I’ll never be able to live a minimalist lifestyle. I just love stuff far too much… boxes, yarn, fabric, beads, vintage pretties, and, of course, books. I’m enjoying one of my new books so much, I thought I’d write a Making Winter book review 🙂
I’ve always been a bookworm and love immersing myself in a good novel, although these days, my eye-power tends to be reserved for looking at yarn getting tied in knots by hooks or needles and I prefer audio books for my hit of fiction. The temptation to carry on listening to see what happens next can lead to some late nights but it fits in well with the temptation to do ‘just one more row’.
When it comes to actual, physical books I prefer those that are craft-related and specially those that centre on yarny pursuits. Cosy lifestyle books are also a bit of a weakness and this year I was very lucky to get a a book that sits in both these luscious categories: Making Winter by Emma Mitchell, who is @silverpebble2 on Instagram and who blogs as Silver Pebble.
Making Winter is a hard back with a lovely, simple but enticing cover and I’d seen it pictured on quite a few posts on Instagram. I follow Emma and had also seen some of the crochet projects featured in it, so it didn’t take too much thinking about to add it to my Christmas list.
Even so, I was surprised at how much I’ve been enjoying it. Its not so much that I feel the need for a survival guide to winter. I don’t really mind winter that much. I quite like a bracing walk on a moody January day…
Where I live its very flat, as I’ve said in previous posts and podcasts. The skies in January can be so interesting and one of the things I like about my local landscape is you do get a lot of sky to enjoy.
The stark contrast with the leafless trees can be a bit spooky and dramatic, but I love seeing the natural earthy colours at this time of year. The water of the canal just absorbs all these darker tones and can look like swirling ink at times.
The murky mornings, dark days and even longer, darker nights are just a good excuse to get cosy and enjoy candles and just stay warm by the fire. Which turns out to be possible even at brekky time. This was the morning I finished off the last of the Christmas panetone with coffee in one of my growing collection of humungous mugs. Sssshhhhhhh.
So I don’t need the projects in the book for making winter more bearable. I just want them because of the feel-good factor that shines out of every page. Its the sort of book that you look at for 5 minutes and just feel happier and ready to get on with whatever you need to.
Having said that, I am still very inspired to try out a lot of the projects that are so beautifully illustrated and photographed. Many tutorials online and on blogs look easy but when you try them its a major disaster. Remember my home-made porcelain air-dried clay antics (I talk about them in Episode 46 of the podcast). The projects in Making Winter look easy. The sort of thing that you can just pick up and run with on a Sunday afternoon.
These are a few of my favourites…
A crochet and jewellery making combo! And the motif is just so easy – I had a go with one of the colours of the Stylecraft 4ply Classique cotton I’ve been meaning to do something with for months and it worked up in 5 minutes. In my next jewellery day with my bro, I’m going to add the chain and some pearls and see how it turns out.
Another jewellery project in Making Winter involves making impressed pendants using silver clay and little leaves and sprigs from the garden or sneaked from a park or hedgerow on a walk. Silver clay is a bit more specialised but this is an easy project if you know a bit about the basics.
This would be a lovely project to do if you were moving house and wanted a keepsake of a plant from your garden. I wish I’d done that with a plant or leaf from my Mum’s home before it was sold a few years ago. It was where I grew up and Mum loved the garden so much.
The crochet projects are small, easy and lovely too. I really want to try this simple and airy shawl using some natural grey chunky yarn that I have. It was a sample from my local mill and is spun in the style of Icelandic Lopi yarn. Its worked on a large hook too, so a quick fix project to balance my slow and slower knitting!
I also love a cowl from the book and these boot cuffs are fab…
I’ve only been showing a few pages as a taster to show how lovely it is, the instructions are beautifully done and really detailed too, but I can’t show them for obvious reasons. The baking projects are really calling my name (well, it is January and diet month, so they would, wouldn’t they?). I’m particularly taken with the fondant cake in a mug that you can make in the microwave in 40 seconds. That’s maybe one to save for the kitchen refurb hell later in the month, when a bit of gooey cake action may be life- and sanity-saving.
The silver clay project is still on the to-do-wish list but I did have more success trying shop-bought air-dried clay… These little hearts were made in the same way as Emma’s silver clay pendants, by pressing bits of garden vegetation into the clay, cutting out hearts with a biscuit cutter and then decorating them with Distress inks and glitter after they had dried.
These will be perfect as a spring garland for my garden room and I want to crochet some flowers to go with them using more of that 4ply cotton… So much crafting, so little time eh? xxx Kathryn