Books Are Beautiful
The library, after I arranged one row of shelves (to the right of the guitar).
How do you like your bookshelves? Do you appreciate random placement? Do you like the shelves organized by size and color? Or are you the obsessive compulsive type that needs everything organized by author, alphabet, or God forbid, ISBN?
Last February I showed you my dad's library after I had organized one row of shelves the way I liked it: blocks of color. I took cues from shelves I had helped my mentor, Evelyn Benatar, arrange for photoshoots in New York residences. Evelyn is a master at getting it just right with artful placements of objects, books and space. Check out some of her bookshelves on her website, New York Interior Design
. I also pulled inspiration from other sources by googling 'books organized by color'. I know, pretty simple search but it worked!
I collected inspirational images on my Books, Bookshelves and Bibliophiles
board on Pinterest. The two images I am sharing inspired organization of three specific shelves in the library. I love all the gorgeous shades of blue in the bookshelves pictured below; these blue books are in the library at the University of Buenos Aires and they inspired my two "blue-only" shelves. I also love the multi-leveled, single-shade shelves pictured to the right. My red-shelf originated here.
Photo credit Floriano Cathala Flickr. | |
I don't know who to give credit for on this image. I found it on http://bookshelves.tumblr.com
Organizing A Library Is Hard Work!
At first I was gung-ho! Doesn't every project start out that way? In March of 2011 after empyting two rows of shelves and running out of stacking room on the dining room table, I ran out of steam--true to my dislike for the mechanics of organizing. My special skills are procrastination and dreaming, I'm very good at those skills! So I did the very logical thing and started another project--organizing the family photos...in the library. Oh yes! The books were put back in no special order, tables were brought in and all the family pictures were brought in to be collated and scanned. Another epic organizational challenge. Both projects stalled and the library has been out-of-0rder since then. Finally I asked for professional help from my friend Clara Bruse.
Clara is a force to be reckoned with. She is OCD about many things. She can stay up all night. She never runs out of energy (or words). I could NOT have finished this project without her! She came over on a Friday night and we started working in the library at around 10PM. Although she wanted specifics on how we were going to organize, all I could say is that I wanted to make it look pretty but still organized by topic so Dad could find his books.
My organizational guru suggested that we start pulling books and stacking them by topic on the tables that I had cleared of the pictures earlier. Once the stacks were made and identified I could clearly see what topics we had and we could start deciding where to place them from there. Most of my dad's treasured books are beautiful, old, hardback novels by authors like Harold Bell Wright, Frank Packard and Peter B. Kyne. I knew I wanted those organized by author so he could find them easily. I also knew that since they are the most attractive books in the library, they should be what you see first upon entering the library.
The Wall of Old Fiction, organized by author and color.
The other wall was a bit more of a challenge. Clara looked up ISBN numbers and how the books would be classified according to the Library of Congress, I kid-you-not! However, I just wanted a loose categorization so that I could still get groups of books together that looked good. We finally figured out that there were some main categories we could separate: Christian Reference (my dad is a pastor and has a large number of these), History, Politics, Reference, Literature (this included Poetry, Classics, Quotes), and New Fiction. Clara even made a map of this wall of shelves and asked me to present it to my dad along with a cover page and her rough draft. I drew the line at a power point presentation complete with pictures of me posed in the library. Once again, I kid-you-not!
The Wall of Newer Books, organized by topic and color.
The final wall was originally comprised of some gorgeous, leather- bound encyclopedias, assorted coffee-table books, photo albums and objects that have some sentimental value to my parents. I cleared out the tchotchkes, dispersed some of the sentimental objects throughout the rest of the library and reorganized the shelves.
The Wall of Coffee Table Books and Sentimentality organized by color.
I am really happy with the finished project. I would still like to accessorize it with some new furniture and artwork but at least you can walk in and enjoy the books!
The Finished Library: Extra Details
Just in case you haven't seen enough, here is a video of Mom and Dad seeing the library for the first time. The library part should start at 1 minute 37 seconds in. (It's also a lot of Max being cute.)
So what do you think? Do you like the finished library? Can you guess what time we finished the project?
Sunday was Family Day at the Calgary Stampede and they offered free admission to anyone who arrived between 6AM and 9AM. I can't resist free offers. So we set our alarms and rushed through the gates at exactly 9AM! Whew! I know, super early right? For our family it is very early!
Our first stop was at the Lost Child booth where we got a wrist band for Max and gave our phone number to the staff in case of the unthinkable. Max promptly took it off and said he wouldn't wear it so I hooked it between the bottom button of his shirt. He wasn't happy about it but it stayed put and gave me a little peace of mind.
I had read that the first 20,000 people to get through the gates would get a free pancake breakfast. I assumed we would be in that number but instead we saw signs everywhere stating that the breakfast was completely sold out! I could feel my hunger and Josh's irritation rising by the minute. It was like the throngs of people were all against us as we fought our way to The Grill which was apparently the only place to buy breakfast if you didn't want to eat a deep-fried Twinkie!
We finally made it to The Grill and the line to get in was already out the door. Josh looked at me and said, "This is my very own definition of hell!" Great! The morning was starting off so well! We decided we need a coffee in order to make it through the breakfast line and headed back to the Chuckwagon Coffee we had passed. We waited in that line for about 5 minutes before realizing that we had forgotten something very important.
Calgary Stampede Tip #1
Yes, there we stood in the Chuckwagon Coffee line. Hungry, hot, desperate for coffee with a debit card in hand. They were cash only. Of course they were cash only, they were a chuckwagon for crying out loud!!! We wearily looked at each other, got out of line and made our way back to the line that was even longer now at The Grill.
You may be wondering if breakfast was at least worth the wait, which brings me to tip #2.
Calgary Stampede Tip #2
Eat breakfast before you get there!
In other words, no, it was not good. It was almost decent but not quite. The coffee was undrinkable but by this time we didn't care, we drank it. The Grill is located right in the entrance of the Agriculture Building which was a perfect place to start our day. Score 1 for The Grill!
We went from breakfast straight on into the Agriculture Building and were greeted by the softest, most velvety little animals that I have ever petted, which brings me to tip #3.
Calgary Stampede Tip #3
Bring hand sanitizer.
Baby animals at the Calgary Stampede!
The miniature donkeys were by far our favorite animals. Very friendly, very little and very soft! They felt like an exquisite mohair or velvet material. We are in love with the miniature donkeys and may have to go back just to pet them one more time! Besides, I wasn't able to get a good picture of them.
Some of the horses and cows were close enough to touch as well but they were a little more skittish. One horse decided to blow hot air, spittle (which included some juicy bits of hay he had been eating) and who knows what else all over Josh and Max. Yes, I laughed but, seriously, bring hand sanitizer!
There is nothing like seeing the wonder on a child's face when they can touch and see animals that are normally in their books about the farm. Max said "Hello" to every animal he saw and touched every one of them that he could. The stress of the morning melted away from us and even Josh couldn't help but enjoy himself. Yes, that brings me to tip #4.
Calgary Stampede Tip #4
Relax, bring a lot of patience and a sense of humor.
Right before we left the Agriculture Building I saw a crowd of people and it looked like they were getting to interact with two cows. Excited, I took Max over and then quickly did a 180 when I saw exposed butts and people getting powdered up. That will scar a kid for life! I, on the other hand, had to go back and check it out! The UofC Veterinary students were demonstrating how a cow is checked for pregnancy. Seriously! The first (fake) cow that they let you check is not pregnant and the second one is. I'm not going to lie, this is mind-blowing. Please go try it! I think I may have missed my calling!
We left the building and went out into the blazing sun. There is not a lot of shade to be found on the grounds so I was very grateful that I remembered to...
Calgary Stampede Tip #5
Bring water and sunscreen!
We spent the rest of the day at the Kids' Midway. We bought 22 tickets for $22 and out of the 26 kids' rides we found 3 where the lines were not too long for a 2 year old to wait in. His very first ride he was allowed to go on by himself and it was so cool to see his expression when the ride started! Josh and I each took him on one more ride and by then we were all exhausted, very hot and a little tired. My final tip is...
Calgary Stampede Tip #6
Leave on a high note.
You know that time of indecision? Should we buy some more tickets and go on a few more rides to make sure we squeeze everything we can out of this experience? Are we too tired yet? Too hungry? Too hot? Don't push it! It's better to know your limits and leave before someone has a melt down. Remember, you still have to walk the distance off the grounds and to wherever you parked before you can start the drive back home.
We left at the perfect time. The whole family happy and ready for a Sunday nap! Thank you, Calgary Stampede, we'll be back!
My Smashburger creation, yum!
Max and I recently went to the opening of a new burger joint in the Royal Oaks neighborhood of Calgary. It's been a little over a week and he is still talking about going back to Smashburger!
This morning he was pretending to drive a truck to Smashburger. I think he was hoping for another pinata full of candy and maybe another face-painting! Obviously, Smashburger made a great impression on him. I'm not a burger person normally but this burger made a great impression on me too. My Junior Smash with Aged Cheddar, Avocado and Haystack Onions was scrumptious!
Even without all the great opening activities, I think he will enjoy going back to Smashburger. They do have fantastic burgers and milkshakes after all, what kid (or adult) could resist that?
What You Should Know About Smashburger
If you haven't yet heard of Smashburger, allow me to break down the facts for you.
1. Smashburger is America's fastest growing, fast-casual "Better Burger" restaurant and is branching into Canada with their first two locations in Calgary.
2. The burgers at Smashburger are made with fresh, never frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef. They are smashed, seared and seasoned on the grill and cooked to order!
3. Each burger is your own creation.
- 4 sizes of burgers
- 4 types of Artisan Buns
- 16 choices of free sauces and toppings
- 6 cheeses
- 8 premium add ons (including my favorite, the haystack onions)
4. Non-burger options include:
- Chicken, grilled or crispy
- 4 salads
- Hot Dogs
- Veggie Burger
- 4 Kids Meals
- 11 sides (including a traditional poutine and a mushroom poutine that are exclusive to the Calgary locations)
- Milkshakes and floats made with MacKay's ice cream
Smashburger's Stampede Burger Battle
In honour of the grand opening of their Royal Oak location, Smashburger asked some of the city's most prominent food bloggers to compete in a Stampede Burger Battle. Dan Clapson
, of Dan's Good Side
, came prepared with a fighter's stance. Gwendolyn Richards
, of Patent & the Pantry
, brought notes that she had prepared the night before. Gabriel Hall
, of Le Voyage Gourmand
, brought his confident and very royal wave (and a t-shirt that said 'I take food and emergencies very seriously!'). Julie Van Rosendaal, of Dinner With Julie
, brought her ringer (her cute and capable son) who brought serious contemplation skills to the table. Last but not least, Pierre Lamielle, of Kitchen Scraps
and Food On Your Shirt
, brought a seriously sexy knife!
Dan Clapson Smashburger Opening Photo Credit Adam Peariso
Julie Van Rosendaal Smashburger Opening Photo Credit Adam Peariso
Gwendolyn Richards Smashburger Opening Photo by Misty Hamel
They brought their games faces and had two minutes to create a burger that would win them a trophy and city-wide foodie bragging rights.
The crowd was on the edge of their seats as sauces were swirled, aoli's mixed, ingredients chopped, and one by one each contestant raised their hands in the air signalling completion. All but two. The countdown started and Dan and Pierre raced to finish, adding their last touches as time was called! Phew!
Gabriel Hall Smashburger Opening Photo Credit Adam Peariso
Pierre Lamielle Smashburger Opening Photo Credit Misty Hamel
Sound exciting? It was! See for yourself in the video below and I would recommend watching 'W', the youngest competitor, as he carefully creates "The Bull"!
How The Contestants Described Their Burgers
Burger Name: South West Zeus
Description: Burger with a 'Greek Goat's Cheese Salad' on top, monetary jack, Dijon ranch aioli, matchstick onions, deep-fried pickles, served with fries and a balsamic Dijon mustard dipping sauce.
Burger Name: The Triple G (Gwendolyn’s Gorgeous Guacamole burger)
Description: Beef burger on egg bun with chipotle mayo, lots of guacamole, bacon, lettuce, tomato and haystack onions.
Burger Name: The 2 a.m. Burger
Description: Chipotle bun, chipotle sauce, raw onions, caramelized onions, jalapenos, haystack onion, rosemary fries, cheddar cheese and chilli.
'W' aka Julie Van Rosendaal's Ringer
2nd Place Winner of Smashburger's Stampede Burger Battle
Burger Name: The Bull
Description: 1 pickle, 1 cucumber, cheddar, spinach, tomato, garlic mushrooms, jalapeno, aged swiss, lettuce, 2 french fries, Smash sauce, BBQ sauce, more cheddar.
1st Place Winner of Smashburger's Stampede Burger Battle
Burger Name: Chili Cheeseburger Fries
Description: Basically it is a burger cut into long strips piled high with cheese, deep fried pickles, and gobs of sloppy chili and crispy fried onions. It has so much salt, it can only be described as sodi-yum!
Calgary's Food Writers present the Stampede Burger Battle. Smashburger Opening Photo Credit Adam Peariso
Pierre Lamielle Smashburger Opening Photo Credit Adam Peariso
Pierra Lamielle's Winning Creation. Smashburger Opening Photo Credit Adam Peariso
So, what do you think? Feel like putting together a winning creation of your own? Check out Smashburger for a location near you and go do it! Tweet me a picture and description and I'll give you a shout out on Twitter!
Speaking of Twitter, you should follow all the great people mentioned in this post.Pierre Lamielle @KitchenScrapsJulie Van Rosendaal @dinnerwithjulieGabriel Hall @voyagegourmandGwendolyn Richards @gwendolynmr Dan Clapson @dansgoodside
The photographer who took the fantastic photos at the event:Adam Peariso @Adamski
Life Capture StudiosLifecapture.ca
The t-shirts worn by Gabriel Hall and Pierre Lamielle can be purchased at Food On Your Shirt
. Tweet them @foodonyourshirt
if you liked the t-shirts seen here!
This wonderful event was coordinated by Robyn Maclean of Brookline Public Relations
. Max and I would both like to say "Great job!" Now go eat a burger!