November 15, 2019

cool stuff i like

Helloooooooo poppets!! How ARE you? I've emerged from the depths of my jumbo sized, all the extras included Parisian cold virus. (photos from our trip, including which books I brought home with me, are going on my Instagram!) Actually, I was better over a week ago, but then my wee teen came down with some kind of mini flu (we did get flu shots!) or something, and she was down for several days. Anyway, we're finally all better now, and I'm in a constant state of outrage that because Thanksgiving is so late this year, I have to be in overdrive mode NOW for the holidays (or at least I feel like I do) and I'm trying hard to get most of my holiday gift organization accomplished before Thanksgiving. First world fortunate problems.

Box news! UPDATE: LITTLE WOMEN BOXES ARE SOLD OUT.  I have TWO (2) boxes left available for the Little Women theme. THANK YOU to all who ordered!! This is a darling, charming box and.....unlike the Anne of Green Gables box, which I will continue to create all year round except Christmas - I will be discontinuing Little Women after these last boxes are sold. There's a TON of stuff in this box, and it's been one of my most labor intensive projects.

I'm ready to move on, and I created these in the spirit of being very excited about the new movie. (LOVE this interview with Saoirse Ronan and the photos of her!) The candle included is ENORMOUS and BEAUTIFUL, and if you have a Little Women lover in your house (or you perhaps?), you really do want one of these boxes. See here for the original post, and see HERE for more details on the Youth version of these parcels! And please see my 'Info' tab up above my the blog header for ordering details.

ALSO - my list is beginning to fill for 2020 Hygge Winter boxes, coming in February. If you fancy one, or wish to purchase a 3 or 6 month subscription, it's the perfect way to treat yourself or someone else, just sayin'. Each box I make I utter out loud to my husband, I WISH I COULD GET MY OWN BOX, lol.

Cool online things for you:

in my last post, I promised more mysterious fall time reading suggestions. this one, and this one (a YA version of one of my favorite fairytales!).

pumpkin maple muffins.

I AM HERE FOR THIS. (this is totally my new favorite blog)

lots of hygge happening here.

I completely forgot this happened lol. (spoilers)

Japanese laundry items roundup from Remodelista.

I posted this on Facebook, but if you missed it, you REALLY need to see this darling home tour.

these little DIY tiny houses are adorable!

cozy fall soups.

conscientious holiday shopping.

yes yes yes. capsule wardrobe. i've been working on this. my vice has always been 'oh look at that pretty floral printed shirt'. i now own a million floral or striped shirts and nothing else. my go-to shop to wean myself away from this has been Uniqlo. i will only be purchasing basics, and staying away from SO. MANY. PRINTS. i just want a uniform. last week i wore the same black tee and these overalls 3x. it was glorious! (and I'm so worried about something happening to these amazing overalls, I just ordered another pair.)

Cool Book of the Week: 'A Bitter Feast' by Deborah Crombie. Apparently this is BOOK 18 in her Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novel series, but it is supposed to work quite well as a standalone. What grabbed me was the descriptor of this as a "cozy village mystery". COZY VILLAGE, YES PLEASE. Not only that, it's a cozy COTSWOLDS village. There are many descriptions of food, from what I hear. One reviewer wrote "Food, death and murder, detectives of every type, children, dogs, and wonderfully welcoming friendly people in Cotswold." WELL OK. Sounds grand and fun!

Have a lovely weekend!! I'll be wrapping the books for my Holiday boxes (which is only available as part of a 6 month subscription package!), and watching as many cheery things as I can, and also getting out for a WALK. In Paris, we walked about 4-5 miles a day and basically zero since we've been back and my body is like WHY ARE YOU NOT WALKING?? I'd love to know what you're reading, watching, and eating. Also I'm determined to see this, despite (or maybe because of) the dismal reviews.

October 28, 2019

spooky season reading

Has it really been nearly a month since my last blog post? I am full of remorse! I have an excellent excuse. My family and I decided that since my 50th birthday is coming up next winter, we would SEIZE THE DAY, and since last summer, plans to take a trip abroad have been in the works. We all decided as a family that we'd like to go to PARIS, and by gum that's what we did. This was an enormous endeavor for us, because we are the ultimate homebodies, and I mean ULTIMATE. Anyway, if you follow me on Instagram, I'm showing and telling some photos from our trip, which we took in mid October for 9 days! If I really get it together, I'll put a few photos together to make a blog post here, but probably I won't have that energy.

As fabulous as it was to see Paris in the fall time, we were a bit sad to miss out on our favorite season of the year, and we're now trying to cram in as much spooky season as we can this week, sort of. I stumbled across the books of Kiran Millwood Hargrave the other day, and wondered why I haven't seen her books before, and well, I want to read ALL OF HER BOOKS NOW. Let's take a peek.

The first book I've picked is definitely spooky season material, while the rest seem very well suited for the fall and winter seasons in general.

'The Deathless Girls' is something I want in my hands RIGHT NOW. This book just came out this year in September, and is her YA debut novel. And it's about the backstory of the BRIDES OF DRACULA. Go take a look at the photos on Amazon - the end papers are gorgeous, the cover is gorgeous, everything is gorgeous, and I want to read this Very Extremely A Great Deal.

'The Girl of Ink and Stars' is a children's novel, won a ton of awards, including Children's Book of the Year at the British Book Awards, and with this story, Kiran's work has been compared to Neil Gaiman and Phillip Pullman. Maps, songbirds, a mysterious island, and a story that finds inspiration from the folklore of the Canary Islands - this one sounds ENCHANTING.

I just ordered 'The Way Past Winter' for myself - this is the book I came across that led me down the rabbit hole. You know me and gorgeous covers! I saw this and went YES PLEASE, and fairytale stories of frozen Scandinavian-esque north locales are an instant draw for me. A trio of sisters travel to rescue their brother from a land of eternal winter. I adore books like this!

'The Mercies' doesn't come out until February 2020, but I'm already planning to get this one, and I'm having an internal debate as to whether I should get the U.S. edition or the U.K. edition. I think I have to go with the U.K. I'm super intrigued by this - the remote Norwegian island of Vardo loses its population of male fishermen on Christmas Eve 1617, during a horrendous storm at sea. Several years later, a Scottish man arrives, bent on taming and controlling both the island and the women left remaining. The Vardo storm and the Vardo witch trials of 1621 were actual events that inspired the story, and I am getting my pre-order in NOW.

GUESS WHAT I HAVE MORE. I'll get another post up with more mysterious fall time reading in very soon!

September 24, 2019

cool stuff i like

Wow, I've been such a MIA blogger and Instagrammer lately. I mentioned on Instagram that the busier I get with the book surprise boxes, the less time I have to create posts for the blog and IG! Last week ALL of the Autumn 'A Forgotten Fairytale' theme boxes were mailed - I still have one to deliver to a friend locally, and I think the last mailing batch will have their boxes arriving on Sept 29. Next week I'll begin putting reveal posts on Instagram, and after that's done, I'll put a blog post compiling all of the reveal photos in one spot here.

I'm still taking orders for 'Little Women' boxes!! I'll be taking orders for those through October. They'll be mailed in mid to late November. Then I'll take a break during Christmas. And then I'll pick back up in January, as these boxes, like the 'Anne of Green Gables' boxes, will be available mostly year round.

NOTE - someone popped me a question and for anyone else who might be confused - I AM TAKING SUBSCRIPTION ORDERS for 2020! For 3 and 6 month packages. I'm NOT yet taking orders for individual boxes like next Winter's Hygge box (which is going to be so cute and fun!). So if you know you want a few boxes next year, you can get set up with a 3 or 6 month box subscription now. Hygge boxes have been popular the past two years, so if you're on the fence, go ahead and get a 3 month as an early holiday gift to yourself or someone else!

If you've had interest in my boxes, now's the time to go for it. I'm committed for 2020, but after that I'll have to reassess, because I have a mental breakdown every month fretting about the carbon footprint of ordering books, and gifts, and then mailing them back out into the world.

Let's talk about the biscuits you see up above. I got them in a nearby town for about $6. Amazon sells them for double that, with the shipping. They come from the U.K. and they are among the very best tea biscuits I've ever had in my life. I nearly fainted when I saw this Apple Custard flavor!! They are absolutely fantastic, and you need to just go ponder over the entire Artisan Biscuits website. Then we can cry together that this stuff isn't easy for U.S. customers to get their hand on.

Online things to look at:

Old fashioned apple cake with brown sugar frosting.

'The House of Salt and Sorrows'. A ghostly version of  'The Twelve Dancing Princesses'?? Sign me up. New this fall. Yup, this is my Halloween reading!

Fun fact, I've never listened to a podcast before. That's about to change because of this.

