festive gift guide 2015
When I started this year's gift guide in September, Christmas seemed like another world away, yet here we are with only a couple of days to go. If you're still in need of a last minute gift, I have just the thing for you - in fact I have two different options - one which will suit most budgets and locations, and another which is quite special and takes place here in the UK! This post contains a reader giveaway and affiliate links to Craftsy classes, which I highly recommend.


THE GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE:
You probably know about the knittingsewing and spinning tuition available from Craftsy already, but how about photography, or bakingjewellery-making or drawing? There are so many different classes to choose from, you'll be able to find something for most people. If you're gifting (or receive) a new gadget you might also find a class to help the recipient get the most out of it, for example I'm currently enrolled on the mobile phone photography class (I'll tell you about it another day) which would be great for someone getting a new iPhone or Android device. There are all sorts of other classes for items like pressure-cookers, food processors and of course more 'on-topic' tools like sewing machines and overlockers/sergers too.


Classes are accessed online from almost any internet-connected device. Once purchased, they are available at any time and can be streamed or downloaded to watch later. So if you get a gardening class for someone, they can watch it in their shed without an internet connection.


Classes are all reasonably priced (some are on sale too) and all are covered with a 100% no-quibble guarantee. See the bottom of this post for the chance to win a class for yourself!

A LUXURY RETREAT:
If you have a bigger budget and Lyme Regis isn't too far to travel, Daisy from Devon Sun Yarns has Yarn Retreats running throughout 2016 which are perfect for any yarn-lover. The retreats are held in a beautiful house in Lyme Regis, just a stone's throw from the sea. Guests stay in private single (or twin) rooms and everything is provided, including delicious home cooked food, plenty of cake and workshop supplies - guests just need to turn up, and relax!


Throughout the weekend there are various workshops on yarn dyeing (exploring lots of different techniques) and Daisy is on hand to offer her expert advice on how to get exactly the results you want. There are also workshops on making ergonomic crochet hooks, buttons and stitch markers. There's plenty of time to relax and sit by the fire with your feet up too, and you can either work through a project you have brought along or get help with learning how to knit or crochet if you are a complete beginner.


This would make the perfect gift for someone you'd like to spoil, and you also have the option to join them in a twin room. Dates run throughout 2016 (the next available dates are in February, but booking up quickly). Contact Daisy for more information and to arrange a gift voucher You can also find further details here.

THE GIVEAWAY: Congratulations Patty Lee - you're the winner!!!!

Craftsy are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a class of your choice. To enter, follow these two simple instructions:
1. Leave a comment below with the name of the class you'd like to win - see the full list here,
2. Leave your Ravelry user name, blog link or another way of contacting you if you win (essential)
The winner will be randomly selected on 26th December 2015, and I'll notify you via your chosen method with the code to claim your chosen class. Good luck, and a very Merry Christmas to you all! 

Festive Gift Guide Part 10: Last-minute gifts (& Craftsy giveaway)

When I started this year's gift guide in September, Christmas seemed like another world away, yet here we are with only a couple of days to go. If you're still in need of a last minute gift, I have just the thing for you - in fact I have two different options - one which will suit most budgets and locations, and another which is quite special and takes place here in the UK! This post contains a reader giveaway and affiliate links to Craftsy classes, which I highly recommend.


THE GIFT OF KNOWLEDGE:
You probably know about the knittingsewing and spinning tuition available from Craftsy already, but how about photography, or bakingjewellery-making or drawing? There are so many different classes to choose from, you'll be able to find something for most people. If you're gifting (or receive) a new gadget you might also find a class to help the recipient get the most out of it, for example I'm currently enrolled on the mobile phone photography class (I'll tell you about it another day) which would be great for someone getting a new iPhone or Android device. There are all sorts of other classes for items like pressure-cookers, food processors and of course more 'on-topic' tools like sewing machines and overlockers/sergers too.


Classes are accessed online from almost any internet-connected device. Once purchased, they are available at any time and can be streamed or downloaded to watch later. So if you get a gardening class for someone, they can watch it in their shed without an internet connection.


Classes are all reasonably priced (some are on sale too) and all are covered with a 100% no-quibble guarantee. See the bottom of this post for the chance to win a class for yourself!

A LUXURY RETREAT:
If you have a bigger budget and Lyme Regis isn't too far to travel, Daisy from Devon Sun Yarns has Yarn Retreats running throughout 2016 which are perfect for any yarn-lover. The retreats are held in a beautiful house in Lyme Regis, just a stone's throw from the sea. Guests stay in private single (or twin) rooms and everything is provided, including delicious home cooked food, plenty of cake and workshop supplies - guests just need to turn up, and relax!


Throughout the weekend there are various workshops on yarn dyeing (exploring lots of different techniques) and Daisy is on hand to offer her expert advice on how to get exactly the results you want. There are also workshops on making ergonomic crochet hooks, buttons and stitch markers. There's plenty of time to relax and sit by the fire with your feet up too, and you can either work through a project you have brought along or get help with learning how to knit or crochet if you are a complete beginner.


This would make the perfect gift for someone you'd like to spoil, and you also have the option to join them in a twin room. Dates run throughout 2016 (the next available dates are in February, but booking up quickly). Contact Daisy for more information and to arrange a gift voucher You can also find further details here.

THE GIVEAWAY: Congratulations Patty Lee - you're the winner!!!!

Craftsy are offering one lucky reader the chance to win a class of your choice. To enter, follow these two simple instructions:
1. Leave a comment below with the name of the class you'd like to win - see the full list here,
2. Leave your Ravelry user name, blog link or another way of contacting you if you win (essential)
The winner will be randomly selected on 26th December 2015, and I'll notify you via your chosen method with the code to claim your chosen class. Good luck, and a very Merry Christmas to you all! 
It can be SO hard to find nice gifts for children, which are not "mass produced plastic tat" - especially when that's what they are exposed to via targeted television advertising and peer pressure. For this week's selection, I've put together a list of unisex gifts - mainly DIY - to suit various ages. They include things you can knit, crochet, and sew, one that you can gift ready for the children to make themselves. If you don't have time / inclination to make something, there are some ethically produced pre-made toys which I heartily recommend, and those also come with an exclusive reader discount.
NOTE: Lots of these pattern books are available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited and I've marked them with "KU". If you missed my post on how to access ebooks without a Kindle / eReader, click here. Amazon affiliate links are included. 

