July 12, 2019

cool stuff i like

Hello friends! How's your summer going? It's been off and on rainy and not too hot and I'm LOVING this summer weather this year. The past few years have been so blazing hot and smoky. Usually it seems like we have one or two weeks of 75 degree weather and then the rest of the summer is just Too Hot, and I'm like why can't the whole summer just fluctuate between 70 and 75 degrees? Well we're getting just that this year, and I. am. thrilled. 

A cool thing on Instagram went on last week - go check out the #12daysofannestagram tag - a super fun challenge I participated in celebrating all things Anne of Green Gables.

Box news: All of the 'Summer in Paris' book surprise boxes have been mailed out, and I'll start with the reveals on Instagram, and then I'll get together a reveal post here on the blog as well. That box was SUPER fun to put together, and I was super delighted with it, and that's always my goal - TO DELIGHT MYSELF ha ha ha - if others like it as well, so much the better! I'll be advertising for the Autumn box early this year; I'll start talking about it in earlyAugust because the books are coming from England and due to some family commitments taking up most of October, I'll be mailing all of the Autumn boxes in late September this year. So I'll be only taking orders until mid to late August for the Autumn box!

How do you like them strawberries. They were so red, some of them were seriously ruby scarlet - the juiciest strawberries I've ever had. I don't know why I even make an attempt at buying them at any other time of year. My daughter is in rehearsals for a summer theater production, so we haven't really been doing anything super exciting around here other than driving a lot, but we did just start introducing our teen to 'The X-Files', which.....I've been waiting years and years for this day to arrive! She loves it.

Online cool stuff this week:

Summer in the French countryside.

Fascinating. Read this. We just had a mild earthquake in the Pacific NW at 3am. We woke up and immediately began running around the house like chickens, trying to find clothes and shoes etc., which was the wrong thing to do.


Alicia Paulson's new studio makeover is a cool breeze of awesome.

Going to IKEA soon. I want to check out this bag, and this bag, and this pillow. (not totally sure on the pillow, need to see it in person.) And these bowls.

This is just too over the top fabulous. I can't wait for the inevitable HBO show.

Removable wallpapers selected by MFAMB.

Just ordered the shampoo bar. I've been haunted by the thought of so many plastic bottles of everything. I've been looking for something like this to try!

Getting caught up with everything on this gorgeous blog.

Cool Book of the Week: 'The Summer Country' by Lauren Willig, just out this past June. Ok so if you've been hanging out with me here for awhile, you know that I 100% choose books by their covers. Show me a fabulous cover, and I'll show you my money. Now, that hasn't always worked out for me - I've definitely purchased books based on covers only to discover I WAS BEING FOOLED and the book was not for me. But. This one has a great looking cover AND I'm keen to find it and read it because it kind of sounds like storylines from my old school Victoria Holt books. (yes I will someday devote a post to my beloved Victoria Holts, I was OBSESSED.) A Victorian epic set in a possibly haunted and deserted plantation in Barbados? Yeah, I'm gonna give this one a whirl.

Have a lovely weekend! I'm still slowly reading through this book, and I just love it.


July 4, 2019

new madeleine l'engle books

Well this title is a bit of a cheat, because there aren't actually any new Madeleine L'Engle books (ARE THERE???) but there are some lovely new covers out there that I hadn't seen before and I think they're absolutely breathtaking.

So I've mentioned many times throughout the years about my love for all things Madeleine L'Engle. And as much as I adore 'A Wrinkle in Time', I spent years reading and re-reading the Austin series. As I just mentioned recently in this Instagram post about literary boyfriends, I had a HUGE crush on Adam Eddington from 'The Arm of the Starfish' and 'A Ring of Endless Light' and 'Troubling a Star'. I loved 'Camilla' and I was OBSESSED with 'And Both Were Young'. I pretty much read every Madeleine L'Engle book I could get my hands on.

And as I got older, I began reading her books for adults, like 'A Severed Wasp', 'The Small Rain' and 'A Winter's Love'.

The thing that always gets me about Madeleine's books is how in nearly each story - by the end, you feel like you intimately KNOW the characters, in a way I find lacking in so many other books. I'm not religious at all, like, AT ALL - but I very much appreciate how L'Engle's personal spirituality finds expression in her themes and ideas about life. Her books are cosmic, in the best sense.

