Paper Bag Books

Here’s a fun reuse project to do with, or for, kids!  You will need:

  • Four paper lunch bags
  • glue (school glue or glue stick will work, just something sticky)

That’s it!  That’s the basics anyway, you can also have materials on hand for creating a cover if you want like felt or sheets of craft foam or decorative paper or what ever material you want.

So, start with four paper lunch bags:


First, keeping them folded, glue the flap that is the bottom of the bag down.


Then fold the bags so that the bottom is on the outside.


Next, you want to glue the bottom panel of one bag to the top part of another bag, do this with all the bags.



Make sure to cover the bag well with glue, especially along the edges.

And there you have the basic book!


Now you can get fancy and make a cover!  The black book is covered with felt and there is a fan of colored foam with sticky backs to make it easy.


Our resident teen artist covered her book with white craft foam then used puffy stickers and paint on it.


They can also be decorated for a holiday and given as gifts or extra fancy cards.  (This one is drying after having hearts applied with Mod Podge.)


We were gifted one of these fun little books with prompts on each page to help encourage them to be used.


And since the open end of the bag is facing out they can be used as secret pockets to keep treasures in!  How about using one as a recipe book.  Recipes can be clipped out of magazines and kept in the pockets while others can be written on the pages.  White lunch bags can be used as well.  Play with it and make it your own!

Community College Makers

Makers can be found everywhere including in Design classes at Community Colleges!  Recently I was invited to attend the Golden West College Design Department Student Show called Connection Points.

I particularly enjoyed this S’Mores Clock.  The graham cracker is the minute hand and the chocolate marks the hour.


Design program instructor, Greg Wight, has partnered with a local physician  who creates an amazing Halloween display each year in Huntington Beach which attracts thousands of spectators and media attention.  GWC Design students help to build huge props and displays which include animatronics and walk through attractions on the streets of a local neighborhood.

In 2011 the theme was Scary Tales and included sets portraying Alice in Wonderland, The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, The Three Little Pigs and other stories.   Following is a photo of the top half of Titan from Little Mermaid, this piece stands over 15 feet tall.


The theme in 2012 was The Wizard of Oz including the Wicked Witch of the East and The Great Oz, both of which are animatronic and include sound.



Many forms of design were displayed at the show including lots of artwork, fiber arts, sculpture, 3D printed pieces and this cool model of a concept house…


It’s great to see young people making and creating and the partnership for the Halloween display is particularly special here offering a great opportunity to apply and increase skill

Solar powered vehicle build by GWC Design program students.

Solar powered vehicle build by GWC Design program students.

.  We hope to see some of Greg’s students showing off their talent at the OC Mini Maker Faire soon!

Robotis Inc.


On Nov. 28th Jinwook Kim from Robotis Inc. invited me to observe one of the Kidslab classes that they offer.   He also provided a free kit for my 12 year old son and invited him to join the class.

The OLLO kit is fun and versatile although, it does contain really small parts that challenge fine motor skills.


Jinwook and I had a long pleasant conversation in which he stressed his strong desire to bring STEM education to as many grade school kids as possible.    His idea for being a part of the OC Mini Maker Faire in 2013 is to showcase kid’s projects from throughout the year.  In future years, when we have a larger venue, he might like us to host area competitions.

“ROBOTIS KidsLab teaches elementary school students math and
science through the use of the educational robot kit named OLLO.”

Miles enjoyed the class and since bringing the kit home he has designed and built many new projects on his own using the OLLO parts.


Make Room! at LOSCON39


The friendly folks at DIG  invited us to join them again for their 2nd annual Make Room at the LOSCON39 Science Fiction Convention during the weekend after Thanksgiving.   This year we were in a bigger space with even more Makers and I loved the wonderful comraderie we all shared.  Makers included: Deezmaker 3D print shop, a beer maker from the Maltose Falcons Brewing Club, Tim Lewis the animatronics guy, several tables of Arduino projects, the ThinBot Bartending Robot, Crash Space, Mag Labs, an amazing NAO robot and more.  Larry Burch ran an Arduino workshop and he and Annika from LA Robotics Club were part of an Arduino panel at 10am that was packed!

