I enjoy making gifts. I’ve made big things such as quilts and small things like ornaments. I’ve made things out of fabric and things that are edible. I’ve put together photo albums and scrapbooks. When I make a gift, I can personalize it and design it to reflect the interests of the recipient. This year I made book bags for my grandchildren and felt ornaments for several family members. I have plans to make cookie dough bon-bons for my daughter-in-law who loves chocolate chip cookie dough. It’s not too late for you to make something to give this season. Check out some of these books from the library for inspiration:
If you like to cook, try “Favorite Brand Name Gifts from the Christmas Kitchen” or “The Cookie Dough Lover’s Cookbook.” The latter contains the recipe for cookie dough bon-bons. The original recipe covers the dough in melted chocolate. I roll mine in cocoa powder instead. It’s faster, easier, and they still taste great! Continue reading “Handmade Gifts for the Holidays”
The winter holiday season has arrived and many of us are thinking about gift-giving, which for folks who like to use their hands, means that the season of gift-making has begun. In my humble opinion, hand making gifts is, hands down, much more satisfying than shopping for gifts at the mall or online. If you’d like to give a handmade gift this season, there are two fun and interesting crafting options being offered by DBRL for you to try: basket weaving and needle felting with wool. Both are tactility and visually pleasing activities and if approached with a relaxed attitude (no hurrying yourself), then you might find the repetitive nature of this work to be a soothing agent to any holiday stress you’ve accumulated.
First up: basket weaving (or basket making, if you prefer). Everyone knows what a basket is, right? It’s a vessel or container, created by weaving pliable materials together. Probably every single one of us has at least one basket in our house, but most likely several or many of various shapes and sizes, used for storing something like dinner napkins, or for serving bread at the dining table. Baskets are a form of functional art and have lent beauty to the rituals of daily living for thousands of years. This ancient craft, dating back to at least as early as 12,000 years ago, can be done utilizing traditional materials (i.e. vines, grasses, pine needles, reeds, etc.) or using less conventional materials, like paper strips or wire. I’m intrigued by the idea of upcycling materials, such as worn out clothing, to fashion a basket, thereby making functional art from something that would otherwise end up in the landfill. If you’d like to weave a basket, come by Southern Boone County Public Library on Saturday, December 8, from 1-3 p.m. Materials will be provided. Continue reading “Winter Holiday Season Handcrafting Opportunities!”
As a barrage of sneezes echos through the stacks, I have to accept that temperatures are falling. At home, I plow through my cold weather drawer only to find one lonely, taunting glove.
“You lost my twin!” it whines.
“You’re not so special,” I think.
This happens every year. I suppose it’s time to cast on a new pair. Rather than feel annoyed at myself, I see this as an opportunity to create, to flex my purling muscles, to track down some alpaca wool in my mom’s massive yarn stash. Truly, there are few things more satisfying than donning your own handiwork, though the knitting process itself can also reap many rewards. These can range from mindfulness practice and stress management to loosening arthritic joints and other boosts to your mental and physical health. Knitting circles, which are ubiquitous among the many nooks and crannies of the library, not only encourage members along in their projects but also foster camaraderie, creativity and accountability. Continue reading “Winter Warm-Up: Knits”
As part of the library’s mission to connect people to ideas and be at the heart of our community, we are always happy when we have an opportunity to support local creative endeavors. Obviously, providing access to books and encouraging literacy are also in the library wheelhouse, so we try to support local authors whenever we can. One way we do this is by adding their books to our collection in the hope that they will be discovered by their fellow community members. We provide resources for aspiring writers to help hone their craft, or guide them in their quest to get published. We also host some programs for those ambitious people who are spending this month participating in National Novel Writing Month. And we are now about to embark on the third year of our Local Authors Open House, this Saturday, November 17 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
During that time we will have tables set up for 50 local authors on the first floor of the Columbia Public Library. That provides an opportunity for the authors to meet each other and the general public, as well as to promote and sell their books. The writing that will be on display spans an impressive range of genres and styles. There will be books of poetry, young adult fantasy novels, mysteries, historical fiction, memoirs, picture books, books of local interest and books about national politics. That’s just a small sample, so please come to the library this Saturday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to meet some local authors and peruse their work.
At the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918, the fighting ceased. The Great War (as it was then called) had been raging for more than four years and had cost millions of lives. November 11, 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of the Armistice of Compiègne, the peace agreement that silenced the guns of World War I.
