And The Jackal Played the Masinko, Olivia H. H. Cole

I came across this great book, And The Jackal Played the Masinko, illustrated by Olivia H. H. Cole. Wonderful illustrations. To see and read more about this book go to Rad Library.

And The Jackal Played the Masinko
By Marjorie Hopkins
Illustrated by Olivia H. H. Cole
Parents Magazine Press, New York, 1969


A Kitschy Retro Christmas

Some images for your holiday viewing pleasure:

Today I found a great site for retro christmas lovers, The Wreath Blog by Georgia Peachez. Love the wreaths, this is one to bookmark. Check it out.

Happy Holidays to All. Peace and joy to you, whatever you celebrate. See you in the New Year!

photo credits -


The Night Before Christmas, Douglas Gorsline

The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore
llustrated by Douglas Gorsline
Random House, 1975

The Christmas Poem, The Night Before Christmas, has been illustrated by many different artists over the years. This version illustrated by Douglas Gorsline is very fine. His pen and ink illustrations are very detailed. The children sleeping in one bedroom is endearing and I also like the picture framing of the text. I've had this copy since the late 80's and can't show the cover as one of the kids scribbled on it when they were young. To read about Clement C. Moore click here.

"Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there."

"I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters, and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave a luster of midday to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick;
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick."

"As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With a sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas, too.
And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack."

"He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,"


Salley Mavor Blog, Gnomes

I was delighted to find out that these gnomes were on the blog and website of one of my favorite textile artists, Salley Mavor. Salley creates dimensional or relief illustrations with fabric (wool I think), and other objects, all sewn by hand. Her work is like eye candy to needleworkers and crafters, who find her work inspirational. She has illustrated many books, among them Wee Willie Winkie, Hey Diddle Diddle, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Jack and Jill and In the Heart. I have several of her children's books. I find her work very inspirational. Check out Salley's blog here to see more pictures of the gnomes  and her work. You can check out her website here.


A Child's Christmas in Wales, Illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg

Here's another book illustrated by the great Fritz EichenbergA Child's Christmas in Wales has five full page wood engravings done by Eichenberg, all top notch. Love it. The story, written by Dylan Thomas, who is considered one of the greatest poets and storytellers of the twentieth century. In it Thomas recalls the Christmas of his youth in Wales. A good read for this time of year.

A Child's Christmas in Wales 
By Dylan Thomas
Illustrations by Fritz Eichenberg 
A New Directions Book, 1969


The Christmas Mouse, Barbara Remington

This book is just one of the reasons I go to library sales. Found in the bargain section, I knew The Christmas Mouse was special just by the book jacket design. Based on the true story of how the Christmas carol, Silent Night, was written, it is told through Kaspar, a mouse. Kaspar lives in the Church of St. Nicholas in a little village in Austria, where Silent Night was played and sung for the first time on Christmas Eve in 1818. Kaspar is a gentle little mouse who likes his home. The story, written by Elisabeth Wenning, is lovely. There is a nice flow and balance to the illustrations by Barbara Remington. Her depiction of the characters show a gentleness which reinforce the story. I like the red, brown and olive colors added to her drawings and the period clothing. I also like the lettering used on the cover and title page.

The Christmas Mouse 
By Elisabeth Wenning 
Drawings by Barbara Remington 
Holt-Rhinehart & Winston, 1959

Artist and illustrator Barbara Remington was born in Minnesota. She is best known for her cover art for Ballantine Books first paperback edition of J.R.R. Tolkien's novel, The Lord of the Rings. Remington had not been able to get hold of the books before making the illustration and only had a vague idea what they were about. Tolkien did not like her illustration. But the artwork was popular and led to a large edition poster as well as work for similar genre fiction. The panorama poster, over 6' long, now apparently sells for hundreds of dollars. Barbara became a big fan of Tolkien's work and would have "definitely drawn different pictures", had she been able to read the books first.

Some children's books illustrated by Barbara Remington: Really Not Really (1962), The Billy Goat Gruff (1962),  The Three Bears and Goldilocks (1962), The Scarlett Thread (1968) and Scuttle the Stowaway Mouse (1969). She often signed her work "BRem".


Thrift Stores

Buying Used Books Series, part 2 of 4

Thrift stores are another source for used books. Stores like Goodwill, St. Vincent de Paul, Savers and Salvation Army, to name a few, usually have a variety of used books for sale. Thrift store hours are similar to retail hours. Many are open six days a week, some like Goodwill are open every day. 

