Summer Sewing

Get out that machine and give sewing a try (again) this summer.

It seems like lots of people have taken an interest in making things by hand these days, whether it be bread or soap or clothing. Some of the library staff have been busy baking sourdough, making masks, remodeling, tidying, and gardening during the time the library was closed, and for some of us the creative frenzy continues even now that we are back in the library.

If you have a sewing machine collecting dust and never really learned how to use it, check out this beginner level class on how to make a tote bag from Creativebug, one of the library’s most recent additions to our online resources.

To see the whole video, follow this link: Market Tote Bag.
You will need to login with your library card number and PIN.

Everyone can use another shopping bag, right? Well, maybe if it’s a cute, lined, one-of-a-kind version! In this session, instructor Cal Patch makes sure to explain the project in terms that any beginner will understand. There’s even a section on how to thread the needle. The good thing about Creativebug classes is that they are broken up into segments; if you don’t need to watch a section just skip ahead.

I tried out this project and found it to be easy to follow, but there are a few places where you can go wrong. I had to take mine apart twice! (It is pictured at the bottom of this article):

1. Make sure to pay special attention to what she does with attaching the straps. The straps must be placed on the outside of your bag cover before you put together the lining and outer cover.

2. Copy exactly what she’s doing when she’s putting the two layers together. The outer piece, whether liner or cover, needs to be wrong side out, and the inner piece needs to be right side out. On my final try I just did what she did and it worked.

The bag and strap dimensions are left up to the maker. I cut my bag pieces to 17″x17″ for a 16″ square bag. You could make yours smaller, larger, or rectangular. Even if you aren’t a beginner, you may be inspired by this project to start sewing again


In addition to lots of Creativebug sewing classes, the library has many books on sewing. Here are a few 2020 titles for you to check out!

Sew Step by Step: How to Use Your Sewing Machine to Make, Mend, and Customize by Alison Smith, would be a great choice for anyone wanting to learn in depth how to sew. With chapters on fabrics, stitches, hems, patterns, pleats, and more, you can’t go wrong with this handy and complete guide.

Maybe your life is focused right now on your kids, or maybe you miss your grandkids and would like to send them a surprise. Animal Friends to Sew: Simple Handmade Decor, Toys, and Gifts for Kids by Sanae Ishida contains lots of simple projects to choose from.

House of Pinheiro’s Work to Weekend Wardrobe: Sew Your Own Capsule Collection by Rachel Pinheiro while not for beginners, has designs for wardrobe staples that you can mix and match to get you through the work week and into the weekend, and there are even accessories. Many of the garments would be suitable for summertime.

If hand sewing is more your speed, Joyful Mending by Noriko Misumi shows techniques for artful mending and reusing of clothing and other worn items that we still enjoy, instead of throwing them away. These attractive repairs will make your clothing more original and you will likely treasure the pieces even more.

Joyful Mending: Visible Repairs for the Perfectly Imperfect Things We Love! (Paperback)

Quilt: Modern Curves and Bold Stripes by Heather Black and Daisy Aschehoug contains 15 different projects for all skill levels. Quilting can be fun to get into because you can make a beautiful quilt entirely with simple straight lines, but the modern designs in this book are heavy into circles, a favorite motif of mine.


Sewing can be peaceful and meditative, and/or challenging and frustrating, but it’s almost always rewarding in the end. Get out that machine and those fabrics you’ve had for years and give sewing another try.

Homemade relief for your dry hands? Yes, please!

Lotion bars made by EPL staff member JoAnna

Hands getting dry after all the hand washing?  My horribly dry, painful hands got me thinking about what I could do to heal them, since regular old lotion isn’t cutting it. Then I remembered my coworker JoAnna had made a lot of lotion bars, which are very moisturizing, and it turns out she’s tested the following tutorial.

You’ve probably heard by now about our newest arts and crafts resource, Creativebug. I have looked at it quite happily for quick and easy art projects, but hadn’t thought to look for tutorials on making soaps, lotions, and other skincare and natural home products. But they do indeed have such classes. If you are looking for some relief for your hands, check out this quick and simple DIY Lotion Bar tutorial.

Tips from JoAnna:

* You can substitute coconut oil for one of the butters.
* If you do not have a double boiler, you can make it in a small crockpot or in the microwave. Be sure to use a glass bowl in the microwave as the beeswax takes a long time to melt and the bowl will get very hot.
* Melt the beeswax first, once melted you can add the other butters to mix.
* You can add vitamin E to help with skin repair; break 1-2 capsules into the mix.
* If you do not have any molds on hand, you can use silicone cupcake holders.
* Put completed bars in a tin or plastic bag to store so they don’t get messy.
* Beware, in warm temperature they can melt.
* To use, hold in your cupped hands. The warmth of your hands will soften the wax.
* The ingredients can be ordered and delivered from hobby and craft stores, or soap making supply companies.


Besides Creativebug (which really has tons of great classes) we have eBooks about making your own bath, skin care, and cleaning products.

The Organic Country Home Handbook by Natalie Wise, includes recipes for cleaning all areas of the home, from kitchen to bath, and everywhere in between. If you are so inclined you can find everything you need here to do some spring cleaning! There is also a chapter, “The Medicine Cabinet” that features homemade skin care products.

DIY Beauty: Easy, All-Natural Recipes Based on Your Favorites from Lush, Kiehl’s, Burt’s Bees, Bumble and bumble, Laura Mercier, and More!
by Ina De Clercq
From lip balm to bath bombs, these recipes attempt to recreate best-loved products from popular beauty product companies.

Homemade Bath Bombs & More: Soothing Spa Treatments for Luxurious Self-Care and Bath-Time Bliss by Heidi Kundin
This book focuses on bath bombs and other fun and luxurious bath products such as sugar scrubs, body butter, and bath jellies. Bath jellies? I will have to look that one up!

Natural Beauty: 35 Step-by-Step Projects for Homemade Beauty by Karen Gilbert
These ‘lotion and potion’ recipes for face, body, and hair, use readily available, natural ingredients and easy-to-follow methods.


I hope Creativebug classes and our crafty eBooks inspire you to try your hand at making healthy, simple home and beauty products! And may your hands be in much better shape than mine.

Keep your hands active and your mind engaged with Creativebug

Following the state’s Stay Healthy, Stay Home order is causing many of us to be a little stir-crazy right now. The library is here to help! You now have free unlimited access to over 1,000 online video arts and craft classes with the Creativebug database in our E-Resources page. Create an account with your email and a password and you’re ready to go.

Improve your skills in your favorite craft or discover something new. Ceramics, painting, sewing, quilting, paper crafting, knitting, crochet, baking, cake decorating, and jewelry making are only some of the categories offered.

Learn how to make sparkly slime with your kids, knit a custom-fit dog sweater, get your doodle on, bake peanut butter and jelly cups, or make your own bath bombs. You can spend hours just looking at all that’s available.

For knitters and crocheters there is a pattern library of free downloadable knit and crochet patterns. Crochet a sloth or knit zig-zag knee socks.

Be sure to explore the Creativebug Inspiration Feed. Browse photos of finished projects posted by crafters like you. Follow the Creativebug Instagram feed and their Facebook page for even more ideas. Watch CBTV (Creativebug Television) to meet the instructors, view documentaries and an archive of their Live Facebook videos.

New classes are added daily, so be sure to check back often!