nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Now you see her, now you don’t. Peruvian-born, Philadelphia-based camouflage artist Cecilia Paredes creates extraordinary “photo performances” using her own body as part of the canvas.

She blends in with beautiful patterned backgrounds by painting her own skin (sometimes her entire body), or wearing painted clothing that will allow her to disappear/reappear.

Such precise, tedious work to transfer all the details onto a three dimensional surface! Cecilia was initially inspired to begin this photographic series because of her constant relocation, using the body as part of the intended landscape. How do we adjust to our new surroundings? How do we fit in?

Her artist statement:

Part of what makes us human is our ability to see beyond the narrow door through which we enter the world—to grow beyond the culture of our birth by recognizing other cultures, other patterns of life. Yet our birth culture is always imprinted upon us; the mystery of identity is never fully resolved. We are always from a time and place to which we can never return.

We continue to marvel as she explores themes of self identity, belonging, displacement, invisibility/visibility, emotional interiors, and body politics. Her striking, thought-provoking pieces certainly encompass self reflection as well as social commentary. Coincidentally, her last name, “Paredes,” means “Walls” in Spanish. Some of her pieces are for sale here.


2. You may know I’m a longtime fan of Salley Mavor’s exquisite fabric relief artwork. I religiously follow her Facebook updates and blog to see what she’s currently working on, and am constantly awed and amazed by her creativity and productivity. For the last year, she’s been working on a stop-motion animation movie called “Liberty and Justice: A Cautionary Tale in the Land of the Free.” She hopes to release it this summer. Can’t wait!

from In the Heart (2001)

Meanwhile, just wanted to give you the heads up in case you weren’t aware that in addition to notecards, posters, and prints, Salley has autographed books for sale in her Etsy Shop, Wee Folk Studio. Both of her Felt Wee Folk craft books as well as two picture books, In the Heart and Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes, are currently available. Wonderful gifts and keepsakes!

In the Heart (2001)


from Pocketful of Posies (2010)


3. March is a very good month for poet, author and educator Amy Ludwig Vanderwater. She has two new books being released!

Dreaming of You, illustrated by Aaron DeWitt (Boyds Mills Press 2018) just came out on March 6:

This soothing bedtime story explores the question, When animals sleep, what do they see in their dreams? The lyrical text tells readers that chipmunks dream of digging deep burrows, puppies dream of long, waggy walks, and horses dream of wild, windy rides. But most of all, the animals dream of all the fun and adventure the next day will bring. The gentle rhymes and gorgeous, serene illustrations combine to create a comforting story perfect for transitioning from a busy day to being tucked in peacefully at night.

Dreaming of You has already earned a *starred review* from Kirkus, who described it as, “sweetly imaginative, linguistically rich, and featuring enlivening vocabulary with lots of active verbs and new and interesting nouns and adjectives.”


And, on March 27, With My Hands: Poems About Making Things, illustrated by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson (Clarion Books, 2018) will officially hit shelves:

Building, baking, folding, drawing, shaping . . . making something with your own hands is a special, personal experience. Taking an idea from your imagination and turning it into something real is satisfying and makes the maker proud.

With My Hands is an inspiring invitation to tap into creativity and enjoy the hands-on energy that comes from making things.

I’m looking forward to featuring both books in the coming weeks. Stay tuned. 🙂

Double Congratulations to Amy!!


4. I don’t know. There’s just something about these fruity pencil cases. I was big on pencil cases in grade school and still lament the loss of my shiny royal blue one. These colorful cuties are so cheery I’m sure my pens and pencils would enjoy hanging out in them. 🙂

They’re about 8 inches long and made of bicast leather. Get yours here. Fun! :).


5. Tune into some good grub: Eat Like a Rock Star: 100 Recipes from Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Greatest by Mark Bego (Skyhorse Publishing, 2017)!

Who knew that Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones) makes an amazing Lamb Chops with Endive and Blue Cheese Salad, that Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) loves Pasta with Ham and Parmesan Cheese, or that Boz Scaggs eats Tuscan Grilled Chicken?

With more than a hundred recipes from seven decades of rock ‘n’ roll, pop, country, RnB, and disco, Mark Bego, along with Mary Wilson of The Supremes, gathers beloved recipes from legendary rocker friends and invites the ultimate music fan to put on an apron and join them at the table. Featuring each rock star’s biography, their favorite recipe, and other fun facts, Eat Like a Rock Star is a must-have for every die-hard rocker-at-heart who loves to eat.

There is nowhere else you will find Ray Parker Jr.’s Salmon and Eggs, Joey Fatone’s (NSYNC) Rice Balls, Micky Dolenz’s (The Monkees) Micky ‘D’ Cocktail, and Angela Bowie’s (David Bowie’s ex-wife’s) Rosti Hash Brown Potatoes all in one book. Whether it’s brunch, lunch, dinner, or dessert, learn to cook:

• Michelle Phillips’s (The Mamas & The Papas) Organic Lemon Chicken
• Lou Christie’s Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes
• Marilyn McCoo’s (The 5th Dimension) Leg of Lamb
• Glen Campbell’s Favorite Mexican Chicken Casserole
• Sarah Dash’s (Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles) Peach Cobbler, and more!

With a section on head-spinning cocktails, full menu suggestions, as well as author Mark Bego’s own culinary concoctions such as Spicy Szechuan Sesame Noodles and Boozy Banana Cream Pie, look no further for the all-in-one cooking and rock ‘n’ roll companion. As Martha Reeves says about her Smoked Turkey Necks & Lima Beans, “Honey, this is real soul food!”

