Monday Miscellany

20170506_181823

Inspired by gathering my Spring candles for May’s band of bloggers, I briefly considered sharing my entire candle collection. Upon further consideration, there was no way I could capture all 100+ of them in a single photo (not even on panoramic) not to mention the destacking and unpacking of crates, hauling up from basement storage, lining up jars that would rather roll away, taking multiple photos, repacking, trudging back downstairs and restoring the various bins I’ve pulled out, all of which brought a change of mind.

I decided to show each seasonal collection when I pull those out for burning, instead.

What I’m sharing today are really my likes and interests more than official collections, hence the miscellany.

A Gathering of Globes 

20170507_104319

This kooky collection isn’t anything special as most are from secondary chains like TJMaxx or Tuesday Morning. Chosen for their size and neutral shades ranging from $5-$16. I couldn’t pass up the ‘mercury glass look’ accent lamp because it fit my metallic theme so well. It was purchased at TJMaxx for $39. The largest was a flea market find and it exhibits some historical significance with Russia labeled as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. 

My globe love sprang up sometime in childhood and has been constant ever since.

20170506_181918

ISO: a smallish illuminated globe, a lunar globe, a pre-WWII piece and a Replogle metallic.

A Family of Fiestaware 

20170507_110408

These pitchers sit atop the space above my kitchen cabinets. A friend has the entire rainbow of colors, but with limited space one must pick a palette and I chose warm. 

Fiestaware is easy to find, especially in my area because of the proximity to the Homer Laughlin factory. I like the simplicity and bright variety. I have place settings, crocks and server-ware pieces I use daily.

ISO: Marigold, Tangerine and maybe this skull & vine pattern

A stockpile of WWII tomes

20170507_115129

20170507_115530

Not an active collector of war books, yet I can’t seem to stop acquiring them. Most of these were library donations, when I started looking up the stories behind them, I brought them home. Modern history is one of my favorite eras and I feel compelled to preserve a personal collection of soldiers’ accounts from that significant time. 

The Ernie Pyle is copyrighted 1943 and was one of the very first personal accounts by a war correspondent only 6 months after Americans joined WWII.

20170507_115929

ISO: none, but that won’t stop me from picking them up.

A study of Holmesian keepsakes

20160901_131448

I admittedly got a little lazy here, featuring a past library display rather than taking a current shelfie. This was a shared collection with a friend who owns even more Sherlockian tchotkes. All but two of the books are mine, mostly gifted by a reference librarian. Of the rest, I can claim only the smallest ‘Sleuth’ Toby jug, the Detective Snoopy Hallmark ornament, the boardgame and one of the printed tile boxes.

ISO: I’m old school about my Sherlock fandom but I would love that 221B illuminated house too.

I’ve shared a few of my owls before also, but they’re currently scattered or packed away due to lack of display space. 

What else would I collect if money, time and storage were no object? International HP editions, teapots, more globes, jadeite, McCoy pottery, Tiffany glass, old board games, stamps (I’m the nerd excited over new stamp designs) classic books with fabric/leather bound covers, oh, and soup tureens. I’m obsessed with soup tureens! 

What’s in your dream collection?

The Crafted Van-Read Happy plan

Bookmarks may not be the subscription plan of the coolest kids, but for a bona-fide book geek, like myself, it’s a fun monthly reward to look forward to. You can’t help but acquire numerous bookmarks working in a library, which means I have one for nearly every book I own. Then again, can one really ever have too much adorable book merch?

The Crafted Van is a print company out of Vancouver, Canada I found through Instagram. Their sweet, occasionally tongue-in-cheek designs caught my eye.

Created by a two-woman team, Diana Luong and Erica Carreras, friends who opened the Crafted Van Etsy shop in October 2013. Per their website “Diana creates the designs while Erica handles all the production magic. We experimented with tons of different products before falling in love with magnetic bookmarks and fridge magnets! Outside of craftedvan, Diana is a designer and Erica is a registered nurse, resulting in a perfect mix of love, creativity and care in all of our creations.” A sampling from their shop is pictured below.

From mason jars to mermaids, wanderlust to washi tape, every hobby-related object and interest is on offer as a bookmark for it’s collector to acquire. In the etsy shop you’ll find an array of jumbo bookmarks, including many cat and dog breeds, and of course the ubiquitous smiling poop pile. I love the concept of the mini-sets of famous city icons of NYC, London, and others.

The CV Read Happy Plan is separate in that you must register for it on a cratejoy website. Once there, you can pick your plan, and which style of markers you wish to receive. There is a planner-obsessed subscription, a book nerd plan or both! I chose the book nerd 3 month plan for around $33.00 shipped, or $11.00 U.S. per month.

February’s theme: Once Upon a Time

20170419_114909

Each coordinated wax-sealed envelope holds 3-4 magnetic bookmarks and a mini art print or 2 bookmarks and a greeting card.

February’s exclusive set was a charming take on fairytale symbols. I love the fact that it included not only the princess, but the impish royal jester rather than prince charming. My little noble woman is just gonna have to be content with her frog and live happily ever now.

20170419_130925

Both the front and back sides sport detailed designs on all the bookmarks. Each theme has two shades of a featured color and an accent.

20170419_115401

The frog measures the largest at 2 inches wide/1.5 in. tall. He’s pretty happy doing his job.

March: Sweet Dreams

20170412_145931

Purple isn’t my thing, but anything to do with napping sure is. March’s theme brought an adorable pair of chubby-cheeked baby birds, a sleepy kitty and a snoring pillow, complete with a bedtime read and nightcap.

20170412_151034

Each envelope contains a description card highlighting the monthly theme. The one above also provided a note about a packaging switch.

20170412_150125 (1)

Trying to stay awake to read but falling asleep if I’m too comfy, I can relate pretty hard to that pillow.

April: Spring Showers

20170421_180341

April’s subscription was the first to include a greeting card. Depicting a white bunny surrounded by green veggies declaring, “You make me hoppy.” There are other punny cards available in the etsy shop. Not sure why the bunny’s holding a can in his paw, or what he’s drinking, but overall, this theme covered Spring, Easter and Earth Day nicely.

20170421_180827

20170421_180536

Snails are cute, as are slugs in my opinion. This googly-eyed, mushroom growing guy is my fave design, so far.

Nearly everything about the Read Happy plan is worth it. I enjoy the surprise, the exclusive designs, and supporting a small female-led business. In future orders I hope to see the introduction of a third color, maybe even a rainbow theme and I’m longing for a fridge magnet. They make cute little presents and using them has actually made me read happier, can’t beat that!

20170219_120840-1

Band of Bloggers-April

It’s that time of year again! As the warmer weather soothes stiff joints and brushes off the last vestiges of winter, homes beg for the same fresh start everyone promised themselves at the beginning of the year. Clothes are donated, rooms are scrubbed, and yards are tended. While the fauna leave their winter dens or return from long migrations, the world blooms with new growth in vibrant splashes of color.
 
For April’s Band of Bloggers post, we will answer a few questions about Spring and the ever-loved Spring Cleaning. Feel free to join in and answer these questions in the comments below!
Speaking of fauna, we’ve had a woodpecker visit a tree in our front yard every morning for the last week or two. I don’t mind him too much as the pecking only lasts about 5 minutes and it’s an arousing reminder of spring. I’m looking forward to longer days and getting outside more often. Though, it’s been rather rainy of late, hopefully our weather will cooperate.
Do you decorate for Spring? 
Barely, it’s my least decorated season. However, I grabbed a few more items this year, including the moss bunny below. Love that little woodland creature. I gravitate to
pastel blue-greens and aqua tones during spring. I also love earthy, mossy green tones.
 
Are there any products you find yourself reaching for as the weather warms? This can be anything; food, clothing, bath and body, wax, you name it!
Honestly, without a blog record of what home fragrance I melted last year, I’d have no recollection of the spring scents that I’ve reached for in the past. I can’t remember any before then either, but I know I’ve really only gotten into lavender scents through vendor wax. Citrus fragrance always seems to brighten things up around springtime.
This year, I’ve reached for numerous pink sugar blends, and will continue to do so as I’m expecting more. Two new-to-me categories I recently enjoyed melting are fizzy and laundry scents. I’m interested if anyone has a nice laundry type recommendation, nothing too starchy. I’ve also received some florals I will review soon. The Yankee jar candle is a gift from a friend in the retired scent Water Garden. An absolute pleasure to burn, as cool and soothing as an actual water garden.
I’ll be reaching for my Rose scented natural deodorant from The Dirty Goat, my festive one seemed to last much longer than the drug store brands. The antiperspirant property is holding up well so far. We’ll see if I enjoy smelling of roses.
Food-wise, it’s bring on the spring bounty! I crave nearly every type of salad one can imagine. I always use more herbs in the warmer months when they’re more readily available.
 
