October 13, 2017

cool stuff i like


Happy Friday my spookies! First of all, if you missed my last book post on 'The Mouse Mansion' - stop.reverse.go. I'll wait for you.
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Ok are you back? You didn't go, did you. GO! You MUST see this book! Ok, you read the post right? I'll know if you didn't. Moving on! Do you see that dose of amazing Halloween art up above? It's a darling print that I ordered from my wildly talented friend, Heather Sleightholm. You need to see all the delight in her Etsy shop, Sleightholm Folk Art. Someday her work will be collector's items, mark my words. I have that little print framed and proudly displayed in my living room right now, and it makes me happy every time I see it.

Cool online stuff this week:

The best wallpaper roundup ever.

OMIGOSH - this is the cutest little ghost book I've ever seen. With bonus vanilla marshmallows recipe!

Last week, one of my all time favorite authors just won the Nobel prize for Literature.

Looooove this artist's work.

A sneak peek at IKEA's winter collection.

Great books to give.

A spiced smoothie.

Sheet pan dinners.

October vibes from my girl Jenny.

Classic audio books for the whole family.


Cool Book of the Week: The incredible Emily Winfield Martin, has just come out this October with a new chapter book, 'Snow & Rose'. (She's created several picture books, but this is her second chapter book, and I've been waiting and waiting for her to create another longer length book ever since falling completely in love with 'Oddfellow's Orphanage'.)   First of all, the fairy tale 'Snow White and Rose Red' is one of my great, great favorites. I'm soooooo happy Emily chose this story to work her magic upon. If you aren't familiar with Emily - look here, and look here, AND here- she's.....well she's just magical and that's only way I can describe her. (and she looks like a real life fairy!) Her artistry and aesthetic sensibilities are like a waking dream of the very best kind, that's the only way I can describe Emily's art and her books. I WILL be getting this in my own two hands and photographing it for a complete blog post, but I'm so excited that I had to let you know NOW.


Have a lovely weekend! I've been watching random scary movies with Andrew and not liking any of them. I've totally lost my zeal for scary shows over the years. And I've been eating a cheddar and caramel popcorn mix that comes together in the same bag - from Trader Joe's - and my entire family ate it until it was gone. Like, 2 days, this bag lasted. It's AMAZING. I'm very restless in my book reading right now and have no idea what to read - so to celebrate Ishiguro's Nobel win, I think I'll start 'The Buried Giant', which I've been meaning to read for awhile.

~Melissa

October 9, 2017

The Mouse Mansion


I've got a funny story about this one....I literally saw the cover of 'The Mouse Mansion' by Karina Schaapman on Amazon and clicked 'order' in 3 seconds. I didn't even read about it. I saw it, gasped, put it in my cart, and clicked purchase. THREE SECONDS. That might be a new record for me in book buying!

It looked amazing, and WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT COVER. But you know, I was thinking well, hopefully it's cute!

And then it arrived.

Look at the name down below. One of the main mousie characters is NAMED JULIA. Her best friend is Sam. They live in a Mouse Mansion and have adventures.


Ok so I hope you took a good long stare at one of the pictures up above. Do you see what's going on here? THIS IS A REAL DOLLHOUSE. SOME MAGICIAN MADE THIS. Every inch of it. All the bit and pieces. All the props. All the decorations. All the LITTLE WEE FOOD, AND LITTLE WEE PILLOWS, AND......

lights. rugs. toys. cutlery. pictures. bead curtains. SOCKS. mirrors.

You could look at this book every day for 6 months and still find new details every time you look at it!!!!!




What's so great about it is that this book is going to appeal to a WIDE range of ages. Any kiddo from age 3.5 to 9 or 10, I kid you not, is going to 100% appreciate what's going on in these pages!

There's no real plot per se - the book is a set of short chapters that detail Sam and Julia as they go along their merry way in and around the Mouse Mansion. Sam has a large extended family who lives in the mansion with him, so there are tons of cousins and aunties and uncles and siblings running about. At one point, Sam is surprised to discover that he has a new set of triplets for brothers and a sister. He's not at all happy to discover that he's expected to assist in diaper changing, but he and Julia gamely help out before running out to play.

One chapter details a birthday party. Another shows how the mice hoist supplies up to the top attic. They do the laundry. They get chicken pox. They go to a bakery. They hear tales from Grandpa, the sailor. They go to a shop THAT SELLS EVERYTHING. Each 'chapter' is a couple of pages long, and there are huge, glorious photo-pictures on every page.





Look at the end pages in the back of the book - showing the Mouse Mansion lit up at night. There's a different set of end papers in the front of the book showing the rooms during the day.

YOU GUYS!!!!! You guyyyyyyyyyyyys. Seriously. Please consider this one for holiday gift giving. It's MAGICAL. The level of detail.....I can't even believe it. I have to stop talking and direct you to The Mouse Mansion website. There are DIY crafts! And a TON more information about the creative team who made all of this. Apparently it took Karina Schaapman years to make the mansion. And if you go to Amsterdam, you can visit and see the Mansion in all of its real life glory! (this is where I stop and check ticket prices to Amsterdam.)

This. book. is. INCREDIBLE.

October 1, 2017

cool stuff i like


Happy October, my spookies! First, an announcement. It came to my attention last week, that in the past 6.5 years of blogging, somehow enough spam bots, mistaken hits, random passersby, and a lovely handful of friends have passed through this blog to the tune of OVER A MILLION PAGE VIEWS in the all time history on Julia's Bookbag! What? How amazing! (now, to put that number into perspective, Very Big Blogs and websites hit that number every day or every month. however, it was still noteworthy and cool for me!) So for those of you who actually COME HERE ON PURPOSE - thank you so much for hanging out with me and listening to me ramble and looking at my photos and books!

Moving on to some programing updates: Firstly, it's Monday, not Friday, as you might have noticed. Cool Stuff KNOWS NO BOUNDARIES. Also, don't freak, but I have such a backlog of cute books I've been meaning to get on here for....the past 6 months or so, that I think I'm going to plunge ahead with them and gasp! - not do my month of All Halloween All The Time, like I usually do. (With each run-on sentence, I do my former English literature professors so incredibly proud.) So it'll be fall-timey, and hygge-ish...but I'm not going to stress myself with producing all Halloween material.


Cool Stuff this week:

So much Kawaii cute here.

'The School Year Survival Cookbook'.

Great, now I think I 'need' an electric tea kettle.

Just heard about this alternative to plastic wrap.

I discovered this website. T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

The molasses cookies you see above are truly divine and come from this cookbook, which I've only mentioned a few hundred times before. Have you gone and purchased it yet?

A Craftsman cottage in England.

My Halloween Pinterest board.


Cool Book of the Week: 'The House of Four Seasons' is one of those keep-forever type of books. Written and illustrated by one of the true geniuses of children's literature, the great Roger Duvoisin, this achingly lovely picture book details the way a house finds its colors. A family, having purchased a great old home in the country, are at a loss of how to freshen up the paint job - and are especially stymied when the local hardware store only has primary colors in stock. Thus some exploration begins as to what kinds of colors can occur when mixed together. (The color the family finally arrives at will surprise you, I won't give it away!)

Duvoisin's art is always refreshingly vibrant and modern in its aesthetic, even though his books are vintage classics. I'm adding this one to my permanent collection.


Have a cozy start to your week! Did you have a good weekend? I'm watching Season 1 of 'Outlander' FINALLY, and Julia and I have been reading this book for awhile now, and I made some amazing zucchini muffins from this cookbook.

~Melissa

September 22, 2017

cool stuff i like


Happy Friday!!! Ok so this was our weekend last week - on family movie night, every week, everrrrrrrry week, I'm pushing things like 'The Black Stallion', or 'A Little Princess', neither of which Julia has seen, or you know, something of that ilk. Everrrrry week Andrew tries to push old Disney movies that no one ever really cared about. Sorry fans of 'Atlantis'. And everrrrrrry week, Julia wants nothing to do with any of our suggestions usually. But honestly, the things she ends up vetoing us on usually turn out to be the most entertaining. (we ignore her when she requests, everrrrrrrry week, to watch 'Daddy Daycare' for the 59th time, it's her favorite movie of all time) We ended up watching two movies over the weekend - 'Akeelah and the Bee', which I had always heard was MARVELOUS, and it was, and.....the original 'Jaws'. Friends - I have to tell you - I've always been super intensely controlling when it comes to what I'll let my kid watch. I honestly don't know how my husband and Julia arrived on this, but we're scrolling thru Netflix and suddenly we're watching 'Jaws' - Julia's like yeah! An adventure movie! She was all hyped on it. And I'm like, whaaaaaat, are we really doing this? So we watch, she thought it was great, - and me on the other hand - I'm screaming (and I've seen it several times) with my face in a pillow. I seriously cannot handle 'Jaws'. Just knowing that movie EXISTED when I was little....I was afraid there were invisible sharks in POOLS. I'm still afraid of sharks. Don't me started on 'Deep Blue Sea'.  Hope you enjoyed my shark story!


It's officially fall!!! I'm SO HAPPY!

Harry Potter Butter Beer Popcorn.

Amazed that I'm just now discovering Schoolhouse Electric.

Love this recipe idea for a fall gathering.

VERY excited about this show coming in October.

Totally relate to this. Actually I had it the worst when I was a preschool teacher, years and years ago. My arms physically ached after I stopped working there, I was so used to holding children - and when I didn't hold kids all day anymore, it was the strangest feeling.

This guy's food styling is on another level. GORGEOUS photos!

This is great - Books for tweens who love musical theater.

Fresh pear cake.

SHE IS SO AWESOME.

It's that time o' year when I shove my Autumn Pinterest board at you.


Cool Book of the Week: 'The Gold Leaf' by Kirsten Hall and Matthew Forsythe is just Flat. Out. Stunning. It's breathtaking! I couldn't believe it, as I turned each and every page. Oh my word. It's SO pretty! Shall I go on? The story is lyrical and simple - forest animals find a beautiful gold leaf one day and take turns stealing it from one another - at the end of the day there is nothing left of the leaf. That's sad. But time heals the loss, and the animals grow to appreciate all the various seasonal beauty that presents itself to them throughout the year. And then.....one day.....another gold leaf appears. And this time, the animals do not fight one another in order to get it. They marvel at its loveliness, and appreciate the fact that such a unique treat came to adorn their forest again. An EXQUISITE treasure to add to your autumn picture book reading.


Have a lovely weekend! After a MUCH hotter-than-normal summer - it all went away in the blink of an eye. BOOM. Summer over. The temps went down about 25 degrees, and seriously, out came the extra blankets on the beds and our heaviest socks. I have friends in other areas, telling me that their weather is still in the 90's! Wherever you are, I hope the beginning of fall time enables you to get your cozy on.

~Melissa

September 18, 2017

When The Sky is Like Lace


Oh my word, it's been so long since I've done an actual BOOK post, you know, on my BOOK blog, I seriously didn't know how to proceed. I wanted to style the book, I was like, how should I show this off, which camera should I use (hi camera phone!), and I hemmed and hawed and finally was like, just TAKE SOME PICTURES OF THE BOOK AND GET IT UP THERE. Just show people the dang book and get it over with. So hi. Here's a marvelous book.

'When the Sky is Like Lace' by Elinor Lander Horwitz and Barbara Cooney is something I happened across online, I think on Amazon, and it just looked so.....what am I seeing here? Girls dancing with otters???? At night? And then I began reading the comment reviews and people were losing their minds, saying it was a favorite from childhood (it came out in 1975 originally), and how cool it was, and how it was part of permanent collections. I got a copy from the library and I was BLOWN AWAY and I started yelling, and chasing Andrew and Julia around, reading aloud from it.


"On a bimulous night, the sky is like lace. 

Do you know how it looks when it's bimulous and the sky is like lace?"

I looked up 'bimulous'. It has no absolute definition, because it was made up for this book. Someone described it as 'magic' and someone else defined it like this, which I think is perfect and spot on, given the context of the book.




Basically, some children go out on a magical evening and find a world of dancing otters, (who like to sing songs to the tune of 'The Mexican Hat Dance'), and they encounter snails hiding in a cinnamon bush.

They watch trees dancing.

Oh and there are RULES about going out on bimulous nights. Such as, do not wear orange clothing - not even on your underclothes.

Also, there are special things to EAT on bimulous nights - things like spaghetti with pineapple sauce.

You eat, you sing, and you OPEN PRESENTS. Here is what you open:

"three fireflies in a jar
anything chartreuse
honey
kites
home-made marshmallow fudge
a bag of red marbles
a coconut." 




Then after the singing, eating, and present-opening...there are games. Anything you like best, and if it involves pretending to be a helicopter or juggling three peaches, so much the better!


Friends, I didn't mean to do a book post on this lovely right now - it seems so Octobery to me, but it's SO COOL it basically pushed all the other books I have in the queue aside, and I had to show it to you RIGHT NOW. This book is utter enchantment, wrapped up in a gossamer, lacy sky. It absolutely is permanent book collection worthy! THE LANGUAGE.

"Did you hear the otters sing?

The wind was rather whistly that night.

Did you see the trees dance the eucalyptus?

There were plum-purple shadows on the bedroom ceiling.

Did you see that the sky was like lace?

Or did you fall asleep and miss it?"

THIS STORY MIGHT BE THE PERFECT AUTUMN BOOK. Oh my land, go chase down this unique beauty right now!!!

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