Nipple hats for cats.

If you’re a member of the Fantastic Strangelings Book Club then maybe last month you joined us for our online craft hour where I made a man (sort of) and taped myself to him (accidentally) and his arms kept falling off (embarrassingly)?  Well it was so much fun that we decided to do again, so check your email for the link if you’re already a member or click here to join the Strangelings if you want in.

Last week Vicky was crafting pasties (which makes sense because she’s a burlesque dancer in addition to being a consummate book monger and event manager) and I was like, “ Send me the recipe because I have to make those for my cats.”  Turns out it’s just 3D printed cones from Etsy and then you add your own rhinestones and tassels and when it all arrived Victor was like, “Wtf is this?” and I explained that I was making pasties for the cats and he acted like that was insane and so I explained that that I wasn’t making them for the cats to wear on their nipples obviously, and that I was making them for the cats to wear as hats.  And then Victor was like “Obviously?” and I was like, “Yeah.  I’d need SO MANY pasties to cover all the cat nipples.  They’re practically crawling with them.  Nipples, I mean.  Not pasties.  Obviously.”  And then Victor was like, “Please stop using ‘obviously’ when you are talking about crafting nipple covers for cat hats” but honestly, I think he was just embarrassed that he hadn’t done the math on how much it would cost to cover all the cat nipples in the house, so I just let him have that one.  


Also, remember Kate Winkler Dawson?  She was one of our first Fantastic Strangelings authors way back in Feb 2020 (PRE-PLAGUE!) who wrote American Sherlock.  Well, her newest book just came out (All That is Wicked: A Gilded-Age Story of Murder and the Race to Decode the Criminal Mind) and it is fabulous so she’s going to join us as we craft so we can talk about old-timey murder and forensics while we craft, which feels very fitting on spooky season.  

I tried to put the pre-decorated nipple cover on Hunter S. Thomcat and he was unimpressed.

But probably just because it wasn’t all blinged out yet and he has fashion standards.

Also happening this week? Remember how amazing book fairs were? Us too. Which is why we’re having a haunted book fair at Nowhere on Friday night. Spooky books, haunted elixirs, slap bracelets and erasers and book marks and the smell of new tomes. (And also non-spooky books and non-alcoholic drinks and all the normal stuff that you already love about bookstores if you are anything like me.)

And on Saturday we’re having (lightly) spooky story time for kiddos, complete with a costume parade and trick-or-treating for books:

Come join us, huh?

PS. When I went to school our book fair was actually just everyone getting the book catalogue and then ordering books based on the pictures and then a month later a big box would arrive and the teacher would pass out the books and if you ordered more than one you’d get a poster of a deer or a cat hanging off a tree or a scented eraser. Was it like that for everyone in the 70s/80s or was it just like that for rural schools? Anyway, that might be why I’m so excited about this and why I am currently tying dozens of ribbons on creepy bookmarks to tuck into your books. YAY FOR RELIVING YOUR CHILDHOOD IN VAGUELY HEALTHY WAYS!

70 thoughts on “Nipple hats for cats.

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  1. We ordered out of the catalog and also got random “gifts” if we were allowed to get more than one book. In my 2nd elementary school we had a fair when everything came in where the books my school ordered to sell were set up in the gymnasium with all the decorations from the publisher and lots of balloons. There was a fair during the school day when we tried to buy things with our allowance and then one at night during parent teacher conferences so the kids had something to do/could extort their adults for cash. It worked out pretty well and the PTA made some money.

  2. Every month or two we would get the Scholastic catalog (so exciting!) and then once a year they would set up shelves in the library so our parents could buy us a special treat if they were impressed at conferences.

  3. Oh I wish I could come. Over twenty years ago I got bought bags of mini golden books to give out. I’ve looked for them every year since but no luck.

  4. Our scholastic book fair seems to have been just like yours, except that the parent in charge always assumed I have misspelled my own name on the order form and helpfully “corrected” it to something not very similar. Also I ADORE Kate Winkler Dawson. Her new podcast with Paul Holes is the best.

  5. We had books on all of the tables in the cafeteria. Each class would go to the cafeteria as a group and purchase books at that time.

  6. I can still smell the Scholastic Book fair and feel the anticipation when the box arrived.

  7. I think it should say “Featuring” not “Faturing” but I’m not positive

    (This is exactly why I shouldn’t be allowed to make graphics. ~ Jenny)

  8. My favorite book fair purchase was always Dynamite magazine. It’s where all the cool kids got their Fonzie and Muppet news.

