How to host a baby book shower

BabyInvite

The invitation mimicked a library checkout card

 

My son and his wife are expecting a baby girl next month and one of my daughter-in-law’s closest friends, Katie, hosted a baby shower for her. I was pleased when the invitation arrived and I saw that it was a “book shower.” Every guest was asked to bring a children’s book in lieu of a card. Of course, I thought a natural Babyinviteaddition would be bookplates! When I contacted Katie, it turned out she had just looked at Bookplate Ink’s bookplates on Etsy! Since the shower was for my future granddaughter, I created a new bookplate for the shower. A version of this bookplate is now available on Bookplate Ink’s website.

GreenEggsandHamBookplate Ink has printed bookplates for customers’ baby showers, but I had never been to a book shower. I was very impressed with the way Katie put the shower together and thought it would be fun and helpful to share her ideas.

Everything about the shower was related to books. Classic children’s books were displayed around Katie’s dining room, all related to one of the food dishes she had prepared. For example, Dr. Seuss’ famous Green Eggs and Ham was paired with muffin-size egg soufflés. Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales sat by a tray of cheeses, and If You Give a Moose a Muffin was displayed next to a tray of almond muffins. MooseMuffins

In the kitchen, there were a variety drinksof beverages, including Pinkalicious spa water and Bear’s sangria, both based on children’s books. For coffee, Katie had white mugs on which fun literary messages had been printed with a Sharpie marker.

In another room, KMugsatie had a desk set up with a wonderful, creative guest book. The pages were removable to allow guests to write a message to the parents, decorate with a variety of stickers, and slip the paper into a plastic sleeve in the book. I put the bookplates here to allow the guests to fill them out before putting them with the books they brought. It would be easier to send baby shower bookplates to your guests along with the invitations, but we didn’t have a chance to coordinate this.

Katie also had a cute game for guests to play, called Children’s Book Scramble. The idea was to figure out which children’s book title was described in the obscure description. For example, the answer for “Locale of the Untamed Creatures” was the book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.

Overall, the shower was a huge success. The guests all seemed to enjoy the book theme and the books were a wonderful conversation piece. The best part is that my future granddaughter already has a wonderful library of books, complete with bookplates that have a loving message from her friends and family.

 

 

 

 

 

Creative bookplate ideas

As I’ve written in previous posts, connecting with wonderful people around the world is one of the most fun aspects of the bookplate business. And hearing the creative ways people are using bookplates is icing on the cake.

GramercyPark2Our non-personalized bookplates, which are sold on our site in quantities as small as 20, have become quite a popular item. Recently, Etta wrote about using Design B211 for her Gramercy Park-themed birthday party in the fall of 2013. Gramercy Park is a private fenced-in park located within the Gramercy Park Historic District in Manhattan. According to the NY Times, the park has been fenced in since the 1830s and locked since 1844. In 2012, only 383 keys were in circulation, all given to residents of the historic district. GramercyPark3

Etta ordered copies of the book Gramercy Park, An American Bloombury by Carole Klein from Amazon to give to each attendee of her party as part of a goody bag. Interestingly, since the book is out of print, three different versions came, as shown above. She wrapped each one in raffia with autumn foliage and then placed it in the goody bag with a B211 bookplate attached to the outside of the bag with the respective attendee’s name written on the bookplate.

GrammercyPark1Since Gramercy Park is a well-established garden with mature plantings, Etta felt the gnome walking in the garden bookplate fit the theme perfectly. This lovely artwork was created by John Huchthausen, an artist trained in architecture and religious art who created many designs for the Antioch Bookplate Company in the early 1940s. Etta reported that everyone at the party loved the goody bags with their bookplate attached.

Etta wrote about her party when she ordered another set of bookplates, this time the non-personalized version of Design B253. Etta planned to host a party for her daughter, who was graduating from college in Charleston, South Carolina. Again, each attendee of the party was to be given a goody bag, this time with a book on the history of the college—which was established in the late 1700s—as well as other school memorabilia. B253Etta chose design B253 partly because she likes the inscription in the border, which reads, “A book is like a good friend; my friends I would forever keep.”

