Thursday, July 2, 2015

Summer Project: Vintage Style

This summer, why not try something old-school? If you are setting yourself a crafting challenge this summer, look no further than delving into the world of vintage style. Whether you want to knit, bake, quilt, sew, or decorate, the library catalog has plenty of likely ideas to get you started! Bonus: reading these books counts towards your Summer Reading prize-winning chances (until July 25th), as does listening to audiobooks, while you craft!


Vintage Paper Crafts by Anna Corba

1940s Hairstyles by Daniela Turudich


You might also enjoy:

Shrubs: An Old-Fashioned Drink For Modern Times by Michael Dietsch

Out-Of-Style: A Modern Perspective of How, Why and When Vintage Fashions Evolved - Men, Women and Children 19th Through 20th Centuries and Beyond by Betty Kreisel Shubert [library use only]

If you enjoy crafting, make sure to check our list of upcoming events! You can filter by subject and find events related to Fiber Arts, Home and Garden, Arts and Crafts, and more!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Summer Project: Tripping the Art Fantastic

The library's Summer Reading Program is happening right now, with the theme "Every Hero Has a Story". Fantasy fiction is a great place to find heroes - Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, Kvothe in The Kingkiller Chronicles, Fitz from The Farseer Trilogy, Ged from Earthsea, Harry Potter. Some of the art associated with fantasy worlds is, well, fantastic - just take a look at drawings by Tolkien. If you are artistically inclined, perhaps you'd like to use some time this summer learning more about fantasy art and how to make it?  The library catalog has some suggestions:



Fantasy Worlds by John Maizels

Spectrum 18: The Best in Contemporary Fantastic Art edited by Cathy Fenner and Arnie Fenner

Drawing Down the Moon: The Art of Charles Vess with a foreword by Susanna Clarke

Extra Credit

Fantastic Flesh: The Art of Make-Up EFX
The magic of special effects makeup makes us believe in aliens, monsters, and the possessed. Takes an inside look at the creation and execution of some of Hollywood's most unique special effects.

Knits for Nerds: 30 Projects - Science Fiction, Comic Books, Fantasy by Joan of Dark, a.k.a. Toni Carr
A collection of 30 knitting patterns inspired by popular science fiction and fantasy culture includes designs in the style of such iconic articles as Lieutenant Uhura's minidress, Hobbit slippers, and Hermione Granger's secret beaded bag.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summer Project: Drawing, Painting, and More!

Summertime...and the living is easy.
~George Gershwin

The seeds of creativity live in everyone. Some individuals are fortunate that their sprouting imagination was nurtured and grown into strong creative thinking abilities...Creative people invent, imagine, problem-solve, create, and communicate in fresh, new ways... Those with the ability to "think outside of the box" will lead the future and make special things happen.
~"Importance of Creativity" from

What are you doing to unwind this summer? Well, you might be doing extra reading to take part in our Summer Reading Program, or taking a trip somewhere, or taking part in outdoor activities (Zoo Music?  Farmers' Market? Summerfest? Isotopes? Check out the City of Albuquerque's Summer page for more).  But if you are at a loose end, and looking for something a little different, why not try taking up art?  Whether you are a newbie or someone looking to hone your drawing or painting skills, the library catalog is chock-full of suggestions of how to get more creative!

Drawing and Painting Beautiful Faces: A Mixed-Media Portrait Workshop by Jane Davenport 

Advanced Airbrush Art: How To Secrets From the Masters by Timothy Remus

Painting Your Way Out of a Corner: The Art of Getting Unstuck by Barbara Diane Barr

The Art of Mistakes: Unexpected Painting Techniques & the Practice of Creative Thinking by Melanie Rothschild 

A-Z of Painting Bird Portraits: An Illustrated Guide to Painting Beautiful Birds in Acrylics by Andrew Forkner 

IPad for Artists by Dani Jones 

Electronics for Artists: Adding Light, Motion, and Sound to Your Artwork by Simon Quellen Field
Street Scene: How to Draw Graffiti-Style by John Le [eBook]

Amp up your creative game with these exercises!

Craft-a-Doodle: 75 Creative Exercises From 18 Artists by Jenny Doh  

Art Before Breakfast: A Zillion Ways to Be More Creative No Matter How Busy You Are by Danny Gregory

 Know a kid who likes to draw...sports?  Try the Drawing with Sports Illustrated Kids series! 


