Fantastic Embroidery Projects and Where to Find Them

by on February 15th, 2018

I have always been a craft dabbler. In high school I learned how to sew when I made Juliet’s dress for my final project during Romeo & Juliet. It was the one of the dresses in the class that looked “mom interference-free.” Collaging in college. I’ve made exactly 1 quilt. I learned how to knit but for me it was not the relaxing pastime advertised.  My latest craft dabble has been embroidery, which was a past hobby revived after I attended embroidery classes offered at the library this past fall. This hobby has seemed to stick longer than most, and I thought I would share some great resources I’ve come across over the past few months. Hand embroidery has recently become modernized and popular again. It translates really well from drawings and paintings and offers lots of options to express sentiments and pop culture references. If it can be drawn or traced, it can be embroidered. Supplies are inexpensive and easy to obtain at craft stores and even second-hand stores. I hand embroidered personalized gift for friends and family for the holidays. Since I’ve started posting pictures of works-in-progress and finished pieces on Instagram, a lot of my friends have told me that I have inspired them to pick up the hobby.

Getting Started:

There are over 200 different kinds of embroidery stitches, but most projects only require knowledge of the basics. Craftsy has a great tutorial offering instructions with pictures of the top ten most commonly used stitches.

My favorite way to learn a new stitch is to watch a YouTube video and stitch along. That way I can pause, start over, and repeat until I have the stitch mastered. The YouTube channel I frequent the most is Mary Corbet’s Needle ‘n Thread. Her videos show the stitch clearly, at a good pace, and she offers tips as she goes. 

 

 

 

 

A great place to start for patterns is DMC.com. They offer over 250 free patterns with tutorials ranging from beginner to advanced. DMC is a popular thread company, so you can easily “Buy the Kit” to order the thread needed to complete the pattern. DMC patterns are made from collaborations with artists, and new patterns are added every week. I have close to a dozen patterns saved that I hope to create eventually! Read the rest of this entry »

ICPL History and the Archives Crawl

by on February 13th, 2018

Coming soon is the Iowa City Archives Crawl, and to get you in the mood we have set up a display of objects from the Iowa City Public Library’s archive.  The display is on the second floor near the Information Desk, and has a lot of interesting things in it–but first, some details about the Crawl:

The Archives Crawl is on Saturday, February 24, 2018, from 11:00-3:00 and includes special activities at ICPL, the State Historical Society, the University of Iowa Museum of Natural History, and the University of Iowa Main Library.  (A bonus fifth site has just been added:  a Dada Futures exhibit at UI Memorial Union.)

The website for the Crawl invites you to “snoop in between the pages of historic diaries, read other people’s mail, hold feathers and fossils, and peer into mysteries revealed by historic artifacts like swords and locks of hair kept in remembrance.”  It is sponsored by the UI Obermann Center for Advanced Studies, and you can see a listing of events here.

Iowa City Public Library has short presentations every half hour, on topics such as genealogy, using our local history resources, and “Iowa City’s Most Famous Athlete You Never Heard Of”.  The full, fun list is here.  We have also invited the Johnson County Historical Society, the Friends of Historic Preservation, and Historic Foodies to join us and display information about their organizations.

But back to the display of ICPL history.  It was both a fascinating and frustrating task to choose items from our archive cupboards to include in the display:  frustrating because it was difficult to put things back when I realized I didn’t have room for everything, fascinating because ICPL is 120 years old and, thank goodness, we have saved a lot of interesting stuff.

The oldest object I found dates from around 1870, a book that has a book plate in it from the “Iowa City Library Association,” a proprietary library that loaned materials to Iowa City residents who purchased memberships in the Association.  It was active from 1870-1873, 25 years before the Iowa City Public Library was founded.

Another special book is ICPL’s first accession book, in which the first purchases for the Public Library were recorded.  You can see what those titles were if you take a look at the display (and, we still have copies in our collection of some of those early acquisitions).

We’ve also included the 1926 rules for borrowing materials, a cast iron property stamp embosser, the 1959 dress code for Library employees, a beer box, and a jar of dirt.  Check out the display and find out why!

We hope the displayed objects provide you with an appreciation of just how old this Iowa City institution is, and that the more recent photos will bring back memories of your past experiences at the Iowa City Public Library.  The display will be up until March 4th–and don’t forget the Iowa City Archives Crawl on February 24th.

 

Left:  Checkout desk in new 1963 Carnegie Library addition.

Right:  Checkout desk in the new library at 123 S. Linn St., 1981.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the Award Goes to…

by on February 12th, 2018

The Newbery and Caldecott awards were announced this morning at the American Library Association’s midwinter conference in Denver. Erin Entrada Kelly won the 2018 John Newbery Medal for her novel Hello, Universe. Matthew Cordell won the 2018 Randolph Caldecott Medal for Wolf in the Snow. 

