nine cool things on a tuesday (+ 2 extra cause it’s holiday time!)

1. Ho ho ho and Merry Merry! Tis the season for sending cool holiday greetings to your nearest and dearest. What could be better than Clover Robin’s gorgeous cut paper creations?

Buy these individually or in sets of 4 large or 5 smaller size. There’s “Joy,” “Winter Hare,” “Festive Wreath,” “Jug of Festive Foliage,” and my favorite, “Teatime.” They’re blank on the inside and come with natural colored 100% recycled envelopes.

You may remember we featured London-based Clover Robin’s charming cut paper collages not too long ago. Check out her Etsy Shop to order these festive cards or any of her other lovely botanical cards and prints.


2. This one caught my eye because I’m a big Becca Stadtlander fan. Just released in early October, Made by Hand: A Crafts Sampler, written by Carole Lexa Schaefer (Candlewick, 2018), spotlights 14 handmade objects crafted between 1798 and 1950.

A beautiful, one-of-a-kind volume invites readers to marvel at the time, effort, and care that went into creating handmade toys, tools, and treasures of the past.

Whirr, buzz, hum. Before busy machines in factories turned out most of what we need and use, people crafted these items by hand. From a globe to a pie crimper, a butter churn to a rocking horse, this unique collection highlights fourteen one-of-a-kind objects — each one drafted, stitched, painted, or engraved by hand. Author Carole Lexa Schaefer draws inspiration from real historical artifacts to create thirteen short works of fiction, imagining the hands that might have made and used each item. Several artifacts can be traced to their origin, while others remain complete mysteries, making for a fascinating patchwork of fact, guesswork, and imagination. Illustrator Becca Stadtlander breathes color and charm into this handmade history, bringing to life the different objects, people, and times. The result is a singular glimpse of everyday objects and treasures alike — back when such things were made by hand.

I’ve always been a fan of handmade, “heart-made” objects, and can’t wait to see this book. I love the blending of craft + history + a touch of fiction + Becca’s art. 🙂


3. Mr Cornelius saw this bear backpack and insisted I show it to you. The “Umi Schoolbag” is handmade of 100% premium leather with a water resistant lining. Size: 25 x 30 cm. Too cute!

Makes me wish I was in first or second grade again. Kids always have the coolest things. Sigh.


4. Speaking of bears, we can’t forget Paddington this holiday season. Have you seen Paddington’s Marmalade Madness board game?

Paddington Bear loves his new home with the Brown family almost as much as he loves making marmalade! Help him share his freshly made marmalade with his neighbors, but be careful. Trouble seems to find Paddington when he least expects it! The first one to deliver the jars of marmalade and return to the Brown’s home wins the game. Contents: 1 game board, 4 die-cut Paddington movers with plastic stands, 1 spinner and spinner card, 16 marmalade jar tokens (4 each of 4 different colors), Paddington Bear cards, 1 sticky bun token, 1 rain boots token, instructions.

For ages 5+, 2-4 players. Mr Cornelius is asking Santa for this one. He believes in putting the electronics aside and settling down with a “real” game.


5. Heads up bird lovers! Check out these gorgeous bird ornaments by Vermont-based artist Ashley Wolff!

Each of these is a one-of-kind work of art. Ashley paints the birds with acrylic gouache on mini canvases, then mounts them with removable glue dots on painted easels. There’s a tiny screw eye and ribbon for hanging on your tree or in a window, or remove the ribbon and set it on a table or shelf.

The canvas dimensions are either 3″ x 3″ or 2.5″ x 3.25″ and the easel is 4.5” Choose from a variety of birds: woodpeckers, cardinals, owls, black-capped chickadees, robins, sparrows, etc.

Order yours from Ashley’s Etsy Shop. Only problem is trying to decide which one (s) to choose since they’re all wonderful. A handmade ornament is the perfect gift for that special someone.


6. Ruff ruff! What’s it like to be rescued by Meghan Markle? Nothing better than a funny tail from a canine point of view. Check out His Royal Dogness, Guy the Beagle: The Rebarkable True Story of Meghan Markle’s Rescue Dog by Camille March, Michael Brumm and EG Keller (Simon & Schuster, 2018):

The hilarious, heartwarming, and rebarkable true story of Guy the Beagle, Duchess Meghan Markle’s rescue dog.

Like all good stories, Guy the Beagle’s begins lost in the woods of Kentucky. But his fortunes change when he’s rescued by none other than Princess…er, Duchess-to-be Meghan Markle. Practically overnight, Guy goes from wags to riches. But does this backwoods beagle have what it takes to be welcomed into the royal family?

