05 September 2012

Tutorial: Color Your Pants

I am in love with dyeing my own clothes.  More specifically, I am a pants-dyeing fanatic.  It's a disease, and I really hope you get it too.  If nothing else, I feel like it's necessary to at least try it out once.  

Here's what it looked like before the pants-dyeing process:

And here is the finished result after dyeing:

Did I mention that I bought these pants for $4 at a second-hand store?  And might I suggest that if you go to a second-hand store, you look out for stains.  Some stains will not dye, and it ends up making them that much more obvious.  It's generally not going to be the look you're going for.

So, what do you say?  Won't you dye your pants?  Eh?



26 August 2012

Beekeeper's Quilt: 40 Hexipuffs.

So, I'm basically a hexipuff factory.  Now that school is back in, being on the train for about 2 hours each day means that I can get around 3-4 of these done a day.  Ignoring the fact that I'm becoming a brittle old lady from all of this, I'm hoping this means that I've effectively cut my expected time of completion in half.   We'll see how this really goes in a few weeks...

Go here to see my first hexipuff post and look at how far I've come.

Then there's the fact that all of my plain-colored hexipuffs stand out too much and look so empty. Clearly, the only solution is to embroider some wonderful images on these guys.  Any ideas?
40 hexipuffs made in 25 days.  Not too shabby, eh?

The hexagonal shape of the hexipuffs really seems like it would lend itself well to chemistry allusions.

That one with the mustache on it?   That guy is starting off my collection of mustache hexipuffs.  Should I portmanteau this?  Mustachipuffs?  Hexistaches?

10 August 2012

Beekeeper's Quilt: 10 Hexipuffs.

I finally caved.

For those of you who are perhaps unfamiliar or out-of-touch with the online knitting community, I'd like to momentarily direct your attention here: The Beekeeper's Quilt by Tiny Owl Knits.  The idea is to knit hexagonal-shaped plushie motifs ("hexipuffs"), stitch them together and form a quilt.  I think it's swell. In order to avoid being such an impulse buyer, I let the idea of this project sit on the shelf for a few months, and when I came back to it I was still just as enamored and had to buy the pattern.

Hexipuffs are addictive.  I'm not sure if that's a warning or a testimonial, but whatever the case I'm already up to 10.

An interesting component of the hexipuff quilt is the suggestion to use your scrap sock yarn.  I've never actually knitted any socks before nor have I saved up any sock yarn.  So, clearly this does not apply to me and therefore won't be saving nearly as much money as I theoretically could have been if I were a sock-knitter.  
But I, being the silly person that I am, immediately ran out to buy armfuls of yarn with a sick, sick grin on my face....

26 July 2012

Tutorial: Jacob's Ladder Toy

I have a handful of toys I distinctly remember cherishing as a child. To me, these toys have really superseded the true test that is time and to this day I think back on them with joy. Among these toys were my Lite-Brite (a toy that if plugged in for longer than 5 minutes was easily considered a fire hazard), my Gameboy which was the introduction to my obsession with Tetris, a stuffed animal dog from my piano teacher whom I named Patch and everyone knew was my first love, and a quaint old toy from FAO Schwarz: a Jacob’s Ladder. I enjoyed this toy because it seemed like regardless of how long I played with it, its charm was never lost. So, when I found it again the other day, I knew I had to make one of my own. And perhaps 20 more in the future…

28 May 2012

Tutorial: Add In-Seam Pockets to a Dress

It’s finally warm and sunny outside, which means that I have ample opportunities and a not-so-subtle excuse to wear my summer dresses. And, of course, to go buy some more. However, I’m always so distraught to rediscover that the majority of my lovely summer-wear lacks any pockets. I’m a pocket girl, and I can’t imagine not being able to slip my phone, keys, chapstick, and/or wallet into my pockets and run out the door. 
A purse/bag has its place, but 1) I like knowing that my most important items are closest to me, and that 2) I don’t need a purse to accompany me everywhere I go. For instance, I’m a college student, and that means I carry a heavy backpack around. I often leave my backpack in study rooms, classrooms, and other places for a while to go get some campus food, visit the computer lab, etc. Therefore, I need somewhere to store at least my phone, money, and school ID. Pockets are really a wonderful solution for this! Why don’t all dresses come with pockets? Beats me. I added my own in-seam pockets to my first summer dress of the year, and wrote a tutorial for anyone else who wants to do the same:

