stillwater library book review.

After finding so many great decorating books at my mom’s local library, and after listening to advice from many of you, I decided to get a myself a new library card.  I’d had one about 25 years ago, and in fact there used to be a good-sized library just down the street from us.  We could walk there, and often did.  That was back in the day when there was no such thing as a Kindle.  But eventually that library closed, I started reading ebooks rather than paper books, and then things like pinterest and decorating blogs became a thing, and really, who needed a library card?

Now that I have a little more time on my hands, I’ve decided to check out the various libraries in my area and see what they have in stock for decorating books.  So a few weeks back Mr. Q and I popped into the Stillwater Library and got signed up with library cards, and I brought home this stack of books …

One big difference that I noted at the Stillwater Library v. my mom’s library in Henderson, Nevada is that my mom’s library had some newer books.  The publication dates on those books ranged from 2007 to 2021.  The most recent of the books I found here was 2013.

Full disclosure, I didn’t do any sort of deep dive into what books could potentially be available to me, I just went through those that were currently on the shelves.

So let’s start at the top of the stack with Cath Kidston’s in print (2005).  I grabbed this one because I’ve always enjoyed Cath Kidston’s style.  It’s very floral and colorful, and I love her use of vintage fabrics.

This particular book has lots of ideas for ways to those fabrics in your home.  If you enjoy sewing, this might be a great book for you to check out.

If you’ve followed me for long, you know that I don’t sew.  However, I do iron.

I thought this idea was positively brilliant.  I’d never really seen an ‘ironing table’ before.  I have a couple of fabulous old farmhouse type tables hanging about, I could easily make an ironing table.

I don’t have a fabulous laundry room to put it in though.  But I can sure see the appeal of ironing vintage linens on a big table like this rather than a narrow ironing board.

What do you think of that idea?  Would you use an ironing table?

The next book in the stack is another Country Living book, Decorating with White, and it’s the most recent of the books I checked out.

I mentioned last time that I tend to really like Country Living books and this one is no exception.  Although it was published in 2013, decorating with white seems to be fairly timeless.

Isn’t this pair of twin beds fabulous?

And apparently decorating with green is a classic also.  I was paging through the March 2022 issue of Country Living and came across a photo that was recycled from this book.

It was just a coincidence that I had just seen it in the book.  Talk about a timeless look.

By the way, although the book is called Decorating with White, there is a big chapter on pairing blue with white, and another section on using other colors as well.  Such as green.

This was the only one of the books that I checked out that I would consider buying just to go back and admire the photos now and then.

The next book I looked at was Salvage Style for the Garden by Marcianne Miller with Dana Irwin (2003).

I thought this one would really appeal to me since it combines two of my favorite things, gardens and upcycling.  It features various projects using reclaimed items.

I like the bench made out of a door and spindles, but not sure about the feasibility of finding 18 spindles at a reasonable cost.

I did get one takeaway idea from this book, and that is using andirons to support a flower box …

I just happen to have a spare pair of andirons lying around.  I picked them up at last year’s Trash to Treasure day.  See them there in the center front?

So now I’ve got some ideas swirling around in my head on how to use these in the garden this year.

Tattered Treasures by Lauren Powell (2001) definitely contains some vintage eye candy.

Even though it was the oldest book in the stack, it was filled with timeless classics like vintage cameras …

and crackled ironstone and pottery …

Most of the projects in this book felt a bit dated to me though, but what can you expect from a book that is 21 years old?

I definitely went through a china shard mosaic period myself.

Lars Bolander’s Scandinavian Design by Heather Smith MacIsaac was published in 2010.

This book is a bit different than the others since it isn’t focused on vintage items, but rather on Scandinavian design in general.  Painted furniture is very much a part of this style, and although I imagine it wasn’t originally distressed, much of it has worn over time.

I would say that my own style is strongly influenced by Scandinavian design.

I love the sparseness, and of course I also love the look of the painted pieces.

Although most of the colors used are pale, you’ll also see a lot of this blue.

After a trip to Norway in 2017, I was inspired by this color and painted a little stool in Miss Mustard Seed’s Flow Blue to try and recreate the look.

I ran out of time to really study this book because it was due back at the library, but I may check it out again sometime.

Last up is For the Love of Old by Mary Randolph Carter, published in 2006.

As I just mentioned above that I love the sparseness of Scandinavian style, if you’re familiar at all with Mary Randolph Carter’s style, you may already realize that I don’t love it.

Although I like some of the individual pieces she uses, like that shabby painted office chair, the clutter in most of her photos makes my eye twitch a little.

All I can think when looking at these rooms is how much dust there must be, and as someone who is allergic to dust I feel a sneeze coming on just looking at the photos.

