Passover

I’ll admit that I hadn’t paid as much attention to the National Cherry Blossom Festival mainly because the weather had alternated between warm days and snow days (with frequent visits from the Polar Vortex) and it was hard to think about blooming cherry blossoms when it’s snowing outside.

It wasn’t until last week when I found out in the local news that the cherry blossoms in the Tidal Basin had bloomed later than usual due to all those snowstorms and it had reached its peak blooms late last week. I decided against going to the Tidal Basin to do my usual annual walking this year because it usually gets crowded and it was even more crowded this year because of all those winter-weary people who wanted to see evidence of spring for themselves. Besides, I’ve been there other years and I have plenty of photos of the Tidal Basin awashed in pink (such as these photos I took last year, some of which I used as part of a Makies doll photostory contest that I entered).

This year I decided to do something different, based on this article on the DCist.com site that listed less-crowded alternatives to viewing the cherry blossoms at the Tidal Basin. I saw that the National Arboretum was on the list. I had visited there a few times in the past and I always loved going there on a very nice sunny day. I had some free time last Friday afternoon so I decided to drive down to the National Arboretum.

The DCist site was right. While there were people, it was a far cry from the Tidal Basin where sometimes the surrounding sidewalk is full of a gridlock of people walking very slowly while ooohing and ahhhing at the trees. I found the National Arboretum to be very relaxing where I could leisurely take photos of the many cherry blossom trees on the grounds as well as other flowering trees (like magnolias).

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I decided to take a few doll photos in the spring so I decided to bring my American Girl doll. I managed to take a few photos before a National Arboretum employee drove by telling me that the facility had just closed for the day and I needed to get back in my car and exit as soon as possible.

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After I got word that the facility was closed, I drove to this flowering cherry blossom tree that’s located just a block from my home. By that point the sky had grown cloudy but I still managed to get a decent shot of a doll in a cherry blossom tree. IMG_20140411_211649

Passover

I recently created this new piece just in time for the recent Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire and I printed out on special jigsaw puzzle cardstock which I then sold. It was one of the few sales I made that day. (I made a total of $25, which was a bit of a letdown financially even if I enjoyed working at the event.) This piece is based on a local legend known as the Goatman. I first heard of this legend years ago after I moved to my current hometown and I tend to hear more about it around Halloween.

I sold that puzzle early in the day and I regretted not making more Goatman puzzles I’m also thinking about branching my Goatman out into other forms of art that I can sell at future street festivals.

Goatman at Night

Here is how I created my Goatman. I used one of my ball-jointed dolls as a posing model while I had reference photos of goats on hand. I made a rough sketch in ink and watercolor pencil. I photocopied it, transferred it to black paper using white graphite paper, and colored it in using ink, wax crayon, and watercolor pencil.

After living through snow, freezing rain, ice, and the Polar Vortex, I’m very grateful that spring has arrived. One indication that spring is finally here: The daylight is currently longer than just a few months ago. Thanks to the longer daylight, I can actually photograph something that is usually shrouded in darkness other times of the year.

For the past couple of years I’ve been attending regular meetings of a support group for people who are separated or divorced. The meetings are held in a Presbyterian church in Crofton, Maryland. The one thing I’ve noticed is located on the grounds adjacent to the parking lot.  It’s a labyrinth.

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It was pretty cool to finally be able to take a photo of it in the daytime on the way to my meeting last night. I started walking this labyrinth but then I looked at my watch and realized that I didn’t have much time to walk before the meeting. Next time I attend a meeting, I’m going to arrive early so I’ll have time to walk the entire labyrinth at a leisurely pace.

 

Benjamin Franklin

‘Tis a well spent penny that saves a groat.

Somehow it seems very fitting that the one-year anniversary of my date in divorce court falls on a Throwback Thursday. That’s right, one year ago today I had to make an appearance in divorce court because my husband really wanted out of our marriage so he made the filing. Our case was the first one on the docket and it began at 9 a.m. The trial itself lasted about 15-20 minutes. My husband brought a witness, who turned out to be a friend of ours who was NOT the other woman, who testified that when she visited my husband and the other woman soon after they moved into their new townhouse in July, 2012, she saw no evidence that I had moved in with my husband. That witness also happened to be my lawyer’s next door neighbor, which I now find amusing in retrospect.

(For the record, I still speak to that person every now and then. I don’t hold it against her that she testified on my husband’s behalf. I think she just got snagged into my husband’s mad plan to divorce me so he could marry the mentally ill friend of ours that I now suspect that he was having an affair with long before he even left me.)

On that day the judge granted something called a Provisionary Divorce while another signed decree announcing that the divorce is final wouldn’t arrive until June.

I drove home after I left the courthouse. I remember that it was unseasonably hot (the temperature went up into the 80′s, which was unusual for an April—fortunately the weather this year is more in line with what it’s usually like in April). In fact the clothes I wore to court was very hot so the first thing I did was to change into lighter clothes. It was still morning yet I felt so wound up and stressed out that I couldn’t stay home alone.

So I got back in my car and made the trip to Baltimore where I spent a very full day. I initially went to one of the Harborplace pavilions where I discovered that a McCormick World of Flavors store had opened.

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I ate a late lunch at a Johnny Rockets then went to the relatively new Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium where I saw all kinds of interesting exhibits such as this model, made entirely from matchsticks, of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry from the Harry Potter books and movies.

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After visiting the Odditorium I continued to walk around the Inner Harbor area where I took pictures such as one of this artist at work.

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I also walked around the perimeter of the notorious red-light district known as The Block. I took this amusing photo of a church (note the cross-shaped sign on the upper left of the photo below) that’s located directly around the corner from one of the less-than-reputable businesses located in The Block.

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I eventually went on the Charm City Circulator bus, which I took it until I reached Fells Point. I stopped by my favorite music store, The Sound Garden.

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Afterwards I ate dinner at Brick Oven Pizza then walked on to a nearby event that was put on jointly by members of Occupy Baltimore and Luminous Intervention where it unveiled a video game called Tax Evaders, a Space Invaders-like game that was also a satire of those rich mega-corporations who have gotten away with paying little to no taxes. The game was shown on the back of a Bank of America building with overhead equipment and someone had rigged a Microsoft XBox Kinnect so people could play the game using their whole bodies. I shot a short video showing what it was like that night.

I would’ve loved to have given that game a try myself but, by that point, I was very exhausted from the long day so I just basically stuck around watching others play until my feet grew very tired and sore. I soon walked to the nearest bus stop so I could take a couple of Charm City Circulator buses back to the nearest light rail stop so I could take the light rail back to the North Linthicum stop where I had parked my car. I later played the Tax Evaders game myself online and it’s still there a year later so you can play it anytime for free.

For Throwback Thursday I posted just a few of the photos I took one year ago today in Baltimore mainly because I’m too lazy to repost the same photos that I posted last year. To see more photos from that day, see the longer blog entry I wrote last year.

In the year since my day in divorce court I had to go through all kinds of emotional turmoil and I’m only now trying to get back to being the person I was before December 28, 2011 (the day that my husband came home from work, announced that he was moving out even though he didn’t indicate that he was the least bit unhappy in the marriage, and bolted out the door before I had a chance to respond). I rarely see my ex-husband these days and several of our longtime friends have told me that they also rarely see him or his second wife (he married the other woman just four months after our date in divorce court last year).

As for this one-year anniversary, I also found it fitting that it falls on the regular Thursday night meeting of my support group for people who are separated or divorced. I’m going to observe this by going to that meeting tonight. It’ll be a far cry from all that walking I did in Baltimore last year but it’ll be okay because I’ll be among sympathetic people tonight instead of throngs of urban strangers.

