Still Workin’

Some days things take longer than others. You know those times, when the internet lags, but all the work you need to do is online with approaching deadlines and then the power goes out. Yep, that’s how these days can feel. Some folks complain about the weather being too hot. Some folks give their opinions over politics. Some of us just keep on truckin’. I find that I’m still working on some ideas and projects that never seem to end. 2020 holds that theme of never-ending. When will Covid-19 “end”? When will the political banter “end”?

The Neverending Story

Perhaps we all need a winsome Luck Dragon like Falkor to take us away from all the woes of the world. OR maybe we can use some creative outlets to break the tension, anxiety and uncertainties. Then, those outlets might allow us to think more clearly and solve the quandaries of today with less quarrel. I allow my creative outlets to produce results that hopefully inspire our readers. Whether in the garden, kitchen, studio, or makerspace, it is my goal to keep us positively motivated. We are all in this time together. Let’s make the best of it!

Seize the Season

One way to make the best of life is to use that which is at hand. BLUEBERRIES are now at hand, or should I say in season at this very moment. I made a beeline to Peek-a-Blueberry Farm in Bath, NY to get my hands full of these azure colored gems. Since our most local berry farm in town is closed due to Covid-19, I had to do some research. If you have never picked your own fruit, promise that you will put this on your bucket list. That sweet farm I found even provides a picking bucket and I overfilled it. With all that abundance I tested a scrumptious Blueberry Lemon Loaf recipe from Isa Does It by Isa Chandra Moskowitz. If you are local to the Southern Tier Library System, please check out the book for all the vegan inspiration. If you are a reader from a far-off universe, test this recipe from V is for Vegetables. This recipe far surpasses the old adage of making lemonade from life’s lemons.

Masks are Lemons

If you read Work with Whatcha Got, this mask was in progress. It certainly has become a Lemony Snicket! I wanted to test a different pattern in an extra large size to compare it to our Face Mask Pattern and Tutorial. I wanted a slouchy effect that felt more like a bandana tied around my head than a close-fitting face mask. This tutorial is one of the most popular on YouTube, so I wanted to give it a whirl. The pattern size is slightly larger than the one Tangled Hangers provided, but after a few tweaks and retries, I struggle with the design. It’s just too big on my face. Dastardly Device! Luckily, the majority of my Work with Whatcha Got ensemble is complete and ready to reveal.

The headband I created out of the excess fabric from the skirt hem. It fits very well and holds down those stray hairs on a hot day. To make a similar one, follow this tutorial and share your creation in the comments. I wanted to accent the tank top with some fabric from the skirt to tie the two together. There was a sheet of paper towel closest at hand, so it became my pattern paper. I creased the paper in the seam gap on the shoulder strap and cut out an abstract shape. The pattern was traced onto the fabric, then pinned in place on the shirt. I decided to alter the shape just before the final application.

Tell me what you think of my work. I enjoy this comfortably cool “new” addition to my wardrobe as much as I enjoyed the journey of upcycling the “lemons” from my closet. Although some parts of the project took longer than expected, it feels great to meet my goal. While we can’t control what comes at us tomorrow, we can Keep Calm and Create.

I’m still working on creating new programs for the (dare I say) Fall season. In the meantime, I have to return to this free (until August 31) Anti-racism Training. There is a lot of work ahead of us. The work begins with you. The work begins with me.

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

Work with Whatcha Got!

Working with What I Have

As a special #SeWednesday treat, we’ve been working with Jesse Beardslee, owner of Themis and Thread . Jesse’s sewing expertise has been guiding our audience on how to Work with Whatcha Got on the Southeast Steuben County Library YouTube channel. I decided to take some of the lessons and put them to use by working with what I have in my home.

Work with Whatcha Got- Upcycled Skirt

Using my creative license, I roughly followed the tutorials. The outfit I assembled needed more alterations to even fit or wear correctly. I worked in reverse order of these tutorials. First, I began with the skirt of my outfit. The skirt is actually the last of our #SeWednesday tutorial series. I invite you to the Premiere of Work with Whatcha Got- Upcycled Skirt on Wednesday, July 30 at 6pm.

Skirt Alteration

The purple skirt I chose from my pile of items to be mended needed nine inches of fabric removed and a hem to make it more comfortable. I am short and long skirts make me feel shorter. In order to wear this skirt with confidence, I put it on and placed a pin at the length I preferred. To give a visual idea of the full length of the skirt, I let my trusty assistant (dress form), “Laverne” try it on. Once I cut off the excess fabric, I also cut the lining and prepared it for a hem. The lining was hemmed 2 inches shorter than the outer fabric, to avoid seeing it. My trusty machine, ‘Nina offered a decorative hem stitch to the outer fabric. The skirt now falls just below my knees and feels much more my style!

Stitched Tank

A tank top I purchased last summer was torn after I washed it! I was inclined to return it to the store, but the time and cost to do so never calculated correctly in my mind. I am frugal. I knew that my time combined with the fossil fuels I would burn to drive 30 minutes in 2 directions cost much more than the value of this shirt. I also knew that my sewing skills could handle this problem lickety-split! I did not know how nervous I was to sew knit fabrics. As Jesse coaches us in the Work with Whatcha Got series, don’t fret knits! Just use a zigzag setting on your sewing machine on a long stitch and go slow. This stitch fix can also be done by hand sewing, but I like to make machines do the hard work. —-Nina is fine with that 🙂

Accessorize

Accessories are key to any outfit. Last week’s #SeWednesday tutorials guided you how to create an Upcycled Belt . I saved the excess skirt fabric to do just that, but also had enough to make a headband, belt, and this newly required, yet fabulous accessory we never anticipated to be required in our lives! Can you guess what I’m making to finish off my style? That’s right, it’s a face mask. We must accept these fashion features in our lives for an uncertain amount of time. Just like scarves, earrings, and hats, face masks are part of our ensembles. Why not have them coordinate? I only used the outer skirt fabric, because it is cotton. We only want to use natural fabrics to breathe through. The polyester lining will be used in the future to make a handbag or cosmetic pouch.

Upcycled Flower Pin

In the last tutorial of the Work with Whatcha Got series, we also learn how to make a fabric flower. Taking the extra skirt fabric and sewing notions, I whipped up an accessory to my outfit. I decided to finish the back with a pin and reinforced backing fabric. Now, I can wear the pin whenever I choose.

Hair Flowers

I had “sew” much fun making that flower, that I found another alternative. By adding a bit of bias tape sewn as a loop, then stitched to the backing fabric, I created a hair accessory. Bobby pins or barrettes will fit in the looped bias tape, holding the fabric flower to your hair style. Check back next week when I reveal my entire ensemble.

Yoga in the Parks

If you missed the news, we have a LIVE AND IN PERSON Yoga in the Parks series this summer. Join Elizabeth Moses of Crystal Heart Yoga every Saturday at 9am for a fresh start to your weekend! The schedule is as follows:

August 1
Caton Park, 1180 Riff Rd, Corning, NY 14830

August 15 and August 22
Hornby Park, Kerrick Hollow Road, Corning, NY 14830

August 29 and September 5
Lindley Little League Ballfield, 9136 Presho School Rd, Painted Post, NY 14870

Top Secret!

As we aim to stay active and creative, I’ve been exploring our region. Treasure awaits you! There is a secret I am developing. This might be a clue. I dare you to guess. You might want to register in the game now, before it’s released at the end of August…

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

Earth Day 2020

be kind

In a world where you can be anything, be kind. That is the prevailing message that resides with me during this healing time for Earth’s homo sapiens. I admit I miss my regular pizza haunt for my daily slice. I love seeing the speed of service, the art of the sale. As I took a stroll down Market Street to check on the art mural at Volo, the creative message above struck me as golden.

Refreshed Mural

The progress of this community art mural is impressive. It was refreshed on Sunday, April 19. Scroll through the images here to see artists in process. Notice the N-95 mask on our central hero. See Covid-19 get Blown Away in the Glory Hole (ironically the name of the last establishment at this address). Can you spy Little Joe? Credit goes out to the artists who started this mural in motion- @kevinarts, @krazinski_b_art, and my friend @aswannamedemily. If you get the itch, go down to fill in the spaces! Gratitude to the Dude behind the idea–and to the Gaffer District for letting him do this for our community.

Mask Maker

Since the CDC recommended wearing face masks in public, and New York State’s face covering mandate, my studio is a Mask Making Factory. I make batches as time allows, but more creative endeavors and outdoor adventures have been calling. Thank goodness we got a reprieve from snow!

Celebrating Planet eARTh

With the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day this week, my family took advantage of warm and dry weather to get lost in the woods of the Finger Lakes Forest. We celebrated Mother Earth with a geocaching adventure and found some negative ions along the way. The loot we found in the treasure box was quite an appropriate reminder of how extra important our medical services are at this moment in history.

