President’s Day

The speed of time allowed the day for LOVE to come and go with the beat of a heart. I created this little Heart Shaped Pot Holder sewing tutorial as part of the library’s YouTube channel options. Lots of folks are interested in learning to sew and often seek some inspiration. Thanks to Craftsy, I transformed their written instructions into a visual tutorial. If you lack a sewing machine, take one of ours for a test drive. The Southeast Steuben County Library has several sewing machines to borrow!

Sew Wednesday sewing tutorial

The Southeast Steuben County Library is sponsoring several events with SUNY Corning Community College this month. We celebrated the art of glass maker, Chris Day on February 9, which was really fun since Chris lives in the United Kingdom. This Virtual Life is offering unique options for engagement. View Alice’s Ordinary People tonight as part of the library’s two-part event. Before you hit part two of this event tomorrow, catch this discussion with athlete, author and activist, Etan Thomas on February 16 at 6pm on Zoom. This #BlackHistoryMonth presentation is lead by SUNY Corning Community College. Register to engage with the conversation or tune in Facebook Live to watch the presentation.

If you have a hankering for handmade books, register today for Maker Mondays: Book Lover’s Creativity Class with Filomena Jack on February 22 at 4:30pm. Filomena will lead students through the process of making 4 types of experimental books. This class will take place via Zoom. Register for the class, pick up supplies at the Southeast Steuben Count Library. You will receive a link to sign in to the class and enjoy this virtual offering. Filomena is the Star Maker in March once again with a Faux Watercolor Painting technique. You just might want to register today for the excitement.

Register to Make with Us!

Take and Make project kits are returning this Saturday, February 20. Artist Wynn Yarrow created a variety of kits for each person to take a pack and create their own individual work of art. Each kit contains felt, threads, a needle, and beads in a selection of colors. Wynn gave me a pin as a gift. The image below is an example of what you can make. Pick up a pack at the Sanitation Station starting Saturday until supplies deplete. ❤

Take & Make Felt Pins

March and the next Kitsch and Kvetch are really right around the corner. March is National Craft Month, so we have a two-fer for ya.The next session craft club session is on March 2 at 6:30pm where we will collage photographs onto ceramic tiles creating Photo Coasters. These objects become useful home decor and make lovely gifts. If you’ve got an itchin’ for stitchin’, register for the second Kitsch and Kvetch on March 16 where we will Crochet Water Bottle Holders. Each registrant will receive a 3D printed crochet hook and enough yarn to make the project.

Register Here

That’s enough of a breakdown of the month on this snowy President’s Day holiday. Stay safe out there!

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

Technical Difficulty

Glitches!

Technical difficulties are glitches we experience and eventually fix. Whether digital, electrical, or even even in the body/ mind/ spirit capacity- things can go awry anytime. Within just 26 days of entry into 2021 the Nation’s Capitol was attacked, our library website crashed, Covid-19 reached our staff and closed the library, and my hand decided to stop working for what we’ll call a Hot Minute (comparable to my anticipated lifespan). Yet, the the earth continued to rotate in the vast expanse of our galaxy. The natural rhythm of life inevitably returns to a pace we can tolerate with less anxiety, but perhaps more awareness and courage.

While most of our minds are still reeling from that Doomsday of January 6, we can also appreciate the effect of law and order to withhold the election results and provide a new administration to help steer this country into a positive realm. The challenge is grand, but each of us holds a duty to put our hands to use to build the peaceful society that each of us deserves. I am looking to the newly elected officials as the Makers of America and checking how I can fit in as a new color to this rainbow of hope.

Click Here to Register

The website difficulty that reared its ugly head last week became part of a multi-fold situation where all program registration forms were not available on the webpages, then Covid-19 hit our staff and the library closed for the week, so classes needed to be postponed. While our staff numbers return to a required quantity to provide the stellar services we offer, the library is closed, but Curbside pick up is still an option. With every technical difficulty discovered, there is a key to resolving the problem. Luckily we have a graphic guru who fixed our website and now registration for programs can continue with ease. Maker Mondays is rescheduled for February 1. Register today to make a spectacular swivel card with Wynn Yarrow on Zoom.

Kvetching over Cancellations

My wrapped hand (seen above) is part of a tendon problem that many Makers and typists experience. With the proper care, rest, and rehabilitation, I should be able to stitch, cut, sew, and create to my heart’s content in a few more weeks. Until then, the new craft club, Kitsch and Kvetch is canceled in February. We would have learned how to crochet granny squares together, but that plan is on the back burner until March. In place of the canceled class, stay tuned to the Southeast Steuben County Library’s YouTube channel where the latest Cricut tutorial will drop on February 2. If you missed the first Kitsch and Kvetch, this video will be a rerun to catch up on what you missed! We meet again on March 2 to create Photo Coasters using ceramic tiles, printed photographs, and lots of glue.

Repair that Technical Difficulty

My first Sew Wednesday was a personal lesson in patience and acceptance. I actually began this blog post the night of January 13, while waiting for large files to upload, download, and do-si-do. This age of online experience is a constant learning curve, but a valuable challenge. While I juggled recording devices, focusing on close-up footage, editing the video, and relying on country WiFi to work like broadband, time ticked away. This little ditty finally published late in the evening, but the final product also needed to be adjusted. Luckily, the lessons of patience and acceptance rose to the occasion. A few snips and new stitches of thread resolved my quandary of poor execution. The Travel Pincushion tutorial is a great project for beginner and advanced sewists alike. Holler atcha girl if you give it a whirl.

