Homemade Holiday Gifts: Catnip Fish

Catnip Shadowfax

Shadowfax enjoying his holiday present.

Handmade gifts are not just for people. Here is a fun and easy gift to make for your cat; or, skip the catnip and make it for a special puppy. I made this in a single evening after dinner. It took me about an hour and a half, but I had all the materials on hand.

Supplies

  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Paper
  • Pins
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine or sewing needles
  • Fabric batting
  • Catnip (I got mine at Clover’s Natural Market)
  • Funnel

Catnip Crafts
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Best Teen Books of 2014

Best Books of 2014If I Stay” by Gayle Forman. “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green. “Eleanor & Park” by Rainbow Rowell. These were the heavy hitters on this year’s New York Times’ “Young Adult Best Seller List.”

Whether you’re looking to purchase a holiday gift for that special bookworm in your life, or you’re looking to get lost in the pages of a good book over the winter break, here are some “best of” lists of recommended young adult titles.

The Young Adult Library Services Association produces several lists each year which encompass books from a wide assortment of genres:

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Spicy Ranch Pretzels

Pretzels

Find a similar recipe at MacaroniAndCheesecake.com

As the holiday quickly approaches, the perfect gift to give is on the minds of many. My favorite tactic is giving the gift of food. It’s always a hit.

Like socks, sweaters and dish towels, if the recipient doesn’t like your gift, eventually it will disappear. But, if they love the food you gifted, they will have the delicious memory lingering on their taste buds and the recipe to make more and gift forward. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Below is a super yummy recipe for Spicy Ranch Pretzels. This my friends, is a CROWD PLEASER. At first glance they look like ordinary pretzels, but trust me when I say your friends and family will think you are a kitchen genius.

You can package this yummy treat in glass jars, decorate it with bow and attach a cute homemade gift tag along with the recipe. Boom! Holiday shopping, done! Continue reading

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Register by 12/19 for John Green’s Autograph

Will Grayson AudiobookTwo weeks remain to register for the “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” audiobook giveaway! This title is co-authored by award-winning YA writers John Green and David Levithan. They have each autographed the copy that we will be giving away to one lucky winner on Friday, December 19.

The narrators of this audiobook, MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl, take turns reading alternate chapters, helping you understand the very complex personalities of two boys who happen to share the same name. This book was selected as an expert pick for LGBTQ Fiction for Adults and Teens. You can listen to a five-minute sample at AudioFileMagazine.com.

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Program Preview: Project Teen & Pizza

Project Teen: MemoriesMemory Jar
Monday, December 15 at 6 p.m.
Columbia Public Library

Craft a personalized memory jar as a gift or in preparation of the New Year, and enjoy free pizza. Ages 12-18. Registration required. To sign-up, please call (573) 443-3161. 

In the meantime, check out these cool YA novels that will play tricks with your memory: “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, “The Program” by Suzanne Young, “Forgotten” by Cat Patrick and “The Adoration of Jenna Fox” by Mary Pearson.

Photo credit: My Memory Jar by JocelynLehman via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

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Homemade Holiday Gifts: Rag Wreaths

Submitted by Katie Long, Children’s Associate at the Columbia Public Library

Recently I stumbled upon a type of decoration called a rag wreath. They have become one of my new favorite ways to add to add character the front of my house. I love how super simple they are to make, and the possibilities for colors are endless. The great thing about these wreaths is while they look complicated, they are quite simple, and can be made while watching television, or talking to friends.

I don’t like sitting for long periods of time without something to do with my hands (say during a football game on T.V.) and these are the perfect project. It is easy to pick up where you left off and rag wreaths don’t take much brain power.

Supplies:Rag Wreath
You need only two things: a wire wreath frame (found at craft stores) and roughly 5 yards of scrap fabric.

Step 1:
Cut the fabric into strips, about six inches by one inch (or 1.5 if you prefer). I recommend using fabric scissors, but you don’t have to. Also, do not fret over getting every piece exact. No one will be able to tell if one or two strips are an inch short, or if they aren’t cut perfectly straight.

Step 2:
Knot one strip to one of the wires on your frame.

Step 3:
Repeat over and over, using different fabrics to form a pattern, or go random. As you go, twist your knots toward the front of the wreath. You want the back to be smooth, and the front to have the majority of the fabric. That’s all. It takes several hours to tie all those knots, though.

Some ideas of possible wreath themes include your favorite team colors, holiday themes, favorite colors, or just whatever fabric scraps you have on hand. Note that some fraying will occur as you handle the fabric. This is okay and it actually helps all the fabrics blend. If you want your colors to pop more, or are going for a cold/cozy theme, try using fleece or flannel fabric.

