"I cannot sleep unless I am surrounded by books."


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I Want One!

It's totally cute!

Read more at Chronicle books website

and Chronicle Books has a blog!!

News from That Yarn Store

Here's news from my local yarn store, That Yarn Store. If you don't live in the area, they have a website and amazing yarns. Be a pal, help them stay in business. Sign up for their newsletter, visit them in the store and one the web, read my recommendation of them on LinkedIn.com. That Yarn Store customers are big readers and support the local bookstores. Let's return the favor.

AmoXcalli supports local and independent businesses. The economy isn't too great right now and we all need to pitch in and help small businesses stay in business. Buy local, by often. That's my preachy soapbox for the day. On to the news...

Now you have two flavors of sock classes, and a few sock
yarns to choose.

Frannie teaches her sock class on Saturdays at 1:30

Julia Hiser will be teaching a two-part class covering all your
sock-knitting basics - Heels, toes, the whole-shebang!
First-timers and the newly sock-conscious all welcome.
Learn to make a pair of lovely foot-coverings or improve upon
your techniques.
Items required: Set of size #3 douple-pointed needles and
Sport weight yarn.
Bring them, or buy them here.
Thursdays at 7 pm $45
You have to pre-register for this class.


Learn to Knit Lace, Tuesday nights at 6. $30

Atelier Zero is an email newsletter that lists cool Los Angeles
events and shops. Even if they hadn't listed That Yarn Store
events we would still love the list.
Check them out at http://atelierzero.com/

Here is the link for our Ravelry group:

Knit in Public Day, June 14th
Knitting in public is a wonderful way to spread the craft and
inspire all those would be knitters and crocheters to join in.

Beverly, Suzanne, and Deborah have been kind enough to
make suggestions on what we can do to celebrate the
World Wide Knit in Public Day on June 14th
Help us make this a memorable event please send us your ideas!

We're thinking about sitting outside at SWORKS,
and a Pic-Knit under the trees at Eagle Rock or Yosemite Rec Centers

Spring Craftaganza. May 10, 1 to 5 pm
Thea from across the pond, and Mila, one of the 15 or so vendors,
have been planning this year's biannual event. Please come!
We've made an Evite,
so you can send it to friends.

What: Spring Craftaganza, a hand-made craft fair
When: May 10, 1-5pm
Where: That Yarn Store - 5028 Eagle Rock Blvd
Why: Handmade is better! Plus free refreshments.

Spring Craftaganza is our yearly arts and crafts event where you
can purchase funky and unique handmade products created by
local artisans and crafters.
They offer everything from jewelry to clothes to handspun yarn.
Pick up a one-of-a-kind gift for your Mom (the next day is Mother's Day),
start your holiday shopping early, or snag something cool for yourself.
We’ll have free refreshments.


We have a space at the Los Angeles County Fair in September.
We can't sell our goods, apparently, but we can show them off,
including our knitting and crocheting samples and even give lessons
and demonstrations. You are invited to help us hang out and show
stuff and answer knitting questions.
Other things where you can participate – submitting your projects for a
blue ribbon, and a fashion show.
Free admission to volunteers, a hefty perk for participating.


You've asked for them….
Sewing Classes

Beginning Sewing *
Learn use a sewing machine and sew in straight lines
and curves. Bring home a pillowcase you’ll make yourself.
Materials provided.
~~Thursday, May 6, at 7pm~~ $30

Beginning Sewing, Part 2: pattern reading*
bring a simple pattern and your own material and supplies.
~~Thursday, May 29, at 7pm~~ $30
~~Saturday, May 31, at 11:30 am~~

Skirts Without Patterns*
Bring in measurements,
and your own fabric, thread and tools.
~~Thursday, May 1, at 7pm~~ $30
~~Saturday, May 3, at 11:30 am~~

*Please note that we have limited space and limited
sewing machines available for these classes.
When registering, please tell us if you will
need to borrow one of our sewing machines.
And please sign up early.

Since we keep eccentric hours, we'll always include..

Hour Ours

Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm

Monday closed

Tuesday 11:07 to 7:35
Closed 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Wednesday 11:30 to 8:30 ish
Closed 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Thursday 11:00 to 7:00 pm
(we will often be open evenings)

Friday 11:30 to 8:00 ish
Closed 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Saturday 11:00 to 6:00 pm

Ask a Mexican at Vroman's Bookstore

Everyone's favorite Mexican, Gustavo Arrellano will be signing his book, Ask a Mexican at one of my favorite Booksense bookstores, Vroman's in Pasadena.

