Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A Note Tablet Portfolio

Last Wednesday I had a job interview - my first since being fired from my previous job four years ago. I was so worried about the stigma of being fired and that it caused me a lot of procrastination find another job. I thought since this job interview is a milestone for me, I would make something that would help me feel better about this whole interview process - which has been very daunting for me from the get go.

I wanted to walk into the interview looking put together and professional so I decided to make a note tablet portfolio. I studied some online and even went to my local Walmart to take pics of one and get dimensions. It took me about four days to get everything put together, that includes having to take things apart and cut parts shorter to fit. There was even issues with the inner pocket not being sewn properly from having to fix the sewing seam, but overall, I think it came out pretty nice. I plan to make more now that I know how to deal with the issues I had. Take a look and tell me what you think.

I wanted it to have some print, but not be over the top. I also wanted some color.

I wanted at least one inside pocket and a pen pocket. I had to think to figure out how I was going to make a pocket to put the tablet in and I wanted it to be sturdy. The tablet pocket on the right is just a long rectangle. I wouldn't normally put my label so high, but I had forgotten to add it and that was the most convenient spot to put it so I could top stitch around it.

  I constructed it so there is a compartment behind both inner pockets so I could insert fabric covered chip board for sturdiness. I also covered the top of the tablet with the printed fabric for contrasting interest on the inside.

You can see one of the minor flaws here - it's not that bad, the portfolio is still usable. No one will know about the flaws but me. 

I plan to make more for Christmas presents and to sell - now that I have all the bugs worked out, I think they'll do great!

Thanks reading!!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Thanks!

Monday, August 19, 2013

A Bag Pouch

I have made a couple "fanny packs" for me in the past, they were basically wallets with a belt and they were very useful and serviceable. I loved them during the winter when a bag and a bulky jacket were just too much, plus I love the hands free option.
They both have pockets for my cards and the outside pocket on the one on the right is for my cell phone. Money just sits inside at the bottom.

Back in 2009 I had a job where I was up and down a lot - sit at the desk, then get up to do stuff. In the beginning to help me remember all the things I had to do, I made this pouch:
It had the fanny pack concept, but I made a pouch large enough to hold a steno note pad for all my notes - I also made a little pocket in front to hold the remote radio we used to communicate between each other.

When I didn't need my note book any more, I converted the pouch into a little bag - it was just enough to hold my pursellet sideways, my cell went in the front pocket.

Lately, I've been thinking on that pouch concept and wanted to take it further. I started yesterday and finished it today.

This is the view looking inside. I made it to hold my pursellet and I made inside back pockets to hold my cell phone and my camera (that gray phone on the right is just for show - I was using my camera to take pics).

This is looking down at it without holding it open - not bulky at all. I thought of putting a snap for a closure, but I really don't need it, it's so close to my body nothing can fall out nor can anybody steal anything.

This is where the front meets the strap. I used large split rings, I wanted the strap to be a little articulated and the split rings work perfectly. The fanny pack straps I've made in the past weren't articulated and there was a little stress in that area.

Here is the back view - a little crooked as I took this pic myself.

Here I am sitting down - it doesn't get in the way.

Here - I am wearing a short jacket.

This is a side profile - I made the bottom 2 inches wide to accommodate what I want to carry. 

There no room for other stuff (well maybe a pen), but that's the way I wanted it. I like to just drop and go when I use my bag and this will be perfect. I am so pleased at how this turned out - I just took the blue bag that used to be a pouch and turned it on it's side and took it from there. I am thinking tho, it could use some color at the top edge, maybe a border of red? I don't know - I'll think about it, but it's pretty cool huh?

Thanks for reading!!

08/21/13 Update: I did add a strip of red to the top - I think it makes it look better. What do you think?

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Thanks!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Different Way to Cook Rice

I was watching Sara Moulton on TV on day and she cooked this recipe. It looked like a very yummy recipe to try and it's on my list of things to cook, but what intrigued me the most was that she said in all her years of cooking, she has a hard time cooking rice - it never comes out right. She show her method of cooking rice and I think it's brilliant! Basically, she cooks her rice like pasta - she fills a pan with water, no set amount, and gets it boiling. After boiling, she adds the amount of rice she wants to cook and lets it boil for 17 minutes. After, you just strain in a colander and its ready to eat! You don't have to wait for it to set or anything. The grains are fluffy and separated.

I decided to give this a try, I used a two quart sauce pan and put water in about 3/4's of the way up and put a lid on it (boils faster) and let it come to a boil, I had it on medium high heat (make sure you have enough water or it will turn into risotto rice). After coming to a boil, I took off the lid and poured the rice in and stirred it to prevent clumping - Sara added salt, but I don't. I just let it boil for 17 minutes.

After 17 minutes, I poured it in a colander and let it drain.

This is what was left in the pot after dumping out the rice - A LOT of starch! If you have issues with rice, this could probably be the problem.

After rinsing out the pot, I put the rice back in and let it sit on the warm burner as I served dinner - no waiting!

Here is a mini video of the rice two days after the rice was cooked - this is straight from the frig, cold! See how well it separates? It's not stuck together and clumpy like usual.

For a while now I have been avoiding rice at home - I only eat it occasionally (I am part Asian and I grew up eating rice for three meals). Rice has been causing my blood sugar to spike and it gives me a really full, bloated feeling. Plus, I have a tendency to eat too much rice when the protein I'm eating is really good - I've been eating quinoa instead, which has been a great substitute for me. In my opinion, this is the best way to cook rice - you are basically boiling out the starch and dumping it out out when you pour out the rice in the colander. In the traditional way of cooking, either by stove top or rice cooker, the starch is contained and gets absorbed back into the rice (plus, you have to wait about five minutes before eating for the rice to set) - cooking this way eliminates all of that! I believe that this starch has been causing my issues. Also, with this process, you don't have to fuss about the right ratio of water to rice - you just fill the pot as if you were cooking pasta - easy peasy! I've eaten this rice for two days with no problems. You basically monitor the rice for 17 minutes, then when it's done - you eat it! There is no wait time, the rice is is nice and fluffy. This is the way I'm going to cook rice from now on. So, if rice cause you stomach distress or other problems, try this method and see how it works for you.

Thanks for reading!!!

08/16/13 Update: I tried this with brown rice and it worked, you just have to adjust your cooking time - I cooked mine for about 40 minutes. Test taste it every 5 minutes or so (keeping track of your time) and when it's just, that's the time you use from then on. Rice was toothsome like it should be and nicely fluffy and separated like the white rice.

09/08/13 Update: This method works great with quinoa also!

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Thanks!