ABC’s Gift Ideas: Cooking, Crafts, Fashion

The gift-giving season is upon us – hooray!

The ABC Staff has rummaged through their sections and order lists, and come up with another year’s worth of wonderful gift ideas for you: from fiction to history to cookbooks to children’s books to travel to non-books and onwards.

In a series of blog posts and recommendation lists throughout the coming month, you will find what we think will make great gifts, whether you celebrate Sinterklaas, Christmas or just like giving books to people. And since we’re a bookstore, these posts will be alphabetical by subject. 🙂

Today you’ll find gift ideas for Cooking, Crafts and Fashion as picked out by section buyers Pleun, Simone, Sophie, Nyjolene and Jesse. Bear in mind that this is just the tip of the iceberg – come to either one of our stores to browse many, many more titles in any of these subjects.

We are ready as ever to be your personal shoppers again this year, and hope you will find our selections useful and inspiring!

You can find our gift ideas from previous years here (scroll down a bit pas 2013), and be sure to have a look at our ABC Favorites, too.


Beer Nerd: A Beer Tasting Trivia Game- Tamara Murphy

Beer Nerd is an exciting-to-play board game with trivia questions and chances to taste and identify beer. Craft beer interest is skyrocketing and this game is a fun way to learn about all the new beers out in the marketplace. Depending on how many people play the game can last from 45 minutes to and hour or more. Make a night of it!

Primrose Bakery Celebrations – Martha Swift & Lisa Thomas

Helps you learn how to throw parties Primrose Bakery-style with brand recipes from Lisa and Martha of Primrose Bakery. In this book, eight themed celebrations cover every age group and event, with sweet and savoury treats for small children, cocktail-laced cupcakes for grown ups and inspiring ideas for everything in between.

Coi: Stories and Recipes – Daniel Patterson

Daniel Patterson is the head chef/owner of Coi in San Francisco, one of America’s most celebrated restaurants. Patterson mixes modern culinary techniques with local ingredients to create imaginative dishes that speak of place, memory, and emotion. His approach has earned him five James Beard nominations, two Michelin stars, and a worldwide reputation for pioneering a new kind of Californian cuisine.

Now, in his new book Coi: Stories and Recipes, Patterson shares a personal account of the restaurant, its dishes, and his own unique philosophy on food and cooking. 70 recipes are featured with narrative essays, including Chilled Spiced Ratatouille Soup; Carrots Roasted in Coffee Beans; Strawberries and Cream with Tiny Herbs; and Lime Marshmallow with Coal-Toasted Meringue.

River Cottage Fruit Every Day! – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall

‘Fruit is the best, most bountiful and bounciest food we have, and eating more of it can bring us nothing but pleasure and good health. I’ve written this book not to tell you why – I think that’s obvious – but to show you how.’

Includes many inventive fruit-including recipes – from pizzas to roasts to ice cream – divided by fruit type: Summer berries & currants, Rhubarb, Stone fruit, Apples, Pears & Quinces, Hedgerow fruit, Figs, Melons, Grapes & more, Tropical favourites, Citrus Fruit, Dried fruit, Uncommon fruits.

Winter Cocktails: Mulled Ciders, Hot Toddies, Punches, Pitchers, and Cocktail Party Snacks – Maria Del Mar Sacasa & Tara Striano

Simone: With chocolate, warmed wine, milk or just with plain alcohol.  It all looks delicious!

When the days grow shorter and the air gets crisp, it’s time to gather with friends for hot drinks and winter cocktails that’ll put a rosy glow on your chilly cheeks. In Winter Cocktails, Maria del Mar Sacasa and Tara Striano share more than 50 recipes for cold-weather cocktails and mixed beverages, including mulled ciders, hot toddies, wine drinks, eggnogs, and punches; there are even chilled drinks made with a kick that’ll warm you right up. Whether you’re skiing at the lodge, camping on the mountain, or just curling up with a good book on a blustery night, Winter Cocktails is sure to make everything better.


Stan Lee’s How to Draw Superheroes – Stan Lee

Sophie: Who wouldn’t want to learn how to draw superheroes from the master himself? N.B. At ABC Amsterdam you can find this title in the Graphic Novels section.

Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, and the Avengers all share a common trait — these hugely popular Marvel Comics superheroes were co-created by the legendary Stan Lee. Now, Lee shows readers everything they’ll need to make their own mighty superheroes, just like his classic creations. Lee exposes his secret tools and techniques for bringing strong, inspiring heroes and heroines to life. He even shows aspiring creators how to expand their super-universes with evil villains, trusty sidekicks, brutes and monsters, super-pets, secret hideouts, and more!

