BiblioCraft in San Francisco!

Make a notebook like this at the San Francisco Museum of Craft and Design, or a bookmark like this at the San Francisco Public Library!

Make a notebook like the heraldic peacock (left) at the San Francisco Museum of Craft & Design on April 26th, or a vintage monogram bookmark (right) at the San Francisco Public Library on April 24th!

I’m heading to San Francisco next week! I’ll spend a bit of time with my sister and her family (which I’m especially excited about, since I’ve not seen them since last summer) and I’ll also be busy with a couple of BiblioCraft events as well. As always on my BiblioCraft travels, I look forward to meeting fellow librarians as well as crafty bookish types. So, if you’re in San Francisco next week, please join me at one of the following events, introduce yourself, and spend some time making something! Here are the details:

Thursday, April 24th, 6:00 – 7:30pm, at San Francisco Public Library’s Main Library 

  • The Art, Music and Recreation Center librarians have shared some super vintage letter designs from their collections that we’ll use as the inspiration to create vintage-style monogram bookmarks! You’ll find out how your public library can inspire you!

Saturday, April 26th, 2:00 – 3:30pm, at the Museum of Craft and Design

  • I’m thrilled to collaborate with this institution on an event that gives me a chance to share one of my favorite rare book inspirations: historic watermarks as embroidery designs. Your event registration will get you dozens of design templates to use and take home, as well as everything you need to make the following: a set of hand-stitched cards AND a cute Japanese notebook embellished with hand-stitched designs.

Now, to the important questions: What shall I do with my bits of free time to play and explore while there? What creative gems should I try to visit in San Francisco? Museums, galleries, shops, or even favorite restaurants/bakeries/cafes? I’d love your recommendations!

Colorado Bound!

And so it begins.

cat cards

Today is the official book launch date for BiblioCraft, and tomorrow is the launch party, where attendees will stitch kitty cards AND make make mini felt rose fascinators (hopefully not burning their fingers on the glue gun). The party’s being held at Brett Bara’s great studio, Brooklyn Craft Company, and all are welcome (rsvp here). Speaking of cats, Brett’s currently planning an evening of craft projects and fun that’s all cat, all the time. I recommend you get yourselves there, people.

And this very weekend, I head to Colorado where I will meet fellow librarians, library lovers, bookish folks, and curious crafty people at an event that’s a collaboration between a local history organization and a bookstore/winebar! To prepare, I’ll spend an afternoon among the collections of History Colorado, where the super librarian there will help me to select vintage visual gems we’ll use at and the collaborative craft workshop/book signing event at Denver’s BookBar, in  collaboration with the Colorado History Collection. Think bold designs based on cattle brands, vintage cowboy/cowgirl images, and more! You don’t need to bring any supplies; we’ll have what you need to get busy while getting a glimpse of what the Colorado History Collection has to offer. I hope to see you at BookBar at 2pm on Sunday, March 23rd!

One last thought–if you know Denver and have ideas for crafty shops, historic sites, or libraries I should check out while there, please leave a comment with any recommendations! Thanks!


Maisie’s Sort-of-Birthday!

Happy Birthday to our Frog Dog, our Sun Dog Millionaire, our Frito Lady!

Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that Sean and I adopted Maisie, with the help of my colleague Ted and his fellow shelter volunteers who brought her north from Paris, Kentucky, so that we could take her home to Brooklyn. Maisie has eaten shoes and blankets, and she has shredded entire skeins of yarn as well. She’s been known to carry Sean’s e-reader around in her teeth, delicately and triumphantly. In short, she can be trouble. But she’s feisty and happy and is wonderful company. And when she’s asleep she smells like cornchips. So today is a day to celebrate M.

BiblioCraft Book Launch Party!

My new book will be out this very month! While I’m pretty excited about forthcoming trips (Denver! Madison! San Francisco! more!) to share BiblioCraft at libraries and organizations, I’m also planning some gatherings here on my home turf too. Today I wanted to share the details on the official book launch party in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. If you’re localish, I hope you can come and join in any of the following activities:

  • eat homemade cookies rolled in pink sugar (made by me!), or Peter Pan doughnuts (provided by my Mom & Dad!)
  • make a toast to all the library-loving, nerdy+cool, bookishly crafty friends in your life
  • get crafty–make a BiblioCraft inspired project!
  • explore Brett Bara’s cool new class and event studio, Brooklyn Craft Company
  • buy BiblioCraft as well as my amazing contributors’ books too, thanks to my friends at WORD

WHEN: Wednesday, March 19th, 7:00-8:30pm
WHERE: Brooklyn Craft Company, 61 Greenpoint Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11222 (just 1.5 blocks west of the Greenpoint Avenue stop of the G train)
PLEASE RSVP: on Facebook or send me a message so I know how many cookies to bake!

A Test Batch!

A Test Batch!


Greenpoint Hand Skills Report.

