Grateful

This week is focused on things that fill our proverbial cups. Given the circumstances of a pandemic, the pending Thanksgiving holiday may have you feeling more perplexed than appreciative. Travel plans should be halted. Meals should be kept to our personal quarters. Families should stay separate. Nothing is like it was a year ago. Despite our desires to maintain celebration status quo, authorities are leaning in with strict policies to keep us all safe for a joyous 2021. It can all feel suffocating and scary, therefore we focus on the little things that keep our days bright.

Maker Monday in November

We created Shining Stars for Maker Monday this week as a way to celebrate the start of the holiday season. With simple snips and folds of paper, followed by bits of glue, class members began to create intricate decorations to beautify their spaces. Some of you may think origami is too hard to practice. When you have an instructor like Wynn Yarrow, no skill is too difficult to learn. Even in a virtual setting like a Zoom class, she takes time to ensure each student is on par and not rushed. This is how we operate in the library, in all of our classes, but we strive more-so in this virtual world. Some tricks to making these stars seem out of reach at first, but with a smidgen of patience, you feel like a magician transforming flat paper into three dimensional objects.

Shining Stars with Wynn Yarrow

Using origami paper, we started folding several squares of foil papers, gluing them together, and creating a very dimensional star. (see above image: top right) We built upon our skills by manipulating one small square of paper into an ornate element. (see above image: middle and bottom center) This can be hung as a solo element or glued together with multiple elements to devise a larger shining star for your holiday decor. I had fun playing with different color options and look forward to making many more of these stars for gift toppers.

There was a collection of pine-cones I stored in 2019, but never put to use. When I cleaned out the Creation Station, our library makerspace, I rediscovered them and felt the need to make a wreath for a festive approach to winter. There are too many tutorials on the internet for making a pine-cone wreath; it’s hard to decide which one to feature. Whether you use a wire wreath versus a Styrofoam wreath, or floral wire vs. hot glue all boils down to personal preference and perhaps what you have on hand. I am prone to up-cycling and working with what I have, so I went the Styrofoam and hot glue route.

Working with Wreaths

Bleached pine-cone wreaths seem to be the kitsch right now, but just the word bleach gives me hives. I knew I could skirt the fad and still reach similar results without much cost (or dermatitis). I had a small variety of spray paint colors and decided on neutral tones to dress my front door. I prepared two batches of colors, metallic black and matte white, leaving a third batch natural. Then I treated all of the cones with a varnish to shine the surface and seal them from the weather elements. Once the paint prep work was complete, I fired up my trusty hot glue gun and searched for episodes of Portlandia.

Tri-Color Pine-Cone Wreath

The fun part of making a wreath is designing it to your preference or improvising with the materials you have on hand. I used this lovely tutorial from Whitney Baldwin as inspiration, then went rogue per usual. My muted tones are more suitable to my palette. I might add a few fairy lights to make this wreath sparkle. I might even put a bird on it. ❤

Yoga Birds

These happy “birds” flew to their rainbows of success this past weekend. With the support of Jasmine Margreno and her Vibrant Life School of Yoga, there are seven newly dubbed yoga instructors set to soar in this community and beyond! (*Find me smiling- third masked face from the left.) This photo fills me with the utmost gratitude for setting and achieving this personal goal. Corning lost an inspiring yogini this year. Retha Cazel was a close friend and mentor who urged me to follow my dreams. Amid a pandemic, I achieved this lifelong goal and developed new friendships in a time when we are all so very isolated.

Get Fired Up this Thanksgiving

My classmate was gracious to share a Thanksgiving treat with our library. This video was part of our graduation project. Before you start prepping for a full belly tomorrow, join us for a Premiere 75 minute Vinyasa Flow at 8am sharp! Get your body moving so your meal fuels versus flattens you. We all find ways to be creative and stay active. Take a step onto the mat and test this territory. Find a new way to feel Grateful.

That’s a wrap for this stationary moment. I’ll check you on the flip side!

It’s Summertime…

“…and the living is easy.” Despite the lyrics of sweet Ella’s voice, living is UNeasy at this point in history. In the hiatus of this blog, our nation has exploded with a civil rights movement during a pandemic and fear escalates amid the rising temperatures. In attempt to flip the panic, let’s focus on today. June 19 is Juneteenth, “a day to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States.” Our amazing neighbors at Elmira Equal Opportunity Program are hosting their 17th annual celebration with social distancing in mind.

Knitting “Nancy” and Me at Juneteenth, 2016

Traditionally, I attend this wonderful celebration and help teach attendees how to weave. The giant knitting “Nancy” that I commissioned to have built creates large tubing that can hold yoga balls. The process is a historic method of weaving, but the result is an interactive sculpture that guests help make. Once the tubing is long enough, the yoga balls offer a place to relax, bounce, and take in the scenery.

A Weaving Student in Process

I’ll have to miss the event this year, because I will be helping out with reference desk needs at The Annex (find out how the Southeast Steuben County Library is “Unbound, Online and in the Community” on the website for more details). But, YOU can go out and support the community effort. Follow this link to learn out how to honor this day in history with our local community. As we all learn how to talk about race and find a voice to discuss our nation’s legacy and how to improve upon it, I urge everyone to register for this Anti-Racism Training that is FREE and open to the general public through June 30. Although I claim to be able to step up and speak out against racial discrimination, I have found this training extremely beneficial to expand my awareness.

Ernie Davis Park

When you are at the Juneteenth Celebration, take a peek at the playground. That equipment is in need of some upgrades! If you have construction skills or are simply willing to volunteer your time to help in a community build at Ernie Davis Park, the location of Juneteenth, I encourage you to participate. The City of Elmira is working with Play by Design to install customized playground equipment. Come volunteer the week of July 7-12. Three daily shifts available: 8:00AM-12:00PM; 12:30PM-4:30PM; 5:00PM-8:30PM. This is a wonderful way to take action and cultivate the grounds for impressionable youth. You know, it’s all about being the part of change you want to see.

Tomorrow is the Summer Solstice. Welcome the season’s change as we honor the memory of Retha Cazel. Retha passed on June 3, 2020. She was a cherished friend, mentor, and instructor to so many yoga practitioners in our community. To recognize the impact Retha made over the years, the Library wishes to honor her mission to share the joy of yoga with everyone. Start the Solstice with us in reverence of a compassionate yogini. Sunday is International Yoga Day.

This session will be led by Elizabeth Moses, owner of Crystal Heart Yoga. It will be a live streamed event on the library’s Facebook page. If you are unable to attend, the video will be archived here so you can watch it anytime.

Summer, summer, summertime

As time rolls by and change is ever-constant, remember the wise words of the Fresh Prince. We all need to take the “time to sit back and unwind.” Stick around this summer to see the exciting things I have planned. Let’s get creative this season as we practice yoga, garden, sew, learn and explore together.

Be well my Friends.

xo, Erica