Chic on a shoestring

For christmas last year I got the most wonderful crafting book, Chic on a Shoestring – it’s full of great diy-able, recyclable or vintage up-cyclable clothing and accessory ideas, and has some of the most beautiful photography in it.  I poured over it. I even made a couple of pieces. And just as a bit of a coincidence, last week that author, Mary Jane Baxter spoke at my WI. I was excited about the talk because I love the book, but I honestly didn’t know how, well, inspirational she’d be. 

I’d not read anything about her at all before so I didn’t know her history, but Mary Jane started as a BBC journalist, who couldn’t shake that feeling that she ought to be crafting that she quit her good job to train to become a milliner. After a journey round the UK a few years ago, making do and mending, a lot of hot desking at the BBC, and a rejected book idea, she finally scored a book deal to showcase her upcycled fashions and hats. I was shocked, and not in a good way, at the money writers get and I was amazed at the work that goes into a publishing. I was also amazed that, as a published author, she’s still working on a BBC desk!

All her talk was interesting, but it was the fact she took the love of crafting that she has, and figured out a way to make that her life. She knew that she ought to be doing something that had her using her hands, and she is. It was the fact she was so encouraging to us all that if there is something we love, it doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and live in poverty until you achieve your dream, but it’s not impossible to try and get there, it’s not impossible to give it a go. 

So having heard how much little an author makes from the sale of every book – i think you all ought to go out and buy it – here


  1. That sounds a really neat book! I love author talks – it's always nice to hear the voice and see the face behind the words!

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