Monday, April 25, 2011

Fashion Runway for Water

The corset is finished!

Alex's first collection, practically his first big venture in sewing anything, is finished. He very recently joined his school's Fashion and Design Guild, and now he has completed his first collection. He made a corset, tutored by Natalie, who was also learning as she went! And he made a blouse to go with the corset. Though he was following patterns, he was also adding his signature touches and modifications. In the end, the two pieces were definitely, uniquely, his own.

Taking a page from his own art, Alex designed a corset to fit an automaton, or autonomous robot.

Using eyelets, Alex added reinforced pieces that would serve to lace and hold the worm geared turn key he designed and machined from aluminum. The turn key is designed to pull the laces of the corset, and was made to sit on the back of the corset giving the model the appearance of an automaton, or wind up figure. Very SteamPunk.

It was a relief to see all the parts complete. It would have been a bigger relief if there was a model to try it on, or time to test the key with the laces... but time was running out.

Alex was still machining parts during his lunch break. Eli had to shine some light on the subject, as everyone was scrambling to be ready for the fashion show.

With the band setting up, Tatiana doing sound and video checks, and everyone contributing in some way, Lonnie took the time to teach each model how to walk the runway. Ticket sales, food and drinks, even the raffle proceeds were going to raise money for a charity that provides drinking water to countries in Africa.

An emcee, the very funny Wilson, and the event organizer, club president and talented designer, Claire. I love her dress.

Six swing dancers, and I recognize five of them from FIRST 2102 Team Paradox! Robotics club members are talented, dedicated, and enjoy a wide range of activities.

I think Maria felt right at home among all the familiar faces at her brother's school. And she certainly looked like a mini-fashionista in her boa, and home-sewn gown.

In fact she even had a moment in the spotlight, when audience members were invited to walk the runway. Her dress is a couple of seasons old, but it is an original design, thank you very much!

One. Only one, barely acceptable picture. I am still learning how to use the new camera, and the lighting was a challenge, not to mention those fast walking super models. Okay... enough with the excuses. Lonnie modeled Alex's designs. Then, like the other designers, he walked the runway too, which was Maria's favorite moment, mine too. He was the only male designer in the guild. He is already working on improvements and upgrades for his concept... something he hopes to unveil when we are at Maker Faire!

Not to end a sad note, but I really am bummed about the quality of the pictures I took. I would have loved to include more images from Claire's, and Suki's collections. I really wanted to include pictures of Tatiana at the control board, and Suki in the black formal gown, which she was totally rocking. Hopefully, the event was successful in achieving Claire's ultimate goal: bringing fresh, safe drinking water to places where clean water is far too rare.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

We Are 5 for 5: Big Finish

A couple of days ago I was enjoying a TED link put up by Turkey Feathers... it was a great talk given by Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Talk, Pray fame, which reminded me that I still haven't read the book my mom sent me, but happily I found it in my sewing room, and then it reminded me that I really do love TED, which is why I have their link in my sidebar; they have such brilliant and succinct speakers, none of whom would write a sentence like this. One thing led to another and I discovered Gever Tulley and 5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do. I fancied myself a brilliant Mother, because I can roughly claim that I am letting my children do all 5 dangerous things. Don't Panic: Gever Tulley uses a provocative title to illustrate a point about safety. Denying that danger exists or fearfully avoiding it, does not protect us or our children.

Gever Tulley wants to remind us that we are safer when we learn how to handle sharp objects and responsibly explore the elements, tools and heavy machinery that exist in our world. Knowledge is power, yeah? I think so, and I've written about fire and then I covered sharp things.

To illustrate my story I went through lots of photo archives looking for examples of us playing with fire, knives, and throwing things, and I tried to find good examples of us taking stuff apart and handling heavy machinery, and I have to say it's been kind of hard to find pictures. The 3 boys have knives and they use them, but I haven't taken pictures. We did have campfire

4. Deconstruct Appliances

The children are welcome to take things apart. We haven't handed over any large appliances, yet, because we repair them or trade them in, but there are several VCRs and toasters that have been disassembled in their hands. Last year Geoff and William took apart 2 broken laptops swapped parts, added new ones and then gave my mom and Geoff's grandma functioning laptops. And there was the built from the ground up computer that the boys built with their dad in early 2004. But I don't have pictures of any of this. I love to capture "everyday" life, but somehow these activities seemed so blandly everyday I missed documenting them. One of Tulley's points is that children should be encouraged to explore, and with a hands on approach learn how things work, how they are made and perhaps they will discover how to make them work better.

I decided to include the picture of Maria stringing beads... very tiny, choking hazard, hard to manipulate beads. She sat on her daddy's lap and spent 2 hours patiently and deftly slipping beads over the string and marveling at how they stacked up. Discovery and perseverance, these experiences are super valuable, and I know this because of that look. I know, it's not exactly a scientific statement, but the look is valid, it's good. When children solve problems, unravel mysteries, accomplish new tasks... they enjoy a sense of self and an awareness of their own abilities. Maria was keenly aware that she was doing a big girl activity and she was devoted to meeting the challenge and responsibility.

I love the look. I just know there are serious neuron-synapse-muscle memory-motor function-eye-hand coordination, joy things going on, and that thrills me.

And I think the outdoors can provide a similar opportunity... taking things apart and figuring-out doesn't have to be limited to manufactured, material things. When Max asked to cross the creek and climb a fallen tree, I was aware that we were trying uncharted territory, that we were risking a fall, wet clothes, mud, maybe some scrapes; I considered the weather, the depth of the creek, the current, the height of the tree, and in 3 seconds I said, "Go for it!" We ought to spend more time taking nature apart, getting dirty, sweating on a trail and crossing creeks. I am a long way from hiking the back country with a compass and a stick, but I am willing to get wet at low tide, try a new trail, and discover new ways of relating to the world, and finding new bridges to cross.

5. Break The DMCA- Drive A Car

Years ago, again in Mexico, I let my boys drive our Big Blue Whale. No takers. I repeated the offer when we returned in 2003, and they were still not interested. Our family land in Mexico is ideal for underage driving... most days there is zero traffic and there are plenty of wide open, even cow-free, spaces. My boys have internalized values and a strong sense of right from wrong. They keep me honest and sometimes they say, "No." I love it when they say no, when they show their own resolve and willingness to express their internalized values. They have driven tractors and Alex tried his Grandpa Corm's riding mower, but they declined underage driving. Maybe this is why I am so comfortable about letting them do the 5 Dangerous Things... maybe it's because they instinctually want to be careful and safe, and I agree with Jennifer, that when we take away the mystery, then the allure-the unknown attraction is diminished.

Eva left an interesting comment on the first post, and she asks, "but do you think there (are) things in life everyone would be wise to be afraid of? like drugs, for one. or is fear inappropriate even here?"

Yes, we are wise to be fearful or aware, respectful.
Bungee jumping, driving under the influence of alcohol, sexu@l promiscuity, feeding bears, texting while driving... there are a lot of things that people choose to do that can have very dangerous consequences, that have risks not just to the one trying a behavior, but to others as well. Drunk driving and bear feeding are not included in my list of dangerous things I let my children try. The risks are too great.

I find that often times risky behaviors that are not worth pursuing have a natural way of weeding themselves out... let the bears feed themselves and never operate anything when your senses are impaired, because it is a foolish thing to do. Period. Other things are tempting or alluring when they are not understood. I am not afraid of drugs, but I have no interest in using drugs. I know they have good and bad effects, but on careful consideration, I believe the risks far outweigh the benefits. I could not limit myself to, "Just say no," when discussing drugs with my children, not as they mature and have an ability to reason, to be curious. Neither will I act as though they are free to experiment or imply that I am cool with whatever. I will not hesitate to show them what happens to cr@ck addicts, or calculate for them the cost of a smoking habit.

At some point they will have to make choices and when that time comes, I hope they are educated, informed, and sure enough of their own beliefs and convictions that they will say "No" to those risks that jeopardize their dignity, health and intelligence. I agree, Eva, we can learn respect without fear, and I hope you can find a safe, comfortable opportunity to learn to start a fire...

This has been fun and interesting to ponder, and it has all been especially meaningful and interesting because of your comments. So, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. Maybe the 6th dangerous thing would be "Saying what you think, out loud."

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We Are 5 For 5:: #2 and #3

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do.

My first post on this topic covered fire. I really feel like I put myself in the line of fire, so to speak, by admitting that I let very young children hold hot sticks and burn leaves, but I think it's important to create an environment for safe danger, for careful risks. We learn when we go outside of our comfort zone, by experiencing physical actions and objects, so we know hot from cold, sharp from dull. I am not trying to preach... it's more like being defensive, because I believe in my methods, but I know some people will think I am nuts. I really cannot fathom parenting without carefully, rationally, attentively providing real life experiences for my children, and real life can be dangerous.

2. Own a Pocketknife

Knives are sharp. Good knives are very sharp. I have never met a single person who has not cut themselves. Young, old, expert, novice... who has not cut themselves? Even just a little bit. Hopefully not fatally. I worked in a bakery and cut myself at least twice when slicing bagels. Geoff worked in fast food and did nasty things while prepping food and cooking burgers... you don't even want to know. But before he was injuring himself in a professional setting he was a kid with knives and Exacto tools and he cut himself then too.

Hold on. Funny story: When my brothers and I were little squirts, we got to buy pocket knives in Mexico and they were mostly a novelty because they were ridiculously small. Closed, the knives were not bigger than 1"... they were seriously tiny and really kind of cute and we loved them. One day we were visiting the mall and the knife cutlery store was advertising free sharpening for all pocket knives. Cool! We stepped in to the very professional boutique, with the samurai swords, katana and coats of arms on the walls and presented the clerk with our pocketknives. He scoffed. He ridiculed and scoffed some more. He was so mocking and dismissive about our knives that he refused to sharpen them, but we insisted. He said they could not be sharpened, because they were 'just toys' and as he was saying this he opened one up, and to demonstrate their toyness he dragged his thumb across the 1/2" blade. He would have done less damage if he had not dragged so much of his thumb, so vigorously, but he was evidently not that clever. He slit his thumb wide open and sent us away with one duller, bloody little knife. Incidentally, we never hurt ourselves with those knives.

So what to do? Banish all sharp things? No scissors, no pins? With some possible exceptions, I think children can be trusted to learn that sharp things must be used with care and respect. I think adults can take the time to instruct and observe, and facilitate opportunities to teach children how to use all kinds of tools, including knives and scissors. Maria has been sitting beside me and cutting fabric since she was 3 years old... no cuts. She has been loading and unloading the pincushion since she was 2 years old... not more than 2 pokes. And when we were camping at El Capitan State Beach 2 years ago, I let her help chop the veggies. When Max was 3, and showed an interest I taught him how to hold a knife and sat with him while he worked. He loved peeling and chopping garlic. LOVED it. I taught William. I taught Alex. They keep their fingers out of the way. They know to be attentive and patient. They know to use the right tool for the job. A dull dinner knife can do a lot more damage than a sharp paring knife; if the knife cannot slice efficiently it will slip and do damage. Sharp knives work.

I have to admit, this one, owning pocketknives got me in to trouble. It was 4 years ago when Alex says, "I was walking down the street when all of a sudden a bunch of Ninjas flipped out and tried to kill me, but then we realized that we were equally matched and we went our separate ways" and in the melee he cut something, a little bit. We cannot remember what he cut (finger?) I vividly recall how mad the doctor was, at me. Alex needed a tetanus shot, but no stitches or butterfly bandages. And apparently I needed a parenting lecture from the peds doctor about children and pocketknives. She told me to 'take the knife from him and to never let children play with knives, and that if I didn't take it away he was sure to get cut again, or worse.' She was very mad at me, very finger wagging-incredulous, you bad mother mad. He was almost 11 years old, extremely responsible and well-behaved, not in the least bit stupid, reckless, blind, ignorant, or self destructive. I imagined this small cut, the memory of it and all it entailed would make a suitable and instructive impression, so that I need not ever worry about his next cut. And, there will be a next cut, because we use tools.

3. Throw A Spear

I am claiming this on a technicality. We do not have spears, but if we did, we would totally throw them. We do have bows and arrows and I think the danger/learning opportunity is comparable to spear throwing. When we were Jolly Green Rancheros, living on our 2 acres of El Rancho goodness, I bought the boys a bow and arrows. 3 boys: 1 bow... a safe ratio, when the only target will be a straw bale. Hand-eye coordination... when I Googled this I mostly found articles on improving the connection between what we see and how we can physically control and guide our movements. I recall from university courses and reading about child development, language acquisition, and fine motor development... hand-eye coordination is important. Gever Tulley goes in to some of the specifics about how throwing things strengthens coordination, improves 3-D and structural problem solving. Brain stuff working in conjunction with body stuff... it's good stuff!

We never once had a single bad incident with the bow and arrows. Alex took great interest in the activity and it led to a deeper appreciation for Medieval history, a subject he is very well read on, and it greatly improved his coordination and visual acuity. I wonder if target practice with the bow and arrows is what gave him such remarkable skills in rendering his ideas into elaborate and detailed designs and illustrations... yeah, I think so. Max also embraced the activity and he spent hours a day practicing when we moved to the Treehouse. He had to develop strength and coordination to manage the sizable bow. He had to overcome the frustration of not being as skilled as his brothers, and he worked very hard to successfully close the gap. Somewhere in our garage is a book that Max made, papers stapled together, and it is full of numbers... hundreds and hundreds of numbers and tallies, reflecting Max's scorekeeping. He's a numbers guy. He logged every score made on their homemade targets, so that bow and arrow time was physical and academic for Max.

We miss having a yard big and safe enough for the bow and arrow. We look forward to being some place where we can take aim at a bulls-eye or straw bale, pull back on the string and hit the spot we aim for. I know from personal experience that hitting what we aim for is deeply satisfying. And, now that I have thought about it, I think we might see about making some spears.

Coming up:

4. Deconstruct Appliances
5. Break The DMCA- Drive A Car

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Five Dangerous Things :: #1 Play With Fire

5 Dangerous Things You Should Let Your Children Do.
Is this alarming? I wondered where we would stand, how our list of dangerous things would compare with Gever Tulley's list of dangerous things and I have to say I am pleasantly surprised. It's not that I relish the idea of implicating myself as a careless, reckless, negligent parent. On the contrary, incorporating these 5 dangerous things in to our lives, I believe, demonstrates our careful, rational, attentive parenting skills.

1. Play With Fire
It's primal. It's the gathering place. It's practical. Fire is good. As a grown-up I have never hesitated to build a backyard campfire... in a sandpit, in a tin can. I remember when I was about 10 years old my mother observed that I could not light a match and she made me learn. She really had to make me do it, because I had a fear of fire and heat and getting burned and I would not light a match. I think I was crying and protesting, but she broke through my fear and gave me a skill. It was a beautiful exchange of ignorance and anxiety, for knowledge and ability. I offer that same opportunity to my children as soon as they seek it. I do not withhold fire and they do not glorify it or fear it. They understand its virtues and its risks.

And they understand that I will let them experiment with fire and test it, under supervision. So, when we went camping Maria could not resist cooking the onions she chopped (see Dangerous thing #2) in the candle. She could feel the heat, and she observed that she needed a tool to extend her reach and she learned that candles have a weak flame, easily snuffed out by too many onions. The worst result of this experiment was a delayed dinner, because I was by her side and ready to intervene.

Fire takes patience. It takes practice and fire needs our full attention. Patience, practice, and full attention are also very helpful in raising children. I keep my expectations high and my patience higher. I accept that there will be injuries and there will be messes. Lots and lots of messes. I consider messes a certain indicator of intelligence and creativity. I consider cleaning messes a certain indicator of training, intelligence and maturity. I tend to value creativity more than training, but there is room for practice in all areas.

I wish I had photographs of the first trip I made with the boys to El Valle, Mexico. It was in February of 2001... so, William was almost 10, Alex was 6 and Max was 2. It was on this adventure to the remotest corner of Sonora that the boys fell in love with fire. We cooked with fire, we warmed the house and water with fire. We played with fire. Yes. I know "play" sounds so irresponsible and wrong. Playing with fire rocks. Too often we think that play is trivial and that it minimizes responsibility. Play is the work of explorers, of learners, and work is the play of the inspired, the motivated. We can play and work and it can be both responsible and fun.

They observed the open fire where we were cooking meals, they watched their bisabuelo keep the fire lit for the water heater, and they became aware of this element as a tool and a resource, and a source of something to do in a place where there was no television, bookstore, theme parks, toy chests, or playgrounds. So they gathered wood and kindling to help keep the cooking fire going. Then they burned sticks and observed the transference of heat from wood to sticks, from coals to leaves, from stones to fingertips... and they learned about burns to skin... sufficiently to avoid serious injury.

An element of danger is present everywhere and I cannot see the point of avoiding experiences for the sake of avoiding pain, confusion or disorder. They learned, not from a book or cartoons, about what fire is and what it can do and why it matters and how it can behave. There is sufficient evidence that this kind of learning is hugely beneficial and lasting. Also, they learned that I trust them... I trust their intelligence and ability to gather information, I trust their judgment and sense of responsibility and fairness, I trust their intuition to act in accordance with sound principles... these are not experiences to be acquired from any book or video.

Coming up:

2. Own A Pocketknife
3. Throw A Spear
4. Deconstruct Appliances
5. Break The DMCA- Drive A Car

**Originally posted at Chickenblog, February 2009. Re-posted here with permission.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Stitching in the Ditch?

We have our tickets to Maker Faire! We have room reservations! We have club members riding with us, and club members meeting us there! We even have an opportunity to display projects at the Faire!

We even have an opportunity to display projects at the Faire!
If you are a member of Love and Rockets or Art of Engineering, and you want to share a project at Maker Faire, then please come to today's meeting, and please review this online application.

Meeting Today: 4:30 PM
Online Application

Alex should seriously consider bringing his latest project to Maker Faire. He designed a corset, with a turn key he made in metal shop, and he is learning new skills, like pattern reading, fabric cutting, and stuff at the sewing machine. Stitch in the ditch, anyone? Natalie is mentoring this project, while also learning about the intricacies of sewing corsets. So far... it's going surprisingly well, of course there is still the boning to install, and about fifty eyelets to place.

Nice fabric choices, Alex. Can't wait to see it completed!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Make Ours SteamPunk

Thirty-nine days and fourteen hours from now, we will be at Maker Faire. As a Young Makers Club, we had hoped to bring our projects with us, but we still have some details to organize, and so we have next year to look forward to for that. This year we will simply arrive as ourselves. Our SteamPunk selves, and our creations and expressions, the things we make will be with us, and on us. From bowler hats to bow ties, with modified goggles, and our signature details... we hope to Make this a faire to remember!

We love a good thrift shop, second-hand opportunity, and do-it-yourself occasions, and last week Eli introduced us to a brand new treasure trove of thrifty-ness... new to us, anyway. We struck the mother lode at their tent sale. A coat from London, a leather jacket, and drop waist wool dress, and several vests... Now Maria has her very own bow tie. I have pretty hats, and shoes that make me want to lift my skirt and pretend I know a clever little dance. We may switch the buttons on the dress, and the hats need fresh tulle, a flower, or trim. Eli's new cane is perfect, but he has a knack for making perfect things even better.

Alex and I will be rummaging through our fabric stash, in search of something for a blouse and corset he designed. He is in another club, for fashion and design, and they will be putting on a show soon. I am happy to do a little sewing room mentoring, and this will give us more opportunity to complete our Maker Faire ensembles. Oh! And also, William has a Halloween event that Love and Rockets will be making for, so all of this thrifting, sewing, and Making is sure to keep us happily occupied for months to come!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

FIRST is Cool

Well, I am almost done reading The New Cool, and I gotta say it is pretty cool, but there ain't nothin' new about Geek Cool. I think I am just lucky, because I have known, for a very long time, that when young people have opportunities and support, when learning is motivated by curiosity, when students are respected for what they can do and how much they will learn... then improbable things will happen, and impossible things will be within reach.

Some people think that for science, technology and math to be respected, for the students who choose books over malls, learning over zoning out, to be cool, that we have to drop the nerd, lose the silly-goofyness that pegs us as uncool and amateurish.

I say, we are cool. Period. In a bow tie. In a fez. With painted faces, and pocket protectors. Dancing our dances, chanting our chants, and doing the math: We are cool, and always have been. It is about being genuine, and feeling free to be your true self. Respectful, and true.

I am not naive. I understand that to raise interest and money, to market ourselves to the corporate banks and deep pockets, we have to claim our rightful place among the legitimate, pros, and we have to don the suits of their cultural values. But, I will always know that we were cool first, when no one cared, when no one was looking, and I will not surrender my spirit to satisfy the ideals of the same crowd that is tracking the antics of Charlie Sheen, or using their math to figure out how to avoid paying taxes to the very government that serves to protect them.

The New Cool, it's been a fun read, somewhat like watching yourself from a remote camera, because I recognize so very much of what teams, like FIRST 1717, have accomplished, and how they got it done. There are a lot of flavors in FIRST, every team, every member has something special to bring to the world... this isn't a unique circumstance, but one that I like to acknowledge, and sometimes have to remind myself to appreciate. The diversity is a blessing, and a challenge.

I am thankful that Alex is on a team that comes from an exceptional school, with exceptional peers and teachers. FIRST 2102 Team Paradox is composed of an incredibly diverse, talented, and dedicated group of people, and while not everyone is equally capable of lathing a wheel, calculating torque, or writing up a business plan, everyone on the team is equally capable of contributing something. The team is elite, but it is not elitist. And that is very cool. I am thankful that the team is not asking everyone to drop their quirks and flavors, their individual skills, in favor of something homogenized and glossy. It is cool to be yourself, and to bring that self to the team, for the team.

FIRST, Dean Kamen, robotics, science, technology, math, the students, the mentors, the build shops, the events... it is all amazingly cool. And I feel as though I cannot shout or whisper, or jump up and down long enough, or hard enough to get this belief out there... but I want to. I want millions of people to stop what they are doing and learn more about FIRST. I want a million people to plan their weekend around FIRST Championships, watch live coverage and cheer for students and their robots. I want a million people to mentor, or volunteer, or make a contribution to a team. It's so easy. It's so cool. It's so very, very important... I promise you, the stronger FIRST becomes, the more we give to our children of our time, faith and passion, the more they will have to give us of their time, faith, and passion, and they will achieve the improbable.

All of your comments are loved and appreciated, and your names are going in the fez. Tomorrow, Lady Betty Orpington will pluck a name from the fez for the winner of The New Cool.

Thank you.

Oh... and how is this for cool?

Friday, April 8, 2011

High Speed Camera Work

This was a long time coming... finally learning how to get these movies edited and on the Internet, so we can share them with friends! We are especially happy to be sharing this with fellow Young Makers Club "Central Marin Young Makers," who built Saphira, the Fire Breathing Dragon!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

For Love and Rockets

We will be attending our second Maker Faire, this coming May. I cannot wait. And I cannot wait to bring more people with us, to share the experience. We knew from our first visit that we would love to participate in Maker Faire, and now we have Love and Rockets! It's such a natural progression for us, a family that loves to design things, invent stuff, make things, fiddle around, tinker, take apart, reconstruct, experiment... we felt like we belonged to a larger family of like minded people when we were at the Maker Faire.

As much fun as we have making robots, sewing costumes, modifying NERF guns, building chicken coops, constructing sets, making optical effects with mirrors and lights, painting, modeling planets in 3D Studio, building giant theater screens, playing with yarn, and generally keeping everyone in stitches with good humor and love... yes, as much as we love all that, we also love seeing what all the other creative, talented and inspiring Make people are up to...

We cannot wait to meet new friends.

We are excited about the music, and the outfits, the unexpected sights around every corner.

I want to go back, so I can ride on this!

At Maker Faire we can participate in FabMo's plan to re-purpose designer fabrics, because "It's really true that one person's trash is another person's treasure."

For Arc Attack! And who wouldn't want to witness a rockin' Tesla coil visual musical concert?!

Would you like to hear me play the Doctor Who theme?

We want to meet up with fellow Young Makers Clubs members, like Tony DeRose...

and the Young Makers who designed and built Saphira! The fire breathing dragon.

I want to see Maria touch an Electric Giraffe!

The electric giraffe (aka 'Rave Raffe') is a shy, nocturnal creature of the Playa. It can sometimes be found roaming the streets of suburbia where it elicits awe amongst the spectators. Native of Southern California, the 'Raffe' can sometimes be coaxed further afield for special occasions. We hope you will be at Maker Faire, Raffe!

We hope R.O.S.E. will be at the Faire. Maria and her friend, the Reanimate Optimized Search Engine, had a very good time together. The League of S.T.E.A.M. are masterful in the art of creative play.

Perhaps we will have another visit with fellow SteamPunk artist and gentleman, Anthony Hicks.

Throughout the Maker Faire we found wonderful opportunities to meet and talk with talented, generous artists, inventors, tinkerers... like Jake von Slatt, of the Steampunk Workshop.

Look! It's a ping-pong an Original Egg-Bot! We will never run out of amazing projects and ideas we can aspire to try!

Last year we saw nearly everything... no, not really, but we tried.
The good thing is that however much we saw, we enjoyed it all. It's a pleasure to share in people's joy, in their pride for what they have made. It was never dull. There was no stress or pressure... just happy discoveries and inspiration wherever you look.

New perspectives. Fanciful expression. Grassroots energy. Green energy. High energy. Family fun. Legit.

And even a chance to enjoy our other Passion: FIRST Robotics, and FIRST 2102 Team Paradox! We met FIRST 1868 Space Cookies!

And hopefully, when we meet them in St Louis, we will be in the same alliance. You see, like FIRST 2102 Team Paradox, the Space Cookies are also Regional Engineering Inspiration Award winners! Go Space Cookies! Go Paradox!

Maria fell in love with a spacecraft. With The Hermes Space Shuttle. I love it when girls find a passion for science, math, and technology... for space exploration.

I love it when anyone finds inspiration, and support, to pursue their dreams, to play, think, make, explore... even to watch in wonder, and that is why we are returning to the Maker Faire.

We are going to Maker Faire, for Love

... and Rockets!