Friday, February 5, 2016

Glaciers!


What did I know about glaciers the other day? Basically nothing. What do I know about glaciers today? Still basically nothing, but I do know that I love kids! At the middle school after school program we take turns leading lessons and on Monday we had a grad student from the college do a lesson on glaciers. Can I just take a second and emphasize that he was a grad student. That means he is fairly smart on the topic... I on the other hand am no longer a science major for several reasons, one being I am not "fairly smart" on the topic. 

He used words like cirques, crevasses, spurs, and way more words that I could not find on a simple google search {probably because I was spelling them wrong, which is another reason I changed my major}. The kids on the other hand were totally engaged and knew what he was talking about for the most part, or they are really good at guessing, but I'm guessing its the prior. 

When it came to the time when they got to use the water table, I was excited! Not because of science either... it was because I got to play in the sand! It was fun to watch the kids interact in trying to all fit around the table and all play in the sand without making too much of a mess, which still ended in me vacuuming gallons of sand off the floor. 

While cleaning up, the grad student and I got to chatting about how it went and such and I mentioned that one student who is an only child is one of the worst when it comes to sharing and how another student, who is a middle child, is great at compromising and helping others get along. I didn't think much of it, but he suddenly started questioning me about it. He had not seen any of the students mannerisms like I had. He made some comment about how that's how he hadn't noticed and that he wasn't like me and the other staff who are all going into education. 

It was a revelation for me, a kind of silly one, but a revelation nonetheless. I realized that there were a lot of things that I am not good at. Like at all. Then, there are things that I am good at, even if I don't think so. I am learning and growing as are people like him. We are all learning, different things and in different ways. We are all different people with different goals and different passions. While we are so different, we compliment each other. If I were like him, the kids would have been bouncing off the walls and not learning. If he were like me, the kids would not have learning anything about glaciers, other than they are made of ice/water/snow. 

I am not good at a lot of different things and I probably will never be good at many of these things. Other things I will learn along the way and be able to do. Either way, we are all unique and we can increase our impact on others when we join with others along the way!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

#adventurestheword


As you may have read before, this year I decided to pick a word to focus on in 2016. While it is strange to think that I've been working on this idea for over half of this first month. I wanted to come up with an awesome hashtag that I could use for all of my adventurous things. Now before you go and judge my posts, just keep reading. My adventures aren't necessarily huge adventures, but rather calling them adventures puts me in a different mindset. A better one really. It seems silly to say that, but it makes me feel better about the things that I am doing in this current season of life. It also is to help push myself to try new things or old things that I may not have enjoyed before or had a very good attitude towards. I would love to see all of your adventures in 2016, so please use the tag! 2016 is going to be a spectacular year and joy is always increased when shared with others, so share away!

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015

When on a run the other day, I couldn't help but stop thinking about this past year. My first thoughts consisted of all of the things that I didn't accomplish. How I didn't run the 400 miles that I had said I wanted to, or how I didn't help the middle school children as much as I could've, or how I didn't finish reading the Bible, or how I didn't blog as much as I wished I would've, and the list goes on and on and on. I didn't do everything that I wished I would've, but there were a ton of things that I did that I never had done before! So here's a list - in chronological order.

1. Move off campus!
2. Won 3rd place in a Spoons tournament
3. Toured Nebraska Educational Television and took a picture in front of the green screen!
4. Hike Harney Peak {the highest point in South Dakota}
5. Hiked all of the hills in Thermop with the Leonhardts
6. Went wedding dress shopping with my best friend
7. Won over-the-hill sheep showmanship at county fair
8. Be a maid of honor in my best friend's wedding!
9. Make a wedding cake at the same wedding as above {NEVER again!}
10. Saw my favorite cousin that lives in South Africa
11. Went to a Josh Turner concert
12. Went dancing people watching at The Cowboy in Laramie
13. Stopped in Hawk Springs at the park
14. Helped re-do a house, which we are now living in!
15. Watched a lunar eclipse
16. Learned how to mud and tape!
17. Dressed up for Halloween {for the first time since like 5th grade, which should count as a first}
18. Learned how to crochet
19. Co-hosted a fancy Christmas Party!
20. Was a plus 1 at a wedding {even if it was with my roommate!}
21. Went to Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, SD

I just started listing things randomly, but how perfect for there to be 21 items from the first half of my 21st year! While this year was awesome at these points, there were certainly times that I wish that I would've done things differently, but the past is in the past and the future is here!

