Check Out – Check In – November 2014

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Stuff Matters – Exploring the Marvelous Materials That Share Our Man-Made World by Mark Miodownik.

Steel was the first metal that Miodownik discusses. For thousands of years, the making of steel was handed down as a craft. During the Stone Age metal was highly prized and copper and gold were the only two metals. When iron and steel were achieved this was the making of the Industrial Revolution.

Paper was the second word he discussed. The invention of paper was said to be one of the great inventions of the Chinese. The Bible is one of the first books to actually be bound together. It was genius that made a book with heavier paper enclosing the words. Concrete was the next word he talked about. It is made from powdered rock, calcium carbonate, mainly limestone. You also need silicate, a compound of silicon and oxygen. It is amazing how they all bond together to make such a hard concrete. The next thing is chocolate. It is formed originally from the cocoa tree fruit that grows large fruit that are pulled off the short tree that grows under palms and left to rot. When the fruit is rotted then dead it can be harvested from the fruit and many grow in each separate fruit. The beans are dried and roasted which turns each bean into a mini-chemical factory. Foam is the next story he writes about; the foam in shoes. The next was glass and the discussion was heating up; molecules are melted and become liquid. By adding born oxide to the mix you can turn glass into Pyrex. The next article that Miodownik discusses is graphite which comes from carbon. It is a light atom with six protons and usually six neutrons; but if a third carbon from the neutrons is unstable, the element falls apart. The biggest diamond yet discovered is in the Milky Way. I found this book fascinating because we use these same materials many times in a day and never think of how they are put together.

What I Know For Sure by Oprah Winfrey.

In 1998 Chicago Sun Times film critic Gene Siskel asked Oprah to tell him “What do you know for sure?” At a complete loss for words, Oprah knew that she must live life as it comes along. She writes about early years of poverty in Mississippi and how her weight got up to 237 pounds. She met a man in the gym that told her to eat foods that make you thrive. She finally got the idea and started growing her own vegetables. Oprah loves to read and the Bible has been one of the main books. Her favorite verse is Psalm 37:4. There is a lot more in the book about her life through the years. Some of the last part was written when she was 50. Later she added some when she had her 60th birthday. There is a little repeating but overall it was a joy to read and get acquainted with her.

Learn to Weave – A Project – Based Approach to Weaving Basics by Anne Field.

There have been many books in the library on quilting and beading but this is the first book on weaving that I have ever encountered. It starts a new weaver on the basics. The photos are very explicit and if the new weaver follows them to the letter, the person will soon have the first warp ready to go onto the loom. In this first part of dressing the loom takes patience but after it is on the loom and you are weaving it is a great accomplishment; after the first item woven Field goes on to part two to weave other projects such as table runners, dish towels, place mats, jackets and scarves. I have many, many books on weaving but this book and its photos are the best I have ever seen. Some of the best weavers are men because they are stronger and can beat a warp for rugs better.