Handmade Living

I’m feeling all joyful, cheery and proud writing this blog post: my dear, fun, lovely, spunky, talented and audacious friend Lisanne / Draad & Praat has fulfilled a dream she’s had ever since she was a teenager: she has made her own magazine, “Handmade Living”!

Isn’t that truly a-ma-zing? I know from firsthand experience what it means to make a book, and how much time, love and dedication goes into that. However, when you write a book, your publisher has your back – especially when, as in my case, your publisher is all kinds of cooperative and wonderful.

Creating your own magazine is quite a different story. It takes even more & other skills, and a whole lot of (girl)power, and courage.

And Lisanne ‘just’ did that!!
I truly love people who – sometimes even against the tide – follow their dreams; they have my full admiration, which, I think, is exactly what they deserve.

When I finally saw the result of all her hard work, leafing through the 120 ultra-inspiring pages of utterly beauty that her dream culminated in, I felt there was only one thing to do: take a deep bow in honest admiration for this visionary, young woman.

Guys…. “Handmade Living” is SO gorgeous! Even though it’s written in Dutch, I’m 100% sure it will be as inspirational to non-Dutch creative people as it is to us Dutchies.
It’s filled to the brim with beautiful, clean and fresh photography, it has recipes, plenty of diy/crochet/knitting projects, interviews, shopping tips, new trends, lovely interiors that have been put in the spot light, you just name it, and it’s been covered: creativity at its best, really!

Contributors are people you probably already know, like: Heleen, Janneke, Miriam, Lidy, Liza, Manon, Anique, Anette, Ilona.
It also has an article on “Trendy Crafts” written by yours truly. I interviewed Twirre for it – very inspirational. It goes without saying that I’m super proud to be part of this awesome production.

Now … I’ve saved the best for last: Lisanne is allowing me to give away TWO copies of Handmade Living!
Please leave a comment under this blog post if you want a chance to win, making sure I can reach you via email.

The giveaway is open worldwide and will close Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 (22:00 GMT+1hr). If I do not hear from the initial winner(s) within 7 days after my notification emails have been sent, (a) new winner(s) will be drawn.

Good luck!
Marianne xx

edit: two winners have been drawn and notified – this giveaway is now closed

PS: if you didn’t win a copy of “Handmade Living”, you can buy it here!

Giveaway: “Haakspiratie”

Among last year’s highlights were definitely all the fabulous crochet and yarn parties that I attended, as I’m sure every creative person and yarn lover will understand.

I’m happy to report 2016 saw a lot of these wonderful gatherings of like-minded people, that strangely enough always feel a strong connection right away.
I’ve already blogged about two of these fun events (here and here), and this post is the first of my reporting on the last two, and how they were just a bit extra special.
You see, back in August my dear friend and talented colleague Janneke released her first book “Haakspiratie”, and boy…. is it beautiful!
The celebratory launch party was held in a new-to-me great yarn store: “Het Wolhuis”. If you’re ever in the eastern part of The Netherlands, make sure to pay them a visit, you’ll not be disappointed.I feel proud to have been part of Janneke’s team of testers; even before the book was out I knew how gorgeous it was going to be, having laid – quite literally – my hands on many a design. In this post you can see some of the projects I’ve made during the testing process.
How about that cute pincushion, made using an old cup found at the thrift store? One of Janneke’s great ideas! And the coaster, doily, the grey shawl, and its pretty border, the flowery cushion cover? Aren’t they all lovely?
What makes Janneke’s book rather unique, is the combination of crochet and sewing projects, and the two techniques are sometimes even used in one idea.
“Haakspiratie” is written in Dutch, but has very clear diagrams, charts and plenty of (very pretty) photos, so I’m pretty sure you non-Dutch will not have a problem either.

This is good news, because …… *insert drumroll * …… I’m giving away one copy of this fantastic book, whoop-whoop!
Simply follow this blog, leave a comment here and make sure I can get in touch with you via email.
As usual, the “random number generator” will draw a winner, this Sunday January 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm my time (=GMT+1), and I will notify him or her soon thereafter.

Good luck to all of you!

Marianne xx

PS: one more thing to show you here: the little zippered hook case I made for Janneke.
I recreated her logo with felt, and hand stitched all pieces to the front; made with love of course …….

EDIT: this giveaway is now closed; a winner has been drawn and notified via email – thank you all for participating!

