nine cool things on a tuesday

1. UK illustrator and self-described “glutton” Livi Gosling created this cool illustration for the children’s book, Women Who Dared: 52 Stories of Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers and Rebels, written by Linda Skeers (Sourcebooks Explore, 2017).



Perhaps you’ve read it? 🙂

Must admit I first discovered Livi’s work because of her food illustrations. Somehow, delightful drawings of pies, veggies, salads and sangria always catch my eye.




Livi’s portfolio includes a variety of interesting editorial illustrations — not only foodie ones, but wonderful maps, cityscapes and outdoor scenes for clients such as Taproot, Conde Nast, and the Telegraph. Love her refreshing, upbeat, charming style.




Yes, I was extra excited to see this animal alphabet:



And this one of various teas (odd that coffee is there too)!



Do visit Livi’s Official Website to learn more about her process, and browse her Etsy Shop to purchase maps and prints (she also does custom maps and portraits).



2. New series alert! The first two titles in a brand new early reader series officially releases tomorrow, April 1: Bat and Sloth Hang Around, and Bat and Sloth Lost and Found by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Seb Braun (Albert Whitman, 2020).



One night, when Bat wakes up at his usual time, he discovers a two-toed sloth hanging next to him―on his branch! Can Bat and Sloth be friends? Sloth thinks so. Bat’s not so sure.




After a fun night of flying, Bat tries to return to the tree he shares with Sloth―but he can’t find it! Meanwhile, Sloth meets a kinkajou, who helps bring Bat home.



Looks delightful, doesn’t it? (I admit to a newfound affection for sloths since watching “The Durrells in Corfu” on PBS.) Can’t wait to read these!

Congratulations, Leslie and Seb!!



3. Speaking of animals — here’s a ceramics fix with charitable benefits: Pennsylvania potter and animal lover JoAnn Stratakos created these special handmade mugs to help the Australian animals affected by the recent bush fires. After throwing the clay on her wheel, she hand carves each kangaroo and koala, giving them fantastic detail and texture. Aren’t they lovely?


A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Global Wildlife Conservation’s Australian wildfire recovery effort. Definitely a good cause. Find out more here.



4. Where do you store all your internet passwords? I know some people have a digital file for ready access, but I’ve never done that, preferring to keep my passwords completely off the computer in case of hacking.

Problem is, now I have a bunch of loose notes with passwords (ancient and current) all kind of mixed up. It’s such a secure method that even a techni-burglar couldn’t figure out which password is for what website. 😀



Recently I came across this Internet Password Log Book. Eureka! Everything’s recorded in alphabetical order. Duh. Don’t ask me why this never occurred to me before (see previous paragraph about burglar-proof). I simply didn’t know such a log book existed (I lead a sheltered life).

Anyway, now I don’t have to hunt through my loose pages to find my passwords. One would think for someone like me who loves things in alphabetical order (and order, in general), I would have caught onto this one long ago. Once a neanderthal, always a neanderthal.

Always forgetting your passwords?

Constantly having to reset your password because you can never remember all of the odd mixed-character passwords required on sites nowadays? This password log book is the perfect solution for you! Alphabetized for quick retrieval, 4 pages per letter. Each page has slots for 4 websites and includes lines for site name & details, your username, password, and a few lines for notes.

Internet Password Log Books are great for:

  • Getting your online accounts organized and KEEPING them that way
  • Bill payment, social media & online accounts
  • Home and office use, personal or professional account tracking
  • Recording notes under each entry about account info or recent experiences
  • Keeping all of your secure info in one easily-secured locationThis high quality handy password keeper includes:
  • 110 total pages
  • Alphabetized for easy organization and password retrieval
  • Small 5×8″ size, big enough to write comfortably but still portable
  • SOFT satin matte cover, perfect bound
  • Quality 60# white paper

Now, when I walk down the street, everybody turns and says, “Oh, you can tell she’s really organized!” Tee Hee.



