Category Archives: Craft

Six of the newest lifestyle books on the market

Working from home had previously conjured up the idea of waking when you wanted, showering and then easing yourself into the day by making a coffee and wandering towards your laptop with slippered feet. 

In reality it’s a little different. Laptops are balanced on makeshift desks, there’s rushed makeup to be done for zoom calls, cans of dry shampoo are now our best friends, wifi can be a little temperamental, alarms still rudely wake us in the morning, the working day seems to start earlier and finish later, it’s all a bit frantic really and we haven’t even mentioned home schooling. 

One way to slow this new way of living down is to make sure you have taken the time to give yourself a dedicated space to work (even if it is the end of the dining table) a space to rest and relax, and a space to play. We have scoured the internet and flicked through a number of glorious books to bring you what we think are six inspiring new reads that will help you embrace our new Covid friendly lifestyles with colourful flair.

The Pattered Interior by Greg Natale

Ohhh there’s something so fun at peaking inside other people’s houses to see how they live. The Patterned Interior tours a rural Oklahoma property that redefines contemporary rustic cool; a unique surf-inspired penthouse overlooking one of Australia s most sought-after beaches; a Midtown New York pied-a-terre that exudes sophistication; a vast country estate in southern Australia with a distinct rock vibe; and a light-filled city apartment in one of Sydney s most iconic buildings. From the big picture to the smallest vignette, Natale shows how pattern can transform and enhance any space.

Greg Natale presents his signature approach to the juxtaposition of graphics and patterns within each space. At once sophisticated and characterful, Natale’s interiors are renowned for marrying contemporary accents with vintage pieces to create environments that traverse serenity and flamboyance. In this exquisite photographic monograph, Natale guides the reader through a diverse selection of residences, exploring the power and importance of pattern increasing unforgettable interiors. Natale’s unique insights are accompanied by stunning images by acclaimed photographer Anson Smart.

Vivid: Style in Colour by Julia Green and Armelle Habib

This bright and cheerful book is currently sitting on my desk beside me, nudging me to take on a little more colour and branch away from my usual grey and white home. Vivid: Style in Colour is an interiors book celebrating the influence of colour in the world of design and our everyday lives. Built around the insights of renowned stylist Julia Green gathered over several decades, Vivid looks at the spaces we inhabit both at home and at work, and how the application of colour can create different outcomes and impacts. The book includes eight chapters divided by colour: orange, red, blue, green, pink, yellow, neutrals, and black. Photographer Armelle Habib contributes stunning interior shots alongside travel vignettes that tell the story of how different palettes are interwoven into our lives. Vivid features interviews from leading proponents of the art of colour around the world, including Martyn Thomson (Sydney), Jessica Bettenay (Melbourne), Marielle Ienna (Palermo), LRNCE (Marrakech) and Los Enamorados (Ibiza). Short essays on colour in styling and design complement the photography, addressing the science of colour and colour psychology, confidence in bold or clashing colour, using colour to connect or divide spaces, artworks, layering colour for depth and texture, and styling for small spaces and for the seasons. Vivid tackles questions around the application of colour and, crucially, where to begin if your life feels like it could benefit from some new (coloured) energy.

Curate: Inspiration for an Individual Home by Lynda Gardener

Designer, Photographer, Creative Director and Doyenne of the unique and decorative, Australian interior stylist and boutique hotelier, Lynda Gardener, is always on the hunt for finds to enhance her homes and decorating projects. Her ability to curate and display these personal treasures has created a trademark style that is loved internationally. Curate, the highly anticipated book by creative duo, Lynda Gardener and journalist and stylist Ali Heath, reveals how to create a home that is truly individual. With their shared love of a monochrome aesthetic and natural imperfections, they explore the eight elements that bring a space to life: palette, nature, textiles, lighting, a combination of old and new, storage, collections and art. Ten aspirational homes show the style in practice, including a converted warehouse, one-bedroom studio, bijoux apartment, historic cottage, country estate, new-build barn, remote shack, period townhouse and rural retreat. With gloriously evocative photography and plenty of down-to-earth ideas, Curate will encourage readers to embrace their individual style, dream big and create a timeless interior of their own.

Escape into Cottagecore by Ramona Jones

Find happiness in the natural world, be fully present where you are and free yourself from the expectations of others. Embrace a more peaceful life with cottagecore – a soft, fairytale world that combines traditional comforts with a modern existence to create a sense of magic and retreat.

While we may not be able to uproot ourselves and settle entirely off-grid in the middle of a forest, Escape into Cottagecore will help you rekindle your love of nature and rediscover simple joys, wherever you may live.

Full of practical advice and inspiration, and covering topics from home decor and herbology to eating with the seasons and mindfulness, this beautiful book will invite you on a cottagecore odyssey, bringing the nostalgia, relaxation and beauty of countryside living to every part of your life.

The Secret Life of the Modern House by Dominic Bradbury

Over the last century the way that we live at home has changed dramatically. Nothing short of a design revolution has transformed our houses and the spaces within them – moving from traditional patterns of living all the way through to an era of more fluid, open-plan and modern styles. Whether we live in a new home or a period house, our spaces will have been shaped one way or another by the pioneering Modernists and Mid-century architects and designers who argued for a fresh way of life. Architectural and design writer Dominic Bradbury charts the course of this voyage all the way from the late 19th century through to the houses of today in this ground-breaking book. Over nineteen thematic chapters, he explains the way our houses have been reinvented, while taking in – along the way – the giants of Art Deco, influential Modernists including Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as post-war innovators such as Eero Saarinen and Philip Johnson. Taking us from the 20th to the 21st century, Bradbury explores the progress of ‘modernity’ itself and reveals the secret history of our very own homes.

