Reviewed by Julie: a slightly unhinged fabric junkie! She is stitching and crafting obsessed as well as being addicted to tea and cake. She is a work at home Mumma to three energetic little girls and blogs at procrasticraft.

SoupBox Cover

Julie reviews: The Soupbox Cookbook: Sensational Soups for Healthy Living by Jamie Taerbaum and Dru Melton contains 125 recipes (yes, 125) out of the kitchen of their Chicago restaurant. Published by Race Point Publishing (December 13, 2012).

With the beginnings of autumn has come the need for warmth and comfort and what better comfort food than a hearty, nutritious and satisfying soup. I simply cannot believe the number of recipes in this book. So. Many. Soups. From that American classic, the corn chowder, to Mexican tortilla soup, Thai Tom Yum and Tasmanian Duck Soup, there has got to be at least 50 that I would like to cook just today. As I had some beautiful just picked autumn pumpkin (squash) in the pantry, I went with the Autumn Memories Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Sage and Apple. One word only : yum!


The recipe contains heavy cream, which I left out due to food allergies but I’m home alone today and was able to indulge in one of my most guilty pleasures, soup with sour cream and hot, buttery toast. Delicious!

Here is an extract of this recipe for whipup readers to enjoy.




Hand Quilted With Love by Sarah Fielke — Reviewed by: Danielle is a Canberra-based quilter, crafter, knitter and collector of fabric. She blogs infrequently at mespetitselefants but is more likely to be found on Instagram and twitter @petitselefants.



Sarah Fielke will be a name familiar to many in the quilting community, both on- and offline, having authored three previous books including co-authoring the hugely popular Material Obsession One and Material Obsession Two. Hand Quilted With Love is a sumptuous book filled with colour and vibrancy, perfect for an idle afternoon read as you gather inspiration for your next project. A couple of the quilts may be familiar to those who already follow Sarah’s blog, including the Made in Cherry pieced lone star quilt which was the subject of a quilt-along online in 2012.


Inspiration is here in spades – Sarah is well-known for her unique mixing of fabrics and colours and brings them together in sixteen quilts, suitable for a range of skill levels from beginner through to more advanced. Although the title suggests the quilts are all about hand-quilting, this is not the case. Hand-quilting is Sarah’s preferred method of finishing her quilts, but she admits she would not get as many finished if she hand-quilted them all! Hand-quilting does lend an extra-special quality to your quilts, but these patterns would be equally gorgeous if they were quilted by machine (a number of quilts in the book were professionally quilted by a long-arm quilter).


One of the things I love to do most is hand-applique, and I tend to flock straight for the appliqué-based patterns. Millefiori grabbed me straight away and I set about the challenge of assembling a colour scheme against a red linen background. Despite what looks to be quite a complicated quilt, the pattern was simple to follow and put together in a relatively short period. Hand-quilting now awaits me!


Included in the book are plenty of tips and tricks, and a feature that is particularly useful is a guideline for making each of the quilts in a different size. Sarah’s instructional style is friendly and helpful, and I love her tips on building a stash – any excuse to acquire more fabric is surely welcome! Most of all, this book is a visual feast of simply stunning quilts, beautifully photographed, and will give confidence and inspiration to anyone hesitant about mixing bold colours and lots of prints in the one project.

Sarah is currently hosting a blog tour of quilts made from her book. Do go and have a look at all the loveliness.

Liz Hoyland reviews Sarah Fielke’s previous book: Quilting from little things: Liz loves scrap quilts in saturated colours and is a self-confessed fabricholic. She’s not brave enough to count how many quilts she’s working on right now, but she’s joined a fantastic movement on Instagram encouraging quilters to actually finish their projects in 2013, called  #finishit2013. Her website is Scrappy quilts.

Quilting from Little Things by Sarah Fielke, [we participated in the blog tour for this book last year so click on over there to see some yummy images]

I loved the concept of this book, which gives the option of making a doll-sized quilt or a full-sized quilt using each technique. And keeping with the little-big theme, it read delightfully like a big sister taking you by the hand and talking through the journey from beginner to advanced-level quilts. I really welcomed Sarah’s advice about buying fabric. She says to buy fabric if it makes your heart sing, rather than restricting yourself to only buying fabric when you have a specific project in mind. Her thinking – and this makes a lot of sense – is that one day the fabric will be perfect for a project you’re working on.

As luck would have it, one of the women in my quilt circle was working on an applique quilt from a Sarah Fielke pattern last month. She was working with a wonderful range of fabrics inspired by her Sarah Fielke pattern, with colour-dense fabrics appliqued onto gorgeous text fabric. It was a case of love at first sight for me, I couldn’t take my eyes off it! My friend said she had read Quilting from little things and particularly loved a technique, new to both of us, which shows a ‘step down’ way of piecing a quilt, with open and closed seams. Always good to learn something new!



