Halloween 2012: Breaking Dawn

My friend Erkin hosted the annual chemistry Halloween bash last weekend. It was a blast and the costumes did not disappoint!

As usual, I was last minute on getting my costume ready. I’d been scheming all month, but I didn’t actually get around to buying materials for the costume until a week before the party, and I made nearly all of the costume the day of the party. Talk about a major stress case!

My finished dragon costume…

My costume was a huge hit at the party, and I even won a costume contest at the local gym for $50 in free workout classes. Score!

There were tons of other really cool costumes at the party, here are a few of my favorites:

A video game character…

Lance Armstrong (on lots of illegal substances and a ‘tour de Franzia medal’ on his neck):

A Plato / Play-doh pun costume:

Scary zombie/death costumes (I love the baby arms sticking out of Laura’s pregnant belly!):

A bunch of my French friends getting into the spirit:

Soca’s amazing costume…transformers I think?

It was an amazing party… inspiring enough for me to start making next years costume way ahead of time!

Thanks to Erkin for taking photos of costumes!
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Sew inspiring

Sometimes, the nature of graduate school leaves me with an empty feeling. I can work endlessly on a project and have little to no tangible evidence of progress. Friday night, after pissing and moaning over the week, I decided to make myself feel better. So I did what any person would do; I started sewing a dress. I like sewing because I can get a tangible finished product after a few hours.

I dug out a few yards of muslin (a lightweight, bleached, super-cheap cotton cloth –often used for pattern-making) lying in a closet, dusted off my sewing machine, and got to work.


I’m realizing that my spatial abilities are slowly decimating;  figuring out how to piece together the dress was a bit of a brain teaser for me, but at least it got my mind off of lab-stuff


Simplicity 2281

Simplicity 2281_01

I find one of the most attractive parts of the female form to be the décolletage. The neckline of the dress provides some visual interest and highlights the collarbones. If I were to remake this dress, I would use a fabric with a nicer drape like crêpe de Chine or some other silk fabric. I also think that the way the sleeves stick out makes the dress look a bit space-agey (think Star Trek). Presumably, using a silkier fabric would help the sleeves lie flat, or I could add gathers at the bottom of the sleeves to bring them in a bit. Otherwise, this is a dress that I have already worn out and about a few times and it has been a conversation starter on several occasions.

I have no idea when I will get the chance to wear this dress. The neckline makes it a bit dressy, but the lightweight muslin material offsets the formality.
Even if I don’t get much wear out of the dress, at least it is made of entirely non-synthetic materials, the dress inspires people to talk to me and/or shower me with compliments, I can check off yet one more thing done on my summer 2012 bucket list, and the dress will serve as the base for my Halloween costume. Not too shabby.


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Building a(nother) bed

This week is Spring Break for the undergraduates here, but this holiday means nothing if you are a grad student. Basically, Spring Break is a glorious week void of undergraduates and full of catching up on presentations, projects, programming, and other research.

After spending the day in lab yesterday, I decided to pick up some lumber from the hardware store and make a small raised vegetable/herb garden. I really enjoy seeing things grow, and growing plants from seed is instant gratification. Well, almost.

The bed was super easy to make, and seems like it will hold up for years to come. I don’t have too much land on which to put it, so I made it 5 ft x 3 ft… the perfect size for a summer salad!

If you decide to make one, you’ll need:

32 – 3.5 inch #10 decking screws (rust free type)
4 – 16 inch 4×4 posts
4 – 3 foot long 2×6 boards
4 – 5 foot long 2×6 boards
Power drillIf you want to go the cheap route, pine is a good option, to splurge and have a longer lasting bed, cedar is the way to go. If you plan on using this for food you intend on eating, don’t use treated pine, as harmful chemicals can leach from the wood into the soil.

First, using 2 screws on each side for each board, attach the 3 foot long 2x6s to the 4×4 posts. Do this again on the other side. After this, attach the 5 ft. long boards perpendicular to the 3 ft. long boards to the 4x4s.

Stack on another layer of boards in the same manner and turn right side up.

The ‘legs’ of the bed are what anchor the bed to the ground. Dig 4 holes in the ground roughly 5-6 inches deep and position the bed so that the wooden boards are flush with the soil.

Since I’ll be planting vegetables that I know moles/gophers/rabbits will enjoy, I lined the bottom of the bed with a sheet of 1/4 inch hardware cloth to keep the buggers from crawling up.

This morning, I finally went back to the store to buy some topsoil to fill it up.
Hopefully I begin to see some seedlings hatch into yummy lettuce/arugula/fennel etc.

Looks like my spring break is already off to a productive and fun start!-P

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Holiday free time

I’ve finally dished out the Christmas presents I made my friends over the break. I think most of them really liked their presents. I think handmade gifts are the best!

As most of you should know, I’ve become a hardcore Linux fan; unfortunately, the scientific software I want to use is not compatible with Linux, and I don’t have the desire to go about finicking with Linux compatible freeware. I used to have my computer dual booted, but the ITG here at IU corrupted the windows partition mid last semester. I was doing fine with just Linux, but I reached a point where I needed Windows.I’ve been messing around with the computer all break trying to get it to be just the way I want.

