Thrifty Gifters: Keeping It Real

Last month’s 10,000th blog visitor called for a bit of a bananasuit vacay.  Besides, my little running joke lately is that I’ve become an indentured servant here at the library.  Only 8 more years til my student loans are forgiven!  Ha… Ha.

Seriously, this month I’ve been working like crazy on our super fun, super thrifty gift-giving series, Thrifty Gifter.  Spectacularly talented artists from the Lawrence / Kansas City area have been donating their time to teach community members how to sew upcycled pillowcase totes, knit simple accessories, make metalworked bookmarks, and wrap wreaths in pretty yarn at the library.

I could pretend that everything is always perfect, but my intent is to keep it real here at Librarian in a Banana Suit.  Guys, we blew out the circuit breakers in the library auditorium the first night when we powered up all the sewing machines and irons.  Did you know that irons can draw as much electricity as a refrigerator?  Neither did we.  Thankfully, my volunteer that night was a Navy vet, and took charge of re-rigging the extension cords.  15 minutes later, and it was nothing a few pieces of chocolate couldn’t smooth over.  Thank goodness for a renovated library in the works.

The second session of our knitting class turned into a straight-up sewing circle, with participants chatting with their new-found friends about the politics of education and the structure of our local school districts.  Also?  I learned that the weirdest thing our knitting teacher Jen had ever knitted is a gas mask.

After wrangling 15 borrowed sewing machines plus sundry irons and ironing boards, one might be tempted to ask oneself whether it’s worth all the trouble.  Yes.  Yes, it is.  The comments from our Thrifty Gifter sessions have been so unanimously positive, appreciative, and straight-up sweet, that it makes me feel like I could be talked into wrangling yet another sewing machine.  Best comments?  “Friendly & talented ladies running the joint,” and:  “This is weird, but the background music was awesome!” (Billie Holiday & Nina Simone.)

Meanwhile? My department at the library was just awarded a nice big grant for summer reading, negotiated a deal with our top-secret Read Across Lawrence author, and snagged lectures on Hunter S. Thompson and Gonzo journalism, sustainable ranching in Kansas, the Smith Center Redmen, and critically acclaimed teen novel The Sharp Time.  Onward — I’ll see you when I come back up for air again!

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