Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Learning | Perspicacious and Perspicuous

Perspicacious, according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary, is an adjective meaning "having a ready insight into and understanding of things." There are a few derivative forms of perspicacious. The adverb form of this word is perspicaciously, and the noun is perspicacity.

Perspicacity is a desirable quality in many professions, especially those that require a lot of troubleshooting. These fellows depicted below look mighty perspicacious. They seem to know exactly what needs to be done--just the kind of mechanics I would want working on my car.

Perspicuous is a related adjective, meaning "clearly expressed and easily understood; lucid." It has a second definition, referring to a person, meaning "expressing things clearly."

1963 Television Eyeglasses. From James Vaughn's photostream on Some Rights reserved.

The television eyeglasses pictured below are perspicuous, but not because they help the guy in the photo see television better; they actually don't work. The gentleman below is inventor and futurist Hugo Gernsback. He is modeling a mock-up of a product he believed would be available soon--so the mock-up perspicuously demonstrates his concept.

The picture makes me think of two things: 

1. First, in the 1960s, parents were always telling children not to sit too close to the television set, "or you'll go blind!" I can't imagine this item would have sold very well in those days, because people would have been afraid of it.

2. One might say Hugo Gernsback predicted Google Glass!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

She's Crafty | Handbag Designer 101

Handbags are a major weakness of mine. If I see a unique design or a new decorative twist in construction, I tend to examine the bag until it's settled in my mind that I have to take it home. Over the years I've built quite a collection, but my most treasured piece is a simple patchwork cross-body hobo bag I made myself.

My first handmade handbag.
My love for bags started early in life when I would save what little cash collected on some flashy new purse. As my collection grew, I began implementing various rules regarding the purchase of a new bag. It either has to fill a specific function or it has to stand out in some way. This might entail a small cross-body bag to wear to a theme park or a handbag using hardware I adore or a captivating division of interior space. Then it has to pass the wear test. If it fails getting onto my shoulder and staying there, or feels awkward across my body or on my arm, then no matter how unique it looks I leave it at the store. On the other hand, when it comes to reusable shopping bags there are no rules and I will usually buy on sight.

Some of her details.
After realizing early on that I might have a handbag obsession I started to think about the possibility of making my own bags. At the time I made my first bag I was already dabbling in making alterations to clothes and learning how to sew so I had piles of fabric scraps and a few pairs of jeans lying around just waiting to be re-purposed. I set my heart on making a slouchy hobo bag since it was the trend of the moment. I started with a back pocket from a pair of jeans as the front focal point and the waistband from the jeans became the bottom and sides. The design flowed on from there and I remember having a blast exploring all my creative options. Years passed and though I had fun making the first one and I still have it, it remains the only handbag I've ever made.

At my first Renegade Craft Fair a few years back I met a woman who had just released a new line of handbags. We talked about how she got started, creating designs, textiles and more. It got me thinking about designing and making handbags again. Luckily, a new book had just appeared on the shelf at the library, Handbag Designer 101 by Emily Blumenthal. I checked it out and my knowledge of handbags and handbag construction exploded! I was so impressed and excited, I went out and bought the book. I collected more books, a few patterns, analyzed what I liked about various handbags and even drew up a few designs of my own. Yet, I still have not made an additional bag.

While I'm not sure what psychologically compels me to spend so much time NOT doing what I clearly enjoy doing, I think I'm over it and feeling like I have to create another handbag!

If you would like to learn more about handbag construction and how to sew your own designs, I highly recommend these two books, which we have at our library:

Frame style handbag from Handbag Designer 101.
Again, I mention Handbag Designer 101 by Emily Blumenthal. What an amazing book! Blumenthal goes over each basic style of handbag from clutch to backpack in detail. She includes measurements and layouts for basic pattern pieces and discusses details that make a bag a certain style. Each style type also includes inspiring pictures of examples done by designers to get your creative gears turning. Handbag Designer 101 even has a section of information on how to market and sell your designs. How I can own this book and not have made a ton of handbags by now boggles my mind!

Zippered Wristlet from Sew What! Bags.
After checking it out from the library, I also went out and bought, Sew What! Bags by Lexie Barnes. Sew What! is a great book to learn how to sew various bags, not just handbags--in fact, this book is more about making simple pattern-free bags and organizers like a tool tote and an artist's roll than strictly handbags. Functional and pretty, Barnes's projects are perfect for beginners and lend themselves well to exploring creative use of textiles and tailoring a basic idea to specific needs.

Both of these titles give you the crafty know-how to make whatever bag you just can't live without. Best of all, they encourage the reader to explore outside of the basic designs featured in the books to make the best bag, with the right amount of pockets, the right size compartments, with the perfect combination of fabrics and the most spectacular hardware EVER!

Need more books? Here's a handy list of what we have on our shelves for anyone interested in making a
Duct tape purse!
Even the The Duct Tape Book by Jolie Dobson has a few bag projects!

Malia & Kaye

Ms. Suzy Reads | What Real Kids Are Reading

We librarians like to think we know everything about books. It's true we know a lot. And we know some of the best books ever published! 

But sometimes it's a good idea to get out there and ask real kids what their favorites are.

So I did just that. And I got some great recommendations. If you haven't read these, you really should. If you click on the title of any book, you'll be taken to the SSJCPL catalog so you can find where the book is available right now! If a particular book is not available at the library branch closest to you, remember you can place a hold on it and the book will be delivered to your library branch!

So real kids' favorite books. Here goes. 

Destiny recommends We're Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen because it's a mix of funny and scary. Be prepared to get moving when you read this one!

Dr. Seuss makes the favorite list with 2 titles! 

Irene likes the message in Green Eggs and Ham: even if you think you won't like something, it's always worth a try! 

And Iris recommends The Lorax because it's funny (and what a great message it conveys as well). 

Yasriyah recommends a series of books that her brother recommended to her a long time ago (when she was much younger): the Arthur books by Marc Brown. Good recommendation there, big brother!
And finally, my buddy Xavier recommends the Super Diaper Baby series by Dav Pilkey because the baby flies (oh my!) and catches criminals. My new favorite superhero, for sure.

So there you have it: great books recommended by real kids. And thank you, my Book Buddy friends, for sharing your love of books and reading with the rest of us!

Happy Reading! 

P.S. A quick glance over the list -- specifically Destiny's recommendation at the beginning -- reminds me to remind you that our last session of Move, Play, and Grow will be held today at the Chavez Library! The program is a fun-filled and educational afternoon where kids in 4th-6th grades learn about nutrition, exercise, and how to live healthy lives! And even if you're not between the grades of 4th and 6th grade, come on down anyway: you're more than welcome!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Just Life | Noodles The Fish

My daughter lost her pet fish last week. That is what she wrote about her. I came across this note by accident.

Here is what is says:

I think that was her way of dealing with her loss. She buried her gold fish in our backyard and even wanted a headstone for her pet fish.

Noodles lived in our house for the past three years along side her brother Connor.

I feel a bit obligated to say a few words about her. Noodles was a very pretty fish with long flowey hairs (fins). If I may say, she was also a bit chubby like the rest of her adoptive family. Noodles, we are going to miss you.

Here is a book about losing a beloved pet:

The loss of a pet

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha