Introducing the Vintage Book of the Month Club!

The English philosopher, A.C. Grayling, recently said “To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.”

Ms. Jeannie could not agree more! While re-reading Wuthering Heights a few months ago, Ms. Jeannie got to thinking about vintage books and how their stories, while old in years are often times, not old in spirit. They are just more settled and sometimes overlooked by their shinier, more alluring contemporaries.  But Ms. Jeannie aspires to shake these vintage stories up again – to churn their waters of words and wisdom, of history and social commentary, of status and symbolism.  So it is with that in mind, that Ms. Jeannie is thrilled to announce the launch of her new Vintage Book of the Month Club!

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The book club operates on subscription basis, with a choice of either six months or one year. And there are a few categories available: Fiction, Non-Fiction and Children’s books. The former broken down further into “him”and “her” categories and the latter into “boys” and “girls” categories.  That way if you were giving the book club subscription as a gift you could personalize it with the types of books the recipient likes to read the most.

Every month, subscribers receive one hardcover vintage book in the mail. Written or copyrighted before 1970, each book arrives gift wrapped.  A card detailing the history behind the book and/or author is also included along with a bookplate that bares the recipient’s name.  This is a what the bookplate looks like…

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When Ms. Jeannie designed the bookplate, she went with an Art Deco theme since that is one of her favorite periods in history. The soaring antelope-type deer reminded Ms. Jeannie of the soaring feeling a good story can give you.

It also reminded Ms. Jeannie of the time that she was picking blackberries from a hedgerow in Pennsylvania. It was a lovely lazy grey, green day. Storm clouds were just working there way into the landscape and the birds were singing their hearts out. The blackberries that year, were the biggest Ms. Jeannie had ever seen. The bushes, equally girthy, had grown together and formed an alley of a row that seemed as long as a mile and as tall as a giant.  Full, heavy berries dangled feet above Ms. Jeannie’s head taunting her ability to reach them.

But Ms. Jeannie had more than enough supply at eye-level, so she got to work with intentions to gather enough for a pie and then possibly some tarts for her neighbor. Within 30 minutes, she had pickd an entire bucket full and was working on a second, when all of a sudden,  a dark shadow passed fast overhead. Ms. Jeannie looked up in time to see a furry, white belly sailing through the sky. As she watched the arc of the belly go from front to back, she saw it land, noiselessly behind her and bound off into the woods.

Do you you know what this mysterious flying creature was? A deer! Most likely spooked by something in a neighboring yard this deer was on the run, saw the hedgerow and thought “yeah – I can clear that,” and up and over she went. Ms. Jeannie was awe-struck. It was a magical and dangerous moment. If Ms. Jeannie had been standing just a few inches further back than she was, the deer would have landed right on top of her.

To have the whole scene play out without a single noise (except for the birds) was stunning and surprising. You’d like to think you could hear such a commotion coming.  The event was marvelous and left Ms. Jeannie a bit giddy with excitement to tell Mr. Jeannie all about the day a deer flew through the sky like a bird.   Looking in on the scene – you’d have seen a woman among a batch of berry bushes, but stick around and invest a few minutes of time there, and eventually you’d have seen a bit of magic.  Isn’t that just the epitome of a good book? At the start you think, “oh this is a nice pattern of words” and then without warning those nice little words pull you into the storyline in one effortless swoop and carry your imagination away.

That’s just the effect Ms. Jeannie is hoping for with her vintage book of the month club. As for the types of vintage books that one might receive, the field will be varied. Non-fiction readers could expect a variety of topics including biographies and memoirs (can you ever really get enough information about Ernest Hemingway?!), books about nature, cooking or history. Fiction readers could expect vintage editions of classic literature from Henry James or Mark Twain, tales of romance complete with gorgeous retro dust jackets or a vintage suspense novel or a book of poetry.

The fun part of an “of the month” club is the surprise element behind each package and the appreciation of the item in form, content and appearance.  So just like when you participate in the jam of the month club, or the wine of the month club or the coffee of the month club – you come away just a little bit more enlightened about the subtle differences of a singular subject.  Each of the vintage books in Ms. Jeannie’s club, will be of good quality and will be hand-picked for its story, presentation and/or subject matter.

The children’s book option includes a variety of board books and picture books, tall tales, nursery rhymes, and early education materials.  Ms. Jeannie thinks that this subscription would make a really fun gift for a baby shower or a new mom. The little one’s library would grow bigger and bigger, month by month, just like them, and hopefully they would become the building blocks for a new generation of readers altogether.

