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Project Books and White House Maker Faire

Submitted by TechNinja on June 16, 2014 - 12:45pm

For those that missed it, Sylvia has been working like crazy for months cooking up a brand new set of real life project books! ...also she's been invited to attend the White House for their very first Maker Faire on Wednesday June 18th, 2014!


Announced as her surprise project at Maker Faire Bay Area 2014, "Sylvia's Super-Awesome Project Book" series is going to be a set of books published by CMK Press featuring project topics from various episodes, along with a bunch more in-depth details and project extras that we just couldn't cover in the show. First book should be out late July 2014, titled Super-Simple Arduino.

Happening a little sooner, Sylvia (along with me, CraftNinja mom and little sister Terrific Talulah) will be in Washington D.C. this week for the very first White House Maker Faire, thanks in part to travel sponsor Atmel's unwavering dedication to education and the young Maker community, they rock!

Atmel Logo on a shirt


For the majority of Makers wishing to take part in the festivities, don't worry! June 18th has been officially proclaimed as the National Day of Making. Get together with your local maker space, hacking group, or just your family, and get out there and make something! Post pictures and use the hash-tagĀ  #nationofmakers to let the world know that you're doing your part and making something awesome together. There's tons of other suggestions on the Day of Making site, so go check it out!

We'll be tweeting from the event live as long as we've got connectivity, so check @MakerSylvia for updates before, during, and after for all the fun and surprises we're bound to find there.

Good luck makers, young, old, and future. Lets all get out there and make something this June 18th and prove we are (even around the world) a #nationofmakers.

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Maker Faire Bay Area 2012: Day 2

Submitted by TechNinja on July 7, 2012 - 7:59am

(Continued from Maker Faire: Day 1) The streets strangled by traffic, we arrive a bit late (show up early folks!). Hopping out of our car and hoofing across the south lot, we're totally ready for Adam Savage's talk at 11. First a quick stop off at the magical steampunk village, to see the amazing machines, sculptures, and perchance to write an olde fashioned letter with a fountain pen.

Sylvia and Talulah examining the Velocipede steampunk vehicle.Sylvia's handwritten fountain pen letter.An Obtainium Works sculpture inside of the steampunk village

Just as we finish our letters, we got a call from our pal Brooklyn to head over and see our friend Joey Hudy in the Maker Shed, he was sad that Becky wasn't there to walk around and do interviews with Matt for MAKE Live, so he suggested that he and Sylvia fill in! Who would pass up an awesome chance like this? Not us!

Joey Hudy talks to the Make Live camera crew.Sylvia interviewing two of the other kids featured throughout the Schools Out MAKE MagazineAdam Savage answering Sylvia and Joey during their interview with himAdam Savage getting interviewed by Joey and Sylvia

Off we ran to the Shed for some preliminary interviews, then Adam Savage himself, then onto the back of a golf cart to tour the sights and sounds of the Faire. Soon seeing such awesome things as Makerbot's robot petting zoo, the giant fire snorting dragon, and Los Angeles Maker Extraordinaire, Tara Tiger Brown (all seen in the video)!

Rounding out a long fun tour of the grounds and sights, they headed over to the Whiskey Drunk Cycles arena, it was time to dunk a MAKE editor! Sylvia was first to pitch, and without breaking a sweat somehow managed to pull out a fast ball and dunked her on the second shot! I guess that single season of softball finally paid off.

Andrew 'Bunnie' Huang signing Sylvia's ChumbyAfter her fun trip with the Make crew and Joey, we set out on our own to inhale the last invigorating breaths of Maker Faire. Into the expo hall we stopped by and said hi to all the booths we could. Handing out stickers, cards, smiles and hugs. Met up with incredible electronics master Andrew 'Bunnie' Huang, he even signed Sylvia's Chumby One!

We saw our nice friends from Parallax showing off their red line follower bots, and Sylvia's favorite Ping))) BOE bot, then over to the fabulous Tinkercad, showing off 3D printed versions of their favorite models, some even in ceramic and metal. Stopping by one of our favorite booths, Sugru showed off their awesome "kid-proof" camera made safe with only their colorful air-curing rubber. Then finally off at the Robotis booth to check out the awesome Ollo bug bot kit, and to even hold one of the incredible DARwIn-OP humanoid bots (too bad his battery was dead).

