Craft Book Review #1- Make Hey! While The Sun Shines - 25 Crafty Projects and Recipes by Pip Lincoln
Make Hey! While The Sun Shines - 25 Crafty Projects and Recipes by Pip Lincolne (2011)
Pip Lincolne is the crafter behind the shop and blog Meet Me at Mike’s, and since moving from Tassie to Melbourne (hurrah!) has produced THREE craft project books- Meet Me At Mike’s, Sew La Tea Do and this third one; Make Hey! While The Sun Shines.
I chose this book as my first to review largely because of the colourful bunting-bordered cover, and because it’s the one my local library had in stock. I will also cast an eye over Pip’s other two books, so watch this space for future reviews :)
Reading the intro is like chatting to a crafty friend, one who is quite witty, a bit self-deprecating and very likeable. Pip makes you feel like you (yes YOU) can make crafty things even if you don’t describe yourself as a ‘crafty person’- normal people can create awesomeness too!
Inside the front cover is a pouch containing pattern and recipe cards, including Ginger Beer and Potato Tortillas, which I certainly approve of. I actually attempted to make the Potato Tortilla/Spanish Omelette concoction, pimped with peas, beans and rosemary, but cut the chunks too big so my potato took FOREVER to cook, though came out delicious in the end (see snazzy pic below- I should be a food stylist- NOT).
Fancy having a go at making the potato tortilla? HERE is the recipe!
The book has beginner-friendly resources including a handy ‘Stitch Library’ explaining 15 types of stitch (Daisy, Star, Herringbone, Chain, Feather, Fly, Cross, Stem, Split, Satin, Running, Back, Blanket, Whip and the French Knot- incase you were wondering!) and photos of the tools she’s mentioned in the book.
There’s a section on sewing basics, how to knit and how to crochet- which features heavily in the projects! There’s also a reading list of recommended classic literature (not so useful), a list of other crafty books, blogs and inspirations (very useful and interesting), a summer music playlist (which doesn’t feature Passenger and thus is invalid) and a list of TV shows Pip watched while crafting- she is a big Jane Austen-esque period drama fan!
Here’s a quick run-through of the crafts in Make Hey! in order of my preference:
1) Summer Camp Wall Pockets- This project tops my list because Camp has a special place in my heart: I spent two summers working at a summer camp in upstate NY, my escapades and lessons learnt you can read about HERE. All the kids had something similar hanging from their bunks, but this hanging storage would be super handy for craft equipment, make-up, clay tools, chocolate bars, stockings- whatever! MyCrafternoons seal of approval right here!
2) Customised Ceramics- Another favourite- nice and easy with plenty of room to express your individuality! Pip suggests using Pebeo Porcelaine 150 fine point porcelain markers to decorate some C&N (cheap and nasty) plates. A day to dry and 35 mins in the oven later and BOOM awesome plates for your tasty dinners! I’d love to re-create these plates my boyfriend bought friends for a wedding gift recently from Urban Attitude- they express the exact sentiment I feel after a huge, delicious meal!
3) Bottle Totes- A great gift idea to make that cheap bottle of wine look tres chic! A useful way to use up old clothes or bedding, and the drawstring bags could be used for all sorts of storage, even laundry bags if you made them bigger!
4) Decoupage Stool- I’m all for up-cycling, and this project does it beautifully. Pip coats a stool top in Mod Podge, covers it with a map and covers it with more Mod Podge- simple and adorable!
5) Crochet Party Bunting- I LOVE BUNTING- Those small triangles of joy hanging from ribbon, lace or string really make my heart lift! This version requires an ability to crochet, which is instructed in the book, but all that slip-stitch-chain-stitch-double-crochet makes my brain go blah-blah-blah. If you have the patience though, this bunting is beautiful!
6) Welcome Family Flag- a cute project for kids to help with, I’d probably try to include a unique family crest though, and maybe a unicorn, jus because.
