1. Not to sound corny or anything (tee hee), but I love bow ties! Ordinary bow ties in any color or fabric float my boat, but foodie ones send me right over the edge.
Know of any handsome gents who need to spruce up their wardrobes?
These are made by Rotterdam based artist Rommy Kuperus of RommydeBommy. You may remember when I interviewed Rommyas part of the Indie Artist Spotlight series a few years ago. In that post, I included two of her bow ties, and zippity doo-dah, now she’s added more!
Do check out Rommy’s Etsy Shop for all her outrageous foodie fashion accessories. In addition to bow ties, she makes purses, brooches, and necklaces. All will bring a smile to your face and jolt you out of your ho-hum doldrums (there’s nothing like having perfect strangers offer to lick your handbag). 😀
Was I happy to see that she’s now making tea bags? Oh yes.
Nanny Paws looks after Ally and Mae the only way she knows how—as a dog would. There’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her girls. She feeds them a hearty breakfast (cookies are best), picks up their toys (teddy bears fit nicely in freshly dug holes), and even walks them to school (running them there is fun too). But one Tuesday, Ally and Mae come home sick, and it’s up to Nanny Paws to take care of them…in her own special way.
Nanny Paws has already gotten *rave reviews* from Kirkus, Booklist and School Library Journal. I’m looking forward to sniffing this one out. How can you go wrong when the author/illustrator’s children resemble and act like standard poodles? Find out more about the book in this cool interview with Wendy at Mile High Reading.
1. It’s Poetry Month, so why not celebrate with a cool handmade magnet by Robyn Hood Black of artsyletters? This beauty with the one and only Edgar Allan Poe features an authentic postage stamp issued to commemorate Poe’s 200th birthday in 2009. It’s collaged onto a 2″ x 2″ painted canvas board with a magnetic disc on the back. Imagine Poe’s eyes following you from the fridge! 🙂
Nevermore for Poe? How about a lovely Emily Dickinson magnet, which features an 8 cent stamp issued in 1971?
I also love this OOAK Found Poem mixed media/collage piece. The image is from the May 2015 issue of Woman’s World, and features a lovely lady from a 1915 talcum powder advertisement. Two vintage topaz-colored glass hearts dangle from the bottom of the fancy vintage dark bronze color metal frame made in Italy. There’s a chain attached to the back for easy hanging.
Read more about these items and check out all the other goodies at artsyletters (gift packs, bookmarks, cards, prints, jewelry, etc.). Treat a poetry loving friend (or yourself) to a special gift this month!
This fascinating and whimsical nonfiction picture book uses humorous comparisons and playful artwork to teach children the unusual ways that a variety of animals–from woodpeckers to snakes to bats–use their tongues to find food, eat, and clean themselves.
In this nonfiction picture book, kids will learn about the woodpecker, which uses its tongue to burrow for insects under tree bark; the okapi, which can wash its face and ears with its tongue; and the octopus, which uses its tongue to drill holes in shells. Through debut illustrator Jia Liu’s bright, playful collage artwork, readers can imagine what it would be like to have a tongue like a sword, like a straw, or like a party blower, among many other silly and illuminating comparisons. The back matter expands on each animal tongue’s unique abilities and includes information about other fun tongues, too.
Sounds like a fun book on a fascinating subject. Washing your face and ears with your tongue is quite a feat, and I admit I wouldn’t mind having a tongue like a straw: efficient and ecologically responsible. 🙂 Can’t wait to see this book!
It’s talent show time at school, and eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is excited to show her stuff. But as she thinks about her strengths―tree-climbing, mochi making, collage―none of them feel quite right to perform on-stage. Jasmine’s friends already have a talent: Tommy yo-yo’s, Daisy dances, and Linnie plays piano. Plus, Maggie Milsap (aka Miss Perfect) is saying she’ll have the best talent.
When Jasmine’s mom introduces her to the taiko, a traditional Japanese drum, Jasmine finally finds an activity that feels just right. But will she be good enough at taiko in time to beat Maggie Milsap?
Join Jasmine as she discovers her talent―and the difference between being the best and trying your best.
* Check out the special Jasmine Toguchi Swag Bag Drawing!
For a chance to win all these goodies, simply email a copy/photo of your sales receipt for Drummer Girl to: jasminetoguchibooks (at) gmail (dot) com by April 25, 2018. Earn an extra entry by sharing your Amazon review link on social media.
Happy Pub Day, Debbi and Elizabet!!
