A Nest for All Seasons A Nest for All Seasons: The Stack Before Christmas

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30 November 2015

The Stack Before Christmas

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While the rush of Christmas is soon coming, I am still in that happy, calm place where winter weather means reading.  LOTS and lots of reading.  I have a small stack I plan to get through by the time Christmas activities demand my full attention, and wanted to share with you my favorites so that you might pick up a copy and read or perhaps find the perfect present for your mom, sister-in-law, friend or nephew.  Pssst...I am giving away a small stack of books at the bottom of the post -- don't miss it!

Here are my five of the season, increasing from top to bottom in my enjoyment (I really like ALL of them though!)  Note that I will be sharing links to these books via my amazon affiliate option, so if you click, I make a small portion back - THANK YOU!  These books were purchased for me as birthday presents, purchased by me because I cannot resist a good book every time I buy diapers on Amazon or via the author/publisher for review.

Life by the Cup starts us out and I have to give credit to my friend and colleague Jennifer Carroll for turning me on to Zhena and her teas. After receiving an email from Jennifer praising both the teas and the book, I immediately bought both.  I was happily surprised by the quality of the tea and have been enjoying reading the book bit by bit before bed for a few weeks. It is split into "tea-sized" chapters, each with a focus on a specific inspiration tea:

Though the message and the tone of the book is inspirational, I was far more intrigued with the "behind the business" glimpses Zhena gave into her company. Whether you need a pick me up or have an entrepreneurial bent, you will probably like this book.  Without fail, you will like Gypsy Rose tea (Red Lavender is a highly recommended #2 and samplers like THIS and THIS might also be a good place to start). Brew without sugar or milk for the purest taste and experience. Crafter sidenote: These tea tins (especially the samplers) make FANTASTIC craft supply holders or upcycled gift containers.

Next on the list is a book that made me do this:

I just cannot help but dog-ear good books.  
I know I shouldn't, but who has that many bookmarks when you need them?  This book also made me do this:

Book in question?  A fun little tome called In a French Kitchen by Susan Herrmann Loomis.  Chock full of personal anecdote and recipes, my favorite parts are the little "jewels" of information that make me underline and dog-ear the poor book to death. If you like food and enjoy domestic pursuits (even if you aren't that great of a cook), you will like this book.

Next on the stack is an impulse buy that I am so very pleased to have made. I saw the Bumper Book of Nature on an instagram post and looked it up on Amazon. $5 later and I was a proud owner of an old-school nature book.  I love it just as much as the kids in part due to the illustrations:

There are sketch-like illustrations in color and B/W, but also full color illustrations that I have some DIY plans for.  
The book itself is larger than expected and a nice, solid hardback.  WELL worth the five bucks.

Another book that i love almost equally with the kids is Hand Lettering for Everyone, a new publication from Christina Vanko (currently $8.77). 

We have been working through the first half of the book as part of our "day off schooling" (Puerto Rican school seems to have a LOT of holidays) 
and the boys are learning both art and history as we move forward.  (Do YOU know what a drop cap is??)

I love art, but I am really not an artist, so tracing and learning has been so fun for me.

This book teaches you to doodle, sketch and letter page after page after page.
Consider that the cost is about what a movie ticket will run you and the return is hours of education and entertainment. 

Another hand-lettering book I am particularly enjoying is The Botanical Hand Lettering Workbook from Bethany Robertson.

The Botanical Hand Lettering Workbook from Bethany Robertson.

This book is also great for beginners and is loaded with information:
The Botanical Hand Lettering Workbook from Bethany Robertson.

Not only does Bethany walk through hand lettering concepts, but she also teaches the reader how to make adorable 
botanical accents for your text. This little flower cluster tutorial below was really interesting for me to play with.
PERFECT for the friend that wants to make her own artwork, greeting cards or online graphics.
The Botanical Hand Lettering Workbook from Bethany Robertson.

Favorite Page:

The Botanical Hand Lettering Workbook from Bethany Robertson.

Finally, and in the grand tradition of a GRAND finale, is Lauren Liess's Habitat.

When this book first arrives, you can instantly tell that it is a work of love.  Every single detail has been thought out 
down to the lack of book jacket, cover texture and one of my favorite details pictured here on the spine: 

Of course there are lust-worthy rooms and furnishings...case in point THOSE CHAIRS:

...but this book is a bit more than your typical decorating text. Lauren dives deeper into the whys of decorating and writes with a thorough understanding of family and home. Mood, spirit and heart are explored and you leave Lauren's book fresh with new ideas. The difference between her book and most is that those ideas are your own. Liess's magic is that her words teach the amateur to think, a far greater achievement than simply teaching one how to pick the right vase. (...although I will admit her tip on braided jute is one I took immediately to heart and yes, to amazon.)

...and this quote sums up the book more than almost any other:

Family reigns supreme.

So in the spirit of Christmas, YOU are going to get the chance to win a stack of your own, collected from both my fall reading list HERE and the pre-Christmas list above. Included in the stack are these highly recommended books!

The Bee Cottage - Frances SchultzHabitat - Lauren LiessTerrariums - Maria Colletti

Click each title to learn more about the books on Amazon and then make sure to enter to giveaway below!

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Curious? Here is MY Christmas wishlist this year!


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