I’m just going to end this Throwback Thursday post with a lovely song that I would like to dedicate to my ex-husband on the one-year anniversary of our appearance in divorce court.

 

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

After all the sweat and tears I went through finishing my doll loveseat couch and after that last-minute conversion of my Zentangle activity from an hour-long workshop to a day-long hands-on activity it was finally time for the first-ever Greenbelt Mini Maker Faire. It was the third Maker Faire of its sort in the Washington, DC area after last fall’s Silver Spring event (which I attended) and another event that took place in Northern Virginia just a few weeks ago (which I wasn’t able to go to because I’m currently involved in my church’s social action project to teach English to recent immigrants and I co-teach a class that takes place at the same time as the Northern Virginia event).

I was so wound up from making lots of last-minute preparations for the event that I didn’t get much sleep so I woke up totally sleep deprived. I consumed plenty of Diet Pepsi and Five-Hour Energy drinks just so I can avoid dozing off. Here is what my table looked like.

My Table at the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

One half of the table was devoted to the arts and crafts that I had for sale, including some tiny art canvases, thrift shop Barbie dolls that I refurbished and recycled as fairy dolls, and the doll loveseat that I made from a broken Dance Dance Revolution control pad, fabric scraps, and duct tape. I had an American Girl doll, a Makies doll, and a pink teddy sit in the loveseat. They weren’t for sale—they were used to demonstrate the loveseat. The pink bear was holding the qr code for my entry on how I cleaned and repaired that bear while Victoria the Makies doll held the qr code that led to the Makies website. (I figured that this qr code would satisfy anyone who was curious about Victoria.)

My Table at the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

The other half of my table was devoted to the drop-in Zentangle activity complete with books, pens, pencils, and paper. (I also had a bowl of Easter egg-shaped chocolates to encourage people to visit my table. LOL!) I also had an iMac G5 available for $100 that I was selling on behalf of a friend of mine in exchange for getting a cut of the sale proceeds. I only got one interest in the computer from a person who thought that a friend of hers may be interested but she needed to check with the person first. Otherwise, no one was interested in the computer.

My Table at the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Here’s a photo of me standing next to my table that someone else took with my smartphone. I wore the official t-shirt of the Greenbelt Mini Maker Faire but it was cold outside so I ended up wearing a sweatshirt over it. As for the sweatshirt itself, I wore the same My Little Pony Rainbow Dash hoodie that I wore last Halloween. (I have the hood down in the photo below.) I had plenty of people who said that they loved my sweatshirt.

My Table at the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

My booth faced the front of the New Deal Cafe, which was a pretty great location because I had a lot of people who stopped by on the way to the cafe.

My Table at the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Whenever I needed to step away from my table, I had my American Girl doll hold this message that I wrote on a small dry erase board.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

The day was pretty sunny but very windy. Despite my polymer clay paperweights, there were times when I still had to reconfigure my table because the wind was strong enough to blow things over. I made a few sales on my crafts, which was okay. There were also times when I would walk over to Club 125 just so I could take a warming break from the cold and the wind.

The biggest hassle was trying to convert my Zentangle activity from my originally planned hour-long workshop to a day-long, hands-on, drop-in activity. (When I signed up to give a workshop, I thought I would give an hour-long workshop located either in Club 125 or one of the other interior places in Roosevelt Center. It wasn’t until I went to a party for the volunteers on Thursday—two days before the event—that I was really expected to have a drop-in activity for the entire day.) Rather than repeat the same instructions over and over again to different people, I decided that I needed to provide a written instruction sheet. Luckily I didn’t have to create one from scratch. I found this document online where I basically printed the first page and used that as the Zentangle instructions sheet.

For all my effort in reconfiguring the Zentangle lesson from an hour-long workshop to a day-long hands-on activity, only four people actually worked on their own Zentangle that day. The weather was in the 50′s and it was very windy so I think that affected people being willing to do something artistic outside. Other people who had hands-on activities on outdoor tables also told me that they didn’t get many enthusiastic takers. The girl in the photo below was one of the four people who did a Zentangle.

