April 11, 2018

cutie kawaii box!


Hello friends! Now that the British Spring boxes have arrived, or are arriving, in their new homes, I can talk about the box for April. Oh and next week on Instagram, I'll have some reveal photos of what all was inside the British Spring boxes, along with the book. The April box is another one for the kiddos - and I have not one, not two, but THREE books in mind for these boxes that will be filled with a ton of Kawaii cuteness! Not three books in a box, but I have three different books that are appropriate for different age ranges.

If you're not familiar with the term 'kawaii', it means 'cute' in Japanese culture. If it's kawaii, then I love it! Pastel colors are usually involved. These boxes will have fun candies (a varying assortment including KITTEN candy bars! Tsum Tsum chocolate! Rice candy! Jelly candies! Cute gum!), stickers, stationery items, squishies, pencils, pens, hair accessories, darling erasers, lip glosses, nail polish, washi tape, and just so many FUN THINGS. Each box will be a little bit different, no two will be exactly alike. I've been planning this box since January, but I had to wait awhile for the items to get to me from Japan.

Wondering why I'm showing and telling so much about this box? If you haven't seen me talk about this before - when it comes to the boxes for children, I reveal much more about what's inside beforehand, so you have a good idea what might be coming to your kiddo in the mail.


And the books, let's talk about those! I've got a super cute book in mind for three different age ranges - one for the preschool/kindergarten crowd, another for the elementary school group, and another for tweens and young teens. Each book is a Japanese anime/manga type book, written in English, but you read the pages from right to left.

THE DETAILS: This box will be $31 plus shipping/handling - I have 5 left! Some were pre-sold to seasonal subscribers, and some sold on Instagram and Facebook yesterday. If you want one, let me know in the comments, and either leave your email, or write me at juliasbookbag (at) gmail (dot) com with your email so that I can send you an invoice! These will be ready for shipping in about a week's time. ALSO, very important - let me know the AGE OF YOUR CHILD, so I know which book to order!

What do you think? I tell you, when I happened across these adorable candy bars with kittens on them, I nearly passed out.

April 4, 2018

spring things


Hello sweet friends! Well, apparently I am experiencing the 'Spring of Deception' as explained to me by a Very Helpful chart of weather patterns in the Pacific Northwest. Still cold. Still rainy. Still grey. Andrew and I tossed around the idea of attempting to add on a sun room outside on our patio area, and then realized......WHY???? There isn't any! We decided our money would be better spent just getting OUT of Seattle at some point during the winter.

Anyway, I've collected a few things for you to look at. They might not scream "SPRING!" at you, but I do think they work most delightfully for the spring that we've actually been experiencing. I see you, folks who have new SNOW on the ground.

First up, is a gorgeous print I discovered in the human fairy I like to call Emily Winfield Martin's art shop. I can tell that she made this art work JUST FOR ME, because it's like she crawled around in my brain and decided to make my most favorite thing - chinoiserie inspired lanterns! Seriously, how pretty is this print? I'm going to get it, I'm just trying to decide which size. She has so many lovely prints, you can't even believe. Yes, at some point I will create a post for 'Snow & Rose'. I'm trying to decide how I can photograph and style the book to do it justice. Not sure that I can.

This lovely little shirt is actually in my home. Boden sent me a coupon AND they recently were running a sale. It's wonderful. The sleeves are fantastic. I got it and wore it two days in a row. It's my new favorite shirt! I hadn't purchased any new clothes in like.......6 months? Maybe more? I just got so tired of clothing ha ha. I just wore the same three shirts and sweater all winter long.

One of my favorite bloggers, Beth Kirby from Local Milk, has been singing the praises of Wooden Spoon Herbs for ages. I'm about to make a purchase of the Anxiety Ally (I have really bad anxiety and I don't tolerate pharmaceuticals. FUN!), and I'm so enchanted with the idea of the 'Rosy Cocoa'. I'm not really sure what it is, but anything called ROSY COCOA needs to be in my home. So many lovely things in this shop!


Several books by Elizabeth Fair have been re-issued with these beautiful new covers. Fair wrote gentle stories of quaint village life in the English countryside, and my next to-be-read book is this one. These books would be such a great match for a future book box, except right now since they are newly published with these covers,  they are sadly too expensive for my boxes - I'd have no budget for the treats and such. But can you believe the prettiness of these books??

Ok I've been meaning to SHOUT about the greatness of Julie from Latherati for some time now. Samples of her seasonal hygge-inspired scents went out in my Hygge Book Boxes, and a new treat from her will be included in my British Springtime Box that is going out in a few days. I'm convinced that Julie attended Hogwarts and is a perfumerie wizard potions master. Her scents are based on classic literature! Can you imagine my delight when we discovered each other on Instagram??? She sent me several samples of things to try, and my daughter stole everything. I'm very sensitive to fragrances (along with everything else I'm sensitive to), and nothing gave me a headache, it ALL smelled ENCHANTING, and it's my goal to include something from her in as many future book surprise boxes as I can! I just ordered myself a bag of her Cozy Spring milky soaking salts. COZY SPRING, don't you love it??

