Tag Archives: DIY

Reminder: Soaring Skyscrapers & Roaring Race Cars

2015 02 Design Challenge II flier

Have you ever wanted to race a car, or design and build the tallest skyscraper in the world? Come participate to see whose design will last longest and go the fastest!

Join us at Southwest on February 20, from 3:30-5:00!

Bring your friends! Snacks included! It’s free!  🙂

Today is Mardi Gras!


Ready to party? Mardi Gras (also known as Fat Tuesday) is a time of fun and celebration before the start of Lent on Ash Wednesday.  Mardi Gras is celebrated throughout the world with parties, feasts, dances, and more.  The most famous celebration is the United States takes place each year in New Orleans, Louisiana.  With parades, bead throwing, and masquerade balls, it sounds like one wild event.  You can also feast on the traditional king cake (see an example below), a pastry resembling a giant cinnamon roll, and hope that your slice features a lucky trinket.  You may receive special privileges for finding the trinket!


Brazil celebrates Mardi Gras as Carnival.  For several days each year millions of people take to the streets to party.  Rio de Janeiro’s celebrations are the largest in the world and feature an annual competition known as the Samba Parade.  Social clubs known as Samba Schools put together elaborate performances for the parade, which takes place in the appropriately named Sambodromo.  Each performance is judged on its samba song, band, chosen theme, costumes, props, and more.  (Read more about the judging here.)  Sounds like this would be a fantastic experience!

Here at Northgate, we are not quite so elaborate.  We are celebrating with a colorful display featuring books, a recipe for king cake, and masks to take home and color.  Take a look:


Want to get involved? How about making your own mask? Find some printable templates here or go freehand for even more possibilities.

Have fun!

Soaring Skyscrapers and Roaring Race Cars @ Southwest

2015 02 Design Challenge II flier

Have you ever wanted to race a car, or design and build the tallest skyscraper in the world? Come participate to see whose design will last longest and go the fastest!

Join us at Southwest on February 20, from 3:30-5:00!

Bring your friends! Snacks included! It’s free!  🙂

Go ahead – make(rspace) something!

What is this?

3D printer

Looks like a popcorn machine, no?

It’s a 3D printer! Want to use one? You can at a Makerspace!

Makerspaces are like community labs where people or groups can come and use available materials, like electronics, printers, machine tools, hand tools, or sewing machines to create projects and collaborate with others. Some makerspaces charge a membership fee and some just a usage fee. Some have special programs and pricing for youth.

Here are 3 you can try out in Seattle.  Go ahead and make something!

SoDo MakerSpace
1914 Occidental Ave. S.

Jigsaw Renaissance
815 Seattle Boulevard S.

Metrix Create:Space
623 Broadway E.

Homemade Paper: DIY Recycling

tumblr_n1tdxzheNG1r4mnhwo1_1280-diypaperHomemade Paper: DIY Recycling

I know, I know. It’s September (sorry, November!). Time to buckle down, and abandon the joys of summer for chemistry, geometry, and Faulkner. But once you realize how awesome this handmade paper looks on practically anything, you will be forced to get blending. Plus, it’s much, much easier to make than you would imagine. Continue reading

DIY October: Macarons!



This recipe is based on the one from Nigella Lawson’s wonderful cookbook, How to Be a Domestic Goddess. They’re easy as pie, too, so have no fear!


Basic Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup almonds, or other nuts, plus ¼ cup for the filling
  • ¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, plus 1 2/3 cups for the filling
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ cup softened, unsalted butter, for the filling
  • 2 cookie trays, lined with wax paper

Basic Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°
  2. Put whatever nuts you are using in the food processor with the confectioner’s sugar until you have a smooth powder.
  3. Whisk the egg whites part way, then sprinkle them with the sugar and whisk until they are quite stiff and hold peaks. I recommend using a hand mixer.
  4. Fold the whites and nut-dust together, until they are mostly combined. It will be mixed more as you pipe it.
  5. Scoop your batter into a ziploc bag, while keeping one corner empty. Then cut ½ inch into that corner. You can also use a pastry bag with a ½ inch tip, if you have one.
  6. Pipe out macaron-sized circles onto the baking sheet. They won’t really expand, but don’t put them too close together.
  7. Let the macarons sit until a skin has formed on them, about 10 minutes. This is very important if you want smooth, pretty macarons.
  8. Bake the macarons for 10-12 minutes. When they are done, they will look firm and set, but not dry. Then cool the macarons on their trays.
  9. Next, grind the nuts and confectioners’ sugar for the filling.
  10. Cream the butter and add the nut-sugar into a buttercream.
  11. Once the macaroons are completely cool, remove them from their trays with a spatula.
  12. Then pipe half the macarons with the buttercream, and sandwich the other macarons on top of them.
  13. Ta da!

Ideas to Try:

Once you have this recipe down, you can substitute other nuts and fillings easily, or add color or topping.

  • Hazelnut Chocolate
    • Substitute hazelnuts for pistachios, and add melted chocolate to the filling. Shaved chocolate top of the cookies completes the look!
  • Rainbow
    • Add a little food dye to the egg whites and to the buttercream. Pastels are the best.
  • Pistachio
    • Use shelled, salted pistachios instead almonds. Trust me, the salt is good.
  • Jam
    • Fill almond macarons with jam or lemon curd instead of buttercream, and add a little dye to the cookies to go with your jam color
  • Coffee-Chocolate
    • Add espresso powder to the nut-sugar, and add melted chocolate and espresso to the buttercream

Experiment! Having several flavors all on one plate is very pretty.


For more information, check out these cool library books on the subject!

Macarons (by Mowie Kay)

Macarons (by Cecile Cannone)

Les Petits Macarons (Ebook, by Kathryn Gordon)

— recipe by Phoebe, Greenwood Branch


Ten Easy Steps to Get Your Halloween On

Have you noticed the cold tinge in the air? 

That’s not just the temperature dropping, that’s Death slowly taking center stage.  Halloween, or All Hallow’s Eve, marks the passage of the season–harvest is over, plants are withering, and the leaves, despite their colorful defiance, are dying.  Many cultures have believed in this night when the dead walk the earth, and different practices evolved into the jack-o-lanterns, costumes, and trick-or-treating of today.  We can’t keep winter away, but don’t let this day of spooky revelry pass you by.  Start Halloweening!

Here are some ideas:

1)   Take this Zombie Bite quiz.  Then make your friends take it.  This is good for figuring out which friends you really want on your team in case of a zombie apocalypse – which is even more likely to occur on or near Halloween.

2)   Read a ghost story.  “Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You, My Lad” by M.R. James is perfect to read at night, in bed, right before you go to sleep. Check out this list for more recommended ghost stories.

3)   Carve a pumpkin! If you didn’t get a real one, find a pumpkin carving simulator online like this one.  Check your smart phones for similar apps.  Continue reading