Do you participate in the Spring Cleaning craze?
Hahaha! (That’s the sound of my dust bunnies laughing).
I’m more of a summer cleaner, I need longer days and my husband’s help to tackle larger projects. This summer it will be cleaning the garage, but he doesn’t know that yet;) The only spring-oriented cleaning I have on the horizon is switching over my closets this weekend.
Don’t forget to visit these fellow participants in the Band of Bloggers and help support the blogging community!
Liz at Furianne
Sandra at Finger Candy
If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

Best & Worst/January

Apparently, by surrounding myself with the comforts of home and lit candles, I’ve embraced the practice of Hygge this month without even realizing it. “Hygge represents finding happiness in mundane pleasures, such as drinking a cup of warm tea while under a blanket, reading next to a cozy fire and having dinner at home with your friends.” I had no idea I was so trendy, but if this is the Danish way of life I’m certainly down with it. 

20170128_155000

The Best:

  • I’ve indulged in much-needed comforting scents all month long and don’t see this trend changing anytime soon…

Baby Powder potion pack by Super Tarts 

20170105_185945
Super Tarts

 

Fireside by Handmade Prim 

Hot Buttered Rum and Season of Peace retired candles by Yankee Candle

Pure White Cotton and Wine Cellar wax melts by Bath and Body Works

White Pumpkin Lilac by Swing and Dream Soap Co. and by Wax Junkie Melts has been my preferred scent this month. I’ve used one after the other in my bedroom and let the spiced floral cream lull me to sleep. I will be in search of more soon.

  • The Dirty Goat’s all natural probiotic deodorant is going strong and is a happy change.
  • Drinking more tea, thanks to my tea bar. I’ve enjoyed my usual favorites but the winning new addition is Adagio’s Apricot/Peach/Vanilla/Apple Cinnamon from Riddle’s tea shoppe
  • Taking time to meet with friends. Be it a special movie night or driving the distance halfway between our homes to celebrate a belated holiday with our good friends. Spending time with my buddies rejuvenates my spirits like nothing else can. Not to mention all the pampering presents I received. Thank you so much Rach, I can’t wait till March!

lala-land

  • La La Land-It’s no secret that I love musicals and I gave in to the charm of this one easily. Universally appealing due to its intimate look at the spirit of human ambition and emotionally uplifting for it’s music, dances, and magical love story. Recommended for dreamers, young and old. But also a reminder to support the dreams of the ones you love, they are counting on you to believe when they falter. Though not everyone’s enamored with the (admittedly not perfect) ending, I respect it for the willingness to look back and then let go. An emotional, yet beautiful feel-good movie that makes ME want to dance doesn’t occur very often. So, “here’s to the ones who dream, foolish as they may seem…”

The Worst:

  • Me! For getting off to a slow start with my New Year’s wellness intentions. I’ve exercised here and there, but have attended a total of zero yoga classes and meditated only once. I haven’t made a strong effort to eat healthier either, unless you count the 10 lbs of grapefruits* that we bought on the last grocery trip.

*On a positive note, I have a bounty in case I want to learn to juggle and I did make this grapefruit yogurt cake. Which most definitely belongs in the best list.

dscf0071

  • Lots of worries over the health of our little Bostie, Johnny. We made it through a rough post-surgery period to learn 2 out of 3 lumps were mast cell tumors. Fortunately, his doctor tried to cut out as much as possible but one worrisome spot has only a 1 mm clean margin of depth. Meaning, the tumor could have jumped or made its way to muscles and organs. Only time and close monitoring will tell what his future holds. However, our tough pup has beaten and survived cancer before, 6 years ago. If any dog can pull through he can. He’s already rallied back to his normal self and the stitches come out soon.
  • Also me, for not burning through the candles that I intended to in January. I want to finish at least 3 seasonal ones to avoid packing them away. With no plans to buy any until I’ve used up 5, it should be a good ratio for clearing out some of my stash.