Pizza from the Valley

January is National Hobby Month! For those intent in adding a new hobby to their year,  the options are limitless. If you like cooking, our old Urban Corning friend, Myles Lasco lives on the west coast, but longs for the flavors of the Twin Tiers. Follow along with Myles as he interprets his own copy cat recipes of some regional favorites. If you’ve ever tasted a Mangialardo’s Pizza and had a craving to mimic it at home, follow this tutorial for an entertaining approach to this famous pie. You can even use the dough to make some hoagie rolls.

Perhaps glass blowing is your aspiration; Corning is the Crystal City after all. If you are a Netflix subscriber, watch and cheer on local female glassblower, Cat Burns. She proves her skills on screen and will teach you the same. Sign up as a student for her classes at The Corning Museum of Glass. 

Viewing Art Exhibitions

If viewing more art exhibitions is on your hobby list, take a down Market Street from the library to the galleries. Our community partners, The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes have work on exhibit by local freelance artist, Julie Waltz-Stalker. If your location limits you from strolling the streets of Corning, visit this virtual gallery. Photo credit: Chris Walters Photography.

V O L U N T E E R !

A hobby like volunteering can be cherished in your community. I want to send a big SHOUT OUT to our long-time volunteer extraordinaire, Mary Ann Thomas ! ❤ Personal service and dedication like hers is admirable and infectious. Read more about this big check she shared with our library in the FHFCU Blog. It looks like our new neighbors and friends are helping make positive change happen in our small community. Much gratitude, Mary Ann and First Heritage!

Bernie’s Mittens!

As the passing of time proves, there is a moment for everything. I truly appreciated this weekend’s lighthearted moment of Bernie’s Mittens Memes. After so many glitches this month, it was a joy to find this Easter Egg in the archives of ReCouture, a fashion show to benefit The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. Upcylcled trash is transformed into wearable art on the runway, but Bernie’s upcycled mittens have Stolen the Show.

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

Heavy Holidays

Have the holidays left you feeling Heavy? Celebrations occurred in varying capacities of comfort these past few weeks. Some folks met virtually, while some continued long-standing traditions of holiday splendor. Family gatherings may have been outside with blankets and face coverings, a very unusual experience from previous years. Or–nothing may have changed–traditions met regardless of external restrictions. However you celebrate, or skip, the holiday season, there are many ways to enter to the new year feeling Heavy.

Be it with excessive snacks and high caloric bevvies or with family turmoil highlighting hidden anxieties, the spectrum of Holiday Heavy is as broad as the spectrum of light. Individuals are just like snowflakes- unique and one-of-a-kind. We want to flit about, fly and gather- to be jovial, but the Covid turmoil gripping the globe, consistent political poo-poo, and weight of the effects of governments’ decisions on each of us personally are piling the issues like a blizzard. This weight can make it hard to feel light.

Santa’s Elves to the Rescue

Enter the magical elves of the season to keep things Merry and Bright. If a Scrooge Spirit left you feeling Ho-Hum, there is still time to let Santa’s Toyland shine away the sour. This magnificent gem located at 1174 Red School Road in Caton, NY is a Maker’s Delight. It is a VIBRANT LIGHT spectacular that is a local tradition since 1999. The couple behind this magical scene put their heart and soul into these handmade creations and possibly their entire life saving’s into their electric bill annually to serve our desires. Besides this sweet secret location being within a pebble’s throw from my home quarters, it is offered FREE to the public. Just drive by this country home between the hours of 5:30 and 10:30pm now through New Year’s Eve to see this spectacle for yourself. If you are too distant to see this in person or just want to share it virtually, check out my drive-by video below. This is how we celebrate Christmas Eve in Caton.

In Case You Can’t Visit

While the wet weather washed away our White Christmas, these lights truly sparked the holiday spirit for my family. It is endearing to know how a simple (those lights are not simple!!) gesture can make so many hearts glow. The Creation Station Crew’s gesture – 12 Days of Giving Crafts also sparked many hearts in our community. The Take and Make kits we created flew off our Welcome table as quickly as we could offer them. We are as grateful as the recipients to spread the joy and good cheer. One young Maker in particular found a Friend with Booker the Reindeer. His mom received the last of these 3D printed cuties and we couldn’t be more pleased to see the joyful connection these two have created.

Booker Being Painted

The Air-Dry Clay star project I created finally found its finish line. After working with each star with much patience to create a metal surface effect, they were strung on fishing line/ monofilament and knotted through holes in sticks that were varnished. The final product is rustic, yet elegant. I love the way each star seems to dance in mid-air as they catch a draft from the heater or someone passing. Kinetic art in simple status.

Simple Stars

That background is certainly wretched, but this elf was hustling to finish the projects for Santa’s sleigh. Later in 2021, we’ll discuss photography and quality backgrounds. Those wrinkles and fuzz, low-light and blur are all examples of what-not-to-do. What you should do is register today for the first Kitsch and Kvetch class slated for Tuesday, January 5 at 6:30pm. We will walk through the basics of Cricut Design Space. I’ll source a sweet iron-on decal for you to create on your own. Then, just arrange a time to cut it out at the library. The process is quick and fun. Whether you have design skills, but never used a Cricut precision cutter or have no idea what this means, but you desire some “Me Time,” register with this link and get prepared for a fun evening.

Grow a Grogu

“Such a large bounty for such a small package”. – The Client ❤ If you got hooked on The Mandalorian or just love a little green Jedi with wide ears, this cute model just might be your ticket to the Creation Station Makerspace. We are filling requests to print The Child, also known as Grogu. This model will fit an Echo Dot 3 and looks out-of-this-world when you communicate with Alexa. These babies take a whole day to grow, so warp-speed your requests before Empire Strikes Back.

Ball Drop or Cake Pop

While the Times Square Ball Drop (Google search that line, it’s fun!) might look mildly different this year, it is with heavy heart to relay that my absolute favorite holiday is canceled. Some of you think of January 1 as New Year’s Day. To this Philly Girl, January 1 is and always will be Mummers Day. The tradition is strong in my home where we’ve religiously snuggled in front of the television, even braved the frigid temperatures on Broad Street- followed by the real Parade on 2 Street a few times, to enjoy hours of costumes, dance, and merriment to signify the start of a new year. While I know Philly goes rogue and no one can tell a Mummer what to do, Protest Parades will still occur, just not televised for those of us stuck in Upstate New York. Instead of watching Mr. Mummer or viewing the glow of Waterford Crystal, I’ll make a ball (or several) and eat some emotions as I welcome the new year and bid adieu to 2020. Just think, this new century will be of legal age to drink. Twenty One, here we come!

Make Mummers Part of Your Day

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

Ps. Happy Cold Moon! Get outside and look up. The skies are clear for a change in Corning. ❤

12 Days of Giving Crafts

Christmas Bells

We started the Twelve Days of Giving Crafts on 12/12 to boost the holiday spirit. I have been collecting leftover class materials from the year and packaging them as Take and Make project kits for patrons to share or enjoy at home. The Christmas Bells rang in this idea and became a popular feature at our welcome station in the Southeast Steuben County Library. Keep your eyes peeled for this special treat basket on your next visit inside the building. Take one kit to use or pass it along as a gift. Be sure to tag us @ssclibrary on social media and mention #CreationStation ❤

None of Your Beeswax

Beeswax Fabric Wraps have become very popular way to swap out plastic wrap and stay environmentally conscious. This was an in-demand class before the pandemic hit, and one of our last in-person classes hosted inside the building. The surplus of supplies are now packaged sweetly for your enjoyment. There are tons of lovely tutorials to follow. My favorite is from Crafty Patti and I based all of the instructions and ratios using this tutorial. The wraps you create are reusable for many months, and can be refreshed with more beeswax, pine resin, and jojoba oil when necessary.

Take and Make one today!

Another package of Take and Make kits I just released are Air-Dry Clay Star sets. I 3D printed star cookie cutters, rolled out the clay to a thin layer, cut out the stars in various sizes, then poked a hole in a point of each star so it can be hung. After allowing the clay to get leathery, I pressed lace onto the surface for a patterned texture.

Stars and Lace

After allowing these stars to dry completely on a flat surface for several days, they can be painted or sealed. I recommend acrylic paint with very little water. Perhaps my clay was not dry enough, but in experimenting with surface patterning, the clay started to mix with the pigment. I decided that abquick application of paint with low water content and minimal touching of the surface gives best results. If the weather were warmer, I would have taken a quick cover approach with spray paint.

Surface and Texture

I’ll work with these stars for awhile longer until I reach a finish that suits my style. I am aiming for a shiny, yet antiqued appearance. These stars will be strung and hung on a sturdy branch as rustic decor. I was inspired by this cute craft from Think Make Share, but wanted to experiment with a medium other than paper. The results will be revealed next week.

New Progamming

First Tuesdays from 6:30-8pm will be your new favorite time in the new year. Join our modern take on a crafting club where we create the latest trend and learn to make all the things. Snacks to nosh and adult bevies are optional! Sling your hot glue guns and wield your crochet hooks, it’s going to be a fun venture. Supply suggestions will be provided. Participants will collect materials at the library.

by the Chimney with Care

The stockings are hung by our chimney with care. If you want to make a stocking like the ones above, follow this link for a detailed tutorial. For our friends interested in sewing, I have a new addition coming to the 2021 library’s activities calendar. Sew Wednesdays will be every SWOM (Second Wednesday of the Month). These sewing tutorials will premiere on the library YouTube channel at 7pm. Grab your notebooks and a bowl of popcorn as we walk you through the process. Stitch up a sweet project each month following along with a tutorial from the Creation Station. Remember, the library has sewing machines you can borrow to use at home! Mark your calendars for January 13 where we will make Travel Pincushions.

More new programs will be popping up soon, but don’t be shy! If you have a suggestion for a class or request a specific Take and Make, drop a comment or email. We look forward to hearing from our followers.

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

Advent

Traditionally Advent is a season, November 29 to December 24, and holds loads of religious significance. An advent is the arrival of something. All religion aside, there are many seasons and reasons to countdown and perhaps celebrate. While the holiday season is upon us, and there are many cultures to consider, we often focus on Christmas. Whether you recognize the birth of Christ, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Yule, the festivals of light have arrived and what better way to prepare than with lots of stars to brighten the long nights? I took to the trusty Cricut precision cutting machine to whip up an advent calendar of sparkling stars that can also be used as gift packages. This project builds upon the origami skills we gained in the Shining Stars class for Maker Monday in November.

Sparkle and Shine

The Southeast Steuben County Library makerspace, Creation Station hosts a Cricut Explore Air and all of the materials one needs to complete this Origami Star Advent Calendar. We have a subscription to Cricut Access, which can only be used in the makerspace, but you can complete these stars with good old-fashioned scissors and origami skills. After running through the process, I would even suggest using origami paper and following the tutorial provided later in this blog. There are some downfalls to the Cricut system that bug me, so I want to give you the heads up on how to proceed with the best success. This project creates twenty four paper stars that can hold a small prize, message, or cash. I took advantage of an extra star to personalize a gift for a relative, then hung it on the tree seen above. (Yes, that is our Jade plant decorated like a Christmas tree! Eclectic we be.)