Saturday, May 3, 2008 4:00 p.m.
Gustavo Arellano discusses and signs Ask a Mexican
Location: Vroman's Bookstore

Vroman's has a pretty interesting slate of authors coming up...check their event calendar for details and the site for directions to a truly fabulous bookstore.

Lisa Alvarado's New Installation

From my friend Lisa Alvarado, the following bit of news. Congratulations Lisa!!

Lisa Alvarado's Mexican Woman's Toolkit, Sin Fronteras is a large floral
tote bag hanging on wooden pegs, which visitors are invited to rummage
through. The bag belongs to a Mexican domestic in WWII-era Chicago: her
life is service to others, she has no privacy.


Reimagining The Distaff Toolkit

"Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit" is an exhibition of contemporary art,
each of which has, at its visible core, a tool that was important for
women's domestic labor in the past (the 18th century through World War
II). The old tool becomes the fulcrum for a work of art. Each work and the
exhibit as a whole have the power to speak to viewers independently,
Artists are placing objects such as a dressmaker’s figure, diapers,
graters, grinders, needles, pins, pots, pans, baskets,
garden-seed-packets, rakes, hoes, dress patterns, dish-rags, rolling pins,
brooms, buckets, darning eggs, knives, rug-beaters, and other tools at the
center of their work. One piece will have an early 19th century distaff at
its visible core. Part of the point of this exhibition project is to
explore the idea of "seeing as context." As I imagine the process here, I
look at a tool that facilitated very hard and repetitive labor and that
evokes women's degradation as domestic drudges. I look again, through my
early 21st century eyes, at a moment when "old tools" have become
commodified and expensive, and I see costly beauty. Reimagining the
distaff toolkit for the purposes of this exhibition might include
(overlapping) gestures in any of the following directions – or other
directions – history / memory / gender / labor / material culture /
household objects / family relations / power and powerlessness / drudgery
/ craft and beauty. Reimagining the Distaff Toolkit puts utility in
conversation with art, the past in conversation with the present.

March-May 2008 Bennington (VT) Museum
Oct-Dec 2008 The Mead Museum, Amherst College
Jan-Feb 2009 Morris Museum, Morristown, NJ
March 2009 Oklahoma State University
Sept-Dec Union College, Schnectady, NY


Lisa Alvarado, poet, novelist, literary critic

Sunday, April 27, 2008

A Curse Dark as Gold

A Curse Dark as Gold
Author: Elizabeth C. Bunce
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
ISBN-10: 0439895766
ISBN-13: 978-0439895767

Do you love fairy tales? How about re-imagined ones? I do. I’ve always been fascinated by fairy tales and am always keenly interested when someone comes up with a new spin on an old tale. Sometimes I like them, sometimes I don’t, sometimes I’m bored and sometimes I really love them. A Curse Dark as Gold completely blew me out of the water. Elizabeth Bunce took the tale of Rumplestiltskin and not only brought something completely new and innovative to the story, but also completely changed it around to something completely wonderful.

A Curse Dark as Gold is the story of Charlotte Miller, a young woman struggling to save the family mill. Charlotte is a fascinating character. Her inner turmoils, her thoughts, hopes and dreams are all completely normal with a few exceptions, but intensely interesting. She is one of the strongest female characters that I’ve read in quite a while and I found myself completely entranced in her story and routing for her all the way. She is no vapid ingénue and there is no greedy, gold-loving king.

The story is complex, magical, dark and deep. There is whimsy, romance, normalcy, struggles and of course, a curse. There’s a mill to save and the lives that are entangled in it. It’s more than just a mill; it’s the town that depends on it. The story is set in the England of the pre-industrial revolution age and it resonates with whispers of big conglomerates taking over the small business owners of today.

This is tight writing. Each paragraph is well crafted and fluid. The book had me on the edge of my seat throughout and I could not put it down. Highly recommended!

Book Description from the Publisher:

"If you'll allow me to demonstrate, I do think I could be of some help to you here."

I smiled tightly. "You'd have to be able to make gold appear from thin air to be much help to us now, I'm afraid."

"Gold, you say?" he said quietly. "Well, not out of the air, maybe, but--" He reached toward Rosie and drew a length of straw free from her hat. From out of a pocket in his jacket appeared an old-fashioned handheld drop spindle, the kind no one uses anymore, and he sent it spinning with a turn of his hand. Slowly, as we watched, he drew out the straw and spun it--spun it!

As if it were a roving of wool! Rosie and I stood there and watched him, moment by moment, as the spindle bobbed and twirled. Something pulled out from the brown straw and through his knobby fingers, and where it should have gone onto the spindle, the finest strands of gleaming gold threads appeared. Round and round the spindle went, and the gleaming of gold turned with it. I don't know how long we watched it, turning and turning, flashing gold with every revolution. I could not take my eyes away.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Pat Mora's Bookjoy

Pat Mora, one of my favorite authors has entered the wonderful world of blogging. Her Bookjoy Blog is all about finding the joy in books. She's hoping that we all contribute and comment on ideas for El día de los niños. What gives you bookjoy? Visit Pat often at She'll be a permanent link on the sidebars of both Cuentecitos and AmoXcalli. http://www.blogger.com/img/gl.link.gif

From Cuentecitos and AmoXcalli, welcome to the kidlitosphere Pat!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

A History of Western Art: From Prehistory to the 20th Century

A History of Western Art: From Prehistory to the 20th Century
Author: Antony Mason
Editor: John T. Spike
Publisher: Abrams Young Readers
ISBN: 0-8109-9421-6
EAN: 9780810994218

The publishers aren’t exaggerating when they write that this book is lavishly illustrated. Each page is sumptuously, decadently illustrated with amazing works of art. It’s a visual feast as well as an informational one. The book is set up in format that makes it the subject easy to understand. There are well-defined descriptions of not only the art depicted but in some instances, of the process involved in creating it. I loved simple, yet clear arrows pointing from a description or a process or symbology of a particular piece of art to the section of work that it’s describing. I found the descriptions of how mosaics were made particularly fascinating.

I loved that this book depicted time periods and movements in art like Surrealism or Rococco. I had a lot of fun teaching my grandchildren about sculpture or architecture which is Jasmine’s favorite part of the book. She loves how the illustrations of the buildings like the Guggenheim have a slice taken off so that you can see the inside. I find it remarkable that a five-year old is this keenly interested in Frank Lloyd Wright and I attribute her interest in a large part to this excellent book with its friendly style.

This is a book that spans age groups. I get so much out of it each time we open it to another page and the grandchildren, ages 2 and 5 find so much to love about it. They ask me to pull it down from the shelf again and again and each one has pages that they just love to touch and point at. I on the other hand am entranced by the quality of the paper, the illustrations and photographs of the artwork and can gaze in awe of the David Hockney collage for hours on end.

I wish our schools could have copies of this book in every classroom for every student. I think this book and books like this are timeless and should be every child’s right. Art is so very important and this book does so much to educate about it. You can’t help but fall in love with art after reading this and it inspires the creativity within. I know that for me, its shown me new meaning to a painting I’ve loved and lit a spark in me to find out even more. Books that fuel the thirst for knowledge are treasures.

Highly, highly recommended for anyone of any age.

Book Description from publisher:

Lavishly illustrated with more than 250 full-color reproductions of artworks, details, photographs, and documents, this informative book provides a sweeping overview of Western art. The book begins with the cave paintings at Lascaux, France, and continues on with the art and architecture of ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome through Early Christian, Byzantine, and medieval art and on to the Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods. Then it proceeds from Neoclassicism, Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, and Modernism up to the art of the late twentieth century. The book is filled with paintings, sculpture, mosaics, and architecture by such renowned artists as Paolo Uccello, Jan van Eyck, Filippo Brunelleschi, Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Goya, Turner, Monet, Renoir, Auguste Rodin, Georges Braque, Edward Hopper, Jackson Pollock, David Hockney, and Andy Warhol.

An essential tool for classrooms and libraries as well as a wonderful gift for young people interested in art.

About the author

Antony Mason is the author of more than sixty books. In addition to more general histories of art, he has written biographies for children on Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt, Monet, Cézanne, Matisse, Picasso, and Chagall. He lives in London, England. John T. Spike is an internationally recognized art critic, curator, and noted historian of Italian art of the fifteenth through eighteenth centuries. He was born in New York City and resides in Florence, Italy.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Shameless Promotion of the Best New/Used Bookstore in L.A.

Come see this free, fascinating presentation & signing by acclaimed author, Gary Marcus. He's going to have an LCD projector!

