Monday, December 23, 2013

100 People by Masayuki Sebe

Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

Merry Christmas everyone! This will be my last post of the year, going out with the most excellent book 100 People by Masayuki Sebe.


I loved 100 Things by Masayuki Sebe, and I love 100 People even more. Yesterday my four-year-old daughter was quietly engrossed in this book for close to an hour - some kind of miracle for her during this exciting lead-up to Christmas. A whole hour of peace; I could hardly believe my luck! But seriously, this book is pretty awesome.

 Illustration from 100 People by Masayaki Sebe
Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

Illustration from 100 People by Masayuki Sebe

100 Things is a look-and-find book, a bit like a Where's Wally? for little ones. As well as the ten characters the reader is asked to seek in every spread, there are suggestions for stacks of other things to find. The illustrations are packed with funny characters and amusing interactions making it impossible to get bored. The large format is ideal for young ones, and the bold, graphic style makes 100 People appealing for kids and parents alike. In fact, this book is now right up there with my favourites for kids (and mums). It's coming camping with us this summer holidays; hours and hours of entertainment in one slim and sturdy volume. Genius!

About the Author/Illustrator

Masayuki Sebe was born in 1953 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. He graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in craft. He is much-loved for his brightly coloured, humour-filled illustrations. He is especially well-known for his activity books, including Dinosaurs Galore and 100 Things (both from Gecko Press).

100 People by Masayuki Sebe
Published by Gecko Press, Oct 2013
ISBN: 978-1-877579-86-8 (Hardback)
ISBN: 978-1-877579-87-5 (Paperback with flaps)
Ages 4+   300x245mm  24 pages
Origin: Japan







I wish you all a wonderful, safe and happy Christmas season. See you in the new year! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai


Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

I have a very special book on my bookshelf - The Bear and the Wildcat written by Kazumi Yumoto and illustrated by Komako Sakai. I urge you to read it because it is profound and beautiful. It is a joy now to share with you another book illustrated by Komako Sakai: Hannah's Night.

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

Hannah's Night tells the story of a little girl's quiet adventure (in the safety of her home) on a wakeful night when everyone else in the house is sound asleep. It is an elegantly simple story that I found very evocative - it took me right back to my own childhood. I remember there was a kind of magic when routine was broken or something out of the ordinary happened; also how exciting those small snatches of independence were as I grew up. Now as an adult, I feel a certain kind of magic when I get up early and venture out for a walk or run while my house and most other households are still sleeping. Whatever that magic is, Komako captures it beautifully with her exquisite, textured illustrations and simple language. There is a ton of atmosphere, and a lovely peacefulness about this book.   

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

Illustration from Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai

As a parent I find Hannah's Night a pleasure to read time and time again; as an artist I am awed and inspired. What a lovely creation. Thank you Komako Sakai, and thank you Gecko Press. It really is a gem.

Hannah's Night is a lovely Christmas gift idea for last-minute shoppers (you can purchase over at Gecko Press). Pop back in a few days for another awesome Gecko Press publication.

Hannah's Night by Komako Sakai
Published by Gecko Press, 2 August 2013
ISBN: 978-1-877579-55-4 Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-877579-54-7 Hardback
255 x 210mm
32 pages
Origin: Japan
About the Author/Illustrator

After graduating from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music, Komako Sakai worked at a kimono textile design company. She is one of the most popular children's author/illustrators in Japan. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Striking Colour Palettes from Rifle Paper Co

Browsing Print and Pattern blog the other day, I fell madly in love with a new Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar, and couldn't resist sharing it here. The colour palette is so vibrant and energetic, I just can't stop looking at it!

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar, 11"x17"

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - January

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - February

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - March

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - April

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - May

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - June

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - July

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - August

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - September

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - October

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - November

Rifle Paper Co 2014 wall calendar - December

I also popped over to the Rifle Paper Co website to browse their 'New' category and found plenty more to get excited about:

Rifle Paper Co Herbs and Spices 2014 calendar

Rifle Paper Co - Botanical desk calendar 2014

Rifle Paper Co - Botanical desk calendar 2014 Pages Jan-Apr

Rifle Paper Co - To my Valentine...Flat Note

Rifle Paper Co - Botanical Rose iPhone 5c Case, Inlay

Rifle Paper Co - Citrus Floral Tin Recipe Box

Rifle Paper Co - Midnight Garden Tin Recipe Box

Rifle Paper Co - Holiday Plaid Gift Wrap

The saturated colour and strong contrasts, combined with vintage-style florals, give me such a lift. Such happy designs! Grab yourself or a friend a 2014 calendar or recipe tin from Rifle Paper Co and be inspired the whole year round!

Friday, December 6, 2013

'A Book is a Book' by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

I am so excited to show off some New Zealand talent today, with the most adorable book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins. It is a co-publication between Gecko Press and Whitireia Publishing to celebrate the 20th anniverary of the Whitireia publishing course. A Book is a Book is a very special creation for book-lovers, and that is me. I love books, and I love this book.


