I don't know what's kept me so busy lately, but I have gotten way behind on my blogging. It has been about 6 weeks -- yikes! -- since I posted something here, so let me remedy that right now! Is it too late to post Christmas photos? No, right? 'Cause New Year's is not here yet. I hope everyone is enjoying a fabulous holiday, whatever it might be that you celebrate. Cheers, all!
And may we all enjoy peace, prosperity, love, & good health in the New Year!
Recently I was inspired by a book called MaryJane's Outpost to suggest to my local library that they allow patrons to make book recommendations. They said, Sure, go ahead and put together a list! So I did. I thought I would share my book list with you. I came up with a dozen titles, and in this posting, I'll share the first six.
The theme for my selection of books is Living well: at home and (occasionally) outside.
Some of my favorite books are decorating books. I especially love decorating with antiques and vintage goodies, and I like looking at lots of colorful photos of rooms and houses. My book list includes books about decorating, some with practical how-to's and recipes, and one with display ideas. But my list also includes books that just help me live better – by cooking up good foods, eliminating clutter, and getting outside to enjoy the beauty around me. These books all inspire me for different reasons. I hope you'll find some inspiration here, as well.
1. MaryJane's Outpost: Unleashing your inner wild Love this book! This was the book that gave me the idea of having patrons recommend library books – I guess I needed to share it. MaryJane's Outpost is written by MaryJane Butters, a 50-something grandma who has spent a large portion of her life playing and working in the out-of-doors. There's lot of inspiration to be found here, everything from outdoor activities to decorating to cooking. She even shows us how to make jewelry out of fishing lures. I especially liked the vintage photos and old advertisements. This book is fun and fabulous!
2. Bazaar Style: Decorating with market and vintage finds Selina Lake & Joanna Simmons When I first read the subtitle, I thought it meant flea market – and it sort of does, but these decorating ideas really come from all different types of markets around the world, including French brocantes and Moroccan bazaars. The book uses photos of real homes, which is a nice change from the overly stylized rooms we see so often in some decorating magazines. The colors are bright and cheerful, and anyone can get this look, even on a tight budget. Inspiring to look at, even if you don't want to change a thing in your home.
3. Good Things: A collection of inspired household ideas and projects Martha Stewart This Martha Stewart book was published 12 years ago, but the ideas stand up to the test of time. I have mixed feelings about Martha's projects in general – they are a little too perfect to suit my offbeat tastes – but there are some ideas here that I like and could see myself doing, including sending the box of leaves (a perfect gift for my friends in Savannah) and making the floating apple candleholders.
4. The Art of Display: Creating style with decorative objects Katherine Sorrell I've lost track of the number of times I've checked out this book. I like browsing the photos that show how to display everything from the sublime (silk kimono) to the ridiculous (a fireplace entirely covered in little seashells).
5. Party Basics for New Nesters: More than 100 fresh ideas for holidays and every day Maria McBride I've lived on my own for 30 years, so I'm obviously not in the target audience for this book, but I like it anyway. The candy bar idea is just right for Halloween, although I suggested it recently to a friend who is getting married, since I think it could be a fun idea for a wedding reception too.
6. Love It or Lose It: Living clutter-free forever Barbara Hemphill & Maggie Bedrosian This falls into the "if only" category. I am a pack rat who is trying to reform, and I need all the help I can get. This will likely be one of those books I return to again and again.
Do any of these books look interesting to you? What books do you read when you want a little inspiration for making life more comfortable? Please leave a comment with your thoughts! Thanks for visiting, and stop back soon to see Part 2 of Books that inspire me.
"The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings." ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Positivity. Is that a word? I don't know -- I didn't stop to look it up, because I decided I want to use it, even if it's not in the dictionary. It is a gray day here in Maine, and it's chilly too. Seriously chilly, like in the 30s. I decided I needed something to brighten this day, so here is the blog post I've created to talk about positivity, or the art of being joyful.
Where does joy come from? Are some people born as 'cup half full' people while others just naturally see the cup as half empty?
I don't think so. Joy does come from within, but it starts with our thoughts and grows from there -- or not. To experience life from a happier perspective, you first have to make the decision that you want to be happier and you're going to be -- regardless of what's going on around you.
Next step? Become aware of your thoughts and feelings. Are you always complaining? Is your boss a jerk? Does your mother-in-law get on your nerves? Do traffic problems send you over the edge? Whatever you're feeling is fine, but if it's less than positive, you might want to take a step back and realize how you're thinking about things. Everyone can be a jerk sometimes, but once we label someone that way, that's the side of themselves that they'll show us.
Take a moment today to consider yourself and your life. Not liking what you see? Then what can you change? Not the other guy -- YOU! It always comes back to you. Change your outlook, and you'll change your life.
Add a touch of positivity to your day -- in the form of a happy thought, smile, or small joke -- and you're already on your way to a happier life. Try it. Just for today. Take one small step toward positivity and see how it makes you feel. And now for some happy images to help us all feel better right now...
My friends Laura & Keith were married yesterday at Bowdoin Chapel in Brunswick, Maine.
Keith & his family are of Scottish descent, so all the men in the family wore kilts, and there was a professional bagpiper playing at the ceremony.
Laura spent months planning this wedding, and the details were very special -- everything from the favors, which were CDs this musical couple recorded of themselves performing at a local club, to the handmade paper flower centerpieces to the "album covers" that served as table designations.
From beginning to end, a very special day for a very special couple!
Beth is a creative Mainer, constant dreamer, retired writer, passionate beader, positive thinker, and cancer survivor. "I am a woman who feels blessed to live in the great state of Maine. I enjoy being creative in many ways: making bracelets, taking pictures, creating unique greeting cards, making monoprints, and much more."