Other customers have used bookplates for guests to place in books for baby showers, to memorialize loved ones with a donation of books, for author signings, to put in books as a party favor at a wedding reception….the list is endless. Let me know if you have a unique use for bookplates!

Little Free Libraries and bookplates

Recently, we have received orders for bookplates with text indicating the book is from a “Little Free Library.” What is a Little Free Library? And who started this trend?

LIttleFreeLibrary

Little Free Library in Orlando, FL

I honestly thought this was just a good idea that various individuals were instituting. Then I came across the Little Free Library website, where it is explained that a Little Free Library is “a ‘take a book, return a book’ gathering place where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. In its most basic form, a Little Free Library is a box full of books where anyone may stop by and pick up a book (or two) and bring back another book to share.”

According to the website, this idea started in 2009 when “Todd Bol of Hudson, Wisconsin, built a model of a one room schoolhouse as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading.” Soon, inspired by Andrew Carnegie’s support of 2,509 free public libraries and a mission to promote literacy and a sense of community, a goal was established to build 2510 Little Free Libraries, a goal which was reached in 2012.

LIttleFreeLibraryRobertaReachingBetterI was excited to see an example of just such a library nearby in Orlando, Florida, at one of my favorite restaurants. Dandelion Communitea Cafe, which hosts many events to support a sense of community. Their library, located at the front of the cafe, is a colorful and cheerful box. What a great addition to any neighborhood gathering place!

I urged you to visit the Little Free Library website to read about this fascinating and inspiring concept. Maybe you’ll want to build a library in your community!

The small world of bookplates

Bookplates, like family photos, often become part of a treasure of family memories and history. I saw this demonstrated recently when my husband and I were visiting a friend. Our friend is a musician and comes from a family of musicians. While we were visiting, he shared with us several bookplates that had belonged to his father and grandfather, both of whom are now deceased.

E31Fryxell_greenOne of his father’s bookplates, shown here, was fun to see because it is a variation of a design that we are still printing at Bookplate Ink. As you can see, this nautical design was altered to add the cat and fiddle picture that was the logo for The Catgut Acoustical Society, to which our friend’s father belonged, and printed in green. Most likely, this bookplate was printed by Antioch Bookplate Company in the 1960s.

I was excited to see another bookplate that belonged to my friend’s grandfather. This is one that has been out of print for many years but was also printed by Antioch Bookplate Company. It was a Christmas gift from our friend’s brother to his grandfather in 1962. Not only was this design used by our friend’s grandfather, but it was also the design used by another mutual friend’s grandmother, who happens to have been the mother of the man who started Bookplate Ink.Fryxell_music_text

It’s a small world in the bookplate world!

Donating books

GaborKorvinGabor Korvin has been a wonderful and supportive customer of Bookplate Ink’s for many years, during which time he has ordered several thousand bookplates. Like many bookplate customers, he is devoted to one design; in his case, design B208, or “The Bookworm.” This is an adaptation of German Romanticist painter/poet Carl Spitzweg’s famous satirical painting, which was originally published as a bookplate by the Etchcraft Company, then introduced by the Antioch Bookplate Company in the 1950s. Many people refer to it simply as “the man on the ladder.”Gabor_book

Korvin is a professor at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Saudi Arabia. I wasn’t aware until last year that he is an avid collector of Oriental books and has been donating his collection to The Library of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, where he was presented with their Teleki Medal in 2010. Korvin has donated more than 2000 volumes to the library and continues to send them rare and important books every week.

I was thrilled to hear that librarians at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences have told Korvin that readers frequently ask “Has any new book arrived with the old man on the ladder”?

