Art of Invisibility


Re-Branding My Blog???

So, I’m never here anymore and I kind of miss blogging but I would like to change my mindset about my blog. I want to blog with a purpose and since I’m librarian having a book blog makes sense that I blog about books and other library related things. My first order of business to become an Amazon Associate which I’ve done. Now I just have to figure out how to use this system. The way it works is that if you buy something from Amazon, through me, I get  a percentage of the cost. It’s just a little way to get things I want for the library (home or public) ;). So I’m going to experiment here by listing some books I’ve enjoyed recently and linking them to Amazon. Let’s give it a whirl…

I just finished reading The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carlson. It was the conclusion to a trilogy of books I’ve been enjoying for the last year or so. It’s a fantasy series but I love the heroine and how she comes to not only believe in herself but love herself. The series starts our and Elisa is a portly girl being married off to a king in a nearby kingdom. However, there is more at stake than just a royal marriage and as the living carrier of a Godstone everyone around Elisa is conspiring to keep information about what her stone can do and her potential destiny from her. I love the adventure, the romance and the growth of Elisa. It was a can’t put down series for me.
Let’s just see now if that worked.

Well, it didn’t. I guess I’ll try again…

 


Book Reviews

In November I was able, through a grant, to attend a seminar about what is new and trending in young adult literature. It was awesome. I had so much fun hearing about all the new books out there for YA and gathering ideas on how to entice my readers at the library. In addition to the seminar, I was awarded a small grant to purchase materials for the library. I would have loved to add audio materials but decided to focus on building our book collection with the funds. As a result a big influx of new YA novels are currently in the library.

I want to read them all!

Not just because I am so excited about them, cause I am, but also to help talk them up to our YA readers. I’ve read 6 so far and have enjoyed them all for varying reasons. So, along with what I’m doing at the library, I’m going to share my thoughts about these books here.

Wonder by J. R. Palacio

About a boy, August, born with a facial deformity and about his first year in public school. It’s full of pain, sadness and bullying but don’t let that put you off. This book is also about hope, love, kindness and embracing yourself. It treats the conflicts that come with being different in a way that feels very honest. I loved the way that the novel changes perspective so you can see the same event through different eyes and understand the motivations and inner struggles of each of the characters. It is a wonderful novel and I’ll be recommending it widely. My pick to win a 2013 Newbery award.

On a side note, I had my friend and her 2 daughters (11 & 14) read Wonder and they all liked it a lot.

Ungifted by Gordon Korman

Gordon Korman is a terrific writer for kids because he knows them. In this book an ordinary, somewhat ADD kid named Donovan accidentally causes his schools atlas statue to lose its globe which crashes into the gym during a big school basketball game. What follows is a comedy of error resulting in Dovonan being placed in a school for gifted students. A school, which it is all to soon apparent, he does not belong. But, he has brought something special to the students of the robotics class, something they each need… normal. A great book about fitting in and using our gifts to help one another. I really enjoyed it.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Based on true events, this story is told by Ivan, a silverback gorilla who was taken from his jungle home as a baby to be placed in a Circus themed mall. Ivan has spent his entire life in a cage and has never seen another gorilla like himself. Silverbacks are meant to protect their family but Ivan has no family. He has the elephant in the next enclosure, the stray dog who likes to sleep on his belly and a little girl who comes with her father each night to clean the mall. A little girl who slips him crayons so he can draw. Then one day someone new arrives at the mall for Ivan to protect and he must use what he has to save them. This is a wonderful little book, sure to appeal to animal lovers.

May B.  by Caroline Starr Rose

This book, written in verse, is going to appeal to my lovers of the Little House books. It reminded me a lot of a 1998 Newbery winner, Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. Not only because of the poetry aspect but the subject matter. May B. is a young girl living with her family in a soddy, a home dug into the earth. in Kansas. Life is hard on the frontier and when a neighbor marries a girl from the city May B. is sent to help out. She doesn’t want to leave but her family needs the money and promise she’ll be home by Christmas. What happens next is a story in survival when the neighbor and his new bride leave May B. alone in their soddy and don’t return. This was a very quick read but very well written and I’ve got a mental list of which kids I must tell about tough little May B.

