Light snacks

Today’s creativity / productivity retreat went well — we had five people attending, and I think most folks got some good stuff done. We’re going to continue them Wednesdays in July, 10-3, $5 — we should have an EventCombo listing up shortly, as soon as Amanda has a moment to put it together. My idea of ‘light snacks’ to accompany the tea & coffee is maybe slightly excessive. (But what if someone is HUNGRY? Can’t be allowed.)

Last Saturday’s Tea and Textiles

Last Saturday’s Tea and Textiles. Arya (kitten) helped teach Pat the basics of crochet — we got the chain stitch down, I think, and made good progress on single crochet, although why, oh why, is the first row also the hardest one to do? Seems unfair to beginners.

I added some stitches to my dress pockets that otherwise had a tendency to drop phones out of them; I should’ve chosen a darker blue thread, clearly, but I was too lazy to go back downstairs and hunt for it in the chaos that is my basement at the moment. Task for this week — straighten up the basement! But it’s okay; I doubt anyone will be peering too closely at the stitching on my pocketses…

I also managed to get the stitches back on the needles after some terrible person [cough, ANAND] pulled two needles out of them at some point, probably somewhat aimlessly while watching a tv show.

I knit another row, and was feeling quite proud of myself for finally picking up this project again after many months, until I looked at it more closely and realized that I definitely have a noticeable error about six rows back. Am I willing to tink it back that far in order to fix it? GAH. I think so, because this is my first time designing something, and I want it to be done right, but I may need more tea for fortitude before attempting it. (Also have tons of computer work to do this morning, and meetings, and annoying errands in the afternoon, so it’s not going to happen soon. Maybe this evening, though.)

(‘Tink’ is the word for un-knitting; it’s knit backwards, because knitters are cute that way. What’s less cute is that it’s just as much work as the actual knitting. Sigh.)

Next Tea and Textiles will be Sat July 7 link in comments!

(I think I’m remembering the names right — Jackie and Pat? I am so very terrible with names…)


Maram retreat

A little bit of a slow start, but we’re settled into the Maram writing / creativity / productivity retreat. It’s 10-3 today at house; do feel free to drop by, locals. (The next one is next Wed, the 26th). I’ve sent the kids to the park up the street to meet with friends; they are unsupervised, but Kavi has her cell and can call if they run into issues; she also has two other 12-year-old friends with her, so I think they should be fine. I am talking myself into this, because this is the first time I’ve let them do this unsupervised. They will be fine.

The plan is that around 11:30, Kevin will go and walk them up to the library (about a mile away, I think, and in theory, they could do that bit by themselves too, but I’d like them to practice it with a grown-up a few times first). I told him he could just drop them there for an hour, but he thinks he’ll probably just stay there and work. Then either he takes them to grab lunch out somewhere, or walks them back here, or I go pick them up and bring them here. Then they play (quietly) upstairs; the electronics go back on at 1 p.m., so they can do video games if they want.

And I keep writing, and around 1-2-ish, Teri, who is here, has promised to teach me how to do drop-spinning, so that will be cool. And at 3, the retreat ends, and I take the kids to the pool for a few hours. Probably Rehm, so that if they want to stay for a while, they can — Ridgeland closes at 4:15, but Rehm is open ’til 8.

It’s a little complex, combining writing and kid-minding and retreat-hosting, but I think we’re good. 🙂

Explaining Maram: Sharing the joy of making with the community

I’m trying to get better at explaining what Maram is. How is this?


I’d love to invite y’all to join the Maram Makerspace FB group / like our page / sign up for our newsletter. Maram is a new non-profit project, that hopes to share the joy of making with the community, lowering costs and making access to skills and tech more available to Oak Parkers and our neighbors.

We define making very broadly, though we’re particularly interested in areas such as futurist tech, traditional handcrafting skills, and sustainable making. We’ve offered workshops in 3D printing, coding, cooking, writing, textile arts and more! While most of our workshops are geared towards adults, some are open to kids, generally if accompanied by an adult.

We’re currently actively looking for a space, and hope to be in one by the fall, at which point we’ll also be offering memberships for those who want to use the space for co-working.

Expect to see a Kickstarter within the next few months, to help with start-up costs; we’ll also be accepting donations of tech and equipment / furniture, and are always looking for volunteers to work on the project with us. (We’re all volunteers!) Maram is sponsored by the SLF, a 501(c)3 non-profit, so all donations are tax-deductible.

We have a few Tea and Textiles meet-ups coming up, the next two Saturdays afternoons in June, and some writing / creativity / productivity retreats on weekdays.

You can sign up for those here:…

Please also save the date for our MakerFaire at the main library, an opportunity to drop in and try out some of our different activities: Sunday, August 25, 2-5, Veterans Room.

Learn more at our website:

Newsletter sign-up:

Facebook group:

Facebook page:

Sale sale sale!

BIG SALE! There’s just three days left to register for this weekend’s Maram workshops — mostly botanical-themed on Saturday, and mostly dad-themed on Sunday. A few of these are low enrollment, so if they don’t fill today, I’m afraid we’ll need to cancel those. So if you’re thinking of registering, don’t wait!

I’ll be teaching a workshop on botanical art (bookmarks / cards / poetry collages), and one on Sri Lankan cocktails and appetizers from my new cookbook!

We’re also offering:

– Alexa basic coding

– intro to 3D printing (make a personalized keychain!)

– wet-felted flowers

– botanical jewelry and soaps

– two writing workshops (personal essay and science fiction)

– and a building jam (that last is for dads and their kids, some freeform fun!)