Korvin_booksI asked how he goes about obtaining these rare books. He wrote, “There are so many steps of getting a new Oriental book: it starts from months or years of search, then finding it in auction lists, bidding, winning, waiting for weeks for its arrival, picking up the parcel at the Post Office, carefully opening it, reading some pages at random, but it only becomes really mine when I put in my bookplate. It has become such an important habit with me that I never travel without taking a few dozen of them.”

 

Bookplates, schools and peacocks

cathedral

One of the joys of having an online business is having the chance to work with people from all over the world. And when there is some connection between us, it is the icing on the cake.

A few weeks ago, a customer called about having a bookplate printed for a book fair at her son’s school. Marceline explained that at the book fair, there would be a “wish list” table of books needed for the school library and teachers’ classrooms. While purchasing books for their children, parents could also purchase one of the “wish list” books to donate to the school. She further explained that she was looking for bookplates to put in the books to permanently acknowledge the parents and students for their gift to the school. While discussing possible designs, Marceline mentioned that there are peacocks on the school grounds. I suddenly realized that I had visited this school.

Last spring, my husband and I flew to New York City to visit our son. We had a wonderful time riding the subway and being tourists. One of the places we most enjoyed visiting was The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine on Amsterdam Avenue, which it turns out, is the location of the school Marceline was calling about.

compositeAs we approached the cathedral, I was taken by the garden and Peace Fountain at the side. The Peace Fountain, a magnificent work itself, is surrounded by sculptures created by students at the school. I was astonished by the skill and effort put into these creations and spent quite a while looking at them.

peacockMy husband strolled down the lane at the side of the cathedral and came back to report seeing two peacocks wandering about. These peacocks, one of which was white, were friendly and fearless. They seemed quite used to being around people and, at least while we were there, seemed to enjoy showing off. According to an article in the NY Times, the cathedral grounds has been home to peacocks since the 1980s, when the Bronx Zoo donated some chicks. And the peacocks are named after various deans at the school and cathedral.peacockwhite

Marceline, who is the Co-President of the Parents Association at The Cathedral School, ultimately chose Bookplate Ink’s design B211 because of the animals in the elaborate border, citing the animals in the many sculptures on the church and school grounds. B211 is one of two troll designs drawn by John Huchthausen, an artist trained in architecture and religious art who created many designs for Antioch Bookplate Company in the early 1940s.

As you can see, I removed the troll from the middle of the design, added the logo for the school and the necessary text, and enlarged the design just a little. The students’ names will be handwritten on the bookplate, along with their graduating class year. The printed bookplates are now at the school and the book fair is starting. Marceline reported that everyone is pleased with the bookplates, and I am pleased to be a part of this wonderful event supporting reading and education.Bookplatecomposite

Abraham Lincoln bookplate

It seems that I’m hearing about Abraham Lincoln quite a lot these days, and it’s not even his birthday. That’s because the much anticipated movie “Lincoln,” based on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals,” is now in theatres.

I found this bookplate depicting our 16th President in an old catalog of Etchcraft designs called the Celebrity Series. I like that Lincoln appears to be looking down at the space where a name would be added to the bookplate, under “Ex Libris,” which means “From the library of.” Under Lincoln’s signature, the text says “By: Saint-Gaudens.” Augustus Saint-Gaudens was an Irish-born American sculptor who was well-known for his sculptures of Civil War heroes. With a little research, I discovered that this statue, unveiled in 1887, still stands in Chicago’s Lincoln Park. According to AbrahamLincolnOnline.org, the monument was created using “the 1860 life mask of Lincoln by Chicago sculptor Leonard Volk. A Vermont farmer of approximately Lincoln’s height served as the model.”

These is also a copyright with the single name “Richard, ” apparently the creator of the bookplate design. All of the bookplates in the Celebrity Series have this same copyright and are of famous people or places.

As shown on the cover, these designs were acquired by Antioch Bookplate Company, whose designs we acquired. This catalog is most likely from the 1950s. Another detail that made me smile is that the sticker on the cover from Antioch Bookplate has as its border design M752, which we are still printing today and happens to be one of our most popular border designs.