Lifestyles: Create your color story
In a creative slump? Need a pick-me-up? Open Brittany Watson Jepsen’s Craft the Rainbow and prepare to be dazzled by color. This craft book is packed with whimsical projects both modest and ambitious, from a party crown of paper straws and cupcake liner shoe clips to a balloon doorway arch and a boucherouite tissue-paper rug. But it’s also an ode to color, or as Jepsen writes, “an all-encompassing color experience.” For each color of the rainbow, there are fun facts and historical tidbits (did you know Santa’s suit was green prior to the 1950s?). Even more delightful is the way Jepsen measures the time it will take to complete each project by the length of various TV shows, movies and albums, and her media picks are paired in some fashion to the theme of the craft itself. Cue up a couple episodes of “30 Rock,” grab those striped drinking straws and your glue gun, and before you know it you’ll have laughed your way to a killer crown.
Like the other books in this month’s column, Grow. Food. Anywhere. has personality and colorful spreads in spades. (It also has a sense of humor, so I think authors Mat Pember and Dillon Seitchik-Reardon would appreciate my pun.) Organized into three main sections—“What Plants Need,” “Fruit & Veg to Grow” and “Pests & Diseases to Know”—the book is quite comprehensive. Read it cover to cover, and you should be well-equipped to tackle the terrain of gardening in whatever way you fancy: in raised beds, indoors, in containers or on walls. Juicy color photos mix with bright illustrations, and the text consistently hits the elusive sweet spot of relaying technical information clearly and concisely with a friendly tone.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
I’ve been poring over designer/stylist Megan Morton’s It’s Beautiful Here for weeks. The book features color images of stunning residences, mainly in Australia, where Morton is based, with a few outliers. But It’s Beautiful Here feels refreshingly different from its brethren in the interior design coffee-table-book tribe, in part because Morton highlights homes that boldly and often quirkily reflect their intriguing inhabitants’ personalities. She also further reveals the people behind the interiors through playful, pithy Q&A’s (“What is your house’s greatest fear?”) and her own introductory essays for each family and space. The verve of Morton’s writing equals the alluring spaces in the photographs that follow, and as such, her intros are a critical facet of each study. Occasionally you’ll come across an asterisk, a signal to turn to the back where “Tangents and Random Threads” are revealed, such as one homeowner’s recipe for Miso Eggplant. Scattered throughout the book are wonderful quips like “lock yourself in a loving duel with color and just stay there,” or bits of wisdom such as “the people in your house are much more important than the house itself.” I suspect I’ll return to this book for inspiration for years to come.