Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Learning | The Christmas Coat

Christmas trees with presents under them! Such a happy sight!  When I was a young girl, my siblings and I used to spend an awful lot of time in December, inspecting the gifts, trying to discern their secrets.  We could tell which gifts contained clothes; they usually came in the "shirt boxes" the department stores provided for free in those days.  Sometimes we would guess after shaking the gift to see if something rattled inside.  We analyzed the "to" and "from" labels, trying to predict what one specific family member would give to another.

MCCALL HOMEMAKING COVER, XMAS TREE, from George Eastman House's photostream
 on No known copyright  restrictions.
The Great Big Mystery Gift appeared under our tree when I was in third grade. It was too heavy and bulky for us to pick up and shake. It didn't have a label on it. Nobody saw who put it there. There was no gift tag, saying who it was for, or who was giving it.  Attempts at questioning other family members about this gift got us nowhere.  We just had to wait until Christmas Day, but it felt like forever.

On Christmas morning, it was traditional for the two youngest kids (my brother and I) to play Santa's Elves, removing the presents from under the tree, reading the labels, and handing them to their intended recipient to be opened. So Dale and I did our best. All the labeled presents were opened, and The Great Big Mystery Gift was still there. I asked my mother if she knew who it was for. She shook her head,"No." She looked as mystified as I felt!

After a dramatic pause, my father stepped forward, and picked up that giant box. I was sure it was for my mother, because she obviously wasn't in on the secret. She wrapped most of the gifts, after all! 

But he didn't give it to her. He gave it to me. ME!!! Well, that was exciting. But I was even more surprised when I opened it up. There was a brand new, double-breasted, red wool winter coat in there.  

Remember, I was the youngest of six. Most of my clothing was hand-me-downs. I don't think I ever had a brand new coat before in my life--and this was such a beautiful coat.

We all peppered him with questions.  The story emerged: he had seen it in a store, and just decided it was perfect for me.  I don't know how he knew what size to buy, because my mother usually made sure our clothes fit, but he took care of it. 

I still get a tear in my eye when I recall that Christmas. I can remember how proud I felt, when I went back to school after break, wearing my red winter coat on the playground.

Imagine my delight, when I discovered this book in our catalog:

by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve.  

This is the true story of the author's childhood on a Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, in the middle of the twentieth century.  

Since her father is the Episcopal priest on the reservation, she gets her clothing from the donation boxes--which have already been picked over for the best items. I have to say, I can relate to Virginia's wish for a special coat. 

Check it out!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

She's Crafty | Last Minute Gift

Looking for a last-minute little gift to give to a reader?

I stumbled across the cutest little craft project whilst poking around on thee internet.

Meet, the Corner Bookmark!

This little guy will NomNomNom the corner of your page.
Mark your page with minimalist style!

I will be making a big pile of these to attach to gifts and stuff into stockings. If you have young ones, take a break from the holiday crazy times and help them make a few to give to friends and family, and of course keep one for themselves!

The instructions below tell you how to make a corner bookmark--I hope. I now have a profound and deep respect for all craft book writers. It becomes clear very quickly how hard it is to write instructions. At least, I found it to be pretty tough!

I encourage you to make a template if you plan to make a bunch so you only have to measure and mark off once. Then all you have to do is trace around your template for each new bookmark creation. It's completely optional.

Here's what you need:

  • Sheet of paper, any kind will do.
  • Ruler.
  • Pencil or pen.
  • Glue.
  • Cardstock for template. Again, this is optional.

Here's what you do:

*If you're going to make a template, do this on cardstock first. Otherwise grab the sheet you will be using for your bookmark.

With a ruler, make three two-inch squares in the shape of an "L" in the lower left corner of your sheet of paper.

Make diagonal lines from corner to corner in the upper and right outer squares going in this / direction.

You should have a shape that resembles a fox head!

Cut the fox out along the red lines indicated in the picture below.

*If you made a template first, trace your fox head shape onto the paper you use for your bookmark and cut it out.

Fold along the dotted lines on the paper that will actually become your bookmark and NOT your template.
Glue the top flap down to the flap below it.

"You can never get a cup of tea
large enough or a book long
enough to suit me."
C.S. Lewis

Your basic corner bookmark is essentially done. However, now the fun really begins--time to decorate!

Make monster faces to nom the edge of your pages.
Collage on your corner.
Write down a favorite quote.
Doodle a little or a lot.
Make one specific to the book it will be living in.

You could also use pretty origami or scrapbook paper and let the prints be all the decoration you need.

I hope you enjoyed this craft tutorial of a sorts and let me know if you make one!
Hope your holidays are merry, crafty, and warm!

Malia & Kaye

Monday, December 22, 2014

Just Life| We are in a book!

Mo Willems is one of my favorite children's author. His Piggie and Elephant books are just hilarious. 

You can find these books in your local library in the Easy Readers section, under the author's last name. 

Piggie and Elephant books are perfect for K-2nd graders. 

Last Wednesday, I even read two of these books to my daughter's 4th grade class and they were a hit. Those kids had so much fun listening to me read these silly books to them.

First, I read:" We are in a book" to them. Then I read "A big guy took my ball". I tell you, these kids really liked these two books and I felt so proud.

So, for this Holiday season, Piggie and Elephant books can be the perfect present for any kid.

Happy Holidays!

Signing off until next Monday- Panteha