June Middlebury Arts Walk features White Dragon Paper

IMG_2091White Dragon Paper is R. Lawton who makes handmade paper and journals since 2008.

The leather journals are made with recycled paper. R. Lawton prides herself on using only recycled, eco-friendly fiber and reducing the amount of paper that is wasted. The leather is sourced from a scrap bin of a local leather supply store located near her.

 

 
Here is a sampling of her handmade paper. I love the range of colors:

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You can find R. Lawton and White Dragon Paper at Etsy.com. Check her out!

Current Window Display – A Toast to the U.S. Virgin Islands

Highfield_windowA wonderful family friend asked if I would be interested in displaying some books he’s written. YES! was my response. Of course. I think I was more honored that he asked me than anything.

The local author is Arnold R. Highfield, a professor, historian, writer, and poet. He’s best known for his historical works on the Danish West Indies and the United States Virgin Islands. He began his teaching career in 1964 and taught in several colleges including the University of the Virgin Islands (St Croix campus), Lycee Jaccard in Pully, Switzerland, and Middlebury College.

In addition to his own writing, Highfield has published an impressive number of translation editions, and numerous other books, academic papers and articles along with two books of poetry.

Mr. Highfield and his wife, Shirley DeChabert-Highfield, have lived in the U.S. Virgin Islands since the 1960s and currently divide their time between homes in Le Grande Princesse, St. Croix, and Middlebury, VT.

Please stop in the store to see his books and list of his published works.

Thank you, Mr. Highfield. I am honored.

What does a used bookstore lady do when she has two days off?

Of course….visit another used bookstore! Rusty and I found ourselves heading northward and I remembered, “Hey! Ben’s having a 50% off sale! Let’s check it out!” So we did. Each used bookshop I visit I find that it totally reflects the owner. How can it not? [Yes, I wonder how my shop reflects me! What am I saying about myself? Curious.] CBS1The Country Bookshop [35 Mill Street, Plainfield, VT] is so Ben Koenig. And I mean that in the most respectful way. He has the best sense of humor and a broad knowledge of the used bookstore world – business and books. And knows his customers. I’ve always wanted to visit him in his world. Unfortunately he wasn’t in that day as Sundays are his day off. Mine, too. Lucky for him he has a great employee, Frances, who was minding the shop for him. We had a great conversation about books, the internet, and working in a used bookstore. I took advantage of his generous sale and left with a good stack of books to bring back here to the store. (Another way how we get inventory.) In fact, Ben, was the one who stated at a Brick & Mortar meeting that if you are going to have a sale why not make if fun for everyone. Make it 50%! So I do. And yes, it is a lot of fun. And a good way to move around inventory as well. When Ben is having a sale there are a zillion signs around proclaiming that one is going on. Here is one:CBS3It’s gets me how the sign states “It may seem too good but it’s true!” When I host a sale I get people coming up to me asking if ALL books are 50%. I guess it does seem too good to be true. But it is! That’s where the fun comes in. Seeing the joy over the book buyer’s face with the realization that yes, the books they have in their hand is indeed half off. CBS The next day, Rusty and I hiked Buck Mountain. It’s been on our bucket list for years. We decided to tackle it as the first hike of the season. A wonderful climb with an amazing view of the lower Vermont Champlain Valley. buck_snake

I’ve been a busy otter…

So busy. In fact, right now and for the past couple of weeks buying back college-related books – textbooks. And getting them packed up and shipped out for the next day. And on top of that helping customers, SPS (sorting, pricing, shelving) new arrivals, keeping the floor swept, filling in holes on the shelves, straightening shelves, and trying, really trying to keep the store tidy. If you’ve been in lately you know the last item hasn’t been happening. But not for trying!

