Simply Grove blogger Kirsten Grove shares her design know-how in “Simply Styling: Fresh and Easy Ways to Personalize Your Home” (Sterling Publishing, $24.95). The self-taught Grove goes from room to room — and then, object to object — with step-by-step suggestions for adding personal style to every nook and cranny of your home, all without breaking the bank. Specializing in a clean, “modern, yet casual” aesthetic on display in these pages, Grove offers guidance for styling “with what you have,” as well as styling “with what you find on your journey.”
The worlds of cross-stitching and Jay Z cheerfully collide in Genevieve Brading’s “I Got 99 Problems but a Stitch Ain’t One: Cross-Stitch With Attitude” (Octopus Books, $12.99). The titular design is one of 20 meme-worthy, sassy slogans mashed up with classic whimsy. Emojis, selfies, Taylor Swift and Tupac all make appearances in designs described by the publisher as what happens if “your inner grandma meets your inner Beyoncé.” Some of the safe-for-work philosophies inside include life tips such as “no speaking before coffee” and “cross-stitch and chill.” For newcomers, the book begins with a colorful guide to cross-stitch basics. Brading is the creative mind behind Floss & Mischief, which specializes in trendy needlework. She says she launched the company after arguing with her boyfriend over taxidermy.
Speaking of taxidermy, no animals were harmed in the creation of these wall trophies. Author Taylor Hart shares the tricks of the trade and shows you how to crochet cuddly wall-mounted critters using the Japanese technique of amigurumi in “Crochet Taxidermy: 30 Quirky Animal Projects From Mouse to Moose” (Storey Publishing, $14.95). Meet adorable and alliterative creatures such as Jiggly Jellyfish, Baaaad Sheep and Cranky Croc, and follow the round-by-round guides to bring them to life. After moving from Ohio to Texas with her husband in 2008, Hart taught herself how to crochet as a way to kill time between clients during her work day at a call center. The hobby became a passion, and ultimately, the business venture which spawned this do-it-yourself guide.
Leigh Okies and Lisa McGuinness walk you through the what, why and how of flower arranging in “Meaningful Bouquets: Create Special Messages With Flowers” (Chronicle Books, $24.95). Using the long-standing symbolism imbued in flowers that dates back to Victorian times, the authors use lush, bullet-point glossaries to create a handy reference guide that explains the meaning of every component in a bouquet. They also advise on helpful tools in the craft and provide detailed guides for creating 25 floral arrangements. Whether you wish to convey celebration, love, remembrance, pride or forgiveness, it’s all here. Crisp prose and colorful images fill the pages, with photography by Annabelle Breakey.
Harness Mother Nature’s color palate in “Natural Color: Vibrant Plant Dye Projects for Your Home and Wardrobe” (Watson-Guptill Publications, $30). Author Sasha Duerr, a Bay-area textile artist and California College of the Arts professor, highlights her favorite techniques for using everyday plants to create unique clothing, accessories and home decor. Projects are divvied up by season and preceded by a guide to best practices for successful and safe dyeing. Spending her formative years in Maine and Hawaii piqued her interest in nature at an early age, and Duerr says she was turned on to natural materials after oil-based paints made her sick. The interest in natural materials led her to explore Indonesia, India, Nepal and Tibet for inspiration.
“What if I told you that having less stuff could make you a happier person?” That’s the philosophy embraced by “Miss Minimalist” Francine Jay in “The Joy of Less: A Minimalist Guide to Declutter, Organize and Simplify” (Chronicle Books, $16.95). In four sections, she outlines the environmental, economic and emotional benefits of a minimalist lifestyle; lays out her 10-step “STREAMLINE” action plan for corralling chronic clutter; and weaves those lessons into room-by-room pointers for freeing up space in your home — and your head. There’s also a chapter dedicated to getting recalcitrant family members on board with a less-is-more lifestyle.