Posted by: mick | June 16, 2009

A new toy, and a case to put it in

I had a lovely lunch with a friend today, during which we discussed, among other things, the disconcerting experience of getting a PhD.  We’re both nearing our Qualify Exams Phase, which is both exciting and daunting.  While we chatted, we came to the conclusion that graduate school has fostered in us a sense of prolonged adolescence.  For so long we’ve wanted to get to this phase (and beyond it, to the dissertation and, eventually, tenure-track phase), and yet we’ve worked on it for so long that it’s kind of shocking that it’s here.

I know that, personally, I still struggle to feel like a grown up sometimes (an experience I’d imagine is found in many professions).  I can’t believe, for instance, that I’m now married; that I’ll be 28 in a few weeks (the same age my mom was when she had me); that I’m no longer a “kid” but an “adult.”  These are exciting changes, and probably came for my friends in other fields much earlier; while they are buying houses and having children, J and I are still enjoying a relatively responsibility-free lifestyle without children or dogs or a mortgage.

Before the wedding, however, I took a step toward growing up.  As I near the comp/dissertation phase, I’ve realized it’s time for me to make a big purchase: a laptop.  I’ve resisted having one for some time, but have come to realize that it will be incredibly useful not only in my classroom note-taking and my writing, but also in my teaching.  I like to encourage an inter-disciplinary learning style in my classroom, and constantly want to show my students things I’ve found online, borrowing J’s laptop every time.  Finally, we’d both had enough, and J stalked the Dell website until he found me a sale.

I wanted a case for my new toy to keep it nice and shiny, and being who I am I refused to buy one.  I did some searching and came up with this tutorial, which produced this lovely laptop case in one afternoon of cutting/ironing.


I know it’s not perfect, but I do really love it.  I improvised the little design on the front, which I wanted to look like the sun peeking behind some clouds.  I also freehanded the wavy edge, which I like due to its imperfection.  I wrestled with the double faced fusible interfacing a bit, but I’m sure it’s one of those things that will be much easier once I get used to it.  I can definitely see where it would be nice and handy in many crafting pursuits.

Yes, I know the colors have become predictable for me, but I just don’t care.  My love for heather grey knows no bounds, and the yellow looked so nice with it at the wedding that I thought I’d apply it to my case.  The case is really quite useful, and provides a nice layer of protection not only while in my bag, but also when I use the laptop.  It’s actually double layered, which you can see on my Flickr page.  I like protecting my laptop from whatever grossness is on the tables in the classrooms and coffee shops where I use it most, and I also love that the case, when open, doubles as a very handy mouse pad.  Overall, I highly recommend this tutorial.  I hope someone finds it useful!



  1. I totally, totally relate to the “perpetual adolescence” thing about graduate school. So true. I still have a hard time believing that I’ve been married for over 4 years, and that I’m an adult. It doesn’t help that I look rather young…no one believes that I’m 26, so I guess I can hardly blame myself if I can’t believe it either 🙂

  2. Congrats on your first laptop! I know you will enjoy the freedom it will bring you. I can’t believe you’ve gotten this far in grad school without one! I spent the majority of my grad school years huddled in my bed (because my apartment was half underground and freezing) typing away. The construction of the case seems really neat, being able to just unfold it instead of pulling it in and out of a sleeve all the time.

  3. Oh god, perpetual adolescense! I think I’m going to be 80 and still feel like a teenager, it’s ridiculous! Great laptop case too, love the yellow with the grey x

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