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Blog Posts by Subject: Decorative Arts

Ins and Outs of British Society

Love English literature, but don't know the difference between a barouche and a carriage? Wonder no longer!Read More ›

A Banned Book in the Spencer Collection

Banned Books Week 2017 is this week (September 24th–30th). With that in mind, I would like to introduce a beautiful book, once banned, now residing in the Library’s Spencer Collection. It is a work of no particular bibliographical significance: an isolated volume (volume 2, the correspondence) from a ten-volume set of the works of St. Augustine. Read More ›

Strasbourg's Most Splendid Party

On October 5, 1744, the city of Strasbourg threw a party that would last through the five following days. There were processions, ceremonies, arches of triumph, costumed children, music, dancing, banquets, fireworks, jousting, water games, allegorical figures, decorated barges, and pageantry of all sorts. It was a most splendid party.Read More ›

Crochet Made Simple: How Books Written for a Younger Audience Can be the Best Teachers

I tried several crocheting books with what appeared to be simple enough patterns for a beginner, but I couldn’t get it. I’m a patient person when it comes to learning new things, but I found the instructions in these books confusing. Even Crocheting for Dummies seemed a bit too advanced.

Then I stumbled on Get Hooked Again: Simple Steps to Crochet More Cool Stuff by Kim P. Werker in the Young 

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Badge of Honor: Make Your Own Library Buttons!

The library has started a  "Protect Your Roots" campaign, where you can find your local branch's badge and download/pin/post it with pride. The teens at Mulberry Street took it a step further and made their own personalized buttons to support our library.

To make your own button, you need a print out of your library's “Protect your Roots” icon, paper or fabric for your background, any add-on decorations (we used cut out hearts and stars) and a button making 

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Calligraphic Inscriptions in the Library Shop

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building Friday, May 18 from 2 to 5 p.m.

In celebration of its 20th Anniversary, our bestselling journal line Paperblanks and The Library Shop are hosting a unique event for fans of the beautifully crafted, high-quality writing journals. Visitors to the Library who purchase a Paperblanks journal will be able to have their journal personalized by on-site calligraphers at no additional 

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A Sis Boom Handmade Crafternoon: May 12, 2012

Join us this Saturday, May 12, 2012, when Sis Boom creator Jennifer Paganelli comes to NYPL for the latest Handmade Crafternoon.

My co-host, Maura Madden, and I love how vibrant and sunshine-y Jennifer Paganelli's designs and patterns are, so it's perfect that Paganelli will help us to make summer party garlands and banners. And I'll have summer issues of home magazines from years past to browse and inspire you in other summer project ideas!

The event will take place in 

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The Pompadour's Book: A Mystery Manuscript Owned by Madame de Pompadour

It's a small volume, neatly but unostentatiously bound in mottled calf. The gilt ornamentation is discreet, except for an impressive coat of arms on both boards. That becomes even more impressive when we identify it as the blazon of one of the standout personalities of 18th-century France, Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, marquise de Pompadour — elevated from her haute-bourgeois background and a boring union with a certain M. Lenormand d'Étioles (nephew of her mother's lover) to become the official maîtresse-en-titre 

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Join Us Saturday, October 15 and Learn about Lace

Are you are looking for a knit-and-crochet immersion experience this weekend that does NOT involve trekking to Rhinebeck for the Sheep and Wool Festival? The Library has the answer! Our fall season of crafting continues this Saturday, October 15, as we welcome crochet and knit designer (and opera singer) Lisa Daehlin for the latest Handmade Crafternoon program. Daehlin promises to share her knowledge of knitted and crocheted lace designs (hairpin, broomstick, and Tunisian lace crochet, 

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Origami Cranes: The Simple Yet Elegant Art of Folding a Piece of Paper

The most graceful way to come to terms with the memory of tragedy and destruction is often through the act of creation. In remembrance of the tenth anniversary of 9/11, staff and volunteers at the Battery Park City Library have been folding paper cranes for the past four months for a "Peace Crane Project." The culmination is a special origami exhibition displayed in the library throughout the month of September.

Japanese legend holds that if you fold a thousand origami cranes your wish will be granted.

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Hand Made Summer Camp: Lace Stencils!

Welcome back to Summer Camp! I hope you had fun with Jessica’s paper people — I know I did! This week, we’ll be using lace as a delicate and unique stencil. You can use fabric lace or paper doilies (as I used in this project) on any number of things: t-shirts, paper, or one of the many free tote bags everyone seems to have nowadays.

This week's craft was inspired by a project in the book Print! 25 Original 

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Summer Reading Colors!

Summer is upon us once again!

What a wonderful sight, the sun will be shining bright and the school year will soon end.

It's a more than great time to stop by your local library and sign up for Summer Reading!

Sedgwick Library is ready, are you?

Below is a fun coloring page, illustrating a surfer pig ready for the summer!

Print it out and color!

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Hand-Made Summer Camp: Paper People

Welcome to our second round of projects in NYPL's Hand-Made Summer Camp. (If you missed our first round, Lindsy's woven card project, check it out; I'm thinking of making one with flat sheets of felt myself.) This week, inspired by vintage fashion and paper doll books, I've prepared some customizable paper people. 

I adapted this project from one I found in Paper People, a funny and inspiring 1970 book by Michael Grater. 

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Hand-Made Summer Camp: Online Projects

Hi there!  Our next craft will be posted on Tuesday, May 31th  and until then, here are some fun project ideas that we found online: If you liked the checkerboard card project, then you'll love: pop up cards!  I found this project (complete with very helpful pictures) on the blog Oh Happy Day. The project was created by Michaela who has her own great blog ... Read More ›

Hand-Made Summer Camp: Checkerboard Cards!

Hello and welcome to Hand-Made's Summer Camp!

Our first project is making woven cards, adapted from Sarah Swett's book, Kids Weaving.

For me, weaving has always been a summery craft. The summer before second grade my mother took me to visit a family friend in New Mexico who worked on a large loom in her home. She took the time to show me the ins and outs of working with a loom but I 

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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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A Peep-erific Idea

Introducing: JUSTIN PEEPER! Cue the high-pitched screams, swooning, crying and tears. For their spring craft project the Seward Park Library Teen Advisory Group wanted to make a Peeps diorama. The inspiration came from The Washington Post's annual peeps diorama contest. The entries are so amazing and we wanted to see if we could create something just as cool and we had a blast doing it.

We started with the idea. The majority of the

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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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Spencer Collection Book of the Month: A Wotton Binding

Volume bound for Thomas Wotton (Detail)After I'd spent four Sunday evenings in January engrossed in the doings of the Earl of Grantham and his household on the PBS "Masterpiece Classic" series Downton Abbey, this month's choice for Spencer Collection Book of the Month was obvious: a book that lingered for more than three centuries in the company of barons and earls, before being exiled from their presence in exchange for cold, hard cash.


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