The Crafty Minx by Kelly Doust

crafty minx cover


The Crafty Minx is about making simply gorgeous things from pre-loved, remnant and vintage items. Written especially for non-crafters who are desperate to be more creative but don’t know how, author Kelly Doust shares the delicious rewards of living with and giving away beautiful handmade objects.

Including over 75 projects which give traditional crafts a modern makeover – from brightly patterned summer beach bags and cotton apron tops to cosy lambs’ wool throws and cashmere-covered hot water bottles, or a soft toy for a friend’s new baby – this book is broken down into the four seasons of the year for easy inspiration, and to carry you through the year creatively. Bringing you stories about great vintage finds and new ways of looking at the treasures within our own homes, thrift stores and local flea markets, it reflects the huge cultural shift taking place right now towards recycling and buying locally. No matter your level of skill or where you live, discover just how easy it is to be a crafty minx.

Key points: beautifully presented and filled with photographs, diagrams, instructions and tips to support the projects; features practical and innovative ways to get creative with recycled fabrics, paper and hand stitching; written in a lively manner that will enthrall and inspire.

The Crafty Minx 2


My current read: The Morecambe Medium by Peter Cakebread and Ken Walton


‘It’s 1895 and there’s murder in the air! Enter Augustus Mulberry and Arthur Touchstone, Consulting “Detectorators”.

Mulberry and Touchstone are a pair of rather defective detectives, who ply their trade in the delightful Victorian seaside town of Morecambe. Will they be able to cope with a proper case? Can they catch the killer? Or will they be too distracted by teashops, spooky seances and the length of Constable Cheeks’ beard?’

What Santa brought for me – Vintage Craft by Pearl Lowe

vintage craft book

Vintage designer Pearl Lowe shows you how to create the authentic vintage look in your own home with her expert advice and simple craft projects. This practical guide, complete with inspiring photography includes 50 step-by-step craft projects, sewing, painting, upcycling and crafting secrets, a how-to guide to sourcing your own vintage treasures and Pearl’s little black book of shops and suppliers. An absolute must-have for lovers of vintage and all things handmade.

Current read – The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack by Mark Hodder.

The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack is the first novel in the Burton & Swinburne trilogy by award-winning steampunk author, Mark Hodder, and the recipient of the 2010 Phillip K. Dick Award.The series follows the adventures of two Victorian-era protagonists based on two noted historical figures, Richard Francis Burton & Algernon Charles Swinburne situated in mid-late 19th Century London.

While the series is framed as an alternate history, it takes place in actual locations such as the Cannibal Club and London’s East End, and involves many notable personalities of the era, such as Florence Nightingale, Charles Darwin, and explorer John Hanning Speke. It also centres around factual historical events; namely, the Spring-Heeled Jack case, the assassination attempt on Queen Victoria in 1840,the search for the source of the Nile and the dawn of Darwin’s theory of evolution.
( Source: Wikipedia )

spring heeled jack book

The Plot:

It is 1861, and Albertian Britain is in the grip of conflicting forces.

Engineers transform the landscape with bigger, faster, noisier and dirtier technological wonders; Eugenicists develop specialist animals to provide unpaid labour; Libertines oppose restrictive and unjust laws and flood the country with propaganda demanding a society based on beauty and creativity; while The Rakes push the boundaries of human behaviour to the limits with magic, sexuality, drugs and anarchy.

Returning from his failed expedition to find the source of the Nile, explorer, linguist, scholar and swordsman Sir Richard Francis Burton finds himself sucked into the perilous depths of this moral and ethical vacuum when the Prime Minister, Lord Palmerston, employs him as ‘King’s Spy’. His first mission: to investigate the sexual assaults committed by a weird apparition known as Spring-Heeled Jack; to find out why chimney sweeps are being kidnapped by half-man, half-dog creatures; and to discover the whereabouts of his badly injured former friend, John Hanning Speke.


Current read (Xmas gift) – Minxy Vintage by Kelly Doust

How can you find the best vintage pieces, or know them when you see them? And how can you customize and wear them, without looking dated? Crafter, fashionista, and vintage vixen Kelly Doust delves into her wardrobe and scours flea markets far and wide to bring together a fabulous collection of delectable vintage finds. A vintage moth-holed slip is frozen to kill its moth problem, its straps then replaced with French ribbon, and a lovely crimson beaded flower burst sewn on. A classic Burberry trench is drycleaned, then updated with a new silk lining and new red buttons. From flapper dresses to wedding gowns, and cocktail hats to petticoats, this is not just a book about loving vintage fashion, it’s about seeing the wonderful possibilities for updating all old clothes, and how to look fabulous doing so, no matter your age, location, or budget.


minxy vintage

‘Chic on a Shoestring’ by Mary Jane Baxter

Why throw out your old clothes when they can be transformed for very little money? With an eye for all things ‘stylishly vintage’, Mary Jane takes throw-away items and illustrates how they can be used to create a host of covetable clothes and accessories. An old tie can be turned into a purse, knitting needle holder, cute corsage and a belt. Silk scarves can make a return as a sexy top or skirt, and T-shirts as funky 40s-style turbans. ‘Chic on a Shoestring’ will take you through – step-by-step – all you need to know to create fabulous clothes and accessories you actually want to wear, and provide you with lots of variations and inspiration to foster your own style. And with advice on how to find useful treasures at markets, charity shops and vintage stores, you will be making your own creations in no time.

Here is a small taste of some of the lovely projects in the book that I am dying to have a go at.


Lady B’s current read : ‘Timeless’ by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell’s acting troupe’s latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia’s enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire?

The Immorality Engine : George Mann

This is what we are currently reading.



On the surface, life is going well for Victorian special agent Sir Maurice Newbury, who has brilliantly solved several nigh-impossible cases for Queen Victoria with his indomitable assistant, Miss Veronica Hobbes, by his side. But these facts haven’t stopped Newbury from succumbing increasingly frequently to his dire flirtation with the lure of opium. His addiction is fueled in part by his ill-gotten knowledge of Veronica’s secret relationship with the queen, which Newbury fears must be some kind of betrayal. Veronica, consumed by worry and care for her prophetic but physically fragile sister Amelia, has no idea that she is a catalyst for Newbury’s steadily worsening condition.Veronica and Newbury’s dear friend Bainbridge, the Chief Investigator at Scotland Yard, tries to cover for him as much as possible, but when the body of a well known criminal turns up, Bainbridge and Veronica track Newbury down in an opium den and drag him out to help them with the case. The body is clearly, irrefutably, that of the man in question, but shortly after his body is brought to the morgue, a crime is discovered that bears all the dead man’s hallmarks. Bainbridge and Veronica fear someone is committing copycat crimes, but Newbury is not sure. Somehow, the details are too perfect for it to be the work of a copycat. But how can a dead man commit a crime?

Lady B’s Current Read: Heartless by Gail Carriger

‘Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble in the air is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband’s past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux’s latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines – and Alexia barely has time to remember she just happens to be eight months pregnant. Will Alexia be able to figure out who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it’s too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf’s clothing? And do they really have to take up residence in Lord Akeldama’s second best closet?’

Lady B’s review : Parasols, bustles, tea and treacle tart, what more could a lady ask for. Fourth book in the series and I’ve loved them all. Throughly entertaining read.