Easter Chicks and Spring Chickens (Weekly Progression)

Hello, readers,

I have pet chickens now.

I got them as pullets (female chickens under one year old) from a breeder on March 23 when they were already several weeks old, so there will be no adorable baby chick pictures here. Nevertheless, here is a photo progression of how they looked at different ages. I got four chickens total, but they’ll be separated by breed for this chart.

They were all at slightly different ages when I got them, but I hope the charts are easy enough to understand anyway.

Lavender Orpingtons

Opal Pomona
4 weeks 20190324_183745
5 weeks 20190330_090759

0 lbs, 6.5 oz

6 weeks 20190406_174422

0 lbs, 9.7 oz


0 lbs, 10.9 oz

7 weeks Copy of 20190414_072928

0 lbs, 11.9 oz


0 lbs, 14.4 oz

8 weeks 20190420_084441

0 lbs, 15.3 oz

Copy of 20190414_073003

1 lbs, 1.9 oz

It’s impossible to tell in these pictures, but Pomona got noticeably “big” and fluffy in the past week.

9 weeks 20190420_084853

1 lbs, 6.5 oz

Also impossible to tell in this picture is that Pomona is wide now. She has noticeable pantaloons.


Howlite Minerva Louise
8 weeks 20190324_184627
9 weeks 20190330_091218

0 lbs, 13.9 oz

10 weeks 20190406_174015(0)

1 lbs, 0.3 oz

11 weeks Copy of 20190414_073500

1 lbs, 2 oz.


1 lbs, 3 oz

12 weeks 20190420_084244

1 lbs, 5 oz


1 lbs, 4.3 oz

13 weeks Copy of 20190414_073154(0)

1 lbs, 8.8 oz

14 weeks 20190420_084130

1 lbs, 11.8 oz

Stay fluffy,



101 Things in 1,001 Days

Hello, readers,

I came across the 101 Things in 1,001 Days challenge for the first time last week. I thought it was a really cool way to list out a lot of goals of various importance all in one place to see what you can accomplish in 2.75 years. I recently looked at my New Year’s resolutions I made at the start of 2015, and I was really surprised by just how much I’ve changed in 3.5 years. I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to achieve a lot of these new goals. Since there are 101 of them, that gave me the freedom to include some more “minor” aspirations that sadly never make the more restrictive goal lists.

I’ve seen a few blogs now that separate their list into categories like “business” and “friends and family,” but I like the more disorganized lists. They seem to give more permission for spontaneous completion. I wrote my list in Google Sheets and used a random number function to sort things, so you won’t find any intentional pattern in the list below. Fair warning: a lot of the items have to do with fixing up and prettifying the house.

