Etsy Craft Party 2013 Recap

Every year, Etsy throws a global craft party where people from local communities organize, come together, and craft. This year, Milwaukee Makerspace joined forces with Hannah K., a local DIY crafter, to be the Milwaukee location for this event.

Etsy’s theme this year was “Crafting for the Community” and our members crowdsourced some great community themed ideas for the event along with wedding craft goodness. One of community themed projects was assembling lil’ libraries from wood pieces that Makers Brant H. and Vishal R. pre-cut for the event using our awesome wood shop.  (Psst, you can use the tools too, become a member!) We had two designs, a gabled house and a double decker and in classic do-it-yourself style, we provided the wood and a drawing but left it up to people to figure out how everything went together.

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While people were drilling and gluing away, we had pet crafting stations set up to make cat nip toys and dog chews along with some wedding crafts and a button making station.  If the dog chews look familiar it’s because they were created in the same way you made lanyard friendship bracelets in summer camp!

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We hope you all had a great time at our little shindig and if you missed this event, be sure to join our public mailing list so you don’t miss the next one!

Etsy Craft Party

Etsy Craft Party

Our friends at Etsy are helping us throwing a little party on Thursday, June 20th, 2013 and you’re invited!

And what is an Etsy Craft Party exactly? Etsy has a blog post that explains it, but basically:

Etsy Craft Party is a one-day celebration of meeting and making. Around the world, we come together to share creative skills with our neighbors. You can organize a Craft Party, or join one in your area. All you need are good friends, craft supplies, and fun!

Well, Hannah Kleinhans is a local Etsy fan here in Milwaukee, and when she needed a place to host the event, we though Milwaukee Makerspace was a natural fit!

You can check out the event on Facebook, and grab a ticket on Eventbrite.

The event is free, but we are asking asking for $5 to help cover the cost of materials, but we’ll do our best to put the tools and skills of our members to work to help out with the making. And what are we making? Well, there are three projects:

Craft Station #1: Lil’ Free Library

Craft Station #2: DIY Wedding Gifts

Craft Station #3: Crafting for our 4 Legged Friends

(Check out Facebook or Eventbrite for full details.)

There’s some FAQs here from Etsy, and if you’ve got a specific question, post a comment or email Hannah at kleinhah[at]

We help in all departments!

Becky Tesch

We’re currently in the process of moving to our new space, but we had our last Tuesday night meeting of the year this week and we had a few guests stop by looking for help with some projects.

Becky’s a local artist who works in “duct tape & bike parts” making unique recycled jewelry and other things. (You can check out some of her work on Etsy.) She was interested in using the laser cutter for some of her pieces. While we didn’t get a chance to do any test cuts due to some laser downtime, we grabbed some inner-tube rubber and we’ll be giving it a test run for her.

The Artery

While talking to Becky, a guy named Jacob showed up and asked about cutting some stencils to sandblast things for rewards. Rewards? Yeah, he’s one of the guys involved in a recent Kickstarter campaign. Check out Matireal in this OnMilwaukee story. We gave Jacob some good advice and a member offered to cut the stencils he needs. Pretty cool! (And yeah, it did seem a little weird that we had one person who works with old inner-tubes and another who works with old car tires, but we love recycling too!)

So yeah, we like helping people who like making things, and even if the laser is down or we’re in the process of moving the entire Makerspace, we’re glad to help!

SAGA: Semi-Automatic Gmail Assistant

My friend Rob is a smart engineer, and throughout the course of a work week he receives dozens of requests for his assistance on various projects.  He’s such a positive and helpful person that he finds it difficult to say “No.” to any of these requests.  I’ve helped him out by making a USB device that can provide a clear and simple email response to some of these requests.  SAGA, or Semi-Automatic Gmail Assistant, is approximately the size of a mouse, and plugs into a computer just like any mouse or keyboard would.  Here is the first prototype:

SAGA comes complete with a key lockout feature that prevents accidental activation. Once a worthy email request has been received, Rob can calmly make the call whether or not to arm SAGA by inserting the key, and rotating it clockwise 90 degrees.  After rotating the key, an octagon of LEDs lights up around the chrome button, enticing Rob to press it.  The extra illumination from the LEDs also further highlights the artfully coiled wiring that fills the prototype SAGA.  When the button is pressed, SAGA sends the keyboard shortcut to respond to the email and types out “Go F*** Yourself.” at a respectable and slightly humorous 200 wpm.  After waiting a half second for dramatic effect, SAGA automatically sends the email.  Note that there is a 1% chance that SAGA will instead respond “That’s a Great idea, I’ll get right on it!”

SAGAis powered by a Teensy 2.0 and $15 of electronics parts.  SAGA appears to the computer as a standard keyboard, and some helpful startup hints I followed appear on RasterWeb! and here.  One enabling trick was using a 2n2222 NPN transistor to drive 140 mA into the eight LEDs (connected in parallel), as this value exceeds the current available from any one of the Teensy’s outputs.  Note that keyboard shortcuts must be enabled in Gmail settings, and that Yahoo! Mail is also SAGA compatible. Upon moving an internal jumper, SAGA is probably compatible with some versions of Outlook (although installation of service pack 3.0 may be required).

Due to popular request by the few folks who have seen SAGA in action, I’ve built up a few, and they are for sale now on Etsy.  Check out the aesthetically pleasing, high gloss powder coated aluminum enclosure! Here is SAGA in high-speed yellow:

Alternate colors are available too – Just follow this link to Etsy!