Summer to September

As the final days of August approach and those Yellow School Buses begin to grace our streets again, we find there are plenty of activities to steer us past September. If you have not tuned into the Southeast Steuben County Library Calendar of Events recently, you might miss out on some great opportunities to engage with your community. Most recently, the library and Corning Garden Club took the initiative to spruce up some neglected raised garden beds that reside between the library building and Nasser Civic Center Ice Rink. What once housed invasive weeds, untamed shrubs, and actual trash now has new presence just in time to present the public with an arts gathering, Free and Open to the Public.

Imagine a new approach to Nasser Civic Center

Imagine!- Public Art in the Plaza will take over the library’s backyard, Nasser Civic Center Plaza, starting Thursday, September 2 and runs through Sunday, September 5, 2021. The event kicks off at 6:30pm with a ribbon cutting ceremony, which reveals a public art installation of kites. “Art Lifts us Up” is an overall theme of this event, which is an effort to gather community and work through the challenges of this on-going pandemic.

The library has arranged for the installation of a giant Sunflower Sculpture to be on view during this event. The sunflower is a symbol of positivity and strength, qualities that make up our unique community. We want you to ensure you get down to the plaza! The creators of the sculpture, the Crows Nest Artists, will be on site on Friday from 5 to 7pm to host a Birdhouse Making Workshop. Create fun, funky bird houses and feeders out of recycled, found and natural materials with the expertise of Gwen Quigley and Tony Moretti. Your creations can be used to decorate the plaza and can be picked up on Sunday evening or take them home right away for your feathered friends. This activity 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.

For those who have plans for Labor Day weekend, check out the next Crafting with Kimberly on Tuesday, September 14 from 5:30 to 7:30pm where we will learn a simple Sunflower Painting method. As the season changes, we try to hold a pop of color, positivity and strength as we head into the dark and cold months of winter. Kimberly’s August Birdhouse workshop is postponed until further notice, but keep an eye on the Facebook Page for news and other notifications. We will begin to transition back to virtual workshops via Zoom starting in October. This will give us ample time to craft together, while staying cozy at home.

We practiced yoga outdoors in the hidden gem of Margaret Smyers Park in Caton on August 21. It was a hot and humid morning in the Civic Center Plaza while we gardened, but the rain nearly ruined our plans for asana practice. Luckily there are plenty of pavilions to rearrange in the park and we made the best of a wet situation. Of course, the rain halted once we moved the tables and created shelter, but the practice was priceless. Click here for a recording of the session and find a few other Creation Station made videos while your perusing. Join us again next Saturday, September 11 at 11am in Kinsella Park, Painted Post. Families and Friends welcome. No rain allowed!

Cyanotypes with Megan Walsh

Our latest Maker Monday was lead by Megan Walsh who is well-known for these blue-toned creations. This type of photographic printing process creates imagery using sunlight and provides incredible details. Despite a rainy afternoon, there were peeks of sunshine that allowed us to test this method. Using botany samples from her property, Megan described the process and gave us a few chances to battle the weather for a quality print. It is recommended to have a UV rating of 5 or higher for this process to be effective. Luckily we had kits to practice on a bright day. Our next Maker Monday will be hosted by Yours Truly. We will make Wooden Wind Chimes using driftwood, beads, and other found materials. Sign up today for your lesson on September 20 from 4:40 to 6pm.

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

IMAGINE!

A FREE 3 Day public arts event is coming round the bend this Labor Day weekend. Mark your calendars and head down to Nasser Civic Center Plaza to see the transformation that occurs when Community Comes Together. Imagine! Public Art in the Plaza is “a multidisciplinary arts event as an opportunity to envision the Corning Civic Center Plaza as a future Public Arts Park. IMAGINE! will be held at the Corning Civic Center Plaza on Thursday, September 2 through Sunday, September 5, 2021. Free and open to the public. Bring a picnic and a chair to this family friendly event!” This event is hosted by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes, but the Southeast Steuben Library will be a participant. The best part about this event is the location is our backyard! You can grab your library materials, then find the entertainment just outside our doors.

Sunflower Sculpture

You will find the Civic Center Plaza transform beyond what we could imagine in the coming weeks. The Library will host this Sunflower Sculpture created by Crows Nest Artists, Gwen Quigley and Tony Moretti. Thanks to the generosity of Tanglewood Nature Center, the Southeast Steuben County Library is renting this sculpture to exhibit in our community. This activity 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.

Funky Birdhouses with Crows nest Artists

Join us on Friday, September 3 for a Funky Birdshouses Workshop with the Crows Nest Artists. Create fun, funky bird houses and feeders out of recycled, found and natural materials with the expertise of Gwen Quigley and Tony Moretti. Decorate the Civic Center Plaza for the Imagine, Public Art in the Plaza event during Labor Day weekend. Take your project home after the workshop, or leave it installed until September 6. This is a multi-generational workshop, fun for families or simply for kids of all ages, plus the results are great for the birds and world. Use this opportunity to be creative, use tools, build and decorate. This activity is made possible with donated funds received in memory of E. Jacqueline Welles.

