Sunday, August 24, 2014

New Craft Obsessions #2: Finger Knitting

As I mentioned in my previous post, I've become somewhat obsessed with two new types of crafting (to me, anyway). The first was making business card holders out of old paperback books. The second is finger knitting.

I got the idea for learning how to finger knit from reading a children's book. Yes, a children's book. I've always enjoyed reading kids' books and series, and now that I work in two libraries, I read them even more so I can keep up with what the kids enjoy and have something to talk about with them! One of my favorite kids' series is the Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald. In the newest book that just came out recently, called Judy Moody, Mood Alien, Judy takes up finger knitting to help her cope with the stress - yes, stress - of trying to keep herself in a good mood for one whole week. Judy's finger knitting gets so out of hand that it snakes all through her house! Since I just started doing this, and literally knit my very first piece of finger knitting late last night, mine ended up being the size of a bracelet.

Here is the video tutorial that I found:

I chose thinner, rainbow colored yarn on sale at Michael's. I liked the idea of rainbow colored yarn to make things more fun and because Judy uses all kinds of colors in the book.

This was my end result. It's actually a little bit big for me (I have tiny wrists).

Finger knitting is really very "easy peasy, lemon squeezy" (as Judy Moody would say); all I really need to refresh on is how to cast off at the very end. But this is something that people of all ages can do! And finger knit bracelets and even scarves can make really great gifts. Get some yarn and try your hand at finger knitting today! :)

New Craft Obsessions #1: Making Business Card Holders Out of Old Paperback Books

First off, I want to apologize profusely for once again neglecting this blog. I'll be honest - blogging hasn't been the priority it once was for me; I find that I am reaching more often for my journal more than anything if I feel the need to write nowadays. But I am pretty confident that I won't stop blogging anytime soon, and I still have my trusty co-author here at Runnin' Down a Dream, so rest assured that this blog is nowhere near dead yet.

Moving on...

I've gone full throttle obsessed into two types of crafting. The first one is making business card holders (which can really hold anything flat, from bits of paper and Post-It Notes to photos as well as business cards). Here's the backstory:

A week or so ago, a patron returned a book to the library that, when it was handed to me to check in, just screamed to me "I NEED TO CHECK THIS OUT!" It is called Playing with Books by Jason Thompson.

Get Playing with Books on Amazon by clicking here.
This book intrigued me because within its pages are all kinds of craft ideas - from quick and simple to somewhat more difficult and time-consuming - that re-purpose and "upcycle" used books. After looking through the book a few times, I decided that since I don't know how to sew, don't have a sewing machine, and certainly don't trust myself around knives or any kinds of tools, I would try my hand at the simplest of projects: Making a business card holder.

Note: I now have three of them in my room. I daresay I am addicted. :)

copyright 2010 by Jason Thompson
Copyright 2010 by Jason Thompson
Yes, this is what your business card holder will look like when you're done. :)

Copyright 2010 by Jason Thompson

Here are the steps, which are easy peasy lemon squeezy (sorry, the Judy Moody reference was just too good to resist):

1. Choose an old paperback book that you're willing to part with. I recommend a book with 100 pages or less, because anything larger will make your fingers and wrist hurt from all that folding - and I speak from experience, because the first book *I* chose was over 300 pages, and I after a few minutes of folding pages I decided to split the book in half to save my arm from cramping. So be warned. :)

2. Take the front and back covers off. They should be able to be taken off easily, without any fancy tools (i.e. Xacto knives).

3.Beginning with the first page, fold each page in half toward the center of the book. Rest assured that they don't have to be perfectly folded; they can be a little crooked and your project will still come out looking awesome!

Note: Before I even started folding pages, I chose to reinforce the binding by covering it with clear packing tape. You don't have to do this, but it does give the bare binding a little extra strength.

When all is said and done, your book should look like this:

As I said, the book I chose as my first try at this project had over 300 pages, so I ended up splitting the book in half. So now I have one business card / note holder on top of my filing cabinet to hold notes:

(I used a blur filter on this photo because I've got personal things written on the notes)

...and another for my dresser to hold special photo cards from my friends:

Do you have some old paperback books lying around that are just going to get thrown away? Why not try your hand at making a business card holder and re-purpose those books into something useful!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

This was really too close to home...

This afternoon I found out - via Facebook, of all places - that there was a tragic accident pretty much a block from my house. A farmer's market is held every Sunday behind the library; that block of road is sectioned off with barricades from 9am-2pm. What I've heard is that a car / truck drove through the barricades and hit a woman at the farmer's market (unknown whether she was a vendor or a customer, or could have just been walking through at random) and dragged her down the street, through the intersection and around where the street curves past the police station until the vehicle came to a stop on the main road outside the Methodist church.

This is a tragedy, and even more so when it happens literally right outside your door. Not to be maudlin or disrespectful - just curious - I walked down there about an hour after it happened to get an idea of what had happened, and even then things were still buzzing. The farmer's market was still set up; I could see where one of the tents had been knocked into and there were empty crates, and tomatoes and oranges all over the ground. Police cruisers and yellow crime tape blocked off all the side streets, and at the intersection right before the street curves past the police station I saw the little 1, 2, and 3 markers in the road. And in the area where the vehicle came to a stop right by the church, there were a bunch of other police cruisers and Passaic County Sheriff vehicles blocking things off.

