Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers

Virginia Woolf

Octobers are usually filled with witchy tales, but Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers celebrates rather damns the women within its pages. Poet Taisia Kitaiskaia and artist Katy Horan joined forces to draw a powerful connection between witches and visionary female writers through written and painted portraits that honor well-known and obscure authors alike.

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Agatha Christie

 

Mary Shelley

 

Shirley Jackson

 

Octavia E. Butler

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Fall ’18 Book Recommendations

I Wonder by Marian Bantjes
This book features the elaborately crafted word pictures of Marian Bantjes, the most inventive and creative typographic illustrator of our time. Whether intricately hand-drawn or using computer illustration software, Bantjes’s work crosses the boundaries of time, style, and technology. There is, however, another side to Bantjes’s visual work: her thoughtful treatises on art, design, beauty, and popular culture that add a deeper dimension to the decorative nature of her best-known work. Intended to inspire creatives of any persuasion, this is more than a collection of ideas: Bantjes has meticulously illustrated every page of the book in her inimitable style to create an accessible work of art that is far greater than the sum of its parts.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann
In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called The Lost City of Z. In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for Z and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.

Six Women of Salem by Marilynne K. Roach
The first work to use the lives of a select number of representative women to illuminate the larger crisis of the Salem witch trials. By the end of the trials, beyond the twenty who were executed and the five who perished in prison, 207 individuals had been accused, 74 had been “afflicted,” 32 had officially accused their fellow neighbors, and 255 ordinary people had been inexorably drawn into that ruinous and murderous vortex, and this doesn’t include the religious, judicial, and governmental leaders. By examining the lives of six specific women, Marilynne Roach shows readers what it was like to be present throughout this horrific time and how it was impossible to live through it unchanged.

Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount
Book lovers rejoice! In this love letter to all things bookish, Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations. A source of endless inspiration, literary facts and recommendations: Bibliophile is pure bookish joy and sure to enchant book clubbers, English majors, poetry devotees, aspiring writers, and any and all who identify as book lovers.

Corn-Fed: Cul-de-sacs, Keg Stands, and Coming of Age in the Midwest by Melanie LaForce
Poignant, humorous, and honest, Corn-Fed will take you from childhood overnight camp, to a first job at Dairy Queen, to the ultimate culmination of rich and debaucherous adult friendships. Corn-Fed follows LaForce’s growth, struggles, and exhilaration with communities of women over the course of life. Most importantly, this book contains critical references to boobs and butter.

 

Citizen Designer: Perspectives on Design Responsibility by Steven Heller and Veronique Vienne
What does it mean to be a designer in today’s corporate-driven, overbranded global consumer culture? Citizen Designer attempts to answer this question with more than seventy debate-stirring essays and interviews espousing viewpoints ranging from the cultural and the political to the professional and the social. This edition contains a collection of definitions and brief case studies on topics that today’s citizen designers must consider, including new essays on social innovation, individual advocacy, group strategies, and living as an ethical designer.

Do Story: How to tell your story so the world listens by Bobette Buster
Today’s world wants to know you and the real story behind why you do what you do. Whether you have a product to sell, a company mission to share, or an audience to entertain, people are more likely to engage and connect if you deliver a well-crafted story with an emotional core. Find out: how to source, structure and shape your story; ways to discover the essence of your story; why finding the emotional connection with your audience can take a story from good to great. ALSO SEE: Do Lead, Do Sourdough, Do Open, Do Listen, Do Purpose, Do Inhabit, Do Improvise, Do Fly, Do Design, Do Breathe, and Do Grow

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.

Creativity Takes Courage: Dare to Think Differently by Irene Smit and Astrid van der Hulst
It’s not always easy to be creative — it takes courage. Organized around a series of twelve “dares” — including Dare to Fail, Dare to Be a Kid, Dare to Be Bored, Dare to Go Offline, Dare to Collaborate — Creativity Takes Courage encourages the reader to be fully present and spend idle time staring out the window. To leave your comfort zone and start a project, without hesitation, and nourish yourself with museum visits and reading time. Each dare includes fill-in pages and prompts to go deeper into what motivates us or hinders us, like mindful questions to identify fears of failure, or a Dare to Commit notebook for recording both daily and weekly projects.