“Mandalas to Crochet”

maRRose - CCC --- Mandala Haafner-09When I found Haafner’s beautiful blog for the first time, my heart skipped a beat……
I had just re-entered the world of crochet, and although I was not a very experienced crocheter at that time, I instantly knew I was looking at an extremely talented crocheter’s work.

Not only is Haafner’s crochet immaculate, her designs/patterns and use of colors are one of a kind as well.
I loved making her “Popcorn Blanket”, my “Baby blanket Justine” – it’s fascinating to see how the squares form a pattern-within-the-pattern once they’re joined.maRRose - CCC --- Babyblanket Justine-14

We connected via Instagram, and I was thrilled to read last Summer that she was writing a crochet book!
Even more thrilled when back in October of last year, she asked Andrée and me for some book advice, and I was able to test run one of her gorgeous patterns – an honor, really.maRRose - CCC --- Mandala Haafner-11maRRose - CCC --- Mandala Haafner-08

And then last Friday “Mandalas to Crochet” landed on my doormat …….
What a wonderful-wonderful book! I can’t help myself: I love everything about it!
The patterns are – no surprise – beautiful and unique, and there’s an attention to detail that I’ve rarely seen before.
I don’t know how she did it, but the patterns are concise, yet very easy to follow, and all patterns have fab charts also. Photography throughout the book is ace, and the section “Before you Begin” is so informative, every crocheter can benefit from the tips&tricks Haafner gives here.
Last but not least: I love how she has incorporated seven gorgeous and different projects that all use a particular mandala pattern from the book.

The book is already published – in English – in the UK and South-Africa, will soon be out in the USA, and a Dutch translation is underway.

maRRose - CCC --- Mandala Haafner-03aThe big mandala in grey/blue/black/off white was the project I made last October; I’ll probably add some more rounds and turn it into a cushion cover.

maRRose - CCC --- Mandala Haafner-12Yesterday I made the small one, which is a little present for one of my nieces. A collector of fine bone china tea cups, I hope she’ll like this recent lucky thrift store find, that now has a matching coaster.
maRRose - CCC --- Mandala Haafner-07 maRRose - CCC --- Mandala Haafner-06Love,
Marianne xx

Flowers Abound

maRRose - CCC --- Flowers Abound-01It’s hard to believe it’s only been 8 or 9 months ago that one of my favorite crochet people, the ever so talented Shelley Husband, released her very first crochet book, “More than a Granny”. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy of this wonderful e-book – you can find the blog post on that right here.

In the meantime she has written two (TWO) more crochet books: the second one is “Granny Square Crochet for Beginners”, a fantastic step-by-step guide that will get any novice crocheting granny squares in no time.
And, guess what? You can get your free copy here.

maRRose - CCC --- Flowers Abound-04Her latest e-book is “Flowers Abound”, and this one consists of 20 gorgeous flower designs, some of which she has already shared while running the “Flowers Abound Crochet Along” – it will be out August 29th.

I was so surprised and pleased when I found Shelley’s email in my inbox some weeks ago, allowing me a sneak peek into the “Flowers Abound” book!
And although – like you all know – I’m not supposed to start any new crochet projects until my old ones are finished, I’m sure you’ll all understand I just really wanted to try at least a couple of these so very pretty flower squares…….
maRRose - CCC --- Flowers Abound-06The book has pretty much the same set-up as the first one, and that’s very good news, meaning instructions are very clear, a stitch dictionary (plus links to videos, tips&tricks) is included – all in all yet another fabulous book!

So far I’ve crocheted two “Louloudia’s” and one “Bloem”; ‘bloem’ meaning ‘flower’ in Dutch, was one I simply had to crochet ……maRRose - CCC --- Flowers Abound-02maRRose - CCC --- Flowers Abound-05Love,
Marianne xx

“More than a Granny” – review and giveaway

maRRose - CCC: "More than a Granny"One of the first people I started following on Instagram must have been the very talented Shelley Husband, aka “Spincushions”.
She used to make marvelous – and sometimes quirky – felt pincushions (hence her name), but she now says: “Crochet is my current obsession”.

