9 Books that Inspire Me to Make Things!

2:53 PM

Books are one of my favorite things ever ever ever. So I thought I'd share some of the cookbooks, craft books, and decor books that get my creative juices flowing.


Flipping through the pages of a gorgeous hardcover cookbook with glossy photos of foods spurs me to cook new recipes. The photo above shows three of the cookbooks that get me out of my food ruts and that put new foods in my mouth:

  • The Forest Feast by Erin Gleason features gloriously simple but inventive recipes. Even better than that, the artful way the book displays the recipe text over photos that combine food and forest reminds me there are endless ways to style and photograph my creations.
  • The Big Dish by Barton G. Weiss is a compendium of strange, visually-stunning meals to make to make group gatherings memorable.
  • Sprinkles! by Jackie Alpers reminds me that adding color and sugar to your life can provide bursts of happiness to your day.

Craft Books

I love how craft books provide ideas for tangible things I can make, as well as jumping-off points for putting my own spin on projects. The photo above shows three of my favorites:

  • Candy Aisle Crafts by Jodi Levine is delightfully quirky. This book shows a whole bunch of ways to make marshmallows, gummies, and other candies into adorable cake toppers or cookie decorations. Anyone who thinks of making polar bears out of marshmallows is pretty much a genius in my book. 
  • Paper to Petal is written by a husband and wife team, both of whom are former Martha Stewart staffers. They bring that signature Martha Stewart attention to detail to each flower they fashion from tissue and crepe. 
  • Washi Tape by Courtney Cerruti shows readers how to put washi tape (funky Japanese masking tape) everywhere from your calendar to your computer. The back cover has a tagline that I think sums up the book pretty well: It won't take you long to realizethe only wrong way to use washi tape is not to use it at all. 

Decor Books

I adore books that help me add personality to my apartment in simple, stylish ways. Here are three of the places I turn for decorating ideas:

  • Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman is a lovely catalog of ways to make a house a home. Written by the adorable sisters behind the blog A Beautiful Mess, this book explains how to add personality and flair to your surroundings to make a space that reflects who you are and the way you live your life. 
  • Home by Beci Orpin features step-by-step crafts to help readers add color and wackiness to their homes/apartments/shacks/live-in cars. Beci Orpin seems to be a sort of messy-chic Australian mom whose projects are a little goofy and a lot lovable. While writing this, I discovered there is a page at the back of the book with stickers (!) and am now feeling giddy as I contemplate places I might stick a corncob sticker or a scissors sticker. 
  • Young House Love by Sherry & John Petersik unfortunately does not include a sticker page. It does include lots of low-cost home DIY projects that class up your humble abode. Though most of their projects are easier for homeowners, there are some renter-friendly makeables as well. (Spell check is telling me that makeables is not a word, but I think you know what I mean here.) I followed their tutorial to cover lampshades with fabric and I love the results. 

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