September 11, 2018

what katy did


How lovely are these??? Last week I showed these beauties off on Instagram, and I had a few more photos to share, and I LOATHE small-typing on Instagram, so I knew I wanted to come back over here and chat a bit more about these books. I'm stupefied that I've never read them before, they look exactly the type of thing that I adore, which is why I bought all three of Susan Coolidge's 'What Katy Did' books about 15 seconds after I laid eyes on them.


HOW PRETTY ARE THESE COVERS??? Resistance was futile, as soon as I saw these. They are just as pretty in person! Apparently if you're a fan of Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, and/or Little Women (hellooooooooo) you will enjoy these stories of an old fashioned plucky girl having adventures and winning people over with her cheery and imaginative demeanor.

In this first book, there's a bit of a hardship that Katy undergoes, and I was very scared that these were going to be Sad Books, but apparently that is not the case. She's ok! I do not want to read any Sad Books right now.

Actually, I don't really like reading Sad Books ever. It's just not my thing. I don't like heavy fiction, or sad fiction, or violent stories. As a chronic anxiety sufferer, I just can't. I only like books that are going to uplift me in some way, and I can only tolerate the most minor of perils in a book. When I was in my late teens I read a lot of Stephen King. I wouldn't touch any of them with a ten foot pole now! I do enjoy old fashioned ghost stories that are more quaintly spooky than scary, but that's about as far as I can go in that department.


I didn't even have a thought or intention of getting these for Julia - these babies were just for me. I wrote on Instagram that I've only just started the first book - but almost instantly in the story, Katy and her siblings go on a picnic and the food is described IN GREAT DETAIL. Molasses tarts anyone? I'm now obsessed with trying to find a recipe.

In the second book, 'What Katy Did at School', she and her sister go off to boarding school! YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT BOARDING SCHOOL BOOKS. If you do not know, please see HERE, and also HERE. I am super pumped for this middle book.

Seriously, look at that cover.


Thirty two rules that Katy must follow at school! Why do I think that not all of those rules will be followed?? Guess what the name of Katy's school chum is. ROSE RED. I love it so much! Why does no one really use the word chum anymore?


And in the last book, 'What Katy Did Next', she is a young lady and is invited on a trip around the world with some family friends. I'm SO EXCITED you guys! I'm going to read these, with tea and gingerbread, and I just can't wait. Are there some books you're excited about?? Sharing is caring! So have you read these? Are you enchanted with these covers? I'm wondering if these are at all reminiscent of the Betsy-Tacy books.

September 1, 2018

cool stuff i like


Hi lovelies! I wrote about these amazing calendars on Instagram the other day, but they are so incredible, I'm also sharing here as well. My friend Heather Sleightholm is the most terrifically talented artist, and her work has delighted me for years. When she announced that she was creating a calendar, I pre-ordered it immediately. Now the calendars are in stock in her Etsy shop, as well as so much more of her incredible prints and cards! You need to check her out.


Cool stuff to look at over the weekend:

I need this book and also this book.

I have very rarely heard my husband laugh as hard as he did at this.

Beauty products for transitioning into Fall.

This is incredible. Seriously my dream!

Autumn recipes from Nigel Slater.

Vintage wallpaper.

PLEASE TELL ME YOU'VE SEEN THIS MOVIE.

Need more because you're obsessed like me? Here you go.

This is the coolest for kids! The Secret Society of Letter Writers.


Cool Book of the Week: Check out this GORGEOUS version from Penguin Classics of 'Emma'!! It looks like a fashion magazine from the 1800's. My jaw dropped when I saw it. Ok true confession time - I HAVE NEVER READ JANE AUSTEN. Are you shocked? What's funny is....I was an English Literature major. I've seriously read EVERYTHING except Jane Austen. Of course, I've seen allllllllllllllllllllllllll of the movies, but never read a single book of hers. It feels deeply disturbing to even write these words. I don't own any of the books. So I've decided that I'm going to select a beautiful copy of each of her books, and start reading every one. It's my reading plan for 2019. I know. It's just.....crazy that I haven't read them.


Have a lovely long weekend! It's September! I love September. SCHOOL SUPPLIES. I think the afterlife for me needs to be a tea shop in a book shop in a stationery shop. I've been happily planning what fall timey things I want to start cooking. I know, still nearly another month of summer, but for me, it's all over once September rolls in. Fall time!!

~Melissa

August 26, 2018

Autumn Book Surprise Box!


*UPDATE: SOLD OUT! I'm overwhelmed by the interest in these book boxes! In less than 24 hours, I've hit capacity. The best way to be first in line for a box is to get a 3 month, or 6 month subscription with me - (and there is a slight discount for subscription orders.)* 

Oh!! A further P.S. - if you like this idea/theme as much as I do (I love it so much I almost rebranded as Back of the Attic boxes), trust me that I WILL revisit this theme! In 2019, I will be using this theme as a catch-all, cozy box, and it will be available all year round.

 I was going to wait until September officially rolled in, but people began emailing about the Autumn box, and I knew already that the book I want to use has to come from England because I love the cover so much, and that takes awhile - SO LET'S JUST GO AHEAD WITH THIS PARTY! *This box is one of my adult fiction boxes, but it would also be just fine for older teens.*

Before you get tired of reading, let's get the details out of the way, please read carefully:

I will only be making a limited amount of the autumn boxes. And I will only be taking orders until Sept 7 (or until I hit my cut-off number), because I need a long runway in which to allow the books to get to me from the U.K.

Price will be $31 plus shipping - this can be anywhere from $8-13 depending on where your location is in the U.S. - I will only be processing U.S. orders. No Canada, no international. Alaska and Hawaii are ok!

(Sorry Canada - I'm so sorry! Canada requires extra work and forms on my end, and there have been hidden tax tariff fees cropping up occasionally for my customers on the receiving end.)

HOW TO ORDER: email me at juliasbookbag (at) gmail (dot) com. and request a box! If you want one, email me quickly, first come first served. Let me rephrase that - first to complete and pay their invoices are first on the list! *INVOICES THAT ARE UNPAID AFTER 48 BUSINESS DAY HOURS WILL BE CANCELLED.*

**PLEASE INCLUDE YOUR LOCATION, so I can estimate shipping - Then I will invoice you via PayPal.**

I am taking PRE-ORDERS. This box will ship out in October via USPS Priority Mail. Books from England take several weeks to get to me. Please do not email me in September saying "HEY MELISSA WHERE'S MY BOX?!" (no one has ever done that but I have a very active imagination lol)

For box info in general, please read this.  Unless you make specific prior arrangements with me, if you give me multiple (or incorrect) addresses, the one on the PayPal invoice is the one I will use. Note - I keep tracking number record information to provide you with if a box goes astray.

OK NOW LET'S TALK ABOUT THE FUN STUFF! Sorry for all the ramble, but had to get all the fiddly bits out of the way.

Since this a fall time box - there is a trick and a treat! The trick is that I'm actually ping ponging between TWO books.  Both books are wonderful - that's the treat. NO, there are NOT two books going into the box, only one - but you won't know until I do the box reveal which book you got! Slight hint - the same author wrote both books. I adore both of them!

'Back of the Attic'??? What kind of theme is that???? I've long had the idea in my imagination of an attic full of hidden vintage treasures - not a nasty, cobwebby attic, but a wonderful and mysterious attic filled with lovely things. Like Sara Crewe's transformed attic in 'A Little Princess'.


This box will have a vintagey, fairytale-ish vibe. Note: There will be CHOCOLATE in this box - if you're not a chocolate fan, this might not be the box for you!

There will be treats, a cozy drink, vintage inspired paper & stationery products, and a couple of lovely items to wear/use during the fall time.

Mysterious, enchanting, vintage - this is the task I set myself with this box, and when I think, wow I wish I could get this in the mail for myself, I know I've created what I set out to create.

I hope those of you who order it enjoy my box of fall time cozy! Autumn is my favorite time of year, and I've been pondering and planning on what to put in this box since last spring. I'm super delighted with how it's coming together!


August 20, 2018

vintage summer book box reveal


Hey lovelies! Ok so we've got lots of BOOK SURPRISE BOX biz to wade through. Lots of queries regarding the fall box have been happening, so I'm going to go ahead and announce that sooner than I thought, but first we gotta wrap up Vintage Summer! Officially ha ha. I've already shown and telled (please admire my stunning command of the English language, as well as my zeal for making up my own verb tenses) most of it already on Instagram, but I can't forget my blog, even though I'm much more active on Instagram these days.

To start with - the Vintage Summer box theme is now CLOSED - I'm not taking new orders, but I am taking pre-orders for the fall box, which I will chat about more in my next post!

The book I used was Laurie Colwin's AMAZING AMAZING book 'More Home Cooking'. Not to be confused with her book, 'Home Cooking'. Why did you choose that one, Melissa? Instead of the first one?

Well a few reasons. BOTH are worth having, but I'm just more partial to the second book. I like the recipes better, and also hello Tomato Pie! It's worth buying just for that recipe alone. Also there's recipes for gingerbread (YOU KNOW HOW I FEEL ABOUT GINGERBREAD RIGHT?) and a whole chapter on chocolate cakes.

So I just like this book better, but let me stress - I own both books and so should you.


Do you have jam anxiety? I DO. (actually I have every kind of anxiety.) Laurie will help you feel less alone about jam anxiety.

One of the reviews on the old edition I have of Laurie's book is that her books make you feel like you have a friend in the kitchen. This is so, so true! See how I refer to her as Laurie?? I feel like I know her, from reading her books. She's so CHUMMY. And funny! Her stories are witty and delightful. Her recipes are easy to make. Her words and her recipes just wrap around you like a warm hug. She's the cooking literary equivalent of Olaf from 'Frozen'.

Also be sure to check out her novels, which aren't food related but are also wonderful!

So to sum up, this book is one of my greatest favorites EVER and that's why I chose it - it has given me such tremendous joy over the years!


Ok let's talk a bit about what else was in the Vintage Summer box, shall we? Vintage candy was in the vintage box! In the form of French and Italian old fashioned pastilles or pastiglie, I don't know what either of those words mean - I think basically they just mean hard candy and mints. Aren't they so pretty?



You might be noticing that I used several kinds of candy. This is how I roll. I get bored. Or I can only find a little of one type of item. Or what have you. I am one person, making these boxes, and often times each box will be a little different from the others. Often times I'm not stamping out exact copies of the same box over and over - these are bespoke boxes, that are often very individual and put together based on what I can get! That's called PERSONAL SERVICE YO.

(oh my - for those of you new to my blog? Yes this is how I talk. Long term blog readers are used to it ha ha ha.)



Also in the boxes! Lavender sachets. And burlap and lace ribbon spools. And floral stationary cards. Another example of what I was talking about earlier - I also found these amazing garden-y sheet masks. They are/were so gorgeous! As orders kept coming in, I realized that I would not be able to get my hands on that many of these particular sheet masks because I couldn't get them online for a decent price, and the tiny Korean beauty store I was shopping at did not carry that many at one time - so I had to switch gears and I began using these floral notebooks instead.

And the tea! We can't forget about the tea. I used Smith's Meadow variety, and also some lavender chamomile. I showed off the Smith tea HERE. SO beautiful don't you think? Like a little garden in a tea bag!


So that gives you the gist of the Vintage Summer box! THANK YOU so so much to all of you who ordered, and also a giant thank you again to Alicia Paulson from Posie Gets Cozy, who gave me a lovely shout out on her blog and sent lots of lovely new friends my way. And thank you to those of you who wrote me such kind notes about this box and about my Anne of Green Gables boxes - your sweet notes seriously brought tears to my eyes!

August 16, 2018

cool stuff i like


Hello!!! Happy Friday! Has it really been almost a month? That's bananas! Getting out the summer book boxes took a lot of my time, and I'll be doing the book reveal in another blog post - I already talked about it on Instagram. Is everyone ready for fall? I really thought that this year, I'd be holding onto every last bit of summer....but......well I'm always ready for fall. Oh! More box news. Next week I'll do a post on a fun box I'm doing for kids/tweens for the end of summer. It's just a little bee I had in my bonnet, and I only have 5 of these boxes available. Also! I will be doing a fall box, and if you didn't get a summer box, now would be the time to pre-order - I'll be announcing the theme in early September. I won't be doing as many as I did for the summer boxes - I'll be capping orders to 25-30 max. I'm totally enchanted with the book that I've chosen!

It's been hot and smoky and hazy and I've been waking up at 5am everyday and not really able to go back to sleep. NOT COOL.  So my list this week is going to be a bit short, just like my sleep cycle!


How to let go.

I'VE BEEN WAITING FOR THIS MOVIE ALL SUMMER.

Curried couscous with cauliflower.

This all sounds wonderful!

I just ordered this book. As a lifelong anxiety sufferer, I was intrigued. Now that's a cover!

Oh Nigel Slater, this is why I love you so much.

My dear friend Heather Sleightholm has created the most beautiful calendar of her amazing art.


Cool Book of the Week: I really want to get my hands on 'Clockwork' by Philip Pullman (of 'The Golden Compass' fame) - it's a short story and he considers it one of his finest creations - and this is the kicker for me - it's a fairy tale. Reviews call it an "underrated masterpiece" and reminiscent of a Brothers Grimm story. I really have no idea what the book is actually about, but I have great faith in Pullman's literary abilities, and I'm going to get this one and gift it to the family at holiday time. (my husband loves Philip Pullman, I love fairy tales, and my daughter is happy to unwrap pretty much anything ha ha ha).


Have a lovely weekend! I'm going to be watching (finally!) 'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society' film, which I've been waiting and longing to see. After a whirlwind of friends passing through town, home projects, plumbing appointments (and an entire house filled with leaky bathrooms), back to school endeavors, end of summer craziness.....I'm going to SIT and DO NOTHING.

~Melissa