Sewing the Seeds of Love

December 12th, 2011

This Saturday, December 17th, is the final Handmade Crafternoon at the New York Public Library for 2011. I am thrilled that we will be welcoming the talented and charming Brett Bara. Brett is an author, television host, blogger and designer, specializing in crafts, desserts, and DIY decor. She will be sharing with us a few projects from her book, Sewing in a Straight Line.

We will be working with gorgeous felt generously subsidized by OhMa Felt, and will have thread and needles and other supplies on hand. If you like to BYOCT (Bring Your Own Craft Tools), feel free to bring scissors, a needle, embroidery thread and felt.

Handmade Crafternoons are always from 2-4pm at the Stephen A. Schwarzman branch of the library (the one with the dignified lions out front). My wonderful co-host, librarian Jessica Pigza, is graciously accepting advance registrations. Send an email to HANDMADE@NYPL.ORG. Include YOUR NAME and the DATE you want to attend. Please arrive by 1:50pm our we will donate your seat to walk-ins.

Looking forward to saying a crafty farewell to 2011 with you.

A Day of Crafty Honors

November 22nd, 2011

The New York Public Library never ceases to amaze me!

The Centennial Celebration of the Stephen A. Schwarzman building includes an inspiring exhibit about programs and initiatives and people that have come through the doors of the library in the past 100 years. I am thrilled to say that Handmade Crafternoon is one of the programs they have highlighted!

The exhibit “shines a spotlight on items spanning thousands of years.” Finger puppets that Jessica Pigza and I made are two of those items.

To say that it is an honor to be included is an understatement. My mom, pictured above, took us our local library almost every day when we were kids, so it was a special moment to walk up to the glass case with her and see the Crafternoon exhibit. It was pretty overwhelming for both of us.

And talk about honors! The lovely ladies of Bust Magazine, Laurie Henzel and Debbie Stoller, honored us with their cool, crafty, feisty presence in celebration of their new book, The Bust DIY Guide to Life.

They showed us how to make friendship bracelets, which brought me right back to middle school.

Making these bracelets is so meditative — I think I’ll make a bunch of them for holiday gifts for all my favorite crafties.

It was amazing to have such feminist icons grace the Handmade Crafternoon series. These ladies helped make it cool to be crafty again, and I am forever in their debt.

I’m so thankful to Jessica Pigza, my co-host, and the NYPL for their tireless support of Handmade Crafternoon. And I’m filled with pride to be a part of the New York Public Library’s legacy for all New Yorkers.

Soaking up the Design*Sponge

October 12th, 2011

Last month we had a fantastic kick off to our fall season of Handmade Crafternoons at the NYPL.

To celebrate the launch of her new and totally swoon-worthy book, Design*Sponge at Home, Grace Bonney (pictured above chatting with a lady in red) showed our guests how to make handmade stamps for printing on fabric.

She and her Design*Sponge colleague Amy Azzarito donated tons of amazing supplies to the event, from the foam for making the sponges to gorgeous colors of fabric paint. They also brought a bunch of lovely templates for guests to use when creating their masterpieces.

It was a totally packed house, and as always, our amazing crafters created an inspiring variety of designs.

These pretty pachyderms were drawn by a guest.

Another clever attendee created this pastoral scene with stamps from the design*sponge templates.

This sweet tote used the same stamp first with white fabric paint, then with yellow, creating a very subtle effect.

I want these napkins!!!

Below is another example of same stamp, different color effect. I love the way it looks, especially with those fresh colors.

It was a group of very happy crafters. Many thanks to Grace and Amy to kicking off their book tour at Handmade Crafternoon.

This Saturday from 2-4pm, we’re having our second Handmade Crafternoon of the Fall. We will welcome knit and crochet designer Lisa Daehlin who will show us some simple techniques for making knitted and crocheted lace.

We’ll have some supplies, but if you have the following please bring: DK or heavier weight yarn, a size G or H crochet hook, size 50 knitting needles, and a hairpin loom. ¬†And my wonderful co-host Jessica Pigza will bring a fabulous selection of books on lace from the New York Public Library‘s collection. The event is free as always, but reservations are welcome. To reserve your spot, please write to with your name and the date of this event. Hope to see you at the Library!

Get Your Geek On

September 19th, 2011

Maker Faire was amazing.

First I gave a fun and spazzy demo at the booth.

Then Rufus and I went out exploring the fair.

First thing we checked out was Sean Casey’s “Tornado Intercept Vehicle.” What does a tornado intercept vehicle do? Just what it says it does – that monster was made so Sean and his team could drive into tornados and get footage for his film Tornado Alley. New Yorkers can check out the movie at the IMAX theater at the American Museum of Natural History. I know what I’m doing next weekend.

But we had to solder on…that’s not a typo, it’s a hilarious tech pun.

We went straight to the MakerShed to learn how to solder. Last year at Maker Faire we got really stoked about DIY music stuff and even bought an Atari Punk Console, but we never did get around to making it. This year we were determined to learn the basic skill of soldering so that we can finally craft that thing.

The book above doesn’t lie – soldering is easy! But I have to admit it was helpful to have a real live humanoid assisting us with our soldering boot camp.

