Sunday, January 4, 2009

On My Bookshelf

I am admittedly a library-aholic, visiting Portland's Central Library on average once a week. Of the recent batch of books I checked out, there found a few good ones I thought I'd share:
With home-ownership but a few weeks away, my current reading interests have tended toward the decorating and gardening variety. One of the first projects is to get the kitchen in order. It has some cute vintage features we plan to highlight, but also a lot that isoout-of-date and not so charming. To help with the kitchen inspiration, I checked out a copy of Country Kitchens by Jocasta Innes. My ideal kitchen is functional, humble, and has authentic vintage charm. For the most part, the kitchens featured in this book were in line with that ideal, though tended more toward the primitive and extreme country look. Still, there were plenty of farmhouse sinks and open shelving to keep me turning the pages. The image on the front cover with the plate rack above the double porcelain sink is one of my favorites. I've always thought that was a smart way of both storing and drying newly washed dishes.
Remake Restyle Reuse by Sonia Lucano is another book that has offered some unique decorating ideas with a DIY-flavor. The designs for the book's many projects have a simple elegance to them that I find so appealing. There are some beautiful patterns to be used for etching onto vases and drinking glasses. I'm also a fan of the "circle curtains" -- a simple embroidery pattern for stitching large and small circles on the bottom portion of a white curtain panel. As one who generally leans toward the most minimal of window treatments, I like the touch of handmade creativity that the embroidery lends without being a distraction.
After we get the interior decorating off to a good start, I know I'll be turning my attention to the garden by spring. Outdoor Spaces from Country Living's Easy Transformation series has me drooling over the book's many photos of lush cottage gardens. The focus here is primarily on manmade elements within the garden -- sheds, patios, porches, picket fences, etc. While perusing the book, I did find myself wishing from time to time that the author would share the names of some of the beautiful flowers and shrubs pictured. Alas, this is more a book about outdoor decorating than gardening -- but great nonetheless.

I've got some fun books about attracting birds and butterflies in the garden, but I'll save those for a future post. :-)