A Book is a Book celebrates books and reading. It is a treasure for people like me who cherish the whole experience of books - the story, the illustrations, the format, the feel, the typography, and the layout of a carefully considered book. 'Carefully considered' is exactly what A Book is a Book is. Like all books from Gecko Press, you can practically feel the love that has gone into the creation - from the writer to the artist to the publishing choices. A Book is a Book shines in all areas. It is a sweet contemplation by poet Jenny Bornholdt about books and the delight they can bring. The illustrations by Sarah Wilkins are a perfect fit in a delicate but vibrant, painterly style. The small hardback format and cream pages give it a stylish and subtly vintage feel. The quality construction of the book itself and the surprising details (a different image underneath the dust-cover, and a beautiful bookmark that came with my copy) are noticed and appreciated by book-lovers like me. The more I look at this book, the more I love it. There is so much talent in this lovely little county of mine!

Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

Excerpt from A Book is a Book by Jenny Bornholdt and Sarah Wilkins

You can purchase A Book is a Book over at the Gecko Press website. It makes a gorgeous Christmas gift!

A Book is a Book
Written by Jenny Bornholdt
Illustrated by Sarah Wilkins
Gecko Press and Whitireia Publishing
Published 1 November 2013
ISBN: 978-1-877579-92-9
180 x 120mm, 40 pages, Ages 4+


About the Author

Jenny Bornholdt is an acclaimed poet. In 2005-06 she was the NZ Poet Laureate, and received the 2003 Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award. Jenny lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

About the Illustrator

Sarah Wilkins has worked as an illustrator in Australia, New Zealand and France. She won the LIANZA Russell Clark Award for Illustration in 2003. Sarah currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Christmas Screen Prints by Sanna Annukka

Talented designer Sanna Annuka has had a busy year working for Marimekko, but has recently found some time to put together these wonderful Christmas screen-prints:

'Inari'- designed and hand-printed by Sanna Annukka

'Kainuu' - designed and hand-printed by Sanna Annukka

She says the designs are based on much-loved regions of Finland. Kainuu is home to the great Oulujärvi, Finland's fourth largest lake. The design depicts a wintry scene of forest covered islands amidst icy waters and under the watchful gaze of the moon. Inari, in Finnish Lapland, is a majestic terrain of fells and lakes with heart stopping beauty. During the summer months the sun never dips below the horizon and late at night it smoulders with sublime golden light.

Both prints are limited editions of only forty, and are available to purchase online now at her website.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Count Down to Christmas with Binny Talib

Award-winning illustrator Binny Talib has put together the most delightful and amusing advent calendar suitable for iPhones and iPads. It's a no-brainer at the bargain price of ninety nine cents ($AU). I am naughty (one of those open-presents-early kind of girl!) and have had a bit of a sneak peek before my children get their hands on it, and I can say with absolute conviction that my kids are going to love it!

Binny Talib Advent Calendar 2013 (screenshot)

The calendar features this lovely street-scape (below) with a surprise game or activity for each day leading up to Christmas. It is beautifully illustrated, super-cute, and made me giggle. 

Binny Talib Advent Calendar 2013 (screenshot)

Binny Talib Advent Calendar 2013 (screenshot)

 Binny Talib Advent Calendar 2013 (screenshot)


I am so excited to be able to share this with my kids; how wonderful that the magic of Christmas can start already. Tomorrow December is here, and in my family we will be venturing out to find a beautiful Christmas tree for our lounge room. The lights, the decorations, the music, the joy on those little faces...oh yay! Let the countdown begin!

Purchase the Binny Talib Advent Calendar at iTunes or at Google Play. Keep up to date with Binny's news over at her blog and website.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Tove Johansson - The Kalas Collection

I adore the fresh, exciting palette Tove Johansson uses in her design. Her new collection - The Kalas Collection - is lively and invigorating with her signature graphic look, unique geos, and eye-popping colour.

Tove Johansson - The Kalas Collection 2013

Tove Johansson - Candy cushion

Tove Johansson -  Candy Round cushion, Girlang cushion (right), and Clover cushion (bottom)

Tove Johansson - Jigsaw cushion

Tove Johansson - Collage cushion (left), Collage cushion dark (right)

Tove Johansson - Clover cushion (left), Papillon pillow (right)

I love the way Tove balances out busy patterns with a few very carefully considered simpler designs such as the Clover and Papillon pillows above, and my absolute favourite the Candy Round cushion. I was trying to think of a way to describe how I feel when I see design that makes me excited like this; I came up with 'heart-soaring'! It gives me a little rush of adrenalin and energy. It makes my heart soar. Thank you Tove! 

Be sure to visit Tove's website and store for more information.