Okay, I may just pass on the smoked turkey necks but this book sounds like a hoot. Even if I never make any of the recipes, I’m curious to know what these music types like to cook and eat.

You may be wondering who Mark Bego is. He’s written and co-written many pop and country music and showbiz biographies — hence the access to personal recipes from these celebrities. Since Skyhorse Publishing also published Eat Like a Gilmore: The Unofficial Cookbook for Fans of Gilmore Girls (2016),  I’m hoping this one will be just as good.

“California Dreamin’ on such a winter’s day . . . ”


6. You’re hungry now? Well, what a surprise. Take a little time to enjoy this wonderful “Storymakers in the Kitchen” Kidlit TV video featuring Aram Kim making kimchi pancakes with Rocco Staino. You may remember we interviewed Aram shortly after No Kimchi for Me was published last summer. Put a little spice in your day! Hooray for Aram!


7.  Not too long ago, I stumbled upon Lieke van der Vorst’s work online and fell in love. I admit her food and bear illustrations were the first to catch my eye, but as I explored further, I noticed how calm and peaceful her art in general made me feel.

Lieke hails from the Netherlands, is a nature lover, and draws inspiration from everyday life. In a recent interview, she was asked if there is a message she wishes to convey through her art.

That people should start [to] listen, to themselves, their bodies and nature. It would be so nice if we can all live together without hurting any living thing.

Love her focus on the interconnectedness of all living things, as well as how she blends whimsy/fantasy with reality.

Check out her Liekeland Shop, where she sells prints, cards, and bags.


8. You know me, I need my pottery fix. Been following Nancy Gardner Ceramics for awhile. Nancy is an award winning potter from Illinois who’s been collaborating with her partner Burton Isenstein since 1988.

They produce one-of-a-kind, hand-built and hand decorated pieces, works of art that are meant to be used and enjoyed (the glaze they use is food safe and water tight).


Their work is inspired by historical and contemporary pottery forms, textiles, paintings and illustration. I like the whimsy and quirkiness. See more at their official website and Etsy Shop. Happy stuff!


9. Finally, a hedgehog. This little guy called out to me recently. Just sitting there, all balled up, not demanding anything of anyone — adorable and cozy. Just a lump. Check him out at GladoArt, along with other needle felt animals made by Olga Gladkaya of the Ukraine.

Would you like to adopt this little friend? 🙂


Mustn’t forget our blue song.  Here’s a tune courtesy of the wayback time machine. I think I was in utero when it first came out :D, but I remember hearing it on the radio all the time in grade school. Until I saw this video, I never knew what Jimmy Clanton looked like.







*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee (at no cost to you). Thanks for your support!

Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

23 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. Nothing makes my Tuesday brighter than your “nine cool things on a tuesday,” Jama, and I did ask you long time ago how on earth you could find all these really wondering things – but seeing myself included in thIS awesome collection is just mind-blowing!! Thank you!! 😀 And oh my gosh, I thought you got a real hedgehog, and squealed!! (After I found out it was felt animal, I squealed again!) ❤ xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL. That felt hedgehog looks pretty real. I wonder how they’d be as pets?

      You know how much I enjoyed your kimchi pancake cooking video, so of course I had to share it! Maybe you should start your own cooking show sometime 🙂 . . .


  2. Cecilia Paredes’ work is amazing – and congratulations to our friend Amy on her two new books! I have to say, that “Eat Like a Rock Star” book is both very cool and disappointing…because a chef friend of mine has been putting together that exact type of book, from her years of cooking for singers and bands. One sad anecdote was that while assisting her, I had chatted with Brad Delp of the band Boston, who was going to send me a recipe for his apple pie…but then 6 months later, committed suicide. I’m sure my friend will still want to read Mark’s book, though – it looks fantastic. Thanks for sharing, Jama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry to hear about Brad Delp, especially since you’d been in contact with him. There are several “rock star” cookbooks out there, and they all seem a bit different depending on the anecdotes shared and whether primary sources were used. I’m sure your friend’s book will be very cool and unique since she had personal contact with the musicians while cooking for them (what a cool job BTW). Hope you’ll give me a heads up when her book comes out :).


  3. Amazing camouflage by Cecilia Paredes. There were a couple I had to work hard to see her body! I love when artists find new ways to create! Much to love here, Jama. I have Amy’s Dreaming of You, looking forward to With My Hands. That cover is awesome! I do not need more pottery, but these that you shared are quite wonderful. Thanks again for the smiles on Tuesday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. God knows I don’t need any more pottery either, but sometimes I can’t help myself. Sharing them here “usually” quells any desire to actually purchasing them, so that’s good (so far, I haven’t bought any Polish pottery). 😀

      Dreaming of You is beautiful and so is With My Hands (review coming next week). And I’m awestruck by Cecilia Paredes’s camouflages — isn’t it wonderful what artists think of?


  4. I just got three Polish pottery bowls for my birthday, inspired by one of your posts.
    You fooled me twice today, Jama — I didn’t even notice Ms. Paredes in her pictures at first, and I also thought the hedgehog was real. Very cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh wow — what a good birthday present (I’m jealous!). Tickled that you were fooled by the hedgehog and camouflage artist. Surprises around every corner keeps life interesting . . . 🙂


  5. This is an amazing list. Jama, I could spend my life following and learning more about the cool things you find. Thank you so much for including my new books. It is an honor to be here. I was fooled by the hedgehog too! And I am such a fan of Sally Mavor and now need her new book and want to paint myself. This was incredible fun. Thank you! xxxx


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s