Book : So Pretty Felt

by Jules on 14/05/2013

in Books

Now that my internet is a little more reliable, I just couldn’t resist sharing a few more images from So Pretty! Felt: 24 Stylish Projects to Make with Felt by Amy Palanjian published by Chronicle books. We were part of the blog tour and you can read my interview with Amy here. This is a book full of beautiful images and creative felt projects including accessories and decorations.

felt-clutch 4

felt-bobbie pins 14

felt-garland 3

felt-garland2 1



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Amy Palanjian has recently published a book with Chronicle books — called So Pretty Felt. She joins us here to chat about the book — just for fun I asked her what her five fave tools are and a bit about her working from home process — to keep with the theme this month of useful creative biz info — What are your fave tools?

What’s your crafting from home process?

I am primarily a quilter and a sewer and I do the vast majority of my stitching in the evenings after my 11 month old goes to bed. I’ve never gotten along too well with my sewing machine, so I can take my sewing with me wherever it’s convenient, though in all honesty I do most of it on the couch. In the past year I’ve made 6 baby quilts and one wedding quilt—I’ve gotten a lot faster over the years…it used to take me a whole year to do one quilt!

Professionally, I work as a writer, editor, and maker, so I’m often in my basement making things for work. Lately, there’s been an explosion of all things holiday (glitter, pipe cleaners, tinsel, etc.) as I’ve been working on holiday craft projects.

What are your five favorite craft tools and products?

  1. Coats & Clark Button & Craft thread: This is the thread that I use for all of my hand stitching. I learned about it from the women ofAlabama Chanin, who are known for their hand stitching when I worked with them to make my wedding dress and I’ve never gone back. It’s thick, strong, and feels really great to work with. I always have white, cream, and gray thread on hand. 
  2. Gingher 4 inch scissors: These little fabric scissors are my go-to quilting snips. They are small, sharp, and ideal for keeping on the arm of my couch by my current quilting project.
  3. Steam-a-Seam Fusible Web: To make thin fabric stronger, for applique, or simply to fuse one fabric to another, I love this product. Recently, I had to make the rounds at all of my local craft stores to find it since a 4-H club had bought it out—I’m forever more buying twice as much as I need so I’ll always have it on hand!
  4. 100% Wool Felt: I love felt (shocking, I know!) and I like to have an assortment on hand. Finding high quality wool felt is becoming easier than it was just a few years ago, but Felt on the Fly and Purl Soho generally have good selections.. 
  5. Embroidery Floss: This is a basic supply that I find myself using more and more these days. It’s easy to stitch with because it’s so thick and it looks great on fabric, felt, and even paper. I like the color options from DMC.

Anything else you’d like to share about the book?

I had such a wonderful time working with the 12 women that are featured in the book and getting to know them and their creative processes were a real inspiration to me. I hope that translates into the book and that readers will feel the urge to create and find their own creative energy as well.

Apologies for being late with this — a storm affected my internet — the vagaries of online work!

Blog tour schedule:

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Reviewed by Julie :: a slightly unhinged fabric junkie! She is stitching and crafting obsessed as well as being addicted to tea and cake. She is a work at home Mumma to three energetic little girls and blogs at procrasticraft.

Allergen Free Cover

Learning to Bake Allergen-Free: A Crash Course for Busy Parents on Baking without Wheat, Gluten, Dairy, Eggs, Soy or Nuts is written by Collette Martin, a self-described “food allergy mom”. She has experience and understanding of the complexities that are multiple food allergies and has overcome the challenges of feeding a family where those allergies are a constant threat to health and wellbeing. Published by The Experiment (June 19, 2012).

For as long as I can remember, food has been one of my passions. As a small child, I remember learning to make scones with my great-grandmother and I now enjoy spending time in the kitchen with my three girls. Our youngest daughter has allergies to both eggs and dairy and since her diagnosis a year ago, I have struggled to find recipes that are suitable for her to not only eat, but where she can participate in the preparation. What child doesn’t love to lick the beaters? Food in our home has never been something we just buy with little regard, we have always been careful about our choices and we read the ingredients on the packets. Now though, with the severe allergies we are faced with, we can take nothing for granted.

It is in this context that I can say that this book has been a life-saver for me! The pages provide many recipes for baked goods (and they are seriously good, try the Coffee Cake with Streusel Topping, the Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Cake and the Blueberry Scones, just for starters), though what I have found most helpful are the twelve baking lessons (each its own chapter) including “No Butter, No Problem”, “Baking Without Eggs”, “The Allergen Free Pantry” and “Replacing Wheat”. The author not only provides recipes with replacements, but she has taken the time and effort to explain how and why each replacement works which means that I have been able to transfer the knowledge and develop or adapt my own recipes. For that, this is worth every penny.

Baking without Eggs

If you are struggling with food allergies or intolerances in your home, I highly recommend you pick up a copy, the explanations have been life changing for us, our daughter can fully participate in family meals and celebrations and the rest of us don’t feel like we are “missing out” either – we can still have the most amazing and delicious cakes and baked goods, and I think they taste even better as they are safe for us all so we can relax while eating.