So, her style is not for me.  But hey, variety is the spice of life.  Even though I may not like it, some of you may love it.

Which of these books would be your favorite?  Be sure to share your own opinions with a comment.

25 thoughts on “stillwater library book review.

  1. Hi, I loved the variety of ideas today. Thanks. For my craft room, I used an old folding TV tray for my ironing table and it even folds for storage. It sure comes in handy for those smaller sewing projects.


    1. Great idea Robin. I once mistakenly thought I could iron on my baby grand piano if put down a couple layers of thick towels. Afterwards I had to sand it lightly and add a fresh coat of wax to repair the damage 🙄


  2. I love the shabby peeling cabinets in all the books. Now that I’m in a very small place, old cabinets really appeal to me, as a way to display my treasures. So probably the decorating in white is my favorite.


    1. I saw something recently where the person removed all built in closets to create larger rooms and then used fab cupboards for storage. Gotta say I love that idea!


  3. OHH, the Lars Bolander’s Scandinavian Design! I like the simple yet beautiful style….I like decor to have function and beauty, so that book looked to be right up my alley 🙂


  4. Tattered treasures, it’s my theme. Good luck getting into your garden and exploring those new inspirations… will winter ever leave us? A new coating of snow is collecting, in Woodbury, as I write this. So disappointing.


    1. I don’t know if it’s the retirement talking or what, but spring really seems to be taking its sweet ol’ time showing up this year!


  5. Love this post! I enjoyed it a lot and ordered 2 of your selections from my used book site! I get a lot of new decorating books at the library by requesting them. Most libraries are in a larger system that can get them for you in a matter of days and they will even go beyond their system to find them for you in alot of cases. I never got into the kindle thing but it would be handy I imagine. There’s nothing like holding a real book in my opinion but they are hard on the shoulders if you want to take several with you! Thanks for sharing Quandie!


  6. I do most of my novel reading on my iPad but I do prefer the real book when it comes to decorating, style and art books. I belong to 3 different library systems and it is a wonderful thing that most of the books that I want to look at are available through at least one of those systems in either one or both reading formats. I just placed a hold on the Scandinavian book. That cover! I love those 2 engravings on the wall in the middle. I actually have 3 almost identical pieces on my wall in my bedroom. Same style frames and all. Now paint that wall in the same washed style with a color similar to Dixie Belle’s Savannah mist and I would be in heaven in that room 😜


  7. I’m one of those weird people that still irons more than most and I love the ironing table idea. When you trying to iron curtains or table cloths that would really come in handy. If I can make room in my laundry I will add, I can use it as a folding area also.


  8. Not sure how to send you a message not pertaining to the topic of the day, so will just plunk it here. Miss Mustard Seed (Marian Parsons) is moving and selling a bunch of her larger pieces and some look like things you might like to redo. She’s in Rochester. Don’t know how close you are but thought I’d mention it in case you hadn’t heard.


    1. You can always just plunk it here 😉, in fact leaving a comment is one of the best ways to ensure I’ll see something. I always manage to miss stuff on Facebook. I had not heard about MMS moving until I saw your comment and then went and read her blog post. Rochester isn’t prohibitively far from me, but by the time I looked it seemed that all but her most expensive items were already sold. I missed out 🙄


  9. I still use the old treadmill sewing base with a board mounted on the top that I got at one of your Caaige House sales … I think Sue’s husband put the board on it? Anyway, I found a mini ironing board cover and it fits it perfectly. The piece is pretty compact and fits in a little area by the door to the room- perfect! I’ve used that in my sewing room for ages – best money I ever spent. ♥️


  10. I really enjoyed this post Miss Quandie! It was fun to look at your choices and it’s a happy thing that you now have the time to “browse”………even taking Mr. Q along! My favorites were the Decorating With White and the Scandinavian Style……..and yep, that cluttered style is kind of assaulting! I DO have a library card for our little library here in town—-it’s actually part of the ENORMOUS Los Angeles library system but our little town raised it’s own funds to remodel it and make it cozy. I love to read but sometimes feel that we’re getting buried in our books here in the house! So I’ll go on library jags 🙂 We’re having a lot of bookcases built in to the house that we’re planning!


  11. I’ve always loved Cath Kidston and I do love me some clutter, so I’m also a fan of Mary Randolph Carter and her pages in Country Living!


    1. See? I knew there would be some fans of those styles out there. How boring would it be if we all just loved the same stuff.


  12. OMG I remember that Cath Kidston book and the ironing table was one of the projects I wanted to do – I think another project I liked in there was covering a brick with vintage fabric for a doorstop. I definitely am getting away from the farmhouse neutrals and back to more of my colorful, vintage decor styles.


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