Celebrating colour and craft books I've read lately

I love a good book, and I especially love a good book or two for Christmas. For me, they provide the perfect excuse to escape the washing up (it’s honest if nothing else) and provide entertainment if there’s something on the telebox that I’m not that into. So when my presents are plenty of books, there’s little chance of moving me off the sofa for the afternoon, which sounds ideal to me.

This Christmas was one of those book rich Christmases, and as well as the craft books which are later in this post, there’s a couple that celebrate colour and pattern which are quite apt for me. And to accentuate the celebration of colour I’ve photographed all of these on my new scarf, full of ‘my’ colours and handmade by my mum, who’s clearly been paying attention to my posts as it’s finished off with handmade pom poms - I told you pom poms would be big, didn’t I?

Werner’s Nomenclature of Colours

Now this is a fascinating book. As you can see on the cover it’s billed as “The book Charles Darwin used to describe colours in nature on his voyage on the HMS Beagle” - I mean, a book to help you describe colours, really. At the start of the book, which was first published in 1814, it says it has “proper coloured examples of the different tints.” And sure enough a few pages on there are proper examples of greys, blacks, blues and more with names to match.



Each colour has a number and a name, as well as description of its make up. For example “No. 9. Ash Grey, is the characteristic colour of Werner’s greys; he gives no description of its component parts; it is composed of snow white, with portions of smoke and French grey, and a very little yellowish grey and carmine red.”

Now I will no longer have the excuse of knowing what colour I’m talking about. And I have the vision of myself carrying this around Michael-Portillo-like (but without the clashing outfits) while on the hunt for the perfect home decor!

Spectrum, Heritage Patterns and Colours

Not content with colour, now I’ve got pattern too. Sheer heaven!

This book, which draws on the V&A collection and comprises patterns that “simply felt exciting” though I’m sure that narrowing the selection down was even harder than choosing the photos for the year book I’ve just finished. The book aims to be “both a compendium of beautiful patterns for inspiration and a functional tool”, and really is celebration of pattern and colour and no doubt, is just a splash in the ocean of the V&A collection.

It covers patterns and colours from the 15th century through to the 21st century, and while I’ve only dipped in and out of this book, I’ve a feeling that that’s something I’ll be doing for a long while yet - I could be a while!

V&A Spectrum Heritage Patterns and colours

Ah yes - I thought you deserved to see my scarf without it being adorned with a book, fab isn’t it? Strangely though, I almost bought this wool for my wrap, that I’m going to make up as I go at some point. I thought it looked familiar, and more familiar than me just liking it and having seen it before - then it struck me, it was the same as my new scarf…

My new hand made scarf

Granny Squares Weekend, Emma Varnham

I do like a Granny Square, and quite early on in my crochet adventure decided these would probably be my thing, especially for their transportability. I’ve been looking for ideas to take me beyond blankets and I think this book will do just that. I love the bag on the cover - which also reminds me of a patchwork bag I had (and could have made myself) many years ago. There’s coasters, fingerless mittens and even a bobble hat that might tempt me at some point, but not until my current project list has reduced a little.

Granny Squares Weekend

12 Months of Crochet with Red Agape, Mandy Sullivan

Ah, just look at that creation on the cover. But what’s also great about this book is the lesson in colour which it begins with, as it seems putting colour together to look this good, isn’t that easy. The book’s also split into seasons, so if you fancy a spring project, it’s easy to find just the thing. And funny I mention spring, as the project (apart from the one on the cover) is a Spring Wreath - we’ll see, most likely not this spring, but maybe.

12 months of crochet with Redagape

And the blanket on the cover, that’s called the Hexagon Starlight Dancer Blanket and is an Australian summer snowflake, which Mandy assures isn’t as hard to complete as it looks. There’s an autumn tote bag, and a crocheted bouquet. My project list really doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

Modern Quilts, Block by Block, Emily Dennis

There’s 12 quilt projects in this book, and once again i’m a goner. I’ve not even finished cutting out the quilt I started last year, nor even blinked at the ones that would follow and yet here I am planning more. My excuse, well apart from they’re lovely, is that they’re very me. If I ever get them finished my bed will look like the reverse of the Princess and the Pea, instead of sleeping on all the mattresses, it’ll be the quilts on top of me (until I get too hot, and throw them off of course!)

Modern quilts block by block

The challenge of course will be deciding which one, and then resisting the urge to buy material to use.  I’ve a thing at the moment for stars with quilts on.  That said my current favourite is called ‘Hopscotch’ but it’s quite likely that it’s bright colours are swaying me away from the star version, called First Place.  What else I like about this book is the project gallery at its start, which allows me to drool over and compare all of the quilts at once.  What I wish it had though, is the quilt’s names, not just the page numbers on the pictures.  I’m sure I’ll cope though.

Secret Garden, Johanna Basford

This was an inspired present choice by MOH, which is also code for he had no idea what he was buying as I put this in his Amazon basket and he paid for it.  The best kind of presents, well apart from those that come in small boxes from the jewellers.  I like Johanna’s colouring books, and you might remember I met her at an adult colouring evening with Staedtler back in 2016, and she was lovely and quite obviously very talented but totally unassuming too.

secret garden adult colouring book

And how could I resist a garden-based colouring book, a secret one at that. I hadn’t spotted the treasure hunt element to this, and if I’m honest, I’m still undecided about that. I’m sure I’ll cope, but perhaps I need to sit down and spend some more time using it to relax me after often a frantic day at work.