CUTE CREATURES (All ages)
Who doesn't love a cute monster or alien?

Quincy Quade Quinten (C) Rebecca Danger, source: Ravelry
  • If you knit, Rebecca Danger has a whole host of wonderful patterns available individually or in her lovely books. They are great for using up scraps of yarn, and can be customised to suit. 
  • If crochet is more your thing, how about something from Edward's Menagerie? Both the animal and bird books are available in kindle edition if you can't wait to get started (KU).
  • Want to sew something? Take a look at the lovely patterns in Sew Fantasy Toys by Melanie McNeice (KU) where you'll find lots of super cute projects which don't take much fabric, so you can probably raid your stash!

HANDMADE DOLLS (All ages): A little reminder that boys like dolls too - my son still likes his Fairtrade Peppa doll, which looks a lot like he does and which he's had since he was two.

KANO COMPUTER KIT (Ages 6 - 12) 
I came across this one after we had spoken to Santa to order everything for this year, so I haven't tried it (yet) but it's either going to be a surprise under the tree (if I can twist an arm or two) or it will make a great birthday present in the spring. This really has to be the ultimate DIY kit for kids in 2015, and is the one I wish I'd seen sooner based on the fact that (a) our children are both into copmuters and attend the coding club at school, and (b) the reviews are great. 

It is basically a Pi 2 powered computer which can be built by 6 - 12 year olds. Guided story books (think Lego manuals) show children exactly what to do to make their computer for under £100, and once that's done they can try all sorts of programming (including things on Minecraft which remains the favourite in our house) and it all seems like a game. (The basic kit will work with a TV or monitor with an HDMI input, or an optional screen can be purchased separately.)  As one reviewer put it, it's a win-win as it's educational but just feels like fun. Watch the video here, which will tell you a lot more than I can! 
The Kano Computer Kit is available at Amazon (with next day delivery for Prime customers) or can be ordered direct if you don't mind waiting for delivery (with expedited shipping it may work out a little more expensive, or it's a few pounds cheaper if you can wait for delivery).

ETHICAL TOY SELECTION AT NATURAL CONNECTION (All ages)
If you don't fancy making something yourself but would prefer handcrafted toys, take a look at Natural Connection. This online store is run by some lovely people I have come to know since becoming a mum. They are parents with a firm belief in ethically produced and handmade goods, and stock a great selection of toys for babies and older children. I've chosen a few pictures of things  I bought my own children when they were much younger, and which still feature prominently in our home - the Grimms Large Rainbow and the 'Karl' Peppa Doll (in fact the boy and girl dolls I bought are responsible for my first few attempts at knitting), but there are many more lovely toys and gifts to choose from.


You can see the full range of toys here and if you use the code CC10, you'll get 10% off any order placed before December 31st - feel free to pass the code on to family or friends too.

With time running out, there are just a couple more festive gift suggestions to come - stay tuned for some last minute options! 

Festive Gift Guide Part 9: Unisex gifts for Kids

It can be SO hard to find nice gifts for children, which are not "mass produced plastic tat" - especially when that's what they are exposed to via targeted television advertising and peer pressure. For this week's selection, I've put together a list of unisex gifts - mainly DIY - to suit various ages. They include things you can knit, crochet, and sew, one that you can gift ready for the children to make themselves. If you don't have time / inclination to make something, there are some ethically produced pre-made toys which I heartily recommend, and those also come with an exclusive reader discount.
NOTE: Lots of these pattern books are available to borrow via Kindle Unlimited and I've marked them with "KU". If you missed my post on how to access ebooks without a Kindle / eReader, click here. Amazon affiliate links are included. 

CUTE CREATURES (All ages)
Who doesn't love a cute monster or alien?

Quincy Quade Quinten (C) Rebecca Danger, source: Ravelry
  • If you knit, Rebecca Danger has a whole host of wonderful patterns available individually or in her lovely books. They are great for using up scraps of yarn, and can be customised to suit. 
  • If crochet is more your thing, how about something from Edward's Menagerie? Both the animal and bird books are available in kindle edition if you can't wait to get started (KU).
  • Want to sew something? Take a look at the lovely patterns in Sew Fantasy Toys by Melanie McNeice (KU) where you'll find lots of super cute projects which don't take much fabric, so you can probably raid your stash!

HANDMADE DOLLS (All ages): A little reminder that boys like dolls too - my son still likes his Fairtrade Peppa doll, which looks a lot like he does and which he's had since he was two.

KANO COMPUTER KIT (Ages 6 - 12) 
I came across this one after we had spoken to Santa to order everything for this year, so I haven't tried it (yet) but it's either going to be a surprise under the tree (if I can twist an arm or two) or it will make a great birthday present in the spring. This really has to be the ultimate DIY kit for kids in 2015, and is the one I wish I'd seen sooner based on the fact that (a) our children are both into copmuters and attend the coding club at school, and (b) the reviews are great. 

It is basically a Pi 2 powered computer which can be built by 6 - 12 year olds. Guided story books (think Lego manuals) show children exactly what to do to make their computer for under £100, and once that's done they can try all sorts of programming (including things on Minecraft which remains the favourite in our house) and it all seems like a game. (The basic kit will work with a TV or monitor with an HDMI input, or an optional screen can be purchased separately.)  As one reviewer put it, it's a win-win as it's educational but just feels like fun. Watch the video here, which will tell you a lot more than I can! 
The Kano Computer Kit is available at Amazon (with next day delivery for Prime customers) or can be ordered direct if you don't mind waiting for delivery (with expedited shipping it may work out a little more expensive, or it's a few pounds cheaper if you can wait for delivery).

ETHICAL TOY SELECTION AT NATURAL CONNECTION (All ages)
If you don't fancy making something yourself but would prefer handcrafted toys, take a look at Natural Connection. This online store is run by some lovely people I have come to know since becoming a mum. They are parents with a firm belief in ethically produced and handmade goods, and stock a great selection of toys for babies and older children. I've chosen a few pictures of things  I bought my own children when they were much younger, and which still feature prominently in our home - the Grimms Large Rainbow and the 'Karl' Peppa Doll (in fact the boy and girl dolls I bought are responsible for my first few attempts at knitting), but there are many more lovely toys and gifts to choose from.


