Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Feb 28

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $2.97, Was $14.95. Save 80%!

Click http://www.chinaberry.com to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Today (2/28/12) Only. Price goes back up tomorrow (2/29/12).

Limit one per customer.

Leonard B. Stern, Creator of Mad Libs, Dies at 88

Friday, June 10th, 2011

By MARGALIT FOX, The New York Times

Leonard B. Stern, an Emmy-winning writer, producer and director for television whose frantic search for an adjective one day led him and a colleague to create Mad Libs, the game that asks players to fill in blanks with designated parts of speech to yield comically ________[adj.] stories, died on Tuesday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 88.

His death, of heart failure, was announced by his publicist, Dale Olson.

As a writer, Mr. Stern received two Emmy Awards, in 1957 for “The Phil Silvers Show” (a k a “Sergeant Bilko”) and in 1967 for “Get Smart,” on which he also served as executive producer.

Like Mr. Stern, Mad Libs — bound tablets of stories with blanks in strategic places — has a show-business pedigree. First marketed in 1958, it was born by way of “The Honeymooners” and introduced on “The Steve Allen Show.”

Mankind has been playing with language for as long as there has been language, and Mad Libs is assuredly not the first game of its ilk. In 2007, NPR reported on an Edwardian precursor called “Revelations of My Friends.” A slim volume published in London, it contained a set of stories, each masked with an overleaf. Players wrote designated words (“Place,” “Colour,” “Well-known person”) through cutouts in the overleaf, then lifted it to reveal the completed story.

But Mad Libs is undoubtedly the first such game to attain wide commercial success. Now comprising 120 volumes, the series has sold more than 150 million copies, according to its publisher, Price Stern Sloan, an imprint of the Penguin Young Readers Group. Since 2008, more than two million Mad Libs apps, which let the game be played on iPhones and iPads, have been downloaded.

A children’s game show based on Mad Libs was broadcast on the Disney Channel in the late 1990s.

Mad Libs was conceived in 1953, when Mr. Stern was writing a script for “The Honeymooners.” As he recounted in interviews afterward, he was casting about for a particular word. His friend Roger Price, a humor writer, happened by.

“I need an adjective,” Mr. Stern said.

Mr. Price obligingly supplied two: “clumsy” and “naked.”

Mr. Stern laughed out loud. The word was intended to describe the nose of Ralph Kramden’s boss.

The men realized they had a commodity. But no one would touch it: Mad Libs was too gamelike for book publishers and too booklike for game manufacturers. So in the late 1950s they published it themselves, storing the first printing — 14,000 copies — in the dining room of Mr. Price’s Manhattan apartment. He ate standing up for the next several months.

By this time, Mr. Stern was a writer for “The Steve Allen Show.” He persuaded Mr. Allen, who adored wordplay, to use Mad Libs to introduce his guests, with audience members furnishing the missing words.

“Steve would ask the audience for a noun, or an adjective,” Mr. Stern told The Washington Post in 1994. “I’ll never forget: ‘And here’s the scintillating Bob Hope, whose theme song is “Thanks for the Communist.” ’ ”

With that, Mad Libs sold ________[adv.], like hotcakes. A friend, Larry Sloan, joined the partners in the early 1960s to form Price Stern Sloan.

Leonard Bernard Stern was born in Manhattan on Dec. 23, 1922, and studied at New York University.

After an early marriage that ended in divorce, he wed Gloria Stroock, an actress. She survives him, as do their children, Michael and Kate Stern; two grandchildren; and a great-grandchild. Mr. Price died in 1990.

Mr. Stern was a creator or co-creator of several television series, including “I’m Dickens, He’s Fenster,” “Run Buddy Run” and “He & She.”

He also created, directed and wrote for the hit Rock Hudson-Susan Saint James series, “McMillan & ________[noun].”

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - May 24

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $3.97, Was $19.95.

Click http://www.chinaberry.com to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Today (5/24/11) Only. Price goes back up tomorrow (5/25/11).

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One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - February 15

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

One-Day Tuesday Mystery Item - Only $4.97, Was $24.95.

Click http://www.chinaberry.com to see today’s specially-discounted item.

Today (2/15/11) Only. Price goes back up tomorrow (2/16/11).

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It’s a boy! And a girl!

Friday, June 18th, 2010

After nine long months of dreaming, planning, building, and decorating, we’re finally ready to announce our big news: Chinaberry had twins!

Meet Jake & Ella, the newest addition to the Chinaberry family. Created by the original Chinaberry kids, Elizabeth and Evan (some of you may remember them from our earlier catalogs way back when), Jake & Ella brings our mission of raising children with love, honesty, and joy to a new generation of discerning parents.

When Chinaberry launched its first catalog almost (gasp!) 30 years ago, our message and values attracted a community of people who were decidedly noncomformist. From vegans to homeschoolers, homesteaders to tree-huggers, our customers back then didn’t exactly swim with the mainstream. But over the years, as “Chinaberry babies” started having babies of their own, we have happily witnessed a slow but meaningful culture shift among parents. “Tree-hugger” is a badge to be worn proudly, and urban-dwellers are planting their own backyard organic farms. “Unschool” play groups are popping up across the country, and everyone seems to be talking about making healthier, more conscious food and lifestyle choices. It would seem, Chinaberry parents, that we’ve all done something right after all.