Have you read any of these, or read any great craft books lately? I probably shouldn’t ask, as I’m sure you’ll tempt me to try a few more, and add even more projects to my project to do list!


Corrugated colour and flip flops

From the vibe of the decor in the restaurant which billed itself as serving Rio street food I had high hopes for the decor in the loos in Cabana. As I reached the staircase, made of scaffold poles and planks for the treads I started to think I could be right, but I had no idea what I was to discover.

Scaffold poles on the staircase

It was quite a trek down, and on reflection the ground floor was a light and double-floored space so perhaps that shouldn't have been such a surprise.  When I entered The Loos, as they were signposted, this is what I was met with.

Quite an impression on first look

It was as if I'd walked into one of those storage containers, albeit a pretty pastel rainbow one.  Showing how pre-programmed we are, and conforming to type, I headed left to a door with pink flop flops nailed on.

As I had the space to myself I took a peek behind each of the pink doors.  The decor behind each door matched its place in the rainbow, but all of them had these funky, beaded oversized lampshades.







But it wasn't just the paintwork or the corrugate finish. The mirror and sink also stood out - and behind the mirror there was a tame hand dryer, with a more ferocious one out in the lobby.

A sink with a difference

The tap almost looks out of place, but I coped.

Rustic functional and very pink

Fun isn't it?  And totally in keeping for the restaurant's vibe, but also far from what I expected when I opened the door.

Home Etc

Colours of London

You'll know that I'm a fan of colour, but even I was surprised by just how much colour there was in the shops when we were up in town on Saturday.  After some functional shopping - a new duvet cover and some makeup from John Lewis - it was time for something I don't do much of, or as much of as I'd like at times.  A mooch around London's streets, I had a rough route planned to get us from Oxford Street to Piccadilly, and plans for some window browsing along the way.

While I love London sometimes and in places the crowds are too much. One of the junctions I avoid wherever possible is Oxford Street and Regent Street, much preferring to nip through the side streets and Hanover Square.  In fact there are plenty of squares in this part of town and many are worth exploring, but not on this trip, this trip was as it turned out, all about colour.

I mean, when a window display is as colourful and pattern-clashingly-fantastic as this one at Tory Burch, you start to get what I mean. 

patterns and colours galore in London's Regent Street

All of the prints, patterns and colours were great and my eyes didn't know quite where to look first. I'm not sure I would have put them all together in one piece, and I'm not sure many people could pull it off, but it was a feast for the senses.  In some ways it's no different to a patchwork quilt, just a bold and dramatic one. 

What do you think?

But colour in the shop windows of Regent Street wasn't just limited to clothes, further along these garlands of marigolds were just as impactful.

Garlands in a shop window on Regents Street

And the shoes too. There's nothing - other than tradition - that says men's shoes need to be dull is there?  I suspect though, that like the outfit above, only the most flamboyant and/or fashion conscious would feel truly comfortable wearing the pair in the centre, although on the plus side they would go with everything wouldn't they?

Colourful brogues

To highlight that colour was the order of the day, I turned around at one point and spotted this multi-coloured bike against a post. Perhaps the rider had it to match the shoes above?

A colourful push bike too

Arriving at one of our planned route stops, it no longer surprised me to see one of the windows full of colour. This time in the shape of a tea pot, and with a party in every cup there was plenty for dad's reflection to admire!

Fortnum and Mason's colourful teapot in the window

It also looks as if I've loaned my legs to the teapot, which gave me a smile when I looked back over the photos.  Inside Fortnum & Mason, the colour continued and these simple but colourful chocolate bars were very tempting.

Chickens on the chocolate in Fortnum and Mason

We found ourselves in the stationery department - and I escaped from there without a purchase, although there were many tempting items. In truth, it's a department we'll be going back to and I've a feeling that it's unlikely to wield the same result.  On this visit though I found myself snapping the colour, from this little bird garland to confetti and a first for me, confetti crackers which do sound an awful lot of fun, as long as they're pulled somewhere out of the confines of my house!

Pretty Birdies garland


There was the more traditional confetti in boxes but also contraptions to "release the sparkle" which again would be designated not in my space.  The glittered letter garland also looked promising but also fell into the the if-you-pick-it-up-you're-making-a-potential-commitment kind of purchase, and I've long since learnt that these are served best with a photo only. 

Confetti and glitter garlands

At the end of this section there was a display of colourful (what else?) paper plates and partyware of all designs, but of all of them it was these small square ballroom scene ones that took my fancy.  I very nearly left with these, of course I didn't need them and had no idea what I'd use them for, but they were like nothing, and certainly not like any paper plates, I'd seen before.

Fancy paper plates

The other item that seriously tempted me, and got past the do-I-pick-it-up-test was these tiny, tiny cards.  Complete with envelopes I was trying to work out if with these I could become the best correspondent ever, sharing little and often or look like the biggest cheapskate ever?  The other thing that struck me was you could only send these to people with a short address, and the fancier, larger stamps would be out too.

miniature and exquisite cards

But then again, if these were sent in the post that would actually involve using them. I decided they were far too pretty for that and returned them to the shelf.  I didn't leave completely empty handed though, you may have already seen my Spring decorated fairy cakes from yesterday's post, and I've a feeling that we'll be looking for seasonal cakes every time we visit now!