Explore Art With Preschoolers: Concept Books

Art with preschoolers. Does the thought of trying to teach your preschooler art make you cringe? You just know that your preschooler is going to look at your attempts to make art and demand that someone who knows what they are doing teach them? Because you clearly don’t know what you are doing.

Exploring art with preschoolers - concept books

Well maybe not that far, but you do feel far from an art expert. Let me reassure you of something.

Art is not a science. It doesn’t have to be perfect or even pretty to be art. One of the best ways to remind yourself of this is to simply explore art with your preschooler. You will quickly see that some things are considered art that will even make you feel better about your skills. 😉

And since I am a huge fan of the two birds with one stone concept, I found a fun list of concept books (colors, numbers, etc.) to explore.

Explore Art with Preschoolers: Concept Books

Art 123: Count from 1 to 12 with Great Works of Art by Stefano Zuffi – Each number gets a painting or other work of art and has a little whimsical, rhyming prose to go with it.

I Spy Shapes in Art by Lucy Micklethwait – “I spy with my little eye…” each shape found in a famous painting. Lots of different styles of painting.

Art: A World of Words in 12 Languages by Doris Kutschbach – Simple format, a piece of art on one page and a word that describes it in 12 different languages on the opposite page.

A is for Art Museum by Katy Friedland and Marla K. Shoemaker – An ABC book about the art museum. Each letter gets a piece of art that corresponds with a word that starts with said letter. Each letter has a question or two to help guide you in exploring the pieces with your preschooler.

The Art Treasure Hunt: I Spy with My Little Eye by Doris Kutschbach – Each painting has a selection of items for your preschooler to search out.

Art Detective: Spot the Difference by Doris Kutschbach, illustrated by Julia Dürr – Compare the original painting to the “forgery” and see what differences you can find.

A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet by Stephen T. Johnson – If you love alliteration, you HAVE to get this book. Each letter has a piece of art created by the author and has a short passage of text that uses words that start with that letter almost exclusively. It is quite a feat.

I Spy Colors in Art by Lucy Micklethwait – Same format as the I Spy Shapes book.

Make Your Own Art!

The Big Book of Color: An Adventurous Journey into the Magical and Marvelous World of Color published by Walter Foster Jr. – This book is a wonderful tool for exploring color with preschoolers. I plan to use it this coming school year with my preschooler, who is four. There is another book that works with it called The Bib Book of….

So get out there and explore some art and then step out of your box and actually create some. I promise, no one will throw tomatoes at you!

You might also like:

How to Teach Art in Your Homeschool When You Have No Talent!

Picture Book Biographies for Women’s History Month

Women’s History Month is in March. It isn’t March, I know. Let me just preface this by saying that I started this list with a HUGE, honkin’ stack of books from our library in January. Yes, January. All because I was determined to have a list of picture book biographies for Women’s History Month to you at the very beginning of March so you could include some books in your homeschool studies, if you wanted.

And then life happened because that is what is supposed to happen when you have a family, right? 😉

But March will come again and we will have another Women’s History Month, so I’m just gonna leave this big list of picture book biographies for Women’s History Month right here for you. You can bookmark it, pin it on Pinterest, share it and save it on Facebook, or whatever you want to do. It will be here when you need it.

And next year, when March rolls around, I’ll be all on my Facebook page saying, “Hey! Look at this post I wrote last year, I finished it two months after Women’s History Month, but still published it because I needed it to be finished and published. :D”

Soooo, enough of all that. Here is your big, honkin’ list of picture book biographies for Women’s History Month. (Have you gotten the idea of what this post is yet? Hehe..) Also included is a bit of commentary by me on the contents of each book. You’re welcome…or I’m sorry, guess it depends on what you think of my opinion, doesn’t it?

