Little Free Bookmarks

If you do all your reading on a Kindle, please carry on. If you’re like me though and still enjoy the feel and smell of an actual book in your hands, you’ll appreciate the need for bookmarks.

I know some people ‘dog ear’ the page of a book, but we grew up reading books from the library and book mobile. Dog-earing a book was akin to graffiti. It just wasn’t done.

Now that we have a Little Free Library (LFL) at the curb, I’ve found a built-in excuse to make bookmarks. I made several out of postcards for our LFL dedication and they were a hit. There are only three left.

Postcard bookmarks

Postcard bookmarks

Using leftover scraps from card-making and other paper crafts I made another handful of bookmarks. I added stickers I had on hand, punched the curvy top with my tag-maker and voila, instant bookmarks.

paper scrap bookmarks

Bookmarks made from leftover paper scraps

If your busy and yearning for a quick crafting project, give it a try. You can create a small, functional craft in a short amount of time using minimal tools.  I’ve made bookmarks from the old pages of a wall calendar, glossy fashion magazines, postcards and paper scraps. I made one earlier this year using a seed packet.  Let your imagination be your guide.

realtor's calendar bookmark

Bookmark and an envelope made from a realtor’s calendar

calendar bookmark

Paper piecing calendar bookmark

What to do with your surplus:

  • Tuck extras in your favorite places to read. I keep several in my nightstand drawer
  • Use them for stocking stuffers at Christmas
  • Set them out as place-markers at a dinner party. Add your guests initial with stickers or fancy lettering
  • Give them to your child’s teacher as a small thank you gift
  • Drop them off at a LFL in your community
book and bookmarks

Bookmarks and a recent book donation to the LFL

Little Free Library: Books Beneath the Willow

Little Free Library Campbell

Little Free Library Campbell

Several times in the past few months, I’ve passed what looked like a tiny, curbside library.  I’d heard about these little libraries somewhere, but it was just a vague idea, tucked away in my brain.  I had never actually seen one and assumed they were ‘somewhere else.’  Do you know that place too?

Well guess what?  We have one right here in our neighborhood.  I’m hooked!  I finally took the time to stop the car to show my sister, then went back later with my husband, a couple of books and my camera.  It was so much fun!

Here is what I’ve since learned about the movement:

It started as a simple tribute to his mother, a teacher and bibliophile. Todd Bol put up a miniature version of a one-room schoolhouse on a post outside his home in this western Wisconsin city, filled it with books and invited his neighbors to borrow them.

They loved it, and began dropping by so often that his lawn became a gathering spot. Then a friend in Madison put out some similar boxes and got the same reaction. More home-crafted libraries began popping up around Wisconsin’s capital.

Three years later, the whimsical boxes are a global sensation. They number in the thousands and have spread to at least 36 countries, in a testimonial to the power of a good idea, the simple allure of a book and the wildfire of the internet.   You can read more at  the Source: Open Salon

Little Free Library and a bench

Browsing the selection on a nearby bench at the Little Free Library in Campbell

little free library collage

Little Free Library registration, the long view, art among the books, and how the library works

The charming Little Free Library pictured above is in Campbell, California. We’re so smitten that we plan to build one of our own.  I started pinning ideas on Pinterest over the weekend. The designs are as varied as books, all delightfully unique and inviting.

The idea of a Little Free Library appeals to my love of gardens, books and community. I plan to involve my boys in some way, either helping their dad build it or coming up with an initial book offering.  I can’t wait to get going.

Have you heard of the Little Free Library movement?  Do you have one in your neighborhood?

Pinned it!

Check out some of these beautiful library designs on Pinterest and let me know your favorite.  I bet you can guess mine. As it turns out, they have their own page, too (thanks Betsy!)

The Gardener: “I’ve tried to remember everything you taught me about beauty…”

The Gardener: by Sarah Stewart, Illustrated by David Small

We treasured books in the home I grew up in, and that tradition lives on in my home today.  One of the greatest joys when my boys were young was the time we spent snuggling and reading.  We punctuated our weeks with trips to the library, weekly storytelling at our local Barnes and Noble and the occasional author reading at the eclectic, one-of-a-kind Hicklebee’s children’s book store in Willow Glen.  I can say without exaggeration that I’ve read thousands of pages of kid lit: the good, the great and the regrettable.

From those piles of books, emerged one of  my all-time favorites: The Gardener by Sarah Stewart.

I remember the day I pulled it off the shelf, delighted to find a beautifully illustrated book that wasn’t about trains or bunnies.  I stood skimming it, then sat down on the floor so I could give it my full attention. I knew I was holding something special.  My little one was enjoying his own book selection, so I was free to savor every page. What I found was an incredibly moving, poignant, and hopeful book with joy on every page.  The illustrations, by award-winning artist David Small are lovingly rendered with charming details tucked into the corners of each page.  This review sums it up beautifully:

“A moving, wonderfully rich illustrated story. It is that rarity, a pictorial delight that in 20 double pages gives more and more of itself each time it’s read, and whose silent complexities reveal themselves with continuing pleasure.” —The New York Times Book Review

You needn’t be a child or a gardener to appreciate this gem.  Go flop down on some cushions somewhere and give it a read. You’ll be glad you did.