Thinner Paper Suggested

Although Cricut offers lovely project ideas, their provided instructions lack in many ways. I often feel I am cutting paper or vinyl without a clear view of the steps to the final process. There have been several times when following a project in their design suite, that I have to research better instructions elsewhere in the internet. This project proved to be a prime example. If you search “Advent” in Cricut Design Space, this project pops up in the results. I highly recommend using a thin card stock or paper to construct these. I used thicker card stock, but the folds were tough to crease and the layers of the paper started to peel apart. This is apparent in sharp corners, like the brown star seen above.

The Countdown

I sourced this YouTube video to instruct the proper folding method to achieve these stars. Follow that link to find the best tutorial to guide you to success. A little patience goes a long way. Silver stickers I have had forever were perfect to adhere to the back of each star. I cut numbers to create the count down using adhesive vinyl. A punched hole and fishing line make these stars visually float, since the filament is clear. Add an ornament hook and you’re all set. Hanging these stars in a window on a curtain rod proved to be the most simple approach and festive touch to my holiday decor. I hope you give this project a try. Reach out if you want to learn how to use the Cricut in the Creation Station!

Booker the Reindeer

The Creation Station is starting to provide Take and Make project kits to our patrons. We currently have a daily raffle to win a 3D printed Booker the Reindeer. This model can be found on Thingiverse and printed upon request if you mention this blog post. If you want to enter the daily drawing, follow this link to enter. Each kit comes with an articulated reindeer, sandpaper to smooth the model, acrylic paints, and a brush. If you are a lucky recipient, please share your creation with us on social media. Tag the library @ssclibrary and use #creationstation. We can’t wait to see our fleet of reindeer out in the community!

Christmas Scene

If you happen to stroll through the library this month, take a peek at the Christmas Scene on display near the circulation desk. This project was a labor of love, also made with the aide of the Circut. This paper-craft takes lots of patience and dedication, but has provided a festive scene for several years. If I were to make this again, I would use an archival glue recommended by paper-craft artisans. Some layers of paper are starting to pull apart, but a little dab of Elmer’s glue stick is a quick fix. This scene easily stores in a shoe box and is actually living its fifth season in our care. Give a comment if your family has a paper Christmas Scene passed down through the generations. HOLLER if you are another crazy-crafter who made that scene above!!!

Ringing in the Spirit

As we wind down the year-we-never-could-have-imagined, there is a sweet suggestion spreading on social media. At 6pm on Christmas Eve, assuming Eastern Time, it is suggested to ring a bell for 2 minutes to spread the Christmas Spirit. My family has traditionally banged pots and pans outside around the house on New Year’s Eve. This bell ringing is likely a new addition to our tradition. Have you found this suggestion in your scrolling? Does it also intrigue you? Let us know if you celebrate with bells or lights or other unique ways to make the season bright. Stories unite us and create the blankets that keep us cozy through the long winter. We always look forward to hearing from you. ❤

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

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!

I Wet My Plants

The news over the weekend resulted in lots of Americans shaking their tailfeathers.Talk about Dancing in the Streets! The news was so exciting, some of us might have even wet our plants 😛

As we turn the page of this epic election, we focus on the holiday season. That silly quote and image inspired me to “borrow” the idea and dissect it to teach in a program. ‘Tis the gift-making-season and lots of us can settle our nerves by transforming into Crafting Elves.

While I can’t give credit to the original maker of this adorable project, I can guide you to create one just like this. Give a shout if you want to play along. I’ll find a date to create and we’ll Zoom through the tutorial.

Creature Comforts

We Zoomed in October. Just a few weeks ago, we made Clay Birds with Wynn Yarrow for our monthly installment of Maker Monday. Using air-dry clay, round a ball of clay, then hollow it like making a pinch pot. Form a head and body, then create texture on the surface. I like to believe mine is a strong E.A.G.L.E….(oops!…Philly girl, here) or a Phoenix, similar to Fawkes in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. If you would like to experiment with this process, there are still packs of clay and instructions to pick up at the library. To create one of your own comfort creatures, just send me a message or comment and I’ll set aside a Take and Make kit just for you. Remember: the Southeast Steuben County Library offers Curbside Pickup for your convenience.

Register Today for Shining Stars

The next Maker Monday is on November 23 from 4:30 to 6pm. Click here to register. If you miss the event, but wish to join at a later time, I can help make that possible. This project will surely brighten the dark days of the Ember Months. These might deck your holiday decor with handmade flair. If you wanted to make a galaxy of these stars, you can schedule an appointment to use the Cricut precision cutter in the makerspace, Creation Station.

As we creep into the colder season and are still forced to isolate ourselves, our Maker Team is dedicated to keeping us crafty throughout the long, cold winter. Keep on the lookout for Page Kits, take and make craft kits for adults. They will be packed with care by our loving mascot, Page the Owl.

Tiny Trees for Take & Make kits

Tiny trees with LED lights are being 3D printed daily as we prepare for the season of giving. Expect to see some LED Christmas Card kits, too, recycling cards from Christmas Past. The spirit of the season has struck and we are following suit. I hope you can sense the excitement!

Exhibit of original art by Jennifer Fais

In case you visit the library, take a peek at the newest art installation of original art by Jennifer Fais. The hanging system was a generous donation from our new neighbors across Denison Parkway. First Heritage Federal Credit Union invested in downtown Corning and just opened their new Headquarters building across from City Hall. Shout out to the new kids on the block! They are big supporters of the local art community. The bank offers artists quarterly solo-exhibitions through a partnership with The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes. I highly recommend stepping through their doors to check out the art exhibit, Lost and Found by Megan Walsh.

Lost and Found, a solo exhibition by Megan Walsh

Since we are striving to get by, yet stay inclusive in this isolated, digital world, really cool options are popping up. Anyone can virtually visit this exhibition! Just click here to take a stroll through the gallery. Lots of credit goes to the Head Curator and Grants Gate Keeper at our unique arts council, Chris Walters. It’s fun to see how each creative person can reinvent or adopt the wheel, while some of us just wet our plants.

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

Nature’s Palette

I studied Textiles in college, which gave me the spark to capture the season’s colors as natural fabric dyes. I’m wild about nature and creating from natural objects. I work at turtle speed with some ideas. Some of you will likely identify. An idea strikes, you fervently collect all the tools to to begin, but life gets in the way. It might take 20 years to recognize those tools are collecting dust, having never met their purpose. There are really so many things to make and experiment, but also so many excuses we can create to hold us back. You can get caught up in the investment excitement, then lose the steam or opportunity to investigate further. Time is of the essence; no time like the present– that gift we are given each fleeting moment.

Sourcing excellent reference materials (BOOKS!!) to gain the knowledge has been key to unlocking the uncertainty of the process. Luckily, our hero STARCat offers a selection of books to borrow from any of the members libraries of the Southern Tier Library Sytsem. There are also wonderful sources on the webs. I’ve linked to several throughout this post, but some of us just need a little down time from the screen, you know what I mean?! Finding the bounty of free dye sources within my own neighborhood made this project even more enticing.

Gathered Goodness

Grabbing color at the height of the season is imperative to a gathering of goodness. Each week provides a new source to test. Late summer into late fall offers revolving resources to keep a dyer inspired. The trick is to ensure you have enough time to do the full process of gathering the dye stuff, preparing the dye stuff for processing, extracting the color from the resulting mash of expired plant materials, having your fibers ready to dye, then choosing a final mordant. The whole endeavor can be a little more to chew than most makers are willing to practice, but I choose the slow, and sometimes complicated, road almost always.

Alum Bath

Did I say chew? Fibers need to be prepped so they can chew on the dye colors. Mordant is to bite, so a mordant is required for the fibers to take bite of the natural dye. Aluminum potassium sulfate is suggested for animal and protein fibers, such as silk or wool. Aluminum acetate is suggested mordant for cellulose fibers, or those coming from a plant, such as cotton or linen. I highly recommend referencing Botanical Colors for precise information on this process. They’ve put their knowledge together in a very clear format for anyone to follow. My preferred source book is from my personal library. Wild Color by Jenny Dean can be a secret weapon to this magical process. It’s a easy to follow for any beginner or advanced dyer. The author clearly sets up the reader to prepare the right tools and provides color swatches to know what to expect with each plant they use for dyeing. I’ll be certain to get that book added to the Southeast Steuben County Library collection.

Extracting Tannins from Sumac Leaves

Cottons need extra attention. A recommended prerequisite for dying cellulose fibers is prepping them in a tannic bath. This acidic bath helps the alum better adhere to the fibers. Some leather workers might be familiar with this technique, as leather needs to be tanned. Tannins can give a color to your fibers, so be aware of the options. Suzanne Dekel gives you extensive information in her blog. Extracting natural tannins can be done with oak galls or tree leaves. Jenny Dean suggests using sumac leaves to create a tannic bath. You can also use sumac berries to create a dye bath, among other edible creations, but I couldn’t reach the fruits on my trees!

Wild Grapes, Goldenrod, Blackberries

I processed my fiber collection in 2 major phases. The stack above from the top are results of cotton organza in wild grapes, cotton muslin in goldenrod, and silk in blackberries. The wild grapes give a blue-gray hue after the complete wash and dry. Colors are brighter in the pot, but certainly fade or oxidize after the dye process. You can an iron mordant to gain more somber colors. I experimented with using the post as the mordant.

Horse Chestnuts and Wild Grapes in Iron Pot

Pot as Mordant is a technique I favor. Copper, aluminum, and iron pots will all provide a mordant effect. Since the mordant is not measured to precise percentages to account for the weight of the fabric, this is not a precise method. Weights and percentages play important factors in creating enough dye for the quantity of fabric you wish to color. I love irregular dye batches, so the experimentation was worthwhile. The horse chestnuts dye bath on the left in the photo above oxidized to provide a lavender hue! I did not anticipate that result when I took that shot.

Horse Chestnut dye results in Iron Pot

I used rubber bands to create some dye resist techniques, many know this as tie-dye. The stripes above are created by accordion folding the fabric, then biding just the ends and middle with rubber bands. The lighter areas were the hose chestnut dye results in a steel pot, then I bound the fibers and worked a resist dye in an iron pot. The results meet my personal palette, so now I just have to decide what to sew with these special stacks.

Stacks I Flip For

Some folks flip for stacks of cash. I flip for nature and simplicity. This subdued rainbow of flavor in my basket warms my heart. I finally tested that idea I considered over decades ago and have really just scratched the surface. I look forward to a time when we can all meet in person for a program to share this method of preserving the season in fiber–then paper—or basket reeds –there are so many options to go from here. I might try to dye pines cones with a leftover grape dye bath just to see the effect. I promise to share the results.

If this post sparked an interest, here are some experts to follow and get inspired. Joan Morris will get you going. Kathy Hattori will give you the skills. The Dye Kween will color your word FANCY! Feel free to check out the social media of Spider Stitchery ❤ You might recognize some of her samples….

