review: Wise Craft Quilts

Wise Craft Quilts

Wise Craft Quilts: A guide to turning beloved fabrics into meaningful patchwork by Blair Stocker

So many people I know have quilts like this – created from shirts and other items that have special meaning. I have not seen many books focused specifically on these, though, so this is nice to see. Stocker offers 21 designs using a variety of types of material, including baby clothes, a wedding dress, table linens, and even bike race numbers (used to create a picnic blanket). Surprisingly, a t-shirt quilt is not among the projects here, but there are tons of instructions for creating those online. Many of these projects could be adapted to use whatever material you want to use – it wouldn’t have to be reuse of something existing, or could be a combination of reuse and purchased fabrics. There are a lot of options here, as well as inspiration for repurposing existing materials.

full disclosure: I borrowed this from my local public library, the Chippewa River District Library System

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review: Simple Matters

Simple Matters

Simple Matters: Living with less and ending up with more by Erin Boyle

Decluttering and simplifying are the name of the game these days – everyone wants to live without extra stuff in the way, taking up space and creating a mess. There’s definitely a sort of puritanical value to living minimally, and I’m not sure that it really follows (if you get rid of every spare thing, you end up rebuying stuff [IF you can afford to], and it seems like this cycle probably creates more waste than it saves – I also think that equating sparse living with goodness is along the same lines as thinking that if you only eat “clean” foods, your body will be superior – it’s all pretty classist). Despite all this, though, I do think that living with visual clutter isn’t great for one’s mental health, and we can all probably stand to be at least a little more organized. Boyle begins her introduction with a disclaimer that she hopes to avoid that privileged narrative and provides stories that she feels illustrate her modest start. Her perspective here comes from a desire to help others figure out how to be an adult – how to make choices that will make life easier and happier. Throughout the book, Boyle offers personal anecdotes that relate to each topic. The aesthetic here is natural, with lots of neutral colors and natural materials. DIY recipes for cleansers and tips for how to keep a tidy home with a minimum of equipment are also included.

full disclosure: I borrowed this book from my local Chippewa River District Library system

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Free Comic Book Day 2014

Last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day. As per their usual, our local public library had a wide array of programs and activities leading up to and on Saturday. We were pleased to pick up some free comics (well, K mostly – despite my appreciation for them, I’m not a huge reader of comics), take in a few activities, and attend the panel discussion about all things Marvel.

me and an Imperial Spy at FCBD 2014

One of the members of the Great Lakes Garrison 501st Legion, Michigan Chapter, was there for photo ops. It was awesome to see a ton of kids cosplaying and getting their photos taken. There were also a lot of games and activities that we left to kids of appropriate ages.

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

One of the fun things happening was that the library had held a contest for which patrons could create their own superhero poster, and the entries were on display in the Library Annex community room. I snapped a few of my favorites, including Thunder Woman! Look how she rides her thundercloud to water the flowers, with her hair flowing dramatically in the wind. That’s my kind of superhero.

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

Name of superhero: Awesome. What more needs to be said?

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

Bubble Spider Woman likes spiders!

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

SkySea: Jumper of Peace. Bonus points for using fabric to make the cape!

Free Comic Book Day at Veterans Memorial Library

The Marvel panel was interesting. It was moderated/hosted by Joe Sommers, a professor from CMU (my alma mater), and the panel was composed of three graduate students from the English Department. Some time ago, Sommers acquired a shield that was used in the filming of the first Captain America movie and had it there to show off and pass around. That was neat, but he was surprisingly reluctant to share any details of how he came to have it, which was a bit of a bummer. It was more of a Q and A rather than a discussion of any specific topic by the panel, and the audience asked a lot of questions about upcoming Marvel movies (or movies they hope will be forthcoming). It was interesting to hear what people are looking forward to and interested in.

I was especially interested when one young audience member brought up the topic of women in comics and comic-based movies. She asked how the panel members felt about the representation of women in comics media and how they thought that women could play a more evenly balanced role. The panel’s answer was pretty much, “support women with your entertainment dollars,” which, while certainly a factor, is not in my opinion going to solve the root problem. Until the pen-holders and dollar-holders include more women, we’re going to continue to see a male-dominated industry. We live in a patriarchy and just buying tickets to see a Wonder Woman movie (if such a thing were ever to even come to be) is not going to solve all our problems. I’d have liked to hear the panel encourage that young woman (and others) to get involved in creating and doing herself, and I hope that there will be some women on the panel in future years.

(Note: you can kind of tell from this photo that one of the panel members is cosplaying as Wolverine, which I thought was great.)

me and Kristin at FCBD 2014

Of course my favorite thing was seeing Aquaman, AKA my pal Kristin, who helped put together the day’s awesomeness. She recently spoke at C2E2 about libraries doing FCBD programming, which you can read all about over at Lisa‘s. All in all, it was a fun day and I’m very glad to have a public library who does so much neat stuff.

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