Remember eating an icy cold Popsicle® on a warm summer’s day when you were little? Your lips would freeze as you licked, slurped, and bit into it, the juice running down your chin. And then, when you were done, you proudly stuck out your tongue to show everyone how it had turned red, orange, or purple.
But for all the Popsicles® you’ve enjoyed in your lifetime, did you ever wonder who actually invented them? You may be surprised to hear it was an 11-year-old boy.
Inquisitive, bright, and enterprising, California native Frank Epperson was born with the heart and mind of an inventor. As a boy, he “pondered important questions,” such as:
Do goldfish sleep?
Do ants have ears?
Do woodpeckers get headaches from pecking all day?
His ability to direct positive energy towards developing his ideas proved advantageous early on. Since inventing required experimentation, he was constantly doodling, designing, tinkering, testing, analyzing and scrutinizing.
By the time he was ten, “he had already masterminded his first invention: a handcar with two handles,” which ran twice as fast as one-handled cars. How he loved whizzing around the neighborhood in it!
Frank also enjoyed experimenting with liquids, especially flavored soda waters. He “had his heart set on inventing the yummiest, most thirst-quenching, lip-smacking soda water drink ever!”
On a fine autumn day, what could be better than finding this lovely handwritten note in your mailbox?
You are cordially invited to a tea party in the back garden at dusk. ~ P
You probably know I’m always up for a tea party, and this one just happens to be doubly delightful. It’s being hosted by none other than the ever dapper Mr. Pumpkin, who really knows how to rock a waistcoat and top hat (I could never resist a top hat). Besides, taking tea at twilight is just too tempting. 🙂
Mr. Pumpkin’s Tea Party,a seasonally spooky story and counting book in one, was written and illustrated by Cincinnati-based author and illustrator Erin Barker, who first sketched a “pumpkin-head guy” having tea with a “skeleton person” for Inktober back in 2016.
They weren’t your average run-of-the-mill pumpkin and skeleton, though. They were dressed up as proper English gentlemen, and were saying things like, “I dare say,” and “Indeed.” Erin’s Instagram followers loved the sketch, and months later her editor suggested the characters should have their own book. So Erin developed a charming storyline inspired by her own love of hosting get-togethers with friends and good food.
On any given day, you’re likely to find British illustrator and ceramicist Polly Fern in her studio happily painting with her canaries Olive and Morris nearby.
Her birdie friends appear in her work, along with other domestic animals, garden flora, and winsome figures from halcyon days, who seem to thrive on the simple, everyday pleasures of rural life.
Polly grew up in the Norfolk countryside, but now lives in Norwich City, which is the most complete medieval city in the United Kingdom. She earned her BA in First Class Illustration in 2015 from Norwich University of the Arts.
Her charming folkloric style is detailed and delicate, inspired by history, local places and childhood stories. Her ceramic vases and platters, which are modern takes on traditional shapes, are all handmade and bisque fired. Her vessels are dipped in a tin glaze before the designs are painted on with oxides and pigments.
I hand paint all of my decoration. I paper-cut a lot of my illustrations and then use the paper resist technique on raw ceramic, painting upon them with slip and peeling away the paper, then working back into the resist shapes with glazes and oxide details. It’s quite a labour-intensive process; with each piece I make taking a lot of time. But the process is important to my work and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much if it were straightforward.
Polly likes browsing antique shops and museums, wandering around market towns, and discovering gardens and buildings with a rich history of craft. Some of her ceramic pieces do look like things you’d find in a museum, and it’s fun to study the scenes she’s painted to ponder the stories taking place.
Her clients include Marks & Spencer, the MET Museum (NYC), Osaji, Pavilion Books, CARAMEL London, Home and Antiques Magazine, and Little Thing magazine. She’s also designed a line of products for Tonkachi Japan, which includes tumblers, handkerchiefs, notebooks, and iPhone cases. Her work has been displayed in various world-renowned international galleries.
In addition to her illustration work, Polly enjoys cooking and dressmaking, and hopes to someday design fabrics and create children’s books. She’d also love to have her own aviary. Her favorite foods include chocolate, figs, and pasta.
