Sunday, March 6, 2011

An Inspired Sunday

Last night, I went to Borders to peruse their store-is-closing deals. Since they started their big sale two weeks ago, I expected things to be picked-over but also insanely clearanced. Things were definitely picked-over, but most books were only for 25-30% off (with the exception of holiday stuff and a few other things). But given that I was in the book mood - those times when I have an insatiable urge to spend hours in the library or the bookstore smelling, touching and reading books - I stayed. For two hours. And bought five books. I am so excited to sit down, open the blinds, sip hot coffee, and dive into these amazing books. I bought each book not because the deal was too good to pass up, but because they left me feeling inspired.

They are:

1. Made From Scratch: Discovering the Pleasures of a Handmade Life by Jenna Woginrich

This book is a memoir, and looks awesome. I was going to buy it anyway, but once I saw that she wrote a chapter called Homemade Mountain Music I knew that had to have it. Since high school, I have wanted to learn how to play fiddle. When I went to college - a tiny place nestled in the mountains of North Carolina - I took two semesters of fiddle. Even while I was in class I was too preoccupied with the learning that seemed more likely to earn me a career than to spend any substantial time learning old time music. Now I wonder if perhaps I should have spent more time practicing my fiddle and less time poring over Organic Chemistry. Even much of basic chemistry has escaped me, but that desire to learn the fiddle is ever present.

2. The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan

"Oh Book Cover, you had me at your subtitle"

Eat from your garden year-round, make omelets from your own chickens, pick berries from your back door. Yup, yup, and yup. All three of these things give me tiny butterflies of excitement in my future-vision. It makes no difference that I currently have a non-existent plot of land. All the more reason to get there someday. And when I have that land, I will surely be prepared. To make Hot Pepper Jelly (page 72), to build a chicken coup a "poulet chalet" (page 236), and - most importantly - to make peach wine (page 133).

3. In Stitches by Amy Butler

I am not a sewer. Wait, is that the right spelling? I think it is, I just googled it. But I don't mean the underground system of pipes that carry unmentionables. I mean a person that sews. I guess I could just say seamstress.

I am not a seamstress. I have in my possession a pile of fabric and a quilt pattern that I bought when I was 19, thinking that I would pick up that oh-so-noble art of quilting. And then I learned that quilting requires cutting out pieces of fabric so meticulously that they are exactly the same size when you are finished. This is so not me. I lack delicacy, precision and patience in excessive abundance. But I am going to try. I want to try. In fact, I have already decided that I am going to make two major purchases this year: a digital camera and a sewing machine.

This book is beautiful and includes just the inspiration I need to start to cultivate the beginnings of delicacy, precision and patience in my own self. Isn't this apron just lovely?

And so, I sew. {I'm sorry. I really couldn't resist.}

4. Handmade Beginnings by Anna Maria Horner

No Mom, I am NOT pregnant. This book is. so. cute. and when I saw it couldn't resist. I want to make the things in this book so badly I can't resist. And since you learned about my sewing inadequacies in number 3 above, you know that I better start now if I hope to have any handmade clothes for my child by the time it is born. In ten years. But in the interest of full disclosure, I will tell you that I bought this book because of the photo below.

My child WILL wear a baby-in-the-hood jacket. No ifs ands or buts about it. That jacket is so darned cute I might make two or three. The pattern seems to be a bit complicated, so I'll try out one of the other patterns in this book before tackling it. There are some great patterns that aren't just for baby, so even those of us that are childless will find this a useful book (slippers, a cute pillow, or a wrap dress that could easily be worn non-pregnancy).

5. Room to Write by Bonni Goldberg

For as much as I love to write, I almost never do it. This book is full of daily writing prompts, and I can't wait to dive in.

These books leave me full of inspiration, and make me really really happy. Lately I've been trying to surround myself with things that make me happy, not things that should make me happy. Which is why I bought a homesteading book even though I don't have land, and why I spent two hours of my Saturday evening in a bookstore rather than going out with friends. Here are some other things that have made me happy recently, and I hope they make you happy too.

1. Soule Mama - I just found this blog and I love it! The soule mama has five kids, lives in Maine, is focused on having a homemade home, and takes beautiful pics.

2. This fruit leather recipe. I can't wait for berry season!!

3. 37days. Please read this post to start. I almost bought her book, Life is a Verb, at the bookstore, but decided to wait. I'm going to read her blog for a while and then perhaps buy the book later.

4. A tiny library


  1. I want all of these books too! They look wonderful! And I think if you sew projects that are relatively quick to finish, you'll work your way up to a quilt. Those baby projects look amazing. Yeah, we need to be neighbors.

  2. I know I could spend an afternoon checking out all of those books. Really cool.


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