READ Books Presents:
Gary Marcus
Discussing & Signing
His New Book:
Kluge: The Haphazard
Construction of the Human Mind

“Are we noble in reason? Perfect, in God's image? Far from it, says New York University psychologist Gary Marcus. In this lucid and revealing book, Marcus argues that the mind is not an elegantly designed organ but rather a "kluge," a clumsy, cobbled-together contraption. He unveils a fundamentally new way of looking at the human mind -- think duct tape, not supercomputer -- that sheds light on some of the most mysterious aspects of human nature.”

April 20th, 2008, Sunday @ 2:00
4972 Eagle Rock Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90041
(323) 259-9068
Call or email to pre-order books

Poetry Friday - Save the Tacos!

Ok Gente,
For Poetry Friday, I just want to save the LA Taco Trucks and street vendors (mmmm esquites). Sign the petition and I'll love you forever.

After all, some of my favorite poets are The Taco Shop poets.

The round-up today is being hosted at The Well Read Child, thank you for hosting!!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Las Comadres and El día de los niños

My comadres over at Las Comadres Para Las Americas have sent the folowing email about a very important teleconference.

To learn more about Las Comadres please click here.

Queridas comadres...it's TELECONFERENCE TIME! To


We ask that you consider purchasing the children's
book we selected for April and donating it to an
elementary school in your area.

In celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los
libros (Children's Day/Book Day)on April 30, we are
combining an interview with authors of a children's
bilingual book on activism with a university professor
studying when and how children should be taught about
racism. This is a different format just for the month
of April. In May we'll be starting our partnership
with the American Association of Publishers and
Borders, Inc. Reading With Las Comadres where we
interview Latina authors about their newly
published book and their work.

DATE: April 24, 2008 / duration approximately 1 hour
6:00 PM MST
7:00 PM CST
8:00 PM EST

Call in number (long distance charges will apply)
1-712-432-2323 / Access Code: 162718#

That's Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo!

by Carmen Tafolla and Sharyll Teneyuca

Illustrated by Terry Ybáñez, Spanish translation by
Carmen Tafolla, Translation editors: Celina Marroquín
and Amalia Mondríguez, Ph.D.

In the 1920s and 1930s, the pecan shellers of San
Antonio, Texas, were some of the lowest-paid workers
in the nation. They were all Mexican-Americans, who
had fled the revolution in their home country. Pecan
shellers worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week,
for as little as six cents a pound. In addition, they
had to work in dusty, closed rooms. This made many of
them ill. And then, in 1938, their wages were cut in
half. They needed someone to be a voice for them,
someone both brave and caring. They needed a hero. A
young woman, barely twenty-one, answered their call.
Her name was Emma.

But Emma Tenayuca was not born a hero of the poor.
That's Not Fair! / ¡No Es Justo! tells how the seeds
of Emma's awareness and activism were sown when she
was very young. This story of courage and compassion
shows how each of us, no matter how young, can help to
make the world more fair for everyone.


White Children More Positive Toward Blacks
After Learning About Racism, Study Shows

Challenging the idea that racism education could be
harmful to students, a new study from The University
of Texas at Austin found the results of learning about
historical racism are primarily positive. The study
appears in the November/December issue of the journal
Child Development.

"There is considerable debate about when and how
children should be taught about racism," says Bigler,
director of the university's Gender and Racial
Attitudes Lab. "But little research has examined
elementary-school-aged children's cognitive and
emotional reactions to such lessons."


Carmen Tafolla is one of the most anthologized of all
Latina writers with work for both adults and children
appearing in more than two hundred anthologies. With
work translated into Spanish, German, and Bengali,
Tafolla has been published in a great variety of
genres. Carmen Tafolla has also published five adult
poetry books, seven children's television screenplays,

and numerous short stories and articles.

Sharyll Tenayuca is an attorney in San Antonio and the
niece of Emma Tenayuca.

UT Professor of Psychology Dr. Rebecca Bigler,
of the University of Texas at Austin, Gender and
Attitudes Lab

Interviewed by:
Adriana Dominguez is the Executive Editor who manages
the children's division of HarperCollins' Latino
imprint, Rayo. Before joining Harper, she was Críticas
magazine's Children's Review Editor. She has many
years of publishing experience in the children's
market, and has worked for most major publishers.

Nora de Hoyos Comstock, Ph.D.
Connecting Latinas Everywhere!
http://www.lascomadres.org ;
Comstock Connections, Austin, TX
512-928-8780 voice/fax; 512-751-7837c

Las Comadres is not responsible for the content of
this email, and text in this email does not necessarily
reflect Las Comadres views or opinions.