Three Newbery Honor Books were named: Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds; Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson; and Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes, illustrated by Gordon C. James.

There were four Caldecott Honor Books: Big Cat, little cat by Elisha Cooper; Crown: An Ode to the Fresh CutA Different Pond by Bao Phi,‎ illustrated by Thi Bui; and Grand Canyon by Jason Chin.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas won three prizes, including the William C. Morris Award, for a debut book published by a first-time author writing for teens, Corretta Scott King Book Award honor, the Printz Honor, and the Odyssey Award, for excellence in audiobook production. Jason Reynolds won both a Newbery Honor and a Printz Honor for his novel Long Way Down.

Coretta Scott King Book Awards recognizing African American authors and illustrators of outstanding books for children and young adults: “Piecing Me Together,” written by Renée Watson, is the King Author Award winner.

ICPL ran a mock Newbery and Caldecott awards this year. We were excited to see some of our choices make the Honors, but our winners didn’t match this year. Our winner for the mock Newbery was Pashmina and the mock Caldecott winner was Little Fox in the Forrest! Thanks to all who participated and voted for your favorites.

To see the entire list of winners go here.  And to find out more about the Youth Media Awards check here.

No Bookmobile President’s Day-Monday February 19

by on February 12th, 2018

2017-10-homecoming-bookmobile-photoThere will be no Bookmobile service on Monday February 19, 2018 in honor of President’s Day. The Library will be open from 10AM-6PM.

On days when the Bookmobile is not in service, but the Library is open, Holds and ILLs may be picked up at the Library.

For full Bookmobile schedule information, navitgate to www.icpl.org/bookmobile

Happy President’s Day – we’ll see you on the Bookmobile soon.

A Murder of Crows

by on February 11th, 2018
A Murder of Crows Cover Image

One thing I like most about Facebook is how one comment can lead to a great discussion.  A few days ago a friend commented that she loved seeing “wheeling flocks of birds in the sky.”  Someone then mentioned seeing a murmuration of Starlings on a recent drive from Muscatine to Iowa City. Another friend then asked if a murmuration refers only to Starlings (it does) and what a group of Pigeons would be called?  (Pigeons can be a flight, a flock or a kit.)

British artist, illustrator and author Matt Sewell’s newest book A Charm of Goldfinches And Other Wild Gatherings is a wonderfully illustrated guide to many of the group names humans give to members of the animal kingdom.

In the introduction, Sewell states that many of the phrases he has included in his book are hundreds of years old or older,  many found in The Book of Saint Albans (The Boke of Seynt Albans.) Printed originally in 1486, versions of The Book of Saint Albans were reprinted many times, under many names, over the next 400 years.  The original was reproduced as The Boke of St Albans, with an introduction by William Blades, in 1881.

A Charm of Goldfinches contains more than 50 animal groups, each with Sewell’s beautiful watercolor illustrations and a half-page discussion of how the names came to be.  Sewell lives in Great Britain, so a few of the species listed, such as Lapwings, are not found in North America.

There are some groups that most people are familiar with – a pod of dolphins, a pride of lions, or a murder of crows.  Here are few to test your knowledge:

 

A shiver of ________.

A _______ of crocodiles.

A parliament of ______.

A ________ of foxes.

A cloud of ________.

 

To find the answers you’ll have to check out the book!

 

Help for those suffering gardening withdrawal: Houseplants

by on February 8th, 2018
Help for those suffering gardening withdrawal: Houseplants Cover Image

February. Even the word is cold. Winter can seem awfully long in the Midwest.  Especially when we get teased by a January thaw.  But there’s no getting around it – it’s still winter, and I’m starting to go through gardening withdrawal.  I’m ready for spring. After 25 years in Iowa however,  I’ve finally learned not to jump the season and just ignore the January thaw. I know I have to wait until at least April or early May for spring and gardening season.  But my hands are still itching to get back in the dirt.

Thankfully there is a way I can curb that itch: Houseplants.  Caring for my indoor plants – including dividing or repotting gives me a little taste of gardening to hold me over.  ICPL has quite a few new houseplant books to help me (and others) get through the winter.  So many in fact, that I’m going to break this into two posts:  Houseplants and Cacti & Succulents.

Houseplants: the complete guide to choosing, growing, and caring for indoor plants by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf.   This is a great book for anyone with houseplants. A well written easy to follow guide, it begins with a section on the basics of houseplant care.  What I liked most about this book is how the 150+ plant profiles in the second half of the book. She has grouped them into 3 categories: Easy to Grow Moderately Easy and Challenging. Each category starts with multiple pages of thumbnail images to help you figure out what plant you have.  Each plant profile has the common as well as botanical Latin name, a description, the plant’s light and water requirements, propagation methods and cultivars.