Every Day by David Levithan

I have read many of David Levithan’s books and he is one of my favorite YA authors. He often collaborates with other writers like Rachel Cohen and John Green. In fact his novel, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a favorite book and film. So I was excited to read his latest book.

Everyday is about “A”. Someone who wakes up everyday in the body of someone new. They can be male or female, any ethnicity, any size, any orientation and A is responsible for living their life for one day. He takes this responsibility very seriously, trying not to hurt his host in any way, until he falls in love. How will A begin his first romance when every day he is a different person and can you love someone back who is in a different body every day?

This novel was so intriguing and I loved the philosophical insights. A has been so many kinds of people, his perspective on life & self is unique. It is broader and narrower at the same time. He knows what it is to be a drug addict, a religious zealot, a jock, blind, injured, abused, feared, bullied and bully but he has no idea what it feels like to have the same parents everyday. To have the same friends since elementary school. To have lived in the same home all your life.

I was very surprised by the books ending and I think, should you pick this one up, you will be too.

Here is what I’ve currently got sitting next to my bed:

52 Reasons to Hate My Father by Jessica Brody
Pinned by Sharron Flake
Beta by Rachel Cohen

I’ll keep you posted!


2013: Year of the Karen

Hello 2013. I’m looking forward to you and I hope you have some exciting things in store for me. Perhaps, to make things easier for you I should tell you what I’d like to see in 2013.

  • This is the year I turn 40. I will not cry. 40 is going to be a liberating year for me. I will be kinder, more spiritual, focused on things that matter. I will let go of people, thoughts and situations that do not help me to be a better Karen. 40 will be a rebirth.
  • This year I will write more letters. I will make sure the people that matter to me know that I love them. I will be specific and I will watch for opportunities to serve them.
  • I will call my grandma, at least once a month, this year.
  • I will become more focused on my spiritual self. It has been far too neglected.
  • I will actively look for opportunities to be kinder in thought, word and deed. I will act on the opportunities and not let them slip away into regret.
  • I will celebrate my birthday with purpose. In June (my birth month) I will focus outside of myself and perform 40 random acts of kindness. In November, I will take the celebration to Disneyland and celebrate my 40th year with friends.

Bring it on!


Ninja Vanish… with a few books!

Here is another bulletin board that I did. I found the picture in my photos and thought I’d post it.

And here is the bulleting board I have up this spring. It’s pretty cute with all the bird book covers.


Bulletin Boards

I’ve decided that I want to keep a record of my more successful bulletin boards at the library. It’s a pity that I didn’t begin doing this 15 years ago but better late than never right?

Here are two that I’ve done in the last couple of years. One was for a summer reading program and the other was just a general winter board.

I’ll post more boards as I make them. It is also notable that I’ll be making bulletin boards as a calling at church. Wahoo! That plays right into my wheelhouse :)


Pinwheels!

I finished a project this weekend. A project that has been attacking my my brain for the last year, ever since I saw this. I love that curtain of pinwheels, falling, like a waterfall of color. I had adopted an old frame from my former roomate and wanted to use it as a part of a focal art piece in my bedroom and so these two things, pinwheels & the frame, melded together in my head.

A few years ago I got a free pint of paint from Glidden in Watermelon Smoothie, a dark pink color that was very close to my one of my favorite colors. This summer I broke the paint out and with the help of a willing friend we painted the frame.

    

It was much more bubblegum pink than I anticipated. I was expecting a darker “lipstick” color but it’s all good.

Then came the pinwheels. I purchased a package of Stampin’ Up papers in their Soft Subtles color palette and used brads I already had to secure them.


Each pinwheel was made from a 3×3 piece of paper. The paper was double sided and had two different styles in each color so I was able to create 4 different pinwheels in the same color. I like this difference in pattern and shade within the same color tone these papers created.

Next I needed to find a way to secure the pinwheels in the frame. I purchase some fish line and stapled a line every 4″ to the back of the frame.

    

I had found some stick-on cork circles at the dollar store and used them to attach the pinwheels to the fish line.


Then I hung the frame above my bed and voila!

I love how this turned out! I love the punch of color against the white wall and above my black & white bed spread. My next goal is to make some colorful pillows for my bed and to make this and this. Wheeeee!!!!!!


The End-ish

Here are the last of my NC photos.

It's so pretty!

The Moses Cone Mansion on the BlueRidge Parkway (near Blowing Rock).

The view was georgeous.

Driving along the Blueridge Parkway in the fall.

We visited a working plantation near Charlotte.

Chelle & Tiffany at the plantation.

I think this was the slave quarters for the plantation but I could be totally wrong.

I like these pumpkins. Especially the anemic one in the middle.

Well, that’s the end except for the memories and stories.

Ah, what the heck. Here are a couple more stories:

It turns out that I get car sick. I had no idea that this would happen as I have never been car sick in my recollection. We were on our way to Raleigh to find our hotel for the night. I had purchased my first Cheerwine of the trip and had been eating salt water taffies and triscuits when I started to get a headache. I just tried to will myself to get better but it was not working. Chelle asked, from the front seat, if I was okay (I’d gotten very quiet). I mentioned that I had a headache and was feeling queasy but I was okay. Well, 5 minutes later I had to ask Lori to pull over. I tried to vomit but it was a no-go. I was moved to the front seat–the place for car sick people– and was handed the plastic liner from the triscuit box. A liner I was sure I wouldn’t need… until I did. There was no warning. My stomach unleashed it’s contents. We were on the freeway and everyone was rolling down windows and trying to find an exit. We finally found one and I was out the car door the instant we stopped moving. I had filled the “bag” to capacity and just kept going. Such a joy to behold, I’m sure. I just dropped the bag right there in the woods as I was less concerned with littering than carrying my special prize to Raleigh. I also, oddly enough, was worried that a rapist was waiting for me in the trees. It’s odd where the mind will go in times of stress.

Sadly, as is my habit, I had peed myself as well. Why my bladder feels the need to sing along I’ll never know. I’m starting a very evil little tradition of vomiting and wetting myself on vacation with Chelle. Back in the car, my travel companions kindly lined my seat with a plastic bag and off we went. I noticed the sign as we entered the freeway, we were in Wake Forest, NC. I guess I need a tee shirt that says “I left my vomit bag in Wake Forest!”

The next night we stayed in Wilkesboro. When we got there Lori, who had been sick the whole time with a horrendous cold, decided to stay in a rest while we went out to find something to eat. I decided that this was the night for barbeque, so we asked at the front desk for directions to a favorite local barbeque joint and they gave us a map to the Brushy Mtn. Snokehouse. We had brought along a GPS (Wanda) for the trip, so instead of using the map we just plugged in the address and were off. I had elected to drive and just followed “Wanda”. It was a good 15 minutes but finally we made it to our destination. Wanda had lead us to the local ABC (Alacholic Beverage Control) store. There was no barbeque place to be seen. I drove around a bit, quite erratically if I do say so myself, before we decided to head back to the hotel and begin again with the directions we’d been given.

We passed the Court House where some sort of reenactment was taking place, passed the dilapidated old downtown business, passed the iffy looking convenience store to the hotel where I tried to merge into a police car. Have I mentioned that the car rental place threatened us with immediate impounding if anyone else drove the car? Yeah, I was feeling really relaxed by now.

We began again with the new directions. We passed the court house, the dilapidated buildings and ended up at the ABC store again! No kidding. Hunger induced rage was setting in so we headed to the iffy convience store to ask for directions. Guess where we ended up?!? Yup, the AB-frickin’-C. It was not pretty. Across the street was grocery store so we stopped to get Lori some medicine and asked the checkout girl if she knew where this place was.

Chelle:  “Do you know where the Brushy Mountain Smokehouse is?”

Girl:  “Um, I think if you head left (while pointing right)…”

Chelle:  “Do you mean left or right because you are pointing in the opposite direction?”

Bag Boy:  “Hey, I think you can see that place through the parking lot”

Chelle, Tiff & I:  “…”

Chelle:  “Can we walk there?”

