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Welcome to our blog! Here you'll find our weekly dog and cat contest winners along with the inside scoop on some of our favorite calendars and more. 

Travel Tuesday: Old England Department Store

Grafton, Vermont - Travel Tuesday - 1000 Places to See Before You Die

What was once a grand place to do your shopping is now a historical site, home to antique musical instruments and a place you must visit at least once in the 1000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day® Calendar

Beside the Place Royale and across from the Magritte Museum, the Old England Department Store stands as a testament to Art Nouveau architecture. Belgian architect Paul Saintenoy built the iconic structure from girded steel and glass. While Art Nouveau serves as the primary stylistic influence, Saintenoy also incorporated elements of 18th century neo-classicism. 

Art Nouveau translates to “new art,” and the movement reigned supreme in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Tributes to the natural environment and curved, flowing lines filled the buildings, artwork and furniture made in this style.

On the outside of the Old England Department Store, the Art Nouveau influence makes its mark in enormous arched windows and curvaceous spires. The building almost has a cathedral-esque quality to it with its grandeur and ample arches. Within, wrought-iron accents, curving lines and stained glass perpetuate the Art Nouveau theme.

However, beholding this majestic structure is only one reason to pay it a visit. Another part of history is captured at this site, with over 8,000 historic instruments displayed at the Musical Instrument Museum inside. The museum, which is visited by more than 125,000 individuals annually, is owned by the country of Belgium and belongs to the Royal Museums of Art and History group.

The collection actually predates the building, with the first hundred instruments furnished by Belgian King Leopold II in 1877. The rest of the collection comes from multiple sources, and the museum also owns a restoration workshop to repair and refurbish the instruments they own and receive. 

A history of Music in Western CivilizationThe instruments capture a history of 18th-19th century Belgium and Europe through music. A self-guided audio tour takes visitors through the mechanical instruments in the basement, the traditional instruments on the ground floor, the modern orchestral instruments on the first floor and keyboard and string instruments on the second floor. 

Be sure to look for the rare and unique instruments, such as a set of huge Chinese stone chimes and the only surviving luthéal, a version of a piano that creates sounds similar to a cimbalon used by composer Maurice Ravel. Before you go, prep with the informative and exciting CD, A History of Music in Western Civilization—you'll impress your fellow travelers with your knowledge of all the instruments you see! 

Read on for more on 1000 Places to See Before You Die book and calendar line from Workman Publishing and Page-A-Day. 

   

5 Month Countdown To Season 5 of Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey's Lady Edith - JewelrySeason 5 of Downton Abbey is only 5 months away, and the anticipation is really building. In a July event to promote the show, Michelle Dockery let slip that someone new, "comes to the house and creates havoc." Bring on the havoc!

(Image on left from DowntonAbbeyOnline.com)

The first season of PBS Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey opens in the Edwardian Era, in 1912, a time when fashion was exploding in England and around the world. The Princess of Wales (Mary of Teck, once Dutchess of York, later Queen Mary) was a fashion trendsetter of the time. Her fondness for dramatic diamonds and pearls is reflected in the stunning shimmer and bold, ornate design of pieces from that era. 

As the Downton Abbey epic storyline continues into the late 1910's and early 1920's, jewelry design takes on a distinctly Art Noveau and Art Deco look. You'll see Lady Edith and The Countess of Grantham wearing broaches, earrings, and necklaces with strong lines, symmetrical curves, and floral themes appear through this era as well. Also popular during this era are long draping necklaces, called sautoirs, usually made of pearls and ending with a tassel.   

Here's a lovely informational video on the details of Edwardian jewelry and findings from Antique Jewelry University.

Browse the ShopPBS.org store for stunning Downton Abbey inspired jewelry. What will you wear to tea time?  

  

As always, Page-A-Day® is on trend! We're thrilled to share our 2015 Downton Abbey calendars. Last year, our 2014 edition sold out way before tea-time... so preorder yours today!

Meet Mandy: This Week’s Page-A-Day® Cat Photo Contest Winners

Mandy - This week's Page-A-Day Cat Photo Contest WinnerMandy was a Feral Kitten who became a Sweet Girl. She is hoping for the day when her "grass" will be legal in our state of Pennsylvania. Until then, she enjoys it in the privacy of her own home.