* * *

Start Day: August 25, 2018

End Day: May 22, 2021

  • Plain formatted items are still in progress.
  • Bolded items are completed, and I’m going to try to document as many of the items as I can. 
  • Striked items are things I decided that I don’t care about anymore.
  1. Make more sugar heart “cubes”
  2. Wear “minimal makeup” (eyeliner, blush, lip color) at least once a week
  3. Go to a pumpkin patch in the fall
  4. Bake a pie from scratch
  5. Read the Arabian Nights, one story a night
  6. Grow as many edible flowers as possible
  7. Finish a draft for a novel
  8. Make or buy a swimsuit I’ll actually wear
  9. Learn to play piano
  10. See an opera
  11. Re-texture the first floor walls
  12. Make butter
  13. Watch (for the first time) a movie that my mom got me for Christmas years ago…
  14. Attend another lolita meet
  15. Stop casually swearing
  16. Paint a portrait of my cat
  17. Send out holiday greeting cards (for Halloween or Christmas) (October 2018)
    • Six cards, Halloween 2018
  18. Make a pair of lounge/flannel bloomers
  19. Successfully germinate some coffee seeds
  20. Install better laminate flooring in the bedroom upstairs
  21. Read at least 101 books in a year (101 books in 2018)
  22. Preserve/can something (water bath method)
  23. Install baseboard in all the rooms
  24. Go bowling (January 2019)
    • Game 1: 82
    • Game 2: 100
    • Back in high school, while on the bowling team, I my score would be in the range of 120-180.
  25. Participate in National Novel Writing Month again
  26. Learn to crochet doilies
  27. Make ice cream by hand
  28. Get my bass guitar adjusted and fighting fit again
  29. Fill up a coloring book
  30. Make/have a vegan dinner at least once a week for a month
  31. Sew a dress for myself
  32. Visit a Renaissance Festival or other fair
  33. Play croquet
  34. Get a plot in my local community garden (January 2019)
  35. Make more mead
  36. Buy a better-fitting corset
  37. Wear a corset once a week on average
  38. See how well a robot vacuum works in the house (September 2018)
    • Verdict: great! I bought an iRobot Roomba 690. It might be a silly fool that bumps into things and sometimes forgets to go into all the rooms, but it picks up SO MUCH debris/hair/fur. I love it.
  39. Make rosewater
  40. Get a new driver’s license (September 2018)
  41. Send thank you notes to people in my life
  42. Hang a chandelier somewhere (October 2018)
    • Just in case I can’t manage a permanent chandelier installation, I’m going to say these Halloween string lights count.P1120627
  43. Finish the pom-pom rug I started (it’s 85% done)
  44. Reach out to a high school friend I haven’t spoken to in years
  45. Take a bath with a homemade bath bomb
  46. Collect fresh eggs from my (future) pet chickens
  47. Hang curtains back up in the main downstairs room (November 2018)
  48. Make the trip to Minneapolis to visit my partner’s grandmother ASAP
  49. Ask 10 friends what a favorite book of theirs is, then read them all
  50. Go to a murder mystery dinner
  51. Post another recipe to the Sugar, Spice, and Everything Nice series on this blog
  52. Get a few blouses custom-made for me
  53. Find something amazing at a thrift store
  54. Harvest some produce I grew myself
  55. Remodel my bathroom
  56. Attend a roller derby
  57. Replace all the doorknobs in the house with glass ones
  58. See a ballet performance
  59. Apply to a Masters of Library and Information Science degree program
  60. Sand and prime the remaining kitchen cabinets
  61. Buy a better harness for my cat so she can have more outdoor time
  62. Get a pair of stylish, comfortable boots
  63. Attend a Play! Pokemon event
  64. Get a better pillow with neck support
  65. Find a tub (I can afford) worthy of bubble baths
  66. Re-texture the downstairs ceilings
  67. Travel somewhere with my partner
  68. Throw a theme night — dinner, games, music, and maybe a movie
  69. Hang drywall upstairs
  70. Take a couple’s cooking class
  71. Sell something on my Etsy shop to a stranger
  72. Install chair rail in the big/main room
  73. See a musical
  74. Learn to make a decent curry
  75. De-vine the hill-jungle of a backyard I have
    • This has morphed into a full landscaping project that will take us years to complete. We were going to hire landscapers to terrace the backyard, but they gave us a quote of $27,000 for doing the lower HALF of the yard.
    • I’m hoping that a tree service will be able to rip all the random trees out of the hill so I can plant fruit trees and my partner and I can eventually terrace it ourselves.
  76. Paint the front door
  77. Update my resume (September 2018) (and my partner’s, too, while I’m at it)
    • Updated it just in time to apply to a new job! I have an interview October 9, 2018.
      • I did not get the job, but I was told I was the runner-up candidate. Oh well.
  78. See a play
  79. Have a picnic in a cemetery
  80. Write consistently using my typewriter (freshly tuned-up!)
  81. See the symphony (February 2019)
    • Conductor: Herbert Blomstedt
    • Beethoven: Symphony No. 6, “Pastoral”
    • Dvořák: Symphony No. 8
  82. Get on my partner’s health insurance (or my own) before I turn 26
  83. Buy a fancy china cup and saucer
  84. Replace the casings on the relevant doorways with matching millwork
  85. Finish at least one DIY project every month for a year
    • September 2018 – melted a solid lump-style deodorant and poured it into a cleaned out Dove deodorant stick. The new stick format is much easier to use, and it limits the deodorant’s air exposure.
    • October 2018 – made a Snorlax costume for my boyfriend, made a Mega Mawile costume for me.
    • November 2018 – finished painting a group of miniatures (Salt Pillar spawn point – a self-sculpted and proxied version – for Super Dungeon Explore)
    • December 2018 – my boyfriend and I installed a pendant swag light in our friends’ music room as their Christmas present. It’s plugged in to an outlet controlled by a switch, so it works like a normal light!
    • January 2019 – made a DIY version of the As Seen on TV Spicy Shelf following this tutorial: https://www.hometalk.com/9491843/diy-spicy-shelf-organizer
  86. Attend a soccer match
  87. Complete and frame at least three 1000+ piece puzzles
    • Finished
      • Eurographics: The Lady of Shallot (October 2018)
      • Aquarius: Hogwarts Express (January 2019)
    • Framed
      • Aquarius: Hogwarts Express (January 2019)
      • Eurographics: The Lady of Shallot (January 2019)
  88. Make a drying rack for herbs
  89. Paint the inside of the house
  90. Try a natural deodorant (August 2018)
    • I bought Aromaco from Lush. It worked fantastically for 1.5 weeks, but then I got a rash. I don’t think it’s contact dermatitis. I’ll try the deodorant again when the rash is gone.
  91. Try taking a milk bath
  92. Make herbal blends for tea and things
  93. Dye my hair again
  94. Go ice skating
  95. Make the porch awning look less horrible
  96. Travel somewhere by myself
  97. Get rid of clothes I don’t wear or don’t fit
  98. Attend a hockey game
  99. Make a wreath
  100. Try rock climbing
  101. Paint the kitchen cabinets

Wish me luck,


Clawfoot Tub Dreams

Hello, readers,

I have always wanted to have a clawfoot tub. Something about how such a heavy tub can be perched on such dainty feet has always inspired me, and I’ve imagined that taking a bath in one would feel like floating. Of course, the really spacious surroundings most freestanding tubs get in pictures certainly doesn’t hurt that idea.