In-seam pockets are great for a few reasons:
  1. They are essentially invisible because they lie on the seam of the dress.
  2. The work needed to add these in is practically minimal.
  3. You are only restricted by the size of your dress as far as how large you want to make your pockets.
  4. Pockets in a dress! It’s like bacon for dessert.
I made mine big enough to very comfortably fit my cellphone and a wallet on the other side with room for small extra things. And because they are in-seam pockets, you can basically choose whatever color/pattern of fabric to line your pockets with, because they will rarely be seen. I still decided on a muted, white fabric so that no attention is drawn to the insides of my pockets just in case....

03 April 2012

Tutorial: Using Remove Background in Word 2010

I absolutely love the look of a sharply-contrasted black and white photo.  There's something about the juxtaposition involved with creating such a distinct picture while somehow leaving a sort of subtlety from the absence of color.
It's fascinating to me.  Do you enjoy this too?

I also love that by changing this particular photo to purely black and white, the Captain America mask that my fiance was sporting was magically transformed into a seemingly awesome retro pilot mask.  Do you see that or is it just me? 

When I discovered that with Word 2010 comes an additional feature for picture manipulation entitled "Remove Background", I immediately saw endless possibilities for using this. 

NOTE:  Many graphics programs come with a similar feature (often more than one) that allows the user to remove the background in similar ways to those described here.  My intent in this tutorial is simply to describe how the Remove Background feature may be utilized in Word either for those who are not as familiar with or do not have access to graphics programs, or for anyone who is merely interested in learning how to use Word to more of its full capacity. 


17 March 2012

Tutorial: Blocking Acrylic Yarn

I work with Acrylic yarn a lot.  And for some reason, I feel the need to justify this to you.  I'll just say that Acrylic lends itself well to the type of projects I tend to make (e.g. 8-bit game crochet, miscellaneous items that need to be durable, etc.).  Furthermore, I rarely ever make any sort of garment, thereby making it not economically nor practically favorable to work with cellulose or natural fibers.  Lastly, there's that small part of my 12-year-old self that sort of loves the squeaky, grossly-colored variegated yarns of mismatched and puke-styled purples and greens and says I couldn't ever possibly let go of acrylic yarns.

I've almost finished a knitting project made entirely of acrylic yarn.  Honestly, I make many things without finishing them properly and I normally regret not putting in that little bit of extra time to make it look more professional.  This time, I'm doing it right; I'm finishing my knitted project off by blocking each individual square, and I am sharing the tutorial with you.

Everyone has a slightly different method they prefer for blocking yarn.  In fact, some people will argue with you that blocking acrylic yarn should NEVER be done.  But, I believe in lightly blocking acrylic.  Keep in mind that your blocking will be permanent.  I've tried using steam before, and I find that with the yarn I use (most often Red Heart, and Loops & Threads Impeccable), this ends up making the yarn really flat, shiny, and scratchy.  Also, you can use this method for blocking other types of materials too!

Here is my method for how to Block Acrylic Yarn:

28 February 2012

The Downfall of Cubicle Walls

You know what they say about cubicle partition walls......
     [Do they actually say something about cubicle partition walls?]

Well I certainly wish there was some cliched, overused aphorism about them.
        Because maybe then you would have considered that at least some partial truth must lie in the phrase.
              And you would perhaps have reconsidered your actions.
           Or likely just whispered less audibly
                                                                          about the girl adjacent to your cubicle.
Because there's this thing about the brain being wired to hear its own name even amidst the densest droning of sound. 
              Ergo, you can be sure that she'll have heard you.
                             So feel free to share all of the judgmental things you can think of about her.

appreciate    it.

13 February 2012

Sweatshirt to Baby Valentine's Shirt Refashion.

