Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Children's books 75

 The Little Flower King was pleased with his garden of tulips, 
but he felt something was still missing.  He searched high 
and low, and yes I'm going to spoil it, he found a princess.  
Luckily, they were the same size and they both liked tulips. 
The story and illustrations by Kvêta Pacovská are
as strange as they are adorable. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sprout about it

Do you hate the taste of your municipal tap water?  Or do you fear the government is controlling you through overfluoridation of your water?  In either case, here's a solution: dip a sprout in it and instantaneously the fluorine turns into harmless calcium phosphate fluoride compounds.  In many blind taste tests, I've agreed the sprout-touched water is much, much better. It works with alfalfa sprouts, wheat grass, broccoli sprouts, and more.  They're easy to grow and have many other benefits as well.  

You can get seeds at a store like this one, The 
Companion Plant, in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.

Place the seeds in a single layer on a small plate covered by a damp paper towel.  Keep them moist but not soaking in a dim or dark place out of direct light for several days. 

 When hairy white stems break through the shells and most of the seeds have protrusions, it's time to put them on the window sill in full sun.  A deep dish works well to hold in moisture and heat, and a little bit of cheesecloth gives the sprouts something to hold onto.  Keep them moist but not soaking by rinsing and draining the hulls and water every day.  If the hulls ferment and the sprouts are left in a puddle, they can rot, in which case you should harvest what you can right away and start over. 

The sprouts grow fast and get very leggy, making them easy to snip with scissors and throw by the handful onto salads and stirfries. 

Sprouts are packed with vitamins A, B1, B6, C, and K. They're rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and omega 3 fatty acids.  They contain 100 times more enzymes than uncooked fruits and vegetables, and they detoxify the liver.  If that's not enough, there is a chemical compound in broccoli sprouts, sulforaphane, that stops the growth of malignant tumors and can treat or prevent several types of cancers.  Radish sprouts contain lignin which boost the power of macrophages, cells which fight wounds and cancer.  Alfalfa sprouts contain saponins which flush pathogens through the gut without allowing them to be absorbed and encourage the growth of friendly bacteria while decreasing harmful ones.  What smart and saintly little sprigs!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Going to great lengths

  stuntman squirrel

Friday, January 24, 2014

Toy with this

Dave Higgins makes paintings and drawings as well as wonderful toys like these with characters that seem from another time or place.  The bird's beak opens and closes and the car's eyes look up and down while they roll along!  He has worked as a director for many toy companies and shows his work in lots of galleries. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Children's books 74

I don't like most rhyming books, but this one is pleasing, fun 
and very well written and illustrated by Rosemary Wells.  I grew 
up with Noisy Nora and still enjoy the story of a mischievous
mouse who wants to play but has to wait while everyone is busy.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Your move

I love the neat shapes and smooth
wooden feel of old board game pieces.

I found this piece (plastic plane, brass nail and
painted wooden base), but I have no idea what game it
goes to.  If you have any info, please let me know!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Animated afternoon

Dr. Grob's Animation Review has a funny claymation on today, Loves Me, Loves Me Not, from Aardman Studios.  When you need a wee break in your day, it's a great diversion, not to mention a fabulous resource for neat and weird short animations of all kinds, links to reference books and dvds, and other animation-minded blogs.  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Chat at me
Chatoon is a fun, free new app that lets you send quick messages with adorable hand-drawn characters.  It's super simple to use: you can choose from a hilarious library of characters, add word bubbles and text, and color, draw, flip, rotate, layer, resize and add images to send comic-like messages through Facebook and by email.  I submitted a few characters of my own to Doodle Republic (Humpty D shown here), and it's one of the funnest jobs I ever had.   

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Alvvays Listening

I've been listening to Alvvays for days and days since seeing them in Philly at Johnny Brenda's Tuesday night.  They're touring around the US and Canada now with Yuck, who are also very cool, and it's a great show to catch.  The lead singer Molly Rankin has a captivating voice, the whole band sounds great, the cassette looks yummy, and the tunes are fun with lines like "We spend our days locked in a room content inside a bubble, And in the nighttime we go out and scour the streets for trouble, Hey hey marry me Archie..."  Having lived in Nova Scotia twice myself and knowing the girls are from Cape Breton and the boys from PEI only adds to the charm of imagining a beautiful wild nowhere tiny town setting for such a love affair. 

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Winning work

Here are two very talented illustrators
with excellent styles and fun animations.

Jon Carling's drawings are very strange and interesting bits 
of imagination.  He animates his work, does album art for many 
bands, and sells prints and "Sketchbook Exhibits" in books.
Åsa Lucander animates and directs films starring her own illustrations and puppets.  Her 2D and 3D creations are delightful, and her films for 12foot6, especially the BBC Science Club series, are really ingenious.