Thursday, January 9, 2014

DIY: Sweater to Skirt

New year new crafts!

A couple days ago I was browsing through one of my favorite sewing/crafting blogs, and came across a simple and quick craft that transformed really any old sweater into something new, wearable and rather unexpected-- a skirt! I had expected her to tailor the big sweater or perhaps turn it into something weird like a pillow cover. I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be a cute skirt and quickly set about to make my own.

What I Made:

How I did it:

This craft is ridiculously easy-- and keep in mind I can not sew a straight line. Every time I operate a sewing machine there is a high likelihood of me accidentally breaking it. Again. 

But this tutorial is great for beginners. All you need is a sweater, some thread, and a sewing machine. 

I found my sweater at one of my favorite clothing store-- Goodwill. It was an XL but I loved the festive red and white pattern. When you look for a sweater keep in mind it needs to fit around your hips, not your waist. You might need to get a size or two bigger-- it's really easy to trim a sweater that is too big but you can't do much with a sweater that is too small. 

Sorry for the blurry photo! I was too excited to start the project ;)
Simply cut your sweater horizontally right under the arms. Once again, it's relatively easy to take off length, but you can't add length so try not to cut it too short. 

This will give you, roughly, your shirt. All that's left is to tailor it! Like I said, my sweater was an XL so it wouldn't stay on my hips. To take it in, I turned the sweater inside out, slipped it on, and pinned it in place. 

Ignore the mess! ;)

Then, I took it off and sewed along the line I safety pinned. Be sure that you sweater is inside out before you sew your new seam. 

Before I cut the excess off, I tried the skirt on again to make sure I hadn't made it too small. Once I saw it fit, I cut off the extra fabric. 

The waist didn't fit perfectly-- so I pinned the just the top of the other side and sewed it for a better fit.

Et, volia! It's really that simple. All in all, this craft took me thirty minutes or less, and that includes setting up the sewing machine, finding cardboard to cut my sweater on, cajoling my wonderful mother into helping me pin the sweater, and sewing.

And that is how you make a personalized, tailored winter skirt for only four dollars :)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2013 Book List

I read a lot of good books recently ((though I can't really call this a 2013 book list as I no longer remember the books I read in the beginning of 2013. This is more of a late 2013 list)) and half of the fun of reading an amazing book is badgering everyone you know into reading it. To date I haven't been extremely successful at this but there's a first time for everything.

The Magician by Lev Grosman

I could rant and rave about this book for hours but the end result is that you need to go out and read it. Like, now. I feel like this is a book I would have written-- it makes references to Narnia, Star Trek, LOTR, so basically this is as good as fiction gets. I can't fully explain how much I love this book-- it's interesting and an non-romanticized view on life and magic. It's like a gritty grown up story about magic where magic doesn't even come close to solving all the problems. It has a sequel (also a book that you must read) called The Magicians' King. I'm eagerly awaiting the next book which should be released this year.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green
I rarely cry at the movies. Broadchurch (go watch it) is the only tv show that has ever made me cry. But I never thought I would ever shed a tear reading a book. That is, until I read The Fault in Our Stars, a modern day take on star-crossed lovers. It's a quick read-- I started and finished it all in an emotional, tea and Kleenex filled Saturday afternoon. I was reading it on Michelle's iPad and there was a point when the iPad got tired of my tears and started flipping out, causing me to flip out thinking I damaged her iPad with my tears. It's that emotional. The movie is coming out next summer but I don't know if I want to put myself through that again. It's heartbreaking but also amazingly beautiful.


All I Ever Wanted by Kristen Higgins
This was a guilty-pleasure quick read romance book I downloaded from my library onto my nook while I was in France. I loved every page of it-- it was well written with interesting characters and made me laugh out loud more than once. That being said, if you read this and like it, just stop there. Don't try and find other books by the author. I found another book by the same author and found it to be almost identical to this one-- same premise, basically same main character, some of the same quirks, ect. However, All I Ever Wanted is a nice fluffy romance.

