Wednesday 4 April 2012

Book Review: Everything Alice

Time for the first book review of "book week"....Everything Alice: The Wonderland book of makes, by Hannah Read-Baldrey and Christine Leech.

As you'll probably have guessed from the title & the cover, this is a craft book inspired by Alice in Wonderland. I thought this was a really fun these for a book and couldn't wait to see how the authors had interpreted it and what projects they'd come up with.

The book itself looks lovely - in my experience Quadrille are pretty reliable in this respect, you know you're going to get a nicely presented book with lots of attention to detail -with lots of pics snapped at a teaparty in a park / fancy garden, and lots of yummy vintage threads and other nice props used in the indoor shots. The design (and the projects themselves) feel young and fun and slightly quirky, definitely more the sort of things you'd find on a trendy blog and less the sort of projects you'd find in a more "traditional" craft book.

The only downside to the styling of the book is that the templates look like they've been hand-drawn with pastel coloured chalk. The pale, rough lines would definitely make it harder to trace those templates which are provided at 100% and may even make it harder to photocopy the ones that need enlarging (I often find that black & white photocopiers have trouble picking up pale lines). However, most of the projects don't require templates, and several just include a sketch on a grid which you can then use as a guide for drawing full scale pattern pieces. 

The blurb on the back of the book says it includes "50 makes" but "50 creative makes and activities" might be a bit more accurate. There are a whole mix of different crafts included - sewing, jewellery making, baking, papercrafting, etc - but there's also things like paper dolls and cupcake toppers to colour photocopy and cut out, and ideas for several Alice-inspired party games to play. 

The addition of things like the party games is quite fun, and would be great if you were hosting an Alice-themed birthday party, but I think I'd feel a bit miffed buying this book and discovering that one of the "50 makes" was a double page spread with instructions on how to play an ordinary game of musical chairs! The 50 makes also include some very simple things like cutting a fabric circle to make covers for jars of homemade jam/marmalade.

Most of the projects in the book are fun crafty ideas that would suit people who like trying different crafts and having fun making things either on their own or with friends, rather than really experienced crafters or bakers. The projects are obviously going to interest you if you love Alice in Wonderland, but since most of the designs focus on one element from the book many of them could easily be made by (and for) people without much interest in Alice

For example, here's three of my favourite projects from the book which all have that Alice connection but don't shout "Alice in Wonderland themed item" when viewed on their own...

Cute lavender dormice:

Envelope pillows (I adore these!)

And fabric-covered teapot planters:

Overall, this is a really fun book! Lots of great ideas for tea-parties  (Alice-themed or otherwise) and lots of easily adaptable designs for things to make as gifts for your friends.

Everything Alice is published by Quadrille, RRP £14.99. It's available from Amazon USA, Amazon UK, The Book Depository and many other bookshops.

[Disclaimer: Quadrille sent me a free review copy of this book, and the Amazon & Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links which means if you click on them and then make a purchase I get a very small % as a referral fee.]


The undomesticated scientist said...

i love this book, can't wait for the new one, think its everything OZ!

Moois van mie said...

seems to be a fun book !

Kate said...

Interesting to hear your opinion on this book. It is one that has been on my radar for a while, keeps getting recommended to me on amazon etc, and though it looks like a really beautiful book I suspected it might be more styling and imagery than real content. Think I would probably still want to have a flick through it before purchasing but good to get more of an insight.

Hannah Read-Baldrey said...

Thanks for the lovely review! Yes not long until our follow up Everything Oz, will be out in July. Delivered via flying monkeys of course! Han x

cottonreel said...

Hi Laura ,I love this post , the mice and the teapot .
Please forgive me , I am working with the felt I won and I will post results to you eventually .Our cold English weather is making me so lethargic . When we had beautiful weather recently I was having decorating done . That also halted my va va voom.

Unknown said...

oh it looks really interesting!! :)

Bugs and Fishes said...

Hannah - thanks for your comment! I shall definitely be looking forward to Everything Oz :)

Kate - I think it really depends on the sort of craft projects you like doing and the sort of skill level you're at. There's a real mix of things in here from larger and more detailed craft projects to easier "crafty ideas" and activities, you might well need to have a flick through in a bookshop to see if the balance is right for you.

Anonymous said...

Good review! I think I will buy this book as a gift for a friend, but am wondering whether it suits someone wihtout kids?

Bugs and Fishes said...

I think it would depend on personal taste - if your friend is a fan of colourful, quirky / kitsch stuff then go for it!

I know with a lot of my own work, because it's brightly coloured and "cute" that some people look at it and assume it's just for kids and other people want to make it for themselves :)