Help us spruce up the Civic Center raised beds as we prepare for this epic event in the public plaza. There are two dates to volunteer your gardening skills, muscle power, hand tools, and pick up trucks. Sign up to help this Saturday, August 14 for either of 2 shifts starting at 8am or 10am. You are encouraged to also particpate next Saturday, August 21 for Mulch Day. If you love to garden, be part of community, and need some volunteer time in your life, join the Corning Garden Club for all of the transformation of this plaza.
Outdoor Yoga

If you missed our last Outdoor Yoga session with Elizabeth Moses, view the recording of the full class posted above. We visited Lindley-Presho-Caton Little League ball field for a refreshing session of movement. The next class will be at Margaret Smyers Park in Caton on Saturday, August 21 at 11am (if the weather allows). The class will be presented on Facebook Live if weather indicates heavy rain, so stay tuned to our page! Mark your calendars for the last live yoga session on Saturday, September 11 at 11am at Kinsella Park in Erwin.

Moon Mirrors

The latest Crafting with Kimberly class showed us how to make Moon Mirrors. We had a bunch of fun with this inexpensive and easy project. The few items needed to make a moon mirror are a round shaped mirror, flat sided glass baubles and a tube of caulk. We sourced all of these materials at the Dollar Tree and created them in Civic Center Plaza. The weather held up for us this time versus my Hypertufa class on Midsummer Day. We offered some Take and Make kits, but they quickly disappeared before this article could be published. I look forward to seeing YOU at one of our upcoming programs. Always keep tuned to our calendar of events for programs offered for any age!

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

Shift and Pivot

We are always striving to keep library services as bright and vibrant as spring azaleas in full bloom. Throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, our library has proven we can shift and pivot to maneuver and conquer any situation. While other organizations are still just talking about reopening their offices, the Southeast Steuben County Library has returned to the chartered 55 hour week that New York libraries are required to maintain. WE’RE BACK and better than ever! Running with a New Hours of Operation lineup, there are many more options for you to visit this beloved hall of books. Monday through Friday, 9am-7pm and Saturday, 9am-2pm should allow all your browsing and borrowing needs to be fulfilled. Welcome back!

Papier Mache the Quick and Easy Way with Wynn Yarrow

Let’s catch up on a few weeks of what’s been happening in the Creation Station Makerspace at the library. Papier Mache the Quick and Easy Way with Wynn Yarrow was the April Maker Monday. Local artist Wynn Yarrow led this class with her personal approach to the technique. Since most of our programming is virtual, there were a few students from far reaches of the nation, like Florida and Oregon. It’s fun to see borders and boundaries disappear with virtual learning opportunities. Kits for this class are still available as Take and Make-able, so you can follow along with the tutorial from the comfort of home. This specific video will expire on June 12, 2021, so don’t hesitate.

Yoga with Elizabeth Moses

May Day brought us a succulent Yoga Session with the ever-fabulous Elizabeth Moses of Crystal Heart Yoga in Corning, NY. If you missed the Live event, follow the link above to unite your body and breath. Our next live class with Elizabeth is scheduled for Saturday, May 29 at 11am on Facebook Live. Start your Memorial Day Weekend with mindful movement before digging your gardens and planting those flower beds!

Apron Sew Along with Jesse Junko Beardslee

For Fashion Revolution Week, Jesse Junko Beardslee of Themis and Thread brought her fashion design history and mastery to our live stream. We learned the historic reasons for knowing who makes our clothes and how to condense new purchases into quality garments that are meant to last. Quick fashion is part of myriad reasons Mother Earth’s climate is struggling. Every purchase and decision to spend our money matters. When we make what we need, the product is exponential. We can share the knowledge, sell the products locally or maintain our own fashion without a toss-away mentality. This beckons to the Chinese proverb; Lao Tsu said that if you give a hungry man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. It’s time to learn to fish!

Nature Gnomes with Kimberly

Kimberly Canale has returned with more of her creative adventures in Crafting with Kimberly. On Star Wars Day, we learned how to make Nature Gnomes. These are adorable little friends that whip up quickly with some materials from the Dollar Store or around the house and a few sticks of hot glue. Lucky patrons swooped in to snag our prepared Take and Make kits after the class. Check the video description for a list of materials to prepare in order to craft your own Gnome. If you missed this class, be sure to register for the June 1 class. We will be making Fairy Gardens. If the weather allows, this class will meet in person in the Civic Center Plaza behind the library. We will record the class to add to our YouTube channel, so anyone who prefers to join us Live, but virtually is welcome to do so. Register today to add your name to the list and secure a supply kit before it’s too late.

