Book Review: Design The Life You Love

I’ve had this book since January and  wanted to take my time with it.   You know how it is, the year starts and we want to work on our lives, make it better, make positive changes.  I wasn’t sure what expect from “Design The Life You Love”; I hoped it was not going to be trite and unrealistic and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.

The author,  Ayse Birsel, used the skills she’s known for — design — to cement the idea that our lives are worthy of looking at introspectively and creatively so we can live them to the fullest.  She likens life to a design project and encourages the reader to deconstruct,  look at his/her life from a different perspective, reconstruct, then give whatever positive changes we develop expression or form.  These concepts were not foreign at all, that’s exactly how we makers tackle knit and other fiber arts projects.  She uses drawing and design to explain her theories/ideas, but although I absolutely suck at drawing, as a yarn/fiber artist, the concepts were still easy to grasp.  For the exercises, anything I couldn’t draw, I crafted with yarn or pictures cut out from a magazine.  😀

I know others who have used this book didn’t like the fact that the author used her specific creative medium to share the concepts and I can see how that is limiting.  However, I believe everyone has creativity in them and all readers should use whatever mediums they have at their disposal to assess the principles shared.

The layout of the book is clear and very easy to use.  The author recommends spending 20 minutes a day with the content/exercises and your life’s design and I agree.  The content provides enough interaction and food for thought in that amount of time.  Plus the structured time limit allows you to pace yourself and really savor the experience of each session instead of barreling through the book.  The typography used provides many opportunities to do some coloring and I really enjoy doing that.  That in itself allows for even more creative expression.

Let me say however, this book is not a fix-it all book.  Although it encourages us to look at our lives as design projects, to embrace the constraints and limitations as opportunities to change our perception, it’s not a magic pill or a substitute for anyone needing clinical therapy.  It provides a starting point, encouragement to explore, a different perspective and some good ole common sense.

I am enjoying reading/using it and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it as a starting point for anyone who’s willing to look at designing a life he/she loves a little differently, a little more creatively, with just the right amount of playfulness.

Disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.

Book Review: Amish Christmas At North Star

With the Christmas rush now over, and winter’s official start, the time has come for us to cozy up with good reads and that’s what I wanted “Amish Christmas at North Star” to be — a good read.  I love all things winter, Christmas, snowy and Amish so I expected good things from this set of four novellas.   And truth be told, the cover had me at first glance.   Am I the only person who picks books based on covers?  I think not!  😛

Of the four novellas, I enjoyed two.  Not to say the others were bad but the stories did not hold my interest.  I read them for the sake of reading and being able to truthfully review this book.  The first (Guiding Star) and the last (Star of Grace) stories held my interest from beginning to end.  Without giving anything away, I really wanted to see how the protagonists connected to their pasts.  The descriptiveness of the Amish environment during winter and Christmas time evoked feelings of coziness that had me rooting for the protagonists to find happy endings.

The second (Morning Star) and the third (In The Stars) stories were hugely disappointing after the first.   Although there were high points in each , the plot lines were not as interesting as in the two stories I did like and I felt as if they dragged on a bit.

Overall, I’d give this book 3 out of 5 stars.  I wouldn’t re-read it in entirety but I certainly wouldn’t discourage anyone else from taking a crack at reading it.

Disclaimer: this review was done through my affiliation with Blogging For Books.  Although I received a copy for review, the thoughts expressed are entirely my own.

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