Garden expert, Joel Karsten has experimented for years with the unique method of gardening right in straw bales. Need a raised bed to save your back? Try straw bales. Joel has discovered that straw bales allow you to raise wonderful vegetables in record time with few weeds. He has experimented and perfected this innovative method of conditioning straw bales with water and fertilizer for twelve days prior to planting directly into straw bales. Less expensive, small transplants can be directly placed into the extra warmth of these “cooked” bales with quick growing results. Seeds can be planted into a shallow layer of planting mix to germinate quickly. Discover how to use vertical gardening tricks with straw bales and how to keep pests away.This highly detailed and illustrated garden book answers every question, and has plenty of how-to’s so you will succeed with straw bales.
The Joys of Gift Books
By Marcia Allen
Technical Services & Collections Manager
Manhattan Public Library
Throughout the year, Manhattan Public Library is the recipient of a great many gifts. Often, donors will designate a determined amount to be spent and allow staff to make selections. Other times, the donors have specific titles in mind and provide lists of materials they wish to be purchased. Either way, staff members at the library are happy to accept those new materials, and gift plates are added to inside covers of books to indicate the donor or nature of the gift.
I bring this up because the library has recently received a lovely gift that arrived at the perfect time of year. Town and Country Garden Club has once again presented a very generous gift which allowed for the purchase of ten beautiful gardening books that many folks throughout the area will truly enjoy. If you are one of the many novice or accomplished gardeners dying to get back outside to dig and to plant, you’ll want to peruse the following:
“American Horticultural Society of Encyclopedia of Plants and Flowers” edited by Christopher Brickell is an exquisite sourcebook. This is an updated classic produced by Dorling Kindersley that offers design plans, hundreds of photographs of varieties, and detailed advice on care and planting. In fact, I don’t think there’s much in the gardening world that is not included in these 744 pages. You might want to consult this excellent reference before even getting started!
“Gardening Projects for Kids” by Jenny Hendy is a parent’s delight. This kid-friendly book has just the right layout and interest to get children outside and enthused about their own plantings and arrangement. None of the tasks are labor-intensive, and all are lovely to view. Some even encourage the building of simple little walls and color-coordinated designs. There’s enough here to alleviate summer’s boredom and offer kids projects to please.
“Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie” by Sylvan T. Runkel and Dean M. Roosa is a reprint of an older book, with a fresh, new layout and full-page color photographs of each plant. Common and Latin names are included, and the origins of those names are explained. And you’ll be surprised at all the unique uses that Native American and pioneer folks found for these plants. This is a perfect companion for a long walk in the country.
“Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth is a vegetable-grower’s delight. This handy book encourages the thrifty practice of saving seeds for next year’s planting. Ashworth’s book offers detailed information about 160 different vegetables, along with instructions on collecting, storing and planting. All of the detailed steps have been tested and refined by the author and a wide network of experienced gardeners.
“Fresh Flower Arranging” by Mark Welford and Stephen Wicks goes far beyond simply gathering a handful of flowers and placing them in a favorite vase. The authors open the book with basic guidelines for the best containers, explain the accepted theory of flower colors, and discuss the shaping involved in an arrangement. From there, they devote chapters to numbered sets of directions and breathtakingly gorgeous photos of completed arrangements. It may sound odd, but one striking arrangement is an arresting mix of dahlias, sedum, broccoli florets and spring onions!
“Designing and Creating a Cottager Garden” by Gail Harland is a gardener’s dream. Besides the expected layout design and construction tips, the book offers different seasonal views of well-planned growing spaces that offer year-long beauty. In addition, the suggested plant varieties are grouped by tendencies to climb, cluster, or adorn borders of a growing space. And the plant directory at the back of the book is stellar.
“Flowers” by Carolyne Roehm is a tribute to the beauty of flowers. Missing from this book are the guidelines and suggestions of so many other gardening books. This one is just plain pretty. Full-page photographs of incredible flowers and the accompanying text by professional photographer Roehm make this a volume that transfixes the eye. Nature’s colors at their best.
This is not a complete listing of Town and Country Garden Club’s latest generous gift,
but it gives readers an idea of excellent new resources for those who must be planting. For these gardening books and hundreds of others in the library’s collections, come by and check us out. Your garden awaits.
I found the Refashionista blog a few weeks ago and immediately read the entire backlog of posts, marveling at the amazing refashions of outdated clothing by South Carolinian Jillian Owens. It made me wonder what we had in the collection about recycling/refashioning clothing to give it some new life. If you, too, are interested in what can be done to limit the amount you spend on clothing, keep clothing out of landfills, or simply looking to add some flare and individuality to your wardrobe, check out some of these books (although you’ll have to place holds, since I have them all checked out right now).