Since my bathroom is atrocious and needs to be completely remodeled (as in torn-back-to-the-studs-and-subfloor remodeled), I thought it would be the perfect time to try and get the clawfoot tub of my dreams.

My house was built in 1951 America, so it does not really have many of the thoughtful details and flourishes that marked 19th and 18th century home architecture. Those embellishments really make my heart sing, but it’s been challenging to try and add them to my house without overwhelming its petite size/proportions. Stylistically, a clawfoot tub would not make much sense in the house, but I wanted one anyway.

My bathroom is far too horrible to post any real pictures, so here’s a floor plan.

5 ft x 6.75 ft

There are a few challenges of putting in a clawfoot tub into this space.

  1. The room is very small, and most clawfoot tubs are not designed for saving space. I need the tub to fit in the space of the old alcove tub.
  2. The tub MUST double as a shower. This is the house’s only bathroom, and we need a shower for daily life.
  3. The tub — a luxury item — needs to be budget-friendly. In practical terms, this means that the tub we buy would need to be made of acrylic, which I don’t find to be the most inspiring material.

An option that some people might have to stay budget-friendly is to find a salvage clawfoot tub. For a few reasons (like relying on pretty inefficient public transportation), I decided that this was not a viable option for me. Plus, most antique tubs are longer than the five feet of space I have.

The pros of having a clawfoot tub are obvious to me: aesthetics, Victorian charm, and a sense of easy/relaxing luxury. These three things are really important to me, but a tub needs to be practical, too.

Here are some frustrations people reported having with using clawfoot tubs. I’ve seen these sorts of comments in various threads around the internet, so they’re generalizations, not quotes.

See the strange shower curtain situation? [Public Domain — Historic American Buildings Survey]

  • The shower curtains need to completely surround the tub, which makes people feel like they’re being suffocated and encroached on by the curtains.
  • It’s tricky for some people to get the curtains to close completely and overlap one another, so shower water still gets everywhere outside the tub.
  • People have to reach out of the shower curtains to get to their toiletries. (The viability of a shower caddy seems to depend a lot on the individual plumbing/piping of the shower head.)
  • Cleaning around and under the tub is apparently difficult and awful. I think this would be especially awful in my bathroom since I would be dealing with a tub in an alcove and wouldn’t be able to approach from the sides.
  • If you don’t clean thoroughly around and under the tub, mold situations can develop in hard-to-see areas.
  • Lots of people feel very unstable when they step out of the shower/tub. Some people report that their shower curtains have been ripped down/off more than once when people grab them in a panic. Lots of people also showed concern at the thought of an older person getting in and out of their shower/tub.

None of that is very compatible with my hyper-romantic ideas of having a lovely bathtub, but I thought I could persevere.

* * *

The way I see things, most of these difficulties come from trying to shower while standing up in a clawfoot tub. I was so pleased to find that some clawfoot tub manufacturers are trying to solve the issue in a way that still shows off the old-fashioned vibes of a clawfoot tub.

Oasis 65′ – 65″ Vintage Extra Wide Clawfoot Tub with Tempered Glass Shower Enclosure Package — Image from Baths of Distinction

Because of all the chrome fittings, this tub gives me more Art Deco vibes than the Victorian ones I love so much, but I think it would do a good job of keeping shower water contained. The tub and shower enclosure above does come in a five-foot length that would fit my space, but the price is still close to 4000 USD. That’s simply not possible for me.

I got really excited when I saw this style of tub, however.

Burlington Hampton Traditional Shower Bath — image from UK Bathrooms

Appleby 1700 RH Roll Top Shower Bath with Screen + Chrome Leg Set — image from Victorian Plumbing UK

Do you see how this tub could solve so many of the problems of putting a freestanding tub into an alcove tub’s space? The “faucet wall” side and one of the long sides of this bathtub are designed to meet the wall in the corner. Not only does the “faucet wall” side of the tub provide a small ledge for things like razors or other small items, but I could caulk the gap along the two corner walls and not worry about moisture sneaking down there. Success! Also, providing a glass screen might eliminate the need for a shower curtain altogether if we managed to place our shower head vertically as in the images above. The bathroom’s only window is in the tub alcove, and getting one of these tubs without a shower curtain would let in all the natural light from the window in the alcove into the rest of the bathroom. Neither of these two tubs have pre-drilled for the tap/faucet, which is great since our plumbing comes out of the wall in the alcove and does not need to come out of the tub. Both models come in right-hand and left-hand configurations, so we wouldn’t need to move our plumbing. All in all, I really felt for a little bit like I’d found my perfect solution.

Then I noticed the complications.

