Aunt Emily

Emily Bowyer Hammel was my father's older sister. She was the dearest person I've ever known. Over several adolescent summers, she patiently taught me how to sew and how to cook. I loved her. Sadly, she has been gone these few years and I miss her very much. However, I am carrying on her legacy of sewing and trying to carry on her legacy of caring.

Monday, November 3

Magazine Monday: Reviews of the Newest Magazines

Disclaimer: This review is entirely my opinion and impressions of the magazines I feature. I do not receive anything to conduct this review - I purchase the magazine, read it and assess it on my own. The copywrite for text and photos is maintained by the publisher. Any photos I use are those I have taken myself.

One thing you probably don’t know about me is that I am a magazine addict. I always have been one - from Tiger Beat and Seventeen many years ago, through Cosmo and Glamour in the 70's and 80's, and Vanity Fair and Vogue in the 90's, to today, when the majority of the magazines I purchase are genealogy, history, and art or craft related.
I try to be selective in my purchase, but you know how that goes. I have friends who only purchase a magazine if there are three or more articles they will use. But I like to look at the pretty pictures and see what others think about this or that.
So, beginning today, every Monday I will review at least one magazine. Most will have a craft or sewing connection, although if I find something outside of the category that I think you will be interested in, I will post a review.

First up is’s Gifts to Make (, published by Taunton, as a special edition featuring holiday gifts. The projects seem to be simpler than I expected, but I have to remind myself that the magazine is aimed at a younger audience than me, who have not experimented with crafts for decades. Projects include making pillows with photo centers, a socktopus, embroidering tea towels, and a friendship shawl, among many others. The major projects are in the second photo, above. A great idea I garnered was from the article on Artful Wrapping, which used enamel based Testor Paint to marble paper. I hadn’t thought of using that, but it makes great sense - the enamel is oil based, so it is easy to use water to create the pattern.

Verdict: If you are a beginning crafter, looking for an easy to do project, this magazine is for you. Instructions and patterns seem easy. The only quibble I have is very minor - an examplecuts into a pattern at a point it shouldn't, when just a bit of planning would have resulted in the pattern being complete, something that is important when the pattern is giant dots. Or maybe it is just me!??

I was much more satisfied with Quilting Arts GIFTS (, available at It has a greater variety of projects, and they are a bit more challenging. My favorites were the articles on The Classic Evening Bag (with pattern), Bedecked Wreaths (a great green bead wreath!), a Dresden Plate inspired pin cushion, and a great idea using Shiva Paintsticks (trademark) to make a travel scarf that documents places you visit. Other articles include a winter table runner, a quilted dog coat, a small messenger bag, creations using shibori-dyed ribbons, and a decorative fabric portfolio. There are many others in the magazine. See the Contents pages above.
Verdict: Great all around magazine for the sewer and crafter. Nicely done projects and photographs. Instructions and patterns seem easy.

Also from Interweave (EDIT: NOT Taunton) is Cloth Paper Scissors Studios, Fall 2008, available at ( This magazine is fun, as it gives you peeks into unique studios of other crafters and sewists. The studios depicted are from around the world - Vermillion, Ohio to Germany and beyond. My favorite was Cynthia Mooney’s little house in the backyard - oh how lovely to have that setting and dive into your craft (page 47). There is an article wherein one crafter documents her revamp of her studio, a section with one-page photos of a variety of studios, then a section of featured studios. Lots of good ideas from your peers here.

Verdict: Love the magazine. It is well photographed and beautifully put together. It builds on Mary Englebrite’s Studio profiles. However, I’m not sure how "long-term" this publication might be. How many of these magazines do you want to purchase?

Mary Jane’s Farm (, available at The October/November issue is wonderfully put together, as usual. Mary Jane Butters of Moscow, Idaho has marketed a lifestyle through her books and magazines - simple, organic, farm-based. The life we all wish we could have. The magazine is put together with charming photographs and interesting articles. The recipes are organic and look delicious. Mary Jane sells mixes based on milled grains, but they are not the focus of most of her recipes. This issue has lots of girly stuff - shoes, bags, etc. I always love looking at the magazine - a evocative of a time and place of less stress and simple life styles. There is almost always a stitchery related article.

Verdict: This magazine is for anyone who is interested in organics, who loves stitchery, or food! I always enjoy reading it, even if the lifestyle is fairly remote from my own.

So . . . that is the review for this week. What do you think? Is it helpful to you? COMMENT please!

1 comment:

Cate Prato said...

Hi Sally,
We're glad you liked Quilting Arts Gifts and Cloth Paper Scissors Studios so much. Thank you for all your kind praise. I would just like to point out that both of those magazines are published by Interweave, not Taunton.
Cate Prato
Editor, Cloth Paper Scissors Studios