  9. I have never wanted to live in San Antonio (or close by) more so than now! I would LOVE to go to the Haunted Book Fair. Also, yes, we ordered books from the Scholastic catalog and book delivery day was always the BEST day! I still have some of those books: Baked Beans for Breakfast, The Wednesday Witch, Baby Island..sigh..a simpler time!

    (I still have my copy of Wednesday Witch! ~ Jenny)

  10. In the dark and distant past we didn’t have book fairs. We did get the scholastic newsletter once a month, in which I circled all the books I wanted and rarely got. My daughters, however, had the full blown book fair experience, which of course I worked just to get the experience of book fairing. They made out like bandits while I over compensated for dashed childhood dreams.

  11. I really wish I could come to the book fair because it sounds like everything my life is missing. I know it will be a hit! And my school (in the 90’s so a little later, but still a long time ago) did the catalog thing a few times a year and it was called “Book Order” but the book fair was when they wheeled in fancy display cases and we got to pick out what we wanted then and there (provided we had remembered to bring our $10), and it was the best day of the year <3

  12. I remember Scholastic Books, and what excitement there was for me. This was in the 60’s, when books were 35 to 75 cents. I know this because I still have some, like The Forgotten Door, which I still love, and A Wrinkle in Time.

  13. We had the catalogs, never a fair. I’d go through each catalog, checking all the books I’d like to have, then go back and cull them down to a number that I thought my parents would approve. (As far as I remember, they always did.) I don’t remember any little gifts, though. Speaking of spooky-but-not-too-spooky, I loved “How to Care for Your Monster” as a kid.

  14. We got catalogs with little pictures and synopses of each book to choose our order from, and when they came in, the teacher handed the books out to us from the box. I don’t remember how often it happened, but not every month. Those were among the few occasions my mom didn’t impose any limits–I can and did put a checkmark next to every single book that looked interesting. I can still feel that giddy excitement even after all this time. 1962-1970, first through eighth grades, three schools, two states.

  15. We had monthly catalogs sent home, but we had an all-out fair once per year. I loved it all!! I got my one and only “rock star” poster of Andy Gibb when I was 7 years old. Had no idea who he was, but he looked cool on my wall!

  16. Yes we had those scholastic book orders when I was in elementary school too. My family could not afford to give me money for books so I always went over the order circling what I would order if I could…sigh. Then in 3rd grade a book order came in and while I watched everyone getting their books I was handed this cute little magnet. I didn’t order a magnet or anything else. I took it back to the teacher and said “I didn’t order this.” She said “Oh, I have a note that says whoever gets the magnet gets a free book, that must be you!” I “won” that magnet every month that year. I didn’t figure out until years later that the teacher was just using that excuse to get me books. Thank you Mrs. Follett wherever you are. ❤️

    (Okay, and now I’m crying. Mrs. Follett’s make the world go around. ~ Jenny)

  17. My school did the not-exactly-monthly book order thing. Was there t even Scholastic? I don’t know. There usually wasn’t anything I really wanted, and I think when I did order it really just to get the “free” cat poster. I’ve heard about the fancy book fairs and just assumed my small parochial school felt they were too secular. Or maybe the sales team just didn’t think we worth the fuss of a full fair.
    Man, I miss Dynamite magazine, tho.

    (You’re the second person to talk about Dynamite Magazine and now I feel like I missed out on something. ~ Jenny)

  18. Annnnd autocorrect changed my name to Maybe sha. Really?!
    Hi, I’m Misha, which is a totally legit name.

    (Ha! ~ Jenny)

  19. I would join the Strangelings in a heartbeat, despite being poor (books are my passion and addiction), but I WILL NOT RE-JOIN the hellhole that is FACEBOOK. Please consider finding a way to do this through your website. 💔💔💔💔💔💔

    (You don’t have to be part of facebook. I leave my thoughts each month here on the blog and all the other stuff is through email or zoom. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  20. In the late *nineteen-sixties* I first got a crack at the Scholastic Book catalog. The books I recall were mostly “the classics” of popular literature from the previous century or so. They were the most … unpretentious pulp volumes — but they cost ten cents or maybe a quarter at the most! My mother allowed me to order as many as I wanted, so I always felt like a really Rich Kid on those occasions!!! In my lizard brain I still can smell those books, with the greige-ish paper, coming out of the package! They didn’t arrive in boxes in those days, maybe brown paper bags…

  21. I remember we had two book fairs each year; the first was at registration when parents would already be there for the kids, and teachers made a voting situation where the most purchased of a small selection of books would be taught asrequired to read during the school year.

