Friday, September 10, 2010

what a dreary world we should live in if everything we made or did was useful

What Shall I Do With This?
By Margaret Hutchings
Published by Mills & Boon, 1963
(This edition reprinted 1970)
My sister gave me this book a few months ago after she found it in a Swiss charity shop. It's all about projects you can do with things you can find around the house. I wonder if my parents had a copy of this book, because some of the projects seem very familiar... I will have to ask them.
The chapters of this book are divided into the places you can look for things and the projects you can make with what you might find there. I don't think I need to say much more about this book, so I'll just share the author's super-sweet introduction in amongst a selection of her projects. Enjoy!
"All of us are happier when we are busy but we all like being busy in different ways.
"Do you like sewing or sticking, cutting or colouring, collecting or cooking, knitting or nailing, printing or playing games, designing or drawing, folding, growing things or just 'fiddling'? If so, this book is meant for YOU.

"In it, we go round the house together, finding things we can use and deciding what to do with them.
"Some of the things are for you to do alone, some are for whole families to share in, some you could do at school or at Brownie, Guide or Cub meetings.
"Some will be useful for yourself or for presents, some will help you to learn and some are just for fun.
"It gives us a great thrill to make something just for the joy of doing so, although what we make may not be much use when it's finished.
"What a dreary world we should live in and what very dull people we should be, if EVERYTHING we made or did was useful!

"Before starting work, read right through the instructions given for whatever you have decided to do, making sure that you understand them and that you have everything you need.
"You may feel that you would rather try something else first.
"Because I thought it would be easier for you to follow, I have not had the book set up in type but have drawn a lot of pictures to help you, then written all round them myself, just as though I were talking to you.
"For in the words of Alice, when SHE had nothing to do, '...what is the use of a book without pictures or conversations?' M.H."
p.s. I've started a collection on flickr, where I'll be putting all the vintage craft books I share here. If you want to find them all in one place, look here. I'll be trying to add more (there and here) pretty regularly.


  1. Where do you find all these amazing books?

  2. this is a great find! my favourite is the tie snakes, closely followed by things to do with a ciggie packet - love it x

  3. I love the tie snake too, Emily. As you can see, though, I was finding it hard to narrow my favourites down.

    As for where I find them...that's a trade secret! No, not really. I think my sister and I are just very well-practised in book browsing. It probably comes from being raised by a librarian ;)


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