Why do cats eat grass? Find out on Pet MD!

Congratulations, Mandy! You're this week's Page-A-Day® Cat Photo Contest winner.

checkEnter your cat in the Page-A-Day® Cat Contest. Vote for this week’s cat contestants.

Meet Dharma: This Week’s Page-A-Day® Dog Photo Contest Winner

Laney, Page-A-Day Dog Contest WinnerDharma was rescued from a shelter and earned her name from a character that was on a TV show called "Dharma and Greg". As you can see, she is not a blonde - like the character was, but my Dharma had the goofiest ears and tripped over her own feet. Dharma is a favorite at our local ball field.

When I initially started to bring her there, people took one look at her being a "Pit Bull" and walked way around her. Dharma would sit there, wagging her tail and entire body - just waiting for someone to come pet her! Finally, a friend's child came up and started petting her, then another child, and another - all to their parent's fearful apprehension. This continued through baseball season and now if Dharma isn't with me, we have some disappointed children on our hands. She became our baseball team's "mascot", so to speak and was a familiar face to everyone by the end of the season. Dharma can't wait for next baseball season to start!

Congratulations to Dharma, this week's Page-A-Day® Dog Photo Contest Winner! 

checkEnter your dog in the Page-A-Day® Dog Contest. Vote for this week’s dog contestants.

Today is Going to Be a Great Day Artist Focus: Katie Daisy

Let's Have Fun Today - Today is Going to Be a Great Day - Stephanie Baxter

Sometimes, you just need someone to say two magical words to you: Let Go! Skillfully scrawled across the page of today’s Today is Going to Be a Great Day Page-A-Day® calendar, “Let Go” means a lot of things. Put the kibosh on your grudges. Stop obsessing over worries and anxieties. Release your negative thoughts. Be free.

Katie Daisy, the pen behind this word art, knows a thing or two about being free. For one, she considers herself a professional daydreamer. When not daydreaming, she can be found drawing and illustrating. Katie’s passions in life provide a good idea of where she finds her inspiration: “songbirds, stargazing, love poems, hiking, mornings, and wandering the country.”

As a hopeless romantic, Katie is adept at bringing out the dreamer in all of us with her fanciful work. Her creations, which are sold on Etsy under the collection “The Wheatfield,” depict charming subjects like wildflowers in Mason jars, a colorful mountain cottage and a smiling seated pig. It’s truly a happy coincidence that Katie’s last name is Daisy—a name that accurately conveys the nature of her work. Flowers appear often and bright colors—like yellow—grace her paper canvas.

In watercolor and acrylic, she spreads her positive messages—or the uplifting quotes of others—using invigorating or calming hues, and swirling letters. Katie does more than aesthetic justice to the wise advice of Ralph Waldo Emerson: “Live in the sunshine, swim in the sea, drink the wild air.” Katie also pays tribute to the states, with an artistic rendition of the shape of various states behind phrases like, “I Love Oregon” or “Take me to MT.” 

If you want to spread Katie’s artwork and messages beyond a framed print on your wall, enjoy her cheerful vibe in a calendar, notebook or planner. Share the love and mail a friend a Katie Daisy card with a handwritten note inside to personalize the positive message.

Follow Katie's advice and let go of whatever plagues you today. Learn more on her Facebook page or Pinterest collection.

Follow Katie Daisy's board Artsy on Pinterest.

Today is Going to Be a Great Day Page-A-Day® and Wall Calendars:

Nora the Piano Cat featured today in 365 Cats Page-A-Day®

If you’ve ever wondered whether your feline friend has hidden powers that emerge when you’re not watching, you might be onto something. There’s at least one cat out there with musical talents, and she’s not afraid to show it.

Nora the Piano Cat appears on today’s page in the 365 Cats Page-A-Day® calendar. Nora is moved by music—several times a day, this gorgeous cat feels inspired to hop up onto the piano bench of her owner and play a little tune.

