Little Free Library of Distinction

I’m so excited!

Our curbside Little Free Library is this week’s LFL Library of Distinction.

From the Little Free Library Newsletter, September 2017

Little Free Library of Distinction

Little Free Library of Distinction, September, 2017

The entry appears in the Little Free Library newsletter under the heading: One Library got a whimsical makeover

Here’s the link.

This is a great opportunity to bring attention to our library, and a wonderful way to celebrate and promote Donna Pierre’s stunning work. Here is how the whole thing came about.

After Donna put the finishing touches on our revamped library,  I sent updated photos via the LFL website. They wrote back letting me know they would update the map within three days.

Our registered Little Free Library is searchable via the world map along with 50,000 other libraries in over 70 countries worldwide. Through the Little Free Library movement, millions of books are exchanged annually. It is a joy to be a part of the movement.

Within a few days of submitting the new photos, I received this email:

Congratulations! Your Library has been selected as a Library of Distinction. Its unique design and the creativity and enthusiasm you have put into it make it an inspiring example for other Little Free Library stewards to follow.
We will share images of your Library and the story behind it in our weekly e-newsletter to Little Free Library fans and on our Libraries of Distinction Pinterest board.
If there are any details on your Library’s design or history that you’d specifically like to share in our e-newsletter, please respond directly to this email with that information; about 3-4 sentences would be perfect.
 
Attached you will find a certificate to commemorate this achievement, please feel free to print it and show it off to all of your friends! Keep up the good work.
Cheers,

The Little Free Library Team

Donna attached this handsome cat to the base of the library. I reworked the white sign by smudging it with green ink. Instead of re-attaching it to the face of the library, Mike installed cup hooks below the box for the sign to hang free. I didn’t want to do anything that would distract from Donna’s design.

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.

–Marcel Proust

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Our Little Free Library Becomes a Work of Art

Feast your eyes on our redesigned Little Free Library.

Thanks to the extraordinary talents of artist Donna Pierre, Our Little Free Library is now a work of art.

My friend Nick Timmerman built our library in January, 2014. He used reclaimed materials, then added a small light connected to our low voltage landscape lighting. What a gem!

Although the box remains structurally sound, it took a bit of a beating with the sun shining down on it day after day. This year’s rains exposed a small leak, and with that I knew it needed a bit of TLC.

Somehow, that “TLC” morphed into a magical, whimsical, fantastical library. (Click on individual photos for a closer look)

Our Little Free Library or LFL has been a joy from the start.  I love the whole concept of a book exchanges on sidewalks, country roads, inside coffee houses and in neighborhood parks. As of November 2016,

there are over 50,000 registered Little Free Library book exchanges in all 50 U.S. states and over 70 countries around the world. – source LittleFreeLibrary.org

How’s that for exciting?  The idea of linking people with books and communities with tiny libraries is both simple and profound. It’s such an honor to be a part of it.

In the early days of the library, I went searching for books. I asked friends and neighbors and occasionally searched our local thrift stores when children’s books were in short supply.

Then the magic happened.

  • Bloggers from around the world sent special books for the Little Free Library debut. Books arrived from Anne in Australia, Kelly in Canada and Julia from the state of Virginia. Pauline and Ann who are also artists, sent me a supply of bookmarks.
  • My friend Barbara bought three large bins of children’s books at a garage sale and donated them to our library.
  • When our neighbor Bernice moved house, she called and offered me several boxes of children’s books for a variety of ages.
  • A neighbor a few blocks over regularly stops by and tidies the library. She leaves bags of books on my doorstep from Friends of the Library sales.
  • My friend Kristi sent several books via Amazon in honor of our friendship and in memory of her Aunt Vicki.
  • And twice in recent months, a neighbor I’ve never met pulled up to the curb and offered me several bags of children books.
  • Just last week I received a box of books from Marlene at In Search of it All.

It’s also fun watching the books come and go organically. The Little Free Library motto is take a book, give a book and it works.

Here’s another gallery of photos showing Donna at work.

A big thank you to Donna for sharing her talents.  You can see more of her work here and here.

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Moving Forward

safety-pin-selfie

#safetypin

My heart is full. I can’t begin to convey how supported I feel by all of you following the aftermath of Tuesday’s US elections. Thank you for joining the conversation, and for helping me feel less alone.

While I continue to avoid the radio, TV, and print news, I have received a few emails of note. Tomorrow evening I’m attending an “organizing and solidarity” meeting at Sacred Heart Community Services.

From the executive director “We must organize a plan to protect our community now. If you want to consider the implications of the election and find out how to be an ally to those families under threat, join us on Tues, Nov. 15th at 6pm at Sacred Heart’s Learning Center. Learn how to get involved. Bilingual in English and Spanish.”

I’ve invited a couple of friends to join me as well.

Louise Benson founded Sacred Heart Community Service in 1964 to feed hungry families in her neighborhood.

