Welcome! Lenkaland shares my adventures in creative photography, raising two kids, writing, living with chronic illness, raising a daughter with dyslexia, and swimming with mermaids. Hope you have a nice stay!

Maker Faire 2013

Maker Faire 2013

drive&R2 Saturday was a lovely day to go visit R2D2 (and so much more!) at the annual Maker Faire in San Mateo. My husband was super-lucky to win tickets. Thank you TWIT Network!

Maker Faire is a celebration of making things- electronic things, sewn things, grown things, any things! Make Magazine started it eight years ago. Every year it gets bigger and bigger. Or so I hear, this was our first year. I must say, though, it was a spectacle from the minute we arrived!

These giant structures spouted flames into the sky. They were not random fires, though. No, we got to fan these flames...

Anika has the striped sweatshirt. By jumping on a pressure pad, the gas surged and caused a whoof of extra-fire. Very exciting!


Here, you can see children stepping on wood blocks with the pressure plates that caused flame to spout from a giant metal rose.

Robots love the faire. We spent quality time with Wall-E. He chirped and rolled and moved his hands. This picture doesn't catch Wall-E's scale. He was easily three feet tall! The kids loved him!

And of course we loved R2D2. There were a few different R2 units- one like the first that we saw with all of the circuitry exposed. We even got to pose with R2- meeting a celebrity!

Ian immediately noticed the "Bad Guy R2." This version of an R2 unit is black and silver. I couldn't get a distance photo due to crowds, but this photo says sneaky droid to me.  Ian was fascinated (and a little scared) of this droid. My tiny bit of research found this is R2-Q5.

One room was kept dark for all of the glowing Made Things. This room shared one of my favorite attractions, the enchanted forest. These 'trees' were inflated with softly changing colored lights inside. The kids ran around between them. The forest was magical with swaying trunks and soothing colors.

Ian was lucky to have his uncle (my cousin) Jasper to give him rides! The faire was a busy, busy day.

We didn't plan ahead with Ian's Batman outfit. Ian just adores his superhero capes. What I didn't realize about the faire, though, was that a lot of attendees dressed up in all different costumes. Fortunately, Bruce Wayne is a Maker. Lots of gadgets and inventions for Batman. Ian fit right in!

This took a moment of puzzling to figure out how they made this town. It filled the floor with little buildings and robots. We looked closer...

Masking tape!

Who knew that these little critters, delicate flowers, and whimsical buildings could be made with tape?

Apparently a few people knew. I couldn't fit the entire world into the frame with my camera lens, but I had to keep an image with the flowers. So many layered petals and fun effects with different shapes. I could have stayed for ages studying them all.

But we wouldn't stay there with this going on outside the doors! Giant bubbles!

The bubble-master used a two wands with two strings. He dipped them in bubble solution, then spread the wands to open the strings.The wind blew through the strings to create these massive bubbles!

The bubbles fascinated this little girl. Could she be cuter? I loved her hat. The shape and fabric are just precious. I wonder if anyone makes an adult size :)


Insanely huge bubbles! His next wand was a net, and that created swarms of bubbles. I didn't have a good space to photograph those, though.

One of the kids' favorite activities happened while we ate lunch in the shade. The faire provided lots of duct tape and cardboard without any agenda for buildings. Anika made Ian a versatile helmet that could drop down to protect his face.

He quickly found a giant stick, of course which became a perfect rocket-launcher. Anika built them a fort. They could have spent all afternoon with the cardboard.

Fort and Helmet

A clever tool let children cut their own cardboard.  I don't have a photo, unfortunately. But it was a dull hacksaw blade with a sword-type handle made of duct-tape. Very smart! It wasn't the safest thing in the world (Ian didn't cut with it) but Making isn't always safe. And learning to use tools properly is a big lesson in life. They were way safer than a box-cutter. And they empowered the kids to create their own windows :)

I may need to make one for a summer cardboard-fort in our backyard...

The faire was everywhere, moving through the crowds. This is a giant giraffe-robot-vehicle that was driven by a person in a Minotaur (man in a bull outfit). Not sure what the costume had to do with the giraffe, but, hey, roll with the crazy-fun :)

He's a little tricky to see with the fire-globe behind him, but you get the idea :)


By early afternoon, Ian was exhausted. He slept on my lap on the wheelchair for over an hour. The faire has so much to see and experience, we all would have appreciated a siesta :)

Anika and Giovanni made a rocket with tape and a cardboard tube. The goal here was to create a rocket that would fly. Many blew up on the launchpad with the blast of air, not flying far at all. Anika is about to press the ignition here. Her rocket flew over a neighboring tent and we never found it. To outer space!

Again, I loved the value placed on experimentation and creativity. This was not an event with structured activities. Instead, we were all given tools and questions. How would you design a rocket? How would you create a flower with masking tape? How would you build with duct tape and cardboard?

What story would you create?

I need to investigate this further... The model was in an area with other movie and video-game props. She was beautiful-creepy! I love the contrast of delicate and dangerous.  I need to learn more about this film!


She was about two feet tall, no small scale creation. Very cool!

Of course, in all the creative mayhem, Ian finds Minecraft!Draw&Minecraft

While Anika found this drawing robot. She helped program coordinates into a PC, telling the robot to go back three inches, then over an inch. Her data became spiraling art. The robot drove fairly slow, so this paper has other children's contributions. Anika's are the faint pink petals just emerging in the blue circle. She loved the merging of math and art.

More playing to end the day. Halo helmets!

I love how Anika's shirt says Make People Smile Every Day. With the Halo helmet, she makes a great soldier for change :)

We are inspired by all of the passionate creativity gathered at the faire. I came home with solar-dyed yarn and a sewing pattern for a monster-stuffie. I have a stack of contact information from awesome people. A book on mobile-building should be here today (I have big mobile-plans, just wait).

What a fun, fun day! I hope the trend to imagine, build, and make things keeps growing. What a fantastic world we are creating for our children!

Wishing you inspiration today! 

Busy in Lenkaland

Busy in Lenkaland

Living with CMT, Day 14924

Living with CMT, Day 14924