Monthly Archives: August 2013

Friday Crafternoon- Colorblocked Candles

Have a bunch of old crayon stubs laying around? There are tons of cool crafts out there that use crayons, but this one makes a really unique decoration (and gift!) and the color combinations are endless. It doesn’t require a lot of supplies or prep, either, and what you do need can be found at craft stores for cheap. A tip: buy some essential oils to mix in with the wax and you’ll have a cool candle that smells great, too!

crayon candle

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YA Book Review- Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

In a small, quiet town called Never Better that you can only find if you’ve already visited, a boy named Jeremy Johnson Johnson has the special ability of being able to talk to ghosts. The ghost that chooses to make a regular companion of Jeremy, and the narrator of this tale, is famous storyteller Jacob Grimm. Things seem innocent enough at the beginning of the story: introverted Jeremy is chosen by the sensational Ginger Boultinghouse to help her and her friends break in to the local baker’s home and play a simple prank. When the town finds out what happened and that Jeremy was involved, every last citizen gives him the cold shoulder. The kindly baker, however, looks past the town’s attitude and begins to enlist Jeremy and Ginger to help him with odd jobs. Jacob is ever-watchful, and always ready to give Jeremy advice or a warning, so he is the most surprised when Jeremy and Ginger find themselves caught in a dangerous trap that they might not survive.

The narrator really makes this story feel like a fairy tale. Having written as the ghost of one of the greatest storytellers in history, the author takes what would be a standard small-town mystery and gives it a beautiful, haunting perspective. Hand this to fairy tale lovers old and new, and anyone who loves a good mystery!

far far away

Friday Crafternoon- White Crayon and Watercolor Art

This craft is SUPER simple and uses stuff you might already have in the house! Gather up your watercolor paints, a paintbrush, a white crayon, and some paper. Draw something out on the paper in white crayon. Paint over the paper with your watercolors, and watch how the white crayon magically resists the paint to create a beautiful negative space picture! This is also a really cool way to leave someone a secret message. Check out examples that this library did for some inspiration.


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YA Book Review- The Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

Life for Jersey girl Rory McShane has always been pretty simple: work to pay the bills, study to get in to a good college, and keep mom from ruining their lives with her silly boyfriends. However, the summer before senior year she decides to help out her aunt who works for a very wealthy family at their beach-side mansion in the Hamptons. Rory’s job is to be an “errand girl” in exchange for room and board. She hopes it will be a nice change of pace from her boring Jersey town- but there’s no way she could predict the terrible temper of the family’s youngest daughter Isabel, or how fast she falls head-over-heels for the youngest son, Connor. Before Rory knows it, she’s facing the Hampton’s social scene and trying to figure out whether she’s an employee of this house or a guest- and is she totally imagining that Connor might be interested in her the same way?

This is a great summertime read! Joanna Philbin writes a really fun story here, which bounces back and forth between the perspectives of confused and spoiled Isabel Rule and down-to-earth Rory McShane. There is a mysterious subplot that keeps the book from being too fluffy, and the romances are beautifully written. Give this to any fan of contemporary teen romances!

Rules of summer

Friday Crafternoon- Jewelry and Nail Polish

One thing that any nail polish fan knows is that sometimes you get sick of a color halfway through the bottle and never use it again. What can you do with all that leftover polish? There are tons of craft ideas out there, but this one helps you use up old polish AND give your jewelry a totally new look. Try it out on a piece of jewelry you can stand to lose if you mess up (or keep a bottle of nail polish remover on hand!). Like with most crafts, this is also a great gift idea!

nailpolish jewelry

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YA Book Review- Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlison

Diribani and Tana are stepsisters who are trying to provide for Tana’s mother ever since Diribani’s successful father died and left the family with nothing. One day, when each of them makes a fateful trip to the local well for water and has a run-in with the goddess Naghali, their words begin to turn in to objects as they speak- Diribani speaks flowers and precious jewels, while Tana speaks toads and snakes. The prince of their region soon gets involved and determines that Tana should live a secluded life in a holy grove, and Diribani will join the royal caravan back to their palace. Both girls accept their new lives dutifully, making sure to remember that the goddess must have a plan for their new gifts. Soon, though, it becomes clear that the people of their community who do not agree with their religion and think them witches are out to ruin them, and they both find themselves trying to thwart danger while also protecting the people they love.

This beautifully written tale is based on the classic fairy tale titled “The Fairies” by Charles Perrault. The kingdom that the author sets the story in is based loosely on Indian regions, but is essentially fictional. Give this book to any readers who loves re-written fairy tales, beautiful descriptions, representation of multiple religions, or strong female characters.

toads and diamonds


Friday Crafternoon- Glow-in-the-dark Slime

Messy crafts are best done outside, so the summertime is the perfect part of the year to experiment with them! Making glow-in-the-dark slime is a lot easier than you’d think- the ingredients can all be found at your local craft store or supermarket, and it’s really quick! If you have younger brothers, sisters, cousins, or friends, this is a cool group project that everybody can get in to. Check out the instructions here!

glow in the dark slime and recipe 1

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