If you enjoy fabric crafts, you might also check out these titles at your library:

Photo credit: Rag Wreaths by heather via Flickr. Used under creative commons license.

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Book Cover Contest: First Place Winner

Artwork by Amelia Martinez

Artwork by Amelia Martinez

At the conclusion of our Book Cover Contest, we prepare for the launch of our next competition, the March Madness Teen Book Tournament. Through a series of votes, we are narrowing our list of the 32 most popular teen books to one grand champion. Each round you vote, your name will be entered into a drawing for a chance to win cool prizes like free book sets or a Barnes & Noble gift card. Subscribe to our blog updates to get program reminders and learn which titles will be advancing to the next round.

We are excited to announce that Amelia Martinez is the first place winner of our Book Cover Contest for her re-imagined artwork for “Burning Blue” by Paul Griffin. In this book, beautiful, smart Nicole is disfigured when acid is thrown in her face. She befriends a computer hacker named Jay while visiting the school psychologist’s office and he resolves to find her attacker. This title is also a 2015 Gateway Award nominee.

Amelia will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as her award. Congratulations to all our winners and many thanks to our talented teen patrons for their participation! We hope you will check out the gallery of all the eligible entries we received this year!

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Book Cover Contest: Second Place Winner

Artwork by Ashley Hrdina

Artwork by Ashley Hrdina

Today we continue to recognize the winners in the DBRLTeen Book Cover Contest. But first, did you know that the library has four apps that allow you to access free movies, music, ebooks, audiobooks and magazines?

Overdrive offers access to thousands of eBook and downloadable audiobook titles, including many of the most popular young adult novels. Download the Overdrive app for your iOS device and Android device.

Hoopla allows you to watch movies, or listen to music and audiobooks with your computer or mobile device for free. Download the free Hoopla app for your  iOS device or Android device.

Zinio offers over 100 free digital magazines for you to read on your computer, tablet or mobile device such as Seventeen, ESPN, Girl’s Life, Rolling Stone, Popular Science and more. Get the app for your Android, Apple,Kindle Fire, Blackberry, Nook HD, or Windows 8 mobile device.

Finally, we recognize Ashley Hrdina as the second place winner in the DBRLTeen Book Cover Contest. She will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as her award. In her entry, Ashley shared her vision for the cover of “Out of My Mind” by Sharon Draper. In this book, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy, considered by many to be mentally retarded, discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time. It is a powerful story and one of the most requested among teens at the Daniel Boone Regional Library.

On Friday we will wrap-up our contest by recognizing the first place winner and showcasing all the entries received in an online gallery.

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Book Cover Contest: Third Place Winner

augusta_nickolaus

Augusta Nickolaus

Many thanks to the young adults who submitted their artwork into the DBRLTeen Book Cover Contest. We received 24 entries from throughout Boone and Callaway counties.

If you are looking to develop your skills as an artist, the library has plenty of resources to help. We provide free classes through our online service called UniversalClass. Learn more about digital photography, drawing, watercolor painting and other visual arts. These are just a few of the over 500 courses offered. To log in, you’ll need your DBRL library card number; your PIN is your birthdate (MMDDYYYY).

We are pleased to announce the third place winner in the DBRLTeen Book Cover Contest: Augusta Nickolaus. She will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes and Noble as her award. The subject of her contest submission was “Crush” by Gary Paulsen. Afraid to actually ask Tina Zabinski for a date, eighth-grader Kevin spends most of his time theorizing about love and romance and observing and analyzing male-female interaction.

Join us on Wednesday as we announce the the second place winner!

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“Will Grayson, Will Grayson” Book Giveaway

John Green Holiday GiveawayTo celebrate the holiday season,  DBRLTeen will be giving away an autographed copy of “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” on CD! This audiobook is about two teenage boys with the same name, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways.

“One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, Will Grayson crosses paths with . . . Will Grayson. Two teens with the same name, running in two very different circles, suddenly find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, and culminating in epic turns-of-heart and the most fabulous musical ever to grace the high school stage.”

Will Grayson, Will Grayson” is a collaboration between two well-recognized authors, John Green and David Levithan. Green is the author of “The Fault in Our Stars,” while Levithan penned the novel, “Every Day.” Both of these titles are on the current list of Gateway Award nominees, and among the most heavily circulated teen books in our regional library system.

 “Will Grayson, Will Grayson” debuted at #3 on the New York Times bestseller list for children’s chapter books, the first book starring gay characters ever to appear on the list. Check out the video below of John Green reading the first few pages of this acclaimed young adult novel and register today for your chance to win a free copy of this audiobook! The lucky winner will be contacted on Friday, December 19.  Continue reading

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