Inspired By: Minerva McGonagall’s Scottish Thistle Bookmark

Title: Minerva McGonagall’s Scottish Thistle Bookmark
Pattern:Textile Heritage Collection Bookmark Kit (Scottish Thistle)
Time: approximately 5 hours
Completed: 13 April 2014

Final Verdict:  Love the cross stitch part, but my sewing/finishing skills need work still!

For more information about this Inspired By project, click on the link at the top.

Inspired By: Captain America Shield T-Shirt

Title: Captain America Shield Shirt
Captain America: The First Avenger
Time: approximately 5 hours
Completed: 29 July 2012

Final Verdict: One of my favorite shirts to wear on a casual day!

For more information about this Inspired By project, click on the link at the top.

Inspired By: Sneak Peak at Hogwarts Embroidery

Hello Lovely Readers,

I have a stack of reviews to be finishing, an even larger stack of books, and so much paperwork that it is a bit ridiculous. Having said that, I thought it was time for a quick post to give a sneak peak at something I have been working on for the last few months. It is going to be the Hogwarts Crest, including the school motto in Latin. Below are two pictures, the first is from right near the beginning of this process, and the second is after at least 60-70 hours of work. If everything goes according to plan, there should be a couple videos that show the process for this project, and I will provide more information about it then (such as the link where I found the free pattern, which I don’t have on hand at the moment).

Hopefully you guys don’t mind having the surprise spoiled a bit, but I just wanted to show off some of my work! If I ever finish this one, I have a list of others I want to attempt as well! So stay tuned for more posts and videos on this one!

Until next time,

Random News: Gifts for Book Lovers

Hello Lovely Readers,

While several major gift giving holidays have passed (sorry I missed Hanukkah, I blame Thanksgiving) but at least two religions and secular people have some major gift giving events coming up (Christmas and Yule, and possibly a couple more). With that in mind, I thought i would share a couple of neat ideas for those book lovers in your life. The first and obvious gift is a book, but unless you know someone’s taste in books and their current mood for what they are reading, a gift card may be a better bet. However, sometimes there are other things that might be just as nice as a book (because as much as I love books, there are only so many I can read in a year!). Buzzfeed has had some really great list of products for book readers and those who love them, and I have gathered a couple of these lists.

The first is the 20 Thoughtful Gifts for Bookworms. This has some really great ideas on the list, and a lot of them will fit in amongst the books. I really liked the book cake mold. It is so versatile, you can use the same mold to make personalized cakes for everyone, as long as you have a steady hand for writing some words on it!

The second list is the 24 Insanely Clever Gifts for Book Lovers. This is probably my favorite list, even if some of the items are a little impractical. I really liked the story duvet cover.

The third list is not specifically for book lovers, but many of the items should appeal to them, it is a list of 19 Legitimately Awesome Cookie Cutters. One of my favorites was the Pride and Prejudice face cookies.

I think my favorite item from any of the list is the personalized Library Embosser, that you can buy here. While I have always loved book plates, I never actually use them because I hate my handwriting. However, an embosser is a whole new level of cool! Plus it looks rather grown up. I may have to treat myself to this once I can add Dr. to the beginning of my name!

What do you guys think make good gifts for book lovers? What are you getting for the book lovers in your life? Frances gave me a Shakespeare mug a year ago and I love to drink tea out of it while I read Shakespeare. Although I think planning a book based trip are great gifts too, as Frances also gave me our trip to The Harry Potter Studio Tour and Phantom of the Opera!

Until next time,

Inspired By: Fantasy Languages

Hello Lovely Readers,

I am one of those people that love to try learning new languages, but as I say when people ask, “I can hardly speak English!” Language and grammar are things I have always struggled with in English, but that does not stop me wishing to learn other languages. While some might think that this is an admirable trait, really it is not. Especially when some of the languages I want to learn were create for some of my favorite books. I thought I would share some sites I have found to learn languages from Fantasy Novels. I have not tried any of these so I cannot say if any of them are really helpful or not.