Nora even has her own website now, and is kind of a big deal. It wasn’t always this way, however, for this pussy prodigy. Sadly, life once looked rather bleak for Nora. Born to a stray, she spent her days at a pet shelter in New Jersey, wishing and hoping for a good home—and one with a good piano, too. One day, as she played with her shelter mates, Betsy and Burnell waltzed through the door. Betsy, a piano teacher, picked Nora up and she began pawing at her long braid. It was love at first sight.

Luckily, Nora’s new home had two gorgeous grand pianos, plus other musical instruments, art, brightly colored toys and several other cats. Before taking up the piano, Nora became the leader of the cat pack in the house, and made sure everyone knew she was in charge.

Soon enough, Nora began experimenting with the piano. The feeling of the keys beneath her paws—and the resulting melodic sounds—lit a spark in Nora’s heart. How wonderful it was to create music! As Nora says, “practices makes purr-fect,” and soon enough, she was as good as some of Betsy’s younger students. Despite Nora’s bossy demeanor, she does enjoy collaboration when it comes to the piano, and will never say “no” to playing a duet.

Nora’s musical talents were “discovered” by Betsy’s students, who snapped photos and captured videos of her playing with their phones. As it turns out, a piano-playing cat is something of a novelty, and a rarity, too.

Before Nora knew it, she had many admirers—surprisingly, none of them feline. These human fans make drawings and write poems dedicated to Nora, and buy t-shirts with her face on them. Then, Nora did the impossible. She learned to write and authored two books: Nora the Piano Cat’s Guide to Becoming a Good Musician (Or how to get good at anything hard), and her memoir, My Story: A Picture Book. There you have it: the story of how a shelter cat became a YouTube and musical sensation.

If you have a unique (and talented!) cat like Nora, enter your pet into the Page-A-Day® Cat Contest. Or, vote for this week’s cat contestants! (Last week, Chloë, who hails all the way from Uganda, and has a milk mustache, took the metaphoric blue ribbon.)

For more in musical cats, check out the album Songs of the Cat, in which Garrison Keillor and a German opera star create odes to cats.

Stone Cold Satisfaction with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams CookbookIf there’s one thing that many kids and adults have in common, it’s the ability to sink into the blissful enjoyment of an ice cream cone. While adults might have the skills necessary to polish off a cone without getting ice cream all over their faces, they look just as wildly happy doing so as the younger crowds. Cold frozen treats are welcome anytime of year, but the hot days of summer are tailor-made for ice cream indulgence.

While a visit to an ice cream shop is always fun—and sometimes daunting with dozens of choices calling your name from the freezer—a batch of homemade ice cream is simply unbeatable. There’s really nothing like sinking your spoon into a bowl of ice cream that you handcrafted yourself using your favorite ingredients to create the ultimate flavors.

Jeni Britton Bauer knows all about that stone-cold satisfaction. In fact, she’s been hip to the homemade ice cream jive since 1996. With over 15 Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams stores in Ohio and other states, Jeni has homemade ice cream expertise that rivals Ben & Jerry’s. Thankfully, she has shared that expertise in her book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream Desserts.

At a whopping 200-plus pages, the gorgeous tome of treats includes more than just basic ice cream recipes. There are baked goods that pair with ice cream, ice cream cakes and sundaes with trailblazing toppings like Whiskey Caramel and Everything Bagel Gravel. Of course, there are ice cream recipes, too, that will have you dying to get a taste of the likes of Cumin & Honey Butterscotch.

We’ve settled on a sophisticated choice for our first recipe to try: Salty Goat’s Milk Chocolate Frozen Custard. Jeni describes this one as “chewy in body” with “milkiness and tang”—we couldn’t be more intrigued! For her own custard, Jeni sources fair-trade, single-farm chocolate from Missouri, but you can use any chocolate you’d like. The goat’s milk adds a delightful tartness to the flavor profile of this ice cream, and cream cheese adds even more tang to the mix. Finally, sea salt adds the perfect contrast to all that tanginess and rich chocolate-y goodness.

Here’s the recipe from Jeni’s book, beautifully laid out and simple to follow:

Salty Goat's Milk Chocolate Frozen Custard From Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams

We think it would go wonderfully with a smattering of strawberries and a dollop of whipped cream, or, for the extreme chocolate lovers out there, with a flourless chocolate cake.

For more of Jeni’s ice cream wisdom, check out her other book, Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home.  Have fun and prepare to seriously impress the guests at your next dinner party with all of these awesome recipes. Happy summertime ice cream eating!

Today is Going to Be a Great Day Artist Focus: Lindsay Hopkins

Today is Going to be a Great Day, Lindsay Hopkins, Pen and PaintAs July comes to close, make these last couple of days of the month good ones—great ones, actually. Start by thinking back to your childhood—a time of carefree activities and fun. Did you love to play in the dirt? Were you and the family dog attached at the hip? Or, like Lindsay Hopkins, today’s featured artist, were your hands always occupied with crayons and fingerpaint?

Take a few minutes today to do something that made you ridiculously happy as a kid, and you may find that your day becomes pretty awesome. Lindsay did just that several years ago and now has Pen + Paint—her own art and stationery business—to show for it.

As a young girl, Lindsay was always drawing and coloring, or engaged in other creative projects. When she took an art history class in college, her passion for pens and paints became even stronger. While painting had always been a hobby, it became a profession when stepped into the role of stay-at-home mom after she had her first baby.

Lindsay, Pen and PaintLindsay began selling her work on Etsy, focusing on art fit for the walls of a nursery or children’s room. Her artwork evolved through many stages and today, she creates inspiring art prints, colorful stationery and hand-painted canvases using Faber Castell Pitt pens, Prismacolor markers and watercolor pens and acrylic paints.

Lindsay’s stationery features beautiful vibrant colors and self-affirming messages. One of our favorites is a card with a cluster of mountains embellished with almost psychedelic patterns and designs reminiscent of stained glass. The words, “You are never too old to set a new goal or dream a new dream,” fill the snow-capped peaks.

Pen and Paint, Lindsay - Today is Going to Be a Great DayPositive, simple and memorable messages like these are a theme throughout Lindsay’s work. “Happiness is handmade,” declares one card amidst a variety of arts and crafts materials like scissors and spools of thread. “Be Still & Know,” another card waxes wisely within a sea of colorful teardrops. “Don’t You Dare Give Up,” another card implores within a simple black-and-white design.

Lindsay’s artwork is perfect to give to a friend in need of some uplifting words, or about to embark on a challenge. The cards are so beautiful, you could also just frame them and hang them up where you need a little inspiration yourself—at your work desk, on your night table or even on the fridge.

You can check out Lindsay’s collection on Pinterest, and become an official Pen + Paints fan on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit Lindsay Hopkins's profile on Pinterest.

Today is Going to Be a Great Day Page-A-Day® and Wall Calendars:

Travel Tuesday: A Market Lover’s Mecca

Grafton, Vermont - Travel Tuesday - 1000 Places to See Before You Die

If you’re wondering why a market made the list of 1000 Places to See Before You Die in the Page-A-Day® calendar, consider this: markets are vibrant microcosms of their communities.

Ask seasoned travelers what the best way is to get to know a country, and many will point you to a local market. There, you can observe and interact with locals, ogle street performers, discover local produce, encounter popular dishes and practice your language skills, too. It’s a great place to while away an afternoon, eat-on-the-go, snap colorful photos and pick up souvenirs to remember the whole experience when you return home.

In the United States, markets usually happen only on weekends or select days of the week. In other countries like Brazil, markets are a daily occurrence, operating as consistently as grocery stores for people to sell and buy food and other products. One of the most famous markets in Brazil as Ver-o-Peso—a veritable Mecca for market lovers.

In Brazil, the many tents and stands that comprise Ver-o-Peso actually constitute a national monument. As the largest outdoor public market in Brazil—and with 50,000 daily visitors and 6,000 workers—it’s no surprise that Ver-o-Peso is officially recognized by the country. Located in the town of Belém in northern Brazil, the market neighbors ports that have long been hubs of trade.

What exactly is for sale at Ver-o-Peso? Amongst the colorful crafts, tables of fish, and Brazil nuts, are baskets upon baskets of small dark berries. These are açaí berries, native to the Amazon Rainforest. Most residents of the United States have now likely heard of açaí due to a relatively recent rise in popularity. Not only are açaí berries delicious, but they’re also jam-packed with antioxidants, amino acids and omega fatty acids that improve the immune system and spike metabolism.

