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1. Sharpen Your Workshop Routines: Writing Centers to Organize All Your Materials

Every year, around this time, I start having dreams about setting up my classroom. In the classroom of my dreams, I’m moving around small circular tables, unfurling a brand new rug for the… Continue reading

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2. Through-The-Wardrobe Narnia Theme Room | BoingBoing

NewImage

See Cory Doctorow's post about this Narnia-themed kid's playroom on BoingBoing. Love this.

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3. Librarian Eduardo Zepeda Wins $20,000 in Graphic Novels and Prizes

Librarian Eduardo Zepeda (pictured) won $20,000 worth of graphic novels and prizes in the Great Graphic Novel Library Giveaway at the Texas Library Association’s (TLA) annual conference.

Zepeda’s library, the Weslaco Public Library, will be endowed with 700 graphic novels, fixtures, and furniture.

Here’s more from the press release: “The Great Graphic Novel Library Giveaway was open to Texas public and school librarians. Twenty semifinalists were selected on Thursday evening, and the winning librarian was chosen on Friday morning at 9:30 a.m. Central time by Gene Ambaum, librarian and cocreator of the online comic strip Unshelved.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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4. Adventures in Thrifting: Germany Edition

Every town has its own thrift store scene strengths. I love cruising to see what kinds of clothes, craft fodder, and crazy stuff are available. For the most part, the thrifted clothing here in Hannover is not a strength, though I’ve found some cashmere sweaters just asking to be made into scarves.

Vintage textiles are a whole other story. There’s a place here called Fairkauf that’s like the department store of thrifting, with four entire floors of stuff.

My favorite is the floor of household goods, much of it embroidered tablecloths, runners, hankies, plus all-cotton (mostly white) bed linens. The collection of china and dishes is nothing to sneeze at either. I’ve been dreaming up a new quilt and snapped up some of these things with it in mind. I couldn’t resist the cherry placemats, though (not part of the quilt plan) and the bird fabric (also not for the quilt). It’s just asking to be over-dyed, don’t you think?

Below is a “commode” we bought to go next to my work station in the dining room. It holds the printer and scanner (when is someone going to design some more attractive computer equipment?). We were looking at some cheap something at Ikea or whatnot and I thought I could do better. This solid wood, glass-covered, dovetail-drawered baby was only 30 Euros! It also happens to go really well with our dining room furniture.

 

Next up is a candelabra I got at the Flohmarkt (fleamarket) on Saturday. I really like the lines, though I wish it had more candle holders. You need a lot of candles to light up your life in January here. I can’t complain for 5 euros, though! I’ve been wanting to go to the Flohmarkt for a long time. It was pretty cool, lots of interesting stuff, from furniture and antique toys to books and ancient dentistry tools. As you see, I restrained myself.

If you, like me, are a thrifter, you must must read this post by Blair Peter of wisecraft about torturing her husband via iphone thrift photos. It’s hysterical and inspiring. And besides that, she has a great blog with tons of other inspirations.


4 Comments on Adventures in Thrifting: Germany Edition, last added: 1/21/2011
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5. Cool bookshelves

How cool is this?!

I’m such a geek for library furniture and I particularly love this one – it looks so cozy and I can just imagine kids curling up in here with a favorite book.

On the other hand, I can just as easily see kids climbing on top of it or diving through that hole.  Which is one of the fun and…er…challenging things about working in a public library or a school…

Image courtesy of Bookshelf

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6. Michael Johansson

michael johansson

Strolls through time and space - Michael Johansson 2009

Really cool found object installations by Swedish artist Michael Johansson.

Michael has this to say about his work, “I am fascinated walking around flea markets finding doubles of seemingly unique, though often useless objects I have already purchased at another flea market. Despite the fact that I did not have any use for them even the first time, the desire to own two of these objects becomes too strong to resist. The unique and unknown origin of the object increases my desire to want the double – the unlikelihood of this sensation repeating itself produces an attraction that is too strong to resist.”

michael johansson

michael johansson

michael johansson

michael johansson

michael johansson

Huge thanks to Paige of the always awesome Paige Modern for passing Michael’s work along.

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Also worth checking: Jupp Ernsy Chair.

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7. Brilliant Bookshelves

I just stumbled over this cool blog posting which features some amazing bookshelves, here are a few of my favorites.

