What I Made: Cute & cuddly children’s toys


photo: abby

photo credit: abby









Although I have no children of my own (and don’t plan to), I really enjoy knitting for babies and toddlers. The projects are quick and totally adorable, and parents really appreciate these one-of-a-kind handmade gifts. Recently, I’ve gotten into knitting and sewing toys for my friend’s newborns. Here are some photos of toys I’ve made using patterns from books in the Library’s collection. Check them out and get inspired!

Above left is Stripe Dog from Fun Dolls by Aranzi Aronzo and Jumbo Elephant from Knitted Toys: 25 Fresh and Fabulous Designs by Zoe Mellor.
Below: Adorable baby Luna has a new friend with Lovable Rabbit Doll from Last-minute Knitted Gifts by Joelle Hoverson.

 photo credit: Carey Goldenberg

Other books to check out:

What I Made column: Seattle is home to a thriving DIY ethic and culture. As part of an occasional series of posts, we feature hand-made items created by staff at The Seattle Public Library, and the library books, CDs, and DVDs that showed them how to do it themselves. We hope you’ll draw inspiration from their creations and check out some of the many great how-to resources the Library has to offer!

Origami Boxes

I like to fold paper. A lot. I don’t like make cranes, other cute animals or little people. I like making boxes, and putting together geometric shapes.

There is one origami author and artist that is the queen of such things: Tomoko Fuse. Her boxes can be fairly (and I use the term loosely) simple, to quite complex and amazing.

A couple of my favorite books of hers are: Origami Boxes and Fabulous Origami Boxes

Tomoko Fuse (born 1951) is generally considered to be one of the pre-eminent living Japanese Origami geniuses. Tomoko first learned origami when she was 19 and in the hospital. She has published more than 60 books.

Another book of hers in a slightly different direction is: Unit Polyhedoron Origami

If you are a paper folder, or wish to be one, but don’t really want to make cranes and cute animals, these are the books for you.

       ~ Mike B., Central Library

BiblioBagels: My Adventures in Bagel Chemistry (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, I was on a quest to make Montreal bagels with the help of the library’s resources. A friend had just told me about the process of retarding the dough (placing it in the fridge overnight before boiling and baking the bagels). I was curious about this mysterious-sounding process and decided to investigate further.

I found a delightfully technical article called “A Laboratory-Scale Bagel-Making Procedure” in the journal Cereal Chemistry. Although the library didn’t carry this journal, our wonderful interlibrary loan service obtained a copy for me. Eureka! Complete with scientific analyses of bagel texture and electron micrographs of dough structure, this study showed that retarding was indeed the key.  Continue reading “BiblioBagels: My Adventures in Bagel Chemistry (Part 2)”

BiblioBagels: My Adventures in Bagel Chemistry (Part 1)

Seattle is not a bagel town. It’s nearly impossible to get a genuine bagel here. Sure, lots of places claim to sell the real thing, but they’re only a pale imitation. And don’t even get me started on bagels from a grocery store—those are just lifeless circles of bread masquerading as bagels.

What is a real bagel, you ask? Some swear by New York bagels, but after living many years in Canada, I dissent: Montreal bagels are, hands-down, the best. More dense and chewy than the traditional fare, they’re also slightly sweeter from being boiled in honey water before baking. Beautifully pictured in Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition, they have a larger hole and seeds on both sides.

Recently a Canadian-style bakery opened in Seattle, but it doesn’t claim to make authentic Montreal bagels. Other than that, nothing even remotely resembling them is available here. What’s a Montreal bagel addict to do? Make them myself, of course. Never mind that I’d never baked anything in my life: I had the library’s formidable culinary resources at my fingertips! Continue reading “BiblioBagels: My Adventures in Bagel Chemistry (Part 1)”

Growing Neighborhood Gardens

Photo of Shiga's Garden in June 2010 taken by a Shiga's gardener. Used with permission

Gardening is in my blood – my mom is a Master Gardener, and I’ve enjoyed digging around in the dirt since I was little. However, as a Seattle renter, I haven’t had much space to garden until this year when I finally got my own plot in a P-Patch Community Garden. Run by the City’s Department of Neighborhoods, the P-Patch Program (the “P” stands for Picardo Farm, the first community garden in Seattle) has enabled Seattle residents to create beautiful and inviting public spaces in their neighborhoods and grow food for themselves and the needy for over 37 years.

Photo by Abby B. Used with permission.

Shiga’s Garden, my P-Patch (pictured above), was built by a group of stalwart volunteers, myself included, on a garbage-strewn, blackberry-choked lot in the University District that had lain dormant for over 30 years. It’s named after Andy Shiga, a local entrepreneur and founder of the University District Street Fair.

You can learn more about this P-Patch and the 82 other community gardens Continue reading “Growing Neighborhood Gardens”