01 August 2014

Returning to Art

I am not an artist, artist, but I like creating art. I'm one of those people who doodles in the margins. Colored pencils are easy to use, they're very portable, they come in lots of variety, and you can use them on just about anything. I've always been a bit frustrated with them though, because I haven't been able to get the same type of richness and depth out of them that I see other artist do. The New Colored Pencil book by Kristy Ann Kutch explains how to do that, and you don't have to have the most expensive, made for the serious artists only, pencils.

Kutch reviews different types of colored pencils, wax based, water-soluable, and wax pastels, and explains how they work on different surfaces and how which techniques work best with them. She even has a chapter on how to mix them together. I love all the charts and tables. There are many techniques, new to me, that I will be testing out.

4 stars.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

04 October 2013

The Pregnancy Post

For those of you who aren't family and haven't seen my husband's posts on Facebook, here's the big announcement. I'm Pregnant!

Baby number 2 is due on Feb. 2nd. We are having another girl. Her name will be Kaylee Seraphina.

This pregnancy has been full of anxiety and weeping, especially in the first trimester. I was freaking out about all sorts of things, miscarriages, chronic illnesses, deformities, moving, clothes, food. I was a very hard person to live with. I'm over most of that now, I think. At least I haven't broken down over the thought of wearing the same 2 skirts and 2 pants for the rest of my pregnancy in over 3 weeks.

I am all mixed up about what to expect from the doctors and the hospital though. With Emma, I went to the birthing classes early and then watched a lot of birth preparation videos in Japan, but the Japanese have a completely different attitude towards birth then the United State does. They are very much into natural child birth, but they use a lot of meditation, relaxation, and massage techniques for labor.  They had a video of dolphins and aromatherapy candles in the delivery room.

I often think that if I had had Emma in the States, the doctors would have given me a C-section, or least forced some extra drugs on me, because of how long my labor took. I don't want to have the exact same experience as I had in Japan, but I also don't want to be forced into something I may not need. From things I've read and people I've talked to, it seems like that happens a lot, especially in hospitals. But the hospital is the only option I have here. There are no birthing centers and my insurance won't cover a midwife/home birth.

Should I be worried about this? Or is this just my pregnancy anxiety morphing from many issues into one?

15 September 2013

What I've been doing all summer

So back in April, when it was decided that Mark would go back to school, I thought that it might be nice if there was a way we could earn a little extra money. Yes, he's also got a part-time job, but all those funds are going directly to school, so it's not like we have any more for things like Christmas and birthdays. I started looking into opening an Etsy store. I've spent most of my summer working on these crochet bags to sell. (I also played with the idea of knitting socks and gloves, but the first sock was terrible and took way too long.)
This one with the waves is my favorite, so far. I'm going put a chain strap on it and maybe some sea creature charms. It depends on what I can find at the craft store.

Emma's favorite is the brown flower bag. Whenever she re-discovers it, it spends the day with her around her shoulder or neck.

This is one that I ran out of yarn with. It'll be finished someday, when I can get more of the green color. I have a large, see-through, bag of yarn, and sometimes when I think two colors match in the bag, they don't actually when I pull them out of the bag. It's often a subtle difference, like between egg white and snow white. Most times you can't tell the difference, unless they're right next to each other.

I'm not sure about this one. I was trying to make a bag with a broader base, but I don't think this yarn is sturdy enough for it. To me, it looks like a hat where the pattern got put on upsidedown.

I was planning on opening an Etsy store at the beginning of September. You can see how well that worked out. Now, I'm shooting for the beginning of October. I'm put a link up here when I'm officially open.

13 April 2013

Adventures in Sewing

A few weeks ago Mark and I were discussing the state of Emma's pajamas. She has two, one pink and one blue. They are both in good condition, but Emma has been growing. These are footy pajamas, so they can be hard to squeeze into once a certain height has been reached. Emma was getting close to that height.

Mark has several old T-shirts that we've held onto for possible costumes or other fabric needs. I'd already snatched two to turn into a new dress for Emma (more on that later). So I found a third one and, in about half and hour, turned it into a nightgown.

 Its a little long, but it works, and should last for a long time. She is amazed that she can see her toes when she lies down.

The nightgown was a quick and dirty sewing job. I cut the sleeves down and took a couple of inches off the side seams. The dress was suppose to be a better fit.

As you can see, the front is really big. It hangs off her shoulders and the neckline is far too deep. I'm disappointed with this because I measured her and read a lot of crafter's blogs on how to take adult T-shirts and turn them into children's dressed. I didn't have a pattern. And she was dressed and a bit wiggly when I measured her. I'd really like to fix it so that she can wear it without someone constantly watching to make sure she doesn't flash anyone. The only solution I can think of is to cut out a new front piece. But that's a lot of unpicking that I would like to avoid. Does anyone have another solution to suggest?

13 January 2013

The Upcoming Year

I've been dragging my feet with New Year's Resolutions this year. The usual things that I make resolutions for, more exercise, less food, better time management, improving my art skills, I haven't been able to accomplish in years and I'm tired of trying.

I know that getting more exercise would be a good thing for me. And I have many ideas for drawings, but don't ever get around to executing them. But any time I devote to those things is less time to spend with Emma with Mark. Working full-time already takes a lot of time away from them and I'm reluctant to add more time away from them. But, I have decided on four things that I would like to accomplish this year.

1) Make a quiet book for Emma. I went and bought a lot of materials for this already and have started to piece some pages together. This will be a gospel inspired book. Pages will include the Creation, the Tree of Life, the Resurrection and the Restoration.

2) Finish the knitted scarfs. I start knitting scarfs in Glasgow with the hopes of selling them. But then we moved. And the scarfs have been sitting on the needles, just waiting for me to pick them up again. (Do you know anyone who needs a scarf?)

3) Read 50 books. My reading options have been rather scarce over the past year and half. I only read about 25 books last year. I hope to double that this year. And I have a plan to read more bestsellers, and expand into Amish fiction, so that I can better understand my patron's reading interests.

4) Finish the cross stitch I started in Japan. This is a 14" x 14" ballet dancer. I don't know if I'll accomplish this one. I tend to underestimate how long cross stitch projects take.

That's a lot of projects, but they have a definite start, you can see how much progress you're making, and an ending, which is what I need this year. 

And now for all of you who didn't see the pictures on FB, here's Emma at Christmas.

Helping Daddy open his present.

Playing with her cousin inside the ladybug tent.

Discovering a new toy, and eying on of her cousin's.

Its snow! (eewww)

28 December 2012

Work Impressions

Moving, working full time, and having a family make blogging a little more difficult then it used to be. Work has been going well. I've already set up a couple of programs and I'll start teaching computer classes in January. There are things I miss. There is not a lot of interest in science-fiction or fantasy, so the sci-fi/fantasy collection is very small. Unless its young adult, LPL simply doesn't buy the new books in those genres. No Brent Weeks, no Ken Scholes, no Brandon Sanderson. I feel extremely lucky that they do have Naomi Novik and Jim Butcher, even though they only buy the paperbacks and not the hardbacks. I also miss my fiction team. The librarian who is in charge of fiction isn't very excited about anything. She's one of those who thinks that anything new is a pain and a hindrance and she doesn't want to deal with it. So where I get excited about social media and graphic novels, she kind of deflates my enthusiasm with her negativity. I've almost stopped telling her about the things I'm working on.

There will be more changes coming though. The director is retiring in the summer and the Children's Manager is retiring in March. I hope we get someone excited about changes. There is another librarian I work with who has a lots of plans. Plans to change the layout, online services, and classes. I have plans for social media, reorganizing the DVDs, and Reader's Advisory. It'd be great if they find someone as excited about changing things around as we are.

A few thing still frustrate me. I don't like Horizon (the catalog system). There are some searches it just can't handle, like limiting by type of item and location. I can't make my own lists. And I can't place holds for patrons on more then one item at a time. Some administrative procedures frustrate me too because I can't get a clear answer on how to do it. I ask, and get told to ask someone else. And it just goes round and round.

And I also occasionally answer the phones "Central Library" instead of "LPL Reference Desk."

19 August 2012

Moving On

After a summer of interviews, interviews, and more interviews, I have accepted a position at a public library in Virginia.

I'm having mixed feelings about this. I don't feel nearly as good about this move as I did when we moved to Montana. But we all know how that worked out, so maybe this is good thing. When I flew down to Virginia a week and a half ago, the staff were all very excited and kept telling me how much they wanted me to come and work for them. And I really want to go work with them, but I'm not sure how well I'm going to fit in. They may be expecting a programing, social media guru, and I'm not that. Yes, I've done my fair share of programing and I know how to use social media, but those aren't my best areas of librarianship, and I'm not sure how much of lit and RA skills I'll be able to use there.

So, expectations.

Yes, I believe I'm having some expectation anxiety here. I didn't have much of those for the Glasgow job because, 1) I hadn't met the staff beforehand; and 2) I was going to be the head honcho. I could use all of my skills in whatever way I saw fit.

After word reached the Glasgow library staff that I was moving, one of the assistants told me that the Board was considering asking me back. I don't know if that happened at the last public board meeting or in a private meeting, but it's come as a shock. A part of me wants to stay here. A part of me really wants to run this library. I know I could do good here.

I also know I couldn't work with the current board. About two weeks ago, one of them appeared at story time with her grand-kids. She hung out afterwards and tried to talk to me. This is the first time any of the board members have attempted this, outside of board meetings and the polite "Hellos" they've given me in the grocery store. I'm afraid I didn't let her say much. You know how scary quiet people can get when they finally loose it and explode? Yep, that was me. Its possible she wanted to talk to me about coming back, but if it was, she choose the worst way to start a conversation with me. Maybe if she hadn't started off by asking about my job hunt, I wouldn't have become an angry Fluttershy.

But, the board hasn't tried to contact me since, so if were reconsidering me, they haven't been very vocal about it. Its not like they don't have my phone number and email. There are other ways to reach me besides hanging out at story time.

So the mixed feelings probably aren't going to go away until the uhaul is packed, the car is loaded and we pull out of this little, middle of nowhere town.