Category: Books

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The 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal + Win a copy!

It’s been a banner year for books by bloggers and Moorea Seal‘s The 52 Lists Project is one of my faves. It’s a gorgeous guided journal of weekly lists and related actions designed to help you appreciate all of the qualities, preferences, challenges, experiences and dreams that make you you and live a more fulfilling, more intentional life. 

Lovable Livable Home by Sherry and John Petersik

Lovable Livable Home trysmallthings

In the follow-up to their bestseller Young House Love, superstar bloggers/designers Sherry and John Petersik return with a gorgeous, relatable guide to help readers bridge the gap between how we want our homes to look, feel, and function, and how they actually do. Lovable Livable Home is one of my favourite new books for its design solutions — doable projects and quick fixes that can bring order and personality to our spaces in an hour or a few afternoons. 

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Hand-Lettering for Everyone by Cristina Vanko + Win a copy!

When your inner critic is a real loud-mouth like mine, trying something new — even something small — can be an uphill battle. Starting seems pointless when you think you’re doomed to fail and continuing, well that’s just a waste of everyone’s time. Time that could be spent sleeping, worrying and generally not allowing yourself to participate in life. Which is a pretty depressing way to begin a book review, I know, but stick with me mes amis, it’s not all bad. In fact, it’s mostly good. See I was really looking forward to reading and trying the exercises in Cristina Vanko’s Hand-Lettering for Everyone, but I was also damned intimidated. My inner critic sneered, “what business is it of yours? you haven’t put pen to paper since elementary school when you did those ridiculous 3D block letters on every title page, and that was 100 years ago!” But another (quieter) voice said, “but you really liked doing those block letters, why not try it for fun?” It was the second voice that got me started on the book, and Cristina’s voice that kept me going. There is inspiration and encouragement and honesty on every page, and wouldn’t you know? Cristina struggles with perfectionism too! 

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DIY, DAMMIT! A Practical Guide to Curse-Free Crafting + Win a copy!

If DIY failures have made you think about swearing off crafting forever, Joselyn Hughes is going to make you think again. And pee laughing while you’re doing it. Just a few pages into Joselyn’s DIY, DAMMIT! A Practical Guide to Curse-Free Crafting and I was annoying my hubby reading funny bits aloud and wanting to make all the things. There’s 35 easy, affordable and good-looking crafts for gifting, organizing, wearing, decorating and entertaining, plus a quiz to help you find out what kind of crafter you are (I love quizzes!), what to drink while crafting (ha!) and what to do when disaster strikes. And more! So what to make first? The platter with panache? Beer in a poncho? (See, the crafts even sound funny. Dammit she’s good!)

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Butter Celebrates! A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share with Family and Friends

I love a reason to celebrate, even if you have to dig a little deep to find one. One summer we threw a party for Huey Lewis’ birthday (July 5). We played music by Huey Lewis and the News (obvs), displayed a couple of framed 8 x 10’s of Huey that we’d signed as if he’d autographed them for us, and put out of spread of foods we called Huey’s favourites. Which of course included cake: a homemade three-layer chocolate birthday beauty with a little bit of a lean and a whole lot of butter cream icing. It was some kind of wonderful, that party. I think Rosie Daykin would have approved. The owner of Vancouver’s Butter Baked Goods bakery and bestselling author is back with a year of reasons to celebrate in her second book, Butter Celebrates: A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share with Family and Friends.

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Make Ahead Meals by Michael Smith

The house might be upside down and the laundry a sight but I’ve been killing it in the kitchen this past week, despite a crappy cold that’s taken me out. The secret? It’s all about that base. And by that I mean having meals and snacks partially or fully cooked to pop out of the fridge or freezer and finish in minutes. Which is not usually how we roll, but what we’ll be doing more and more with Michael Smith’s latest book, Make Ahead Meals: Over 100 Easy Time-Saving Recipes.

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outside the lines too cover

I’ve been at my wit’s end this week struggling to find ways to entertain the kids (and keep my sanity!) in the last couple of days before they’re back in school. What’s saved us is one of the most simple activities: colouring. And not just the kids, but me too. Penguin Random House sent me a copy of the adult colouring book OUTSIDE THE LINES, TOO: An Inspired and Inventive Coloring Book by Creative Masterminds curated by Souris Hong, and within minutes of putting my pencil crayons to paper I started to feel my frustrations melt away.