November 5, 2018

cool stuff i like


Hey friends! This lovely book is up on my Instagram right now, and it's getting packed up in a British Box. Book surprise care package updates: someone on Instagram asked if I was making a Holiday Box. Well....the answer is yes, but.......only for my 2018 seasonal subscribers. I've already gathered the materials, and I can't make anymore past what I have. I'll put out the reminder once more - the best way to not miss a spot for any 2019 boxes is to get a subscription! See my 'Info' tab up above for pricing and FAQ's. You will notice that there has been a price increase. Wayyyyyyy too much time and content was going into my boxes for what I was charging. As in, people were actually writing to me and saying um, you need to charge more! One friend in Hawaii gently argued with me about the price of the boxes she was ordering (said it seemed wacky I wasn't charging more!). Anyway, I've looked around and no one is doing what I'm doing - and the ones who are at all similar are charging a fortune. So effective immediately - there's a bit of a price increase. Remember - I only take orders via email!

Tuesday is Election Day and please please please get out there and vote, if you haven't already.

I was mentioning the other day on Instagram that I used to really dislike November. Or as I used to call it: the speed bump between Halloween and Christmas. I'm now starting to embrace it as an autumnal respite between those holiday windstorms! It's also my prep month ha ha - I'm trying to get a lot of my holiday planning done this month, so that I won't be in such a scramble come December.


Things to share this week:

How to paint a bedroom in one hour.

Sometimes you just need macaroni and cheese.

What a charming and uplifting book story - thanks to my friend Laura for showing me this!

You have to see all the bookish treats from Sweet Sequels.

Aaaaaand you have to see the holiday goodness from Lucy in the Sky creations!

AND you must see the holiday Nutcracker collection from Latherati!

Ok this you REALLY HAVE TO SEE....you will FREAK OUT......I NEED this book in my life! 'Miss Violet's Doll House'.

Two years ago, I did a post about Cozy Mysteries - some of you might not have seen it and might enjoy!

Go get yourself a treat and a cup of tea. Then go read this post.

Wabi-Sabi, explained.


Cool Book of the Week: Alrighty so I wish you all could have seen my FACE when I came across this online - I really wish my husband had been around as well - I was home by myself and I saw that 'Noel Streatfeild's Christmas Stories', a new collection of unpublished short stories from my beloved Noel Streatfeild, was to be published this year. Friends - first there was the GASP, and then I seriously RACED up the stairs to get onto my computer and I ordered this in about 5 seconds flat. If you're wondering what all the fuss is about, well have you heard of the 'Shoes' books? Did you worship them like I did? 'Ballet Shoes'? 'Skating Shoes'(there's a brand new edition of that one coming out this November! Just ordered it. Please save me from myself!) These books were read, and read, and read again by me as a child. I have more Streatfeild book goodness to talk about in a future post; I've got a lot more to say on this subject! ANYWAY - as soon as I saw this Christmas book, I had to share the news with you asap.


You voted/are voting right??! Jumping juniper I hope hope hope that our country manages to begin pulling itself out of the muck. OH! Let's end on a high note! You have GOT to see THIS news about a yarn advent calendar from the magical Alicia Paulson. Sounds so beautiful! I wish I was a knitter.

~Melissa

October 31, 2018

halloween 2018!


Happy Halloween!! I hope your day is magical!! I wanted to pop in and show these delightfully pretty cards I got from The Moon Journal - you must go see her beautiful shop! Cards, calendars, art work, all of it fabulous. What you are seeing here is the Mini Moon Deck, but I really long for the full deck of Moon cards which have the most beautiful floral designs.

I can tell you right now - the 'Breathe' affirmation card - that's one I should look at DAILY.


I also really love the card that shows the different moon phases, do you see it up there? Balsamic Moon! I've never heard of that one before, so cool.


Do you collect pretty stones or semi-precious rocks? We've been collecting since Julia was a tiny tot. We have a lot of pink quartz and amethyst, because those are our favorites.

