Wednesday, May 23, 2012
You have probably never had to figure out how many cubic feet of helium will fill a 36 inch round balloon (14.1 cf), and how many cubic feet of helium are in a particular size of helium tank (it depends).
I solved this particular math problem this week in my capacity as the Mother of the Bride, colloquially known as the MOB.
Yes, my darling only daughter will be taking the plunge this summer, along with her cousin (two weeks later) and a childhood friend (the month before), so wedding planning
is a big topic in our family.
My little bride-to-be is going the Do It Yourself route, which those of you who are not involved in a wedding this summer, might not realize is VERY popular. There is a website devoted to just that - the DIY Bride
. You might think that DIY would mean easy and inexpensive, but just like traditional weddings, DIY can range from a backyard cookout for 10 guests to an all out extravaganza for 250 people.
DIY brides are not happy to just hand over several thousands of dollars to let someone else worry about the table linens, the wedding favors, the sweets table, the photo booth (!) – they want things to be completely personal, reflective of their style, the bridegroom’s style, and inclusive of all their friends and family.
But where do all the personal and fun ideas come from? Well, a DIY wedding means countless hours spent looking at wedding blogs and boards, or the wedding section of Pinterest
, If you can rope your family, wedding party and friends into the DIY frenzy, so much the better.
DIY wedding blogs are not the standard giant collections of all things wedding like The Knot
or Wedding Wire
, but smaller sites targeted to those brides and grooms who want a "charming" wedding. These personal and lovely events seem to often be held outside, under the trees. In some magical land where it rarely rains, and if it does rain, that's just a chance to provide your guests with cute and quirky umbrellas as wedding favors.
The suggestions on these blogs, (excuse me, I mean inspiration, a very popular DIY wedding term) range from asking each guest to send in a quilt block, which will be quilted together and used as a canopy during the ceremony , to growing 100 tiny succulents in tiny cute pots to be handed out to each guest as a favor (Succulents VERY popular for weddings), to collecting vintage skeleton keys to be used as part of the invitation (Not easy to find).
Or making your own seating for 100 guests from a fallen 100 year old tree on your parents 200 acre farm. Or growing all the flowers for the bouquets and centerpieces. Oh, wait - I'm actually doing that, it's not from a wedding blog!
There are many wedding blogs that provide wonderful inspiration for quirky, personal weddings, and as is often the case, the blogs have morphed into books. Below is a selection of some of the wedding blogs that have helped with my daughter's wedding planning - even if you're not planning a wedding you can appreciate the gorgeous photography and chuckle at some of the ideas - a tattoo artist and a fire eater as part of the entertainment???
Green Wedding Shoes
- "trends and inspiration from Southern California" Where it never rains, remember?
Style Me Pretty
- the best part of this blog is the section devoted to real weddings. Some of the DIY projects undertaken by couples are truly jaw-dropping!
- mentioned above, this site has downloadable templates for invitations and other paper necessities. Personalized water bottle labels, anyone??
- The Weddingbee boards are full of posts from real brides who are obsessing about rain, sick of the whole thing, or have the Mother In Law from hell. Other posters write back with soothing advice, much of which is useful for any stressed out bride.
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
If you've gotten comfortable using OverDrive (Maryland's subscription service for ebooks), perhaps you've found the limit of four ebooks checked out at a time to be a bit constrictive. Ready to get eclectic with your reading tastes? Give openlibrary.org a try.
Open Library's humble mission is to create "one web page for every book ever written." And plenty of those books are in the public domain as ebooks. To date, Open Library has over 20,000,000 book records, and nearly 3,000,000 of those books are available digitally. Some can only be accessed via Maryland's subscription to OverDrive, but the Internet Archive and participating libraries have also selected digitized books from their collections that are available to be borrowed by one patron at a time from anywhere in the world for free. These books are in BookReader, PDF, and ePub formats (and Daisy for the print disabled). Give it a try! Parenting advice from the 1950's, quaintly outdated cookbooks, esoteric fiction. It's good to be well-rounded.
