#tbt- This I Believe

Backspace

By: Kristin Sorenson, 2009

“I believe that everything happens for a reason…” I started to type.

“No, too cliché” I thought to myself as I pressed the backspace key.  “I believe in shoes because they are diverse, just like people.”  “Nah,” I decided after a feeble attempt, “that’s not going to work for me either.”  I once again made use of the rectangular button in the upper right-hand corner of my keyboard.  “Okay,” I thought, “this is going nowhere.”  I stared at the now blank page for well over a minute, and then began again.  This attempt wielded nothing spectacular either.  I slammed my finger on the backspace key.  The result of this action produced a clean slate, a fresh start.  “I can’t think of what to write about!” I chided myself.  Eventually, after practically wearing out the poor plastic button, I got an idea.  “I believe in the backspace key,” I confidently typed.

Writing isn’t easy for me, and I usually have to employ my backspace key and make it work full-time.  Its job is to undo whatever I had done originally.  It plays a crucial role in my writing process; it’s important.  I believe that the backspace key is also present in my everyday life.  It’s there for me whenever I may say or do something that’s wrong or out of character.  It’s there when I snap at my mother after she’s told me to do some trivial chore for the umpteenth time.  It’s there in my band exams when I completely flub my chromatic scale, but the director lets me do it again.  It’s there when I accidentally blurt out the fact that I’m not too crazy about my friend’s new earrings.  On occasions such as these, my friend the backspace key is there, in the form of an apology or a second chance.  I believe that the backspace key is there when I need to do something over again, to make it right.  It’s one of those simple things in life that nobody would ever think of, but it’s there, and it makes a difference.  This, in the backspace key, do I believe.

Wino

Ah, to write again! I know I’ve taken quite the blogging hiatus, so I thought I’d pick it up again. I’ve actually been transferring my writing energy to two new projects- one, a wine tasting blog for my Geography of Wine course at Virginia Tech, and two, my experience teaching Spanish at a local elementary school. While I have yet to publish my Spanish thoughts and materials (I hope to in the near future), I do have the wine blog up and running! Check it out hereWhile I have virtually no wine tasting (or wine writing, for that matter) experience, here’s my attempt at getting some. I go to weekly wine tastings for class, and am learning to open my palate and put my senses to good use. Who knew you could taste so much in wine? 

 

Cheers!

DIY Greek Letter Sweatshirt Tutorial

Hey ladies! Have you ever wanted more Greek letters, but just don’t care to spend the big bucks for professionally-made ones? If you’re a DIY girl or even just up for a fun, crafty challenge, make your own! They’re 100% customizable,  and only a fraction of the cost you would spend to order them. I make my own for fun, and here’s my how-to. Happy crafting!

DIY Greek Letter Sweatshirt

Supplies:

  • Sweatshirt
  • Fabric
  • Sewing machine
  • Thread in coordinating colors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Fray Check
  • Heat ‘n Bond- Ultrahold
  • (Firm Fusible Interfacing-optional)
  • Existing letters to copy to make stencils

supplies thumbnail

I bought my fabric from Hobby Lobby and got 1/18th of a yard. (Weird number, but it’s  cheap and will make about 5 pairs of letters! Each of my cuts cost between $0.63 and $0.99.)

The sweatshirt I used for this project is a Hanes comfort sweatshirt from Walmart- $5!

Fray Check costs roughly $2.99, Heat ‘n Bond $1.49, and the thicker fusible interfacing I bought was $7.99, but I used a 40% off coupon to bring the price down. With the exception of the sweatshirt, all of the materials can be used to make 5 or 6 pairs of letters!

Step 1:

make stencils

Take a pair of existing letters and scan then into your computer. Then re-size and scale them. I made mine 5″ for the sweatshirt. Be sure to make two copies of each, so you have stencils both the front and back fabrics.

Step 2:

Print and cut out your new letter stencils. Make sure that your first set is the entire letter, and the second cuts out the border and is just the printed fabric. I’ve always used plain white paper for this, but you can trace them onto cardstock or stencil plastic for a more lasting stencil. You should have six letters.

 

Step 3:

heat and bond letters

Arrange your letters on the Heat ‘n Bond to measure how much fabric you’ll use.

