nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hooray, Hooray! It’s official release day for Groundhug Day by Anne Marie Pace and Christopher Denise (Disney-Hyperion, 2017)!

Moose is having a Valentine’s Day party, and all his friends are so excited! Everyone except Groundhog, that is. If Groundhog sees his shadow outside, he’ll hide in his hole for six more weeks and miss the party!

Determined to help their friend join them, Moose, Squirrel, Bunny, and Porcupine put their heads together and come up with a plan. But will it be enough to get Groundhog out to play?

This heartwarming picture book by the author of Vampirina Ballerina, with adorable illustrations by Christopher Denise, is sure to be a hit, whether readers are bursting for spring or snuggling up for six more weeks of winter.

As a fan of Anne Marie’s Pigloo and Vampirina series, and many of Christopher’s books – especially his Redwall and bear books (Baking Day at Grandma’s, Me With You), I’m really looking forward to reading this one. How can anyone look at that adorable cover and not want to scoop this book up immediately?  Lovable animals, hearts, balloons, pink cake on the table . . . sigh. I am so there. Get yours now so you’ll be all set when Groundhog’s Day and Valentine’s Day roll around.

*Check out this Goodreads giveaway running now till December 12: enter for a chance to win one of two copies signed by both author and illustrator.

Happy Book Birthday, Anne Marie and Christopher!


2. Long ago in a galaxy far, far away, a Jedi Master Chef used the Force to whip up out-of-this-world treats. No secret ingredients or light sabers necessary when wielding just the right spatula for just the right batter. Check out this set of Star Wars™ spatulas — one medium and two mini — all with durable silicone heads (heat resistant up to 600 degrees), and guaranteed not to chip or crack. Love the rounded beech wood handles, too!

If you’re a muggles-pleasing kitchen wizard, you might prefer one of these Harry Potter™ spatulas. Whether you’re Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Slytherin or Ravenclaw, you’ll be able to create pure magic for those you love (Mrs. Weasley’s fruitcake, a treacle tart, or peppermint toad, anyone?). Mix, fold, scrape, scrape.


3. Did you watch Poldark Season 3 on PBS recently? Ever since Season 1, I’d been looking for a good collection of Cornish recipes, and hoped I could find a Poldark cookbook. Seems one was published back in 1981, shortly after the original Poldark aired in the mid 70’s (with Robin Ellis as Ross).

Happy to discover that a new edition of The Poldark Cookery Book was just published. It was written by Jean M. Graham, wife of Poldark series author Winston Graham, and it sounds very promising:

This beautiful new edition of The Poldark Cookery Book presents the recipes and the wherewithal for you to cook up your very own Poldark Christmas. Along with dozens of festive treats inspired by the Poldark series, here there are ample homey recipes for traditional West Country fare. From Figgy ‘Obbin Pudding to the Nampara staple of Baked Pilchards, there are both inventively thrifty and sumptuously indulgent recipes aplenty which will delight fans of the Poldark series and food enthusiasts equally.

(click for a Cornish Pasty recipe from the book)

Can’t wait to get my copy and channel Demelza (who always seems to be kneading bread dough). A tasty winter project awaits. Hope Ross will visit the Alphabet Soup kitchen soon. 🙂


4. Cute last minute gift or stocking stuffer idea: Molly Hatch’s Teacups Pocket Journal. It’s about 4″ x 6″ with 160 pp., and includes Molly’s charming drawings, tea quotes, and blank pages for you to record all your tea-licious musings. Good size to toss in your purse/bag. You never know when inspiration will strike. Just happens to be on sale at the Galison site.


5. Me? Crazy about soup-related merchandise? Well, yes. Check out this Andy Warhol Campbell’s soup tote. It’s 17″ x 15″ and made of heavy gauge cotton canvas, with the soup can on one side and a distressed stamped signature on the other. The tote also comes with 3 limited edition pins: Andy self-portrait, banana, and pop art quote. Santa, can you hear me? 🙂


6. Don’t get too comfortable, because you’re about to freak out a little. Imagine designing a collection of everyday objects with the sole purpose of annoying people. That’s precisely what Athens-based architect Katerina Kamprani did with her project “The Uncomfortable.”

