Tuesday, July 31, 2012

DIY Doctor Who "Pandorica Opens Speech" T-shirt

    Okay, let me start out by saying this is going to be long one. Lots of steps involved. Just stick with it and you'll have a really sweet t-shirt when you're done.

  • A t-shirt (if it's already the color you want it, you can skip the next two supplies)
  • Tulip or RIT fabric dye in your choice of color. I used Tulip's Custom Dye Color Kit to dye mine as close to TARDIS Blue as possible.
  • A bucket
  • Scissors
  • An X-acto knife
  • An ultra fine point Sharpie or a Sharpie pen
  • Freezer Paper. It has to be specifically freezer paper, not wax paper, not parchment paper, but freezer paper, because it's just plain paper on one side and has waxy/plastic-ey stuff on the other.
  • A ruler
  • Acrylic paint
  • A sponge brush thing or synthetic fiber brushes (the kind that feel soft, not scratchy)
  • Something to cover your work space like newspaper or trash bags
Part 1 - Dying the Shirt:
    You can skip to part 2 if you bought a shirt in the color you wanted, if not...
  1. Pre-wash your shirt to get any sizing out of it.
  2. Hang-dry, don't use any fabric softener or dryer sheets!
  3. Follow the package directions on your dye. Mine requires letting the shirt soak for about 45 minutes, so I settled in to watch Doctor Who and cut out the letters of 11's entire speech from the opening of the Pandorica, I'll explain how to do all of that in Part 2. You can use this time to decide what you want on your shirt. It can be any words/simple images you want, obviously I'm using the "Pandorica Opens Speech."
  4. Dying the shirt (also a onesie). That spatula is now dyed blue-ish and permanently "crafts only."
  5. When your shirt is done soaking, wash and dry it BY ITSELF.
This shows the shirt and the onesie after dying, washing, and drying. They're not actually that nasty gray color.

They're more like this lovely blue color. Not quite TARDIS blue, but blue nonetheless.

Part 2 - The Mock "Screen-Print"
    Traditional screen printing is expensive, time consuming, and kind of tedious. The following technique is a lot easier, and the materials can all be purchased pretty cheaply at Target/Walmart/Meijer/etc.
  1. First you need to know what you'll be stenciling on the shirt. I'm using the 11th Doctor's monologue from the episode "The Pandorica Opens." That's a LOT of text. If you're new to stenciling or using an X-acto, it might be better to start out with something simpler like the Doctor Who logo or "I (insert two hearts) DW"
  2. Once you've decided it's time to print it out. I used Microsoft Word to justify my text and adjust font sizes to give this large amount of text a more varied, interesting appearance. If you're using an image you can paste it into Word or Photoshop and adjust it to your desired size. On most home printers you won't be able to go larger than 8.5x11" without tiling it, which is definitely doable. When your text/image looks the way you want it, print it out.
  3. Tear off enough freezer paper to cover your design. Tape your design to your work surface, then tape the freezer paper SHINY SIDE DOWN on top of your design, you should be able to see it through the freezer paper.
  4. Trace your design on the freezer paper, then remove the design in case you need to use it again. Place your freezer paper on some cardboard or something else you don't mind cutting up with the X-acto. 
  5. Using caution and taking your time, cut out your design. If you're using letters, make sure to save the inside bits of the O's and A's and B's and such. Personally, I don't mind the look of having the spaces filled in. (That's my way of saying I didn't want to fuss with the inner bits of an entire paragraph of text.) Cutting my stencil took (in chunks of a few minutes to a couple hours) about 7 or 8 hours total.
      I didn't even stab myself once cutting this out.
  6. When you're (finally!) done cutting out your text/design, it's time to iron! With your iron on a low setting, put the shiny side of the freezer paper down on the fabric and iron it on gently, but making sure to secure the edges firmly to the fabric so that your paint doesn't bleed.
    My stencil positioned on the shirt. LOTS of text.
    Ironing and ironing and ironing.
  7. Now you finally get to do the stenciling! All you have to do is use an appropriately sized brush to apply paint inside your stencil. Depending on the color of your shirt and the color of your paint, you may need to allow the first layer to dry and add another.