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

Makers Moving

Mark your calendars for Empire State Maker Faire this Friday and Saturday, October 16 and 17, 2020! This FREE educational event is geared toward anyone interested in creating and making. Whether you define yourself as a maker or are still determining the definition, I can almost guarantee that you enjoy developing something new or altering things to make them better. Southeast Steuben County Library has partnered once again with Maker Faire Twin Tiers and all New York State Maker Faires to present this weekend of exciting techniques, technology, and tinkering to engage your excitement and entice your inner-artist or engineer. Check out the full schedule for all the deets.

Alternate Inflation Device

Twin Tiers Maker Faire partners, Corning Museum of Glass will present their Alternate Inflation Device used to create hand-blown glass. This technique was developed by the Team at the Studio at Corning Museum of Glass. Using pressurized air to inflate glass is an innovative way to approach this ancient art and allow glass to be created during this pandemic. Check out the demonstration on Friday at 2:15pm.

Monochromatic “Watercolor”

Local artist, Filomena Jack will present a Super Fun Monochromatic “Watercolor” technique. With her quirky style and positive messaging, Filomena is sure to delight her audience with whimsy. Tune in to the YouTube channel on Friday at 11:15am to check out this lesson. Watch any or all of the Empire State Maker Faire and let us know what was your favorite part.

Outdoor Yoga at Caton Park, October 17 at 11am

If you get an itch to hit the great outdoors this weekend, head over to Caton Park on the outskirts of the city of Corning for a vibrant Yoga session with Elizabeth Moses. This will be the last outdoor event planned for 2020! The start time has moved to 11am, so the sun will be out and ready to warm your limbs. *Check the weather and notifications before leaving your home. Three online sessions will be available on Facebook Live on October 31, November 14, and December 12.

Time is limited to register for Clay Birds with Wynn Yarrow. Sign-up by Wednesday to receive class materials in time for the start of the Zoom session at 4:30pm on Monday, October 19. The objects we create will be perfect for gift giving or cherishing for yourself. Check the library’s activity calendar for the next Maker Monday on November 23. We will create Shining Stars with Wynn Yarrow.

SUNY CCC Book Club Meeting Tues, 11/10 at 5:00pm

As we continue discussions of race and racial inequity, our fellow librarians at Arthur A. Houghton, Jr. Library of SUNY Corning Community College have developed a Book Club open to anyone who is interested, whether they are connected to the college or not.  Here are some more details about the next meeting.

The SUNY CCC Book Club will hold its next meeting on Tuesday, November 10 at 5:00pm.  Participants can join us on Zoom using the meeting link:  https://zoom.us/j/93549808634?pwd=QXE3WlFMR0FlUjJxVkQydU5UbktFUT09. You are also welcome to join by phone by dialing 1-929-205-6099 and using the pass-code 170566.

The book for November is The Color of Water by James McBride, a memoir by the author, musician, and playwright known for his National Book Award-winning novel The Good Lord Bird.

There are copies of The Color of Water available at other SUNY schools if you’d like to request the book for pickup at the CCC Library.  Alternatively, many of STLS libraries in Steuben and Chemung counties have print, ebook, or e-audiobook copies available. Follow this StarCat link for details: The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, by James McBride. We are looking forward to our discussion in November!

Some Light Reading

Page Cache is still running! You have a few more weeks to source and redeem some of those red cache tokens in exchange for a small cone from Dippity Do Dahs Homemade Ice Cream. Page the Owl has been busy flying across the region hiding these prizes in preestablished Geocaching locations. Some clues to get you out hunting start like this. Some light reading is necessary on the Northside. Peter Pan’s Girlfriend is locked in a highly unsuspected spot. Find me if You Can and Resting Near the River hold a similar theme. Down by the Creek and Sitting Watching the Trains (and World) Go By are very secluded gems, perfect for socially distanced excursions. Lost in the Wilderness is more urban than anticipated. The nearby Hobbit Holed eluded Page the Owl, but let us know if you find it!

Rather than give away all the secrets, I encourage you to get out and geocache. It’s a unique adventure to seek out Tupperware in random locations. Anyone who has observed Page the Owl’s meanderings knows first-hand how crazy it may seem, but the addiction to finding all the caches is real. Give a Hoot and Get Hooked!

Preparing Horse Chestnuts for Natural Dye

This week is jam packed with goodies to keep you and your family occupied. Check back next time for some adventures in preparing natural dyes for fabrics. From berries to weeds, the options are endless to creating environmentally safe fabric dyes with gentle hues. Time and cold weather are the limiting factors.

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

Saving the Season

We are facing the last vestiges of summer, which makes most gardeners busy saving the season by preserving their bountiful harvests. I know many of our community members already store their foods in jars using a hot bath method, but there are many ways to preserve food. Considering the national shortage on Ball Jars and all food preservation goods, the more ways we learn to preserve our food, the better. As I searched the internet to hopefully source a secret jar-hoarding-vendor, repetitions in history seem to pop up. This scarcity of mason jars last occurred in 1975. See any similarity with mason jars to the lack of TP in 2020 to the last great toilet paper scare of 1973?

Sterilizing Jars for Preserving Blueberry Jam

IF you are fortunate to have stock of some canning jars, but need a little pep talk through the process, here goes! Get yourself a large pot. There are specialized canning pots with racks to hold each jar in position during the sealing process, but any pot large enough hold your jars and cover them with at least an inch of water will suffice to create a successful hot water bath. Place enough clean jars and 2 -part lids to hold the quantity of food you are storing into the pot, fill it with enough water to cover the jars, then heat the pot up to a simmer. Allow the jars and lid to sanitize in this simmering bath for at least 10 minutes as you prepare your batch of food.

