Tag Archives: crafts

Branches are people too.

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Come visit us!

With all of the amazing activities taking place at the Mothership Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh-Main (language lessons, poetry, author visits, crafting) it is easy to forget that CLP has 17 neighborhood branches and the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. And we’re all busy little bees, planning awesome programs for all ages, all year round. But since I’m the manager of CLP-South Side, let’s talk about me!

Every Week

TeenLoungeTeen Lounge
Mondays 4-6 pm
The South Side Library is the place to be every Monday afternoon. There’s tons of fun happening at Teen Lounge from gaming, snacking and crafting, to working on projects around the Library and around the South Side. Come and kick it at Teen Lounge.

Crochet & Knitting Club,
Wednesdays 5:30-7:30 pm
Join us for our Crochet and Knitting Group. We are a group of friendly crochet and knitting fans, looking to teach and learn from other friendly crafters. Bring your current projects or start something new!

Storytime
Thursdays 11 am – 12 pm
All kids are welcome at these storytimes designed for children 18 months to age 5. Get up and get moving with stories, songs, rhymes and silly fun! In these 30-40 minute storytimes, children and adults will actively explore books that expand the imagination and inspire self-discovery.

Gaming
Saturdays 12-3 pm
Feel like getting your game on? Head down to the library for an assortment of video and tabletop games for all ages! Meet new people to challenge, or bring a friend along for gaming fun.

Special Events

All Day Movies
Thursday, 11/28- Family Blockbusters
Saturday, 12/13- Holiday Favorites
Friday, 12/26- Holiday Favorites
Join us at the library for an all day movie marathon! Each month we’ll feature a day long celebration of films on a fun theme.

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The Labs
Monday, 12/8
3:30 pm – 6:00 pm
The Labs is the place to make and learn with art and technology. During this workshop, teens can explore a variety of processes with the help of mentors. Mentors will provide equipment and expertise related to music/audio production, design, circuitry/robotics and photo/video. Stop by and make something cool with us!

IMG_20141111_142113 (1)Work. Nights.
Thursday, 12/4
6 pm-midnight
Scott talked about Work. Nights. in a previous post, but I wanted to remind everyone that it is taking place at CLP- South Side!
Accelerate. Collarborate. Innovate.
Stay up late at the Library. Network. Get stuff done. Connect with other innovators. Research your ideas and jumpstart your ingenuity! Come to the library for:

  • a creative co-working environment
  • guidance from library professionals well-versed in technology, entrepreneurism and more
  • late night snacks and coffee

GingerbreadGingerbread Houses
Saturday, 12/6
11 am – 1 pm

Add a sweet touch to your holiday with edible arts and crafts! We’ll supply the gingerbread, icing and decorations—everything you need to make a delicious gingerbread house. Due to limited space, registration is required. 412-431-0505 or southside@carnegielibrary.org

Book Sale
Saturday, 12/13
10 am – 5 pm
Browse our new and gently used books. Homemade baked goods will be available for purchase, as well as gifts made by our Crochet and Knitting group. All proceeds benefit the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- South Side Friends group.

MakeAndDoMake-and-Do
Saturday, 12/13
2:30 – 3:30 pm
Be social, Be spontaneous and Be artistic! Check out this program dedicated to cooking, crafting and technology based making for teens.

Whew! This is only one month of one branch’s activities! You could probably find something to attend every day of the month if you tried. Hope to see you here!
suzy

 

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Get Hands-On in 2014!

During the dark days of winter, I’m tempted to hibernate as soon as I return home from work. Resisting that incredibly powerful urge and heading out to zumba class or a literary lecture or an evening with friends can be so therapeutic.

Doing something creative on those cold, snowy evenings is even more therapeutic. That’s why I can’t wait for the next Hands-On Workshop series to start in 2014. Held the first Tuesday of every month at the Main Library, these free workshops are a chance to learn something new, use your hands and perhaps go home with a unique gift to give to friends and family.