Get Lost and Geocache

A walk in the woods was the right medicine to refresh my spirit to learn a new skill. I decided take the virtual-library-program-video challenge. Some of our programmers are offering ways to entertain us online with story times and science experiments, but I admit the camera gives me the jitters! Cheers to all the divas and dudes rocking our video instruction and entertainment worlds right now. The challenge is REAL. Facing a still camera, while pretending to speak to a room full of patrons has been a beast I’ve delayed slaying…until NOW.

Earth Day Seed Bombs Premiere on YouTube

Join me on Earth Day, April 22 at 4pm EST on our YouTube channel to learn how to make Seed Bombs and Infused Paper. If you have never made or received seed infused paper, this is a fun tutorial. Most of us have the supplies at home and there is little to no cost to participate. I recycled shredded junk mail and some tissue paper to create lovely paper and handmade gifts. I’m getting excited by the possibilities of these videos. Check in again on Monday, April 27 at 4pm for my Chunky Knit Planter tutorial. If you have any requests, place your video suggestions in the comments for future installments.

Seed Bombs and Infused Paper Samples

While the world is recognizing the requirement to Shelter in Place, all live art events and music festivals are cancelled. Still, artists are finding ways to express themselves on internet platforms. Earth Day Art Model is a telematic art festival where art and technology meet online. This project will begin at 8pm on April 21 (TONIGHT) and run for 24 hours. I am certainly intrigued!

Homemade Suet Bird Feeder

Whether you celebrate Earth Day 2020 by planting trees and seeds or even by feeding seeds to the birds, honor the moment on the only home planet we know. I think this world is quite beautiful. I find it more so when my feathered neighbors flock the feeders to nibble on my homemade suet blocks, filling the yard with color and excitement. Tell me how you choose to cultivate your Mother Earth. Be well, my friends, and Be Kind. ❤

World Art Day

Mindy the Mask Maker ” design by Toby Maurer, https://thebrandinghouse.com/

I’m back from the Face-Mask-Sewing Trenches (needed to give my back a break)! Are you as grateful for the FREE YOGA SESSIONS each Friday morning at 10am with Elizabeth Moses as I am? To seamsters around the world pressing pedals to the floor to protect their community members, we are ever-grateful for your spirit. My studio hummed all week with over 50 masks made by this Factory-of-One in the style of Tangled Hangers.

While we are all busy figuring out time in this parallel universe, ART still surges! In 2020, April 15 is no longer Tax Day. According to UNESCO, April 15 is WORLD ART DAY. World Art Day, a celebration to promote the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art, was proclaimed at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019. Considering this revelation, now is a great time to share this amazing contest to all the mask makers out there.

Contest details at https://woobox.com/ink6fa

Deadline to enter your submission is April 26. Please let me know if you enter. (May the Force Be With You!) < > All my upcycled and wearable art friends out there will appreciate this offering from Nancy Judd at Recycle Runway. Click that link to find interactive art classes from the artist directly. These classes are perfect for any parents who are now learning to homeschool. They are also fantastic for any adult who needs a little guidance to find their own creative wave.

Watch the tutorial with Filomena Jack Studio!

In case you haven’t checked the Southeast Steuben County Library calendar of events, my bunny painting is a sample of what you can make from a Virtual Bunny Painting class with Filomena Jack. Click that link so you can follow along with the video and make your own art for World Art Day- or any day!

Crafting with Kimberly: Bunny Gnomes

Kimberly Canale helped us get festive for Easter with a Bunny Gnome tutorial. If you love crafting, but have few store-bought elements, Fear NOT! Kimberly shows you how to upcycle ordinary household items into unique creations. Follow her video for full instruction on making the gnome seen above.

PPE Volunteers at CCLD

Our library friends at CCLD Makerspace are busy making PPE for hostpital staff in the Southern Tier. I always say they have the coolest tools! This pandemic is proving the power of compassion and community dedication behind the tools. If you have time to get involved, please fill out their volunteer application.

Celbrate 50 Years of eARTh Day on April 22!

Next week is the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day. There are so many ways to honor the only home we know. Find ways to Take Action on the Earth Day website. Upcycling is my favorite means of creating and a great way to take action to save our planet. Watch my tutorial on making Seed Bombs and Seed infused paper from junk mail on eARTh day, April 22 at 4pm. Subscribe to the Southeast Steuben County Library YouTube channel. Find the link to my Earth Day Seed Bombs video premiere (link available on April 20) so we can have a Watch Party!

or take a walk down Market Street

I understand all this isolation has us itching to get out and enjoy the fresh air. That’s the wonder of this internet thing and video channels. They have your back when you’ve nothing better to do. When the weather is on your side, I prescribe a Tech Vacay and stroll down Market Street. Enjoy this expanding mural outside of Volo. Find other #art out there. Share with me later–post with #CreationStation to spread the L.O.V.E. Get outside, Keep creating, Stay Golden. ❤

Face Masks Forward

It’s SeWednesday–or is it?! *** Covid-19 is taking over our lives, but I thought another kind of takeover would be more fun. I invited Tangled Hangers Designs to takeover our blog for the day. She’s been busy in her studio sewing face masks for our community, but made time to offer a Face Mask Tutorial. She included a little video and provided the pattern. Her design includes five size options, as well as a pocket to insert a filtration fabric. Reports change daily on the value of a face mask, but a unified stance has risen in the maker community. Supplies will be provided to the front line if they must be stitched in every home in the United States. We are all in this together. Without further ado, let’s get by with a little help from our #FLX friends.

Ha! It’s not Wednesday (or maybe it is??), but watch for more #SeWednesday installments for sewing instruction and exploration. Tell us if you are making face masks or helping #ProtectTheFrontline in other ways. Show us your results if you sew-along with this tutorial. Tune in today at 4pm for a Watch Party on the Southeast Steuben County Library YouTube channel to see the creator at work. The video will be available for future reference. ❤ Read Creation Stationary, but don’t be a stationary creator. Get making!

Covid-19 Craftivism

This week in Covid-19 Craftivism, we focus on ventilators, face shields, and protective masks. Homemade manufacturing is on the rise. I’ve curated samples of how the stewards of art studios and craft rooms are stepping up to help the front line.

Joshua McMenamin makes ventilator splitters.

Ventilators are the breathing aides that are in critical demand. These machines provide the mechanization of breathing air into the lungs of a patient. Glassblowers, like Josh McMenamin of Orbital Glass in Colorado, are offering their skills to the medical field by creating glass ventilator splitters. These devices can split the air delivery of a single machine to provide ventilation for up to four patients. While providing one ventilator for each patient is ideal to offer adequate oxygen intake per individual, having alternatives to support life is of utmost value in this crisis. This technique of splitting air supply has not been tested on humans, but offers an option to sustain more lives. This fourteen year old study provides more information on this option. If one machine can help up to four patients, this can aide in the most dire situations.

Zaragoza Maker Space Face Shield

Friends from around the world connect with me daily to share the newest maker information. We find 3-D printing communities participating in medical supply aid for Covid-19. Zaragoza Maker Space in Zaragoza, Spain has provided printing files to produce protective visors with 3-D printers. Bot Camp has another version of a healthcare face shield. Using 3-ring binder plastic sheets, a barrier of protection is made available to emergency and medical professionals. Makers who are preparing these items are urged to share their progress on social media with the hashtag #coronavirusmakers.

Face Mask Perspective from New York Times

If you followed any social media over the past few days, face mask shortage is the constant conversation. Last night, Arnot Health put out a call to local news outlets asking for makers to sew protective face masks. Sewists everywhere are revving up their sewing machines with another facet of making for the medical field in our country. Solidarity to protect our medical and emergency personnel has risen the frenzy to make face masks regardless of the implications that they offer no value of protection. After countless communications with friends and family in the emergency medical fields, the idea that our country has been depleted of a simple personal protective elements is absurd. Making these items out of fabric seems even more ridiculous, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

Jennifer Maker offers Cricut Face Mask Tutorials.

If you own a Cricut precision die cut machine, or have the inclination to make these masks with a paper pattern, Jennifer Maker provides a perfect tutorial. This variation includes a pocket to insert a HEPA filtration fabric, which is the only way to protect from vapor inhalation. These masks are not medically approved, but offer a stop-gap at the very minimum. They also provide peace-of-mind, but that is a false sense of peace. This is what local manufacturing looks like and may continue to grow. As mass production has been sent overseas in cost-saving efforts, capitalism is proving to be a failing financial model for sustainability. Art and making continue to prove valuable to every community.

Bed-In for Peace

All of this stewardship is impressive, but I have this need for peace. I find a need for more personal time and am taking life at a slower pace. My favorite radio station, WFMU reminded me of a seemingly simpler time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono. I would love to have a moment of peace from all the fear. Let’s trust in abundance and focus that everything is going to be alright. Let’s put fears aside and see how a simple Bed-In can help us all to Keep Calm. It’s always hopeful to think we can Give Peace a Chance.