A few days ago, I received two timely books to review from Sterling Publishing: Country Living Deck the Halls: Christmas Notecards, Labels, Ornaments, and Other Festive & Fun Projects and Country Living The Farm Chicks Christmas: Merry Ideas for the Holidays. Both books have a similar flavor to them. Think of HGTV in a book with a mix of holiday cheer, some shabby chic, and a sprinkle of Martha Stewart. Now, HGTV and Martha have nothing to do with either book, as in you won’t find them mentioned in either one, but I’m talking about the vibe or tone of the books. Both books were developed through the folks at Country Living magazine.
Deck the Halls (which retails for $19.95 US and $23.95 CAN) is a chunky little book just shy of 200 pages that is interactive because it is not just text but includes lots of paper-based crafting supplies such as stickers, stencils, place cards, tags, recipe cards, and more that you can pull out of the book and use for the crafts and decorating ideas described in the book. It is full of gift wrapping ideas, foodie-gift recipes, and lots of fairly simple craft ideas, some of which would make great gifts. For example, one project explains how to turn ribbons into vintage style book markers that have cute charms dangling from them. There is also an entire chapter dedicated to gifts you can make in the kitchen, and then of course, decorate them to look extra special when you deliver them.
I spotted a small number of the same craft ideas (like maybe two) in The Farm Chicks Christmas written by Serena Thompson (which retails for $19.95 US and $23.95 CAN). While this book also includes a few pages of stickers and note cards in the back of the book, it reads as a kind of visual diary of the author and her two friends, Nancy and Celeste, who all welcome you into their homes and family life during the Christmas season. You tag along on a visit to a tree farm and then get some cool ideas for decorating the tree as well as other parts of the house. These gals even decorate their front porches, so while this may be overboard for some of us, we can glean what works for us. One cute and easy craft and decorating idea in this book that appealed to me was to cover Styrofoam tree shaped pieces with fabric scraps, yarn, or bits of paper. This is a great idea for using up bits of crafting items you don’t want to throw away, and then you end up with some cute holiday decorations. I think these would be a great children’s project that could even be given as gifts to teachers and baby sitters. The Farm Chicks also give some yummy looking recipes that can be made for the family or given as gifts as well.
The holiday season is pretty much here already, but if you are still in the crunch as far as figuring out gifts to make and give or unique ways to decorate, both of these books are full of easy to do ideas that can be done now, or heck, you could use these next year too. It’s never too soon to get going on gift making.