Ebook available here.

Convertible Crochet: Customizable Designs for Stylish Garments – Doris Chan

Sophie: While crocheting granny squares has a charm all its own, trying your hand at these gorgeous clothes will leave you with an extended skill set, new avenues of creative thinking about crochet and a beautiful garment to wear.

Award-winning designer Doris Chan helps you get more out of crochet with these endlessly adaptable patterns and techniques that can work with a variety of different looks, personal styles, and body shapes. You’ll learn to personalize these designs by easily making alterations, adding removable elements, or simply styling the piece in an ingenious new way. Make it once. Wear it again and again.

Ebook available here.

Knit Your Own Moustache: Create 20 Knit and Crochet Disguises – Vicky Eames

Sophie: Just leafing through this book will have you laughing! Learn how to knit The Handlebar, a Blue Rinse Wig or my personal favorite, the Paper Bag. You never know when you might need it…

Become a punk, a Victorian gent, a gnome, or even a pirate—all it takes is one of these 20 fantastic knitted disguises! The hilarious and fun-to-do projects include beards, moustaches, and different hairstyles (Mohawk, pigtails, even a bald head). Complete the look with an accessory like a bandit mask or a monocle. It’s the perfect book for Halloween, costume parties, or whenever you want to turn into someone else for a little while.

A Month of Sundays: Family, Friends, Food & Quilts – Cheryl Arkison

Sophie: After slow cooking we now have slow quilting! 🙂  With the weather turning chillier, this is a great quilting book to turn to on those dark rainy days that require staying in, a mug of hot chocolate and a comfy fire.

Showing you how to embrace a quiet energy, author Cheryl Arkison builds on four themes of Relax, Eat, Shop and Explore. The 17 family-friendly projects are based on these themes and all feature low-volume fabrics. Arkison’s personal journeys and ideas are sure to inspire your own weekend explorations. Designed for the confident beginner, the patterns are simple and straightforward. This unique book is at once exciting and restful, much like the perfect Sunday stroll.

Ebook available here.

The Great British Sewing Bee – Tessa Evelegh

Sophie: Most of you have probably seen The Great British Bake-Off on TV, but did you catch the first ever Great British Sewing Bee earlier this year, too?  A great show that got me inspired to try new things on my sewing machine.  I hope there will be a second series next year!

Capturing the creative energy of the series, the book provides an irresistible collection of over 25 projects covering garments and homewares that will delight sewing enthusiasts everywhere. As in the series, the projects offer something for both sexes and all ages. Garments include a flattering tea dress, pencil skirt, unisex pyjama bottoms and a waistcoat. The homewares and accessories include aprons, a stylist tote bag, laundry bag, a selection of cushion designs and three different window dressings. All are complete with instructions and patterns for sizes 8 to 16 – the patterns are also available as a PDF download free with purchase.


It – Alexa Chung

Jesse: A wonderful collection of fashion it-girl Alexa Chung’s inspirations with (her) pictures, drawings, writings and thoughts.

A truly one-off collection of Alexa’s writing, doodles and photographs, It combines stories of early style inspirations such as her grandpa and the Spice Girls, discussion of figures of obsession like Jane Birkin and Annie Hall, and reflects on heartbreak, how to get dressed in the morning, the challenges of taking a good selfie, and more. Interspersed with pages from Alexa’s notebooks and many a photo of a good night out, It appears in real cloth, with hand-crafted marbled endpages covered in polkadots, stripy head and tail bands, and luxiouriously creamy paper. Witty, charming and with a refreshingly down-to-earth attitude, It is a must-have for anyone who loves fashion, worries about growing up, or loves just about everything Alexa Chung.

The World According to Karl: the Wit and Wisdom of Karl Lagerfeld

Jesse: Going from Alexa’s book of inspirations to Karl Lagerfeld’s book of quotations. This very well-designed book (a Karl pied-de-poule printed on both sides of the cover) is one full of so-called Karlisms such as ‘Every era gets the bad taste it deserves’ and ‘When you are shortsighted, the first ten minutes after you take your glasses off you look like a rescue dog that wants to be taken to the pound. That’s not my look. That’s why I wear dark glasses’.

