Category Archives: Books

Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

The lovely people at Stitch Craft Create are having a Handmade Christmas Decorations blog hop and they very kindly asked me if I’d like to participate. There are four fun Christmas books in the blog hop — we were each allowed to choose one special book that we’d like to review. I think it’s funny that most of us, so far have chosen this beautiful book, Handmade Scandinavian Christmas by Hege Barnholt.

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

Handmade Scandinavian Christmas has over 120 projects in more than 150 pages.  My favorite thing about this book is that it is full of ideas for a simple holiday season, and many of the projects are meant to be done with children and other family members — and that’s what the holiday season is all about, isn’t it?

There are so many topics in this book, it’s hard to even know where to start to tell you about it.  The author has thought of everything for your holidays — here’s a list of some of the chapter titles:  Preparing for Christmas, For the Birds, Perfect Presents, For Little Hands, Almost Christmas, Christmas Flowers, Tasty Presents, Sweet Christmas, Wrapped with Love, The Scent of Christmas and Cakes Galore.

Some of my favorite ideas are all of the paper and nature crafts,

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

the many food gift ideas,

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

lots of gift wrap ideas (eeek!  a yoyo!),

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

and a whole section of advent calendars, just to name a few.

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

And then, there are super simple ideas that you don’t really even need instructions for, but you need the book to give you the cool idea.  Look, a snow heart.  I love it.

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

The photography in the book is beautiful.  Snow.  (Snow!)  Children.  It makes you even feel like you’re in Scandinavia.

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

Probably my favorite section in the book is the section on gifts to make (’cause you know,  I like to make things.)  There are lots of projects with great instructions.  I decided to try out the instructions for a knitted hot pad.

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

This was a simple, quick project and you can change it up a little and make it your own. I chose to add the little bake tag. I think these hotpads would make really cute Christmas gifts. (Oh, and just so you aren’t confused by the scale of the hotpad, those aren’t full-size utensils there. But, it is a generous sized hot pad!)

Thimbleanna: Handmade Scandinavian Christmas

To see more clips from this book and three other fun holiday craft books, go check out all the other posts in the blog hop — details and a list of the the other bloggers taking part can be found here. If you’re interested in this book you can find it here in the Handmade Christmas Shop. If you sign up to the Stitch Craft & Create newsletter you can also download a selection of free ebooks.
If you’re a new customer you can click here and use the code SCC525 to get a £5 discount on your first order over £25.

£5 Off £25 at Stitch Craft Create with Offer Code SCC525

It’s been fun to see what books and projects the other bloggers have selected this month — and we’re only halfway through the blog hop!


Faux Taxidermy Knits (& a Giveaway)

I’m very excited today because the super nice people at Stitch Craft Create have invited me to review Louise Walker’s new book Faux Taxidermy Knits. (Thank You super nice Stitch Craft Create people!)

Thimbleanna: Faux Taxidermy Knits

Now, I’ll admit, the initial invitation was a surprise to me, as my first thought was “Hmmm, I’m not really the type to hang animal heads on the wall.” (You might recognize Louise Walker as the creator of some really fun faux animal heads for Boden ). But, my apprehension dissipated as soon as I took a look at the patterns in this cute, upcoming book. Taxidermy isn’t just for hanging animal heads on your wall anymore LOL!

Faux Taxidermy Knits contains 15 patterns divided into two sections – fun stuff to wear and fun stuff for your home. I thought I’d give you a little peek for yourself – here are a few of my favorites:

A Tiger Rug – wouldn’t this be cute in baby’s room with a wild animal theme?

Thimbleanna: Tiger

Baby Bear Coasters (or mug rugs, if you prefer).

Thimbleanna:  Baby Bears

Hedgehog Slippers – you know how I love me some slippers and these look super cozy!

Thimbleanna: HedgeHog

An Owl Tea Cozy.

Thimbleanna: Owls

I’ve tested out one of the patterns for you, just so I could check out the instructions. Unfortunately, I was limited on time, so I had to choose the quickest project in the book. Do you remember those little rabbit’s foot keychains we used to carry around as kids? (Ewwww. Really? Were those real rabbit’s feet? What were we thinking?) This little rabbit’s foot is the kind I can handle.

Thimbleanna: Rabbit Foot

The instructions were clear and easy and it probably took me a whopping 45 minutes to make this little foot – an hour if you count the hardware. The picture doesn’t come close to doing this little rabbit’s foot justice – it’s really cute and it feels so soft in my hands. I’m thinking I’d like to make another one and hide one of those GPS things in it, so that I can find my keys when I lose them (which is all the time thankyouverymuch).