The Appleby 1700 is 1700 mm long, which is about 6 inches too long for my space. Even though I like the curved glass screen and its cheaper price more, it simply won’t fit in my bathroom. That leaves the Burlington Hampton, which comes in 1700 and 1500 mm lengths (1500 mm is just a little bit smaller than the maximum tub length I can accommodate at 59 inches). For the 1500 mm Burlington Hampton, getting it with a glass screen will cost me around 1000 USD with today’s exchange rate. (There’s a 100 GBP difference between getting the regular glass screen and getting the screen with access panel.) That does not include shipping from the UK, where the only two corner tubs with glass screens (that I’ve found) are sold. While certainly more attainable than a 4000 USD solution, it still feels like an irresponsible amount of money, especially since I would need to request a shipping quote for US shipping. I cannot imagine it will be cheap, since these tubs are a trifecta of shipping complications: large, heavy, and with delicate parts.

Plus, the tub is acrylic. I could not find out how much weight the Burlington Hampton tub supports, so I am going to assume it’s the same as the figure I saw for a different acrylic clawfoot tub: 370 lbs. Truthfully, that’s just not enough. If that’s the weight limit, then my partner and I would not be able to be in the shower at the same time. I cannot spend over 1000 USD to have a tub that’s less functional than our current alcove tub. Plus, I wouldn’t buy acrylic if I was shopping for alcove tubs, and I worry that settling for cheaper materials would leave a sour taste in my mouth and ruin the fun of the bathtub.

* * *

Since I won’t really be able to get a new clawfoot tub in this house, I’ve got to look at trying to get a better bath experience out of a normal alcove tub.

The first step in doing that is to get a deep tub. I’ve always been so annoyed when the water in a tub doesn’t cover me, and I won’t have that in my new tub if I can help it. Looking at the prices around me, a metal tub covered in porcelain will cost me around 600-700 USD with a deep-soaking drain.

The second thing is that the tub needs to be comfortable to lie down in. I plan on taking many baths in it, and I want to be able to recline. I’ve never found a normal tub to be very relaxing to lie down in, but I think that might be because I can’t lay my head back if the tub’s alcove is exactly as long as the tub.

Sally Schneider on Improvised Life solved this problem for herself by cutting out a niche for her head where the tub and wall meet.

Sally Schneider – Improvised Life

She goes over the process in her post “How To Make A 5-Foot Alcove Tub FEEL Like A Vintage One.” It’s a really helpful post, and I know I’ll be referring to it again once all the walls in the bathroom are removed.

It’s a shame that I won’t have a darling clawfoot tub in my house, but it’s probably for the best. A clawfoot tub would look really anachronistic in my house, and I think I can come to accept that the vibe would be too different from the rest of the space. I’m still disappointed, but I’ll get over it as long as I can have nice baths in a new tub eventually.

My next task is to find a 5-foot alcove tub that’s deep and has a good reclining angle. And also is not acrylic. Wish me luck.

Stay relaxing,


Refinishing Hardwood Floors

Hello, readers,

Just as a heads-up, this will be a very long post. I go over how my boyfriend and I uncovered hardwood floors in our house and went about refinishing them ourselves. I hope you click the “Read More” to see how we did it!

The left image is right after we uncovered the floor. The right is two years after refinishing it.

Continue reading

A Guide to Buying Pretty Books (Mostly Classics)

Hello, readers,

If you love beauty, reading, and old-fashioned charm/elegance, then you likely have dreamed of having your own beautiful library one day. I’ve wanted a collection of awesome, wonderful books that would stretch from floor to ceiling in a room of my house (preferably a tower room) since I first learned to read. It’s been a dream of mine throughout my life, even as my tastes have grown or changed.

However, I’ve also been horribly disappointed by the quality of books I’ve owned. Having taken many literature classes in college, I bought used copies of the books I would need for that semester. Functionally, this worked out fine, but it was aesthetically taxing to see all the crummy paperbacks on my bookshelves. After college, I wanted to keep some of the books for the contents, but having to look at their ugliness made me not want to read anything on the same shelf as them. Then there are the struggles of actually reading paperback books: the books resist being opened all the way and are also hard to hold open, so reading them is uncomfortable for me; the spines crack while you read them, so they start looking unappealing partway through the first reading; and worst of all is that they’re liable to have chunks of pages fall out when the glue gets dried out.

What I want for my personal library now is books that are decent quality and a delight to look at and feel. I also want to focus on keeping the costs reasonable, so I’m working on collecting what I’m going to call “semi-fine” editions: books that are a step or two above the standard hardback, trade paperback, or regular paperback versions.

This post is not a guide into the world of fine presses, like Easton Press or the Folio Society. Many internet threads have commentors who say to just buy used editions from those presses instead of buying these “semi-fine” editions. You can make that decision for yourself. I am not a serious book collector, so spending my time scouring for good deals on the limited books I’d want is not how I want to employ myself.

Conditions for inclusion on this list:

  • hardcover
  • price in the ballpark of $25 USD per book
  • currently available for sale

Before we get started, here are a few more of my biases.

  • A sewn binding is my standard. Glued binding are inferior.
  • I hate dust jackets.
  • I don’t like white paper; I prefer cream paper for reading.
  • I really like multiple-novels-in-one-book, collections, and omnibus editions. I think that they save space vs. having all the collected contents separately bound, and they makes things simpler. Some omnibus editions are terrible — print that’s too small to read normally, pages that are too thin — but on the whole I’m in favor of them.
  • I’m unqualified to say if paper is acid-free or not, so I’ve made no mention of that concern below. (Paper that isn’t acid-free yellows and turns brittle with age, sometimes as soon as after a year or two. Archival quality paper is acid-free.)

If you want to learn more about how to spot the differences between glued bindings and sewn bindings, you can watch the video below:

* * *

Barnes and Noble Collectible Editions (hardcovers only)

(Bonded) leather covers, ribbon bookmarks, gilding on all three page edges (sometimes silver, sometimes gold, very occasionally something different)


  • They have books beyond the traditional fairy tales, mythology, and 19th-and-early-20th century classics. (The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park/The Lost World, the first three novels of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, the US Constitution, etc.)
  • Some of the books have introductions.
  • Sewn bindings
  • They have lots of multi-novel/omnibus editions and a few genre collections.
  • Many of the books have internal illustrations (black and white or colored) and feature colored plates.
  • Amazing, stand-out editions include: Aesop’s Illustrated Fables, The Arabian Nights (Richard Burton translation, though…), The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (out of print), and Dante’s The Divine Comedy (Longfellow translation, 135 full-page reproductions of Doré’s engravings).
  • These books come in shrink wrap, so the price/sale stickers won’t damage the gilding on the covers, and they hopefully won’t get dirty in shipping. In the stores, there are often unwrapped copies with the others so you can see inside the books.
  • If you’re collecting Canterbury Classics (see below), then these will fit nicely together on your bookshelf, as the books from both lines have very similar exterior dimensions. (Barnes and Noble Collectible Editions are a smidgen taller.)
  • Over 50 books in the catalog. (It’s very hard to get an accurate count of these since the site includes the smaller, flexi-bound volumes in the collectible editions category and some of the hardback volumes go in and out of print.)

The Secret Garden at 1:59 is not part of the line I’m focusing on. I think that it’s part of the $10 children’s chapter books by Barnes and Noble, which are different sizes from the “adult bindings.”


  • Very few copies have annotations (the only one I’m aware of having any extra/scholarly content is H.P. Lovecraft: The Complete Fictions). This makes me feel that their older texts like the Complete Shakespeare or Dante’s Divine Comedy will be reference bricks instead of reading copies.
  • The books are pretty large, ~ 6.25 x 9.40 in (~15.8 x 23.9 cm). It’s not comfortable to read from these while snuggled in bed, unless you read on your stomach and can lay them flat.
  • Barnes and Noble change the covers on these fairly often, but the inner text block is apparently identical between versions. I would be worried to buy online in case I got a cover I hadn’t wanted.
  • Their editions of works that were not originally published in English use old, pre-1923 translations that are generally considered to be inferior to more modern translations. It is also very hard to find information about the translations used online. (I’ve done my best to fill in what I know here.)
  • They’re a Barnes and Noble exclusive line, so people outside the US can’t see the books in person before ordering online.
  • I’ve seen people online complain about these books having microprint issues. Honestly, it varies. The Complete Shakespeare is hard to read, and the print in Jane Austen: Seven Novels is unpleasantly small, but I don’t find any difficulty reading the Complete Sherlock Holmes. Aesop’s Illustrated Fables has very generous sized print and lots of pleasing white space. The Ultimate Hitchhiker ‘s Guide to the Galaxy has a great, readable font size.
  • The children’s picture books — The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh (Accurately named, as it only contains the first two Pooh books; it doesn’t include the two books of poetry A.A. Milne wrote that feature Pooh.), The Complete Adventures of Curious George (It’s not complete at all, even if they were just including the original stories by H.A. and Margaret Rey. Very confusing.), The Complete Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (only complaint I have here is that I don’t like the name of the collection), and A Madeline Treasury by Ludwig Bemelmans (The description says it’s her complete adventures, but I haven’t checked up on that.)  — are all physically taller and wider than the “adult bindings” in the line, so they look like they’re from a separate collection.
  • Some reviewers have complained about OCR errors or typos. I haven’t run across any myself, though.
  • Some of the front covers include a sticker in the design. Sometimes the stickers are recessed, which is okay, but sometimes they are non-recessed.
  • Some editions to be careful about include: Jules Verne: Seven Novels (crummy translations, and the book block seems to like to separate from the covers during shipping), Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park/The Lost World (The red ink on the cover can smear into the white.), and The Iliad and the Odyssey (which uses the Samuel Butler prose translation).
  • The biggest con for me is that the line is inconsistent with itself. Some are fantastic, and some are just not good. If you want to actually read your pretty books instead of just using them as shelf candy, it makes buying something from this line complicated.
barnes and noble and canterbury classics

Barnes and Noble, Canterbury Classics, Barnes and Noble, Barnes and Noble, Canterbury Classics, Barnes and Noble, Canterbury Classics
Pay attention to the top 2/3 of the spines only. Many of these were borrowed from the public library.