Even though it didn't happen to me directly, it still made me feel like I was in a movie. Kind of slow motion, this didn't really happen in my neighborhood kind of eerie feeling. You know?

I am curious what happened only because I want to know the truth - I talked to a few different bystanders and each one had slightly different information. The first lady I spoke to even said, "You know how in that game 'telephone,' how by the time you get to the very last person the story is really messed up? That's gonna happen here too."

Plus I just feel really bad for the family of whoever this person was. This was someone's daughter, someone's niece, someone's granddaughter, someone's friend...and all I could keep thinking about was, it could have been someone I know. And that is really scary.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

If I Made a List...

If I were to compile a list (which I should)...

Thanks to that one beginning sentence, this week's post over at In the Mood for Gratitude was written a little differently than usual. This post wasn't just a random list of the things I was grateful for in the last seven days, but instead I focused on my five senses and how they related to what I'd taken note of this past week.

And that inspired me to write this post!

My Short List of Funny, Cool, and/or Interesting Things I've Encountered This Week

1. Seattle Chocolates are EPIC.
My boss went on vacation to Washington State last week to visit her daughter, and she brought back a box of assorted Seattle Chocolates truffles. I decided to try a mint chocolate one and...well, I think my taste buds exploded. Seriously. If you've never tried them, you must. You absolutely must!

2. CVS likes Lindsey Buckingham!
I walked into our local CVS on Wednesday and immediately recognized the voice of Lindsey Buckingham singing his 1992 hit Soul Drifter over the sound system. Being a huge fan, I hate to think this was a coincidence, and yes, I fangirled just a little in the aisle (relax, nobody saw me). Out of the Cradle, the album that song is from, is my favorite Lindsey solo album, and I could just hum along with those songs for hours!
Music Video:

3. I discovered
A friend of mine has been using this book exchange website to get rid of her unwanted books for awhile now, and although she's told me about it before I just signed up today. So far I've got 4 books of mine listed to swap; you earn 2 credits from the site after you list 10. And it's a 1 for 1 swap: each book of yours that you give to someone else earns you 1 credit, which is good toward 1 book of your choice (paperbacks, hardcovers, audio books, textbooks, and more)! I can't wait to start swapping; I hope that someone out there is looking for the books I've got listed!

4. I love this dog. Seriously.

It wasn't until the end of the video when the dog is walking toward the man filming, that I realize this dog is a Papillon, just like my "nephew" Mylo! I recognized the ears. Now I can't help but wonder if I can teach Mylo how to dance like that! Maybe I'd use Beach Boys music. ^_^

5. Comic strip creator Robb Armstrong must be a Beach Boys fan...

Copyright Robb Armstrong and GoComics
I can relate. I've been a fan of the Beach Boys (and Fleetwood Mac and the Mamas & the Papas) since I was 10 or 11, and 20+ years later I'm still into their music. I mean, what's not to like? ^_^

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Book Review: "Good Dog. Stay." by Anna Quindlen

In all of my 35 years, one pet I never owned was a dog. Growing up, my sister and I were the caregivers of no more than three hamsters and two beta fish – not necessarily in that order, of course. But no dogs. Yet when my sister moved out, she chose to adopt two dogs – a Yorkie/Fox Terrier mix named Lucky and Mylo, the butterfly-eared Papillon who she rescued from a local shelter dog - who wasted absolutely no time in melting her heart and, in time, mine as well. The three of them have been staying with us for the last few weeks, and while I am thankful not to be responsible for Mylo and Lucky’s overall care, I won’t lie that I’m not indulging in their unconditional love and companionship. There is nothing more rewarding after a long day at work than to come through the door and have those two rascals come bounding at me with their adorable doggie grins as if to scream, “You’re home!” And there’s nothing more adorable than having Mylo flop over onto his back – wherever he is in the house, whether it’s my bedroom or the middle of the kitchen – and silently demand a belly rub.

This newfound experience with canine companionship is what caused me to pluck the book Good Dog. Stay. by Anna Quindlen off the library shelf. While the book itself isn’t new – it was published in 2007 – the theme of how dogs can positively impact one’s life remains timeless and will resonate with any dog owner or dog lover, in my case. Peppered with black and white photographs of an adorable menagerie of dogs – including her own – Good Dog. Stay. pays tribute to the life of Quindlen’s cherished Black Lab, Beau, who was part of the Quindlen family until two days before his fifteenth birthday. The book itself is a quick read at only 82 pages long, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in content: Quindlen fills the pages with admiration, love, and respect for Beau, and with humor as well, sharing personal stories and anecdotes about Beau and how his life intertwined with that of her family, reinforcing the lessons she’s learned from him – like learning to roll with the punches, taking things in life as they come, and to live in the present. The part I got the biggest laugh out of was when Quindlen reminisces of Beau: “There came a time when a scrap thrown in his direction usually bounced unseen off his head. Yet put a pork roast in the oven, and the guy still breathed as audibly as an obscene caller.”

“The life of a good dog is like the life of a good person, only shorter and more compressed.”

In the case of Beau, truer words were never written.