Monthly Archives: November 2016
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Bedtime Stories: How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex.
So you think you know how a picture book comes into being? You may think you know, but you don’t. I don’t think you took into account the pirates, or the arm-wrestling tigers. Or the roaring fires of discarded drafts. No, you don’t know how this book was made at all.
From the mind and hands of Adam Rex and Mac Barnett comes another clever and hilarious picture book. Mac Barnett writes with a number of talented illustrators but his work with Adam Rex is my favorite. I see this book as a companion piece to Barnett/Rex’s 2012 picture book Chloe and the Lion which is another behind-the-scenes peek at the making of a picture book. Where Chloe looked at the collaboration between author and illustrator, How This Book Was Made looks at the process from inception to publication. In some ways, it really does explain how this book was probably made, though of course embellished and changed to make it interesting for children.
When Mac Barnett tells you his editor sent him back the first 20 drafts of the story, you can’t help but believe that this was indeed the case. But whether or not he burned the other drafts to scare away the tiger bent on revenge cannot be confirmed or denied.
To take Mac’s word on it, the process of getting the book from his original idea to becoming the copy in your hands is an incredible process! Adam Rex makes a valuable contribution, turning simple statements like “I found a quiet place to write” and placing the author at the top of a ladder on the top of a desolate mountain. Although Mac insists “it took the illustrator took a VERY long time to draw all the pictures” it was definitely worth waiting for his fantastic illustrations.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Once again the holiday season is upon us, and we all have too many things to accomplish in a limited amount of time. As the most stressful month of the year approaches, now more than ever, we need a place to relax and recoup. That place is often our bedroom.
Last week, we looked at what makes a great bedroom, and one of the components was a space to relax. Heed these tips to create a relaxing bedroom, ideal for unwinding during the holiday season or at any time of the year.
Choose the right size bed.
A comfy bed is a given, but what about size? Many couples prefer a king bed, so they have plenty of space to sprawl. A queen-size should be the bare minimum for two people. Twin beds are suitable for singles, but depending on the person’s size, a double bed might be comfier. Taller folks should opt for extra-long beds.
Treat the windows.
Window treatments soften a space and help with light control. They can also enhance the mood of a room, so every bedroom should have shades, blinds, and or curtains, which also can keep a room soundproof and block out the world outside.
Make sure that your bedroom isn’t too warm or too cool. Adjust the thermostat, don’t block heat or an air conditioning source, install a ceiling fan if possible, and if not, add a table fan for air circulation.
No one wants clutter, and if you want to chill out in your bedroom, you won’t want it either. Stay organized and purge anything you don’t need. You’ll thank yourself later.
If you haven’t experimented with scents in the bedroom, now is a good time to start. Use lavender and sage essential oils and candles to encourage relaxation and promote sleep.
Keeping a bedroom tidy might not seem like an important step in creating a relaxing bedroom, but cleanliness is essential. If you want your bedroom to be your sanctuary, treat it as such. Clean once per week, and be sure that HVAC, lamps and any electronics are in working order.
Post by Tracy Kaler.
Most of us sleep in a bedroom with four walls, one that’s large enough for an occasional chair, dresser, and if we’re lucky a walk-in closet. But not every bedroom in every home is conventional or expected. Here’s a look at six ways to think outside the box when designing a bedroom.
A Denver loft-style bedroom mixes materials to create an eclectic design. Metal cabinets, brick, a rustic bed wall, modern wood furniture, and a shag rug manage to work together in this industrial bedroom by James Maynard.
Get creative with storage.
A shoe closet on a bed wall is not the norm, but it’s innovative and a crafty way to introduce storage into this London bedroom. This bespoke “shoe wardrobe” finished in turquoise does the job and looks good at the same time.
Go with an unconventional floor plan.
A master bedroom with a bed floating in the center of the space isn’t seen too often, but in this instance, that layout works. Notice the closet and French doors leading to another room. This floor plan might have been the most practical option given the room’s layout.
Let the architecture be the star.
This Los Angeles Arts District loft bedroom had no doors and uses curtains for privacy. Ductwork and pipes are left exposed and become the highlight of the design scheme. Furniture, lighting, and accessories are contemporary.
Work with what you’ve got.
This bed in Italy resembles a built-in bench but works well for a small person. Notice the unique tile pattern on the floor as well.
Make the most of a small space.
This secluded nook is a perfect escape for a child or teen. The tiny space is quirky, but it’s a clever way to craft an extra bedroom when needed.
Post by Mark T. Locker.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.
Cather and Wren are twins (Cather Wren—Catherine—get it??), starting their first year at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. And although they have always been thick as thieves, as twins should be, bold and brash Wren wants to break out and become her own person. She doesn’t want to room with Cath, wants to party all the time, and begins teasing Cath about the fan fiction they have been writing together for years.
The Simon Snow novels are the Harry Potter books of their world. Stories of an orphaned boy with powerful, if poorly controlled, magic. He is roomed with his nemesis, a vampire named Baz, short for Tyrannus Basilton Pitch. Throughout the novels, the two spar and occasionally collaborate for the greater good. Cather and Wren, but mostly Cath, have been writing short stories about Baz and Simon, about what happens between scenes. Her fic is hugely popular, garnering tens of thousands of followers, as she attempts to finish Carry On, Simon Snow, her version of the final book in the series, before the real final book comes out.
Between bouts of storytelling, Cath learns how to be her own self, thanks in large part to her brusque and straightforward roommate Reagan, who exasperatedly tells her she has to be her friend because she’s so damn pathetic. And thanks also to Reagan’s friend Levi, whose unflappable good cheer chips slowly away at Cath’s stony, stubborn exterior.
This is a book about magic, about friendship, love, and siblings. And it’s about growing up and learning how to have parents as an adult.
The best part is that if you are intrigued by the chapters of Carry On, Simon Snow that you get a peek at, Rainbow Rowell released the entire novel, Carry On last year. Good reading for people who like witty and smart writing with just a little (not too much) drama.