 

Happy Houseplants: 30 lovely varieties to brighten up your home written and illustrated by Angela Staehling.  Combining her love of houseplants and illustration, Staehling has created a great beginners guide to 30  of her favorite easy to find and easy-to-grow houseplants. She starts with the tools and materials you’ll need to work with houseplants and follows with plant profiles. From African Violets to Zebra Cactus the 30 plants she as included give beginners a great place to start.

 

 

 

 

 

How Not To Kill Your Houseplant: Survival Tips for the Horticulturally Challenged by Vernoica Peerless. The title is not just a hook – Peerless has written a great guide for those of us who for one reason or another have no luck with houseplants.  Too much of the wrong kind of love or not enough of the right kind of light – there are many things that lead to plant demise. This book is helpful even If you’re not sure what type of plant you have.  The book begins with close to 200 plant thumbnails to help you figure out what you have.  But what if you’re thinking about buying your first plant?  Read the first few pages of this book first.  She’ll give you things to look for in your potential new plant – plant size, soil and root condition, pests – all the things you should consider before buying a plant.  Then you’ll find quick information about the basics: water, food, light, repotting and pests to watch out for.  Then you get to the wonderful main section of the book – the plant profiles  She breaks it down into the basic care “How Not to Kill It” things to watch out for, and what she calls “Share the Care:” suggestions for one or two other houseplants that have very similar requirements.

 

 

New Privacy Page

by on February 7th, 2018

Iowa City Public Library is committed to protecting its patrons’ privacy and confidentiality. We try to keep as little information about our patrons as possible and we don’t share it with others.  We routinely purge information including your checkout history unless you decide to opt-in to keep it.   The information that we do keep is directly related to providing services and delivering content.

We are also trying to be more transparent about the information that we do keep. We have had a publicly available privacy policy for a long time, but we decided to create a new Confidentiality and Privacy Page that is more user-friendly. At the top of the page, we outline some key points that all patrons should be aware of.  If you don’t read anything else, please check this section out.

Below that we also have a chart outlining all the different data that we keep, and how long we keep it.  Finally, we maintain a list of 3rd party vendors and providers that we use with links to their privacy policies.  If you have questions or concerns about these topics, please contact us.

Shot through the [symbol of courtly love and religious devotion] heart…

by on February 6th, 2018
Shot through the [symbol of courtly love and religious devotion] heart… Cover Image

and you’re to blame. Yes, you.

Valentine’s Day is coming up, when we remember and give thanks for two early Christians in Rome, both named Valentine, both martyred for their beliefs. You don’t do that? Maybe you write saccharine poetry to the object of your unrequited love? No? Perhaps you buy a card and some candy, make reservations somewhere fancy or make a nice meal, and use the day to test the waters or reaffirm your love. And all of it–the cards, the candy, the poems, the napkins and candles, the ill-advised matching tattoos–is covered in little red hearts. Why?

It seems obvious, right? The heart is the physical seat of our emotions. It’s the tell-tale organ that gives lie to our calm composure, regardless of whether our heart is bursting with the excitement of love, or breaking under corrected expectations. The heart soars, it plummets, it races along, and it aches, all in time with our lives of love. The heart, as symbol of that love, is the OG emoji. How OG? Read the rest of this entry »

Knope, Knope, Knope, YEP!!

by on February 6th, 2018

The Iowa City Public Library is in the running for the best library in the United States, advancing to the Sweetums16 Round! KNOPE, we are not kidding! Vote for ICPL at this link and help us advance to the Group of 8. Voting runs through Friday February 9th.

The Sweetums16 Round is a B1G showdown pitting Iowa City Public Library against the public library that serves Penn State.

The Engaging Local Government Leaders (ELGL) group sponsors the Leslie B. Knope Award to highlight “organizations and individuals that motivate, inspire and attract the best and brightest to local government.”

Astute readers and fans of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” know Leslie B. Knope, played by actress Amy Poehler, is a local government champion in the town of Pawnee, Indiana. Unfortunately, Knope dislikes libraries because of the Pawnee library director, Tammy Swanson, who is the ex-wife of her friend and co-worker. Fortunately ICPL doesn’t employ anyone named Tammy … and we have an awesome Library Director!

One of Leslie Knope’s goals is to make her town more fun. Join in the fun and vote for Iowa City Public Library for Best Library in the United States!

 

 

Small Details Make a Difference for eBooks/Audiobooks

by on February 5th, 2018

Sometimes some small details can make a big difference in how you experience something, especially if it saves time. Here are some small things you can do in Libby, our app for OverDrive eBooks and audiobooks that make reading (or listening) even easier.

Get right to what you want by changing your search preferences

By clicking the plus sign, you can change how your search results are filtered and sorted. See only what is Read the rest of this entry »