Holly Art!

The first cards for Liberate Your Art 2018 go out this week, and I am beside myself with excitement as I wait for the cards to find me. Thankfully, my artist friends have kept me satisfied while I wait. One such person is Holly who sent two envelopes of goodness to me over the last few weeks.

Holly joined the “Let’s Celebrate Pooh” swap I hosted in the Cup and Chaucer group on  swap-bot. We won’t tell anyone, but after seeing the beautiful art on her blog, I was slightly disappointed that the swap “randomizer” did not assign her as my “receive from” partner.  But the swap gods were with me anyway. Not only did my assigned partner send me a super cute Pooh bookmark but Holly sent a precious Pooh envelope–even though I wasn’t her partner! Is that cool or what?

Here’s the handmade bookmark from my assigned partner,  which now “marks” the page in one of my journals.

Pooh Bookmark, Made by Moominbrooke

Wanna see what Holly sent?

Pooh, a Tree, and the Bees, Bookmark, Handmade by Holly M.

As you can see–an adorable Pooh bookmark, complete with bees and her impeccable lettering. The envelope was equally adorable, embellished with Pooh stamps and “bees” washi tape.

Recycled, Pooh-Inspired Security Envelope, Holly M.

The swap gods were kind to me again when Holly and I were the only two in a “Celebrate Dr. Seuss” swap in the Cup and Chaucer group.

She sent a letter typed on a vintage typewriter, a “faithfully copied” Cat in the Hat themed note card, envelope, and a bunch of adorable Dr. Seuss themed mailing labels. Perfect for mailing letters to kiddos and other Seuss fans.

Here’s the card:

“The Cat in the Hat,” Faithfully Copied by Holly M.

And the envelope with one of the labels affixed [ignore the smudges from my scanner]:

Envelope by Holly M.

Holly made the card for me to share, but hmm….I’m not sure I’m willing to part with it [yet]. It needs to spend some time on my inspiration wall. Maybe, I’ll fill the envelope with Seuss stickers and send it into the world. I think that’s fair. Don’t  you?

If you get a moment, take a stroll over to Holly’s ThreeSixFiveArt blog where Holly posts (almost) daily about her “random little pieces of art.” Her discipline is inspiring.

One of my artist-professor friends told me that with time and practice anyone can become an artist, that art is a skill that anyone can master. I’m taking him at his word, so when my life feels less chaotic and more like my own, I’m going to enroll in art classes.

On Books: A Poem in Honor of Dr. Seuss

Thanks for picking up the hat for me, Butterfly. My own cat has outgrown his hat, but he’ll pick it up again, some day–after the self-conscious tween years, or when he has his own kids. 😉 Photo by Meli aka Butterfly’s mom.

It’s been years since my last Dr. Seuss birthday salute. Gasp! How did that happen? When I was finishing up a Dr. Seuss swap way too early this morning, I ran across a couple of Dr. Seuss items that had been hiding in my clutter. I’m sure I intended to blog about them, but well…things get buried in the “to be blogged” pile.

I rescued  a poem to celebrate “Dr. Seuss Day.” The poem was written by swapper Kate Mc (KateKintail, a swap-bot ambassador) for a “celebrate Seuss” swap two years ago .

“On Books”

Sometimes you get bored
and there’s nothing to do.
You stare at the clock
And nudge stones with your shoe.

You flop onto a couch
or a chair or a bed.
You watch infomercials
or do nothing instead.

And just when you think
life isn’t all that,
why, who should arrive,
but the Cat in the Hat!

I’ve come for your boredom.
I’ll take it away.
I’ll bring in the fun
and cheer up your dull day.

I’ve got boxes and bins
full of toys and what-not.
You’ll be amazed
by the stuff I have got.

But for you, my dear swapper,
I’ve got just the thing.
Though not covered in glitter
or tied up with string.

It’s something you’ll like.
Come here, have a look.
I’ll show you what fun
you can have with a book!

Now, don’t make that face.
It’s not what you think.
Don’t rip up this letter
and throw it in the drink.

Books are jam-packed
with bushels of fun.
I really should know–
I came out of one.

So suspend disbelief.
Without further ado,
I shall outline the things
a good book can do.