    The other fair was at the end of the year so we would have books to read over the summer.

    We had Weekly Reader and Scholastic each month. Whichever class in the whole school ordered the most books or merchandise would get a pizza party at the end of the month.

  22. I am in awe of the superb memories of many of you!
    All I recall (public school in Chicago in the 80s) is that we did have catalogs sometimes and also fairs once in a while. I don’t think we had the money to buy stuff most of the time though. We also had those holiday shopping fairs set up in the gym where the kids could buy their parents impressive holiday gifts such as a cheap mug or pen, etc. I still have a couple of those pencils where you take the piece of lead/plastic out and insert it into the bottom when it gets too low and replace it with a fresh sharp one.

    (I remember those pencils! ~ Jenny)

  23. The scholastic book handout was still going strong when my kids were in elementary. I was the scholastic mom and made sure every kid got a book every month, using points, whether they wanted one or not! Had great kits too, like build a heart or an eye.

  24. They still have Scholastic Book Fairs in schools (so I’m told), altho I don’t believe they still print everything on that newsprint paper, nor do you have to order by making checkmarks on what you want and mailing in a paper check. LOL I used to pour over that catalog for hours narrowing down what I wanted to something my mom could afford!

  25. We never had book fairs growing up but that is probably because of where I lived. My brothers who are much younger than me did though and when they had the nighttime fair where parents could come in and buy books, you better believe my teenage self made sure to come so I could buy books for myself and a few for my brothers. This is where I fell into the Twilight Series (for better or worse). We did have Scholastic forms and I remember circling half the catalog that I wanted and sometimes my parents would buy me one book but mostly we couldn’t afford it. When my brothers went to school, the teachers had a separate fund they would put aside for kids who couldn’t afford books and tell them that they had been selected to pick out a free book. This way nobody was shamed and every kid got at least one book. I think all schools should do this.

    (Omg, I love this. ~ Jenny)

  26. Attended a rural elementary school in the late 70’s. We definitely had the Scholastic newsletter you chose from every month or two, and yearly book fairs in the school library. Always pored over those mini catalogs & grew up lucky enough to have parents who had money to spend on my book choices. I remember bringing home little metal puzzle prizes (that must have been tied to number of books bought?) & a magic hide-the-coin plastic thingamajig. Anyone else get those?

  27. We had the Scholastic book fair in the 1970s in suburban Maryland. They would put books out on tables in the gym or cafeteria, and there was also a catalog you could order from. I maybe got a few books, but wasn’t that interested because we had so many children’s books at home and our school and public libraries were pretty good.

    There is a wonderful story about my mother: when I was maybe six or seven, my mother drove to Connecticut to buy most of the books at a sale at the children’s library where she read books while she was growing up. I grew up reading a lot of children’s books written in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and a lot of British children’s books. (Okay, please try not to be mad at me for growing up surrounded by books… and for having access to good public libraries). Anyway, I do remember the Scholastic book fairs, and I think they were wonderful, but I think they helped other children more.

    I have asked my stepmother to hold on to the children’s books and let me find a suitable place to donate them when my parents are ready to give up their books (after they die – they are fierce book people). It is a wonderful, wonderful collection of classic children’s books.

    The events at the bookstore look like so much fun! I love Halloween events!

  28. #34, aka Cynthia White: You mentioned that you read a lot of older children’s books as a kid, and there’s one that I’ve literally been trying to track down for *years*. I can’t remember the author or title, but I remember way, way too much about two of the main plot lines! The book was about a fairly large family, several members of whom had their own storylines going, and I’m guessing it was written in the 1920s or 1930s–I remember that it definitely felt post-WWI but pre-WWII. The character I remember best was (I think) the youngest kid in the family, who was named Mary Ann/Mary Anne/Marianne (not sure which), but was nicknamed Pigeon. At one point she gets a new teacher for her class, a younger woman who is extremely strict and severe to the point of bobby-pinning down all the curls in her hair; she’s no fun at all, and none of the kids like her. An incident involving one of Pigeon’s classmates and her refusal to tell on him leads to a surprising (well, to kids anyway; adults could see it coming a mile away) turnaround for the teacher and Pigeon both. If any of this rings any kind of bell, please let me know, OK? I want a copy of this, but I can’t get it without the title and/or author’s name! Thanks in advance!

  29. Apparently, I lived in book heaven because we had book orders AND a book fair TWICE A YEAR. I’m sure my mom didn’t appreciate the constant book temptation for her little book worm but I LOVED it!

