22 Oct
2013

Get Trick or Treat ready at KU! Hats and Costumes 2013!

Hal­loween is com­ing up fast, so don’t end up going out as a toi­let paper mum­my! We’ve got you cov­ered with all sorts of fun Hal­loween cos­tume sets and hats. We’ve put togeth­er a lit­tle sam­pling of some of our selec­tion. Also we most­ly just had fun play­ing dress up. For some of it may­be a lit­tle too much fun.

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18 Jun
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! Chris Van Allsburg!

Good after­noon, fine friends!  Today is Chris Van Allsburg’s birth­day!  Van Allsburg’s children’s books are beloved for their fan­tas­tic and uncon­trolled sto­ries and for their charm­ing illus­tra­tions, most of which are drawn from a child’s height per­spec­tive.  We sell sev­er­al of Van Allsburg’s more than twen­ty books but we love the illus­tra­tions from all of them.  Here are a few to whet your appetite!

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11 Jun
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! Father’s Day!

Remem­ber that one time I showed you all those amaz­ing things that we had for Mother’s Day?  This is gonna be like that, only more Dad­lier.  Which total­ly is a word.

One of the best things about Father’s Day is that dads appre­ci­ate a nice, wide range of gifts.  Any­thing goes for Father’s Day!  Any­thing like all of this!

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4 Jun
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! National Iced Tea Month!

Hel­lo all my favorite peo­ple!  It’s Cool Stuff Tues­day again and since June is Nation­al Iced Tea Mon­th, I thought I’d give you the run down of some of our deli­cious iced tea-relat­ed prod­ucts!

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We are very enthu­si­as­tic about tea, so if you have any ques­tions come down and see us!  We love to help!

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21 May
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! National Stationery Week!

IMG_3859

Aw yeah, sta­tioner­ies. All of them.

Hel­lo favorite peo­ple and wel­come to KU’s Cool Stuff Tues­day Sta­tionery Show!  The Nation­al Sta­tionery Show is cur­rent­ly hap­pen­ing at the Jav­its Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in NYC and since most of you, my friends, aren’t there, I fig­ured I’d show you some of the things that are prob­a­bly on dis­play there!

We’ve already dis­cussed at length my love of writ­ing, so I don’t feel the need to reit­er­ate, but let me just say that I’ve used sta­tionery from sev­er­al of the brands here at the store and I love them all.  If you need note cards, look no fur­ther, peo­ple.

With­out fur­ther ado, have a look at the­se Cool Stuffs.

kodaroid

Kodachrome Notes are a staff favorite.

Polaroid Notes and Kodachrome Notes are total­ly cool.  They’re a real­ly good shape, too.  Small and squareish for a quick note to a friend or fam­i­ly mem­ber.  “Hey, thanks for the bot­tle of wine!  It was great and I only got pulled over once!”  Or what­ev­er.  Just kid­ding, don’t drink and dri­ve, kids.

 

 

 

Then there are the slight­ly larg­er and more for­mal cards, for slight­ly larg­er and more for­mal occa­sions.

 

faeries

Ok, may­be not Faerie Hous­es…

I’m not sure how or why, but flow­ers always seem to make things more for­mal.  Much more, “Dear Edgar, thank you so much for attend­ing our lit­tle soiree the oth­er night. Your joke about the hip­pies was so divert­ing!”  Or some­thing.  May­be not that stuffy.  Flow­ers don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly say ‘stuffy’ to me…

May­be you’re into match­ing pens and note cards?  We have sweet roller­balls that I’ve men­tioned before which have match­ing sets of note cards and/or sta­tionery.  Behold!

p3 pens1

Pret­ty cool right? Right?

And then there’s this!

p3 pens2

That’s hot. Just say­in’.

And what would a sta­tionery dis­cus­sion be with­out foun­tain pens?  Noth­ing!  That’s what it would be.

sexy

Oh so sexy.

I’m gonna stop now before I real­ly get involved.  If you have any sta­tionery ques­tions, I’m here!

 

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16 May
2013

Sea-Monkeys Day?!