Acai Berry from Ver-o-Peso Market in Brazil - 1000 Places to See Before You Die CalendarAçaí berries have more tricks up their sleeves. Packed with vitamins and loaded with protein, this superfruit is an edible panacea of sorts. If you’re lucky enough to make it to the Ver-o-Peso market and purchase some fresh-from-the-Amazon berries, you can pop them into your mouth like blueberries. There is also no shortage of recipes and ways to use açaí. You can juice them, make sorbet, blend them into smoothies, or layer them with yogurt in parfaits. When your new açaí obsession gets you on a health kick, get more recipes and tips from The Earthbound Cook to stay on track!

Of course, if Ver-o-Peso is on your list of places to go before you die, but that trip’s a ways away, you can purchase açaí products in the U.S. Look for juices and smoothies at health food stores or smoothie bars. A glass of açaí juice is no handful of fresh berries plucked from a basket at Ver-o-Peso, but it will tide you over until your trip.

Read on for more on 1000 Places to See Before You Die book and calendar line from Workman Publishing and Page-A-Day. 

   

Meet Chloë: This Week’s Page-A-Day® Cat Photo Contest Winners

Chloe - This week's Page-A-Day Cat Photo Contest WinnerI live in a walled compound in Kampala, Uganda. One day in early Oct 2012, Chloë's very young, malnourished mother came over the wall with a single, tiny kitten, black with a "got milk" mustache. After a couple of days of feeding them and making friends, I managed to get them into my house. A vet treated both. When Chloe's mom gained strength, she disappeared. Chloë stayed behind and joined older brothers Kofi (now 12 years) and Pip (2 1/2 years), both also strays.

Congratulations, Chloë! You're this week's Page-A-Day® Cat Photo Contest winner.

checkEnter your cat in the Page-A-Day® Cat Contest. Vote for this week’s cat contestants.

Meet Laney: This Week’s Page-A-Day® Dog Photo Contest Winner

Laney, Page-A-Day Dog Contest WinnerLaney is a 2 year old Golden Retriever who loves her tennis balls! Her dream day would be outside with her Daddy and a new can of tennis balls. As soon as her family gets home from work Laney is at the door with a ball in her mouth.

When she is not running and chasing balls, Laney is curled up on the couch beside her family. She also loves to chase her cat brother and snuggle with him too!

Congratulations to Laney, this week's Page-A-Day® Dog Photo Contest Winner! 

checkEnter your dog in the Page-A-Day® Dog Contest. Vote for this week’s dog contestants.

Sustainable Home Brewing and a Year of Beers

Summertime and the livin's easy! All you need is a tasty beer and a patch of shade to call your own to make the perfect summer day. If you're in to brewing your own beer, you must check out the new book from Workman, Sustainable Homebrewing. Author Amelia Slayton Loftus shares her expert knowledge in this comprehensive guide that includes everything homebrewers of all levels need to know to brew delicious, organic beer. Check out the 12-step process for Sustainable Homebrewing, and see if it's the right time for you to jump in and brew your own summer beers!

Sustainable Homebrewing covers the whys and hows of organic brewing, things to consider when buying equipment, and everything you need to know about organic ingredients (what makes them different, how to get them, and how to make substitutions). She also offers more than 30 irresistible recipes. You’ll learn how to brew sustainably by growing ingredients yourself, recycling water, using solar energy, and achieving zero waste. Loftus also includes information on developing new recipes, tips for honing competition skills, and a tasting guide to different beer styles.

About A Year of Good Beer! 2015 Page-A-Day Calendar: Cheers to a year of fantastic recommendations and guaranteed good drinking. Pour Sapporo’s Reserve Pilsner, boasting a harmonious marriage of bold malted barley and quality hops. A coffee porter done right: Kona’s Pipeline, with a distinct but subtle flavor of Kona’s famous coffee beans. Plus delicious pairings, trivia, quotes, lore, and more—including a summer refresher to crack open after a tough day of yard work: Fancy Lawnmower, of course!