  30. Because I am lazy I looked at the images first and saw the “Adult Book Fair” poster. My brain said, “Great! She is bringing on the smut! That is the book fair for me!”
    It was sad when I realized that I interpreted incorrectly.
    Enjoy your shindig. I will honor my introvert self, read a book where naked people do adult things, and eat Halloween candy.

    (You should check out our lightly smutty book club called “Happy Endingings.” Double-entendre implied. ~ Jenny)

  31. We had scholastic book orders when I was a kid but no fair (late 60s, early 70s). I used my allowance money to buy books and always had the largest stack on my desk. I loved that. My kids had the book fairs though, and they’d pick out a book. My kids weren’t big readers until Harry Potter came out and then they devoured the books.

  32. Ahem. The pasties at the link you gave are SOLD OUT. Are you sure you’re not covering cat nipples, Jenny?

  33. Oh dear bloggess, where I come from pasties are a savoury pastry item, filled with beef stew, so I was with victor (wtf?!)

  34. Omg!!! Commenter number 11 – baker beans for breakfast was one of my favorite books for so long and I read it over and over so it was literally falling apart into two pieces! I’ve never heard anyone else mention it. And I am wondering why all public libraries don’t offer books for trick-or-treating day

  35. I remember the Bookmobile, but no book fairs. Just some creepy box truck parked outside the cafeteria with a creepy guy sitting in the shadows in the back as us kids were “helped” inside to pick a book.

    Jenny, have you ever considered having a discord? It would be great for having book club without involving facebook.

  36. Because I am lazy I looked at the images first and saw the “Adult Book Fair” poster. My brain said, “Great! She is bringing on the smut! That is the book fair for me!”
    It was sad when I realized that I interpreted incorrectly.
    Enjoy your shindig. I will honor my introvert self, read a book where naked people do adult things, and eat Halloween candy.

  37. I grew up in that same era and our book fairs were a once a year event where they brought the actual books and set them up in the gym for everyone to peruse and buy. It was my favorite time of the year. Then we also got the catalogs that we could order from, which I want to say was monthly but it was a long time ago so my memory is not all that great about specifics. I do remember getting the extra poster or whatever based on how many books you ordered and I ALWAYS got it because I ordered so many books. Based on my childhood, it should have been fairly easy to predict that I would grow up to be a book loving introvert. I did have a whole play room that contained more books than toys after all. As for your adult book fair, I’m so very sad that I don’t live close enough to attend. It sounds like so much fun. I’ll look forward to pictures on FB and Insta so I can live vicariously.

  38. I loved the Scholastic catalogs and my parents let me order books regularly. I remember having posters of a leopard hanging from a tree branch (hang in there) and also a horse galloping in a misty scene (If you love something, set it free….) as well which must have come from these book orders. Sappy taste in posters but I remember ordering and reading some truly disturbing YA books.

  39. We had the scholastic catalogues. I was an avid reader and mum let me order one whenever they came. But because our way-outer-suburban school was obviously at the end of the ordering line, and weirdly there seemed many more girls the year I went through school, about 2 times in 3 I missed out on my book. My brothers (not readers) always seemed to get theirs. One of those life lessons not to expect fairness at an early age.

  40. I’ve been making this recipe I found in the Duplin Wines website. You take their Cotton Candy Wine (it’s sweet), blend it with some ice and then vanilla ice cream. I use Carb Smart because …. well, WTF. Then I drink it and give myself brain freeze. It’s lunch time and my father in law has used too much fabric softener. I want to put a hat on my cat and have a drink.

  41. We used to get Scholastic catalogs in school, but I usually had read them a few years before the grade we were in. Plus my family didn’t have money to buy much. My mother and aunt used to take me and my brothers to the library and bring stacks of books home to read every week. Then later when we moved to another city, we lived one block away from a library, where we would spend hours reading. I might have never had much in the way of new clothes and lots of hand me downs and thrift shop clothes, but my family always made sure we had lots of books to read. Tag/garage sales, library book discard sales, Christmas and birthday presents, books were our number one item in our family.

  42. #35 RobinTMP Is it the All of A Kind family by Sydney Taylor? I don’t recall the specific plot line you mentioned but this is a series of books that focuses on different family members

    (I was totally thinking the same – loved All of a Kind Family – but I don’t remember any of them being named Pigeon. But damn, I loved those books. ~ Jenny)

  43. No, that’s not it (although it looks like a sweet little series), but thanks so much for your help! I’ll find it some day, damn it!

  44. Bless you for brining book fairs to grown ups! I used to love the book fair, and hours and hours of choosing what I would want then changing my mind when the physical fair was there because BOOKS! So many things like that I’d love to do as an adult. Like why isn’t there summer camp for adults where we can go and make leather bracelets for our loved ones and sing around camp fires?

  45. Fairs of all kinds bilked parents of money at Oakton Elementary. Our book fair was held in the music room, when that was taught in schools and publishers figured “Rocky Mountain High” by John Denver was totally age appropriate for third and fourth graders. (“‘High’ is another way of saying happy.” Thank you for that life lesson!)

    Please be forgiving when I admit that the annual book fairs rank lower in my memories than one fair, age ten, the cafeteria tables lined with various prizes you could win by putting tickets into a draw box beside the items to be won. A new bike! A skate board! Boxes were heaped full of hopes. I had been wearing glasses since age three, and I put my tickets in boxes for lesser prizes (glasses, smarter, amirite?) and I felt sooooo smug when I went home with coupon books for free Slurpees and McDonald’s sundaes, unlike my bullies I mean peers. I also won a cakewalk totally by chance which was WAY more exciting because… cake!!

    I’m now a tenured professor of English literature so the book fairs must have been important, too? I’m also mentally ill, though probably not because of elementary school (obviously) and anyway. CAKE!!!! Folks can get that at your cafe, right? With beverages? So many wins. I can almost envision myself driving three hours to join you. Maybe an astral projection attempt in honor of the holiday.

    (Do muffins count as cake? Then, yes. We totally have cake. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  46. I read “bookmarks to stick in your BOOBS”. And then died laughing. I’m so mature 😛

    (Well now I know what to put on our Happy Endings Bookclub bookmarks. ~ Jenny)

  47. I totally remember the book days. I would order as many as my parents would allow. Thanks for the memories!

  48. we had the catalogs, but not the fairs. i remember circling things i wanted and bringing it home to show mom, but we could only get books from the library, we couldn’t afford to buy them.

  49. I’m so surprised that that all comments seem to indicate school book fairs as a thing of the past. I’m a grandma who’s raising 3 grandsons, and let me assure you they still bring bring home the monthly book order fliers as well as attend the Scholastic Book Fair set up in the school library ( this week in fact!). I love it, and always load an e-card ( no cash or check for this generation).
    LIVE ON book fairs!!

  50. Love the book fair plan! 100% our book fair was just a flyer too, but somehow exciting. I was at a friend’s house and spied a very familiar flyer. It’s just the same today: insets of the covers arranged by reading level, etc. Made me smile 🙂

  51. Until I read this, it never even occurred to me that a book fair could be anything other than the order-three-books-from-catalog-and-get-free-eraser kind of book fair that I, too, experienced in rural America

  52. I’m working in an elementary school library this year and I am so excited about setting up the book fair!

  53. In 1990, my mom gave my brother 20 bucks for the book fair which was a fortune…he spent it ALL on 10 cent bouncy balls. No one stopped him.

    (Holy shit, that’s SO many bouncy balls. It’s actually kind of impressive. ~ Jenny)

  54. In the mid 90s urban/suburban schools, we had both. You could order the books each month and then there was an annual book fair. As much as I loved reading, I always wanted to spend my money on all the other random garbage they sold. Somehow, it would make me cool.

  55. Wait, what? Is that a book fair for adults or is an “adult books” fair? Asking for a friend.

  56. Wait, what? Is that a book fair for adults or an “adult books” fair? Asking for a friend.

  57. That’s exactly what Dolly Parton is doing with her free book club for kids. They just register and she sends them one book every month. I imagine how exciting must be for them.

  58. #40 – Gemma, every time I read about pasties in this context I think of the episode of 2 Pints of Lager where Janet wears actual meat pasties to tempt Johnny.

  59. #35 Robintmp I remembered reading your comment about the book you’ve been searching for and thought about it when I came across this website that helps people find lost books! (Not a scam, pinkie promise. Why do people do that – ruin a lovely chain of thoughtful comments with this “I found success and you can too” crap? Scammers can kick rocks.) Anyway, if it happened to be written post 1930 (sounded like it might), maybe this will help with your search!

  60. Bless your heart, and I mean that sincerely! As it turns out, I found it on a different group: The Five Little Martins and the Martin House, by Caroline Van Buren. It should be on its way to me soon from eBay, so cross your fingers!

  61. Nice!! I will and I’m sure the re-read will not disappoint! Cheers 🙂

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