Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Austin Mini Maker Faire 2013

The Mini Maker Faire was great fun! The best part was getting to spend some one-on-one time with my dad (an exceedingly rare event since I have three young children). I think my favorite booth may have been the one for Design Build Live. DBL is a really active organization here in Austin that promotes natural building and sustainable living. They host a lot of interesting workshops throughout the year. Somehow I didn't get any pictures of their booth at the Faire but they had the folks from Earthbound Builders Collective demonstrating how to build a wall with Compressed Earth Bricks (CEB's). I am a cob building enthusiast (no personal experience, I just love the idea) and I thought the CEB's seemed to offer a lot of the benefits of building with cob with fewer drawbacks.

Another booth I really enjoyed was the East Side Compost Pedallers. They use these awesome modified bikes to collect compostable materials from their subscribers in east Austin.

They pedal the compostable materials to nearby gardens and farms and use them to make compost and grow food. I was especially excited about this because I have been toying with the idea of picking up compostables from my neighbors. Our family just doesn't produce enough compostable waste to supply our garden with all the compost it needs. I had envisioned sending the kids around the neighborhood with a bucket twice a week. They're cute kids so maybe the neighbors would be more likely to save their food trash for us!

I may have scared the woman at the Austin Creative Reuse booth with my enthusiasm for their project. A creative reuse center is essentially a retail outlet that collects unwanted materials that can be used for craft projects. Things like fabric scraps, sewing notions, old wallpaper samples, wine corks, etc are diverted to the creative reuse center, where people can go to get materials for their projects. We don't have one yet in Austin but there are several others in operation in the U.S. They had several cardboard messages at their booth and this was one:

I spent some time over by the clothing swap making balls of yard out of old T-shirts. It was really, really easy! They had hundreds of old T-shirts to choose from and we cut them into strips and then stretched the strips by hand while winding them into balls. I am going to try knitting with some of these at home. I don't even know what that would look like but it would be fun.

I also scored about 10 clothing items at the swap, including a light cotton dress that I have worn every day since Sunday. It is sure to be a summer favorite. I also got a technical running top for myself, several T-shirts for the kids, a skirt, and a dress for Little Sister. For free!

The following photos are of some of my favorite craft items. There were several booths that sold handmade crafted goods. I wasn't looking to spend any money but if I had had an extra $20 I would have bought this T-shirt with a narwhal on a Segway scooter. Awesome!


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