Bookish gifts for Christmas

My favourite bookish gift is, you’ve guessed it, a good book, but here are some ideas if you need further inspiration.

These Kindle covers are stylish, practical and On Sale. What more could you want? Varieties include Wuthering Heights, The Wizard of Oz, Dracula and Alice in Wonderland. £9.95 from Red5.

I love this whimsical homage to reading by Naoko Stoop. It’s titled Oak Reading Room and is available as a print (from an original painting on wood) from Etsy.

This ampersand necklace from bookish is somehow modern, witty, and classic all at once. It comes on an 18″ gold-plated chain and costs £16.

There are lots of book locket necklaces on Etsy, including ones with actual paper inside, but I have a soft spot for this steampunk locket by TimeWatch. It costs around £20 and the locket has spaces for two tiny photos.

The garden office project: A new contender

I’m the kind of person who does three hours of research before buying a mop, so it’s no surprise that I’ve looked at a lot of garden office companies. A lot.

All of this research has clarified a couple of things: I can buy a timber building (with insulation) and put it up myself and spend around four thousand pounds. Or, I can spend between seven and ten thousand pounds and get something that comes with a decent warranty, has a long-life (maintenance-free) exterior, is installed by the professionals and is fully wired and ready to go.

In the second category (let’s be honest, that’s the option I’m going for), I found a new contender. While I still like the outside appearance of the Henley, the inside felt a little bit ‘officey’. Yes, I know; I want an office, but primarily it’s a writing space. In an ideal world, I’d like a slightly more ‘arty’ vibe.

So, I did a bit more research and, courtesy of Nicola Morgan (of Help! I Need A Publisher! fame), I stumbled upon Booth’s Garden Studios. Here’s their pod model:

I like it.

I like the big windows and the fact that I’ll get more space for my cash.

I also like their website which is informative and friendly. (I know I won’t be working in their website so it’s not particularly relevant but credit where it’s due and all that…)

I need to go and have a look at one before I plump, but I’m very excited; a decision is imminent!

The garden office project

My house has many advantages. I love our quiet wee village, my view of the hills and the fact that my kids have a bedroom each. I’m very lucky.

However, it is undeniable that the house – while charming – is not over-endowed with space. Consequently, I work on a desk-come-bedside-table in my bedroom and, when my husband works from home and uses the desk, I write in bed. Not ideal.

The garden is lovely (at least, it was when we moved in – it’s now rather neglected) but again, it won’t be winning any awards for square footage. Still, I’m determined to solve the space issue without moving and have decided it’s time to build myself an office in the garden.

When I say ‘build myself’ I mean, of course, buy an office from a company that does such things and pay them to install it for me. I’ve done a lot of research and at the moment am trying to choose between the compact Vista by Henley Offices. Behold. It has a cute curved roof and is insulated and double-glazed.

Or, the Malvern Garden Studio. Now, I need you to imagine this one with a lovely painted finish, as it looks a little bit shed-like in this picture:

The Malvern also has double-glazing and insulation (although the latter is thinner than the stuff offered in the Henley). It’s also about £3000 cheaper. Hmm.

Has anyone else put an office/art studio/games room in their garden? Any advice? Recommendations?

Repurposed library card catalogues

I’m obsessed with vintage stuff, everything to do with books, and miniature drawer units, so it was inevitable that I would love reclaimed library card catalogues.

 The digital age has shunted library index cards out of favour so there are beautiful wooden card catalogues ripe for repurposing in your home.

Tricia of Bits & Bobbins uses hers for craft supplies – see the picture above. [Via Apartment Therapy]

Poetic Home has an article full of ideas (and lovely pictures).

Dream Book Design reinvented her unit into a beautiful buffet. Take a look for the how-to and photos.

I want: my own library

I live in a small-ish bungalow, not the Addams Family-style residence of my dreams. Luckily enough, the long central hallway is wide enough for bookcases and this is currently my ‘library’. Along with teetering piles of books by my bed and desk, of course.

[Picture via Home Designing]

It doesn’t, however, look as pretty and colour-coordinated as this, and there’s nowhere to sit and read. Except the floor. And the cats/kids/husband tend to stand on me if I read there…

Until I get an oak-panelled library (complete with secret doorway, please), I shall have to make do with this Personal Library Kit , browse this brilliant Tumblr and dream…