Wednesday, December 26, 2012

... Share the Crafts I've Completed at Work

It's been slow at work the last few days.  The holidays are just like that at my library.  So, to keep myself from going completely nuts I've been working on my crafts for the next few months.  I love that I get to do so much painting at the desk.  So, enjoy the projects... please don't mind the white and blue theme.  It's that time of the year.

Close-up Snowman
This one is for my older kids.  They'll draw and paint this snowman without a single circle.  Yay! New perspective!  I found a lot of crafts that involved looking at snowmen from a different angle.

Snowman from Above
This one doesn't have a link.  It's circles and supposed to be a simple paper craft for my preschoolers.  I found a picture of a card on Pinterest and made my own pattern. Could be a fail as a craft.  I had kids stop at the desk while I was working on it and they couldn't understand how the pile of circles was a snowman... I suppose if the kids make a traditional snowman picture with them it will be just as well.  That being said, I have a handful of kids (particularly my special little ones) who LOVE stacking circles.  So, maybe this will work alright for them.

Again, no link.  Just draw a vaguely monsterly shape.  Then use Q-tips (I bundled about 6 of them together with a rubberband to make it go faster) to paint it white.  Add some snow and if you really feel like being fancy use a sharpie to trace the details.  Done.  I sort of love this one.

And now an unexpected perk of my job.

Kids make me stuff.  Stuff that they are REALLY proud of.  I love that they are proud of their skills and also that they want to share their talents with me.

First up:
T told me he was really good at origami.  He is.  After he made Christmas trees (he was the first to complete the challenge one with the 1 inch square of paper) he made me these.  They'll live on my desk til some kid walks off with them.  That's the way of the art in my life.


S is good at art.  She tells me every time I see her.  Today she proved it.  Notice the different ways she can draw eyes... and the interpretive way she makes snowman arms.  Those were an artistic choice.  She told me so.  Also, she tells me she's a good drawer, but she's better at painting... I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

... Fell Down the Children's Music Rabbit Hole...

... and found some neat stuff.

First things first, there is a lot of GREAT children's music out there.  There is a lot of great children's music that doesn't even really sound like it's for children and some of it is even created by adult artists.

Some of my current favorites that I use routinely as background music for my tween crafts.

Barenacked Ladies: Snacktime!

Lunch Money: Dizzy
Folk Playground
Sugar-Free AllStars: Funky Fresh and Sugar Free
Jack Johnson: Curious George Soundtrack
Recess Monkey: Animal House
Frances England: Fascinating Creatures
I haven't given any of these titles the thorough listening that they probably deserve, but as far as background tracks for painting like Michelangelo (lying on our backs under tables dribbling paint on our faces) or whatever crazy craft I've cooked up for the day; they were superb.  Everyone one of these had at least one song on it with lyrics just quirky enough to catch the kids interest ("Wait!  Did they just say make a balloon your friend?! That's ridiculous..."  Yes, yes it is.).  

Today, I went looking for a different kind of music.  Music that I could enjoy, but also find the chords for and maybe even play on my ukulele for the newest addition to our programing line up*.  This proved a bit tricky.  There isn't tab for a lot of children's music because no one has taken time time to figure it out (the exception being Barenaked Ladies and They Might Be Giants).  But. after much digging, I found my heroes.

Introducing Mr. Dan Zanes.  Check out his website where he give links to all the lyrics and an option to download the lyrics with the chords!!!  THANK YOU!!!!


Mr. Caspar Babypants, (hint: not his real name.) who has also graciously provided music and chords.

I was very excited about this.  I emailed Mr. Babypants:

THANK YOU!!!!  I'm a children's library. I bought a ukulele for storytime, but have been seriously struggling with nursery rhymes (they have a purpose, don't get me wrong, but they are hard to really get into).  We use your CDs CONSTANTLY (had to buy extra copies so the patrons can get a hold of them) and on a whim I googled for chords for your songs.  So happy that you've provided them!

You're our hero!

Jessica and the rest of the Children's Department

He was very excited to hear from me and replied to my email:

YES!!! that is the response I hoped for as I spent hours and hours and hours doing that project!!!
glad they are getting used! spread the word!
 We have collectively used our lifetime allotment of exclamation points.   There you have it.  My seriously esoteric break-through.  This is life changing for me... and only me. :-(

*Our newest program is called Preschool Pals and is aimed at ages 2-5 (but we welcome any age when accompanied by an adult).  We created this to try to service our growing number of toddlers, but still provide an option for our dwindling number of preschoolers (last session of storytime the turn out was devastatingly abysmal)... Wish us luck! 

Friday, August 24, 2012

... Made Some Stuff...

I made refrigerator pickles.

With cucumbers grown in some persons real garden...

... somewhere in Indiana

This jar will be gone in a day or less.

Ryan came home from visiting his grandfather in Indiana with little cucumbers grown by one of his neighbors and destine for picklehood.  This is my second batch of pickles.  I "used" this recipe (scroll down to almost the bottom of the page).  I will admit that I don't really use recipes so much... they're just sort of a guideline.  The first time I made spicier pickles (which I really enjoyed).  This time they ended up more like the dill pickles you'd get at the grocery.  Ryan likes these better.  They don't have quite the kick.  I like kick.

I made two jars.  The second jar is destined for my mother-in-law.  I promised her some of the next batch I made... probably why she sent her son home with pickles... I am so on to her!

Also, today at work I made hardware jewelry as a demo for a craft I'm doing on Monday...

Stylish, eh?
Sorry for the picture of my gnarly arm.  Turns out owning and angry cat for like ten years has a serious effect on your skin.  Also, that's my sun damaged driving arm...

So, there it is.  I did some stuff.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

...Taught Creative Writing at Work

Today's Creative Writing class was based on this book:

It has no plot.  If I was in a classroom setting, this would be a perfect example for the introduction of prepositions.  Simple drawings take us from the front door of a house, though fairy tales, into outer space and eventually back home again.  Each page uses a preposition (in front, behind, next to, among) to get us from one place to the next.  A classroom book where each student makes a page and it all gets put together would be in short order, but I don't have a classroom... What's a children's librarian to do??

Make each kid make their own book, get as far as they can in an hour and send them home to "finish it" (yeah, right!).  I don't have to evaluate their understanding and they were pretty wicked proud of what they accomplished.  You know you're running a good program when the get panicky when you announce 10 minutes left.

And now...

Student work!

A grizzledragondino...
Be afraid.
 And there it is.  What a bunch of kids can accomplish in an hour.  It was fun for them, I think.  I was bored out of my mind... They worked so diligently, I didn't have anything to do.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

... Went to Musecon

Musecon was my first convention ever.  It was held at the Westin in Itasca. 
A rather impressive structure.
As far as I can understand this particular convention is basically a group of people that either pay themselves or pay to (depending on a terribly loose system of judging who has the most knowledge...) hang out with each other.  I say that the system is terribly loose because in almost all of the panels we went to at least one "audience" member (all part of the musecon club) knew more in at least some area than the presenter.  I would have probably enjoyed more of this convention if I (or Ryan) hadn't take college level courses in almost every subject that was being presented by (self-proclaimed) aspiring amateurs.  It was  still a good time, though.  I wish we had been more outgoing. 

There wasn't a lot of good photo ops.  So here are a few from Friday night:
Look!  A funny picture!

Hard to get a picture of Tesla coils in action.
 Have video!

We didn't go at all on Saturday (Ryan didn't feel well and I wasn't super set on most of the panels, though I am a bit sad that we missed Cooking Like an Anarchist... not that I need permission to break the rules in the kitchen.)

On Sunday we watched a guy do some science and I got to see this little contraption:

Do not be afraid.  It is not a torture device.

This can be used to put an electric shock into a insulator which when dusted with powder will show you path the electricity took across the plastic.  Very cool.  May turn up in a library program so stay tuned.

Of the panels we attended on Sunday, the most beneficial to us was probably the one on studio lighting in photography.  Ryan got to play with some light boxes and take pictures of a strange woman.
Look at the awesome shadows!

 They same principals applied in our living room.  Only with the sun instead of subtle studio lights.
It's burning my retinas THROUGH my eyelids 

Dramatic dog doesn't need dramatic lighting.
Fun Fact: I realized that when I try to smile casually in a picture, I totally look like I'm being sly.  Like perhaps just out of frame I am holding something dangerous or inappropriate... 
It's a dildo...

Thursday, August 2, 2012

...Decided to Not Be an Adult After Work

This week has been a very adult stuff heavy week.  We had to renew our lease.  Ryan had to go to the dentist and get his back adjusted (twice).  It's just been lousy with adult responsibility.

So we decided to not be grown ups and to do what we want...

and to that end...

I got a sweet new gaming setup!
Dining room tables are so totally for adults!

Then we played a couple solid hours of Borderlands.

Fun Fact: I have managed to keep up with Ryan level-wise over the first 3 hours of game play... without knowing that right clicking let you, you know, actually aim your gun... I am pretty much a badass.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Week in Review


Made pinhole cameras at work.  Had to take apart rolls of film.

Which involved wedging scissors into the tiny opening the film comes out of....

And then praying that you don't lose your eyes in the ensuing madness....

So much fun!   I LOVE MY JOB!!!!


I made hopping frogs like this:

 These aren't mine... stole a video as an example.


I didn't do anything exciting.


I got to wipe paint of a child's tongue with a paper towel.

