Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Give it a Listen!

There's a British singer-songwriter you may have heard of lately. She's a young lady who commands such an audience she can go by a single name, a chanteuse with a powerful contralto voice, a recent Grammy Award winner - have you guessed who it is yet? Adele Laurie Blue Adkins, popularly known as Adele. She's only 23, but she has two CDs under her belt, eight Grammy wins, and an impressive string of hits.

Adele's latest effort, the 2011 release entitled 21, is a dark, bluesy journey through anger, heartache, and forgiveness. Inspired by a bitter break-up, the CD is named after the singer's age during production. She's released three singles off the album, "Rolling in the Deep," "Someone Like You," and "Set Fire to the Rain, " and the fourth will be the catchy track, "Rumour Has It."

If you haven't listened to Adele yet, check her out at the library. The Calcasieu Parish Public Libraries own both of her CDs, 19 and 21, and you can also download her songs for free using our online music service, Freegal. A library card holder is allowed ten free song downloads a week.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All About Bows!

Hi everyone! We had a program here at Central Library on Valentine's Day called "All About Bows!" We learned how to make hair bows, gift bows, and a wreath bow. For those of you who weren't able to make the program, I'm going to do a quick tutorial on how to make a gift bow or "Christmas" bow.

You will need:
acetate ribbon
double sided tape
a bow maker (Clover brand is one type you can get)

You need about 3 and a half yards of acetate ribbon. We used a ribbon that was three-quarters of an inch thick. If your bow maker doesn't come with numbers, you might want to add them. Here's a close-up of the one I used:

Take your ribbon and pass it through the center of your bow maker, shiny side down. Tape it down between the 8 and 3.

Wrap your ribbon around the #2 point, coming from behind and to the left first.

Pulling the ribbon tightly, flip your bow maker and wrap around the #3 point.

Continue in numeric order until all your points have been covered.

After you've wrapped all the points once, start over again at the beginning and wrap until you've gone around a total of 4 times. You will be left with a little tail of ribbon--this will become the center of your bow later!

Put a small square of cardstock on the bottom of your bow. You can add some adhesive so that the bow will stick to your gift. Go ahead and use the double-sided tape if you are going to use your bow immediately.

Staple through the center of your bow, through the hole in your bow maker.

Your bow should look something like this after you staple it.

Remove the tape you used to hold the ribbon to the bow maker and start slipping the bow carefully off the bow maker.

You're left with something that looks like this.

Start fluffing out the layers of your bow.

After you've fluffed all your layers out, your bow will look like this. Go ahead and snip the tail off of your bow.

Roll the tail of the bow into a loop and tape it with the double-sided tape. Place it in the center of your bow.

Ta da! You have now made a beautiful bow! Pat yourself on the back.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Review: The Family Fang

The Family Fang
by Kevin Wilson

Find it in our Catalog

Summary: Caleb and Camille Fang are artists who involve their children in each piece of work. The art typically consists of making a scene and evoking a reaction from a crowd of people, all taped by a hidden camera. After growing up in this environment, adults Annie and Buster have a difficult time functioning normally in the world. When their parents disappear, they join together to discover whether their parents are truly gone, or if this is just another Fang Family piece.

Review: An alternate title to this novel could be 'How not to Raise your Children.' The chapters go back and forth between present day adult Annie and Buster to flashbacks of performances by the Fangs. Adults Annie and Buster seem to drift with no real connection to the world. Annie is a moderately successful actress who gets caught up in a scandal and is quick to have a drink to calm down. Buster is a less successful writer who's been reduced to moving back into his parents' house after an unfortunate incident with a potato gun. As a mother, each is a picture of the type of person I don't want my child to be.

So why are they this way? They have been shaped by their parents' art. If your definition of art is a portrait on a wall, then the Fangs would tell you that has been done. Their art is in the emotion, in the action of a moment, planned out and executed by the Fangs. As the book progresses and you continually wonder how they could involve their children in their art pieces, you come to realize how far the Fangs have already gone in the name of their art, and just how far they are willing to go.

This book interested me in the same way scientists are interested in studying strange cases that would be unethical to intentionally create, but are useful and fascinating to study when they occur naturally. I would never wish this situation on children or a family, but was facsinated how the parents' parenting style and values impacted their children's lives. I enjoyed reading it, and was pleased that Annie and Buster were on their way to piecing together a normal life at the end.

Reviewed by Samantha

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Mardi Gras Wreaths

Hi all you crafty people! We recently had a Mardi Gras wreath program at Central Library and I'm going to do a tutorial for those of you who couldn't make the program.

What you'll need: 1 wreath form, glue gun, scissors, Mardi Gras beads (about 60 strands), and ribbon.

We used a 12-inch floral ring as our wreath form, but you can use straw, wire, or Styrofoam forms if that's what you can find. You can also use a larger size, but keep in mind that it will take more beads and more time and will also be heavier.

You can wrap your wreath form in ribbon or paint it so that it blends in nicely. This one ended up green.

Snip your necklaces with your scissors so that they become a long strand of beads rather than a loop.

Wrap your wreath form completely with a single layer of beads, attaching the strands with a minimum of hot glue. It took about 16 necklaces to wrap our 12-inch wreath form. Make sure to wrap it tightly so that the beads are close together with as few gaps as possible.

The top layer of the wreath is made up of braided beads. Take a strand of purple, green, and gold beads and snap them together by twisting the beads together. The strands should be about equal in length and the beads about equal in diameter.


This is what your strand of braided beads should look like when you're done. You may find it easier to braid your beads if you hold down the end of your strands with a heavy book or tape.

Start wrapping your wreath form with the braided strands. Use hot glue to attach the beads to the wreath, being careful to not use too much. You don't want the hot glue to show. Wrap the beads as tightly as possible so that there are no gaps.

Once you're done wrapping your wreath form, it should look something like this. If you do have a few gaps, no worries! Cut a bit of a strand of beads and hot glue it in the gap. It will blend in with your wreath and no one will be able to tell.

Go ahead and dress up your wreath with a bow and other fun pieces if you like.

Here's another fun example.

You can even use other colors of beads if you want a non-traditional wreath!

Have fun, guys! Leave a comment if you need any further clarification. Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

*this tutorial is adapted from Sew in Love's blog post: