Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Wanderlust Librarian | Making words in a new place

I recently moved. I packed boxes and left a place behind. I said goodbyes to people I enjoyed seeing on a regular basis and cried when that final day arrived. 

Luckily, I didn't move too far. I moved to the Ripon Library.

The drive for me is a scant 10 minutes more down scenic country roads. Ripon, as a city, is charming and cute. The library? Super adorable. There's a small town feel of people knowing each other. For me, a girl with a shoddy memory, learning names has been hard, but I'm trying! Faces are much easier for me.

Getting used to a new place, ANY place is always an adjustment. It's a learning curve that I was ready to embrace. Of course, with all things, you also want to make it your own. One of the ways I've done that here is to take up the "Word of the Day" torch from my friend, fellow library blogger, and Ripon branch predecessor, Tara.  

I was told that the Merriam-Webster app (for Android or IOS) had a "Word of the Day" that would be put on the board daily. This would be one of my new tasks. When first approached about this, I thought "Maybe I won't be able to do it as well as Tara did. Maybe I'll write all weird like I do on the chalkboard. Maybe... MAYBE nobody will read it and everyone will make fun of it." 

I'm always paranoid about people reading my writing. Always. In fact, I'm paranoid about you reading this right now. 

No, I'm just kidding (maybe I'm not).

This was my very first board: 

Readers, it was meant to be. My friend (whom I was going to see in a a couple days) was from Michigan. I also knew what this term was from a Kickstarter campaign to create a new board game. Another SSJCPL blogging friend, Lori had once held her hand up to me when I told her my other friend was from Michigan. She was the one who supplied the Fun Fact you see on the board. 

My co-workers loved it. From then, I started to integrate the Fun Fact into all of my boards. Of course, I did take ONE liberty on the word of the day when it was my birthday. I chose a word with great significance to me. 

You'll always get the same format from the boards:

  • Word
  • Type of word / pronunciation 
  • Definition
  • Sentence with the word
  • Fun Fact
  • (once in a blue moon) a drawing

For me, it's a joy to share these words. They're fun and surprising for me, too! Everyday, it's like unwrapping a present when I press the "Word of  the Day". When I write them, it's like I'm sharing that gift with everyone. Some days, the words reflect how I feel. Other days, they're just...impractical. All days, they're worth my time and a labor of love. 

If you're interested in seeing more of my boards, follow me on Instagram

Word adventures are out there! 

The Library Bloggess

Enjoy some of these boards!

Book Bucket List | Classic Read-a-likes

Authors steal.  All the time, but it's impossible not to be influenced by someone whose books you've loved or hated, depending. I was reading an article recently about contemporary novels that are modern retellings of classic works.  I thought it was a really interesting article as a lot of the time when I'm reading, I think "Oh this is a lot like this or that book." So I'm going to share a couple of the pairings they presented that highlight some of titles I'm actually interested in adding to my bucket list.

The first comparison is between Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence and Francesca Segal's The Innocents.  Both books follow the scandals of upper class and privileged families that deal with the fall out and consequences of their character's actions.  In The Innocents, Ellie is kicked out of college for her after hours activities. She then captures the hearts of more innocent men not quite ready for the force of nature that is Ellie.  This book is an homage to Wharton's classic, where in the world of fancy balls and high society in New York the nonconformist Ellen, a Countess, turns everything upside down.
Another book that takes inspiration from a classic is Laurie Sheck's A Monster's Notes. This book reimagines Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, which is the book we're featuring for this year's One Book, One San Joaquin by the way, and looks at what Shelley's life would have been like if she would have actually met the monster in real life.  This is a perfect book to read in conjunction with the original classic.

So there's two options for retelling I'm going to add to my list.  I'm especially excited to read The Innocents, because who doesn't love a good family scandal?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

She's Crafty | Blankies!

Did you have a blankie when you were small? You know, the one that went everywhere with you, a couldn't-sleep-without-it kind of blanket? Chances are, if you did, it was handmade. Malia had just such a blankie I made for her. First, I painted a scene from Sesame Street on a white cotton crib cover with ball-point-tube fabric paints I got from the same party-plan folks I got the preprinted cover from. Then, I took a heavy flannel sheet and cut it to the right size, got some cute fabric for the back and quilted around the painted design to hold all three layers together. I remember the binding was bright yellow, to go with Big Bird. 