    The stencil covered in paint. I primarily used the sponge brush to ensure that the paint was evenly applied and not brush-stroke-y.
  8. When you're done painting, gently peel up the freezer paper from your shirt.
    Be very careful to get all of the paper from the little detailed spots.
  9. If you want to make extra sure that paint isn't going anywhere, lay a towel over your design and iron over the towel for 30 seconds. 
Mirror shots FTW!

Best picture of all the text.

Happy Whovian!
I made this for an itty bitty Whovian while I was waiting on steps, taking breaks, etc.

Notes in Retrospect:
  1. Something I forgot to mention is that you should measure the area of your shirt you want to cover with the stencil and set your Word/Photoshop document to that, plus half-inch margins.
  2. NEVER try to stencil something in less than 75 point font if you value your sanity.
  3. I think I used too much black when mixing my dye, which would be why my shirt wasn't as vibrant as I had hoped.
  4. Lastly, as much as I love this shirt, I do NOT reccommend stenciling an entire monologue onto a t-shirt. It's a whole lot of work and your wrists will be very crampy.
Tada! If you did everything right, you should now have an awesome custom t-shirt! Let me know how your shirt came out. Tweet me a picture @LarraKyleen

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Dad

    You'll forgive the tardiness of this post, I guess I typed it and never actually published it. I meant to post it a few weeks ago, but it's still relevant.

    I recently saw the movie Courageous. If you haven't seen it I strongly recommend it. It's a touching story of a group of men, striving to connect with their children and become better fathers and role models. It certainly rings true in today's society. I know far to many kids my age and younger who didn't have a father who was active or even present in their lives, and it hurt them in more ways than one can number. I know so many girls who have gone looking for love with all the wrong guys, in all the wrong places, because they didn't have a dad to show them how much they are worth.
    It's no secret that my parents had a rough patch when I was growing up, and my dad didn't live with us for about a year, but I'm one of the few and the immeasurably lucky whose dad came back, and even when he was gone, he's never been absent. My parents have always fought for me and my sister, fought to give us a stable, reliable home to grow up in.
    My dad is also military, which means he's gone at least once a month for the weekend, once a year for a two-week training, and as is to be expected in a nation at war, he's been deployed a few times. Even through all of that, I can never remember a time in my life when I wasn't a priority for my dad. He's always said that his top priorities are, in order, God, Family, and Country. 
    I remember the very first time a boy broke up with me. I was 14 years old and my mom was visiting family in Idaho. He dumped me in an email after "dating" for a whopping month and a half. Naturally, I was devastated, but once again, my dad came through for me. He gave me a hug, a pint of Ben and Jerry's, and a new CD, told me he loved me, and let me feel what I was feeling. You see, that's one of the things about my dad that makes him so awesome: I have never in my life doubted that my dad loves me, believes in me, and is proud of me. He's sat through innumerable ballet recitals, choir and show choir concerts, art shows, talent shows, christmas pageants, threatened given a stern talking-to many many young men, and at the end of the day, just always been there for me. He taught me to ride a bike, shoot a gun, change a tire, and kick some butt when needed. When I drove our van into a snowy ditch my senior year of high school, it was my dad that I called in hysterics, and it was my dad that talked me down. He's always been the one guy in my life that I am 100% sure I can always count on, and I'll always be grateful for that.
    I guess, in the end, the biggest proof one can take that my daddy raised me well is that I'm confident and happy with who I am. I don't need a guy to complete me or make me happy, and my number one qualifier in a future husband is that he loves Jesus and thus will love my girls as much and as well as my Daddy loves me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Countdown to College: DIY Dorm First-Aid Kit

    Hey, folks! A couple people have been bugging me for a post of my two weeks of concert craziness. Don't worry, I'm getting to it. Still gathering photos and working on piecing it together for you. In the mean time, college is almost here, so I thought I would do a post or two on getting ready for school. It could be helpful if you're entering Freshman year and you're afraid you might forget something, or if you're an upperclassman, looking for ways to make this year even better. Anyway, without further ado, 

