Everything Alice- Hannah Read-Baldrey and Christine Leech

My Cheshire Cat microwave beanbag

I haven’t been reading as such this week. The reason? Everything Alice: The Wonderland Book of Makes. I picked it up in Waterstones, Oxford on Alice Day, and arrived too early to meet the authors so was left kicking myself that I bought it from the rude and surly Waterstones staff instead of The Alice Shop who also stock it, though I hadn’t realised this at the time.

It’s easy to see why this handbook of Alice in Wonderland themed crafts has spent several weeks at number one in the craft category on Amazon. Not only is it packed with ideas for food, drink, needle craft, accessories, overhauling furniture and more (no really!) but the book is absolutely gorgeous. Decorated with papercut illustrations, full colour photographs, antique looking poster style pages based on the original text and sprinkled with many of my favourite quotes from the Alice stories, this book really is a little gem.

When I was little, my grandmother often used to say (with disdain or admiration, depending on what had prompted the comment) that I could amuse myself for days with just a piece of string. In all honesty, that hasn’t changed very much, and when not reading, I love to fiddle around with some kind of project. But plenty of my friends who have very limited interest in craft have picked the book up and browsed it when they’ve been round for tea (one was even caught “borrowing” it!) so it really does have something for everyone.

So far I have made

  • The lavender dormice- I love them and have lined up a row on the arm of the sofa to freak my landlord out when he shows people around our flat
  •  A giant Cheshire cat handwarmer which also contains lavender and is satisfyingly weighty.

I have attempted to make the duchess macarons but those call for an entirely different blog post!

Prototype dormouse and "sexy mouse"

My only warning is that this book has hidden costs attached. Oh you could make the crafts with the scraps you have lying around the house as I did with the cat and first dormouse. But velveteen will always feel nicer, and who could resist leopard print velour at a knock down rate on ebay to make sexy mice with? Most people probably, but I couldn’t. Oh, and don’t tell my boyfriend but the new food processor is to grind ground almonds into dust…

On the other hand the book might just save you money. I have plans to buy my crafty friend a copy for her birthday, and the family will all be getting dormice in their stockings this year. Not to mention the white rabbit I have planned for my niece’s birthday…

Follow the ladies who wrote the book on twitter @EverythngAlice or visit their website which I will one day send a picture of my dormouse army… they have a new book coming soon. I wait with bated breath.

The macaron saga... to be continued...