Thursday, February 25, 2010

Sharp on Books

Today was a wonderful day of getting hepped up about children's books published in 2009. (Do you have any idea how many books were published in 2009? The answer can be found at the end of this blog.) Through work, I was able to spend all day in a seminar called "What's New in Children's Books with Dr. Peggy Sharp" presented at the NSLS facility. Holy cow...there were so many fabulous books presented it made my heart sing and my head spin!

We saw picture books, easy-to-read books, chapter books, novels, poetry books, non-fiction and graphic novels. We participated in creating a four-word synopsis of a fairy tale, did some group choral readings, composed a 140 character (or less) "Tweet Summary" of a story, learned what a "simpolate" is, and we partnered in a tell 'n draw activity (way to go, Jan!) after a presentation of the book There Was an An Old Monster by the Emberly 3's.

We learned about new trends (the macrabre), attention-grabbers (why snot is green), new authors, and authors who are still going strong decades after their first books were published. We devoured a box lunch and went back for more! Peggy Sharp was amazing! Even during the breaks, she answered individual questions and kept her energy level strong. She oozed her passion for books and connections made between books and readers.

Looking back, I realize I was taking notes like a madwoman, even with a 172 page book that accompanied the lecture. As I look back to review, I thought I'd share some of my favorites for you in Blogland to look for at your library soon - hopefully they will be available to you. We are so fortunate to live in a country where we have libraries with stocked shelves. PLEASE SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY!! Say "yes" to referendums, check out books, bring your child to Storytimes, attend programs yourself , and make friends with your librarians...we're not saying "Shhh!!" anymore!

Deb's must read book list:

THE NAME GAME by Donna Jackson

FAITH, HOPE AND IVY JUNE by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

THE PLOT CHICKENS by Mary Jane and Herm Auch

DAY OF THE PELICAN by Katherine Paterson

CROW CALL by Lois Lowry

I NEED MY MONSTER by Amanda Noil






BUBBLE TROUBLE by Margaret Mahy

ONCE UPON A TWICE by Denise Doyen


This list could go on and on. Unfortunately, I will be unable to read all the new books published in 2009 because that number is 13,000. And it's already 2010! Happy reading to you!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Horsing Around (Copycat Challenge #10)

All the Pretty Horses Hush-a-bye don't you cry, Go to sleep-y, little baby. When you wake you shall have All the pretty little horses. Blacks and bays, dapple grays, Coach and six white horses. Hush-a-bye don't you cry, Go to sleep-y, little baby. This lullaby was the inspiration for Number Ten in the Copycat Challenge/Blog Project based upon the book by Vicki Haninger. This time I selected the Petite Pony on pages 18 and 19. Why? Because I could turn the pony into ponies - and hopefully, pretty ones at that! Sorry, though, no blacks and bays or dapple grays in this pack of horses due to the nature of the green blanket I'm using for all the CC projects! And the six "white" horses are only three in number - with the "coach" being a tiny pink lampshade I found at the thrift store. The pretty part will have to be all the crystal beads I used to hang on the fishline. What on earth is this project with horses, a lampshade and beads, you might ask? Why, it's a.... ...m-o-b-i-l-e for Miss Ellie's Nursery Nook! It hangs on the back side of the folded screen facing her vintage crib. This is what it looks like from the room side. And surely you recognize the happy man holding the mobile recipient?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Thank You, Mrs. P. (and Sandi)

A very special package arrived at our home this week - one that was a true day-brightener in the midst of some pretty tough days. It was a box that contained cards and gifts to celebrate the arrival of Miss Ellie. A gift that my dear high school friend, Sandi, and her mother, Mrs. P. put together. (Mrs. P is a very special mom who put up with a whole lot of silliness from her daughter's friend all those years ago with countless sleepovers, boy craziness, snack food appetites and that awful music we listened to sometimes.) Apparently Sandi told Mrs. P. that I was a grandmother-to-be who was a total klutz with knitting needles. She came to the rescue by knitting four pieces for Miss Ellie -
a hat,
a sweater with sweet pink heart buttons,

and two little bitty bootees.