Today, they provide essential services to individuals and families in. The organization has evolved into a respected and innovative provider of programs that assist families with achieving lifelong economic self-sufficiency and a grassroots organizing network that addresses the root causes and consequences of poverty. Sacred Heart strives to meet basic human rights such as food, clothing, and housing assistance, while at the same time offering the tools for self-sufficiency, including employment assistance, family mentoring, and adult and youth education programs. In 2008, Sacred Heart was selected by the California to be the Community Action Agency for Santa Clara County. This designation formalized Sacred Heart’s role as a regional leader and conveys a responsibility for developing countywide solutions to poverty.

I will let you know where it leads.

I also wanted to share the following excerpt from San Jose’s Mayor, Sam Liccardo entitled “We’ve Got Your Back”.

Dear Friends,

Recent events have left many thousands of our San José residents — about forty percent of whom were born in a foreign country — in fear. Some of our neighbors, friends, and family fear changes in immigration rules or enforcement that could separate their families. Others voice concerns about proposed federal “registries” of community members of the Muslim faith. Still others point to the nationwide spike in “hate crimes” in recent days.

I have sought — through Spanish-language television, social media, and in public demonstrations — to convey a simple message to our wonderfully diverse community: “We’ve got your back.”

What do I mean by that, “We’ve got your back?” We cannot control the events in Washington, D.C., but we can do much to care for each other here at home:

  • We will Not Tolerate “Hate Crimes” in San José
  • We Will Not Allow Our Police To Be Used for Federal Immigration Enforcement
  • We Will Protect the Constitutional Rights of San José Residents
  • We Will Support Our Community Through Our Office of Immigrant Affairs

As French resistance leader Andre Malraux urged, “Instead of lamenting the absurdity of the world, let us try to transform the corner of it into which we were born.” We’ve got much work to do to take care of each other, and to transform San José’s corner of the world. We’ve got your back.

You can read the full text here.

How are you doing this week?

Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe

The Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook is a collaborative effort, born from the seed of an idea between bloggers Anne Lawson and Kate Chiconi. It started when Anne offered (and mailed) sketchbooks made from experimental drawings or practiced watercolor washes. Anne offered them to blogging friends and sent about half a dozen around the world.

sisterhood Cover and map

Inside back cover: Foldout map (left) and original page art by Anne Lawson (right)

Kate added her own gorgeous drawings and some fluffy feathers to her version of the book, then sent it back to Anne.  You see where this is going, right?

Anne posted Kate’s drawings here, and then through this comment thread:

I think we need a larger sketchbook, and initiate a Sisterhood of the Travelling Sketchbook ~Kate Chiconi

the project grew wings.

All told, 15 bloggers signed up to take part. One of the sisters set up a Word Press blog, another created an interactive map of the traveling sketchbook. Anne is adding photos to a page on her blog as each of us completes our entry and sends it on to the next sister.

sisterhood sketchbook inside

Opening page: Textile art by Kate Chiconi

I broke out in a cold sweat when the sketchbook arrived in the post. I’m crafty and creative in my way, but was a bit intimidated by the artistic abilities represented in the sketch book. I calmed down, let different ideas wash over me, and eventually decided on a paper quilt using images of the art and poetry that came before me.

My entry is The Sisterhood Quilt: Stitching Together Art and Friendship Around the Globe. I copied each of the traveling entries so far, and created a collage of squares. I printed the squares on watercolor paper, then double stitched them to a piece of onion skin typing paper. I included a square of the map, and a square of my recent squirrel pillow project. It’s called Four Loves: Animals, Sewing, Nature and Photography.

The poem in the upper right hand corner comes with a sad tale. Viv in France, part of the original sisterhood, died suddenly and unexpectedly while visiting her daughter in July. I found this poem on her blog, and hope her family will appreciate the posthumous entry on her behalf.

sisterhood quilt full page

Sisterhood Quilt: *Upper row* Kate, Chas, Chas and Viv *Middle row* Anne, Sandi, Sandra and Alys *Bottom row* Anne’s cover, book detail, map (copyrighted material belonging to original artist)

sisterhoood quilt

The threads that draw us together

Contributing Artists so Far:

Australia

Anne Lawson
Kate from Tall Tales from Chiconia
Sandra (Lady Red Specs) from Please Pass the Recipe
Megan (Chas) from Chas Spain
Sandi, who lives in Wandin East

sisterhood map of Australia

A corner of the map. All this fun started in Australia

The States

Alys from Gardening Nirvana (that’s me)
Sue From The Magpie’s Nest (the sketchbook is with Sue now)

Artists to Come:

Ushashree from Creative Crafts DIY

Europe

Marina in Greece, Athens Letters
Lyn, also in France, Tialys
Constanze is in Germany
Annett blogs at Knetty Craft
Jan is in Britain, The Snail of Happiness
Margaret, also from Britain, The Crafty Creek
Then back to Anne in Australia

It’s been a joyous experience taking part in this project*. I hope you’ll come visit our shared blog and get to know us a bit better.