I have often wondered about this.


New content on Local Milk.

Design Mom moved to France!

How to cook for every back to school meal.

Happy fall things from MFAMB.

Well these dolls are the cutest things in the world.

Cool Books of the Week: Imagine my delight upon discovering not one, but TWO new 'Little Women' cookbooks coming out new this October! 'The Little Women Cookbook' AND 'The Little Women Cookbook' lol lol. Written by Wini Moranville, and Jenne Bergstrom and Miko Osada respectively. They both look charming and darling, with recipes like Apple Turnovers and Christmas breakfast treats and Amy's pickled limes - along with quotes from the books and other fun Little Women goodness.

If someone....wanted to really go ALL OUT for the 'Little Women' lover in their life (or themselves).....they could get one of these cookbooks to go along with one of my Little Women boxes and um wow that would be a very impressive gift!

Have a lovely rest of this first week in Fall season! We had no extended summer this year - September arrived and so did the rain and the grey. I put on my flannel duvet cover last night, which is an all time record of earliness - it usually doesn't go on until well into October.

We were supposed to see the 'Downton Abbey' movie last weekend, but my daughter had an audition for a show that ran overtime, and we had to scrap our plans. We're going tonight and I'm so thrilled; it's easily going to be the highlight of my year thus far! Have you seen it already? Did you LOVE it? I don't think I want to hear if you didn't ha ha.

August 28, 2019

little women book surprise box

Well someone (me!!) got a little excited when the trailer for the new 2019 'Little Women' film dropped a couple of weeks ago. But as excited as I was, it was actually a very clever friend of mine who texted me and asked if I had thought of creating a 'Little Women' themed book suprise box.


(gasps and feels grateful for clever and supportive pals.) So let's add a friend next to my 'Anne of Green Gables' boxes.  

(it's my intent to slowly build a small roster of literary classics themed boxes that are available all year long, not to be confused with my Seasonal Themed boxes for grownups and my children's box subscriptions.)

UPDATE! I'll be tweaking the boxes a bit for Little Women boxes purchased for teens/tweens/kids. In those boxes, I'll include a plaid or gingham headband and a vintage pencil bag in lieu of the socks. And I'll also include Baked Apple Cinnamon herbal tea instead of the black tea varieties below.

I was so excited about this theme, I stayed up until 1am the same day that my friend gave me the nudge, fleshing out the box gift and treat ideas for this theme. It's so funny, every new box becomes my favorite child. (This is the part where I say that I love all of my boxes equally ha ha ha.) 

But I am seriously so enchanted with this newest box, because it's just like a COZY HUG in a box. That's what I wanted. That's what I want for all of my boxes, but this one is really going to be just a lovely-blankie-with-tea-on-a-quilt-by-the-fireside type of feel. Substitute 'lovely meadow' if people buy this box in the warmer weather months. Don't substitute the cozy hug idea, that stays the same no matter which season!

Because this box is appropriate for children old enough to read 'Little Women', tweens/teens, and adults - I'm showing and telling some of the items, as is my practice for boxes that might potentially go to a youth audience. My seasonal themed boxes for grownups are always a secret until the box reveal, but for boxes that might go to a younger person, I like for people to have a clearer idea of what they're getting. Now by now, you all should know that in many of my boxes, charming socks are part of the deal. Rustic cozy socks definitely belong in the Little Women box.

And because Jo March was so keen on writing, I'll be including a fountain pen, along with a vintage notepad and/or stationery.

I love partnering with various makers and creative small businesses, promoting their wares in various box themes that I put together. I'm super excited to have discovered Copper and Kraft Candle - I decided that the type of rustic fragrances Theresa specializes in would be perfect for this project. (Please admire her photos up above.) 

I'll be including mini candle tins in a variety of scents: Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal, Apple Cider Doughnut, Black Tea & Almond, Caramelized Pear. The scent you receive will be a surprise; please don't request a particular fragrance. It will be a S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E!! I thought all of these sounded very Little Women-ish.

Up above here, I've included a mini sampler of what kind of tea flavors might appear. I love the embroidered vibe of these! I'm not showing the treat item because I will probably change and rotate the treats, depending on the season and my mood. Caramels, honey spoons, tiny jars of apple butter or jams all might make an appearance.

NOTE: I cannot take special dietary requests. My boxes nearly always contain an item that might contain sugar, dairy, wheat, and/or nuts.

Oh, shall we talk about the BOOK??? Virago Press has some utterly charming and lovely new editions that are just now becoming available in the U.S. They are beauties, but then so are the editions from Vintage Classics that you see in the first collage.

When placing your order (see the 'Info' tab up by my blog header), please let me know if you want me to choose a book for you, or if you want the Virago cover. Also - this box is not limited to just 'Little Women'! If you'd like the box with 'Little Men' or 'Jo's Boys' or 'Good Wives', let me know.

The Virago editions are new, and thusly, considerably more expensive. They are absolutely gorgeous! VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: The Virago and Vintage Classics editions of 'Little Women' do NOT contain the material from 'Good Wives' aka 'Little Women Part 2', aka 'Jo Does Not Marry Laurie', aka 'Do We All Hate Amy?' aka 'This Is Not a Spoiler Get Real'.

I want to stress this to avoid stress. PLEASE READ CAREFULLY THE ABOVE. Go back and read. I'll wait. This a 'Little Women' experience box. For those who love the book or who want a first introduction. But if nothing will do but to have the entire book, I'll put in the edition from Puffin Classics. Here's what it looks like.

The pricing for this box will be like the 'Anne' box - $50 plus shipping. Boxes that don't contain a Virago edition will contain an extra item or two to make up for the pricing disparity among the different book editions. Boxes that contain the complete Puffin Classics edition will still be $50 because I'll incur more shipping fees with the heavier book and it's two books in one. Confused? Don't be - every box is $50 and we can hammer out which book you want when you order.

I am taking pre-orders now, (go hit that 'Info' tab at my blog header I just mentioned for ordering and invoicing details) and these boxes will be sent in November, right before the new movie comes out! What a lovely holiday gift these would be!

August 20, 2019

blackberry days

I was going to pair this photo with a Cool Stuff post, and then I decided I just needed to ramble.

Blackberry days. Back to school planning. September looming. My daughter has fallen headlong into an obsession with 'Sherlock' - ok let's discuss this for a hot minute. My husband and I watched Seasons 1 and 2, and I think I fell asleep in the middle of each episode. Not because I was bored, but because I've reached the age where if you plunk me onto a sofa at 9pm and turn on some television for me and I'll show you MY EXTREME NAPPING POWERS. Sigh. My daughter screeches at me constantly "MOM WAKE UP". I've finally let my husband and Julia know that honestly I don't care what I miss, just let me get my television power napping go on unobstructed, thanks so much.

I made a peach pie a few days ago. (This is now my favorite pie dough recipe.) It lasted one evening dessert and one breakfast. Poof! Such a lot of work and it's not like cookies or a cake, that you can cut into over the course of several days. I could never eat a whole pint of ice cream, or gobs of cake at once, or 15 cookies or whatever else you can think of to binge eat, but I honestly think I could maybe almost eat an entire pie in one go.

There was a clicking noise outside my living room window. I'd been hearing it for weeks. I'd go look, couldn't see anything. Click click. Andrew heard it as well. Finally we listen together, and he thinks that maybe it might be some type of insect. INSIDE OUR WALLS. We see some yellow jackets. I freak out. We go and get a wasp trap thingy, and trap lots and lots of yellow jackets. We call the exterminators, who come and spray around and inside the cracks outside, more clicking noises! The exterminator pounded on the wall to get them to come out and be sprayed, and YES we had yellow jackets! Building a nest in our wall! Insert frowny face.

Over the past couple of weeks, Julia and I have been re-watching all of the 'Harry Potter' movies. It's been loads of fun. I think it's time for me to re-read the books.

Stayed up until 1am the other night planning a brand new box. I'm so thrilled about it, I can't even tell you. I WILL tell you about it probably next week, after I hear back from a vendor about an item I want to include in it. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS BOX. 

I've also been planning next winter's hygge box. I strongly encourage you to get your pre-order in now, I only do small batches of the seasonally themed boxes! See the 'Info' tab up above by my blog header for pricing and ordering details. I'm sort of torn between two themes but one is in the lead and the planning is coming into place more readily for that one so I'll probably roll with that and I'm ALSO VERY EXCITED ABOUT THAT BOX.

My big summer project of cleaning the garage didn't happen. But we need to go get some garage shelving and such from IKEA so we can then put items lying around on the ground ON THE SHELVES, so a trip to IKEA is happening soon and that's always A Big Excitement in my book.

There's more late summer ramble on my Instagram as well.