I was interested in reviewing Make It and Mend It by Clare Flynn, Hilary Brufell, Anne Caborn and Claire O’Brien as over the past few months I’ve been developing my business to focus on sustainable crafting. The blurb on the back boldly states: “Be inspired to make more and use less with this creative guide to sustainable living”. I wanted to see if it lived up to that claim.
Initially I didn’t see much difference between this book and many other general crafting books. However after flicking through a few pages this image of a beautiful red toolkit listed in the “Equipment and Materials” section caught my eye. It’s a proper hacksaw and wrench kind of toolkit as well, rather than something toned down for the ‘crafting lady’. A proper toolkit in a craft book? I was intrigued.
The content is organised into seasons and special occasions which is useful when you’re returning to it to look for project inspiration. On the note of inspiration however, I have to say that I didn’t find any of the projects particularly innovative. But I did enjoy the wider range of projects than the usual ‘general crafting’ books. For example, the spring section starts with spring cleaning tips with natural products (a subject which regular readers of my blog will know is dear to my heart!). It then goes on to show how to makeover your kitchen cupboard doors and how to mend your clothes. I appreciated the tips on the ‘Mend It! Around the house page’ and would have liked to have seen more of them.
For those of you who would like to encourage a bit more nature into your life, Make It and Mend It gives you a good start with instructions on growing your own seeds using toilet roll tubes for pots and plastic bottles for cloches.
There is also a great introduction to making sourdough bread. After my Herman experiments I’m up for the challenge of making some more!
There are over thirty projects in the book and the juxtaposition of recipes, sewing projects, knitting projects and DIY projects felt sufficiently different from other books of its genre. Another book which does this well is the BUST DIY Guide to Life.
The sustainability aspect was prevalent in Make It and Mend It. This makes a nice change from books which claim to promote sustainable living but where the tips are often far from practical. The key to ensuring that practices really are sustainable is to give people easy access to all the tools and information that they need to complete the task. Also, ensure that the project does not feel overwhelming and make sure that they know where to go for support should they get stuck.
Make It and Mend It has clearly written step-by-step project instructions with an informative “Techniques” section at the back. I thought it was a nice touch to have DIY techniques included with the knitting and sewing techniques pages. It provides simple, basic DIY information without being patronising or overly complicated. The photography throughout the book is gorgeous, as you can see from the examples in this post, and the layout is well designed so that the projects are easy to follow.
In summary, I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of the projects and that they were indeed aimed towards sustainability without going overboard on a ‘green’ aesthetic which people often interpret as ‘austere’. This book will satisfy the crafty, practical and environmentally-conscious amongst you with many projects suitable for people new to craft. If you’re looking for a present for a crafty friend then I recommend Make It and Mend It as a gentle starting place for exploring more sustainable crafting practices.
In accordance with standard disclosure guidelines, please note that a free book was supplied to me for review and that I was not paid for this review and nor did the company see my comments prior to my posting it on my website.