Jarred and Ready to Seal

Have no FOMO if you lack the jars or fresh fruit at this moment. I happened to have too many berries stored in my freezer, so fresh or frozen is optional. Therefore, when we hopefully see jars in stock again in December, you can still can for the holidays. 🙂 You may need to wait that long to find Sure-Jell pectin, too! I stocked up on pectin in the good-old days of 2019. Handy-dandy canning instructions reside inside each box. Follow this website for inspiration and recipes to exclude sugar. The boxed instructions call for equal amounts of berries to sugar and one packet of pectin. Once the food was prepared according to those instructions, the jars were removed from the hot bath to get filled. Wipe down the rim of each jar to remove any debris between the glass and the sealing compound of the lid. Cover and screw on the second part of the lid, then place jar back into the simmering pot of water. Fill all the jars and repeat until the batch is depleted. Process the jars at a rapid boil for 10 minutes, then allow to cool overnight. You will hear popping sounds– the delightful music of a successful canning bath. By the next day, each lid should be sealed down with no movement. Easy-Peasy. Just get to the dishes right away before the food remnants stick to the pot!

Pectin’s Purpose

Pectin’s purpose is to create a thicker substance, so the jar can be overturned and the contents mostly stay in place. I have never used pectin before this year, but my family thinks there is something wrong with that viscous type of preserve I usually make, so pectin fit the needs this year.

Freezing, if you have the space, is a very quick and simple preservation method. Too much of most anything can be stored in the freezer for later usage. Properly removing air from the container is most important to reduce freezer burn. I lack the space, so freezing foods is not an option.

Dehydrating is Delicious!

Dehydrating food is an optimal way to secure your food supply, while saving space and resources. Properly dehydrated foods can store for many months and weigh much less than their original form, since all the water is removed. Dehydrated foods require no jars or electric to keep on a shelf. No specialized equipment is really required to dehydrate food, although a quality food dehydrator can save a lot of time. Since I love to collect kitchen gadgets, I have a large dehydrator that transformed over 10 pounds of fresh zucchini into 4 ounces of dried food. I used a mandolin to slice the zucchini into thin rounds, and refused to use oil. I wanted a natural flavor with no seasoning and fat to add calories. The mistake was my lesson to share with you. Lightly oil your pan or dehydrator tray to avoid sticking food. I will store this bag of chips in my pantry to use as I wish. The food will reconstitute in stir-fries or soups. These chips are even delicious right from the bag. Your pup might even like them better than a store-bought treat!

Save the Seeds

If preserving food is not in your cards this season, you can secure some future food for next year by saving seeds. These seeds are from an uber-tiny cantaloupe I harvested from my garden. Seeds need to be dried and protected from pests. I spread them onto a towel and set them on my working dehydrator to dry, covered by a screen. I leave the goo on the seeds and have never had an issue with this process. Some seed savers swear that the seed needs to be washed, then dried. You choose your avenue to this venture. Either way is truly rewarding when you have control over the cycle of a seed’s life.

Seeds from Lemon Balm

Seeds come from all plants. If vegetables are not your game, flowers might be your ticket. I enjoy saving herbs for tea. Lemon balm is the bomb in my opinion. I made sure to let the plant shoot out flowers, then dry on the plant before I harvested the leaves. As I crushed the leaves and dried flowers, the precious seeds fell into the towel. These seeds will get planted in that Sacred Herb Spiral we made this year. The excess seeds will be entered into the Southeast Steuben County Library‘s Seed Library for your enjoyment.

If you enjoyed this post, but crave further knowledge, put knowledge to work with Cornell Cooperative Extension. I encourage you to engage with this our your local cooperative extension to understand myriad ways to appreciate nature’s abundance. Nature is the best Maker, after all.

Celosia and Cockscomb

I’ll close this post with an image of my most prized flowers from the season. Their unique construction is intoxicating to view. When there was a frost last week, I rescued these flowers for one final bouquet. A friend told me they can be dried for the winter to provide pops of color to cheer up any room. Wow, another way to save the season! To my surprise, I thought those black specks were bugs emerging from the drying plant, but they are SEEDS! You can count on me to share these babies in the seed library, too.

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

So Long Summer

So Long Summer, I’ll miss you! September is speeding by so quickly, it’s already Autumnal Equinox and I am just getting a moment to record the goods. Last week, I got sneaky in the community hiding treasures in all directions of the library’s service area. Before the cold weather snaps on us again, I invite you to hit the road for some adventures. Get acquainted with Geocaching. Over the next few weeks, lucky cachers may find a Page Cache. (See image below)

The rules of the game are simple. Get out and geocache! The game is more fun than the actual treasures, in my opinion. The value of one Page Cache is a single scoop cone from Dippity Do Dahs Homemade Ice Cream Shop on Market Street in Corning. If you are a lucky “cacher” who finds a Page Cache, you can cash it in for a sweet treat! Token value expires on November 10 of this wild year, so if you find one after that date, enjoy the 3-d printed Page Cache magnet as a memento and tell me you where you found your prize in the comments. You can download a nifty app for your mobile device and take digital the clues on your trek. There are some very cool caches that are for Premium members only, but I found a trick to avoid the membership fee. If you access the site from a web browser, you can see those premium caches and hunt for them with some clever navigation skills.

What a View!

For some sly clues, read closely: if you are seeking high ground, mark the coordinates into GPS and steer clear of the Interstate. A dead end road awaits and God is Watching. Corning is fragile, so handle with care. Natural camouflage can be found in Hornby. Caton tells you to stop at an odd number. When in Erwin, lumbering is history.