You can see the full range of toys here and if you use the code CC10, you'll get 10% off any order placed before December 31st - feel free to pass the code on to family or friends too.

With time running out, there are just a couple more festive gift suggestions to come - stay tuned for some last minute options! 
It may be "Black Friday", but today's FGG selection includes some lovely colours! First up, something gorgeous and fluffy I think will be popular this Christmas. 

I've been a fan of Spin City for some time, and first interviewed Louise back in March 2014 when she was still establishing her brand. Since then she has become a regular face to so many of us who have attended UK yarn and fibre festivals. Having just launched her own online store (after starting out on Etsy), Louise's latest kit would make a wonderful festive gift and I'm pleased to be able to share it with you today.

Spin City Image Source: (C) Spin City Shop, used with permission
Each luxury kit comes in a hand-printed bag and includes 130g of beautiful fibre (in a choice of colours), a handmade wooden drop spindle, illustrated instructions and a link to a free video tutorial you can access online, to help you get started. 
Choose from purples (pictured), naturals, pink, blue or green colour-schemes
This is the perfect gift for a knitter/crocheter who loves handspun yarn or anyone who is interested in learning to spin  - including children! (My children have their own spindles and while they haven't really mastered the techniques yet, they love to join in with me!) They are called "drop" spindles for a reason - and while you're learning to spin, a plain wooden spindle is perfect and it's less likely to get damaged when it drops to the floor (really!). Of course, once you're used to working with a spindle, you'll probably want to go back to pick another which is as pretty as it is functional - lots of gorgeous options are also available from Louise's shop


Find Louise's shop here. You can also follow her beautiful work on Instagram.

A WEEKEND OF DEALS:  

Affiliate links and exclusive discounts are included.
While queueing all night and fighting over bargains seems completely ridiculous, this is a Festive Gift Guide, and it would be remiss to ignore that some of my favourite sellers have great offers this weekend. Here's a round up of those I think you'll like the most, all of which can be ordered from the comfort of your favourite device.  There are also some exclusive codes for extra discounts.

Image source: Boden, used with permission
BODEN - 30% off
Readers can get 30% off plus FREE UK DELIVERY & FREE RETURNS using this link together with the code 7H9S. I got myself the most amazing sparkly silver shoes - they are from the children's range but go up to size UK41 and look really cute on!

EASTON DESIGN STUDIOS - 35% off
Shona is a local (to me) handbag and accessories designer whose products I buy quite regularly. You may remember I reviewed one of her bags here a while ago. For the next few days, Shona is offering a 35% discount and FREE UK SHIPPING to all readers using the code SarahK35 (note that it's case sensitive). The discount is available until midnight on 1st December and there is one condition of use: as this is a significant discount, returns will only be accepted in the unlikely event of a fault.

'Bella' zipped tote in Mango - source: Easton Design Studio, used with permission

SWIG FLASKS - 15% off EVRYTHING - including SALE items!!!!
The Festive Gift Guide kicked off with ideas for the 'impossible' people in your life and the most popular item was the SWIG flask I featured/reviewed. As a thank you, readers can use the code ChristmasDreaming for 15% off everything and as there is currently a 'Black Friday' sale, which means you can get even more off! Click here to visit the site.

I'm thinking this would look really cute in that Bella bag! Source: SWIG, used with permission
JORDANA PAIGE - 56% off Cora in selected colours
More bags! If you recall my interview with Jordana and my review of Cora, you'll know what a great deal this is! Each deal only last 2 days, but currently you can get Cora in dark green or dusty rose (pictured) for 56% less than the normal price with FREE US SHIPPING - no code needed as the discount has already been applied online.


And finally, the Amazon Kindle Fire, 7" Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB is down to £35 today only, so a few couple of those may have fallen into my basket too!

I wish you a stress-free weekend, with lots of laughter and crafting, and maybe a few more things ticked off your to-do list. Next week I have some DIY gifts for kids - stay tuned. 

Festive Gift Guide Part 8: Colourful Kits & A Selection of Top Deals

It may be "Black Friday", but today's FGG selection includes some lovely colours! First up, something gorgeous and fluffy I think will be popular this Christmas. 

I've been a fan of Spin City for some time, and first interviewed Louise back in March 2014 when she was still establishing her brand. Since then she has become a regular face to so many of us who have attended UK yarn and fibre festivals. Having just launched her own online store (after starting out on Etsy), Louise's latest kit would make a wonderful festive gift and I'm pleased to be able to share it with you today.

Spin City Image Source: (C) Spin City Shop, used with permission
Each luxury kit comes in a hand-printed bag and includes 130g of beautiful fibre (in a choice of colours), a handmade wooden drop spindle, illustrated instructions and a link to a free video tutorial you can access online, to help you get started. 
Choose from purples (pictured), naturals, pink, blue or green colour-schemes
This is the perfect gift for a knitter/crocheter who loves handspun yarn or anyone who is interested in learning to spin  - including children! (My children have their own spindles and while they haven't really mastered the techniques yet, they love to join in with me!) They are called "drop" spindles for a reason - and while you're learning to spin, a plain wooden spindle is perfect and it's less likely to get damaged when it drops to the floor (really!). Of course, once you're used to working with a spindle, you'll probably want to go back to pick another which is as pretty as it is functional - lots of gorgeous options are also available from Louise's shop


Find Louise's shop here. You can also follow her beautiful work on Instagram.

A WEEKEND OF DEALS:  

Affiliate links and exclusive discounts are included.
While queueing all night and fighting over bargains seems completely ridiculous, this is a Festive Gift Guide, and it would be remiss to ignore that some of my favourite sellers have great offers this weekend. Here's a round up of those I think you'll like the most, all of which can be ordered from the comfort of your favourite device.  There are also some exclusive codes for extra discounts.

Image source: Boden, used with permission
BODEN - 30% off
Readers can get 30% off plus FREE UK DELIVERY & FREE RETURNS using this link together with the code 7H9S. I got myself the most amazing sparkly silver shoes - they are from the children's range but go up to size UK41 and look really cute on!

