Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Review: 1Q84

Title: 1Q84
Author: Haruki Murakami
Format: Audible
Reading Dates: Jan 27, 2013 - May 26, 2013
Rating: **1/2

I've decided that's it's one thing if you invest a short bit of time in a book and you end up not liking it. It's altogether another thing when you invest several months and nearly 47 hours of listening and you end up going "Huh?"

I really liked the set up and I was intrigued by the first part of the book. Then it really slowed down, and by the time of the stakeout I was thinking to myself--this is what they always say stakeouts are like--long drawn-out affairs with nothing interesting happening.

I kept hoping that something would happen at the end to clear everything up, but it never did. Someone should have fired Chekhov's gun.

Book Review: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements

Title: The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements
Author: Sam Kean
Format: Kindle
Reading Dates: Jan 27, 2013 - May 7, 2013
Rating: ***

I just couldn't hold the thread of this book. I'm wondering how much of that was due to reading it on a Kindle and not having the periodic table in front of me the whole time.

There were parts that I liked--especially the stories of the scientists and their discoveries, but at a certain point in the chemistry, I just got lost and felt like I was a sophomore in high school again. Just like then I sorta knew what was going on, but not enough to keep me interested.

I was hoping for descriptions of the science that were as easy to follow as those in The Emperor of All Maladies, but alas, it wasn't to be. It's a shame, because I really feel like I should have liked this book--just like that class in high school.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Dream Big!

Quick! Name three big things. Here's my list...
  1. Daniel Boone (all those of a certain age are now humming a theme song)
  2. #1 Son's mastiff, Boss

  3. Moby Dick--both the whale and the book. How do I know this? Well, recently one of my Etsy clients asked me to create a book for her and she wanted it folded from a classic, so I headed to Half-Priced Books to see what I could find. They had GIANT copies of Moby Dick right at the checkout, so I grabbed one and lugged it to my car. 
Here's the final product.

It even looks cool with its dust jacket still on.

So how big was this puppy? (Or is that guppy?)

Here is the same word folded in an RDCB. Holy cow! Holding that many pages up while folding really gave my hands a workout.

But bonus! Look what I found on the clearance table while I was at Half-Priced Books. More fun stuff to make!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

May Showers Bring Brand New Flowers

You have already met my friend and personal Svengali for all things decorative, Barb

Guess what. She's gonna be a grandma! And today I went to a lovely shower and brunch for her daughter, Mandi. 

Festivities were at our friend, Sharon's. Sharon does not need a decorating Svengali. She has the same gene that Barb has. And a Pinterest account. Here was the gorgeous setting for the very tasty brunch.

And here is the bouquet I made for Mandi's nursery.

It came with zinnias...

(that's pink China from the Rand McNally Atlas)

...and mums (maybe part of the Sahara?)...

and some bright allium...

(courtesy of the Atlas and an RDCB)
All thrown together in an an English garden kind of way...

...if English gardens grew inside RDCBs.

Here is Mandi receiving her bouquet (and a chance to check out more of Sharon's decorations)...

...and here she is getting ready to take them home.

What a beautiful mama! Lucky kid!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Adventures in Estate Sale Book Hunting: Houston, We Have Liftoff

Last weekend I went book hunting at an estate sale and even though I didn't find any RDCBs, I did come away with a few beauties. Case in point, here's Astronauts on the Moon, The Story of the Apollo Moon Landings. And best of all, it's a pop-up book!!

Open  up the first page and...


Once they get close to the moon, two of the astronauts climb through the tunnel connecting the command module with the lunar module and get ready to land.

But poor Buzz has to stay in the command module all by himself and wonder why he drew the short straw.

Gently, gently the lunar module settles into the gray dust.

The astronauts go exploring and send bags of moon rocks back to their ship.

Later, after docking with the command module, the astronauts head for home, launch the service module and land with a splat in the Pacific Ocean.

And they're home. 

I have a feeling this book is going to be a favorite when future grandkids come along!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Beach Baby

Opposites attract, right? Right. Certainly with Captain America and me, at least.

I grew up in the flatlands of the midwest and he grew up on the beach. While I know for a fact that one should not jump into a body water unless one can see the bottom, he dives off boats and into waves without a second thought.

While I picked landlocked Norman, Oklahoma, for my college years, he made sure to find a campus a couple of blocks from the ocean in sunny Melbourne, Florida. And from what I've surmised, his professors probably had a better chance of finding him with his toes over a board on the crest of a wave than in the classroom.

So in honor of my favorite guy and anyone else out there with a love of the water, I present to you...

This little jewel comes with a turquoise blue cover to remind you of the color of the Florida ocean...

...and this very groovy, sparkly surfboard on the inside.
You need to see this one in real life because the sand beach that runs all the way across the bottom actually feels gritty. But if you're more the lay-by-the-beach-with-an-umbrella-drink sorta person (now we're talking!), then maybe this Beach Bum is more your style.

You're the kind of person that likes beautiful women in hula skirts throwing circles of hibiscus around your neck.
No worries, man. No matter what kind of  bum you are, I've got you covered.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why, O Why, Ohio?

I've always been partial to buckeyes. My grandfather used to give them to us all the time. He said they were good luck. I kept mine in my coat pocket, and good luck or not, it always served as a great worry stone. I would wear the thing shiny with my thumb as I stood in line somewhere or sat in a crowd watching a ball game.

Even though my grandfather has been gone for many years, I still have my buckeye.

Recently I ran into another kind of buckeye. The kind from Ohio. One of my friends asked me to create a book for her alma mater, Ohio State.

We checked out all the logos, trying to figure out which one would fold well, and finally decided on this one.

Then I folded the book, and it looked like this.

So not awful, but I didn't think it was very easy to read. Part of the reason is because none of the letters in the logo have any serifs, so the side of an H and and the capital I right next to it look a lot alike.

That being said, whenever I asked anyone what it said, they all said "Ohio State," so maybe it's better than I thought. Especially when you look at it from this hero angle.

Someone needs to set it on a high shelf.

So I offered to make a new book with a different logo. My friend thought about it a bit and then said "You know, one of the things Ohio State is known for is the band spelling the word, Ohio, in script across the football field. Could you make that in script?"

Could I? Again I went to the Internet first to see this phenomenon and found this.

That's pretty cool!

Next I went shopping for an extra big, red book. Um, I mean scarlet. I found just the ticket in the Friends of the Library bookstore. And (BONUS!) if my friend ever wants to unfold this beauty, she'll find 4,139 strange and fascinating facts about WWII.

Then a little folding and some gray endpapers later, and we ended up with this.

Now all it needs a little tuba hovering over the "i". Wonder how you fold that??