Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Midnight Dinner Party

Back in August my book club read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. We all fell in love with this magical story about a circus that arrives without warning, and we were so inspired by the book and its quirky, nighttime revelries that we decided to have our own Midnight Dinner Party like the ones thrown by the characters in the book. Sunny and I got to work planning the party, Carly from book group sent out black and white invitations, and the result was magical midnight merrymaking!

We had this party on the roof of Little Shop of Stories, which we transformed into a black-and-white circus.

We wanted the party to be whimsical and offbeat so we had two "trees" at the party...a black tree of regret and a white tree of hope, and guests could tie their hopes and regrets to the trees.

Each guest was given white and dark chocolate caramel corn. Here's the recipe...it takes some time to make, but it's super delicious and made for great favors in the popcorn containers.

 Since we had the party on the roof at night, we had no lighting other than the lights downtown, so we used tons of lanterns and candles. We had the party in October, and my brother just so happens to be a master pumpkin carver, so I asked him to carve some pumpkins based on the book (which he had read.) Here's what he came up with:

Isn't he crazy talented???!!

We decorated the table with lots of goodies from Party City, and a homemade table runner I made out of silky clown fabric from the costume section at Hancocks. Don't look at the seams! It's actually very crooked! Everything was black and white (of course!)

 Everyone showed up in black and white (and red) attire. We had around thirty people attend our dinner.

Terra the magnificent passed out Tarot Cards and read everyone's fortune in between the dozen courses we were served. My sister-in-law, Ashley Clemence, owns Graft in Grayson, and came out for the evening to cater our event. She served us delicious courses like brisket ravioli, twice baked potato skins, and red velvet cheese cake brownies.

It was three in the morning before everyone left. We were all exhausted the next day, but it was worth it! If you haven't read The Night Circus, I recommend you read it asap and then have a Midnight Dinner Party of your own! In the meantime, you're welcome to visit the Catch All Book Group. Happy reading!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas Tree Lighting this Thursday Night!

It's that most wonderful time of the year!

The Christmas Tree Lighting is Thursday Night,
November 29th,
at 7 p.m.

Come join your community in the festivities. Santa will be on hand to lead the countdown to the lighting of the Christmas Tree. There will be hot chocolate, cookies, and other goodies. Students from Fifth Avenue will sing.

It's truly a magical night!

You may be wondering:
What does it take to get the Christmas Tree to Decatur?

First, you have to rent a trailer and drive to the
Noel Forest Christmas Tree Farm
near Cartersville. Just go up I-75 to Highway 20. It's just behind the Cracker Barrel. Ask for Moses and tell him that Little Shop of Stories sent you.

What else?

It takes a woman and a hacksaw
and a bunch of other folks.
 Pick a tree. A tall tree.
 Think about it for a minute.
Then you have to cut it down. Actually, a chainsaw helps.
Play with the dog.
Load it up on a trailer
 and drive it Decatur.
Then you unload it, lift it, prop it up against a building, secure it with ropes, bring in two scissor lifts and strings of lights and oodles of ornaments and let a whole bunch of people have at it, then bring in a big crane and people who know what they're doing (thanks you, King Tree Experts!) and put that tree on the roof and then wait for Thursday night. Easy!

Krista, manager of Little Shop of Stories
(aka The Girl Who Loves Christmas),
is the person who gets this thing done every year.
Here's her blog post -- complete with lots of pictures -- from the first year we did this.

If you love this whole tree on the roof thing, please feel free to stop by the shop and let Krista know. She'll appreciate it.

Please thank the following businesses and organizations for their contributions of time, money, and goodies and helping to make the Christmas Tree happen!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill

I was one of the last people I know to read Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. Everyone else--coworkers, customers, friends--told me how good it was, but I ignored them. And then I finally read it, and fell in love with the "will-they-won't-they" romance set in Paris, and chided myself for not having read it sooner. Seriously, if you haven't read it, and you like a good love story, pick one up at your friendly neighborhood bookstore today.

A few months ago I was sent an advanced copy of Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill. The cover was adorable, and it promised another fun European setting like Anna, complete with my favorite kind of love story: the kind where you're falling in love without even realizing it. So I took it home and gobbled it up, and now that it's officially released, I'm happy to be one of the first to report on how delicious it is.

Julia is your typical type-A high schooler: studious, a little nerdy, and a big rule follower. (Hmmm, now I'm remembering why I related to this book.) She's on a Spring Break school trip to London, and she couldn't be more excited to explore the city--with her pencil sharpener and pocket Shakespeare in tow. Unfortunately, she's partnered with the class clown and resident fun-seeker, Jason, and they have to spend all their time together.

(Side note about Jason: I really appreciate that he's not the typical troubled bad boy that's so often found in YA books. Sure, he doesn't really care for following rules like Julia does, but he's just a guy. Funny, cute, and spontaneous. Not a sexy delinquent who'll break your heart and send you to therapy because you couldn't save him. But I digress.)

Julia and Jason end up at a party one night, and after that, Julia starts receiving romantic texts from an unknown number. Determined to find this mysterious suitor, the pair embark on a wild goose chase around the city, that (of course!) only leads them closer and closer to each other. It's sweet and fun and you'll be rooting for the two of them to hurry up and kiss already!

Fans of Anna, here's your next read.

(And we even have signed copies, since author Lauren Morrill stopped by the shop yesterday to sign them!)

--By Krista Gilliam

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Lunch Lady for President!

The polls have opened, ladies and gentlemen! Come by Little Shop to cast your vote for the new Little Shop president!

Here's a message from Lunch Lady about why she wants to be your president! (Thanks to Lunch Lady's creator, Jarrett Krosoczka for this message.) 

I want to serve you justice, serve you lunch....and serve as your next President of Little Shop of Stories. Hot toast and butter! I am so honored to stand before you today to humbly ask for your nutritious vote in this election. I'm running for President of Little Shop of Stories for one simple-syrup reason. For you, the reader. The children of Little Shop are our future and I want to encourage them all to crack open a book and meet some of the wildest friends they'll ever know! This is the generation that will dream up future lunch ladies, wimpy kids, captain underpantses and babymouses. I dream of a future where an author gets their first book published and looks back to their days at Little Shop as to where it all began!

Plus, if you vote for me, we'll have the most amazing school lunches. Gravy on pizza! Pickles on pancakes! Holy guacamole, the future is ours and I'm ready to grab it with these two yellow gloves of mine!

Wishing you an applesaucy day!

Lunch Lady

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Robot Cowboy Guy Goes Big Bang

This is RoboCowboy Guy.
He's been a busy dude.

Most of the time RoboCowboy Guy stands around and holds Star Wars books. But tonight he (or one of his clone buddies) will appear on The Big Bang Theory on CBS at 8 p.m. (I think; check your local listings) along with Apollo 11 astronaut and moon walker Buzz Aldrin in an episode entitled "The Holgraphic Excitation."

How will we ever keep him home on the farm after tonight?

Even though RoboCowboy Guy is really cool, he isn't too cool for you. If you are interested in purchasing a clone, we'll get you in contact with the guy who designs these things.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Pioneer Woman Cometh!

Do you long for wide open spaces?
Do you daydream about herding cattle?
Do you crave butter-filled, stick-to-your-ribs grub?
Do you like to battle crowds of fans to meet your favorite celebrity?

If so, Little Shop of Stories on November 5th is the place to be!

We are calling all fans of the Pioneer Woman! Yes, that's right! Ree Drummond, aka the Pioneer Woman, will be visiting Decatur on Monday, November 5th at 7pm. Her new book is Charlie and the Christmas Kitty. We'll be selling this book, along with all her others.

If you don't already know about this city girl turned country mama, check out her blog for more about life on the farm. In a nut shell, girl meets cowboy. Girl marries cowboy. Girl moves to farm. Girl starts cooking. Girl starts a blog. Girl publishes multiple books about cooking and ranch life and her dog, Charlie. Girl comes to Decatur on tour!

