How about we flick through some crafty French eye candy today?
At Christmas I was given a year's subscription to Marie Claire Idées. It's basically the same as the 'normal' Marie Claire, but for crafts. I like it not just because of the pretty pictures and the things to make, but also because it's a little window into the French-speaking world of DIY, which to my eyes is a bit different to the Anglophone world I usually live in.
Want to see what I mean? Let's take a look.
The first few pages are filled with bonnes idées - good ideas. Which in this case means, shopping. Nice pretty things to inspire and, if you have pots of money, buy. I'm always pleased to see Belgians featuring, of course: that's Magritte on the mugs, for those who wouldn't know :-)
But let's move on to the crafts.
Some kid sewing patterns: cute enough, and I'd be tempted to use their gilet pattern if I didn't already know about the extremely similar free download from Mme Zsazsa.
Things with sticks. The first is an idée masking tape, the second a jewellery hanger. I have to say that both these are far too homemade for me, but each to his or her own. It's democratic :-)
There are some decent knitting ideas. I like this blanket quite a lot:
This snood is one of the relatively few things in the magazine that deliberately links crafting with the catwalk:
Along with a spread on how to shop stylishly from your local Parisian thrift shop:
But some of the other features, I have to say, well - I raised my eyebrows. I mean, there's the aspirational feature on people who live in a house like this:
I don't know about you, but I can't imagine there being a lot of common ground between them and the demographic who might make this:
That's a hand-sewn jacket with hand-knit sleeves and pockets. Is it just me, or is that a bit insane?
I think that's what I find a little bit strange about this magazine. It looks chic, just as I want to expect from the French. But much of the content is an awful lot more frumpy than what the modern Anglophone crafting world looks like. Or am I out of step? I don't really read craft magazines in English so I wouldn't know about them - maybe it's the online crafting community, whatever the language, that's a few steps ahead in terms of functional and fashionable crafting. Is there a cultural/linguistic divide here - or am I just wrong? It's always possible ;-)
This article seems like another example, though - an info piece on yarn bombing. There are so many incredible knitters and hookers in the French-speaking world, it hardly seems possible that this hasn't hit their towns and cities yet.
Although I suspect that attitudes to public space are rather different in France; perhaps that explains it.
Anyway, apart from that, we move on to articles in those classic women's magazine territories: beauty and cooking.
The recettes maison for home beauty treatments look pretty good in fact, and are one of the few things from this edition I'm likely to actually make.
The food looks good too, and I may well try some of these if the mag makes it from craft room to kitchen at any point.
I was a bit gutted by that to be honest.
There's also a travel feature on Angkor Wat and pretty things to bring back. This seemed a bit out of place to me in a crafts magazine - but it does reflect the structure of non-crafting women's monthly mags.
|Sorry for the small pic - click to enlarge if interested!|
And finally, at the end there's the cahier d'explications - instructions for how to make everything shown in the previous pages. Which is the point at which I think, nah - not actually going to bother.
|Click for the bigger picture...|
But I do enjoy looking at it. I've rarely made anything from Marie Claire Idées, but it always makes me explode with my own ideas, a bit like French Pinterest on paper.
Any other readers out there? What do you think? Does something like this exist in English? What other crafty magazines should I be reading?
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And with that, I'm off to watch Tilly in episode one of the Great British Sewing Bee. Isn't this the most exciting thing on television ever???!!!!