 34
Next up we have a beautiful decorated wooden box using crackle paint. I have to say I love this look and crackle paint is easy to use and easy to obtain stunning results. This one also caught my eye as it’s vintage and uses butterfly stamps. Two of my favourite things.
4) Pull Out and Keep Section, pages 41 – 43
Finally I had to show you the above card. It’s stunning! It was designed by Kay Halliwell-Sutton who also owns Indigoblu Stamp Company. By the way Kay also designed this month’s free stamp – Vintage Butterfly. This whole section is dedicated to this month’s stamp and shows you how to achieve these fantastic results.
1) Hats Off, page 45 a fantastic step by step project of a 3D Top Hat. Great project but would be time consuming.
2) Over to you, page 56 – 57. Another collection of inspired cards by Craft Stamper readers.
3) Master class: Distress Markers, page 62. A great step by step guide brilliant if you’ve not tried these pens yet.
Another great issue, packed full of ideas, I love the way this magazine comes up with different ideas every month as well as revisiting tried and trusted techniques. If you thought stamping was just loading a stamp with ink and pressing it on to paper then think again. Get this month’s magazine for some fabulous inspiration.
MOLLIE MAKES ~ Issue 16, cover gift = luggage tag kit [Reviewed by Wendy]
I haven’t actually read the magazine yet as it only dropped through my door this morning, but I have had a good flick through. It has the same format as its predecessors, so I expect the articles will be mildly interesting, the shopping pages full of eye candy and the projects lacking as ever.
I’ll fill you in a bit more on what you can find in this magazine. There’s a few pages of news of new releases, new shops, patterns etc, an article about the Fat Quarterly retreat in London the other weekend, a spread on the fashion for neon, a shopping guide, interview and “home tour” with designer Becky Oldfield, the usual pointless photo shoot about … I have no idea what it’s about, let me know if you do, and an interview with a crafter.
You really have to search hard to find the projects in this issue. There are 6. Yes, just 6. You can learn how to make friendship bracelets (within a 9-page spread! Talk about desperate for content), a very naff hand made scrap book, a ruffle skirt, placemats featuring the ever-present hexagons and quilted with a plate, knife and fork design. The needle-felted bear is pretty cute though, and the crochet lampshade is OK.
I’m giving this issue 3/10 as I feel it’s just getting worse and worse. It seems to be more of a style magazine than a craft magazine and the Mollie of the title doesn’t actually do very much making.
MAKING, Issue 23 July 2012 [Reviewed by Wendy]
Making is a much better craft magazine, it’s positively brimming with projects to make, some good, some OK, some not so great but a good selection non the less.
Starting with the non-project content. We have the usual Meet the Maker feature, Trendspotter – a roundup of things to buy, the monthly craft calendar, web reviews, course guide, craft shop of the month, book reviews and giveaways. Just the right amount of non-project content in my view.
The projects this month really are varied.
Sewing: sleeping bag, festival utility bag, mosquito net, chrysanthemum pouffee, summer tunic, kid’s tent and a basket weave quilt. The theme is Festival Chic which explains the rather bizarre projects!
Papercraft: some rather clever and pretty woven paper baskets that I’m dying to try out, decopaged chairs
Skincare: Shampoo bars.
Yarn craftt: crochet belts – another project which I’ve bookmarked to try, yarn wrapped vases, crochet geometric bag
There is also a Falafel recipe. I’m not entirely sure what a Falafel is, but maybe you are!
Overall I’ll give this magazine 8/10. The festival theme wasn’t really to my taste, but I love the format of the magazine and the mix of projects.
