Flannel Extra: Name Plate

I’ve got to stop calling this flannel. I use felt! This wouldn’t work very well with flannel.

Sometimes, when I have too much time on my hands, I like to melt felt projects that aren’t very useful for kids. My desk in my Brand New Office has been looking a little bare- so I brought in a family picture, some nice bowls for my collection of office supplies, and I made myself a little name plate!

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I don’t have any progress pictures because I didn’t intend to post this- but it’s so simple! As you can see from the picture, I did just fine and I can only sew passably well.

You might say my sewing skills are… so-so.

Sorry.

Alright, so this is what you need: three identical rectangles of felt (mine are 2″ x 8″), stencils or a steady hand, felt in a color different from the rectangles, embroidery floss, and a hot glue fun. Your color scheme is up to you! I went with navy and dove gray felt and a white embroidery floss. Optional: Buttons or other embellishments. My name was centered, but I accidentally glued the first two letters too close together and a lot of space left at the end. Oops!

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First, you need a triangle. Sew two rectangles together to form a flap. Sew the third rectangle to create a flat base. Essentially, it should be sewn so that, no matter which rectangle you were to remove, the remaining two would flap open and closed like a book.

Assemble your name! I printed mine out in a sans-serif font, cut it out, taped it to the felt, and cut out the letters. I arranged them on my felt and glued them down. I noticed how poorly they were centered and glued some buttons down.

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And that’s the whole thing!

It looks pretty cute in person and I’ve had requests to make some for friends. It’s the perfect desk decor for a children’s librarian!

Hey, There’s People Reading This!

I just noticed that I recently broke 1,000 site views!

Thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to look around. I use the blogs of librarians, early childhood educators, and parents as my number one resource, so I hope I’ve contributed some meaningful ideas back to the people from whom I’ve learned so much!

 

Books I’m Enjoying: September

Phew, just barely made it in time to claim this is a monthly feature! I’ve read a million books this month (or nearly), but today I picked up a handful of our picture book autobiographies and biographies. I was pulling a book on Abraham Lincoln and The Tree Lady caught my eye. Once I’m near a non-fiction bookshelf, I can’t pick out just one, so I ended up reading four lovely books.

So! Some books I’ve read and loved in September are:

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The Tree Lady, H. Joseph Hopkins, ills. Jill McElmerry: This is the story of Kate Sessions, the person most responsible for the vegetation in San Diego and Balboa Park. A horticulturist, a scientist, and a lady, Kate Sessions introduced plants into the desert climate and changed the landscape permanently. Beautifully illustrated and sparingly told, this one is perfect for, you know, anyone. Reading about scientists? Trees? Women? Check, check, and check. Read it!

The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, Peter Sis: Born in Czechoslovakia in 1949, Peter Sis was old enough to experience and vividly remember life in Cold War era Eastern Europe and he retells his experience in this stunning picture book. Perfect for older audiences (upper elementary, middle school, even high school) and ideal for tying together key themes and concepts in history (dates + communism + censorship), this should be welcome in any history classroom. I LOVE a picture book that will work well with older kids and this one is definitely it.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, Jen Bryant, ills. Melissa Sweet: Horace Pippin was an African American artist who didn’t fully develop his talent until later in life, after an injury sustained in WWI. Of the four I read, this one has the best story. It would make for a lovely read aloud for the elementary set (which ones? You decide. Any of them. All of them!) but the art is so beautiful is worth a closer, individual look. The mixed media illustrations of Melissa Sweet deserve a book of their own!

I Dreamed I Was a Ballerina, Anna Pavlova: Taken from the words of Anna Pavlova’s memoir and set beside the artwork of Edward Degas, this might be an easy one to overlook. It’s a publication from The Metropolitan Museum of Art and it’s not exactly a traditional picture book. But. It is lovely and the story- taken directly from Pavlova’s own words- is enchanting. Sure, there are lots of ballet books for elementary girls, but how many of them use the artwork of Degas and Anna Pavlova as their central pieces? Not any. Probably. I didn’t actually do any research to back that statement up. Anyway, this one is still lovely and worth a read, especially if you know someone with a love for ballet!

 

 

Storytime: Predictable Stories

Books I used:
Rhyming Dust Bunnies, Jan Thomas
Ugly Fish, Kara LaReau
Dinosaur Kisses, David Ezra Stein
Up and Down, Oliver Jeffers

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Rhymes, Felts, and Songs:
Baby Shark
This is Big, Big, Big
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes
I Had a Little Turtle
– felt

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Craft:
We made jellyfish! This craft was so much fun. The original pin uses paint, but I opted for markers so they would be easy to cut. Some kids got really into coloring and decorating their jellies- some kids got really into using their scissors. I was thrilled to see how many of my moms let their toddlers (had some young kids today) just do. You want to cut the top? Fine. You’re gonna cut out big chunks for the side? Go for it. Looks great. And you know what? They really did!

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And it went:
I’m a pretty new librarian. I just started working in May and I still find some aspects of librarianship a little intimidating. I’ve been clinging to themes because it’s something secure to rest on- but after just a handful of storytimes, I’m over it. For this storytime, I just picked songs, books, whatever- that I like. After I’d picked everything, I realized there was still a theme- almost all of my books, songs, and rhymes had a strong sense of predictability (in a good way). Isn’t it great when things come together all on their own?

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This storytime was my best yet by far. It was so much easier to share things that I really do enjoy. I felt really comfortable just doing what felt right. I had a rough order, but I didn’t follow it much. I had to bribe a few kids to sit down and I used Ugly Fish (note to self: cannibalistic fish are a VERY effective bribe), so I started with that instead of Rhyming Dust Bunnies, like I had intended. When we stood up to sing Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes, I first asked what they wanted to sing- “THE ABCS!” one girl shouted, so we did that one first. I had pretty much decided that I wouldn’t share Up and Down, but one of my older girls in attendance noticed it and told me it was her favorite. “Will you read that one next, please?” Um, yeah. Who could say no to that?

So how did it go? It was a great success.

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And no one even got eaten.

 

What’s Going On at the Library?

September is a fun month for me. I started working in the whirl of summer reading and now I have a chance to sit back and decide what to do with my programming time. I’m looking forward to introducing a new series of programs to my system in 2015- Sensory Storytime- and reaching a new audience.

With school starting, I’ve had to chance to begin doing outreach for some of the kiddos in my community and I’m beginning ECRR presentations for local childcare providers. Those are my only programs this month, so I’ve also got a few new flannel boards in the works (Caps for Sale anyone?) that I’m excited about.

What’s a librarian with free time to do? Hmm… READ! Here are some things I’ve read and loved in September:

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Sisters, Raina Telgemeier: A companion to the graphic novel, Smile, Sisters follows Raina, her younger sister and brother, and her mom on a road trip. Addresses sibling rivalries, those awkward tween years, and parental tension.

Fortunately, The Milk, Neil Gaiman: Things go awry when Dad is left in charge. No milk? A trip to the store to get some couldn’t be too exciting…

A Mango-Shaped Space, Wendy Mass: After Mia’s grandfather dies, Mia is adopted by a cat she calls mango. Why? Because Mia can see sounds and Mango meows… mango! Losing loved ones and growing up would probably be easier without synesthesia. Tissue alert! This one will getcha.

And one more that I’m crazy about that probably won’t appeal to the grade-school set:

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Written by three children’s librarians/bloggers, Wild Things! is all about the funny (and sometimes racy) behind-the-scenes stories of children’s book. Absolutely a must-read for any kid lit lover with a sense of humor.