Recently we've been downsizing our book collection at home and I've also made a commitment to start utilising our local library, instead of buying all the books that catch my eye.
We began the downsize by sorting through James and Bella's books, letting them both decide which ones to keep or part with. Mostly they parted with the ones they've outgrown, just keeping the special stories that have been read and re-read over the years. Then we culled all magazines that were building up in big piles and began sorting through craft, sewing, cookbooks and random ones in our collection. We've still got plenty of books, but probably parted with eighty or so in our sorting efforts - feels great to have all of our books displayed on a hallways bookshelf rather than hidden/stacked away in cupboards.
One of the top items on Bella's 12th birthday list this year was 'A Year of Pies' book. We ordered it for her and purchased a few other pie making essentials to go with her gift - a pie bird, spoon and cup measuring sets, decorative pastry wheel and her very own pie dish.
We've had some busy days and nights since her birthday and yesterday was the very first day that she's really had a chance to actually absorb and enjoy her gifts. Pie making was on top of her list and since we have a nectarine tree in the backyard, the nectarine crostata seemed like a good first pie to bake.
There's a pie rating system happening with this book and Bella scored her first one with an 8/10. James also had a whirl at pie making in the afternoon and chose the minty chocolate cream pie, which Bella also rated 8/10.
Her plan is to slowly work her way through every pie in the book (oh my goodness!) which I think is a really lovely plan for a 12 year old.
The book is full of savoury and sweet pies and has some really useful information in the first section - pie making basics, ingredients, pie crusts, decorative edges etc.. I'd definitely recommend this book if you're a pie lover (and maker) or it would make a beautiful gift.
Righty-ho, back to pie tasting for us!
Whole Larder Love (by Rohan Anderson) landed in my mail box a little while ago and I've been absorbing every inch of it since. It's a truly beautiful book, both in words + photographs and a real keeper on my book shelf.
There are some gorgeous and interesting recipes throughout the book - the 'To The Larder' chapter towards the back is definitely my favourite section and I've bookmarked it ready for our tomato harvest! Fast forward a couple of months and I'll be bottling up our own roasted tomato passata, atomic kasundi and I really want to give the dill-pickled cucumbers a whirl too. Let's hope that harvest of ours is a good one.
Some other recipes that I've bookmarked are the roast capsicum dip, pumpkin dip and the Arrabiata fish + chips. Rohan Anderson has such a passion for good food and is an amazing hunter, fisherman, gatherer and forager. I love his little side notes in the book that tell the tale of the recipe or the story behind growing and gathering the food.
I've just ordered an extra copy of this book to give my brother this Christmas, I know he's going to love it. It's not just for boys though! Anybody with a fondness of food, a heart for gardening and real ingredients will thoroughly enjoy this book - it's one to read and absorb in the hammock, snuggling on the sofa or on the bus/train to work.
If you're after a fabulous book for somebody's Christmas stocking, this is the one!
You can also read Rohan's inspiring blog HERE.
The other day I was pottering around Ravelry and spied a few cool projects created from a 1981 Better Homes and Gardens book, Crocheting & Knitting. A quick google search pointed me in the direction of Ebay, where I found the book for a mere $4!! Add on $12 international shipping and that book was jumping in my cart.
It arrived a couple of days ago and I thought I'd pop in and share some photo goodness from inside. There are a good mix of crochet and knitting patterns inside and lots of variations - pillows, tablecloths, blankets, etc..
As far as the actual patterns go, I've read (on Ravelry) that many of them do have errors, but I'm okay with that. I bought the book mainly for it's charm and actually I've discovered that a lot of crochet patterns can be worked out by looking at the photo....well, so long as the photo isn't too complicated!
I'm finishing off my starburst crochet cushion tonight, which I'll share soon too! Are you crocheting anything this week?
Over the weekend Mr Goodsell had to get up super early to go on a dirt bike ride. Super early start means super early night to bed - we're talking 8pm. Um, that didn't interest me at all, because I was planning the sleep in of all sleep ins for the following morning.
Instead, I decided to stay up until w-a-y after midnight, all by my lonesome.
But, what to do with all that spare time?? I contemplated finishing off a few projects - like the hexagon pillow, long stitch, 40 squares embroidery, granny stripe blanket, Bella's crochet blanket or even the new starburst pillow that I'm working on.
But, that would be absolutely no fun, right?
So, instead I started a brand new challenge for myself - working my way through quite a few of the squares inside my favourite crochet book - 200 Crochet Blocks for Blankets, Throws and Afghans: Crochet Squares to Mix-and-Match
I started out doing the squares just for fun, with the idea of wanting to teach myself a few new patterns....but hours later I started having crazy ideas that I should keep going with these squares and turn it into another blanket.
Why yes, I think I will.... A square here and a square there out of the book, whenever I feel like doing a teensy weensy bit of crocheting. It's quite exciting to try out new patterns - although there a few in there that scare the living daylights out of me.
I'm going to call it my 'sampler blanket' - because all new and good projects need a name!
Righty-ho! I'm off to hook another square before dinner.
Yours in crocheting and brand new shiny projects ;)
I've blogged about Little Things for Busy Hands before, but today Bella made a second project from the book that I thought I'd share. It's a really fabulous book for little people.
I love that Bella can work on projects now from start to finish by herself. Today she confidentally used the sewing machine, stuffed, hand sewed the closure and modified the pattern to suit - she wanted a unicorn, not the horse that's included in the book.
There was also mane to create - which she was insistant on using roving for - buttons to sew on for eyes, plus beads, shells and charms to position in the mane - another idea that she thought up.
She sewed, I pottered around the house.
Then, the little unicorn was born. Hooray!
I love a good sewing book and was super excited to receive a pre-release copy of Girls Style Book by Yoshiko Tsukiori in my mail box last week. No wait, I was SO excited that I almost let out a mini squeal when I started flicking through.
It. Is. So. Good.
Japanese craft books are my most favourite books in the world and this one is no exception - it's all in English by the way. Bella was super happy too and literally started bookmarking everything inside that she desperately wants me to sew. That's the great thing - the patterns (which are all included, full size) are in sizes 2 - 10. Although Bella is almost 11 and wearing some size 12 clothes, according to the measurements she can still squeeze into these outfits. Hooray!
Here's a peek inside, sharing some styles that Miss B has bookmarked:
Bubble dresses - LOVE!
Plus a sweet blouse that she also has bookmarked. I'd like to work my way through all of the designs, but sadly won't be able to start sewing until after the new year.
The instructions seem very clear and easy to follow, I'm excited about this book. It's definitely one that I would happily recommend!
P.S. Should be hitting all good book stores on 3rd January 2012.
P.P.S. I am home from Kuala Lumpur - posts on that tomorrow :)
Something lovely arrived in our mailbox this week, a brand new magazine (Lotta) aimed at 5-10 year olds. Bella was very happy and there was great excitement as she looked through and planned future projects.
Two articles that she has her eye on are the chocolate spoons and character builder blocks.
All up I think we counted 24 projects to do, including a couple of sweet colour-in pictures. The print quality is gorgeous and the entire magazine is ad free!
If you would like to purchase a copy of Lotta magazine for your little people, it is available HERE.
Mr Goodsell did a spot of baking on the weekend. Yes! I love that he likes to cook every so often and usually when he does hit the kitchen we enjoy something delicious.
One of his best friends gave him the scrumptious Bourke Street Bakery cook book for his birthday this year and oh my, is it good. FULL of the yummiest recipes for breads, pies, pastries and sweets. After much debate he decided to give the meringues a whirl!!
I've lost 3 kilos so far on my diet, but I had a break this weekend and ate pizza plus x2 meringues. So good and I'm back on track with it all today. I mean, how could I not try a meringue? It's not everyday that my husband bakes :)
Oh and yes, they were as delicious as they look.
A delightful book arrived in my mail box a couple of weeks ago - Parrot Carrot.
Parrot Carrot is a lovely little book, full of all sorts of rhyming animals and objects that are squished together to create a wonderful new creation - like a Snake Rake, Whale Snail and a Goose Moose.
Here are a few favourite pages from inside:
It's the cutest book and perfect for pre-schoolers, although even my ten year old had a giggle as we turned and read the pages. The illustrations are very adorable too - bright, colourful and full of fun.
You can take a peek at the Parrot Carrot video HERE.
If you would like to win a copy of Parrot Carrot for your little person, leave a happy comment on this post. I'll close off comments this Sunday (27th November 2011) and announce the winner on Monday 28th November.
**THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED**
Books always seem to make it onto my Christmas purchase list, although this year I've only bought one so far as a gift - The Lego Ideas Book. It's for my nephew, to go along with the handmade pillow I sewed for him. It's a fantastic book and I thought I'd share some pages with you, for all the die hard Lego fans out there!
The book is divided into sections - ideas for building cars, houses, animals, etc... Each section has a double page that details some of the Lego pieces you'll need to recreate the ideas that follow.
There are some super cool ideas inside, but my favourite would have to be the very cool house with furniture. I'm sure that will be my nephew's least favourite part!
I thought this siege was an easy idea for an army style set up:
Other than buildings, cars, trains and other interest Lego creations, towards the back section of the book there are ideas for pencil holders, CD stackers and all sorts of other goodness to build.
Oh, and fabulous Lego storage building ideas too! We have several Lego books in our house and this is definitely one that I'll be adding to our own collection some time.
Confession: I also bought the 2012 Lego Calendar, ready for next year. It's really cool with lots of interesting Lego dioramas photographed inside! Ahh, Lego - we love you!
P.S. I'll soon be sharing photos of the 16+ Lego Fire Station that we bought while we were away. The detail is amazing!
Earlier this week I ordered Bella a copy of the very first issue of BIG kids magazine. It arrived yesterday and WOW, what an amazing and beautiful magazine!! There's a little story behind how we stumbled upon the website to order our first issue, but basically it included a little bit of begging from Bella because her lovely little online friend Zali (and one third creator of the Utterly Awesome Blythe Club with Bella & Emily) has a fabulous step by step animation tutorial in the magazine. Bella was very keen to see her friend in print!
It arrived yesterday and Bella spent over an hour reading, absorbing every detail and creating from the magazine and she's is only up to page 20, just one third of the way through. The pages are beautifully illustrated, interesting and full of creative and thought provoking ideas for little people.
There's also a separate print included (on gorgeous quality thick matte paper) which is part of a BIG art collection, to fill with colour and keep.
I've been dreaming of a magazine like this for my children for quite some time. It's very inspirational and my only complaint is that it's a biannual publication - I can't imagine having to wait a full six months for the next issue and either can Bella!!
If you're interested in ordering issue one for your little people, pop over HERE. You can purchase a single issue (including postage) for $18 or a subscription for $35 (including postage). I only ordered the single issue, because I wanted to see what the magazine was like inside - in hindsight I should have purchased a subscription.
P.S. Incase you're wondering.....BIG stand for bravery, imagination and generosity.
I live with my husband and 2 children in Tasmania, Australia. I love to make nice things, spend time with my family, travel, bake yummy treats, read pretty craft books, give handmade gifts, toast marshmallows in our wood fired oven & live a lovely life.