A Few Minutes of Design: 52 Activities to Spark Your Creativity by Emily Campbell
This colorful, handy card deck presents fifty-two exercises and activities to jump-start your creative juices, free you from creative block, start a new project, or finish an existing one. Each exercise offers insight into the innumerable small decisions involved in design: how to establish a pattern, continue a series, how to say it without words, how to name a project, what fits, and what doesn’t? These cards benefit established practicing designers or creatives in any field with activities that are sometimes playful, sometimes challenging, but always enlightening.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

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Sophie Harris-Taylor / Sisters

 

Being an only child, sibling relationships have always been a point of fascination for me. Sophie Harris-Taylor’s book – Sisters – explores the bonds of more than one hundred sisters who she’s spotlighted through photographs and interviews that reveal the heart of each relationship.

 

 

 

 

 

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Creativity Takes Courage: Dare to Think Differently + A Giveaway

 

Creativity tends to show up in my life as a feast or famine – is it like that for you, too? This year has particularly been full of highs and lows and I’m hoping everything will even out soon enough, after all challenging times generally point towards periods of growth.

The latest book from the co-founders and creative directors of Flow Magazine, Irene Smit and Astrid Van der Hulst, and Workman Publishing couldn’t have better timing. Creativity Takes Courage: Dare to Think Differently was released earlier this week. (If you’re unfamiliar with Flow, it’s a magazine that celebrates creativity, imperfection, and life’s little pleasures.) This is a creative book like no other – simultaneously a practical, hands-on guide to stretching your creative muscles as well as an inspirational book that focuses on the pleasure of the process.

 

 

Creativity Takes Courage is organized around a series of twelve so-called dares that are intended to break you out of your usual creative habits and provide a fresh perspective to help you step outside of your comfort zone. (And man, do I need that frequently!) It’s a book both about creativity and a book that inspires creativity with tons of prompts, tips, and challenges to complete in your own time.

 

 

Most chapters end with an And Now You section of questions, the answers to which can be written directly right in the book. These questions follow the theme of the chapter – reexamining something you may consider a failure that could be seen as a learning process or questions that might help you break down a new project or challenge into more manageable parts for example.

 

 

There are lots of pull-out extras throughout the book – probably my favorite parts! Use the daily project notebook for getting started and focused on something as simple as saving your shopping list or receipts, drawing a cloud, or writing something positive on the sidewalk with chalk. Read about the importance of sleep in creativity, then decorate your sleeping space with tear-out inspirational images. Pull out the included Polaroid-style photo frames to use in framing your favorite photos, or use them to help you frame a scene before taking a picture.

 

 

Not every single page includes an interaction– there are also essays about and lessons on how to get started on a new project without getting overwhelmed, stepping outside of your comfort zone as a means to unlocking creativity, and learning how to enjoy being alone and doing nothing at all among others.

 

 

There’s no right or wrong way to use Creativity Takes Courage! Make your way straight through or jump around among the dares. Tear out pages to put on the refrigerator or mail some to a friend. Keep it by your bedside to work through when you first wake up or before you go to sleep. Dog-ear it, use it to your advantage, and realize what a gift true creativity can be.

Want to win a copy of Creativity Takes Courage: Dare to Think Differently for yourself or a friend? Keep scrolling for a ton of ways to enter!

 

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This post sponsored by Workman Publishing. All words and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting our carefully chosen partners that help keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Spring ’18 Book Recommendations

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery — the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business… but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

Big Cloud by Camille Seaman
Our culture is addicted to weather: hourly forecasts, apps, radio, TV channels, alerts, warnings, and watches. Photographer Camille Seaman stands in front of tornados, at the edges of lightning storms, and in pelting hail under pitch-black skies to capture supercells and mammatus clouds in their often sublime and terrifying splendor. In these awe-inspiring photographs, Seaman’s work is a potent reminder that there is no art more dramatic, in scale or emotion, than that created by nature.

Juniper: The Happiest Fox by Jessika Coker
Juniper’s adorable snaggletooth smile and fun-loving personality are vibrantly captured in this heartwarming book. With gorgeous photos, a charming narrative about Juniper’s life, and a behind-the-scenes look at what it’s like to live with a fox, this book will capture the heart of any animal lover. Juniper’s story chronicles her adoption and real-life Fox and the Hound relationship with a dog named Moose as well as the hilarious shenanigans she regularly gets herself into — including adapting to her new companion Fig, a younger fox who was rescued from a fur farm. Readers will also get a look at the thing Juniper is best known for: she paints with her paws!

