Saturday, March 1, 2014

Books On Film | Diary of A Wimpy Kid{CKEY}&searchfield1=GENERAL^SUBJECT^GENERAL^^&user_id=WEBSERVER
Children love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The half drawn, half written books center around a middle school student named Gregg Heffley and his adventures dealing with friends, school, and family. There are currently eight books in the series as well as a special movie diary book.

The first four books have been adapted into three films, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010), Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules (2011), and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days (2012). The plot from the third book, Last Straw, was split between the last two films. The films seem to generally fly under the radar a bit, but like the books they are silly fun for kids.

Cover Courtesy of LibraryThing.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Book Bucket List | Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the series that have new books coming out this year.  One of them was Ransom Rigg's Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children.  The second book in the series, Hollow City, was released earlier this year.  And while I wrote about them, I had never read the actual book so checked it out on my Kindle over our Overdrive app.  I finished it in two days.  It was fantastic and the most I've enjoyed a fantasy book since Harry Potter.  I put myself on the hold list for Hollow City and finished that quickly too. 

Jacob, a self described average teenager, is bored of his life as a privileged kid in Florida.  He works part time at a drug store and is constantly trying to handle his eccentric grandfather. Jacob's grandfather has always had a mysterious past, but once the circumstances involving his death are suspicious, Jacob is drawn into a world he thought only existed in fairy tales.

Hollow city, the sequel, takes off exactly where the first book leaves off.  There's no break in the action, and it's easy to dive right back into the story. (Though in my case there was no break between finishing the first and starting the second book.)  There is more action, more character development, and definitely more peculiarity in this sequel.

The books also contain real photographs that have had little to no doctoring.  The strangeness of these real photos adds a lot of realism to the otherwise fantastical books.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

She's Crafty | Arm Knitting

Knitting a scarf from chunky yarn is one of the quickest ways to get some knitting satisfaction. Admittedly, I like my knitting fast and fabulous--the chunkier the better. I like plush and chunky scarves piled high, right up to my ears, with big visible stitches. So, imagine my excitement when I came across arm knitting. You heard me right, arm knitting! You knit with your arms...YOUR ARMS! Forget the needles, right on your arms with yarn so chunky you have to use your arms to knit with the stuff.

So, off I went to the craft store to find the right kind of chunky yarn since, of course, none of the super bulky number 6 yarn I had was quite bulky enough. In other words, I had my excuse to go find some new yarn and off to the craft store I went!
Meet, Orchid Shimmer. Isn't she lovely?!

Now, to the internet to learn how to arm knit. Kaye passed on a few links she got from a knitting for charity newsletter and once it directed me to YouTube, I poked around and found a few tutorials myself. Honestly, it's quite easy. You might have to pause and rewind a couple of times to see exactly how loops are passed and where hands are supposed to go, but after figuring out what the yarn was supposed to do, easy peasy! Much easier than learning how to knit with needles that are not arms.

But honestly, the tutorials are not as clear as I hoped to pass on to newbie knitters with the claim that "arm knitting is waaay easy--here, try this before learning how to knit to get your confidence going." It really is waaay easy--so, my advice for beginning arm knitters: keep at it until you get it because it really is quite gratifying. Just remember, pause and repeat. Pause. And. Repeat.

Here are the two tutorials I used to learn:

For this veteran knitter, figuring out how many stitches wide to make my piece with the width of yarn I was holding posed the biggest hurdle. Not including my learning swatches, I must have made and unmade at least five scarves. I went from 12 stitches to 10, to 12 again (I'm not exactly sure why) back down to 10, to 8. I kept trying to follow the stitch count of the tutorials I was following not keeping in mind that my yarn AND my arms are twice as big as the ones found in the video. I love my arms but small needles they do not make.

My finished piece is a cowl 8 stitches wide with as many rows as I thought was necessary to go around my neck--and then some. Unfortunately, a little too much "and then some" for my taste. I plan to take it apart and make and infinity scarf half as wide and twice as long so I can double it up and mess with the final wrap a bit to get it juuust right. It took me a whole 30 minutes from casting on to stitching the cowl into a closed loop, with a pause in the middle to watch a tutorial one more time to make sure I was passing the loops the right way.

Glasses and latte included for size.

Arm knitting is fun, quick, and--with a bit of finessing the variables--easy. If you like chunky scarves, wonderful and wide cowls, and snazzy blankets you can knit in a day, then you need to try arm knitting.

Until next time,
Kaye & Malia

Monday, February 24, 2014

Just Life | Stockton Youth Chorale

It is 6:15pm and I am in a small room listening to a bunch of kids practicing their singing.

I don't know if it was the room's tall ceiling or the wonderful songs or maybe it was the music coming from the piano, but I was mesmerized for a short 15 minutes. It was just sublime and unexpected.

Welcome to Stockton Youth Chorale. 

You should come and listen to them. They are pretty amazing for a bunch of novice singers.

They have two concerts coming soon on February 28th and March 2nd:

Here is the Stockton Chorale's official website: Stockton Chorale 

Hope to see you at one of these concerts.

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha