Monday, June 29, 2015

Just Life| Fun & Free Family Programs At Your Local Library

Did you know that your local library has tons of free & fun programs for you and your entire family to enjoy?

I have been organizing the children's programming at Troke Library for the past year. In that time, I have taken numerous pictures of these fun programs. Below are a few of these pictures.

We have tons of fun family programs during the summer to celebrate our summer reading challenge. You can check our library system calendar of events to learn more about fun family programs at your local library.

Serpentarium at Troke Library

Acrylic Painting class at Troke Library

Stockton Ports players are reading to kids at Troke

Halloween Arts & Crafts at Troke Library

Serpentarium at Troke Library

signing off until next Monday-Panteha

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

She's Crafty | Defining Tailor's Tacks and Jodhpurs

Even though I have been around a sewing machine all my life and have heard a lot of sewing terms used by my mother, I am a complete newbie when it comes to sewing. I feel fortunate to have someone like my mother around who knows quite a bit about sewing and sewing terminology. However, since I'm a DIYer to my core, I've been seeking out the knowledge available in sewing dictionaries and reference sets. They're handy in a pinch and entertaining even when you are not actively sewing.

The Fashion Dictionary by Mary Brooks Picken is one such interesting read.

Although our copy is a reference
book available only at Cesar Chavez,
you can request a copy via Link+.

Speaking of growing up with sewing and fashion terms, whenever my mother and I went clothes shopping and tried on a pair of pants with excessive hip space my mom would say something like, "these look like I'm wearing jodhpurs!" At a young age, I gleaned from this exclamation and the subsequent laughter she would emit that a pair of pants that look like jodhpurs but were not meant to actually be jodhpurs was not a desirable pair of pants. Comical, yes, but not appealing in that "I'm gonna wear these in public" sort of way. She would then put her hands in the pants pockets and flap her hands around creating "wings" out of her extra hip space.

To my delight, a definition for jodhpurs appears in the Fashion Dictionary:

jodhpurs. Breeches cut full above the knee, closely fitted below, with cuff at ankle, sometimes with strap under foot; designed for horseback riding.
Reminds me of pants worn by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police...and Katherine Hepburn.
Royal Canadian Mountie.
Photo by Smudge 9000. Some Rights Reserved.

Fibula, pinafore, Battenburg lace (and all the other styles of lace known to humanity), flamefoil, and The Beatles (yes, the band), all have definitions in the Fashion Dictionary. You can even find a step-by-step illustration of how to properly wrap a sari!

Finding such a gem at the library came at a perfect time since I just started a new sewing project a few days ago. It's only my second sewing project following a pattern and when I came face-to-face with a scattering of seemingly random circles on my pattern pieces, I vaguely remember my mother saying something about tailor's tacks in the past. These circles are not alien artifacts like crop circles, nor random decoration. In fact, they mean something that humans like my mother actually know about. So, I asked her again about these circles and tailor's tacks and she went over the concept as only a patient mother of a terminally forgetful offspring can--she's had about thirty-plus years of grueling practice!

Sewing patterns come with markings that need to be transferred from the paper pattern piece to the piece of fabric you will be cutting out. Sometimes these will be solid dots, open circles, or even squares. These markings refer to important areas that will be addressed in the pattern instructions at some point.

Most fabrics do well with marks made with a special fabric pen or pencil or a piece of fabric chalk. For heavier fabric and pieces cut on a fold (thus cutting through two layers of fabric) a tailor's tack is an easy way to get the most accurate marking on all layers in one movement. Sewers like my mom also prefer to use tailor's tacks to make all her marks since all you need is a needle and some thread.

The Fashion Dictionary and the Tailoring volume of the Singer Sewing Reference Library, both have an entry about tailor's tacks. Tailoring offers a step-by-step "How to Make Speed Tailor's Tacks" section with pictures.

Tailor's tacks or speed tacks in action. From Tailoring.

Elsewhere in the book, Tailoring also introduces readers to what is known as a tailor's ham. It actually looks like a fabric ham. A tailor's ham is used to press curved parts of apparel for a better fit.

From Wikipedia. Creative Commons License.

I'm telling you, these books are entertaining even if you're not actively panicking about what the next step in your pattern instructions mean by, "Baste stitch along the fly curve."


Monday, June 22, 2015

Just Life| Permission to toss is granted !

I am in the cleaning mood these days. I have been reading the " Life changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. Somehow reading this book has given me permission to throw stuff away. Even useful stuff. And it has taken the guilt out of it.

I am hoping that at the end of this magical journey, I would have a much more organized and peaceful place to call home. A clutter free home is a relaxing and welcoming home. And I would like to own such a place.

So far, I have tackled my walking closet, the laundry room closets, and a few drawers. Now, I keep going to the laundry room to open those once crammed closets and I feel so proud.

The message of this book is "don't feel guilty about throwing away stuff". 

There is also a couple of cardinal rules that I have learned so far. Don't you ever let your mom see you throwing stuff away. Don't take the liberty of throwing away other people's stuff. Let them find the light on their own. :) 

The author also recommends starting this purge by category. For example, start by throwing away the clothes that you don't want. Hold each item of clothing and see how you feel about it. Then you can decide to toss or donate .

Reading this book has taken the guilt out of throwing stuff away and it is so liberating. 

So, if your house if bursting with stuff, read this book and start de-cluttering.

And here are some books on this topic:

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, June 15, 2015

Just Life| Traveling in The Summer

In my opinion, summer is the best time of the year to take a tiny vacation to clear your mind and to get energized.

Waikiki Beach

To enjoy a great vacation in a new city, it is best to have a list of places to visit, a list of places to avoid, and of course, you absolutely need to have a list of great eateries.

