nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Flower Box, Flower Box! Celebrate all things green and abloom this summer with these lovely postcards published by Princeton Architectural Press.

Sunflowers, roses, succulents, ferns, wildflowers— this rich bouquet of postcards features one hundred botanical postcards by ten celebrated artists from around the world: Sonia Cavallini, Nour Flayhan, Carolyn Gavin, Jen Hewett, Sam Kalda, Marc Martin, Angela McKay of Ohkii Studio, Clover Robin, Wies van der Velde of SowiesoWies, and Rose Wong. A booklet about the artists highlights their creative processes, influences, and favorite plants.

I love the idea of having lots of postcards on hand — you just never know when you might feel like sending a little natural beauty through the mail to a special someone. Wouldn’t it also be fun to select several of these and frame them?  🙂


2. New Book Alert! Look what’s coming out a week from today: See You On a Starry Night by Lisa Schroeder (Scholastic Press, 2018)!!

Juliet has just moved to a beachside town with her newly separated mother and her moody older sister. When she meets their new neighbor, Emma, the girls form an instant bond. Emma’s big family takes Juliet in, and the girls have fun together — starting with the night they throw bottles with secret messages into the sea.

Then someone writes back to Juliet’s message. An email arrives, inviting her to join the Starry Beach Club. All she has to do is make someone else’s wish come true.

So Juliet and Emma set off to help as many other people as they can. It’s fun! But as Juliet spends more and more time away from home, enjoying her new town and Emma’s family more than her own mom and sister, she starts feeling lost. It’s been easy to find others to help. But maybe her star would shine a little brighter if she brought it closer to home.

Lisa is one of those rare, versatile authors who can write well in several different genres. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed her picture books, middle grade and YA novels. This new middle grade book sounds like the perfect summer read. Have you ever sent a secret message in a bottle?

Available for pre-order NOW!

Congratulations, Lisa!


3. Hmmm. Looks like the U.S. Postal Service is trying to get us to send more snail mail with their first ever scratch-and-sniff stamps.

“Frozen Treats” will be unveiled at the Thinkery Children’s Museum in Austin, TX tomorrow. The stamps (art by Margaret Berg of Santa Monica), feature 10 different designs of “frosty, colorful, ice pops on a stick.” There’s only one scent for all the stamps, though. Wonder what it will be? My money’s on strawberry, though chocolate would be nice 🙂


4. Now, for a simply luscious THINK BLUE moment. Drop everything and watch this book trailer for Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger (Roaring Brook Press, 2018):

Tender, touching, simply stunning. Hits shelves September 25, 2018, but available for pre-order now. LOVE.


5. Do you like novels? Do you like tea (silly question)? Then you will enjoy combining your passions with a NovelTea Tin. These come in fun flavors like Oliver Lemon Twist, War and Peach, Pride and Peppermint, and Matcha Do About Nothing.

Each book shaped caddy measures about 6″ x 8″ x 2″ and contains 2 ounces of loose tea (about 22 cups) flavored to the theme of a classic novel + a bookmark.


You can store refills in the reusable tins or stash little treasures in them. What a fun gift for book lovers to show off in the kitchen, library, or office! Why not collect them all? 🙂


6. Textile artist fix: Love the beautiful Harris Tweed needle felted “paintings” by UK artist Jane Jackson. You may know that Harris Tweed is a unique heritage fabric made from 100% British pure new wool and hand woven by crofters on the Scottish Islands of the Outer Hebrides. Gorgeous stuff known throughout the world!

Jane’s pictures feature scenes from Northumberland, Scotland, and Cumbria, in addition to British wildlife and birds. She sells originals at her website as well as prints and greeting cards. Love the subtle colors and beautiful textures, and what a unique way to use Harris Tweed. Find out more at Bright Seed Textiles.


7. Hungry? Knew you wouldn’t make it to the end of this roundup without a tummy grumble. Okay, take a bite of this: Dark Side of the Spoon: The Rock Cookbook by Joe Inniss, Ralph Miller and Peter Stadden (Laurence King Publishing, 2017):

Dark Side of the Spoon: The Rock Cookbook features thirty recipes inspired by some of the most renowned rock acts of today and yesteryear. The dishes are accompanied by exclusive artworks from thirty top illustrators. Catering for cooks of all abilities and tastes, this book will help you master a wide range of appetizers, entrées, and desserts—including Smashing Pumpkin Pie, Fleetwood Mac and Cheese, and Primal Bream.