This special outfit was worn the evening Ellie's Daddy came home from the hospital! It fit Ellie just perfectly and we thank you for everything "P" girls!! Welcome home, Jed!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Someone is One Month Old Today

Miss Ellie is one month old today!
She has no idea of the behind-the-scene goings on these days and that is the good news because these words are unfortunately a part of the day as well:
Worry. Fear. Concern. Anxiousness. Adjustment. Some pretty serious words here as we surround Jed with love and care following his recent emergency surgery. Ellie is spending lots of time with her Gramma these days and the out-of-town Grandma is on her way in. Somehow, though, there is much to celebrate as Ellie reaches this milestone of one whole month out in the world. She sleeps as I write this blog, just a few short steps away from me. And I am filled with gratitude for so many reasons. Grateful that Ellie has so many people who already love her so much, grateful for her Daddy getting medical care in time, grateful that Anne had delivered a month ago instead of a day ago, grateful that our City Nest is walkable to the hospital and can serve as a haven for any who are in need of comfort and shelter.
Please keep Ellie's little family in your thoughts and prayers. Thank you.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Making Winter Games While Watching Winter Games (Copycat Challenge #9)

I'm loving watching the Olympic Games on tv! Especially the figure skating (go, Mark and Amanda --- and Olivia!). But, there are hours of games and I find I go stir crazy if I'm watching tv and not doing a stitching project whilst doing so. Enter Project #9 in the Copycat Challenge and-blog-about-it-in-a-year experiment using the Blanket Statement book by Vicki Haninger. Seeing as these are the games, I thought I should make a game using the Catnip Mittens on pages 48-49. No cats are currently living in our house, by the way.
The mitten pattern was reduced to fit the size of the "game board" quilt square with a nine-patch inside the quilt block pattern. Ten mittens were stitched - five with a tree pattern and five with a heart pattern. Play the game just like tic-tac-toe! Trees are the x's and hearts are the o' pencils needed with a board ready to go with the square patches in the quilt block as the playing spaces! See? There's a diagonal "win" with the hearts.
Flip the quilt block square over, and flip the tree and heart mittens over and there's yet another game to play! This one is meant to be a button matching game. Yes, there are designs on the other side, but it won't matter too much to try to find the matches Concentration style. Easy peesy to roll up the little game board with 10 mittens inside and slip into this matching bag for storage. Too bad I'll have to wait a coupla years to play this with Ellie...Wes isn't much interested in playing these games when there's ski jumping and other winter sports going on in those televised games. Oh, and stay tuned for a lot of Blanket Statement action due to hours plunked in front of the tv set...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Need a Date Idea?

Looking for a little getaway? In the city of Chicago?
With French cuisine? Filled with cozy tables and chairs and a friendly wait staff?
In an eclectic neighborhood?
Where you feel like you are in France?
And the city bustles all around you? Transport yourselves to this location without need of an airplane, tickets or a wad of currency. Don't forget your honey, though!
Valentine's Day is just around the corner. There's a perfect little spot on Clark Street called La Creperie which would be perfect for you and your sweetie pie to celebrate this romantic little holiday that makes February more tolerable. Wes and I decided to go before the weekend rush and we love, love, loved this little storefront restaurant.

The crepes - savory and sweet - are scrumptious. Wes had one with a meaty beef filling and I had one with chicken, mushrooms and herb sauce. The dessert crepe with bananas, rum sauce and ice cream was so good I wanted to lick the plate to get every last taste! But, being the grown-up that I am, I held myself under control.

Grab a date and go!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Miss Olivia Gets Accessorized (Copycat Challenge #8)

Do you know Olivia the Pig? The saucy, contrary, fashion-driven, smarty pants little pig who is the main character in the books by Ian Falconer? I absolutely adore Olivia!

