Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Another Scratch Day

Scratch Day 2017

Remember last year, when we celebrated Scratch Day?
Or maybe you haven't heard of Scratch? This link will take you the page About Scratch, and this will show you where events celebrating Global Scratch Day are taking place.

Scratch Day 2018

Maria is still writing programs using MIT's online program that teaches computer programming. Her favorite Scratch activity is illustrating in vector lines. She's also learned to animate, and she likes using code to create games. Last May she volunteered, again, to teach what she knows about vector line illustration and graphics in Scratch, at the Global Scratch Day event in our area. As a group inspired by outreach, peer-mentoring, and making, playing and sharing... we love Scratch Day, and we are gratified to see our young maker, Maria, bring her skills and enthusiasm to this event where she enthusiastically and skillfully teaches new and intermediate programmers about the exciting possibilities in computer programming.

This year saw an even greater turn out for Scratch Day, compared with last year. There were more participants, and happily, more volunteers. Everything is overseen by Ido Tuchman, with help from Leslie Goldman, and a lot of professional engineers and programmers.

They've got a great venue, but if this continues to grow, we may need an even bigger space for next year!

Ido welcoming everyone to Scratch Day!

Maria's class, Vector Graphics, was in the second session of the day, so she stepped in to give one on one support to a beginning Scratch student. In no time, they had finished the tutorial, then moved on to developing an original game.





Not being too sure what the skill levels in the class would be, Maria decided to let her class be interactive and spontaneous. She shared her background and interest in Scratch, and then announced that she would like to share how games and programs can be enhanced with custom art and animations. Taking suggestions, and answering questions, she developed a lesson for a vector graphic animation. There was time to keep everyone caught up in the lesson, while adding more to the project, as the classe's skills and interests developed. The class and lessons stayed fresh, and engaging.

By applying her patience, practical knowledge, and her love of the subject, Maria was able to effectively teach and motivate, and make the lesson fun. And since the classes were larger than last year's classes, Maria was happy to have an assistant, Lucas, a Boy Scout, familiar with Scratch. They made a good team.

Maria brings her love of learning to her class, and it's infectious.

Every layer, and line of code used, created this vector graphic and animation, and was developed on the spot, based on ideas and questions from the class.

Scratch is a free learning tool from Mitch Resnick and the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. If you've ever wondered about writing code, creating software, being a programmer, we hope you will, no matter your age, visit Scratch, and give it a try. It's simple, encouraging, and made for sharing.

Here's what a local newspaper had to say about Scratch Day 2018. We can't wait for Scratch Day 2019!

Maria continues to enjoy Scratch, to illustrate, write code, to create games... this one was my Mother's Day gift! Move the teacup to catch falling chamomile flowers, and when the cup is full of flowers it becomes a cup of tea! She wrote this for me and my love of chamomile. And here she is sharing the game with her Tutu.




On a long train ride, Maria used Scratch to illustrate this original character...



And today, after we talked about the senseless death of a young woman, Maria, quietly reflecting, went to her desk, where she made art, in memory of Nia Wilson.

We send our deepest sympathy and kindest thoughts to Nia Wilson's family. We ache to think of anyone missing the chance to follow their dreams. No family should have to experience losing a child, and for it to be such a vicious and dark act, a crime of hate, makes the loss even more heartbreaking. We hope that there is even the smallest comfort for them knowing that their loss is felt, and mourned, that we are speaking Nia's name, lovingly, respectfully, and with grief for her family.






Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Making Our Way to Gaslight Gathering

The Benevolent Order of Makers are excited to be joining forces with our friends, San Diego Makers Guild, in their booth at Gaslight Gathering, in San Diego. Our makers will be sharing a hands-on activity... making fabric medallions called yo-yos. These scrap-fabric decorations can be sewn together to assemble a bedcover, or used individually to decorate hats, dresses, create mushroom caps, or appliquéd to pillows. They are easy to make, and can inspire Victorian-Steampunk style to just about anything.



Also in our booth, come see original paintings and drawings by Alex V2, a longtime robotics designer, and fantasy artist. With skill and imagination, Alex seamlessly integrates practical engineering and design into daydreamed inventions and worlds. San Diego Makers Guild will be showing off some steampunk(ish) robots and teaching plastic casting and mold making, with reusable, low temperature thermoplastic." Sounds like there will be plenty going on at Gaslight Gathering to make a weekend great!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

A Maker's Announcement


Geoff ordered some aluminum. Or did he bid on it? I'm not sure. He's got a system... a bargain finding, deal making system, and that's how we score big pieces of aluminum to weld a storage setup for our workshop. It's also how we, after years of searching and hoping, score a big piece of CNC machinery...

This almost feels like an adoption announcement. Allow me to formally introduce our newest member of the BOoM-Nerd Family, the bride of Frankenrouter, Elsa the CNC mill...



Frankenrouter was built to mill wood, and other softer materials. Elsa will mill metal. When Geoff joked that this 2 ton machine would be the bride to Frankenrouter, I immediately pictured wide-eyed Elsa Lanchester's iconic portrayal of the reluctant bride.

She came from the theater department of San Diego State University... ha! another nod to a dramatic lineage. And she came "as is." The first thing Geoff discovered was a stuck collet (stripped drawbar threads.) It took some doing to figure out how to resolve this, but Geoff saved Elsa by boring up into the collet. This was precision work, and risky. He couldn't see exactly what he was doing, because of the angle of the pieces, but the operation was a success.

"Let's just call it 'innovative' fixturing," Geoff explained on FB. Sounds good to me.

Ido was the first to meet Elsa, and other friends have been by. Packages arrive, and now I know they're for Elsa. It's like a newborn is delivered, and she has needs, steals all the attention, receives gifts. Geoff announced, I have to go to the lumber supply, late one evening, and he came back with a blanket for Elsa.

This morning he texted me... it's a link to another thrilled Maker, making his own proud adoption announcement. Geoff could not be more giddy, I think. It's like he and Adam Savage have been on the same baby honeymoon, with mills.

This? Oh, this is just a baby picture of Elsa. Geoff found it when he was searching the Internet for her history, lineage, early years. He keeps it in his wallet.

Congratulations, Adam! And happy Making!

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Make Little Paper Flowers

Seven years ago we made big, bodacious paper napkin flowers. Now, we are taking this hands-on activity to a Barnes & Noble Mini Maker Faire... still paper, still bodacious, but this time a bit smaller!

Here is our original tutorial for making paper flowers, and we used napkins, but the same principles apply, and you can easily make large or small paper flowers following our tips. Once you master the basics, it's easy and fun to get creative and make your own unique floral varieties.

Our craft store had a variety pack of colored tissue papers. I cut the large sheets down... not too preciously, because everything gets trimmed anyway. Hopefully, this generous supply will be enough for sharing with the visitors to the Faire.

Perfect timing for photo purposes... Maria is teaching Geoff how to make a paper flower, so here is a picture of Geoff's accordion folded papers, cinched together with string. We've found that six pieces of paper makes a nice, full blossom. More paper gets too thick to manage without tearing paper.

Now... trim the ends. Maria is cutting a point which will give her petals a daisy or zinnia look. Crinkle cut the ends and you can make a carnation.

Here, Geoff has cut the ends in a nice rounded curve, which will make petals like a dahlia, or ranunculus.

Now carefully separate each paper... pulling them up toward center, one petal at a time. The paper tears easily, and not every tear means a disaster, but do be patient.

The center of the flower will get thick, and so don't expect to tug the tissue paper up too much. Once all the petals are up, you can turn the paper, making adjustments to the look of your flower.

Mix colors, play with the cut ends. We slipped a bobbie pin into the tie at the base of the flower, and we are wearing flowers in our hair.

Tie them together for party decorations. Glue them to a headband, attach them to a parade float, make a piñata!




Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Maker Faire San Diego~Balboa Park

A few of us BOoM Nerds... Max, Ido and Bex, Geoff, Maria, Amira, Bambi, Alex, and William, with Natalie and Paul in front.

We were at Maker Faire in San Diego, this time in the Museum of Man, with our good friends and collaborators Junkcade! We were entry #702, and we came with two of our robots, a lot of woodworking pieces, some props, crafts, 3D printed samples, Bambi's costumes, the Laputa cosplay, and flowers. Lots of flowers. Besides what we shared, and exhibited, there was even more for us to witness, and enjoy, and this post is going to touch on just a bit of what there was to see and do at the Greatest Show and Tell on Earth: Maker Faire!

Ready?

Think
Tinker
Play
Make
Share!


Saturday :: Maria and Bex setting up~

Our newest venture... teaching floral crown making. This was a dream come true, really ambitious, and totally worthwhile.

Da Vinci, our drawing robot.

Fellow Maker in the Museum of Man, Balboa Park, now skilled in the art of flower crown making, too.


Maria and Natalie agree that seeing people engrossed in, in awe of, and excited for making is a huge reward for us as exhibitors.

Bambi and Alex brought props and cosplay samples, as well as art supplies.

William, Max, Alex, Bambi, Maria... we count on all of our crew to get this show going.

Grant and Jordan made it, too, and we got Laputa out into the Park, where they met up with our friends, Russel and Frank Lawlor, of The Electric Giraffe Project.

Looks like Robot Resurrection and Laputa are going to meet.

I've already suggested to San Diego Maker Faire that next year we should have a Robot Parade. We know about marching, especially for science, and we have award winning robot-in-a-parade experience, too.

Wowzers! Laputa is really, really tall. Like 12' tall, but this fellow towers over our guy!

Do you know Tommy Edison, the Blind Film Critic? He has a YouTube channel where he shares his impressions and thoughts about the world from his unique perspective. He came to Maker Faire and wanted other exhibitors to bring their projects to him, so he could see and hear what Makers do.

We won't "say" what we shared... we'll share a link to the video interview when it becomes available!

Here is what the invitation to meet Tommy Edison said,
"Outside of the Faire, are you prepared to tell others about your creation without the visual representation? How do you discuss and describe something new, different, or complex without it being there to show off? How do you make keep it clear and concise?
Tommy Edison has been blind since birth and his interview with the makers will give a unique marketing experience. Talk with a blind man about your project, learn from his life experiences, and learn how to share your projects..."


Tommy is a warm and funny man, disarming and easy going. It was a treat to meet him, and of course we loved sharing our creations, intentions, and ideas, and then hearing his take on what we've got going on. We even got invited back to share more BOoM projects, like weaving and making the flower crowns. It was an enlightening experience to expand our thinking about what we are making, and how it can be appreciated and described in new ways.

It's always a highlight of any Maker Faire to see familiar faces, to have friends come and visit. Hello, Myron! Later, we went out to visit our favorite FIRST team... Paradox!

One of our favorite sections of Maker Faire is on the Festival Stage of the Old Globe, where artists from the Globe and other theatrically themed crafts are exhibiting. This is where we met Bruce Thompson, and his puppets.

He made these paper mâché puppets almost four decades ago, and he was very helpful about how he makes them. A new project for BOoM to play and tinker at? Yes, I think so!

Maria had a great time making these tiny puppet heads using the clay Bruce provided for visitors to his exhibit.

Onstage, at the Festival Theater, which gives a beautiful and unique view of the California Tower, in Balboa Park.

Day one is almost done... but there's more!


Another day, and another view of that beautiful California Tower in Balboa Park.

Good Morning, Maker Faire San Diego!

This may be one of the nicest spots we've ever had to exhibit from. Just look at the view we had from San Diego Museum of Man.

Inside was lovely, too.

We had great company... in the museum, all over the park. Here are Ido and Simon talking to Aaron about electroplating.

Aaron and Nedda were demonstrating their process for turning nature into wearable art.

Both Simon and Natalie are enchanted with Enchanted Leaves, and we're glad Simon was figuring out what it takes to do this make project. Another new project for BOoM to play and tinker at? Yes, for sure!


The calm before the fun! Sunday started very gently, but it turned into one of the busiest days we can recall. Robots, supplies, and exhibitors all held up and shined, all day



Flower crown making was popular. Okay... it was insanely popular. This day seemed to bring out the couples, and we loved seeing their collaborations, and enthusiasm. It's fun when you meet fellow makers, appreciating that they are getting a chance to explore the Faire, too.

We wish we had a picture of every crown and maker. Everyone seemed to be aglow, radiating their Maker happiness.

Each new visitor inspired us more, and more. We would love to bring this hands-on exhibit back, next year.

Hello, Patrick!

So many friends came by, and we wanted to stop and talk, and hang out with each of them... but wow! We had our hands full. We hope everyone had a great time.

Just three days off the router, Alex's latest shield had a lot of admirers. Here he is showing where the hammered bosse will go, when the shield is finished. He worked his art into Autocad, before G-coding it into Mastercam, so it could be cut on our router. Next... a lot of sanding, then painting. Those are day and night bats, with rose-thorn Celtic rings between.

For several hours Maria and Natalie went through a flower crown making rush... it was wild. By the end we were down to twigs, scraps, bits, and pieces. Happily, we managed to eek out enough supplies for three more visitors to make crowns. They were so humbly thankful, and creative... once again, we felt the connection and inspiration that makes Maker Faire great.

Friends, and can-do energy... it's what we love about Maker Faire.

Sharing what we love is what brings us back for more, and leaves us thinking about next time.

We didn't get a picture of every visitor and flower crown, but these are a few of the beautiful makers who shared their time with us. Thank you, everyone, that was part of making this, another, wonderful Maker Faire.