Tonight we're having pizza - I used to try to make a whole Halloween fancy dinner but realized that the kiddo CARES NOT about food, and just wants to eat in five seconds and then hit the road, so now we throw a frozen pizza in the oven and call it a day.

OH - so usually during the whole month of October my husband likes to watch scary movies, and I used to but my tolerance has decreased in recent years - the real news is scary enough! - but we did watch 'The Haunting of Hill House' - WOW. I haven't been so impressed with a show in a long long time. It's scary, but not off-putting in my opinion - really it's a melancholy portrait of the breakdown (and renewal) of a family. The script works much like a stage play - there are tons of long monologues and long takes, and I really adored the whole thing from start to finish.

And hey 'Downton Abbey' lovers! I just discovered last night that about 10 years ago, Michelle Dockery and Dan Stevens (Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley) were in a BBC version of 'The Turn of the Screw'. We started watching last night and I liked it! It got late so we had to hit pause on the last 20 minutes, so we'll finish that up this evening after Julia goes to bed. It's available free on Amazon Prime.

What are you up to today/tonight? I think before I go to bed, I'll open up 'The Night Circus' randomly and read wherever I open the book. I practically know it by heart. My assertion is that there never was, and never will be, a more perfect book for fall time reading.

October 25, 2018

Autumn Book Surprise Box Reveal


Hello my spookies! It's time to talk about what was in those 'Back of the Attic' Autumn book surprise boxes. It was time two weeks ago, but I AM SLOW.

THANK YOU to all of you who ordered!! I hit my capacity in less than 12 hours; I was floored that this idea sounded cool to anyone else besides myself HA HA HA.

Just to remind - this theme is CLOSED, and after the holidays, I will be announcing my winter theme. I am not taking pre-orders for individual 2019 boxes at this time, but I am taking 3 or 6 month 2019 subscriptions. If you are interested in getting set up for that, starting with the Winter 2019 box, email me at juliasbookbag (at) gmail (dot) com. My email is the only way to place orders.

So let's chat about everything! I am so excited to finally have the chance to really chat about the book. I've decided that trying to type on Instagram is like a slow exercise in torture, I really much prefer typing on my laptop. My husband is going to see if he can get me set up with a remote keyboard for my phone, because seriously, I cannot type on that thing AT ALL.

So there was a bit of Trick or Treat going on with the book for this box. Or should I say.....BOOKS.

The Trick was that I used not one, not two, but THREE different books! All by the same author, Eva Ibbotson. I used 'Magic Flutes', 'The Secret Countess' and  'The Morning Gift'. ALL of them are absolutely wonderful, and they were at the top of my favorites list of books that I read this past year. After I read 'Magic Flutes', I was so enchanted, I immediately moved on to the other books, and I was just in love with all of them!

The Treat is that ALL OF THE BOOKS ARE AWESOME, so no matter which book I put in, each one was/is delightful.


I describe all of Eva's stories as sort of fairy tales for grownups. They are sweetly romantic, and all have similar-ish themes - a Viennese princess who conceals her identity while working in an opera house - a Russian countess who flees the Russian Revolution and moves to England and finds work as a house maid in a British country manor. A young Jewish Austrian girl whose family must find another home in London after the Nazis invade. (I loved this story so, from 'The Morning Gift'.) Despite the similarities, each story is quaintly charming in its own way.

HEY HOW ABOUT THOSE COVERS EH? Aren't they so pretty? That's what initially sold me on these books; then when I read about the story lines, I was like, um yeah these are perfect for the Autumn boxes!



The Treats! The actual treats. These took the form of L'Ancienne Hot Chocolate packets and Walker's Dark Chocolate & Ginger biscuits, alternating with Milk Chocolate and Hazelnut Biscuits. These cookies are Autumn-in-a-cookie. And the hot chocolate is so intense and dark, it makes one feel like they are in a Paris cafe while the rain comes down outside. A scarlet red jaunty beret is optional.


