Concept: Six-week long cooking classes

Thinking about organizing six-week cooking classes for the makerspace. Six-week classes are great for us, since they’ll require less organizational time than scheduling six separate workshops, even if we have multiple instructors. A few possibilities, just spitballing:

International Cuisine: Six days of different countries (multiple instructors). Each 2.5-hr class will teach you to make 2-3 dishes from the country, sufficient for a well-rounded meal. You’ll enjoy the fruits of your labors at the end of class, with a taster to take home afterwards, and recommendations for cookbooks from each cuisine for future exploration. You’ll also get a packet of spice mixes from each region to help you get started!

Easy Weeknight Dinners: 6 classes will teach you how to make 12 dinners. Each 2.5 hr class will teach you to make two different quick dinners that incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables. While the course overall isn’t vegetarian, vegetarian variations will be suggested for each dinner, and also how you might increase spice levels as desired. The base dinners will be not spicy at all.

Intro to Breads: Six different yeasted breads + six different quick breads (multiple instructors). Each 2.5-hr class will teach you to make two different breads? (I’m not quite sure how to structure this one, since I’m not really a bread-maker.)

Protein-Rich Salads & Bowls: As summer approaches, learn how to make six different salads that are packed with proteins. (I don’t know much about this either, but it’s a class I’d be interested in taking, esp. from someone with some nutrition background.)


Keep in mind that to make these fair pay for instructors and cover space costs, we’d need to price them at $365 each or so for the course, so we need to make sure they’re substantial enough that it feels worthwhile. Possibly plus a small fee for groceries.

What of these sound appealing? What else might you like to see in a six-week class?

February Maram Weekend of Making: Publishing, Intro to Crochet, Intro to 3D Printing

Maram’s February weekend of making went pretty smoothly, even though I had to duck in and out a lot for family commitments and the Big Idea coaching session. I think it definitely helps stacking linked things together — the two writing classes flowed smoothly into the publishing workshop, and several people attended all three.

I love that pic of Deborah Jian Lee fearlessly leading her writers into new territory in Maram’s February personal essay workshop. I was doing paperwork in the next room, but kept being distracted by the super-cool stories they were telling. I hope we can have her offer it again soon, because I want to take it now!

I taught Intro to Crochet. I think I actually managed to teach 3 people, and remind 2 who had done it years before. I think I have to cap this class at 5, though, unless I have a helper — it was so hands-on, I don’t think I could’ve managed more.

Our first 3D printing workshop for Maram was with Kurt Hedlund. My printer actually stopped printing partway through, but that just gave us an opportunity to demonstrate debugging the printer, so it’s all part of the workshop making process, right?

I love what the students came up with, and Carolina Song’s expression!

February Day of Making: Seed Starting

At 9 a.m., we’ll be kicking off day 2 of making with Stephanie’s seed starting workshop! I’ve hauled out all my seed gear from the basement, and will use this time to actually figure out what I’m planting, calculate my dates, and maybe actually get some seeds started.

We have some scholarships available, so if you’d like to come, please do just come. I even have some free seeds to give away — milkweed, vegetables, and more! Just drop me a line or comment here so we know to expect you. 🙂 The coffee is hot, and the tea water will be boiling in just a few minutes.

332 Wisconsin, the blue and purple house just south of the Y.

(Later today, we’ll have 3D printing, and a free intro-to-crochet class!)

Ready for a February Day of Making

All ready for today’s Day of Making! It’s a little chaotic, because Carollina and I also have the Big Idea 2nd coaching session @ 9, but Alec will be here shortly, ready to teach his 9 a.m. workshop, and promised that he can handle welcoming people in, so I think it’s okay. 🙂 I’ll be back by 10:30, when his workshop ends, and then we get a little break until 11:00, when Deborah’s workshop starts.

If you want to drop in for my free workshop on publishing, please do — I’ll generally be talking about crowdfunding that will apply to all kinds of artistic and passion projects, not just publishing. Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.

And if you just want to hear more about Maram Makerspace, feel free to swing by during the breaks — 10:30 – 11:00, 12:30 – 1:00, 2:30 – 3:00, or 4:30 – 5:00. Grab a cup of coffee and a snack, and we’d love to tell you more about everything that’s going on! More volunteers are very welcome, you could sign up for our instructor database, etc. 🙂

8:30 — doors open

9 – 10:30 — Writing Science Fiction That Sells (Alec Nevala-Lee): $30-$45

11:00 – 12:30 — Personal Essay Writing (Deborah Jian Lee): $30-$45

1 – 2:30 — Traditional Publishing & Self-Publishing (Mary Anne Mohanraj): FREE

3 – 4:30 — Iraqi Lentil Soup (Dima Ali): $30-$45 (plus $5 materials fee)

4:30 – 5:00 — wind down!


Rehearsing the Big Idea pitch

My exciting Friday night — rehearsing the Big Idea pitch with Carollina, with her husband Alec kindly serving as both audience and tech support — we got the projector up and running, woot! But only by using his computer, because mine requires an USB-C connector for the HDMI cable. We tried MANY things before we came to that solution. 45 minutes of tech support late on a Friday night is SUPER-FUN.

I think we’ve got it down to 6.5 minutes. It ought to be 5. We’re getting there, bit by bit!


Maram Makerspace has made the finals for the Big Idea grant!

So here’s my formal announcement that Maram Makerspace has made the finals for the Big Idea grant! It’s a $50,000 community entrepreneurship grant, and we’re so excited to see this kind of promising support for our project. I can’t possibly thank everyone who was involved, but particular thanks go to Carollina Song, David Dumas, and Laura Hsieh, who were critical in shaping our grant proposal.

Next steps — we’re getting together a pitch to present at the Big Idea pitch party coming up in March — it’s sort of a Shark Tank thing, where the finalists present for five minutes each in front of a live audience. It’s going to be a fun night, and if you’d like to attend, they sell tickets! March 13th at Wire (in Berwyn) — Tickets are limited, so get them soon!

Buy tickets at:

It’d be great to have a big crowd there in support to cheer us on, so do come if you can — if you know you’re coming and can let me know, we’ll save you a seat so we can all sit together. 🙂

Aside from that, we’re progressing well, with a successful workshop in January (hope you saw the photos on our FB page — we’ll be setting up a separate website this month too, and solidifying our newsletter and social media presence (Twitter, Instagram, etc.)), and plans for upcoming workshops on Feb 23rd weekend and March 24th. Cooking, writing, 3D printing, and more! If you’d like to get involved with planning, do let me know — this is an open community project.

Here’s our new tagline, if you need to explain to people what the project is:

Maram Makerspace bridges the gap between the desire and the means to create. We bring together people, knowledge, and tools (physical & digital), sparking inspiration and building a collaborative, inclusive, community hub.



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