2017-01-28-20-00-00

I enter into a new month with renewed intentions, including my post-holiday shopping ban. February is crunch time for speech and debate season; I’ll be extremely busy, but I’m anxiously awaiting several preorders and am excited for more vendor features.

That’s the long and short of January. How have you fared with your new year’s intentions? Any special plans or purchases to look forward to in February?

 

Tea and transformation

At the beginning of each yoga class, we are asked to set an intention for that day’s practice. It could be a phrase, a word, or a goal to focus on. At the end of the practice we offer that intention up, as if dedicating it out into the world. My intention should be to do more yoga because I’ve been a big slacker lately, but I mostly think of peace, patience, flexibility, etc.

img_20170108_132351

Many also set an intention at the beginning of the new year. I have done so for the past few years and thought I’d share mine for the upcoming year. By sending it out into the world, I may achieve it in a greater sense. My intention is transformation. To complete a change, alter oneself, renew. All of the ways in which I’ll do so aren’t evident yet, however, I’ve started with a few. I’m approaching a big birthday this year, likely to cause me to reflect and reevaluate my goals in life. I’m excited for this, both the celebration and an increased eye towards what the future holds. My blog is transitioning too, from a narrower focus to one that’s more inclusive of my life and loves.

Nowhere in my life is there more evident a need for change than in our house. We’ve spent our tenth year living here and experienced the ten year curse, in which everything seems to fall apart. With projects large and small, we have to focus on home repairs. An upcoming one is replacing the flooring on both levels. I’ve mentioned the flood that occurred downstairs, but we also had a leaking refrigerator that wasn’t discovered until it lifted and cracked the kitchen tiles in some areas. They’re stable to walk on, but aren’t pretty and will only get worse.

20170108_101707-1

There’s some general sprucing up occurring as well. In September, I spied a tea/coffee bar on a home decor blog and couldn’t get how perfect it would be off of my mind. At $59 from Hobby Lobby, it made my short Christmas list, and, lo and behold, Santa brought it. My husband installed my wished for coffee/tea bar last week.

Why is it so perfect? First of all, I’m in dire need of more kitchen shelf space and the mug hooks are a plus. Best of all the baskets are the ideal size for my favorite tea tins from the Republic of Tea. Not as slick and sleek as other coffee bar versions that I’ve seen decked out with chrome, Keurig makers and monochromatic mugs, but mine is eclectic and filled with my favorites.

img_20170108_111446-1

My current tea rotation consists mostly of Republic of Tea in the Downton Estate blend, an earl grey with vanilla and the Downton Christmas blend, a mulling spice. I’m a notorious insomniac, so I occasionally use the Get Some Zzz’s chamomile. My favorite blend, the Milk Oolong has just returned to the line-up and will probably be my spring tea choice.

My husband prefers this cool Dept. of Tea breakfast blend. We both like classic PG tips, found at World Market. A new goodie is the discovery of Riddle’s Tea Shoppe, a partner with Adagio teas which makes fandom blends. The Loyalty house blend nod to Hufflepuff is a sweet refreshing apricot, vanilla, apple & cinnamon tea that was a fitting stocking stuffer for my Hufflepuff husband:)

The luxury to display my teas and keep additions, like local honey, within easy reach has already transformed the amount of tea I have drunk this year. I believe 2017 will be “the year of tea.”

20170108_101433

Just in case I begin to think I’m getting overly sophisticated with intentions and tea bars, I bought this silly planner to help me track all of my plans and ideas. Everybody needs a little whimsy in their days, too.

Any yearly intentions or exciting plans on your horizon this year? Did a special Christmas present provide inspiration? Please share your tea recommendations too, I think that one can’t have too many cups of tea.

Book pins and a reading challenge

It is said that the way you spend your New Year’s Day will predict the way you will spend your year. I don’t know if there’s any truth to that old saying, probably passed down by grandmothers and mothers advising their children not to overdo it on New Year’s Eve. But if so, I enjoyed a lovely, laid-back first day of 2017 and I’d be lucky to spend the rest of my year in the same way.