When it came to the stationery item, I had a whole assortment of vintage charm. I used sticky notes that look like actual old pieces of paper, these were a stroke of genius on the part of whoever came up with idea - I could only find a few of them. Likewise, I could only get my hands on a few of these John Derian postcards. Who's John Derian? Check out his website. My dream is to go to his shop in New York someday!

There were also supremely darling vintage-esque sticky notes, and washi tapes. I found DREAM CATCHER washi tape! And washi tape that looked like old clocks, black lace, feathers, oh and autumn foliage assortment stickers. I was in love with all of it, and whatever went into a box was something I really wanted to keep for myself.


So cute right?? Oh and everything was wrapped up in charming toile tissue paper, which is just the PRETTIEST. Honestly, I'm not trying to toot my own horn (much), but if I got this box in the mail, I would have fainted with happiness. That's my goal with each box theme I create. Would I be utterly delighted if it came to me in the mail? If the answer is a resounding yes, then I know I did a good job.


And the last really lovely surprise in the box were these autumnal scarves. Several different prints, and each one gorgeous.

I have to share a lovely note from a darling person who adored her box, and who shares my love of all caps emphasis and the use of the word 'delightful' - I hope she doesn't mind:

"I am SO THRILLED with my book box! Oh what a lovely gift (from me to me!)
You have done such a wonderful job, everything was just delightful. What a
lovely cozy experience this will be: an enchanting book, fancy hot
chocolate, MY FAVORITE SHORTBREAD COOKIE, and a pretty
scarf to wrap myself in while I read. AND those adorable sticky notes for
bookmarks and journal entries. Honestly, all sorts of things I love in one
place."

And another kindred spirit wrote me this:

"Your autumn attic box was a huge hit with my mom and my daughter, thank you. As for me, it was such a treat to get a great mystery box with things I really like (that I didn’t have to majorly hint about to my husband or kids).  Please sign me up for a years subscription, especially for the British boxes. I lived in Scotland when I was young and am a huge Anglophile now. I also lived in northern Japan when I was young and read Peach Boy and other Japanese Fairy Tales to my kids which was why I had so much fun reading your blog from the beginning."

It gives me great joy to see that others out there are really enjoying the same things that I do!


Everything was wrapped in vintage-style paper, bags, and tissue, and I hope everyone got a perfect dose of fall time cheer when their box arrived ~  Fall time is the best time. If you're reading something wonderful right now, be sure and let me know please!

October 12, 2018

cool stuff i like


Hello my spookies! I'll be popping in more regularly because there's a lot to show and tell you about! Next week I'll be putting together a complete reveal blog post for my Back of the Attic book surprise boxes. I'm also doing individual reveals of the items on Instagram. I used a variety of stationery awesome in the boxes. Some of the goodies were these 'A Page of Old Paper' sticky notes. HOW COOL ARE THESE? When I saw them, I knew that they would be just right for the vintagey, old world-y aesthetic I was going for in my Autumn boxes.

And also coming soon - I have such a TREAT to show you! Can't wait. My husband's cousin is a crafting genius and when you see what she's created, you. will. flip.


Fun things for this week:

Take a peek at my Stargazer Book Surprise Box for kids, if you missed it!

I ADORE THIS STORY - I love/loved Jami Gertz back in the day. I even dressed up like her 'Lost Boys' character for Halloween when I was 17.

Afternoon tea in a LIBRARY??? This is my idea of heaven.

Best fall slow cooker recipes from Food 52.

I just want to spend the rest of autumn in these rooms.

My daughter is teaching herself Korean for a number of reasons - but this is the #1 reason.

This book has been one I've wanted for awhile and I recently saw it in the bookstore and flipped through it and now it's MY GREATEST WISH for Christmas. Check out this video!! The interviewer is annoying as all heck, but HOW DARLING IS SUSAN??? Omg! Look at her outfit! Look at that sage green pantsuit, and her magenta lace shirt! Look at her lovely silver hair! I LOVE HER LOVE HER LOVE HER.

Cinnamon whole wheat scones.

A serene home tour, and an intense read but with lovely thoughts.

