I haven't mentioned it here yet, but I am counting down the weeks until we go away on holiday to the UK and Italy in mid-June. I have a work conference in Liverpool, so Alex is going to come with me. After the conference we'll spend a week in London and a couple of weeks in Northern Italy. We lived in London for 18 months about 5 years ago, and travelled in some of Europe while we were there, so we're not visiting so much for the touristy places as to see some of our old London haunts. I'm looking forward to going back to some favourite places, like the huge Waterstones bookshop near Picadilly Circus (Europe's largest bookshop according to Wikipedia) and the cute little french cafe in Soho we used to visit after an afternoon of browsing through books. Oh, and Borough Market of course. I wasn't that crafty when we lived in London (apart from doing the odd bit of cross-stitch), so I'm also compiling a list of essential craft must-dos for the time we are there.
Because I'm supposed to be saving for splurges at Liberty and Loop, I shouldn't really be buying new craft books. But when I saw the two Built by Wendy books at a good price (around $26 NZD each, including postage) on the Book Depository, I couldn't resist. I've reading a lot about these books and how great they are around blogland lately. I tried to justify the purchase by telling myself that I could use the books to make new clothes to take to Europe...
The first one, Sew U, has been out for a couple of years. It's a great basic garment sewing reference, and includes patterns for a skirt, shirt, and pair of trousers. The second one, Sew U Home Stretch, has just been published and still focusses on garment sewing, but with stretch fabrics. It includes patterns for a crewneck top, raglan top and dress skirt. In addition to great basic sewing advice, both books provide you with instructions on how to alter the patterns to make many other styles so really you are getting more like 10-12 patterns in each book. I referred to both books a lot when sewing my new skirts last weekend (though I didn't use their patterns) and I can see them becoming firm favourites. I wish I had the stretch sewing book to refer to when I sewed my first merino top a few weeks ago - it has lots of ideas for finishing hems (the part I hate) using either a sewing machine or overlocker/serger.
- the lucky dip craft night at Juniper was really fun. Nikki and Tash were there and it was good to meet them in person. Nikki has a good summary of the night on her blog today, including pictures of the very cute felt sushi fridge magnets she made. Pictures of my project to come.
- I am compiling a list of essential crafty pit-stops for our trip. If you have any suggestions for places I should go in London, Liverpool, Milan, Florence, Venice or Hong Kong, please email me or leave a comment.