The Pox Party by M. t. Anderson
I've seen this cover multiple times but never took the time to read the book, until it appeared on a list of books recommended by John Green. It was definitely an interesting book-- slightly esoteric and poetic at times it told the tale of a little black boy during the Revolutionary War. The boy is being raised by a group of philosophers who want to determine whether or not African Americans had the same mental capacities as their whiter counterparts. It's heartbreaking but beautiful.

The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson
I found this book on a NPR best book 2013 list and picked it up online through my library while I was in France. It's a fun paranormal read set in London-- I read it after my trip to London so it was fun to recognize some of the things mentioned. It heavily features, surprise surprise, the tale of Jack the Ripper, but it isn't cliche or particularly expected. I can't wait to go find the sequel in my library.

Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
I'm pretty sure this book was recommended to me by a friend a while ago but I just never got around to reading it. That was a mistake, as I really enjoyed this paranormal(? more like fantasy) story. I had, once again, rented the ebook from my library, and I really enjoyed the vintage photographers that tie in heavily with the story and that appear on the pages. I can't wait for the sequel to come out this year. 

That's is! I've read some other books but I really loved these and wanted to share them so that maybe someone else can enjoy them as much as I did. 

Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Retrospection 2013

Last year I wrote a blog post looking back over 2012 and dreaming of what would happen in 2013. I'm not one for New Year's Resolutions-- my year is marked more by the academic calendar, if I did resolutions they would be August Resolutions like 'I resolve to do my physics reading every night and not just the nights I know I'll have a quiz'.

However, I think the New Year's is a great time for reflection over the past year and to write down dreams for the upcoming year. So get ready for some embedded links!

2013. I went to my first physics conference. I became obsessed with sushi. I went to my first concert. I had a blast celebrating Spring Break with friends down in New Orleans. I ended my sophomore year of college, slightly surprised that the workload of a Physics major hadn't killed me. I went on my first international mission trip, a dream of mine for many years now, spending almost a week in the beautiful country of Honduras. I wished I spoke Spanish more than just putting a Spanish accent on French words that look vaguely like they could pass as Spanish.

I started an awesome research position coding robots at my college. My cooking skills were tested by my first time living on my own. I bought a new lens for my camera ((for those who aren't obsessed with photography like me, this is a big deal)). I helped create decorations for my brother's wedding.

I started preparing for my study abroad trip. I road-tripped down to Houston with my family and got my visa while my brother and his new wife got their visas to teach in Spain. Then, on September 2nd, I boarded a plane heading for a semester in France. I don't even know how to recap my semester there. It was full of ups and downs, challenges and adventures. There were days I cursed whoever first planted the idea of studying abroad in my head, and there were days I wished I could stay in France for more than just a semester.

 I feel in love with Lyon. I met up with a friend in Dublin. I had a blast, and saw Phantom of the Opera, in the amazing city of London. I was blown away by the beautiful mountains in Annecy. I ate more ham sandwiches than I have ever eaten in my entire life. I also set a personal record eating delicious chocolate; every week I would try new flavors and I still hadn't tried them all by the time I left. I took a weekend trip to Barcelona.

As my stay drew to a close I began to realize how many little things that I would miss about France. Though I was glad to leave my little cubical of a room-- where I had, literally, zero privacy-- I was sad to say goodbye to the awesome friends I had made. The semester had been a mini-vacation, as the workload was exponentially lighter than  I was used to. However, it did have all the normal stresses of starting over at a new environment. In that respect it'll be nice to go back to Hendrix and see all the friends I've missed.

2013! Whew. It was a jam packed year. I realized many of my dreams-- my dream to study abroad, my dream to visit Ireland.

2014. With all the amazing stuff I did last year, I'm excited for 2014, even though it won't have the international flair that 2013 did.

The weekend before school starts I'm heading to my second Women in Physics conference, where I hope to present my research on robotics. I also have to prepare and take the GRE. Hopefully I'll be able to land a great summer research position-- I'm applying to some really cool places. This time next year I will be halfway through my senior year of college. D:

Thanks for reading! I hope that you had a great 2013 :)

Happy New Year!