So you’ve been dying to have a day to cel­e­brate your favorite aquat­ic pets? Guess what. It already exists. For realz. Sea-mon­key day is May 16th each year. Let’s get it pop­pin’.

card I made based on real ad

card I made based on real ad


tta1126_sea_monkeys_red__33398

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harold von Braun­hut “invent­ed” sea-mon­keys in 1957. Since ant farms had become pop­u­lar the year before, Harold decid­ed to cash in on a sim­i­lar­ly sim­ple and point­less pet. He orig­i­nal­ly called them “Instant Life”, but lat­er changed the named to “Sea-Mon­keys” in ’62. Good plan. That was a stu­pid name. The pro­duct was mar­ket­ed heav­i­ly in comic books, where fool­ish chil­dren could mail away some quar­ters for the­se oh-so-inter­est­ing under­sea crea­tures. That’s what they were lead to believe by the ridicu­lous ads specif­i­cal­ly telling them so.

an actual ad from '71

an actu­al ad from ’71

So as we all know this is how sea-mon­keys are mar­ket­ed to unsus­pect­ing kids. Frankly I’m not sure how they got away with this. “They can even be trained” and “they love atten­tion” are among the great lines from this ad. My favorite are the “Sea-Dia­monds” that you can buy from the web­site, still being sold by the Tran­sciece Corp. The descrip­tion states that they will toss them around like beach balls and learn to ride them like surf­boards. Of course they throw around quo­ta­tion marks on pret­ty much every verb. So now to shat­ter all of your pre­con­ceived notions of the­se delight­ful aquat­ic humanoids with fam­i­lies and castles and surf­boards, here is what sea-mon­keys real­ly are.

sea-monkey-closeup

They are an arti­fi­cial breed of brine shrimp. Put into cryp­to­bio­sis. The colony is start­ed by adding the con­tents of a pack­et labelled “Water Puri­fier” to a tank of water. This pack­et con­tains salt and some brine shrimp eggs. After 24 hours, this is aug­ment­ed with the con­tents of a pack­et labelled “Instant Life Eggs”, con­tain­ing eggs,yeast, borax, soda, salt, and some­times a dye. The ani­mals which hatched from the eggs over the pre­vi­ous day seem to appear instant­ly. Hilar­i­ous. But regard­less of what they are, kids still enjoy hav­ing there own pets that they basi­cal­ly don’t have to do any­thing for. Also we do sell them at our store as well. Cause they’re fun and ridicu­lous. Just like us.

On a final note, some mad sci­en­tists (slash just reg­u­lar sci­en­tists) have made some arsenic-based Sea-mon­keys. Srs. You can get them on Think Geek. Check them out. It’s super fun­ny and real sci­ence.

Lata!

 

 

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14 May
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! Children’s Books!

1

So many Children’s Books! SO MANY!

It’s Children’s Book Week!  Here at the store we have sev­er­al books that were favorites of mine when I was a child and sev­er­al more that either didn’t exist then or that I didn’t know about when I was a kid and that I’ve come to love as an adult.  Let me tell you about them!

2

Such a cute ducky. I kin­da had to cull one or two books about ducks from this post. Appar­ent­ly I’m into duck books.

First, the clas­sics from my child­hood.  I spent a lot of time with my mater­nal grand­par­ents as a small child and one of the books I loved for them to read to me was The Sto­ry About Ping, by Mar­jorie Flack.  First pub­lished in 1933, the book chron­i­cles the night and day that Ping, a domes­ti­cat­ed duck, spends away from his fam­i­ly and his sub­se­quent return to them.  Between the endear­ing sto­ry and the soft, col­or­ful illus­tra­tions, it’s no won­der that this eighty year-old sto­ry con­tin­ues to be pop­u­lar today.

3

Sleepy ped­dler is sleepy.

Anoth­er ear­ly 20th cen­tu­ry clas­sic that was a favorite of lit­tle me was Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slo­bod­ki­na.  Based on a folk­tale, Slobodkina’s 1938 clas­sic is about a ped­dler whose wares are stolen by a troop of mon­keys while he naps and then returned to him when he throws his own cap on the ground and the mon­keys fol­low suit.  Though the main body of her work is in oth­er media (she was a pro­lific abstract expres­sion­ist, work­ing pri­mar­i­ly in oils, but she also pro­duced col­lages of var­i­ous mate­ri­als as well as paint­ings and sculp­tures), Caps for Sale is Slobodkina’s best known work and con­tin­ues to delight young read­ers.

4

Hope that dog doesn’t fall through.

The last of my many favorite child­hood books I’ll men­tion is Shel Silverstein’s Where the Side­walk Ends.  I have been fas­ci­nat­ed by almost all forms of poet­ry for most of my life and one of the ear­li­est intro­duc­tions I had to the art form was the work of Sil­ver­stein.  His clev­er rhymes, musi­cal rhythm work, and charm­ing line illus­tra­tions have held their val­ue for me and Sil­ver­stein, like the oth­ers, is still a main­stay of children’s lit­er­a­ture.

