BeccaRose Font!

OMG. I made a font. Yes it is my hand writing ON YOUR SCREEN! who would have thunk it? From paper to digital screen and (if you print it out) back to paper again. I did have loads of cool names for my font (not just my name) but, because the making process is a bit fiddly, by the time I got the font how I wanted it I had used up all the cool names! I used a program called Paint Font, and made numerous wonky efforts before I got to this one.

If you like it you can download it here. It works best at at least 22pt. I am making a paper cut font also, so watch this space.

Here are some of the less successful versions I made (notice how they are wonky or came out a bit close together or just wired)

I would strongly encourage you to try making your own font -it is a lot of fun to use and you can share it with your friends!

New Sketchbook

Yes oh yes it’s that time again. New sketchbook time. For my first marks in the book I made a drawing of he world we live on and a giant hand holding a light. I was listening to Eureka when I drawed it.

I also added added a handy 3V coin cell to the back of the sketchbook -that way if I want to try out a new circuit or mock up an idea I can do with style!

For this particular drawing I was testing out the shinning light that the giant hand is holding.


The organization skills of my current coworker, Jessica Shipp from Lighthouse School, are an inspiration. She is a daemon with storage boxes and a bit of coloured duck tape, and has made finding materials in the Creativity Lab a joy.

Materials at the Lighthouse Creativity Lab

This weekend I was inspired to organize my very own mini-makerspace (more like shelf). I used small take-away tubs in place of the big storage boxes, and they are perfect for putting all my bits in the right place.

My very modest storage system.

Speedy Stars and Stars

This Friday was my first July the 4th in the USA, and I got invited to a starts and stripes themed SF Bike Party. SF Bike Parties happen about 6 times a year, and consist of an evening bike ride to multiple destinations around San Francisco with 50 or so other cyclists, clad in blinking LED galore. The bike party will stop at each destination, turn the sound system high, and have a boogy.

In my excitement of this possibility (bikes + dancing + lots of nice views around SF) I decided to make a stars and stripes themed headband, using the Adafruit kit I had in my Possibilities Box. The only small problem being, was that I had less than 2 hours to make it! (1 hour and 45 mins to be precise!).

Decide I’m gonna make a stars and stripes themed headband -and go for flashing blue, white and red starts. I gather materials, download flora arduino IDE. This doesn’t work the first time, as I hadn’t changed my security setting. Change security settings, and finally manage to download.

Run strand-test example to see if it is working. I then change the code so that runs a red-white-blue fade, and then a red-white-blue flashing cycle.

I want the light to be diffused and find some stuffing left over from a toy monster project. That’ll do.

Find some white fabric to make the stars. I realize at this point that I will not be able to “bag the stars out” (technical term for sewing them inside out and then folding out). I resign to allowing my 1-and-a-fraction-hours creation looking a tad shabby round the edges and cut out my star shapes.

Oh, we are cooking on gas! I find a headband. Meanwhile, fireworks are blasting in all directions about the neighborhood, I start to feel rushed and quickly sew on the Flora. Thank you Adafruit for making this so goddam easy to do with your big conductive pads!

3 shiny stars connected to power.

Ground and power is connected, just need to sew on the data. Quick!

Test the first star, and it works!

Finally got all the starts sewn in, now a quick stitch to secure the Flora.

Oh no, I am 3mins late! But it works! Get headband on head, grab coat, beer, bike, and keys -off we go!

Much later
Big smiles as I cross the Golden Gate bridge, and a dance in Marin. Happy face, sparkly stars.

Calm before the storm at the Lighthouse

As I mentioned earlier I am teaching on the Summer Maker Camp at Lighthouse Community Charter School, in Oakland CA. The first 2 weeks of my teaching job at Lighthouse are dedicated to planning, preparing and developing the curriculum for the 5 week program, and we’ve just finished! The most challenging part of the preparation has been predicting how long students will take to make projects and learn new skills. As all makers know, making takes longer than you think, and people work at different paces, so working out how much students can make in a day is quite tricky! To try and allow for students to work at their own pace, we have made examples to inspire and use as a guide, and we are also making hand-outs for students to work form if they get ahead.

Each week is themed: Fiber Arts, Textiles, Games and Toys, Wood and Metal, and Installations. During the final theme, Installations, students will structure, design, and make their own projects. These could be sculptures, art for the school, or a community build -we will be there to facilitate, but hope that students learn skills in the previous weeks that they can use.

My favorite part of the prep was making samples -I love making samples! We made samples in e-textiles, fabric dying, Scratch, woodwork, 3D printing, and animation. I don’t have all the screen based projects rendered to post here yet, but here are some pics of the physical things we made. We also created a “Documentation Station”, a photography set-up, with whiteboards where students can document their process and write about their work for the School’s Maker blog.

Week 1: Fiber Arts
Tie dye, embroidery, machine sewing, and e-textiles.

Week 2: Animation
We mostly prepped all the computers.

This was a typical scene:

Week 3: Toys and Games
We’ll be taking toys apart and hacking them! As well as making games with Scratch and 3D printing. We made a mess with toys!

and above is my 3D print -that I designed on Tinkercad, it interlinks and everything!

Week 4: Wood and Metal
We went to a scrap yard to get this copper -they bought the roll to us on a fork-lift truck, how thoughtful! Aaron made a fabulous mask as an example, which he is still working on and adding a mustache!

And above is a stall I made in an afternoon! My first wood project!

It was great to finally meet my coworker, Aaron Strauss, who will be teaching the High School program, and who I will be working with over the next 8 weeks. Aaron is a fantastic maker. He has an intuitive understanding of how things work, and it was really great work with and learn from him.

Maker Ed Maker Corps

Maker Ed is a non-profit based in the Bay Area. They are a sister company of Maker Media (Make Magazine, Maker Faire) and work to support making in schools.

I recently applied for Maker Ed’s spring teacher training and teaching position called “Maker Corps”, and got selected! We, the “Maker Corps Members”, spend 6 weeks training in Maker Education and then 6 weeks working at a school or community space. I will be working at the Creativity Lab at Lighthouse Community Charter School -a K-12 school in Oakland, that recently sent some young makers to The White House!

As part of the training we were sent a “possibility box”, which is full of (yes you guessed it) possibilities for making! Included is Intel’s Galileo, Flora, MaKey MaKey, Squishy Circuits, Little Bits, Drawdio, tape, paper, hot glue, soldering iron and much much more (see image below)! Each week we are invited to experiment with a different material, and we share this with the community of Maker Corps Members.

Knolling the possibility box by Brent Richards, who is also a Maker Corps Members, and currently studying an MFA in Art and Technology

The spring training has officially ended, and we have moved on to the summer sessions, but I am just getting round to finishing some of the projects and posting them here. The first week was a tinkering week -and I got very excited about he MaKey Makey and yarn. I made some conductive pompoms, and made some pompom sensors that drummed when touched.
Ideas -my scribblings of light sensitive pompom clothing and *conductive pom pom world*. It will happen. It will!
All the materials one might need to make a musical pompom: Yarn, conductive thread, scissors, card, and MaKey MaKey.
Pompoms -mixed in with conductive thread = conductive pompoms.
A makeshift ground connection to close the circuit.

Pompoms in action -testing how they work with the simple MaKey MaKey software.