My Table at the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

I took frequent breaks to go to the bathroom and I spent some of that time checking out the other tables at the event. The next photo is a table for a new hackerspace/makerspace for women called Spanning Tree, which hopes to find some facilities near a Metro stop.

Spanning Tree Table at the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

There was an information table about Club 125, which was largely responsible for the entire event.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Solo the dog helped her owner with running the table that educated the public on using herbs and spices.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

There were all kinds of hands-on activities like origami, felting, soldering, and making music.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, May 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, May 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

Someone walked around the Mini Maker Faire dressed in steampunk couture.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

There was a table for creating paper airplanes while educating people about the fact that there was once an airport in Greenbelt, Maryland called Schrom Airport.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

This woman was busy twisting balloons into various animals, plants, hats, and other shapes.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

A small games publisher, Black Oak Games, publicized its two products—Knot Dice (a puzzle where the user creates Celtic knots) and Diner (a diner-themed card game).

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

A local company called TechShop provided information about upcoming classes in computer and technology-related subjects.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

A bunch of kids were having fun playing computer video games inside Club 125 while other kids played with Legos, made chalk drawings on the sidewalk, and had their faces and other body parts painted.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

There were demonstrations of using recycled grocery store apple cartons and PVC pipes in vertical gardening.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

There was also an exhibit on terrariums.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

There were displays and demonstrations on traditional activities like spinning wool, canning, mosaic making, and sewing clothes.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

There were some new twists on old traditions like cooking food in a solar oven.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

This table sold science and math-themed books for children.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

There were a variety of handmade crafts on sale like knitted hats, knitted scarves, hand-painted wood crafts, and even blinking jewelry.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

There were electronic devices of all kinds on display.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

The Greenbelt Mini Maker Faire had all kinds of 3D printers that made jewelry and figurines.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, May 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, May 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, May 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

In contrast to last fall’s Silver Spring Mini-Maker Faire, the Greenbelt one was committed to being more non-commercial by featuring smaller lesser-known companies. In fact, the biggest name at the Greenbelt event was NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, which had a large booth.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

Basically the event provided a nice place for people and animals to socialize in the sun.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, Apri 5, 2014

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

I also shot a short video of some of the exhibits and events where just showing still photos wouldn’t do them justice. It includes a man who used these noise-emitting electronics to play Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” song, a robot that could toss a large ball to people, and a bunch of people playing with hula hoops.

Like I wrote earlier, there were times when I had to struggle with my items getting knocked down by wind gusts. My doll loveseat couch even got knocked over a few times and it’s a big item. Here are what my two dolls and one teddy bear looked like at the end of the day before I packed them in my car.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

I took a closeup of my American Girl doll’s face mainly because she looks either sleepy or stoned or both.

2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, April 5, 2014

That’s it for my photos. If you want to see more photos, check out the official photos that have been posted on Flickr.

I’ll admit that the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire was a bit on the disorganized side. That’s because the people behind it had never put on such an event before (while they did attend previous Maker Faires like the one in Silver Spring last fall, there’s a big difference between going to an event and planning an event). I signed up as a vendor and as someone who could teach a workshop a couple of months ago and, while I got one of those e-mails acknowledging that they got my application, I didn’t hear any further.

I learned via Facebook that there was going to be a little party held at Club 125 for volunteers of the Mini-Maker Faire two days before the event so I went because I wanted to get some details on what I should do on Saturday as well as meet new people and socialize with old friends.

When I arrived I found the floor plan of the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, which was done with a dry erase board and Post-It Notes. I found where my table would be located two days later.

Floorplan of the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

The party was pretty well attended. I met all kinds of people that night.