NAO robot J2 performing Tai Chi.  This robot was fascinating to watch, it can dance, sit down and stand up and even recognize faces.  Handler Jay Jay (Danilo Napalan)

The ThinBot Bartending robot by Kevin Roche, the bell notifying you that your drink is ready is a perfect touch.

Tim Lewis, Tim Laren, James Howarth and Larry Burch,  whom I bemusedly dubbed The Arduino Geek Squad for the weekend.

Larry Burch holding the beginnings of a gun made with Arduino.

Half of Darth Vader’s 3D printed head from Deezmakers.  Bequi asked for the castoff in order to see if it would work as a Mason Bee habitat.  Mason Bees are stingless native pollinators in North America.

Mini Mad Hatter Craft Day

Some of us on the OCMMF Team got together and did a little making today.   Pam came across this post on Facebook about making mini Mad Hatter hats on a website called Seeing Things.   We were so charmed and all of us needed an afternoon of good old fashioned crafting so we made a play date and did just that!

Hats made by Bequi, Amanda and two by Pam. The little one on top by Hvitr.

Two on bottom by Bequi, one on top by Hvitr.

Have you been working on anything lately?  Share it with us!

We Hope to Find Volunteers Under the Tree This Year!

Greetings from the OC Mini Maker Faire Team,

Our first event is behind us and we consider it a wonderful success thanks to all the excellent people who helped make it happen, including our amazing volunteers.   Now we are looking forward to next year and OCMMF 2013 to be bigger and better but, we can’t do it without the help of some passionate, dedicated, hardworking folks like you who are willing to volunteer some time and energy.    We are looking for a few good people to join our core Leadership Team to help us not only throughout the year but, especially on event day to keep things organized and running smoothly.  We’ll also be needing general volunteer help the day of the event, read on for some details.
Leadership Team Members needed include:
Accounting/financial Supervisor
     Someone with experience to help make sure we’re handling our finances properly, getting taxes paid right and following the rules, this is mostly a mentor/advisory position.
Fundraising Team
     Help us make connections and find businesses and individuals with the Maker Spirit who are willing to invest a little money in the OC Mini Maker Faire and help it to grow in the years to come.
Area Leaders (aka Mini Bosses)
     People who will be in charge of specific areas during the day of the OCMMF event.  Duties include but, are not necessarily limited to: helping to recruit volunteers for your area before the big day, checking in Makers & Vendors in your area and helping things run                       smoothly in your area during the event.   Many areas have a theme like Fiber Arts (yarn, cloth, etc), Maker Stage (music, demos, speakers, etc), vendors (small Etsy type vendors selling their wares), robotics, Homegrown Village (gardening, beekeeping, etc)
       No particular experience is necessary for this position we just need some dedicated, excited people who are willing to put in the time and energy to make it the best they can.
As a Leadership Team Member you will be fed and cared for the day of the event, 10 of your friends and family will be admitted for free to the event and you will have the pride of knowing that you are helping the Maker Community in Orange County become awesome.
General volunteers for the day of the event. 
These people will work for a few hours the day of the event with such tasks as ticket sales, runners, set-up crew, clean-up crew, etc. they will have the rest of the time to themselves to enjoy the event.
Please contact Bequi at if you’re interested.   You can also follow the progress of OCMMF 2013 via FacebookTwitter and Google+.
“There are 3,010,232 creative people in Orange County and we want to bring you together to share your passions.   We believe that when this happens you’ll not only inspire each other but everyone around you.  Join the movement, discover the Maker in yourself.” 


3D Printing and Hackshop

Saturday was the Grand Opening of Deezmaker in Pasadena, Southern California’s first 3D Print shop and Hackerspace!  It was indeed a grand celebration with plenty of local makers, hackers and geeks in attendance to welcome the new space.

photo by Goli Mohammadi

Located in a small strip mall right off the 210 freeway on Hill St in Pasadena, this place was brought to life with the passion and enthusiasm of Diego Porqueras, the financial support of his dad, Romulo, and lots of moral support from many friends and family members who were all there to celebrate the beginning of a wonderful and unique thing.’s PLA filament available at Deezmaker

Diego first heard about 3D Printers from a CNN report on the MakerBot, afterwards he went to CrashSpace and attended some MakerBot Monthly meetings and was hooked.  Soon after he purchased and built his first 3D Printer which was a Prusa Mendel kit from RepRap and that led to the development of his own 3D Printer the BukoBot.   Diego wanted a machine that was more easily expandable to accommodate larger print jobs as well as inexpensive and easy to build.

Diego (right) checks out a 3D printed car shell at the Grand Opening.

A year ago the pieces started coming together and Deezmaker began to take shape, you know things are meant to be when that happens.  The new shop has a very comfortable feel sporting both a roomy area for workshops with two pull down screens and a corner for relaxing stocked with a growing library and a guitar.

Currently the shop is open for the purchasing of parts and filament but, once it’s fully operational it will be open for 3D Printer rentals, as a Hackerspace and will offer a variety of workshops and classes as well as a place to purchase 3D printers and parts.  One of the best things about being at the Grand Opening was seeing the people who had come from just down the street as well as people who had traveled up from the depths of Orange County to support this endeavor.  It was good to see many familiar faces and to make new friends in the maker community.    I was especially pleased to see a Likeame photo frame which had been purchased by Diego, it served as yet another physical reminder of how this community supports one another.Something to watch for in the next few months is a 3D Printer Kiosk opening up at the Irvine Spectrum in Orange County in January 2013.  Imagine being able to go to the mall and have your design printed up while you wait.  Or you can place larger orders and pick them up later.   Brian may also host a pop-up store at OC Mini Maker Faire 2013.

The 3D printer is growing in popularity, more and more people are finding amazing uses and building better, faster, bigger machines.   One day 3D printers will be as common as ink and paper printers, Deezmaker is a step in that direction.

For more information on Deezmaker contact Diego at:  (657) 333-MAKE or email:

Lemonade Game

You may have been hearing about this thing called Arduino lately and wondering what it is, well, here’s an introduction from MAKE that’s a good place to start getting an idea.

Now, if that’s got you excited and you want to learn more here’s an opportunity to get in there and do some hands-on learning!

Trish Tsoiasue, through her Lemonade Game Project, has arranged for Sparkfun to come to Long Beach on October 15th & 16th and offer Arduino classes at the  Long Beach Sea Scout base,  5875 Appian Way, Long Beach, CA 90803.

Oct. 15th, 2012 ~ 1:00pm – 5:00pm ~ $35.00 or $70.00

Halloween LED Light Up / SparkFun Electronics

Sessions on the use of the LilyPad Arduino. It provides the capability to add lights and more to your sewing  projects. This is an introduction to artists, sewing inclined, home costumers.  It involves learning about sewable electronics components and the LilyPad.

Ideal For

  • Middle and High School science educators interested in learning how to use sensors, do basic programming with a microcontroller, and find many resources to take classrooms in different directions.
  • Programmers who want an introduction to the Arduino.
  • Artists who have some technical ability and want to make their art move.
  • College students in Engineering and the Arts.

OCT. 16TH, 2012 ~ 9:00AM – 6:00PM ~ $145.00


This is an introduction to the Arduino for the technically inclined.  Some small exposure to programming is preferred, but not required.  In the event of low registrations, Session #2 will be folded into Session #1.

Session #1 – No soldering will be performed. Session #2 – Soldering will be performed in this session.

Take Home equipment value $125. A SparkFun Inventor’s Kit, Additional Arduino compatible dev board.

Space is limited.                                                                                                                              For more information or to sign up for a session visit Trish’s blog                  Handmade Penguin.

A little more about trish and the lemonade game

Trish Tsoiasue is working to grow the Maker Ohana in Long Beach as creative Handmade Penguin.
She has a degree in Computer Science and has worked in a technical field for over 30 years. She is committed to community, and is a co-founder of 501c3 non-profit Shared Science which works to bring engineering and technology programming to youth with current focus in the Long Beach area.
Trish attended the San Mateo MakerFaire in 2012 as an Education Day volunteer, a MakerCorps volunteer and as media.  She has continued in her quest to bring Making to Long Beach as a Blogger for the Belmont Shore Patch.  Since June 25, she has been blogging daily about Makers and Creatives in Long Beach in a game she has created called The Community Lemonade Game.

Her current phase of her mission to bring Making to Long Beach is to find multiple spaces interested in collaborating on setting up makerspaces in Long Beach.  So far, so good…
Trish also volunteers heavily with the BSA Long Beach Area Council.
Trish invites everyone to make Lemonade with her.  If you’d like to catch up on Trish’s scavenger hunt through Long Beach, follow her game from day 1.  It’s a lot of following, so if you’d just like to pick and choose, follow her blog directly.

Inspiring Young Minds

James and I took our 11 year old son, Miles, to the September meeting of the Robotics Society of Southern California hoping to inspire him.  Boy did it ever! RSSC club meetings always start with someone presenting a class on a chosen topic, for this meeting it was TI MSP430 Microcontroller by Texas Instruments.

After a short lunch break we reconvened for the Robot Contest.  This month it was Walking Robots, the guidelines were as follows:

Walking Robot Contest   —-    Proposed Rules
The contest entries must be autonomous walking robots with at least 2 feet. 
No wheels are allowed on the robots.
Start and finish lines will be installed 6 feet apart on the floor using 3/4″ wide black plastic electrical tape.
Robots will be placed at the start line. Basic score will be seconds of time required to pass the finish line.
Time limit of 5 minutes to reach the finish line.
Robot with the lowest score wins the contest.
Score can be lowered if:
    Robot has only two feet, subtract 60 seconds from the score.
    Robot passes the finish line, turns around and returns to the start line, divide score by 4.
    Robot stops at finish line, subtract 60 seconds from the score.
Entries varied from right out of the box bots to hacked bots to  fully designed and built from scratch creations.

Stryker, winner of the Walking Robot Contest.

Jim Two Foot, runner up.

Walking Robot Contestants

The final segment of each monthly meeting is Show and Tell, this month began with a presentation on a Circular Navigation System.

Martin Mason brought in his TurtleBot, which utilizes ROS voice control and is programmed to follow movement.
A DARwIn-OP (Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence) was also brought in.   Said to be “…an affordable miniature-humanoid-robot platform with advanced computational power, sophisticated sensors, high payload capacity and dynamic motion ability to enable many exciting research and educational activities.”  -Dennis W. Hong PhD Virginia Tech
And darn cute too!  DARwIn is able to get up on it’s own if knocked over and was programmed to find and kick a red ball.   The presenter forgot to bring a ball so a young man wearing red shoes volunteered to be kicked by a robot.
We all had a great time and Miles is looking forward to next month’s contest which is to make a Line Following Bot.  For more information on the Robotic Society of Southern California, including the rules on the Line Following Bot Contest and their meetings head to their website:

Planning for 2013

Now that we’ve (mostly) recovered from the success of our first ever OC Mini Maker Faire we’re beginning to look to the coming year.     On the top of the list is arranging a date that will not coincide with other major events that attract like-minded people.    With that in mind we’re considering the first couple of weeks in August 2013, anybody out there know of potentially conflicting events for that time frame?

Next on the list is expanding and improving our repertoire of activities, Makers and cool things to see and do.     There are some activities that we know we want but need help in making them happen, here’s a list of our top favorites:

  • Arduino workshop
  • Make Play Day (open making and free-build with piles of random stuff to create with plus tools, hot glue guns, tape, etc.)
  • Paper Rocket Make and Launch
  • Programming workshops (like Scratch, etc.)

What we need are volunteers or groups to help supply and run these activities so, if you or anyone you know might be interested please contact us at

Also, if you have an idea for a great booth, we’d love to hear about it!