Motorcycle Gear Gift Guide

As many of you who know me know: I am all about the gear. Using the right equipment for the job is one of my favorite things to do, whether it’s knitting, electronics, or motorcycles. Here’s a list of the best gifts for the motorcycle rider on your list. Got a suggestion to add? Leave it in the comments! Read on for the full list.

Sena Motorcycle Bluetooth Headset/Helmet Intercom

In my opinion, motorcycling is a lot more fun when you can listen to your GPS directions, or your riding partner, from inside your helmet. I have been very happy with both the Sena headsets I’ve owned (I have one in each of two helmets): the Sena 20S EVO headset and SMH10R headset.

Especially for: new riders, long distance riders
Might not appeal to: loners, technophobes


KitSplit and ShareGrid Review and Comparison From An Equipment Owner

I got into gear rental as a way to earn a little extra money from the film equipment I already own. I co-run this small venture in NYC with my partner, who’s a cinematographer. Over the last two years, it’s been a great experience to be an equipment owner on KitSplit and ShareGrid. What follows is a review and comparison of the two sites, including how much money we have made so far. I’ve tried to keep the review mostly about site features, but there is inevitably some user behavior that comes into play. I’d love to hear about your experience with either site (or both or another entirely) in the comments!

If you decide to join either site or both, please use my referral link, which gets us each $20 in free rental credit:

Listing Visibility

ShareGrid is transparent about how their search algorithm boosts new listings to the top. I watched their informative webinar that let me know new listings are prioritized in search results, so I used that info to create new bundles and re-create my oldest listings. The result is that my rental requests increased, and so did my ShareGrid revenue.

While KitSplit offers blog posts about optimizing your performance, they haven’t described how their search works (that I could find). I did create any bundles on KitSplit too (to keep inventory parity between the two sites), but did not re-create old listings.


Skeleton Sweatsuit (Free Pattern)

This year I stitched up some skeleton costumes using black sweatsuits and white stretch fabric. I stuffed up the bones to get a 3D effect.

For this project, you will need:

Download the free pattern or source files, and also check out the full tutorial on Instructables.

My Top 10 DIY Halloween Costumes

As a kid, Mom made me a handmade costume every year until I asked her to stop (so I could make my own). Here are ten of my favorite DIY Halloween costumes I’ve made and worn over the last decade or so. From simple put-together outfits to full on electronics projects, I hope you’ll find some inspiration here!

10. Anthropologie Vampire

I put together this wearable look for a day at the office. I was told this look is also reminiscent of Tilda Swinton in “Only Lovers Left Alive”.

9. Dana Scully

For a special Halloween episode of our web show Make: Live, Matt Richardson and I dressed up like Agent Scully and Agent Mulder from X-Files. Matt really sold the costume better than me, since when he parts his hair in the middle, he looks like David Duchovny.

8. EL Wire Animal Masks

While not my original idea (credit: Tom Newsom), I was really pleased with how these turned out. The bike helmet base makes the whole thing very wearable, though it’s important to note that the inverter attached to the helmet does bring its high-pitched squealing noise pretty close to your ear. It’s not an issue if you’re actually riding a bike or at a loud event.

7. Ellie Jackson from La Roux

I found out about Elly Jackson because people in the YouTube comments kept saying I look like her. I stitched up a lookalike jacket. The year was 2010 and I was still on crutches from a recent knee surgery. See how I’m not quite standing on my left leg in the above photo?

I laser cut a faux cameo necklace. I got my first (and so far only) C&D for those files I put on Thingiverse.

I commissioned a pair of custom leggings on Etsy to complete the look.


How To Hand Sew a Plush Toy

This guide will walk though making a plush toy that’s simple to sew by hand.

This tutorial is based on my friend Moxie’s Free Range Monsters project in CRAFT Magazine volume 6. I’ve used this project for years to teach introductory sewing to my students at SVA. It’s fun, creative, and doesn’t require much in the way of specialized tools.

To make this project, you will need:


Workspace Inspiration – My Desks and Studios Throughout Time

I love being in my studio, whether its shooting a tutorial, using the workbench, or just attending a conference call. Since moving to NYC in 2003, I’ve always had to make do with a smaller-than-ideal workspace, except for those two years I lived in Arizona. Here’s a trip through workspaces of my past, starting with college.

I shared my freshman dorm with three other students. Four desks, four beds, four dressers, four NYC college freshmen women. I ended up doing a lot of my art school homework in the dorm’s study room or at the house where I babysat. But the furniture was the same at my next place:

The first space in NYC I had to myself was a single-off-a-suite I lucked into via the student housing lottery. The dorm was on Union Square West, just a few floors of the otherwise-privately-residential building above Blue Water Grill. (I’ve heard it has since been converted back to regular apartments and is no longer a New School dorm.) Since my bed was lofted, I could take over the whole floor with projects. Continue reading for the complete history of my workspaces:


Why I Switched to the GH5s from the GH5

I recently sold my GH5 and bought a GH5s to replace it. Here’s why:

Dual Native ISO
I’m excited to be able to capture low light scenes with less grain, which will help improve the quality of what I already do, as well as help push my creativity.

Goodbye, Sensor Stabilizer
The GH5’s sensor stabilizer is great for run-and-gun shooters and vloggers, but I found that it just got in my way. Want to do a pan on a tripod or use a slider? Disable the stabilizer, or you’d get unintentional lags in the shot. Without it, the GH5s is 65g lighter than the GH5, even though the external body is the same size.

Ships with V-Log
A renter on Kitsplit had upgraded my GH5’s firmware to include the V-Log feature, which is Panasonic’s excellent flat color space for greater flexibility in color post-processing. Once I figured out how to use Final Cut Pro’s built-in V-Log LUT, I was hooked. This feature should have been free all along, so it’s a good move on Panasonic’s part to ship the GH5s with V-Log by default.

My GH4 is still my go-to for still photos because of its lighter weight and smaller depth, both of which make it easier to grip with my smaller hands and fragile wrists.

Learn more about my camera equipment in my Camera Gear 2019 blog post.

My Camera Gear 2019

Here’s a comprehensive list of the gear I use in 2019 to capture and edit my DIY projects, tutorials, and videos. You don’t need anything special these days to start out capturing great photos and videos– use whichever camera you have access to. These are the tools I personally prefer for the type of work I do. Since the last time I made this post (2017), a lot has changed about my setup. I’ve carefully optimized my tool selection for my professional photography/videography practice. For some practical tips I still stand by, check out my 2014 MAKE article about making great build videos. Links to products are affiliate links.