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Are you interested in sewing and knitting, book arts and letterpress printing, traditional crafts and the new DIY, sewists of yesterday and today, vintage-inspired design, and all things handmade? Then join in the conversation at Hand-Made. We'll share information on unique items from the Library's collections as well as details on Library events that cater to the curious crafter in us all.

Books for the Birds

Last week I read about artist Walter Kitundu's San Francisco International Airport installation, "Bay Area Bird Encounters." This work combines music, art, and natural history in an interactive mural with accompanying xylophone benches, and I do wish that I could visit it. Reading about it reminded me of Abby Glassenberg's Handmade Crafternoon appearance last month, and how inspiring birds in art 

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Hand-Made Project: Terrariums!

My favorite way to celebrate Earth Day is to bring more plants into my home.  But sadly, the plants rarely make it to see Memorial Day.  For all of you out there who want to fill their homes with plants, but then have trouble keeping them alive, terrariums might be the answer. 

I've always loved terrariums but they were a mystery to me.  How do they stay alive?  What materials do I need?  Why can't I make them look like the plants I see in magazines or in the

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Fashion History at Your Fingertips: Celebrate at the Library on April 5, 2011!

Oxford University Press has launched its award-winning database, the Berg Fashion Library, and I'm so happy to have at my fingertips this comprehensive online resource that offers integrated text, image, and journal content on world dress and fashion. From the history of the corset to the beads of Mauritania, this database has it all, and I'm guessing that there are lots of you out there who will love the Berg Fashion Library too.  If you want to 

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April 2, 2011's Handmade Crafternoon: Paper Dolls & Fashion with Liesl Gibson.

Designer Liesl Gibson has earned a devoted following among sewists who eagerly await each season's line of her Oliver + S sewing patterns for children's clothes. And Liesl's new book, Oliver + S Little Things to Sew, offers a broad range of projects that combine expertly written instructions with smart design elements we've come to expect and appreciate from Liesl. 

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Behind the Scenes with The Artful Bird

Maura and I are thrilled that artist and seamstress Abby Glassenberg will be our special guest at March 5th's Handmade Crafternoon.  She has stopped by Hand-Made to answer a few questions about the books and people who inspire and inform her work.

There's a rich, centuries-long tradition of bird images in art and 

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Avian Inspiration

Do you plan to come to the next Handmade Crafternoon on March 5th to make your own tiny avian sculpture with artist Abby Glassenberg, author of The Artful Bird? Want to brush up on bird characteristics in advance?  Then the Library's Digital Gallery is a great place to spend some time.  Here 

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Valentine's Day Wishes from Helen Adams Masten

The Rare Book Division's collection of historic valentines has provided heaps of inspiration this month---in Martha Stewart Living's February issue, on the Martha Stewart Show, and at the latest Handmade Crafternoon event at which staff from Martha Stewart Living were our special guests and donated amazing supplies (you'll find a wrap-up of this event as well as a great gallery of images

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Kick-Starting Creative Habits

Have you always meant to start a craft or hobby and froze when faced with a blank canvas, empty music paper or a glowing computer screen? You are not alone. Starting creative projects has always been on my New Year's resolution list. This year, I’m doing some prep work before facing that blank canvas and looking at books about developing your creativity written by people who are established artists in their own right.

The 

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Vintage-Inspired Valentines with Martha Stewart Living: Feb. 5, 2011's Handmade Crafternoon!

Maura and I are both flabbergasted and honored that our Library event series, Handmade Crafternoons, has been featured in Martha Stewart Living's February issue. If you've been to any events in the series in the past you'll hopefully agree with this article, which is a love letter to libraries, creativity, and community (even though Maura and I don't actually serve pizza sandwiches at our events; sorry!)

We're simply thrilled to 

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Emerging Designers' Knitting Circle: Handmade Crafternoon, Dec 18

Want to meet some of today's emerging knitwear designers and learn about what they do?  Or, would you rather look back in time and browse old knit and crochet magazines and books from the Library's Collections to find vintage patterns?  Either way, you'll be in luck on December 18th, as  Maura Madden (author of Crafternoon) and I host a free day of both old and 

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Wintry Crafts and Books

At November 20th's Handmade Crafternoon, guest Jodi Kahn (author of, most recently Simply Sublime Gifts) provided some great inspiration on how to transform vintage images from the Library’s Digital Gallery into handsewn ornaments, card holders, sachets, and more.  Big thanks from Maura and me go out: to Jodi for her guidance; to local independent bookshop Word for selling both Jodi’s new book and

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Simply Sublime Winter Sewing!