For my readers, Julie has provided a coupon code, JBB15, which will be valid until this April 30, 2018. This code will give you 15% off of your entire order (no min. necessary). RUN RUN RUN to her amazing online shop!

And last I leave you with an eternal tea crush, Bellocq. They are pricy. But amazing. And their sunny yellow boxes are just what we all need right now, yes? Here's some irony for you: as we all know, I LOVE TEA. I'm the tea lady. Except......it's actually a once in awhile treat for me, because that sensitivity thing I just mentioned? Yeah, I can't really handle much caffeine, and also too much tea irritates my tummy. So I do a lot of herbal blends instead of black teas, most of the time. Bellocq has  a box with all herbal varieties that I would love to try sometime! This would make an amazing Mother's Day gift. Andrew, are you listening??

Don't worry friends ~ Spring will eventually turn into Summer, and maybe then all the rain, gloom, and cold snow will go away? Maybe?

March 30, 2018

cool stuff i like


Happy Friday! I love Easter trees, and one of the loveliest I've ever seen is in the glorious Tasha Tudor book, 'A Time to Keep', which has the prettiest scenes and descriptions of vintage holiday times all through the year. News and updates: British Spring Book Boxes will ship out at the end of next week, and I'll be announcing my next box (for kiddos!) on my Instagram. Even though the weather doesn't appear to have taken the call that it is indeed springtime, I've launched myself into spring cleaning. Sort of. I'm trying to purge the book collection. I sort of move piles around, relocating what I have. I feel very self congratulatory if I manage to find three or four that I can actually part with! Andrew was suggesting places where we could put more book shelves and I was like, WE ARE NOT A LIBRARY. WE MUST SHOW SOME SELF RESTRAINT. I really think I need to be one of those people who live upstairs from a bookshop. Can you imagine?? Do you think people who do that are sublimely happy?

Online items of interest:

Throw it all together chocolate sheet cake. Never met a chocolate cake I didn't like.

Spring......in home decor format.

I want this for breakfast! Pannukakku Finnish Pancake with Blueberries.

More breakfast ~ of the springtime variety.

Saw this and it made my day. Thought it might bring you great joy as well.

Ok so I started watching this Homes By the Sea show thing but I didn't like the first house, and then I got mad at the show. Then I watched this show, about people trying to find the perfect British country house, and it made the whole family, even the tween, super happy.

A lovely post with bonus soup recipe.

We need MORE HUGS!

Pickle. I wish I'd seen this list 2 months ago! Sigh. Saving for next year.

Violet Bakery's yeast free cinnamon buns.

Cool Book of the Week: 'The Story of Little Billy Bluesocks' by Sibylle von Olfers. Ok, so I've featured the achingly beautiful work of von Olfers before, and her work, along with Elsa Beskow, (who created books with similar themes and art styles) - really fills my heart with singing joy. Can you tell I'm A True Fan? So charming, so sweet, so beautifully VINTAGE. You just don't see art work like hers anymore, you just don't. Her stories are all quiet, and full of small adventures in pastoral locations. This particular tale, written in verse, follows a wee little lad as he goes about his day - feeding bunnies, planting a garden, playing with animals, having his supper, having happy little daytime wee adventures until he goes to sleep at night. This would be so delightful for tiny tots! Apparently the last page shows angels watching over the boy as he sleeps, which bothered some reviewers, but I'll leave that up to you all to decide what works for you! As for me, I'll be adding this to my permanent collection, because I'm on a quest to own ALL of Sibylle's works!


Have a lovely Easter or Spring welcoming weekend! Julia will be getting a basket filled with jelly beans, chocolate eggs, a few small trinkets, and two books, because......why get one book when you can get two.

March 22, 2018

books about dollhouses


Oh how this topic is near and dear to my heart! A few of these I've shared as standalone posts (this one, for example), but a little repetition and reminders never hurt anyone, what? I think I might start ending all of my sentences with 'what?' or 'what-ho' or 'rather', which is what they do in my current read 'Very Good Jeeves!', which speaking of repetition, I just mentioned in this post. They say things like, "Quite the private Zoo, what?" I have no idea what that's supposed to mean, but it's funny as all heck.


FOCUS MELISSA. Anyway, I love dollhouses, if you didn't know that already. I have a Pinterest board devoted to the topic. When I'm only a little bit of an older elderly old lady than I am right now, I'm going just sit around and decorate a dollhouse and play with it. That's my plan for elderly life, playing with a dollhouse. Don't you dare talk me out of my fantasy!

Here are some new, and some vintage, but ALL delightful books about dollhouses that might have escaped your notice, so I hope I'm doing Something Good by shoving these in your face.

'This is My Dollhouse' by Giselle Potter looks so so so sweet. A little girl and her best friend have a bit of a tussle processing their feelings about which of their dollhouses is better - a perfect and brand new dollhouse or the deeply loved handmade dollhouse belonging to the first friend. They decide at the end that the handmade dollhouse is the most fun. Now, I'm gonna have to say - I don't agree with this moral HA HA HA. Obviously the more awesome new one would be more awesome, what-ho!

I think you all can tell what kind of mood I'm in today.