Described as, “A Poetic Journey into the Creative Process for Readers, Writers, Artists & Dreamers,” this collection of twenty-four spare, unadorned “word-gems” is an insightful gift to all creatives, offering both invaluable advice and spiritual nourishment.
As I enter my seventh decade on this planet, I wonder what words of wisdom I might have written to the younger me. What treasured tidbits have I learned along the way? What could I leave in a letter to young artists and poets searching the world for advice, guidance, and inspiration.
The creative process is a mysterious one, muses can be fickle, and in endeavors where one’s reach almost always exceeds one’s grasp, the life of the artist can be daunting and lonely.
I have always believed that in a sense, you cannot actually “teach” someone how to write, just as you cannot teach someone how to think or how to feel. And while there are many helpful books about honing your craft with suggestions about form, structure, voice, etc., detailing the more technical aspects of writing, sometimes what a writer needs, or craves . . . are simple, enduring truths gleaned from years of experience.
As I read the short yet profound poems, I silently cheered in affirmation. Yes, trust your instincts, speak the truth in your heart, find your authentic voice, get out of your own way and let the work speak for itself. Only write if you must.
Dear Poet is like having a trusted friend nearby, reminding you of what is most important. Though the subtitle is, “Notes to a Young Writer,” these words are for everyone, no matter where you are on your creative journey. Aren’t all artists and writers eternally young (in a constant state of beginning)?
I’m pairing today’s poems with art created by Charles’s son Chip, who also lives and works in Homewood, Alabama. As you can see, artistic talent runs deep in this family (Charles’s wife Debra is also a poet).
Good things do come in small packages. Read these delectable nuggets slowly and ponder . . . 🙂
A silent rhyme upon the page is what the poet gives,
gentle words whispered in trust to see if memory lives.
A poem is a rising moon shining on the sea,
an afterglow of all you know, of all your dreams set free.
The answer to the artist comes quicker than a blink,
though the spark of inspiration is not what you might think.
The muse is full of magic, though her vision may be dim.
The artist does not choose the work. It is the work that chooses him.
Now, please leave your links with the dashing Mr. Linky below. Have fun visiting all the blogs serving up delectable poetic goodness this week!
1. Hungry for a little lunch? Not so fast — you may have a little trouble actually eating this one, since it’s actually — *wait for it* — a purse!
Yes, Rotterdam based artist Rommy Kuperus is still creating her amazing, over-the-top accessories for fashion forward peeps who enjoy wearing their food.
And why not? Rommy’s pieces are handmade, totally calorie free and 100% eye-catching fun. You may remember when we interviewed Rommy a few years back. Glad to see she’s still going strong and bringing out new designs all the time.
What is The Tiger Who Came to Tea really about? What has Meg and Mog got to do with Polish embroidery? Why is death in picture books so often represented by being eaten?
We’ve read Green Eggs and Ham, laughed at Mr Tickle and whetted our appetites with The Very Hungry Caterpillar. But what lies behind the picture books that make up our childhood?
Fierce Bad Rabbits takes us on an eye-opening journey in a pea-green boat through the history of picture books. From Edward Lear through to Beatrix Potter and contemporary picture books like Stick Man, Clare Pollard shines a light on some of our best-loved childhood stories, their histories and what they really mean. Because the best picture books are far more complex than they seem – and darker too. Monsters can gobble up children and go unnoticed, power is not always used wisely, and the wild things are closer than you think.
Sparkling with wit, magic and nostalgia, Fierce Bad Rabbits weaves in tales from Clare’s own childhood, and her re-readings as a parent, with fascinating facts and theories about the authors behind the books. Introducing you to new treasures while bringing your childhood favourites to vivid life, it will make you see even stories you’ve read a hundred times afresh.
Clare is a British poet and playwright whom I was not previously familiar with. Now I’m going to have to check out her poetry too! And, in case you’re wondering, the cover art for this book was created by fave British illustrator Emily Sutton. 🙂