EASTON DESIGN STUDIOS - 35% off
Shona is a local (to me) handbag and accessories designer whose products I buy quite regularly. You may remember I reviewed one of her bags here a while ago. For the next few days, Shona is offering a 35% discount and FREE UK SHIPPING to all readers using the code SarahK35 (note that it's case sensitive). The discount is available until midnight on 1st December and there is one condition of use: as this is a significant discount, returns will only be accepted in the unlikely event of a fault.

'Bella' zipped tote in Mango - source: Easton Design Studio, used with permission

SWIG FLASKS - 15% off EVRYTHING - including SALE items!!!!
The Festive Gift Guide kicked off with ideas for the 'impossible' people in your life and the most popular item was the SWIG flask I featured/reviewed. As a thank you, readers can use the code ChristmasDreaming for 15% off everything and as there is currently a 'Black Friday' sale, which means you can get even more off! Click here to visit the site.

I'm thinking this would look really cute in that Bella bag! Source: SWIG, used with permission
JORDANA PAIGE - 56% off Cora in selected colours
More bags! If you recall my interview with Jordana and my review of Cora, you'll know what a great deal this is! Each deal only last 2 days, but currently you can get Cora in dark green or dusty rose (pictured) for 56% less than the normal price with FREE US SHIPPING - no code needed as the discount has already been applied online.


And finally, the Amazon Kindle Fire, 7" Display, Wi-Fi, 8 GB is down to £35 today only, so a few couple of those may have fallen into my basket too!

I wish you a stress-free weekend, with lots of laughter and crafting, and maybe a few more things ticked off your to-do list. Next week I have some DIY gifts for kids - stay tuned. 
As regular readers know, I've been on a mission to be more organised since the new (school) year started in September. It's been going pretty well (see my two month review here) but there are areas for improvement. There are two particular things I want to work on next - one is having a 'vision' for what I want to achieve, and the other is striking the balance between what I have to do with what I want to do. In my search for answers, I kept coming across the following tool. A little basic research (a shout on on social media) showed that some of the entrepreneurs and all-round awesome people I admire already used them and would recommend them. Obviously I had to buy one to see if it would be a good candidate for the Festive Gift Guide.

There are four different options to choose from via the Dailygreatness website or Amazon.com* - a business planner, a body and mind training journal, the (original) greatness journal and the Yoga planner.


I ordered the original (orange) one directly from the Dailygreatness website and it arrived a few days later. It is priced at the higher end of the market, and I can see why - it's really good quality and bigger than I was expecting (24.5cm x 18.5 cm x 2.5cm ). I could tell you about it in my own words, but I think the official description does it more justice: 

Dailygreatness Journal: A Practical Guide for Consciously Creating Your Day

How we start our days determines how we spend our days. How we spend each day determines our future. What, then, is more important than beginning and ending each day with clear intentions, a positive focused mindset and conscious reflection? You've probably read a million self-help books but how do you apply those ideas and make lasting changes? The Dailygreatness Journal: A Practical Guide For Consciously Creating Your Days, combines a yearly diary, goal and appointment planner, and daily tools for self-mastery. Designed to be used daily throughout the calendar year, the daily pages will guide you to form great habits through the 8 daily steps of meditation & visualisation, intentions, dream journalling, gratitude, evening self-awareness questions, exercise, inspired actions & inspiration. The weekly and quarterly check-ins keep you committed, accountable & motivated. With a yearly review that celebrates your achievements and highlights new opportunities for the coming year. Each stage laying the foundations for achieving self-mastery, reaching your goals and finding and following your purpose. The flexi-bound cover means the journal is sturdy and durable yet light in weight. The smooth matt finish makes it a pleasure to handle and the beautiful design, with 432 full colour pages, will inspire you to use it often. Inside, the premium quality paper is easy to write on with 2 silk ribbon markers for keeping your place. Caution! This journal if used everyday, could radically transform, profoundly shape and dynamically alter your destiny.

Features include :

Day-to-a-View Planner | Comprehensive Goal Planning System | Gratitude Journal | Weekly, Quarterly and Yearly Check-Ins | Weekly & Quarterly Goal Planners | Inspirational Quotes | Appointment Planner | Soul Clarity Worksheets | Prompts and Reminders for Staying on Track | Un-dated, so you can start anytime.


WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT: The journal takes a holistic approach to a 'life revolution' - goals are set for all aspects of your life - health/body, emotional growth, relationships, fun, work, money and community. But before setting any goals and working out your 'why' there are places to list the things you need to let go of or forgive to be able to move on. And a whole page to list your achievements to date - these are to refer back to when you're having a bad day! 

The content is great - I love the idea of 'creating' your life, rather than just living it. The exercises and questions may seem a little daunting at first (you have to face up to things) but the way it does this is really good, and while there is a structure to each of the daily pages, they are not exactly the same. By asking daily questions in slightly different ways, it makes you think! The regular check-ins are a great way to take stock of achievements and to reflect on everything before planning the next steps.

WHAT I DON'T LIKE: The only downside to this journal is that it's too big to carry around in my handbag to have it with me all the time - which is not a deal-breaker as I'm usually at my desk anyway. The key is to making it part of a daily routine (morning and night) so that it's not missed. 

WHO IT WOULD SUIT: This is an ideal tool for anyone who wants to be more mindful and conscious of their life. It would suit someone who is interested in personal development, who wishes to improve their work/life balance, or who is simply looking for some direction with aspects of their life (this is me). It's not going to be for everyone - my husband, for example, would never ever think of using something like this (although as a self-employed freelancer, with huge career aspirations, and poor work-life balance, he would probably benefit from it enormously).

