Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Library Findings

More trips to the library=more happiness.

The past two weeks, after a morning spent at the public library (storytime, craft project, gossiping with my BFF mom friend, picnic lunch), Matt has come by to pick the girls up and take Willow to school, and I've had a leisurely 45 or so minutes to thoughtfully choose materials for the girls, check them out, and then bike home to meet Matt on his way out again after putting Syd down for a little nap. It won't always happen like that, because there's too much pleasure for the girls in gleefully throwing everything they can reach into our library basket, but it's nice for now.

My most favorite choices this week:
  • It's your typical "find the animal" type of picture book, except that the illustrations are made from stitched and embellished fabric--usually felt, but other materials for emphasis. It's absolutely terrific, with sequin eyes on the parrotfish and bead suckers on the octopus and embroidered lines on the clams. I'm absolutely inspired now to make the felt board I've been promising the girls for their basement playroom, and to furnish it with plenty of felt sea life.
  • Aliki claims that this book is an amalgamation of several actual aquariums, but the Monterey Bay Aquarium directly inspires at least half of it. The girls recognized the outside walkway with the tidepool and the view of the bay, the cylindrical anchovies habitat in which they "swim and swim and swim in a circle circle circle," quoth Willow, the giant kelp forest, and the touch tanks. It was pretty fun to read the girls this book and they both keep interrupting--"I was there!" "I there!"
  • How to Talk to Children About Art There are all kinds of interesting questions and discussions to bring up here, inspired by artwork from various periods, dealing with what's depicted, the physical environment of its creation, authorial intention as well as viewer response, and metaphors and symbols. A little advanced for my lot, but still.
  • 52 Projects: Random Acts of Everyday Creativity (Perigee Book) These are more guerilla than crafty, asking you to do things like hang your own work of art someplace where people will think it's supposed to be, like a motel room or museum bathroom or apartment foyer, but the projects are inspirational and deal tenderly with one's memories. I totally should, for instance, photocopy all my college best friend's letters and mail them back to him, annotated.

Also, some non-library Web findings, because I love to waste myself some time--I mean, gather ideas from the work of others:

  • Okay, is it weird that I still haven't picked up my to learn to embroidery, and yet I am THIS CLOSE to ordering two more of these embroidery sets, EVEN THOUGH I just spent 30 bucks on , also unused? But they're so awesome!!! Willow, I think because her little preschool girlfriend loves ponies like she loves dinosaurs, really wants ponies on her panties (??), and I'm torn between putting freezer paper stencil ponies on, or buying this Unicorn Believer embroidery pattern set and embroidering them without the horns. Which do you think is more awesome? Also awesome--realistic organs. I REALLY need to embroider the ovaries and uterus onto something. Anything.
  • I am currently all about SewLiberated, the crafty blog of a Montessori preschool teacher, of all things. She recently left her position in Mexico, and I've been such a freak looking at her photos, going "Look, honey! They have the pink tower in Mexico, too!" Willow is pretty over it, but she gets to go to Montessori every day--I only get to peer in through the two-way mirror (Is that the right word? Wouldn't a two-way mirror be a window? Is it a one-way mirror? Or is that just a mirror?)

What have you found this week?

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