In January, our very own Lisa from the Job & Career Education Center will teach us the wonders of glass etching. The results are so classy, but the steps are truly a cinch. Using contact paper and etching cream, plus some of your creativity, we’ll transform everyday glass containers into custom pieces.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user JamieMarie C via their Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user JamieMarie C via Creative Commons license.

We’ll provide number, symbol and alphabet stickers for etching names or numbers, as seen here:

Photo courtesy of Flickr user JamieMarie C via their Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user JamieMarie C via Creative Commons license.

These make great gifts, and can be given as personalized favors at weddings or showers. You’re welcome to bring your own glass items as long as the surface is flat – no quilted crystal jelly jars, for instance – or you can use some of the jars and containers I’ve collected, including this lovely pair:

Photo taken by Rita.

Photo taken by Rita.

The fun doesn’t end there. What a great series of workshops we have in store for 2014!

Is threading a needle impossible for you? Do you want to keep your pants from dragging on the floor? When a button pops off your coat, do you throw up your hands and donate it to charity? If yes, then the February program, Mending 101, is for you. Taught by Jenn Gooch, owner of WERK studio in Lawrenceville, this workshop will show you the basics of sewing repair – no machine required.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Markus via their Creative Commons.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Markus via Creative Commons license.

In March, when winter still has its icy fingers wrapped around us, we can warm up with a tea tasting from Margaret Harris, owner of Margaret’s Fine Imports in Squirrel Hill. She’ll share the history and health benefits of tea, as well as how to prepare it. As with all of our Hands-On Workshops, you can register online for this event.

Photo courtesy of user Takkk on Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy of user Takkk on Wikimedia Commons.

Bring in your own lidded glass container or use one provided to build a terrarium with Master Gardener Susan Marquesen in April.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user fsamuels via Creative Commons license.

For a dollar or two, you can pick up some nice covered containers at thrift stores, or shell out a little more at stores like Marshall’s. I snagged this for a buck at Goodwill:

Photo taken by Rita.

Photo taken by Rita.

As you can see from this picture, just about anything glass with a lid can be used to make a terrarium…

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Joelk75 via Creative Commons license.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Joelk75 via Creative Commons license.

Any good DIY aficionado in our fair city knows about the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse. They prevent lots of items from going to the landfill, and promote reuse of these materials through crafting and other creative projects. Thanks to PCCR, we have hundreds of paint swatches that will make colorful wall art, banners, gift tags – you name it. You could even make a Mother’s Day card at our Hands-On Workshop in May using our paint chip trove.

Photo courtesy of user Iroc8210 on Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy of user Iroc8210 on Wikimedia Commons.

And last but not least, in June we’ll learn about Japanese techniques of cloth wrapping such as furoshiki. Katsuko, who has volunteered with some of our Japanese programming, will share her expertise in this workshop.

Photo courtesy of Friedensreich Hundertwasser via Wikimedia Commons.

Photo courtesy of Friedensreich Hundertwasser via Wikimedia Commons.

We’ll see all you makers and crafters in Classroom A at the Main Library in 2014!

-Rita

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It’s Time to (Fake it Till You) Make it!

I love crafting. I mean, I can’t actually knit or sew, and my competence level with most wood-working tools is spotty at best, but give me some glitter and glue and I can spend hours in a daze, making a mess and sticking things to cardboard. Most level surfaces in my house are filled with random half used but never put away craft supplies from me; I promise my husband just loves it. On a positive note it has encouraged my daughter’s creativity. She loves to ‘do crafts with you mummy’; typically that means she wants to use all the glue and all the glitter on one piece of foam, but who am I to stifle her creative process? Although it kills me to see literal mounds of the good stuff, Martha Stewart  glitter, under the table or in a house plant but…creative process, right?