For a refashioning book that’s also a good introduction to sewing machines, mending, thrifting and finding materials for your refashion, check out Sew Subversive: Down & Dirty DIY for the Fabulous Fashionista by Melissa Rannels, Melissa Alvarado, and Hope Meng. This book is full of ideas for personalizing your wardrobe, reusing old, unwanted garments and mending items of clothing you still wear.
If you really love vintage style, but want to update things a bit and alter them for a better fit, you probably want to pick up Born-Again Vintage by Bridgett Artise and Jen Karetnick. Most of the ideas in this book involve taking two items of clothing, chopping them up and then combining them in new and interesting ways. A few update items of clothing that were popular a few decades ago mostly by altering the length and sleeve style to look like current trends. This book is simply fun to browse through for ideas, and the instructions in the back tell you how to chop and combine clothing in a bit more detail than the Refashionista gives.
It seems like everyone has a bunch of old t-shirts they keep around for painting, cleaning, etc. If you’ve accumulated too many of those not-quite-wearable-in-public tees, you might want to pick up 101 Tees: Restyle + Refashion + Revamp by Cathie Filian or Generation T: 108 Ways to Transform a T-Shirt by Megan Nicolay for reuse ideas ranging from transforming your t-shirt into a tube top to turning a t-shirt into a skirt or making a rug out of old t-shirts.
One book specifically devoted to refashioning as a green idea rather than a fashion statement is Sewing Green: 25 Projects Made with Repurposed & Organic Materials: Plus Tips & Resources for Earth-Friendly Stitching by Betz White. This book features creations made from thrift-store finds, scraps and recycled goods. It also includes designer features and tips for green sewers.
This is not an exhaustive list of our clothing refashioning books. If you don’t see quite what you’re looking for here, we also have some other books about refashioning.
If you’re completely new to sewing, you might want to check out one of our introductory sewing books before you tackle a serious refashion. S.E.W.: Sew Everything Workshop: The Complete Step-By-Step Beginner’s Guide by Diana Rupp, Me and My Sewing Machine: A Beginner’s Guide by Kate Haxell and The Complete Photo Guide to Sewing: 1200 Full-Color How-To Photos from Singer are all good places to start.
Are you stressed out and overworked from all of your Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, and other holiday activities? Bring the fun back into Christmas by checking out the hilarious Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book by Brian Miller, Adam Paulson, and Kevin Wool. It will have you laughing all the way through and by the end you will be much more relaxed and jolly. The book is purported to be a “how-to” book on throwing an ugly Christmas sweater party. There are a few short chapters with party suggestions such as games, music, food and drinks, and awarding prizes. The majority of the “how-to” section is very tongue in cheek, and not intended to be serious suggestions. For instance, there is a particularly humorous section on how to pick out that perfect Christmas sweater. If you want to win the prize for the ugliest sweater, the authors suggest that your sweater must not only be ugly, but also engage the five senses. Some ways to do this are by adding 3D effects, bells or chimes, edible items, and other interactive items such as pinecones or reindeer fur. You could even add some vanilla extract or rub yourself with pine scented air fresheners! The real star of the book, however, is the number of pages of over-the-top ugly Christmas sweaters with hilarious titles and descriptions. It’s a short book, so if you still haven’t gotten enough, check out the authors’ website UglyChristmasSweaterParty.com to peruse more ugly Christmas sweaters.
Public speaking is a common source of fear and anxiety. It’s certainly not my favorite thing to do, but I also know that there will be times in my life when I will need to make a presentation or speak in front of a larger group of people. I picked up As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have it Stick looking for some tips and tricks for writing and presenting speeches effectively. I got exactly what I was looking for in this book.
Meyers and Nix combine their years of experience as presenters and consultants and boil down the most important advice they give about being an effective presenter in to this book. They address how to draw an audience in and keep people’s attention, where to take breaks and encourage interaction, and how to physically present oneself to appear more confident. There are numerous examples of the types of speeches/presentations people frequently hear in meetings and at conferences, along with how the information should have been presented to be most effective. Meyer and Nix also site numerous studies and provide a fairly extensive bibliography for those interested in learning more about how we speak and how we listen.
This is one of those books so packed with useful information that it needs to be read in small chunks and digested properly before going on to a new section. There are exercises and worksheets available on an accompanying website http://standanddelivergroup.com/ and suggestions for how to practice speaking techniques throughout the book.