I think reading travel books ahead of your trip is the best way to prepare you for what to expect in a new city or a foreign country.

Did you know that your library has plenty of travel books. If you are not in the mood for reading don't worry, your local library also has travel DVDs.

Persian Arts in Louvre

Whether you are taking a day trip or globe trotting this summer, travel books are the best place to start your vacation adventure.

I know you can get a lot of travel info online, but believe me, books are the most reliable source of info. 

Google alone may not give you the best information.

So, on your next trip, don't forget to check out a few travel books from your local library. Here's to wishing you a happy and adventure filled summer.

Top 10 San Francisco

Fodor's 2013 Hawai'i 



Signing off until next week- Panteha

Thursday, June 11, 2015

She's Crafty | More Fun With Felt

This cute little guy is Fred.

Say, "Hello!" Fred...

Fred the Fox is a new furry friend I needle felted with the aid of a kit. You can read more about Fred's origin story in this post, Needle Felting.

It took me quite a few pokes of my felting needle to get a feel for this technique and I am grateful that we had the book, Kyuuto! Japanese Crafts: Fuzzy Felted Friends by Saori Yamazaki available for checkout. Without Fuzzy Felted Friends, I would have had a tough time troubleshooting a few issues I faced while making Fred.

I also checked YouTube for some tips and tricks and found some really amazing tutorials there. The one below is a favorite. The YouTube channel Gypsy Felting has many great needle felting videos along with other felting techniques as well.

Needle felting is a lot of fun and there are a LOT of things you can make with this technique. I've seen needle felted scarves, hats, purses, paintings--yes paintings--really, anything goes.

Continuing the felt theme, let me tell you about felties or felt plushies.

A few years back I got into making hand-embroidered felt dolls, which a lot of crafters refer to as felties or in a more general sense as being a soft doll, plushies. They are incredibly cute and incredibly easy, or potentially incredibly easy, and the patterns are fairly easy to find. Most of the patterns I look for myself are really simple. For me, the simplicity of the design is part of the charm.

Dinosaur felties of the internet!

The felties I go nuts for making are fairly flat, with just a hint of three-dimensional shaping, if any. The shape that you cut out of your flat piece of felt is usually the entire outline of your doll. Contrasting thread is often, but not always, used to highlight the stitching instead of trying to hide it. Before the last few stitches are made, a bit of stuffing is added.

Meet Foxy and Raccoon. Photo by katejf. Some rights reserved.

Felt is one of my favorite mediums to play with. It's fairly cheap to purchase, easy to work with, and can do so many very cool things! Give felt a try in your next project. 

Here's a short list of what we have at the library having to do with the wonderful world of felt:

Looky here, I even found a few books about making felties through Link+:

And this one you can get from one of our branches:
Well, I hope you are enjoying your summer and keeping cool! Don't forget to come on down to your local branch and pick up your Every Hero Has a Story Summer Reading Challenge log, catch a program, find out what your town is doing for the summer, and find your next fantastic summer story to read. We want to help you have an awesome summer!

You can find out more information about the Summer Reading Challenge by clicking here.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Just Life| A Cinderella Story

Once upon a time, in a library far far away, a handsome young prince left his shoe on a shelf to be found by his true love.....

At least that is the story that came to mind when I came across this single tennis shoe on our lost & found shelf last week.

I giggled profusely when I saw it. Who would leave the library without a shoe?

So the Cinderella story came to mind. The true story behind this shoe is a mystery and so far, no one has claimed the shoe.

So, I am sticking to my Cinderella fairy tale and that is the end of today's story.

And here are some books on this topic from your local library:

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha

Monday, June 1, 2015

Just Life| Yeah, Summer is here !

When I was a kid, I loved summer vacation. I loved sleeping in. I loved visiting my cousin who lived next to the Caspian sea. Best of all, I had plenty of time for reading my beloved books instead of being forced to read boring text books.

My uncle had a set of encyclopedia in his library that I spent hours reading whenever we visited them. My cousin Safa, had this set of French comic books called Adventures of Asterix. We spent hours reading and rereading those comics. 

Beside The Adventures of Tin Tin, these were my favorite comics.

Alas, during the long summer months, kids lose some of their academic skills.

The Summer reading program at your local library is an effective way of combating this problem.

At your Stockton & San Joaquin County Public Libraries, for the month of June and July, kids, teens, and even adults are invited to participate in the summer reading challenge.

The aim of the summer reading challenge is to help kids and teens have easier transitions in upcoming school year. 

Children are challenged to read 10 books over the summer. They would get a book bag and a book mark for just signing up for the summer reading challenge. After reading 10 books, kids would receive:

  • A free book
  • A Stockton Ports baseball ticket 
  • A chance to win a Kindle

For teens and adults, they only need to read three books and they need to write a short review about the book. Then they would receive:

  • A free book
  • A Stockton Ports baseball ticket 
  • A chance to win a Kindle
Stockton & San Joaquin County Public Libraries also have numerous entertaining and educational free summer programs for everyone to enjoy.

Serpentarium visited the Troke Library

I encourage adults to participate in this Summer reading challenge. You are role models for your children and everyone knows that kids imitate their parents.

Here are a few examples of our fun summer programs at Margaret Troke Library in Stockton:
Serpentarium visited the Troke Library

Summer Reading Kickoff Party:
Thursday, June 4th, 6:00pm . Clowns are coming to the library to make fancy balloons for children of all ages. Light refreshments will be provided.

Jungle James Animal Adventures:
Thursday, Jun. 11, 6:00pm. Upclose look at exotic animals from all around the world

Piccolo Puppet Show:
Thursday, Jun. 25, 6:00pm

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha