a baker’s dozen of cool things on a tuesday (including Lidia giveaway winner)

Happy Tuesday!

Enjoy these bits and bobs on today’s mixed platter. 🙂

1. I’m quite partial to elephants and pancakes and love Tina Kugler’s charming German Pancakes recipe at They Draw and Cook. Tina’s new picture book, In Mary’s Garden (HMH, 2015), which she wrote and illustrated with her husband Carson, is about Wisconsin artist Mary Nohl.

(click for larger image at TDAC)



2. Have you been following Stéphanie Kilgast’s (PetitPlat’s) Daily Miniature Roots, Veggies & Fruit project? Since the beginning of the year, she’s been creating a new tiny sculpture each day from polymer clay. She decided to do this after discovering a lot of people don’t like veggies. She wanted to celebrate the great diversity of fruits and veggies the earth has to offer as well as arouse our curiosity and appetite.




Stéphanie was one of the first artists we interviewed for our Indie Artist Spotlight Series. I still think she’s the best miniature food artist out there. Don’t know how she does it, but she keeps getting better and better. Her miniature fruits and veggies brilliantly showcase all their beautiful colors, shapes and textures. Incredible! You can follow her project on Facebook, tumblr, or Instagram.


3. It’s always time for tea here at Alphabet Soup, and we love finding new paraphernalia. Just in case your teapot needs a little warm hug, consider this charming 100% wool Alice in Wonderland tea cosy, hand knit by a group of lovely ladies in Somerset. I wouldn’t mind wearing it myself. 🙂



4. Stand up and salute your flag! Or in this case, consider munching on it. Behold 18 National Flags Made from Foods commonly associated with their respective countries. These were originally created for the Sydney International Food Festival by an ad agency. Why, yes, the UK flag is my favorite. 🙂

Italy: basil, pasta, tomatoes
South Korea: kimbap and sauces
UK: scones, cream and jam


5. In the category of delicious recycled goodness, check out Chris Dimino’s waffle iron made from an old Corona-Matic typewriter. Looks like I need to get a long plate to serve my keyboard shaped waffles. Think of all the maple syrup you could pour into the space bar. 🙂 Too cool!



6. Cakes, cakes, cakes! Let them eat cakes — that look like their owners! You can get UK-based hand letterer/illustrator Linzie Hunter’s whimsical design as a print, or on a throw pillow, mug, t-shirt, tote bag or rug. Adorable (BTW, you look like a cupcake)! 🙂



7. Speaking of waffles, what better way to store your loose change than in a waffle-scented coin purse? Think how much fun it would be to go to your favorite pancake/waffle house and pay for your waffles with money stowed in this cute little purse. Only two teensy problems: 1) people might wonder why you keep smelling your purse, and 2) the servers or other customers might try to eat your purse. Small problems, really . . .



8. Canary Islands-based artist Amanda White entered my radar a couple of years ago. She creates lovely cut-paper collages of famous British writers’ homes (Hardy, Austen, Brontës, Dickens). I hadn’t ordered any of her prints before because the shipping was a little steep, but now she has a calendar coming out in June, which is available for pre-order. Yay! Perfect gift for all your literary-minded friends! See more of Amanda’s work at her Etsy shop.



9. Speaking of writers, Jennifer R. Hubbard, one of my favorite YA contemporary novelists, has just published a new e-book called Loner in the Garret: A Writer’s Companion (Curtis Brown Unlimited, 2015).


Sometimes the most difficult part of writing is not coming up with a plot or the perfect turn of phrase. It’s getting motivated to sit down and start, or having the confidence to go forward, or finding the courage to move past the sting of rejection. Loner in the Garret: A Writer’s Companion provides inspiration and encouragement for that mental and emotional journey. Covering topics as varied as procrastination, the inner critic, fear, distractions, envy, rejection, joy, and playfulness, it charts the ups and downs of the writing life with honesty, gentle suggestions, and a dash of humor.

You can read these little pep talks in any order, one or two at a time, depending on what you need at the moment. I’ve really enjoyed the short pieces I’ve read so far and know why Jenn calls this book a companion — it’s like having a trusted friend nearby who knows just what to say for whatever ails you.  You get a lot of wisdom and support for about the price of a cup of coffee. Highly recommend! Jenn talks about the book in this guest post.


10. A new Maira Kalman book is always cause for celebration. Happy to see the second book in the series she’s doing in collaboration with Daniel Handler and the Museum of Modern Art. In Hurry Up and Wait (Abrams, 2015), there are 11 new paintings inspired by vintage photos of people in motion, along with Handler’s witty commentary. This one follows Girls Standing on Lawns, which came out last year. I’m such a huge Maira fan, that whenever she publishes anything new, I automatically order it no matter what. This does not apply to anyone anyone anyone else. For me, she is The One.