Picture Book Biographies for Women's History Month - A big book list from Vicki-Arnold.com

Picture Book Biographies for Women’s History Month

Beatrix Potter and Her Paint Box by David McPhail – This book would pair nicely with a Beatrix Potter unit study. You could read some of Potter’s beloved books, do some fun bunny crafts, eat some fun themed snacks, and maybe act out some of the stories.

Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle by Holly M. Barry, illustrated by Jennifer Thermes – I did not realize the role dogs played in Helen’s life. Did you know she was the first person to bring an Akita to the United States? I didn’t.

Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller by Doreen Rapport, illustrated by Matt Tavares – Another picture book biography of Helen Keller, this one is interspersed quotes from Helen herself.

Women Who Broke the Rules: Dolley Madison by Kathleen Krull – The books in this series are longer, more suitable for read alouds over more than one sitting for younger children. There are six chapters in each book that I read.

Women Who Broke the Rules: Mary Todd Lincoln by Kathleen Krull – Abraham Lincoln is one of the United States’ most famous presidents, his wife is a fascinating character. It’s quite a story she has.

Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully – Mattie’s prized possession was her father’s toolbox and the tools inside. She was a clever girl that grew into a great inventor. You won’t believe what her first official invention was, we use it almost daily!

Wangari Maathai: The Woman Who Planted Millions of Trees by Franck Prévot, illustrated by Aurélia Fronty – This is a beautiful book. It tells the story of a woman who fought the odds and became a beloved figure in Kenya. She’s proof that one person can make a difference.

Who Says Women Can’t Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman – It is hard to imagine what it would have been like for Elizabeth, to have everyone against you. Her’s is an inspirational story about what you can do if you put your mind to it.

What to Do About Alice? by Barbara Kerley, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham – The subtitle was How Alice Roosevelt Broke the Rules, Charmed the World, and Drove Her Father Teddy Crazy. That pretty much sums up this powerhouse of a woman.

In Mary’s Garden by Tina and Carson Kügler – This is about Mary Nohl, an artist who created a famous garden of statues in Wisconsin. A good read if you are looking for a book to encourage the artist in a child who doesn’t have an interest in traditional art.

Shooting Star: Annie Oakley, the Legend by Debbie Dadey, illustrated by Scott Goto – The woman, the myth, the legend. This picture book has it all.

Soar, Elinor! by Tami Lewis Brown, illustrated by François Roca – Elinor Smith is a lesser known female pilot. Well, at least lesser known to me. She was the youngest flier in the United States, earning her pilot’s license at just 16 years old.

Coretta Scott by Ntozake Shange, illustrated by Kadir Nelson – The poetry style of this book lends itself more to elementary aged children, but the book is a beautiful read.

Mary Cassatt: Extraordinary Impressionist Painter by Barbara Herkert, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska – Read about how the famous impressionist’s encounters with Edgar Degas inspired her work as a painter.

The Bravest Woman in America by Marissa Moss, illustrated by Andrea U’Ren – Ida Lewis grew up by the sea, which makes me a wee bit jealous. Her father was a lighthouse keeper and the job eventually passed to Ida.

Women Who Broke the Rules: Judy Blume by Kathleen Krull – Judy Blume is a pretty controversial author. She was the most banned author from 1982 to 1996. This book does cover that, but it also shows just why she wrote on the topics she wrote about.

The Last Princess: The Story of Princess Ka’iulani of Hawai’i by Fay Stanley, illustrated by Diane Stanley – This is a sad story. It is an important story to read, but beware that it is quite sad what happened to the nation of Hawai’i.

Joan of Arc by Demi – The illustrations are the main focus of this book and they are lovely. Joan of Arc’s story is one that is marked with obedience to God and betrayal of man. Joan is burned at the stake, so this may not be a good choice if you have particularly young children.

Mermaid Queen by Shana Corey, illustrated by Edwin Fotheringham – Annette Kellerman learned to swim because she couldn’t walk. That simple act changed the course of swimming history for women worldwide.

Good Queen Bess: The Story of Elizabeth I of England by Diane Stanley and Peter Vennema, illustrated by Diane Stanley – Read of the Tudor Queen who loved and ruled her country well. Her’s is a story of sacrificial love and one that helped a country recover from the bloody reign of her father and sister.

Imogen: The Mother of Modernism and Three Boys by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Lisa Congdon – I think that if Imogen had lived in today’s times, she would have been a wonderful blogger with her photos of family life.

A Picture Book of Anne Frank by David A. Adler, illustrated by Karen Ritz – This book is well done, it shares the horrible story of the Holocaust, but isn’t too heavy for kids.

Buffalo Bird Girl: A Hidatsa Story by S. D. Nelson – A look at what it was like to grow up near the Missouri River on the Great Plains for one girl. The story includes actual words and stories from Buffalo Bird Girl, along with artwork and archival photographs.

Rachel Carson and Her Book that Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor, illustrated by Laura Beingessner – We can all thank Rachel for her work that changed many practices in the 50’s and 60’s like the spraying of DDT in neighborhoods to kill bugs.

Sky High: The True Story of Maggie Gee by Marissa Moss, illustrated by Carl Angel – Maggie was one of two Chinese American WASPs (Women Airfare Service Pilots), she dreamed of being a pilot when her family would watch pilots like Amelia Earhart take off each Sunday and eventually made that dream come true.

Bon Appétit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland – One of the most famous chefs around, Julia led an interesting life. This is not a traditional book, the story is all over the page with lots of illustrations on each page.

Talkin’ About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by E. B. Lewis – Another woman pilot to be sure to read about. Her story is told in a series of monologues versus a traditional story.

And there you have it, a giant list of picture book biographies for Women’s History Month. I have to say I learned a lot reading the books for this list. I’d love to do a second list so if you know of another great picture book biography about a woman that made history, please tell me in the comments so I can add it to my list to check out!

Picture Book Biographies for Women's History Month - A big book list from Vicki-Arnold.com

More Books About Birds

Remember when I said I had even more bird books on the way from the library? Well, now you get to hear more about them. We enjoyed these, too. I think we will be moving on to another subject though. Mama would like to read about something new.

Books About Birds - A book list all about birds!

More Books About Birds

You Nest Here With Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple, Illustrated by Melissa Sweet – A sweet storyline and pretty illustrations made this book one my snuggle-bug of a 9-year-old enjoy. The story shows various birds and how they nest.

Nest by Jorey Hurley – This lovely picture book features softer illustrations with one word on each two-page spread. You follow the life cycle of a robin in the pictures. This is a great one to read with toddlers and younger preschoolers. You can explore the book with little “required” reading, which means you can flip as fast or as slow as your lap-sitter desires.

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward, Illustrated by Steve Jenkins – Bird facts go along with the rhyming verse of the book. Brightly colored illustrations make it an eye-catcher.

Whose Nest is This? by Heidi Bee Roemer, Illustrated by Connie McLennan – Not all the nests in this book are bird nests, but it is a fun book featuring many birds. The book gives a little description of a nest and then asks the question “Whose nest is this?” before giving the answer. My 9-year-old liked reading this one with me, too.

Cradles in the Trees: The Story of Bird Nests by Patricia Brennan Demuth, Illustrated by Suzanne Barnes – A fun look at all the amazing ways birds build nests. Told in engaging text.

Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart, Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen – I really liked this one, but I’m particularly fond of bird feathers. They are so exquisitely designed. The illustrations have a fun scrapbook feel to them.

What Makes a Bird A BIRD? by May Garelick – This is an oldie, but goodie. The illustrations have a vintage feel to them…because the book was written in 1969. It’s quite lovely. I think my favorite part of this library find is the old check out pocket in the back of it. I remember checking books out with that system. Good times. (Note: The cover shown above is different from the one I got at our library. The book has apparently been reprinted.)

A Nest Full of Eggs by Priscilla Belz Jenkins, Illustrated by Lizzy Rockwell – This follows a little family of robins, but features other kinds of birds, too. The colorful pictures with preschoolers kept my preschooler engaged.

Backyard Bird Photography: How to Attract Birds to Your Home and Create Beautiful Photographs by Mathew Tekulsky – Ok, you can probably see that this one is not for preschoolers. This is a great one if you have older kids, like middle to high school, with a penchant for photography. Actually though, preschoolers will probably really like looking at the photos in this book, they are beautiful.

Feathers: Poems About Birds by Eileen Spinelli, Illustrated by Lisa McCue – I love the illustrations of this one, she captures the lovely vibrant colors that makes birds so lovely to me. The poems are fun, too.

The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist by Margarita Engle, Illustrated by Aliona Bereghici – Told in a series of poems, this beautiful book is about Louis Fuertes, who is known as the Father of Modern Bird Art. This is a gorgeous picture book.

A-Z of Bird Portraits: An Illustrated Guide to Painting Beautiful Birds in Acrylics by Andrew Forkner – Another book for teens, this is a very thorough guide to painting birds. It gives detailed instructions for 27 different birds. This would make a great homeschool art class for high schoolers.

So there you have it, the last list of books about birds for a while here on the blog. I hope you enjoy these books as much as our homeschool has!

Related Posts:

Bird Unit Study for PreschoolB is for Bird - a book list and free printable for Alphabet Activities for All Ages at Vicki-Arnold.comE is for Eggs - Alphabet Activities for All Ages - a fun, egg-centered book list from Vicki-Arnold.com

Biographical Series for Tween Girls

This is the final post in the books for tween girls miniseries. Be sure to see the books series for tween girls and classic book series for tween girls posts for a plethora of reading options for tween girls.

Biographical Series for Tween Girls

I am ending the miniseries with some biographical chapter books for inspiration and encouragement. I personally believe that the more we can encourage our kids to find their own unique, God-designed path, the better. Showing them lots of examples of how others have done just that is a great start.

I’ve listed the age and grade suggestions like before.

Biographical Series for Tween Girls

These are based on real people and while the characters in the series change, the stories are definitely ones that tween girls can find inspiration in. Each series has a lot of titles. I chose a few female-focused ones for this post. Tween girls can also obviously be inspired by males, too, so don’t miss those.

Lightkeepers (8y+, 3rd+)

Who Was/Is Series (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Childhood of Famous Americans (8-12y, 4th-6th)

Sower Series (9y+, 4th+)

Christian Heroes: Then and Now (10y+, 5th+)

Do you have any biographical series for tween girls to recommend? These are the five I know about. I would love to add more! Tell me about them in the comments.

Don’t miss the other companion posts to this one – book series for tween girls and classic book series for tween girls!

Classic Book Series for Tween Girls

Previously, I shared the huge list of contemporary book series for tween girls. This post will focus on classic book series for tween girls. These are books that have stood the test of time and still bring joy to readers.

You’ll notice that not all of them are what you might consider a classic like Chronicles of Narnia and Anne of Green Gables. Those are most definitely included, but so are other fun classics like Beverly Cleary’s series and The Baby-Sitters Club.

The Baby-Sitters Club books were a highlight of my late elementary/middle school years. They inspired me to take up babysitting, though I doubt I was half the babysitter that Kristy and the gang were. I just wished I was as cool as they were.

Classic Book Series for Tween Girls - A big list of ideas for girls 9-12.

Series that are pre-2000 are included on this list. After 2000, they are on the contemporary list. This is no official rule I’m following, just the way I’ve decided to break this huge list up. Be sure to watch for the next list in this miniseries, biographical series for tween girls. Sign up for email updates to be sure you don’t miss it!

So let’s get started on today’s list. Again, I have included the age and grade recommendations that I could find and the first two or three titles from the series. Also again, I am making no assessment on content, that is for you to decide for your family.

