An Interview with Artist Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes

Two years ago, the “Peace is Always Beautiful” Art Block debuted in the Bas Bleu catalog. We were charmed by the whimsical illustration, the thoughtful quotation, and the wonderfully bookish detail of a canvas backed with book pages. Our readers liked the art block as much as we did, and since then Bas Bleu has partnered with artist Michelle Ciarlo-Hayes on a half-dozen lovely little keepsakes (and an inspired collection of greeting cards set to debut in our Winter 2021 edition next month). Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Michelle took a break from her studio to talk to us about the pros and cons of working with salvaged materials, the shift in focus created by the pandemic, and how she first “met” Bas Bleu. Continue reading

2020 Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season looks a little different this year: Many of us are curtailing our usual travel plans and reducing the size of our annual family gatherings. Holiday fêtes and office Christmas parties are on hold until next December. And wading into a crush of holiday shoppers in a big-box store is…not very appealing. If you’re wary of venturing out into stores or need to send your holiday gifts via mail this year, Bas Bleu is your one-stop shop for everyone on your gift list. Just check out our 2020 Holiday Gift Guide! Continue reading

Advent Calendars: Count Down to Christmas!

2020 is simultaneously racing and crawling by, which helps explain why we’re already making plans for Christmas while snacking on leftover Halloween candy. But there’s no need to put up the Christmas tree just yet (though we do recommend getting a jump on holiday shopping this year). It is time, however, to order your 2020 Advent calendars from Bas Bleu! Continue reading

7 Creepy, Spooky Houses from Classic Literature

The Halloween season is upon us, and though your usual festivities may be curtailed this year, Bas Bleu readers know there are plenty of haunted houses to explore in the pages of a good book. (Though somehow, faced with COVID-19 and all the other scares 2020 has thrown at us, these seven creepy, spooky houses from classic literature feel like an escape from our fears?) Whether you’re thrilled by creaking doors and things that go bump in the night or you’re in the habit of running past that weird old house on the corner, you’ll want to read about these eerie edifices with the lights on. Continue reading

’Tis the Season to Order Early

Bas Bleu’s Holiday 2020 edition lands in mailboxes next week, and it is—if we do say so ourselves—very merry and bright! Not only is it filled with wonderful gifts for everyone on your list, it’s also the grand reveal of our 2021 Book a Month selections. We’ll share more about those books next week, but we’d like to offer one recommendation today:

Order early! Continue reading

North of the Tension Line: An Interview with J. F. Riordan

We’ll hazard a guess that, at least once in your life, you’ve fantasized about packing up your life and moving to (what feels like) a different world—an idyllic small town, a bustling metropolis, a remote windswept isle… In J. F. Riordan’s sparkling North of the Tension line series, a writer does just that, moving from Chicago to a sparsely populated island in Door County, Wisconsin. Her ensuing small-town adventures are presented with enormous heart throughout this delightful series. Today in the Bluestocking Salon, Bas Bleu sat down (virtually, no masks required!) with novelist J. F. Riordan to learn more about why she chose Door County as her setting, how opera helped shape her novelist’s voice, and what effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on her writing. Continue reading

Cards for Thinking of You Week

Next week is Thinking of You Week, an event developed to encourage people to send each other cards and handwritten notes. Say what you will about these “made-up holidays,” but there’s no denying that little burst of joy we feel when we open the mailbox and see a hand-addressed envelope peeking out between the store circulars and utility bills. 2020 has been a grueling year on so many fronts, and a little kindness and an extra effort to connect with the people we care about goes a long way. You don’t need a fancy card or a beautifully penned letter to say “thinking of you;” a ragged-edge piece of notebook paper is just as efficient a carrier of well-wishes, handwritten memories, and a “how are you?”. But if you would like to make your snail-mail missive extra-special during Thinking of You Week, Bas Bleu has you covered. Continue reading

Autumn Poems: 12 Verses for the Season

A crisp breeze drifted through our neighborhood last weekend, scouting the path ahead, perhaps, for autumn’s approach. Somehow this summer has seemed both endless and fleeting, and the thought of cooler temperatures, burnished sunlight, and—dare we say it?—long sleeves is at the forefront of our minds on humid afternoons. Though the heat lingers here in Bas Bleu’s hometown of Atlanta, our editors have turned the calendar page to September…and selected a dozen of our favorite autumn poems with which to beckon the new season. (To read each poem in full, click on the title or image.) Continue reading

Autumn Reading List 2020

open book on wooden bench with apples

The mercury may feel stuck at “blazing hot summer,” but Bas Bleu‘s new Autumn 2020 edition is blowing into mailboxes like a cool breeze! Inside you’ll find engrossing new books to refresh your TBR stack, along with wonderful little gifts to captivate your imagination…and to jump-start your holiday shopping. This time we’ve included four Autumn Reading Collections: Novels, Mysteries, Nonfiction, and one collection dedicated to “vintage” Bas Bleu booksellers. To help you create your autumn reading list, our editors have selected fifteen of our favorite picks, including several absorbing reads by authors of color. Continue reading