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Project: Journaling

Keep the journal idea, but ditch the length and write down just a sentence or two each day to record your most prominent memories. You might think such short entries aren’t enough to make any difference in your life, but [author Gretchen] Rubin insists that this idea is both manageable and impactful. “One sentence is enough. When I look back on it years later, that one sentence really does keep memories vivid—it really does bring back the past—which is one of the things you really want a journal to do,” she says.
~ Jessica Stillman, "The One-Minute Writing Activity That Will Make You Happier Every Day"

As for the health benefits of journaling, they've been scientifically proven. Research shows the following:
  • Journaling decreases the symptoms of asthma, arthritis, and other health conditions.
  • It improves cognitive functioning.
  • It strengthens the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses.
  • It counteracts many of the negative effects of stress.
~Elizabeth Scott, "The Benefits of Journaling for Stress Management"

Are you looking for something to do this summer in your spare time? Of course, we're a library blog, so our first recommendation is reading (have you signed up for our Summer Reading Program yet?  It's not just for kids!). But, maybe you want something more. Maybe you are looking for a project. Something to take up for the short term, that may or may not grow into a long term occupation. Something you can do indoors, because summer is here with a vengeance!

How about journaling? Keeping a journal is recommended for a variety of reasons, including stress relief. And it doesn't have to run into volumes, like Virginia Woolf's, unless you are so inspired!  In fact, many items in the library catalog lean towards creative journaling, making your own book or journaling with art.

Would you consider taking up journaling, for pleasure, as an aide-mémoire, to encourage creativity, or for stress relief? Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way recommends what she calls "Morning Pages", which is a great idea to get yourself started and get into the habit - we have employed this model in the past.

Inner Hero Creative Art Journal: Mixed Media Messages to Silence Your Inner Critic by Quinn McDonald [eBook]

No Excuses Art Journaling: Making Time For Creativity by Gina Rossi Armfield [eBook]

Journal Your Way: Designing & Using Handmade Books by Gwen Diehn  

The Art Journal Workshop: Break Through, Explore, and Make It Your Own by Traci Bunkers [eBook]

How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal by Claudia Nice  [eBook] 

Artist's Journal Workshop: Creating Your Life in Words and Pictures by Cathy Johnson [eBook] 

Raw Art Journaling by Quinn McDonald [eBook] 

Writing Yoga: A Guide to Keeping a Practice Journal by Bruce Black [eBook] 

Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You by Clare Walker Leslie & Charles E. Roth   

How to Make a Journal of Your Life by D. Price [eBook]

Creating a Birdwatcher's Journal by Clare Walker Leslie and Charles E. Roth [eBook] 

Creative Wildfire: An Introduction to Art Journaling--Basics and Beyond by L.K. Ludwig [eBook]  

365: A Daily Creativity Journal - Make Something Every Day and Change Your Life! by Noah Scalin [eBook]


6 Ways Journaling Will Change Your Life [Lifehack]

10 Journaling Tips to Help You Heal, Grow, and Thrive [Tiny Buddha]

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Use Your Words!: Language Usage Yesterday & Today

Language will never stop changing; it will continue to respond to the needs of the people who use it. So the next time you hear a new phrase that grates on your ears, remember that, like everything else in nature, the English language is a work in progress.
~Betty Birner, "Is English Changing?" from The Linguistic Society of America 

Language changes over time. The popularity of words, especially slang or words related to technology or trends, ebbs and flows. Some long-forgotten words, however, are worth resurrecting.
~from Grammarly, "Neat-O! Vintage Slang Words to Add to Your Modern Vocabulary

Language!  It's a useful tool, and sometimes a weapon, so it's good to know how to wield it properly. What better way to get to know your mother tongue than to study its history and usage?  Here are a smattering of recent items from the library catalog, mostly about English, to pique your interest in the history and usage of language.  You might be surprised by the twists and turns language has taken over time!

Dog Whistles, Walk-Backs, and Washington Handshakes: Decoding the Jargon, Slang, and Bluster of American Political Speech by Chuck McCutcheon

Soldiers' Songs and Slang of the Great War by Martin Pegler

How to Speak Brit: The Quintessential Guide to the King's English, Cockney Slang, and Other Flummoxing British Phrases by Christopher J. Moore 

Bad English: A History of Linguistic Aggravation by Ammon Shea

Holy Shit: A Brief History of Swearing by Melissa Mohr

Madre: Perilous Journeys With a Spanish Noun by Liza Bakewell

That's Not English: Britishisms, Americanisms, And What Our English Says About Us by Erin Moore

Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen by Mary Norris  

Better Than Great: A Plenitudinous Compendium of Wallopingly Fresh Superlatives by Arthur Plotnik

OK: The Improbable Story of America's Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf

The Language Wars: A History of Proper English by Henry Hitchings

Grammar Girl's 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master In No Time by Mignon Fogarty

Grammar Snobs Are Great Big Meanies: A Guide to Language For Fun and Spite by June Casagrande

Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths of Language Usage [DVD]

Looking for vocabulary and writing help, word games, and more?  Try our Brainfuse eResource - free access with your valid library card!