MAW_052015The Middlebury Arts Walk was several weeks ago with the theme of Children. I chose the book  “Little Blue and Little Yellow,” by Leo Lionni, for a StoryWalk. The path of pages led from Printers Alley through the historic Marble Works with the last page at the store’s door. Upon reading the book, children were given a bag of their own Little Blue and Little Yellow, made from homemade playdough (that I and my grandson, Greyson made) to create their own story of the pair. It is a great story about friendships as well as color. And the book sold that night. The pages were photocopied and laminated to preserve the book.

I’m excited about June’s Arts Walk. I’ll be featuring the work from White Dragon Paper. The artist, R. Lawton, hails from Ohio. She is a papermaker as well as a book binder. I’ll tell more about her and show images of her work as the time gets closer. I love handmade paper and I love books!

Must get back to work! Thought I’d just jot a quick note. Especially since a valued customer noted I had lapsed! 🙂

 

 

Made it! Welcome March!

frenchbooks_windowThank you all who came in and made February a fun month. I should clarify: the last fifteen days. The I-Hate-February 50% Off sale went from the 15th through the end of the month. I decided to extend it just because. Everyone who stopped in made the days pass quicker and with great humor. I was a tad nervous to use the word “hate” in my advertising but I do believe in ‘truth in advertising’. The intent was to poke fun at myself. Everyone who came into the store either laughed or agreed with me. So it turned out to be a rather surprising nice month.

Boxes are coming in just about everyday and I’m working very hard getting new arrivals on the shelves. Many French paperback books came in. Of course I don’t have room for them all. You’ll find a lot of them in the front window right now.

A Warm Cup of Tea and a Good Used Book = Heaven

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Stone Leaf Tea House in Historic Marble Works

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.”  – C.S. Lewis

“Rainy days should be spent at home with a cup of tea and a good book.” – Bill Watterson, The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book 

“If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her.  – Rosemarie Urquico

“This is what we do. We make tea and read books and watch people die.”  – Megan Crewe, The Way We Fall

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Warming pot of tea

“She sits in her usual ample armchair, with piles of books and unopened magazines around her. She sips cautiously from the mug of weak herb tea which is now her substitute for coffee.  ― Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

“There are few nicer things than sitting up in bed, drinking strong tea, and reading.” – Alan Clark

IMG_1699When you show your receipt from Otter Creek Used Books at Stone Leaf Teahouse you get 10% off a pot of tea. You can’t get any better than that on the winter days we have been having. Enjoy the soothing, relaxing experience of a carefully poured cup of tea from Stone Leaf Teahouse.  You owe it to yourself to take a moment of time to sit with your newly purchased used book. Read, sip and enjoy. Unwind.  I’ll head out to check my mailbox, drop off my mug and on the way back will pick it up and come back to put my feet up and take a moment to read a few pages. Perfect!

“Tea would arrive, the cakes squatting on cushions of cream, toast in a melting shawl of butter, cups agleam and a faint wisp of steam rising from the teapot shawl.”  – Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals [Had to include a quote from one of my favorite books.]

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New Arrival Shelf

Time Marches on. Change is Good.

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Front entrance to Otter Creek Used Books in the Lazarus Building

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The Vermont section

I want to pay tribute to 20 Main Street – The Lazarus Building – previous home to Otter Creek Used Books. The building will be coming down this weekend. I feel bad that I’m not sad about it. Probably because I remember how I felt being down in the basement day after day. I brought life into it with paint, rearranged bookcases to even removing some for air circulation and light flow. What there was of the light. I was proud of what I brought into it but I have to admit there was only so much I could do. Do I even mention all the air fresheners that were sprinkled around the rooms? Crazy when we moved how many we found.

It was a good space though. I made the most of it. And it was filled with used books! So that accounts for some good vibes. I loved the front window and all of the light and warmth it provided. I like how through Jessica and her professional decorating skills new life was brought into the front upstairs room. The blue tiled floor, the yellow walls. Over-sized letters announcing BOOKS down the stairs. The wrought iron railing. Piling books on the stairs. And when you ventured down them the layout of bookshelves and all the dissplays on top. It had character. The stepping into the back room where more books were discovered. I enjoyed hearing first time customers oohing and ahhing about the ‘hidden room’. And the access to the back of the store where I could – and did a number of times – run out to pick up my order from Noonies in between customers.

