Lifestyles: Knot fooling around
Fiber artist Fanny Zedenius had been a lifelong crafter by the time she fell in love with macramé, or “creative knotting,” as she refers to it in Macramé. Zedenius makes it sound much less intimidating—or at least less ’70s kitsch. While learning a single knot can net a bounty of attractive pieces, the possibilities are endless with a few basic knots. A gallery and how-to section displays 34 kinds of knots, followed by instructions for dreamy pieces such as wall hangings, plant hangers, dream catchers, table runners and more. Macramé feels “addictive in a whole new way,” writes Zedenius, requiring few tools other than your own hands. She deems it “the most meditative craft I have explored.” That said, you might proceed with some caution: She also acknowledges that repetitive knotting can be hard on the hands.
“This is a book for women who like makeup, but don’t necessarily like to wear a lot of it.” Um, sold! With this first sentence of makeup artist Jenny Patinkin’s Lazy Perfection, she is singing my tune.
Cosmetics, she continues, are like “a good pair of floaties that can prop you up and make you feel more secure.” Lazy Perfection is a fairly comprehensive guide to makeup: There are tips galore—demystifying common products and explaining how to apply them for various effects—but Patinkin offers straight talk about how a gazillion products just aren’t necessary (you probably have too many lipsticks, all in the same color family). Patinkin champions makeup as a subtle confidence booster, an enhancement of one’s features rather than a drastic re-creation of one’s face. My favorite chapter, “Lazy Perfection Punctuation,” is about adding “extra inflection” to your looks with bronzers, highlighters and lash curlers.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
What is the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi? Things that are “perfectly imperfect,” for starters. In her gorgeous new book, Julie Pointer Adams describes wabi-sabi as “beauty found in unusual, unfashionable places, or in moments usually overlooked or unappreciated,” and an antidote to a culture saturated in images of perfection. Her Wabi-Sabi Welcome illustrates how we can approach our homes and time spent with friends and family with the wabi-sabi state of mind. In chapters focused on Japan, Denmark, California, France and Italy, Adams explores these cultures’ expressions of wabi-sabi, from the modest, wholesome meals of Japan to lingering happily over long dinners in Italy. There’s a lot more than talk of meals here, but Adams does include simple recipes in each chapter, plus pages of “Practical Matters”—quick ideas for bringing wabi-sabi to your life as these peoples around the globe do. “Ask thoughtful questions and don’t be afraid to candidly answer the same ones,” she advises. Simply paging through this book makes me feel soothed and delighted. And I love how the book’s Japanese binding allows it to lay flat, no matter what page it’s open to. Simple pleasures, indeed.
This article was originally published in the August 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.