nine cool things on a tuesday

coolteacard1. Love finding cute notecards, and when they have TEA written on them I can’t resist! Louise Neumann of LouPaper calls herself a professional doodler. It certainly looks like she’s having a lot of fun celebrating “things that make life lovely” (food, travel, gardens, and cocktails) with her bright cheery designs.

coolpastariesnotebookHer Etsy Shop contains a nice selection of notecards, notebooks, prints and calendars. She has a cool series that features various states and the things commonly associated with them. She hasn’t done Hawai’i yet, but the Virginia one includes Williamsburg, Jamestown, peanuts, and the red cardinal.

coolvirginiacoolgardennotebookNaturally I’m partial to her food designs, which includes donuts, shellfish, beer, sushi, cheese and bread. And all done with marker pens! Check it out. 🙂


2. New Book Alert: Hooray, Barbara Crooker has just published another poetry collection! Les Fauves (C&R Press, 2017) was just released a couple of weeks ago:

coolbarbarabookLES FAUVES is, as the title suggests, a collection of ekphrastic poetry, meditations on paintings from the Fauve and Post-Impressionist movements. But it also contains poetry’s equivalent to Fauvism, poems that take a walk on the wild side. There are language experiment poems, poems of word play, poems in form both usual (end rhymes, sonnets, ghazals) and unusual (abecedaries, traditional, embedded, and double helix), palindromes, anagrams, and word scrambles. Crazy word salad poems. Crooker’s subjects range widely, from living and working in a small village in the South of France, love in a long-term relationship, food as more than sustenance, faith in a secular age, grammar and usage, the pains and pleasures of the aging body. But always, what engages her most is what it means to be human on this fragile planet, at this time in our troubled history, still believing that “Beauty will save the world” (Fyodor Dostoevsky).

I just got my copy and can’t wait to dig in!


3. I must admit to being highly partial to Carla Golembe’s beautiful work — after all, she did illustrate my third picture book, The Woman in the Moon. 🙂

She recently started selling some of her gorgeous art at the Fine Art America site. Her designs are available as wood, acrylic, metal, or canvas prints, as well as on posters, tote bags, t-shirts, throw pillows, phone cases, mugs, and greeting cards.

“Mantras” © 2017 Carla Golembe

The above painting is called “Mantras,” — “a woman cradles the world. She is surrounded by the message of hope, love, kindness, and compassion. She gives hope to the planet.” I ordered a blue t-shirt with this design and love it!

Carla just listed “For All” last week: “Liberty, with a crown, welcomes all people.” A portion of the proceeds for this piece will be donated to the ACLU. As with “Mantras,” the “For All” design is available as prints or imprinted on various products.

“For All” © 2017 Carla Golembe

*Note: for either of these designs, click on “Canvas print” to see the full line of products available.


4. Guess who designed this year’s National Poetry Month poster? The one and only Maira Kalman! As you probably know, I adore her work and automatically purchase all her new books. As in previous years, you can order your free poster via the Academy of American Poets website. These are available while supplies last, so click through now!


5. Activist Tool Kit! Recently, the folks at The Silent Book Club partnered with independent artists and illustrators to create an exclusive We Will Not Be Silent 10-postcard set. This collection of 5×7 designs comes with instructions on how to reach your representatives in Washington. It also includes messaging templates for issues including civil liberties, freedom of information, healthcare reform, and women’s rights.

coolwethepeoplecoolreadingpostcardAll proceeds will benefit non-profit organizations fighting for our first amendment rights, including ProPublica, the Southern Poverty Law Center, The Project on Government Oversight, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Very cool way to make our voices heard!


6. Bear Books! Bear Books! We do get excited about Bear Books! Check out this post at The Art of the Picture Book, which features Early Childhood Books from the Osborne Collection.

coolthreebearsThere are several old-timey versions of The Three Bears, as well as Lynd Ward’s 1952 Caldecott winner, The Biggest Bear (lots of interior spreads). I was especially happy to see some Paddington books and Rupert comics. 🙂

coolbearkingbirdcovercoolbearillocoolrupertMore recent titles include The Bear by Raymond Briggs and The Bear’s Bicycle by Emilie Warren McLeod and David McPhail. Definitely a honey of a roundup.


7. I’ve been following Jennifer Orken Lewis, a.k.a., August Wren, on Facebook for quite awhile now. A NY-based artist and illustrator, she’s best known for her daily sketchbook, where she creates lovely 30-minute gouache paintings.

coolaugustflowerscoolaugustsketachI love her free-spirited style, characterized by loose lines and vibrant colors. You can’t help but feel instantly energized and uplifted by her art. She really has a knack for imbuing everyday objects with a delightful feminine loveliness.