Karl Lagerfeld is a modern master of couture. His wise, surprising statements pop up like offbeat news flashes. This collection of quotations pays homage to the ’eminence grise’ of the fashion world.

Chloé: Attitudes – Sarah Mower & Marc Ascoli

Jesse: Karl Lagerfeld is not only known for his controversial quotes but also for designing for major fashion houses, such as Chloé. This sixty year old fashion house now comes with a beautiful book that chronicles its design and aesthetic throughout the decades and different designers, such as Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo.

The fashion brand Chloé may be sixty years old, but she still exudes a youthful elegance and femininity. As the first high-end Paris fashion house to sell exclusively ready-to-wear clothing, Chloé has since redefined its look for the modern woman with flattering colors, quality materials, and a series of must-have It bags. Chloé started in 1952 when Gaby Aghion invented the revolutionary idea of luxury prêt-à-porter, taking the craftsmanship of haute couture and making it available to a wider audience. Her focus on the beautiful yet wearable gave the line currency with chic young women.

The company’s lively and fresh energy has been sustained through the decades partly because it seeks out new talent, including then-28-year-old designer Karl Lagerfeld, who started with the company in 1966.

Chloé, in short, is the modern woman—refined and redefined.

Vogue Model: The Faces of Fashion – Robin Derrick

Shining a light on the lives of Vogue’s fashion models, this collection uses photographs and illustrations from more than 90 years of history to tell the fascinating story of the real faces of fashion. Their impression upon Vogue’s readership has always been considerable—they reflect and represent the ever-changing ideal of beauty. The models of the 1950s are represented, such as Lisa Fonssagrives and Dorian Leigh, who were the first to become household names and to achieve the glamour and prestige that came with world fame. And of course there are plenty of stunning images of the supermodels of the 1990s who turned the profession into a billion-dollar industry, so that today models such as Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer, and Gisele Bündchen are brand names.

In My Shoes – Tamara Mellon

Tamara Mellon made a fortune building Jimmy Choo into a billion-dollar fashion brand.  In this candid memoir, Tamara shares the whole larger-than-life story, with candour and detail that has never before been made public. From her troubled childhood and her time as a young editor at Vogue to her partnership with cobbler Jimmy Choo and her very public relationships, she offers a gripping account of the episodes that have made her who she is today. The result is a must-read for entrepreneurs, fashionistas, and anyone who loves a juicy true story about sex, drugs, money, power, high heels, and overcoming adversity.

Ebook available here.

Love Looks Not with the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen – Anne Deniau

Lee Alexander McQueen (1969-2010), whose design combined visionary aesthetics, emotional power, and extraordinary craft, was known for staging provocative shows that were as much performances as venues to display his couture creations. Charged with energy, informed by history and culture, and filled with fresh concepts, McQueen’s shows have become legends not only of fashion but also of art. Anne Deniau was the only photographer allowed backstage by McQueen for 13 years, beginning in September 1997 and ending with the final show in March 2010. She captured McQueen working with his close circle of collaborators – including designer Sarah Burton, milliner Philip Treacy, jewelry designer Shaun Leane, and model Kate Moss – to create his meticulously produced spectacles. Her book offers an inspiring homage, through the art of photography, to the work of a great artist.

A Third Decade of Guess Images – Paul Marciano

Guess has grown from a single 3-zip Marilyn jean launched in 1981 to a brand that embraces the world. Under the careful eye of Paul Marciano, CEO and creative director, and Maurice Marciano, chairman of the board, Guess continues to create collections and accessories that invite the body and soul to take flight. Guess stands for the boundless commitment to creative ideals. This book explores the sultry Guess girls, the groundbreaking designs, and startling bold images that define the Guess experience and continue to take the pulse of the heartbeat of fashion.

Vanity Fair 100 Years: From the Jazz Age to Our Age – Graydon Carter

From its inception in 1913, through the Jazz Age and the Depression, to its reincarnation in the boom-boom Reagan years, to the image-saturated Information Age, Vanity Fair has presented the modern era as it has unfolded, using wit, imagination, peerless literary narrative, and bold, groundbreaking imagery from the greatest photographers, artists, and illustrators of the day. This sumptuous book takes a decade-by-decade look at the world as seen by the magazine, stopping to describe the incomparable editor Frank Crowninshield and the birth of the Jazz Age Vanity Fair, the magazine’s controversial rebirth in 1983, and the history of the glamorous Vanity Fair Oscar Party.