Last spring, as the world seemed to stop (remember L.A.’s crystal clear air quality?), Tina Kistinger was inspired. A colleague in her private craft club had been creating craft kits and giving them away as a way to spread some joy and give folks something creative to do. Kistinger had a lightbulb moment, “I loved the idea and thought why not add craft kits to my library.
If little libraries could have food and goods, why not craft kits?” Kistinger is the proud owner of one of the many micro-libraries in South Pasadena where folks can give and take books for free; a book exchange if you will. Hers is located on Avon Place and, like many others in town, is a beautiful replica of her craftsman home. Kistinger’s father is a master woodworker and gifted her the library last November.
Her home is the inspiration and her father mimicked the corbels that support the roof eaves on the library as well as the support post. Some of the wood used even came from a felled tree on the property. “It’s been a joy to have” says Kistinger, “and I’m thrilled that it brings joy to the neighborhood as well.”
From all accounts, the craft kits are a big hit in town. “The outpouring of support has been overwhelmingly positive” says Kistinger, “What started out as providing craft kits for kids, has morphed into offering kits to all ages.” She has received notes, donations of craft supplies, monetary donations, and artistic tokens of appreciation left in the micro-library or on her front porch. “The handwritten notes have especially touched my heart,” she tells us, “to know that I helped in my own small way to make this difficult time in our community a little more bearable.”
The South Pasadenan Instagram account often re-posts when she has craft kits available and I personally know folks who have picked up a kit and made the craft. I have really seen the community bond in an incredible way during this pandemic, whether it’s sharing food, books or crafts in micro-libraries, volunteers stepping up to help our elderly and vulnerable, to local goods exchanges and shopping and dining local; South Pasadenans have each other’s backs.
Kistinger has grown up here and attended Oneonta, SPJHS, and SPHS. “I fondly remember my junior high and high school art teachers as they influenced and inspired me to follow my own creative path,” she explains, “I live and breathe design.” Kistinger graduated with a BA in Design from UCLA. “Crafting has always been an outlet to share my love of making with others.” She goes on to say, “I enjoy it immensely and love to get lost in the creative process. During the pandemic, it’s been a balm to soothe my soul and quiet my mind.” The craft kits have been enjoyed by many South Pasadenans and some have even made their way out of town with Kistinger having recently received a thank you from someone in Northern California and another from Garden Grove.
Coming up be on the lookout for a leaf themed craft for Thanksgiving and because her Halloween garland kit was so well received, Kistinger plans on a Christmas garland along with a Christmas version of her most popular craft, the paper straw heart kit. Encouraged by fans who want to support Kistinger’s endeavors, she has put a donation cup in the library but she wants to remind us that the craft kits are free. “The joy is in sharing crafting with my neighbors and the community,” she says, “my heart is so happy to bring joy to others through crafting and kindness.” Mission accomplished Tina.
You can follow Tina on Instagram @crafted.living to see when craft kits are available and to be inspired.