By Teri Gosselin
The kitchen table: The location that many successful ideas and dreams become a reality for people. And this, too, was the case for Candice Mizell and Jeremy DeFatta in 2015 with the birth of their figurative baby, Flytrap Uprising, their literary journal as well as Blue Spider Press, LLC, the small publishing company that publishes the journal, and of course, all while balancing a family and full-time jobs.
According to Candice, this was a “one day” dream. However, their passion and excitement was quickly ignited and “within four weeks of tossing the idea out into the universe,” Blue Spider Press was up and running. (Fun Fact: The name of their company was drawn out of thin air despite numerous discussions on the topic. However, Candice shared that the name “fits very well, I think, especially considering that blue is viewed as the color of creativity and the spider is an especially creative creature — just study any spider’s web to see the intricate lines and designs! Their creativity and diligence know no boundaries.”)
The premise for starting the publishing company and journal was to create a welcome space that embraces all types of writers, poets, photographers, and artists and allows them to “weave [their] own web” as evidenced from the Blue Spider Press logo. The first issue of Flytrap Uprising is available to read online or for purchase, with their next issue slated to come out in October 2016.
Given their creative nature, Candice and Jeremy found themselves back around headquarters, their kitchen table, and dreamt up the recent addition to their company, the Blue Spider’s Attic Box Subscription. The concept is centered around things that the couple enjoy. Therefore, each monthly box pairs hand-picked gently used books with samples of coffee from small, family-operated businesses and one to three unique handmade treasures, many of them crafted by Candice and her daughter. They chose to use gently used books to provide a greater range of genres and titles that instill a nostalgic feel. Just as their journal seeks to connect people and emotions, the Blue Spider’s Attic Box has the same philosophy. As Candice puts it, the Attic Box is intended to evoke “the feeling of magic when discovering something long forgotten, like digging through Grandma’s attic.” (You will see that the box did just that for me!)
As for future plans, Candice shared that they would like to “expand [their] publishing arena to full-length novels and poetry collections” as well as add some “works from Blue Spider Press authors in future Attic Boxes! The ultimate dream is that the Attic Boxes are, one day, filled from the shelves of our very own brick-and-mortar book store.”
The Product Review:
Candice sent me one of the very first Blue Spider’s Attic Boxes to review! I love surprises in the mail (I mean, who doesn’t?) and was super stoked to unbox and see what goodies were inside.
When I first opened the package, I was greeted with a handwritten note from Candice and Jeremy. I love personalized touches that many small businesses take pride in, and this made me feel welcome from the very start. It shows just how much they care about the recipient’s experience! The handwritten note was attached to a beautiful printed, laminated card that welcomes you to the Attic Box experience, the goal of the subscription box, and shares a bit more about what types of items are found in the box.
Next, I unwrapped the most adorable handcrafted beaded book spider. It came with a tag about what the book spider does and a wish for the treasure to “encourage you to embrace creativity and exercise imagination in all things, every day.” I absolutely love the sentiment behind this little guy and honestly, I want to keep him in my pocket to remind me to be creative in all things I do each day. What also stands out about this adorable spider? Simply put, how much thought that Candice and Jeremy put into not only crafting him, but also, weaving in the name of their company and the Attic box itself! So creative and genius! A bookmark and a sweet fairy sticker round out the bookish and handcrafted treasures in the package.
Next up was the sample of Fairwinds Buttered Rum coffee that was in my package. I mean, coffee and books?! One of my happy places, and one that I rarely get to indulge in together with two small, active kids. But this package gave me the perfect excuse. The coffee smelled just like butterscotch candies, which immediately made me think of my childhood and spending weekends with my maternal grandparents. They always snuck us those sweet treats while we visited, and this was a memory that I had buried until I got a whiff of this coffee. The taste is just as sweet and heavenly.
I then cozied up with my cup of butter rum coffee, and dug into the three gently used paperbacks that were in my box. Each book was individually wrapped in kraft paper and tied with a piece of twine. Again, the small touches that mean so much! As I unwrapped each book, the smell of each one, instantly transported me back into the past again. My mom used to take my siblings and me to a used book store every weekend, a place where you could turn in your old books and use the money you received to select new-to-you treasures. The store itself was a small, nook and crannies type of place, and books were lined wall to wall. It was a place of peace and comfort for me as a child, and this box made me nostalgic for this again.
I was curious about how books were chosen for the box subscribers, and learned that Candice and Jeremy narrow down genres based on what they think the subscriber would enjoy, and sprinkle in some of their own favorites. Genres vary from fantasy and sci-fi to classics, mysteries, and memoirs. The “goal is that our customers receive books that are completely new experiences for them, are old favorites, or are books that can be passed along to family and friends,” she said.
I received three different genres including a novel, horror, and fantasy. I selected to read the novel, Back Roads by Tawni O’ Dell, as it likely would have been a book that I chose for myself. I am in the middle of this Oprah’s Book Club pick, and it has captivated my interest to find out what happens next. The horror novel, Legion by William Peter Blatty, is a sequel to The Exorcist, as well as the fantasy novel, In the Shadow of the Oak King by Courtway Jones, are not books that I would have normally selected for myself. However, that is the beauty of the Attic Box. It introduces books and genres outside of your comfort zone to not only appreciate the experience but also share with friends and family alike.
Overall, I loved my Blue Spider Attic experience. It brought back so many nostalgic and happy memories for me but also gave me some new experiences, particularly with the different book genres. Blue Spider’s Attic Boxes are available for purchase on their website at $19.99/month, plus shipping. You can select a month by month option or purchase a 3- or 6-month option at a discounted price. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this unique box, and it is a true treasure chest of fantasy, creativity, and comfort in one package.
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