Note: For my sweatshirts, I like to use a firmer fusible interfacing so that my letters are nice and stiff and not flimsy. This is personal preference- you can use the Heat ‘n Bond just fine for this step as well!) The placement of these letters on your solid background isn’t important. Be resourceful with your materials!

Step 4-5:

IMG_2466 iron fabric

Cut your solid (back) and print (front) fabric rectangles to fit the size of the Heat n’ Bond you measured in Step 3. Then iron on your fabrics to the raw side of your Heat n’ Bond.

Step 6:

IMG_2464

Bring those letter stencils back and lay them on your newly-fusible fabric! You’ll want to pin and cut these bad boys out.

delta detailing

Note: For small details like the inside of the small Delta, I found that using a nail scissors works well for tiny cuts.

match fabric and cut out letters

Also, if you’re using a patterned fabric like chevron, make sure all of your letters follow the pattern consistently. Here, I had to use another part of my fabric to match the Delta with the other letters.

Step 7:

Repeat steps 3-6 with your background fabric using the larger letter stencils.

Step 8:

Once you’re finished, go ahead and iron the patterned letters to the background letters. You can then place them on your sweatshirt and iron it all down!

Tip: Place a thin cloth over of your letters as you iron, to avoid any iron marks on your sweatshirt. Make sure they’re good and stuck before you move on to sewing!

Step 9:

about to sew

 

After your letters are neatly ironed on, it’s time to take the sweatshirt to the sewing machine. Make sure you choose coordinating thread. Here, I have navy for my outside border and a magenta for my inside border. I like to mix it up, but usually professionally-done ones use the same color thread for the whole letter.

Step 10:

half sewn delta

I like to use a small zig-zag stitch when sewing these. I’ve used larger stitches in the past, like the professional ones, but I tried a smaller stitch this round and was really pleased with the outcome. Up to you! Stitch all the way around the outside borders of the letters.

Step 11:

sewing letters sewn delta

Don’t forget to sew the insides (that tiny Delta opening!) as well.

Step 12:

photo (11)

 

Cut off any hanging threads when you’re done. To finalize, border all of the letter edges- both inside and out- with Fray Check. Don’t worry- it dries clear.

And you’re done! One set of beautiful homemade letters for you or your sister. These make great Big/Little gifts. Total make time runs about three hours a set, so if you’ve got the time (Christmas break is great for projects) and you’d like to get your craft on, try making your own letters!

photo (12)

 

Happy crafting!

Ps- if you’d like to see more of my own crafts for my littles, check out my Pinterest page!

Only slightly browned

Twelve days ago already (can you believe it?) I  gave my Ignite presentation on Mozilla Popcorn Maker. I have to say, it went pretty smoothly! I’m glad I practiced as much as I did, because it definitely would’ve been a burnt mess had I not. Here’s a little self-reflection on my 5 minutes of speech:

1. Ditch the podium. I felt I would give off a more approachable, perhaps convincing vibe if I didn’t coop myself behind the podium in the corner of the room. Instead, I rebelled and shaved off a split two seconds at the beginning of my presentation by sauntering to the other side of the big screen during my first slide.

Pros: More room to move around, less cramped space, better pointing ability.

Cons: Ok, so since I didn’t practice it dynamically, I may’ve spoken too much to the giant screen instead of my audience on occasion. Also, my hands may or may not have been shaking. Was that strategic or nervous pacing? One may never know.

2. Talkingatfiftymilesaminute. This is the inevitable plight of Ignite presentations. I’m a super speeder talker naturally (and I hate it because nothing ever comes out clearly and I sound stupid) so the Ignite format was both comfortable and scary for me.

Pros: I’m used to talking that fast. Plus, how else are you going to fit ALL that pertinent info into just five minutes?

Cons: Speedy, forced, sometimes unintelligible speech. Also, when I got really excited and talked even faster than normal, I advanced my slides prematurely and had awkward pauses here and there- like just before my video that didn’t play was supposed to start…

3. No video! I had an excellent clip of myself puenting, or bridge jumping embedded in my speech, but it refused to cooperate.

Pros: 15 seconds of free, only half-planned blabber. (Or is that a con?) I think I gave a hap-hazard description of what puenting is and why I was doing it, which fortunately brought me to my next slide just in the nick of time. Phew!

Cons: See pros.