Open one  up and
fold it just right.
Put it on your head,
and like that, you’re a knight.

With a couple of books
you can make a band.
Clap covers together
with one in each hand.

Or riffle the pages
for a different sound.
Even when its quiet
music can abound.

Find a table or desk
and prop one up on its side.
Grab your favorite food
and behind it you can hide.

You’ll be absorbed
while the world goes on by.
Hidden in knowledge,
new tastes you can try.

Or go to your bookshelves.
Collect a whole stack.
The green, white, and brown ones
the little ones in the back.

Pile them all up
up higher than high,
and pretend to climb up them
all the way to the sky.

Imagine the scenes
you’d pass on your walk.
The places you’d visit
and characters who’d talk.

One foot on Great Gatsby,
another on Dune.
After Gone with the Wind
you’re halfway to the moon.

But maybe climbing
ins’t your cup of tea.
Don’t run away;
please stick here by me.

Put a book on your head
for a balancing game.
Hop on one foot.
Repeat your own name.

Put one underneath
a table’s unwobbly leg.
Then set up a race
with an orange an egg.

Stand many on end
for a fence or a fort.
A beach chair and mai-tai
make it a resort.

An old book is great
if you’re in a craft stage.
Make a purse of the cover
and ATCs of the page.

But the very most fun
can be all in your head.
The best thing is that
a book can be read.

Designed using papers and elements from myfuninvites.com

Be sure to do some reading this weekend in honor of Dr. Seuss!

Postcards from Dr. Seuss

"Speak for the Trees," Mail Art by Nancylee on swap-bot

“Speak for the Trees,” Mail Art by Nancylee on swap-bot

Wouldn’t pulling this envelope out of your mailbox make you grin from ear to ear?  Maybe, that’s just me?  Swap-bot’s Nancylee so cheerfully decorated the envelope she sent to me in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday (in March) that I almost forgot to open the envelope!  The front was inspired by The Lorax; the back was inspired by none other than the Cat in the Hat.

Dr Seuss Bday Swap-1

Yes, she adorned the front and back with her imitations of Dr. Seuss characters.

Now, what was inside the envelope?  Two postcards from the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden in Springfield, Massachusetts, Theodor Geisel’s (aka Dr. Seuss) hometown.  Although she has yet to visit the sculpture garden, Nancylee’s mom visited and sent her a bunch of postcards.

The first postcard features Horton of Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches the Egg fame standing inside the pages of a book.

"Horton Court,"

“Horton Court,” Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Sculptor

A couple of my favorite Horton quotes:

from Horton Hears a Who–

Please don’t harm all my little folks, who
have as much right to live as us bigger folks do!

from Horton Hatches the Egg–

I meant what I said and I said what I meant.
An elephant’s faithful one-hundred percent.

The second postcard features Yertle from Yertle the Turtle standing loftily on top of all the turtles of the pond.  Yertle is probably the favorite Seuss tale in our home.  We applaud the moxie of a “plain little” turtle named Mack who stands up for turtles everywhere.

"Yertle the Turtle,"

“Yertle the Turtle,” Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Sculptor

My favorite quotes from the book:

I know up there on top, you are seeing great sights
but down here on the bottom, we, too, should have rights.

and of course,

And the turtles, of course… all the turtles are free
As turtles, and, maybe, all creatures should be.

The sculptures were created by Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Geisel’s stepdaughter.  What a precious way to pay tribute to his memory and imagination!  If you’d like to find out more about the Dr. Seuss National Memorial Sculpture Garden, click the link.

 

The Cat Behind the Hat Was Hiding in Walmart

My apologies to those of you who received an incomplete draft version of this post via email.  I mistakenly hit the publish button as I hopped from my chair to take a phone call.  I have a very sensitive mouse apparently!

I’m not sure where you shop, but you might want to check out the clearance books at your local Walmart.  Now, I’m not a Walmart fan.  In fact, I shop there as little as possible–opting to pay more $$$ at Publix for various reasons.  But if you’re into books and art and into Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss, it’s worth a trip if you find the deluxe collector’s edition–Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat by Caroline M. Smith.

Dr. Seuss: The Cat Behind the Hat by Caroline M. Smith

My friend, Anitra, found this absolutely wonderful set at Walmart and gave it to our sons’ teacher for Teacher Appreciation Week.  If you’re a blog follower, you know I love Dr. Seuss!  Since I so obviously fell in love with the set, Anitra volunteered to go back to Walmart and pick up one for me.  Take a closer look:

The Cat Behind the Hat Front of Slipcase

The Cat Behind the Hat Front of Slipcase

Closeup of Art and Title

Closeup of Art and Title

The slipcase measures about 16 x 18 inches and is simply gorgeous.  You’ll have to trust me because my quick snaps do the actual items no justice.  When I saw this huge, gorgeous, foil-stamped, cloth-covered slipcase, I fell in love even before I peeked inside for a look at the contents!

What is inside the velvet-lined slipcase, you ask?

  • a cloth-covered 9.75 x 12.25-inch, 320-page hardcover book filled with colorful illustrations from what Geisel called his “Midnight Paintings” and the children’s book illustrations with which we’re all familiar.  Most of the pages are fully illustrated like those pictured below; some contain text and illustrations and/or photos. (Click an image for a closer look).
  • a 12 x 16-inch scrolled color lithograph featuring this image.

Cat Behind the Hat Images-4

  • three 10.5 x 8.5-inch black-and-white prints tucked into a pocket inside the slipcase (click an image for a larger view).

The book was previously published as Secrets of the Deep in connection with The Art of Dr. Seuss.  This revised edition was published in 2012 by the Chase Group, LLC and produced by Amazon Publishing in collaboration with Andrew McMeel Publishing and Lionheart Books.  The text, as noted earlier, was written by Caroline M. Smith, but the images were compiled and edited by William W. Dreyer, Michael Reagan, and Robert Chase, Jr.

From the product description insert:

This exquisitely produced collector’s edition redefines Theodor Geisel, known to the world as Dr. Seuss, as an iconic American artist. Illustrator by day, surrealist by night, Dr. Seuss created a body of little-known work that he called his “Midnight Paintings.” For sixty years, this work allowed Geisel to expand his artistic boundaries outside the confines of commercial influences and deadlines.  […] Though he fiercely protected his “Midnight Paintings” from criticism during his lifetime, his intention all along was for these works to be seen when he was gone. This comprehensive look at the art that he created over his lifetime is an eye-opening peek behind the public persona into the real story of he man who was Dr. Seuss.

The curators and publisher are quick to note that they had no intention of trying to offer Geisel’s work in its entirety, but instead wished to present a “medley” of his work in a “chronological-ish” way.

Here’s the Table of Contents.

The Cat Behind the Hat Table of Contents

The Cat Behind the Hat Table of Contents

The book contains 80 of Geisel’s “Midnight Paintings” along with the more popular illustrations, advertisements, drafts, etc.  For the artists among us, the medium used for each piece is also provided. I wish I could share every delicious image with you.

I am seriously giddy every time I open this book!  The art is amazing, as expected, and I get to enjoy it whenever I want!  I also sincerely appreciate the intimate look at one of the greatest storytellers of our time and the glimpse of his struggles and triumphs.  I empathize with his desire to keep these “midnight paintings” away from public scrutiny, perhaps avoiding painful criticism of some of his most personal works.

Aside from the fact that I consider this a literary and artistic treasure–one that my family and I are thrilled to have in our collection–the price makes this find even more spectacular. Here’s the original price:

Cat Behind the Hat Images-3_2

Yes, $300.  Thankfully, Anitra found this in the clearance section for…wait for it…wait for it…$16.00!!! Can you believe it? That’s slightly more than 5% of the list price.

I am sooo grateful to have friends who look out for me and cater to my interests. I am not much of a shopper–don’t like shopping much–so I rely on these kind souls to find the super bargains and call me and let me know about them.  I would not have thought to look in the clearance section of Walmart for this!

Thank you, Anitra! You have such a good eye for bargains and a giving heart!

