1.Molly Hatch is always good for a pottery fix. Though I enjoy her other collections (heritage, vintage farm, bluebird), I’m partial to her ‘good thoughts’ pieces. No surprise, since I have a decided weakness for dishes that talk to me.
Visiting her website to check on new arrivals is decidedly dangerous, since there will always be something I can’t live without, whether it’s a mug, gift book, muffin pan, cute throw rug, or piece of stationery. Remember when I featured Bouquet in a Book and the Teacup Collection Note Cards? Yep, I’m a goner.
Agnes has a beak that can crush bones and arms and stretch wide as a car, but that doesn’t make her a monster! After she comes across a postcard, Agnes, a giant Pacific octopus, strikes up a correspondence with various other creatures below and above the waves. Readers will delight in this unlikely introduction to the octopus life cycle.
Love, Agnes has received a glowing review from Kirkus, which deemed it “the most engaging of the recent wave of octopus stories, for reading aloud or reading alone.”
Irene is celebrating all month long with octopus poems and art at her blog Live Your Poem. Check it out!!
Break out the marmalade, Paddington Bear turns 60 this year!
On October 13, 1958, Michael Bond published the first book about our favorite ursine from darkest Peru, A Bear Called Paddington.The novel was inspired by a stuffed bear Bond rescued from a department store shelf on Christmas Eve, and it took all of ten days to write.
Today, Paddington boasts an international following with some 70 titles translated into 30 languages, with 30 million copies sold. A beloved British institution, Paddington shows no signs of slowing down with two very successful feature films, oodles of merchandising, and commemorative coins issued by the Royal Mint.
We can’t think of a better way to celebrate than by chatting with award winning author/illustrator R.W. Alley, who’s been drawing Paddington since 1997. Though there have been several other Paddington artists through the years (Peggy Fortnum was the first), to my knowledge only Mr Alley has illustrated Paddington quite as long, and in all formats — novels, picture books, board books, and early readers. He’s also the only American among the Paddington artists.
You can’t help but smile when you see Gill Pinkney’shandiwork. Colorful, quirky, and brimming with charm, her lovingly crafted wonders are made from wool, felt, buttons, beads, and a fanciful imagination.
Gill’s a wet felt artist and designer based in Whitley Bay, a seaside town on the northeast coast of England. She makes a variety of products, including jewelry, wall hangings, bags, scarves, framed pictures, dolls, and seasonal ornaments.
Her birds, bunnies and grinning cats are adorable, while her fairies and mermaids are lovely and whimsical.
I also love her landscapes and seascapes. What gorgeous colors, lines and textures! Who can resist her rows of tidy houses, her flowers, her trees? Her hand embroidered finishing details are exquisite, too. Such a distinctive style. 🙂
Gill’s work can be found in several galleries in Northumberland, Newcastle and Yorkshire, and she also exhibits in various craft fairs and other events in Northeast England.
“I almost wish we were butterflies and liv’d but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” ~ John Keats
Hello, fragrant, fruitful mornings with sunlight streaming through the windows, long lazy days luring us to dreaminess.
Awake, abloom, aloft — we eschew the tedium of routine, courting freedom, relaxation, play. William Carlos Williams once said, “In summer, the song sings itself.”
SUMMER SONG by William Carlos Williams
faintly ironical smile
summer morning, —
wanderer’s smile, —
if I should
buy a shirt
your color and
put on a necktie
where would they carry me?
There is something so carefree and magical about summer — time of campfires and fireflies, travel and adventure, wonder and romance.
We need venture no further than the pages of a good book to discover our heart’s delight. Cicero said, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.”
THE HOUSE WAS QUIET AND THE WORLD WAS CALM by Wallace Stevens
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The reader became the book; and summer night
Was like the conscious being of the book.
The house was quiet and the world was calm.
The words were spoken as if there was no book,
Except that the reader leaned above the page,
Wanted to lean, wanted much most to be
The scholar to whom his book is true, to whom
The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
The house was quiet because it had to be.
The quiet was part of the meaning, part of the mind:
The access of perfection to the page.
And the world was calm. The truth in a calm world,
In which there is no other meaning, itself
Is calm, itself is summer and night, itself
Is the reader leaning late and reading there.
In the reverie of a fine summer night, the line between reality and imagination blurs. The sky opens wide with possibility, showing off its stars. Novelist Peter S. Beagle said, “Anything can happen in a world that holds such beauty.”
SUMMER STARS by Carl Sandburg
Bend low again, night of summer stars.
So near you are, sky of summer stars,
So near, a long-arm man can pick off stars,
Pick off what he wants in the sky bowl,
So near you are, summer stars,
So near, strumming, strumming,
So lazy and hum-strumming.
As we sign off for our summer blog break, we wish you the calm and space to dream, long arms to reach for the stars, and big bowlfuls of inspiration and whimsy.
🌟 HAVE A TERRIFIC SUMMER AND SHINE YOUR LIGHT!! 🌓
“All in all, it was a never to be forgotten summer — one of those summers which come seldom into any life, but leave a rich heritage of beautiful memories in their going — one of those summers which, in a fortunate combination of delightful weather, delightful friends and delightful doing, come as near to perfection as anything can come in this world.”
—L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams
♥️ The digital illustrations in this post were created by Austrian surrealist artist Christian Schloe. See more of his work here.
The lovely and talented Michelle Kogan is hosting the Roundup. Drift over in your hot air balloon and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. See you in late August/early September!
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? 🙂
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?