One of my special little ones couldn't wait to get started with a painting project so he dove in with his fingers before I'd given instructions and handed out supplies.  Then when he was afraid he was going to get caught (totally don't do "catching" in library crafts, FYI) he popped his fingers in his mouth to hide the evidence.  I offered him some paper towel to wipe it off (didn't think drinking it down was advisable) and he came to take it from me tongue first... what's a librarian to do?  I wiped the paint of his tongue.  Cross that one off my bucket list.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

... Finally Blogged the Awesomeness That Was This Weekend

This last Friday Ryan and I hosted a party.  My work peeps all came over.  It was a lot of fun.  We finally got to cross making cake in jars off of our bucket list...
Yay!  Cake!  IN A JAR!!!
 Then we realized that that was the only thing ON our collective bucket list... we have accomplished everything...
People with nothing left to live for...
 (accept Heather. She has a wicked awesome new scarf)
But we did have cake... and that was pretty awesome.

Monday, July 16, 2012

... Taught 5 Girls How to Knit

Five girls between the ages of 7 and 12 attended my knitting program tonight (one of them was left-handed) all of them left with some idea of how to knit (I won't say that they are, in fact, knitting, but they get the gist of it).  I am really really tired.  We were in there for over an hour and a half and I had to knit left-handed.  Half an hour then home to sleep. 

Tomorrow?  Finished crocheted things.  Promise!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

...Came Home to My Boys

Ryan's back is out and he can barely walk...

and Remmy is not feeling well from his vaccinations...

It's still good to be home.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

... Was the Son My Dad Never Had.

I made the 3 hour trek home today.  It's one of those things I do every so often to recharge.  I love my job and I'm happy with where we live for the most part (it's the Hicksville of the suburbs), but sometimes some wide open space is in order.

Look!  Beans!

When I get home my dad always asks about the state of my car, so I told him that it needed an oil change in the hopes that he would volunteer to come hang out with me at the Walmart while I got it done.  I hate doing it at home because I never have anyone to go with me and I don't know any one at the Walmart here to chat up... 

We did run to Walmart.

And within 3 hours of me arriving we had the car up and were ready to change the oil ourselves.  Because we are self-sufficient like that. 

There are a lot of things about doing your own car work that make me nervous.  The getting it up on the ramps for one is terrifying.  You have to sort of gun it and then stop... You know what else is terrifying about home car repair?  "Hey, can you run into the garage and get me a rubber mallet?"  That's pretty terrifying.  They aren't really precision tools, are they?

It worked out though... and then just for kicks we changed the oil in 2 other cars:

Afterwards we stood in the driveway and drank a beer.  

It was satisfying.

Friday, July 13, 2012

... explored Twitter

Twitter it turns out is a terrible place if you want to see what people you actually know are up to, at least for me.   None of my real life friends use it routinely and only a handful of my internet friends do.  What I did find was that a lot of the internet people that I follow on various platforms also tweet.  And a lot of behind the scenes type things end up on Twitter.

My top 3 things I found on Twitter today:

This webcomic: I haven't gotten too far, but what I've read is amusing.  The art is fantastic.

This Picture: From they guys who make all the youtube videos that I waste my life watching...

NPH: Performs a tweeted play about the dangers of Friday the 13th.

Tomorrow: I do stuff.  I.R.L. For reals!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Memoirs of a Loud Dog Owner

I just met the woman who lives in the apartment across from us while I was out walking my dog...

Her: Is that the dog I hear barking all the time?
Me: (oh, god, do I lie... crap... what if he starts barking right now... then she'll catch me in the lie... Is there a  rock I can crawl under and die?  No.  Drats... ) Yep, that's him.
Her: I live in the apartment across the way.
Me: I'm sorry.
I love my dog, but he isn't making any friends.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nerd Wars T4

So, Nerd Wars started on February first. These are my battle plans as presented in the team forums:

Battle Plans:
Intellectual: Husband has a memory tool for figured bass… I’d like to translate it into a stripe pattern of some sort using knit and purl to represent triads and 7ths… I think this will end up being a hat in the round to allow for the knits and purls to be easier to read… and prevent me losing my mind… Tie-in’s anyone?
Scientific:Single skein hat… going to be dusty blue probably pretty plain. Again, I don’t have a tie-in.
Technical:Does chunky yarn count as a specialty? I have been on a bit of a jag lately… I’ve knit almost nothing but chunky yarn… if not I might to cables… no pattern idea yet.
Geek Pride: IloMilo socks, they won’t be a matching pair, but rather have corresponding colors heel/toe on one will be main color on other… I think these will be quite fun to make, but might only accomplish one in a month.
Nerd Culture: I am at a complete loss on this one…
Giving Geeks: Give away the hat I knit for Scientific…

and done.

What I ACTUALLY have on the needles:

1 light blue hat

1 Shawlette/scarf

The hat fits. The "sharf" doesn't. It is also the most addicting thing I've ever knit. Partially, I think, because I have no idea if I actually have enough yarn to come anywhere close to finishing it. I will try to post pics tomorrow. It is night time and artificial light is terrible.