Dothraki Sample

From The Game of Thrones (or the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin)

High Valyrian
Astapori Valyrian

Klingon Writing Sample

Star Trek


John’s speech about Sherlock in the writing of the Time Lords, made by who has more work that you can check out!

Doctor Who

Writing in Gallifreyan

Elvish Writing Sample (which style of Elvish is unknown)

JRR Tolkien Languages

Elvish (to my understanding this has the several variations that Tolkien created)
The only source that I have used is a book called The Languages of Tolkien’s Middle-earth by Ruth S. Noel. This contains introductory information on 14 of Tolkien’s languages!

Dwarvish writing Sample

Creating your own Fantasy Language

Writer’s resource

So have any of you tried to learn any of these languages, or other fantasy based languages? Any good resources you recommend? Are there any languages you wish you could learn? I am so much more of a writing person, and would like to learn to write many of these!

Until next time,

Inspired by: Jane Eyre Wall Art

Hi everyone,

I fell in love with Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte when I was still a young teenager. I liked the fiesty nature of Jane Eyre’s personality despite her low stature, and I enjoyed Mr Rochester’s wit. I loved the fact that both Jane and Mr Rochester were ordinary people (i.e., not glamazonions!) and I enjoyed the mystery-like feel to parts of the plot.

While browsing the internet one day, I stumbled across a really neat idea to place a page from the book in a frame with a larger quote from the page overlaying the text. You can see the image that I saw below as well as the link to the webpage if you would like to purchase the item.

While this product is lovely, I decided that I could probably make one myself. So, I downloaded a free copy of Jane Eyre from the internet. I found the page where Mr Rochester tells Jane that he loves her, featuring the quote “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will“. I copied the text and overlayed the quote in larger letters (click here to download a copy: Jane Eyre).

Here’s where I diverged from the image above. I printed the page out onto an A5 piece of paper. Then, I purchased an 8x10inch box frame. I used a deep red backing paper to mount the page onto. Then, I found silhouettes of a man and a woman, printed those out and arranged them to make it look like Jane and Mr Rochester were talking. Finally, I found illustrations from Jane Eyre (click the link here: Jane Eyre Illustrations). I printed off small copies of my favourite points throughout the book and mounted those at the bottom.

Here’s the finished project (apologies about the poor lighting):

What do you think? I’m please overall, especially when considering that what I found costs £24.99 and yet I made this for less than £10.

Have you made any book related crafts? If so, let us know! We’d love to see them 🙂 We might even feature them on our blog.

Happy reading!

Inspired by: Lord of the Rings, Embroidered Map of Middle Earth UPDATE

Hi everyone,

So, I somewhat recently posted about the embroidered map of Middle Earth that I am completing for my mum as she is an avid fan of Lord of the Rings. I had originally aimed to finish the map for Christmas this year…I’ve realised that this was probably very overambitious! I am making progress (see pictures below), but slow progress.

I started with Mordor — I couldn’t help myself 🙂

Here’s the overall shot, so far. As you can see, I still have many, many mountains to go before I can move up to the top right hand corner!

I was initially very worried about whether the text would be readable, particularly because I only wanted to make the map A0 size. I think that so far, the text has worked well. Hopefully, you agree. I used single strands of black thread for this lettering so I could retain the different font styles.

For the mountains at the base of Mordor, I really wanted them to be sharp and angular by using two strands of black thread and blocking in the shadows. I think that this works well and adds to the feel of Mordor.

For the Ash Mountains above Mordor, I wanted something a little softer. I hoped that this would highlight that there is a difference between the mountain. I still used two strands of black thread, but I was less accurate about where I placed the needle for the shadows and I varied the shape of the shadows (not always triangular).

What do you think of the map so far? Are you going to attempt to embroider the map of Middle Earth too? It’s actually not as hard as I expected…just time consuming.

Happy reading, and watch out for more updates on my progress embroidering the map of Middle Earth!

See the first post of the Embroidered Map of Middle Earth here: Inspired by: Lord of the Rings, Embroidered Map of Middle Earth

Random News: Our Queen and Build Your Own Wizarding School

Hey Lovely Readers,

I apologize for the lack of reviews this week, but things are busy! So to hold you over I have some more Harry Potter themed things. The first is a great list of 11 things you might not know about Our Queen, JK Rowling! You can read that here. I liked finding out why she killed Hedwig, which always bothered me.