I relaxed at home with my husband and pup. Stayed in my pajamas until way too late, blogging, reading and organizing a bit. In the evening, I grabbed a few snacks and went off to visit two of my best friends for our after-Christmas get together and gift exchange. We had such fun and I dearly wish that we can spend more time together in the upcoming year.

Now that presents have been given, I can share these lovely enamel pins that I gifted.

20170102_122321

When I received this small delivery in the mail a couple of months ago, I knew with a label that promising, it had be good.

And these little gems exceeded my expectations!

20170101_113442If you’re into fandom style, are a frequent Etsy shopper, or spend time with children, you are probably aware that enamel pins are having a moment. These bookish pins from Ideal bookshelf, by Jane Mount, have been featured on Book Riot’s holiday shopping guide, but first showed up on my radar in my Etsy recommendations, likely based on my Harry Potter themed favorites.

The only benefit to a work requirement of wearing a lanyard with a key card identifying me as library personnel is, that I can personalize it with pieces of flair. I knew I had to have one, but there were so many precious options that I couldn’t stop at one and found pins that represented my friends as well. Who doesn’t have a favorite book?

20170101_164850

The details and craftsmanship make these less like pins and more like miniature works of art. For my classic novel loving bestie, there were a few options, but she has let it be known how significantly she relates to Jane Eyre, so that was easy.

20170101_175023

For my more contemporary reading buddy, I searched until I found the perfect pin. Not everyone would appreciate this, but she happens to work as a part-time proofreader for W.W. Norton publishing. She appreciated it even more when we realized it contained double meaning and applied to her other job as a clothing retail manager, too.

20170101_134532

I loved and wanted multiples including the Harry Potter series pins, but the completist in me would buy them all. Instead I answered the call of my childhood heart. Little House on the Prairie was one of my first loves from even before I could read. My sister used to read it to me, then we would pretend to be the characters and I always got to play Laura.

If you aren’t lucky enough to wear a lanyard everyday, these are fun to display on jackets, tote bags, purses, hats, pinboards, just about anywhere. They cost $11.00 each and have an easy-grip rubber pinch back.

Of course, there’s a whole world of beautiful and cheeky pins out there. Did I mention the Shakespeare playbill ones? I know that I’ve opened the floodgates and will probably have two lanyards worth of bookish fandom pins before long!

2017 Reading Challenge:

I did not read nearly enough books in 2016 and was disappointed in most of what I did. In order to challenge myself to read more and read better, I joined The Redolent Mermaid’s book challenge.

If you’re looking to expand your reading growth or just love a good challenge, you should join us! It isn’t too intense at 24 reads, it could even be a fun side challenge for avid readers. Much of the list falls right into my genre wheelhouse, with just enough options to stretch my reading muscles. Go to the above link to check it out and comment to let Julie know you wish to join.

You can also comment here if you prefer (I’d love if you did so) and I will let her know how many are joining. Look for challenge update posts throughout the year. I’m already into #12 on the list, and excited about #14, not too sure what to choose for #21…

What novel suggestions do you have for me in 2017? I hope you enjoyed the holiday, what did it predict for your upcoming year?

– jaybird

Fall fun-Color Collage

20161104_104355

Glorious golden color displayed on a perfect little tree in the village park near the library where I work. With brightly hued foliage so resplendent this tree deserves a place in the setting of a classic tale by Washington Irving, Edith Wharton or Nathaniel Hawthorne. At least the subject of a stanza or two in a Frost, Emerson or Longfellow poem would be appropriate for such a distinguished tree.

As much as I’ve enjoyed driving past the maple? on my way to work, no inspiration to compose a verse in its honor has struck me yet. On second thought, I’ve now featured the golden beauty in a blog. Not bad for this modest tree. Less distinguished are the coated-metal reindeer silhouettes you can just make out climbing into the bottom right corner. The village powers-that-be like to get an early start on the Christmas display. Photo taken on Halloween!

20161104_142051
My lunchtime view in good weather.