Tomorrow afternoon, November 20th, is our next Handmade Crafternoon, and we'll be thinking winter—snow, skates, holiday cheer—as we stitch up some little ornaments or other gifts using fabric with images from the Library's collection of wintry scenes and greeting cards. 

My cohost (and Crafternoon author) Maura Madden and I are excited to welcome special guest Jodi Kahn, author of

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Beautiful Words, Beautiful Writing: Calligraphy at Muhlenberg

Many local branches have been offering special programs relating to NYPL’s major fall exhibition, Three Faiths: Judaism, Christianity, Islam. Recently, I was excited to host a calligraphy program for our teens at the Muhlenberg branch.

We started with a straight line. Just like when you play an instrument or run a mile, you have to warm up. So we drew line after line until we got the right shape. Then we learned diamonds. When you put those two 

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Make Your Own Jewelry!

Muhlenberg's budding jewelers got together at last Thursday's Unplugged event (A bimonthly crafts and games program we have on Thursdays) to make some spooky necklaces and bracelets with local artist Pamela Isaac.  

We were given some twine, metal wire and elastic, along with tiny skulls, chains, tons of cool beads and metal pieces. We spent the next hour making our own wearable art. 

Here's a look at the materials that we used:  

Everyone's necklaces came out 

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Handmade Crafternoon: Make Your Own Map Day

On Saturday, October 23rd, please join us for an afternoon of free DIY cartography at the Library.  Special guests Matt Knutzen (the Library's own geospatial librarian) and map artist Connie Brown of Redstone Studios will teach us a bit about cartography, and then we'll all put that knowledge to use in making our own personal maps.  We'll have basic supplies for this hands-on project to share, but if you have your own compass and ruler you are welcome to bring them 

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St. Clare, Patron Saint of Embroiderers

I recently learned, while reading the Summer 1966 issue of Embroidery, that embroiderers have their own patron saint.  She's St. Clare of Assisi, an Italian contemplative known for her hand-sewn altar cloths as well as for her extremely austere way of life.  In 1966, the members of the Embroiderers' Guild, an impressive English organization responsible for the publication of Embroidery, embarked on a shared project inspired by the saint as part of the Guild's 

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An Exquisite Handmade Crafternoon with Julia Rothman: Sept. 18th!

Do you want to play a game called Exquisite Corpse?  Don’t worry, there’s nothing ghoulish about it; it’s a collaborative art game that was invented by the surrealists.  And it was this game that inspired illustrator and pattern designer Julia Rothman and her colleagues Jenny Volvovski and Matt Lamothe to collaborate with one hundred artists on

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Looking Back at Gardening Books for Kids

“If you want a garden of your own, but have no yard--- If you wish you had some way of growing plants all through the year, even though you live where winters are long an cold--- If you want a garden small enough that you can care for it easily--- This book is for you.”

These are the opening lines of Flowerpot Gardens by Clyde Robert Bulla, an elegant little guide to container gardening from 1967, with botanical illustrations evocative of silhouettes.  This book is one of a handful of little 

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A Natalie Chanin-Inspired Booklist.

If you were one of the seventy lovely people who attended our last Handmade Crafternoon (in May—eegads, so long ago!), then you know already what a wonderful time it was.  Natalie Chanin encouraged us all to take up needle and thread and make sustainable fashions entirely by hand from the humblest scraps of soft cotton jersey.  She filled the afternoon with stories, practical advice, and enthusiasm, and Maura and I couldn't have imagined a better way to wind up our spring series.  And of 

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Handcrafted Postcards

Last month saw the last of the Library's Handmade Crafternoon spring series, as our special guest Natalie Chanin provided us with a tremendous afternoon of stories, lessons, and inspiration.  (The list of books we browsed that afternoon will come soon, I promise!)  Although I’ll miss our creative community over the summer break, Maura and I will be busy as

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