Another excited thing I have found is a site that has the blueprint for making your own Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You can find the link here. This is all made out of paper, that you cut and glue to make the school. At the bottom of the page there are also plans for a light up wand and a snitch. This looks like a fun way to pass the winter holiday! I have not built this myself, so I have no idea how long it would take. If any of you do this, send us pictures!

Until next time,

Inspired by: Lord of the Rings, Embroidered Map of Middle Earth

Hi everyone,

My mum is an avid fan of Lord of the Rings. She read The Hobbit to my sister and I when we were children and I’ve lost count of the number of times she has seen the extended versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. For Christmas this year, I decided to embroider the map of Middle Earth. It’s a fairly mammoth task, but I know she will love it.

As I work on embroidering the map, I’ll be posting updates about my progress as well as information about what I’ve done–Just in case anyone else wants to take on such a feat!

So, I started with a map of middle earth that I found on google.

I opened up the map in (a free program that does pretty much everything Photoshop does) and I made a few modifications. I really wanted the map to be purely black and white so it would make transferring the map onto fabric much easier. So, I used the artistic effects in to turn the map into a pencil sketch. Then, I sharpened the image until the text and the lines were very visible. You can see the edited map below:

I sized the image to 45.57cm X 60.75cm, making it small enough to fit into an A1 frame. So, the final embroidered piece will be fairly large, but with the level of detail on the map, I don’t see that a smaller size would work. I’m unsure that the size I am doing is large enough! I’m particularly worried about some of the smaller text.

I then used an online program called block posters to split the image for printing on A4 paper. You can download the pattern I created to save time by clicking here: BlockPosters-YourPoster-118_Middle Earth Map

I then ordered a .5m x .7m piece of 27 count white linen (£7.50), a 15cm embroidery hoop and 1000m of Black embroidery thread (no idea whether this will be enough yet) from Ray Stitch.

Once everything arrived, I started to transfer the pattern on to the embroidery fabric. This is the tricky part! Well, the first tricky part. Essentially, I used a light box with the A4 pattern pinned underneath. Then, using a pencil (although, a fabric pen that washes out might be better/easier) I began to trace the image. At first, I pinned the whole pattern underneath the fabric, but this got a little tricky to maneuver because my light box is tiny. So, I pinned two A4 sheets and began tracing there.

At the moment, I’ve traced some of the main parts of the top right hand corner. I didn’t think the tracing was working that well at first, but looking at it today in the daylight, it actually looks pretty good. I still have a fair amount of detail still to trace, but some of the smaller details will be left until I actually embroider. For example, the shape underneath the “U” of “Rhun” will be tiny embroidered circles to represent trees, but this detail is too small to trace using a pencil. I am a little worried about embroidering some of the smaller text as it was difficult to write that small! I may try embroidering a line of small text to see if it’s possible. If not, I may need to reprint the pattern out larger! Fingers cross that won’t be necessary.

Below you can see the embroidery fabric laid out with the part of the pattern I am working on pinned underneath the fabric. I’ve laid the rest of the pattern out on top so that you can see what it looks like.

A close-up of the part of the pattern I have started to trace:

Once I’ve traced the pattern entirely, I’ll post again. This may take a while… In the meantime, happy reading!


See the next post of the Embroidered Map of Middle Earth here: Inspired by: Lord of the Rings, Embroidered Map of Middle Earth UPDATE

Inspired By: Hunger Games T-Shirt

Title: Hunger Games T-Shirt
Inspiration: The Hunger Games (novel)
Time: approximately 8 hours for 2 shirts
Completed: 23 March, 2012Text on Shirt:
Front: (picture of Mockingjay symbol)
Sleeve: HG (The Hunger Games initials from book cover)
Back: It isn’t in my nature to go down without a fight, even when things seem insurmountable.

Final Verdict: While the photo doesn’t do it justice, this is my most recognized t-shirts, and the one I have the fewest points that I would change.

For more information about this Inspired By project, click on the link at the top.