CARDMAKING & PAPERCRAFT ~ Issue 107 August £4.99 (without subscription) [Reviewed by Diane]
I’m sorry to have to say it but this issue isn’t one of their best. The freebie stamp set doesn’t inspire me or make me think ‘oh yes, that’s a great staple product that I might use regularly’. I do love poppies though and I have some printed stock with poppies on the design, which I could possibly use it in conjunction with. They just didn’t give me an instant buzz. The inspiration cards displayed weren’t that exciting either. I’m looking forward to next month’s freebie though, as it’s a gorgeous looking paper collection for the summer; although it’s a good job we don’t wait for the Summer weather to go with it or we’ll be waiting a very long time.
The article at the very back of the magazine by Joanna Sheen doesn’t interest me either as it’s about Thomas Kinkade, whose work doesn’t appeal to me I’m afraid but thousands of people do like it, so I’m sure they’ll love seeing that and trying out the frame card which Joanna gives the instructions for. There’s a story about a lady who won a competition to spend a day with Joanna and seemed to really enjoy the time with her.
There’s an article on page 68 about papier mache projects you can get children involved with, which would suit parents of young children but my daughter’s too old for that now.
The masterclass uses polymer clay to make a card. The card looks lovely but I can’t afford to start using any other new products
My favourite bit of this issue was the Quick makes section; especially the cards using American Crafts Amy Tangerine Sketchbook collection; the colour of which really appeals and the card designs are really interesting.
Page 26 informs us about the National Cardmaker of the Year 2012 and the competition you can enter by making a card using a product from one of the category ranges.
I’m sorry I can’t be more upbeat about this issue. It’s bound to happen though during the life of a subscription i.e that one of the issues won’t appeal as much to you as others.
CRAFTSELLER ~ Issue 13. August 2012. £4.99 (without subscription) [Reviewed by Diane]
The freebie for this mag was 2.5m of summer ribbon, which is very pretty indeed and I did like the embellishment idea they give for using it.
There are some very interesting ‘Crafty tales’ on page 104 about how three different crafters started their businesses. I think these dresses by www.susieswardrobe.com are very cute.
One very interesting article is written by Mick Dickinson, who is an online marketing expert. He gives ten top tips for creating a buzz on the internet.
There are instructions on how to make several things ranging from drop earrings to art student’s carry case to felt bag charms for children. None of which appeal to me but I’m sure lots of you out there will benefit from learning how to do those. A lot of these projects are shown with the idea of getting ready for the ‘back to school’ market but since they haven’t even broken up yet here in England and I don’t make things for that age, they don’t appeal to me. I do appreciate though that people who sell their stuff, have to have started making things by now at the latest I expect, to reach that market.
The article on ‘Diary of a craftseller’ is interesting as it talks about a lady called Sanna King, who helps out in someone’s shop in exchange for shelf space, which I think is a brilliant trade off.
There are loads of competitions to enter again including one I rather fancy from Tilda. I’m not giving you the details or I stand less chance of winning. Oops, out came my selfish side there, sorry everyone 🙂 A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do to get her greedy little mitts on Tilda stuff. You’ll just have to buy the magazine and see for yourself 🙂
Take care out there.
HANDMADE LIVING – July/August 2012 [Reviewed by Wendy]
There has been a bit of an uproar recently about All Craft Media, the publishers of this magazine. It went into administration and left its designers and contributors unpaid. The magazine has since been taken over by other publishers who may or may not be ACM in disguise. If you want to find out more and make an informed decision before buying this magazine or one of ACM’s other titles, I’d suggest you google it, there are tons of articles out there.
I like this magazine as it has a real mix of projects and articles in it. It includes interviews with interior designer Fifi O’Neill, designer Nina Van de Goor and artist Gemma Nerner, a guide to Helsinki, shopping guides, a “what’s on” feature to days out, book reviews and an article about the author of the fabulous blog Supercutetilly.
On the projects front we have:
Jewellery: A counting bracelet for keeping count of your knitting stitches
Sewing: a folksy pincushion, a holdall bag, little cuddly dogs, some boxes designed by Tone Finnengar – known as the designer behind the Tilda brand, little pouches with a bunting design, matchbox mice
Papercraft: “Vintage” cards
Knitting: a really cute little girl’s cardi which makes me wish I had the patience to knit, oh and a little girl to knit for!
