Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Fans for Everyone!

It's been hot lately, and I confess that I've become rather fascinated with hand fans. We do have air conditioning and we use it, but growing up, my family didn't buy an air conditioner until I was in college, so I looked for other ways to move the air and at least pretend that my efforts were making me cooler.

Here are some of my favorites I've looked at online along with where they can be purchased if anyone is interested.

Patchwork Design Hand Fan from Etsy

Hand Painted Spanish Hand Fan

Teal Paper Paddle Fan

Red Wooden Hand Fan

Lace Hand Fan

And here's a link for a lacy crochet pattern that can be placed over the staves of a folding fan:
Crochet pattern for covering hand fan

And instructions for making a fan out of popsicle sticks:

Of course, a piece of cardboard will do when that's all you have (or you could just stick to the air conditioning or electric fan).

Have a great day!


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Clever Cat Commercial

The Calgary Humane Society came up with a "used car type" commercial, touting their collection of cats. Cute! (I hope some of the kitties found great new homes as a result of this).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Embroidery Hoop Decorations

The other day I was on Facebook, and someone had a link to an article on creating wall art using fabric and embroidery hoops. At least I think that was what it was about. I was just looking at the images.

That took me back. When my first child was born, my mother took some cute fabric featuring images of teddy bears and placed each image in an embroidery hoop. These lightweight wall hangings were perfect for a child's room, because if they fell or got knocked off, they were (again) light and there was no glass to break. But it's an idea that could work anywhere. It's not a new idea, but sometimes, especially when saving money is important, it can be just the thing to brighten a room. You just need fabric that appeals to you (remnants? fabric from used clothing?), and a few embroidery hoops. Quick, simple and pretty! (I don't have an image of the hoops my mother made at my fingertips, but if I run across one, I'll scan it and post it here).

I am here
via Christa

Bathroom decorations
via Marianne Madden

One crafter found a bag of embroidery hoops at a thrift store. Another found a bunch of doilies and placed them in hoops on a jewel-toned background. One person arranged red and green fabric in hoops, placed them in a circle and called it a wreath. So many good ideas! I'm feeling inspired.

Have a wonderful day!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Desk Love

So...I posted about this on Facebook the other day, but I know that not everyone sees those posts, and besides, I'm still trying to convince myself that while I want one of these, I don't necessarily need one (and yes, we don't always get to have something just because we want it).

At any rate, I was at Ikea looking at office desk chairs (not for me) and came across their Sit/Stand desks. I've been reading about those online for a long time, but I didn't know that Ikea had them. They are so awesome, and the new ones are electric and very quiet!

Here's one version (you can buy the bases with various table tops separately if you like in order to customize things a bit, but this complete desk comes in about 8 different color combinations, and there's also one with a more irregularly shaped top:

Ikea sit/stand desk

Here's one with a left corner (which also comes in a right corner):
Ikea sit/stand desk with left corner
The controls on the electric ones can be placed on whichever side is most convenient:
Ikea sit/stand desk control button to raise or lower desk
Here's one of their sales pitch videos that demonstrates the different heights. There's also a hand crank model that is less money, but I couldn't find a video and didn't see it in action, so I can't speak to that one. This one, however, has me wishing I could justify the price of a new desk (and getting rid of my old one). I'll have to think about that. I'm not sure I can bring myself to do it no matter how much I love this desk. I may just be too frugal.

I hope all is well with all of you and that you're enjoying whatever season you happen to be in (depending on where you live. We're moving into late summer here, and it's hot, but I can already tell that autumn is on the way. The days are getting shorter, and my tomatoes, dealing with less light, are taking longer to ripen than they were a few weeks ago).

Have a great day!


Monday, August 17, 2015

This Groom Can Dance!

I haven't posted one of these wedding videos for a long time, but this one is a bit different. The groom and many of the groomsmen (as well as the bride) are professional dancers. The reception and the stage are where the bride and groom performed together for the Richmond ballet in Richmond, Virginia.

Have a great day!


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Libraries are Awesome!

I'm on a library kick of late (and by that, I mean a "let's all cheer for libraries" kick). Years ago I thought I might become a librarian, but instead became a teacher and later...well, you know...a writer. All of those are, of course, related, and I still love libraries. What's more, they've changed so much. In fact, I'd like to point out that libraries have adapted to the changing needs of patrons faster than lots of for-profit companies have.
National Library of Ireland

Libraries now offer not only books and magazines, but music and movies and computer access. A person can borrow an ereader or visit the media studio some libraries offer to record music or movies or play musical instruments (or borrow those instruments). Video recorders can be checked out. As noted in an earlier post, many libraries now offer access to 3D printers. Harold Washington Library in Chicago has a Maker lab with access to laser cutters and other tools (other libraries also have Maker spaces).

I'm sure that I've barely touched on all the services that libraries today offer, but here's a fun video parody of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" titled "Check It Out" that mentions some of the library's benefits.

And for something a bit more soothing, a look at some of the most beautiful libraries (I love the music):

Have you used any of the more unusual services libraries offer?

Happy reading (and library visiting)!


Monday, August 3, 2015

Slice of Life Books

I've always had a weakness for what I call slice-of-life books, and by that I mean book that drop me into a world I have little or no experience of myself. This includes diaries and first person career-oriented books.

One of my favorites from a long time ago is Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey (which I've mentioned here before).

Book - Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey

Another book I read about a year ago, Heads in Beds, by Jacob Tomsky is an insider's look at the hotel industry.

Book - Heads in Beds

Then, last week I read Waiter Rant by Steve Dublanica. 

Book - Waiter Rant

Another book I read years ago was Letters of a Woman Homesteader (the movie Heartland, again going way back, was based on this book).
Book - Letters of a Woman Homesteader

Other books that would fall into this category (some discussed here in prior posts) would be books by Janice Holt Giles about living in Appalachia, Tom Groneberg's books, The Secret Life of Cowboys (about his move from Illinois to the west where he became a cowboy/ranch hand), Margaret Powell's books about being a servant in England back in the day, Miles from Nowhere by Barbara Savage (about a couple who bicycle around the world), A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson, The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentleman Farmers, The Scent of the Missing (about a woman and her search and rescue dog),  and the list goes on and on.

I love reading about worlds I'll never inhabit. I like the whole "secrets revealed" aspect and I have several more on my "to read" list (Concierge Confidential and Wild, just to name a couple). It's one of my favorite types of books (I also like the fact that I can read short snippets, as opposed to fiction where I tend to read books in one big gulp). Because of that, they're books that travel well. I love reading them, but I don't get so engrossed that I can't put them down when other activities beckon.

Are you a "slice of life" reader? If not, what types of nonfiction do you prefer?

Have a great day!


Friday, July 31, 2015

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Commercial Book Clubs

I wonder how many people still belong to book clubs. I don't mean the kind where you get together with your friends and discuss books. I mean the kind where once a month or so the "club" sends you either a book or a pamphlet detailing their newest books (or, in this computer age, an email touting their newest offerings). There's usually a tempting initial offer (4 books for $1? or maybe today it's $5 or $10), followed by an obligation to buy x amount of books during a specific amount of time. Have you ever belonged to one of those?

National Geographic Magazine Advertisement

When I was young, I joined the Doubleday Book Club for a brief time, then later the Book of the Month Club (also briefly) and later still, another club which I belonged to for more years than I can recall, until yesterday when I dropped my membership. My reason for doing that (and the reason I'm not naming the club) is because it was taken over by another well known book club, and I didn't like their policies. 

What I never liked about book clubs was the way they were run. They would either send you a book and you had to send it back if you didn't want it, or they would send you a notice that they were sending you a book, and you had a certain amount of time to tell them you didn't want it. After that, they sent the book automatically and charged you for it. (This was the reason I quit my book club. I had--years ago--fulfilled my introductory obligation and had requested that I move into a program where I simply perused their catalog and bought when I wanted to without any monthly reminders or obligations. Staying with the new company was going to throw me right back into that old program, or at least something similar, and I just couldn't see why I would want to do that again). 

On the other hand, belonging to a book club enabled me to find books I might have never been exposed to otherwise. The books were carefully chosen, and that's how I found the author Fredrik Backman (I posted about a book by him a few weeks ago). 

In its heyday, there were a number of book clubs, including specialty clubs for crafts, history and religion, and many of those book clubs still exist, although, as in many other areas, companies have consolidated until many of them (maybe even most) are owned by the same company. 

Many of them have become irrelevant. With the advent of online shopping as well as ebooks, buying books has never been easier, and most of the online stores are less expensive than the book clubs can afford to be. Moreover, with the consolidation of clubs and employees, things don't always run as smoothly as one would like (I'll forgo my most recent complaint. Suffice it to say that errors were made and never corrected). 

Still, I'm going to miss belonging to a book club and having those hand-picked choices delivered to my inbox. It feels like the end of an era.

Happy Reading!


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Books Versus Movies

I was on Facebook and there was a link to this piece titled Ten Appalling Films That Were Adapted from Great Books. It's on The Literacy Site, and while I'll link to the article and include the video, I"ll also list the books in case you don't want to sit through an almost eleven minute video (the video is over a year old, so apologies if you've seen it before).

Here's the list:

Gulliver's Travels
The Time Traveler's Wife
Captain Corelli's Mandolin
The Bonfire of the Vanities
The Scarlet Letter
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
The Cat in the Hat 
The Golden Compass

And honorable mention was given to:

The Da Vinci Code
All the King's Men
The Lovely Bones
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Congo the comments, a number of people mentioned:

The Clan of the Cave Bear
The Lightning Thief
Ella Enchanted

and many others.

I haven't read all of those books (although I've read many) and I haven't see all the movies. Furthermore, I'm not going to comment about which movies didn't live up to my expectations, which books were better, which movies were better or even which books I'd like to see made into movies. What I find most interesting is how strongly people feel about this topic. If you read the comments that accompany the article, people feel very strongly about which of their favorite stories fell flat (or worse) when brought to the big screen.

More importantly, I found reading the comments a great source of future reading material. Lots of books I've read, but also lots I haven't gotten around to. With people feeling so strongly about their choices, I'm planning to pick up a few of these books. I might even watch some of the movies I haven't seen, at least for comparison's sake. 

Do you have any movies (or television shows) that disappointed once they were translated into another venue?

Have a great day!