Please RUN for a copy of Rumer Godden's 'The Dolls' House'. Go. Get. It. This book is pretty intense for a dollhouse story, I'll tell you. It's wonderful! And it packs a sporting punch of a VILLAIN in the shape of a mean spirited dolly named Marchpane, who comes to live in the doll house with the other dolls, who are not mean. I LOVE THIS BOOK! You'll want to kick Marchpane. I know I did. Also, I kind of want to change my name to Marchpane.

'The Mouse Mansion' is simply incredible and you need to see it to believe it. Friends, this doll house is REAL, and when you see all the detail work that went into this REAL doll house, you will FAINT. Plus cute stories about mice best friends living their best mouse child lives in this amazing and fantastic REAL doll house. You NEED this book.


I don't own 'The Dollhouse Fairy' by Jane Ray . YET. I'll be changing this state of affairs. A little fairy with an injured wing, who has to be nursed back to health within a dollhouse she's wandered into? COME ON.

'The Racketty Packetty House'  by Frances Hodgson Burnett is the gold standard by which all other dollhouse stories should be judged, and for good reason - it's the BEST, and even though I already own the same beautiful copy I've had since I was tiny, this new one with artwork by Wendy Anderson Halperin looks really charming. If you're not familiar with the story, go get it right now. A family of dolls, who used to be the grandest of the grand, have fallen into shabby disrepair, along with their dollhouse. A new dollhouse, with new dolls, comes to live in the nursery of their little girl owner, and they're a hoity-toity lot - except for the one doll who falls in love with one of the Racketty-Packetty house dolls. Many hijinks ensue. And worst of all - the old dollhouse seems bound for the incinerator. UNTIL - a royal little girl comes over to play and realizes that the dollhouse is the same type of dollhouse that her royal grandmother had and wants to restore it to its former glory. Take THAT hoity-toity dolls! YOU NEED THIS ONE. Oh, and there's also fairies in this story as well.

I leave you with 'The Enchanted Doll House' by Robyn Johnson, which has always passed me by, but I really need it for my collection. I don't buy shoes, makeup, handbags, or much of anything really. I buy books. So don't judge. This is a four dimensional book with pull out dollhouses and things to open and touch. It appears to be out of print, so you have to buy it used or pay a pretty penny for a new copy copy from a 3rd party, but I think it seems worth it for the serious collector.

Do you like the look of these? You might also like this dollhouse post I did awhile back. And you might also like THIS ONE.

PS: I NEED this 'Anne of Green Gables' pop-up doll house. I NEED IT.

March 12, 2018

british spring box! and cool stuff


Happy Monday! News and updates: I announced my Spring book surprise box theme on Instagram last week, and the theme is British Springtime. (For grownups.) Yes I'll get off the Brit theme after this ha ha ha. It will have a gorgeous vintage book that is coming to me from England, and it will have treats and lovely things from some of my favorite British lines, like some beautiful stationary cards from Liberty of London. Hop over to my Instagram for a peek at the cards! The price is $31 plus shipping/handling, and I'm capping orders to under twenty. If you want one, comment or message me so I know how many books to order and I'll send you an invoice ~ The box will ship out in April. It would make for a lovely Mother's Day present!

And ~ I completely re-wrote my 'Info' page (see up above my header at the top of the blog) - I tried to get down as much info as I have right now about the book surprise boxes. I'm sure other questions will crop up, or other things will occur to me, but a lot of Q&A is up there now, so give it a little look-see if you like.

Also, my husband spent nearly an entire day re-coding some issues that had been bothering me about the blog since I switched templates last year and had it installed by a 3rd party. He did some things to improve the less than stellar image quality, and he fixed the way words were being cut off in the margins on mobile devices, and he fixed the ENORMOUS gap between blog posts when viewed in Chrome. Oh FYI - we noticed my images look much better on Firefox than they do on Chrome, by the way. If you notice anything strange, or if the site is suddenly taking ages to load, can you please let me know?

Things to check out -

Teenage girls and social media.

Best soups for a cold.

This skillet dinner and also this one.

Did you all see this post on Irish books that I did last year??

Would you like to know Andrew's Irish soda bread recipe?? (the photos are terrible but the soda bread is our go-to every year)

CUTE. Rainbow Shamrock String Art.

Um, seriously. I've begun to read parenting books again.

A whole lotta this K-beauty stuff will probably wind up in Julia's Easter basket this year. She's also been asking for this banana hand cream every 5 minutes. But I like this panda hand cream better!

Very darling spring blossoms print.


Cool Book of the Week: I'm finishing up this 'Jeeves & Wooster' book, and my word it's so silly and funny, like watching a comedy show in book format! I've been actually laughing out loud, which hardly ever happens to me while reading. These short stories about the world's most clueless English gentleman and his patient (and infinitely more intelligent) butler are just what I needed to read during these last few weeks of winter. I think I need to start watching the show.


Have a great start to your week! I watched 'Remains of the Day'  over the weekend - and cried A LOT - it's been years and years and years since I saw it last. I think it's also time for another viewing of 'Howard's End'.

~Melissa