Sylvia playing with the bots at the Parallax booth with Jessica Uelmen & Emily Kurze Sylvia standing in the foreground while a Makerbot Replicator prints Tinkercad models at the Tinkercad boothA "child-proof" camera created with SugruSylvia holding the DARwIn-OP

By the time we finished strolling through the expo hall, it was time for the very last EepyBird Diet Coke and Mentos show! We ran outside and set ourselves up in front before the crowds got too thick, hoping for to get close enough to "experience" the soda fountains, and we were not disappointed! (totally got soaked when the wind picked up)

Sylvia giving a thumbs up before being doused with warm diet sodaEepyBird demonstrate the effectivenes of warm soda vs cold sodaSylvia smiling after being soaked with soda.A crewmember handing a soda bottle to one of a hundred grappling hands.

Not long after, it was time for the awards ceremony for the Fun Bike Unicorn Club Figure 8 races. Due to our constantly popping tires, derailing chain and eventually the front right wheel coming off, we were tied for last place. Though because we kept on trying, and even went to a store to buy replacement tubes to race again the following day, we won "Best Effort", and hold the trophy proudly (Actually, driver and welder TheD holds it)

The D holding the "Best Effort" trophy

Sylvia squinting at the sun through darkened plastic to view the solar eclipseThe fair has now officially ended. Patrons and booth runners alike; pack, clean up, and head out. People gather outside as they leave to marvel at the eclipse, turning simple tree shade into a crowded sea of crescents. We make our way through buildings, slowly meandering our way to the exit. We love to walk through the slowly emptying halls as the excitement, stress and heat of thousands of hurried bodies drains out, leaving only the people who came here some few days ago to put everything up, just to take it all down again. On our way through we spotted a hard at work Sophi hacking away at an cell phone signal detector hat for the big post-Maker Faire hack dinner at Harry's Hofbrau. Sylvia helped her solder a bit, and then we headed out to the dinner ourselves.

The mostly empty main hallSylvia helps solder Sophi Kravitz's cell phone power meter hat project before the hacker dinnerSylvia posing with bright red LED matrix glasses displaying a hypnotizing pattern.The hacker side of Harry's Hofbrau crowd

Sylvia posing with Jeri's C-64 Bass guitar.It was packed. Almost every patron was from Maker Faire, and an entire section of the restaurant was devoted to the elite hackers showing off their incredible inventions and physical sketches. Everything from Jeri's C-64 Bass, Benheck's briefcase 3D printer, Garret Mace's LED matrix glasses, to a high pressure CO2 fruit carbonator. After an hour or more of mingling, showing off of cool things, and planing with like minded makers, Sherry and Dale walked in causing every single table to erupt in spontaneous applause. The entire event after the event was incredible, and we ended up staying far beyond our limit, leaving over three hours later than we expected... of course, it was worth it.

Sylvia finished collecting her "photoception" picture-in-a-picture shots as best she could on this last day of Maker Faire. Sunday netted her: Mr. Mythbuster Adam Savage out signing after giving a great talk and getting interviewed by Sylvia herself! (3 years), head of the Maker Shed, Mr. Marc de Vinck (2 Years), MAKE editor in chief and Boing Boing founder Mark Frauenfelder (2 years), Masters of soda fountains, the Eepybird guys, Fritz and Steven (3 Years), and uber-modder and pinball fanatic Ben Heckendorn (2 years).

Sylvia posing with Adam Savage holding a photo of them holding a photo of themSylvia posing with Marc De Vinck, with a picture of them last yearSylvia posing with Mark Frouenfelder, with a picture of them in 2010
Sylvia posing with Eepybird (Fritz & Steven) holding a photo of them holding a photo of themSylvia posing with Ben Heckendorn, holding a picture of them the previous year

And thus concludes our tale of Maker Faire Bay area 2012. Made lots of friends, saw lots of amazing things, got so many ideas, only good can come from so much sharing.

Stay tuned for another multi-part tale of our adventures at Maker Faire Kansas City, 2012, then Make Summer Camp 2012, then Constructing Modern Knowledge 2012!!

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Maker Faire Bay Area 2012: Day 1

Submitted by TechNinja on June 6, 2012 - 6:36am
The D sitting in the "Flying Fishmonger" pedalcar, lifting up the frontend as if it were doing a wheelieThe D pulling off the innertube from the blown back tire of the "Flying Fishmonger"The "Flying Fishmonger" sitting sadly with its drive wheel missing

(Continued from Maker Faire: Day 0) In no time, the first real day of Maker Faire was upon us, and we were as ready as we could be for the onslaught of wonders.