Skincare: various recipes
On top of the projects there’s a few recipes (including the likes of steak salad – erm hello? Cut up steak, add to lettuce…), some tips on gardening including what to do with the veg you’ve grown, and a “summer” special which has some quite rubbish kid’s crafts, I have to admit to flicking past it.
Overall, I’d give this issue 7/10. The holdall and the dogs are nice projects, as is the cardi for someone who can knit. I also enjoyed the interviews, but the kid’s crafts and the recipes left me cold.
CRAFTS BEAUTIFUL – August 2012, cover gift – stencil (not pictured)
As I mentioned last month, this magazine is rather heavy on the papercrafts, I only generally read it when a copy is passed over to me. Having said that, there were some nice projects in this months magazine, and some good ideas in the cards section. I’m not averse to papercrafting, it’s something I enjoy, but the card-making magazines aren’t really my thing which is why I was surprised that I read a few of the card-making pieces!
So, starting with the papercraft section, we have techniques such as hand stitching on cards, using doilies to create wedding stationary, quilled seaside creatures, stamping and embossing in white on dark cardstock which really caught my eye. There’s also paper folding, cards with buttons, 3d flowers, the most beautiful quilled 3d fairies and an article on decopatch.
The regular features are short and sweet as ever – reader’s letters, what to see on the internet, Q&A, a feature on baking and a couple of interviews with well-know crafters Stephanie Wightman and Anthea Turner. To be honest, Anthea Turner is well known, but not well-known as a crafter. It amazes me that these people (I’m including Kirstie Allsopp) manage to land the kind of jobs we’d all want without even being any good at craft!
There are some good non-papercraft projects in the magazine this week too. Mosiac, crafting with sea shells, a jewellery-making tutorial for a pendant, ceramic painting and a lot of sewing. I think the publishers must be realising how popular sewing has become and have included several projects – an appliqué hoop for a new baby, a jewellery roll, a selection of owl projects including appliqué and cross stitch, a frilly baby bonnet, matching purse and bag and a patchwork cushion. Now I just hope they realise there’s a lot of interest in many different craft and cut down on the papercraft side of things!
I’d give this issue 6/10, the quilled fairies added an extra couple of points as they’re just wonderful. I also like the owls and the mosaic projects, the ceramic painting looks lovely, if beyond me, but I can’t see me making any of the other projects.
MAKE JEWELLERY ~ Issue 40 (August 2012) £4.99 [Reviewed by Linda]
I really wanted to like this magazine. This was my first time buying it so I was really looking forward to having a browse through it. But I have to say I was a little disappointed, nothing in this magazine inspired me, although it was very colourful (I love colour) and brimmed full with features etc, it felt cluttered, jammed packed with advertisements and seemed tailored more for a younger person (I hated saying that!!!)
The reason I buy jewellery magazines is to read about new products, see colour and style trends and gain inspiration from some of the projects, but the problem with this magazine is it just didn’t do that for me. The projects seemed limited, too ‘wordy’ to follow, I prefer to see step by step pictures and most of the designs seemed aimed at the teenage to early twenties market, which is OK but I would rather see a good mix of projects. I also judged this by the models used in the features, they made me feel really old! To me it felt a bit like a teenage style mag. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood when I first looked at it, so I put it down and left it for a few days, then tried again. I still didn’t like it! Sorry!
It had the usual features that you expect to find in a jewellery magazine, letters/advice page, readers design page (Your Space), trend alert (Festival fashion), Star style, Web Bookmarks, Business advice (Keeping design original and protected), techniques guide, as well as a limited mix of projects, looking at wirework, beading, clay etc.
Features I liked: Czeck it Out (pg 42) The story behind Preciosa Crystals and beads. A small feature on Tatty Devin (pg 50). Focus on Findings (pg 53) looking at various necklace ends. There is also a feature on Vintage jewellery styles (pg 32), I love vintage, but I just didn’t like the way they did this feature. I’m also a big fan of clay effects, but did not feel inspired by their special feature starting on page 67.
