Shop Etsy

School Supply Serenade

Aug 14, 2013

by Mallory McInnis handmade and vintage goods

Mallory McInnis spends most of her time on the Internet amassing awesome things to share on her blog, Gems.  She lives in Maine (the woodsy, Stephen King-book-setting part, not by the ocean) and drives all over New England looking for vintage books to sell in her shop, Elwood & Eloise. She’s happiest when sipping an iced coffee, wearing a robe and watching a movie (or reading a book), with a sandwich on a plate beside her.

During my years as a student, August was always a time of intense ambivalence. Whether I was getting ready for first grade or my freshman year of high school, I was a mess of nerves and anxiety as Labor Day loomed. And yet, as much as I worried about algebra (I’m terrible at math) or who would be in my home room, I was also excited — mostly for back-to-school shopping. There’s a special joy in the process of replenishing your school supplies. Even now I back-to-school shop…of course, I’m only helping out my sister, who happens to be a teacher, but still! The joy remains.

Let’s get started…


[1. People book bag by boyfrengirlfren; 2. Terracotta backpack by Ada Blackjack; 3. Screenprinted people backpack by Yu Yu Shiratori; 4. Vintage schoolbag at Dandelion Daydreamer; 5. Mountain bag by Shelter; 6. Tote by Print & Tonic; 7. Backpack  by Innad; 8. Mustard wool backpack by ZiaZia.]

Step one: a bag (something to lug all these new supplies around in).


[1. Vintage lunchbox from 86 home; 2. Brain lunch bag by girls can tell; 3. Vintage lunchbox and thermos set from Rank and File Vintage; 4. Bear lunch bag by strawberryluna; 5. Vintage tin lunchbox from kolorize; 6. Lunchbox notes by Little Beehive.]

Step two: a lunchbox, plus some adorable lunchbox notes to to accompany your son or daughter’s sandwich.


[1. Log notebook by Roddy & Ginger; 2. Bright ideas sketchbook by The Happy Pencil Shoppe; 3. Faces notebook by Clare Shrouder; 4. Personalized notebook by Lou Brown Designs; 5. Pencil-printed pencil pouch by Slide Sideways; 6. Pencil bag by Skinny laMinx; 7. Jotter by sewindieshop; 8. Set of 3 notebooks by Antonin + Margaux; 9. Moth girl notebook by pintameldia;  10. Wooden pencil case by Bread & Jam; 11. Elephants pencil case by Kinchi.]

Step three: things for writing and storing writing utensils. I always had such an excessive crew of pens and pencils that I’d need two pouches.


[1. Tree sloth button by Sugar Cookie2. Pyramid stickers by Upper Tiny; 3. Hidden kittens sticker pack by Ginette Pomette; 4. Iron-on patches by Zipper Teeth Shop; 5. Vintage honor roll button from Vintage By the Pound; 6. Owl keyring by boygirlparty.]

Step four: some decorations. Iron on a patch or slap on a sticker to personalize a backpack or binder.


[1. Vintage book of writing lessons from Ruggy Revival; 2. Old stock erasers from The Newton Label; 3. Vintage math flash cards from Born at the Wrong Time; 4. Leather bookmark by Lesley Barnes; 5. Wall planner by Sam Osborne; 6. Laptop case by Sketchbook; 7. Ruler by Night Owl Paper Goods; 8. Vintage speller from The Book Lover; 9. Vintage physical education book at Diz Has Neat Stuff; 10. Vintage pencil box tape dispenser from CleaninHouse; 11. Pencil or schedule pocket by present & correct; 12. Pencil sharpener cat at The Opposite Shop.]

Step five: load up on other accessories and eagerly (or not-so-eagerly) await the first day of school.

Want to assemble your own dream back-to-school backpack, chock full of Etsy goodies? Enter to win a $250 gift card. Check out the details here! Please note: this contest is only open to US residents.


NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER. Sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia, age 18 or older. Entries must be received between 10:00 AM ET on 08/12/2013 and 5:00 PM ET on 8/16/13. One drawing from entries received. Go to for Official Rules. Sponsor: Etsy, Inc

mustard wool backpack with turquoise pouch.
mustard wool backpack with turquoise pouch.
1960s lunch box, vintage metal flower tote
1960s lunch box, vintage metal flower tote
Screen printed Lunch Bag - Lunch Bear - Eco Friendly 100% Recycled Cotton
Screen printed Lunch Bag - Lunch Bear - Eco Friendly 100% Recycled Cotton
$18.50 USD


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