First things first, we set off to the Fun Bike Unicorn Club racing area to prepare our pedalcar. The D, our driver for the "Flying Fishmonger", was out in spades right off the bat, ready for the qualifying run. Once brakes were checked and the chain stayed on long enough to run around the track a few times, we were ready for our first race! Even though we'd only spent about $80 and 2 weeks building it, we thought it held up pretty well. Even though by the second race our rear drive tire completely blew out, it was still a lot of fun and we wouldn't trade it for the world. The overlapping CD fish scales were also very popular with the crowds of people coming to ogle the incredible pedalcars.

Zoz Brooks, Sylvia and Joe Grand posing with thumbs up

Due to a fluke of failed communication and our family in the middle of moving to a new house, we didn't have a schedule this Maker Faire, so we decided to head out and see as much as we possibly could. Out on the grounds, Sylvia found two of her favorite hackers/makers, Joe Grand and Zoz Brooks of Prototype This! Joe even recognized her and everyone got some stickers.

Sylvia showing off her newly created headband.Sylvia paints onto her "Freak Flag" at the Fly Your Freak Flag High boothSylvia sitting in the Autodesk multi camera photo booth.

At the Craftsy "Make & Take" booth Sylvia made herself a stylin' star-and-ribbon-wrapped headband, then off to the FYFFH booth where we made our own "Freak Flags" to fly, then over to Autodesk to get a 3D head scan at their super camera photo booth. After a quick snap, we ran into Jeri skating around with her hard rocking Commodore-64 Bass Guitar, then we found our good friend Gever Tulley (we first met at DML). Sylvia and little sister Talulah sat down at his Brightworks booth to try the "Tinker your way out of this!" challenge. After totally winning (really!) we hopped around the corner where we learned all about simple binary computation with 8-balls and wooden flip-flops at EMSL's Digi-Comp II.

Jeri Ellsworth showing off her Commodore-64 bass guitar projectSylvia and sister Talulah attempting the "Tinker your way out of this!" challenge at the Brightworks boothLenore Edman and Sylvia demonstrating the action of the giant Digi-Comp II

Outside, we ran into so many amazing sights, too numerous to count. A spiral sculpture of fire, a robotic band playing every instrument imaginable, a life-size Dalek from Doctor Who, a towering 50 foot tall flaming umbrella tree, electric vehicles galore, a giant rubber and steel fire breathing dragon, and then an EVEN BIGGER than life-size Dalek!

A fire sculpture erupting flamesA red DalekSylvia poses near the giant fire snorting dragonA very large Dalek

Throughout the day, Sylvia worked on collecting her "photoception" picture-in-a-picture shots with previous Maker Faire phenoms... Saturday got her John Park with his Arduino Grande (3 years), Dale Daugherty (2 Years), Jeri Ellsworth with her C-64 bass (2 years), and Lenore Edman of EMSL (2 Years)

John Park posing with Sylvia in front of his Arduino Grande holding a picture of them in 2011, holding a picture of them in 2010Sylvia posing with Dale Dougherty holding a picture of them at Maker Faire 2011Jeri Ellsworth posing with Sylvia and a picture of them from Maker Faire 2011Sylvia posing with Lenore Edman and a picture of them from Maker Faire 2011

Our first day of Maker Faire was outstanding, and we just couldn't wait to see what day two had in store! Learn all about our adventure in the next action packed blog post soon...

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Maker Faire Bay Area 2012

Submitted by TechNinja on May 15, 2012 - 11:51am

The first and best Maker Faire is coming around again this year, and for our 5th year, we'll be there!

Unfortunately, because of a badly timed whole house move of our family of 6, the projects and demos we had planned on bringing have been completely disrupted and left in a state of half-packed and half-done.

Sylvia posing with her preliminary Maker Faire Badge

Not to worry though! We'll be there for the entire event and hopefully be out and about for Maker Faire fishbowl interviews and possibly a makeshift demo, and we'll be rooting for our very own Pedalcar! Family friend "TheD" brought his welding skills and we created our very first real steel construction. It's far from perfect, but with a little work and not very much money, we were able to make something rideable.

We'll be posting more updates soon, so stay tuned! But real quick, here's a few things we can't wait to see at Maker Faire:

(Continue the adventure with Maker Faire: Education Day)

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