That little robot above is what we soldered. In the end, he got a light that blinks because of our heavy duty circuitry.

That’s me confidently brandishing the soldering iron that I now totally know how to use, you guys. I did have some help from the teacher after Rufus figured out the light on my piece wasn’t working because I soldered the positive and negative streams together.

But I still feel good about my work, and I’m happy to know how to fix that soldering issue. I love that self-soldered little roboto on my lanyard.

Before we left the shed we had to try the Trip Glasses. They were pretty far out, and I bet they work wonders if you use them in a quiet, dark room.

We tried some circuit connecting with non-toxic materials.

At Maker Faire, you see lots of awesome contraptions like the Dogzilla worn by the guy above. And you can check out crazy music like that from Datalore below, a duo that plays hacked Gameboys.

Inside the New York Hall of Science, there were even more things to see and do.

Greggy Soriano from The Next Great Baker was making a Maker Cake inspired by the Faire. It even had a mini Rube Goldberg set up on the outside, inspired by the crazy Life Size Mousetrap pictured below.

It was a truly awesome day. As we walked out, we were serenaded by the bonkers Sashimi Tabernacle Choir.

I wish every day was a Maker Faire day. The combination of DIY tech and craft makes my heart sing. It is such a completely inspiring collection of cool, creative people trying new things. Next year I have to go both days so I can be sure to see everything. Many thanks to the folks over at for having me as a guest. Hope to see you there next year!

Fall in the House of Craft

September 13th, 2011

Saturday’s Handmade Crafternoon at the NYPL was a huge success! It was a joy to meet Grace Bonney and help her celebrate the release of Design*Sponge at Home, her first (and truly inspiring) book, featuring the best of the best of design*sponge!I’ll do a proper recap asap, I promise.

This weekend I’m doing a demo at Maker Faire in NY on Sunday at 1pm! I’ll be demoing ideas for handmade party decor. It’s going to be a blast. Maker Faire is the COOLEST, I swear. If you didn’t go last year, you missed out. Hope to see you this weekend!

Crafternoon Hits San Francisco

September 6th, 2011

Boy do I love San Francisco. I’m not the first one who left another little piece of my heart there, and there’s no way I’m the last.

The first Crafternoon at the San Francisco Public Library was a tremendous success. On Saturday, August 27th at Presidio Branch I kicked off the Crafternoon series, West Coast library style, showing folks how to create collages and decoupage.

An incredible amount of gorgeous craft supplies were generously donated by EK Success Brands. Here are just some of the lovely things they donated to the series, which will be used at all of the future events. EK Success set the library up so that the Crafternoon at the SFPL series is sure to achieve handmade greatness!

The space at the library is perfect for this series – bright, sunny and brand spanking new! And we had a fantastic turnout of family and friends, ready to craft and chat.

People dove right into the decoupaging, creating all kinds of beautiful pieces.

I was absolutely thrilled with every aspect of the event. It took a lot of coordinating and brainstorming, and all of the effort really paid off. I’d like to thank all of the good people at the San Francisco Public Library who made it happen: Christy Estrovitz, Rosie Merlin, and especially Megan Anderson, the Presidio Branch manager pictured below.

Megan brought a diverse selection of craft books to the event, and had a laptop with her so that any attendee with a library card could check books out directly from her. And for those folks who didn’t have a library card, she was able to sign them up on the spot!

The next SFPL Crafternoon event will take place in October. Please check the Presidio Branch site for details closer to the date.

As for me, I’m back in NYC, ready for this Saturday’s Handmade Crafternoon at the NYPL. We’ll be celebrating the release of Design*Sponge at Home, the first book by design*sponge, which is out today! Hope to get crafty with you soon.

Crafternoon at the San Francisco Public Library

August 12th, 2011

I can’t believe it’s almost time for my first Crafternoon at the San Francisco Pulic Library! On Saturday, August 27th, from 2-4pm, the whole family is invited to come to our kickoff Crafternoon event at the library’s Presidio Branch. I will be leading the event, and will show crafters how to create collages and how to decoupage. We’ll cut and paste our way to some gorgeous crafty goods.

I’m so happy to say that this event is FREE, just like our Handmade Crafternoon events at the NYPL. Supplies are generously donated by EK Success Brands. If you would like to practice decoupage, please bring a box of any size to decorate.

There will also be a selection of inspiring craft books on hand from the library’s collection. I hope I’ll see you there!

Presidio Branch Library, Meeting Room (3150 Sacramento St., SF) | Saturday, August 27 | 2-4p | FREE

*This event is all ages, but children under 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

**If you have magazines lying around your house that you’d be happy to cut up and craft with, please bring them!

Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

July 27th, 2011

This is the start to my new morning commute.

This is what gets me to Manhattan.

These are some things that I see on my journey.

It is a joyful way to start the day – worthy of poetry:

Flood-tide below me! I watch you face to face;
Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see you also face to face.   

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you
          are to me!
On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home,
          are more curious to me than you suppose;
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me,
          and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.
-Walt Whitman, from Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Scenes from the Bay of Fundy

July 18th, 2011

O Canada!

July 11th, 2011





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