7) Bike Seat Cover- This would be a great gift for one of my Brunswick friends if made with waterproof fabric to suit the Victorian weather!
8) Slogan Tote Bag- A nice, easy craft just reverse-tracing a printed slogan onto a ready-made tote bag and colouring in with fabric markers, with optional extras.
9) Knitted Finger Puppets- unfortunately knitting is not my craft, but these are cute and would entertain kids and babies for hours, especially if you made a puppet show out of them!
10) Paper Wall Quilt- These patterned diamonds are simply blue-tacked to the wall- I’d prefer a more permanent or adhered decoration but for renters this is a fun way to add some abstract colour.
11) Patchwork Cushion- Another craft requiring a lot of patience, but for a cushion cover this cute that is sure to be passed down through the family, maybe it’s worth it.
12) Patchwork Blanket- This would be a good, easy progression from the patchwork cushion, but if I were to put the effort required to make a patchwork wonder, I’d prefer a good old-fashioned patchwork quilt to keep me warm during Gossip Girl marathons.
13) Heart Crochet Necklace- Another craft requiring crochet skills, producing loveable-blobs rather than pointed heart shapes, but as a variation Pip mentions you could make perfect circles, which might be better in this case! NB: This is one of the very few occasions I will suggest hearts are better than circles.
14) Crochet Tortoise- Pip recreates a book’s cute character using yet more crochet, which is adorable and I think would make a spiffy pin cushion!
15) Stamped and Washi-taped Gift Bags- Would be great for a kids party, but quite time consuming for just a bag that might eventually get thrown out!
16) Decorated Tape- OK, in an ideal world, every detail of a gift would be personalised and cute. However, I know few people who would go to the lengths of embroidering or illustrating the sticky tape before putting in on the gift, thus this project is low on my list. However, it’s a cute idea with a million variations, so maybe if I just used lace or ribbon as suggested, I’d bother with the effort. Maybe :)
17) Embroidered Napkins- I’m going to be honest here- even if people come round for dinner, I don’t use proper adult napkins, only paper ones, and that’s only if you’re lucky! For someone more proper than me however, this would be a cute way to add colour and fun to a plain napkin, handkerchief or blanket.
18) Cheery Chessboard- Call me crazy, but I think if I had chess pieces, I might also have the board they came with. If the chessboard got thrown away, maybe when someone mistook it for a frisbee, say, then I’d need a drawstring bag in which to keep my pieces which doubles as a new board for the game! I like the use of fabric ink to stamp the squares onto the fabric, but maybe I’d use this for the tote bag customisation instead of for a chess board bag, as it looks way better than fabric markers.
19) Crochet-clad Baubles- I like baubles; they’re bulbous and festive like me at Christmas, but crocheting little coats for them just seems a bit pointless to me- I’d rather cover them with metallic spots or roll the bottom in glitter, even jet spray paint them, because all these things are faster and easier, but still add a bit of pizazz.
20) Piggy-back Pocket Monkey- Imagine a stuffed monkey with long floppy arms and legs that you tie around a child’s waist and shoulders like a backpack- et voila, you have a piggy-back pocket monkey! Clearly I have no use for one of these, but maybe one day I will like a child enough to make this for them, only to have them discard it and use their really useful backpack instead.
One thing I noticed about Make Hey is there are quite a few filler pages- pretty pictures of old nostalgic items, decorated clipboards, random people’s bicycles etc. However, even if these pages are there purely for some pretty inspiration, I think aesthetic pleasure is a good enough reason for anything to exist in the world- if it weren’t, we wouldn’t have art, after all, or crafts for that matter!
If you want a gift for a friend who is a crafty Mum or Aunt, this book would be ideal. Lots of the projects would be great crafternoon fodder for kids and adults alike, or if you just fancy a bit of Downton Abey-fuelled adult crafting, then Pip’s delightful little book of crafty projects could be your perfect companion!