DIY Dorm First-Aid Kit

    First, you'll want to get a plastic container with a lid or a really sturdy cardboard box big enough to hold everything on the following list. Some of this stuff may seem strange, but pack it anyway because, in the words of my favorite "defective detective," you'll thank me later.
  • Band-aids. Okay, this is kind of obvious, but if I didn't put it on the list, someone, somewhere would forget them.
  • Neosporin or some other antibiotic ointment. The last thing you need is a gross, infected cut that your pre-med neighbor will have to drain the pus from. Do I sound like I speak from experience?
  • Pain relievers. Tylenol, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Aleve, Excedrin, Midol. Whatever your poison, pack it and at least one alternate in case you build up a tolerance. That's rare, but it happened to me in high school, so I'm always cautious. 
  • A hot pack. No, not a hot water bottle. A hot pack is usually full of rice or something and can be microwaved to relieve sore muscles. 
  • An instant ice pack. The kind you can squeeze and they get cold immediately. If you have a freezer that you can put a regular ice pack in, even better. 
  • A thermometer. Illness spreads like wildfire in dorms, and you may want to check for "flu-like symptoms" more often than you would think.
  • Alcohol wipes. Good for cleaning everything from wounds to the aforementioned thermometer.
  • Burn gel. Curling irons, George Foreman grills, and microwave burritos have one thing in common: the potential to burn the crap out of your poor little fingers.
  • Aloe Vera gel. Sunburns are no fun and should be treated ASAP. Aloe helps to speed the healing and stop the burn because, believe it or not, the burn keeps burning deeper into your skin until you cool it off with cool water/aloe etc. That's why sunburned skin feels hot even hours after you've gone inside.
  • NyQuil/DayQuil. Because sometimes you're having breakfast with the Grim Reaper and that test still has to be taken.
  • Cough drops. Because no matter how dry your throat, you don't want to be "that guy" during a lecture.
  • Benadryl. In case your allergies flare up or someone has a minor allergic reaction. NOT to be used in place of a doctor's visit in the case of an allergic reaction, but it can buy you some time and make you more comfortable.
  • TUMS. Cafeteria food takes some getting used to. Enough said.
  • Vitamin C tablets or Emergen-C. It's a good idea to take these regularly, but even if you don't, take them religiously if your roommate gets sick.
  • Biofreeze/IcyHot. For those times when you need an ice pack, but you have to go to class/work/water polo practice. Kidding. I mean, who plays water polo?
  • ACE Bandage/Equestrian wrap. Yes, that is for horses, but it also does an A+ job of dealing with twisted ankles/knees/wrists etc.
    Well, that's pretty much everything I keep in my trust first-aid kit. I hope this was helpful. Have a safe and awesome 2012-2013 school year!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

How To: Dorm Room Rice Krispie Treats

    Anyone who has ever lived in a dorm knows that one of the worst things about dorm life is seriously limited cooking options. So, for your eating pleasure, I present to you:

How To Make Rice Krispie Treats with No Tools Except a Large Bowl, a Tablespoon, and a Coffee Pot

    This is actually comically easy. So easy, in fact, I was surprised I didn't think of it before. All it takes are a few easy steps:
  1. Melt 2 TBSP of butter in your coffee pot.
  2. When the butter is completely liquified, add 2 cups of marshmallows, slowly in about 3 sections. So add one section, wait for them to melt, then add the next. Stir it every couple of minutes, you don't want it to burn to the coffee pot.
  3. While the marshmallows are melting, dump about 3 or 4 cups of rice crispies cereal into a large bowl. The amount will differ based on how gooey/crunchy you want them.
  4. Once your coffee pot is full of buttery, sugary goop, dump it into the bowl and mix it thoroughly. 
  5. Once it's all mixed you can spread it on a plate, separate it into bowls, or put the whole large bowl into your fridge for about 10 minutes until the rice krispie treats are firm.
  6. Enjoy!