4. When seconds feel like hours… When I practiced, I had my ending *perfently* timed. I’m talking voice-commanded ending slide. But, alas. #2 and probably a bit of #4 got in the way and played ever-so-slightly with my timing, and I ended my speech at a fearful 3 or 4 seconds too early.

Pros: “Finally, she’s done rambling…”

Cons: That anxious feeling as you use your closing line just a little too soon and walk back to your seat, praying, waiting, hoping that your final “The End’ screen actually pops up…

So it did, thankfully. And then it was all over! What a feeling of relief and accomplishment. I’d definitely recommend it. I had a lot of fun! I kind of wish we had to do an Ignite presentation when I took Public Speaking, but I’m glad I got the chance to do so here.

Phew! Now off to make some actual popcorn.

 

 

 

Pop! Goes the Presentation

It’s Ignite presentation day. Who’s nervous with me?

In case you’re unfamiliar with Ignite, it’s a rapid-fire presentation technique. Presenters have exactly 5 minutes to give a quick talk on any subject they want. They have a PowerPoint with 20 slides, each timed for 15 seconds. Once they start, they’re off.

My talk today deals with the trials and tribulations of making popcorn…digital popcorn in the form of online videos and interactive additives, that is. I wrote an analytical essay about the (side note- WordPress is insisting that I am misspelling “analytical.” What?) user interface of Mozilla Popcorn Maker, a web-based video re-mixer. This will be published via Google Sites later in the week, so stay tuned for that!

Back to the presentation. It’s in T-30mns…

I’ve already subjected classmates and roommates to my sarcastic ramblings about this platform, worried quiet library patrons with my vicious whispering to the computer, and have psyched myself out. What if I forget something important like what this thing actually does? If my video of me jumping off a bridge doesn’t play, then that’ll call for some interesting improv. What if my not-so-friendly but oh-so-familiar vices Like, So, and Um decide to crash the party? They’re like, so not invited.

But I digress. It’s all nervous jitters. I’m excited! And presenting near the end. The wait just might kill me. If you see me shaking, I blame it on the Caramel Chai tea- my poison of choice.

!!! Over and out.

The Setup

This next blog post is brought to you with inspiration from The Setup. Here’s mine!

Who are you, and what do you do?

I am Kristin Sorenson. Right now I’m a student at Virginia Tech, reluctantly graduating in December 2014. I like studying Spanish, communication, social media, and being crafty. I love traveling, and really miss Ecuador.

What hardware do you use?

My main hardware squeeze is my Fujitsu laptop. Clunky, not cute, designed for engineers- and I love it. It’s not sleek and I’m not a fan of making every day a ruck march with this 8lb brick, but it serves me well.

My iPhone- for better or for worse- is like an 11th finger. It’s probably my biggest distraction. It likes to freeze and do mean things to make me mad, so although we spend lots of time together, it’s a love/hate.

I’m a big fan of all things old-fashioned. My notebook and planner follow me everywhere. There’s just something about writing tasks and check boxes, taking (often illegible) notes by hand, and putting ink on paper that I just can’t shake. I don’t like using online calendars or my phone to keep track of things. I have to write it down, and see it on paper, preferably with pretty colors involved.

My handwriting changes according to the utensil I’m using. Pilot ink pens produce effortlessly sprawling scribbles , while Papermate ink pens  make my handwriting stiff, print-like, and forced. I enjoy writing in fine-tip Sharpies the most.

Sticky notes also hold a special place in my heart.

And what software?

Call me crazy, but Microsoft Word is my go-to. I think it’s a comfort thing. I’m just so used to it. It’s the program with which I’m most familiar, and it’s so basic that I can accomplish most of what I need in there.

I have ventured into Google Docs and do store a lot of information and in-progress work there as well. It’s my preferred method of sharing.

I am in love with Twitter and check it incessantly. Whether it’s my personal page or the page of the toy store I’m working for, I’m checking trends and news constantly. I’m always looking for ways to connect.

Also, Gmail. Gmail, Gmail, and more Gmail.

What would be your dream setup?

My dream setup would be a big wooden desk in a mid-sized room, with big glass windows looking out into the mountains (preferably the Andes, Alps, or Rockies), with a vanilla candle, a hot cup of green tea, my painting of Quito, Ecuador, some bookshelves with my favorites, my clunky Fujitsu, a pretty notebook, and  cups full of fun pens.