Crafty way to find the perfect Christmas gift

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Making crafts is not just the preserve of those who have an idle hour they want to spend creating something beautiful.

For those who have survived a stroke, the act of making crafts can play an important part in rehabilitation, providing a way for people to communicate again and socialise with others.

So it is perhaps fitting that a group of artists have got together to raise money for the Stroke Association by publishing a book called 20 Crafty Makes.

The book has combined the creative talents of 20 craft experts, including 27-year-old Katrine Brosnan from Orlingbury, Northamptonshire, who also works part-time for the charity.

Katrine, who did her Art Foundation course at the University of Northampton before studying Fine Art at Nottingham Trent, explained: “Someone has a stroke every five minutes in the UK, but it’s often misunderstood. Many people see it as an older person’s disease, but a quarter of stroke survivors are under 65. We chose to raise money for the charity because we want to raise awareness of how to prevent strokes to a younger audience.

“The book makes a fabulous Christmas present, and people have still got time to make some of the projects themselves; everyone appreciates a handmade gift.”

Printmaking expert Katrine has supplied instructions on how readers can make their own rustic tree decorations.

Meanwhile, the other artists involved have come up with an array of arty ideas, including everything from instructions on how to make sheep button pictures and greeting cards to guidelines on how to make cat cushions.

Stroke survivor, 77-year-old Joan Beal, has written about how to make colourful, reversible shopping bags.

Looking back at her own stroke in 2007, Joan said: “I was washing up when I felt disoriented and was convinced my hands had risen above my head. I screamed and my husband rang for an ambulance and I was rushed to hospital.

“It was a frightening experience; I couldn’t do simple hand movements or walk. But I was determined and finally started moving and walking again.

“Crafting has certainly helped with my rehabilitation, because it forced me to get out of the house and meet people at groups.”

The book costs £5 and is available to order online. Visit or email