Monday, September 25, 2017

Making More Floral Crowns~

I've been making more floral crowns, and we have a tutorial for this activity, if you would like to make one, too. In the tutorial, we were using fabric flowers, but all the same principles and supplies apply. If you can't get to a floral wholesaler, look around your own garden, and I've had wonderful luck finding seasonal blossoms in plentiful bouquets at Trader Joe's.

Maria and I presented Amira with a Happy Thirteenth Birthday Crown of chrysanthemums and whimsical craspedia.

As described in the tutorial, the supplies you'll need are simple and few... 1/4" wide green, waterproof floral tape, 22 gauge green paddle wire, and a cutter. You can add ribbons, too.

I easily made three floral crowns from one floral bouquet from Trader Joe's... these crowns don't have flowers in a complete circle, but are more like a headband. Maria wore hers to the Viking Festival.

Ever since making them for Maria's school promotion, and sharing one with her garden teacher, I have continued making one as hostess gifts for my friends.

This one went to Linda, and with the chamomile it smelled lovely.

Yanina's was inspired by the sneak peek of her table setting she shared on Instagram... colorful, and artistic.

Our grade school graduate, and her misty blue crown. Those dried so beautifully, the crown is hanging in our entryway.

Someday, I would love to bring this hands-on activity to a Maker Faire and share it with everyone... I hope you will enjoy a chance to make your own floral crowns.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Meet the Artist

In Dubious Battle an eleven panel, oil painting by artist Shelley Reed.

"Through a large oil painting on a paper grid Reed will allow the viewer to step into the creation of her black and white world, to exist among its painted inhabitants. She will use art historical imagery that is sometimes pastoral and at times aggressive, creating an environment that feels “vaguely familiar, a bit dangerous, and fully relevant to today.”"



Shelley Reed's paintings can be seen in Boston, New York, Chicago, and now, Southern California, while she is an Artist-in-Residence at Lux Institute.

A unique and enjoyable part of the Artist-in-Residence program is the chance to meet the artist, see them working at their art, and to ask questions. This experience is wonderful for personal engagement, and opportunity to relate to the art with its creator. We were interested to learn that Shelley Reed was painting in oil directly on paper, without gesso. She described the quality and properties of the Arches paper, and that she enjoyed how the paper behaves with the oil paints.



Shelley Reed will be giving a Studio Talk, October 5th.

We would like to thank Shelley Reed for the generous and inspiring way she engaged with Maria, Alex, and Bambi; she went above and beyond in her interactions with us, in sharing her experiences, insights, and helpful criticism. As Maker Faire exhibitors, and in our community outreach, we know how much time and energy it can take to engage with the public. We enjoy exhibiting, talking about our interests, and yours, and when someone, like Shelley Reed, makes time to share and personally relate with us, we are especially appreciative. Thank you, as well, to Lux Institute for hosting this inspired program: Artist-In-Residence is marvelous.

(Benevolent Order of Makers is a school, this year... while Maria is homeschooling, we are calling ourselves the Benevolent Order of Makers STEAM Education Academy, or something like that. Really, it's all a pretty natural extension of our regular activities, but with some extra pomp and flare, because that's amusing to us.)

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Our September Mini Make

Ruth, Bex, Ido, and Spencer~

A few times a year we throw open the barn doors and invite everyone in for a day of making and sharing. This time we wanted to welcome our cousin Landon into the mix... he's got designs and plans for making a folding knife, and Alex is mentoring him on this project. Seems we couldn't stop at knife making, so we invited other makers over, and Lisa arrived with a taco salad banquet, then we found ourselves getting a cheese making lesson. It's our love of making, of STEAM education activities and advocacy, that gets these things rolling, but it's our fun and generous friends that turn an idea into an unforgettable event.

Leo, Amira, Maria, and Adrian for a round of DnD~

Magic the Gathering at the next table over, with Lucas, Alex J, Max, and Corey... always room for one more!


Have we met? Yes... Ido, Leslie, William, Paul, and Simon... lots of supplies and ideas already gathering steam.

Say 'hello' to Ido's little friend. Junkcade and BOoM Nerds are at it again... with a little Arduino magic, Tony Manero is going to light up the disco floor.

Here is Landon, our newest BOoM Nerd. I couldn't keep up with all of the tinkering, experimenting, sandblasting, plasma-cutting fun Landon and Alex were having.

Two certified welders, and one eager apprentice. Our group works on the idea that anyone can become proficient at a task, and then pass those skills along. So, no matter your age, in any project or activity, you are either a mentor or a student. Peer teaching, engagement, sharing... by encouraging everyone to participate as students, and as teachers, we increase our resources, build confidence, and accomplish more making. Collaboration, and cooperation, make for fantastic skill building experiences.

Ido, Lily, Matt, and Natalie visited the hens and goats, for fun, and to talk about coop and run design and construction... we have loads of experience with that, and we are happy to share.

Paul, and Geoff checking out something Simon is in to.

Ido, Paul, and Matt~

A little research for the dance floor...

Lucas and Max bring Paul M, visiting from Wisconsin, to the table for an MTG introduction.

And Leslie brings Bex, Adrian, Amira, Maria, and Leo to the kitchen for a mozzarella making introduction. All (clean) hands on the curd!

Landon, mixing in the salt, before we add the boiling water.

Leslie was our expert on this project, and we all marveled at how magical it was seeing the cheese suddenly happen. Making mozzarella was easy, fun, delicious. I wouldn't have guessed we could do it so quickly, simply, and I am glad Leslie shared the curd, and her skills. This needs to be a regular activity.

And what do you do with all that cheese? You top your pizza! For this we had Lisa and Leslie to make dough, and Tim to build a beautiful pizza. This was just about the time Michael came by to check on Leo, and he had a fresh harvest of tomatoes from Grace's garden... just happened. What a fortuitous arrival.

And on the porch... electronics, soldering, Arduino, and Tony Manero.

And also... Tim, William, Alex, and Bex... with paper mâché for a cosplay mask.

Like I said, Always room for one more.

Amira, Leslie, Lisa, and Tim... pizza's out of the oven! This was round 2 for good eating. Lisa fed us all lunch, too. Cooking is some of the best making there is!

Everyone was on hand to appreciate this make project!

Want to see Tony Manero do his Saturday Night Fever disco? Check out BOoMNerds on Instagram!

Monday, September 11, 2017

Make Space

This is everything... friends, and play, and robots, home, sharing, comforts, resources, opportunities, engagement. We are the Benevolent Order of Makers, and we love science, technology, engineering, art, math, music, tinkering, learning, mentoring, and making plans to do more.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Make Laughs & A Giveaway! Winner!

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner Squawk!

Sometimes, being a Chicken Blogger has hilarious perks... like when Mattel Games sends you an egg-splosive new chicken game to play with! My friends know I love chickens, and I've received a good number of chicken themed gifts over the years, but it's pretty funny to have your chicken obsession recognized by a toy company!

Squawk arrived in the mail, nestled in a charming bed of straw-like pine shavings, and all ready to give us our first laugh (incidentally this is my first mail-order chicken delivery, and I've always wanted to receive chicks by post.)

"Press Me!" Of course I did, and I was not disappointed. Ok... I am not sure it sounds like any chicken I've ever heard, but it is farcically funny. It's not part of the game, but I have to add: Mister Foo came running into the room, and he meowed every time the chicken exclaimed it's ridiculous Squawk!

Are you curious? Do you have little kids in the house, grandchildren visiting, are you like me... eternally child-like(ish??) Mattel Games would like ChickenBlog to share two of these games with our readers! Fun, right? I am going to make this as light-hearted and simple as this silly and fun game... just leave a comment. Comment here, on this post, and I will put your name in the top hat. If you comment at our Instagram page, then I will add your name a second time. We will draw two names on September 8th! You could be the lucky winner! Winner winner, Chicken Squawk! Winner! Congratulations, Jennifer, and thank you for sharing this post to FaceBook.

Last night we had some friends over, and Sebastian spied my Squawk... and I thought, "Aha! Good time for a test run."



Squawk is on her nest, in the coop, and when Sebastian rolled a "2" he got to press her for an egg, two times. It's a game of chance, and suspense, as you wait for an egg-splosive egg lay from your nesting hen.

This is a toy. And it reminds me of other toys that were eagerly anticipated and hoped for when I was a kid, when my own children wrote a Christmas list, asked Santa. It's an obvious thing to say 'it's a toy,' but I think we sometimes forget to just play, to let children play. We get a little obsessed about "educational" and lose sight of giggles, peals of laughter, silliness, making up new rules, having fun. So, in light of play and silly toys, I think this toy has appeal. And I know Sebastian, Maria, Shayla, and Mister Foo think it's fun, too.



There was some assembly involved... easy. There are instructions for play and game pieces. I think our friends had the most fun when I stepped back and just let them play, of course. It's simple. It's silly. It's loud. It's a toy! I hope you want one... you might enjoy the laughs, like I have.

And kudos to Mattel for losing the plastic-coated wire twist ties that plague toy packaging. I happened to notice and very much appreciate their compostable paper twist tie... and I think it's a nice step for our environment.

As makers we had an extra measure of pleasure playing with Squawk, because we couldn't help but believe that it's inspired by one of our favorite makers, Adam Savage, and his Ultimate Duck Army! Adam... if you are seeing this, please comment. I think you need this toy!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Making for a Masked Ball

Alex and Bambi made costumes, including masks, and props, for the Labyrinth of Jareth Masquerade. From the Masquerade website... "Costumes fitting our theme are required. Imaginative costumes highly recommended." They were designing, sewing, sculpting, cutting, gluing, painting, researching, and happily anticipating this moment, and the event ahead, for days and days.

Sewn into the fabric of Bambi's dress are tiny LEDs that light up and twinkle, like fireflies.



Costumes and props are finished, they have their forms and driving directions... so off they go!

Here are some glimpses of the making of costumes, masks, and other details... and if you like sewing, design, art, robots, cosplay, STEAM education, electronics, programming, 3D printing, CNC routing, woodworking, metalworking, all kinds of making, please follow BOoMNerds on Instagram! Thank you.

Alex is always carrying around one, or more, sketchbooks. And they are full of concepts, designs, tests, ideas, and beautiful art.

His masks begin in a sketchbook, then move into plaster, which he can use to build a custom fit. Then comes sculpting the modeling in clay, in this case, so he can vacuum-form the actual mask.

The texture of the vacuum-formed plastic has a great effect, so Alex didn't bother sanding it, and went straight to the paint.

A lot of testing and experimenting went into the wings. These, Alex modeled after the wings of a cicada, and he hand-cut them from foamcore... the same handy material William used to make Prince Phillip's shield for the Sleeping Beauty musical.

Drying rack... which happens to be a box William is constructing for one of his skeletons, but that's another story.

These are Bambi's finished wings! Alex is testing them for placement on her dress. Bambi designed and made her dress. We need more pictures... I want to show, between all the layers of tulle in her skirt, the fireflies!

Alex designed his outfit, too, and he and William sewed it.

Also out of Alex's sketchbook and research, came the designs for this prop sword. Alex handed his drawings over to William who modeled 11 separate parts, including this handle and pommel, in 3D Studio Max, MudBox, and MeshMixer (Autodesk, whenever you would like to sponsor our club, Benevolent Order of Makers, we would be honored.) The parts were 3D printed from William's renderings, glued together, sanded, and painted. The cool part... it's a handle, with a jewel glued on, and a scabbard, but there is no actual sword. It was made to safely pass through security without alarming anyone. A thorough prop prop.


Alex twisted the wire detail to go around the glass jewel, and finished the prop by wrapping Pearl cotton around the handle and a section of the scabbard. You can also see the sash William sewed.

This is the beautiful mask Bambi made. I love the floating jewels. There are more parts, more details... and we're still cleaning up! The creativity is wonderful, but the collaboration is what really excites me. It's exciting, too, to hear them talk about how much they learn with each new project, and how much it inspires them for the next project.