If you’re a knitter (or even if you’re not), this is a really fun little book to add to your library. But, don’t just take my word for it – check out these other reviews on the September blog hop:

Mon 1st – Louise Walker

Tue 2nd – iMake

Wed 3rd – Knit Happens

Thu 4th – SCC

Fri 5th – Thimbleanna

Mon 8th – Yarn Demon

Tue 9th – Greedy for Colour

Wed 10th – Knits and Crosses

Thu 11th – The Yarniad

Fri 12th – Crafts from the Cwtch

Mon 15th – The Creations of Crazy Dazy

Tue 16th – Knitted Bliss

Fri 19th – Lapdog Creations

Mon 22nd – Slugs On the Refrigerator

Here’s a little bonus for you – those super nice people at Stitch Craft Create  are offering a hard copy of this book to one of you. Just leave a comment on this post and I’ll draw a winner sometime around October 1st.

And if you don’t win, don’t despair – the book is available HERE (oooh, and while you’re there, check out this PAGE for some other fun knitting books!)

But WAIT, there’s more (haha)! I forgot to show you one of my very favorite projects in the whole book.


Mr Wolf.

Thimbleanna: Wolf

How fantastic would Mr. Wolf be for the costume in a Little Red Riding Hood play? Three Little Pigs anyone??? Or, how fun would it be to have the big bad wolf accompany your cute Little Red Riding Hood while Trick-or-Treating??? Bring On Halloween!!!

Ok — remember to leave a comment if you want to enter to win a free copy of Faux Taxidermy Knits.

Good Luck!

New Books

Well, did you all have a good weekend? Ours was dreary weather-wise, but it was a good, productive weekend. I achieved 4 out of 5 of my goals for the weekend. I managed to knit a bit (project will be finished tonight); I finished the binding on the quilt (pictures coming if we ever see sunlight again); and I played Hand and Foot with MeMum. I didn’t get my fabric pre-shrunk, but that little failure was totally eclipsed by the fact that we got the master bedroom closet all cleaned out. WooHoo — that was a BIG job!

I also had a little fun looking through some of my Christmas books. (Long-time readers might recall that I usually receive and Amazon gift certificate for Christmas and I always save it for a middle of winter pick-me-up.)

Christmas Books

I usually try to mix-up the choices with cookbooks and craftybooks and this year I had an even split. The quilt books aren’t anything new (Some Kind of Wonderful and Remembering Adelia ), but I think I’ll enjoy them — they both have quilts in them that I would love to make.

It’s always hard to purchase a cookbook over the internet, so I guess my expectations are never terribly high. Lots of sites have been raving about Smitten Kitchen and I love her blog, so I put it in my basket.  Sadly, I’m a bit disappointed. There are probably only a handful or two of the recipes that I will want to try. I will say though, that those recipes look REALLY good LOL!

Vintage Cakes

I purchased Vintage Cakes after reading a few good reviews. I don’t have any of Jane Brocket’s other books and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by this book.   There are lots of recipes in here that I want to try. I’ve already tried the Welsh Cakes. I made them one afternoon for BigDaddy. His ancestors were Welsh miners (it’s said that the miners used to take these little cakes into the mines in their pockets) so I thought he might like them with a bit of tea. It almost made us feel like we were back in Wales — they were Yummy! (As you can see I was very heavy handed with the sugar — we both have big sweet tooths!)

Welsh Cakes

Based on my other book selections, Amazon recommended Pure Vanilla to me. TheManoftheHouse loves most anything vanilla, so I sort of purchased this book for him. It looks like a really good book – there are a bunch of recipes that I want to try (Twinkie Bundt Cake, Vanilla Bean Dutch Baby, White Hot Fudge, Frosted Vanilla Almonds, and Vanilla Creme Cookie Sandwiches just to scratch the surface.)

Pure Vanilla

And, last but not least, we have Handknit Holidays.  This book is now out of print, but obviously, you can still get it.  I remember looking at it several years ago but nothing in it snapped my socks (as Ms. Farmhouse would say)  so I didn’t buy it.  In December, the newsletter from one of our local yarn shops arrived and it had this cute picture of Christmas stockings in it.

Christmas Socks

The stocking in the book looks nothing like these cute socks! Anyway, this picture made me order the book. Someday I’d like to make them — I think they would be fairly quick and easy.

So, a pretty good book haul for this year, don’t you think? Now, I’m off to finish that knitting project!

