Beautiful Books

comments: 10

Cathkidstonbook_1A little bird at Chronicle who just happened to hear that I liked all things England sent me these two dreamy, not-even-released-yet hardcover, gorgeously photographed coffee-table books, Cath Kidston's In Print: Brilliant Ideas for Using Vintage Fabrics in Your Home and The New Country Style England.

Nothing gives me more hope for the human race than the fact that there are still many people out there who persist in writing, photographing, organizing, proofreading, producing, and offering to us beautiful, beautiful books. It's impossible to look at these and not marvel at everything that must go into such an endeavor. I used to be a production editor for a book-publishing company. It was not, in any way, a glamorous job. It was more of a thankless job for pedantic types like me, folks who actually do things like check and make sure all the page numbers are there, and then find a vague satisfaction in discovering they're not. Ah, good times.

Nevertheless, knowing how books come to be born only increased my appreciation for them exponentially. I am also a person who uses my books and refers to them constantly. At our house, dog-eared, well-worn books litter the premises and get looked at, tripped over, and re-read regularly. No matter how hard I try, I cannot keep from building big stacks of them on the floor next to my bed. Occasionally, I'll swing my legs out of bed and knock a tower over, and like, sixteen big huge books go sliding under the bed. I'll leave one or two under there as a treat for myself; when I've run out of things to read, I just look under the bed. I like to have my books close to me.

If you love books (I think you do) and you love fabric (I know you do) and you love vintage fabric (and I know you do), you will love Cath Kidston's In Print. I really love this book. I've looked through it probably seven or eight times so far, and each time I do, I notice something else in the photos that inspires me. The design is so friendly and accessible. The backgrounds for many of the text pages are scans of some of the cutest vintage fabrics you've ever seen in your life. Organized in sections by genres of prints (big florals, abstracts, pictorial prints, etc.), each chapter discusses ways of displaying each type of print effectively, and gives suggestions for projects and uses. All of this is, of course, accompanied by the luscious, homey, thoroughly lovely photography by Pia Tryde of Cath's house and stuff and other general cuteness. This book has completely renewed my obsession with tiny-print floral calicoes. I see a new quilt in my future. . . . There is even a useful section in the back of the book with shopping info, sewing tips, and project instructions. The cover of the book is canvas-y and old fashioned, and the end papers are fabric images. Really, they thought of everything.

NewcountrystylebookNow, this one, The New Country Style England, is different. It is grand and heavy and just perfect for curling up on the couch with a cup of coffee and an empty afternoon. Or weekend. The thing's huge. It's beautiful. Surveying contemporary English interior design from village to farm to woodland and beyond, it is replete with gorgeous, gorgeous photography and perfectly balanced text. Each section discusses a particular property; my favorite was of course "Rural Retro," textile designer Petra Boase's incredibly cool cottage in Norfolk. She has a "candy-floss" pink door, the best granny square afghan I've ever seen, and the greatest wallpaper. (Kaffe Fassett's house is in here, too, for you fans of his.) This is the type of book that's so comprehensive in scope and so well done it never goes out of style; I know I'll find myself going back to time and again to discover new things about it as my tastes and inspirations change .

Isn't it just terrible of me to dangle these brazenly before you like this when they won't be available* for a couple of months yet?

* from Chronicle Books, here in the U.S. -- at least from what I can tell. . . . See comments for more info, though word has it that the C.K. book is not available in the U.S. Cath Kidston stores until April/May either. . . .


Oh, you are a lucky birdy! I have a couple of Cath Kidston's style books and they are such a great source of inspiration. Thank you - I've added more to my list!

Alicia, Thanks for "sharing" with us. The books look beautiful!

yes-it is terrible and so are you!! oh-I love your stinkin' blog so much. ha! I am sipping tea and looking at these covers and grinning like a fool. thank you.

Is it possible to spend money on things that are not available yet?

Hubby would love to hear that one!

Thanks for sharing...

I can get it in 24 hours on Amazon Japan. (It is the UK version). Tee looks just beautiful. Living in Tokyo is great! (, ISBN 1844001571) Thank you for the review and recommendation.

I could find a way to buy them, and tell Peter that my dollars ARE stretching farther, all the way to the UK! Those books are too beautiful to look at. Whenever I think Cath Kidston, I think of that airstream trailer she had all floral-ed up on her website, so dreamy.

Oh Alicia I own the in Print book already for months, you can get your copy in all the Cath Kidston shops (online and offline) and you can buy it over at I think it was released half a year ago!!

The book is truly wonderful and the pictures are so inspiring.

The other book I don't know yet but I'm looking forward to that. I've put it on my wishlist!! I'm such a decorating books guru :o)

Okay, now you've done it. I am itching to go back to the Cath Kidston store right now!
I found it by accident recently and now it's nice to know it's just a 20-minute drive away.

Oh, HOO-Ray! Thanks for the heads-up!

ohhhh they both sound and look like such wonderful books :)

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.