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
In Shaker Heights everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules. Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer
To be admired by someone we admire – we all yearn for this: the private, electrifying pleasure of being singled out by someone of esteem. But sometimes it can also mean entry to a new kind of life, a bigger world. Greer Kadetsky is a shy college freshman when she meets the woman she hopes will change her life. Faith Frank, dazzlingly persuasive and elegant at sixty-three, has been a central pillar of the women’s movement for decades, a figure who inspires others to influence the world. Upon hearing Faith speak for the first time, Greer feels her inner world light up. And then, astonishingly, Faith invites Greer to make something out of that sense of purpose, leading Greer down the most exciting path of her life as it winds toward and away from her meant-to-be love story with Cory and the future she’d always imagined.

Lemonade with Zest: 40 Thirst-Quenching Recipes by April White
This collection of 40 recipes for lemonade is filled with classic and innovative flavors the whole family can enjoy (plus a few variations with alcohol for those who imbibe). The recipes show how the beloved lemon pairs so well with an array of unique and delicious flavors—from pomegranate to ginger and cardamom — and creates a lip-smacking beverage that is a refreshing treat for any occasion.

 

Hoop Dreams: Modern Hand Embroidery by Cristin Morgan
Vibrant color and rich textures abound in Hoop Dreams, a stylish embroidery guide for the modern maker. Author Cristin Morgan of Marigold + Mars outlines the basics of 10 classic embroidery stitches and then teaches you how to use them to create 20 beautiful and practical projects for hoops, for the home, and to wear. New and experienced embroiderers alike will be delighted by the fresh motifs and bold color palettes and empowered by the easy step-by-step instructions and templates, which show that with just a few simple stitches, some basic materials, and an idea or two, you can stitch just about anything.

100% Real: 100 Insanely Good Recipes for Clean Food Made Fresh by Sam Talbot
Bursting with 100 whole-food recipes and down-to-earth advice about clean eating, this cookbook proves that eating 100% real food is an enjoyable choice you can make every day. Chef Sam Talbot’s nourishing dishes are overflowing with natural flavor and free of processed ingredients, questionable additives, sweeteners, or preservatives.

Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects by Brittany Watson Jepsen
What began as an Instagram hashtag and project collection (#CrafttheRainbow) that quickly went viral has become a showstopping book, offering a rainbow of completely new project ideas. Learn how to make playful party decorations, luscious flowers, amazing cards, and sophisticated wreaths, garlands, centerpieces, and more than you can imagine — all with nothing but the creative power of paper.

Legendary Ladies: 50 Goddesses to Empower and Inspire You by Ann Shen
Aphrodite, the Greek goddess whose love overcame mortality. Mazu, the Chinese deity who safely guides travelers home. Lakshmi, the Hindu provider of fortune and prosperity. These powerful deities and many more are celebrated in gorgeous artwork and enlightening essays that explore the feminine divine and encourage readers to empower themselves.

A2Z+: Alphabets and Signs by Mel Gooding
Now in its fourth iteration, A2Z+ remains the ultimate source for unusual, inventive fonts not found anywhere else. This updated version contains an abundance of newly-discovered material with over 130 new images, features the spectacular statistical charts of W. E. Du Bois and a wealth of rare graphics and ephemera. This off-beat collection is the perfect inspiration for designers, history buffs, artists, as well as casual readers interested in remarkable typefaces, symbols, and patterns.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different — and far more satisfying — than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

PERSONAL NOTE: I’ll be taking a week off from posting here while I travel to New York for ICFF. See you back here May 29th!

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April Favorites

1/ Craft the Rainbow: 40 Colorful Paper Projects from The House That Lars Built
My friend Brittany created this incredible book for the color lovers of the world. Inside you’ll find 40 projects using nothing but the creative power of paper! I’m hooked.

2/ Case Study Table Top Mushroom Planter with Plinth
I love Case Study’s modern ceramic planters! This is the latest I’ve added to my collection, an interesting mushroom shape in their new mustard hue. In case you missed it we’re giving one away, too!

3/ The Simplicity Collection from Aera
This little home fragrance machine helps keep my home smelling pet-free, and their latest collection – citrus, lavender, white tea, sandalwood, cherry blossom, and vanilla – are the perfect scents for this transitional time of year.

4/ Saya Designs Taro Hair Stick
I’ve been using this gorgeous hair stick constantly in lieu of hair elastics. It helps keep my hair from breaking off and the dark, reddish rosewood paired with golden tamarind is just beautiful.

5/ Eastside Design Co. Enamel Pins
Are you an enamel pin junky, too? These little guys from a college friend’s shop are my latest additions.

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Everything Grows with Love

 

If you follow Design Crush on Instagram you may have noticed our on-going quote project, where I’ve hand-written one a day for the past several years. Quotes are something that I’ve collected, first written in a journal and then on Pinterest board, since junior high school because when someone is able to capture a thought or feeling that I haven’t been able to put into words myself I like to hang onto it.

 

 

If you’re also into the smart words of others, you’re likely to enjoy Everything Grows with Love as much as me. This squat little book from Workman Publishing is edited by the co-founders and creative directors of Flow Magazine, Irene Smit and Astrid Van der Hulst. If you’re not familiar with the wonderful-ness that is Flow, it’s a magazine that celebrates creativity, imperfection, and life’s little pleasures.

 

 

Similarly, the pages of Everything Grows with Love are full of hand-lettered and illustrated graphics by twenty contributing artists covering musings on life, love, and friendship. The affirmations, motivational sayings, and quotes will remind you to appreciate the small moments, be present, think happy, and appreciate the people around you.

 

 

Valentine’s Day is known for being *the* day for romantic love, but it’s also the perfect day for reminding others just how much they mean to you. Everything Grows with Love makes a great little gift or alternative to a traditional card. It’s a book you’ll want to keep around and return to whenever you need a smile or a bit of inspiration in your day.

 

 

Take out your favorite pages to frame or hang on the fridge. Mail one off to your long distance BFF. Or play Secret Saint Valentine and drop a few copies in the mailboxes of unsuspecting neighbors. Everything Grows with Love is just one of those gift that’s good to have handy for birthdays, engagements, or just someone who just needs a little pick me up.

 

 

This post sponsored by Workman Publishing. All words and opinions are my own, as always. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Design Crush creating fresh content!

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Winter ’18 Book Recommendations

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
A collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. The book is divided into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose. Deals with a different pain. Heals a different heartache.

The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
This book tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes, and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso’s blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history.

Uncommon Type: Some Stories by Tom Hanks
A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country’s civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game – and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN’s newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories.

 

The World of Lore: Monstrous Creatures by Aaron Mahnke
In this beautifully illustrated volume, the host of the hit podcast Lore serves as a guide on a  journey through the history of these terrifying creatures, exploring not only the legends but what they tell us about ourselves. In a world of “emotional vampires” and “zombie malls,” the monsters of folklore have become both a part of our language and a part of our collective psyche. Whether these beasts and bogeymen are real or just a reflection of our primal fears, we know, on some level, that not every mystery has been explained and that the unknown still holds the power to strike fear deep in our hearts and souls.

Literally Me by Julie Houts
Julie Houts has cultivated a devoted following as “Instagram’s favorite illustrator” by lampooning the conflicting messages and images women consume and share with the world every day. A collection of darkly comic illustrated essays, Literally Me chronicles the exploits of “slightly antisocial heroines” in vivid, excruciatingly funny detail.

Picnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
It was a cloudless summer day in the year 1900. Everyone at Appleyard College for Young Ladies agreed it was just right for a picnic at Hanging Rock. After lunch, a group of three girls climbed into the blaze of the afternoon sun, pressing on through the scrub into the shadows of the secluded volcanic outcropping. Farther, higher, until at last they disappeared. They never returned.

 

Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo by Grant Faulkner
Designed to kick-start creativity, this handbook from the executive director of National Novel Writing Month gathers a wide range of insights and advice for writers at any stage of their career. From tips about how to finally start that story to helpful ideas about what to do when the words just aren’t quite coming out right.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The stunningly beautiful bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Deftly interweaving their lives, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another.

Other People We Married by Emma Straub
Straub creates characters as recognizable as a best friend, and follows them through moments of triumph and transformation with wit, vulnerability, and dazzling insight. In “Some People Must Really Fall in Love,” an assistant professor takes halting steps into the awkward world of office politics while harboring feelings for a freshman student. Two sisters struggle with old assumptions about each other as they stumble to build a new relationship in “A Map of Modern Palm Springs.” These twelve stories, are filled with sharp humor, emotional acuity, and joyful language.

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