Saturday, February 25, 2012

What to do with old books

I recently did some serious cleaning in my library so I had to a purge of books.  Books I've purchased, read, and probably won't read again.  Now what to do with them is the question.

  • Sell the books. 
    • Places like Amazon,  and  Half (an ebay company) will provide you a way to list your books but they do take a commission when sold.
    • The good ol' garage sale.  Next time your neighborhood has one join the fun and get rid of those books and get some folding money.
    • Used book stores.  Many towns have a small used book store that will take books and give you store credit or actual cash.
  • Donate the books.
    • Your local library.  Libraries have book sales to raise money and it is always good to support your local library.
    • Homeless shelters.  Reading is a great way to escape the harshness of life and is a healthier addiction than drugs or alcohol.
    • Goodwill, Women's Shelters, and Prison systems also appreciate the books that can be resold to provide funds for their good works.

  • Online swaps. 
    • The Internet is great source for finding others who have books you would like to read and who would enjoy reading your books.  Most of these sites link you to others and you simply pay the media shipping rate.
  • Crafts.  Upcycling is always good.  If you google upcyled books and query the images you can find some great ideas.
    • Create an invisible bookshelf.  Use a large old hardback book as the shelf.
    • Recycled book purse.  Craftingagreenworld has a good tutorial on turning a hardback book into a purse.
    • Use old printed pages and print graphic art onto them.  You can find some wonderful examples on Etsy.
    • Use the printed pages cut into strips and create paper mache art.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Easy ladder for your library.

Over the years I have accumulated a lot of books, I mean a ton of books.  When we converted the old garage into a library for me we had a one and a half story space so I got bookshelves that go waayyyy up.  I am in the middle of cleaning in this photo, a never ending project.
As you can see the shelves are pretty tall so you need help to get to the top ones.  I really wanted one of those neat rolling ladders but that wasn't practical and way out of my budget.  So what do we do, we go to Lowes (or your local handyperson store).  I purchased a simple wooden step ladder and decided how to decorate.  Way back in the day some books would come with illustrations so I went through my library and discovered Anne McCaffery's Coelura.

Once you have picked your book the best thing to do is to copy the photos instead of destroying the book.  Of course if the book is in bad shape I would use the original book pages.  I copied my pictures onto a beige antique looking paper and used scrapbooking scissors to cut the edges.  I put a light stain on the ladder first and them began applying the pictures.  I used regular glue, Mod Podge works great and glues the pictures on wrapping them around the ladder steps and sides.  I then took a stamp and applied some decorative elements.  To finish off I covered the whole thing in a clear coat to protect it.  I did this project a number of years ago and it has held up quite well. 
Looking down on the ladder
Side View
 Overall the ladder did turn out nicely and is a great inexpensive way to get the job done.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Great Backyard Bird Count

It's that time of year again.  The Great Backyard Bird Count has begun and this year the hubby and I actually participated.  We printed out the regional list, put the binoculars and the bird book near the windows and noted all birds seen yesterday.  Had a flock of Coots come by so that was our biggest count.  Currently we also have Bonaparte Gulls fishing in the lake so they are fun to watch.  Regretfully I don't have a super spiffy camera with a great zoom lens so no photos to upload.  Supposedly there is a bald eagle flying around but I have only seen a speck high in the sky that might be him.  So grab your bird book and binoculars and go out and count the little birdies.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How to get library books for your Kindle

Squidoo Lens

Last year I received a Kindle for my Bday, yea me.  Since I do not have tons of money but read on average 100 books a year I get most from the library.  So as my friends get kindles or other ereaders I would mention I use the library.  They then ask "Well how do you do that".   So I wrote up a little tutorial and posted it to Squidoo

The first thing you need to do is go to your local library and get a library card.  You will normally need to prove residence so take your drivers license or a bill to show you live in the city or county.  Once you have your card you will need to set up an online account.  So while getting the card make sure you ask what are the steps you need to take.  Some libraries simply use your card number while others will have an online password.