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Dr. Seuss: Postcards and Kid Art (+ Freebies)

Did you celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday on March 2nd?  Did you pick up a book in his honor?  I have been having a lot of fun reviewing Dr. Seuss’s books and enjoying the zany and just plain strange art he created. I hosted my third annual “Dr. Seuss’s Birthday” swap on swap-bot just to get some adults involved in my obsession with Dr. Seuss, so a few of us had a little fun sending each other flat-themed packages based on Theodor Geisel’s children’s literature. My partner will receive a bunch of cool Dr. Seuss-inspired items–“The Cat in the Hat” swap cards, sparkly stickers, the Yertle the Turtle  story, a book suggestion, two bookmarks and this postcard I found on ebay:

“Find the Cat in the Hat Today”

This is actually an ad card for HarperCollins Publishers, but it doesn’t really look like one.  It was designed and printed by Boomerang Media, a UK-based marketing company.

My partner, “JaMaJo” sent me a handmade postcard and an ATC.  The ATC took a little bit of a beating on its way through the postal system, but it’s still cute.

“Try them, try them and you may!
Try them and you may, I say.”

And here’s the “Green Eggs and Ham” ATC:

“Green Eggs and Ham” ATC by JaMaJo

Dr. Seuss reminds me of childhood reading and fun.  I loved reading as a child and read every book I could get my hands on.  I spent hours on weekend afternoons lying in my bed reading. I vividly recall my Beverly Cleary phase.   Although our teachers encouraged reading and often offered incentives, we didn’t have cool programs like the NEA’s Read Across America; nor did we celebrate Dr. Seuss’s birthday.  I feel like I missed out on something big (like I do when I see that baby dolls can do so much more now), but one of the wonderful things about having a young child is that I can re-visit my childhood through him and with him.  So I celebrate RAA/Dr. Seuss’s birthday with him. Last week, his first/second grade class participated in Read Across America and held a weeklong celebration of Dr. Seuss.  The kids read and shared their favorite books and ended the week with a birthday celebration/Dr. Seuss-themed costume party.

They also completed a few creative art projects. If you’ve been following my blog, you should know I was thrilled to see the children’s art (see earlier post on children’s art) .  I photographed some of the projects just so I can enjoy them a little longer. Let’s take a look at some of the art from Adrienne Saulsbury’s class.  This first set features the children’s artistic renderings of “The Cat in the Hat” (Click any image to view larger).

I think they’re pretty good for first and second graders!  I can’t draw as well as some of them as an adult!

The second set showcases book covers the students created.  Inspired by There’s a Wocket in My Pocket, the students came up with a silly book title that included a made-up item that rhymed with a real object.

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The silly titles are adorable.  They certainly captured the spirit of Dr. Seuss.  Oh, to be a kid and have such wonderful projects!  It’s cute that the kids signed their books, “Dr. ___.”

I’m convinced these art projects not only stimulate creativity, but they pique the children’s interest in reading.  Isn’t that what celebrating Dr. Seuss’s birthday is all about? I appreciate Mrs. Saulsbury for focusing so much on reading and for doing what she can to make reading fun for her students.  She encourages the children and parents to read together daily. She reminds parents that they should read to their children and their children should read to them.  She even urges the children to keep a reading log. My little one has been reading since he was 3.  He is quite a reader and although he claims he has to “be in the mood,” we have never had a problem getting him to read.  He reads everything–the Bible, storybooks, serial novels, kid-friendly comic books, magazines, informative books on robots (of course), space, science and nature.  We sometimes read as many as 5 or 6 books in one evening–down from 10 (when he was much younger).  Reading is such an important fundamental skill. Without it, the other skills can be inaccessible.

If you want to get into some Dr. Seuss this week, check out Lysa’s Illustrator Study list on Amazon for suggestions.  There’s something for all ages.  Brain Pickings also offers a number of excellent posts on Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss):  WWII Political Propaganda Cartoons and The Seven Lady Godivas and The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss.

Oh, I almost forgot. I created two bookmarks for the class, and now, I’m sharing them with you. I designed these using papers and elements from myfuninvites.com.

Reading with the Cat in the Hat

Reading with the Cat in the Hat

Reading with Thing 1 and Thing 2

Reading with Thing 1 and Thing 2

If you have any problems downloading any of these, let me know via “comment” and I’ll deliver the bookmarks to you via email and, if necessary, in another format.

I also photographed each student in his or her Dr. Seuss-inspired costume and holding a favorite book.  Here’s my own little “Cat in the Hat.”

My own personal

My own personal “Cat in the Hat”

Happy reading!