Ugly Christmas Sweater Party

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Are you stressed out and overworked from all of your Christmas shopping, baking, decorating, and other holiday activities? Bring the fun back into Christmas by checking out the hilarious Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book by Brian Miller, Adam Paulson, and Kevin Wool. It will have you laughing all the way through and by the end you will be much more relaxed and jolly. The book is purported to be a “how-to” book on throwing an ugly Christmas sweater party. There are a few short chapters with party suggestions such as games, music, food and drinks, and awarding prizes. The majority of the “how-to” section is very tongue in cheek, and not intended to be serious suggestions. For instance, there is a particularly humorous section on how to pick out that perfect Christmas sweater. If you want to win the prize for the ugliest sweater, the authors suggest that your sweater must not only be ugly, but also engage the five senses. Some ways to do this are by adding 3D effects, bells or chimes, edible items, and other interactive items such as pinecones or reindeer fur. You could even add some vanilla extract or rub yourself with pine scented air fresheners! The real star of the book, however, is the number of pages of over-the-top ugly Christmas sweaters with hilarious titles and descriptions. It’s a short book, so if you still haven’t gotten enough, check out the authors’ website UglyChristmasSweaterParty.com to peruse more ugly Christmas sweaters.

A Home Transformed By Janet Ulrey Adult Services Librarian

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Our homes are our resting places,as well as our places of family connection. We may think of them as entertainment centers or perhaps ourstop-and-drop places between outside adventures.  No matter how we view them, our homes arevital to us and we want them to be comfortable and well-maintained.  Whether they need to be redecorated,repaired, reorganized, or remodeled, Manhattan Public Library has scores ofsources for ideas to make our homes the best.
Redecorating may involve a changein color scheme, furniture rearrangement, new accessories and wallarrangements, or tossing everything and starting over.  No matter what your decorating desires are, youcan find help to improve your space. There is a wide selection of popular home décor magazines, like Better Homes and Gardens. You can locate color combinations galore in Vinny Lee’s terrificbook, The Colorful Home: Confident andCreative Colour Schemes for Every Room.  Books,such as, Home from the Hardware Store:Transform Everyday Materials into Fabulous Home Furnishings by StephenAntonson, Undecorate, the No-RulesApproach to Interior Design by Christiane Lemieux, or501 Decorating Ideas Under $100 fromBetter Homes and Gardens, are full of ideas to transform your home.  A “home transformed” can become a “homeconformed” to make your daily life a more pleasant experience.   
When it’s time for repairs, youcould spend a fortune by hiring contractors to execute your projects, butthrifty homeowners rely on DIY methods to keep their homes in pristinecondition.  You may need to fix drippyfaucets, window casements, or add insulation, but guidance is readily availableif you’ve the spirit of adventure.  TerryKennedy’s Fix It Before It Breaks andRick Peters’ simply explained Home How-toHandbook can help make your tasks easier. The library also has an excellent set of DVDs, the Positive Home Solutions series, which will guide you through basichome repairs and visual demonstrations. Magazines like Family Handyman andThis Old House are readily availablefor checkout.
Time is of the utmost importance tomost people, and you’re probably no exception. In that case, you no doubt see the need for getting organized.  Using the library’s excellent collection ofbooks on de-cluttering plans to organize your home can save you time to doother things you love—like reading a good book! Consider titles like Joe Provey’s EasyClosets: Affordable Storage Solutions for Everyone or Andrew J. Mellen’s Unstuff Your Life!: Kick the Clutter Habitand Completely Organize Your Life for Good.  The Reader’s Digest Association, longknown for detailed books about home improvement, has an all-in-one title thatmight be perfect for your list of needed improvements.  The FamilyHandyman Best Organizing Solutions is a hefty volume loaded with all kindsof suggestions and diagrams perfect for most households.
What if you’ve an inclination formajor changes?  Resources can make thoseintimidating projects more manageable. John Wagner’s book Drywall givesguidance when adding or removing walls. Books like Candice Olson’s Kitchensand Baths can put a stop to lots of guesswork.  If you are looking to add more living space,Black and Decker’s handy Complete Guide toFinishing Basements: Step-by-Step Projects For Adding Living Space WithoutAdding On can help you expand. Michael Litchfield’s In-Laws, Outlaws,and Granny Flats offers suggestions for transforming one-family dwellingsinto multiple-family housing.
When you want to make changes,don’t wing it!  You can give your home afacelift that is both attractive and more desirable for you with a littleplanning.  And you don’t need to be a traineddecorator to finish tasteful projects. Come to the library and our staff will show you ways to collectappealing ideas!

As We Speak by Peter Meyers and Shann Nix

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Public speaking is a common source of fear and anxiety. It’s certainly not my favorite thing to do, but I also know that there will be times in my life when I will need to make a presentation or speak in front of a larger group of people. I picked up As We Speak: How to Make Your Point and Have it Stick looking for some tips and tricks for writing and presenting speeches effectively. I got exactly what I was looking for in this book.

Meyers and Nix combine their years of experience as presenters and consultants and boil down the most important advice they give about being an effective presenter in to this book. They address how to draw an audience in and keep people’s attention, where to take breaks and encourage interaction, and how to physically present oneself to appear more confident. There are numerous examples of the types of speeches/presentations people frequently hear in meetings and at conferences, along with how the information should have been presented to be most effective. Meyer and Nix also site numerous studies and provide a fairly extensive bibliography for those interested in learning more about how we speak and how we listen.

This is one of those books so packed with useful information that it needs to be read in small chunks and digested properly before going on to a new section. There are exercises and worksheets available on an accompanying website http://standanddelivergroup.com/ and suggestions for how to practice speaking techniques throughout the book.

Ready to Retire?

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With three children in college right now, my retirement plans seem a very long way off. But if you are thinking about retiring and are looking to relocate somewhere new, you might be interested in a new library book America’s 100 Best Places to Retire. Celebrate your leisure days in Celebration, FL–but plan to spend $800,000 on a single family home in this disney-created community. If you enjoy the changing seasons with dramatic scenery in the Great Smokey Mountains, try Waynesville, NC. Ocean County, NJ offers sandy beaches, picturesque seaside towns and lush forests, with single family home median costs at $275,000. Hattiesburg, MS offers friendly people, a “Retirement Connection” that welcomes new retirees to the community and a low cost of living along with lots of southern charm. Lists in this book include the Best Arts Towns, the Best Lake Towns, the Best Budget Towns, the Best Undiscovered Towns and more. Each town has a description with housing costs, climate, taxes, education, health care and contact information. Whether retirement is a long way off and you’d like to visit new communities to compare them or you are ready to retire soon and look for new adventures, this book contains a wealth of information for planning your future.

Celebrate Quilting!

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March 15 is National Quilting Day–a day to celebrate the art of quiltmaking. If you enjoy quilting, Manhattan Public Library has hundreds of books on the subject, from hand quilting to machine sewing and applique. Simple contemporary quilts : bold new designs for the first-time quilter by Valerie Van Arsdale Shrader is a comprehensive introduction to quilting adapting modern, creative ideas and time-saving tips. Essential skills every quilter should know are found in Quilts A to Z : 26 techniques every quilter should know by Linda Causee. For books on other aspects of quilting such as Sashiko, watercolor or strip quilting, check our card catalog or ask at the reference desk.