For the first time ever, Guy reveals how he went from pawper to proper, with help from Emmy award-winning writer and producer of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Mike Brumm and publishing veteran (and devoted Anglophile) Camille March, beautifully illustrated by EG Keller (illustrator of the New York Times bestselling A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo). Guy’s story of finding acceptance in an exceptional family will have readers of all ages barking with laughter.

Just released November 20, 2018, and already causing massive tail wagging in highbrow kennels. Sit. Stay. Read!


7. You know I’m an alphabet freak, and you may know I’m also wild about UK artist Emily Sutton. She recently created this beautiful Picture Alphabet, which is hand-screen printed on lightly embossed paper.

It’s a signed limited edition of 250 pieces, measuring 94 x 54 cm, and was inspired by a Victorian school wall chart Emily owns, as well as antique picture books and ephemera. Love the exquisite detail. Read a recent interview with Emily at Sessions & Co. to learn more about her work.

Want! (I think your wall wants one, too).


8. Comic Relief Time!! Just in case you haven’t seen this list of neologisms, thought I’d share it here cause we all need to laugh — now more than ever.

These are pretty ingenious and I wish I had been witty and clever enough to think of them myself. Since I posted this on FB a few weeks ago, it’s gotten over 14,000 shares so far!

Which is your favorite? I especially love #10, #11, and #13. 😀


9. Are you familiar with R. John Wright dolls and animals? You probably have if you’re a serious collector.

I first heard of R. John Wright back in the 80’s when I began collecting teddy bears. I was blown away by John’s Pooh and Paddingtons. The designs were in a category all their own and I admired the meticulous workmanship.

Over the years, John and Susan (who are based in Vermont) have created many wonderful collections: characters from Disney and children’s literature, Hollywood Legends, Flower Fairies, Cats and Dogs, etc. All pieces are handcrafted in their Bennington workshop and produced in numbered limited editions.

I love to browse their site and just sigh . . . most pieces are out of my price range but I can still marvel and appreciate the artistry. It’s worth a visit: check out the current sale items as well as the Chronology to get an idea of the range of pieces they’ve offered since R. John Wright was established in 1976. Fabuloso!!


10. Who doesn’t love Mr Rogers? If you’re an adult who grew up with him or a parent who’s recently seen “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” with your kids, you might want to surprise them with this cool memento: a neighborhood trolley. 🙂

Mr Rogers’s message of kindness, compassion, tolerance, and self actualization is more timely than ever. I feel so much calmer and optimistic whenever I think about him. He was one of a kind and I just wish there were lots more like him in the world.


11. Little House fans: Did you know that Barbara M. Walker’s iconic Little House Cookbook has been revised and updated? Like me, you may own Walker’s original version that first came out in 1979. It’s a wonderful chronicle of frontier life with great excerpts from the LH books as well as those charming Garth Williams illustrations.

Well, this new version, which was released in September 2018,  features full-color photographs of the finished recipes, and the recipes are presented in a standard, easier-to-follow format. From what I gather, Walker’s historical text remains intact.

There are pros and cons to consider: purists might prefer the original book with more of Williams’s art, but the new book might be more practical from a cook’s standpoint (it’s always a plus to actually see what a finished recipe should look like). The new book feels like Little House all grown-up. Personally, I would be happy to own both!! 🙂


And now, for our final blue songs of 2018. We’ve been “thinking blue” this whole year, and despite lots of ups and downs, overall, it’s worked pretty well for us. We managed to stir up some seriously good juju as we transitioned from THINK BLUE to VOTE BLUE. Our work is far from done, so perhaps in 2019, we should continue to BELIEVE IN BLUE. 🙂

For your holiday pleasure, here’s Elvis with “Blue Christmas.” Has he ever looked so hot as in this 1968 Comeback Special? I think not. This is why he will always be the KING.



To close on a mellow note, James Taylor’s “Ol’ Blue.” This one’s for all my dog lovin’ friends. It kind of reminds me of Laura Vaccaro Seeger’s BLUE picture book (which I hope gets a Caldecott nod in January). Enjoy.










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16 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday (+ 2 extra cause it’s holiday time!)

    1. Made by Hand is on my Wish List (which is insanely long). 😀 Would be nice to win the lottery and spend some of it on R. John Wright dolls and animals.


    1. You seem like the type of person who could come up with brilliant neologisms. Thanks for checking out the cool things today, Matt. 🙂


  1. So much to love & just in time for gifting! I think I’d better have that “Made By Hand” book. It looks fabulous, as does the alphabet sampler, & too many other things! I do laugh at the neologisms because it appears that adults continue to laugh at bathroom humor just like first graders! Thanks, Jama, for Elvis & James, too.

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  2. Everything is so lovely! I appreciate that you’ve gathered and shared these marvelous things for us. Cool Tuesday/Wednesday!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Such gorgeous eye candy! Thank you, Jama! You bring so much joy to my days (as well as expanding my reading and my shopping lists).

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