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The back room

When it would get quiet in the store I would listen to customers above me walking around Green Mountain Shoe & Apparel. Loved it when children were trying on new boots! Clomp, clomp, clomp!

There were a lot of good things about the space. As much as there was good there were that many of bad and ickyness. But that’s not for now. Now is a time to celebrate all that the building was and represented.

Stan Lazarus was a nice man. With a great smile and sense of humor. He was a giving man who gave back to his community. I shopped at Lazarus for my shoes, jeans, raincoats and more. I remember many occasions of checking out what they had to offer from elementary through college years. I know the building stands as a symbol of yesterdays to many people. When I made the decision to move the store – in anticipation of the work on the train tracks – I heard from many people their concerns of how the move would affect the life of the building. I agreed but I also knew it was time to move on including my business. Unfortunately the owners never kept up with modernizing the building as they should.

The front desk

The front desk

The space was good to me and my business. Now is the time to celebrate it. I was able to buy a failed business and through my limited funding allow the business to grow. The owners of the building were very supportive of my efforts and to that I’m grateful and appreciative. They understood my goals and how I was going to get there.

Time moves on and there is no stopping it. And I’m not going to try to. I’ve always been one to look at my options and make a decision based on what I’m seeing and what I’m anticipating. Knowing the train tracks and overpass were being addressed and how that would affect my business, the issues of the space and how my daily attitude was starting to change. I’m happy I did as I love this space here in the Marble Works. The positives are overwhelming here. I miss Main Street but that is the only thing I miss. Okay, and the big window. Thank you Stan and the Trustees of the Lazarus Estate for your support and encouragement. Time marches on and I feel good about it.

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Mat Hall with the sign he designed and painted. It was to encourage drivers to slow down as they rounded the corner. Children would stop to talk to Ollie the Otter.

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Always fun to decorate the window. This window was celebrating Books

 

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Sales could be found on the patio as well as on the first floor.

 

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Helen was a helper. Here she is singing songs she adapted from the poetry of James Joyce

 

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Goodbye old friend!

 

“It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.” -Paulo Coelho, The Zahir 

Right Around the Corner

2014_ChristmasI’ve been trying to keep up with holes on the shelves with the new arrivals.

The store is open on Sundays throughout the month (11 am-3 pm) and it is a fun time to be in the store. I enjoy Sundays and evening hours the best in here. I guess because I find the store cozier. Sundays are so relaxing and the evening light is magical in here.

Small Business Saturday was great fun. I had a number of people fill out tickets for a $30 in-store certificate. The best part was asking the question, what is your favorite book. Responses were varied with most people saying they don’t have just one and didn’t want to name one without naming them all. My kind of people! Some left the line blank. Here are a few titles given: ATLAS SHRUGGED, THE GLASS CASTLE, THE BOOK THIEF, A MODERN HERBAL, PLANET OF ADVENTURE. The winner of the drawing was Marcia from Ferrisburgh whose favorite book is HOW TO KNOW HIGHER WORLDS.

An Otter Merry Christmas!

Two weeks before Christmas. It feels oh so magical with all the fresh snow. And this is turning into a very special Christmas for my family. We welcomed a new grandchild into our family yesterday, 12/10/2014.  Lincoln Thomas. Mother and baby are doing very well. He is a wee one but healthy.

Stag & Doe Night

Merry Middlebury Stag & Doe Night

Notice Anything Different?

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I’m reworking my website. It’s just a perfect time. Like I don’t have anything else to do. Oh, but it’s all good and change is good. Just don’t be surprise if you come back for a visit and the site has changed again. What’s the saying: women have the right to change their mind? Yea, so that. Actually there are so many templates I want to try them all out but for now I’ll use this one.

Back to straightening up shelves, restocking and all that fun stuff.