Saturday, February 22, 2020
Feb. 22, 2020

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Check It Out: Cozy up with tea and delightful reads

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Last week I suggested we reduce and refresh. This week I’m all for warm thoughts. Since I write these columns ahead of time, I don’t know if snow does more than tease and leave this week, but the temperatures are certainly chilly enough to warrant another round of “let’s-get-cozy” reading. I say another round because this theme comes up again and again in “Check It Out.” Perhaps I’m in a rut, but what a pleasant rut it is.

Sweaters, socks and tea always hit the top of the list when considering warm and cozy things. If you’re a knitter, have fun looking at several sweater-and-sock-related titles available through the library. “Colorful Knit Soxx” and “Cute & Cozy Sweaters and Blankets” offer a pleasing variety of knitting patterns including — wait for it — patterns for tea cozies which tickle me to pieces because they fit so perfectly into my “let’s-get-cozy” reading theme. After all that sock, sweater and tea cozy knitting, I’m sure that sustenance is required, so be sure to check out “Knitting and Tea” for some delicious teatime recipes to get you through your projects.

Other things that make me feel cozy are candles, a fire in the fireplace and more cups of tea. Now, I’ve heard of wine sommeliers, but I never thought to replace wine with tea. Well, “Tea Sommelier” encourages this alternative and teaches tea lovers to go the “extra tea bag,” so to speak, by becoming a tea expert. The book is fun and charming and will fill you with lots of tea brewing and tea drinking information.

As our caveman ancestors once said, “Fire is good.” A controlled fire is, of course, best, and what better way to tame the flames than to light candles and/or a fireplace. I made a candle once in grade school, and trust me it wouldn’t have won any beauty awards. However, if you have the gumption to work with beeswax, I’ll bet your candles will be much nicer if you follow the directions in “Beehive Alchemy.” Not only can you learn about candle-making in this book, you can learn how to make soap and creams. Come to think of it, soaps and creams are cozy in their own way, so I think this guide is a definite win for coziness.

I have cats, so I shy away from candles because my cat boys are curious and athletic — a bad combination around flaming objects. But I do have a fireplace, and Dewey and Leo love to cozy up in front of it. Fireplaces have provided warmth for humans (and cats) for a very long time, so we know how much they improve our winter days and nights. Check out “Rustic Fireplaces” for a look at over 100 fireplaces and hearths that will surely warm the cockles of your heart.

Finally, I couldn’t resist including “Cats in Sweaters” because a) we already know that sweaters are cozy; b) cats are most definitely cozy; and c) cats in sweaters, well, that’s cozy taken to a whole new level. The title speaks for itself, so check it out, take it home and prepare yourself for a warm and fuzzy wintertime read.

• “Beehive Alchemy: Projects and Recipes Using Honey, Beeswax, Propolis, and Pollen to Make Soap, Candles, Creams, Salves, and More” by Petra Ahnert.

• “Cats in Sweaters: Flaunting Their Tiny Sweaters and Trademark Attitudes” by Jonah Stern.

• “Colorful Knit Soxx: 26 Sock Patterns for Warm, Happy Feet” by Kerstin Balke.

• “Cute & Cozy Sweaters and Blankets” by Starla Kramer.

• “Knitting and Tea: 25 Classic Knits and the Teas that Inspired Them” by Jane Gottelier.

• “Rustic Fireplaces” by Ralph R. Kylloe.

• “Tea Sommelier: A Step-by-Step Guide” by Francois-Xavier Delmas and Mathias Minet.

Jan Johnston is the collection development coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries. Email her at