Classic Book Series for Tween Girls

Sarah, Plain and Tall (6-10y, 1st-5th)

The Borrowers (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

The Littles (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

The Boxcar Children (7y+, 2nd-5th)

American Girls Collections (8y+, 3rd+)

These are the original, historical series.

Betsy Tacy (8-12y, 2nd-5th)

Ramona (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

The Mouse and the Motorcycle (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Little House on the Prairie (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Fudge Series (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

All-of-a-Kind Family (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

The Baby-Sitters Club (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Anastasia Krupnik (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Anne of Green Gables (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Chronicles of Narnia (8y+, 3rd+)

I’m going with the “reading in order of publication” crowd. That is why they are “out of order” based on some of the numbers on the books. Those are of the “reading in chronological order” variety.

 

Mandie (8-13y, 3rd+)

The Moffats (10-12y, 5th-7th)

That’s today’s list. Did I miss one that you think HAS to be on this list? Tell me about it in the comments!

Don’t miss the contemporary fiction list of book series for tween girls and the biographical series for tween girls, too!

Book Series for Tween Girls – Contemporary

I have learned that not all girls are avid readers, which is something this avid reader girl just simply can NOT relate to. But, alas, my oldest daughter is not a reader. In fact, just recently she told me that she absolutely hates to read. My mouth literally fell open, which she found hilarious.

However, my younger daughter I can relate to in this area. She loves to read! She is particularly fond of series books. That started when we read the Keeker books together when she was first learning to read. She really likes series books.

I can relate. One of my fondest reading memories is reading all the Baby-Sitters Club books and catching up with the publication schedule. It was like getting caught up on my to-do list as an adult…totally gratifying.

Today, I am bringing you the first of three posts focusing on book series for tween girls. This post will focus on contemporary titles. The next one will focus on classic book series for tween girls, these are most likely the ones that us parents grew up reading. The third post will be biographical series for tween girls to encourage them to follow God’s unique plan for their life.

These are books that either of my tween girls would be able to read. If it is available, I’ve included the age and grade range that Amazon has listed for each series because I think that might be helpful given the large list here and for gauging reading level appropriateness. I’ve also included the first two or three books for each series.

Book Series for Tween Girls - Contemporary fiction

As far as content goes, I have not read each and every series. Some my girls have read and I have not, others I have read, and still others are new to both my girls and myself. I’ve chosen to include them on this list because I know that simply because a series doesn’t work for us, doesn’t mean it won’t work for someone else. Also, this list is a reference list for me, too.

This list is meant to be merely a starting point. Each family will have their own rules and guidelines for choosing books. I can’t account for everyone’s so I’ve been a bit liberal in what I’ve included. Meaning, there are books with fairies and goblins even though I know many families choose to avoid those (we don’t necessarily avoid them). As always, you will need to judge for yourself what is appropriate for your family.

Originally, I was going to include commentary for each of these, but the list got really long and this post was over 650 words with just the titles and the introduction. I will spare you my commentary for today.

Are you ready for the LONG list of options now? Good, let’s get at it then.

Book Series for Tween Girls

Mermaid Tales (6-9y, 1st-4th)

Judy Moody (6-9y, 1st-4th)

Amelia Bedelia (6-10y, 1st-5th)

 

The Fairy Bell Sisters (6-10y, 1st-5th)

Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo (7-9y, 2nd-4th)

Recipe for Adventure (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

Thea Stilton (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

 

The Rescue Princesses (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

Secret Kingdom (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

Dog Diaries (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

Puppy Place (7-10y, 2nd-5th)

 

Grandma’s Attic (8-12y, 3rd+)

The Mysteries of Middlefield (8-12y, 3rd+)

Ponies of Chincoteague (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Dear Dumb Diaries (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Grimmtastic Girls (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Whatever After (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Desperate Diva Diaries (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Cupcake Diaries (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Secrets of the Manor (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

The Penderwicks (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

TumTum and Nutmeg (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Horse Diaries (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Dear America (8-12y, 3rd-7th)

