Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rose Red (Or Pink)

This shorter blog will soon be followed by a longer blog because last Saturday I showed The Help. Seeing as this library gets so empty on Saturdays I’m surprised I don’t see tumbleweed rolling down the aisle, I was shocked when people not only came for the movie, they stayed for the discussion.

We talked.

And talked...

And kept talking.

Forty minutes later I wound the discussion down; some people stayed until almost 4 pm. They asked, “When’s the next movie discussion?” To which I thought, “Can I recover from this one?” Program prep translated into reading the book, watching the movie, creating questions, reading reviews and criticisims, and, of course, finding someone to operate the popcorn machine because I really didn’t feel like cleaning it.


For those who want to know about “The Help” and get discussion questions, come back next week.

About that craft…

By now everyone knows how much I love paper and its dehydrating effects on my hands. So when I saw construction paper so old it gets a pension, I thought why not use it for Valentine’s postcards? It’s simple, you can’t tell the paper was bought during Regan’s first term, and it uses up our old flyers. This is good for drop in crafts.

Heart-Shaped Roses Postcards

Kiddy scissors (even if they beg for the sharp kind)
Construction paper---full sheets
Scrap paper---assorted colors
Old half-sheet bookmarks
Valentine’s postcard templates
Glue stick
1. Cut the full sheet construction paper into quarters; cut the postcard templates out. Cut the half-sheet flyers in half. Trim about ¼ of an inch off the top and one side.
2. Glue the template to one side of the postcard.
3. Glue the old flyer to the other side of the postcard.

4. Using scrap paper, cut out 5 heart shapes and stems. Tape the stems to the back of the flowers.
5. With the flowers face down, place arrange them in a bouquet and tape them to one another.
6. Tape the flowers to the front of the postcard, preferably with double-sided tape. If you would like to keep one as a sample, I recommend laminating it.

Someone got me thinking of old school R&B, so I hope you like Boyz II Men. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Easiest. Craft. Ever.

It’s nearly Valentine’s Day---time for chocolate, cards, and/or burning all of your ex’s stuff. It used to be you only hosted parties for happy events. “Look, I’m getting married/having a baby/cured my bad case of hangnails!” Now you can celebrate Anti-Valentine’s Day or throw a divorce party with a “Bring Your Own Bottle” note in the invitation. (Though technically speaking, many would say divorcing someone you loathe is a happy event, too.) Honestly, I was ready to leave that one after the cops showed up, but I was vetoed and had to stay until I crawled out to the car at 2 am while complaining, “I went to work today! Or yesterday! What day is it? Why did you have to put ‘no kids’ in the invite? What kind of crappy parent would even think to bring their kids to this type of party anyway?”

Don’t answer that.

Typically we make cards for Valentines, but depending on whom you send cards to (males), it can be a complete waste. My mother was ready to strangle my brother through the phone when she discovered he’d tossed her beautiful $6 Christmas card. In his defense he said, “What else did you want me to do with it?” Survey says: she wanted you to keep it. Not forever. But at least until January 1st. “From now on he gets the cheap cards!” Another relative didn’t even bother to open his card. His response: “Oh, I threw it away. Thanks for the gift.” I wish I had been there to see him digging through the dumpster when he discovered I’d put money in it. Had he not found the envelope I was completely ready to lie and say, “There was $500 in that envelope! I can’t believe you threw away $500! I should be reimbursed!”

That would have made it the second best Christmas ever.

So it is officially established cards are off the list for men, but what’s an alternative? The following is an easy craft perfect for children to give to their parents, broke teenagers to give to each other, and women to give that special someone that screams, “I like you, but you’re not particularly useful and your FICO score is too low for this to go to the next level.”

Decorative Mugs
Ceramic mugs from IKEA
Sharpies---assorted colors
Rubbing alcohol
Paper towels
A watchful eye
Chocolate (optional)

1. Number the Sharpies. Honestly, the hardest part of this craft is keeping track of the pens.

2. Give each person 1 mug and 1 pen. Explain that when they are done they have to return the pen.

3. If they complain about the pen's color and, “I want purple!” tell them whining is not attractive and they need to switch with another person because you’re not giving them 2 pens and that’s life.

4. Let them decorate the mugs.

5. After they are finished decorating (which takes a lot longer than it seems possible with all the talking) get back 1 pen from each of them, not letting them leave until every pen is accounted for.

6. If a teen tells you they don’t have a pen, explain they’d better make one materialize out of thin air or prove there’s a ghost in the room.

7. Realize that despite all your hard work, you will always be 1-2 pens short of what you started with. If this makes you feel bad, eat some chocolate.

8. Use rubbing alcohol and paper towels to clean up the tables should any ink get on them. If you can’t find rubbing alcohol use hand sanitizer.

This craft is so easy, I wish there was an IKEA right in Elk Grove, and I’m not just saying that because I like to mindlessly wander through the store while eating cinnamon rolls.


And now, time for the perfect Valentine's Day song...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Waiving the White Flag

Don’t you just love princesses? This Halloween my home was inundated with young girls hoping to live in the lap of luxury, marry rich, wear beautiful clothes, and have people wait on them hand and foot despite having few useful skills and zero talent whatsoever. Gee, does that remind you of anyone…

…I just can’t think of who that reminds me of.

Oh, well. I’m certain it will come to me later.

A good 30 princesses (and some adults who knew better) showed up on my porch before I got tired and poured enough candy into that last trick-or-treater’s pillow case to send her into a diabetic coma. I wasn’t feeling the whole royalty thing. Maybe it has something to do with that when a 5 year old boy dresses up as Spiderman, he won’t want to be Spiderman at age 18; but when a 5 year old girl dresses up as a princess, there’s a 1 in 3 chance she’ll be on a cable wedding show at age 30 throwing a tantrum over tiaras. Plus, if you really pay attention to the plotlines of any Disney movie, you’ll realize the message they send out, for lack of a better term, sucks.

See what I mean?

That said, this past summer reading we made princess flags.

Okay, they were really birthday flags, but I found all these crown stickers in the storage room that I needed to get rid of. Old craft material is like pencils---if you keep putting off using it one day you’ll take it out and discover the eraser is so old it’s hard enough to fly across the room and poke someone’s eye out, and then you’ll have to do paperwork. How awful! The birthday flag idea came out of the SR2011 binder. You know what they say, if all else fails, read the manual/directions/street sign. The thing is, if you look through your old binder (if it’s not buried in a pile of recycling) there are no actual directions on how to make them. So here it goes:

Birthday/Princess/Pirate/Dream Flags


Paper (old letterhead anyone?)
Stapler (hopefully with staples actually in it)
Colored pencils, crayons and/or pens
Volunteers OR music to make the time go faster (Craft prep can be tedious...)

1. Wash your hands and wipe the inside of the stapler.
2. Fold paper in half lengthwise. Cut along the fold two make two sheets. Set one aside for later.

3. Fold your half sheet in half. If it’s used, make sure the writing is on the inside.

4. Wrap the paper around the narrower end of the chopstick (to prevent the paper from falling off).
5. Staple the top and bottom near the chopstick. You may have to (gently) fold the paper in half to do this. Place on staple in the center right-side opening.
6. Rinse and repeat.

The nice thing about this craft is you can have volunteers prep the flags weeks ahead of time, set them in a box, and have everything ready for label. Just be sure to label the box, so as not to forget and leave the box laying around until 2014.


Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Teen Lantern

It’s been a while since I last blogged---I was preparing for the Iowa Caucuses with my “Election Season Should Only Last 6 Weeks Because We’re All Sick of You” platform.

(For those of you non-news watchers, I came in second behind Romney.)

Anyways, I recently opened an e-mail discussing summer reading program ideas, reached back through my pecan pie-induced brain fog and remembered that yes, this was discussed at the last Youth Services meeting. And all I could think is, “Nooooooo! It’s too early! I just barely remembered to block off the meeting room for April programs!” Because prepping for summer reading is like going to the mall right after Christmas and discovering that management is already merchandising the bikinis---it’s a reminder to drop the mouth-watering, succulent turkey drumstick out of your hand and dust off your gym membership.

Or at least buy some workout clothes.

Whatever the case may be, I decided to do lanterns. It’s something that all age groups can make. Besides, libraries may be low on money to buy, say, books, but we’re not running out of paper any year soon. Just the accidental one-line prints patrons leave behind are enough to keep our areas decorated with paper snowflakes for decades. And paper crafts seemed safer than doing anything on dream interpretation. Adults have issues, teens have issues, and think about all the issues kids must have, especially babies. Every night all babies likely dream about is people’s giant heads being right up in their faces and saying things they don’t understand like, “Goo goo, gaa gaa,” and “You’re going to have to figure out your own way to pay for college.” Still, lanterns seemed a little boring, and I needed to jazz it up a bit, hence, the Starry Night lantern. It combines the best of my creativity with a pre-made program listed in the summer reading binder, and it's fairly easy.

Colored pencils
Washable markers
Safety scissors

1. Color the Starry Night coloring sheet linked on the Enchanted Learning site.
To format, go into Print Preview. Turn off the headers, change the orientation to Landscape, change the custom enlargement to 215%, and set all margins to 0.3.

2. Fold the paper in half along the long side, picture-side out. Reverse the fold, turn it picture-side in.

3. Follow the lantern making instructions.

But why limit it to just Starry Night? You can color Sponge Bob or Dora the Explorer, or use Twilight coloring pages---yes, they do exist. (Scary, isn't it?)

Some call it love. I call it pedophilia. Everybody calls it a cash cow.

Stay tuned for more craft posts to come!