Crafting: Paper Quilling

Crafting; a hobby of making decorative items by hand.  Paper quilling falls under the “crafting” category.  This may be the first time you are hearing about it, but it has been around far longer than you may think.  By definition, paper quilling is the art of rolling and pinching strips of long, thin paper into various shapes and sizes, then gluing these pieces to form a decorative piece of art.

The history of paper quilling dates back hundreds of years.  Nuns would create replicas of ironwork from buildings and use it to decorate books and religious objects.  Later, in the 18th century, paper quilling was a suitable pastime for aristocratic women.  Soon after, the practice spread to Colonial America and was used in a decorative manner.  It has since gained popularity and turned into the art form we know today.

Paper quilling is great for all ages due to the simplicity of the art form.  It is a low cost craft and can be used for decorating a variety of items including invitations, gre…

#IndigenousReads: New Perspectives on Indigenous People of North America in Children’s Literature

It is around this time of year when Americans celebrate Thanksgiving and images of native or indigenous people and pilgrims come to mind. Although this is the classic Thanksgiving scene, it has slowly been becoming the norm that this depiction is not true or acceptable. In fact, many depictions of indigenous people in children’s literature are inaccurate, stereotypical and thus, harmful./p>

With this shift in thinking, there has been a push in children’s literature to provide a larger voice to indigenous writers and illustrators. In our social media age, this effort to provide a more diverse range of voices has been accompanied by hashtags such as #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #IndigenousReads. Below you will find just a sample of children’s picture books that have been recommended by American Indians in Children’s Literature, an excellent resource on Native American representation in children’s literature both past and present ( https://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.c…

You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out: A Holiday Movie Quote Quiz

The holiday music has been playing on the radio and in the stores for a couple of weeks already. Winter decorations adorn the street lamps and shop windows. Advertisements for holiday gifts and sales have taken over our media outlets. The “Christmas Spirit” is everywhere. I wouldn’t call myself a “Grinch,” but I’m always caught off guard at how early the push for Christmas starts each year. There is one part of the holidays, however, I welcome with much enthusiasm: holiday films and television specials.

Back in the day, I had to wait for the specific broadcast network to air holiday-themed movies and specials. There was no “on demand,” video tapes/discs, nor streaming services to automatically fulfill my desire to watch whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. The winter special, Frosty the Snowman (1969), came on once a year. When its upcoming air time was announced, the date and time were written on the family calendar to ensure that I, along with my three siblings, didn’t miss t…

Casting a Light on Community Theater

Photo courtesy of John M. Maurer “Jennifer, stop singing,” my father said as he knocked on my bedroom door.  A minute passed, then two.  Creak.  Finally, he was walking back downstairs.  “An English teacher.  An English teacher.  If only you’d been an English teacher,” I began to belt.  “Jennifer!”  Sigh.  How was I supposed to prepare for my very first leading role if I could not practice the music at home?  These were clearly not suitable conditions under which to begin what would be a long and prosperous career.  I mean, I can’t imagine that Julie Andrews’s parents cut her rehearsals short!

I was only 12, but my passion for music and performance had been brewing for quite some time.  Rumor has it that I began singing in the womb, and I believe it because people constantly catch me mid-song—outside of my house, at work, in the store.  As for performance, maybe I waited a few years post birth; however, once I dabbled in the art, I was hooked, and I chased every opportunity available…

Graham Cracker Gingerbread House

Do you know that gingerbread houses have been around for more than 1,000 years?
And that they probably originated after the publication of the well-known Grimm’s fairy tale Hansel and Gretel?
Decorating an edible gingerbread house is a popular family tradition and is a fun activity during the holiday season. They can be easily made with graham crackers and icing.

Here’s what you’ll need:
One box of graham crackersVanilla frostingZiploc bagSerrated knifeCandy for decorationsDirections:
Use vanilla frosting to glue the graham cracker pieces together. Fill the Ziploc bag with icing and press it into one end of the bag. Make a small cut in the corner of the bag.
You will need seven full size graham crackers. Follow the template in the photo above to cut each side.

Making the Patterns:
    1.    Glue two graham crackers by spreading icing in between the long edges to make a flat base, as shown below.
    2.    For the front and back, split one cracker in half.
    3.    For the sides, place …

Books to Get You Thinking 2019 Holiday Edition

November ushers cool, crisp Autumn air and the wonderful anticipation of the warmth and festivity of the Holiday Season just a few weeks away. It’s also the time to start thinking of gifts for family and friends - wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could find that perfect something for everyone on your list, all in just one place – I’m of course referring to your local bookstore! The shelves are just popping with exciting titles for you to pick up – books that will excite the curiosity, enrich the mind, extend the imagination and transport you to places you’ve never been before. Inspired by all the new titles the Mercer County Library has recently added to its collection, here is a list of books for gift giving that will make holiday shopping a breeze.  From all us at the Mercer County Library System, we wish you Happy Holidays!

Nonfiction and Biography

The Deep History of Ourselves: The Four-Billion-Year Story of How We Got Conscious Brains by Joseph LeDoux
LeDoux, professor of neural sc…