Get-Together at Club 125, Thursday, April 3, 2014

Get-Together at Club 125, Thursday, April 3, 2014

These filmmakers were at the party because they are currently working on a documentary on the Maker movement in general and Maker Faires in specific.

Filmmakers

Here was the cake that was served that night. In some ways it was a shame that the cake had to be cut up since it ruined the nice design but it was a very delicious chocolate cake so I think it was just as well that it ultimately went under the knife.

Cake

Cutting the Official Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire Cake

Cutting the Official Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire Cake

Cutting the Official Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire Cake

Cutting the Ofgicial Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire Cake

There were people who were doing things at Club 125 other than socializing, eating, or making a documentary. This young knitter was hard at work on her scarf.

A Young Knitter

These t-shirts were passed out to all the volunteers. They were dark green with a logo of the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire in the front and some writing on the back in large white letters.

Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire T-Shirts

The Official 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

The Official 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire T-Shirt

The Official T-Shirt of the 2014 Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire

I enjoyed myself at the party despite experiencing something that I hadn’t anticipated. I had signed up to conduct a workshop on creating Zentangles. I thought it would be the kind of workshop similar to the ones held at other anime/geek conventions I’ve been to where a workshop would be held in a separate room for one hour. I’ve seen those who work the Artists Alley who were also workshop leaders leave a sign at their booths saying that they were giving a workshop with the topic name and which room it would be held in.

So I spent some time creating an hour-long workshop. I envisioned that I would give a 15-minute lecture (long enough to explain what a Zentangle is and how to create one) with the rest of the time being devoted to people drawing Zentangles.

I thought that Club 125 would be reserved for workshops. Imagine my surprise when I looked on the site map and found that there would be vendors and information/activity tables in Club 125 and I also learned that my “Zentangle workshop” was being configured as a day-long hands-on activity that would be held at my booth. That meant that I had to totally reconfigure my Zentangle activity from a formal hour-long workshop to something that people can do on a drop-in basis for the entire day.

In addition, I still had to put the finishing touches on my doll-sized loveseat couch made from a broken Dance Dance Revolution control pad as well as finish some of my handmade jigsaw puzzles and other crafts that I would be selling. I knew that Friday was going to be a total crunch time for me.

When I was preparing for last Saturday’s Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire, I wanted to have something at my vendor table where I would draw attention to myself. I had an idea to try something and I finally decided to do it.

The below picture is a special dance pad controller that one would hook up to a console system (such as Wii, PlayStation, XBox, etc.). Using this special controller enables the user to play video games using his/her lower body instead of hands and fingers (like with the handheld controller). Some games like Dance Dance Revolution (also known as DDR) are generally better with using the dance pad controller instead of the handheld controller. Using this controller also helps the user get exercise and burn calories better than just using hands/fingers.

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The only problem with the soft pad controllers is that they tend to wear out so they become unusable. Usually the user is directed to throw the dance pad in the trash. The only problem with that approach is that it ends up on a landfill with all the environmental problems that comes with it.

There is an alternative to using the soft dance pad controller. One could purchase a dance metal pad. Unlike the soft controller, the metal controller tends to hold up better and can literally last years. The downsides are that 1) unlike the soft pads, the metal pads can’t be easily folded up so it could cause a problem with people who have limited space in their homes and 2) prices for a metal pad start at $200 while soft pads start at $15 and they don’t go above $100.

So I’ve been using the soft dance pad controller for years while having fun with playing video games and getting some exercise in the process. There were times when I would throw away the latest broken dance pad and I would think that there had to be a way that these could be recycled for other uses. A couple of years ago I attended Otakon 2012 where I took a photo of this cosplayer who managed to fashion this really cool costume from an old DDR pad.

Cosplayer at Otakon 2012

I began to think about the above photograph when my current DDR pad started to act up and stopped responding to my footsteps. In addition I had just signed up to be a vendor for the Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire and I needed to make some new crafts to sell at my table. I had a eureka moment one night when I was at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics & Crafts and I found this McCall’s Pattern MP322.

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So I decided on an experiment where I took some scissors and cut my broken DDR dance pad apart. I found that, with a decent pair of scissors, it was easy to cut apart.

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The McCall’s had patterns for a comfy chair for one doll and a loveseat for two dolls. I got ambitious and decided to work on the larger loveseat. During the construction phase I discovered that the DDR pad didn’t provide enough fabric for the loveseat. I decided to compensate by going back to Jo-Ann’s and buy quilt square fabric as well as fabric scraps from the remnant table.

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Due to the use of some leftover vinyl fabric from the remnant table, the loveseat seemed plain in spots. I compensated by using fancy duct tape to provide some design and color.

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For assembling the loveseat, I felt that sewing either by hand or machine would be impractical because I wasn’t sure if the DDR control pad’s slick vinyl would be too thick for a sewing needle. Instead I went to my old standby: E-6000 glue.

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I used the E-6000 glue to glue the edges of the wrong sides of the fabric together then used some duct tape to clamp the edges together. Since I worked on the wrong side of the fabric, I didn’t have to worry about removing the duct tape once the glue dried.

Here is the result of my hard work.

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The original pattern was designed for the popular 18 inch dolls of today such as American Girl, Springfield, Our Generation, etc. The photo below shows two 18 inch dolls—an American Girl doll and a vintage 1970′s Beautiful Crissy doll.

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I found that the loveseat could fit a variety of other dolls that are slightly smaller than 18 inches. In other words, I think this loveseat is best suited for dolls from 14 inches-18 inches. Two Wilde Imagination dolls (Ellowyne Wilde and Lizette Dionne) try out the couch for themselves in the photo below.

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This couch also fits Mini Super Dollfie-sized ball jointed dolls, which these two Bobobie elves prove below.

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I will have a table at tomorrow’s Greenbelt Mini-Maker Faire where I’ll have a variety of arts and crafts on sale. The big cornerstone of my exhibit is a project that is about 90 percent done: I took a broken Dance Dance Revolution controller pad, cut it up, and used it as fabric to create a doll-sized loveseat that can fit 14-18 inch dolls (such as Mini Super Dollife, American Girl, Ellowyne Wilde, Tonner, etc.). If I have time I’ll write a separate blog post about it before tomorrow’s show (otherwise it’ll have to wait).

As for my workshop on creating Zentangles, there are going to be some changes. I thought I would be doing the kind of workshops that I’ve seen done at various conventions like Otakon or Interventioncon where I would put up a sign at my vendor booth saying that I was teaching a workshop in a separate room, the workshop would last an hour, and I would return to sell my stuff once the workshop was over. I assumed that the Club 125 clubhouse would be used to hold the workshop.

Last night, when I attended a get-together for volunteers and I saw the large site map that was drawn on a dry erase board, I found that the facility was being used for other vendor tables, display tables, and demonstration tables. I learned that I’m supposed to have a day-long hands-on Zentangle activity at my vendor booth instead of a formal hour-long workshop in a different location from my vendor booth.

Right now I’m reconfiguring the Zentangle thing as I move away from a formal hour-long workshop to an informal day-long drop-in activity. I’m going to leave a section at my booth blank so people would have room to draw Zentangles. try to have written instructions on how to draw your own Zentangles so people can try it on their own with little formal instruction from me. (I originally intended my workshop to begin with a short 10-15 minute lecture on what is a Zentangle and how to draw one with the rest of the workshop time devoted to drawing Zentangles while I leave my Zentangle books around for people to copy patterns from.)

If I can pull this off, I think it could be a big hit. Right now I have to end this blog entry and prepare for tomorrow. In any case, if you’d like to see me in person tomorrow, my booth will be located right in Roosevelt Center across from the entrance to the New Deal Cafe.

 

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Benjamin Franklin

Content makes poor men rich; Discontent makes rich Men poor.

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