Links I love

red maple and snow

From this week: autumn and winter, all at once. 

Housekeeping: the Lucy Jane giveaway has ended and winners have been notified by email. If you didn’t win (Sorry, I would have loved to send “strong coffee long books” pencil pouches to every one of you!) now you’re free to shop: sign up for the Lucy Jane newsletter here and get 15% off your first order.

Lucy Jane classy and fabulous

Classy & Fabulous pencil pouch from Lucy Jane

Best of the web:

Ten thoughts on hosting Thanksgiving from Shauna Niequist. “People are serious about Thanksgiving food, and most of them are practicing some sort of complex strategy for how to consume a staggering amount of both turkey and pie. ..”

How to make your last name plural this Christmas season. “Nothing quells my Christmas cheer as quickly as a stray apostrophe. Every year they assault me.”

Male TV host wears same suit for a year; no one notices.” Of course they didn’t.

British authors’ houses on Google maps. “One thing we’ve learned: Most authors lived in very posh houses, except Rudyard Kipling who lived above a branch of Eat.”

On the blog: 

A very bookish Christmas countdown. (I got so many great Christmas book ideas from the comments on this post!)

Simplicity, productivity, and the personal uniform. (Yes, that is really my closet.)

Gorgeous books for giving (and receiving).

Have a great weekend!

One day giveaway: win an adorable pencil pouch or clutch from Lucy Jane. (3 winners!)

Today I’m thrilled to introduce you to my friend and seamstress extraordinaire Kim Vanslambrook, who runs the handmade shop Lucy Jane. If you follow me on instagram, you probably swooned over this pencil pouch, which was her creation.

Kim is an engineer by trade: her very first job as a project engineer was rebuilding the Chicago shoreline. (Yep, that means a hard hat and everything.) But after a difficult pregnancy, Kim quit engineering to stay home with their twin boys.

extra-large tote bag from the Lucy Jane shop

Staying home with the kids (now age 6) was rewarding, but she needed a creative outlet. She started sewing to save her sanity, and started selling her creations to justify spending more time at her machine. Her products sold so well she made a career of it.

Kim’s specialty is products that are beautiful and useful, like her extra-large tote bags that can schlep an excessive amount of stuff to the beach or about town, and her new line of pencil pouches, which I am completely smitten with.

The pouches are made from a durable vinyl, which has a nice weight and feel to it, and is easy to clean. (I’m speaking from experience: I have a monogrammed white pouch, and my girls have the “that’s my name” pencil pouches.

Sometimes I use my pouch as a clutch, and sometimes I slip it inside my larger tote to keep all my essentials nicely corralled. My girls use theirs to hold their school supplies.

a peek behind the scenes of the Lucy Jane office

Kim does all her sewing at her home here in Louisville. Sometimes I get to weigh in on her creative process (“strong coffee long books?” You’re welcome) and experience major sewing room envy in the process. (You can sneak a peek, too: she shares behind-the-scenes shots on her instagram.)

These new pouches are completely adorable and compliment magnets. (Make sure you peek inside the pouches, too!) Take a look:

classy and fabulous pencil pouch from Lucy Jane

Gold and Lovely collection ($18)

Lucy Jane monogrammed pencil pouch

Monogrammed Pencil Pouch ($20)

Lucy Jane monogrammed pencil pouch in leather

Monogrammed Pencil Pouch with leather ($32)

"strong coffee long books" pencil pouch from Lucy Jane

Strong Coffee Long Books pencil pouch ($18)

A peek inside the inside of the "strong coffee long books" pencil pouch from Lucy Jane

Strong Coffee Long Books interior

"sleep less read more" pencil pouch from Lucy Jane

Sleep Less Read More pencil pouch ($18)

"that's my name" pencil pouch from Lucy Jane

That’s My Name pencil pouch ($20)

Today three lucky winners will each receive a pencil pouch of their choosing (leather excluded).

This giveaway ends tonight, Friday, November 21, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern time, so I can notify winners in the morning and everyone can go ahead and do their holiday shopping. These would make excellent stocking stuffers or personalized gifts, for any age, and they’re an excellent value.

To make these an even better deal, sign up for the Lucy Jane newsletter here and get 15% off your first order. You’ll also be the first to know about new products coming down the pipeline. I’ve had a sneak peek into Kim’s creative process, and believe me, you’re going to want to see what she’s working on.

UPDATE: The giveaway has ended and the winners have been notified by email. Thanks for playing!

To enter, just leave a comment. (U.S. only—sorry, it’s a legal thing!) I’d especially love to hear which pouch you love the most, or what saying you would want to put on a customized pouch. 

Links I love.

library letters

library letters

Since November twitterature is tomorrow, I’m sharing the link love today. Happy reading!

Your kids, too? Practical advice when kids have too much stuff.

How ‘I Capture the Castle’ Captured Me.

Elizabeth Gaskell’s home, fully restored from looking derelict to looking as it did when the Gaskell family lived there.

10 ways you’re making your life harder than it has to be.

On the blog:

What Would Victoria Beckham do?

How to make a latté at home without an espresso machine.

On showing up.

Have a great weekend!

Links I love.

red on red on red

From instagram: red on red on red. 

• If literary characters were lifestyle bloggers. Subscribe me to Becky Sharp’s blog, please.

• Why boys love Jane Austen. “For all the solidity and uprightness, her technique is all about slyness. Austen has it both ways.”

• What it’s like to live in a $95 million penthouse 1,396 feet above New York City. THAT VIEW.

Design in the age of internet comments. “They’re fighting about toile—that’s not normal.”

Most popular from the blog:

• From the archives: it’s time to start Christmas prep. Read this now instead of freaking out later.

What makes a great book club novel?

Our Craigslist Christmas.

The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions…

Have a great weekend!