Gnomes from the Class

As summer approaches, we are planning new adventures in the community. Tales and Tails is the summer reading theme. I plan on cooking up some tales with you together, in person, outside in the glory of nature. If you have a program you wish to see hosted at this library, send your requests now. We love to have input from our adoring fans.

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

Maker Mondays and More

Maker Mondays is our monthly arts and craft program, which is often lead by a teaching artist from our region of the Finger Lakes (FLX). On April 26, Wynn Yarrow will lead the next Maker Mondays with Papier Mache the Quick and Easy Way. Hit that hyperlink if you want to join the Zoom Room with us. Our gratitude for the grants programs in our region helping to make this program possible. This activity 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.

If you register for the class, a free materials kit will be provided for you to pick up at the Southeast Steuben County Library. We offer curbside delivery for those patrons who prefer the service. You can schedule a curbside delivery of a program materials kit or any material the library offers. Check out the online catalog and type “kit” into the search query to find crafting and maker kits that you can borrow to explore a new hobby. For those who cannot attend our classes, check out this link for paper mache instructions from The Spruce Crafts.

Sew Wednesdays is another monthly offering from the library makerspace, Creation Station. Offered on the Second Wednesday of the Month (S.W.O.M.), I compile a video tutorial and upload it to our YouTube channel for Public Preview at 7pm. This week, we will learn how to make a Bunny Lunch Bag.

Set an Alarm for April 14 at 7pm

As we approach Earth Day and consider ways to eliminate waste or simply reduce and reuse our packaging, this sewing tutorial will show you how to create a cute and functional lunch bag for you midday fuel. There’s even enough room to add a paperback beside your sandwich and salad.

We are super stoked to have a second helping of Sew Wednesdays this month thanks to our friend and ethical apparel designer, Jesse Junko Bearsdslee of Themis and Thread.

Fashion Revolution Week is April 19-25, 2021. It is a great time to learn who made your clothes and even take a test run at making your own. With skills and style like Jesse, you don’t want to miss this personal invitation to join the revolution! Sign up today to for a spot in this Live and Virtual Apron Sew-Along class on Wednesday, April 21 at 8pm. Sew an Apron just like the image above. There are 3 fabric options chosen for the kits. Your registration includes a Grab and Sew Kit specifically crafted for you by Jesse Junko Bearsdlee. If you have no interest in sewing, but want to support artisans like Jesse, visit her store Hector Handmade online or visit it on Seneca Lake.

Dreamcatchers and LIVE MUSIC

For the final Kitsch & Kvetch class, we met in-person at the Fountain in Riverfront Centennial Park. To our surprise, we found a full celebration with kilts and bagpipers and LIVE MUSIC for Tartan Day, which is April 6, “the date on which the Declaration of Arbroath was signed in 1320.” The Scottish American Society of the Southern Tier hosted this event, which was a delight to many passersby on an evening with such pleasant weather. This moment felt like the true turning of the tide for Covid-19 and the Quarantine Lock-down. Warm weather and birdsong often gives me that kind of hope, but LIVE MUSIC made the hope feel ever-more-real. We have lots of supplies leftover from class. Dreamcatcher Kits with instructions are coming to our Take and Make table in a couple of weeks. Think May Day, Roger.

Crafting with Kimberly will replace Kitsch & Kvetch, which actually replaced Crafting with Kimberly during quarantine…

We are very excited to welcome back our Crafty Gal, Kimberly Canale with another popular gnome option. This time it’s Nature Gnomes! Register for your spot in this class, which will be on Star Wars Day, May 4. May the Fourth Be With You and us as we plan to meet in person at the Civic Center Courtyard behind the library, but we will also provide a Zoom Room for those who prefer a virtual option. Kimberly returns with another kitschy-cute Gnome for you to craft on your own. Glue guns and sticks have all the control in this process so grab a finger saver now.

Finally, we get another chance to ground our minds and move our bodies to the gentle guidance of Elizabeth Moses of Crystal Heart Yoga. Her direction through the postures of yoga will invigorate your spirit and awaken your will for a wonderful weekend. Be sure to set aside this moment of self-care for yourself on the mat. We take Mindfulness seriously, providing this moment as a gentle gesture to take care. Just a sip will make a world of difference. This class will be offered on Facebook Live from the Southeast Steuben County Library page. Login, Like Us, and set notifications for when we go live. We offer much more than what this blog records!

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!

It’s Summertime…

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

Knitting “Nancy” and Me at Juneteenth, 2016

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

A Weaving Student in Process

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

Ernie Davis Park

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

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

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

Summer, summer, summertime

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

Be well my Friends.

xo, Erica

World Art Day

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the tutorial with Filomena Jack Studio!

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

Crafting with Kimberly: Bunny Gnomes

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

PPE Volunteers at CCLD

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

Celbrate 50 Years of eARTh Day on April 22!

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

or take a walk down Market Street

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