This crochet ‘obsession’ does not only result in delightful crochet (have a look at some of the lovely blankets Shelley has made, here, here and here), but in designing delightful crochet as well!
I truly love Shelley’s designing skills and the crochet beauty they result in.
I’m sure you’ll feel the same way after you have checked out her work (here‘s where you’ll find the “Spincushions”-blog).
maRRose - CCC: "More than a Granny"

You can imagine how pleased I was when Shelley announced she was working on a lot of new granny square designs, and that all of them were to be published as an ebook!
Even more pleased when she sent me an advance copy of her book, “More than a Granny” – I could not wait to click the link, download the book and browse through it.

Knowing Shelley, her beautiful work and expertise in the crochet/granny squares department, I was not surprised at all that this is an excellent book indeed.

For starters, there are 20 gorgeous and versatile granny squares in the book – to me, that alone would be a reason to buy the book.
You can easily mix and match several squares many times and have a totally different looking blanket/cushion cover again and again. She even has some great advice on that.
maRRose - CCC: "More than a Granny"The squares themselves rank from reasonably simple to (a bit) more complex, and are thus categorized. There’s fun for every crocheter, whether you’re a beginner or like a good crochet challenge. Shelley’s very clear instructions make sure you’ll enjoy plain sailing through them, no matter your crochet skill level.
maRRose - CCC: "More than a Granny"But wait …… there’s more! Included is a “Stitch Dictionary”, that has a brief description of all terms used in the book – very helpful. On top of that, ‘how-to’ video links have been added; extremely useful if you’re more visually inclined.
maRRose - CCC: "More than a Granny"Of course I had to try my hook on some of the squares right away! For these I wanted to use the wonderful Bendigo Cotton that Shelley had graciously gifted me some time ago, and I’m truly pleased with how my squares look.
maRRose - CCC: "More than a Granny"Going short on the Bendigo off-white, I used ‘my’ Katia for the last rounds and as a joining color. It made me chuckle a bit: Shelley’s favorite yarn mixed with my favorite yarn, who would have thought!
maRRose - CCC: "More than a Granny"
And then last, but definitely not least: you can win your own advanced copy of this fantastic ebook right here!

Leave a comment and you’re in, it is as simple as that. One lucky winner will be selected next week (closing date November 20th, 2014, 22:00 CET) and announced here.
Just in case you can’t wait, here’s the link again to find out all about the book and how to get your own copy.
maRRose - CCC: "More than a Granny"Good luck to all of you!


EDIT: Giveaway is closed now (November 21, 2014)

“PUUR haken”

maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book reviewLast Saturday I had the privilege of attending a much anticipated book launch.
“PUUR haken” by the lovely and very talented Maaike van Koert, aka “creJJtion” (link to blog here) was officially presented to the world.
The event took place in Dordrecht, at the beautiful “Textielfabrique” on the gorgeous sunny Summer day that August 9th turned out to be.
maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book review

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words – looking at my happy smile in some of the photos that were taken at the event I have to agree with that. It’s pretty clear I had a wonderful time and so loved to – finally – meet Maaike in person.
maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book review maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book review

Having the opportunity to also meet Saskia (“Haken bij Saar en Mien“) and Claire (“HakenenMeer“) only added to the festive feeling – so lovely to have a little chat with them too!

After I had gotten my copies of “PUUR haken”, I simply had to have a look at the book before returning home and so I stopped at nearby “Zusjes” for a coffee and did just that.
Liked what I saw instantly – first impression: beautiful photography, lovely patterns, great diversity in projects, fantastic styling all through the book, in short: very “creJJtion”.
maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book review

maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book reviewMany closer looks later, I can honestly vouch that this book is already one of my favorite crochet books. And you know, the funny thing is – I am not your regular pastel kind of person, but I so love the pastel touch in Maaike’s book and projects. So much so, that I have already started her beautiful “Summer Shawl” in a soft pink and I’m loving it ……
maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book review

I don’t know about you, but I like to cook and for that very reason I find pleasure in “reading” cookbooks, just like I would read a novel. The same thing happens when it comes to one of my other passions: crochet, and “PUUR haken” wins the prize for readability.
Such a joy to read this book, looking at the beautiful photography, deciding which project(s) will be ranking highest on the “must-make”-list.
maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book review          maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book review          maRRose - CCC: "PUUR haken", book reviewThe attention to detail (I so love the little drawings throughout the book), the well-explained patterns (in text as well as charts and photos) it all deserves a big compliment!
Right now the book is only available in Dutch, but since all patterns in the book have their full crochet charts drawn out, that should not be a problem for non-Dutch crocheters.

All in all: a must have for the crochet-lover!