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!

TwoFer Tuesday

That’s what 90 degrees Fahrenheit calls for, a twofer special. Being a library blog author, I don’t have the licensure to sling brews, but I do have the power to pass on programming. In case you missed the Caton sessions of Yoga in the Parks with Elizabeth Moses, we have a Two Fer fer ya!

Yoga, Yoga

Let’s rewind to remind you that the Southeast Steuben County Library has offered this mindful programming since the onset of Covid-19 in the United States TWENTY WEEKS AGO. I capitalize that time frame, because we all know this epidemic is carrying on far longer than Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. You can also click that twenty weeks ago link to see all the videos we have curated on our Facebook page.

The library ramped up online and virtual classes back then, knowing the need to connect with community would be even stronger as we all isolated ourselves from each other. Now that the heat of summer is here, it’s wise to take advantage of socially distant gatherings. Therefore, we are touring the parks of the library’s coverage area. We hit Caton park twice so far. Follow these links to get a dose of rejuvenation.

Energizing Yoga at Caton Park
Refreshing Yoga at Caton Park

That double-shot of goodness will surely perk your spirits and your heart rate! Today, though, I urge a retreat to the forest. The Finger Lakes offers plenty of wooded protection to explore. A gem I found nearly in my backyard surprised and inspired me. It happens to be the same location we just visited…

Caton Park Trails

If you have not yet been, go now to check out Caton Park! There are three pavilions, basketball courts, horseshoe pits, swing sets, a playground, and a volleyball court. I hesitate to mention the sprawling tennis courts. While they exist, mother nature is taking over and the gate is locked. The forefront amenities excite any adventurer, but finding an entire course of trails was more than a respite welcome on a hot summer’s day. The trails are not blazed, but paths are visible. A trusty canine friend will surely show you the way if your sight deceives you.

Trail Head

There are two entrances to this walking trail. Our hike led us about a half mile into the woods, up and down hills. While I heard cars on the main roads, I felt totally serene and cool in the sanctuary of the tree canopy. There was a moment that I felt like Bill Bryson in A Walk in the Woods. (idea: Download the Libby app, dial in your library card information, download that audiobook, then listen to Bill as you walk these trails! A-yo!!)

Rugged Terrain

The terrain can be rugged at times, so proper foot coverage is advised. Be prepared to contain your refuse, because this is a Carry-in, Carry-out park. Bathrooms are available, which is a rarity in rural parks where an occasional Porta-Potty might lurk. Overall, this gem is a secret I want to keep, but know it’s best to share. The park is located in the heart of Caton, just a few miles south of Corning, NY. This rural part of the United States has been land-marked by the corporate conglomerate Dollar General. While I don’t support the existence of that store at all, it’s bright yellow sign is a golden beacon letting you know you are close to your destination.

The Purpose to my Mission

Aside from seeking a stimulating adventure and refuge from the heat, I had a secret purpose to my mission. Hints will begin for a game of hide-and-seek. As the clues come together, it is my goal to not-so-subliminally train your eye to the treasure. Memorize what you see and get prepared. Become part of the Geocaching community now. Time is of the essence!

TORONTO, ON – JUNE 23: People participate in an outdoor yoga class at Hotel X, inside domes to comply with social distancing measures to control the spread of Covid-19, June 23, 2020 in Toronto, Canada. As Canada begins to reopen its economy following Covid-19 shutdowns, gyms and fitness centres still remain closed as they determine how to comply with social distancing measures. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)

While I work on the final touches of this treasure hunt, I want to remind you that Yoga with Elizabeth Moses is Live and In-Person (weather permitting) this Saturday, August 15 at 9am in Hornby Park. We’ll be there again on August 22 at the same time. Both sessions will be recorded and uploaded to our YouTube channel. Be sure to Like, Subscribe, and Share with all your Yogi/ Library-Loving friends. If you can join us in person, please remember to bring your own towel or mat, water to hydrate, and a face-mask to protect one another. We’ll skip the yoga domes, for now.

