Make It and Mend It first began life as a website, following a business project lunch that turned into a discussion on personal interests. Clare Flynn, Hillary Bruffell, Clare O'Briend and Anne Caborn came to realise that they all believed in making, creating, growing, and doing things for themselves, rather than relying on shops and buying things new. The site began as a place where they could share basic skills with others, but has now grown into a sharing community, focusing on a way of life, turning away from mass consumerism. They have now taken some of their 'easy-to-do' ideas and tips, and shared over 30 of them in this handy and attractive little book.
I'm usually a little cynical of books filled with various craft projects, I find that although they are a nice idea in theory, they often contain very similar projects and there are only so many napkin rings one can make. However, Make It and Mend It has softened me a little, maybe it is because it feels slightly more varied. Yes there are the usual suspects, handmade cards and sewing projects, but there are also more DIY orientated projects such as building your own barbecue, and simple recipes for making your own cleaning products. It could of course also be down to the inclusion of how to collect sloes, and use them to make sloe gin - that is always going to be appreciated.
There is the usual, but useful, introduction and equipment/materials list, before the book is divided into nine sections, including the four seasons, as well as special occasions such as Mother's Day, Christmas and Easter. All the projects are fairly approachable, such as making hand cream or perfume, but there are those that are even easier which feel more family orientated, like carving a simple pumpkin and decorating jars for trick or treating.
Instructions vary from the very simple and succinct, such as making a bucket barbeque - although I think this would have benefited from a few extra details or a diagram - to clear, but longer, more detailed instructions, such as the section on how to make and keep a sourdough starter and make a loaf.
The book has a clear layout, there are plenty of full page colour images illustrating finished projects, so you always know what it is you are aiming for, and although I personally am not keen on the cut-out montages that break up the sections, it does create a colourful and homely feel.
Now we are in October I think it's okay for me to use the 'C' word, that's right, Christmas. Make It and Mend It would make a sweet little Christmas gift. Unless the recipient is proficient in most crafts, this book contains enough variety to be of interest to most people. I'm no expert crafter, but I do try my hand at lots of different things compared to most people I know, and I found enough projects in here to keep me entertained... and did I mention the Sloe Gin?
Make it and Mend It by Clare Flynn, Hilary Bruffell, Clare O'Brien and Anne Caborn is available from most book retailers, including RUCraft priced at £14.24
Make It And Mend It website: makeitandmenditRRP - 18.99
David and Charles
Please note that I was given a copy of this book, but was not paid to write the review.