Tuesday, August 23, 2011

FO: Make Up Your Mind Tank

This summer, I worked on the Make Up Your Mind tank by Julie Crawford of Knitted Bliss. I just completed the project and am proud to have finished my first piece of knitted clothing. The pattern calls for several different stitch patterns, so you never get bored while knitting. I still need to block the tank to smooth out some of the details and shape, but I couldn't wait to post about it!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

no-machine homemade mars bar ice-cream

I have always wanted to make homemade ice-cream. It's been on my to-do list for a while, but without an ice-cream maker, I never thought I would be able to check it off my list so soon.

Thanks to Pinterest, I came across this recipe from a guest post on eighteen25 by Amanda of Kevin and Amanda.

The recipe is super simple:

Mix together a can of sweetened condensed milk, a few tablespoons of melted butter and your choice of mix-ins (I chose chopped mars bars).

Whip up a couple cups of whipping cream until it becomes whipped cream.

Gently fold the whipped cream into the condensed milk mixture and pour into a container to freeze for at least 6 hours. I left mine overnight. 

Scoop out desired amount and enjoy!

I would love to hear what mix-ins you used and how your ice-cream turns out if you decide to give the recipe a try. Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

think again: a YA story in poetry

Think Again by JonArno Lawson with illustrations by Julie Morstad is a lovely collection of short, but beautiful poems that express the emotions surrounding first and young love. The poems expertly explain some of the pangs of teen angst:

The Heart
Make sure that your heart 

Isn't too well defended:
Your heart is designed
To be broken and mended.

The accompanying illustrations are a perfect blend of kholed lines and white space and tell as much of a story as the words do. This quick and Canadian read is touching and inspiring -- check it out!

Find Think Again at your local library here.

Friday, August 5, 2011

the ravelry library connection

Re-posted from my academic class blog:
A recent Slate article details the success of the facebook for knittersRavelry. I thought this article was so well-articulated and does Ravelry a whole bunch of justice, that I had to blog about it and highlight some pertinent points. I also think librarians can learn some from Ravelry's success and since I'm a soon-to-be-librarian, I've posed some questions and thoughts about what librarians can learn from a successful site like Ravelry and how libraries can interpret and mirror the knitting site's success.
As Farhad Manjoo points out, Ravelry is not just another social media site because...
1. It provides users with a common interest (yarn, knitting, crocheting) and a place to spend their online time productively. Users can plan future projects and research best yarn options. In contrast to other social media sites, where the focus is on seeing who's who and what's what, Ravelry users can feel accomplished when spending a few hours online because it presents users with "something to do."
  • What can libraries learn? Librarians can offer places for patrons to plan their library visits, their reading, and their community involvement. In other words, give patrons an activity to engage with online. This is something some libraries are starting to tackle. By linking up book reviews and recent acquisitions with online catalogues, patrons can request books and find out about what's new at their library. For am example of this, see the NYPL blogs, which provide direct links to the library's online catalogue. Many library visitors are readers, so providing them with more reading material seems a good place to start. However, what is important is providing active participation -- something to do -- that will keep patrons coming back.
2. Users can organize their past projects and remember notes about yarn preference and pattern modifications. Ravelry is knitting memory. Knitters have a vested interest in logging back on to remember how they fixed that pattern mistake or the exact make of the yarn they used to make that hat 3 years ago.
  • How can libraries interpret this? Can we create an online world for readers to organize their past reading habits and titles read? Can we maybe link up with sites already providing this service likeLibraryThing or GoodReads? Are these services enough or should we create sites specific to our respective libraries? Should we encourage readers to submit their own reviews or link up their own reading blogs with our libraries?
3. Ravelry's discussion forum is self-moderated and rarely out of line. User participation is linked up to profiles, so people are on the best behaviour -- but we're talking about knitters here, so aside from a knot or two in some merino wool, we're keeping up with a pretty safe crowd. Regardless, people are happy to participate and come back. It's a safe place.
  • Is it worthwhile for libraries to link up with other libraries (say, all Canadian libraries) or to keep separate sites? How can we promote a place for self-moderation, where users take pride in their online space?
What do you think? Are there other examples of group-specific social networks that are working well? What can librarians learn?

Monday, August 1, 2011

nautical knot headband

At the latest gathering of my Crafty Ladies group, we made DIY Nautical headbands from Presser Foot's wonderful tutorial. This was a fun project with minimal supplies and the directions were pretty straightforward. I highly recommend it to other crafternoon groups out there!

Check out Brianna's awesome headband on The BB Creative.