Thursday, August 27, 2015

Make Plans For San Diego Maker Faire

Two applications... so far. We have been a very busy Make Club... just browse our archives to see everything we've been doing, from hosting a backyard mini make faire to making a Viking tent, and loads of crafting, sewing, wood working, tinkering, playing, forging... it goes on and on! We'd love to bring our drawing automaton, Da Vinci, to the Maker Faire in San Diego, as well as the project we call Giant Robotic Tentacle. I would love for all of our Make Club participants to join us at the Faire, to share projects. Hopefully our applications are accepted, and we find ourselves a sizable space for setting up. We know how things work in the Bay Area... but SD is new to us. If we can't get passes for all of our club participants, we strongly urge you to get yourselves tickets, because Maker Faires are great events, not to be missed! I'll keep you posted on our progress and plans, and please wish us luck with those applications!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

CNC Router Sign Making

Frankenrouter is a success, thanks to Geoff and William. We have all been eagerly awaiting this day, and the prospect of all that can be done with a personally designed, manufactured, constructed and programmed CNC router, and now you too can see Frank N. Router at work. William made the 3D model using 3ds Max, Mudbox, and Meshmixer, all Autodesk software. Once the digital 3-d image was fine tuned, Geoff and William used MasterCam to generate G Code for the router... but, maybe you would just like to see the movie!

Besides designing the sign, and getting all the details figured out in the software, William painted the finished carving. The details, the shading... it looks fantastic. And finally, he put this video together. I am marveling at all of this, and he's already working on his next project(s).

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Make Your Own Upcyled Style Statement

A few times a year we show up at a favorite resale shop for their Huge Frocking Sale... it's an event, a happening, a great place to build a stylin' wardrobe, and save cash. This time we went with the idea of fulfilling some back-to-school needs, hoping to score a vest, and travel bag. But I don't suggest visiting resale shops with too specific an agenda, because you never know what might capture your heart and imagination. No vest for Max... bummer. No travel bag for Alex... we have a back-up plan. But we did score a sewing lesson and design opportunity for Maria!

Meet Marty, of Marty-O custom clothing. She had her booth and sewing table all set up, under the big top, in the midst of the Huge Frocking Sale, and she generously invited Maria to join her for an introduction to machine sewing and to also design an up-cycled utility apron... buttons, lace, trim, belt loops, ruffles, and fringe all artfully added to an old mini-skirt... this is DIY fashion meets function!

Maria embroiders, so she has some sewing experience, but she was thrilled to step up to the next level, because Marty is such a patient and enthusiastic instructor. With gentle guidance, and sound advice, Maria added the red ruffle to the camo print-mini skirt. I was especially happy to pick up the tip about raising the back of the sewing foot, when approaching a thick section of fabric... such an obvious, yet ingenious, trick for making a smooth transition between fabric weights!

What is upcycling? Before you toss it, before you donate it, or recycle it... see if you can't reuse pieces to make something new, better, unique, your own. See Marty's website for examples, and I keep thinking of the fabulous upcycling we love from Calamity Kim!

I've been collecting vintage handkerchiefs to make a scarf, or to appliqué onto a quilt, but this light and lacy jacket, refashioned with a coat tail of hankies, has me rethinking my options... Upcycling makes old things new, and fashion fun. A sewing machine makes it all faster, and easier, a Serger would be great, too, but there is plenty that can done with just a needle pulling thread. Maria asked if we could try this at home, please?? I think the wool skirt we found at the sale, maybe the gauze dress from Marty's dollar bin, will make excellent foundations for some upcycled creations.

Haute couture, anyone? Marty and her client were designing a fabulous and frou frou tutu tulle coat... a little ensemble for the Playa.

When you upcycle you save resources, enjoy creativity, express your own style... so put a bird on it, add a gear, turn it upside down, give it a new life and make it your own.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Make Rock Facts For The Garden

You don't have to decide whether garden markers are practical, or just pretty... couldn't they be both? And you don't have to go Over the garden wall for your own rock facts. These rock facts are practical, pretty, and homegrown.


Smooth stones, preferably with a flatter surface.
Acrylic craft paints + Acrylic gloss sealant (optional)
Small brushes

Maria and I first dabbled in rock painting for a Thanksgiving craft. We really enjoyed how easy and gratifying it was to make tiny painted tokens. We kept playing, and soon had a rock farm. Now, we have markers for the sprouts and veg popping up and spreading in the garden.

I don't think this necessarily requires a tutorial, but I can offer a few tips.

#1. You can use a pencil... it helps with spacing, and giving you a base to start from.

#2. Use slim, and small brushes, and start by making your letters, or veg small... so that when mistakes happen, you can layer paint, and correct lines... your painting will get bigger, and if you start big, you might feel like it becomes too big.

#3. Relax and have fun. This is rock art... not masterpieces! Or maybe it is a masterpiece. Just try not to overthink it.

#4. When Maria decided to join me, she went to the garden to look at chard colors, and she picked a basil leaf for inspiration. Visual references are helpful.

Our craft paints are flat, and the finished look was a bit dull, dry. It's not bad, in fact I sort of like the naturalness of it, but I decided to liven it up with the gloss sealant. Maybe it will help them last longer?

Maria didn't get where I was going with this. The end of the cucumber is sliced. Okay, like I said, "Try not to overthink it!"

This is for the Anaheim peppers we are growing, or as Geoff likes to call them, "The chile relleno garden."

Okay, did I overthink this one?

Simple, crafty, fun.

Lettuce agree to play in the garden, to grow something good.

I think it would be fun to be a multilingual gardener... zanahoria, carrote, ninjin, marchew, wortel, morot, karoti, cà rốt, carrot! {Spanish, French, Japanese, Polish, Dutch, Swedish, Swahili, Vietnamese, English}

The basil smells really good.

I'm thinking of recipes, and dinners to come!

Need some sage advice? Make something!

Monday, June 1, 2015

BackYard Mini-Make

We did it again... a homegrown, mini-Make event and Lemonade sale!

It starts with lemonade. Fresh squeezed. We invite all of our friends, put a sign up at the Little Free Library, then dust off our bots, spruce up our tent, and get ready to play, tinker, share, learn, and make. Donations for those homemade cookies and lemonade go toward replenishing supplies... like duct tape, paint brushes, clay, epoxy, sandpaper, drill bits, and pizza. Our Young Makers Club goes through a lot of epoxy, and pizzas, and we like to share with everyone.

This post is a Big Thank You! Thank you, Paul... for all the pre-event support and heavy lifting. Making, and preparing to make, always goes better with help. Thank you, James... for explaining our purpose, in such succinct and lyric prose. You give us that air of totes legit:

"A glorious Sunday to ye all!
Come one and all to the Bird House, humble abode of the Van V. folk, for a lovely time of comradery, creativity, and cuisine. What cuisine (you ask)? That of the gods: a potent symphony of lemonade and cookies awaits your face-stuffing. The best thing about face-stuffing is that it often goes hand-in-hand with patronage.
Some of you may be wondering what the purpose of such patronage is. Well, you see, there happens to be a retinue of creative folks here who appreciate utilizing the industrial, artistic, and intellectual resources of the House of Bird.
So while we socialize, nosh on snacks, and sip on liquid snacks, we will be bringing and working on whatever projects need our love. We shall raise aggregates of magic metal and cotton that will allow us to buy infinite quantities of duct tape, gorilla glue, pistons, 3D scans, MIDI controllers, circuit boards, cloth, yarn, butter, flour, and all the like.
Come celebrate the manipulation of space-time events by sentient biological systems!"

Thank you to friends who came from near and far, who were curious enough to see what a "Lemonade & Robots & ChickenBlog" event is all about. Thank you for your support, for playing, for sharing your enthusiasm, interest, knowledge, and company. And I must thank my family, who want to create things, who cannot not make things, but who don't necessarily need to promote what they are doing, yet endure my aggressively friendly passion for sharing their accomplishments; indeed anyone's projects, interests, tinkering, making, learning makes me want to celebrate... It's a huge reason why I maintain ChickenBlog, as well as this blog.

Max finishing his pasta and hot glue bridge for Physics. Long may it stand!

Friendly customers, lining up!

So. Makey Makey? Lani and her daughter brought their Makey Makey, so it could get figured out... any takers?

Here is Da Vinci, the line drawing robot that first appeared at the Maker Faire, Bay Area, in 2012. Of course, he was only a hand, then.

Bridge complete, and ready to take on AP Physics bridge challenge. This is the first time the bridges are not balsa wood, but their fate is the same!

Isaac and James take the Makey Makey challenge, and build a strawberry, banana, and apple band that actually plays music. Yes, it is appalling that I do not have video of this, but trust me, it was pretty epic.

This has definitely inspired us to host another day to tinker with Arduinos.

Arduinos, and Scratch, and Java programming... these things are like magnets, drawing Young Makers into the greatness of S.T.E.A.M.

Chris F captured this moment, showing the big draw of programming with Scratch. Not just playing games, writing them!

Isaac, Paul, Suki, Amira, Grant, and Gabe... so good to see old friends.

Nathan, James, Matt, Nick, Isaac, Gabe, Grant... and campfire dinner.

The chickens and goats are never neglected. Isaac made friends for life when he sat with Tasha and Ada and brushed them.

Some of our youngest Makers, Maria and Amira.

In the back, William and Alex, then Max, James, Nick, and Grant, with Suki in front of all of them, and on the other side of the travel weary bot (he survived Fanime... barely} Matt with Gabe and Isaac, an inspiring lot, all.

And just to round out the day, we went half way Over the Garden Wall.

Our second lemonade sale and robot event, was a success, for sure!