That treasure to the last clue might actually truly be history. I saw some muggles out and about as I meandered through the wood. They might have seen me. This is a term you should know. Someone is always watching…

Find Elizabeth at Hornby Park on October 13

As the weather starts to cool, we take advantage of the great outdoors before we are once again trapped inside for a long winter. Yoga in the Parks continues for 2 last sessions. Find Elizabeth Moses at Hornby Park on October 3 and finally at Caton Park October 17. These classes will now begin at 11 am versus 9 am. We practiced some “snowga” last Saturday watching our breath look like fog. We’ll try to avoid that if possible, but wear layers!

Till the Cows Come Home

The last outdoor Maker Monday was held at Hornby Park. We planned on making Mandala Art with Sandra Roig Tomas Ryder, but the uptick of Covid-19 cases in our region caused no human students to attend this relaxing and meditative method of mark making. As the instructor and I enjoyed conversation, we were greeted by the most unique library program guests I’ve ever encountered. We’ll chalk these bovine visitors up with the Crazy Tales of Library Land! Maker Mondays will continue online in October and November with Wynn Yarrow. Make Clay Birds or Shining Stars from the comfort of your own space. All supplies will be provided. Be sure to register to get in on the action.

Apply by September 20!

Mark your calendars for October 16 & 17. Empire State Maker Faire is a special event fit for all ages. An open call to Makers closed on September 20, BUT YOU STILL HAVE TIME TO APPLY! We will be reviewing and accepting applications on a rolling basis for another few days. The Southeast Steuben County Library is a partner of Maker Faire Twin Tiers, which joins forces with all New York State Maker Faires to bring you one event to rule the entire Empire. This event will be free and virtual on YouTube. Stay tuned for further information.

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

Empire State Maker Fair

October 16th & 17th. Call for Makers open now through September 20th.

When in-person events are nearly impossible, we go virtual! That is the route Maker Faire Twin Tiers will venture this year in consideration of the Covid-19 outbreak. Our friends at Maker Faire are leading the way to hlep us host a virtual event slated for October 16 and 17, 2020. This event will be all online, but there is a call for makers to apply NOW. The deadline for applications is September 20, so no time for procrastination!

Dan Schneiderman is the organizer of this virtual event, which combines all New York State Maker Faires into one event to rule them all. Twin Tiers will join Buffalo, Syracuse, Rochester, Long Island, Fredonia, and World Maker Faire to give our audience an experience unlike any other. Let’s stroll down memory lane to entice folks from New York State inclined to the Maker Culture to apply to be part of this Epic Event.

Power Tool Drag Race

Maker Faire Twin Tiers is well known for the Power Tool Drag Race. Participants customize power tools to be able to race down a wooden track. Finding the best tool for the task can often be tough, but making the machine aerodynamic and able to steer a straight line is often impossible! Dewalt generously donated power tools as prizes to first and second place winners in 2019.

Creation Station Crew with the Makerbot Replicator

Our maker faire has traveled the region over several years. We began at the Steele Memorial Library in Elmira, New York, but soon grew too large for the venue. The faire then moved to the Arnot Mall for a few years, until we found the perfect setting for a learning event like this. The Corning Community College is one of our partners and sponsors their campus as the location for Maker Faire Twin Tiers.

What better place to grow the Maker Culture than at a college? The Southeast Steuben County Library makerspace, Creation Station, brings so many goodies to the event each year. Above, you see our amazing crew having too much fun at the mall telling our patrons all things Maker. Our 3D printer runs the entire event with raffles throughout the day. Each crew member finds their favorite activity to highlight, too. We love the makeup effects Painted Love by Jennifer Sekella offers.

Corning is well known for glassblowing, so it seemed obvious that we needed to cover that topic. Luckily in 2019, we had 2 options for viewing. On the left is Mobile Glassblowing Studios from Americus, Georgia. Their equipment is totally mobile, making it perfect for touring Maker Faires!

On the right is a wood-fire ceramic kiln built by Fred Herbst, who instructed ceramics at the college for 20 years. He invited glassblowers from the Corning Museum of Glass to show their skills at this unique furnace. The odd thing about our faire in 2019 was that it SNOWED! That’s right, our April 27, 2019 maker faire gave snow and gusts of wind that no one anticipated. Sometimes weather in the Finger Lakes can be unpredictable.

Our own Mascot!

The organizers of Maker Faire Twin Tiers always think of ways to make the event more enticing and memorable. If snow in April is not memorable enough, we ensured some quality enticement with Zack & Wheezy, the two-headed, fire and water breathing dragon! This beast was built by the Auto Body Welding class of 2019 and we can’t wait to get it back out to the public in 2021.

Apply to be a Maker today!

If you have a knack for creativity, tinkering, problem solving, building, engineering, or designing (the list does not stop there…), put your talents on display for us and help take over the Empire. Be sure to click this link to apply before September 20 to be considered for Empire State Maker Faire. Watch this video to learn more.

While Maker Faire is foremost in this post, I still have so many projects and fun stuff to share. I discovered the glory of harvesting plants for natural dye techniques and am excited to share the results. Last Friday was my first Field Trip to a local Micro Farm to see what’s happening in our neck of the woods. Hints are pending soon to get you all traipsing through the woods on a treasure hunt. I promise to share all the news, but none of the secrets. You have to be the hunter for those.

Nooshe Joon and Geocaching

I leave you with some snippets and hints to your view next week. Until then, get outside! Keep calm and Let nature ❤

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