nine cool things on a tuesday

1. March winds are blowing, tiny buds are appearing on trees, it won’t be long before Spring is officially here!

For now, let’s look at how Jenny Beck’s gardens grow – rows of vegetables, flowers, blossoming trees – all set against rolling hills, everything lush, green, flourishing. 

Jenny hails from West Dorset, England, and has been surrounded by gardens and countryside for most of her life. She initially trained in ceramics, decorating pots with images of the English countryside.

Since she enjoyed decorating more than making pots, while working as a gardener she re-trained in illustration, then worked as a freelance illustrator. In addition to selling prints and cards, she works on community art projects and commissions for house and garden paintings.

Visit her Etsy Shop to harvest onions, pick apples, feed the hens, tend the allotment cabbages, and revel in the bucolic. Nothing finer than an English garden!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy Wintering! Let’s wander into nature’s wonderland with Laivi Põder’s enchanting art.

Originally from Estonia, Laivi currently lives and works in London. She derives most of her inspiration by visiting nearby and distant woodlands, forests, meadows, lakes, botanical gardens and parks.

She loves creating dreamy and peaceful atmospheres with Procreate, adding details digitally after painting backgrounds in watercolor. 

Laivi initially worked for several years as a nurse, but in her twenties she quit her job to pursue her dream of becoming a full-time artist.

I especially love her moonlight scenes, especially this one with bears partying outdoors. 

See more of Laivi’s work at her Official Website and Instagram. Don’t miss her gorgeous autumnal scenes with their exquisite colors and details. 

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Hello, November! Enjoying Katie Daisy’s art is the perfect way to celebrate this month of gratitude. As a longtime fan, I can’t get enough of her beautiful illustrations and hand lettering. Wildflowers, forest animals, sea creatures, celestial bodies, and inspirational quotes grace everything from greeting cards and prints to sweatshirts and mugs. 

Her style is unmistakable; you might have seen her work without knowing her name. Uplifting, lovely, nature-rich, joyous, life-affirming, feminine, always a pleasure. It’s feel good stuff.

So, what’s new? She just published her latest book, How to Be a Moonflower: A Field Guide (Chronicle Books, 2021), in August.

I also like that she’s doing tea towels now (just ordered this one). 🙂

There’s never a shortage of wonderful prints — she always chooses the best quotes to illustrate. 

Wild Beauty, her 2021-2022 17-month weekly planner, is gorgeous. It’s overflowing with her beautiful art, and contains pages for notes and gratitudes to keep you moving forward day to day. (It also includes the November quote by Lucy Maud Montgomery shown at the top of this post.)

For lots more, visit Katie’s Official Website and Etsy Shop, The Wheatfield. If you’re in holiday gift shopping mode, this is the place!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. October, October, how we love October! This week we’re basking in some of Loré Pemberton’s autumnal art.

We featured Loré on a Cool Things Roundup last year, but since we love her work so much, we couldn’t wait to share more. You may remember she’s based in Cold Hollow, Vermont, where she creates her warm and homey acrylic and gouache paintings in the northern woods.

I love the rich detail in her pieces and her earthy palette, just perfect for this time of year. Everything gold, brown, rustic and woodsy. Mr Cornelius would like to visit all the places and meet all the animals she features in her pictures.

For lots more, visit Loré’s Official Website and Etsy Shop.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Happy May! April showers bring May flowers, so here’s a pretty bouquet just for you, compliments of UK artist Louise Pigott. 🙂

Can’t think of a better way to celebrate the new month than with Louise’s cheery, colorful pictures. 

Louise lives in Cambridge and has been working as a freelance illustrator for about a decade. She’s done children’s books and has created art for the greeting card and stationery industries.

She’s inspired by nature, animals and all things magical, and likes countryside walks, making crystal jewelry, meditating and playing guitar. She also practices astrology and reads Tarot cards.

Also cool: she’s a “self-controlled” chocoholic with “occasional, willing relapses.” My kind of girl! You can’t help but feel happy when looking at her art. 

For more info and to purchase prints, check out her Official Website and Etsy Shop.

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2. New Book Alert!! Officially out today: Sloth and Squirrel in a Pickle by Cathy Ballou Mealey and Kelly Collier (Kids Can Press, 2021):

A speedy squirrel and a sleepy sloth try to get the job done in this funny, heartwarming tale of two lovable, but unlikely, friends. Though Sloth and Squirrel are good friends, they have different ways of doing things — and different speeds of doing them.

So, when Squirrel gets them jobs as pickle packers to earn money for a new bike, things don’t go according to plan. It seems that the contrasting skill sets of a fast-as-lightning squirrel and a slow-as-molasses sloth can make for a mess of an outcome, and before long, the friends are shown the pickle factory’s door, along with the 677 1/2 jars of pickles they packed incorrectly! Now the pair are bicycle-less, with only pickles to show for themselves. Or so they think — until the resourceful pair come up with an ingenious plan!

This delightful story from Cathy Ballou Mealey is a celebration of friendships of all kinds and a testament to ingenuity and hard work. Packed with funny details that aren’t in the text, Kelly Collier’s engaging illustrations are full of personality and silly, emotionally expressive humor. Together they create a hilarious picture book that’s perfect for a fun and lively read-aloud. At the same time, the positive themes in the book highlight a growth mindset and character education lessons on teamwork, perseverance and initiative.

I’ve read the PDF of this one and it’s rollicking good fun. 677 1/2 jars of pickles ain’t nothing to sneeze at! Have I mentioned that I have a thing for sloths? Just like Sloth in this story, I am s-l-o-w (but still adorable). Love the alliteration in the plucky text and the fun illustrations. Only one pickly problem: My mouth keeps watering and my lips won’t stop puckering. But I love this book. Whether you go fast or slow, score your own copy pronto. Just curious: dill, sweet, or bread-and-butter for you?

Congratulations, Cathy and Kelly!!

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