Now, catering specifically to those with babies and toddlers in their lives, Jake & Ella offers distinctive, sustainable toys, wellness products, and resources for nurturing creative, compassionate children. With a focus on environmental and social responsibility, Jake & Ella draws on three decades of Chinaberry’s experience to help the new generation of parents make natural, conscientious choices for their littlest ones.

Beyond its online boutique, Jake & Ella’s blog and social networks are building a community of unconventional and thoughtful parents, ones who wish to give their children the knowledge and inspiration to make the world a healthier, more wholesome place for all of us. From the latest news in environmental health to alternative thinking on child development, Jake & Ella’s online communities cover topics often ignored by the mainstream but essential in navigating the increasingly complicated business of raising a healthy family today.

Celebrate with us! Stop by our store, peruse our blog, connect with us on Facebook for interesting news bites, special offers, enticing contests, and banter with like-minded people. And if you like what you find, please let your friends know! Now through July 31, 2010, we’re offering a special deal for our Chinaberry family: Spend $50 or more at Jake & Ella and get $10 off your order. Just enter the code CBFAMILY during checkout to receive your discount!

We know you’ll be as smitten with our exciting new bundle of joy as we are…

Sarah’s Silks

Friday, March 12th, 2010

Read about one of our favorite toy-manufacturers, Sarah’s Silks [story by Mike and Sarah Lee]:

The story of our toy-making business is a deeply personal one for us. Our oldest son Josh was in need of many dress-up options as he loved to play pretend. He required lots of pieces of beautifully colored, non-itchy fabric for his games. We found that the options in toy stores were limited and so we began to dye our own silk squares for him to play with, eventually bringing them to market. For 15 years, we have been offering a wide selection of natural fiber dress-ups and toys to stores all over the world and, ultimately, providing families like ours with beautiful, creative toys.

We chose silk as it is a natural fiber and renewable resource. Silk is an ancient product of China. Our silks are hand-hemmed in a small village near Shanghai which we have visited. The seamstresses are in their homes, often sitting in doorways, as their children play nearby. In addition, many of our products are sewn, ironed and packaged by women working in their homes in Sonoma County, CA. Our dyes are non-toxic and the silks are easily hand-washed.

At Sarah’s Silks, we are dedicated to helping create a better world through imaginative play. We believe that simple, open-ended toys are best for growing minds. Developing inner creativity at a young age leads to higher levels of creative thinking in adulthood. When children’s inner creative life is nurtured, they grow into more well-rounded, stronger, and creative contributing members of our society, eager to bring their gifts to the world. We are dedicated to simple, unique and beautiful toys for all of the children of the world. Through our work, we are reminded of the infinite possibilities of play.

We offer quality playsilks, toys and dress-ups for boys and girls between the ages of 3-10, that ignite the imagination, and capture the magical soul that lives in young children.

To see Chinaberry’s full selection of Sarah’s Silks’ products, please go to www.Chinaberry.com and type Sarah’s Silks in the search box.

A Green Halloween: Costumes, Candy, Pumpkins and More

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

By Christine Dell’Amore
National Geographic Green Guide for Everyday Living

The sheer waste of Halloween is enough to make any environmentalist scream. From individually packaged treats to cheap one-time costumes, the holiday is usually anything but sustainable.

“Halloween is a great time to have fun with family and friends but it generates a huge amount of throw-away waste,” Kim McKay, a green-living expert and author of the National Geographic True Green book series, told the Green Guide by email.

So “why not make your Halloween as natural as possible … ?” McKay said.

You can enjoy the holiday in a way that’s less frightful for the Earth with these tips:

Make Homemade Halloween Costumes and Decorations

Homemade Halloween costumes and decorations can both save you money and prevent another witch hat from reaching the landfill. The Center for the New American Dream, a Maryland-based nonprofit that encourages responsible consumerism, compiled this list of conservation-minded costumes…

Read the full article here: http://www.thegreenguide.com/home-garden/holidays/green-halloween

What’s Your Family’s Trademark Song?

Thursday, July 9th, 2009

For some great family/kids songs, buy Nancy Cassidy's Kids Songs CDs.

Nancy Cassidy's Kids Songs CDs

Don’t be afraid to sing to your children. Our culture has become such a culture of experts; we often forget the simple pleasures of just sharing ourselves. We don’t have to know the perfect songs or have the perfect voice. It is the act of singing that our children will come to love. My husband and I often sing lullabies at our children’s bedtime. Our children are equally accepting of my husband’s renditions of ’60s rock tunes as they are of my obscure lullabies. Just pick a song you love and sing. Your children will love you for it. Three of my four children have adored “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” a song we resorted to one time on a long, unhappy car ride. Ever since then, that song has meant comfort to my children. On the worst of days, we can sing this song and be assured it will bring a smile to our children’s faces. Find your own family’s trademark song. These are moments that become treasured memories long after your child is grown.

For some great family/kids songs, check out Nancy Cassidy’s Kids Songs CDs. Listen to sound clips on our website.

Does your family have a “trademark” song? How do you incorporate music into your kids’ lives? Do you sing lullabies to your kids at bedtime? What’s your favorite lullaby?

Give Your Kids the Gift of Boredom this Summer

Monday, June 22nd, 2009

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I don’t recall my parents ever going into a panic because school was out and they had to entertain me. Come to think of it, did any parents in that generation ”entertain” their kids?! Nonetheless, I don’t seem to recall many bouts of boredom. Somehow, I managed to find things to do without a pony, an inflatable bounce house, or anything requiring a microchip.

So why do we parents so often feel the need to be entertainment directors? And since when is ”boredom” a bad thing? Now I’m not condoning letting our kids fend for themselves all day long, but this summer, I’m hoping we parents and grandparents can all just chill a little and not fret so much about the details of what our children are going to do with their free time. It’s summer vacation — not a NASA mission! Let’s take some of the pressure off ourselves and give our children some credit for using their imaginations. Better yet, let’s help them to cultivate it by letting them figure out some of the details themselves!

Something recently happened at our summer photo shoot that serves as a perfect example of this. We had three children for models, and their parents were a little nervous because the children had never met and were supposed to play together and look like they were having the time of their lives with some fairy wands — items the adults had no clue what to ”do” with. Even the photographer asked, ”What will the kids do with these?” I told him I wanted to leave that up to the children. When they arrived, each child chose a wand, and with all of us adults hovering in eager anticipation, they stood in a row like brave little soldiers in front of the photographer. With forced smiles and stiffly held wands, the line-up looked like something from Fort Bragg, as in ”Yes, SIR! Reporting for duty, SIR!” Now I was nervous. One wise mom suggested we walk away and start talking amongst ourselves. Within minutes after the children were left to their own devices, they forgot about us and the photographer, and soon, irresistible peals of laughter began filling the studio. Out of the corner of our eyes, we saw more joyous movement than a passel of puppies with chew toys (see photo above). The photographer laughingly said it was like photographing chaos. Two of the children actually began to cry when it was over. One of them (my grandson!) still asks his mom if he can play with the girls at the photography studio again.

That is the magic that can be found in stepping out of the way and allowing children spontaneous play with open-ended toys. Yes, we adults were close by and available, but we weren’t hovering and orchestrating their every move. Perhaps the ingredients for a really good summer might be to provide our children with playmates from time to time and let them figure out the rest. Give them a few well-chosen toys (cardboard boxes count!), plenty of outdoor time, lots of love, and knock off all the worrying about getting it ”right” as parents. Let’s give ourselves permission this summer to forget the bounce houses, microchips, and ponies and r-e-l-a-x — because isn’t that what summertime is really about?

Get Your Photo on the National Geographic Magazine Cover!

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

Press Release:

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC PUBLISHES SPECIAL COLLECTOR’S EDITION
FEATURING READERS’ PHOTOGRAPHS

Starting June 15, Readers Can Order Customized Version Online
With Their Own Cover Photo

Looking for a unique Father’s Day gift? One that fulfills the fantasy of having a favorite photograph featured on the cover of National Geographic magazine?

This month, National Geographic is publishing a special collector’s edition, National Geographic Your Shot, featuring 101 of the best readers’ photographs submitted to National Geographic magazine over the past three years.

Starting Monday, June 15, readers can create and order a unique, customized cover of this special issue, using a photograph of their choice, by going to ngm.com/your-shot-special. The customized version makes a perfect gift to memorialize a special family snapshot. The custom cover option for National Geographic Your Shot will be available to order, online only, for $19.99 plus shipping. The issue goes on newsstands with a standard cover on Tuesday, June 30, for $10.99.

National Geographic Your Shot includes spectacular images from photography enthusiasts around the world as well as profiles of three of the photographers whose work is included. It is organized into categories that encompass the most popular types of submissions: Ode to Joy; Human Moments; Odd Couples; and Natural Wonders. The 144-page issue, with a trim size of 7″x7″, is supported with advertising from HP, Fuji and Energizer.

Your Shot was originally developed as a Web-based way for National Geographic magazine to reach out to the legions of talented photography fans who dream of getting a photograph published in the magazine. More than 155,000 images have been submitted to National Geographic by readers since the Your Shot feature debuted in March 2006. Each weekday, a photo editor sorts through submissions and chooses a “daily dozen” of the top photographs, which are posted in an online gallery. Online visitors can vote for their favorites, and the top-voted photograph for each month is published in National Geographic magazine, along with the photo editor’s top pick. For more information on how to submit a Your Shot image to National Geographic magazine, go to ngm.com/yourshot.

Click on the photos below to purchase National Geographic books from Chinaberry.