Anyway, I was pretty bowled over to discover that there are still more of L'Engle's adult novels that I've yet to read! Apparently 'Ilsa' was out of print for nearly 60 years and is darker in tone than a lot of her works, dealing with unrequited love and romantic fixation in a Southern town.

And I'm dying to read 'The Other Side of the Sun' about a British bride who comes to live in the American South after the Civil War. (um, THAT must have been interesting.)

I'm fascinated that she wrote some novels set in the South, because nearly everything else I've read of hers is set on the East Coast, or European locales. She has a very East Coast sensibility that comes through in her writing due to her college years in Massachusetts and her years living in NYC as an actress on Broadway. I knew that she went to boarding school in Europe, but I didn't realize that she also went another boarding school in South Carolina.

What do you think? Have you read her adult novels? OH - check this out - there are these GORGEOUS sets for the 'A Wrinkle in Time' series and also a set that includes the books featuring Meg Murray's daughter Polly. Very cool.

June 28, 2019

emily of new moon box

So I'd like to say that I had this idea all on my own, but even though I had the happy idea to create my Anne of Green Gables boxes last year, it didn't really occur to me to take the logical next step until A Very Helpful Person wrote me and requested a custom Emily of New Moon box!

Now - it DID occur to me before creating the Anne boxes, that I would love to have a Lucy Maud Montgomery box and just throw 'The Blue Castle' in EVERYTHING and call it a day lol. (May I take a moment's digression and let you know that 1) it's one of my favorite books of ALL TIME and 2) please go read 'The Blue Castle' and 3) Thank you, go read it.)

But here's the deal - as I pondered this idea, ponder ponder ponder - and as I took a peek at what was out there that I could use for a L.M. Montgomery box....everything merchandise related was Anne Anne Anne all the time, everywhere. So I decided ok, making an Anne box! I just felt I was going to get the most immersive experience by making Anne boxes, if that makes any sense.

However, by thinking very hard for about a week, or longer - it takes a lot for me to stretch my brain these days - I did manage to come up with ideas for an Emily box that I think are appropriate for the theme.

I've always considered Emily to be the moon to Anne's sun. She's silvery, dark haired, with violet hued eyes, and her last name is Starr - I knew a celestial theme would work well for her.

For boxes that might also go to children, I always show and tell from the outset - and here's what you can expect in this box (I might mix and change things as I discover items or change my mood) :

The Emily book of your choosing

Constellation themed socks

Vintage washi deco tape in shades of indigo or violet

The candy that goes into my Anne boxes - this time in a Pear & Cinnamon flavor

Peppermint tea

an Emily of New Moon bookmark

Celestial themed note pad

a strand of fairy lights

 (**If this box seems familiar to long term readers, please check out this post about my Stargazer box, which I am STILL MAKING for tweens and teens. I'm using a different brand of colored fairy lights now, but otherwise I'm still offering this box, and I'm making it a permanent offering because I love the idea so much! That box will also have the celestial notebook, and I'll be offering the constellation socks OR the headband.**)

Pricing for these is $45 plus shipping. If you'd like one, email me at juliasbookbag (at) gmail (dot) com and request a box! And tell me which book you'd like! Important detail. Then I'll send along an invoice. Do you consider yourself more of an Anne fan or an Emily fan?

June 18, 2019

new anne of green gables boxes!

Something interesting began happening with my Anne of Green Gables book surprise boxes. Turns out....I'm selling many more of these to the adult Anne fans than I have to the younger set just discovering Anne! It occurred to me that I needed to tweak my original Anne box a bit to reflect the tastes of a more grown up audience. So I've made a few changes. (I still offer my Anne box which uses beautiful editions with styling more geared towards the junior set, and the most darling Anne stickers, cards and notepads!)

Oh - and to remind - pricing and ordering details can be found up above at my blog header, click the 'Info' tab.

The primary change that I made was in the choosing of the cover art style. (Please see here for the editions that I love using for younger audiences. The entire series with that cover art is GORGEOUS.) I find the art style of the covers up above to be more elegant and romantic, and just perfect for my Anne boxes going to grownups who have never (never!) outgrown their love for all things Anne Shirley.

