Books or Fresh Flowers?

Like most people during these rough economic times, funds are tight and I'm having to decide between two of my favorite things to buy - fresh flowers OR books. Lately books have been winning. Over the last few months I've been buying books that just plain make me happy. And, all of them have pictures. In fact as I was sitting down with my newest book from ABE and AMAZON. I realized that when I get a new book this is how I enjoy the moment. It's a wonderful ceremony that usually happens around 4 pm in the afternoon.
  • Prepare hot sweet drink - chai tea, coffee or hot chocolate
  • Music - lately it's been the soundtrack from Pride and Prejudice which is gorgeous!
  • Get comfortable on my lovely couch
  • Open the book and look at the pictures first. In fact, I do that with everything I "read". I think pictures say great deal about a book and I tend to remember a book more from its pictures than its words.
  • Then if time allows, I go back through and read what I find most interesting first. There is no pressure to go through these books in one sitting. I usually don't. They sit on my coffee table waiting for me on another afternoon. That's the beauty of good "picture" books. For me, these books are great inspiration even if they aren't about watercolor or art in general.
Here are few of my top favs for the summer:
Simply Sewing with a French Twist by Celine Dupuy I bought this book solely based on the beautiful color and the title contained "French" so how could I pass it up. I was not disappointed. By the way when I sit on my couch and go through this sewing book I have a French playlist on my iTunes which accompanies this book perfectly - think Edith Piaf's Sous le ciel de Paris . I'm taken away to another part of the world where simplicity and elegance are so different. The pictures are perfect and oh so French. I even love looking at the instructions which are drawn out. Eventually I'll make something from this book, but if I never do it won't really matter.

The next book I bought because of her decor, funkiness and great fabrics Amy Butler's MidWest Modern has 224 pages of amazing pictures. I was unsure about buying this book at first, simply because her style is not similar to mine. But again, no regrets. As with every Amy Butler book, I've found that her attention to detail, her style and passion ooze from every page and I'm inspired to trust my own instincts be it in painting, decorating or just plain being. For some reason, I like listening to the Gipsy Kings when going through this book.

Just a few weeks ago I was going through my old Victoria magazines - (ones I had saved from the early 90s). I ran across a feature about a Midwest watercolor artist Alice Schille. She never married, but dedicated her life to being an artist, teaching and traveling. This is a rarity for a woman in the early 1900's. So I went to my favorite online bookseller Abe Books and searched for an old art book of hers. A note here about Abe Books - I find this an excellent website for used books and older books. Often I pay more for shipping than I do for the actual book. This is great for someone who is watching their cash flow. The only thing is that the books sometimes take a little longer to get to you. If you aren't in a hurry, this is a great place to shop. I find lots of the older art books on line and haven't been disappointed