Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Learning | Reading Comfortably

If you read as much as I do, you have probably found yourself reading in a lot of different places, from noisy airports to coffee shops to different rooms in your own home.  I tend to keep a book near the bed, in my car and one in my den, just in case I have the time and inclination to read.

I also carry two e-readers in my purse. Why two? Because I have different content loaded on both of them, and I like to keep my options open.  E-readers offer a lightweight, compact means of carrying around a big stack of books.  

"A PECULIAR READING CHAIR. illustration explains itself. The seat may be stuffed and upholstered to suit, and the desk can be made to rest at any desired inclination." Image from page 493 of "American engineer and railroad journal" (1893) From Internet Archive Book Images' photostream on No known copyright restrictions.

I laughed when I discovered this picture of a "peculiar reading chair" on  It reminds me of reading (usually on a Kindle or a Nook) while I get my 30 minutes of daily exercise on my stationary bike. Well, it's supposed to be daily.

Hmm, I see that picture says the desk part of that chair is adjustable to any inclination. I wonder if my stationary bike could be modified to do that.

That chair looks comfortable enough, for a classroom situation.  But I think if I had one of those in my house, I would probably be gravitating toward cozier reading places, on the sofa, recliner, or bed.

Where do you read? Comment below, and let us know.

For those of you with e-readers, please remember that SSJCPL is always getting more downloadable e-books and e-audiobooks for your reading pleasure.  We even let customers check out Nooks that are pre-loaded with reading content.  Find out more about all of these electronic reading options by clicking on this link.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

She's Crafty | Wreaths

For a few years I worked for a Christmas light company as a wreath decorator. From October to the end of November, I fluffed artificial greenery, troubleshooted lighting issues, attached jingles, jangles, ornaments and other sparkly bits, and made more bows than a single person should ever make in their entire lifetime. I even shocked myself for the love of decorating wreaths. Literally shocked myself, like, with electricity.

60" wreath decorated on the job.

Also, I think my love for wreaths might slightly shock my loved ones. Here's the evolution of my passion for wreaths:

The second year I worked for the light company I decided to take advantage of my intermediate decorating skills and bought my own pre-lit 30" wreath.  I followed that purchase up with a pile of frosty, silvery, and bird related decorations. After I found what my mom considered way too much stuff, I found more and even got some mini mirror balls to squeeze in between the boughs.

Each year after that, I've bought a few things to stick into my wreath and mix up the items I already have or I go wild with a new theme. Now I have a fleet of wreaths that I roll out for the holidays and they do different things. One wreath I made into a Countdown to Christmas decoration. One year I decorated a wreath with our greeting cards. Annnd one year I made ten little undecorated wreaths to hang in a large window.

My first wreath to hang at home.

Now, every time my mother and I go craft shopping during the winter months she politely reminds me, "You know you have plenty of wreath stuff to play with already, right?" I ignore her concerns and usually buy a cart full of glittery picks in a new color scheme and take a few days to agonize over the final designs.

Wreaths fascinate me and maybe they fascinate you too? If that is an emphatic YES! then check these books out from your local branch, my fellow wreath enthusiasts:
You can even make some easy origami wreaths if you feel so inclined by visiting these links:

Origami Wreath Tutorial on Domesticali's Typepad.
The Teaching and Learning post on the Mary & Patch blogspot shows you how to make a unique and beautiful origami wreath. Comes with a video tutorial!
Happy Crafting!
Malia and Kaye

Monday, December 1, 2014

Just Life| Delicious Christmas Present

Christmas is the time of the year that I go broke trying to buy presents for everyone.

But, Christmas presents don't have to be pricey, they just have to come from the heart. 


I remember one year, I bought some baskets from The Dollar Tree and filled them with persimmons and lemons from our backyard and gave them to our neighbors. They really liked it and it wasn't costly either.

This year, I am planning to bake a big batch of orange Madeleines for my friends and co-workers. That is the only thing that I can bake with my eyes closed. 

These little French cakes taste really good.

A couple of years ago, I bought these Madeleine baking pans and this simple recipe came with it. So, I am going to share it with you. 

Madeleine anyone?

Orange Madeleine recipe {taken from the Chicago Metallic pan cover}:

  • 2/3 Cup flour
  • 1/4 Teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Teaspoon orange extract  
  • 1/2 Teaspoon shredded orange peel
  • 1 Cup powdered sugar
  • Preheat oven to 350. Butter your pans.  
  • Sift together the flour and the baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside
  • In another bowl, beat the eggs, orange extract and orange peel for 5 minutes. 
  • Gradually add powdered sugar to this mix until it becomes thick.
  • Gently fold in the flour mixture.
  • Add the melted butter to this mix.
  • Spoon the mixture in the Madeleine molds filling 3/4 of the mold.
  • Bake for 8 minutes until the edges are a bit golden brown.

 You can check out these library books for to give you inspiration:

Christmas gifts from the kitchen 

The Christmas cookie book 

The Beekman 1802 heirloom dessert cookbook

Paris sweets : great desserts from the city's best pastry shops 

The pie and pastry bible

Dessert university

Happy Baking!

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha