cool stuff i like

2

April 29, 2016

Happy Friday! Every year, I like to take the girly out for some spring photos. She was actually happy to walk along the side of the road with me, holding her bouquet, and we took some sweet pictures that we're going to give to the grandmothers for Mother's Day. (you can see a few more here.) The other day I made SEVEN photo books - three of Julia photos - one for me and two for the grandmas, and then I made FOUR mini books with all of my Instagram pretty much poured into them. I suddenly got the urge to go on a massive printing spree. And I'm still not done. I basically need to make one photobook per month for the next year and then I'll be resembling something close to being caught up with printing out photos. Say it with me folks, with gusto and feeling: PRINT YOUR PICTURES!!!


Online things to read, make, and do:

"Why I write scary stories for children".

Another great read. Thanks to my brilliant friend Laura for always finding very cool stuff indeed.

These portraits of 'tween' girls are AMAZING. I'm such a HUGE fan of Carolyn's portrait work.

Spring fever sugar cookies.

I pinned every product suggested in this beauty uniform post.

10 favorite contemporary classic picture books.

New Mary Poppins!!! This is excellent casting. I'm ridiculously excited. Please be awesome.

The Castle Next Door. I sense an obsession coming on......

Legacy Box. I'm going to do this for my wedding photos, which are not digitized.


Cool Book of the Week: Well I think I need THIS in my life! 'Color the Classics: Anne of Green Gables: A Coloring Book Visit to Prince Edward Island', by Jae-Eun Lee is part of a series of coloring books based on classic literature. How cool! There's parts of the story, along with the coloring pages. This just came out in March, and it's so springy and beautiful, and who wouldn't want to color Marilla's kitchen?? Or color Anne and Diana? I'm utterly enchanted. Next year for Christmas, want to hear a secret....Julia will be almost eleven. It will be time. To get the 'Anne' books. I got my set when I was eleven, Anne is eleven when the books begin, and I'm going to make a big whopping deal about this whole affair. As one big large present, I'm going to gift Julia with the most beautiful set I can find, throw in this coloring book, and also add the first movie, the Megan Follows version, thanks-very-much. And if I can find some raspberry cordial (non-alcoholic of course), maybe I'll throw that in as well! Basically, I'm going to make an 'Anne' box.

Have a lovely weekend! Birthday parties and a movie, that's about the size of it. I've been baaaaaad about going to be bed before midnight, so I'm going to get OFF Instagram before 10pm, and I'm going to make some warm milk even though I don't drink dairy, and I'm going to put myself to bed and try mightily to rein in my night owl tendencies. Sigh. 'Tis hard.

~Melissa




the twelve dancing princesses

6

April 25, 2016

Hello sweet friends! I've been wanting to talk about this book for two years now. I am so very very slow. Why am I so slow? Who knows? Apparently it takes me two years to get things done. I think I mentioned some time back, that two Christmases ago, we gave Julia 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses' by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Miss Clara. She also received 'The Snow Queen', which is gorgeous as well. But this particular fairy tale is one of my great favorites and I'm particularly keen for you all to see this rendition of the story.

It's a paperback, (it also comes in hardcover) but with a nice sturdy thick cover. And what I really love about it is that inside the front cover, there's a small circle illustration, with a picture of each princess inside, with her name written underneath. The princesses are named after flowers - Violette, Delphine, Iris, Jessamine, Lilou, Veronique, Vervaine, Eglantine, Amarante, Marguerite and Rose. And Amandine (French for almond, and there's a reason why the last princess is given this name).

I'm not sure why this fairy tale has always appealed to me so much. I think it's because there's SO MANY princesses in the story. And because the hero is a broken down poor soldier. And because there are forests of silver. And diamonds. It's just a charming story that I've always loved, and Mary Hoffman's retelling is put into chapter form, and told in such a way that it will appeal to readers aged 6-10. It's a short little story, but the true magic of this book is what the artist, Miss Clara, has done with the illustrations.

We need to have a big 'ol conversation about Miss Clara. And by big I mean one paragraph down below, because I'm writing this at night and I'm falling asleep. But let me stress - this artwork is some of the most clever and detailed and intricate and gorgeous you'll ever see.