So that’s the book club in a nutshell. Fun for gift-giving or fun for yourself, Ms. Jeannie’s Vintage Book of the Month Club looks forward to entertaining a dynamic group of readers.  If you’d like to sign up for a six month subscription, you can do so here. Or if you prefer a one year subscription, you can sign up here. 

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And of course, if you have any questions, please ask!

The Summer Reading List

The other day, Mr. Jeannie Ology feared the worst. That Ms. Jeannie wound be done in. In the night. By the toppling tower of books that has taken up residence on her tiny night stand next to the bed.

“One wrong flip of your hand and you’ll be dead.”

Ms. Jeannie hadn’t even considered these possibilities. There are a lot of books. But Ms. Jeannie has plans to read each and every one this summer. Mr. Jeannie said it was an ambitious goal.

Ms. Jeannie's summer reading.
Ms. Jeannie’s summer reading.

Perhaps. But Ms. Jeannie is of the ambitious sort, so it is only fitting. Besides, she tells Mr. Jeannie – there could be worse things in life than death by books:)

And so she presents her summer reading list…

Ms. Jeannie promised her handsome husband that after reading each book and thoughtfully thinking about it – she’ll retire it to the towering stacks on the dresser far, far away from the bed. By September, she should be out of harm’s way. Quite possibly, also by then, a new batch of handmade bookshelves will be finished. (hint, hint, Mr. Jeannie!).

Last week, Ms. Jeannie fell in love with this house full of bookshelves from the Hooked on Houses blog.

Photo courtesy of HookedOnHouses.net. Click the photo to see the entire house.
Photo courtesy of HookedOnHouses.net. Click the photo to see the entire house.

You don’t have to worry about any sudden death here! Perhaps one day, Ms. Jeannie will be appropriately organized with her book collection. Until then, she’ll just have to take it one story at a time.

What’s on your summer reading list? If you’ve read any of the books in Ms. Jeannie’s list above,  please let her know which ones and what you thought.

Happy reading and happy weekend!

In Creative May: Where Ms. Jeannie Popped Up Last Month

Ms. Jeannie is never one to toot her own horn, but having prefaced what she is about to say with that disclaimer, she is adding a new category to her blog entitled Press Mentions, which will organize all the places around the web where Ms. Jeannie has popped up in conversation.

She likes this category not for the “look at me” neurosis but for the ability to showcase other talented creatives who have stumbled upon Ms. Jeannie’s shop and and interpreted her vintage items in their own unique way.  Ms. Jeannie discovers so many fascinating people through these features, so many new ideas, so many new viewpoints, that’s what she’d like to pass on to you in these monthly round-ups. Possibly you will discover something new and exciting for yourself.

All of the photographs are clickable links that go directly to each source’s site so get your explorer hat on and ready yourself for a little getaway. In this round-up, you’ll head to to Britain (twice), fall in love with flowers all over again, be introduced to what is fresh and new in beachy cottage decor and be inspired by the possibilities of paper.

Jocelyn is an American expat living in London. With a beautiful eye for interior design,  her blog offers a calm, thoughtful and artful approach to living graciously.
Jocelyn is an American expat living in London. With a beautiful eye for interior design (see her portfolio here), her blog offers a calm, thoughtful and artful approach to living graciously.
Freedom with Flowers follows the adventures of Regan, who just celebrated her 20th birthday and has a gorgeous appreciation of all things floral.
Freedom with Flowers follows the adventures of Rowan, who just celebrated her 20th birthday and has a gorgeous appreciation of all things floral.
Mickey has been involved in the advertysing and design industries for over 30 years. She recently started her own decoupage plate and home decor business. With her relaxed, coastal type feel of her designs - these plates would be perfect for beach houses or country cottages.
Mickey has been involved in the advertising and design industries for over 30 years. She recently started her own decoupage plate and home decor business. With the relaxed, coastal type feel of her designs, they would be perfect additions to your beach house or country cottage.
Peta is also based in the UK. In addition to selling vintage jewelry online she also is the editor a new free vintage magazine, which is gorgeous in both layout and design.  Content ranges from vintage recipes to howto tutorials to interviews that recall all the glamour without all  the fussiness of vintage style.
Peta is also based in the UK. In addition to selling vintage jewelry online she also is the editor a new free vintage magazine, which is gorgeous in both layout and design. Content ranges from vintage recipes to howto tutorials to interviews that recall all the glamour without all the fussiness of vintage style.
Martha needs no introduction! This feature was thrilling for Ms. Jeannie because she has always been inspired by Martha's entrepreneurial spirit.
Martha needs no introduction! This feature was thrilling for Ms. Jeannie because she has always been inspired by Martha’s entrepreneurial spirit!

Happy inspiration! And a great big THANK YOU to all the ladies above for inviting Ms. Jeannie into your thoughts.

Also on quick side note: Ms. Jeannie just joined bloglovin’ which is a handy little organizer that allows you to collect, follow and read blogs from all over the internet in one handy little spot. It doesn’t matter if its a wordpress blog, a blogspot or a personal website – you just gather all the ones you want and every morning your bloglovin’ feed is updated and emailed to you.

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/7894337/?claim=vgh2eurpw6b”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Ms. Jeannie on Martha: A Feature on marthastewart.com

Ms. Jeannie was over the moon that a set of her children’s books were mentioned on marthastewart.com yesterday! The piece was about a 17 year old paper artist named Lova, who creates all sorts of paper art, flowers, gift wrap, dioramas and such from vintage paper.

Nature Study
Nature Study; Featuring the amazing work of Lova Blavarg

Lova chose Ms. Jeannie’s Etsy shop as one of her favorite sources for inspiration!

There's Ms. Jeannie's vintage children's books! And a nice quote from Lova:)
There’s Ms. Jeannie’s vintage children’s books! And a nice quote from Lova:)

As a big lover of both paper art and Martha, Ms. Jeannie was doubly thrilled! To read the entire article, click here. To see more of Lova’s work visit her website.

A big BIG thank you to Lova and to Taylor at Martha Stewart!

Ms. Jeannie Joins Pinterest!

With such wealth of imagination and inspiration on Pinterest who could resist? If you are unfamiliar with Pinterest – it is like a visual bulletin board where you can gather pictures from all over the internet into one tidy little space. It’s agreat way to figure out what appeals to you in an aesthetic way.  And it spans all aspects of life: cooking, decorating, clothing, party planning, pets, kids, travel – so you are well covered.

Here’s Ms. Jeannie’s page:

Ms. Jeannie's now on pinterest!
Ms. Jeannie’s now on pinterest!

Ms. Jeannie likes to peruse it for new ways to decorate with vintage items and for a dose of daily daydreaming. She could easily get lost for hours!

So far, she has set up 11 boards (but  over time this will probably grow and grow and GROW!). Here is what she’s started with… click on each picture to go directly to that board to see more related photos…

The Vintage House

The Vintage House
Inside this board, you’ll find all sorts of vintage home decor items and historic house photographs.

The Vintage Wardrobe

This board contains iconic styles throughout history. This photo by Tom Palumbo.
This board contains iconic styles throughout history. This photo is by Tom Palumbo.

The Vintage Garden

This board contains historic garden designs and layouts. This pear tree allee is modeled after a garden in Historic Williamsburg, VA.
This board contains historic garden designs and layouts. This pear tree allee is modeled after a garden in Historic Williamsburg, VA.

The Antique Bookshelf

This board contains all  relating to old books: library design, cover art,  bookplates, etc.
This board contains all things relating to old books: library design, cover art, bookplates, etc.

The Antique Art House

This board contains old art, photograph and interesting ways to display them.  This rabbit sketch is by J Van Noate.
In this board you’ll find old art and interesting ways to display it. This rabbit sketch is by J Van Noate.

Faceless Portraits

Ms. Jeannie has always been captivated by faceless portraits. Often when she paints, she does not include faces on her figures.
This a whimsy board! Ms. Jeannie has always been captivated by faceless portraits.  Here, you’ll see a wide range of them!

The Vintage Dog

Ms. Jeannie's friend has a wall of antique dog art that  is absolutely stunning. She collects all different types and then clusters them close together collage-style n the wall. Who resist such faces!
Ms. Jeannie’s friend has a wall of antique dog art that is absolutely stunning. He collects all different types and then clusters them close together collage-style on the wall. Who could resist such faces!

The Vintage Man

This board contains a variety of contemporary ways to dress your man in vintage clothes as well as interesting masculine decor and items for him
This board contains a variety of contemporary ways to dress your man in vintage clothes as well as interesting masculine decor and items for him.

The Historic Holiday

Here you will find vintage holiday decorating ideas. Classic designs with a hint of nostalgia.
Here you will find vintage holiday decorating ideas for all celebrations throughout the year. Classic designs with a hint of nostalgia.

