charmed by katie almond’s ceramics!

I really don’t know how these cute things keep finding me.

Minding my own business, I hear a little voice saying: “This has got your name written all over it.”

Investigating further, I see the piece that caught my eye was made by a UK artist. Again.

So much talent across the pond!

It’s time we had a good ceramics fix, and no one better to do just that than Katie Almond. You know me, I like charming and quirky.

Katie’s based in Rutland in the East Midlands. Rutland is the smallest historic county in England (18 miles N to S, 17 miles E to W). Tiny! It’s motto: “Much in Little.”

This sort of describes Katie’s work: she includes a lot of beautiful detail on each of her ceramic canvases, a blend of hand-painting + found vintage ephemera.

An honors graduate in Design Crafts from DeMontfort University in Leicester, she set up her studio in 2009 and has exhibited throughout the UK.

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. Just in case you’re suffering from the winter blues or cabin fever, drink in some of the gorgeous colors, patterns and textures of Este MacLeod’s paintings.

Born in South Africa, Este now lives in London, where she creates beautiful, stylized landscapes, florals and still lives. What a master of layering and composition! There is a certain dreaminess about her work that nourishes the viewer. Shake off the blahs, wake up and embrace the world in living color!

She even has a BLUE alphabet!!! Squee!!

Check out her Floral and Birds Gallery — truly a feast for the eyes.

Limited edition prints, notebooks, tea towels and originals are available for purchase at her Etsy Shop.

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2. New Book Alert! Sometimes you find the nicest surprises in your mailbox. Recently, THE BOOK OF YAWNS by Carolyn Blasinsky (Blazing Sky & Co., 2018) magically appeared.

This adorable board book is just the thing to get the little ones to wind down at bedtime. Full color photographs of eight wild and domestic animals show them practicing the fine art of yawning. Their facial expressions, whether weary, drowsy, or comical, are just plain priceless, and the simple, repetitive text saying “night night” to each animal is hypnotic.

The thing is, after you’ve turned a few pages, you start to get sleepy too. Yawns are contagious! Whether in the forest, ocean, open plains, arctic or back yard, these creatures demonstrate what we all have in common. I especially like the monkey, tiger and seal. Guess who the last animal in the book is?

Mr Cornelius’s favorite is this polar bear!

 

I asked Carolyn, who is my neighbor, to provide a little backstory about the book:

I’m a graphic and web designer and have always wanted to do a children’s book – I was just waiting for the right idea to strike. With a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old I read to them nightly and one book showed a character yawning which made us all yawn and I thought – what about a book all about yawns?! Children love animals and it seemed like the perfect combination. I like simple books that are easy to read (for tired parents at night) and love great photographs and clean, beautiful design. Plus – it helps get my little readers sleepy and ready for bed! My kids love the book and I’ve learned a lot in the process. It’s been an interesting project!

A special treat for animal lovers, THE BOOK OF YAWNS is the perfect new baby, shower or toddler gift. I would  *yawn*  tell you more  *y -a-w -n*  but I really need  *y — a. –w — n*  to take a nap.

Get your copy at the Blazing Sky & Co. website.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz . . .

 

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nine cool things on a tuesday

Copyright © 2017 Mary Engelbreit

 

1. Been a Mary Engelbreit fan for decades, especially enjoying her greeting cards and calendars. Happy to see her social justice pieces in recent years — like this lovely “Humanity” fine print. It’s available in two sizes, 11″ x 14″ and 16″ x 20″ (signed or unsigned). This design is also available on a t-shirt (50% of proceeds to benefit the ACLU). Nice Valentine’s Day gift, but the sentiment is a good one year round. Check out her online shop for lots more – – books, bags, apparel, games, puzzles, mugs. I am especially loving this Sweet Sipping Cocoa Box. 🙂

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2. New Book Alert! Just released January 8: The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung by Samantha R. Vamos and Sebastià Serra (Charlesbridge, 2019):

This is the bilingual story of the farm maiden and her cadre of animals, who crafted a festive piñata for a surprise birthday party. A beautiful and lively companion to the award-winning The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred (2011).

A young girl sets out on errands for the day, and while she’s gone, the farm maiden prepares a piñata from scratch with help from a boy, horse, goose, cat, sheep, and farmer. After they all fall asleep in the afternoon sun, they must scramble to finish preparations in time–just as the girl arrives back to her surprise party. Key English words change to Spanish as the cumulative verse builds to the celebratory ending. With the familiarity of “The House That Jack Built,” the tale cleverly incorporates Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page. This book makes learning the language easy and fun. Back matter includes a glossary, definitions, and directions for making a piñata at home.

Sounds good, no? It’s already earned a *starred review* from Foreword Reviews. Check out this recent audio interview with Samantha at the publisher’s site.

Congratulations to Samantha and Sebastià!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

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?  🙂

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2. New Book Alert! Look what’s coming out a week from today: See You On a Starry Night by Lisa Schroeder (Scholastic Press, 2018)!!

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?

Available for pre-order NOW!

Congratulations, Lisa!

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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. You know how it is. You stumble out of bed, reach for your phone, turn on the TV, or if you’re old school, check the headlines on the front page. There is this urge to find out if the world is still intact.

Even though you don’t want to, you check Twitter. Which of our allies has been insulted by the highest office in the land? Who’s been given a new nickname and attacked? What lies have been told?

Mornings are hard enough, but all this is . . . unbearable and demoralizing. For survival sake, we all need a little levity. Why drink your first cup of java in a ho-hum mug when you can brace up, smile, and be a little naughty? 🙂

Check out the cool camping mugs at pnwenamelco (Pacific Northwest Enamel Company). I love owner and designer Karen Simpson’s irreverence! Political humor not your style? She’s got designs for outdoor lovers, nerds, Harry Potter fans and more. These make a fun novelty gift, or if you’re in the mood, treat yourself!  Nephew cracked a rare smile when he received the Covfefe mug for his birthday last summer . . .

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2. So, as the joke goes, “How do you like your eggs?” Answer: “In cake.” 😀

But if you’re Michele Baldini, your answer would probably be, “Fried up as a work of art.” The 20-year-old medical student from Mexico makes breakfast magic with his eggstraordinary yolk and white creations.

Using a plain black frying pan as his canvas, he’s done people, a little Van Gogh, countries, animals, symbols, whatever comes to mind.

His wolf howling at the moon is a fan favorite, but I’m quite partial to the kitty face. Wonder how many yolks he’s broken in the process? Lots more at Michele’s Instagram, “The Eggshibit.” Omelet you go now . . . 😀

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