She’s taken objects we take for granted — a simple fork, wine glass, or mug, and made them frustratingly inconvenient to use.

This project started after I failed to finish my studies in industrial design around 2011 and it has continued to grow ever since. My goal is to deconstruct the invisible design language of simple everyday objects and tweak their fundamental properties in order to surprise you and make you laugh. But also to help you appreciate the complexity and depth of interactions with the simplest of objects around us.

It’s interesting how your agitation rises as you try to imagine actually using these objects. A simple tweak here or there and what was once a functional object discombobulates you. Annoying is right! Clever concept in any case. See the entire collection here if you want to drive yourself totally nuts.


7. Remember awhile ago when I mentioned The Haiku Guys and Gals? Co-founded by Lisa Ann Markuson, Erick Szentmiklosy, and Daniel Zaltsman, this multicultural, international company takes performance poetry to a new level by providing interactive entertainment for your special event. Their haikuists bring along their own typewriters, and write custom haiku for attendees upon request. So cool and fun!

This Fall, the Haiku Guys and Gals published the 102 Haiku Journal: 17 Syllables to Say It All (Harry N. Abrams, 2017). 

This unique journal guides and encourages you to reflect on your day in the style of everyone’s favorite short-form poem—the haiku. It offers 102 creative prompts to help you think about different aspects of your life and capture them in 17 syllables. Conceived by the Haiku Guys & Gals, this journal also contains examples of their poems for inspiration. The prompts encourage you to write haiku on a range of subjects: a tribute to your hero, an ode to a childhood memory, a note on the weather, or an observation about your day. The journal also provides a brief history of the haiku, a basic explanation of how it is comprised, and some tips for getting into a haiku-writing frame of mind. Whether you skip around or proceed with the prompts in order, 102 Haiku Journal, encourages both creativity and self-reflection, all in a beautiful little package.

Both beginners and seasoned poets appreciate creative prompts. Add this one to your Wish List or surprise a poet friend for the holidays.


8. To whet your appetite for the USA release of “Paddington 2” on January 12, 2018, get your paws on a copy of Paddington Pop-Up London (HarperCollins, 2017)!

Discover Paddington’s London in this spectacular gift book with 6 pop-up scenes – as featured in the new movie!

Join Paddington – the bear from Darkest Peru – as he leads his adored Aunt Lucy on an imaginary journey through the streets of London. Six stunning illustrated pop-up scenes from the forthcoming movie have been lovingly recreated in this spectacular gift book. Enter a stylish paper-engineered world where iconic settings such as St. Pauls, Big Ben and Tower Bridge form the backdrop for this touching celebration of London, family and, ultimately, of belonging.

Everybear in the Alphabet Soup kitchen can’t wait till our copy arrives. I predict rousing conversation over cups of cocoa,  iced buns, and oozy marmalade sandwiches.


9. Speaking of whom, enjoy Marks and Spencer’s 2017 TV advert, “Paddington and the Christmas Visitor”:


Shortly after this advert aired in the UK, Marks and Spencer sold 15,000 plush Paddingtons in 3 days. Apparently the M&S Brand and Marketing Director ordered 10 times the amount of bears they usually sell in an entire year. People can’t get enough of our favorite bear from darkest Peru. Paddington marches on!!


♥ Bonus Cool Thing: Because there’s no such thing as too much Paddington, here’s an Official U.S. Paddington 2 movie trailer:



“The Perfect Tree” by Phoebe Wahl (2015)


Okay, Cutie Pies, have a great Tuesday and a good, productive week working on your holiday shopping and decorating. Don’t forget to smile and be extra generous with your bear hugs.

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

21 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. I love Tuesdays! Thanks Jama for all the eye candy this morning. The Haiku journal is in cart.


  2. Clever premise for Groundhog Day! Charming.
    Looking forward to see what you cook up from Poldark recipes!
    Those uncomfortable utensils really do look like they would drive you crazy…


  3. I may need to buy that haiku journal for my own Christmas gift, Jama. It sounds like a lovely thing for 2018! Those ‘uncomfortable’ designs are fabulous. What a super idea she had! When I saw Wonder a few weeks ago, I saw the Paddington preview – aw! Looks great. Thanks for making my Tuesday complete!

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