One of my greatest loves….

Before I met my other half, before I had my two gorgeous girls and before I became obsessed with art and crafting, there were books.  Books were, without a doubt, my greatest love from being young.   I remember the books I loved as a child – and bought them for my children. I remember the first book that made me cry (Heidi) and exactly where I was when I was reading it. I remember being so engrossed in a book, (Enid Blyton’s Famous Five) I read it under my duvet with a torch so my Dad wouldn’t make me go to sleep.

I love the way they feel in my hand. I love re-reading a book for what feels like the millionth time and feeling how worn and beautiful the pages feel beneath my fingers.  I love the way a book can draw you in and make you forget everything, even the time.

Having children, I have found that I am not able to indulge in books as I used to when my time was my own.  These days, many of the books I read take me forever to get through not for lack of trying! Over the past few weeks however, when my attention span has been short (and my physical ability to focus on the written word has been hindered) I have opted for non fiction – the kind of books you can dip in and out of and consume bite sized chunks. There have been three in particular I find myself picking up at different times….

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The Handmade Marketplace – Kari Chapin

This was a birthday gift a couple of years back and while it is aimed at the US market I find there are some great nuggets of information in there.  Some of the sections such as naming your company and branding were irrelevant as I already had that in place but I find it interesting to read about the experiences of others within the crafting community which Kari highlights throughout the book.  It advises the reader how to spread the word about your product on a variety of social media as well as advertising. It also covers the different avenues for selling your work from craft fairs to holding workshops.  This is not an in depth book but I have found that it’s often sparked ideas or given me something to mull over regarding which steps I take next with Dollies.

Simple abundance - Sarah Ban Breathnach

Simple abundance – Sarah Ban Breathnach

Primarily a book written for women, Sarah has written a short entry for each day of the year.  I don’t religously read it every day and sometimes I go months without picking it up.  Each time I read an ‘essay’ I realise that I am not the only person out there that is overly critical of myself, that doesn’t like everything about herself and pushes herself to strive for perfection. It encourages me to be a bit easier on myself. Her words ask me to think about things differently. Her entries help me to start accepting myself just a bit more.  It’s one of those books that seems to have had the right words at the right time over the last couple of months – I just love it when that happens!

The Fire starter sessions - Danielle LaPorte

The Fire starter sessions – Danielle LaPorte (expertly decorated by my daughter…)

I hold my hands up and admit I bought this book on a whim some time ago.  I don’t know what attracted me to it. I can’t even remember what I was searching for at the time. All I know is that I love this book. If I were to describe it I would say it is a straight talking, to the point book similar to The Artists Way by Julia Cameron.  I’ve got the Artists Way on my shelf and I can’t get on with it to be honest so I cut my losses (though I know there’s many out there that would argue it is an invaluable book). Like the Artists Way it has activities you can complete within each section. This book challenges all the pre-conceptions, fears and worries we have about following our passion. It lays all those insecurities and pet hates people have about following their passion – whatever that might be – and encourages you to ignore them.  There have been times I have picked this book up to read and found myself reading about myself.  After reading her book I often feel as though I can do something I’ve feared – that I can face whatever consequences my decisions and actions may bring. I come away from the pages feeling hopeful and positive.

So there you have it, my three companions over the past couple of months.  What books are you finding useful at the moment? What books do you return to again and again? What books make you feel hopeful and positive when you’re going through some kind of rough patch? I’d love to hear about them – I may not have the time to read them at the moment but  there’s always room on my ‘to-read’ list 😉

Enjoy the Easter weekend,

Until next time,

Toni xx

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