Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sewing Project for Toddler: Fabric Alphabet

I saw this project on All About Learning Press, although I modified it a bit. I used their letter templates, but since I didn't know where to find quilt batting, I just backed the fabric with felt, and I'm pretty happy with the result.

So, first I printed the letters and cut them out. Honestly, this took a few days.

Then, I tried to find fabric scraps that matched the letter sounds. Honestly, this took a few weeks, and I only matched about half the letters to appropriate fabric, but that wasn't a big deal to me.

Next, I traced the letters onto the fabric and pinned them to a 5 inch square of felt. This whole process took a couple of weeks.

Finally, I sewed along the lines of the traced letters, then cut around the shape with my pinking shears, which I'm still extremely excited about.

To be honest, I'm not finished with this final step yet. When I'm all done I'll clean up the pencil marks, either with an eraser or gentle hand wash.

Why is this project taking forever? Because I'm doing it in 15-30 minute increments after work or on weekends, preferably while Moonpie is otherwise engaged, which is, well, never. I'm not in a rush, though, because she IS still only 14 months old.

I think I might try to finish today, though, because yesterday she brought me her animal alphabet book, which I read about 15 times a day and have memorized, turned to the back page where they list the whole alphabet, pointed at "A", and said "A B D E!" She's a genius, I tell you. A genius.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

English books in Turkey

I love books, but getting books in English here in Turkey is a bit of a challenge. In the US I bought a lot of used books. We do have a Kindle, but I still find it difficult to pay 10-15 bucks for an e-book. I know I can sign up to borrow books on the Kindle, but I'm such a slow reader that I would never finish the books in time. I takes me a good 6 months to read a book. Before you judge, let me say that I'm usually reading 3 books at a time. I don't know why I do this. I just do. Psychoanalyze me if you must.

As far as new books go, there's always Amazon UK or even Ebay UK, although they usually end up costing an arm and a leg because of shipping. A few bookstores here also sell new English books, but, still, the price is pretty steep. Still, it's a nice option to have. For those in Turkey, Remzi Kitabevi seems to have the best selection, and they have stores in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.

On to used bookstores, called "sahaf" in Turkish. There are actually used bookstores with a decent selection of English books here in Izmir, and if I'm just looking for some casual reading, that is the place I go. The books there are usually 3-5 bucks. If you live in Izmir or Ankara, here is a website that lists the used bookstores for those cities: Used bookstores

Now with Moonpie in the picture I'm thinking more about building a children's book library since she won't have access to a real library in English like I did when I was a kid. There is a library of leftover books from the old NATO library in Izmir. It's called Kent Kütüphanesi, and it's located across from the Alsancak train station. However, most of the books there are older (from the 70s and 80s). Still, it's a nice resource to have. Here's a website where you can search their catalog (it's in Turkish).

Enter resource #1 - Better World Books. This is a website that sells new and used books, usually for a slightly higher price than Amazon, but they offer free shipping to anywhere in the world. This is amazing for me. The books take a good month to arrive, but Moonpie usually isn't in a rush, so we've placed a few orders now. To me the slightly higher prices are worth not having to lug suitcases full of books around the world. And as a bonus, they are a "social enterprise", which means your purchase with them also supports literacy initiatives around the world.

And my new favorite resource #2 - This is a Turkish website, so if you don't live in Turkey you'll probably not be very interested. Basically, used bookstores all over Turkey have put their inventory online, and you can order through this website. There are also quite a few English books, and you can use the advanced search option to find them. Not an amazing selection, although I did find five books that I had on my wishlist. Most of the children's books were 3-5 lira, which is about 1-2 dollars, and you'll pay another 5 lira or so on shipping, so it's a pretty good deal all things considered. And again, these are books I now won't have to lug (or ask someone else to lug) from the other side of the world.

If you know of another resource for English books outside of the US or UK, please leave it in the comments!