If you're looking for something with more business-focus, then the yellow journal looks great too. I think this would be the one to choose for entrepreneurs or people working in a target-driven environment. I haven't seen it in person, but heard great things about it from people who use it themselves. Here are the details, if you want to check it out:


Dailygreatness Business Planner: An Actionable Plan for Expanding Your Mind & Exploding your Business

Arguably the most comprehensive business planner on the market, the latest planner in the Dailygreatness series is a must-have for your business. Encompassing everything you need to succeed in your business over the coming year, this planner is designed to upgrade your thinking while helping you hit your yearly business goals. With a unique combination of a yearly undated diary (you can start anytime), finance & budget worksheets, goal, action & appointment planners and the best personal development tools, distilled down into a simple daily, weekly & quarterly structure, this powerful tool will support you in creating the habits of a Peak Performer. Designed for optimal focus, personal growth and organisation, the week-to-a-view pages will guide you in forming excellent thinking habits while taking action on your most important priorities. The weekly check-ins, challenges, planners and inspiration, keep you firmly on track with your goals while the 90-Day high-level check-ins and challenges keep you committed, accountable & motivated. Each stage lays the foundation for staying true to your purpose as an entrepreneur, reaching your goals, expanding your mind & exploding your business. The flexi-bound cover means the planner is durable, yet light in weight. The smooth matt finish makes it a pleasure to handle and the beautiful unique full-colour design will inspire you to use it often. Starting your day with the Dailygreatness Business Planner will empower you to create your days in new and exciting ways, utilising your time effectively and enabling you to be the best entrepreneur you can be.

Features:

Week-to-a-View Planner | One Page Business Plan | Business Vision Planner | Comprehensive Goal Planning System | Weekly, Quarterly and Yearly Check-Ins | 90 Day Business Challenges | Weekly Priority Planners | Weekly Action Planners | Inspirational Quotes | Weekly and Quarterly Goal Planners | Finance Manager and Budget Worksheets

As with anything like this, these tools are only good when you actually use them. I'm just getting started with mine, but I'll be sure to update you with how it's going over the next few months. And if you are already using any of the Dailygreatness journals, please leave a comment and let us know how it's going. 

NEXT WEEK: In part 8 of the Festive Gift Guide, I have something for the spinners, and wanna-be spinners out there, and it's a real feast for the eyes. Don't miss it! 

*Affiliate links - read more here

Festive Gift Guide Part 7: Daily Greatness!

As regular readers know, I've been on a mission to be more organised since the new (school) year started in September. It's been going pretty well (see my two month review here) but there are areas for improvement. There are two particular things I want to work on next - one is having a 'vision' for what I want to achieve, and the other is striking the balance between what I have to do with what I want to do. In my search for answers, I kept coming across the following tool. A little basic research (a shout on on social media) showed that some of the entrepreneurs and all-round awesome people I admire already used them and would recommend them. Obviously I had to buy one to see if it would be a good candidate for the Festive Gift Guide.

There are four different options to choose from via the Dailygreatness website or Amazon.com* - a business planner, a body and mind training journal, the (original) greatness journal and the Yoga planner.


I ordered the original (orange) one directly from the Dailygreatness website and it arrived a few days later. It is priced at the higher end of the market, and I can see why - it's really good quality and bigger than I was expecting (24.5cm x 18.5 cm x 2.5cm ). I could tell you about it in my own words, but I think the official description does it more justice: 

Dailygreatness Journal: A Practical Guide for Consciously Creating Your Day

How we start our days determines how we spend our days. How we spend each day determines our future. What, then, is more important than beginning and ending each day with clear intentions, a positive focused mindset and conscious reflection? You've probably read a million self-help books but how do you apply those ideas and make lasting changes? The Dailygreatness Journal: A Practical Guide For Consciously Creating Your Days, combines a yearly diary, goal and appointment planner, and daily tools for self-mastery. Designed to be used daily throughout the calendar year, the daily pages will guide you to form great habits through the 8 daily steps of meditation & visualisation, intentions, dream journalling, gratitude, evening self-awareness questions, exercise, inspired actions & inspiration. The weekly and quarterly check-ins keep you committed, accountable & motivated. With a yearly review that celebrates your achievements and highlights new opportunities for the coming year. Each stage laying the foundations for achieving self-mastery, reaching your goals and finding and following your purpose. The flexi-bound cover means the journal is sturdy and durable yet light in weight. The smooth matt finish makes it a pleasure to handle and the beautiful design, with 432 full colour pages, will inspire you to use it often. Inside, the premium quality paper is easy to write on with 2 silk ribbon markers for keeping your place. Caution! This journal if used everyday, could radically transform, profoundly shape and dynamically alter your destiny.

Features include :

Day-to-a-View Planner | Comprehensive Goal Planning System | Gratitude Journal | Weekly, Quarterly and Yearly Check-Ins | Weekly & Quarterly Goal Planners | Inspirational Quotes | Appointment Planner | Soul Clarity Worksheets | Prompts and Reminders for Staying on Track | Un-dated, so you can start anytime.


WHAT I LIKE ABOUT IT: The journal takes a holistic approach to a 'life revolution' - goals are set for all aspects of your life - health/body, emotional growth, relationships, fun, work, money and community. But before setting any goals and working out your 'why' there are places to list the things you need to let go of or forgive to be able to move on. And a whole page to list your achievements to date - these are to refer back to when you're having a bad day! 

The content is great - I love the idea of 'creating' your life, rather than just living it. The exercises and questions may seem a little daunting at first (you have to face up to things) but the way it does this is really good, and while there is a structure to each of the daily pages, they are not exactly the same. By asking daily questions in slightly different ways, it makes you think! The regular check-ins are a great way to take stock of achievements and to reflect on everything before planning the next steps.

WHAT I DON'T LIKE: The only downside to this journal is that it's too big to carry around in my handbag to have it with me all the time - which is not a deal-breaker as I'm usually at my desk anyway. The key is to making it part of a daily routine (morning and night) so that it's not missed. 

WHO IT WOULD SUIT: This is an ideal tool for anyone who wants to be more mindful and conscious of their life. It would suit someone who is interested in personal development, who wishes to improve their work/life balance, or who is simply looking for some direction with aspects of their life (this is me). It's not going to be for everyone - my husband, for example, would never ever think of using something like this (although as a self-employed freelancer, with huge career aspirations, and poor work-life balance, he would probably benefit from it enormously).