Once you log onto your library system one of the option will be “download ebooks” or emedia.    You will see a searchable system where you can query for author (sometimes called creator), title, publication date, or date added to site.  The selections online may be more limited than the physical version.  Once you find a book you like you need to note certain items.  First check to make sure a kindle edition is available.  Sometimes they only have one kind.  Next note the “available copies”.  Like with physical books the library has only so many editions available so you may be put on the waiting list.  You can modify your query to look for books that are available if you are impatient for something to read.  In the available sections the library may note how many patrons are waiting so you can decide if you want to wait.  It will also tell you how many copies the library has.

To check out your book you can either “reserve a title” or “add to cart”.  These are commonly worded options.  If you reserve a title you will be asked to enter your email or your account will have one stored.  When the title is available you will have a limited time to go and check out your book, for my library this is two days then it goes back into circulation for the next person.  If the title is available you add to cart.  Many libraries have a time limit so you can’t add a book to your cart and come back three days later to check out; the time limit may be 30 minutes to an hour.  At checkout you should have the option of how long you want to keep the book.  Typically the choice is 7, 14, and 21 days.  After that time it will expire and no longer be available on your kindle.

Once you click on “get for kindle” (you may have to do this individually for each book) it will take you to the Amazon website to download the book.  Simply click on the “Get Library Book” and next time your kindle is linked to a wi-fi it will download the book.  I have had this happen instantaneously or take a couple of hours, still haven’t figured out why.  You now have the book on your kindle and can read to your heart’s content.   When the book is about to expire you will get a notification from your library.  Once the book has expired it will automatically be removed from your device and you will get a kindle notification.  If you finish reading it early you can go to Amazon, Manage Your Kindle, and one of the options is to “return library book”.  So you can be nice if there is a long list of people waiting on that book and make it available for them.  Also in the “manage your kindle” section of Amazon you can delete the book from your list of books if you just don’t feel like seeing it in there.

You have now successfully downloaded your novel so sit back relax and enjoy the free read.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rice Krispie Panda Bear Cake Toppers

My lovely niece was married last year and there was an Asian theme to the wedding.  We decided to have panda bear cake toppers so this is how they were constructed.  Thanks to her Mom, Dad, & Grandfather who stayed up late the night before the wedding to create these masterpieces.

1st you need a proper cake mold.  We had a bear mold that was purchased many years ago for my nephew's 1st birthday, he is in his 20's now so cake molds last a long time.  This is the Wilton Stand-Up Cuddly Bear.
Next you make a whole lotta rice krispie mix.  Grease the cake mold then start adding the mix into the cake mold.  This can be a multiperson enterprise since it takes a bit of oommph to close the cake mold.  Once molded put in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to make sure the krispies set up well.  De-mold and start decorating.

To paint the krispie bear we used chocolate, white and dark, purchased from Hobby Lobby and nuked in the microwave to make liquid.  Using a regular paint brush, the colors were painted on the bears.  Once painted the bears were placed back in the fridge to let the chocolate set up nicely.  We made two bears, a bride and a groom.

A simple sheet cake was used as the base and the bears placed on top.  We added flowers to the bride bear and gave the groom bear some bamboo to eat (he was a hungry bear).  Additional bamboo was placed on the cake to spruce it up a bit.

This makes a nice and unique cake topper.  It was a lovely wedding and the cake was a great conversation piece.  Easy to make but looks fantastic.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Painted Bird Houses

One of the fun parts about being a crafter is occasionally you can contribute your art to a worthy cause.  Recently the Alabama Wildlife Center obtained some wooden bird houses to use as donation boxes.  So my beloved hubby brought them home and asked me to paint them.  Since my painting skills leave much to be desired it was an interesting project.  First I had to get out my bird book and decide which birds had simple enough plumage I might be able to copy.  And decide on a theme.
The bottom bird is supposed to be the famous "angry bluebird", he is soooo cute, my rendition is not so much.  The lock is because it is a donation box so need to be able to secure it.

For weird reasons even though I rotated and saved my osprey photo it won't do that, computers are soooo odd.  I painted a total of three, using stencils on the other two. 

I forgot to take photos of those, oh well.  If you need an interesting donation box idea bird boxes are a fun way to go.  So get out there and contribute a craft, it's fun and makes ya feel good.