Wednesday, May 09, 2012
It is time for the Gaithersburg Book Festival! On Saturday May 19, booklovers and authors will gather on the grounds of the Gaithersburg City Hall to to celebrate books, writers and literary excellence. In its third year, the Festival features talks and book signings by authors, writing workshops, a coffee house with singers and poets/songwriters, a Children's Village and several panel discussions. One discussion, Separating Fact from Fiction, will include audience participation. Another will tackle the future of bookstores and books. Take a look at the festival program to decide how you want to spend your Festival Day. It's a perfect time for kids, 'teens and grown-ups to make a summer reading plan or to gather suggestions for a new or ongoing book group.
To prepare for the Festival, look at the photos and videos from last year or read an entry from this year's short story contest for high school students. MCPL can help booklovers prepare for the Festival, too. Let the Reader's Cafe guide your author presentation selection. Read or listen to a book by one of the featured authors. MCPL offers many of these works as downloadable audio books or ebooks, too. This year's featured authors include novelists and mystery writers, Sandra Parshall, Christopher Tilghman, and Tim Wendel. Non-fiction writers include Buzz Bissinger, John Feinstein, Marvin and Deborah Kalb, and Jim Lehrer.
Get the kids ready, too. Share a book or audio book. Children's and young adult authors appearing in the Jim Henson and Willa Cather Pavillions include Fred Bowen, Andrew Clements, Mary Downing Hahn, Laura McNeal and Matthew Quick (aka Q). Free craft and other hands-on sessions are offered for children, too.
Grab your sunscreen, a pen for autographs and get ready to collect ideas for summer reading!!
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
What is so special about 2012 other than the Mayan calendar prediction for the end of the world, the London Olympic Games, and the American Presidential Election? Well eclipsing them all for booklovers is the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, an event marked by festivals and exhibits across the globe and an outpouring of appreciation and commentary online. Check out the official Dickens 2012 web site for a complete guide to the celebrations, actual and virtual. There is even an App revealing London through the eyes of Dickens and his characters. Or you can follow Dickens 2012 on Twitter @Dickens2012.
At the library this is the perfect time to check out and reread a favorite Dickens novel or one you missed. Can’t decide which one? Try this tongue-in-cheek guide from the Guardian, which rates the novels on a scale of how “Dickensian” they are. Deemed most Dickensian is Bleak House. Paperback copies of Dickens’ most popular titles are available in the Reading List section of your library. Or check the library DVD shelves for one of the many film versions of Dickens’ books including my personal favorite, the BBC production of Bleak House with Gillian Anderson as Lady Dedlock. Claire Tomalin’s acclaimed 2011 biography Charles Dickens: A Life is a readable and entertaining portrait of the writer, his family, and his times. There is also an excellent brief life by Jane Smiley in the Penguin Lives series. In fiction, Gaynor Arnold imagines the Dickens marriage from the point of view of his long-suffering wife in the novel Girl in a Blue Dress. A good way to introduce children to Dickens is through the lives of the children he wrote about, featured in Charles Dickens and the Street Children of London by Andrea Warren.
Visitors to London can travel back in time to the city as Dickens knew it in Dickens World, a Disney-like theme park south of the Thames in Chatham. Billed as a “multi-sensory interactive experience” the attraction recreates the buildings, sights, and sounds of Victorian London with costumed actors bringing Dickens’ characters to life. There is a Great Expectations Boat Ride, a Victorian School complete with nasty schoolmaster, and a Haunted House. Some literary purists may be horrified at this concept, but Dickens himself, a tireless self-promoter and huckster for his work, would probably be delighted. You may prefer to visit Victorian London in photographs, for example this online gallery from the Telegraph.
As for that saying “What the Dickens,” apparently it has absolutely nothing to do with Dickens. Shakespeare even used the phrase in The Merry Wives of Windsor. “Dickens” was commonly used in the sixteenth century as a euphemism for the devil, so that those wishing to curse could avoid actually naming him. No word on what Dickens thought about his name being a pseudonym for Satan! But we wish the great man a very happy 200th birthday and thank him for giving so many readers so much pleasure.
Montgomery County Public Libraries