At Home during the Holiday...Read a Book

It's that time of year where I get on a plane and head north to be with family. There are many reasons I enjoy this time of year but one of my favorite parts is how I allow myself to have a lot of couch time and read a book. This Christmas, I'm all about Deep South, the latest by my favorite author, Paul Theroux. It's a non fictional account of his time spent in the South- from South Carolina to Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, as he visits the same small towns throughout four seasons. As I look forward to delving into Paul's latest travels, I asked my friend Nan Myers of Thomasville, Georgia what her favorite books have been this year. If you ever had the pleasure of visiting her lovely shop, Firefly, you already know she always has a stellar book selection. Here are her favorites of 2015... Thank you Nan, they're all so good! 

Eat by Nigel Slater; Habitat by Lauren Liess; Once in a Lifetime by Gestalten Books; Do Unto Animals by Tracey Stewart; The Shopkeepers by Gestalten Books; Winter Cocktails by Maria del Mar Sacasa; The Monocle Guide to Better Living, Good Business, Cosy Homes; Animal Kingdom by Millie Marotta; A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote; The Night Before Christmas by Roger Duvoisin; Plumdog by Emma Chichester Clark; Holly Hobbie's The Night Before Christmas by Clement Moore. 


Paul Theroux image: Elizabeth Cecil for the Wall Street Journal    Content: Sweet Peach


The Handmade Book...

These past few weeks, I've been cleaning out closets and cabinets and drawers and have been amazed how many different notebooks I've amassed. I love a good notebook, at home or on the job, where I can jot down ideas and doodle and write to-do lists and goals. So, by my very nature, I'm a big fan of these gorgeous handmade books crafted by Katie Gonzalez of Nashville, Tennessee.

What I love is how Katie studied the art of bookmaking in Cortona, Italy. It's a lovely little town I had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago that, like all of Italy, stirs the soul. Katie, "Visiting a medievel bindery, working with luxurious materials and learning to make paper by hand instilled a sense of tradition into my work." 

In her shop, you'll find her latest handmade creations which include sketchbooks, guest books and all manner of beautifully bound keepsakes. These leather photo albums are meant to display small, square sized photos, like those in your Instagram feeds. (Artifact Uprising is a great company for this) These books are also made to order so you can choose your own leather and thread color. 

All of Katie's leather books utilize the Italian longstitch binding which is decorative but also functional, allowing for the pages to lie flat when open for ease of writing. 

And since I threw away many of my old notebooks, I think it's only fitting that I start replenishing with books as pretty as these- books that help emphasize the importance and significance of each doodle or word. Mi piace molto...


Images: Psalm 27 Creative    Content: Sweet Peach

Books! My Go-To Picks

Last night I had the idea of sharing my favorite go-to books for gifts. I have lots of books, I love books, so when picking these selections, I kept getting worried of all the great ones I may be forgetting or leaving out. But, as with anything, you have to learn to just let things go and do the best you can in the moment. All of these books below are currently on my shelf or have been repeated choices for gifts. I believe any would be a wonderful present to wrap under the tree. If you have any suggestions to share, please do so. A long list of wonderful books is a good thing... 

From top left to right, each row: The Sartorialist;  Le'ts Explore Diabetes with Owls;  Walking Through Walls;  Mr. Wilkinson's Vegetables Cookbook; The Best American Travel Writing 2013;  Secret Ingredients;  The Book of Good Cheer;  Flower Recipe;  Love Poems;  Where I'm Calling From;  A Confederacy of Dunces;  Shake;  Soil Mates;  Hotel Honolulu;  The Dog Chapel;  A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters;  Il Viaggio;  The Abstract Wild;  The John McPhee Reader;  David Gulden;  Try This At Home;  Modern Rustic;  We Love Madeleines; The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook;  The Selby;  The Design Hotels Book;  Nashville Field Guide;  Austin Field Guide;  Maddie on Things. 



April's Flourish Cafe

April Starr of London, Kentucky has a cafe. It has lots of old books, vintage items and pretty art on the wall. It's colorful, inviting and makes you feel good. And it's all online. Her Etsy shop, Flourish Cafe combines April's love for food, art, books and vintage in a way that makes you feel you're actually inside her cozy cafe. You can almost hear the bell ring sweetly as you step inside from the cold...

April loves food. It's obvious from the bevy of prints she's created based on what you'd find on the kitchen counter or in the fridge. I like her pen and ink Garlic illustration-  and as long as I'm not in a tent I think I'd be a happy camper too...Find her ode to an old school camper here. 

April savors that feeling of getting lost in a good book and in response, made these mini prints or bookmarks that showcase her passions. As she shared with me, "I have shelves and shelves of books...vintage books, cookbooks, fiction books, reference books. I love them. So if the saying is true that a 'room without books is like a body without a soul,' then I have very soulful rooms." 

April is always inspired to draw on a rainy day and her four year old daughter often joins her with her own paper and crayons. It's the perfect combination for inspiration. I wonder if it was raining the day she made her adorable I Love You print? April's favorite item in her shop is the Oh for a Book print. She shared, "It is a poem that has a special place in my heart ever since I was a kid." 

These sweetly colored vintage cups are what drew me to April's site. She has a small collection of well curated vintage items for sale in her cafe, which include kitchenware, clothing, accessories and items for the home office. I hope you enjoyed your visit to April's Flourish Cafe...have a good day! 


Photos: Flourish Cafe   Content: Sweet Peach