This time of year is especially great for us economically stunted, wanna-be crafters, a special sub-category of crafters who love to look at websites and magazines and think “I could totally do that on my budget” before accidentally burning our house down with a forgotten, rogue glue gun. This is when I get to pull out all the stops… no holding back… use all the glitter… making gifts for my family and friends. With the last decade’s resurgence in crafting there are lots of great books coming out at all levels for the crafter in you! This is a chance to wow your friends and family this season with special items made from the heart, and on a budget!

bookcover1I always look at the beautiful jewelry at craft shows and bazaars and think “I could make that”, quickly followed by the realization that it wouldn’t actually look like something someone would want to wear if I made it. With Junk-Box Jewelry you see step-by-step EASY TO FOLLOW instructions on how to make awesome pieces with vintage flair. This is a great book for someone who always wanted to make cool jewelry but could never quite figure it out.

There are lots of great felt projects out there nowadays, from flower pins to fuzzy friends for your kids; just check it out on bookcover2Pinterest if you don’t believe me. Two great books, Felties  (which comes in Zombie form too) bookcover3and Happy Stitch, gave me a ton of ideas that I turned into little friends for my daughter, magnets for friends, and tree ornaments for family members. If you have a basic knowledge of sewing, just the mechanics but not even practical experience, then these books can help you create cool little friends that you your kids will love to play with.

Adventures in Pompom Land seemed like one of those craft books that was just. asking. too. much. of me at first. But then the West End bookcover4teen librarian, Miss Annica,  had a pompom making program and I was hooked. Suddenly the adorable little animals in the book were totally within my reach. So don’t be discouraged by the intense instructions in the front of the book; just wrap some yarn around your hand and start without all of the special tools the author talks about, because even she points out that those tools are great for the more advanced pompom fluff maker, but that you can accomplish a lot just with your hands, scissors and yarn.

Last, but certainly not least, Mod Podge Rocks! A great book that shows off all the different kinds of mod podge that exists and some nifty little projects you can do with that wonderfully versatile glue. This book is fun to look at because it gives you starting points so that your imagination can run wild in all different sticky and glittery directions.

–Natalie

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Getting to Know Allentown All Over Again

Today we welcome another new blogger to the Eleventh Stack team, Maria J. You’ll be getting her take on the Carnegie Library, and librarianship in general, monthly from now on.

As a staff member of the CLP LYNCS (Library in Your Neighborhood, Community and School) department of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, I have had the pleasure of working in the Allentown neighborhood of Pittsburgh since October 2012.  Carnegie Library has established a temporary pop-up library at the corner of Arlington and Warrington Avenues in the southern Hilltop neighborhood, with the goals of bringing library service and creating community connections through February of 2014.

You can like the pop-up library on Facebook here

You can like the pop-up library on Facebook here

Allentown is one of those little surprises in the city of Pittsburgh which may only be recognizable to many for the reputation it has garnered through some unfortunate stories in the news. I have known this neighborhood since my childhood, when my siblings and I would come from Ohio to visit relatives who lived on the South Side slopes. It was a sense of homecoming for me to be able to come back to the community after decades of change–change for both me, and for this neighborhood.

While there are more empty lots and empty storefronts in Allentown these days, what hasn’t changed is the fact that these hills are filled with friends, families, and children. You may not realize this, as you travel along Warrington or Arlington on your way to the South Side or the other Hilltop communities, but if you were to stop in at the Pop-up, you’d soon realize the vibrancy of the neighborhood.

The little storefront which houses this temporary library quickly fills up with a variety of people and sounds. The clicking of keyboards and the laughter of children are often mixed with music from YouTube videos watched by patrons, the sound of ukuleles occasionally used in our programming, or the echo of traffic rushing by on Arlington Avenue on those days when we prop open the front door. The day I’m writing this happens to be a school holiday, and there are folks ranging from preschool to retirement in this little storefront-cum-library. While the adult patrons may be searching for jobs or reconnecting with old friends online, the younger kids are playing games on our iPads or XBOX, or creating works of art at the craft table we’ve set up to keep them busy during the day. This is definitely not your grandmother’s library, but nevertheless, the neighborhood grandmothers are no strangers to it!

Many of our visitors are familiar faces to us now after our having been here for nearly a year. They’ve become our friends, and sometimes we spend more time with them during the day than we do with our own families. We have made friends with young and old alike: staff and visitors have come to know and interact with each other on a first name basis, and we have come to know their personal stories, too. These are stories you couldn’t imagine by driving quickly along the cross streets, full of presumptions about the Hilltop neighborhood, but they are stories to which many of us can relate: stories of happiness and heartbreak, of homework troubles and homelessness, and also stories of hope. And every day, with each new visitor, we are introduced to another story, another friend, and, hopefully, soon, a familiar face and name.

–Maria J.

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Scenes From Lucky Thirteen: Summer Reading Is Here!

Today at Eleventh Stack we’re happy to bring you a special report from the Communication and Creative Services team. Many thanks to Trina, Renée, Suzanne and Stephen,  as well as photographers Marc Soracco and Bridgett Kay.

After a long winter of anticipation…Summer Reading is finally here! This past Sunday, June 9, a few thousand of our closest friends joined us to “Dig Into Reading” at our 13th annual Summer Reading Extravaganza. Just like baseball games, picnics and visits to the local amusement park, Extravaganza (and summer reading) are part of the summer tradition for thousands of area kids, teens and adults.

Thirteen must be our lucky number–the weather was simply perfect for an outdoor festival, especially one that celebrates the importance of reading and learning.

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The Library Card mascot may have confused this little guy…

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…but the mascot also welcomed more than 4,000 people gathered on the grounds of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh–Main in Oakland to enjoy live music and hands-on activities, learn something new and enthusiastically jump into a summer of reading.

Summer Reading Extravaganza

More than 75 of Pittsburgh’s coolest organizations came to the event to share enriching activities including arts & craft projects.

Summer Reading Extravaganza

Meanwhile, mentors from The Labs @ CLP showed off cool technologies–burping plant leaves anyone?

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Experimenting with musical instruments–like maracas–is a great way to learn rhythm and coordination.

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And even more fun is creating your own instrument. Did you know you can make a harmonica from Popsicle sticks, rubber bands and straws?

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The Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium brought a very friendly snake–and children learned to touch with just one finger or two.

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Did you know the Pirate Parrot is a summer reader? He rode all the way from PNC Park on his motorcycle to visit the library!

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You can’t “dig into reading” without a few earthworms!

Summer Reading Extravaganza

Building imaginations is all part of the fun!

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This dog sure seemed to enjoy his day at the library!

Summer Reading Extravaganza

This budding musician played the ukulele at the CLP-Music Department’s Hum and Strum Tent.

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While others made music on stage with professional percussionists!

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Even with so much noise and activity, a dedicated reader can always find a quiet spot…

Summer Reading Extravaganza

…or a unique perch to read–for hours!

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The Library is a cool spot to check out eResources. And for those preferring to stay outside, librarians demonstrated how to download their next read on portable devices. Today’s Library has books and so much more!

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This dapper-looking gentleman may have come inside to check his e-mail (or maybe he was creating a story with My Storymaker!).

Summer Reading Extravaganza

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s 13th Annual Extravaganza was a great day for the Library and the Pittsburgh community. We are so grateful to our sponsors and partner organizations, and we can’t wait to see you again at Extravaganza next year!

Summer Reading Extravaganza

Are you a summer reader? It’s not too late. Stop by your neighborhood library to sign up and keep learning and reading over the summer!

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Being Fine About Not Being Any Good

I am only one kind of crafty and it’s the kind that gets people to make things for me, not the kind where I make things for myself. Last year, I was given a sewing machine and some patterns by a friend. That’s all I have to say about that. I don’t have the needed attention to detail and patience I think is required for knitting. My fingers are too unwieldy to do anything like origami. I had resigned myself to not being an artsy-craftsy person. Until I discovered that I am an amazing painter.

When I say “amazing”, I mean there’s no screaming and I like it. And by painting, I mean paint-by-numbers and rock painting. During Christmastime last year, I went shopping with my niece with the intent of buying her a book, but we ended up buying three paint-by-numbers kits and a rock painting kit. It took some time to finish the paint-by-numbers, but I was so happy when it was finished.