I’m not really tempted to try any of the Projects within the magazine and there are not too many projects to choose from! Here are a few that look OK. You can also make the project on the front cover (pg 72)
Baroque Beauty (pg 12) Necklace made with Silversilk knitted wire:
Summer Meadow (pg 16) Wirework Necklace, made with connected wired flowers
Sixties Styling (pg 44) Necklace made with ribbon and buttons, I do like these buttons!
I don’t think I am likely to buy this magazine again, unless I browse through it first in the shop and something catches my eye or I decide to give it another chance later in the year. Maybe I just caught a bad issue, but in my opinion there are far better jewellery magazines available.
MAKING JEWELLERY ~ Issue 43 (Summer 2012) £4.99 [Review by Linda]
Includes: Free Making Jewelley Directory (Book of Adverts!!!)
Back to my regular magazine! This issue is all about Summer, being their Summer issue and they are looking at jewellery designed to take on holiday.
I can’t tell you how much I like this magazine, especially if I compare it with Make Jewellery. This issue is full to brimming with inspirational projects, the problem is which do I try first!
Features: I am seriously tempted to list every single feature in this issue as I just can’t choose which to highlight. As well as the usual Readers Showcase, this month’s news on Trends and must haves, What’s on, Colour & Style for the Summer holidays and giveaways. These features, tips & techniques are a must if you are interested in reading about or trying something new:
- Feature on Clara Breen (pg 24) who makes pieces of jewellery working with precious metals and paper, maps, tickets etc
- Bead weaving (pg 28) shows you how to create a cubic right angle weave,
- Focus of Polymer Clay (pg 34) They asked four polymer clay artists for their top tips.
- Review of a DIY Felting Craft Kit (pg 76),
- Ceramic Bead Making (pg 78) second part of research into ceramic bead making.
- Tool of the month ~ Micro Foundry (pg 81) all you need to melt metal and cast pieces using a domestic microwave,
- Lastly, a review of Summertime courses (pg 82) if you fancy a summer holiday with a twist.
Projects: Lots of inspiring projects in this issue, the difficulty was choosing which to list but here are just a few:
- Posh Picnic (pg 12) using dolls house minatures and polymer clay
- Splash Necklace (pg 30) Using the new Pebeo product, featured in last months mag.
- Picture Postcard (pg 36)
- Beautiful Beading (pg 48)
- Beach Bracelet (pg 50) (I made something similar to this last year!)
- Silver Rings (pg 70)
- Making resin beads (pg 92)
I highly recommend this month’s issue, lots of inspiring articles and projects, that will keep you busy for a while.
SIMPLY HOMEMADE – Issue 19, cover gift – pack of felt, Simply Sewing mini book
If I’m honest, I was more excited about the content of the mini book than I was about the content of the magazine this month. The mini book has a quilt with appliqué and cross stitch, some felt flower brooches, a Union Flag cushion, Little mice pincushions, a fabric decoupaged lampshade and storage containers, a heart pincushion, bunting and an upcycled cushion cover made from a cardigan. Not a bad little selection of projects.
This month in the magazine we have the usual letters, new product guide, upcoming events, feature on Etsy sellers and a days out feature. There’s an interview with stained glass artist Leo Amery which I’m excited to get stuck into and a reader’s gallery where readers were sent a selection of items and made completely different finished goods.
As for the projects:
Sewing – felt camera-shaped bag; cupcake bag charms; a skirt, lampshade, bag and cushion all made using the same appliqué pattern; gadget cases; miniature macaroon purses which I’ve seen the free project for on Craft Passion already… ; and an appliquéd flower wall hanging
Jewellery making – pendants using cameos
Baking – the most incredible looking cupcake toppers which make me wish I could bake, and that I wasn’t on a diet!
