Missbeecrafty’s latest crafty finds

I love me a good craft book. Sometimes I take them home just to drool over, and sometimes I actually make some of the things! In the last couple of months, I’ve found some really wonderful craft books, and I just had to share. Maybe you’ll find something to make too!

9781607058861First up, is Felt Wee Folk by Salley Mavor. This book is full of adorable little figurines, with the sweetest faces, little acorn cup hats, and beautiful felt clothes. I really wanted to make some fairies for the Christmas Tree, and a Nativity, and maybe a winter scene, too. I found it before Christmas, and I really would have made some if I hadn’t discovered book number two just a week later…

Book number two is Happy Quilts! by Antonie Alexander. This book looked so bright and fun I couldn’t resist bringing it home, and as I pored over the cute projects, I realised that here was the perfect inspiration for the Young Lad’s homemade Christmas present. Even though this is a book of quilts, I didn’t make him a quilt (remember I took this book out just before Christmas, even I wouldn’t contemplate making a whole quilt with just three weeks to do it. I may be good, but I’m not that good!)


I thought about one of the soft toys, but the Young Lad has just turned eight, and I wasn’t sure how well a rag-doll would go down, even if it was a superhero rag-doll.  So I decided to use one of the robot quilt blocks, and make him a cushion. I had a lot of fun choosing colourful fabrics from my stash, and was really pleased that the only things I ended up buying was background fabric and buttons. The huge grin on his face, and the bear hug he gave the cushion when he opened it told me I’d chosen just the right thing to make!

9781784943301The last book I want to tell you about is Wedding Jewelry by Sian Hamilton. I spied this book on the new books shelf and couldn’t stop myself from picking it up and flicking through. See, my little brother is getting married this year, and I want to make something for his fiancée. Even though the brides in the book all have rather pained expressions on their faces — according to Miss Missy, several of them look like they’ve just noticed bird poo on their shoulder — the instructions are really clear, and there are lots of interesting techniques. When I showed the book to my future SIL, we came up with a plan for me to make a beaded hair comb, and I’m really excited about getting started on it!

Have you discovered any great crafting books lately? If so, please tell me your finds!

Photo Hunt October: Gundry- Strong Wedding, 1902

Ethel Gundry marries Frederick Strong , 1902.
Entry 2015 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt, PH15-RoSt-Ethel_Gundry_marries_Frederick_Strong_1902 CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 NZ

Roger Strong entered this photo of his grandparents’ wedding in the 2015 Christchurch City Libraries Photo Hunt:  “Frederick George Howard Bach Strong marries Ethel Theresa Gundry.  The wedding toook place in Christchurch, August 20th, 1902  – Springfield Road somewhere?   The Strong family is on the groom’s side. The bride’s father was William Hickley Gundry, a prominent auditor and accountant in Christchurch. His uncle was Dr Gundry one of the first settlers along with his father Samuel Gundry. The man with the beard at the back, third to the left of the groom is the groom’s father – at that time Librarian of the Canterbury Public Library – the Strong’s lived in the library house on Cambridge terrace.”

But what is the story behind the figure cut out in the back row?

Christchurch City Libraries has been running an annual Photo Hunt in conjunction with the city’s Heritage Week since 2008.  The 2016 Photo Hunt is running again from 1 – 31 October. During the month of October we will be posting a series of images from earlier Photo Hunts.

Enter the 2016 hunt online or at your local library.

Kete Christchurch is a collection of photographs and stories about Christchurch & Canterbury, past and present. Anyone can join and contribute.

New Zealand Fashion in pictures: Our Flickr

For New Zealand Fashion Week we’re sharing some of our favourite images of New Zealand fashion.

The Christchurch City Libraries Flickr account is a treasure trove of local images. We have photos of library events and displays, things we see around the city (buildings coming down, and going up), but we also have photos that have been donated for digitising from members of staff and the public, often as part of our annual Photo Hunt competition.

And, my word, there are some great outfits captured in those photos. Here is just a selection  –

Fantastic frocks

Papanui High School Prefects and House Captains
Papanui High School Prefects and House Captains, 1948, Flickr File reference: HW08-IMG-FE066
Mother and Daughter
Mother and Daughter, 1951, Flickr File reference: HW08-IMG-HA081
Wendy & Ina Bradley
Wendy & Ina Bradley, Circa 1967, Flickr File reference: HW08-CE134
Debutante Ball, Akaroa
Debutante Ball, Akaroa, 1969, Flickr File reference: HW08-img-fe113
Three cousins
Three cousins, 1971, Flickr File reference:HW08-img-ce104

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“Mum, can you help organise a vintage, shabby-chic, casual yet classy, cheap but not obviously so, intimate sophisticated wedding?”

Cover of Style me vintageBy the time you read this Valentine’s day will have passed for another year and those of us who missed this craze as youths will shake our heads and wonder at the nonsense of it all.  As Joan Rivers said “Don’t talk to me about Valentine’s day. At my age an affair of the heart is a bypass!”

However this year I cannot be quite so sanctimonious as we are embarking on wedding planning  for our daughters’ upcoming wedding, which makes Valentine’s day look like a modest affair.

I am now immersed in the world of  “favours” (apparently it is no longer enough for guests to come along and eat and drink copious amounts, they now have to get a gift as well).  My daughter wants  a vintage theme and no doubt this also means ‘Shabby’ and ‘Chic’.  There are flowers  and bows, bunting, tags and cute little signs galore.  Then there is THE DRESS!

Luckily for her I’m a bit of a dab hand with a needle and thread, (excluding aforementioned wedding dress), so the bunting is cut and ready to be sewn, and there is even talk of doilies….crocheted for goodness sake, and candles in pretty cups.  Secretly I’m rather enjoying the whole thing (apart from the expense) but hopefully with my skill at op-shopping we should be able to keep costs down with an eager eye for vintage cups, lace and whatever fills the definition of Vintage Chic.

The library has also come to the rescue with some great titles:

Cover of Scenes from an impending marriageThankfully we are avoiding the big meringue look of the Gypsy wedding and oddly enough my daughter has rejected my offer of the full on crochet extravaganza that this book encourages!

One little book however has proved to be a keeper. Scenes from an impending marriage: a prenuptial memoir is a graphic novel by Adrian Tomine that manages to capture the amusing  and absurd moments leading up to his wedding.  It gave me hope that we can do this, and keep a sense of humour!

On being Bridezilla

CoverHere I am, middle aged, married before with adult children. Not the usual candidate for the ‘Bridezilla Syndrome’ so often talked about. But it seemed as soon as I was engaged at Christmas, I became obsessed, and the library has become my source of all things wedding and bridal, but it has also given me pause for thought. Why, I asked myself, are the vast majority of these books aimed at brides, talking directly at the bride, with mention of the groom limited to how he should just answer yes when asked a question and not have his stag night the night before ‘her’ big day.

Few have anything in them about second time around weddings either and dresses are white, offering variations such as cream, ivory or, if you really wish to push the boat out – blush pink!

So with what I have learnt, and all the pages I have turned, in mind, I have a short list of the books I’ve found to be helpful, insightful or practical. But I’ve also thrown in ones that are downright over the top, but with pretty pictures.

To start, look to the past for inspiration. The Wedding by Paul Atterbury and Hilary Kay (both of Antiques Roadshow fame) have collected a fascinating selection of wedding photos from the reign of Queen Victoria on,  some touching and some just plain odd! Wedding Inspirations by Beverley Jollands has romantic prose and vows you can use if that’s your bent.Cover

In the pretty pictures to give you some ideas (but you probably won’t be able to afford them) category, top of the list would have to be anything involving Colin Cowie. He appears to be a famous American party planner and his books are stunning.

Colin Cowie’s Extraordinary Weddings and Wedding Chic: 1001 Ideas for Every Moment of Your Celebration are great to browse, as is Simple and Stylish Weddings. Another good browser is Contemporary Wedding Photos by Julie Oswin and Steve Walton.

The book I have found the most helpful in a purely practical sense is a New Zealand one. The Big Day by Kerril Cooper and Denise Irvine is a sourcebook put together by two celebrants giving legal, practical and step by step information for a New Zealand wedding.Cover

Other books that are helpful are Ex-Etiquette for Weddings : The Blended Families Guide to Tying the Knot.  This is a great one for helping to navigate the minefields of new families, adult children and new step families and not stepping on toes while having a great wedding and future.

But my all time favourite would have to be Anti-Bride Etiquette Guide : The Rules and How to Bend Them. It sets out all the traditions, rules and ‘proper ways’ to do things, then tells you to just do it your way, ignore the protests from families, friends and nay-sayers and put fun, happiness and joy first – excellent!

And just to remember that two people are getting married, not just the bride, read The Complete Guide for the Anxious Groom, or give it to your husband-to-be. It set out his roles, expectations and although it does lean a little on the “It’s her day, just say yes” theory, it’s still worth a browse.

Golden wedding lovelies

What a lovely photograph! I’ve been looking through our collection of heritage photos from the Selwyn District and  wedding and wedding anniversary photographs featured regularly. Most were splendiferous lineups of hats and suits but I loved this closeup of  Mr and Mrs George Foster – their character filled faces – and their modest best.

Interesting historical note that they came to New Zealand on the Edwin Fox.
Mr and Mrs George Foster

Some other weddings and wedding anniversary groups captured in all their glory – Prestidge, Gillanders/Stark, Paterson/Anderson, Fussell, Kneeshaw.

The collection features photographs of the Selwyn district from the Weekly press and the Canterbury times between the 1860s and the 1920s. They have been produced as a joint project between Selwyn District Council and Christchurch City Libraries. They were photographed from the newspapers by Stephen Wright.

Hot off the shelf: Battles and Brides

The day of battle: The war in Sicily and Italy 1943 – 1944 is the second volume in Rick Atkinson’s trilogy about the liberation of Europe. The first, An army at dawn, won the Pulitzer Prize for its dramatic and authoritative account of the North African campaign.

In The day of the battle Atkinson follows the Allied armies as they invade Sicily in 1943 and fight their way north towards Rome.  The story of the Italian campaign is a compelling one; the invasion of the ‘soft underbelly’ of Europe was hotly debated by Roosevelt, Churchill and their military advisers and its outcome was never certain.

The great sacrifice and suffering of the campaign has particular resonance for New Zealanders, with the terrible casualties of battles like Monte Cassino etched on our national consciousness.  

Atkinson has combined impressive research, drawing on a wide range of primary sources, with a compelling and readable writing style to  create a first-rate narrative history.

It seems almost obscene to put a book about a subject as serious as the Second World War with one about a subject as frivolous as how to have a fabulous wedding, but that’s the way they arrive on the new books shelf, and there may be a military history buff out there who is planning a 2008 wedding. InStyle weddings is one of those big books that is slghtly terrifying in the level of detail it lavishes on something that should really be quite minor. After all, it’s only one day, and is it true that the more attention devoted to the wedding day the shorter the marriage?

Cynics and hairdressers who specialise in weddings might say yes, but the whole-hearted attempt to make one perfect day as outlined here is strangely seductive. The pictures are so beautiful (the dresses), the ideas so bizarre (the rows of green apples anchoring the escort cards – what is an escort card anyway?) and the budgets so astronomical it’s hard to look away.