Soul Surfer Series (8-12y)

Swipe (8-12y)

Sons of Angels (8-12y)

The Cooper Kids Adventure Series (8-12y, 5th+)

The Girls of Lighthouse Lane (8-12y, 5th+)

Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events (8-12y, 5th+)

The Adventures of Lily Lapp (9-12y)

Royal Diaries (9-12y)

The Cupcake Club (9-12y, 4th-7th)

The Saturday Cooking Club (9-13y, 4th-9th)

So that’s the list of contemporary book series for tween girls. Be sure to check out the list of classic book series for tween girls and biographical series for tween girls to round out your selections!

Books for Gardeners of All Kinds

Gardening books are some of my favorite reads. We have a garden of some size every year. This year we are wondering if the only thing we will grow will be the strawberries because it looks like they survived the bitterly cold winter we had and our time seems to be growing smaller and smaller as the year goes on.

But that doesn’t stop me from picking up garden related books! I just love to look at them. They are so beautiful and full of information. I pick up something new from each one I read. Today I’m sharing my latest haul of books for gardeners from the library (and a couple from my shelves).

Books for Gardeners of All Kinds | Vicki-Arnold.com

Books for Gardeners of All Kinds

Homegrown Berries: Successfully Grow Your Own Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, Blackberries, and More! by Timber Press Growing Guides – The photography in this book is gorgeous. The “more” of this book includes gooseberries, currants, elderberries, chokeberries, cranberries, jostaberries, huckleberries, juneberries, and lingonberries. That’s a lot of berries and a lot of information.

Grow a Little Fruit Tree: Simple Pruning Techniques for Small-Space, Easy-Harvest Fruit Trees by Ann Ralph – Fruit trees are intimidating to me. These fruit trees are literally little fruit trees. The yield is smaller and the care is easier because the trees aren’t too tall. At least, that’s what she spends roughly 168 pages explaining.

Epic Tomatoes: How to Select and Grow the Best Varieties of All Time by Craig LeHoullier – I am such a fan of how gorgeous gardening books have become. It makes me want them all. So at the risk of sounding redundant, this book is gorgeous. Lots of photos, lots of history, lots of great information.

Edible Spots and Pots: Small-Space Gardens for Growing Vegetables and Herbs in Containers, Raised Beds, and More by Stacey Hirvela – Very thorough, easy to read format. Doesn’t have the color photography of other books, but it isn’t photo free.

The New Horse-Powered Farm: Tools and Systems for the Small-Scale Sustainable Market Grower by Stephen Leslie – Not exactly my cup of gardening tea, but a great informational book. Covers horse breeds, care and training, and working with horses on your farm. It includes a section on working with horses with specific crops, too.

Small-Space Vegetable Gardens: Growing Great Edibles in Containers, Raised Beds, and Small Plots by Andrea Bellamy – Walks you through the assessment and planning stages, even has photo directions for building raised beds. Also covers pest control and plant diseases you may face. Ends with a nice size section on specific edibles.

Farm Fork Food: A Year of Spectacular Recipes Inspired by Black Cat Farm by Eric Skokan – This is a cookbook, not a gardening book. It has a lot of recipes in it, a lot of unique recipes. Basil ice cream with summer berries? You’ll find it in here. Lots of things that I probably wouldn’t try, but you may be more adventurous than I.

Start a Community Food Garden: The Essential Handbook by LaManda Joy – The book is organized in three parts: gathering your community, building your garden’s supports, and managing your community garden. Community gardens need to become a thing, a big thing. There is so much potential for good.

Practical Permaculture for Home Landscapes, Your Community, and the Whole Earth by Jessi Bloom and Dave Boehnlein – I find this book fascinating. Permaculture uses lots of tricks and techniques that would be helpful to gardeners at large. A big book, with a ringing endorsement from Joel Salatin.

Aquaponic Gardening: A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Vegetables and Fish Together by Sylvia Bernstein – Maybe you want to try a different way of gardening? You could give this a try and grow some fish while you’re at it.