Canterbury Classics (Leather-bound Classics)

(Bonded) leather covers, ribbon bookmarks, gold gilding on all three page edges


  • They publish some multi-novel editions, as well as genre collections (Horror, Westerns, and Science Fiction).
  • Their editions have introductions.
  • Sewn bindings
  • Hans Christian Andersen’s Complete Fairy Tales has the recently discovered story “The Tallow Candle.”
  • If you’re collecting Barnes and Noble Collectible Editions (see above), then these will fit nicely together on your bookshelf, as the books from both lines have very similar exterior dimensions. (Canterbury Classics are just a smidgen shorter.)

Most of the Canterbury Classics catalog is represented here.


  • Only 25 books in their catalog so far
  • They’re sticking pretty closely to “classics,” besides their genre collections, US Constitution, and Art of War.
  • The Iliad and the Odyssey uses the Samuel Butler prose translation.
  • The books are pretty large, ~ 6.25 x 9.3 in (~15.8 x 23.6 cm). It’s not comfortable to read from these while snuggled in bed, unless you read on your stomach and can lay them flat.
  • The font size varies between books. (I’ve noticed that Hans Christian Andersen’s Complete Fairy Tales and H.G. Wells: Six Novels have smaller-than-medium text, but it’s not yet microprint.)
  • The cover/spine designs of the books are a bit inconsistent. You can see from their catalog that some have lovely covers, and some are plain and look a bit clip-art-y. For me, the annoying thing is that their spine design isn’t always the best. The spines are the plainest part of the editions I’ve seen.
  • No interior illustrations

Knickerbocker Classics (slipcase editions)

Cloth covers, ribbon bookmarks, no special page edges


  • The books come in very sturdy slipcases.
  • Sewn bindings
  • They publish mostly omnibus editions in their hardcover, slipcase line.
  • The slipcase editions have introductions and other extras, like suggested reading, chronologies of the author’s life, etc.
  • The slipcases feature the author’s signature on the “front cover,” and there is a portrait of the author as the frontispiece of most of their books. I think those are nice details.
  • Some of the books are illustrated.
  • The cloth Knickerbocker Classics uses feels satiny and smooth, unlike any book-cloth I’ve felt before. It’s nice to touch. Also, the words/designs on the covers are integrated into the fabric, not printed on top as a separate layer.

Knickerbocker Classics in their slipcases. (These are a little worn and have weird stickers because they were borrowed from the public library.)


  • There are only 15 “slipcase books” in their catalog.
  • It is hard to determine on the website which books are one of their bigger, slipcase editions and which are part of the smaller, flexible classics line. I had to click on each book and scan for “paperback” or “hardback” to distinguish between them for sure.
  • These are very large, very heavy books, measuring ~ 6.75 x 9.5 in (~17.1 x 24.1 cm). It’s not comfortable to read from these while snuggled in bed, unless you read on your stomach and can lay them flat.
  • The Iliad and the Odyssey uses the Samuel Butler prose translation.
  • They’re sticking pretty faithfully to the classics/out-of-copyright texts.
  • MSRP of $30 or $35 USD. The books can be gotten for less on Amazon, but that isn’t the point.

Penguin Clothbound Classics

Cloth covers stamped with foil, ribbon bookmarks,  no special page edges


  • These books have introductions and annotations included.
  • For a line that focuses mostly on well-known 19th century American and British classics, there are some strange 20th century surprises lurking in the catalog like William S. Burroughs’s The Naked Lunch and Jean Rhys’s Wide Sargasso Sea (and it is very cool to be able to have a matched pair of that book and Jane Eyre).
  • The typeface is different in each book, and they have a note about why they chose the particular typeface they did for each book. I think that’s a very cute detail.
  • The cover/spine designs of the books are all different, but they are consistently stunning and look like they’re from the same line/designer.
  • The Iliad and The Odyssey use the E. V. Rieu translations, which are also prose translations, but are at least different than the many Samuel Butler reprints published in these semi-fine collections.
  • Over 40 books in the catalog. More books are being added to the line consistently.


  • The foil stamping is rather delicate. Rough handling (carrying it around in a backpack or purse) or damp/clammy hands will remove the foil. There is also an unfortunately placed sticker on the back cover that will damage the foil when removed.
  • The bindings are glued, not sewn.
  • The annotations in The Hound of the Baskervilles contained spoilers for the mystery!!! I haven’t had that problem with the notes in the other books I’ve read from this line, but that’s something that would put me off the other Sherlock Holmes editions.
  • They do not do multi-novel editions. Each book is individually bound.
  • They’ve only published Dante’s Inferno, and not the rest of The Divine Comedy (so far).

Puffin in Bloom

Paper covers, no ribbon bookmark, no special page edges


  • MSRP of $16 per book
  • Some interior black and white illustrations
  • All the books come with themed extras at the end, geared towards child readers, but appreciated nonetheless.


  • There are only four books in the collection. An edition of Alice in Wonderland by the same designer does not match the rest of the set (too tall, but with interior colored illustrations).
  • Glued bindings
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott seems to have too many pages for the compact size. The spine gets bent/deformed when read.
  • The ISBN information printed on the back cover is in a stark white box that doesn’t suit the rest of the design.
  • Only one of the Anne Shirley books is included, Anne of Green Gables, which makes sense thematically but will make a larger collection of Anne Shirley books mismatched if you start here.

Penguin Drop Caps

Paper covers with opaque foil designs, no ribbon bookmark, all three page edges are color-stained to match the covers


  • This collection contains books beyond the typical 19th century classics, like Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees and Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World.
  • The books come in shrink wrap, so hopefully they will be protected from dirt during the shipping process.
  • Collecting all the books will form a lovely rainbow gradient when stacked together.


  • There are only 26 books in the catalog (one for every letter of the English alphabet). It would be very cool if they did a second wave of these, but I don’t expect it.
  • Glued bindings
  • The spines/covers fade quickly in indirect sunlight.

Library of America

Cloth covers (with paper dust jacket), ribbon bookmark, no special page edges


  • Sewn bindings
  • They publish collections and complete editions of authors.
  • The books have annotations and chronologies.
  • The color of the cloth bindings vary, but the cloth colors stay consistent for each specific author. The cloth colors for the past ten-ish years have been chosen deliberately in order to avoid having huge swaths of one color if a large number of LoA books are organized on your shelf alphabetically by author’s last name.
  • They have several nonfiction books for offer, including compilations like Reporting Vietnam and American Sermons : The Pilgrims to Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as speeches, essays, etc. from their featured authors.
  • They do not limit their offerings to just out-of-copyright material, although their focus on cementing “great American writing” as canonical classics does skew towards things that have been around for a while. An original publication date of the late 1970s/early 1980s was the most recent thing I found in their catalog (scanning quickly).
  • Library of America is a non-profit organization, which I think is pretty cool.
  • They offer a subscription service that will send you slipcased versions of their books rather than the normal black dust jacket version.
  • If you are also collecting Everyman’s Library editions (see below), these will fit together very reasonably on a shelf, as the books from both lines have very similar exterior dimensions. (Library of America books are a smidgen shorter.)
  • Over 300 books in their catalog

Here’s a sneak peak at what the Library of America books look like without their dust jackets. (This is a public library book, so I did not want to unfasten the dust jacket that they’d taped on.)


  • I hate their dust jackets. Their graphic design makes it hard for me to read the jacket, and yet they are also simultaneously plain. They are a glossy paper, which shows fingerprints and reflects light in a distracting way.
  • Unjacketed, the books are the plainest on this list, with only a few details on the spine and nothing on the front or back covers. Again, you might think they look classy or unpretentious.
  • The boards used to make the front and back covers are flexible, and this weirds me out. Perhaps it’s something meant to increase reading comfort?
  • No internal illustrations, generally
  • They only publish books by American authors.
  • The price is around $32 USD per book, but certain books are more expensive.

Everyman’s Library, Library of America, Everyman’s Library (contemporary classic), Library of America, Everyman’s Library (unjacketed and beat up)
Please try to not let the state of the dust jackets distract you from the height comparisons. All but one of these books were borrowed from the public library.

Everyman’s Library (not including Children’s Classics)

Cloth covers (with paper dust jackets), ribbon bookmarks, no special page edges


  • They publish “contemporary classics,” which include a range of things like The Diary of Anne Frank, Phillup Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, and two Toni Morrison novels in addition to the expected Ernest Hemingways and James Joyces.
  • The typeface is different in each book, and the last page of each book gives a brief history of the typeface (in the triangle-shaped block of text). I think that’s a very cute detail.
  • The Iliad and The Odyssey use Robert Fitzgerald verse translations, although The Iliad does not have numbered lines for some bizarre reason.
  • If you are also collecting Library of America editions (see above), these will fit together very reasonably on a shelf, as the books from both lines have very similar exterior dimensions. (Everyman’s Library books are a smidgen taller.)
  • Huge catalog of books

Comparison between the Everyman’s Library dust jacket and the unjacketed book underneath.


