New Internship and Finishing Up with Partners

I’m so excited to be accepted as an intern in Gnome’s Outreach Program for Women! I will be working with the Wikimedia Foundation! I’ll be keeping up with my project on this blog.

With my acceptance into the program comes the end of my current job. For the past year, I have been a Technology Specialist in Partners Resource Network (PRN). PRN helps parents of children with disabilities advocate for themselves and their children within the education system through education and trainings. One project I ended up being assigned was the creation of an Annual Report video put on our website. Now, I had no experience with video editing, but I was willing to learn, so I took on the assignment.

I looked at a few videos other projects have done, and I began by reading information on what equipment was needed for recording interviews. Our project has a camera, but it is an SD camera. After taking a few test videos, I knew the quality would not be good enough to upload. Thankfully, I have a Flip camera. It’s an HD camera, but it has its drawbacks. One is that video taken in poor lighting conditions can turn out grainy. Another drawback is that an external microphone cannot be connected to the camera. However, it was better than the other option.

I was working with a project director within Partners, and she wanted parent testimonials in the video, so we attempted to set up a time in the Houston office to interview parents. Later she decided interviewing parents at a conference they were having would be better.

The conference was at a hotel. They didn’t book a separate space for recording, so I had to set up on the far side of the break/lunch area. This presented a couple of problems related to the Flip camera’s drawbacks — lighting and sound. Thankfully, the hotel staff brought me a couple of lamps to help with the lighting. Cue me moving chairs and lamps and recording myself multiple times to make sure the video turned out alright. I felt silly, but everyone was attending sessions, so I was by myself most of the time.

How I conducted the parent interviews.

How I conducted the parent interviews.

I could not do anything about the sound, however. You can hear people talking during breaks or dishes being moved in some of the videos. It doesn’t ruin the videos, but they could definitely do without it.

Using Adobe Premiere 10, I ended up cutting each interview into its own video. You can view them here (I’ve only uploaded a few as of 12-17-2012, but as I upload more, I’ll add them to this playlist):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ4RO-cGDt4&list=PLUDsqwcCwooV8Bbj_Qgz5gFTGIKwfY1JE

Anyway, this is one of the projects I’m finishing up before I leave Partners. It’s nice to see how the organization that I worked for helped these parents and their children.

How to Make a Dice Bag

How to Make a Dice Bag

Or more generically, “How to Make a Drawstring Bag”. But since yesterday was National Dice Day this tutorial is about making a dice bag.

Skills:
– Be able to sew a straight line.
I’ve only been sewing for a few months, and I’ve made a couple of shirts, but I’m by no means an expert seamstress. I think this is a good starting project. The bags don’t have to be perfect to look good.

– Ironing
It makes it easier to pin and sew the casing if you iron the folds. It can be kind of tricky, so try not to burn your fingers!

Project Supplies - Ribbon, ruler, white pencil, pins and pin cushion, and fabric

Supplies:
– Fabric (I used a 12″x6″ piece)
– Ribbon (I used 3/8″) or some other string small enough to fit the casing
– Ruler
– Pins
– White pencil or some other marking tool
– Iron and ironing board
– Pinking Shears

Directions

Step 1 and 2

Step 1 and 2

1. Iron a fold of about 3/8″ on the shorter sides of the fabric. Some of my cuts of fabric weren’t straight, so I used this step to make the edges straight by making the fold straight. This means I couldn’t measure 3/8″ from the edge of the fabric. I had to eyeball what “straight” was. This fold will be sewn down and helps prevent the casing from fraying open. I didn’t do this on my first bag, and I had to hand sew it closed. It will probably fray open again, but for now it works.

2. Mark 1″ from the ironed edge. Fold and iron at the markings. The first ironed fold should fold under the new fold. That’s pretty confusing, but it should look like the image above.

An edge pinned with the smaller fold under the larger fold.

An edge pinned with the smaller fold under the larger fold.

3. Pin the fold down on both edges. I tried focus on pinning the smaller fold down.

Step2bStep2c

4. lay the pinned edges together to see how the bag folds. If it looks weird, feel free to unpin and re-iron the edges. Better to do it now than regret it later!

Step5

5. Sew 7/8″ to 9/8″ from the edge. I would go as far from the edge as possible to leave more room for the casing.

Step6

6. I ironed the edges again. Sew 1/3″ to 1/4″ from the edge. I sewed as close to the edge as possible, again, to leave more room for the casing.

Step7

7. Fold the sewn edges together folded sides out. Pin the unsewn edges together.

Step 8

8. Sew 1/2″ seam from the new fold (bottom of the bag) to the first seam. I did NOT sew the whole edge together!

9a9b

9. Again, I didn’t sew the whole edge. Sew from the top seam to the top of the bag.

10a10b

10. Use pinking shears to and cut the excess fabric at the side seams of the bag. This stops the sides from fraying.

IMG_0653IMG_0654

11. Flip bag inside out. Cut holes in the casing at the sides of the bag. (The left picture is before, the right picture is after). You should have each 4 holes (two at each side).

12a12b

12. Get your ribbon. Cut a two pieces of ribbon.  The length should be  the circumference of the bag plus some. Use a safety pin to help you feed the ribbon through the casings. Tie the edge of the ribbon in a knot.

13

13. Feed the second ribbon through the other side of the bag and knot it.

14

14. Your bag should look something like this

FinalFinal with Dice

Fill your new bag with dice!

Quick Post – Making Presents

I made some dice bags!

I’m making dice bags to give out to my friends for Christmas!

My original dice bag started unraveling, so I made my own. I didn’t fold the seam under when I made the casing for the ribbon, so I think the first bag I made will unravel the same way. However, this shouldn’t happen to the bags I’m making as gifts! I fixed my initial mistake while making these, so my friends should be getting a well-made gift from me for Christmas! I made two this evening, but the next ones should go faster since I have a good idea of the measurements now. The whole project didn’t cost that much, since I’m using scrap fabric, which is half-off at the store. I hope they like them!