5. Paddington Bear Alert! The 60-something resident Paddingtons were ecstatic to hear about a new middle grade biography about their creator Michael Bond. We first got wind of it last year, and could hardly wait until it was officially released on March 3. Check out More Than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear by Rosanne Tolin (Chicago Review Press, 2020):



Michael Bond never intended to be a children’s writer. Though an avid reader, he was by no means a model student and quit school at 14. He repaired rooftop radio transmitters during the bombing of Britain in World War II and later joined the army. He wrote about the war and more, selling stories here and there. 

One day, while searching for inspiration at his typewriter, hoping for a big story that would allow him to write full time, a stuffed bear on top of the shelf—a Christmas present for his wife—suddenly caught his eye. Bond poured his personal feelings about the events of his era—the refugee children his family had hosted in the countryside, a war-torn country in recovery, the bustling immigrant neighborhood where he lived—into the story of a little bear from Peru who tries very, very hard to do things right. The result was A Bear Called Paddington. 

An incredible true tale, More than Marmalade: Michael Bond and the Story of Paddington Bear is the first biography about the writer behind the beloved series. Author Rosanne Tolin reveals how world history, Bond’s life, and 1950s immigrant culture were embedded into Paddington’s creation, bringing middle-grade readers a delightful, informative, and engaging book with a timely message of acceptance.

Although our Paddingtons know this story only too well, they never tire of hearing it over and over again. Enjoy this one with a stack of marmalade sandwiches, freshly baked buns, and gallons of warm cocoa.

And please look after your bears. Thank You.



6. Once again, beautiful harmonies in a time of discord. And once again, James Taylor — this time with J.D. Souther (probably the most underrated singer-songwriter of my generation). I watch this video all the time and never tire of it. Yes, the harmonies are beautiful — pitch perfect in every way — but my eyes are very happy too. Two young, handsome, blue-eyed singers — what more could you want? I’m also mesmerized by J.D’s long eyelashes (hubba hubba). Nothing like a good song, perfectly performed, to calm and soothe. Thanks, J.T. and J.D.!




7. Have you seen this adorable Tiny Baking Kit by SmartLab Toys? It makes delicious bite size treats and is perfect for budding chefs, fun-loving kids, small grown-ups, wee bears, or anyone who loves miniature stuff.



  • Real food Real science Real fun! Bake itty-bitty pies cupcakes, pastries and pizzas using teeny-tiny tools and pans. Learn why cakes rise, eggs get solid, and cookies smell delicious. Baking set fits into a tin to easily take to grandma’s house or a sleepover
  • 17-piece tiny baking set includes storage tin with top, rolling pin, wee-knife, pizza/dough cutter, mixing spoon, 3 wee-spoons, mixing bowl, pizza/pie pan, pie server, sheet pan, silicone cake & cupcake molds, 2 silicone finger mitts, 48-page recipe book. Recipes require household ingredients not included in this kit
  • 48-page recipe book explains the science behind the tried and true recipes, and includes explanations of how food chemistry works, like how the acid and base in baking powder start a reaction when liquid is added producing gas bubbles to cause the batter to rise
  • 20 enormously delicious recipes: easy teeny frittata, vanilla cupcakes, double-decker chocolate cake, buttercream frosting, chocolate chip cook-wees, lattice-crust fruit pie, bits O’ bacon quiche, deep dish pizza, silly little monkey bread pie and more
  • Perfect for budding food scientists 8+ years


Just too cute! Perfect for doll or teddy tea parties, and there’s the added bonus of fewer calories with such small sweets. 😀



Needless to say, Mr Cornelius covets this kit and wants one for his next birthday.

Enjoy this video:




8. Did you hear that there’s a new Secret Garden movie? It was originally supposed to release in the UK in early April, but due to Coronavirus concerns, that’s been delayed until August (no definite release date yet for the U.S.).