Black is King

Before I close– can I get a witness for Beyoncé’s Black Is King?! This visual album, although limited to Disney Plus subscribers, is VISUALLY STUNNING. For a kid from the ’80’s who LIVED for music video premieres, this one knocked off my socks! Despite what critics critique, I enjoyed the pure beauty of the set designs and costumes. There was a point in the movie where I thought, “I just can’t even!” I still can’t. I just have to put it here to share, because that’s what I do. ❤ Brava Beyoncé! I’m going to price myself a cheetah print Rolls-Royce. Cheers!

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

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!

Patio Pizza Pots

Grow bags are a something I learned about in quarantine. Their name describes them precisely. These are bags meant for growing! Since grow bags are made of fabric, aeration and drainage are optimal versus the common plastic or terra cotta flower pots. They can be sourced online or even made on a sewing machine. While just about any supply was out of stock in stores during lock-down, I was able to purchase this pack of bags from the big name we dare not mention. Although I took the easy route to obtaining these bags, they can be sewn with many types of fabric. A couple of patrons sewed dozens of grow bags in our makerspace, Creation Station to plant sapling apple trees in the making of a small orchard.

How to Sew a Grow Bag

If you have the will to make your own bags, follow these instructions from Northern Homestead. They recommend using weed control landscape fabric to make the bags instead of using it under your mulch in the garden beds. I concur that landscape fabric has little weed control ability and am certainly intrigued to make bags with the roll I purchased, but never used.

The bags I purchased are durable, more so than the landscape fabric will create, but I’m willing to test that theory for curious minds. Perhaps making grow bags will be a lesson we cover in an upcoming #SeWednesday. Whatd’ya think?

Grow Bags First Test with Ginger

Ginger was a crop I learned to grow this season. I also learned she’s a temperamental girl in this Northeast climate. Our spring literally sprung temperatures to both extremes. It was deceptive weather patterns and an anxious gardener that helped hinder the health of the green sprouts you see above, but the grow bags had their first test and won my approval! For a second try, I decided to put to test a program idea that was in development with Bluebird Trail Farm before our lives were flipped for the foreseeable future. Let me walk you through making a Pizza Patio Pot.

Tomato Plant First Aid with Grow Bags

The main ingredient of pizza, after dough, is tomato sauce. A neighbor gifted me a flat of tomato plants–that’s 32 plants! My empty garden beds filled quickly, leaving about 12 plants that still needed love. I took the strongest of the leftovers along with the grow bags and attempted a little tomato plant first aid. Extreme day sun and another frost bit these plants hard, but I wanted to see how much resuscitation I could actually provide, while possibly inspiring some of our readers.

Potted Plants are Happy Again

Using the recipe for Square Foot Gardening, I filled up three bags with the materials I had left. Each bag holds seven gallons of dirt, so I felt it worth the risk to place 2 tomato plants in each bag. I had three beets and three basil plants to add to these pots and decided they could be the most delicious Pizza Patio Pots for any gardener. *I would add beets to my pizza, yes I would. For those opposed to beets on pizza, I recommend adding herbs like oregano and parsley that you like in tomato sauce.

Protection from Wood Chips

After the bags were filled with the growing medium, I wanted to add a layer of wood chips as mulch. As I added the layer of chips to finish each bag, I cupped my hand to cover the tiny basil plant and protect the leaves from damage. I often get lost in the YouTube rabbit hole of curiosities and found these Back to Eden garden tours with Paul Gautschi who recognizes the power of wood chips for bountiful gardens. This was just another layer of experimentation to my experiment. Would the wood chip layer help maintain moisture to the plants, while feeding the plants with nutrients as the chips break down throughout the season? Watch a video with Paul if you have a few hours to be inspired by his admiration for nature’s free fertilizer.

Pizza Pots in Process

Once each grow bag had their layer of wood chips, it was time to water these puppies and let them process their magic over the growing season. We saw the driest June and July in over a decade of living in the Fingers Lakes, so the little green watering can was my best friend for several weeks. I kept the bags on the grass, so water can flow right through, but they can be place on a patio or porch, as long as they receive enough sunlight. Remember water will flow through, so if you might want to protect the surface upon which you place these pots. I found that baking sheets work very well for keeping the water from sitting on a wooden porch step. Any liquid that is collected gets absorbed over time.