A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life.
Isadora James

*except when I freaked out at all the talent on the pages before me

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3 Days, 3 Quotes: Day One is Done, Day Two Begins Anew

Hello there! Won’t you come join the quote train? It’s day two. Choo Choo!!!

You can read yesterday’s quote here. It’s a good one, quoting the brilliant Dr. Seuss.

If you would like to join us, here’s what you do. Over the next three weeks, add three quotes spread out over three days and be sure to have fun doing it. That’s what we’re all about here. If I call out your name below, it’s because I think you’ll enjoy sharing your own favorite quotes. NO pressure. In fact, you can forget I even mentioned it. It’s fun though and you never know who you’ll inspire with a clever, witty, creative, or mind-bending quote.

I’m jumping on the coattails of Pauline of the Contented Crafter. You can read Pauline’s clever quotes here, here and here.

You can quote me on this…

Today’s quote is from one of the “greatest practitioners of nonviolence,” Mohandas Gandhi.

animal collage 2015

Tag, you’re it (but only if you want to):

Petals at Boomdeeadda
Sheryl at Flowery Prose
Cathy at Words and Herbs (she’s on a wee break right now…Cathy, perhaps when you come back?) xox

Catching the Light, Sharing the Love

Given the time, I could write an entire book on my extraordinary trip to Virginia and D.C. earlier this year. One of many highlights included the unveiling of the light catchers, intricately hand-crafted and lovingly presented by Pauline King. On our flight home, Pauline offered to make one for my sister Sharon and within weeks it arrived at my door.

Here’s Sharon’s reaction when she opened the gift:

It’s difficult to convey how special these are. Pauline describes her process in a recent post found here. When writing about Sharon’s light catcher, Pauline says:

I have made my light-catchers for a few years now – rather sporadically, as I enjoy making them especially for someone. They are my gift of good wishes, good fortune and a bit of magic woven into beads and charms and crystals for someone special. I like to think of the person I am creating for, then I choose colours and shapes and crystals and charms especially for them. Then it all just weaves itself together.

sharon's light catcher pauline king

Like most artists, Pauline is far too modest. She weaves a special charm into each one using glass, crystal, semi-precious gemstones, beads and the most delightful charms you’ve ever seen.

The enclosed card says “the charms have been especially chosen for you and represent the following”

Teddy Bear: for the child within, may there always be cuddles.

Boot: for fashion and style!

Music Notes: May there always be music in your life.

Jigsaw Puzzle: for when you need the last bit of the puzzle.

Ballerina: to remind you when the body can’t dance, the spirit can!

Cat in the Moon: to remind you of the magic and mystery of both.

Babushka Doll: we all have hidden layers…..

The Witch, the Skeleton and the Spider: for your love of Halloween.

Book: for the places your imagination can go.

Purse: may there always be enough.

Pentagram: may you always be protected.

Fairy: may you always see the magic.

Sharon has tall ceilings in her home, so I’m enlisting Mike’s help so we can hang it in the perfect place.  After one foolish mishap, I count my lucky stars and no longer climb up a ladder alone.

The following bloggers enjoy catching the light:

Monday Morning Musings

sweet pea

Sweet Pea

I really should be in bed, but instead I’m tapping away at my keyboard. It’s 12:21 am meaning it’s officially Monday here in San Jose, California. I’ve become much more aware of the time zones since blogging. Five minutes ago I had a brief exchange with Helen who is starting her day in England. On this side of the pond, I’m about to head to bed.

Blogging allows for an intimacy I never would have imagined. Unlike Facebook which can feel superficial, bloggers open themselves up with a genuine honesty and desire to connect. The very nature of blogging is about sharing of yourself and engaging with those who stop by to read and comment. Chances are you’ll go have a look at what they’re up to, and the exchanges that follow captivate, educate, entertain and enthrall.

In a few hours, my dear friend Kelly will board a plane to Washington, D.C. I’ll be joining her and others at the end of the week. We’re kindred spirits, soul sisters, and the best of friends. She’s the friend I didn’t know I was missing till we met. Now it feels that I’ve known her for a lifetime. Improbably, we met through blogging.

When I get off the plane Friday evening, Laurie, will be there to meet me. It will be the first time we meet in person, yet it feels completely natural that she’s picking me up and that we’ll all head to her place later in the week for a few day’s stay. I met her through blogging as well.

I’m counting the days till I can wrap my arms around Pauline. She’s flying all the way from New Zealand, a long and exhausting flight. We’ve had intimate conversations via Skype and look forward to long talks and even deeper understanding in our time together. Yep. She’s a blogger.

Julia’s life is about defeating despair. Her optimistic spirit carries her through some very dark days, yet she’s opened her home and her heart to us all. We share a mutual love of books as well as the joys and sorrows of raising children whose heart beats to a different drum. We all want to be understood for who we are and to be loved unconditionally just the same.

Just five more days and I’ll be descending on D. C. Extraordinary experiences await.