Austin Mini Maker Faire 2013

Austin Mini Maker Faire was my favorite show of the year! I was on the planning committee again this year and it was so fun to work with such a wonderful team of people. I ended up selling my goods at the show along with almost 100 other Makers. There were over 4100 people in attendance this year at the Palmer Event Center on May 5th.  I was happy to see that customers really enjoyed my DIY Game Board Photo Frame Kits I made just for the MMF.

Here is a fun little video of the show put together by James Lewis...

You can find a full list of the amazing Makers that were at the faire HERE and more photos HERE but these were a few key stars of the show I got to see...

This ship is a 1:1 scale Jedi Starfighter a la Star Wars Clone Wars.   

Amazing wildlife bikes by Austin Bike Zoo.

Steampunk robots, lego robots, battling robots, robots everywhere! 

And of course they had a Tardis, aka Type 40 Mark III, from Doctor Who. LOVE! You can watch a cool video of this amazing sound and light art sculpture HERE and find out more from the creators HERE

My only regret was that I was stuck at my booth most of the day and couldn't run around doing DIY projects and playing with robots like the kids. But I'm excited to announce that the TechShop is having their own Mini Maker Faire event on June 8th in Round Rock. So, although it will be a much smaller show I'll be able to enjoy some of the festivities and geekery. :)

DIY: Felt Masks for Kiddos

HAPPY FRIDAY! I had so much fun making the felt robot masks for Gabe's birthday I decided to expand our collection during my hiatus from shop work earlier this spring. They are really easy to make if your good with glue and/or a sewing machine.  For a printable version of instructions click HERE.

What You Need: 
Paper, pen and some creativity or...
a PDF pattern (Click HERE for a free copy of my panda bear pattern)

Felt in different colors (8"x11" sheets from the craft store are great and usually cost 4-$1)
Extra black, brown or grey felt works great for double layer/backing

1/4" black elastic to make them wearable...
or if preferred you can glue them to a wood stick like a masquerade mask

Fabric or quick drying tacky glue
Sewing machine and coordinating thread
Fabric scissors
Yarn as needed for lion manes, horse hair, etc.
Embroidery thread in different colors to add whiskers, details, etc. 

To start we picked out a few of bubs and my favorite animals and I drew up some patterns then scaled them to kiddo and adult sizes on my copier. If your not comfortable drawing your own patterns and know how to search you can find free patterns online or you can buy PDF patterns from Etsy artists. Click HERE for a free copy of my panda bear pattern. 

We had to test try them for size before cutting into the felt... :)

After I got all our patterns drawn and to size I made an extra copy of each so I could cut out the overall animal pattern and all the little pieces for the layers. I then started marking and cutting the felt in all the different colors.  I went with typical animal colors but you can get as creative with it as you want! As you can see I even coordinated my lunch while working with foxes. 

In addition to cutting the colored mask pieces I cut a second overall piece to double the felt strength and make a back so I could hide my elastic in between. 

After I cut out all my pieces I set the second backing piece aside and used quick dry tacky glue (in moderation so it doesn't seep through the felt) to glue the smaller eye, ear, and nose pieces onto the larger mask. We double checked they fit and sized the elastic band to fit around the head at the temple.  

At this point if your not big on sewing you can glue them to recycled cardboard and a flat stick to make a masquerade mask. You can find more detailed instructions HERE

After the glue dried I pin the elastic band about 1/2” to one inch on either side of the mask, roughly at the temples, then pin the backing; hiding the elastic between the two pieces.  I just used simple brown and black threads in a straight stitch on my machine to finish off the masks.  If you prefer you can also hand stitch with embroidery thread. It works best to sew around the outer edge of the mask then stitch the smaller pieces in place as needed.  At this point I also added extra felt and orange yarn in between the mask and backing on the lion to create a mane. 

(When it was all said and done Gabe wouldn't try the finished masks on so we experimented on the other kiddos, hehe)

If your feeling extra creative you can finish your mask off by hand stitching details to create textures, whiskers, patterns, etc. with different colored embroidery thread.  I stitched whiskers on the lion and texture around the owl eyes as you can see below. I also made duplicate sizes in a couple of the animals so I could have fun too. :) 

Now he finally wears the masks on occasion (his robot still being his favorite). I think he looks like Night Owl in this one...

Summer DIY Project Series

I have a total love-hate relationship with Pinterest. I spend days at a time where I don't want to put my phone down then weeks where I just can't stand to look at another pin because I feel so overwhelmed (and sometimes bored with it).  In this new world of Pinterest we as interior designers, crafters, moms, cooks, gardeners, adventurers, etc. feel pressured to make more, do more, be better, be super moms and Martha Stewart wannabees because they make it look so easy...right? 

Feeling pressured to make stuff for upcoming baby showers, birthday parties, summer and the second baby on the way I've recently read some blogs and articles regarding the stress affects of Pinterest on moms. How we feel pressured to make everything and give our children huge, extravagant parties they don't need. Here are a couple that stood out: 

Even after reading all of this I still love (hate) Pinterest. I made fruit leather and jerky before the site ever existed; I've made baby toys and Christmas gifts from scratch for years; and I spent my childhood watching my mom go out of her way to put together elaborate holidays even when it was just the four of us. So as overwhelming as it can be sometimes, I am a visual person and Pinterest has allowed me to not only share my loves but find new ones.  

With a slow, hot summer ahead I decided to narrow my stress by creating a manageable DIY project list of my favorite pins then limiting myself to going on the website for the next couple months (I would just keep adding and adding...).  

My goal was one page, 20ish projects that I could pick and choose from; accomplishing maybe one project a week this summer. Well, it turned into two pages and about 40 some projects when it was all said and done because there are so many! I picked out some personal projects I've been drooling over, some handmade Christmas and baby shower gifts, and some fun things to do with/for Gabe and new baby.  I don't imagine I'll accomplish even half of them but its a nice reference to have them all in one list to pick and choose. Because its already terribly hot out I limited my gardening projects and I have a separate checklist of recipes I want to try as well. Although I consider myself very crafty and a decent cook some of these projects will probably end up on

With each project I intend to post my accomplishments and failures here on the blog.  I've posted a link to my entire DIY list below in case anyone wants to check out all my favorite 2012-2013 Pinterest projects and/or do some for yourself. :)