Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Mentoring Summer

I will be the first to admit that I have not been meeting my creative potential these last few months. Yes, it has been 2 whole months since I really did anything that could pass as crafty at all.  I did, however, pass my oral exams, interview for a big girl job, and grade a couple hundred term papers, so that's something... But now it's summer. No longer can I blame my classes or my students or my portfolio progress for my lack of crafting.

I still have an excuse, though.

My advisor has got high hopes for the research lab this summer. We're not just going to sit around revising surveys over and over, we're going to write. We're going to get some papers out! So, just as last summer she called us in for extra hours of "Data Camp" to learn Structural Equation Modeling, this summer, we're devoting our extra hours to writing. Obviously, we needed new t-shirts.

Inspired by her comment that this would be "The Mentoring Summer" I did a little plagiarism and photoshop to put together this logo for the 2013 Mentoring Lab based off of The Endless Summer movie poster that every college student has hanging in his dorm room.
The real adventure started at JoAnns with a pile of black cotton t-shirts. If you've ever bought (or even thought about buying) these shirts, you know that they sort of suck. They're scratchy and stiff and don't really feel like anything you'd actually want to wear. In fact, even after many hours at the gym and countless washes, my shirt from last summer is still stiff and uncomfortable. Luckily, about once a month I see these instructions for making a stiff t-shirt soft on Pinterest.

So, I filled my sink with 6 quarts of water and 3 cups of salt and left the shirts to soak for 3 days (I was out and about for most of the weekend so I didn't really miss my sink, don't worry, I do my dishes). Then, I washed them in hot water, tumbled them dry and...

They pretty much feel exactly the same. Granted, they feel like they've been washed, but they don't feel  all soft and worn in like I expected. The only big change notice is that they're a little more faded now. Bummer.

But, that doesn't stop me. Onward. I bought transfer paper for dark fabric rather than light fabric, and was very pleasantly surprised. Unlike the transfer paper for whites that you print in reverse, iron on, and curse at when only half of it sticks, this allows you to make what feels like a silk screen on your inkjet printer. While this product would NOT have worked for last summers design with "floating" letters, it was perfect for this year's big rectangular design.

The hardest part of the application by far was getting my inkjet printer to cooperate since I only use it a couple times a year. How my print heads get so dirty and my ink cartridges get so empty when I never use the blasted thing, I'm not sure...

Step 1: Print design on fancy paper
Step 2: Trim around design
Step 3: Peel backing off of design. 
Step 4: Place on shirt, cover with parchment paper, press with dry iron on high setting. 
Step 5: Take victory photos.
Step 6: Stop using crafts as a form of procrastination and actually do some research. 

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