When she learned to talk, Malia called it her "street blankie."And, she did take that thing everywhere--I remember at least one time we had to go back somewhere to get it before she could go to bed that night (I was so thankful it was still there!) It was hard, sometimes, to get the blanket away from her to wash, but I must have been successful many, many times, because it's formerly bright colors faded to soft pastels over the few years it served duty as Malia's "best friend."

Quilts make fine blankie status blankets. They range in size from receiving blankets, just big enough to wrap a newborn snugly,  to crib blankets large enough to cover a five-year-old for a nap. The one I made Malia was a whole-cloth quilt, I suppose, because its top was all one piece. The most popular quilts, though, are patchwork, in which smaller patches are sewn together to make the quilt's top and then quilted along the patch seams once filler and backing are in place. Our library has lots of books on quilting, including these on quilting for babies and children:

Crochet is another technique which lends itself well to blankie making. Of course, many folks think of the popular granny-square afghans when they think of crocheted blankets, but there are many other stitch patterns in crochet which would make wonderful blankets for children too, from delicate-looking (but strong!) lace to heavier wind-blocking patterns, all of which can be soft, snugly and colorful. Have a look at some of these books in our library for some great blankie making options:

I've made and given a few crocheted baby blankets in my time, one or two of which may have achieved blankie status. The main things in making one, I think, are to remember to use a soft, washable yarn and make your stitches fairly loose, so the blanket can snuggle and drape around the baby in soft folds. Also, don't let the old-fashioned colors in some of our library books keep you from trying what may turn out to be a great pattern. You can always choose updated colors for the yarn. Why not choose the baby's mother's favorite colors, for instance? Chances are, if mother and child both like a blanket you've made, it will become a blankie someday. What an achievement for the maker of a handmade blanket!

Due to a power outage at our main branch yesterday, Malia gets a reprieve on having pictures of her blankie published for all to see. Maybe I will be able to talk her into sharing another time. Meanwhile, we would love to hear about your blankie experiences. Have you made a blankie for someone? Or, maybe you have fond memories of your own blankie. Leave us a comment and tell us about it.

Stay crafty until we meet again--
   Kaye and Malia


Monday, August 25, 2014

Just Life| I Survived The Shark Attack of 1916

The other day, my daughter called me at work to ask me if I can bring her home a few " I Survived" book series.

What series, I asked her. " I survived series mom, I survived series."

I have to confess, I wasn't familiar with that book series. So, I asked her what is so special about these books.

Here was her answer:

"Oh mom, these are the most fun books ever. You also learn at the same time without even knowing it. These books are full of adventures...."

Wow, it sounded really good. We've got to read these books then. I told myself.

Apparently, I was the only human being on earth who didn't know about this book series. When I checked our library catalog that day, all of those books were already checked out. I had to put holds on a few of them and had to wait a few days to get them from other library branches.

But it was all worth it. These books are life savors. 

I am proud to tell you that we just finished " I survived the sinking of the Titanic, 1912". I must confess, that was a pretty darn good book. It is a historical fiction with great facts. Now we are reading "I survived the shark attacks of 1916." 

My daughter didn't want to put down these books last week. When my eyes couldn't stay open due to fatigue, my kid kept reading this book to me and I was listening to her half asleep.

But, she didn't want to put these books down. That is rare in my household.

So, I tell you, for those nights that you prefer to get a root canal instead of wrestling your kid to read for 30 minutes, have a few of these books handy to keep your sanity intact.

I am planning to donate a few of these books to my daughter's classroom. 

These paperbacks are $4.99/each. It is worth buying a few of them for your kid.

Here is my daughter's message for you: " please read these books and you will thank me in the future."

We haven't finished the shark book yet but, I think the combination of the shark week on the Discovery channel and this book, now my daughter believes that there is a great white shark lurking under the bubbles in the bathtub.

I haven't figured out how to solve this problem yet but, I am signing off until next Monday to think about it.