Look at my art! (It's a sorcerer.)

Look at my art!
(It’s a sorcerer.)

Then I moved onto rocks. I’ve only done two so far, but I’ve noticed that there’s something incredibly soothing about painting a rock. There’s also something incredibly soothing in accepting that I am not a master artist and will never be. The painting isn’t about creating a masterpiece (rock). It’s not about me making some beautiful thing; it’s about me making some thing. It feels so great to create something that I’m thinking about breaking out that dusty sewing machine and making something that may be so horrible I can only wear it when I’m alone.

So if you’ve been wary or unwilling to do something because you think you’re not going to be good at it, join the club. Then read a few books or dive right in with no instructions and join the other club where we knit or paint or sew and make something that may be not so great, but is all yours.

MeandMySewingMachine    Watercolor101      PrintingbyHand

–Aisha

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Radio, Radio!

Back in the day, before Philo T. Farnsworth turned the world upside down with tiny television tubes, the radio was the family’s home entertainment center. Although I’d always been aware of classic radio content, it wasn’t until my husband starting bringing home records–yes, actual LPs–featuring the Marx Brothers, Nick Carter, and Captain Midnight that I could fully appreciate what the radio experience must have been like for my parents and grandparents. Snuggling up on the couch, paying rapt attention to the adventures of the Green Hornet, is very different from watching a television show or film; while I’m certainly not giving up my favorite visual programs anytime soon, there’s definitely a thrill in using my imagination to fill in the blanks TV usually provides.

Enjoying the classic records led us to Dodge Intrepid and the Pages of Time, a blisteringly funny serial tribute to the days of yore, written and performed by local talent. Dodge Intrepid features a time-traveling librarian trying to prevent a very special book from falling into the hands of an evil industrialist out to bend history to his will. With the help of his hyperactive sidekick, Pluck Gumption, Intrepid (a moniker second only to Ford Prefect for sheer amusement value) manages to save the day again and again. If you missed their live performance last weekend at Arcade Comedy Theater, fret not: you can check out the Dodge Intrepid podcasts and catch up with every last wonderful faux advertisement and Pittsburgh reference (trust me–these guys did their homework).

Just one of the many fun fan posters available here.

Just one of the many fun fan posters available here.

Call me a hopeless romantic, but I’m now officially hooked on the radio experience. Luckily, there are plenty of fun shows for me to explore, and possibly plan parties around. Observe.

maskedmarvelsMasked Marvels, a compilation of programs featuring identity-hiding heroes like The Lone Ranger and The Shadow, sounds like a great introduction to the superhero genre. Obviously you’d ask your guests to show up wearing creative facial disguises. Just to up the ante, though, don’t tell anyone what kind of snacks you’re serving, and make sure you hide all the food under opaque platters. While you’re at it, peel all the labels off of whatever beverages you’re serving, and keep the lights very, very low.

The Saint Solves the Case is a 10-disc collection of digitally remastered episodes in which the notorious crime-solver Simon Templar saint“keeps company with corpses, amnesiacs, publishers, gamblers, and a monkey.” Crime-fighting and a monkey? The party decorations practically plan themselves. You should also definitely serve either angel food cake or devil’s food cupcakes (for the irony!) and listen to one disc at a time, so you have an excuse to have ten parties with monkeys and cakeTemplar costumes optional, but encouraged.

darkfantasyDark Fantasy: Adventures in the Supernatural is the perfect pick for a Halloween gathering. Instead of braving the cold, hoping your neighbors bought the good candy this year, why not stay toasty warm in your own haunted mansion and let these classic horror broadcasts scare you silly? In keeping with the “dark” theme, make sure you serve chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate, with perhaps a bit of chocolate for variety. Dress as your favorite mad scientist.