So, when I saw the project on pages 40-41 in the Blanket Statement book by the wonderful and talented Vicki Haninger, I knew this was a project perfect for Miss Olivia Pig. I'm just sure Olivia would be getting excited about the upcoming olympics, and would most certainly love watching the ice skaters in their sparkling, stylish costumes. Here's the sneak peak of the book project:

The project is intended to be a one-of-a-kind Christmas ornament, but I changed it up to make a pair. Skates, yes, skates --- and green skates at that. I had some vintage red and white pom-pom ball fringe that I cut apart, because if you know Olivia, you know she l-o-v-e-s red and white! A matching scarf was created for the young porcine as she does tend to get a little chilled in this winter weather we've been having lately. Olivia (the doll) was given to me by a dear friend. She's actually a Madame Alexander doll. There are costumes you can buy for her, but they are a bit on the pricey side, so poor Olivia has been stuck wearing the red dress outfit for quite a while now. She's happy to finally be getting "accessorized" with a scarf and skates --- even if she wishes they weren't green. Poor thing.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Little Church That Could

Because Wes' mom grew up in this little church, we thought we needed to pay a visit there this past weekend. The cornerstone in the church dates to 1901, though the church was started in the late 1800s by Swedish immigrants. For its first 110 years, the church was called Cuyler Covenant Church. In 2007, the church was renamed Ressurection Covenant Church. It is in the Lakeview area in the city of Chicago at the corner of Byron and Marshfield.
Though the front of the santuary is now very different from the early years, the few stained glass windows remain. Seeing the stained glass windows made me realize that Muriel saw them, too, through the eyes of a child. Did she have a favorite one? Did she count the panes (like I would've done) during especially l-o-n-g sermons or prayer meetings? (Wes was able to meet a 90 year old man, Chuck, who remembers Muriel in the church during those special was that?) When the church was started, president #29 was in office (McKinley) and we are now on our president #44. There have been wars, the Depression, world disasters, countless births, marriages and deaths...and the little church has managed to survive. However, the survival of the church was surely in peril during the early/mid 2000s with very few members. Serious re-thinking of the mission of the church certainly must've been discussed at length. Perhaps the little church was thought of as the little church that couldn't survive. But, assuredly God was a part of a much bigger plan for this church on the corner of Byron and Marshfield. It is now an active ministry in the neighborhood with a community garden, community meals, a warming house, and small groups and support systems in place to meet the needs of members of the congregation and community.
What is very exciting indeed is to see the sanctuary packed with young adults...hard-working, energetic people who have the mission of the church as a goal. Helping, serving, worshipping, supporting, and caring that the church - the hands and feet of Christ - thrives and grows. And isn't that all about what the church should be?

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Let Her Eat Cake (Copycat Challenge #7)

Sharing the birthday month of January with my little Grand-daughter Ellie is going to be such fun! I just know she is going to love cake (and frosting) as much as her mom, Anne, and her Gramma love it. In fact, we just lit some candles on a very special cake with Ellie's monogram (homemade by friends of Ellie's parents). If this picture of Ellie is any indication of how happy cake will make her...

...I'd say she is going to love every bite!

When it came time to choose another project in the Blanket Statement/Blogging Challenge experiment, the "Pincushion Confection" on pages 16 and 17 was totally perfect to convert into a cake. Thank you, Vicki Haninger for yet another delicious project!

Instead of placing pins in the cake, I made five felt candles and placed velcro on the bottom of each candle. Clear dots of velcro were placed on the cake top to adhere candles to cake.

I'm looking forward to "playing" birthday with Ellie and eventually sharing this simple cake with her. And when it comes to eating REAL birthday cake, you can bet that, as her Gramma, if she wants it before a meal instead of afterwards when all vegetables and fruits have been eaten, she will get it!! But...please don't tell her Mom and Dad, okay?

(Oh, and crafting the cake was made even more delightful when my sister and I had our very first condo craft time together. She was painting alphabet letters with the letters of her Grands' names.)