Maker Faire Volunteers Build Community at Car Free Day

Under Sunday’s cloudy sky with patches of sun, Vancouverites came out in droves to Main St. Car Free Day. There were a ton of things to see and try — and a zillion more to taste and buy — it was a veritable feast for the senses! I could hardly restrain myself.

 

Car Free Day is a fantastic time to get out and interact with the community, so of course, our Vancouver Mini Maker Faire (VMMF) volunteers were there with bells on.

 

Here’s the highlights:

 

Holding down the fort at the Maker Faire booth: Michel Kakulphimp, volunteer and UVic electrical engineering student, and Liisa Hanus, VMMF Volunteer Coordinator, keep it friendly and informative.

The incredible shrinking Mr. Tom Wynn, from The Hive Vancouver (a sustainability and creativity co-working space), poses with a VMMF art bike. Check out the Art Bike Project on Facebook.

Nate and Yum Yum from Daily Eggs (an urban chicken-coop-building company) strike it for the camera like professionals while educating the public.

Tien Wee, from Lucky Monkey Home, poses with his beautiful display of stunning jewelry and homemade, all-natural soy candles and mists. Mmmmm!

Mike Zeits and Ryan Paton show off another colourful tall bike to promote the Faire.

Yay! Robot heads!

Sophie Wyser at her lovely little Random Revival booth — making small spaces look pretty and inviting.

Lady Taiko drummers = Awesome.

And here’s what I took home: A totally awesome pair of teensy wood panel prints featuring Richie and Margot Tenenbaum, made with love by Kris G. Brownlee of A Cagey Bee (you can see them at the bottom left).

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Adored.

Best wishes for a Car Free Vancouver!







Random Excellence: Maker Mentality Solved My Fashion Crisis

 

Do you have an awesome DIY quick-fix that made your day? Or something fun you plan to wear to Maker Faire?

 

Well, I do!

 

It all started when a dear friend gave me a beautiful pair of suede and leather boots, which came up beautifully over the knee, but when I wore them for longer than five minutes they would scrunch down all pirate-like and looked very sad and frumpy.

 

 

I almost gave them away, but then I had a thought. Why not MAKE them stay up. How?  By using the age-old technology of men’s sock garters.

 

Aha!

 

If you don’t know what sock garters are, just think about how your socks would behave if they did not contain elastic.  Not very functional, right? Enter: sock garters.

 

 

Invented in the eighteenth century, prior to the widespread use of elastic, sock garters were essential to keep men’s socks from slumping.

 

Inspired by the very clever and inventive people at Craftzine, I decided to buy some elastic, cut it to fit the top of my calf, stitch it together, and sew a strip of leather inside my boot to hold it up.

 

 

It took a total of about 15 minutes to measure, cut and sew.

 

 

And… voila:

 

 

Perfection! The boots stay up all day! Plus, I feel secretly retro and fabulous because my boots contain the hidden power of sock garters.

 

Oh look, women are wearing them too!

 

At a total cost of about $6 (elastic, thread and small leather strips) this is a DIY project worth spreading. Plus, it really helped me get into the maker mindset: problem solving, crafting, and making something function exactly as I want.

 

So what have you made? Show us! Break out your best DIY threads at Maker Faire on June 23 and 24th and spread that inspiration!







Insane for Indie? Hysterical for Handmade? Got Craft? is Too!

 

Got Craft? is Andrea + Robert: a husband and wife event management and wedding coordination team based in London, UK and Vancouver. Providing crafty wares to young, trendsetting individuals, they share a love for handmade indie craft that goes beyond the simple charms of the macaroni art piece.

 

Got Craft? aims to bring together a community that fosters handmade and DIY culture by supporting like-minded events such as DIY @ Museum of Vancouver, the Austin, TX and Vancouver Premiere of Handmade Nation, Swap-O-Rama-Rama 2009 and 2010, Vancouver Mini Maker Faire and the Sweetie Pie Press 2011 Summer Craft Tour.

 

When they’re not busy filling their blog with field trips and beloved crafty things, you can find Andrea and Robert selling their handmade goods at local events, or hosting fun and interactive badge-making workshops.

 

We recently caught up with Andrea to learn more about what Got Craft? is all about, and to find out what they plan to demonstrate at this year’s Maker Faire.

 

Can you talk a bit about what Got Craft? and Lotus Events is all about?

 

Lotus events inc. is an event management and wedding coordination company that Robert and I started in 2004 to work on a mix of corporate, independent contracts, and self-produced events such as Got Craft?. Got Craft?, aka myself and Robert, is a husband and wife team that shares a love for handmade indie craft. We are devoted to the Vancouver handmade community by supporting like-minded events such as DIY @ Museum of Vancouver, the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire, the Vancouver Premiere of Handmade Nation, Swap-O-Rama-Rama, and Indie I Do.

As designers ourselves, we wanted to curate a boutique event to showcase some of our favourite handmade artists and provide Vancouver the opportunity to shop for one-of-a kind goods in a casual environment. Attendees are able to meet the makers in person to talk about their handmade goods and creative processes, as well as craft their own take home DIY project.

Aimed at bringing together a community that fosters handmade and DIY Culture, Got Craft? was founded in 2007 and is held twice a year in May and December featuring 50+ handmade designers and an average attendance of 3000+ a year.

 

What events do you host in the city, when do they happen, and where they are located?

 

As I mentioned above, we are we have been involved with events such as DIY @ Museum of Vancouver, the Austin, TX premiere of Handmade Nation, and the Sweetie Pie Press 2011 Summer Craft Tour. We are also happy to have had the opportunity to produce events such as the Vancouver Premiere of Handmade Nation, Swap-O-Rama-Rama 2009 and 2010, and the Sweetie Pie Press 2011 Summer Craft Tour. As well, we are super excited to be a part of the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire again this year!

 

What do you plan on bringing / demonstrating at Vancouver Mini Maker Faire this year?

 

Got Craft? will be hosting a DIY button-making workshop at the Vancouver Mini Maker Faire! We’ll have two sizes of buttons for you to choose from including a large selection of pre-made patterns and custom Got Craft? images, or you can draw your own unique design! We’ll be on-hand to turn those creations into your own custom button!

 

Who are some of the crafters that came out to Got Craft’s event in early May? Any highlights, or new features?

 

Last May was one of our busiest Spring shows ever with the swag bag line up starting at 5:15am for a 10:00am door opening. We even had a special guest, Carol, that flew in from Chicago for the second time to attend the show!

 

We truly believe that it takes a village and we heart each and every one of our vendors! It wouldn’t be fair to us to have to choose our favourites, so you can check out our website for a full list of vendors that joined us for our Spring show.

 


Any exciting plans for Got Craft? in 2013?

 

We are always tweaking different aspects of the event or working on ways to make Got Craft? event better. We do have a few big announcements that we are working on, but you are just going to have to wait a bit longer!

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To learn more about Got Craft?, preview their upcoming events on their website or check them out on Facebook.

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Photo credits: [stu-di-o] by jeanie.







Inspiring Makers — Ladyada Takes One Giant Step for Womankind

 

Limor Fried, or Ladyada as she’s better known in geekspeak, is a prolific maker, engineer, kit maker, entrepreneur, MAKE advisory board member and open source hardware pioneer.

 

In an exciting blessing for makers and female engineers, Fried graced the April cover of WIRED magazine: a publication that’s been around for 18 years. This is the first time a female engineer has ever been featured on the cover.

 

MAKE Magazine called it a milestone for makers, for women, for engineers, and anyone who makes things for a living.

 

Fried was also interviewed this year on CBC’s Spark by host Nora Young. She defines what a Maker is, and touches on some amazing projects she’s got her eye on for the future.

 

“A maker is the new hobbiest. It’s someone who likes to build stuff with their hands and with tools,” Fried says. “I work a lot with electronics makers, people who really like to build electronics, both from scratch, and to take stuff off the shelf and modify and manipulate it to make it do cool and awesome stuff.”

 

Cool and awesome indeed. Though she’s one of the most talented, hard-working and intelligent voices in the maker community, one of the best things about Ladyada is that she’s female, and she embraces it.

 

 

As she explains to CBC:

 

“I just love glam. I wanna go out there and be crazy and blinky and awesome and have a good time.”

 

Yes!

 

After first talking about the importance of open source software and hardware (that’s how she learned her stuff), Fried talks about her own clothing line using wearable computing. This is clothing with embedded coloured lights that allows the wearer to feature a movie, favourite team colours, or other more elegant displays using layers of softly lighted fabric to create a stunning visual display.

 

And what if she gets lost?

 

Fried also has an idea for a handbag that would harness GPS powers to tell the wearer which direction to walk in.

 

Want.

 

If you’re still not convinced that Ladyada is awesome, take a gander at her website Ladyada.net. The site receives about 3000 unique visitors each day, and logs an average of 20G of traffic per day. After taking a peek around her site, it’s easy to see why.

 

There’s a veritable feast of information on how to make/deconstruct/hack/recreate different electronic items, all with her trademark upbeat, step-by-step instructions.

 

Two of my favourite projects are the Minty Boost: a portable USB charger, and the x0xb0x: a digital synthesizer.

 

The Minty Boost is a small-yet-powerful USB charger for your mp3 player, camera, cell phone, and pretty much any other gadget that plugs into a USB port to charge. And it all fits neatly into an Altoids tin.

 

 

You can order the kit from Adafruit Industries, Fried’s webshop. With a few basic souldering skills and your own discarded tin, you can make your very own Minty Boost for about 20 bucks.

 

And once you’re done, just sit back, relax, and watch your electronics come to life!

 

The x0xb0x is substantially more complicated.

 

x0xb0x (pronounced “zocks box”) is a full reproduction of the original Roland synthesizer with a fully functional sequencer. The sequencer can be programmed just like the original, and can be used to control other synthesizers using one of its various output formats.

 

 

The x0xb0x boasts 128 banks of track memory and 64 banks of pattern memory, which are stored in onboard EEPROM.

 

And, of course, it’s got no less than 40 LEDs.

 

“Crazy and blinky and awesome!”

 

In Fried’s words:

 

“Electronics is now the new palatte. It’s the new way for us to modify, hack, explore… It’s great for everyone to know how to fix the things around them, or upgrade the things around them… [because] everything that you fix is another thing that isn’t being thrown away.”

 

Amen sister. Now how do I join your official fan club?

 

Photo credits:

Wired Cover — Courtesy of blog.makezine.com

Fried with x0xb0x — Courtesy of wired.com

Minty Boost and x0xb0x — Courtesy of ladyada.net