Papercraft – a stationery set including thank you notes, a notepaper wallet to keep your stationery organised and a wall-mounted letter rack; decopaged set of drawers, container and notebook
Knitting – a rather old-fashioned looking sleeveless jumper
Very heavy on the sewing this issue, but not the most inspiring projects. I was quite disappointed this month and would give the magazine just 5 / 10.
CROSS STITCHER – Issue 255, August 2012, cover gift – giant Emily Peacock banner chart, Handmade with Love ribbon
I do love this magazine and I also love the giant chart that came with it this month. I can’t see me stitching the whole thing, but it has many elements that you can stitch up to make various items.
The lovely selection of projects this month are very summery. There’s a “gone to the beach” door hanger, a cushion featuring 5 ice-cream cakes, nautical-inspired motifs and a set of funky beach cards.
The theme goes on with a neon bright flamingo chart, not to my taste but probably to other people’s, a passport cover featuring British and travel motifs, a Moroccan inspired tray cloth, and a gorgeous little set of national flags. I have plans to stitch them up! There’s also a pretty tree, bunting and birdy stitch, designed for a wedding but which could be used for anything in practice.
Apart from the projects there are the usual news and shopping pages, and interview with Felicity Hall and readers letters. The Savvy Stitcher feature this month is sashiko, something I’ve been meaning to try for a while and this might be the push to get on with it.
As ever there are some charts that aren’t really me, but there’s also a lot that I would love to stitch, if I didn’t have to go to work everyday and could sit at home cross stitching!
Overall, I’ll give this issue:
STITCH – Fall 2012
This is an American magazine published quarterly, but I thought some readers might be interested in it as it’s often splashed around blogland. The magazine is quite thick, 144 pages in total, and contains a mixture of projects and sewing tips. A fair bit is about garment sewing, but home décor, children’s toys and accessories are also a good chunk of it.
Starting with the articles, there’s a feature on how to drape a bodice should you decide to draft your own patterns and a very useful article on different kinds of hems. There’s an interview with textile artist Vicki Jensen, tips on sewing with knits and the history of Coats and Clark. In every issue there’s a sewing basics spread, detailing tools, techniques and commonly used (US) sewing terms.
In terms of projects, there are several adult dresses to sew, a section on upcycling which includes a denim messenger back, a recycled shirt blanket and a measuring tape tote bag.
The projects are split into themes, another theme in this issue is School Days, including the fuzzy hedgehog kid’s bag, snack bags and a chalkboard mat. Another section has 5 different kinds of hat to sew and the final section, embroidery, is chock full of projects. You can choose from a faux-sashiko cushion, embroidered guitar straps, harvest placemats, embroidered baby shoes, oilcloth plant holders, embroidered animals and a clock featuring an octopus.
I haven’t listed all the projects as there really are a lot! I do think this is a good magazine for an intermediate to advanced level sewist, if you are a beginner, I would not recommend it. Overall I’m giving this issue 7/10.
BEADS & BEYOND – August 2012
This is a magazine I pick up now and again, and I’m thinking of subscribing as it has a good mix of jewellery techniques. I picked the magazine up for the amazing polymer clay canes shown on the cover, stunning!
Other techniques include using focal beads, using Swarovski Elements, brick stitch, multiple stranded chains, curved wire work, resin and bead embroidery.
The regular Designer Challenge feature really is a great source of inspiration with 4 designers creating very different pieces from the same selection of beads.
In this issue you can also see the latest products on the market, read an interview with Jewellery Maker of the Year 2012 winner and see the workshop of the polymer clay contributor to the magazine.
Overall, I think there is a real variety of styles and techniques in this magazine, so I’ll be giving it 8/10.
Thank you for reading these articles, we hope you find them useful when choosing which magazines to buy and as always your comments regarding the reviews and suggestions for other magazines we could include are always welcome.
Linda, Wendy, Diane & Michelle