Monday, June 15, 2020

An Elephant Never Forgets!

Monica C., Granger, IN

 Monica made her very first crochet animal. It was just as difficult as she expected but she felt really good about finishing it. Well done, Monica! We applaud your playful pachyderm! 

Friday, June 12, 2020

Book(mark) Smarts!

Grace W.

Grace W created and designed these cat and dog bookmarks and donated them to one of our library branches to share with other children. What a lovely gesture!

Thank you Grace!

Thursday, June 11, 2020


Carrie R., South Bend

Carrie R. sent us this beautiful mandala coloring page as a way to participate in the Teen Summer Reading Challenge. Just looking at it is extremely relaxing! Join us in the SJCPL Summer Reading Challenge today!

Friday, May 15, 2020

Challenging Pretzels are a Sweet (and Savory) Reward!

Matt H., South Bend, IN

Matt has been putting his sourdough starter, Hestia, to work once again. 

So this week Hestia was looking extra bubbly and excited to be baked with, so we got her out early to make something, even if we weren't sure what.

Eventually we decided to make our first pretzels out of sourdough. Making the dough was easy enough and the rise was quick for sourdough. However when it came time to fold the pretzels we realized we didn't know how. We looked it up and made our best attempts, but had at best 2 or 3 that had the classic shape. We blanched the pretzels in boiling water with baking soda and then let them drip dry before baking.

After baking the few that had the right shape they turned into yet another oddly shaped lump of dough. We seasoned them all with salt and a few with garlic. They may not look like pretty pretzels but they taste just as good.

I am pairing this post with a ebook that is available through the St. Joseph County Public Library, 
take a look at Amy Emberling's Zingerman's Bakehouse

Zingerman's Bakehouse

"This is the must-have baking book for bakers of all skill levels. Since 1992, Michigan's renowned artisanal bakery, Zingerman's Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, has fed a fan base across the United States and beyond with their chewy-sweet brownies and gingersnaps, famous sour cream coffee cake, and fragrant loaves of Jewish rye, challah, and sourdough. It's no wonder Zingerman's is a cultural and culinary institution. Now, for the first time, to celebrate their 25th anniversary, the Zingerman's bakers share 65 meticulously tested, carefully detailed recipes in an ebook featuring more than 50 photographs and bountiful illustrations. Behind-the-scenes stories of the business enrich this collection of best-of-kind, delicious recipes for every 'I can't believe I get to make this at home!' treat."

In an Octopus' Garden in the Shade!

Matt H., South Bend, IN 

Matt sent in this great sketch of an octopus that he's been working on. We think it's a pretty great representation. 

We have a lot of drawing resources available at the library either in print or online. Check out this title from Hoopla:

15-Minute Daily Meditations to Cultivate Drawing Skill and Unwind With Color--365 Prompts for Aspiring Artists

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Curbside Collage!

Sara M., South Bend, IN

Did you know that you can place items on hold for pick up at select locations in the SJCPL system? 

If you're interested in learning more about collage I recommend placing this book, The Art of Personal Imagery, on hold and using our curbside services to retrieve it!

Questions about curbside services? Find details at or 
call 574-282-4646 to talk to a librarian about what will work best for you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Beary Yummy!

Katie S., South Bend, IN

Katie and her family have been hard at work in the kitchen. They made this adorable (and delicious) little bready bear!

This reminds me of one of my favorite picture books, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak in which Mickey, the main character wears a suit made of bread dough. Did you know you can listen to the audiobook version on Hoopla? It incorporates some jazz music and other surprising fun sound effects. I highly recommend. 

Register with your SJCPL library card and you can enjoy In the Night Kitchen anytime.

"I'm not the milk, and the milk's not me!"

Color Pop and Block!

Erin L., Plymouth, IN

My first attempt at a larger-scale crochet project is this color block blanket pattern from Daisy Cottage Designs. The repetitive stitch made it easy to work up while binge watching my new favorite series, "Escape to the Country." Although the pattern is technically a baby blanket, I've stitched it up in an adult-friendly colorway which makes it the perfect cozy accessory for my favorite chair.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Paint, Paper, and TP Rolls, Oh My!

The Daughters of Katie S., South Bend, IN

Empty toilet paper roll usage seems to be so hot right now! These art projects that were school assignments involved painting with toilet paper roll tubes (the flowers) and reusing other pieces of cardboard as a paint brush (the castle). How creative! What can you do with materials that are headed to the recycling bin?

Shake My Beans!

Miss Sandy, Francis Branch

Miss Sandy sent in these photos showing a musical shaker that she made from items in her home. 
They are simple and fun and you can customize your shaker to fulfill your wildest dreams! 

Paper Plate
Dried Beans
Glitter Glue (markers or other paints will work too!)

1.) Fold your paper plate in half.
2.) Place beans inside your folded plate.
3.) Place a thin line of glue along the edge of one half of your plate and press the two sides together.
4.) Wait a few minutes for the glue to dry. 
5.) Decorate the front  of your plate with the glitter glue.
6.) Cut some ribbons and tape or glue them to the back side of your shaker.

Monday, May 11, 2020

This Granny is SO Square!

Katie S. 
South Bend, IN

This crocheted granny square blanket is Katie's third blanket that she has completed during quarantine! Way to go Katie!


Saunders Haley

This beautiful sketch was sent to us over the weekend and we love the joy that it encapsulates. Thanks for the submission!

Friday, May 8, 2020

Tugging at the Heart Strings!

Daughters of Katie S., South Bend, IN

How fun are these string art projects? 

For more on simple string art projects check out the link below:

I'd Love to Cross this Corgi!

Rachel Y., South Bend, IN

Rachel writes in: "This season has included more cross-stitching than I ever could have imagined. This will be a gift for my cousin's birthday next month; her family has a corgi named Roscoe, and she loves all things corgi. The free pattern I found was for a different type of corgi, so I had to customize the colors to get it right. It was a quick project, started and finished in one weekend.

In case anyone else is interested, the pattern I used can be found at this link:"

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Let's Get Married Right Meow!

Phoenix, Granger, IN

Wedding Cats, marker on paper. April 2020. 

I'll meet you anytime you want, in our Italian restaurant.

Erin D., South Bend, IN

Erin completed an orchestra challenge but cooking an Italian dinner and listening to Italian Music. Did you know you can stream free music by going to our website Here is a link to listen to Italian Opera by Puccini on Hoopla Turnadot- Streaming Link.

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Exquisite Forms!

Sara M., South Bend, IN

Another collage from Sara M. She uses postcards and books she finds in antique stores and thrift shops to get her imagination down on paper. And it sure is superb!

Blast from the Past!

Andy S., Granger, IN

Andy S., our resident Arcade Master, worked on a special behind the scenes look at how we made the Arcade at the End of the Universe. It took  many people to see this dream become reality, and we certainly couldn't have done it without Andy. His hard work, organization, and generosity made this exhibit the awesome installation that it was. Patrons (and staff) of all ages really loved this exhibit. Adults were thrilled to revisit the games of their childhood while the games have aged well and kids found discovering them for the first time a real treat. Thanks Andy, it was a real dream to be able to put a video arcade in the library. So long, and thanks for all the fish!

Tuesday, May 5, 2020


Theresa H., South Bend, IN

My daughter and I are making lots of granola. Luckily, we have had most of the ingredients on hand and it didn’t require an extra trip to the store.We have two favorite recipes that we have been using, although we alter it slightly based on what is available in our pantry. These recipes are for people who like their granola on the sweet side!

Chocolate Granola Recipe

Chocolate Chip Granola Recipe

Where to Today, TP?

Princess castle: Devlin, Granger, IN (above)

 Unicorns with toilet paper rolls: Devlin, Granger, IN (above)

Mario mushroom with toilet paper rolls: Phoenix, Granger, IN (above)

Not sure what to do was all your leftover toilet paper rolls? Well do we have some creative and whimsical projects submitted by one of our library families who lives in Granger. Transport yourself to any world you want with acrylic paint, yarn, felt, tooth picks, and construction paper! The possibilities are endless. We applaud your creativity and resourcefulness Devlin and Phoenix. Bravo.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Tulip Time!

Debbie O., South Bend, IN

What a pleasure to see the flowers in bloom right now. These gorgeous tulips bring so much joy and happiness. Their brilliant colors and eager petals make it easy to enjoy them! Brilliant!

Save the Earth Worms!

Grace W., South Bend, IN

The above is a picture of an Earthworm Saver which Grace made with a chenille stick, cotton balls, and tape. Grace colored the cotton balls and taped them to the chenille stick.  She uses her Earthworm Saver on rainy days to save worms that might have wondered too far from their home. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

No Need To Be Sour, D'oh!

Matt H., South Bend, IN

Matt's baking competition continues with a sourdough sandwich bread. Look at that crumb! This is going to be a hard one to beat. 

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

 Celeste, Granger, IN

Pheonix, Granger, IN

Devlin, Granger, IN

One of our SJCPL families made collages to celebrate Earth Day. The challenge was reusing material to make a college all about the creator. 

How did you celebrate Earth Day?

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Papier-Mache Your Day Away!

Dana L., South Bend, IN

How cute are these little fellas? We all need more animals around! 

To make yours:
  • shoebox
  • papier-mache (made with glue)
  • paint and brush 

Reflecting on Your Surroundings!

 [Fig. 1]

 [Fig. 2]

[Fig. 3]

Deb M., Niles, MI

[Fig. 1] What is real anymore?
[Fig. 2] Sunday morning walk.
[Fig. 3] Lola, the best co-worker ever. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Valiant Effort!

Matt H.'s Dad, Somewhere in Indiana

In response to his son's beautiful loaf that was posted on ________ Matt H.'s dad tried his own hand at it. This is a wonderful example of a "Quaranfail" which goes to show that many of our hobbies, activities, attempts at new challenges during this time staying at home, is more about the journey than the destination. Matt H.'s Dad has the ability to look at this with a sense of humor too, as he made the meme below to commemorate such an ambitious occassion (Matt's braided loaf can be seen in the upper left hand quadrant.) The folks here at the smART blox applaud Matt's Dad for his aspirations, bravery, and humor!