Confidence building for tween and teen girls.


Cool Book of the Week: 'The Little Shop of Found Things' by Paula Brackston. I've greatly enjoyed her 'Witch' books; you should definitely check those out this fall! Her newest magical book comes out this October 16th. The story features an antiques shop haunted by a ghost. SOLD! There's a main character named Xanthe (how do you pronounce that??), AND time travel. Yeah, I need this one in my reading life.


Have a lovely weekend! I'm doing my usual EAT EVERYTHING PUMPKIN routine. If Trader Joe's makes something pumpkin flavored, I will mostly likely buy it, and if I don't, then I will LONG FOR IT.

Are you watching spooky movies? I've lost all tolerance for truly scary movies - my anxiety can't handle it. I did find a bunch of movies I would like to see though, like maybe this one, or this series - my scary movie preferred vibe is English country ghost creepy, but none of things I want to watch are available on Netflix or Amazon! I need British TV. 

xo,
Melissa

October 9, 2018

stargazer box


I mentioned last month that I had one more box for kids that I would make available before the end of the year - here it is! The Stargazer box. I think it is SO perfect for this time of year!

Let me get the fiddly details out of the way because I'm doing things a bit differently - from here on out: I will only take orders for boxes via email at juliasbookbag (at) gmail (dot) com. Not here in the comments, not on Instagram, not via direct message on Instagram, not on Facebook - ONLY VIA EMAIL. It's too confusing for me to ping pong all over the place taking orders. In your email inquiry, you must give me your LOCATION so I can estimate shipping!

Also, very important note - invoices unpaid after two business days will be cancelled.

Third important note - I CAN ONLY MAKE (4) FOUR OF THESE BOXES. Four. That's all!

Price: $38 plus shipping.

Let's talk about this box! I love it so much!

I've had this box in the works for awhile, because it took AGES for the candy to get to me. This is a really special box. It will have these AMAZING Stargazer copper twine lights, and they come in the most gorgeous packaging. If all I did was drop these lights and a book in a box and call it a day, this would still be such a fantastic present.

The box will have:

- the Stargazer copper lights

- a shimmery, sparkly vintage lace headband

(sharp eyes might notice that I used these in my Teen Summer Box - I loved them SO much that I ordered them again! They are so gorgeous in person! I'm obsessed.)

- celestial themed washi decorating tape *actual washi tape might look different than the one pictured above, I have several varieties*

- a galaxy themed pen

- one Star Bar chocolate candy, shipped in from the U.K.

AND OH YEAH THERE'S GOING TO BE A FABULOUS BOOK:


Choose one! I'll chat about each -

'Peter and the Starcatchers' is a super fun book that details Peter Pan's backstory; it's a prequel, and  the first in a series. You find out how Hook becomes the way he is, how Peter gets to Neverland, and where pixie dust comes from. Best for ages 10 and up.

'Every Soul a Star' by Wendy Mass is a book that Julia adored last summer, about three middle school aged kids who are thrown together at a campground while waiting to see a total solar eclipse. Tween-age kids, their fears and innermost dreams, astronomy, and a story about how even young friendships can transform lives - this one is great for kids 12 and up.

'The Star Touched Queen' is a YA fiction book by Roshani Choksi that I read a few months ago, and I ADORED it. Serious, serious love for this story that weaves Indian folklore into a magical romance. I was enchanted by every bit of this tale about a girl who tries to rise above her foretold-at-birth horoscope, which seemingly dooms her to a life of destruction and death. This one is just wonderful! The sequel is at the top of my Must Read list. Best for ages 14 and up.

SO! - depending on the age of your kiddo - this box can work for upper elementary ages, tween ages, and high school ages.

I will wrap this box in an outer layer of packaging, so that the inner box can be given as a gift. In case, you weren't AWARE - the holidays are coming up! This would be such a darling gift package.

This box will be ready to ship at the end of October/early November.

Feel free to express admiration in the comments ha ha, but remember - if you want to order this box, you must email me!