Dark Side of the Spoon celebrates the many humorous parallels between food and rock, and is a must-have for anyone with a love for cooking, music, or illustration, or indeed all three.

Gotta say, I do love puns, and the recipe titles have me giggling already. Plus, I do love illustrations in a cookbook, so — will be checking this one out for sure. Be Bop Beluga!


8. Some of you may remember when I featured London based paper collage artist Clover Robin. Happy to see that she’s published several new books this year — all of them nature-themed.

Nature Origami (Nosy Crow Ltd, 2018):

This stunning gift book features enticing paper-cut artwork from Clover Robin, alongside simple instructions to make 13 different origami animals and objects. With 3 difficulty levels, this book will suit complete beginners as well as more experienced origami fans.


Bug Hotel (A Clover Robin Book of Nature), written by Libby Walden (Caterpillar Books Ltd, 2018):

Welcome to the Bug Hotel, a homemade habitat where creepy crawlies of all shapes and sizes can find a place to stay! Discover how a bug hotel can create a sustainable, safe environment for insects and mini-beasts by exploring each section, lifting the flaps and finding out facts about your favourite garden insects.


Bird House (A Clover Robin Book of Nature), written by Libby Walden (Caterpillar Books Ltd, 2018):

Welcome to The Bird House, a homemade habitat where birds can safely rest and nest! Bird houses come in all shapes and sizes, designed to suit all different types of birds. Discover how bird houses can provide much-needed shelter, explore how we can help our gardens to become more bird-friendly and lift the flaps to find out more about your favourite feathered friends.

All of them look so lovely!! Perfect way to wile away a summer’s day and get the munchkins outside exploring. 🙂

And if all this goodness isn’t enough, she has two more books coming out soon:

Cut Paper Pictures: Turn Your Art and Photos into Personalized Collages (Rock Point, August 2018), and

Counting Birds: The Idea That Helped Save Our Feathered Friends, written by Heidi E.Y. Stemple (October 2018).

And yes (those of you with sharp eyes) — Clover Robin’s postcards are included in the above-mentioned  FLOWER BOX.

This girl has been busy!


9.  We started with flowers, so we’ll end with flowers. Since I can’t read Japanese, I can’t tell you very much about artist Hori Narumi, other than she’s from Hokkaido, Japan. Her bright and colorful blossom-filled pictures caught my eye recently. Such joy and prettiness!

And look how cute these kids are! Her work makes me so happy. 🙂

See more at her tumblr.


Finally, a blue song — this will be the last Cool Things Roundup before summer blog break, so I wanted to leave you with something not only cool, but sleek and smooth: Rod Stewart’s rendition of Irving Berlin’s “Blue Skies.” Slide right into some relaxing summer days . . .











🥣 🥣 🥣 🥣 🥣

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

14 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. I love that you found still another ‘blue’ book, Jama. Your post today added more books to find, more beauty to admire. I do love those artistic delights of Jane Jackson and everything else, of course. Thank you for starting Tuesdays so beautifully. Happy Summer break!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this beautiful blue blog! I have to get my hands on that rock cookbook. So cool. Happy summer. Not my favorite season, but you have made me feel better about it as I sit sweating!! See you in September. Keep cool and enjoy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I must admit summer isn’t my favorite season either (I love Fall!). I do have one last Poetry Friday post before I sign off for awhile. Hope you have a good summer — stay cool!


  3. Oh, you are the light in a crap week, Jama-j.
    This is all so gorgeous! I want to read that book – a lot! It sounds SO much like the way I want to write. Also, aren’t the scratch-n-sniff stamps amazing? I just need more excuses to send letters!! And the tea!! in volumes!! That are bad puns!!! I love. (Also the rock cookbook has me both wincing and laughing.)

    I’m going to need to protect my pocketbook from the stationery and the Harris tweed feltings, though. Good grief, those are pretty…

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The PR tea tin and the Pekoe Pan one were added after I did this post so I hadn’t seen them. Thanks for the heads up. 🙂


    1. Glad you liked the Roundup, Miss T. I think any kind of stamps that encourage more snail mail is a good thing. 🙂 Can’t wait to see what the fragrance is. When I saw the Harris Tweed pictures, I thought of you. Beautiful stuff.


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