Dad is right....I've been in some sort of crafty manic phase for a while. But you said you wanted to know what I'm reading, so here goes. I recently checked out Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke. The subtitle is: Modern Quilts with Traditional Roots. I know, right? Who is this person and where did Amanda go? But it is beautiful! I've never quilted, but I think it's the next craft to get added to my list. The "Avalon" and "Retro Starburst" patterns look like projects I might actually be able to accomplish. And ALL of the more advanced quilts are so inspiring that they make you want to learn the craft so you could one day make something so beautiful. Mom, I think you might like this one. I'm actually surprised you haven't quilted before (or have you? she asks, in a mysterious tone, trying to uncover some deep dark quilting secret....)
I can't go any further without mentioning "The Creative Family: How to Encourage Imagination and Nurture Family Connections" by Amanda Blake Soule. This woman has become such an inspiration to me in the last few months. I can't remember how I discovered this book, but after being so impressed with her book I quickly began following her blog http://www.soulemama.com/. I have tried a few of the projects in her book such as the birthday banner, embroidering with kids, and letterboxing. In the next couple weeks I plan to do some freezer-paper transfers of some art by one of my favorite artists, Nikki McClure (http://www.nikkimcclure.com/) which is another project in the book. Phil and Debbie, you might find inspiration from this one. She really focuses on connecting with your children and exploring nature and creativity. I'm not doing her justice here, but at least check out her blog. If nothing else, you can enjoy her beautiful photography and gentle reminders to stop and appreciate your life "right now."
Okay, I'll only make you sit through one more...I'm guessing none of you will read it because it's a children's book. However, I am blown away by Cynthia Rylant's retelling of "Hansel and Gretel" and Jen Corace's amazing illustrations (http://www.jencorace.com/). Finding well-done retellings (i.e. not Disney-ified or saccharine sweet) of classic children's stories is not easy. There are very few that are accessible for the 3-6 year old age group. Most of the well-written versions are extremely wordy. And I'm sorry, but bedtime book reading is a 20-minute event in our house. Preferably with as little whining as possible. So when I found this version of "Hansel and Gretel" I almost cried. It opens with the lines: "It has been said that guardian spirits watch over and protect small children, and that may be so. But there are also stories of children who find the courage to protect themselves. Such is the story of Hansel and Gretel." Does it get any better than that?