eight cool things on a tuesday

via Okan Arts

1. Just in case you missed it, wanted to point all Julie Paschkis fans to the lovely post about her by Patricia Belyea at Okan Arts. What a treat to get a mini tour of Julie’s gorgeous Seattle home and learn a bit more about her passion for quilting. As one would expect, each room is a creative haven with its many colors, textures and charming objets d’art.

via Okan Arts

As you probably know, Julie is a multi-talented force of nature — an award winning author/illustrator, textile designer/quilter, champion pysanky decorator, and a good cook and baker! We’ll be featuring her new bilingual poetry book, Flutter and Hum: Animal Poems (Henry Holt, 2015) soon!

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2. New picture book alert! Lick your chops and open wide for There Was An Old Dragon Who Swallowed a Knight (Random House, 2015) by Penny Parker Klostermann and Ben Mantle!

We all know that “there was an old lady” who swallowed lots of things. Now meet the old dragon who swallows pretty much an entire kingdom! Will he ever learn a little moderation?! This rollicking rhyme is full to bursting with sight gags, silly characters, and plenty of burps! Parents and kids alike will delight in Ben Mantle’s precisely funny illustrations and in Penny Parker Klostermann’s wacky rhymes.

Debut author Penny Klostermann has penned a zany send-up of “there was an old lady who swallowed a fly” that’s a riot to read aloud. She proves her Medievalish muster by featuring a delirious dragon sans decorum whose antics inevitably lead to much bloating and burping (what do you expect when you guzzle and gulp like there’s no tomorrow?). It’s one thing to swallow a knight, a steed, a squire, a cook, and a lady — but a castle and a moat??!! Ben Mantle captures all the gustatory gulping and nonstop nonsense with his colorful, vigorous, high-octane illos. Clippity, clippity, clippity clop to your nearest bookstore and (politely) swallow this one whole. It is, in short, a GAS.😀😀😀 (Click here for Dragon’s Blog Tour.)

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3. Shopping for just the right gift for a bookish friend? Check out these cool mugs from The Literary Gift Company. Pick a pre-printed classic or order a personalized mug with any title and author’s name on it (eg., “Pies I Have Loved” by Cornelius Rattigan).🙂

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4. On what would have been Princess Diana’s 54th birthday, blogger Tori Avey celebrated the People’s Princess with a batch of her favorite Bread and Butter Pudding as prepared by Chef Darren McGrady, who cooked for the royal family at Buckingham Palace for over a decade before moving into Kensington Palace to cook for Diana and her boys.

breadandbutterpudding
via ToriAvey.com

Like Tori, I remember vividly that fateful Sunday when I first heard the saw news of Diana’s death. Can you believe August 31 marks 18 years that she’s been gone? How Diana would have doted on Prince George and Princess Charlotte if she were alive today! The Bread and Butter Pudding was a special treat in Diana’s otherwise health-conscious diet.

You may remember my mentioning Chef McGrady in a previous post about the famous Chocolate Biscuit Cake favored by both Prince William and the Queen. The Bread and Butter Pudding recipe is included in Chef McGrady’s wonderful cookbook, Eating Royally: Recipes and Remembrances from a Palace Kitchen (Thomas Nelson, 2007), a must-read for all royal watchers. For now, visit Tori’s webpage for a virtual taste and step-by-step recipe instructions and photos.

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5. Having a baaaaad day? Then you need a Mary Kilvert sheep fix! This Somerset-based artist has created a distinctive line of sheepish homeware products reflecting her love of the English countryside. She first began making miniature needle-felted sheep back in 2008, inspired by a fictional character she created called Baatholomew, who knitted himself a colorful jumper (sweater) so he could stand out from the flock. Naturally all the other sheep copied him by knitting jumpers too (different colors and patterns to reflect their distinctive personalities).

bluesheep

sheeptray

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eggcup

maryshopexterior
Mary’s shop in Somerset.

sweetpea

Well, wouldn’t ewe know it? As soon as word got out about Mary’s baaaaad sheep (whose fleece was white as snow) — they became an instant success, and very soon their likenesses began appearing on plates, mugs, dishes, aprons, tea towels, stationery and bags. Adorable and fun! Visit Mary’s website for more (don’t worry, if sheep are not your thing, she has some equally irresistible doggy stuff).😀

marydogstuff

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6. One of the books I read and especially enjoyed during my summer blog break was Anne Bustard’s debut middle grade historical novel, Anywhere But Paradise (Egmont USA, 2015). There are so few children’s books set in Hawai’i, even fewer that explore the subject of bullying in which the victim is a white character among ethnically diverse kids.

anywhere cover

It’s 1960 and Peggy Sue has just been transplanted from Texas to Hawaii for her father’s new job. Her cat, Howdy, is stuck in animal quarantine, and she’s baffled by Hawaiian customs and words. Worst of all, eighth grader Kiki Kahana targets Peggy Sue because she is haole–white–warning her that unless she does what Kiki wants, she will be a victim on “kill haole day,” the last day of school. Peggy Sue’s home ec teacher insists that she help Kiki with her sewing project or risk failing. Life looks bleak until Peggy Sue meets Malina, whose mother gives hula lessons. But when her parents take a trip to Hilo, leaving Peggy Sue at Malina’s, life takes an unexpected twist in the form of a tsunami. Peggy Sue is knocked unconscious and wakes to learn that her parents safety and whereabouts are unknown. Peggy Sue has to summon all her courage to have hope that they will return safely.

This story will resonate with anyone who’s ever felt like an outsider. Peggy Sue’s voice is engaging and compelling, and I found myself remembering those times when I felt intimidated by tough, mean girls who hung out in the restroom smoking, giving anyone who dared to enter a menacing stare. The book also brought back pleasant memories of taking hula and sewing lessons, and basking in the warmth and talkiness of extended family. Of course it felt good to “return” to a familiar setting and culture. Be sure to check this one out!

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rattyspicnic

7. Would you like to host (or virtually attend) a Harry Potter themed dinner party? What about a nice Wind in the Willows picnic, a Peter Rabbit Easter Brunch, a Queen of Hearts Tea Party, or a Hobbits Party complete with seed cakes, scones, apple tarts and mince pies? Sound good? Head over to Food in Literature, a thoroughly delicious and inspiring site hosted by Australia-based blogger Bryton Taylor. Bryt serves up recipes based on some of her favorite books (mostly children’s and YA fantasy), along with great craft and entertaining ideas. She is especially fond of Harry Potter (hear that, Julia?), but also whets the reader’s appetite for noshes à la Sherlock Holmes, The Great Gatsby, Mad Men, Ulysses, Pride and Prejudice, and The Da Vinci Code. Both printable recipes and video demonstrations can be viewed at Bryt’s site. Here’s a sample video of Bryt making Mrs. Weasley’s English Toffee:

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8. Heads up, teapot collectors! Talk about cute as a button. LOVE these Avoca Button Print teapots. They’re available in 2-cup or 6-cup sizes and are made in Ireland. Top off the fun with a set of button ceramic mugs.🙂 Want.

avocateapot

button mugs

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Wishing you an eventful, delicious, inspiring last-week-of-August! Be kind. Keep smiling.🙂

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

38 thoughts on “eight cool things on a tuesday

  1. Thank you so much for including me, Jama. And now I want a Penguin mug to add to all the other doodads in the house! I’d like to start the day with an unabridged cuppa.
    Who did your current header art? I like it.

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    1. I ordered a mug for my niece’s birthday. Fun!

      The header art is by Maria Primachenko. I thought of you when I first saw her beautiful work. 🙂

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  2. Oh my, the delight of all these cool things, Jama. I just received Penny’s book, a must read and laugh over. Those sheep and the bread pudding recipes are my favorites. It is a wonder how creative so many people are. Thanks for the Julie Paschkis link; I haven’t seen it! Cheers to you for a delightful rest of the week!

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    1. Penny’s book is sheer delight, isn’t it? She’s so very very clever. I want one of Mary’s sheep too, love the hand knitted sweaters. Have a good week, Linda!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, CLEARLY God does not EVER want me to save any money, ever. Because there keep being felted sheep and teapots. BUTTON tea pots. *swoon* I was JUST thinking it might be safe to keep my wallet in plain sight, but no…

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    1. LOL! I have this recurring nightmare that I’ve misplaced my wallet. Could be my wallet is trying to tell me something by running away.

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  4. I may have to pick up a copy of “There was an old dragon” for the librarian I volunteer with. The “There was an old lady” books are always such a huge hit with the kids – I think they might like the twist!

    Also, “Anywhere but Paradise” looks interesting. And the knit/felted sheep are absolutely adorable!

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  5. Wow. So much in one post! I can’t wait to get Penny’s book. I would love to read the story of Baatholomew. Is there a book? I could spend a king’s ransom on sheep stuff. It’s all so cute! Thanks for such a rich post.

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  6. Jama, I’m going to have to repent for all of the covetousness you’ve inspired.🙂 So much to squeal over in one post. I need a swooning couch for when I read your blog.

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  7. So much yes! I long for those sheep plates. I definitely want to make a personalized mugs, but I’m not sure what to put on it. Thanks for sharing all these with us, Jama!

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  8. All right, Keri, move over on that swooning couch…. SOOO much goodness over here. Julie P! Penny! Sheep! Button Teapots! And everything else. You certainly weren’t just hanging around on a couch during your summer, Jama… Thanks for sharing all.

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  9. Oh I love Julie Paschkis — so nice to see a post about her. And the sheep! I want the sheep dishes. And I don’t care that they don’t match the button tea pot and mugs — because I want them too. Fun post.

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