The Platzhalter Expanding Bookshelf... because a real bibliophile never has enough space
Platzhalter Expanding Bookshelf

The Inverted Bookshelf                                                      The Bookmarkshelf

DIY Inverted Bookshelf                        David Restorick Bookshelf

and my personal favorite which brings a whole new meaning to bedtime reading

Bed Case

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8. Brilliant Bookshelves

I just stumbled over this cool blog posting which features some amazing bookshelves, here are a few of my favorites.

The Platzhalter Expanding Bookshelf... because a real bibliophile never has enough space
Platzhalter Expanding Bookshelf

The Inverted Bookshelf                                                      The Bookmarkshelf

DIY Inverted Bookshelf                        David Restorick Bookshelf

and my personal favorite which brings a whole new meaning to bedtime reading

Bed Case

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9. I re-love the IKEA dining set

Sometimes I post something and then I think it needs a little follow-up. In this case it's the IKEA Fusion dining set. I loved it when we bought it and it did fit perfectly into our kitchen eat-in area. But I was never really happy with the cushions.

The set comes with the seats covered in a black matte vinyl? fabric. I really didn't like it. So I used an aqua and white striped fabric I had on hand to recover them. But I made some mistakes. First of all I didn't pre-wash the fabric and I had bought it 2nd hand so it turns out that there were dusty marks on it. I didn't notice until later.

Also I didn't remove the black fabric that was already there since it was attached with about 1000 staples. This isn't a good idea because it doesn't feel right and there was a subtle dark shadow from having the black underneath the white and blue striped fabric.

So this time I was determined to do it right. (if something is worth doing, etc...) For some reason I was picturing a green and white print and finally found the perfect one at a fabric store on Queen West. The best part is that it was a fabric that was usually $19/yard but I found an end piece that was around 1.5 yards for only $10! The green colour was exactly what I was looking for, and it was a nice upholstery weight with a lovely smooth feel to it.

Bradley helped remove the 1000 staples and I attached the new fabric and now I re-love the IKEA dining set. Yay!

8 Comments on I re-love the IKEA dining set, last added: 4/6/2009
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10. Ad for Jupp Ernst Chair by Helmut Lortz

helmut lortz

I want this chair! It was designed by Jupp Ernst and manufactured by Polstermobelfabrik Eugen Schmidt Gmbh during the 1950s. If the chair wasn’t cool enough, Helmut Lortz nailed it on the design of the AD. Someone needs to buy me this chair along with a Robin Day Form Unit Sofa. Please?

helmut lortz

also worth checking Hans Hartmann: Swiss Graphic Designer.

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11. EXCIRCULATE!

So, I understand that public libraries aren't generally known for having gorgeous furniture. There's that whole we-don't-have-a-lot-of-money-so-we-buy-the-cheapest-thing-in-the-catalog thing. The five-billion-people-get-their-grubby-paws-etc.-all-over-everything-so-why-bother thing. I get that.

That said, I was shocked by just how hideous, how monstrous, how sinister, was the new book display cart that appeared in the library lobby this week.

I call it the Dalek.

DalekBookDisplay.jpg

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12. This Into That: Bookshelves Made From Books

From his Jim Rosenau’s This Into That website:

I was raised with a near-religious relationship to books. Never write in a book. Don’t lose someone else’s place. How to protect its vitally-important spine. Rules pertaining to the avoidance of moisture. And, like all observant families, we were taken once a week to the library for worship.

After finding that “Ex Libris” table in my previous post, I felt compelled to go looking for other furniture made from books. The photo above and below are from This Into That, a shop where Jim Rosenau takes old books and turns them into furniture. Check out his amusing and illuminating factory tour.

1 Comments on This Into That: Bookshelves Made From Books, last added: 12/8/2008
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13. Table for book lovers


(Image from Trendhunter.)

The name of this table design by Italian company MOCO is “Ex Libris.” Cool idea, except it seems to me that you could create this sort of table with your own materials. Plus you’d have to choose books that you know you wouldn’t be reading in the near future!

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14. Do you do school visits? Have you seen a school visit?

In October, to celebrate Teen Read Week and Shock Point being on the Texas Tayshas list as well as a nominee for the Top 10 Books for Teens, I'll be doing 4 days of school visits in Texas.

I've done some before, but I'd really like these to pop. If you've seen a school visit, has there been something that really engaged the audience? If you do school visits, do you have any advice? My book is aimed at middle schoolers and up.