IMG_20140301_125043This past weekend I was invited to help out at a Greenpoint Hand Skills program at my local Brooklyn Public Library branch, hosted by Julie Schneider and Kim Konen. We made stamped cards inspired by 19th c. wood type specimen books, and for design inspiration I brought along some printed-out page images from an 1892 Hamilton Wood Type specimen book that’s part of the Rare Book Division collection at NYPL, where I work. I love all type specimen books, really, because they let you glimpse specific worlds–places and times–of type design. But the Hamilton volume is a particular favorite because it was one of the books that inspired Julie to create two projects for BiblioCraftSo, just a few followup notes and links for you from this event:

  • I’ve shared all the Hamilton page images I took for the event on tumblr, if you want to check them out.
  • The documentary a few of us talked about, which is all about the legacy of Hamilton wood type reborn as a Museum of printing and design is called Typeface, and it’s worth checking out.
  • The banana-oat-white chocolate-walnut cookie bars I made were based on this recipe. I made just two little changes: I used white chocolate chips instead of regular chocolate because that’s what I had on hand, and I pressed the dough into a 9×13″ pan lined with parchment. Otherwise, it’s all there just as Martha wrote it.
  •  The sweater I wore was Cecily Glowik’s Idlewood design, which I knitted up in Sweet Georgia’s Botanical green.
  • And, without further ado, a single Hamilton type specimen (in real life this page is about two feet tall!).



BiblioCraft, at ALA Midwinter and Beyond.

It’s a book! (You can read more about it, and see a list of amazing contributors, here!)

JP at Midwinter

(my thanks to Rebecca Federman–aka @cookedbooks–for this photograph!)

Even though BiblioCraft‘s not even really out yet–it officially launches on March 18th–my publisher got a couple of boxes of early finished copies just in time for me to do a talk, share a watermark whale bookmark project, and sign copies at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. As you might imagine, I was VERY nervous, and pretty excited as well, to share my new book with bunches and bunches of smart and tough (and I mean tough in the best way possible) librarians of all kinds. My thanks to everyone I met–the conversations we had reminded me why I wanted to write this book in the first place: because libraries and their librarians are like inspiration engines.

While I wait for the books to arrive in warehouses, I’ve gotten started with a skeleton schedule of events to help spread the word about how libraries+crafts=design inspiration. I’m excited about the mix of venues: libraries, museums (the Smithsonian!), bookshops, and organizations (the American Craft Council!). You can keep an eye on my calendar to see where I’ll be. And if you’d like me to be part of your library’s programming, let me know! I’d love to see what we might come up with.

XOXO Mini-Quilt.

DWRaboveMy friend Jenny has been encouraging me to start playing around with quilting and patchwork. She’s a talented quilter herself, and she successfully taught me how to make my first whole cloth quilt (I’ll share more soon about that particular quilt’s supporting role in my forthcoming book).  Jenny’s efforts have paid off: this year I joined a quilting guild, attended QuiltCon, and became a collector of fat quarters. Basically, I’ve gone from being a quilt lurker–reading about quilts, collecting books about quilts, and admiring exhibitions of quilts–to trying my hand at making my own.

And with her encouragement, I entered the Double Wedding Ring Challenge hosted by my guild. Because I was pretty confident I’d not enjoy the curved piecing (wow, was I right), and because I’m already fully immersed in what will be a rather large hand pieced hexagon quilt, I chose to make the small single ring option. I pieced it on my machine and then quilted it by hand, adding cross stitch arches to complete the “pickle dish” forms along two sides. Here’s one pickle dish that’s patchwork on both sides, in progress:


In making my little XOXO quilt (O for the circle shape and X for the cross stitches), I learned the following: I prefer hand piecing and hand quilting to using a machine; I really need my own design wall; and I enjoy color play more than I expected. Here are the fabrics from my stash of fat quarters  that came into play, early on:


I also learned that I prefer to make finished objects that have a functional purpose. This little round guy is nice, but I’m itching to turn it into a pillow cover or something purposeful. We’ll see what XOXO becomes!

This Fall at the Library.

robot dress

It’s hard for me to believe it sometimes, but Handmade Crafternoons at New York Public Library have been going strong since 2009. I first joined up with Maura Madden four years ago to launch a DIY salon for adults that would draw creative inspiration from the library’s collections while drawing in a community of artists and crafters. The fall 2013 series is about to get underway!

Continue reading “This Fall at the Library.”

Craft Camp Report.

Craft Camp Flower

Yesterday was a perfect creative escape. Craft Camp was everything I thought that it would be–a full day of creative classes, yummy food, and craft inspiration. But it was more, because of the chance to hang out and talk with crafty ladies all day long. I connected with some people I already know–like Craft Camp teachers Julie SchneiderSarah Goldschadt, Jessica Marquez, and Cal Patch, crafty writers Haley Pierson-Cox and Megan Nicolay, and the savvy and fabulous agent Kate McKean–but I also met lots of new people who I’ll hope to run into again, either online or in person.  From jewelry designers to journalists, and from an oyster expert to a mathematician, the day was stimulating, social, and full of surprises. It was also impeccably organized (congrats for making it all run like clockwork, Brett!) and lovely all around.

Continue reading “Craft Camp Report.”

Winter Projects and Field Trips.

Scottie blue

There’s been a whole lot happening in my craft brain over recent months, and it’s all exciting and stimulating (and stressful too!). It’s mostly details about my book project, and I’ll be ready to start sharing bits of news about that a little later this spring. But while trying to balance demands of the book-to-be with the rest of my life, I’ve found tiny bits of time around the edges to work on a few of my own creative exploits.

Continue reading “Winter Projects and Field Trips.”