Monday, 14 January 2013

New Year, New Adventures

With the Christmas decorations now well and truly packed away and only a token mince pie still loitering in the cake tin, I find myself feeling rather excited about what this new year may bring. I can't help it, it starts to happen every New Year's Eve as soon as Big Ben starts's like a page has been turned and I feel full of anticipation for all the new adventures that are waiting to be discovered. I also love to start thinking about the projects (of a stitchery nature) that I could turn my hand to. This year I'd like to make significant headway on the quilt I'm making for Little Treasure (it's all hand stitched, English pieced patchwork, made out of Mr Treasure's old shirts) as well as make some things to show at The Wednesday Group's next exhibition (planned for September). In the meantime there are lots of glorious books on my shelves that are bursting with inspiration that I can leaf through when I'm having one of my tea and biscuit breaks!


I thought you might like to see a couple that kept me entralled over the festive holidays...

Now, I'm not normally a jealous person but I feel green with envy every time I open this book! It's absolutely jam-packed with the most AMAZING array of other people's studios, work spaces and collections. I can't stop picking this book up for another sneaky look at all the treasures - there are shelves stuffed with ribbons and trimmings, vintage boxes piled high and full of all sorts of wonders, drawers to peep in and studios to marvel over. It's like being given a guided tour of lots of artisans' spaces, all from the comfort of your favourite chair!

The book's divided into six main sections: The System, The Room, The Cabinet, The Shelf, The Container and The Collection. My favourite has to be 'The Container' because there's just so much to see...and there's the most wonderful collection of vintage suitcases I've ever seen (and I love vintage suitcases!)

If only my fabric stash was this well organised!

Oh, how I'd love to have a set of vintage shop drawers like Michelle Jorgensen (above, bottom row, second from the right). One of the many things I like about this book is just how many artists, designers and makers' rooms and collections are featured - Kaari Meng, Tim Holtz, Heather Bailey and Holly Becker to name just a few.

Here are some of the suitcases I was telling you about...

Now, this is just brilliant (and I must admit to letting out a little whoop when I first saw this page)...Gail Rieke has a whole wall of shelves to hold her antique suitcases, boxes, baskets and trunks!

It doesn't matter how many times I read this book, I keep spotting things I haven't noticed before.

Throughout the book there are lots of interesting snippets to read, but I was particularly taken with this one about collections. In it, it says, "Don't collect items becasue they were someone else's treasured pieces, because they may be 'valuable' some day, or because you have so many of something that they have unknowingly become a collection. Collect that which is a window into who you are..."

This is a superb book and not only provides indulgent escapism, it's also full of inspiration.

All the details:
Where Women Create: Book of Organization
by Jo Packham and the Publishers of Somerset Studio
ISBN: 978-1-4027-9151-2
Published in 2012 by Sterling Publishing

I've got several of Kaari Meng's books. I'm drawn to them because she always includes fabulous photos of all sorts of treasures, from vintage ephemera and photos, to antique notions and trimmings. 'The French-Inspired Home', all about capturing the romance of the rustic French look in your own home, certainly doesn't disappoint!


The book has five main chapters, each looking at a different part of the house - The Creative Space, The Dining Room, The Bedroom, The Laundry Room and The Garden. I love how Kaari talks about all sorts of things relating to each room and often includes stories from her own life and snippets of historical facts. The book has a very personal feel to it, like an old friend is chatting away to you.

As well as pages of beautifully arranged collections, there's lots of helpful this page all about how to choose your colour palette.

 I love wrapping presents so the pages all about gift wrapping really appealed. There's even a page dedicated to tags!

Another inspiringly lovely page.

There are lots of projects to try, including these covered journals. Other projects include a garland made from vintage postcards, a canvas wrap for storing tools or haberdashery in, etched glasses, citrus foot scrub and a fabric-covered jewellery box. There are also tips on tea staining fabrics, furnishing a bedroom, collecting ephemera and cleaning glassware. There's just so much to learn about!

One of my favourite things about this book (apart from Kaari's chatty and interesting writing) is the 'archive' at the end. There are 12 pages of vintage labels, button box labels, book plates, herbier cards, mailing labels, glass etchings, menu cards and name cards that can be copied and put to all sorts of uses. I'm already thinking about using the button box labels to organise my button jars!

If you fancy adding a bit of French elegance to your home, love looking at vintage notions or ephemera or just want to learn something new, I'd really recommend this book!

All the details: 
The French-Inspired Home
by Kaari Meng
ISBN: 978-1-60059-677-3
Published in 2006 by Lark Crafts/Chapelle

Happy reading and I hope you find much to be inspired by over the coming year!


Murgatroyd said...

Ooh, that is a seriously cool set of shelves for those suitcases! Will you bring a book or two on Wednesday please? x

AnniD said...

I would volunteer to have my workroom made over...had my hand up first!!! Lovely read about reads.

Purrfect Haven said...

adore those books... WANT... what inspiration and now I have a gift idea... Thanks! Helen, Darcy and Bingley xxx