The Ever-Blooming Flower Garden: A Blueprint for Continuous Color by lee Schneller – I get stuck in the thought process of food gardening when I think gardening, but vegetable gardens aren’t the only kind of gardens you can grow. This is a great flower gardening book. Flower gardens are great for drawing in pollinators like butterflies, bees, and birds.

There you have it, a short list of books for gardeners of all kinds. Let me know if you discovered a new to you book to add to your reading list!

Design Books for the Home

Can I tell you a secret? I am a TERRIBLE decorator. It’s one of those homemaking areas that I feel I should be better at, but I’m not. Some women seem to have no problem making their home beautiful, and I’m over here just trying to keep the mess at bay.

One of the things I’ve been working on slowly, very slowly, is decluttering. God has been working on my heart lately and helping me to “cut the apron strings” to my stuff. It is just stuff. Actually, it’s not just stuff anymore. It is stuff I’m tired of managing. I don’t want to be a manager of stuff anymore. Hence, the decluttering.

The slow part comes from my learning to stick with a project and work on it in manageable chunks. I’ve come to realize that I’m an all or nothing kind of girl and that doesn’t really work so well in the homemaking realm. So, I’ve been slowly working on getting things decluttered and cleaned as I can.

I’m still in the laundry room. Sigh.

Slow and steady wins the race, right? I sure hope so!

What does all of this have to do with design books for the home? Well, in my quest to de-clutter, I am also wanting to create a more beautiful home. One that has personality (like I like to think I have) and that my family finds comforting. I also want to do some DIY projects.

Design Books for the Home | Vicki-Arnold.com

Enter, the books. I actually am not even sure how I ended up with this particular selection from the library. It probably started with Amazon and then holds being placed at the library. This is a pretty common occurrence for me. Just ask my husband.

In the instance that you might find yourself in the mood for some inspiration, I thought I would share the list with you.

Design Books for the Home

It’s kind of funny to me that each of these books is by a blogger.

Happy Handmade Home by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman – What I love about this one is it isn’t just decor. There are DIY projects, informational type articles on design how-to’s, and entertaining recipes. Some of the projects aren’t my style, but the general ideas can be tweaked to fit. There are several sections like Cloth Napkins 9 Ways (also mugs, vases, terra cotta pots, etc.) that are super fun.

Blog: A Beautiful Mess

Young House Love by Sherry and John Petersik – This book is full of great ways to update your home, 243 of them specifically. They have a handy little key for each one that gives you cost, time, and work in a bar chart, making it really easy to see at a glance how time consuming or expensive a project is. A LOT of them are free or cheap.

I am also really enjoying their commentary throughout the book. It’s a fun read.

Blog: Young House Love (though technically they aren’t blogging anymore, there are over 3,000 posts to sift through)

The $50 Home Makeover by Shaunna West – This one is mostly individual projects that you can make fit your style. I love the story behind her blog and book. Not all the projects are my cup of tea, but I wouldn’t expect them to be. There are a few that utilize washi tape, which I have only just recently discovered the greatness of, and a couple for Ikea furniture hacks.

Blog: Perfectly Imperfect

Design*Sponge at Home by Grace Bonney

I’m pretty sure Design*Sponge is considered THE original home decor/styling blog. It’s one of the very first blogs I ever read years ago. I am pretty sure it was their Biz Ladies series. But that is not the point here.

This book is so cool because it is a tour of so many living spaces from so many people. It is really neat. A great one to get visual inspiration from people who know what they are doing, or at least pretend really well.

Blog: Design*Sponge

And now that I’ve listed these, I remembered a book that my husband and I came across at the library once that was a lightbulb moment for us. It put a name to our style that we hadn’t heard before. And I CAN’T REMEMBER WHAT IT IS! I do believe some browsing will be happening at the library very soon.

Do you have some favorite design books for the home? Please share them with me!