Lisa, Sarah, and Jeni

A few weeks ago, Lisa and Sarah had a super cool giveaway and I was the lucky winner.  The prize was that I could pick any book (within reason) that I wanted from the Book Depository.  How cool and generous is that?  I’d had my eye on the Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream book for a few weeks, so that’s the book I picked.

Jeni's Ice Cream

It’s really a fun book and this morning I finally got a little time to try a few recipes.  TheManoftheHouse even helped and we had some fun.  The first recipe we tried was the Salted Caramel Ice Cream.  The book says it’s their number one best seller.  I love caramel, so it sounded like a perfect fit.  The ice cream note says “Initial notes of burnt sugar give way to a mouthwatering salty-sweet balance.”  It’s really a yummy, smooth ice cream, but holy cow, is it ever salty!  I think next time I’ll cut the salt in half.  The description was right on target — you taste that burnt sugar taste first.  It’s hard to tell from the picture, but our ice cream is a little darker than Jeni’s sample, so our “burnt” might be a little more “burnt” than Jeni’s.  We were pretty careful, but I think next time I won’t cook it quite as long.  I’d definitely love to try it again.  (HERE’s the recipe, if you’d like to give it a go.)

Jeni's Ice Cream

We made a second batch and “The Darkest Chocolate Ice Cream in the World” is currently in the freezer freezing.  We’ll try that tomorrow.  This book is crammed full of recipes — some are a bit weird (Chamomile Chardonnay anyone?) but there are lots of recipes that we’ll surely attempt.  Oooh, and look…if I back the camera up a bit, you can see that the Salted Caramel matches the new kitchen wall paint.

Jeni's Ice Cream

It’s a golden carmel-y tan.  Depending on the sun, sometimes it looks gold.  And sometimes tan.  And sometimes like baby diaper poop.  But that’s a topic for another post.

Lisa and Sarah – Thank You SOOO much for the wonderful gift!  TheManoftheHouse and I are looking forward to lots more ice cream fun!  I would say something like “if you haven’t been to A Spoonful of Sugar blog you’re missing a real gem”, but I’m pretty sure  that like me, you have them at the top of your reader!


Dirty Little Secrets

Like most of you, I suppose, I have a few dirty little secrets. (I’ll bet that got your attention!) Mine are pretty tame, but still, I hang my head in shame.

For starters, I have several dirty little literary secrets. MeMum and BigDaddy gave me a beautiful copy of Jane Eyre when I was a teenager, and even though I read a lot back then, I never managed to get it read.  (Hasn’t everyone read Jane Eyre?)

Jane Eyre

In anticipation of the movie, I finished the book this week, and, of course, I loved it. It was fun to read my childhood version of the book too, as it’s full of pretty little pen and ink illustrations.

Jane Eyre

The illustration below is probably my favorite.  I can’t wait to see the movie now.  Have any of you seen it yet?  I’m a little distressed — it won’t open here until the day I leave for spring market — I’m crossing my fingers that it will stay around for more than 10 days.

Jane Eyre

Another dirty little secret is one that I KNOW I share with many of you.  Really old UFOs.  Now that I’ve finished the crochet bag, I need some sort of handwork and I decided I really should try to work on a UFO.  I’ve resurrected one from the early 90′s.  (Ouch!)  I was farther along than I thought though — two out of four borders are all appliqued — just two more to go and I’ll be finished.   Why do we put these projects down when we don’t really have that much left to do on them?  I have a plan this time, so I’m going to git ‘er done.

Applique UFO

That’s enough for dirty little secrets tonight — I hope your dirty little secrets are more exciting!

To change the subject, I had a super fun encounter today at lunch.  I ran to JoAnn’s to see if I could get the new Denyse Schmidt fabrics for Julia.  When I asked about them, the clerk pointed to the back of the store and said they were all mixed in along the back wall.  Really???  Arghh.  There’s no way I can pick them all out — I barely know what they look like!  Luckily, there was another clerk in the quilting section and she hadn’t put them out yet — they were all still together and wrapped in shrink wrap.  Happy Dance about Perfect Timing.

And if that weren’t enough, as I was picking through them, this cutie with a little boy and girl walked up and asked for the same fabrics.  I took one look at her, laughed, and said “Are you Jenny?”  Poor Jenny, I think I shocked her, but what a wonderful surprise!  Jenny and I have e-mailed and shared comments for a few years but never met.  I think maybe we were both a bit too shy (stop laughing!) to suggest a get-together.  I knew one day we would meet and always wondered how it would happen.  So, Hi Jenny — I LOVED our chance encounter — it was the highlight of my day week!   I hope your novocaine has worn off LOL!

I hope you all have a fun weekend.  Maybe you’ll have a chance encounter too!