Friday, February 25


I am applying for a travel blogging internship this summer, and for my application video I decided to make a music video (a spoof on black & yellow by Wiz Khalifa) to show them my editing skillz.

My application page is here:

A full version of the video is on my youtube channel here:

Production crew: Sug Cain, Kate Cain, and Billy Mays. They are awesome and I owe them huge for their help!

Thursday, February 24

tips & tricks: short cuts that aren't really short cuts

When you teach yourself a new art, you often miss out on the tips and tricks that you would get from a teacher. So, for those of you teaching yourself to sew solely by written or video tutorials, I am going to start posting tips and tricks that I've learned along the way.

I started sewing when I was 14. As most do, my first experiences were creating pillows, pajama pants, and draw-string back packs. My mom bought me some patterns for simple pants, shirts, and dresses. I would pour over the instructions, following every word. Always pinning, ironing, and basting when I supposed to.

Lolz, not really. Okay, not at all.

I think I went mostly by the instructions, but I've always been a bit lazy, which made me reluctant to spend as much time as I should on the small details. Then, once I had more experience, I basically strayed away from patterns all together. I often get inspired by clothes that I like to make a slightly different version of my own. Or if there is a style that I want, but can't find in stores, I'll usually just picture it in my head and then get to work.

So when I say I don't use patterns, I don't just mean store-bought patterns. I don't use patterns at all. I don't make my own. I don't even really plan. I just pick a place to start and then keep going until it is done. Sometimes my pieces come out awesome and sometimes they suck. Sometimes they end up completely different where they started, for better or worse. I don't really like patterns, and making things up as I go is more interesting to me.

That being said, it should be obvious that I have made my fair share of mistakes in sewing. Most of them were due to trying to save time. If there is one tip I can give to you it is this:

Trying to save time DOES NOT EVER SAVE TIME.


I can't tell you how many time I've skipped steps to save time, and then realized I made a dumb mistake that I had to undo and then redo the proper way.

  • Use pins. I know, they are annoying. It takes forever to pin something and then have to unpin it later. They prick your fingers and get stuck in the carpet and they suck, but just do it. Your seams will come out neater and your whole piece will come together better overall.
  • Baste. Baste pleats, hems, large continuous sections, zippers, gathered sections, whatever. If it is not a plain, straight stitch, baste it. Especially gathered sections. For real.
  • Iron. Yep. Iron folded sections. Iron pleats, iron seams, iron waist bands and hems. This will make sewing much easier and will make the final piece look better crafted in general. NOTE: Pay attention to the setting on your iron. Don't use a hot, steam setting meant for cotton on a satin material. Be smart. Or look it up.
  • Measure. Yeah, it seems silly to mention it, but I tend to just start cutting without really measuring anything. Eye-balling it doesn't always work.
  • Try it out as you go. If you are making clothes, try them on throughout the process. That way, if something doesn't fit the way it is supposed to, you can adjust it before it is too late. If you are making a bag or a purse, make sure the pockets/straps/whatevers are the right size and are placed properly.
Those are my general tips for beginners. I'll start posting more specific tips with more details on things such as bag straps, hems, waist bands, zippers, and so forth in the future.

Tuesday, February 15

Get it?

I kind of have this obsession with home-made halloween costumes.

Freshman Year - Old scifi movie robot.

Sophomore Year - Link from the Zelda series

Junior Year - Jessie from Team Rocket (not pictured because it was kind of ugly)

Senior Year - Steampunk Zatana

This past year for Halloween I finally did a costume I've been wanting to do for a while: a lion.
This costume was very hit or miss, as it is a play off of my last name. Those who know me well loved it, but those who know me by first name only thought it was cute, but didn't get why it was supposed to be clever. Either way, I consider it a success.

I have also always wanted to wear a child's Halloween costume as it is always humorous.

I found a toddler's lion costume and performed some reconstructive surgery to make it fit.

This involved taking the elastic out of the hood so I had enough room for my twenty-something-year-old head (the easiest part).

I cut up each side and made biased tape out of ribbon to line the edges. I hammered in eyelets (I quickly learned that it is not the easiest task in the world). Then I strung it up with lace. The corset-like result allow me to easily fit the vest over my giant man-shoulders, but then fit it to my chest. As you can see, the vest stopped right at my natural waist.
I also cut and tucked the arm bands to make them look neater.

I then made a simple, short circle skirt using fabric given to me by a friend.

I took the tail that I had removed from the back of the lion vest and added it to the skirt (so there wasn't an awkward tail sticking out of my mid-back).

And viola, my lion costume was born.

Admittedly, the first two parties that I wore the costume to, I didn't have time to make the skirt, so I just wore it with jean shorts and tights, which made me look even more typical of a lazy college student. The costume went over well both ways.

What's it worth to you?

I went to Girl Talk's website today and was checking out his discography. I knew that he had produced more albums (four) than I owned (two), but I couldn't remember why I hadn't downloaded them as I had the two that I did own.

Side note: For those of you who do not know Girl Talk, he is DJ that produces long, continuous mash-ups. Since he does not own the materials that he uses, he cannot charge money for his work. If you would like to know more about this topic, see Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial.

So, I went to download the other two albums he released and found that they were not available for free download. Confused, I clicked "add to cart" to see how much the CDs cost. At this point I was given three options: mp3 format, FLAC, or CD+download. I was also given the choice of how much I would like to pay for the each type of file.

This may not be a new concept to some of you (Radiohead did it with the album In Rainbows), but I have never seen this before today. Let me just tell you: I love the idea of "Pay us however much you think it's worth." WHAT! Yes. Whereas before I would have preferred to get the albums for free, I respect this idea so much that I am willing, scratch that, want to pay for these albums.

Perhaps it is because I am no longer required to pay a certain amount that I am now willing to buy it. Perhaps it is because the artist isn't putting a value or worth on the material, and I am able to determine it's worth on my own. Perhaps it's because I can get three albums for a dollar.

Either way, I love this concept and I seriously hope that the rest of the music industry follows suit. If that is the case, I guarantee you that I will stop mooching music off of friends and start paying for it. Do you hear that, corporate america? I guarantee I will pay for it. Make it happen.