Birthday Cards available at Trader Joe’s

Anthropologie now sells her Wing and Petal design on mugs and bowls,

coolaugustwrenbowlsand more recently,  a number of Kate Spade products feature her Dahlia painting. These can be ordered at Lifeguard Press and What great gifts. 🙂

coolwrenkatespadeJennifer has also published a book for jump starting creativity. Draw Every Day, Draw Every Way contains monthly themes and daily prompts.

coolaugustbookThe journal is not only useful as a stress-reliever and as a mode of personal exploration, but also as a way of changing visual thinking. And when completed, it will serve as a reflection of its owner.

More at Jennifer’s website and Etsy Shop.


8. Now available for pre-order: Nicole Gulotta’s Eat This Poem (Roost Books, 2017), releases March 21!

cooleatthispoemYou may remember when Nicole did a guest post here at Alphabet Soup a few years back. She shared an Apple Muffin recipe inspired by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater’s poem, “Apple Pockets.”

As a longtime fan of Nicole’s Eat This Poem blog, I’m especially excited to see a book featuring more of her wonderful poem-recipe pairings.

Inspired by her popular blog by the same name, the Eat This Poem cookbook features more than 75 new recipes paired alongside verse from 25 of America’s most beloved poets. Forage mushrooms with Mary Oliver, then wander into your kitchen to stir creamy truffle risotto. Study the skin of a pear with Billy Collins while you bake a warm vanilla-pear crumble. And honor the devoted work of farmers with Wendell Berry while snacking on popcorn dusted with rosemary and drizzled with brown butter.

In Eat This Poem, Nicole invites you into her kitchen and brings poems to life on the plate by infusing each section with personal stories, thoughtful commentary, and simple ingredients. Beautifully illustrated and utterly delightful, you’ll want to brew yourself a cup of tea before curling up with this charming cookbook.

Can’t wait!


9. Uber talented fiber/needlework artist Salley Mavor (Wee Folk Studio) recently created a drama troupe, “The Wee Folk Players (They’re a Stitch),” who perform political satire on her blog. Talk about using art for biting commentary!

cool3branchesI’ve long been in awe of her creative genius and sustained brilliance, and it’s very interesting now to see what statements she’s making, as well as all the behind-the-scenes activity for each new tableau. Read Salley’s message to her followers, which explains why she began creating art with a political edge. Click here to see all The Wee Folk Players (They’re a Stitch) blog posts.

Great American Ball


Enjoy this stop-motion video, “Mr. Pence Goes to Washington.”






Copyright © 2017 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

19 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. I just bought some of Louise Neumann’s notebooks a week or two ago — they are charming! Love those August Wren bowls. Enjoyed your whole list!


  2. Jama, each Tuesday, I need to ready myself for a bit (no, a lot) of spending. I have ordered the Kalman poster, can’t wait to see it for real! I ordered Barbara Crooker’s new book, and Eat This Poem isn’t quite out, but I bookmarked it. I love each part you’ve shared, and Mr. Pence . . . is a lovely laugh at the end. Thanks for all!


    1. I forgot to say how much I love bear books, too. Please check out Ciara Gavin’s books about Bear and the ducks. Her latest, Bear Likes Jam, is wonderful!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I’m waiting for my Maira poster to arrive too. I imagine this will be one of the more popular ones (I liked Roz Chast’s one too). I’m savoring the poems in Barbara’s book, taking my time. It’s exciting to see what the Wee Folk Players will do next. I forgot to post the pic of the pussy hats.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t have any of the posters left, gave them away when I retired. Each one is special I agree. Thanks again for all the good stuff!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. 9 very cool things, Jama!! I LOVE Maira Kalman’s art. And the Me-Myself-& I is so spot on!! Ha! 🙂


    1. Thank goodness for Salley’s political satire. We NEED to find some humor amid all the negativity, and to know that talented artists continue to make and create, when so many others are focused on tearing down and destroying.


  4. Oh, no!!!! Note cards AND postcards…!!!!
    *hides purse from self*
    Thank you, as always, for my weekly dose of beautiful and amazing.


    1. If you enjoy ekphrastic poems, this is definitely your kind of poetry book. Of course I’ve never been disappointed with any of Barbara’s books, so I may be a little biased . . . 🙂


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