It is sad.


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Time heals wounds

I’ve been doing lots of knittting; and I think I’ve finally gotten the knitting bug out of my system. Below you can see the mittens I knit using Cascade chunky alpaca. The yarn is absolutely delicious and the colour is simply brilliant! I had extra yarn after knitting the mittens up; so I made a matching ear warmer.

I’m now posting my 2 week eye incident update. You can see that the swelling is all gone, my eye is no longer bloodshot, and the bruising is down significantly. If you look at the full face picture, you can hardly notice it! I’m thinking/hoping its completely gone by new years, but we’ll see.

Finally, here is a sneak peak of the knitting I did for my friend’s holiday presents… I’ll post a more photos once the gifts have been distributed; I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

I’m looking forward to the new year, the new semester, and all that 2010 will bring!


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Great weekend!

I had grandiose plans for the weekend, and I feel like while I did not accomplish everything on my to-do list, I got a lot of ‘me’ time in and I could not feel any better right now. I ended up tutoring yesterday, went to the arts festival I wanted to go to, bought fabric, and finally made the Roman shade I’ve been meaning to make: here are some pics of it:

I have quite a few reports to grade tonight, but I’m becoming super efficient at grading so I’m not at my wits end just yet. I also managed to work on my separations presentation. After meeting with my partner, we decided that we needed to make more slides, but all in all, we are making great headway and should have a finalised presentation by the end of the week!

The one thing that I didn’t get done that I wanted to was my C500 paper. It isn’t due for another 2 weeks, and it doesn’t need to be terribly profound, but I still wanted to knock it out of the way. Fortunately, this coming week isn’t terribly hectic, so I can probably get most of it done later if not tonight. My house is *still* a pigsty, I’m hoping that I’ll get grossed out enough to clean it this week.

Other than that, not too much to report. Things are shaping up as I find my niche here.

I like it 😉


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Moved out.

I’ve officially moved out of my apartment in Austin, and am currently unpacking boxes and re-packing for my trip to Europe. It isn’t even the middle of May and we are already getting temps in the upper 90’s here in Texas. It will be nice to go to a milder climate in Europe.

There’s not too much to report on here, mostly more of the same… (grading, packing, fun)

I finally got around to taking pictures of the sweater I recently finished knitting….

This is the first sweater I’ve ever knit. There’s quite a bit of maths to consider when you knit, and that definitely made the knitting fun and exciting.The pouf-y sleeves are my favourite part!

I wish the weather would stay cool so I could keep knitting, but alas, I think the knitting will stop until next season.

Until next time.


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tying things up

In my final days here in Austin, I’ve mostly been finishing up unfinished business and have been doing much of the same things I do for fun normally. Since it is the last week of classes, labs have been dying down and I’ve got more time on my hands as a result. I’ve gotten to finishing a couple of knitting projects. Here is the heterocyclic hat that I’ve finally gotten around to posting:

The hat has the molecules caffeine, theobromine, penicillin, and serotonin inscribed all around in a duplicate stitch. Let me tell you, weaving in the ends at the end was NOT fun. It wouldn’t have been so bad had I not chosen to colour code the side chains, but I think the finished product looks better with the added colour.

Yesterday after lab, Nick and I went to Huts (W. Sixth) for a last 2 for 1 burger night here. Huts has THE BEST VEGGIE BURGERS EVER. If you’re ever in the Austin area, go on either a Monday or Wednesday night, for the best taste you will ever try.


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Knit day

Knitting has this odd way of calming me… it’s a lot like meditating in a way. I spent a lot of today knitting; getting my thoughts aligned on one thing and not stressing about variables I have no control over.

I ended up knitting a foliage hat (found on knitty/ravelry) in Frank Ochre Malabrigo. The hat is currently blocking, and it is so deliciously luxurious, and soft… I’m really loving the hat!

I started knitting it top-down and find it ridiculously more convenient. I like getting the DP portion out of the way and finishing up the rest mindlessly. 🙂

As you may expect, my this was my first lace-style pattern. I’ve decided I’m not too much of a fan of lace-knitting because it is not mindless. I have the attention span of a 5 year old, so I probably ended up re-starting this thing about 4 times before I actually got around to doing it correctly and sticking with it through the end.

Despite one person disliking the ochre color (ahem, Nick), I really like it.
Hey, it may not look good on me, or be too terribly wearable, but it is so bright and cheery… enough to make me happy when I knit it up.
In the end, I think that is what matters most anyway.


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finished WIP

I got around to finishing the pair of legwarmers I started a few weeks ago. I was going to wear them ice skating as my legs get very cold, but my mom saw them when I was working on them and she really liked them because she gets arthritis in the wintertime. I figure she will get more use out of them than I will, and I can always make myself another pair, so I’ve decided to give them to her the next time I see her. Here’s a couple of photos of my handiwork.

I think I’m going to call it a night for now.


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