If you're looking for something with more business-focus, then the yellow journal looks great too. I think this would be the one to choose for entrepreneurs or people working in a target-driven environment. I haven't seen it in person, but heard great things about it from people who use it themselves. Here are the details, if you want to check it out:


Dailygreatness Business Planner: An Actionable Plan for Expanding Your Mind & Exploding your Business

Arguably the most comprehensive business planner on the market, the latest planner in the Dailygreatness series is a must-have for your business. Encompassing everything you need to succeed in your business over the coming year, this planner is designed to upgrade your thinking while helping you hit your yearly business goals. With a unique combination of a yearly undated diary (you can start anytime), finance & budget worksheets, goal, action & appointment planners and the best personal development tools, distilled down into a simple daily, weekly & quarterly structure, this powerful tool will support you in creating the habits of a Peak Performer. Designed for optimal focus, personal growth and organisation, the week-to-a-view pages will guide you in forming excellent thinking habits while taking action on your most important priorities. The weekly check-ins, challenges, planners and inspiration, keep you firmly on track with your goals while the 90-Day high-level check-ins and challenges keep you committed, accountable & motivated. Each stage lays the foundation for staying true to your purpose as an entrepreneur, reaching your goals, expanding your mind & exploding your business. The flexi-bound cover means the planner is durable, yet light in weight. The smooth matt finish makes it a pleasure to handle and the beautiful unique full-colour design will inspire you to use it often. Starting your day with the Dailygreatness Business Planner will empower you to create your days in new and exciting ways, utilising your time effectively and enabling you to be the best entrepreneur you can be.

Features:

Week-to-a-View Planner | One Page Business Plan | Business Vision Planner | Comprehensive Goal Planning System | Weekly, Quarterly and Yearly Check-Ins | 90 Day Business Challenges | Weekly Priority Planners | Weekly Action Planners | Inspirational Quotes | Weekly and Quarterly Goal Planners | Finance Manager and Budget Worksheets

As with anything like this, these tools are only good when you actually use them. I'm just getting started with mine, but I'll be sure to update you with how it's going over the next few months. And if you are already using any of the Dailygreatness journals, please leave a comment and let us know how it's going. 

NEXT WEEK: In part 8 of the Festive Gift Guide, I have something for the spinners, and wanna-be spinners out there, and it's a real feast for the eyes. Don't miss it! 

*Affiliate links - read more here

As a fan of Knitting Goddess yarns (pretty much since I first started knitting), when I heard that Joy was selling her own range of project bags, and that she was printing her own fabrics to make them, I was really curious. Her prints certainly did not disappoint, having been designed with the knitter and crocheter very much in mind! Before featuring them in this year's Festive Gift Guide I asked Joy to tell us more about the reasons for adding this line to her shop and what makes them special. Here's what she had to say:
"Like a lot of craft people I’m always keen to find homes for whatever I’m working on, and it’s fair to say that I’ve collected several project bags. I always wanted something that was ‘right’ for my knitting or crochet, and somehow the colourful craft cottons which many project bags are made from weren’t what I wanted. "
"When Bobbie and I started talking about offering project bags, we planned to buy printed fabric and make bags. Having been unable to find what we wanted we decided to print our own. This meant creating designs from scratch, transferring them onto silk screens, printing and heat setting the fabric and making it into bags. Because we control every step of the process its given us lots of control. We wanted to make project bags which would stand up to years of use." 
"Our cotton fabric comes from just along the road in Bradford, and we’ve chosen to worth with a cotton canvas rather than a lightweight cotton. We use water based inks which are soil association approved and non toxic. We use good quality interfacing, zips and thread. So rather than try to make something as cheaply as possible we’ve aimed to make the best bags possible, using UK suppliers every step of the way."
"Our zip pouches come in two sizes and four designs. The larger pouches are the perfect size for a ball of yarn and sock pins, a circular needle or crochet hook. The smaller pouches are great for keeping small things together - mine contains a tape measure, notebook, pencil and lip salve."
"We’ll be posting parcels up to and including the 22nd of December, but we’d recommend ordering by Monday 19th December to give your parcel the best chance of reaching you. If your parcel needs to travel outside the UK please check the last posting date here ."
If you'd like to see the full range of pouches, box bags and totes (as well as Joy's beautiful hand dyed yarns and other notions), visit the online shop HERE

Festive Gift Guide Part 6: Knitting Goddess Zip Pouches


As a fan of Knitting Goddess yarns (pretty much since I first started knitting), when I heard that Joy was selling her own range of project bags, and that she was printing her own fabrics to make them, I was really curious. Her prints certainly did not disappoint, having been designed with the knitter and crocheter very much in mind! Before featuring them in this year's Festive Gift Guide I asked Joy to tell us more about the reasons for adding this line to her shop and what makes them special. Here's what she had to say:
"Like a lot of craft people I’m always keen to find homes for whatever I’m working on, and it’s fair to say that I’ve collected several project bags. I always wanted something that was ‘right’ for my knitting or crochet, and somehow the colourful craft cottons which many project bags are made from weren’t what I wanted. "
"When Bobbie and I started talking about offering project bags, we planned to buy printed fabric and make bags. Having been unable to find what we wanted we decided to print our own. This meant creating designs from scratch, transferring them onto silk screens, printing and heat setting the fabric and making it into bags. Because we control every step of the process its given us lots of control. We wanted to make project bags which would stand up to years of use." 
"Our cotton fabric comes from just along the road in Bradford, and we’ve chosen to worth with a cotton canvas rather than a lightweight cotton. We use water based inks which are soil association approved and non toxic. We use good quality interfacing, zips and thread. So rather than try to make something as cheaply as possible we’ve aimed to make the best bags possible, using UK suppliers every step of the way."
"Our zip pouches come in two sizes and four designs. The larger pouches are the perfect size for a ball of yarn and sock pins, a circular needle or crochet hook. The smaller pouches are great for keeping small things together - mine contains a tape measure, notebook, pencil and lip salve."
"We’ll be posting parcels up to and including the 22nd of December, but we’d recommend ordering by Monday 19th December to give your parcel the best chance of reaching you. If your parcel needs to travel outside the UK please check the last posting date here ."
If you'd like to see the full range of pouches, box bags and totes (as well as Joy's beautiful hand dyed yarns and other notions), visit the online shop HERE
Today's Festive Gift Guide is a selection of small items which would be great as stocking fillers or can form a part of a bigger gift package, but which won't break the bank. Apart from the hot water bottle, the others would also fit into DIY Christmas crackers. Click the images to go to the source. (Etsy & Amazon links are affiliate links.)

