Monday, September 26, 2016

He fled, then turned around to help

Ramon Lopez was at West 23rd and Sixth Avenue when a pressure cooker bomb exploded in that Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan about 10 days ago. He told USA Today, “It felt like a building was coming down.” 
Adrenaline kicked in, fight or flight. He ran from the blast. 
He only got about a half-block away before reason and compassion took over. Lopez did the right thing. He turned around and ran back to the scene to help. There, he talked to the injured and worked to keep them calm until ambulances and police arrived. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

It's your chance to win!

Who doesn't love a give-away?!

Click here to enter the Goodreads giveaway of my new picture book, Mikey and the Swamp Monster, fully illustrated by graphic designer Michael Rausch. Five print copies are up for grabs in the US.

I can personalize the inscription for the lucky winners.

The little monsters in your life will love this "read-it-again!" favorite, so enter today!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Creative recycling - plastic bags to sleeping mats

You know all those plastic shopping bags that end up in your kitchen drawer? The ones you forget to drop off at the recycling bin at the grocery store? Well, these folks have found a way to recycle them creatively.

The bags can be cut into strips and tied together to make plastic yarn or "plarn." This plarn can then be used as yarn would be, crocheted into items that are strong and resistant to moisture. Pinterest is (of course!) chock-full of ways to use plarn to crochet laundry baskets, sandals, tablecloths, and any number of items. Full instructions, including videos, are available on various websites.

A number of groups have taken to using plarn to help others. This group of women from Second Baptist Church in Union City Tennessee crochets plarn into sleeping mats for the homeless in their community and for flood victims in Louisiana. Another group from the Pittsburgh area has sent them all over the world for use by soldiers. They also make a smaller size for use as sit-upons. This Iowa group has been making the mats at their church since 2013.

Each sleeping mat, about 3 ft. by 6 ft., is made of plarn from over 600 bags. The mats are resistant to moisture, don't attract bugs, and can be rinsed off with a hose or a quick swish in a river. Plus, they're practically indestructible.

Environmentally-friendly AND kind to our fellow man. Win-win!