Archive of ‘Read’ category

New blog!!!


Ok I haven’t updated this site for a while but I have been working on some new projects. One of those new projects is a shiny new blog called Hello and Create. The blog will still feature DIY’s, jewellery making and crafts but other posts too!

As much as I love Bead It and Weep I just wanted to have a site where I could write about a wider range of subjects. 2015 and the beginning of 2016 was a time of a massive change in my career and I needed a new blog to keep up with the shift in my interests and ideas.

Thank you to everyone who has read and/or followed this blog and I really hope you come over and to my new blog.

Nikki x


Read | Caboodle magazine Review


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One of my favourite things to do after the kids are in bed is to enjoy the quiet and flip through a beautiful magazine. When I saw Caboodle advertised as a mix of craft, fashion and vintage loveliness (all things I like) then I had to give it a go. I’m pleased to say that I wasn’t disappointed.

The magazine is bright and cheerful. A nice change from the minimalist approach that seems popular for print at the moment. Despite all the colour it does manage to remain uncluttered.

There are lots of features on independent makers and shops. I enjoyed reading the interviews especially the one Leona the founder of the wonderful lucky dip club (which is well worth the subscription fee I might add) and some rather talented snail mail artists. They make me realise I need to up my #postcircle game.

As you know I am a bit of a fan of some jewellery making so I liked the DIY tutorial for a fun flamingo brooch. I am pretty sure I have some pink leather off cuts that I can use to make this.

Even the adverts were interesting as I discovered some new independent shops that I had never heard of but will definitely be browsing for some purchases in the near future.

There is so much in this magazine that I haven’t mentioned so if you want to know more you can find the website here or if you have made up your mind to get a copy you can buy one here.

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Read | Let’s draw plants and small creatures review

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If you are a drawing novice or looking for a guide to draw some simple plants and flowers for a project then Illustration School: Let’s draw plants and small creatures is a book that you should have a look at.

The book is written by Sachiko Umoto, a Japanese illustrator. The book is drawn in her own happy and cute style. They are plenty of exercises to work through from step by step instructions on how to draw different plants and incomplete drawings to finish off so you can get your confidence. Each flower only consists of a few steps and once I got the basics I found I could start applying it to other flowers not covered in the book. Maybe I should just point out that if you want to draw detailed realistic drawings of plants then this isn’t the book for you. As you can see the style is cartoony and doodlish but I like that. They are some ideas in the back of the book on drawing arrangements of flowers and how to use your drawings to make things (like stationery and cards).

There are loads of different plants, flowers and fruit to try out. I have found that with a bit of practice using this book as a guide my drawings of flowers and plants has improved.

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Read | Six Gun Snow White Review


Six Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente, as you can probably guess by the title, is a twist on the fairy tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Let me start by saying that this is a great story. I am a big fan of Catherynne Valente, her way with words is astounding but if you want an example of how good she is then this is the book.

The story starts by recounting the history of Snow White starting with her parents. Mr H., a rich prospector in the Wild West, blackmails the Crow People into letting him marry one of their most beautiful women, Gun That Sings. He takes her away to a big house on the coast where she quickly falls pregnant and dies during childbirth. This leaves Snow White in a world where a half native, half white girl has no place. Eventually the wicked stepmother shows up (with her magic mirror) and gives her the name Snow White, as an insult to her being half native. She sets about abusing her and working her to near death.

I am finding it hard to put into words how good the writing style. The first part of the book is written as Snow White telling her story but then Snow White “stops telling a story about other folk and starts being in a story other folk tell.” At this point Snow White saddles up her horse, grabs her gun and heads for Crow Country. The story is then taken up by a narrator who follows the journey of Snow White. Don’t expect dwarves and Snow White to do any more housework. This is a the Wild West and Snow White is a fast draw.

As I mention this is a fantastically well written book. No word is wasted. This isn’t just a simple retelling of a classic tale. There are so many themes in this book, it is about race, about gender, about abuse, about lose, about finding your strength and about magic. So many layers to read through I know I will find myself thinking about it for weeks.

If you are looking for not only an excellent story but a fantastic example of how to write then you should check out Six Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente.

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Read | In Clover Magazine

In Clover Magazine 1In Clover Magazine 2

In Clover Magazine 4 In Clover Magazine 5After the kids are in bed I do like to sit down with a good magazine and a cup of tea (or wine depending on the day). I stumbled across a lovely new magazine called In Clover magazine, named after the phrase to describe contentment and living in prosperity. In its own words…

In Clover promotes offline pursuits and slow living in the form of art, food, culture and sustainable fashion.

The magazine does not have much of a social media presence and promotes being “offline” as  much as possible. Possibly the fact I am writing a blog post about the magazine isn’t really fitting in with that?

The magazine has a nice mix of interviews, photography, fashion, articles  and recipes. Just to give you a taste there is an interview with Sarah Henshaw who runs a bookshop on a barge, the photos of Massimo Vitali who captures the images of groups of people and a lovely looking recipe for orange ricotta muffins.

I like the different slant that the magazine has on some of its articles. A jam maker discusses the importance of looking after your wooden spoon rather than writing about making jam or running a preserve business (though following it there is a recipe for apricot fruit cheese, a kind of fruit paste). It doesn’t sound like the most thrilling article but it is actually a rather engaging. As a jewellery maker I have a lot of tools and I can relate to how important they are.

The magazine is in the style of Frankie and Oh Comely if you like those then you will probably love In Clover.

In Clover is published quarterly and you can buy a copy from here.
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Read | The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton

The Miniaturist

It is 1686 and Nella Oortman is arriving at the lavish house of her new husband, the wealthy merchant Johannes Brandt in Amsterdam. She quickly has to deal not only with a house of secrets but Johannes’ terse sister, Marin.

Johannes is distant and Nella is concerned that he does not visit at her night. He does give her a cabinet house as a wedding present. Initially Nella is offended, she sees being given a child’s toy as diminishing her role as a wife and within the house. She begrudgingly commissions a miniaturist to decorate her house but somehow the miniaturist seems to know more about Nella’s life than she does. Nella embarks on a journey not only find out who the miniaturist is, how she can predict the future but also whether she has information that can stop Nella’s life unravelling.

Amsterdam in the 17th century was ruled by strict religious laws that were heavily enforced as a consequence the book touches on a lot of complex subjects including feminism, racism, and homophobia. It never goes deeply into these topics but it is certainly thought-provoking.  While the context of the story seemed very accurate I sometimes found myself wondering how accurate Nella’s behaviour was. For an 18-year-old country girl Nella seems very confident when dealing with the complexities of city life especially when her own life starts failing part and seems uncertain. She almost seems like a 21st century girl at times but this did not detract from the book for me.

The novel is beautifully written and I did enjoy it. I do recommend it.

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