11. Simply adore these flower constructions by Utrecht-based artist Anne Ten Donkelaar. She makes these 3d collages from real pressed flowers and cut-out flower pictures. Each element is mounted with a pin to give the illusion of depth. Exquisite work, wouldn’t you say? Click here to view more.





12. Yes, yes, yes — I know you’re very anxious to find out who won the Lidia’s Egg-Citing Farm Adventure giveaway! I must admit I was a little leery of contacting Monsieur Random Integer Generator. Though always dashing, erudite, and eminently reliable, he does have an unmistakable penchant for female entrants — a kind word or two and he’s thoroughly smitten.


This time we received a record number of comments, overflowing with unabashed love for Lidia, her cooking shows, her recipes, her family stories, her genuineness, and for Italian food in general. Not only did people tell us what their favorite chicken and egg dishes were, they told us where the recipes came from, how they were prepared and served. We even learned that a man married his wife for her chicken parmesan, and another commenter reminded us that we should eat every day as though it were our last.

If M. Generator goes gaga for female commenters in general, what would he do with oodles of overtly passionate Italian food-loving entrants willing to give up their culinary secrets for a free cookbook?

In a word, EAT.

M. Generator consumed a record number of meatballs, gnocchi, ricotta cookies, bowls of egg drop soup, cappellini, baked stuffed shells, sausage, egg and pepper sandwiches, oregano and egg omelets, and huge platters of Nonna Erminia’s chicken and potatoes. He topped off this generous snack with 2,341 bowls of zabaglione and berries. Burp!

After resting five minutes, he proceeded to devour 100 servings of each of the commenters’ favorite chicken and egg dishes. Mamma Mia! Before diving into a clear pool of randomness, he was heard muttering, “ti amo, ti amo, ti amo tanto . . . “

When he resurfaced, he kissed his fingertips and sang the name of una bella donna. The winner is:

*drum roll please*


Congratulations, Liz!! Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com so we can send the book out to you right away.

Grazie Mille, Everyone! It was a delicious pleasure reading all your comments!


Bonus Thing of Coolness: Now that Spring is all abloom, enjoy this charming video of Jacques Prevert’s classic poem, “En sortant de l’école” (On Leaving School). Take this feeling of pure joy and wonder with you today. (An English translation of the poem can be found here.)

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bloop bleeh blip blonk 



Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

18 thoughts on “a baker’s dozen of cool things on a tuesday (including Lidia giveaway winner)

  1. Oh, Jama, so many things to love in this post, but I’ll start with: the miniature food is to die for, and my 12 yr. old (who is passionately into miniatures at the moment) will love them. And Amanda White’s work — love that, and thanks for the heads up on the calendar! And Maira Kalman/Daniel Handler … ? Wow. Can’t wait to see that.


    1. Your daughter will definitely love Stephanie’s work! Does she like to make her own miniature pieces too? Stephanie published a how-to book not too long ago that’s still available at her shop I think.

      I’m looking forward to seeing Amanda’s calendar and just received my copy of Maira’s new book. 🙂


  2. Much beauty & creativity here, Jama. How can one resist each one! That miniature food, the author’s homes, the flags! I do know about the Kalman book, ordered it for my daughter who loves all her work. Thank you for finding and sharing every one!


    1. Nice to know your daughter is also a Maira fan. 🙂

      Stephanie continues to amaze me with her work — it’s so difficult and tricky to work on such a small scale. Her veggies look so realistic!


    1. Love those too! I have a couple of Stephanie’s earrings which I enjoy wearing (mini Oreo cookies and a submarine sandwich). 🙂


  3. A feast of goodies, Jama – I love those miniatures. And the recycled typewriter – ingenious! Wouldn’t mind eating my national flag either 🙂 Thanks for pointing out the calendar too – and ‘Hurry Up and Wait’… in fact, all of it!


  4. Jama, thank you for this post, eye-candy and some helpful information. I am not sure what inspired me more, the Loner in the Garret or the calendar inIn The Writer’s House.


    1. Glad you liked the post! I’m almost done reading Loner in the Garret — really enjoyed it, and I’m sure I’ll go back to it again and again.


  5. I got side-tracked looking at PetitPlat and had to come back to your post later…so glad I did so I could see that typewriter!! ❤ And I love Amanda White's work — that calendar will be wonderful to have!


    1. It’s very easy to get side-tracked at PetitPlat :). Glad you came back, though. Who could ever imagine that an old typewriter could become a working waffle maker? It takes recycling to a new level.


  6. I am always drawn in by Petit Plat, and I was reading along, enjoying the sampler of all the artists you’ve featured here, when–what a pleasant surprise to see my own book here among them! Thank you so, so much. *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well of course I had to mention your new book, Jenn — love it! Just finished reading it last night. So much great advice, so much clarity and good sense. Thanks for writing it!


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