for the Month: February 2012

Leap Day!

Some important facts about February 29th

February 29, known as a leap day in the Gregorian calendar, is a date that occurs in most years that are evenly divisible by 4, such as 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Years that are evenly divisible by 100 do not contain a leap day, with the exception of years that are evenly divisible by 400, which do contain a leap day; thus 1900 did not contain a leap day while 2000 did. Years containing a leap day are called leap years. February 29 is the 60th day of the Gregorian calendar in such a year, with 306 days remaining until the end of that year

posted on Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
in the category Holidays

Introducing Abrams Appleseed

A new imprint from ABRAMS that offers books for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, ages birth to 5 years

The week before I officially began working at ABRAMS, I was invited to travel down to the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. as a member of the ABRAMS team. I had not a book to my name nor a business card to share. I had only inklings… inklings that the sort of books I would be creating would be nothing like those I was seeing on the exhibition floor. The marriage of ABRAMS (The Art of Books) and 0-5 publishing (the art of developmental mindfulness) has yielded something of an anomaly in the baby/toddler/preschool market. Our friend Bob Shea said it best: “You’re creating coffee table board books!” Indeed, our list fits just as comfortably in the mouths of babes as it does on display in your bookshelf.

posted on Friday, February 24th, 2012
in the category Children's Books

Pancakes on Shrove Tuesday

A tasty recipe from Warren Brown's new book, CakeLove in the Morning

With today being Shrove Tuesday and a traditional day to indulge in breakfast for dinner—specifically pancakes, I found Warren Brown’s Traditional Pancakes from his upcoming book CakeLove in the Morning (available for pre-order today and in stores in May!). In case you’re wondering where the tradition of eating pancakes on Shrove Tuesday came from, it always falls on the day before Lent begins, and since pancakes are mainly available from sugar, fat, flour, and eggs it is a celebration of foods that are traditionally restricted during the ritual fasting of Lent (thanks Wikipedia!).

posted on Tuesday, February 21st, 2012
in the category Cooking

IMPACT: 50 Years of the CFDA

New book and exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology

The Council of Fashion Designers of America’s aptly titled new book, IMPACT: 50 Years of the CFDA, is a celebration of the 50th anniversary of this legendary organization. Inside its pages, members of the CFDA such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Marc Jacobs, Alexander Wang, and Carolina Herrera recount not only some of their personal contributions to the industry of fashion – both what they hold most dear and what they are most famous for – but they also reflect on the concept of fashion as a whole – what it means, how it lives, breaths and adapts, while always remaining current.

posted on Friday, February 17th, 2012
in the category Fashion

Valentine’s Day

A passionate love from Sea Glass Hearts author Josie Iselin

It used to be that a Valentine would profess his (or her) love but never his identity. When I was a kid, my dad would perpetuate this tradition of mystery by leaving cards on the breakfast table on February 14th, that, using squiggly handwriting, were clearly from some unknown admirer. I loved this about my dad. Our current Valentine’s Day, however, is perhaps less about the unknown and more about a depth of love. It is a day to be passionate about your spouse, your lover, your mother or father, your kids or, as is my case on this Valentine’s Day, the beach. It is joyous and powerful to profess your love out loud.

posted on Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
in the category Holidays

World of Froud

The creative minds behind Labyrinth and Dark Crystal

Many of us raised in the eighties devoted countless hours to watching and rewatching Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal. Decades later, their cult following continues to grow. Maybe it’s the fascinating and more-than-slightly androgynous Goblin King, played by David Bowie in tights and a Tina Turner wig. Maybe it’s the soundtrack. (Even now, if asked to recite—or better yet, sing—the lyrics to “Magic Dance” or “As the World Falls Down,” I could . . . and would, if David Bowie was the one asking.) But really—and no offense, Jennifer Connelly—it’s the Goblins and the Fireys and the Cleaners that captivate and carry you from one twist of the Labyrinth to the next. And with no human cast, The Dark Crystal is drawn by Jen and Kira and the wild weirdness that accompanies them: the Skeksis and the Mystics, the leggy Landstriders, Aughra the oracle (who has always reminded me of a grumpy long-haired Pekingese, albeit with a marginally better grasp of language).

The creatures—and subsequently, our love of them—in both films are the work of Brian and Wendy Froud: Brian was the conceptual designer for Labyrinth and Dark Crystal, while Wendy sculpted and built puppets for the films (And Yoda! Different movie).

posted on Friday, February 10th, 2012
in the category Featured Book

Art in the Heartland

A visit to Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines, Iowa

Over the holidays I travelled back to my home state of Iowa (go Cyclones!). While there, I had the pleasure of visiting the new Pappajohn Sculpture Park in Des Moines. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much–Iowa isn’t exactly known as an art mecca. However, I was thrilled to find that the park is filled with pieces from some of the art world’s biggest names–Louise Bourgeois, Barry Flanagan, Deborah Butterfield, and Yoshitomo Nara, among many others. It was actually the highlight of my trip.

posted on Wednesday, February 8th, 2012
in the category Art

The Art of Doodling

Embellishing with pen and paper has a very special meaning

When my father was fifteen he ran away from home (Detroit) to Los Angeles. He wanted to work for Walt Disney as a cartoonist. This was in 1937. He rode the rails, thumbed rides, and eventually got to the west coast. Disney didn’t want him, so he stayed and worked in a diner until fate sent some next door neighbors in for breakfast. Busted, he returned home. Thirty years later, having become an epigraphist and classics professor, he could still embellish a letter to a homesick daughter with a sketch of himself swinging along in a new sports jacket that his wife thought was “a little loud.” I am that daughter and I can never take a pen to paper without some embellishing myself.

posted on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
in the category Art

ABRAMS Welcomes A New Addition

Pixie the espresso machine

Have you met Pixie? That’s the model name of our new espresso machine.

It’s shiny and red and is sitting just outside Michael’s conference room…and it brews the most delicious coffee!

We have a variety of roasts and intensities available and we’re hoping you’ll come by and have a cup (even if you aren’t on “the calendar”).

posted on Monday, February 6th, 2012
in the category Around the Office

New York International Gift Fair

A week at "Gift Show"

This week marked both the peak and the end of the New York International Gift Fair—a whirlwind experience of soaps, fragrances, artisanal jewelry, throw pillows, beautiful furniture, and books!

posted on Friday, February 3rd, 2012
in the category Conferences