1. Add a mini hook (with a complimentary stitch marker) to a yarn package.  These are really handy for picking up dropped stitches in your knitting, or for emergency crochet situations. I'd love to find one of these in my stocking. (I don't even get a stocking! *hint*) 

 
Find more at www.korutumi.co.uk

2. Fill a project bag with little goodies. I've been using a small zipper bag from The Little Grey Girl for the last few weeks and love her choice of fabrics, although they seem to be selling out! (The small size is perfect for 100g project and some needles - in my case, socks.) I also keep a tiny notebook and pencil in mine. These are all things you could add for a knitter (I've listed some yarn inspiration here too). 

See more at thelittlegreygirl on Etsy

3. Make a crochet necklace - this eye-catching crochet pattern from Berniolie is available as a PDF download and uses a small amount of leftover yarn so you can make several from 'scraps' or just a single ball of colourful yarn!


4. I will admit that I have now gifted a number of things from Yellow Bare Wares which is one of my favourite Etsy stores - what knitter wouldn't want to find these in their stocking?

5. How about a "mini" hot water bottle in a hand-knit cover? I published this free pattern last year which uses less than 40g of mixed DK 'scraps'. You can pick up the little 0.5L bottles from hardware stores or for less than £3 each on Amazon.


Of course, if you have the time and you fancy making hand-knit socks, you could come back tomorrow for the downloadable version of the free Rock Those Chevron Socks knitting pattern.  See you then.

Festive Gift Guide part 5: Small but perfectly formed

Today's Festive Gift Guide is a selection of small items which would be great as stocking fillers or can form a part of a bigger gift package, but which won't break the bank. Apart from the hot water bottle, the others would also fit into DIY Christmas crackers. Click the images to go to the source. (Etsy & Amazon links are affiliate links.)

1. Add a mini hook (with a complimentary stitch marker) to a yarn package.  These are really handy for picking up dropped stitches in your knitting, or for emergency crochet situations. I'd love to find one of these in my stocking. (I don't even get a stocking! *hint*) 

 
Find more at www.korutumi.co.uk

2. Fill a project bag with little goodies. I've been using a small zipper bag from The Little Grey Girl for the last few weeks and love her choice of fabrics, although they seem to be selling out! (The small size is perfect for 100g project and some needles - in my case, socks.) I also keep a tiny notebook and pencil in mine. These are all things you could add for a knitter (I've listed some yarn inspiration here too). 

See more at thelittlegreygirl on Etsy

3. Make a crochet necklace - this eye-catching crochet pattern from Berniolie is available as a PDF download and uses a small amount of leftover yarn so you can make several from 'scraps' or just a single ball of colourful yarn!


4. I will admit that I have now gifted a number of things from Yellow Bare Wares which is one of my favourite Etsy stores - what knitter wouldn't want to find these in their stocking?

5. How about a "mini" hot water bottle in a hand-knit cover? I published this free pattern last year which uses less than 40g of mixed DK 'scraps'. You can pick up the little 0.5L bottles from hardware stores or for less than £3 each on Amazon.


Of course, if you have the time and you fancy making hand-knit socks, you could come back tomorrow for the downloadable version of the free Rock Those Chevron Socks knitting pattern.  See you then.



Being both a bibliophile and a crafter, I love hearing about the craft book releases each Autumn and get to review* many of them. Here are a few I think are worth checking out as gifts for your family and friends. Beneath my opinion of each, I've included who I think would like them. All are widely available and I've also included Amazon (affiliate) links.

1. WALL ART, by Clare Youngs

Clare Youngs is a crafter with a history in graphic design, product design and illustration / book design and these are all evident in the range of interesting and varied projects contained in this 140+ page book. You could just follow the step by step instructions to product some lovely pieces, but using the techniques shown, the author encourages experimentation and adding your own personality - she  says "Be bold. Be brave. Unleash the artist in you and go create some amazing walls!

Projects include weaving, fabrics, appliqué,paint, macramé, paper, washi tape, magnets - you name it!  The blurb says: 
"Treat your home as your canvas and adorn your walls with hangings, paintings, stencils, paper crafts, tapestries, plants and more. Make a geometric work of art using silber adn copper leaf and turn your vintage ephemera into a gallery wall in your living room, using simple handmade box frames.... Update your interiors with these innovative, contemporary projects, some of which can be created in an afternoon... All you need to do is find a bare wall and get started."
WHO WILL LIKE IT? - Me! I like this book a lot. I think it would appeal to a wide range of people, including anyone who is interested in interior design, who is decorating on a budget, or is interested in trying out some different craft techniques. 'Wall Art' is widely available in shops and online, including Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

  

2. SEW SCANDINAVIAN, by Kajsa Kinsella


Kajsa Kinsella's book includes four different sections (Home, Accessories, Nursery and Celebrations) which all combine Scandinavian simplicity and elegance. The collection includes various projects inspired by the author's childhood as one of a 'creative family of six'. The projects are designed to be easy to follow and indeed there are several which my daughter is hoping to make, and could probably manage quite well. 

While a few of the household projects are a little twee for my personal taste, the nursery section is a total joy with cute slippers, a felt memory game, matchbox pets, a cute bag, and a fabric 'tic tac toe' which would make a lovely gift. 

WHO WILL LIKE IT? - This book is a great source of gift ideas, for crafting with (reasonably competent) children, and for anyone who loves the Nordic aesthetic and to sew. It is available in all the usual stores, including Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

3. MODERN GRANNY SQUARE CROCHET and More, by Laura Strutt

Laura Strutt's name is not new to this blog as I reviewed another of her books previously. This latest offering is a crochet collection of "35 stylish patterns with a fresh approach to traditional stitches". As you'd guess from the title, there are a whole lot of granny squares, circles and triangles in this book! Many are on a large scale, and most are in vibrant colours.

Patterns are clearly laid out with stylish photography which also makes it easy to see exactly what you'll be getting. There are no charts, but as the patterns are straightforward I'm sure that's little more than an inconvenience to people like me, who find it much easier to work from a visual chart than a written crochet pattern.

