non-fiction books by gina sekelsky studioOh, how I wish I could read just a little faster. I checked out a giant stack of books from the library before my trip to Seattle at the end of March; now I've renewed them all to the limit and still haven't finished.  (But I'm making a list for my next vacation in August.  Other people may opt for beach reads in the summer, but I love contemplative non-fiction. And cookbooks!) I read Pen & Ink in the bathtub.  But I renewed it so I could keep looking at the pictures.  I also read Hello NY in the bathtub.  (Our tub faucet was broken for...well, years...and I'm making up for lost time.)  I love visiting New York (all that walking!) and this book was a charming ode to all five boroughs of the city.  (I always find a fake "handwritten" font more than a little distracting, but that's probably just me.) I started Life Purpose Boot Camp on the train back from the west coast.  We flew out (in a hurry to get away!) and took the train back (can't we linger a little longer?).  I'm a big fan of Eric Maisel (mostly) and even though it may not actually change my life, I'm sure I'll get something out of this process.  Such as:  "You may stay very busy, you may experience pleasure and acquire things, but none of that is the same as having life purpose." How excited was I for the fourth book from Alabama Chanin?  Eager enough to be disappointed that it was released the week after my vacation.  If you're an experienced sewist, this latest volume is a bit been there/done that.  (I adored Natalie's third book, Alabama Studio Sewing + Design, so if you're on the fence about where to begin, I'd recommend that one.  Unless you want to learn more about draping/altering, then I'd suggest this one.)  I've always wanted to hand stitch a coat, which was one of the first-ever Alabama Chanin pieces I saw, but unfortunately, the "Classic Coat" pattern in the new book is just a t-shirt pattern, oversized and sliced up the middle.  Since I don't very often use the actual Alabama Chanin patterns, I know I don't really need to use one for the coat.  I just hoped having the real pattern would be the catalyst to get me on my way.  Oh well, now I have more time to finish this shirt.  (And maybe they'll release the coat as part of their new pattern series?) reverse applique shirt by gina sekelsky studio You may already know that I'm a huge fan of reading aloud.  F and I finished the young adult version of Unbroken not long ago and are following it up with another non-fiction read:  I Will Always Write Back.  You've heard about it already, right?  A few chapters in and I know it will spark some awesome discussions (especially on grey school mornings when neither of us wants to get up and start the day). In Seattle we went to the best gluten-free bakery ever.  Every day.  Sometimes twice a day.  Being me, I tasted each bite wondering, "Now how could I make this?"  So having a new cookbook along to read on the train home was perfect.  If you use all-purpose flour for everything you bake, it's probably not the right fit for you, but if (like me) you use bread flour for bread and pastry flour for pie and cake flour for cake, and you need/want to eat gluten free, then I highly recommend The Everyday Art of Gluten-Free.  (In other words, if you're committed to the effort of having different flours to achieve the best results, you'll love it.  I love it.)  My copy is from the library but I can't wait to have my very own. And saving the dearest to my heart for last:  The Missing Ink by Philip Hensher.  I really can't remember how I heard about this book (online search for something else?), but now I wish it hadn't taken me so long.  In creating my new handwriting workshops, I focused on the power of penmanship, the importance of cherishing handwriting, no matter how imperfect.  Here's an entire book devoted to that very topic: part history lesson, part humor, part entreaty to keep the tradition of handwriting alive.  If only there were adorable illustrations, I might be buying a copy for everyone I know.  Instead I'm telling everyone I know: go out right now and read it!  (Need a bigger nudge?  Here's the NYTimes review.) -------- I'm sending out a newsletter tomorrow morning (May 7th) with a free download for Mother's Day.  Sign up here!  
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6 Responses to On my nightstand: lots of non-fiction.

  1. maria says:

    Oh my! I am loving that shirt already!! Love Alabama Chanin too but I am a novice sewer. You are inspiring me big time with that shirt, though! Hope you show it when you are all done! Did you spray on those lovely designs? Can’t wait to see the finished product!!

    • gina says:

      Hi Maria, I will absolutely show it when it’s done! You can see more of my stitching on my old blog: richinnerlife.typepad.com. I used a stencil & paintbrush to put the design on the shirt. There are plenty of “novice sewer” projects in Natalie’s books to get you on your way!

  2. Dawn Y. says:

    Oh, Gina! Thanks SO much for sharing all of the nonfiction on your nightstand! I’m a nonfiction reader, too. I’m so grateful that you introduced me to two new must-reads ~ ‘I Will Always Write Back’ and ‘The Missing Ink.’ I will look for them at the library this week!
    I’m currently rereading ‘A Fine Romance’ by Susan Branch. I think you would LOVE her hand-lettered, watercolored diary of her trip through the English Countryside. To celebrate their 25th anniversary, Susan & Joe sailed across on the QM2 and spent two months wandering the English Countryside, before sailing home again. Susan packed her pens and watercolors and worked on her diary every night along the way. There is an interactive index on her website, with videos she took as they traveled, and everything one might need to plan a similar adventure. (Can you guess where I’m hoping to travel next year?) I think this book will be on my nightstand forever… as I keep rereading it again and again! ♡Dawn

  3. CJ says:

    I’m a big fan of Alabama Chanin and reading aloud as well. We’re on a reading streak here, I think it was you who pointed me in the direction of Alice Ozma’s “The Reading Promise”. If it was, thank you. We’ve been going for ages now, we’ve read all sorts of things. Just finished “Great Northern?” by Arthur Ransome, wonderful. I shall check out the ones you mention. CJ xx

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