In the same vein, Christmas Radio Classics would be a fun way to put a new spin on the midwinter celebration, don’t you think? christmas_radioHoliday episodes of Burns and Allen, Jack Benny, Red Skelton, and their ilk are the perfect soundtrack to a vintage Christmas party. Shake up some classic cocktails, bake a lot of treats, and turn the speakers up high. You can make your own Christmas ornaments while you listen, or try your hand at crafting some homemade gifts. Speaking in period slang is optional, but make sure to wear your ugliest sweater!

Too silly? Probably, but a lot of the classic material can strike contemporary ears as pretty funny, whether or not that was the intention. If you’re not ready for this particular jump in the WABAC machine, you can test-drive more contemporary radio fare, like Car TalkA Prairie Home Companion, The Reduced Shakespeare Company, or Bob and Ray, to name just a few. A catalog search for radio programs will give you more than enough options to get started.

Were you raised on radio, or did video kill the radio star? We’d love to know!

Leigh Anne

who wonders if  Sgt. Preston of the Yukon would freak out the cats…

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She’s crafty – and she’s just my type

You that know we have a bajillion (roughly) craft programs at our many branches, right? No matter your skill level or interest, we probably have something that’ll butter your bread.

Me? Knitting is my weapon of choice, although last weekend I did try soap-making for the first time (I obviously know how to have a wild Saturday night) and I pretend I can sew.  Like any knitter (and Dumbledore), I love patterns. They’re fun to dissect and figure out, similar to a good puzzle. But even more, I love a well-written book about the details of knitting.

Maggie Righetti’s Knitting in Plain English is my top choice for “book every knitter should probably have in their personal library.” Righetti is sharp and wry, with chapter titles like: ” You Can Always Tell What’s Wrong with the Garment by the Way the Model is Posed or, Slender Five-Foot-Ten Models Look Good in Anything” or “Deliver Us From Disaster.” She covers every possible topic from choosing your needles and yarn to basic skills and fixing mistakes. Don’t ever let her catch you with your projects in a plastic shopping bag, either – it demeans the craft. Her Sweater Design in Plain English is another indispensable resource, should you want to make the perfect cardigan.

 Cookie A is a big deal among sock designers and knitters. Her Sock Innovation book is full of great now-classic patterns, but it’s the first 50 pages or so that are so invaluable. There are a number of options when it comes to the elements of a sock (Cuff-down or toe-up? Type of heel? Toe shape?), but after working a few patterns, most knitters will find they have a bias for certain design components (Cuff-down, flap heel, wedge toe). Cookie A covers it all, plus how to make those elements work for you.

Super Stitches Knitting is one of many, many stitch dictionaries. It just happens to be the one I favor. The book is well-designed and a great source of inspiration for when it’s time to step up your game from plain stockinette (not that there’s anything wrong with plain stockinette) to fancy cables or lace.

These are also fantastic resources:

    

– Jess, who has approximately five projects going at any given time

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A Book Club of a Different Color

We like to offer our readers as many different voices as possible from the Carnegie Library system. Please welcome our newest contributor, Jess, who will be joining us monthly from now on.

At the beginning of February, Irene blogged about using Goodreads to track what books she’s reading this year. I will freely admit to being a Goodreads super-fan. I’ve been an avid user of the site for the past three years or so, and as a result, my “To-Read” shelf has gotten a little out-of-control. Like, hovering-around-620-items-out-of-control.

Early last summer, I decided to do something about it.

A knitting hero of mine, The Yarn Harlot, found that forcing a self-imposed sock club on herself was helping to keep her yarn stash in check (most knitters will tell you that a controlled stash is the impossible dream). Knowing a good idea when I see one, I figured a self-imposed book club might be an excellent way of knocking out some of the books on my list that I had long forgotten about.  I use an online random number generator and let fate decide one book (as long as I can easily get it from the library and isn’t in the middle of a series) that I must finish by the end of the month. Today I’m going to share four winners from my list – and one dud.

allunquietAll Unquiet Things, Anna Jarzab.  This YA book is about the aftermath of the murder of seventeen year old Carly. A former good girl who turned self-destructive in months before her death, there are still plenty of lingering questions about her downward spiral. Her ex-boyfriend, Neily, and her guilt-ridden cousin, Audrey, become reluctant allies as they try to work through what really happened to Carly. This is a solid mystery that reminded me a lot of Veronica Mars in tone.

 Love Walked In, Marisa de los Santos. I had this book on my list for three years, which goes to show that this experiment of mine just might be working. While it may appear to be just another chick lit book (and I’ll admit that there are a one or two minor “first book” missteps), de los Santos, a published poet, writes such beautiful prose that it elevates this story of family and unexpected love to something special. The sequel is just as lovely.

Dragonfly in Amber, Diana Gabaldon. So far, this has been the only exception to my “no middle of a series” rule, since it is book two in the Outlander series and the next one I needed to read. It’s impossible to talk about the plot without giving too much away about the first book, but I never thought I would learn so much about Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobite uprising from a work of fiction. Gabaldon’s dedication to research in her books is kind of amazing and I can’t recommend this series enough.

All Other Nights, Dara Horn. Not to sound like SNL’s Stefon, but this book has everything. Spies. Romance. Civil War battles. Assassinations. More spies. But maybe the thing I liked best is that Horn offers up a perspective rarely explored in Civil War-era novels – that of the Jewish soldier. The main character, Jacob, uses his religion and his family’s standing as big-time New York shipping merchants to leverage many of his spy assignments – including working for Judah Benjamin, the Jewish Attorney General for the Confederate states. The blending of fact and fiction is handled smartly and if you’re like me, you’ll spend the few days after you finish the book researching all of the real people and events.

Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design, Faythe Levine and Cortney Heimerl. Hunka-hunka, stinky cheese – the cheese stands alone. I’m sure there is an audience for this book, but it wasn’t me. I went into it with the expectation that it would be more of an exploration of the socio-economic reasons behind the crafting explosion of the last decade (Hi, where do I get my Nerd Card punched?). Instead, it is basically a collection of profiles on crafters and artisans across the country, with five longer essays that don’t  add very much.  I don’t want to knock these folks or their art, but it just wasn’t what I was looking for. I may give the Craft in America documentary a try, however.

How do you keep your to-read list under control?

–Jess

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Where’s the Love?

Are you ready for it? That most pressure-filled of holidays? No, I’m not talking about Thanksgiving or the winter holidays that require you to spend time with your family. I’m talking about Valentine’s Day. Either you’re in a relationship and you feel you have to be romantic and do something “special,” like make a commitment. Or you’re unattached and every blessed thing around you says you’d be so much happier if you were in a relationship. Trust me, that’s not always the case.

Maybe you’re looking for a way to give someone a gift that you made with love with your own two hands. (Read: cheap!) Or maybe you want to give yourself the gift of learning to do a craft you’ve never done before. Either way, you should plan to join us on Tuesday, February 7th at 6:00 PM for the first Hands On Workshop of the new year – Valentine Crafts with Alicia. Pittsburgh Craft Collective member and co-author of Microcrafts, Alicia Kachmar will help us make a few Valentine-inspired items. We bet you will LOVE trying something different and taking the time for yourself to be creative.

HOW is a series of hands-on workshops for adults and teens. You will learn from skilled craftspeople. Dig in and try things out in a creative, supportive environment. Previous HOW programs have included Bookmaking with Hannah, Creepy Crafts with Lynne and Cardmaking with Julie.  At these workshops, instead of sitting quietly, being lectured to, you will participate in making your own projects. At the end of the evening you get to take your project home with you to give to that special someone, even if it’s yourself. Take some time out to learn to do something new or to rediscover an old favorite hobby. You won’t be sorry you came!

Most materials are provided. Registration is required. To register, email us at newandfeatured@carnegielibrary.org or call 412-622-3151 and ask for Julie or Melissa.

We’d LOVE to see you on February 7th! 
-Melissa M.

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