 

 

A Year of Good Beer from Page-A-Day® Calendar

Water Music Crossword and Desert Island Escape

Water music crossword from Mensa Crossword Puzzles

What would you bring with you to a desert island? For many of our fans, the answer is loud and clear—crossword puzzles! 

Whether you're in a desert island in the Caribbean, a beach on the Atlantic or Pacific, or a kiddie pool out in the back yard, our Mensa 10-Minute Crossword Puzzles 2015 Page-A-Day Calendar will be an excellent companion on a summer day. 

If a fantasy facation on a desert island is your respite from the cruel world, check out our Islands 2015 Gallery Calendar: perpetual sunshine, warm sand between your toes, a gentle breeze, water in all varieties of blue. Trek Hawaii’s plunging Waimanu Valley. See the sparkling pure quartz sand of Whitsunday’s Whitehaven Beach. And don’t miss Martinique—dubbed “island of flowers” by the native Carib people. With hundreds of gorgeous island destinations photographed in full color, Islands is a getaway with every glance. This year’s cover spotlights the Maldives.

You can email team@pageaday.com for the solutions to the crossword puzzle!

 

Shoes Engagement Calendar Designer Focus: Jerome C. Rousseau

No matter what you're wearing, if your feet are cloaked in a pair of Rousseaus, that’s all anyone will notice. Jerome C. Rousseau puts his best foot forward this week in the Shoe Engagement Page-A-Day® calendar. 

Jerome C. Rousseau shoes (The Community - Pop Culture Geek)

Jerome C. Rousseau (Maegan Tintari)Since he launched his label in 2008, Jerome’s shoes have been walking runways and decorating famous feet without pause. Jerome, who is originally from Quebec, calls art and music his first creative loves. As a teenager, he began to sketch shoes after being inspired by a Deee-Lite video clip. If you’ve seen a Deee-Lite video, and you’ve seen shoes by Rousseau, then this artistic tie makes perfect sense. Think ‘80s on the cusp of the ‘90s. Day-glo neon colors. Shiny leather. Sky-high platforms. Enough said.

While there’s a healthy artistic chasm between the Deee-Lite aesthetic and the style of Jerome’s sophisticated line, the original influence is readily apparent. He calls it “overstated retro footwear”—a description no one would attach to Jerome’s high-end line today. Jerome honed his skills by studying footwear design at London’s Cordwainers College, and working with the likes of Matthew Williamson, John Richmond and John Rocha. This proved a solid background from which to launch his own label, which is manufactured in Italy.

These days, modern art, European design, pop culture and nightlife also inspire Jerome’s designs. In turn, his designs inspire pop culture and nightlife, with celebrities like Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz and Elle Fanning strapping Rousseaus on their feet.

His Spring 2014 collection is awash in bright pinks, polka dots and ornate design. Corkboard material transforms into a posh sandal with a blocky heel as well as an elegant toeless pump. Shimmering green iridescent leather is fashioned into leaves—or are they feathers?—that sit atop the foot in funky sandals. One of the most flooring things about Jerome’s aesthetic is that in a single season’s collection, he displays wild variety, yet with a subtle common thread. Case in point: a shiny red sandal with eight bands of leather culminating at the ankle and a classic Mary Jane share the same simple, elegant gold heel.

These shoes are no less than wearable art, so it’s no surprise that they steal the show every time.

Now go Deee-lite in some more of Jerome C. Rousseau’s glam shoes on his Facebook and Twitter pages, and check out the image from this week's 2014 Shoes Engagement Calendar!

Jerome C. Rousseau doesn't have his own Pinterest account (if you're reading this, Mr. Rousseau, please start one!), but there are lots of his shoes featured on the site. Below are a few of the most fabulous.

Featuring ToonPetz! Adorable Pet Cartoons for a Great Cause

Toonpetz - Dog Cartoons for Pet LoversToonpetz - Cat Cartoons for Pet Lovers

Page-A-Day® loves pets. We really, really, really love pets! (We might even admit to being completely obsessed with pets.)

You may have seen our monthly pet contests, where we share adorable pet pictures with the people of the internets and collect votes to choose a weekly winner! Some winners even end up in our 365 Dogs and 365 Cats Page-A-Day calendars! 