For my original Anne boxes, I use the most darling ANNE OF GREEN GABLES wrapping paper that I have to special order - whereas I'm using a more refined style of wrapping for my adult boxes, and I'm including new gorgeous art cards that have Anne's inspirational quotes.

Something new that's going into ALL Anne boxes for as long as I can get the material are these lovely Anne of Green Gables-inspired 'Raspberry Cordial' soaps. SO excited about these!  I partnered with fragrance fairy Julie from Parchment Studios, and she granted my wish of creating a custom made product for my Anne boxes, and I couldn't be more delighted with what she created for me. They are absolutely perfect and match the aesthetic of my Anne boxes in a way I didn't think possible!

Seriously gorgeous, right?! I squealed when these arrived.

I knew that I wanted to include some kind of Anne bath or beauty item if possible, and I did get some of these Anne of Green Gables bath bombs down below, but sadly they are not easy for me to get my hands on. I have a few of these in stock, but once I saw the magic that Parchment Studios was able to create for me, I decided to switch over to the Raspberry Cordial soaps, instead of the bath bombs. Bath bombs are fun, but over and used up in a flash. So once the stock I have on hand is gone, I won't be re-ordering any more.

Some other changes I've made to the Anne box - I'm discontinuing the use of fat quarters of Anne fabric  - instead I'm including vintage-esque socks or a vintage floral print mini bag, the choice of which is determined by what kind of stock is available.

I've received so many emails expressing EXTREME JOY from recipients of the Anne boxes. One that remains a treasured memory is the one from the mama who wrote me and said that the Anne box would be an experience her daughter would remember forever. I cried about that, because I remember so clearly at age 11 when my aunt sent me my boxed set of the Anne series, and how the Anne books became my literary BFF's. You never stop being an Anne fan!

So whether you know someone who has yet to have their first Anne of Green Gables experience, or you long for a beautiful new copy and some Anne-ish treats to boot....I've got you covered with these boxes.

Also.......soon to be chatted about more.....Emily of New Moon boxes.

June 14, 2019

cool stuff i like

Happy Friday! Over on Instagram, I posted my peonies-on-steroids and here's what my husband had to say about them: "they remind me of a prom dress from the '80's - pink, frilly, and too much material." Well. Huh. I'm reminded that I haven't had much of his commentary on the blog in a LONG time, and that I should get it together this summer and create a summer reading list for him to critique. (Although I'm pretty certain that NOTHING will ever top this post.)

In box news, I'm reminding that there's still space to order my Summer in Paris book surprise box for another week, and then I'm closing the theme. I will have some other options to order this summer - Anne of Green Gables boxes (they've been tweaked! Post next week.), British boxes, and a couple other things I'll chat about soon.

Online things to share:

These cookies.

This cookbook. (from my home state! totally getting this.) 

Lots and lots of summer reading lists for kids of all age ranges HERE.

I'll watch anything Julian Fellowes creates.

You can make this and pretend you're in the south of France.

Susan Branch is getting ready for summer.

I think I put this Old Fashioned Rhubarb Pudding Cake recipe up on Facebook - for those of you not on there, here it is again. (See the photo up above.) It's MAGICAL, and I'll be doing it with peaches later in summer, and then plums in the fall.

This will make you happy.

Have fun going down this rabbit hole!

'This moment in June'

Cool Book of the Week:
Well if you recall from my last Cool Stuff post, my pre-ordering finger was at the ready, and now I'm about to give it a real workout because OMG Maggie Stiefvater (of my beloved 'Raven Boys' fame - have you read those? I WAS OBSESSED. You know about my strange East Coast prep school obsession right?) has written a new trilogy and the first one is called 'Call Down the Hawk' and one of the main characters is one of the Raven Boys! I'm so out of my mind thrilled that she's continuing on with that world. *Mild spoiler* for 'The Raven Boys' - if you recall, one of the boys has a very particular ability with dreams. I seriously can't wait for this.

Have a lovely weekend and a Happy Father's Day to the daddies - I have a cold and I'm hoping to finally get a chance to watch this movie. Go make that rhubarb pudding cake!