Fun Wordy Links

Grammarly Blog

Grammar Girl: Quick and Dirty Tips



Free Rice

Vocabulary Games from PBS Kids

Word Games and Quizzes from Merriam-Webster

TED Talk Playlist: How language changes over time

The Truth About Language Change [PBS]

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Interactive Books

Back in April, I posted about fanfiction and how it's changing the publishing world. Today, I wanted to talk about another way in which the publishing world is changing: interactive books.

When I was getting my MLIS, I took a children's literature course where we talked about interactive books for kids, such as The 39 Clues series, which has an online component. It was fascinating to see how publishers and authors are using online platforms to reach their readers and continue the worlds they've created in their stories.

Recently, I found out that author Heather Demetrios is continuing the world she created in Something Real with an online novel, The Lexie Project, which she's writing on Wattpad. I was intrigued by this, because it's not the first time someone has published something on Wattpad that has then been published as a book. Anna Todd, who wrote One Direction fanfiction on Wattpad, had her stories published as the After series. Demetrios plans on posting new chapters once a week on Wattpad. She is also going to use social media to connect Lexie with readers. Eventually, the chapters Demetrios posts on Wattpad will be published as a print book. You can find out more about it on the Teen Librarian Toolbox blog.

What's most intriguing to me is the idea that Demetrios is trying to meet her readers wherever they are. It doesn't matter if they're visiting a museum, at the movie theater waiting for the movie to start, riding the bus to school, or at home. They'll be able to access Lexie's story from any of those places. Of course, an author can do this just by publishing an eBook, but Demetrios has taken it a step further, by allowing readers to actually interact with Lexie's character through Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and more.

I love it that people who loved Something Real can read the sequel as it's being posted on Wattpad, and that they can interact with a fictional character on various social networking sites. It's an innovative way to reach out to readers, but it's also a way to reach people who might not like reading, but do enjoy spending time on social media. Demetrios certainly can reach more people with this project than she would have if she had chosen to write another book and have it traditionally published instead. I'm not sure that this type of project would work for everything. The Lexie Project is perfect for it because Lexie is a reality TV star. I would love to see more authors try things like this, though. And while it won't completely change the publishing industry, it might change parts of it, or just change the way authors can help their readers connect more deeply with their novels.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Children's Books: Nostalgia Reads

It’s striking how long children’s books can last. One explanation may be the way in which they’re read. They become part of our emotional autobiographies, acquiring associations and memories, more like music than prose.
~SF Said, "Children's books are never just for children"

The same representations of childhood can be seen again and again in children’s classics, suggesting that we treasure the books that evoke that which the adult world lacks and we wish it contained. We cherish children’s classics precisely because they represent a world that does not resemble the world as we experience it.” - See more at: Sometimes it seems to us that all kids between 7-12 want to read Harry Potter, and the Magic Treehouse series, and Goosebumps, and not much else.  Parents are always asking librarians for reading recommendations for their kids. Sometimes it's challenging to come up with recommendations for children who don't like to read, or for the ones who are reading beyond their age range, and sometimes it's difficult to keep track of what the kids think is cool (painful to admit, but true). But we were kids once, right? Why not try recommending some of the favorite books from our youth?

The release of the Paddington movie has made us wax nostalgic for our childhood reads.  Here's a list of some of the juvenile fiction books to which we retain a sentimental affection - it's by no means comprehensive, because some of the books have gone out of print, we're sad to note. Some of them have fallen out of favor, because they are dated or because works from different eras reflect the feeling, views, and biases of that time - some of them are just not as comforting to re-read because of these views, or to suggest to our children for the same reason. But, we have tried to compile a list that reflects our nostalgia with some oldies-but-goodies and also recommends books that might be a bit off the beaten path - not the Beverly Cleary or Louisa May Alcott title you might expect, for example. Hope you find something on the list that reminds you of happy personal associations!

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery

The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye

Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott

Finn Family Moomintroll by Tove Jansson

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald 

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

Ellen Tebbits by Beverly Cleary

Rumble Fish by S.E. Hinton [YA]

The Secret of the Mansion by Julie Campbell [Trixie Belden #1]

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome 

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Singing Tree by Kate Seredy

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild [eAudioBook]

The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill

Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

Leo the Lioness by Constance C. Greene [eBook]

Miss Bianca in the Orient by Margery Sharp

Heidi by Johanna Spryi

Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney 

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Miss Pickerell Goes Undersea by Ellen MacGregor

What are the books from your childhood that you remember most fondly?  Let us know in the comments!


67 Children's Books That Actually Changed Your Life [Buzzfeed]

100 Great Children's Books [NYPL]

Children's Literature [Project Gutenberg]

Popular Classic Children's Literature Books [Goodreads]

Children's literature an escape from the adult world [University of Cambridge]

23 Books You Need to Read Again as an Adult [Business Insider]

21 Books From Childhood You Forgot That You Loved [Bustle]