Sunday, May 31, 2009

gadgety cuteness

Did you notice the cute new gadgets in the sidebar? Aren't they fun? Don't you want them too?

The Twitter badge is from the very talented Julie Green of up up. Grab one for yourself--there are four adorable color palettes. Also, stop by her Etsy shop. She has all kinds of papery goodness.

Cathe Holden's blog, Just Something I Made, has gobs of free blog gadgets, like the Comments Make Me Smile one I just added.

Don't you love when crafty people are also generous people? :)

Now, don't ignore the gadgety cuteness! Follow me on Twitter, leave me a comment, grab yourself a gadget, and leave the other gals a comment too!

~ sunday to sunday ~

Anticipating summer and feeling relaxed and peaceful on this gorgeous day, I'll let these pictures mainly speak for themselves, and for what we've been up to the last week.

Homestead Park -- Hilliard's home to an historic Ohio barn as well as an old blue train caboose; also many playgrounds, walking paths, and a cute covered bridge:

Gonna catch that train...

Early summer blooms:

Pretty sights from a morning walk on Memorial Day at Heritage Park , formerly the Rosedale Farm, home to the Everal family in the late 1800s :

The Everal Barn

Knock knock, anybody home at the Carriage House?

I liked the look of this old latched coal chute on the front of the chimney.

We weren't the only family out enjoying the lovely morning

Not the greatest gardeners, we spent a lot of time this week on our prettiest landscaping project yet -- still a work in progress.

Hope yours was a beautiful week, too, with another one to come!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

good news for people who love...


It's hard to believe it was just a few years ago, in 2002, that Karma Wilson had her very first book published, Bear Snores On. It was quite a hit and spurred an impressive writing career that has delivered some really great literature to kids, parents, teachers and librarians.

A few of my personal favorites are: Baby Cakes--a great gift for babies or mamas-to-be; Beautiful Babies--a new touch-and-feel board book; Hilda Must be Dancing; Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo; and Sleepyhead--a very sweet bedtime rhyme.

This talented, generous author is offering two of my lucky readers an autographed, hardback book! I have one copy of:

of which, School Library Journal said:

A gentle and reassuring picture book... The consistently tender illustrations follow the text's well-crafted rhymes as different animal mothers leave their offspring for a brief period and then return. Mama Bird (in a flowered headscarf) feeds her babies, then tucks them beneath a quilt in their nest before digging up more worms; Mama Cat leaves her kittens in the barn to have a sip of cream in the house; Mama Dog runs out to play with her boy. Each example ends with the refrain: "Mama always comes home." Presented with a delicate and loving touch, this book embodies the power of thoughtful text supported by insightful pictures. A good choice for parents and children dealing with separation anxiety.

as well as one autographed copy of:

To be entered in this giveaway, please leave a comment on this post before Wednesday, June 10, 2009. If you'd like to earn a second entry into the drawing, mention this giveaway (with a link) on Twitter. Then, be sure to come back and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted it.

Good luck!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Midweek Peek

Just checking in to see how everyone is enjoying their week. At our house, we are obsessed with puzzles and engulfed in multiple daily readings of this cute little book C & J gave me for Mother's Day: I Love My Mommy Because... by Laurel Porter-Gaylord

It's a somewhat older title (1991, I think), but really adorable and enjoyable. It's the perfect read for this time of year...with Mother's Day having just passed and all the new life springing from the flowers, plants, birds and bunnies surrounding us.

During J's naptimes this week, I've been heading out to our deck to sit in the breezy shade and read a sweet, gentle non-fiction book entitled Remember the Sweet Things by Ellen Greene.

Greene writes with candor and humor about her list of "sweet things"--the kind, loving, and goofy things her husband did for her during their 20 years of marriage. The book is much more than just a recounting of the list. It reads much like a memoir. Something about it--the setting, the tone, the characters-- reminds me of Richard Russo's Empire Falls. But, maybe it's just that Greene likens her husband to Paul Newman, who played the cantankerous Max Roby in the HBO film. Anyway, it's such a nice premise and a timely read, as C and just celebrated our wedding anniversary.

Well, speaking of sweet things, I'll leave you with the news that I've got another giveaway coming up! It was my hope to do it as an accompaniment to Children's Book Week but I didn't get my act together in time. Hopefully, I can launch it later this week, so stay tuned!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Children's Book Week

Now in its ninetieth year, Children's Book Week runs May 11-17. It began as the dream of Franklin K. Matthiews, librarian of Boy Scouts of America, who hoped to encourage higher standards among childrens books. And judging from this year's Children's Book Award Finalists, I'd say Matthiews' dream came true.

A few of this year's nominees:

Donut Chef by Bob Staake

A fun, yummy read with great rhyme.

Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems

Underwear: What We Wear Under There by Ruth Freeman Swain

Paper Towns by John Green

Possibly my favorite teen read of 2008 (along with The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks).

To celebrate Children's Book Week, I encourage you to engage in a little conversation with a child about a favorite book, author or illustrator (either of theirs or yours).

It'd be great if you'd take it a step further: read that book with the child and chat about it afterwards.

Display the book in a special place this week.

Print out this Children's Book Week downloadable bookmark, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino.

How will you celebrate?
********************5/12/09 UPDATE*************************
The 2009 Children's Choice Book Award winners announced!
I'm a little disappointed that Paper Towns didn't win, but if kids and teens are voting, I guess it'd be hard to beat out the Twilight saga. Congratulations to the winners as well as the nominees!

Friday, May 8, 2009

:: connect the dots ::

Here's a fun random post with a kind of connect-the-dots logic to it.

Last week, C and I celebrated our ninth (!) wedding anniversary and spent a fun and casual night out in Short North Columbus. We had dinner at Marcella's, which I had been dying to try, and is absolutely positively my new favorite restaurant. Italian tapas, great wines, and a killer dessert menu!

After a nice leisurely meal that did not involve me rummaging through my bag to find a toy or a crayon or a sticker or a lollipop, we strolled the Short North checking out the shops and the galleries. At one of the galleries, and I hate to say that I forget which one it was, we came across some wooden carpets, like this one. Apparently, they are made in Israel. They're vinyl-backed and fold up accordion-style. Several coats of a laquer are applied so that the design is protected and it can be easily cleaned. Beautiful, don't you think?

Next, we stumbled upon this really cool boutique called Tigertree. Wow, I seriously coveted just about every item in there. Particularly, the gorgeous Orla Kiely wallets and totes in this fabric.

Also, the shop had tons of little trinkets, bags, notecards, and accessories done by an artist named Shinzi Katoh. The shopkeeper told us he's a Japanese picture book artist. C and I loved his style and have since been scrolling through his online shop. I want to get some of this tape and do something crafty with it. Take a look at his shop--it's endless!

While obsessing over this new-to-me artist, I read that he's one of the premiere Zakka artists. What is Zakka? Maybe some of you hipsters already know, but the word was new to me. I Googled it and found this helpful page on Squidoo:

In Japan, all the 'small, various products used in everyday life' are commonly called 'zakka,' a term which encompasses household goods, daily necessities and sundries. However, zakka has also come to represent a style of art and craft that is simple, charming, and of Japanese esthetic. Most items in the zakka style are handmade, but there are commercial companies that mass produce items using the style. The Japanese dictionary describes zakka as "general merchandise", "miscellaneous goods", "sundries", "sundry goods" including interior goods, kitchen goods or even cosmetic product.

I think that's such a cool concept. And, it's the concept that is the basis for an amazing blog I discovered this week. Zakka Life features a craft project of the week, as well as helpful book reviews of fun and crafty new books. Several crafts have been posted recently with Mother's Day being the theme. I liked this tea cup card. It could be a gift card holder. It could adorn a breakfast-in-bed serving tray. Use it as a place card if you're hosting a Mother's Day brunch.

My best friend's mom has been like a second mother to me all my life and she is soooo into tea! I think I'll be making one of these this weekend to send to her as just a cute "thinking of you on Mother's Day" token.

And, Happy Mother's Day to all of you mamas and mamas-to-be out there. I hope you get a chance to enjoy some of your favorite things and reflect on the amazing things that being a mother brings.