The Zhongshuge Bookstore, Chengdu, China is nothing short of awesome.
Bookstore owner and book publisher Jin Hao in Shanghai has been passionate about bookstores for more than two decades since he quit his teaching job and opened his very first bookstore.
By 2010, his chain had grown to 21 stores but had major challenges with the fierce competition from online stores and digital publishing.
So he realized he had to reimagine and reinvent the concept of what a bookstore can be and how it can be innovative. And he enlisted Shanghai-based designer Li Xiang of XL-Muse to help him recreate the book buying experience and environment.
As a result, Jin Hao opened his first three Zhongshuge bookstores in Shanghai, each with its own style, them and character.
The next step was the 10,000 square-foot (930 Square metres) store in a busy shopping mall in Hangzhou which featured vast spaces, mirrored ceilings, whimsical shelving, nature-inspired quirkiness.
And the results are amazing.
In this store, both the lecture hall and the children’s area have mirrored ceilings which make the spaces look much larger and also create a slightly mad upside-down experience.
The kids are treated to whimsical, massive mushrooms, shelving in the shape of pandas and bamboo forests they can imagine all sorts of adventures happening in. This jungle feel creates an expression of the magic of books and of their power to change our lives for the better.
We can only hope that the demise of incredible bookstores is going to be just a hiccup and that more inspired spaces like this start to pop up everywhere!
And just in case you are going to be in Chengdu, the Zhongshuge Bookstore is located at Jinhui E Street, Quhou Qu, Chengdu.
Sweet and Cool organics from KidsCase Summer 2017 range! This collection has the base of the characteristic minimalist look that we have come to love and expect from Kidscase. Throughout the range is the soft feel of certified organic cotton in understated tones, complemented by bold prints and splashes of bright colors, with a nod to the 60’s. And unexpected stripes and neat looking cardigans in a cool summer knit.
Kidscase is a small, indie company, founded in 2000 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, by Jacqueline van Nieuwkerk (designer) and marketer Merel Verbrugge (sales & publicity). Their aim is to design collections that fit the lifestyle of individualistic and modern parents and their children.
Check them out at Kidscase.com.
What wonderfully simple, yet elegant style by new French Polish label, Amelie et Sophie!
With a mission to dress little girls in almost exclusively natural fibres and carefully selected fabrics, they have hit the right note! The collections are handmade in small European workshops to make sure that each piece is a combination of perfect quality and uniqueness.
This label is a symphony of pure cashmere, all types of silk, cotton and the most delicate, soft and natural fabrics so girls can look great and feel comfortable. All of the designs have a flow and easeful style which lends itself to an easy, luxurious look.
View the whole collection here on the Amelie et Sophie site.
Go right here to get the recipe and try them out!
And a very happy and beautiful 4th of July to you and your family if you are celebrating! xoxo, jeanne
Just found the Coolest Lace Doily Bowls. I’ve always liked lace doilies and wonder what else one can do with them apart from having them gather dust under knick knacks in grandma’s house!
So, here is a very easy craft to turn those doilies into functional pieces of art.
– Bowls for food coloring and glue mixture
– Glass or plastic bowls in different sizes and shapes – for shaping the doilies
If you want to make these, go to Apartment Therapy to see exactly how!
And you can also treat doilies in liquid porcelain and harden them in a kiln. I just saw this on Craft Forum and this women were part of exhibition in New York city gallery.
I got a real kick out of these Awesome LEGO Cat Sculptures. Not only are these great for cat lovers but also for people who can’t have pets in their apartment building. And also of course, for kids who want a cat, but for whatever reason, can’t have one. Obviously, these won’t be cuddly because they are well…plastic, but on the other hand, there will be no litter box, no cat hair all over the house and no cans of cat food!
These LEGO-inspired figurines that look like cats, come from Hong Kong-based company JEKCA. The pixelated sculptures are the same size as the average cat, measuring 1.6-feet high and come in different breeds and poses.
The toy kittens come in a kit that you put together, not unlike IKEA furniture! And then the kids or you can position them as a single sculpture or have kitty theatre productions and such. We are fans!
And if kitties aren’t your thing – yes, they have dogs too and believe it or not, parrots and fast food!
The cats sell for about $80US. Check out their whole collection right here at JEKCA.
Here is our pick of the Coolest Summer Activity Books for Kids! We love summer and the freedom from a tight school schedule and we are pretty good about always having something fun and interesting to do. Yet there are times when activity books really come in handy. I’m sure there are other wonderful ones out, but it’s good to have a short and handy list at your fingertips when things get hairy.
I find activity books are great in the car and in those in-between times when the kiddos start to get restless. It’s true that the girls never complain of being bored, but it is nice to have them occupied when afternoon lag sets in after a busy summer morning.
So, here are the Coolest Summer Activity Books for Kids this season:
1. Wreck this Journal by Keri Smith. We. Love. This. Book!! For anyone who’s ever had trouble starting, keeping, or finishing a journal or sketchbook, Wreck This Journal, is a subversive illustrated book that challenges readers to make mistakes to create a mess! And the best part is the wrecking part. What kid does not love destroying things? I just love the irreverence and creativity of this book.Through a series of creative and quirky prompts, guerilla artist Keri Smith encourages journalers to engage in destructive acts—poking holes through pages, adding photos and defacing them, painting pages with coffee, coloring outside the lines, and more—in order to experience the true creative process. Wreck This Journal invites kids to wreck with color: mixing colors to make mud, letting chance dictate your color choice, weaving with brightly colored strips of paper, and more.
Here’s what peeps have to say about it:
“A conceptual artist and author luring kids into questioning the world and appreciating every smell, texture and mystery in it.” —Time Magazine
“Keri Smith may well be the self-help guru this DIY generation deserves.” —The Believer Buy Here.
2. Fill-Me-In by author/illustrator Moose Allain has very hip doodle illustrations. Just a wonderful and interesting coloring book, and drawing pad. There is lots of space on the page and in the mind of the kids to do their own thing. Buy here.
3. Amazed by Laurence King Publishing.This wonderfully illustrated and cleverly designed book leads the kids to help a lost boy to navigate cactus fields, caverns and treetops, all in the form of ingenious mazes, on his odyssey to return to his friends. This book is a pleasant challenge, so will keep the older kids going for a while. Not for very young kiddos! Buy here.
4. Big Magic for Little Hands by Joshua Jay. Kids love magic. And they are intrigued at how to do it. Joshua Jay, started doing magic when he was 7 and was named champion at the World Magic Seminar (the Olympics of magic) by the time he was 16. His Big Magic for Little Hands has 25 astonishing illusions for kids ages 7 and up. Kids love this! Buy here.
5. Go Photo by Alice Provjansky has 25 activities for kids who are young photographers. For some of these activities, you don’t even need an actual camera. Aimed at children between eight and twelve years old, this playful and fun collection of projects encourages young readers to use their imagination, get messy with materials and experiment in new and exciting ways. This is a very versatile activity book as the kids can do solo activities or group and they can be done anywhere. Some don’t even require a camera! Each project also features a series of pictures and handy tips to help guide the reader step-by-step, building a visual language and encouraging creativity as they go. A great book that goes far beyond the filling-in-time kind of activity book. We are huge fans! Buy here.
If you have any fave summer activity books for kids of your own, please share them on the Bellissima kids Facebook Page! Or comment below.
I know it feels like summer already if you are in the States but I just love this Magnificent Daisy Burlap craft for Spring! It’s not very difficult and the results are amazing. I would love to make a big bunch of these in all different sizes for an installation! I like the earthy feel that the natural jute lends to the project. And the items you need to make these are not complicated.
Here’s the list:
Most of them are available from Amazon or in craft stores.
This gorgeous label, Little Emerald from Italy, produces Luxury Lace Creations based on lace patterns from the Renaissance period. This very unique label only produces one collection a year and is extremely intricate in their handiwork. Of course, this is the high end of the luxury kids’ market, so not for everyone!
Little Emerald has two basic silhouettes: the classic princess ball dress look or a simple shift like cut, both with stunning lace bodices or overall lace bodies.
There’s an interesting history of Renaissance lace on the Little Emerald site, which highlights the inspiration of this label and how they have revived the traditional methods of lace making. And also how lace has been used for royalty. And that’s where your little princess comes in – the modern princess in all little girls.