Here's the skinny.
1. This event is free and open to the public, but it will be ticketed. It will take place at Little Shop of Stories at 133 A East Court Square, Decatur, GA 30030.
2. We have limited space for people to sit while she gives her talk. In order to keep anyone from getting stampeded to death, we are limiting the number of people who can attend her lecture (which will take place in our upstairs loft area) to 100 people. Anyone is welcome to attend the signing, which will take place immediately following the talk, and you're welcome to hang out down in the shop while she talks. You'll be able to hear her, but you just won't be in the same room as her.
3. We will start giving out tickets on Monday, November 5th at 4 pm. Doors to go upstairs to the reading will open at 6 pm. You must be in person to get a ticket, and tickets are limited to one ticket per person. Yes, we know that's inconvenient, and we're sorry. We are just trying to control the crowds in an orderly fashion, and, again, no one will be turned away from the signing line. You just might be at the end of it. The first hundred people to get a ticket will get to see her read (and to attend the signing line,) and everyone else will get a ticket for just the signing line.
4. After Ree finishes her talk, we'll start calling numbers to get in the signing line. Your number will be on your ticket, and will be determined by the order in which you pick it up.
5. Ree will sign as many items as you'd like. You're also welcome to stand in line just to say hello to her and not get anything signed.
6. You do not need to buy anything to attend this event, or to get in the signing line. But we definitely appreciate your support so we can continue hosting events like this! Plus, books make great Christmas presents!
7. Questions? Call us at 404-373-6300 or email us at littleshopofstories@gmail.com.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Judy Schachner is Coming!

And her new Skippyjon Jones book came out today!

Judy Schachner, author and illustrator of the GREAT Skippyjon Jones series, will be at Little Shop on Thursday, October 18th at 4:30 p.m. to present her new book and to do a signing.

I love Skippy and I love the Skippy books. Until today the original Skippyjon Jones book and Lost in Spice were my two favorites.

But I've got to tell you, Cirque de Olé really enters the big top. It's funnier and a bit more bizarre that the others -- and when you're dealing with a Siamese cat who thinks he's a Chihuahua, everything already starts out bizarre. In addition, the art is really vivid.

Out of all our favorite authors, Judy is up there with our most favorites. She connects so well with kids who have come to her past signings in Decatur as well as with parents. Judy is warm and encouraging and funny and surprising and we're thrilled that she's coming!

Now if we can only get her to move to Decatur.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Can You Dig It? A Holes-Inspired Work Day

Last Saturday, ten families participated in our Habitat for Humanity Work Day, sponsored by Intown Ace Hardware.

Why were we digging holes, you may ask. Well, in Holes (our 2012 On The Same Page selection) Stanley at the other boys at Camp Green Lake are forced to spend their days digging five-foot holes in a dry lake bed in order to "build character."

 If you've never dug a hole before, you can't understand how difficult this task is, so we wanted to give kids and their families a chance to dig some holes of their own, to better understand Stanley and the challenging task in the book.

But instead of just doing it to "build character" like they say in the book, we wanted it to be for a good cause.

So we partnered with Habitat for Humanity to find a house that needed some landscaping and could use our holes (and plants to put in the holes). We contacted our friends at Intown Ace Hardware to see if they'd be interested in donating shovels and plants. And after a lot of coordination, we had our Holes-inspired dig!

Tucker High School students attended the event as well, getting to the site early to prepare the beds for our diggers. We were super thankful for their help!

Everyone had a great attitude and worked hard, even when they encountered roots or stumps in the area they were digging. Our friends at Habitat introduced us to a handy tool called a pickmatic (not an ax-o-matic, like Ms. Krista kept calling it) and that made a huge difference.

Two hours later, we were all tired and covered in dirt, but the house had 20 new azalea bushes and looked beautiful! Thanks to all the families that participated, and to Tucker High School, Habitat for Humanity, and Intown Ace Hardware!

For more information about On The Same Page events, visit www.weareonthesamepage.org.
Up next: a shoe drive benefiting Our House, a movie screening, and a party!

To My Sister

 When I get older losing my hair,
Many years from now,
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings bottle of wine?

If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door,
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

oo oo oo oo oo oo oo oooo
You'll be older too, (ah ah ah ah ah)
And if you say the word,
I could stay with you.


I could be handy mending a fuse
When your lights have gone.
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride.

Doing the garden, digging the weeds,
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage
In the Isle of Wight, if it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck, and Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line,
Stating point of view.
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, Wasting Away.

Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me,
When I'm sixty-four?