The Three Amigas

After four weeks, the towering tomato plants above are those I resuscitated. Either the wood chips or an attentive gardener helped them regain health. Each plant is starting to provide cherry tomatoes. The beet leaves are growing large and luscious. I look forward to a fresh salad with them soon. I implemented branches as a support system so the stem stay upright. You could opt for tomato cages instead.

Jesse Beardslee of Themis and Thread

Join me as we continue the #SeWednesday series, Work with Whatch Got. The talented Jesse Beardslee of Themis and Thread and Hector Handmade will guide us on how to sew an Upcycled Waistband or Separate Belt using materials we already have in our closets. Follow this link to watch the premiere this Wednesday, July 22 a 6pm EST.

When you’re finished with the tutorial, set your scopes for the skies. July 22 is our last chance to easily catch a glimpse of Comet NEOWISE for another 6,800 years! Be sure to reach a high vista for the best view. I am waiting for my chance to show the snapshot skills I built in the Photo Fun with Dan Gallagher class we hosted over the weekend. My Nikon is charged and ready, I hope you are as well.

FREE, LIVE and IN PERSON Yoga Series

We have a terrific announcement for all aspiring yogis. The Yoga with Elizabeth Moses video series we have hosted online since lock-down is now in person at area parks for the next six Saturdays! Please mark your calendars to travel our coverage area and practice sun salutations in together in nature! July 25 and August 1 are our first park visit. Set your GPS for Caton Park, 1180 Riff Rd, Corning, NY 14830.

Stay creative and keep in touch until we meet again.

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

e’Scape Plan

My escape plan each evening tends to lead to my garden. Warm weather leaves me craving fresh air and birdsong. A mindful gardener is always at the ready to harvest and process their bounty in preparation of the pending seasons of cold.

It is by virtue of living in the Finger Lakes (#FLX) region that I discovered the delicacy we will discuss today. This type of tinkering is far from the electronic tech stuff we explore in our maker space, Creation Station, but I dare you not to geek out on the genetic code of garlic. It’s a super food and I told myself I’d marry it one day. (Ha!) I believe I’ve achieved that marital status, as the crop is the easiest to maintain and provides two harvests per planting. Garlic is the double duty power plant you need in your homestead (and when I say homestead, that’s anything you call your dwelling—my first “homestead” gardens were in pots and tin cans on a curbside in Philadelphia). Space is not a major concern for this allium. Give a clove a six inch dirt covering to rest inside in the fall and it will show its gratitude as the first green shoot to pop out of the ground in spring.

Garlic in May, before the Scapes Soar

While I’m busy prepping and planting my remaining garden beds in spring, Garlic is growing and showing off. By late June, the flower stem begins to develop and curl. That is the scape. Once the scape curls, I harvest it by cutting it off of the plant a few inches above the leaves, which allows for more nutrients to go directly to the bulb.

More than 2.5 Pounds of Garlic Scapes to Process

Once washed and dried, I weighed my bounty to assess just how much I could make of each recipe I found in this video. I really love the Garlic Scape Powder recommendation, but Pesto and Pickled Scapes are a favorite in our home, so garlic powder will wait until I harvest the rest of the plant in a few weeks. I decided to put up a batch of pickled scapes to eat throughout the year and process a couple cups of Garlic Scape Pesto to enjoy now.

Fresh Garlic Scape Pesto Process

I used the New York Times recipe for this batch of garlic pesto, but there are many options to choose. You can omit the cheese to keep this recipe vegan. The flavor is still wonderful. What I also love about this recipe is using inexpensive sunflower seeds in place of pine nuts. I have replaced pine nuts for walnuts in pesto recipes previously , but am aware that practice is not safe for nut-free homes.

Check out that fresh basil in the lower middle frame above. THAT basil is from a hydroponic plant I got at the grocery store in April. Remember when we made Chunky Knit Planters? Recall that plant in the final product?? Yep, that’s the one! Harvesting from my kitchen table is incredible.

Prepping the Pickles

In order to can the garlic scapes for pickling, I cut off the tips of the harvested end and the flower. Some people prefer to cut their scapes to straight lines for ease of packing, but I prefer to preserve the spiral. We think the curl is the most unique feature of this delicacy, so a little more time in preparation makes for a beautiful presentation.

Steamy Stockpot of Sterilized Jars

Before I start preparing the garlic scapes to be canned, I sterilized the jars in a stockpot with at least an inch of water covering them. I learned from a rustic homesteader that a rack is not required under the jars to protect the glass, so I go rogue. You might choose to follow more strict processing rules at the Ball Jar website. Once the water comes to a boil, I know the jars are sterilized and safe for use. I take them from the water bath to dry and fill each one like it is a work of art.

Filling the Jars

Using a chopstick that I sterilized in the hot water bath, I gently push down each garlicky curl. I work to keep the flower end of each curl up, so that it acts as a handle for the person who grabs it. I ensure no curls are tangled and continue to fill the jar, leaving a half inch of head space. Any straight portions of scape get stuffed in the center to completely pack the jar.

Scapes and Scraps

The bounty of scapes I harvested equaled 6 pints for pickling after making the pesto. The bowl of scraps will go to the compost bin for fertilizing the new crop this fall. Once the jars were filled, I made the brine. This Pickled Garlic Scapes recipe from Home in the Finger Lakes was very helpful and the first recipe I tried several years ago. If you don’t have pickling spice mix in your cupboard, use approximately 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns and 1 teaspoon of dill per pint. If you are a pickling guru, you may have a favorite brine recipe to share in the comments. I put the spices into each jar for equal proportions, then pour the brine over everything, allowing a 1/2 inch of headspace per jar.

Chopsticks help keep down the Scapes

As the brine fills the jar, the scapes tend to also rise, so I use the chopstick as a stopper. I hold down the scapes for a few seconds and watch them blanch into a vibrant bright green. At that moment, they seem to back down from the rise, which allows me to wipe the jar rim and place the lids on top for sealing.

Sealing it Up

We learned in our Homesteading Series at Bluebird Trail Farm in 2019 that the best way to seal your jars is to hold down the lid with one finger, while applying the screw ring with the other hand and twist to close. Then grab a towel to hold the hot jar and tighten the lid with the other hand.

Spicy Pickles

Two jars were reserved as spicy pickles. I added 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper to each jar, then realized I needed a way to mark these separate from the rest of the batch. Using chunks of fresh garlic, I used this as my marking system, which worked better than labeling the jars with marker that could contaminate the water bath.

Get in the Bath!

Each jar was then gently placed into the bubbling water bath and processed for 10 minutes. This gave me time to clean up the kitchen and prepare a pasta meal with pesto and fresh veggies. After the jars boil for 10 minutes, they can be removed from the pot of water and allowed to rest for 24 hours, undisturbed. The best part of the whole process is hearing that distinct “pop” of a lid sealing properly outside of the water bath. It’s like perfect science.

Fresh and Fermenting

I usually take the pot off of the hot burner and allow everything to cool overnight. Once I’m ready to put them up, each jar will be labeled with the ingredients, so we know what’s inside. These jars make perfect gifts during the holidays and are a great addition to any barbecue or pot luck meal. A recent study found that consumption of fermented foods are linked to low Covid-19 mortality. Pickles could be the perfect food, after all.

Zoom on Saturday

Pivoting from the e’Scape plan, let’s talk about future things. There are still a few hours to register for Photo Fun with Dan Gallagher. This class will guide you through using an interchangeable lens camera or SLR. The Southeast Steuben County Library hosted a similar class last summer and all attendees proved better portfolios and family photos with credit to Dan’s excellent teaching.

Work with Whatcha Got

Check out this video, in case you missed the first of a three part series for #SeWednesday. Jesse Bearsdlee guides viewers on how to upcycle or repurpose old clothes into a new ensemble. We learned how to make a bodice in part one. Follow this link to join us for part two on July 22 at 6pm EST. Learn how to Work with Whatcha Got, Upcycled Dress Waistband or Separate Belt.” This video series is made possible in part by the QuickARTS grant program administered by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes and funded by the Community Foundation of Elmira-Corning and the Finger Lakes, Inc.

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