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The Giving Season

by abby on November 26, 2012 | Comment

handmade cards

I heard this story yesterday morning on NPR and thought the part about Phillip Kunz was pretty darn cool. Give it a listen if you have a chance! If you don’t here’s the cliff notes version:

As an experiment Phil mailed hundreds of Christmas cards to total strangers to see if he’d get a response. To his amazement he did! The reciprocated cards were all different, but the messages were the same: passing on love, kindness, and making a personal connection.

And in fact, the Phil said that Christmas cards kept coming for as long as 15 years after the first one was sent. In this season of giving, even a small gesture as writing a Christmas card can go a long way.

So the question now is, how will you spread good will and cheer this season?

Black Friday Sale: Free Shipping

by abby on November 19, 2012 | Comment

Black Friday free shipping

Last week I promised you FREE twice. So here it is!

There will be free US shipping on everything in my store: Holiday cards, Children’s Prints, and even my Old MacDonald Had A Farm picture book. All you have to do is use the coupon code BLACKFRIDAY2012 when checking out at my Etsy Shoppe.

Do you want more awesomeness?

Ok! AND with every purchase you also will receive a FREE Snowflake Ornament! Whoo-ooo!

Paper Christmas ornament

Ooooooo, isn’t it pretty!
Each ornament is one of a kind and hand assemble in my studio. The snowflake pattern on the ornament is hand drawn and appears on three shades of blue. These ornaments work great as decorations for Christmas trees, banisters, or as a final touch to the top of your holiday gift.

This abundance of FREE will only happen on Black Friday, so don’t miss out!

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Thanksgiving & Black Friday

by abby on November 15, 2012 | Comment

Black Friday

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is next week! Thanks to the wonderful gift from my mom this month, my table is looking especially festive with a beautiful handmade glass turkey from L.E. Smith Glass Company. Nice, right?

And of course with Thanksgiving comes Black Friday and the start to the holiday shopping season. This year, I’ll be offering a great BLACK FRIDAY DEAL in my Etsy Shoppe. I won’t say just yet, but I can tell you it will involve the word FREE twice with every purchase. (Huge grin) Stay tuned next Tuesday for all the details!

Happy Weekend!

2012 Best Illustrated Picture Books

by abby on November 12, 2012 | Comment

Best Illustrated Children's Book 2012

It’s that time of year again when the “Best of 2012” lists start happening and you better believe that children’s books has its own lists!

This year marks the 60th anniversary of The New York Times Book Review “Best Illustrated Awards”. Each year a panel of judges is asked to choose the 10 best books from thousands of picture books published that year. The judges this year were: Chris Raschka, (illustrator whose book, A Ball for Daisy won the 2012 Caldecott Medal), Bruce Handy (Editor at Vanity Fair), and Cathryn Mercier (director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College). The print list was published in yesterday’s special children’s book review. House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser and Illustrated by Jon Klassen was one of the chosen books. Here are the rest of them.

Bear Despair written and illustrated by Gaëtan Dorémus (Enchanted Lion)
The Beetle Book written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins (Houghton)
House Held Up by Trees written by Ted Kooser; illust by Jon Klassen (Candlewick)
The Hueys in the New Sweater written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (Philomel)
Infinity and Me written by Kate Hosford; illust by Gabi Swiatkowska (Carolrhoda)
Little Bird written by Germano Zullo; illustrated by Albertine (Enchanted Lion)
One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World written and illustrated by Joe McKendry (Godine)
Red Knit Cap Girl written and illustrated by Naoko Stoop (Tingley/Little)
Stephen and the Beetle written by Jorge Luján; illust by Chiara Carrer (Groundwood)
Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad written and illust. by Henry Cole (Scholastic)

The styles of illustration are so varied. Viewing them small on screen is really just a tease. I know I have to get to a bookstore ASAP to have a good look at the books!

Have any of you or your children read any of them this year?

My Penguin Friends

by abby on November 8, 2012 | Comment

Christmas Penguin card

If you received the newsletter earlier in the week you might have noticed these funny fellows peaking out from the holiday card pile. That’s right—my funny penguin friends are back with 2 new holiday cards!

Don’t these guys just make you smile?
Cute Christmas Card
cute penguin art

We all could use an extra hand on the holidays, right?
Christmas penguins
Handmade Penguin Card

The artwork was created with gouache on watercolor paper. Each card is printed on lightly textured paper to mimic watercolor paper and is paired with a Holiday red envelope.

These new cards come in holiday box sets of 6 cards or can be purchased individually. You can create your personal holiday set by mixing and matching any of my individual cards. Perhaps your own mixed holiday penguin set?

And remember I’m also going to add in a SURPRISE gift with every holiday box set purchase this season! Whoo-oo!

Feels good to be on the Nice List, doesn’t it!

Perhaps a Gift for You

by abby on November 5, 2012 | Comment

negative reviews of classic literature

Gift Alert for book lovers!
25 years ago, Bill Henderson, an Editor from Pushcart Press, pulled together a collection of the most scornful, cynical, and down right harsh reviews of some of the world’s most celebrated works of literature. On November 22nd, Rotten Reviews Redux—new edition of this collection— is being published with an updated preface from Henderson. These book reviews are hilarious! I hope you scoff and laugh at the short sighted critics as I did! Want a taste of what kind of scathing reviews we’re talking about? Here you go!

“Here all the faults of Jane Eyre (by Charlotte Brontë) are magnified a thousand fold, and the only consolation which we have in reflecting upon it is that it will never be generally read.” -James Lorimer, North British Review, 1847, on Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Ha! Silly James)

“Whitman is as unacquainted with art as a hog is with mathematics.” -The London Critic, 1855, on Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman (Ouch!)

“An oxymoronic combination of the tough and tender, Of Mice and Men will appeal to sentimental cynics, cynical sentimentalists…Readers less easily thrown off their trolley will still prefer Hans Andersen.” -Time, 1937, on Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Ooooo, that hurts)

“What has never been alive cannot very well go on living. So this is a book of the season only…” -New York Herald Tribune, 1925, on The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Ooops, unless the Tribune, meant being read every school season!)

How many of these classics have YOU read?

My First Retail Location

by abby on November 1, 2012 | Comment

Willey General Store

I have exciting news! My Old MacDonald Had A Farm picture book is now available at The Willey’s Store in Greensboro Vermont. Pinch me, because it’s so unreal to see my book in a retail space!

toddler animal sounds book
{special thanks to Bethany Warner for the photos}

My cousin, Bethany, who is the Clothing Manager at Willey’s Store suggested the idea to pair my picture book with sections of their children’s clothing. Brilliant! One stop shopping for busy moms, especially with the approaching holidays. Oh and you must know that Bethany has her own creative business too: Malamoose Beadery. Be sure to take a peak at her at her shop for fabulous watches and bracelets.

Don’t worry if you aren’t near Greensboro, because you can also purchase your own copy of Old MacDonald Had A Farm right here.

What was your most recent “pinch me” moment?