One perk of working in a slightly country area is that there aren’t many houses near the public library and village office property. This means I can sneak out for a peaceful lunch break at the picnic table and observe the colors of fall without much noise or distraction. I’ve been told deer have even been spotted in the woods behind the building, but all I’ve seen is Chipper, our chipmunk, scurrying around:)

I am fortunate to have a short scenic drive to work everyday, with two different five to ten minute stretches of gorgeous fall color that I’d love to capture. However, I’m a failure at videotaping while driving. Guess I shouldn’t push my luck, unless I used a go pro or some contraption. Maybe next year.

As dazzling as fall foliage is while still on the trees, it’s prominent in a different way once it hits the ground. Just looking at the blanket of leaves near, in, and around my yard overwhelms me. While he enjoys sniffing and crunching the leaves as much as I do, Johnny Funtime isn’t much help in the leaf gathering department.

20161106_141919

At least the burnt amber of the tree across the road is beautiful to behold as it’s leaves fly over to mingle with ours. I wonder if certain color leaves hold on longer, because it seems there is a lack of red foliage around the neighborhood. Although my favorite hue is the coral color that develops as a green tree goes from yellow to orange, that combo seems to have fallen already too. I do love the intensity of the auburn red on these leaves in my sister’s backyard last month.20161019_101819

Speaking of divine fall color, I snapped plenty of inspiration from my friend’s garden when we visited in mid-October. A landscape designer by trade, she has a legitimate flower/shrub garden all year long.

Isn’t that a perfect garden path, picket fence and all? Her long-growing cosmos show off striking color and I love the strategic placing of the maiden grasses tucked in the corners for privacy.

20161016_101014

 

Such vibrant orange cosmo flowers! Being the generous friend that she is, my buddy gifted some seeds for me to plant next year. I’m hoping they’re hardy enough to withstand my gardening inadequacy. Thanks, R, for answering my botanical questions after 11 pm!

Clockwise from left is lovely beepalm, blanket flower, and a sort of rainbow hued chrysanthemum.

Fall Colors swirl jar:

20161102_140551

Of course, if you know my blog then you know I have the perfect candle for a fall color collage theme. It’s retired Fall Colors, by Yankee Candle, a rare swirl jar in my collection. Yankee stopped producing the swirls of two different scents and colors not long after Jarden Corp took over. I still get excited when I spot them in the outlet stores.

This is a blend of Autumn Leaves and November Rain, perfect for this month. It’s true that I don’t like November Rain on its own, but paired with crisp, bold Autumn Leaves and I’m wowed by it. The November Rain gets toned down while Autumn Leaves is enhanced by more variety. Even though the swirl jars are no longer produced, this combo can be easily reproduced by breaking up two wax tarts and mixing them together in a warmer.

20161102_140607
Fletcher and the Falling Leaves by Julia Rawlinson

When a perfect fall collage exists in book form, especially a children’s book, then I must feature it, too. I restrained myself from posting every page, but if you get a chance to read this or share with a little one, the illustrations are delightful.

20161016_181319
A basket of mini pumpkins and gourds should always be shared too when one comes across it.

20161022_180010

I bought my first Better Homes and Gardens and Scentsationals wax a few weeks ago. Better late than never because I’m loving them all. These four represent many of my fall faves: woods and crisp masculine notes in my number one, Crimson, yummy fall foods in the limited edition A Thankful Harvest, earthy, sweet and spicy Vanilla Caramel Spice, and soft and cozy Cashmere Cream. If these were the breadth of my fall wax, I think I’d be satisfied!

Lastly, I picked up just a few autumnal home decor items when I thrifted at Ohio Buckeye Thrift in Columbus. Some great finds included the metal pumpkin candle tray that I’ll get tons of use out of, a heavy iron acorn finial paperweight, a woven owl that I adore even if she’s a hot-glued mess, and a melamine bowl which I’m sure I’ll use summer and fall. These four items totaled only $7 bucks. True enjoyment in finding, new-to-me, decor without breaking the bank.

20161106_175902

When putting up Halloween decor, I set my glass beaded garland upon my copper tray for a convenient resting spot until I could roll it up. As happenstance, I absolutely loved the way it looked!  I’ve kept it there for the rest of the season, carefully adjusting the baubled vine out of flame’s way. I’ve already melted a bead, oops.

Continue counting down more fall fun with us until after Thanksgiving.

20161106_171433

-jaybird