You. Your Space. Your Life. Arrange your environment to soothe your Soul by Ellen Schneider

This book is a little different from the others as it addresses your attitude to home, rather than what is inside it. Occupying a home is occupying a life. It is more than bricks and lumber. It is living among the nuances of your attitudes, the perpetuation of your feelings and your personal taste. As you read this book, you will be given the opportunity to realise how your personal choices surround you and how this surrounding creates a mood, a pulse that pours into every cell of your body and life. And the question is, is it reflecting the life that you want? Go deeply, travel gently and come out the other side evolved and renewed. And then begin, step by step, to arrange your support around you in an authentic way that propels you into your future with confidence and delight.

Enjoy!

Raise your heart rate with Booko: Ninja Wilderness Survival Guide

If you find yourself in an unexpected extreme situation a fundamental understanding of your surroundings can make the difference between life and death, Ninja Wilderness Survival Guide shows you how.


Cooking up a storm with Booko: Baking Happiness

Rosie Madaschi found happiness by baking elaborate cakes and baked goods, and now she’s spreading the joy in Baking Happiness.


Top Activity Books for Children

Like many parents, I am always looking for fresh ideas for my boredom-busting toolkit – interesting and meaningful activities, preferably requiring minimal supervision. I’ve really needed them during the current school holidays, and they’ll be helpful as we spend more time indoors during the cooler months. Anything to stave off moans about Being Bored, or battles about too much screentime! These terrific activity books fit the bill – they offer lots of open-ended ideas that encourage kids to play, think, reflect and create.

Usborne Design Activity Book by Alice James, Tom Mumbray and Petra Baan

Usborne has been publishing excellent children’s activity books for years – you may remember books about spycraft / origami / cooking from your own childhood. This Design Activity Book is another great example, and should offer plenty of fun and inspiration to kids who love art and visual design. Project ideas range from the more traditional, such as hand lettering, and designing logos and book covers, to more complex ones such as developing a board game, developing a website, and applying branding to a collection of items. Each idea is supported by lots of prompts and useful tips that draw upon the different steps of the design process. For ages 8+.

Chill Out: My Mindfulness Activity Book by Josephine Dellow

This activity book is not only fun and inspirational, but being based on mindfulness, can also help to support young people’s wellbeing in the longer term. Chill Out offers a good range of activities, puzzles, games and crafts, created with and for 5 – 8-year-olds; each activity encourages children to focus in on a task, settle the mind, and help to create a peaceful moment in their day. Chill Out is published by Ups!de Down Books, an independent publisher specialising in positive, age-appropriate and accessible titles around mental health and wellbeing. For ages 5-8.

Ninja Life Hacks Journal for Kids by Mary Nhin

This journal is a companion volume to the Ninja Life Hacks series, which are bite-sized, colourful books that aim to help children develop life skills. It covers topics such as managing emotions, developing resilience and learning respectful interactions.  The Ninja Life Hacks Journal turns these messages into goal-setting exercises that nurture a growth mindset: how to look past failures and learn from mistakes, practise positive self-talk and ultimately, develop grit and resilience.  Not only is it a useful workbook, it can become a great keepsake.  For ages 3-11.

101 Things for Kids to do Screen-Free by Dawn Isaac

Are you constantly trying to limit your kids’ screen time? Screen time is a big issue in so many families – especially during holidays –  so Dawn Isaac’s new book caught my eye right away. Dawn’s previous books on Outdoor activities and Rainy Day activities are both terrific resources, and this is no exception. The 101 Things described in this book range from the creative (no-sew sock creatures), to the silly (hands-free eating challenge) to the impressive (backyard mini golf).  There are crafts, recipes, outdoor challenges, games, and projects; most require few or commonly-found materials; some can be done on your own, while others are great for groups.  For ages 4-11.

The Joy Journal for Magical Everyday Play by Laura Brand

Laura Brand may not be well-known outside the UK – yet – but her great ideas around engaging with nature, creative crafting and the importance of play, deserve a wide audience. The Joy Journal offers fifty simple, engaging and open-ended play ideas that will appeal to a range of ages, including toddlers under supervision. Most of the projects are no-cost or low-cost, and use common household items, or scavenged natural materials such as flowers, leaves and twigs. Laura champions messy play, but offers helpful tips and “messiness ratings” for parents who may be more hesitant. The beautiful photograps and friendly chatty text means the book is a pleasure for the parent-reader as well! For ages 2+.

Rosie Revere’s Big Project Book for Bold Engineers by Andrea Beaty

Rosie Revere, Engineer is a firm favourite with both kids and adults, for its fun introduction to the engineering process, and its stereotype-busting story.  Now you can further nurture the inventiveness of your budding engineer with a Rosie Revere project book. With full-colour illustrations, Rosie Revere encourages readers to design and prototype solutions to everyday problems using commonplace items, and to learn from, rather than be discouraged by, failures and flops. The 40+ featured projects include designing a better bicycle, build a simple catapult, construct a solar oven, and more.  For ages 5+.

Cooking up a storm with Booko: Preserving the Italian Way

Pietro Demaio has been collecting traditional Italian preserving recipes for a very long time and now he’s sharing them with us in Preserving the Italian Way!


Build your hobby with Booko: The Collage Ideas Book

What you can create with collage knows no bounds. Expertly curated The Collage Ideas is an exciting collection of new collage ideas will inspire collage artists at every level.


Build your hobby with Booko: Mastering Kilns and Firing

Lindsay Oesterritter provides a crash course in the most accessible methods of alternative firing with minimal equipment in Mastering Kilns and Firing.