I'm not really into Valentine's day; call me the Valentine's Scrooge.  Actually, please don't.  There's something about it that has always felt so forced to me.  This seemingly arbitrary day that dictates when we should show an excess amount of love to those we care about most.  It's always made me feel silly...As if my love to you on the 14th should somehow manifest itself in ways that are more obvious and complete than at any other day of the year.  That's not to say that there aren't people who celebrate Valentine's day in a very personal, discrete manner.  Ultimately, I think that's all that really matters: what does it mean to you?  To me, it represents an absurd amount of artificial gifting, and almost necessary tokens of affection that it creates not a day of appreciation and love, but of expectations and anxiety.  I know.  I sound like I've been let down on Valentine's day, or dumped, or single and heartbroken for them all, or just really loveless.  But I haven't, and I'm not.  I just see people passing by me every year rushing to find chocolates or roses or even a more specialized, personal gift that will tell that special someone they mean the world to them.  And it made me realize that it seems almost impossible for a day to try to encompass so much emotion and meaning.  Because, in my eyes, it's hard to even fit all of that love and compassion into one year, let alone one day.  Which perhaps makes me more sappy than someone who celebrates Valentine's day with real vigor.  I think that every day in some way should be a kudos to love: because truly, is there anything meaningful without?


13 January 2012

Compilation of Gifts and Resolutions.

I don't know what it is about being busy, but it seems as though the more obligations we have, the more we are able to somehow juggle and squeeze other things into our lives as well.  This is so true for me; with each increasingly difficult semester I find that I'm taking on more and more projects and tending to work longer week hours.  It amazes me how many things we can accomplish when we're presented the opportunity to do so,  especially when these things are necessary.  

I'm also kind of embarrassed at how exceedingly well the artificially-imposed new slate gimmick works for me at the beginning of the year.  Logically, I understand that the new year is really nothing but a mostly-arbitrary marking of the passage of time, but for some reason I really do feel like I can make important changes and implement all of the pieces I associate with the person I want to be.  Aside from the usual things I convince myself I'll change this year such as reading out of all of my textbooks before I go to class, or becoming someone who actually enjoys distance running instead of just sprinting for 10 meters, or thinking in SI units...I've resolved to begin making my Christmas gifts early this year.  It's really ridiculous how I tend to wait until the couple of weeks before Christmas, and somehow I'm always shocked when it arrives in December, as if I didn't have 12 months to prepare.  I hate the feeling of obligatory gift-buying because I know I won't have time to come up with something good enough.  Which is why this year, I've already mentally mapped out most people's presents, and I've started on many of them.  Making things for people always makes me really happy because I often have trouble thoroughly conveying to people how much they mean to me and I feel like by giving them something personal I can express this more completely through the gesture with (likely) a combination of awkward and silly words that I might stumble through and smile cheesily after. 

Because I've been making things for probably some of the only people that read this blog, I can't share fully what I'm working on.  Therefore, I'm going to give a couple of sneak-peeks (I feel like I'm presenting some sort of movie to you).

The first one is what has consumed my time knitting on the train most days.  Remember my shoebox knitting method that I came up with to conserve space when on UTA Trax?  I've used this for every single one of these blocks below.  Clearly, these still have to be blocked so that they are all square, but I'm waiting on finishing about 5 more of these colored blocks. 

This next one represents me loving the look of entrelac (a faux woven pattern).  I won't tell you exactly what I'm making, but I had a couple of specific people in mind as I've been making this pattern and have decided to create it for both of them...perhaps even more than just these 2.  Also, I love this yarn. 

Finally, I have been making these fabric envelopes to send my Christmas thank-you cards in.  The basic assembly is from the awesome pattern from here by Sew Mama Sew.  Does this mean I get an extension on sending thank-you notes?  I hope so.  I'm so awful....
I'm actually planning on sending these out in the mail as a real envelope.  What do you think?  Will they send?  Will they be returned to me?  I'm thinking of ironing the stamp on as well as the address.  I seem to recall an episode where Mythbusters sent a coconut into the realm of the US Postal Service and it made it to the desired address.  Fabric envelopes can't be more bizarre than that...right? (side note:  I just spelled bizarre wrong twice...I do not remember ever learning the spelling of this word in public school) 
Well, I guess I'll find out soon.  I'll keep you posted!  Ha ha.  Get it?  This is a suitable joke to leave on.