On to the new­er books!

5

He’s the world’s best pan­da. Yeah, I said it.

First is Jon J Muth’s Zen Shorts.  Muth, who stud­ied stone sculp­ture and brush paint­ing in Japan, gives three tra­di­tion­al Zen and Taoist sto­ries life in inter­ac­tions between the char­ac­ters of three young chil­dren and a pan­da, Still­wa­ter, who is their neigh­bor.  Muth’s water­col­or illus­tra­tions leave noth­ing to be desired and the sto­ry is an ele­gant and politic intro­duc­tion to Zen think­ing.

6

You don’t usu­al­ly think of God as cute, but there you go.

Anoth­er new favorite is Mr. and Mrs. God in the Cre­ation Kitchen, by Nan­cy Wood.  This is a com­plete­ly charm­ing book which ignores the grav­i­tas of the Cre­ation sto­ry and turns it into some­thing lit­tle kids will be much more famil­iar with, a fam­i­ly cook­ing project.  Tim­o­thy B. Ering’s illus­tra­tions real­ly bring the sto­ry to life; his ren­der­ings of the cre­ative cou­ple are adorable.  One oth­er thing I can tell you from expe­ri­ence is that read­ing this book out loud in a Scot­tish accent takes it from great up to the epic lev­el.  Just some­thing to think about.

7

Adorablest pea in the world. No joke.

Final­ly, and per­haps, most adorably, there’s Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s Lit­tle Pea.  This book is near and dear to my heart for a num­ber of rea­sons:  like Lit­tle Pea him­self, I was a picky eater as a child (still am, actu­al­ly, but not as bad­ly), I think it’s the world’s cutest thing, and also because anthro­po­mor­phiz­ing cute veg­eta­bles is the best thing in the world.  Lit­tle Pea is the main char­ac­ter of this sto­ry and it’s about how he hates to eat can­dy for din­ner every night and all he wants is some spinach for dessert.  It’s won­der­ful.

So there you are.  Six children’s books to love and cher­ish and read to the kids in your life at every oppor­tu­ni­ty.  Instill­ing a love of read­ing and lit­er­a­ture is impor­tant and grows more so every day.  Though our cul­ture is becom­ing increas­ing­ly paper­less (even I have a Nook, though I still prefer real live books), that doesn’t mean that it’s con­tain­ing any less words.  This blog is a per­fect exam­ple, I guess.

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16 Apr
2013

Cool Stuff Tuesday! Books!

In the spir­it of Nation­al Library Week, here are a cou­ple books reviews to whet your lit­er­ary appetite.  Enjoy!

The Maze Run­ner by James Dash­n­er

maze runner

In The Maze Run­ner, a group of boys liv­ing in a gigan­tic stone labyrinth strug­gles to under­stand the rea­son for their impris­on­ment and search for the maze’s exit, a job that’s made hard­er by a col­lec­tive amne­sia that caus­es the boys to dis­trust each oth­er and an inde­scrib­able dan­ger lurk­ing some­where behind the maze’s walls.  Com­pul­sive­ly read­able, Dashner’s series deals much more in mys­tery than oth­er dystopi­an nov­els for young adults, and there’s a creepi­ness found through­out The Maze Run­ner that real­ly sep­a­rates it from the crowd.  For fans of the gen­re, this is a must-read.

Diver­gent by Veron­i­ca Roth

divergent

One of the most pop­u­lar dystopi­an series out right now – and for good rea­son!  Diver­gent takes place in post-apoc­a­lyp­tic Chicago, where the city’s inhab­i­tants are divid­ed into five fac­tions – based on per­son­al attrib­ut­es like strength and brav­ery, intel­li­gence, and self­less­ness – and dis­cour­aged from asso­ci­at­ing with each oth­er.  This book has an inter­est­ing premise and fan­tas­tic char­ac­ters, both of which you’ll learn much more about the fur­ther you fall into the sto­ry.  While crit­ics seem eager to com­pare it to The Hunger Games tril­o­gy, Diver­gent goes far beyond your typ­i­cal dystopi­an sto­ry­line, explor­ing that fine line between order and chaos and encour­ag­ing its read­ers to re-exam­ine what it means to be loy­al, to be obe­di­ent. To be tru­ly afraid.