Librarian’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse

Ladies & gentlemen, I grew up in a family that lived and breathed the Mormon edict to “be prepared!”  My three brothers are Eagle Scouts.  We had a shelter custom-built in our basement to store a year’s worth of food for seven.

Survival Kit Supplies

Yet it wasn’t until I went to grad school that one of my favorite professors finally put the fear of god in me.  “What are you all planning to eat during the next natural disaster?” she demanded to know as we covered the emergency preparedness segment of her Organizational Management syllabus.  “You sure can’t wait until after the disaster happens to get prepared.”  Then she told us to all get guns.

Literally since that day, my husband and I have been on our path to emergency preparedness.  If you’re interested in making your own kit, your friendly internet librarian in a bananasuit suggests checking out the Center for Disease Control (CDC), FEMA, and the Mormons, all who have great emergency preparedness resources.  There’s even an excellent US Army Survival Manual that’s been floating around on Reddit.  And my husband’s and my own personalized list is available here.  Any way you slice it, your survival kit should cover these seven essential categories: Continue reading


Merry Creature

Today I offer a personal post ( … with a library tie-in, of course!).

Last month, Aaron and I decided to teach ourselves how to crochet and checked out Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More! from our public library.  A few days later, we were chaining, single crocheting, double crocheting, half-double crocheting, treble crocheting, and more.  We have YouTube Donna to thank for showing us how.

Together, we crocheted 31 tiny devils, ninjas, aliens, vampires, robots, knights, clerics, grim reapers, Amazon warriors, skeletons, and Cthulhus between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Affectionately, we have called these our “Creatures,” and we hope you like them as much as we do.

Ever since our felted piggy incident two Christmases ago, we’re addicted to giving DIY gifts.  We like that it makes gift-giving a little more personal, and we get to have fun spending extra time together in the weeks leading up to the holidays, too.

I think I’m partial to the tiny Cthulhus, maybe just because I really like their wiggly eyes.  I’m also fond of the devils’ curly tails.  To see photos of all the creatures we made, plus close ups, click here to head over to the Flickr album.  Merry Creature!

More Thrifty Gifts

Metalworking Books

I wanted to tell you all about my library’s Thrifty Gifter workshops all in one shot, but then I blew it last week when I got too excited to hold back any longer.

Library Metalworking

Last Tuesday and Thursday we had our third installment of crafty events: Metalworked Bookmarks!  This was the largest of any of the Thrifty Gifter workshops, with 40 total students sawing, punching and hammering all at the same time.  We made some serious noise.  Lessons learned?  My library’s auditorium is surprisingly soundproof.  Also?  Although the class worked well and most people wrote that they loved it, next time I would keep the size down to 25 or 30.

Metalworking Father and Son

This was our most diverse group yet, with teenage twin sisters, fathers and sons, little old ladies who were best friends. Continue reading

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.

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Bento Mania! Resources for Really Cute Lunches

Yellow Bento

One of my favorite things about being a librarian is that, although one day I won’t know the first thing about a subject, the next day I’ll be obsessively ordering products on the Internet to feed a burgeoning hobby.

Bento Montage

This February at ICPL, I was tapped to help put together their annual Anime Fest.  My little brother and my brother-in-law both thought this was HILARIOUS, being fairly well educated on the subject of Anime themselves.  They knew I was going to require some guidance.  Continue reading

Booklist: DIY Redux

Although I know I already linked to them in yesterday’s thrifty post, I just can’t get over how much I love all these DIY titles at the Lawrence Public Library.  I want you to gaze longingly at their beautiful covers and even drool a little bit, much like I’ve been doing for the past week.  It’s time for a booklist!

Carry Me : 20 Boutique Bags to Sew Carry Me: 20 Boutique Bags to SewHighlighting the influence Japanese craft has imparted on the world of fiber arts, this illustrated manual showcases the stylish sensibilities of eastern expertise in creating handbags. Sewers are shown how to create distinct and fashionable works of functional art, such as a wool tweed travel bag, a stylish denim bag with grommet and zipper details, a roomy tote with contrast lining and inside pockets, a wool messenger bag, and a soft luggage tote.
I Heart Felt I Heart Felt: 33 Eye-Popping Projects for the Inspired Knitter I Heart Felt: 33 Eye-Popping Projects for the Inspired Knitter is a follow-up to the author’s very successful first book on felting (Knit One, Felt Too), which was really meant as a beginner’s guide. I Heart Felt will also be appropriate to newcomers in felting but it pushes the creative edges on just what you can do with felting, making for a hugely imaginative and engaging collection of 33 original designs
Creepy Cute Crochet Creepy Cute Crochet: Zombies, Ninjas, Robots, and More!If you’re a fan of amigurumi, you already know that super-sweet crocheted bunnies and kitties and pandas have taken the indie craft world by storm. The dolls in Creepy Cute Crochet eat your typical amigurumi for breakfast! This unique craft book contains more than 25 patterns for zombies, ninjas, Vikings, vampires, aliens, robots, and even Death himself. Each easy-to-follow pattern is presented with step-by-step diagrams, hilarious commentary, and full-color photographs of the creatures in their natural environments.

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DIY Holidays

Piggy Xmas

The winter holidays are nearly upon us.  At the library, we realize a lot of our patrons are trying to save a little cash this year.  And because we are tuned-in to those needs like aliens to the mothership, we’ve put together a lovely display of DIY Holiday titles for their crafting pleasure.  I had a hunch that this would be a popular display, but I wasn’t quite anticipating the crowd of young ladies and their mothers that formed a huddle around the felting, crocheting, knitting, quilting, beading, card-making, origami, leather-working, and basket-weaving books this afternoon, and then stayed planted there until the library finally locked its doors for the night.  Readers, they would have made more formidable opponents than the KU football team.

Here in our little home, we’ve also been trying to work in more thrifty DIY projects.  Going out on a limb last year, we typed into our Google browser: “what to give everyone for Christmas,” and the Internet gave us this brilliant gift: a pattern for Martha Stewart felted pigs. Amazing!!  Continue reading