4. I don’t know about you, but I am wildly excited about the upcoming royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on May 19, 2018. I think the entire world is craving a happy occasion for a change. When it comes to breathtakingly beautiful pageantry you can’t beat the British, and this time the bride is American. WooHoo!
Why not feed your anticipation with a Harry and Meghan Coloring Book or Paper Doll set? Oh, how I love to play . . .
Their love captivated the world — now the royal romance will inspire your imagination! The engagement of dashing Prince Harry of Wales and beautiful American actress Meghan Markle made headlines and their wedding in May of 2018 is sure to do the same. You can be part of the excitement with 30 beautiful and ready-to-color illustrations that capture the magic of their heartwarming love affair. Plus, the pages are perforated for easy removal and display.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are set to marry at Windsor Castle in May 2018. With these paper dolls, you can cut them out and dress them up in their engagement outfits, the camping outfits they might have worn while hanging out in Botswana, what they might wear to a glamorous Hollywood party, the unicorn onesies we’re sure they wear at home in their cottage, and, of course, what they might wear on the big wedding day itself! Mix and match their outfits as you learn more about their whirlwind romance!
So fun! Both items are nice commemoratives for royal watchers of any age. Pip pip and Cheerio!
5. I know, I know. We’re just about mid-way through and I can hear your tummy rumblings. Food, you must have food! Do I know you, or what? 🙂
So, I happily present this: A Cheeseburger Made Entirely Out of Cheese created by Tastemade. Perfectly logical, so much so, I wonder why no one had thought of it before — and there’s an ultimate purpose to this dairy overload besides clever appearance — wait till the end to see what it is:
Now, THAT’S what I call cheesy fries. 😀
6. Pottery Fix: I’m in love with Hogben Pottery! Handmade in the UK, each piece is individual and unique. The colors are just luscious: cream, eau-de-nil, pink, denim blue. grey or primrose. There are a variety of decorations that are hand sculpted, hand painted, and then applied to the pottery (choose from mugs in two sizes and jugs in three sizes).
Dog lovers will be happy to see there are dalmatians, golden retrievers, black labs, fox terriers, and jack russells. Other sweet decorations include strawberry, pansy, sheep, hen, cat and leaping hare.
I’m attracted to the blissful simplicity of this line — lovely, understated, a bit whimsical and classy. You know you’re not going to get tired of these pieces and since no two are ever exactly the same, this gives them a certain character. They do ship to the U.S. (call for quotes). See more here.
7. I’m still thinking about Simon and Garfunkel after writing a review of When Paul Met Artieby G. Neri and David Litchfielda couple of weeks ago. Enjoyed this video of Art reading a note to his younger self as part of the CBS This Morning series “Note to Self.” Was good to hear the words of wisdom he offered at age 72.
Love the personal photos (his son was adorable), old S&G clips, and reflections on singing and fame. And did you know he’s a lefty?
8. Mice, mice, needle felted mice. Who can resist? Recently discovered Marta Pérez-Solero’s creations at her Etsy shop OliverBrie.
Her pieces have a lot of personality and I like the little accessories that come with. Great detail and you can’t help but imagine stories for these adorable creatures. Now I just need to find a wealthy benefactor to buy me one. 😀
9. Finally, another Poetry Month treat: check out this E. E. Cummings Quote Locket from Busy Beez and Chickadeez. “i carry your heart with me(i carry it in my heart)” is one of my fave Cummings poems, and what better way to keep this beautiful line close than in a personal locket?
The quote appears on one side, and a brass heart stamping appears on the other. There’s an ivory Czech glass bellflower and olive green leaf on the front of the locket. Pretty, no? More details here.
For our blue song, here’s Linda Rondstadt with “Blue Bayou,” her signature song which became a big hit in 1977. What a versatile songbird! Sad that she can no longer sing because of Parkinson’s disease.
*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for your continuing support!
1. Now you see her, now you don’t. Peruvian-born, Philadelphia-based camouflage artist Cecilia Paredes creates extraordinary “photo performances” using her own body as part of the canvas.
She blends in with beautiful patterned backgrounds by painting her own skin (sometimes her entire body), or wearing painted clothing that will allow her to disappear/reappear.
Such precise, tedious work to transfer all the details onto a three dimensional surface! Cecilia was initially inspired to begin this photographic series because of her constant relocation, using the body as part of the intended landscape. How do we adjust to our new surroundings? How do we fit in?
Her artist statement:
Part of what makes us human is our ability to see beyond the narrow door through which we enter the world—to grow beyond the culture of our birth by recognizing other cultures, other patterns of life. Yet our birth culture is always imprinted upon us; the mystery of identity is never fully resolved. We are always from a time and place to which we can never return.
We continue to marvel as she explores themes of self identity, belonging, displacement, invisibility/visibility, emotional interiors, and body politics. Her striking, thought-provoking pieces certainly encompass self reflection as well as social commentary. Coincidentally, her last name, “Paredes,” means “Walls” in Spanish. Some of her pieces are for sale here.
2. You may know I’m a longtime fan of Salley Mavor’s exquisite fabric relief artwork. I religiously follow her Facebook updatesand blog to see what she’s currently working on, and am constantly awed and amazed by her creativity and productivity. For the last year, she’s been working on a stop-motion animation movie called “Liberty and Justice: A Cautionary Tale in the Land of the Free.” She hopes to release it this summer. Can’t wait!
Meanwhile, just wanted to give you the heads up in case you weren’t aware that in addition to notecards, posters, and prints, Salley has autographed books for sale in her Etsy Shop, Wee Folk Studio. Both of her Felt Wee Folk craft books as well as two picture books, In the Heart and Pocketful of Posies: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes, are currently available. Wonderful gifts and keepsakes!
3. March is a very good month for poet, author and educator Amy Ludwig Vanderwater. She has two new books being released!
This soothing bedtime story explores the question, When animals sleep, what do they see in their dreams? The lyrical text tells readers that chipmunks dream of digging deep burrows, puppies dream of long, waggy walks, and horses dream of wild, windy rides. But most of all, the animals dream of all the fun and adventure the next day will bring. The gentle rhymes and gorgeous, serene illustrations combine to create a comforting story perfect for transitioning from a busy day to being tucked in peacefully at night.
Dreaming of You has already earned a *starred review* from Kirkus, who described it as, “sweetly imaginative, linguistically rich, and featuring enlivening vocabulary with lots of active verbs and new and interesting nouns and adjectives.”
Building, baking, folding, drawing, shaping . . . making something with your own hands is a special, personal experience. Taking an idea from your imagination and turning it into something real is satisfying and makes the maker proud.
With My Hands is an inspiring invitation to tap into creativity and enjoy the hands-on energy that comes from making things.
I’m looking forward to featuring both books in the coming weeks. Stay tuned. 🙂
Double Congratulations to Amy!!
4. I don’t know. There’s just something about these fruity pencil cases. I was big on pencil cases in grade school and still lament the loss of my shiny royal blue one. These colorful cuties are so cheery I’m sure my pens and pencils would enjoy hanging out in them. 🙂
They’re about 8 inches long and made of bicast leather. Get yours here. Fun! :).
Who knew that Bill Wyman (The Rolling Stones) makes an amazing Lamb Chops with Endive and Blue Cheese Salad, that Michael McDonald (The Doobie Brothers) loves Pasta with Ham and Parmesan Cheese, or that Boz Scaggs eats Tuscan Grilled Chicken?
With more than a hundred recipes from seven decades of rock ‘n’ roll, pop, country, RnB, and disco, Mark Bego, along with Mary Wilson of The Supremes, gathers beloved recipes from legendary rocker friends and invites the ultimate music fan to put on an apron and join them at the table. Featuring each rock star’s biography, their favorite recipe, and other fun facts, Eat Like a Rock Star is a must-have for every die-hard rocker-at-heart who loves to eat.
There is nowhere else you will find Ray Parker Jr.’s Salmon and Eggs, Joey Fatone’s (NSYNC) Rice Balls, Micky Dolenz’s (The Monkees) Micky ‘D’ Cocktail, and Angela Bowie’s (David Bowie’s ex-wife’s) Rosti Hash Brown Potatoes all in one book. Whether it’s brunch, lunch, dinner, or dessert, learn to cook:
• Michelle Phillips’s (The Mamas & The Papas) Organic Lemon Chicken • Lou Christie’s Linguine with Fresh Tomatoes • Marilyn McCoo’s (The 5th Dimension) Leg of Lamb • Glen Campbell’s Favorite Mexican Chicken Casserole • Sarah Dash’s (Patti LaBelle and the Bluebelles) Peach Cobbler, and more!
With a section on head-spinning cocktails, full menu suggestions, as well as author Mark Bego’s own culinary concoctions such as Spicy Szechuan Sesame Noodles and Boozy Banana Cream Pie, look no further for the all-in-one cooking and rock ‘n’ roll companion. As Martha Reeves says about her Smoked Turkey Necks & Lima Beans, “Honey, this is real soul food!”
Okay, I may just pass on the smoked turkey necks but this book sounds like a hoot. Even if I never make any of the recipes, I’m curious to know what these music types like to cook and eat.