  • In 2013 or so, the company experimented with using glued binding to cut costs. Their customers were very upset, and the experiment was a failure. They’ve gone back to sewn bindings, but you might (especially if buying online) buy some stock from 2013 with a glued binding, and there is no way to tell them apart (like via ISBN) without inspecting the book in person.
  • I dislike their dust jackets. The look alright in a big cluster on a shelf, but spread out look plain and unappealing.
  • Under their jackets, the books are not as pretty as some others on this list, but you may find them to be classier.
  • The color of the cloth for each book is determined by what genre/period the publisher puts it in. This is very annoying if you don’t agree with the choices (Jane Austen’s novels are dark green, so they’ll stick out from what I consider their 19th century fellows.) and also if you want a colorful, varied bookshelf but find yourself drawn to only one of those categories (burgundy for me, with a splash of scarlet).
    • Scarlet = Contemporary Classics
    • Navy = 20th Century
    • Burgundy = Victorian Literature/19th Century
    • Dark Green = Pre-Victorian/Romantic/18th Century
    • Light Blue = 17th Century and Earlier
    • Celadon Green = Non-Western Classics
    • Mauve = Ancient Classics
    • Sand = Poetry
  • The title, author, and publisher information is printed on the spine (and some specific books have the information printed on the front cover, too), but this is a bit delicate and liable to rub off. I would not carry one around in a backpack or purse without its dust jacket.

Everyman’s Library Children’s Classics

Cloth covers, ribbon bookmark, no special page edges


  • Sewn bindings
  • While a large portion of the collection consists of fairy tales, there are also some unexpected books included that I wouldn’t think of as being “for children,” like Edgar Allen Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination, and Edward Lear’s A Book of Nonsense. Check out the catalog; it might surprise you, too.
  • The spines of these books are very pretty, and they have gold foil designs in a diamond pattern that mimics the end pages.
  • Internal illustrations
  • The prices for most of the books are between $15 and $20 USD.
  • The colors of the cloth used for the covers are much more varied than the “more grown up” Everyman’s Library editions. If it bothers you, however, know that the colors are not the same among multiple different books by the same author.
  • Over 50 books in the catalog


  • The front covers of the books use (non-recessed) rectangular stickers as their illustrations.
  • Their version of Don Quixote is abridged and has been adapted for children. Boo! I haven’t been able to find out if any of the other books have been abridged.
  • The details printed on the cloth (like the pretty spine) are a bit delicate and will get scratched off with rough handling.
  • The books are the same height as the Everyman’s Library books, but they’re wider (~6.3 x 8.25 in (~16.1 x 21 cm)). If you have a very shallow bookcase, then these might stick out a bit from the rest of the “standard book shape” books.
  • Only one of the Anne Shirley books is included, Anne of Green Gables, which will make a larger collection of Anne Shirley books mismatched if you start here.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is the only Oz book in the catalog, again troublesome if you wanted a larger collection.

Macmillan Collector’s Library

Cloth covers, ribbon bookmark, gold gilding on all three page edges


  • Sewn bindings
  • Some books have internal illustrations.
  • These editions come with introductions or afterwords.
  • The front covers have a debossed design, which really makes the books look and feel lovely.
  • The books are very compact, measuring ~4 x 6.2 in (~10 x 15.7 cm). I find this a great size since I have smaller hands. If you have larger hands, this may be a very big detractor, though.
  • There are some cool nonfiction additions, like Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, to their mostly classics catalog. There are also a few books from the 20th century that I’ve never seen on any “classic literature” list, which is fantastic.
  • MSRP is around $15 USD or less.
  • Under the dust jacket, the author, title, and publisher information is printed on the spine in gold.
  • Over 200 books in their catalog… sort of (see the Con about the Collector’s Library).

Macmillan Collector’s Library (These were borrowed from the public library, hence the stickers and plastic-covered dust jackets. These dust jackets are generally matte, with a slight satin sheen to them.)


  • White paper
  • Dust jackets, although these ones don’t annoy me nearly as much as the other dust jackets I’ve mentioned.
  • Some books are abridged, some are not. You’ll have to research each book individually if having an unabridged text is important to you.
  • As might be expected with books this physically small, the font size varies in the line. For small books, like Shakespeare’s Sonnets, the font is medium or even a little larger than medium (although that could be an optical illusion brought on by all the white space on those pages). As the books get thicker/larger, the font size used decreased. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray uses a small font, but it’s still easy to read for me.
  • All the Macmillian Collector’s Library editions are bound in cloth that is a beautiful dusty, pastel blue, and come with a ribbon bookmark that matches the cover color. The gilding is gold, and the dust jackets reflect this color scheme, as well. This presentation works very well for books like Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden and Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Ernest, but feels totally incongruous some titles like Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allen Poe and The Communist Manifesto.
  • The Collector’s Library was a small publisher focusing on classics before being scooped up by Pan Macmillan. The books originally published by the Collector’s Library look different from those published by the Macmillan Collector’s Library. Macmillan Collector’s Library has reissued some of the books in the original Collector’s Library catalog, but not all. (On the bright side, I’ve heard the new Macmillan Collector’s Library is of better quality than the old Collector’s Library.)
  • They do not publish omnibus editions, although they sometimes combine two novellas into one book.

* * *

I hope this guide helps you navigate the sometimes tricky waters of building a personal library. In any case, it certainly helped me organize my thoughts about all the collections I listed. Readers, do you know of any other publishers, imprints, or special lines that would fit the “semi-fine” category? Please share them in the comments below!

Stay readers,