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15. Read it forward

Remember that book and movie, Pay it Forward?

Well, libraries have taken that idea and put a little twist on it. It's called Read it Forward. The library buys copies and hand them out to students to read. Each book is numbered. After reading the book, the students go to the website and give their book number, their first name, location, and comment. They are to then asked to pass the book on to someone else. With luck, you can track where each book goes.

And it sounds like the good folks in Taylor, Texas are doing that with Shock Point in advance of my visit there the week of October 15. This is really thrilling.

(Full disclosure: and if you know a school near Taylor that would like to have me present to them Oct. 18-19, let me know ASAP!)


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16. Flowers, May

One of the things I love most about Spring is the ready availability of tulips in this fine city of mine. Here, I have a spray of parrot tulips in a seafoam green McCoy vase on my Duncan Phyfe dining room table. You can see my letter opener next to the vase. This morning when I woke up, the tulips had all opened up, and some of them started to tilt under their own weight. It was so wonderful

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17. Swapping

The weekend before last I finally did a whole bunch of craiglisting and swapped all kinds of furniture. I sold two storage ottomans(men?) and threw in the cushions I'd made for the top because the person who came for them seemed to like them so much. I sold an IKEA bureau that just had camping gear - all that went into the shed. I sold a sideboard and a bedside table, also from IKEA, neither of which had a place to go anymore. And finally our very tall IKEA hutch. Oh, and my old camping backpack. I can't tell you how good it was to clear all those things out!!

Before: this corner of the kitchen used to be a workshop, with all the tools and supplies for the renovation.

Then we bought a new hutch in a vintage style I like so much better, and a glass door bookcase that now holds all my yarn and some spillover fabric. I'll probably post that later once it's sorted out. The new hutch is similar in style to our china cabinet that holds all my fabric, I would guess 1930s, which seems to be my favourite decade for design.It's nice little details like this handle that I like so much:Then we bought the new IKEA Fusion table and chair set, which luckily matches the hutch since the wood finish on the hutch is very nice and I wouldn't want to paint it. So now our kitchen nook is almost done!
The lamp on the table was a family yard sale find, there's a pair of them and I just need to find glass lampshades for them.

It's basically done, but someday we'd like to replace the sliding doors (that don't slide very well), the ceiling fan and the dusty old stucco on the ceiling. The Fusion set is great because the chairs curve around the table and it doesn't take up much room. I didn't care for the black seat covers, so I replaced those with a striped aqua and white fabric that I bought at the Textile Museum Yardage sale.
I was trying to pick a fabric then noticed this one matches the curtains perfectly, hurray!

Speaking of which, I can't tell you how much great stuff I found at the Yardage sale, but to paint a picture, I looked like a bag lady who lives on a bicycle on the way home. I had huge tote bags sort of wedged and tied to the baskets at the back. Most of it is in the new bookcase so you'll see it then... Read the rest of this post

8 Comments on Swapping, last added: 6/27/2008
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18. Meeting Areas in Upper Elementary Classrooms

Ro left a comment a couple of days ago asking about meeting areas in upper elementary school classrooms. I’ve been corresponding with her, but thought that it might be useful to open up a bit of my thinking on the site. I believe it was Don Graves who said that having the kids in your [...]

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19. Robin Day Form Unit Sofa for Hille

robin day hille sofa

‘Form’ Unit Furniture by British designer Robin Day for Hille 1961

I thought I’d switch it up a little bit today and post my dream sofa for the workplace. I love the color combinations and the black finished steel base frame. The unit has wide generous seats, yet doesn’t look bulky or heavy. The table top can be surfaced with a mahogany veneer. A drink cabinet can added instead of the corner table.

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20. what's on my table, mabel

From the Bedside Books Club quarterly meet this evening, here's my list of table reads, which was available there in hard copy. Here, of course, it comes with links to reviews and other descriptive noises, where available.

And my totally personal categories for this rather idiosyncratic list are - recent good reads, anticipated good 'uns, and desired rereading.

It was important to me at the time of writing the talk a couple of weeks ago to include rereading. It remains important, not just as the component of a talk, but also as a practice. It won't happen overnight, but by gum, it's going to happen.

