Sunday, December 20, 2009

Inspirational Christmas Decorating, Craft and Cooking Books

I have quite a collection of Christmas books and lots of December issues of home interior magazines. In this post I would love to showcase my favourites.

I always buy the Christmas edition of New Zealand House and Garden magazine - the front cover is always a stunner! When I lived in NZ I always looked forward to this magazine arriving on the newsagents' stands. I own quite a collection from the 1990's and early 2000's including the first edition. Over the years, it became quite upmarket, featuring mainly affluent homes and too many minimalist homes for my liking - too much chrome, zany artworks and very expensive designer home wares, so I stopped buying it but the December issue always features at least one beautiful country home and tonnes of inspiration for Christmas decorating.

Such as this gorgeous home with the tree embellished with glorious silk flowers. I am in love! Notice the baby bump - still waiting for my baby to arrive, I was due yesterday, could this baby be waiting to come on Christmas Day? Oh, the anticipation!

I hope I get the chance to make my version of this ice cream pudding for our dessert on Christmas Day! Hope my family saves me a slice if I do go into labour on Friday!

Today I made the white chocolate truffles which feature in the 'White Christmas' cooking segment. There is also a recipe for white chocolate brownies which look very decadent indeed. I used Swiss organic, white chocolate for my truffles. I made a 'baker's dozen' and taste tested the 13Th one earlier - they are fantastic. You will have to buy the magazine if you want the recipe (I only publish my own recipes - sorry!) or check out their website to see if it features there! I also made a batch of my almond- free, coconut flavoured biscotti today. I hope to share the recipe at my main blog this week, unless I go into labour of course!

This is my absolute favourite, inspirational decorating book of all time. 'Home Living Life Beautifully' by Sandra Kaminski features gorgeous ideas for every season of the year and includes a special section for Christmas. There are lots of beautiful table settings that leave you gasping! Sandra's work as a stylist featured in NZ House and Garden for many years and it was always her sections I turned to first. When I found out she had published a book I was just beside myself and almost collapsed with excitement when I saw it on the shelf of a local bookshop. I have never loaned this book out and never will!
Here is just a peek inside - look at the tiny gift boxes tied with green, gingham ribbon sitting in a silver urn and posies of garden mint on a mirror base - rustic style meets glorious sophistication!

Green will always be my favourite colour but isn't this table beautiful in blue? Very suitable for a summer Christmas! For further inspiration from this talented designer you really do need to buy the book. She also has a website

My favourite cook Jo Seager also hails from NZ. I have quite a few of her cook books but I love the title of this one! Her recipes are simply the best! I have been using them for years and don't even need to look some of them up. Many are very suitable for Christmas baking sessions, especially her mini pecan pies! Her sticky date pudding recipe is to die for!

In 2001 Jo co-authored a book called 'Celebrations Stylish Food & Decorating Ideas' with renowned floral designer Fiona Hill. This book is packed with recipes and inspiration for tables at every kind of celebration. Christmas is given special treatment with ideas that will enthrall both those who love rustic style and those who prefer a more modern, stylish table.

An artificial garland, white lilies and a feather boa make for a stunning long table arrangement.

This year, I added another wonderful compendium of Christmas ideas for the home to my book collection. This is the American Better Homes and Gardens Best of Christmas Ideas Book. I love the scope and variety of design ideas for the home at Christmas and if you are a Christmas afficionado such as me, you will enjoy dipping into this book. It is available here in Australia and is very reasonably priced - around the $25 mark. I purchased mine at a local bookstore.

My favourite home featured in this book is in Michigan. This decorating scheme would work equally well for a Southern Hemisphere Christmas. This home sold me the book. I opened this book in the store at this very page and knew in an instant I would be buying it!

I hope you have enjoyed browsing my collection of favourite books and magazines for the Christmas season. If there is one you really like the look of, I hope you do buy it for yourself - there may be still time to shop online but beware of Australia Post strikes and adverse weather affecting deliveries in the Northern Hemisphere! I prefer the real deal - bricks and mortar bookstores. I just love perusing the shelves and I can become quite distracted! It is very dangerous thing to let me go inside a book shop at this time of year, especially if they stock lots of craft and decorating books!

I do hope I can put up some more posts before Christmas but can't promise - my baby could arrive any day now. If this is my final post before Christmas Day, may I wish you a blessed, beautiful Christmas. My next post may be typed one- handed with a babe in arms - what a wonderful reminder of another baby born 2000 years ago in Bethlehem and for me and so many people around the world, the true meaning of Christmas!

With Love and Joy,


  1. I'm glad you are going well. What a beautiful collection of books you have. I have quite a collection of BH & G from December of most years from since we were married. It's lovely to look through them & get inspired each year. I hope you & your family also have a lovely Christmas celebrating our Saviour's birth.
    Renata :)

  2. So You are still around.
    Wow Ann you truly could get the best Christmas Present ever!
    I look forward to earing of Bubs arrival....You Lil bump looks gorgeous Makes me want to "pat" it!
    Yes I am one of those women who adore baby Bumps!

  3. Bless you Ann, you are close in my thoughts! xo

  4. Beautiful, that Green & white home had me at hello too. Goodluck love.


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