Crafts, hobbies and home: 8 books to spark your creativity

3 min read

During lockdown the homely, traditional pastimes of years gone by made a real comeback. Baking, cross-stitch and embroidery, cultivating houseplants, painting - lots of us embraced our creative side, rediscovered old pastimes or learned new skills. 

Although restrictions are beginning to relax (fingers crossed!), we think these relaxing and rewarding pastimes are here to stay, and rightly so. We’ve put together a list of vintage reading recommendations to help inspire your next creative project. 

The Observer’s Book of Sewing (1975)

The Observer's Book of Sewing

These colourful, pocket-sized classics have it all - they make wonderful decorative items for the home, as well as being very informative on all sorts of subjects. This edition covers the basic stitches and techniques of sewing, mending and embroidery, all accompanied by lovely illustrations that make it perfect for a beginner.

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The Technique of Fashion Design (1975)

The Techniques of Fashion DesignIf you're ready to put your sewing skills to the test and try making your own clothes, this book contains everything you need to know. Fashion trends may change constantly, but the basic principles of clothing design barely alter. If you want to make your dream item, or even do your bit to combat ‘fast-fashion’ - being able to fix, adjust or make your own clothes is a useful skill to have. 

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Modern Knitting 

Modern Knitting

This vintage edition will carry you through from amateur to experienced knitter. If you can knit, you’ll never run out of personalised, meaningful gifts ideas for every member of the family. Jumpers, dresses, blankets, hats, gloves and scarves - the list goes on!

With photographs, patterns and illustrations, this book contains all the information you need to create a knitted piece. 

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Ladybird: Easy to make Puppets (1973)

Easy to make Puppets

This book is perfect for a rainy day craft project with the kids. Making use of easy to find household objects, you’ll have hours of fun making quirky puppet characters and decorating your makeshift stage with handmade props and scenery.

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Paint Your Own Pictures (1953)

Paint your own Pictures

Want to try painting, but don’t know where to begin? In this handbook author Norman Colquoun uses his years of experience in teaching painting to address some of the problems faced by beginners.

He explains how to begin, the materials needed, how to prepare them and how to handle the paint. Colquoun’s background was in ‘art therapy’ - painting can be a creative way to express yourself and promote mental wellbeing. 

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The Puffin Book of Gardening (1977)

The Puffin Book of Gardening

Getting green-fingered is another way to express your creativity, indoors or outdoors, big space or small. Whether you have a small patch of ground, a windowsill or just a couple of pots, this book will start you off on gardening and tell you everything you need to ‘make your garden grow’. 

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Cake Icing and Decoration (1967)

Cake Icing and Decorating

Food can be art too, right? Let the cake become your canvas and learn how to create lovely looking sweet treats using the simple methods described in this book. Perfect icing might take many months of practice, patience and artistic skill - but we don’t mind sampling all the delicious creations in the meantime!

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The Penguin Cookery Book (1955-59)

The Penguin Cookery Book

This vintage Penguin cookbook is great for anyone who wants to learn more about making varied and interesting food, but doesn’t have lots of time. With over 850 recipes and illustrations, this book would make an asset to any kitchen (and add a nice pop of colour to your bookshelf at the same time!).

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