The Vintage Cloth

Here you'll find vintage fabrics and unique ways to display them.
This board contains all things related to vintage fabrics and unique ways to display them. These framed beauties above are vintage handkerchiefs.

The Family Tree

And of course, Ms Jeannie has to have a genealogy board! This one is dedicated to unique family trees.
And of course, Ms Jeannie has to have a genealogy board! This one is dedicated to unique family trees.

Stop by and have a peek…click here to go directly to Ms. Jeannie’s Pinterest page. Or for future reference, you can click on the blue front door photo in the side bar.  If you are on Pinterest, please let Ms. Jeannie know so that she can keep up with all your pins too!

The Year in Review

Happy New Year dear readers! Ms. Jeannie hopes that all your holidays were full of joy and cheer! May this year be even better and brighter then the last.

Always at the start of  January, Ms. Jeannie likes to take some time to reflect on the previous year and think about the new year ahead.  So she whipped up a batch of cinnamon nutmeg scones, poured a cup of coffee and contemplated all that she had encountered in the past 365 days.

A moment to reflect on the  past and the present.
A moment to reflect on the past and dream about the future.  Ms. Jeannie tested out the vintage Royal Jackson tea cups available in her shop. Works just as it should – only prettier:)

2012 was a turbulent year for Ms. Jeannie, containing both exhilarating highs and devastating lows.   She said a long, sad goodbye to her dear old border collie  as well her 97 year old grandmother.  She said a cheery hello to her Etsy shop and to all you lovely blog readers.

This was the first item Ms. Jeannie sold when she opened her shop!  A vintage Jacobs Kaffee metal cabinet.
This was the first item Ms. Jeannie sold when she opened her shop! A vintage Jacobs Kaffee metal cabinet.

She gardened, she cooked, she entertained. She battled a severe case of poison ivy, she learned a new craft. She served as nurse maid to her father when he fell and hit his head. She drove her husband to the hospital when he bled (enough for 15 stitches!).  She babysat for chickens in the spring , spent the summer reading 50 Shades of Grey and  the Autumn months watching all seven seasons of Gilmore Girls. She traveled to Phoenix, Atlanta and Palm Beach Gardens.  She went on sightseeing adventures in her neighborhood and got lost in daydreams in her own backyard.

She met a wonderful new pen-pal named Amy (thanks to the blog) and enjoyed a bevy of date nights with Mr. Jeannie Ology. She discovered Lindbergh and the most popular female author of the 20th century.  She worked on family history and interviewed a bevy of talented craftspeople.

Herbert and his dad, Joesph
Ms. Jeannie’s most read blog post to date was this one entitled: A Family of Firemen and the Women They Loved

Yes, indeed. 2012 was a year of romance and tears, love and loss, discovery and exploration. It was life. And Ms. Jeannie was thankful to be included in it.

In 2013, she hopes to travel more, write more and learn more.  She’d like to adopt a dog, plant a moon garden and sew a quilt.

A moon garden is comprised primarily of white and pale flowers that bloom at night. When the moon shines bright overhead it looks like there are lights on in the garden.   Photo courtesy of econesting.com
A moon garden is comprised primarily of white and pale flowers that bloom at night. When the moon shines bright overhead it looks like there are lights on in the garden. Photo courtesy of econesting.com

She’d also like to pick up her paintbrush again, make a mole sauce and sample all the wines of Spain. And more yoga. And the ability to master meditation. Oh and there is that bit about being better organized. And better at managing time. And she’s really, really looking forward to sharing more vintage adventures with you!

As you can see – it is shaping up to be a busy year! Ms. Jeannie can’t wait. She ends this post with the beautiful sentiment of this wired card that she found on Etsy. It reads:

Wired Note Card by ofTheValleys
Wired Note Card by ofTheValleys

For the times to come I wish for love to surround youhope to strengthen you, peace to comfort you and overwhelming joy. Happy New Year!

Happy New Year, dear readers!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Ms. Jeannie to you!
Merry Christmas from Ms. Jeannie to you!
“Christmas was close at hand, in all his bluff and hearty honesty; it was the season of hospitality, merriment, and open-heartedness; the old year was preparing, like an ancient philosopher, to call his friends around him, and amidst the sound of feasting and revelry to pass gently and calmly away.”

                            – an excerpt from The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens

However you celebrate, dear readers, may your holidays be happy and bright, merry and marvelous!  Wishing you all a lovely Christmas day!