We’re offering TWO BIG DISCOUNTS right now:

– 50% off a workshop if you take our 2-3 minute survey — we’re trying to figure out how to better promote and bring people out to our events, and could really use your help!

– Bring a friend — two for the price of one! Sign up two people for a workshop, and use the 50% discount code on both of them. This is a great way to try out our workshops and get a feel for what they’re like. Making is more fun with friends. 🙂


Here’s the survey:

Here’s the discount code: Maramdiscount

Buy tickets for this weekend here:…

(And as always, Maram is a non-profit, extending the joy of making throughout the community. We have additional discounts and full scholarships available; if cost is a barrier to entry, please let us know, and we’d love to offer you one of the additional discounts / scholarships.)

Reminder: Creativity/productivity retreat tomorrow

Reminder for locals — we’re doing Maram writing / creating / productivity retreat at my house tomorrow (Wed), 10-3. RSVP if you plan to attend, please!

Bring your laptops, notebooks, paints, anything quiet – headphones recommended.

There are four open work spaces on the first floor — two large tables, multiple couches and comfy chairs. There’s a writing shed in the backyard that you’re welcome to use (with a small heater), and a second floor library and home office (with a door that closes). $5 to cover coffee, tea, substantial snacks (and there’s always bread and peanut butter and jam for a sandwich too). You don’t need to be there before 10, but please enter quietly if arriving later.

Day in Our Village

Maram Makerspace attended a Day in Our Village in Scoville Park on June 2nd! We had a wonderful time meeting more people in the community and sharing all that Maram has to offer.

Photos below show Kurt Hedlund and Carollina Song, helping to set up the booth. The little tech bits that Kurt brought along were very helpful, though we have to figure out how to make the tech aspect more visible generally for this kind of thing. (We’re also in dire need of a banner for the back of the tent, obviously. As soon as we finalize our logo…)

We’re not allowed to have a gas generator on the grounds, and I just didn’t have time to really brainstorm & plan tech demo stuff that would be feasible in a 10×10 tent (while also showcasing our other activities). Hmm….

Carollina set up a shaving cream + dye print-making activity that was quite popular (also quite messy when there wasn’t a grown-up supervising, but so it goes….). Nice way to draw in older kids!

Some things have worked well at Maram’s Day in Our Village booth, some less well. I admit to being a little torn about my ‘building jam’ station — the Legos and MagnaTiles worked great as a way to draw in little kids, and then their parents were stuck, and some of them actually talked to us — so good?

But I’m afraid it overall gave the booth a vibe of ‘kid activity,’ and I’m not sure how to signal ‘we’re mostly for adults, though we also let kids come to some things if accompanied by an adult, though definitely not the making cocktails event on Father’s Day…’

Also, I completely forgot all the paper airplane instructions I laboriously printed out, and I only know how to make one paper airplane myself, so that’s the one that I made, and Kurt made one, but that was it — I think origami-type stuff isn’t right for this kind of space which is loud and chaotic and people are mostly moving on quickly from booth to booth, rather than settling down to craft for a while.

But we did have beautiful, professional-looking flyers, thanks to Janea Schimmel and Alec (and Canva), and I think the ‘What would you like us to teach you to make?’ was a good interactive thing, for encouraging people to vote on what workshops we might offer next.

Which reminds me, we need to finalize the July workshops and start publicizing those too. Eep. The good thing about not having done that yet, though, is that doing this event gave me more of a sense of what people are interested in.

Definitely graphic novels — I need to find someone to teach that, because I’m not competent. Writing fiction for tweens / teens; I’m probably going to do at least a workshop on that in July, though probably not a class; I think I’ve pulled back on my ambitions there, to make sure I have enough writing time.

Lots of people wanted cooking workshops, so we should work more with Cheryl at SugarBeet to make those happen jointly when possible. Lots of interest in personal essay writing. A few people were looking for ideas on what to do with their 3D printer, so I think maybe Kurt should just teach that class too.

A few last photos from Maram’s booth at Day in Our Village. I am envious of Pamela Penney’s drop spindle — well, mostly I want to learn how to use it. 🙂 We took a poll on what kind of classes people are most interested in — tech, writing, and cooking were high on the list, so we may focus on that for the July workshops, which we’re scheduling this week.

(While I’m here, I’ll remind you that June workshops are coming up soon…)

Father’s Day Weekend!

Father’s Day weekend, we’re teaching a host of workshops at the house — I’ll be teaching one on making botanical art (bookmarks, cards, poetry collages), and one on Sri Lankan cocktails (made with arrack, a coconut-flower liquor). There are LOTS of others, from writing to textile art to 3D printing and more. Those are generally $45, but everything is sliding scale and full scholarships are available; our main goal right now is to pay our teachers fairly for their time, but also to build up the Maram audience.
All info here:

Saturday June 15

10:00 am – 11:45 am Botanical Cards and Bookmarks with Mary Anne Mohanraj

12:00 pm – 1:45 pm Floral jewelry – Prismacolor on Metal with Alix Mikesell

2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Botanical Soap making with Cynthia Borah

2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Personal Essay Writing with Deborah Lee

4:00 pm – 5:45 pm    Wet Felted Flowers with Pamela Penny

Sunday June 16

10:00 am – 11:45 am 3D Printing with Kurt Hedlund

10:00 am – 11:45 am Writing Science Fiction that Sells with Alec Navarro Lee

12:00 pm – 1:45 pm Building Bridges with Heath Penney

2:00 pm – 3:45 pm Coding Alexa at Home with Kamal Jackson

4:00 pm – 5:45 pm    Sri Lankan Cocktails and Appetizers with Mary Anne Mohanraj

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