A lot of powerful poetry came out of the war, much of it written by soldiers in the field. Some of these authors became identified as the Trench Poets. Their verse was known for its gritty detail and lack of romantic illusions. “Above the Dreamless Dead” is a collection of 20 World War I poems illustrated by contemporary comics artists. The styles are as varied as the poems, but all help to capture the realities of combat. Continue reading “Armistice Day — 100th Anniversary”
With dropping temperatures and falling leaves, fall is the perfect time to cozy up with your favorite book and a hot cup of tea. Whether you are a long-time tea enthusiast or just beginning to explore the world of tea, check out our Time for Tea program at the Callaway County Public Library on Thursday, November 8 from 1:30-3:00 p.m. This program will be hosted by tea enthusiast Alex Moore and will include tea, treats and an afternoon of learning about tea.
Tea has a long and complex history. The origins of the popular drink can be traced back to legends from China and India. The Chinese legend tells the story of Emperor Shen Nong who accidentally discovered tea when a leaf from the wild tea tree fell into a pot of water he was boiling in his garden. After this happy accident occurred, the Emperor enjoyed the infusion so much that he began to investigate the plant and discovered its medicinal properties. According to the Indian legend, tea was discovered by Prince Bodhi-Dharma, the founder of what would later be called Buddhism. While Prince Bodhi-Dharma was meditating, he fell into a deep sleep and when he woke up he cut off his eyelids and a tea tree sprung up from the ground where they fell. Continue reading “Time for Tea at the Library!”
Writers are immortalized through the written word, but there is one unique piece of writing inextricably linked to their mortality: their epitaphs. My favorite thing about literary epitaphs is how reflective they often are of the life and work of the writers they commemorate. In honor of National Plan Your Epitaph Day (seriously), I’ve collected some literary gems that are now set in stone.
Robert Frost wrote his epitaph years before his death in his poem “The Lesson for Today.” The final four lines read: “And were an epitaph to be my story / I’d have a short one ready for my own. / I would have written of me on my stone: / I had a lover’s quarrel with the world.” Similarly, Dorothy Parker selected her own epitaph. Because she was cremated, there was no actual tombstone on which to engrave it, so it was immortalized in a plaque in her memorial garden, dedicated by the NAACP. With her signature wit, Parker suggested: “Excuse my dust.” Unfortunately, as Aphra Behn points out in her own epitaph, “Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be Defense enough against mortality.” Continue reading “Literary Epitaphs”
The approach of Halloween always piques my interest in the paranormal. When October rolls around, I can’t get enough of horror movies, paranormal fiction and ghost stories. I also can’t get enough sleep because I’m afraid that if I don’t keep a tight enough grip on my blanket, a demon under my bed will rip it off of me. One of my guiltiest Halloween pleasures is the show Ghost Adventures; I have always wanted to tag along with Zak Bagans and his team as they spend the night in some of America’s most haunted locations. Unfortunately, since that would be kind of tricky logistically, I have to look a little closer to home. In “Haunted Columbia, Missouri,” Mary Barile gives the backstory for several haunted locations right here in town. Drawing from stories in Barile’s collection and the Columbia Daily Tribune (or in the case of the final location, rumors I have heard through the grapevine), I have compiled a short list of possible stops for a self-directed ghost tour.
The historic Stephens College campus is worth the visit for the beautiful architecture alone, but paranormal enthusiasts will find plenty to appreciate as well. According to a 1971 article in the Columbia Daily Tribune (recounted here), a group including students, a teacher, and a newspaper reporter gathered for an amateur ghost hunt in Senior Hall. As soon as the door shut, wind filled the room and blew out the candle. Hearing footsteps, the journalist peeked out into the hall and saw two figures, a woman dressed in a gown and a man. “The man dropped into a low crouch, his left hand outstretched as though to ward something off. Then both figures disappeared down the stairs,” he says. Naturally, the group immediately left. Hours later, another group of students entering Senior Hall and were stopped by a woman in a gown warning them that their teacher (a member of the previous group) was no longer welcome there. Continue reading “Haunted Columbia”
We all have seasonal dishes that we relish and return to year after year as our favorite ingredients become available. There is nothing wrong with loving our preferences and repeating our efforts in the kitchen, especially since established traditions, particularly around food, bring us enjoyment and comfort, and lend some stability to our ever fluctuating lives. Yet, trying new recipes, or variations on tried and true renditions, can liven up our creative cooking sensibilitiesand invigorate our palates. I’ve whipped up this list of cookbooks, arranged by seasons of the year, for your perusal. Many of them contain exquisite photographs of the seasons’ best bounty to further engage your interest in preparing what lies within, whether for daily fare or for holiday gatherings. Take a look at their “autumn or fall” chapters to see what new recipes might interest you. I hope you discover some new favorites that you can add to your fall cooking repertoire. Bon appetit! Continue reading “Autumn Recipes Round-up”
Autumn is a time of shortening days and cooler temperatures. The year is sliding into darkness, and so our thoughts, as they have done for centuries, turn to mortality, death and eldritch fears. And what better way to contemplate the most natural thing in the world, death, than with a cemetery tour in an idyllic rural setting? Continue reading “Tour the Rocheport Cemetery”