Boy:  “No”

So we get into the car and drive 100 feet to the Brushy Mountain Smokehouse. Why we could walk I’ll never know. Perhaps there were marauding  possums in the area. We are starving!!! at this point and as we walk up to the door it say’s they close at 9. It’s 8:45 and the only people in the place are leaving. We go in and dejectedly ask if they are still open and the nicest (seriously) lady asks, “is it 9 yet? No.  Then were open.” And she sat us down, helped us figure out the best item to order and helped up put together a take home box for Lori. It was delicious!!!! I love North Carolina barbeque sauce on pulled pork. It was heavenly as were the ribs. Yummers!!!!

On the way out we noticed that they sold ice cream so I got a scoop of Red Velvet. SO GOOD!!! It was worth driving through the “Brushy Mountain Triangle” ;) to find that place!!!

Before I end this I want to shout out a huge thank you to Michelle (seriously), Lori & Tiffany. You guys rock. Thanks for going to NC with me :)

 


North Carolina Photos

I don’t know when/if I’ll get to the rest of my trip recap. I hope too but as I get further away from it the minutia fades. What I do remember is that I had fun. I got just what I wanted out of it.

It’s funny but I didn’t realized how much I just missed the atmosphere of NC. The trees, the fields, the windy roads, the friendly people, the way people keep their yard and the tastes. Oh the wonderful flavors of cheerwine, krispy kremes, hush puppies & barbeque! I just missed that! Even walking through the fall leaves and acorns was nostalgic.

I also learned many things about planning a trip with friends. It would have behooved me to know what my travel companions expectations for the trip were. I’m a super “go with the flow man” kind of girl and don’t generally plan a lot. This is a huge character flaw and one I’m working on but it wasn’t sorted out on this trip quite yet.  I was just happy to go where the wind took me but I think my expectations didn’t match the others. And while that is okay, I just wish that, perhaps, I had been more aware of what it takes to prepare for a trip like this in the planning stages. I kinda felt like I was disappointing everyone :(

In hind sight I should have taken us to meet some of my mission people. The Stephensons & Woodruffs would have been fun to introduce to my friends.

Next time, and I do hope there is a next time, I’ll make sure to do my research better and make sure everyone knows what each person in the travel party is wanting from the trip. A little information never hurts!

So, on to the photos!!!

We stopped at a cotton field because it was so freakin' cool!

It was a split second decision to swerve off the highway and get a closer look!

 

and we, of course, all needed some of the fluffy stuff!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Krispy Kremes were eaten at the "origional" KK store in Winston-Salem (or as close as we could get since the origional was torn down)

 

 

Yum-o!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We visited Old Salem which was settled by the Moravians (a religious sect from the Czech Republic) in 1766.

The Moravian graveyard. This was a very neat place. All the grave markers are identical to show that in God's eyes all are equal.

God's Acre

 

 

 

 

Chelle & Tiffany

 

 

 

 

 

 

I loved all the restored buildings and I believe that there are still members of the congregation that live in them.

Okay, I over estimated my time. I’ll put up the rest of the pictures in an upcoming post.


I had an itch to scratch!

So, last night I was in the mood to make something and since I didn’t have brown sugar for cookies I was forced to come up with an alternative idea. As I looked around my apartment for something to scratch my crafty itch with, I spied the leftover plank from my Christmas tree. That plank was so lovely and rough! It was itching for a makeover and so I attacked it with a  dry coat of white paint, carpet tacks, ribbon, an orange nail & a gigi sized stocking and I came up with this:


A lovely, little snowman!


Crafty again!?

So, I’ve been invited to a Christmas ornament exchange the last few years. I make a dozen of one ornament and then we get together and exchange our creations. Fun. Right? Yes, a lot of work but fun.

The first year I solicited my mother and her origami gene and she helped me create this:


Last year I cut out hundreds of felt flowers to create this:


Evidently this year I really wanted to continue the trend of labor intensive ornament making and create something that requires me to cute out 20+ circles, of varying sizes for each and every ornament. I am a glutton for punishment!


But… I kinda like how it turned out ;)


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