Recently delighted by:

Adamson, Robert. The Goldfinches of Baghdad (poetry)

Carey, Peter. Theft: A Love Story

Cheever, John. The World of Apples

Cunningham, Sophie. Bird

Elliott, Will. The Pilo Family Circus (most of the reviews for this contain spoilers, though I'm delighted to see it was published in the UK in 2007, after release in Australia in 2006. Just read it.)

Falconer, Delia. The Lost Thoughts of Soldiers

Ford, Richard. The Lay Of The Land (third of Ford's Bascombe trilogy - all three come recommended)

Gray, Robert. Afterimages (poetry)

­__________. The Land I Came Through Last (memoir)

HEAT magazine

Hollinghurst, Alan. The Line Of Beauty

Hyland, M.J. How The Light Gets In

__________. Carry Me Down

Island - 'a magazine of excellence and variety'.

Jach, Antoni. Napoleon’s Double

Johnson, A. Frances. Eugene’s Falls

Knox, Sara. The Orphan Gunner

Kureishi, Hanif. Something To Talk About

___________. The Buddha Of Suburbia

___________. Midnight All Day (stories)

Malouf, David. The Great World

Miller, Alex. Conditions of Faith

Mitchell, David, Number9 Dream

(Cloud Atlas is also magnificent).

Moore, Lisa. Alligator

O’Connor, Andrew. Tuvalu

Stow, Randolph. Visitants

Van Loon, Julienne. Road Story.

Wright, Alexis. Carpentaria

Looking forward to:

Ballard, J.G. Complete Short Stories

Conrad, Joseph. Youth

Some more Pynchon

Jackson, Shirley.The Lottery

­_____________.We Have Always Lived In The Castle

Jach, Antoni. The Layers Of The City

Mann, Thomas. The Magic Mountain (recommencing and FINISHING)

O’Toole, John Kennedy. A Confederacy of Dunces

Sacks, Oliver. Musicophilia

Yates, Richard. Revolutionary Road

Want to reread:

Ashton-Warner, Sylvia. Spinster

Bronte, Charlotte. Jane Eyre

Hazzard, Shirley. The Great Fire

De Kretser, Michelle. The Lost Dog
(Conflicted about this one and need to understand if its mannered style was a problem, and if so, why.)

Maguire, Emily. The Gospel According To Luke
(rereading is in order, to reconsider the judgments I made about it in a review in 2006.)

The first half of The Magic Mountain

Toibin, Colm. The Master

Winton, Tim. The Riders

Wordsworth’s early edition of The Prelude of 1799, in only two books rather than twelve -raw, brief and arresting, and still available from Norton along with the 1805 and 1850 versions.

What I am also looking forward to  if I can handle the suspense:

Bei Dao – poetry and fiction. (Prominent Chinese poet who visited Australia in 2007).

Enright, Anne. What Are You Like
(reviewed by James Wood in 2000.)

R.F. Foster, Luck and the Irish: A brief history of change, 1970-2000

Harmon, Joshua. Quinnehtukqut
A debut novel by a teacher of writing from  Vassar.

McCann, A.L. The White Body of Evening
Recommended somewhere by Ian Syson.

Murnane, Gerald. The Plains

Grace Paley and Ann Patchett – anything! I need to catch up with them.

Portis, Charles. True Grit
A 1968 classic ‘comic Western’ which was reissued with an afterword by Donna Tartt recently

Silvey, Craig. Rhubarb (shortlisted for the Vogel around 2003)

‘Silvey shows amazing maturity and confidence for such a young writer. This offbeat love story about a blind girl and reclusive cello maker has a strong affection for its eccentric cast of characters and a ripe Australian sense of humour.’ That’s what the Vogel judges said. James Ley saw it differently at the time.

Zagajewski, Adam. Another Beauty
Colm Toibin describes Zagajewski as 'the best prose essayist alive'.(Critical Mass blog)

Read ‘em all already? Then have a sticky here sometime, and
don’t forget to check out Donald Barthelme’s suggestions while you are there…

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21. do my dreaming and my scheming


This has to be one of the nicest posts in this series that I have read so far, along with Philip Hensher's, who may have sympathised with Kipling on the uses and abuses of a designated writing space.

"We've been in this house over 40 years and I'm 79 years old, so this room is full of my past. ". Alvarez issues a warning about helpful cleaners, and admits to playing poker online if his work is not going well.

Those of you who have been keeping up with the series will of course have seen this, and this (which you will no doubt remember next time you see a crowded desk.)

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