Saturday, March 14, 2015

We Were Liars

Just yesterday, I finished a book that completely swept me away.  I'm having a hard time getting it out of my head, and of course that may be because I'm in that dream-like haze one often encounters in the wake of a really good book.  But I can tell that even after the initial excitement wears off, this will be a story I'll carry with me.  I get so excited when I find a book like that, so I wanted to share this one because, judging by the buzz, I'm certain there are many readers out there who would find it as moving and engaging as I did.

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

I was absolutely captivated by this book, from beginning to end. The pages of the story were sprinkled with quote-worthy lines, and kept me completely engaged. Although this is a YA book, it has such a wide appeal that it could easily find its way into the favorites of adult readers. With characters who feel like your own dysfunctional family and a plot that makes you anxious for answers, this was a thoroughly enjoyable read that I'm so glad I picked up.

I'll leave you with two of my favorite quotes from the book.

Have a great weekend!  Whether it's this particular title or not, I hope you find the time to relax with a good book.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Indie Emporium is Coming!

Good afternoon, friends!  I mentioned in my recent terrarium tutorial post that I took on a new position at work earlier this year.  I really feel like I'm in my element now, and I've become married to my work so to speak.  That being said, I decided it was important to participate in at least one craft show this year despite this newly increased workload.  If you've ever witnessed my excitement about Indie Emporium in past years, you might have guessed that even if I reduce the amount of craft shows I take on to one a year, THIS will be the one!

So rather than neglecting my blog and focusing 100% of my passions into my day job, I'm shining some light onto the crafty side of life by giving a you a little tour of what I have in store for this year's Indie Emporium!  Let's start with the swag.  Every year, there are swag bags consisting of samples and small gifts given to the first 50 people in line at the opening of the show Friday night.  The line gets longer each year since many of the vendors contribute to these bags, making them a treasure trove of fun things to browse (it is not uncommon to see the lucky recipients hovering in corners tearing into theirs, unable to overcome the suspense of wondering what's inside).  I've included things like guitar pick keychains, glow-in-the-dark magnets, herbal tea, buttons, and charms in the past, and I try to add something fun and fresh each year.  This time around I put together little sticker packs, each containing three upbeat sentiments.

Last year, I almost completely sold out of the craft kits I brought.  So this year, I'll be equipped with a huge stock of dream catcher kits and these fun sewing kits, which contain all the supplies and instructions for making your own little wallet.  I'll have plenty of bright new color combinations, too!

I also premiered my Slightly Slouchy Beanies last year to a pretty warm welcome, which made me happy because I came up with a pattern and tampered with it ceaselessly until I found what I believe to be the perfect fit.  I replenished my stock of solid colors for the 2014 show, and I whipped up some fun gradient style hats as well.

This idea came from a hat I made for myself in shades of green.  The shifting colors make it an easy accessory to fit into my wardrobe (in the photo above, I was acting goofy and wearing my gradient green beanie with a black tee and bright green corduroy pants).  Mine was getting a lot of use, and receiving some compliments too, so I came up with a variety of color combos to bring to the show.

Up next on the agenda, I'll be sculpting up some new creatures and a fresh batch of glitter acorn necklaces.  If you're in the Tulsa area and you've ever attended this show, you know what a blast it is and I hope you'll come back.  And for those who are close by but have never attended, you have GOT to experience this event!

Photo courtesy of Mandy Gross
There will be all kinds of fun, crafty things to do while you browse this impressive roster of makers.  I hope to see you in a few weeks at Indie Emporium 2014!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Crochet Projects for Beginners

Hello there, crafty friends and creative souls!  In an attempt to help spread the art of crochet with young learners, I've been putting together a few very basic crochet projects designed with the absolute beginner in mind.  While my intention is to use these projects at the library to work with local teens on broadening their crafty skills, I also decided to share them with those of you out there in the world who either A) would like to learn and practice crochet, or B) already know how, but enjoy quick and easy project ideas.  

So this is the first and easiest of the two projects, and you can anticipate the other one very soon.  Today, I'm showing you how to make crocheted cotton washcloths (find the printable PDF version here).  I feel the need to emphasize how fast and easy these are to make.  An experienced crocheter can finish one in 15 minutes easily!  They work as washcloths, dish cloths, or even gifts- especially if you make a set of 4 and package them with some nice soap.  Grab your hook and let's get started!

You can finder a larger, printable copy of this tutorial here.  Feel free to share it with any budding crochet artists you might know.  Happy crafting!

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Craft Connection + Terrarium Tutorial

Hello and happy 4th of July!  I'm here to fess up about something, celebrate something, and teach you something all in one post.  I'll start with my confession: This is the first time I've updated my blog in over two months.  My excuse and my celebratory news are one in the same... I got a promotion!  I'm working a new full-time job at the library which involves all kinds of fun new responsibilities, such as storytimes for young children and planning programs for local teens.  Since creativity is the language I speak, I'm starting a new craft group where Tulsa youth can share ideas and show off their work.  It will be called The Craft Connection, starting August 4th and continuing the first Monday of each month from here on out.

With this announcement comes my final task- to teach you one of my favorite craft projects, which we'll also be studying during the very first installment of The Craft Connection: Terrariums!

Make Your Own Terrarium

You will need:
- A glass jar, vase, or bowl
- Soil
- Gravel
- Activated charcoal
- Plants or moss
- Rocks, crystals, garden stakes, or other decorations
- Skewers
- Paper towels
- Spray bottle

1. Gather your supplies and make sure the glass jar is clean and dry.
2. Pour a layer of gravel into the bottom of the jar for drainage.
3. Sprinkle a pinch of activated charcoal onto the top of the gravel layer to prevent rot.
4. Add a layer of soil deep enough to accommodate the plants you’ll be using. Also make sure the soil is appropriate for the plants you have.
5. Now add the plants! If you are using moss, make sure to remove any excess dirt and simply lay a sheet of moss on top of the dirt. If you are using rooted plants, you will need a deeper dirt layer. Shake any loose dirt from the roots, then gently dig a hole and place the plant inside.
6. Fill in the dirt around the plant to secure its place in the terrarium. Add additional plants as space allows.
7. Place a few stones, figurines, or garden stakes in your terrarium for a decorative touch.
8. Use a paper towel to wipe dirt from the sides of the terrarium. Lightly mist the terrarium with a spray bottle to allow everything to settle.

Care Instructions
1. Place your terrarium in an area with indirect sunlight. Too much light will burn your plants, so find a spot near, but not right next to, a window.
2. Lightly mist your terrarium with a spray bottle once a week at the very most. Reduce the watering to once every two weeks or even once a month in the winter.
3. Lids should not be used on terrariums containing succulents because it creates too much humidity. For other plants, lids may be used but should be removed for a few hours once a week to allow the terrarium to air out.
4. Rotate the terrarium every few weeks to allow equal light in all parts.

Video Tutorial:
My friends at KTUL were nice enough to help me promote this fun tutorial on Good Day Tulsa.  You can view this project in action by watching this video.

Additional Resources:
For a thorough list of plants that will work in a terrarium, visit this site.

Thanks for being patient with me while I neglect my blog for months and then bombard you with information.  I want to encourage all my Oklahoma friends to send any creative teens my way starting in August at the Schusterman-Benson Library.  Have a happy summer!