Our love of cute pets led us to the adorable ToonPetz via Twitter and Lisa Taron, author of The Pet Lady Blog! Michelle Smith, creator of ToonPetz, will draw cartoons of your favorite fuzzy friends—and 100% of the proceeds go to helping animals. How cool is that? 

These toons are delightfully whimsical and fun, and Michelle will capture your pets' unique personality in a shareable, giftable, frameable, holiday-cardable illustration. Michelle asks for a very affordable minimum donation of £5 ($8.49 USD) — and a £10 ($16.99 USD), plus shipping costs, if you want the original artwork. 

Michelle is originally from Hull in Yorkshire. She has always enjoyed doodling, drawing, and painting, and has studied animation. She started off cartooning her own cats and dogs, and posting her illustrations on Facebook. Soon afterward, Michelle's friends began asking her to toon their pets. Toonpetz was born when a pal at the North Clwyd Animal Rescue (NCAR) asked if she'd create a new logo for the rescue and Michelle realized the opportunity to combine her hobby with her passion—helping rescue animals!

Toonpetz - Pet Cartoons for Pet Lovers

Toonpetz - Dog Cartoons for Pet Lovers

Michelle donates the proceeds from ToonPetz to the North Clwyd Animal Rescue. The NCAR is dedicated to helping all manner of animals who may have been lost, abused or unwanted.

More about the North Clwyd Animal Rescue: North Clwyd Animal Rescue (NCAR) is a registered charity founded in 1978 by Anne Owen. From one thin little Lurcher, we now care for over 1500 domestic pets a year. We have grown to meet these new demands and with the current economic situation these services are vital for the wider community.

You can contact Michelle Smith and ToonPetz on Facebook or via her web site: http://www.toonpetz.com/

Donate directly to Michelle and ToonPetz!

Do you know anyone else who is helping animals in a creative, exciting way? Share it with us by leaving a comment on this blog post!

checkEnter your cat in the Page-A-Day® Cat Contest. Vote for this week’s cat contestants.

Travel Tuesday: Cheesy History in Grafton, Vermont

Grafton, Vermont - Travel Tuesday - 1000 Places to See Before You Die

Vermont is home to many good things, like the Ben & Jerry’s factory, beautiful mountains, and of course, cheese—cheddar, to be specific. That is why Grafton, Vermont is more than deserving of the today’s page in the 1000 Places to See Before You Die Page-A-Day® calendar.

The town of Grafton was established in 1763 and is home to less than 700 people and Grafton Village Cheese, a company owned by the Windham Foundation. Here, cheese isn’t just something to melt atop chips or pizza dough. Grafton has been taking its cheese seriously since 1892, when local dairy farmers established a cooperative to use their extra milk to produce cheese, which has a longer shelf life.

After a fire destroyed the cooperative’s factory in 1912, the Windham Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote rural communities in Vermont, revitalized the operation in the mid-1960s.

Now, two factories—one in Grafton and another in nearby Brattleboro—produce some of the best cheese in the world and sell to visitors from on-site stores. All of the cheese is handmade from raw milk sourced from local family-owned farms. Aged cheddars are the cornerstones of the company, and wild palates will delight in the Maple Smoked and Smoked Chili varieties. Grafton also has a line of cave-aged cheeses that boast complex, nutty and earthy flavors.

With agri-tourism on the rise, Grafton offers stately and rustic accommodations to make your journey to the town all the more enjoyable. The historic Grafton Inn is a large stunning three-story white home with porches, columns and colonial shutters. Nestled amidst trees, it’s a fantastic place to spend the night on your tour de cheese.

As you plot your trip to this must-visit cheese lover’s destination, you can sample Grafton’s products at Whole Foods and select other stores and cheese shops nationwide. Trust us, your cheese plates will never be the same!

Grafton also offers recipe suggestions for its cheeses online. If you’re feeling the DIY spirit, you can try making your own cheeses from scratch with a little help from One-Hour Cheese. While the cheddars and specialty cheeses that Grafton makes require special equipment, there are many cheeses—like ricotta and mozzarella—that are simple to produce at home. 

So go forth and eat, cook with and even make some cheese as you dream of the historic barns, idyllic pastures and phenomenal cheddars that await in Grafton. 