Not only is The Secret Garden one of my favorite children’s books set in my favorite part of the world, guess who’s starring in it? My secret husband Colin Firth! He’s playing the role of Archibald Craven. Julie Waters (whom I also love) is Mrs Medlock, Dixie Egerickx is Mary Lennox, and Edan Hayhurst is Colin Craven. It was produced by the same people who did the Harry Potter and Paddington films, so it should be good!

Here’s a movie trailer to whet your appetite:




9. Check it: Greta Thunberg notecards by incredible needlework artist and author Salley Mavor (Wee Folk Studio)!



If you’re at all familiar with Salley’s work, you know she’s in a class of her own with her amazing handmade dolls set in three dimensional scenes. The note card features a photograph of 17-year-old Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg (as depicted by Salley) along with her quote, “The eyes of all future generations are upon you. And if you choose to fail us — we will never forgive you.”

You can purchase a set of 4 note cards or 10 postcards, in addition to 8.5″ x 11″ prints.

All profits from note card sales will go to the Woods Hole Research Center, which is a leading source of climate science that drives the urgent action needed to solve climate change. Woods Hole Research Center is an organization of renowned researchers who work with a worldwide network of partners to understand and combat climate change. They have been focused on climate change since it first emerged as a public policy issue 35 years ago. Headquartered in Falmouth, MA, they currently work in more than twenty countries around the globe – from the Amazon to the Arctic. World-class science is the foundation of everything they do. They share their learning with scientific colleagues, lawmakers, private sector leaders, and the public in order to turn knowledge into far-reaching action.



Help spread Greta’s timely message while supporting important research. Get your note cards at Salley’s Etsy Shop.



Finally, for our blue song this week, a spot of lyrical beauty: “Bluebird” by UK composer Alexis Ffrench. See if this melody doesn’t sing to a pure and hopeful part of your soul. About this piece, Ffrench says:

I wanted to write something with a certain immediacy that spoke to people and connected with them, as that’s always at the forefront of my mind. The training for a classical musician is steeped in words and academia but my main aim is always to communicate with people . . .

Bluebird, for me, is filled with a variety of influences, from Debussy and Satie, and is an expression of love and hope. It is born out of improvisation. I wanted to write something that expressed a certain innocence and purity. There’s so much trauma around us right now and I wanted to share a moment of calm, beauty and consolation. There isn’t enough of that in the world.

That’s his daughter Savannah dancing in the video. 🙂


















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**Copyright © 2020 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

10 thoughts on “nine cool things on a tuesday

  1. Very cool selection, Jama! That “Secret Garden” trailer! Whoa. And “Her Town” is lovely. Makes me want to look up J.D. Souther. Livi’s “Specials” look very tasty.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J.D. used to have a thing with Linda Ronstadt; he also collaborated with the Eagles. Colin looks rather worn and rumpled in the SG movie.


  2. Something for almost all my senses wakes me up in a beautiful way, Jama, ready for ending this strangest of months of March. I was caught up in checking out the new Sloth & Bat books, then Michael Bond’s new bio, love that tiny baking set, and all the art you shared. Then there was the music! Thank you for “Her Town”, sweetest duo & your end with “Bluebird” is beautiful- seeing and hearing! Although the times are hard, may you find a way to play an April Fool’s joke tomorrow for lots of laughter! Thanks much!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by and commenting on all the thingies, Linda. Whenever April Fool’s rolls around, I’m too busy worrying about having a joke played on me, to think about playing one on someone else . . .:)


  3. I love Livi’s animals and her maps–just lovely!

    I don’t know anything about it, but keep your eyes peeled and ears open for Hayley Barrett’s upcoming book from Barefoot Books called, non other than: THE TINY BAKER!!! It’s due out this fall. I LOVE Hayley’s other books, WHAT MISS MITCHELL SAW & BABYMOON (she has another, GIRL VS SQUIRREL coming in August). Looks like the perfect book for you to review, Jama ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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