“California Dreamin’ on such a winter’s day . . . ”
6. You’re hungry now? Well, what a surprise. Take a little time to enjoy this wonderful “Storymakers in the Kitchen” Kidlit TV video featuring Aram Kim making kimchi pancakes with Rocco Staino. You may remember we interviewed Aram shortly after No Kimchi for Me was published last summer. Put a little spice in your day! Hooray for Aram!
7. Not too long ago, I stumbled upon Lieke van der Vorst’swork online and fell in love. I admit her food and bear illustrations were the first to catch my eye, but as I explored further, I noticed how calm and peaceful her art in general made me feel.
Lieke hails from the Netherlands, is a nature lover, and draws inspiration from everyday life. In a recent interview, she was asked if there is a message she wishes to convey through her art.
That people should start [to] listen, to themselves, their bodies and nature. It would be so nice if we can all live together without hurting any living thing.
Love her focus on the interconnectedness of all living things, as well as how she blends whimsy/fantasy with reality.
Check out her Liekeland Shop, where she sells prints, cards, and bags.
8. You know me, I need my pottery fix. Been following Nancy Gardner Ceramicsfor awhile. Nancy is an award winning potter from Illinois who’s been collaborating with her partner Burton Isenstein since 1988.
They produce one-of-a-kind, hand-built and hand decorated pieces, works of art that are meant to be used and enjoyed (the glaze they use is food safe and water tight).
Their work is inspired by historical and contemporary pottery forms, textiles, paintings and illustration. I like the whimsy and quirkiness. See more at their official website and Etsy Shop. Happy stuff!
9. Finally, a hedgehog. This little guy called out to me recently. Just sitting there, all balled up, not demanding anything of anyone — adorable and cozy. Just a lump. Check him out at GladoArt, along with other needle felt animals made by Olga Gladkaya of the Ukraine.
Would you like to adopt this little friend? 🙂
Mustn’t forget our blue song. Here’s a tune courtesy of the wayback time machine. I think I was in utero when it first came out :D, but I remember hearing it on the radio all the time in grade school. Until I saw this video, I never knew what Jimmy Clanton looked like.
DON’T LOSE HOPE
HAVE A GOOD WEEK!
*This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. When you purchase something using a link on this site, Jama’s Alphabet Soup receives a small referral fee (at no cost to you). Thanks for your support!
Not too long ago, when I featured Emily Sutton’s gorgeous watercolours and bird sculptures here at Alphabet Soup, I promised to also spotlight her partner Mark Hearld.
Prepare yourself for even more fangirl sighing and swooning. Though I admire many, many artists, there are only a handful about whom I can safely say, “I love everything he (or she) does.” (This holds true for both Emily and Mark.)
Mark is a Yorkshire native who studied illustration at the Glasgow School of Art and Natural History illustration at the Royal College of Art. He works across a variety of mediums, producing unique paintings, linocuts, lithographs, cut-paper collages, hand-painted ceramics, wallpaper and fabric designs.
He is inspired primarily by the flora and fauna of the English countryside, a deep love and fascination for nature he’s had since childhood.
1. So of course the first cool thing for 2018 is a teapot. January is National Hot Tea Month, after all, and there are those who simply cannot resist handpainted pottery (who me?). 🙂
This beauty is made by Ceramika Artystyczna in Boleslawiec, Poland, and sold via Slavica Polish Pottery. They have a brick and mortar store in Prague, but you can also purchase their pieces online. They have a full range of tableware and bakeware — teapots, plates, bowls, mugs, serving dishes, etc.
Everything is hand decorated and microwave, freezer, dishwasher safe, chip resistant and lead and cadmium free.
And so pretty! Love their patterns.
Enjoy this video showing how their pieces are decorated.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of our greatest writers.
But before that, she was just an ordinary girl.
In fact, young Jane was a bit quiet and shy; if you had met her back then, you might not have noticed her at all. But she would have noticed you.
Jane watched and listened to all the things people around her did and said, and locked those observations away for safekeeping.
Jane also loved to read. She devoured everything in her father’s massive library and before long, she began creating her own stories. In her time, the most popular books were grand adventures and romances, but Jane wanted to go her own way…and went on to invent an entirely new kind of novel.
Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen includes a timeline and quotes from Austen’s most popular novels.
Who can resist a lovely new picture book biography about the incomparable Jane Austen? I’m a big fan of both Deborah Hopkinson (Fannie in the Kitchen, Independence Cake) and Qin Leng (Happy Birthday, Alice Babette). So happy they teamed up for this one!