Miss Clara's art is so exquisite, I think she must be part fairy, to make the creations she does. She makes actual models and sets, photographs them, and then further manipulates her images in Photoshop. You can read more about her artistic process here, and you can see her blog here. I think her work is totally unique and incredibly beautiful - I included lots and lots of photos today because I wanted you to see so much of her enchanting scenes. I'm just floored by what she creates.


I have to pause and give a little shout out to my husband's mother, who planted some lily-of-the-valley for us last year. This year we were rewarded with beautiful blooms that I collected and put into a tiny little vase. Don't they look like little fairy bells?

And I have to also say thank you-high five to my mother, who bought the fan you see in the pictures. She got it for Julia and we're both totally in love with it. Also, she gave me the beautiful little ceramic box you see in some of the photos - I've had it since my teen years - and also the lovely embroidered sheet. Basically, today's post has been sponsored by lovely grandmothers!

Fairy tales are my favorite, that's never been a secret around here. I never tire of seeing innovative ways of bringing them to life through new books. You should seek this one out, as well as 'The Snow Queen', as well as anything else Miss Clara has created. She's AMAZING.




cool stuff i like

4

April 22, 2016

 LILACS!!!!!! Get cozy while I ramble on and on about my lilac saga.

I've been trying to grow some in various yards for 15 years, I think. Last year I got two sprigs. This year, nearly a dozen! I had enough to fill two vases! See the one up above? That was the SMALL bouquet! I have a much bigger one! The whole house smelled like lilacs. My only only only quibble is that my lilacs are very dark purple, almost magenta. Aren't lilacs supposed to be lilac colored?? Meaning pale pastel purple? I've seen those around and I actually prefer the pale colored lilacs and I think they have a more intense fragrance, but you know what? I'M NOT COMPLAINING, really. I'm just so happy to have anything. At my old house, I had a very healthy and green lilac bush that never produced because it was in full shade. Woopsie. Then in our current house, about 5 or 6 years ago I got a new lilac bush and again made the same mistake - put it in a spot with not enough sun. Why did I not research this biz?? No idea. So then we dug it up and moved it to the sunniest spot in our yard and BEHOLD. Lilacs. That's my lilac story.

I can't believe I had such a hard time. They seriously grow like weeds around here. But I had resigned myself that lilacs were for others, never for me. Long ago, a friend gave me a lilac bouquet to take home and I put it right next to my bed and thought I had never smelled anything so wonderful in all of days. (Until I discovered peonies) In Hawaii we have plumerias and gardenias, which are indeed amazing, but they are so overtly TROPICAL and heady and kind of overpowering. I had always longed to be in the land of lilacs and elderberries and peonies and sweet peas and old fashioned cottage flowers. I tell you, even at age 18, I had the heart of little old British lady living in the Cotswolds.


Ok let's move in to other topics:

I've heard it all now. Unicorn grilled cheese?

I need to read this asap. 'Catastrophic Happiness'.

Endless lunch inspiration.

When it's good to hover, regarding your children.

31 boho rooms with too many prints.

4 vital questions to teach your kids.

Prince's life in photos.

This traveling pretend play kit is totes adorbs. (I was no longer content with saying just totes.)

Pop art portrait kids craft.

Vanilla Coca-cola birthday cake.


Cool Book of the Week: 'Farmette' by Imen McDonnell is what I'm asking Andrew to get me for Mother's Day. I can't wait. I really hope I get it! If I don't, I'm getting it for myself. I adore Imen's blog of the same name, and I can't wait to read more about her fascinating story (American career woman in the entertainment industry marries an Irish farmer and moves to his family farm in Ireland), while having her recipes right at my fingertips. Cozy food like Midnight Treacle Pudding, Creamiest Cream Scones, Brambleberry Pie, Lobster Macaroni and Cheese, Dark Chocolate and Orange Biscuit Cake, Apple Blossom Cordial and tea cakes and and and - a slew of other fantastic sounding recipes. SO excited for this one! And if the book is anything like Imen's Instagram, the photos are sure to be enchanting as well.

Have a lovely weekend! Our run of summer-in-April is coming to an end and I'm glad about that. We hit the mid-80's. In APRIL. That never happens! I'm ready for some rain and grey clouds. I've become a true Pacific Northwesterner. Summer needs to wait its turn. Summer is not supposed to occur in APRIL.

~Melissa




open house for butterflies

3

April 19, 2016

'Open House for Butterflies', by Ruth Krauss and Maurice Sendak. Do you know it? Do you own it? I'm slowly collecting my way into owning all of the Krauss-Sendak collaboration books. (others include 'A Hole is to Dig', and 'I'll be You and You Be Me' and 'Bears' and 'Somebody Else's Nut Tree')

The best way to describe this book is to say that it's basically like a philosophy book, written from a child's viewpoint. Less of a story, and more a collection of wonderings from the childhood realm. In other words, Good Things to Know.

As in, "a song for bumpy roads is a good thing to know." And, "Lapkin is a good word to know." USEFUL THINGS. (see below for the photo about being punched in the nose. TOTES a good thing to know.)

The detailed and precise and tidily rendered black and white drawings by Maurice Sendak, well it's seems silly to even talk about, they are so charming and perfect, and it's like......he knew how to crawl into the mind of a child and put down on paper just how kids see the world.

Just like Ruth Krauss knew how to write about how kids see the world.

"I always go to bed after my bedtime.

When you're very very tired just throw your tired away."

and

"A good way to get yourself to go to bed is yell ALL ABOARD for bed!"




Such logic. "Yesterday shows another day is here." I haven't yet done a full feature on 'I'll Be You and You Be Me', which is similar, but a bigger sized book, with more of a poetry vibe to it - it's another one we own in our collection, and I would like to strongly suggest you add both of these charmers to your permanent library. These books will never age. They will always be #truth. You know? Best for ages 4-8.

But really best for everyone.




cool stuff i like

6

April 15, 2016

Happy Friday.....afternoon! A little late today. It happens. One of the things I love best about spring are the pale greens that are everywhere right now. Oh I have exciting news - for myself! I'll write more about this later after I've photographed it from every conceivable angle, but for the first time since I began trying about 15 years ago - I have successfully managed to grow some lilacs on our lilac bush. Lilacs grow here like weeds in the springtime, but never ever for me. Our bushes/trees were never in the right place and never got enough sun. But now they're blooming! Don't bother paying much attention because I'll repeat everything I just said in my LILAC POST. It really is the most thrilling thing that's happened to me in a long time. I love lilacs so much.


Online treats this week:

A 50's sci-fi inspired photo shoot? MORE OF THAT PLEASE.

Sheet pan tikka masala.

This was a fascinating read - The Moral Bucket List.

I read about Adina Grigore on Cup of Jo, and now I want to try her skincare line.

Interesting.

IKEA is making a bike! (only in Europe, for now.)

Classic books for tweens.

Julia is obsessed with this video. OBSESSED. We now have a use for her old My Little Ponies!

Cabbage Moon. Very cool online shop.


Cool Book of the Week: 'Nature's Day Out and About' by Kay Maquire and Danielle Kroll is a really cool book I saw while out and about the other day. DID YOU SEE WHAT I JUST DID? I'd say that I was sorry, but we all know I'll just be back again very very soon with the same terrible puns and jokes. Anyway, this book looks so much fun! Nature activities and things to do and color and collect and it's so perfect for the young person explorer in your life. The activities would be fun for the small and the not so small. Julia was very intrigued but I told her she could only get one book and she got some book that tells you all the characters in 'Adventure Time'. Le sigh. I would have gone for this nature book, if given the choice! SO many things to do, look for birds and leaves, make your own tracks, write a poem inspired by nature and what you see, make leaf rubbings and all kinds of things. Really darling. I love books like this.

 Have a lovely weekend! I just got an old film camera and had a few flaws with the sealing fixed. I'm so excited to actually use it now! And waste a lot of film trying to figure it out - oh my.

~Melissa





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