Ready, Set, Holidays!

The holidays are nearly upon us. For many of us, it’s time to start thinking about making a Halloween costume, what dish to make for Thanksgiving, or what gifts to make for friends and family. Now is the time to start planning! Here are some books to guide you as the season approaches.

In The Horrible Craft Book, Laura Minter brings kids and adults together to make gross items like cat poo chocolates, or a brain piñata and tasty eyeballs, just in time for Halloween. In Autumn BouquetSharon Keightley shows quilters how to prepare appliques featuring beautiful fall colors and themes. Deck the halls Scandi-style with Norwegian sensations Arne & Carlos’s 55 Christmas Balls to Knit and Jorid Livnik’s Big Book of Christmas Knits. Make Beautiful Wreaths with Melissa Skidmore or step up your decorating game with Cassie Kitzmiller’s Christmas Tree BookPersonalize your own cards, gift wrap and decorations with Holiday Hand Lettering from Lark Books and Vivienne Bolton’s Making Your Own Greeting Cards and Gift WrapAnd Doerthe Eisterlehner keeps things festive and charming with My Little Crocheted Christmas along with ideas for traditional crafts in Taste of Home: Handmade Christmas Continue reading “Ready, Set, Holidays!”

Thankful for Books

Ever since I was a child, at our family gathering that coincided with the Thanksgiving holiday, we would go around the table and everyone would have to say a little something about what they were thankful for. Perhaps it was (or is) the same for you? For our hedonistic childhood selves, so unaccustomed to being thankful for anything, it often felt a bit awkward or forced. Of course now, many of us have come to sense just how empowering and grounding it can be to foster a spirit of gratitude, especially in times of darkness, anxiety and despair. One thing that many of our patrons tell us they’re grateful for, especially as the nights grow long and the days grow cold, is reading.

Image of Man Reading courtesy of P.V. via FlickrLet’s be grateful that we live in a world where magic exists – that “uniquely portable magic” that Stephen King likens to telepathy. Magic that calls whole lives and worlds into existence out of scratches on a page or breath. By some distinctly human trickery, we can peer inside another person’s brain, and think another person’s thoughts. What a marvel, to be all but possessed by the mind and soul and experience of another! To be moved to laughter, tears, rage and profound sympathy; to be led to fresh understandings. Continue reading “Thankful for Books”

Practice Gratitude

We live in a pretty fast paced world, one that can cloud our gratefulness for what we have, what we’ve been given, and those we share our lives with. I challenge you to take the time (and not just in November) to practice gratitude.

Focus on areas of your life you can be more grateful for like your home, your partner, or just time to be with yourself and disconnect:

Learn to engage in positive self-talk. Too often we beat ourselves down when we should be lifting ourselves up:

Continue reading “Practice Gratitude”

Your Thanksgiving Kitchen Helper

Thanksgiving is just over a week away. Have you figured out where and with whom you’ll be celebrating and eating? If you’re cooking, have you begun planning your meal? If you’re a worrier, have you begun panicking? No matter where you are in the process, here are a few books, DVDs and websites to help you plan a Thanksgiving meal, figure out what to take to a potluck, or decorate.

Thanksgiving: How to Cook It Well by Sam Sifton
New York Times Cooking editor Sifton covers everything Thanksgiving in this short (133 page) book: planning your meal; recipes for both classic Thanksgiving dishes and for new interpretations of those classics; instructions for setting the table; ideas for decorating; and musings on the nature of the holiday. Continue reading “Your Thanksgiving Kitchen Helper”

Talkin’ Turkey

What do you call it when it rains turkeys?  Fowl Weather (of course!)

Most times, these ungainly strutting birds get no respect, not even as dinner’s main course. Take the Butterball Turkey Helpline—most new cooks are baffled by such a huge rotund bird for which large roasting pans and big ovens are required—as their many questions, often hilariously recounted, are answered.

The grocery stores begin to pile their freezer bins full of these denuded and rock solid turkeys as the holiday months loom ever closer. The frozen turkey is just another ornament, albeit an enormous one, to check off the list.

Luckily, in the world of children’s literature, the turkeys in picture book stories are still fully feathered and feisty creatures. A hilarious new book written and illustrated by Dennis Cazet, Bob and Tom, follows the barnyard adventures of two rather dim turkeys, who spend their days in often cavalier manner, seeking answers. One of their musings leads them to sit in the lake using the farmer’s wife’s polka dot swim suit as a flotation device. Or consider Baa Baa Smart Sheep by Mark and Rowan Sommerset, which features a crafty sheep, tricking a turkey into eating poo or as Sheep calls it, “smarty tablets.” Continue reading “Talkin’ Turkey”