a couple nights ago i was on ichat with a friend who was in the midst of a manic online shopping episode. i told her i'd just been to vancouver's new japanese dollar store supreme where i bought a ton of cute stuff including a spirograph (i've been looking for one for years). she informed me that dutch is the new japanese of cute, and when she sent me a link to the fiep westendorp site i couldn't disagree.
while dutch might be the new japanese of cute, fiep westendorp is far from new. the dutch illustrator who i think would have been great friends with mary blair, began her career in illustration in the '40s. her most famous characters, the mischievous jip and janneke pictured above, are 55 years old but have managed to stay part of dutch popular culture through the decades. like mary blair's work on peter pan and alice in wonderland, and unlike some of disney's other work (sorry mickey, you're out), fiep's characters are timeless.
anyway, said friend was in desperate search of a fiep puzzle for her daughter's upcoming first birthday. no luck on the fiep site, and while there were no puzzles on ebay she did manage to buy an amazing j&j tea set, which i think is quite possibly the coolest tea set any child could ever wish for.
i decided to scour the internet some more today and came across a post about feip westendorp at wee wonderfuls. in the comments i read about the huge j&j line dutch superstore HEMA carries. puzzles! not just puzzles but everything jip and janneke you could imagine, including candies, shampoo, lunch boxes, sparkling ciders, bandages, bubbles, stickers, stamps, dried fruit, juice boxes, sketchbooks - you name it, HEMA has it! AND... they ship internationally.