Monday, 31 October 2011

Hobby Craft 25% Discount Voucher

Great News! Hobby Craft wanted to share their friends and family voucher for 25% off everything in store this Thursday. 
Print it off and take it to your nearest store.

If you are having problems printing the voucher email Zoe and she will send you the voucher on email: 
zoe {at}

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Book Review: A Zombie Ate My Cupcake

By Guest Blogger Lizzie Evans - Look Who has a Blog

Author Lily Jones, more commonly known as Lily Vanilli, is an East London based baker, known for her creative and unconventional designs. Dubbed ‘the rock n’ roll baker’ by Dazed and Confused magazine, she has worked with the likes of Elton John and Nigella Lawson. ‘A Zombie Ate My Cupcake’ is her first recipe book.

Each recipe has a mini introduction, accompanied by easy to follow instructions. The layout is simple, and nicely spaced. And each step is clear, honest and concise, with images on some recipes to show you how to deal with the trickier stages.

I think the over-the-top ‘part graphic novel, part cookbook’ design is brilliant. It’s a little different to your other cupcake related books on the market at the moment, and really stands out. The illustrations by Paul Parker are amazing, and really fit the cake designs.

What I really like is that there is a cupcake design for everyone! At the back of the book, she lists a range of simple cupcake recipes, from her famous red velvet flavour to simple vanilla. She also provides helpful tips so you can change them to fit your taste or preferences, making the book timeless.

The ingredients are easy to find, and she has also added a list of tools and suppliers so you don’t miss out on anything. Lily is also a promoter of fair trade ingredients, so that gives her cupcakes an added edge. Here's one I made earlier.

Brilliantly designed, and really easy to use: 4/5

Earlier this month, SW Craft Club also had a bloggers’ daytrip to Lily’s shop in East London. Based just off Columbia Road, in Shoreditch, her shop is the perfect destination to spend your Sunday afternoons.

I managed to catch up with Lily to ask her about her book, and what it is about cupcakes that makes them so damn desirable!

Hi Lily, so how did the name 'Lily Vanilli' come about?

It was one of a long line of silly baking puns in a conversation with my friend Anita on msn - she was in Australia at the time. I just started using it for real after that. 

What is it about cupcakes that make you so passionate about them?

I wanted to call the book 'Zombies Ate My Cake' but my publisher was insistent that cupcakes should be in the title as they were so popular. The whole book and the grotesque style of decorating that I was doing were meant to be a reaction against cupcakes! 

So why do you think cupcakes are so popular at the moment?

I think it was a fashion moment, plus they make sense as a snack. They’re individual and the right size, pretty and portable. People like cake so it follows that they will like a cupcake.

Ok, so what inspired you to write 'A Zombie Ate My Cupcake'?

I think kids and grown-ups alike have a fascination with anything gory, or with insects and horror, I know I do. The imagery of the book is inspired by comics and B-movies and I love horror in general. 

Nice! And finally, do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline we should know about?

We have a huge event coming up! It’s called the YBF’s- it’s a celebration of all the new creativity in food and a search for the next generation of passionate foodies. We think what's happening in British food at the moment is a movement, a breaking down of the old systems and a fresh exciting start.
We’ll be sure to check it out! Thanks Lily!
If you’re interested in learning more about the YBF’s, you can check out their website here! []. You can also keep up-to-date with what Miss Lily Vanilli is doing on her website! []

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

SW Craft Club does Europe - Italy

After France, we crossed the boarder to Italy, best known for passion, food and wine.  
We started our Italian tour in a remote Tuscan farm house. Idyllic surroundings, vine yards and rolling hills (Agghhhh take me back there) and inside was equally heavenly. Step into this boutique hotel and you’ll be taken back with the interior, a little contemporary, lots restoration and crafts all rolled into one.

Welcome. Come inside and enjoy the decorations/ props throughout. In our room we were greeted with a crochet bed spread on a child’s bed, a pretty display of suitcases, black and white images of past movie stars, lighting shining onto a beautiful red dress hanging on the wall waiting perfectly for its owner and artwork by a local artist exhibited on an easel. 

We didn’t get to share in the imagination of the other 5 bedrooms, but other parts of the house, were equally as pleasing as our room. More crochet, a miniature spinning wheel sitting next to the fire in the living room, a retro typewriter on the coffee table, the cow bell on the front door to announce our arrival, a perched Pinocchio outside next to the seed beds, woven baskets, flowers blooming and lots of pretty knackered chairs – restored to a decorative state, fitting in perfectly to their surroundings. It was all magical. 
Whilst in Tuscany we drove to a local town. In mountainous regions in Italy we found many of the towns perched on the top of the mountains, surrounded by a fortress wall. It was quite magnificent, skinny streets, local shops, huge churches, unique architect and tiles. We stumbled across two walls of tiling, each ceramic tile handmade and different from the previous, it was an inspirational wall.

We left Tuscany for the romance of Florence. We soaked in the immense architecture, the hustle and bustle from the tourists and artists and enjoyed the galleries and David.

We’ve fallen back in love with Italy and we won’t be leaving it so long to visit again.

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Monday, 24 October 2011

SW Craft Club does Europe - France

I’m not sure if you noticed our absence this summer, but we closed for a couple of weeks, for a well deserved break. We drove to Europe for a summer road trip around France and Italy.

It was an incredible, we covered over 1000 miles and too many toll roads. Each place we visited I tried to hunt out crafts or crafts familiar to that region. Here are our best bits.

Our first stop was the Loire Valley. A region of wine and Châteaus. The largest château in the region is Château de Chambord, we popped by for a nose, the place is immense.  

Inside we found needlework, tapestry, pottery, millinery,
stone work, sculptures, artwork etc.

Second on our stop off tour was Lyon. Once famous for being Frances first city, Lyon is a bustling city full of history, tours, restaurants and modern shops, Lyon’s historical craft is weaving, namely silk and we stumbled upon a small weavers whilst we were there.
We didn’t want to leave Lyon, too much to see and too little time, hopefully one day we’ll head back! Next stop, Nice…
I was smiling from ear to ear when we arrived in Nice, as luck would have it we stumbled across a flea market and our hotel was next door to a pokey little fabric shop, which stocked the best retro fabric and prints, I was in love!
The last stop of the French leg was Champagne. Couldn’t find much craft in Champagne I’m afraid, I was too busy sampling the region’s delights.

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Friday, 21 October 2011

Blog Give Away 4!

We recently came across Stallholder, an online marketplace where crafters can skilfully showcase and market their products within a cooperative of like minded designer makers and artisans.
We’re pleased to announce, that we've managed to secure 20 complimentary stalls for our readers. Simply log on and use the following coupon code on checkout:  SWCRAFT to claim your free stall.

Be quick & remember to let us know your web address when you have signed up and we'll help to spread the word by tweeting it to the masses.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Book Review: Spooning with Rosie: Food, Friendship & Kitchen Loving

Brixton deli owner Rosie Lovell ensures that her stomping ground is bigged up good and proper in this warm and helpful first cookery book.

 Divided into thematic sections like ‘Soulful Grub’ and ‘Hangover Cures’, Rosie offers up her wealth of food knowledge acquired from family and friends over the years and gives tried and tested recipes to satiate your every need

With holiday snaps and her own doodles on pages, this book feels as homely as the recipes adorning the pages. Particular favourites are her hot chicken wings which forego any lengthy marinading process and her delicious and economical muesli.

There are beautiful illustrations of food ‘partners in crime’ such as lentils and saffron and mint and peas and plenty of her food anecdotes involving the many colourful characters in her friendship group.  Recipes aren’t overly prescriptive or stuffy and any advice is given in an informed but friendly way.

Rosie’s regulars get plenty of mentions as do her fellow Brixton businesses so look out if you fit into either category. If Spooning with Rosie doesn’t rightly entice you into the bustle of Brixton, I don’t know what will. 
Thank you Rosie.

We give this book 4.5/5

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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Book Review: Everything Alice

Take a moment and escape from your everyday life into a craft fantasy world. Inspired by the enchanting world of Alice in Wonderland, two lovely ladies have come together to create this craft book Everything Alice, much like the story, this book is magical. It was enlightening to read the journey the book’s creators took to put the book together.  Obviously a labour of love, the book taps into many different crafts to create 50 original projects, from the march hare’s house tea-cosy and Cheshire cat hand warmer to the lavender dormice and one of my favourites the Humpty Dumpty Doorstop, even the title for each project is inspiring.

It’s clear this book has not been hastily created, throughout the book the images and illustrations are beautiful, from the Invitation Cushion and Mad Hatter Hats to the Shadow Puppet Show . Each time you look at the book you will notice anther small detail with in the projects. 
Shadow Puppet Show. Credit: Tiffany Mumford
We Made this.....

SW Craft Club Fabric Covered Tea Pot

Following the success of the book, more products have been launched to compliment it, including the Everything Alice Note Cards – Eat Me, Queen of Hearts Cake Stand and note books.

This book is a great gift, Everything Alice we salute you and give you 5/5

Don’t just take our word for it, click to read more book reviews on Amazon 

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Monday, 3 October 2011

Retro Mens' Knitwear Patterns

To prove we are not bias and we don’t just feature articles for the ladies, this week we’ve put together a very special article for the men.

A month ago I popped down to the coast with Natasha DeVil and we had one thing on our minds – raid the charity shops. Seems strange eh? Not quite, there is a method to our madness, London has very expensive charity shops (oxymoron) but as a lot of old people move to the coast when they retire, if you pick the right town, it’s seriously like winning the charity shop lottery.

Anyhow winter is drawing in and we were on the hunt for retro knitting patterns, thankfully we were in luck, it was like an Aladdins cave of musky clothing, 1980’s films  and thankfully knitting paraphernalia. 

Below I've picked some of my favourite images/ patterns...

Parental Advisory – whist the patterns are fab, draw your eyes in more closely to the photography it’s a thing of retro beauty and the models/ their poses are status of art. Enjoy!

Do you like? Below are some of the best patterns pages from Mon Tricot....
Ummm, haven't considered matching socks and jumper, but it is worth considering, he seems happy..
One word - Movember
This is the biggest men's cardigan I have seen in my life, I like the pattern, but the sleeves - Goodness
Notice the title Men's Fashion - I have high expectations

We’ve left the best until last – The Starsky cardigan. Yes that’s right we have the pattern, needles ready SW Craft Club are going retro this winter!!

If you’d like a copy of the patterns of any of the images, let us know we’d happily email the pattern to you. What this space for the women's patterns coming soon.....
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