WHO WILL LIKE IT? - I think this is a good collection of patterns for a novice crocheter. The author talks about going 'back to basics' and that's exactly what she does with these simple but attractive designs - there's nothing innovative here, but the does exactly what it sets out to do, and does it well. Order a copy from your local bookseller, or from Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com.

   


4. BIG NEEDLE KNITS, by Melanie Porter

Melanie Porter is a graduate of Central Saint Martin's College and worked as a knitwear designer for a decade, before turning her hand to designing prestigious furniture and hand-knit panels. In this book, Melanie presents a collection of patterns which use 10 mm to 25mm needles which use a variety of large yarns.

There are all sorts of projects including homewares, garments and accessories. Some of them I absolutely love (mainly the homewares) and others not so much (some of the clothing is 'interesting'), but this kind of enormous knitting is proving popular with people who are younger and more fashionable than me, and I think the book will be popular as a result.

WHO WILL LIKE IT? Those who'd like to knit big things for their home, but don't know much about knitting and need to learn from scratch (there's a good chapter on techniques and materials), fans of Wool and The Gang, experimental knitters, and trendy young people who can get away with unconventional clothing. Get it for them from good booksellers, including Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Next week I have a gift guide post which includes 'stocking filler' ideas. (I may have added all of them to my own wishlist!!)
----
*I was provided with review copies of all these books (and more) courtesy of the publisher(s). All opinions are entirely my own. 

Festive Gift Guide Part 4: Newly released craft books



Being both a bibliophile and a crafter, I love hearing about the craft book releases each Autumn and get to review* many of them. Here are a few I think are worth checking out as gifts for your family and friends. Beneath my opinion of each, I've included who I think would like them. All are widely available and I've also included Amazon (affiliate) links.

1. WALL ART, by Clare Youngs

Clare Youngs is a crafter with a history in graphic design, product design and illustration / book design and these are all evident in the range of interesting and varied projects contained in this 140+ page book. You could just follow the step by step instructions to product some lovely pieces, but using the techniques shown, the author encourages experimentation and adding your own personality - she  says "Be bold. Be brave. Unleash the artist in you and go create some amazing walls!

Projects include weaving, fabrics, appliqué,paint, macramé, paper, washi tape, magnets - you name it!  The blurb says: 
"Treat your home as your canvas and adorn your walls with hangings, paintings, stencils, paper crafts, tapestries, plants and more. Make a geometric work of art using silber adn copper leaf and turn your vintage ephemera into a gallery wall in your living room, using simple handmade box frames.... Update your interiors with these innovative, contemporary projects, some of which can be created in an afternoon... All you need to do is find a bare wall and get started."
WHO WILL LIKE IT? - Me! I like this book a lot. I think it would appeal to a wide range of people, including anyone who is interested in interior design, who is decorating on a budget, or is interested in trying out some different craft techniques. 'Wall Art' is widely available in shops and online, including Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

  

2. SEW SCANDINAVIAN, by Kajsa Kinsella


Kajsa Kinsella's book includes four different sections (Home, Accessories, Nursery and Celebrations) which all combine Scandinavian simplicity and elegance. The collection includes various projects inspired by the author's childhood as one of a 'creative family of six'. The projects are designed to be easy to follow and indeed there are several which my daughter is hoping to make, and could probably manage quite well. 

While a few of the household projects are a little twee for my personal taste, the nursery section is a total joy with cute slippers, a felt memory game, matchbox pets, a cute bag, and a fabric 'tic tac toe' which would make a lovely gift. 

WHO WILL LIKE IT? - This book is a great source of gift ideas, for crafting with (reasonably competent) children, and for anyone who loves the Nordic aesthetic and to sew. It is available in all the usual stores, including Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

3. MODERN GRANNY SQUARE CROCHET and More, by Laura Strutt

Laura Strutt's name is not new to this blog as I reviewed another of her books previously. This latest offering is a crochet collection of "35 stylish patterns with a fresh approach to traditional stitches". As you'd guess from the title, there are a whole lot of granny squares, circles and triangles in this book! Many are on a large scale, and most are in vibrant colours.

Patterns are clearly laid out with stylish photography which also makes it easy to see exactly what you'll be getting. There are no charts, but as the patterns are straightforward I'm sure that's little more than an inconvenience to people like me, who find it much easier to work from a visual chart than a written crochet pattern.

WHO WILL LIKE IT? - I think this is a good collection of patterns for a novice crocheter. The author talks about going 'back to basics' and that's exactly what she does with these simple but attractive designs - there's nothing innovative here, but the does exactly what it sets out to do, and does it well. Order a copy from your local bookseller, or from Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com.

   


4. BIG NEEDLE KNITS, by Melanie Porter

Melanie Porter is a graduate of Central Saint Martin's College and worked as a knitwear designer for a decade, before turning her hand to designing prestigious furniture and hand-knit panels. In this book, Melanie presents a collection of patterns which use 10 mm to 25mm needles which use a variety of large yarns.

There are all sorts of projects including homewares, garments and accessories. Some of them I absolutely love (mainly the homewares) and others not so much (some of the clothing is 'interesting'), but this kind of enormous knitting is proving popular with people who are younger and more fashionable than me, and I think the book will be popular as a result.

WHO WILL LIKE IT? Those who'd like to knit big things for their home, but don't know much about knitting and need to learn from scratch (there's a good chapter on techniques and materials), fans of Wool and The Gang, experimental knitters, and trendy young people who can get away with unconventional clothing. Get it for them from good booksellers, including Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com.

Next week I have a gift guide post which includes 'stocking filler' ideas. (I may have added all of them to my own wishlist!!)
----
*I was provided with review copies of all these books (and more) courtesy of the publisher(s). All opinions are entirely my own. 

COPYRIGHT NOTICE

The free patterns and tutorials on this site are provided for unlimited personal use. You may print a copy of a pattern or keep a digital copy for personal use only. Please feel free to share links to the relevant posts but do not reproduce or sell any of these patterns (either digitally or in print). If you would like to use any of my images, please get in touch!

Yarn sellers: Please do not print patterns/tutorials to distribute with yarn sales, as this is an infringement of copyright.










Latest Instagrams

© Crafts from the Cwtch. Design by Fearne.