Read on for more on 1000 Places to See Before You Die book and calendar line from Workman Publishing and Page-A-Day. 

   

Meet Molly: This Week’s Page-A-Day® Dog Photo Contest Winner

Molly, Page-A-Day Dog Contest WinnerMolly is another member of the litter of seven puppies which I bred between his Father, Ry, who I have owned since he was a Puppy, and his Mother, Char, who I acquired several years ago.

They were born in my bedroom, and it was the most wonderful event of my life. I have been buying the 365 Dogs calendar for years, and have always said, "Some day we are gonna be in that thing!"

It would be a dream come true to be selected. Thanks very much.

Congratulations to Molly, this week's Page-A-Day® Dog Photo Contest Winner! 

checkEnter your dog in the Page-A-Day® Dog Contest. Vote for this week’s dog contestants.

Weekend Fun for Puzzle Lovers — Sudoku

July 19th Sudoku Puzzle from Page-A-DayAny Sudoku experts out there? At Page-A-Day® we're gathering tips to help our fans solve the challenging puzzles in our Page-A-Day Sudoku Notepad!

We went right to the source, and checked out the expert blogs to gather these five tips for Sudoku puzzlers. 

  1. If you use the process of elimination, pencil in all the possible candidates for each cell, row, column, and region. Check out the great tips for using this method on the Sudoku Essentials web site
  2. Use the sum elimination strategy. Add up all the ways you can get to the necessary sum of 45 for each row and column, and figure out the best way to work the puzzle that way. More great information on the Killer Sudoku Online web site!
  3. Use the "Usual Suspects" strategy. This is a great strategy for beginners to simplify the puzzle, and is explained on the Sudoku.com web site

What are your tips for beginners just getting into the game of Sudoku? Share them in the comments on this blog post!

If you'd like to see the solution to this puzzle, email us at team@pageaday.com.

Shoes Gallery Calendar Designer Focus: Giuseppe Zanotti

Shoes - Giuseppe Zanotti

Fashion hounds know that many a stylish thing has come out of the Italian city of Milan. There’s Armani, Versace, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and, of course, Giuseppe Zanotti, shoe designer extraordinaire and creator of the shoes in today’s page in the Shoes Gallery calendar.

Giuseppe wasn’t always on track to be a shoe designer. Before dipping his toes into the design world, he made a living as a DJ. His first stints in design were for modest local craftsmen. Then he worked his way up to become a freelance designer for Valentino, Dior, Ferré, and other esteemed houses of fashion. In the mid-90s, Giuseppe took charge of Vicini shoe factory—a small operation of 15 employees.

Just a couple of decades later, Giuseppe Zanotti shoes is an award-winning company with a staff of 350 that puts out over 400,000 pairs of high-end women’s shoes annually—plus men’s shoes, bags and other accessories. His dramatic footwear has been worn by the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Kim Kardashian, Jessica Alba, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and … well, the list goes on. Clearly, his shoes are fit for the stars.

The 2014 Fall-Winter Line features a lot of black and gold. Beaded pumps. Black sandals with gold leaves winding their way from toe to ankle. Or, for the more gutsy girl, black sandals with a golden and bejeweled scorpion, its tail affixed to the toe band, and its menacing claws rising toward the ankle strap. The fauna theme continues with gold snakes, alligators, lobsters, fish bones—you name it, Giuseppe has made it work beautifully on a sandal.

While many designers dream up shoes for women only, Giuseppe creates for both sexes. In the men’s department, moccasins come with bold tassels, while sandals are black, strappy and timeless.

Giuseppe extends the haute couture to the world of sneakers, too. With bold colors and prints, more golden animal ornamentation and impeccable design, Giuseppe makes his mark with this line of walkable wear.

It’s Friday, so put on your loudest, hautest, Zanotti-esque party shoes and get out and about. First, though, check out some signature Zanotti’s:   

Visit Giuseppe Zanotti Design's profile on Pinterest.

Became an official Giuseppe groupie with a gander at his Facebook and Twitter pages: 

Giuseppe Zanotti is featured in the Page-A-Day® Shoe Gallery Calendar: