Over here at Lifestyles central, I see my fair share of whimsical books, and many of them I unabashedly love. This month’s whimsy award goes to Blanket Fort: Growing Up Is Optional by a husband-and-wife creative team who are mysteriously (and whimsically) only known to readers as Grackle + Pigeon. Everyone knows kids love to build blanket forts, but why should they have all the fun? “Let’s face it—adulting is hard,” the book’s intro reads. “Can’t we just not deal for a while and take refuge in a pile of pillows and blankets and maybe, just maybe, redefine what adulting actually means?” In Blanket Fort, it means getting your craft on with aluminum tent poles, clamps and all the fabrics you can find. Use them to drape and clip your way to a reading nook, office space, movie-viewing nest, campsite chill-out zone and other enchanting, tentlike spaces. Textile lovers will bask in the ideas presented here, many of which seem like a cool way to level up your next party’s decor.
I’ve always loved pretty paper and stationery, and I enjoyed dabbling in hand lettering in my youth. But calligraphy made me think, it’s lovely, but I’ll never possess the patience to build that skill. So I’m pleased to find these words from calligrapher Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls in the opening of her gorgeous new book: “I found that once I let go of the idea that my letterforms had to be ‘perfect,’ I felt a weight was lifted and everything started to flow.” With that encouraging tone, The Gift of Calligraphy: A Modern Approach to Hand Lettering with 25 Projects to Give and to Keep welcomes you to slow down, relax and dip a metal nib in ink and use it to make your mark. Imasa-Stukuls first covers basics like tools, guide sheets, warm-up strokes and forming and connecting letters. She then outlines projects like a message in a bottle, gift wrap, labels, tags and place cards, and in a nice touch, the visual how-tos are hand-drawn.
TOP PICK IN LIFESTYLES
If you’ve watched “Queer Eye,” then you don’t need me to explain why a book based on the show is squeal-worthy. (If you haven’t watched, then put down this magazine right now, honey, and get over to Netflix.) In Queer Eye: Love Yourself. Love Your Life., each member of the Fab Five supplies their own backstory and offers life tips in their respective categories: self-care and grooming guidance from Jonathan, style advice from Tan, life coaching from Karamo, home design and furnishing smarts from Bobby and cooking expertise from Antoni. Also, each of the five shares fave recipes, and yes, Jonathan’s is Hamburger Casserole. (“I got the idea for this casserole by watching Rachel Ray make a layered ice cream cake about twenty years ago. Yumm-o!”) Last come tips on how to throw a most excellent party. Vibrant and packed with photos of the team, this book is every bit as delightful as the show, and both are required survival gear for the world we live in.