Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice

Now that Buy Nothing Day has come and gone, it’s time to start ticking off that  holiday gift list.  If you’ve got any little ones on that list, you’re going to want to pay close attention. What better way to end Vegan MoFo, than to tell you about one of the best children’s books I’ve read in a long time.


Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice is the tale of a not-so-typical family, who lives in a not-so-typical house.  Our protagonist, Thora, well, thinks. She thinks a great deal.  She might be called the brains of the family. Her two Viking family members, Aksel and Krog, however,  are less pensive and a bit more physical.  The brawn, if you will.  They get pumped.  Totally pumped, even.  About, well, lots of “stuff” from heavy metal music to kale.  These two “non-hairy Vikings” are reminiscent of Bill and Ted in all the best ways.

They also get pumped about juicing.  Yes, juicing. Thora grows concerned when Aksel and Krog learn about a new ingredient that could make their juice even healthier for them (to get them even more PUMPED!), because what is good for them, well, isn’t good for everyone, particularly for the little beings about to become collateral damage.

There are no good guys, no bad guys, no preaching or judging.  Just a family who wants to do the right thing and be healthy.  Author/illustrator/publisher VanBalen articulates all this and more through a quirky story with off-beat and unexpected characters and a sense of humor.  What could be better?

This book is the synthesis of so much of what I love :

Creativity – Nathalie (can I call you Nathalie?)  not only drempt-up the characters, but she’s  sewn them into  plush doll-protagonists!  This is 3-D creativity, not simply a linear story with a beginning and end.

Art – The drawings, mixed-media illustrations and photos throughout the book are visually interesting, and do more than simply accompany the story – I think they reflect a child’s imagination (and mine) as they use photos and illustration, which dove-tails nicely reality and fiction.

Critical thinking - (ie : questioning the dominant paradigm) – We want to be happy.  We want to be healthy.  We try to make the right food choices, but is eating everything that could be  good for our health a good idea, especially when it harms other beings?

Renegade spirit – Ms. VanBalen self-published and created ThoraThinksPress to do it, taking DIY to a supreme level which frankly, gets me pumped!

Though Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice is suggested for readers age 6 and up,  kids of all ages like to colour, right?  I know I do.  Check out these free colouring pages that accompany the book. They’ll keep little ones creating and thinking, too.  You can also read more about Nathalie or find out more about the book here.

Garlic-Onion-Beet-Spinach-Mango-Carrot-Grapefruit Juice is a visual and intellectual delight – the Dr. Seuss-esque title alone still has me giggling aloud.  It would make a wonderful holiday gift for children of all ages, vegan or not.

And speaking of gifts, if you’re looking for a unique and handmade original  present,  visit the Thora Thinks Store and order yourself one of the characters from the book, buttons, or veggie magnets (I really love the magnets).

And that concludes this year’s Vegan Month of Food!  It was a lot of fun, but whew, am I beat.  See you tomorrow for the winners of the tea and chocolate give-aways!

W.I.P. Wednesday : Knitting 101

I’m finally learning to knit.  I figured now that it’s reaching 22°c and 25°c outside it’s just perfect scarf-knitting weather…

Obviously I’m joking, but I am finally getting the hang of it. The problem is I’m such a visual learner – had I found someone to sit down with me and show me what to do, I’d have learned a long time ago I suppose.  I gave it a go a few weeks ago, but skipped so many stitches I pulled it all out and am giving it another go.  Hopefully I’ll get it done before too long!

(The grey scarf I’m knitting is behind the book!)

This book has really helped me. I had another one, but it wasn’t as geared towards “true” beginners as this one is. It’s got lots of diagrams and pictures, so that works for me.

I guess I’ll try to work in a few stitches between packing boxes next week as I’ll have a full week’s vacation. Happyfish.

A warm welcome to all our new Wipsters! If you’d like to join the Wipster list, just leave a comment and let me know. The W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool just keeps growing – don’t be shy! Those photos are there to inspire, and we would love to see what you’ve been up to. Think of it as your parents’ fridge : a safe and loving place to highlight what you’ve been working on (without the strawberry jam stains on the door).

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W.I.P. Wednesday : “Les ouvrages du jardin des modes”

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I’m in a rather slumpy place…I just can’t seem to begin any of the new projects I was excited about, let alone finish the W.I.Ps I’d hoped to complete during my summer holidays.

One of the best remedies to such a creative block is to surround myself with beauty and creativity. Spending time in the forest with Guppy does help, as does flipping through some of my favourite art and craft books. I’ve been particularly enjoying this one, Les ouvrages du jardin des modes, and I thought I’d share a little of it with you.

les ouvrages du jardin des modes

This book was a 3 Euro thrift store find I happened upon during my Winter holiday in Toulouse. I was still hobbling around on crutches, but I did manage to convince my SIL to take me op-shopping, and was so glad I did. This beautiful book is a sort of cataloguing of the different project techniques that had been featured over (I think) a six-year period by Jardin des Modes. It features many techniques including : tapestry, embroidery, smocking, patchwork, embroidery-mosaics, Portuguese tapestries, and so much more. It briefly traces the historical roots of many of these techniques and gives cursory explanations. I think I’ll just let the photos do the talking. I hope you enjoy!

Les smocks (smocking)

I think the section on smocking is my favourite.

Des patchworks modernes

Watercolour examples of patchwork motifs – so beautiful!

Les Pissenlits du "Les ouvrages du jardin des modes"

A beautiful Italian tablecloth : linen with embroidered dandilions.

Les Pivoines du "les ouvrages du jardin des modes"

These pionies look like watercolours, and the stitches look like brushtrokes.

"Les jeux de fonds" du livre "les ouvrages du jardin des modes"

Various stitching techniques…

"Les ouvrages du jardin des modes"

A bright and cheery Swedish horse.

This book is just absolutely lovely, and has so many wonderful photos and drawings. I wish I could share all of it with you, but obviously can’t for copyright reasons. I hope you liked this little sneak peek, though.

Have you stumbled upon any new sources of inspiration? I’d love to hear about what’s inspiring you. Also, don’t forget to see what the other Wipsters are up to, and to check out our W.I.P. Wednesday Flickr Pool, too. We’ve got so many new members – welcome to all of you! I’m also getting our Featured Wipsters lined up for the Autumn, with September ushering in the newest Featured Wipster.

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