Like library sales, thrift store's supply of books is unpredictable. Sometimes, what you find can be surprising. The web site of St. Vincent de Paul has this to say about one of their stores in Madison, Wisconsin: "The bookroom at the St. Vincent de Paul Store on Williamson Street features thousands of titles organized by subject and author. Hundreds of additions are made daily. Everything from a 15th century manuscript in Latin on the history of Rome to two copies of the Gilligan’s Island Cookbook signed by Marianne have come through this store." St. Vincent has annual events like a Collectible & Contempory Children’s Books Event. Other thrift stores may offer coupons, like Savers, which sells a calendar for $2.99 with coupons and specials for every month. Goodwill offers a rewards card that you present at each purchase, earning points that add up to a savings off a purchase or free item. Goodwill also has a online site where you can shop for books etc., www.shopgoodwill.com, this is where you will find more expensive collectible books.

Books in thrift stores are usually just organized by general category. Condition is often very good and so are the prices. My neighborhood Goodwill charges .69 - $2.99 for adult books and .39 - $1.99 for children's books.  With prices like that, thrift stores can be a good place to find books for reading, gifts or collecting. Keep in mind that selection varies and you need to check back often if you want to score.  Most Goodwill stores introduce more than 2,000 new items every day, Saver's claims twice more than that. So if you don’t find what you’re looking for, check back another time because it's always changing.  

Like library sales,  you can be supporting a good cause when you shop thrift stores. When you shop at Goodwill, you are supporting  job training and placement programs for people with disabilities and other disadvantages. St. Vincent de Paul helps the homeless and those in poverty. When you shop at Savers, you help support many local community programs. Last, but not least, when you're done looking at the books, you can shop for other things. 

To summarize: thrift stores can be a good source for used books. Their hours are similar to retail. Some have special events, promotions and incentives for shopping there. Finds can be surprising. Prices are low. Selection varies and changes, check back often. At many thrift stores you're helping others by shopping there. In addition, it's a green activity and you're buying local. You can buy other items there besides books. Just beware of one thing - there's a reason you see screen names like thrift addict and thrift junkie.


Getting Crafty with Old Books

In my last posting about library sales I gave some common suggestions for things to make from old books. After that I decided to do some searching online to see what people are making from old books and it's amazing. Here are some very cool things to make, look at and buy.

Here's an interesting idea from Metacafe - making a lamp shade out of a book. It hangs on the wall and is kind of sculptural. This type of lighting would be for ambience as a 10-15 watt lightbulb is used. Watch the video that shows you how (there is a short commercial first).

Offbeat Earth shows many different artistic uses for old books. Some are quite fantastic. Love the funky chair and alice in wonderland vignette.Hold that thought on the vases, they will be coming up again on another site.

Chrisjob from Curbly shows how to make a purse from a recycled book. Very fun with a wealth of possibilities. This one requires sewing and crafting skills. 

Kristine McCay has many ideas involving old books. The valentine banner is my favorite. The christmas ornament is timely - what about using a beloved Christmas book that has seen better days?

These are the vases I was talking about. On de zeen design magazine, Laura Cahill makes gorgeous vases and lamps from old books. I like this vase, it would look really great on a bookshelf.

Lindsay of Living with Lindsay shows how to make a fabulous and inexpensive wreath and makes it fun.  I love her slogan - "Creating a beautiful home - one glue burn at a time" 

Seller rebekahholguin on Etsy  shows a lovely brooch.  I never would have thought of making a jewelry from old text books and would definitely wear one of these.

Etsy seller fishandlotus make these lovely Origami Lotus Flower Decorations that have potential for different uses They would be very nice for special events, even a wedding or rehearsal dinner. If you order 25 or more you can choose what type of text you want.

misshp88, seller on Etsy has these sharp magnets that are functional as well as decorative. A really nice gift idea.

Etsy seller sugarbsupplies has these charming hand stamped labels that have many uses. I like the idea of using them on packages or envelopes.

Etsy seller foundandmade has these awesome journal necklaces. I gave a hint to my daughter about one of these for Christmas, I like it a lot.

Jason Deatherage has a great idea and use for old book covers. Check out his site, ex libris anonymous for a large selection of journals handmade from vintage books. These would make wonderful christmas gifts.