I've put a lot of thought into what I want for this next year and I've come down to one word.. ADVENTURE! I want to treat every day like an adventure. I mean there is so much potential for adventure in each day, but only if we treat it like that. So here is to the next year of adventures! That and 500 miles of running!

Happy 2016! 
Jenn

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Teaching is harder than I thought...

Go in to teaching, it will be easy. I mean how hard can it really be? For reals though, who thought it would be this hard. I'm not even a real teacher yet and I suddenly see how hard it is. Like super hard. I've been working at the local middle school after school program for about a semester now and wow... I mean I'm like a basic white girl and I can't even! 


We recently did a "Stitching for Starters" class and man did it take me back to when I first started learning. I felt like I'm sure my own mother did when she was teaching me. I don't know how many times I had to tell the students to slow down or the unfortunate times when I had to tell them that it was so bad that we were going to have to seam rip... That was one of the hardest parts, telling them that their project was not good enough and they needed to redo it.

It was a long process... a hard process... a learning process and not just for them. I think that I actually learned more than they did and I'm still not sure how well I could do at teaching a bunch of middle school children how to sew all by myself! For reals though... I just can't even!


There were so many points where I just wanted to do it for them because I saw how much they were struggling. I could do it faster and it would look better even if I didn't take my time! While that thought crossed my mind several times, it always came back to the fact that they were all still learning. They were just learning how to use a sewing machine, how to hand sew, how to cut fabric, how to make something out of fabric! They are still just learning just like I am still just learning how to be an okay and maybe even good teacher.


We are all learning together. We are all learning how to sew and how to teach sewing. How to be the student and how to be the teacher. The only reason I am as good as I am at sewing is because I've screwed my projects up more times than I will ever care to admit. The only reason I'm faster at ripping out seams is because I've messed up more seams and have had to tear out that many more. I have to remember that each time I go to work and each time I try and plan a lesson. They are just learning, just like I had to and if I'm lucky someday they will become even better than me.


On a side note... when we were cutting fabric we were a bit worried about the children cutting their fingers on the rotary cutters but the only person that cut themselves was my boss... the one who has been sewing since she was a small child. So maybe they are already better than we are...

Till next time...
Jenn

Monday, November 30, 2015

Class Projects Completed {finally!}

As I promised, here are pictures of all of my projects from my Current Trends in Design class that I took this semester. Instead of spreading out all of my hours evenly across the entire semester, I procrastinated it and spent entire days in the sewing lab jamming out to music and ripping out way more seams than I care to admit.

My one none-sewing project was an arm knitting scarf. I taught my roommate how to arm knit on a snowy winter Saturday and clearly had to make one for myself as well. I have made a few before, but this video is great to help remember how to make it. If it takes you more than an hour, don't feel bad because it took me longer. 

My first actual sewing project was the See Kate Sew Zippy Top, without the zipper though because I wasn't feeling it. I should've used a more flowy type of fabric and I might like it more, but I learned that sizing things are difficult to do. 

The next project I made was the See Kate Sew City Girl Frock. The original pattern had sash to tie around the waist, but I didn't cut it out first so it wasn't long enough.... That's what I get for not reading the instructions like I should. I didn't spend enough time making the belt look right, but trust me when I say that it does look really good. I got so many compliments when I wore it to church last week and they couldn't believe that made it myself. It was a proud moment. 

I was so excited after I made the City Girl Frock that I decided to make a City Girl Top too! It looks best with skinny jeans and boots, but I clearly wasn't changing my pants just to take the picture so you will just have to make one yourself to see proof! 

And finally, I found some super cheap fabric at Wal-Mart.... I really just shouldn't be allowed to walk past any fabric, but if I did I wouldn't have a new scarf! I've made several of these scarves before and I don't have a how-to or anything yet, but maybe sometime in the future I will... or not. 

Till next time...
Jenn


Using PDF Sewing Patterns

In recent years there has been an influx in the number of PDF sewing patterns available online. Many of these come from bloggers, but even big pattern businesses such as Simplicity are selling them. While some say that the hassle of printing and putting together is not worth the money you save, but as a cheap college student, I say that is is totally worth it! Not only is it cheaper, if I cut the wrong size, spill tea on it, or ruin the pattern in any way, I can reprint it! Most companies will just send you the PDF and you can print it as many times as you want {as long as you are not using them for commercial use or you are not to reproduce, copy or share them with friends}. Simplicity only allows you to print the pattern three times within a year and you are not allowed to download the pattern, which is a bit of a bummer.

I really enjoy PDF patterns because at this current time I don't have to pay for the printing {and by not paying I mean I payed thousands of dollars to the college in order to have this right}, I can toss the pattern in the trash after I'm done using it instead of trying to fold it back up and put it back into the package {which always ends in me loosing at least one of the pieces and tearing the others}, and I can re-print at any time if I want to make a bigger size or if I decide I want to make another one years later! For me, the time commitment of printing and putting the pattern together is totally worth it.


When it comes to printing the pattern, it can be a bit difficult, especially the first time. My first time I printed one off, it took me forever because I wanted to make sure it was right. The easiest way to do this is to print the page with the test square {pictured above}. Normally you need to have the printer settings at "print to actual size" or "scale 100%", but I have had a case or two where that wasn't quite right. It is so very important to check this or you will have too big or worse, too small of a clothing article. Make sure to also turn off the "two-sided printing" option, or else it doesn't work at all and you end up having to print every other page again and that is not fun at all {trust me, experience is talking here!}.


When putting the pattern together, I don't worry about trimming the edges, but rather just fold the edge that goes on top and leave the bottom edge. Some people use double stick tape or glue, but I just use regular tape. It's cheap and fast. I've been lucky with the patterns that I've used and not had to trace any of the patterns, but some PDFs have overlapping pattern pieces {pictured above} that make it impossible to not trace. If you do run into these kinds of patterns, I recommend using parchment paper as it is a bit cheaper. Also, if you are planning on keeping the pattern and not having to print it off again, I would trace it as it is much easier to keep.

Sizing can be a bit difficult, at least for me it is. I always look at the comments from other people who have used the pattern to see if it runs big or small, but I always seem to make it bigger than I need and end up taking it in, but that's been the way for me since I first starting sewing in 4-H when I was nine and I don't think that it will change any time soon.

Once the pattern is cut out and you are ready to start cutting, stop and read the directions. I have a really bad habit of thinking that I know what I'm doing and then screwing something up, like not cutting the really long piece first and not having enough fabric. Yes, yes that did happen and I'm not proud of that moment, but that's why I'm saying reading directions is so important. I know most of these things are very basic, but making sure that you are using the right seem allowance that the pattern calls for is so important. Really it just comes down to reading directions and not being a guy about the whole thing, which I'm sure anyone who is reading this is already much better than I am.

One last piece of advice... make sure that it is something you would wear before making it. I know this is also a strange piece of advice, but is so easy to see a pattern and thing how cute it is on the model and not think of what it would look like on you. Again, I will admit that I've done this before... more than once and the back of my closet is proof. Think before you sew or have a friend who is the same size that you can give it to if you don't like it!



Come back soon to see what PDF pattern creations I've been making this semester {the picture above is one of them in the works!}


Till next time...
Jenn

Friday, November 6, 2015

Talk about clumsy...

There have always been times in my life that I'm super clumsy. Most of the time I'm pretty athletic, but lately that is not so. It is kind of amazing that I haven't gone to the hospital at least once in the past few weeks. I hope this list makes you laugh even just a bit, because I will admit that my sides hurt after all of these because I clearly was laughing for hours about them! Hahaha!

1. That time I hit my head on the electrical box door... I thought I was going to be funny and act like I was throwing my roommates laundry up in the air and when I jumped up I hit my head on the electrical box door. I had a headache for the rest of the day and I didn't even want to have to brush my hair at that point.
2. That time I fell off the mountain of boxes in the kitchen... I again thought I was being funny standing on a huge pile of boxes in the kitchen from moving and the boxes slid out from under me and I fell on my butt. One of my roommates was outside and she heard me fall and came in and I was still on the ground laughing. I couldn't get up for a good five minutes {not exaggerating either!}
3. That time I went dancing and fell when we weren't even doing a lift... I'm not a good dancer. Like, not good at all, but I go because it is normally kind of fun. I was spinning and then kept spinning and was suppose to spin the other direction and somehow ended up tripping over my own feet and falling on the ground. This is why guys don't dance with me...
4. That time I tripped up the stairs... Oh, wait, that's nearly every day and sometimes even several times in one day.

Maybe all of this clumsiness will get out of my system someday, but then again maybe it won't. It is just strange because I'm perfectly fine when I'm playing sports, but when it comes to every day life I just can't seem to put one foot in front of the other without falling on the ground!

Have you been experiencing any crazy bouts of clumsiness lately too?

Till next time... 
Jenn