How To: Make a Duct Tape wallet

The duck tape wallet is an easy fun way to create a activity for the whole family.
[caption id="attachment_13639" align="alignleft" width="300"] The duct tape wallet is an easy fun way to create a activity for the whole family.[/caption]

A well-known fact about college students is most of them are broke. There is very little money for extras like crafts, and accessories. Want a fun, budget-friendly, afternoon- activity in which you will make something?

The fun does not end when the activity is over; you will actually have a fun accessory that you can keep for yourself or give as a gift. Remember Christmas is just around the corner, and gift giving can be expensive. My daughter and I recently discovered a cheap and fun way to make wallets out of Duct Tape.

In my household, Duct Tape is a multi-purpose cure all for many minor repairs. It is sold at all hardware stores and stores, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Duct Tape is relatively very low cost, and comes in a large variety of colors, such as hot pink, lime green, orange, red, black, blue, white and silver.

Start the project by going to your local Wal-Mart or hardware store and selecting a variety of colors. Wallets can be made using just one color, or multi colors. Wallets can be made with or without pockets. It is up to you.

All you will need is a roll or two of your favorite colors of Duct Tape at approximately $3 each, a pair of craft scissors (any scissor will work) and a clean smooth working surface.

Step 1: Measure and rip off a piece of Duct Tape roughly 8.5 inches in length. Lay this strip horizontally with the sticky side up on your work surface. *Note: If you are making several wallets, it may be easier to cut several strips at one time. Step 2: Rip a second piece of tape equal to the first and place it sticky side down so that it covers half of the first strip and fold the remaining sticky surface of the top strip over the second. Step 3: Turn the two joined strips over so that the remaining sticky side of the second strip of tape faces toward you. Place a third 8.5-inch strip of tape sticky side down on the second strip so that it covers the second strip's adhesive (in the same fashion as the first two strips were joined). Smooth all wrinkles from the tape strips with your fingers. Step 4: Continue flipping the joined strips of tape over, adding one strip of tape at a time. Stop when you have added enough tape to create a sheet that measures 8.5 inches on one side and seven inches on the other. Fold over the last strip so that the sheet has no adhesive exposed. Cover all raw edges with additional strips of tape. Step 5: Fold the sheet in half lengthwise and tape the two short ends closed to create a flat pocket 8.5 inches in length and 3.5 inches in width. This creates the main compartment of your wallet. Step 6: Construct the ID and card pockets. Assemble another sheet of tape in the same way as the main pocket, this time with measurements of four inches by 3.5 inches. Fold 1.5 inches of the shorter side over itself and tape the sides together. This creates a small pocket that will allow the top of your credit or business cards to show so you can identify them easily. Step 7: Create as many additional pockets as you like. When you are finished, tape the pockets together, and tape the joined pockets to either side of your main compartment. Fold the entire assembly in half lengthwise to complete your wallet. Step 8: To keep the wallets folds straight and for a better-looking wallet, lay wallet under a book or a solid weighted object for about 12 hours.

Have fun!

Ancient history professor revives medieval times

Missouri Western recently enhanced the history department by adding a new professor to the staff to teach Ancient and Medieval History and Early Modern History. Eventually, Dr. Jay Lemanski will help to expand the upper level history courses by introducing and teaching classes on ancient Rome and ancient Greece. Lemanski is originally from Detroit. He came to Western from his most recent appointment as a Senior Lecturer for the history department at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio. From 2003-2012, Lemanski was also a teaching assistant and an instructor at Akron. “I am from a big city, and I grew kind of tired of living in a larger community,” Lemanski said. “I enjoy the smaller community; the countryside around St. Joseph is nice. I like the idea of having big city amenities and the small-town feeling that St. Joseph offers.” Lemanski is enjoying the transition from big city living to the smaller community of St. Joseph, and he is happy with the colleagues he has met since being at Western. Lemanski said the smaller campus gives the college and community a more intimate quality than the larger colleges offer. “I am very pleased with the instructors and students that I have met since coming to Western,” Lemanski said. “They are the nicest people, and have made me feel very welcome.” Junior Kristen Brantley is taking Lemanski’s Ancient and Medieval History course, which she is enjoying this semester. She said she has had trouble in history classes before, but so far this semester she has learned a lot from Lemanski’s teaching style. “He has a passion for the subject," Brantley said. "He’s not just passing out information, but actually making the material more relatable. College is tough, and he makes it easier by providing us with study guides, easily readable maps  and interesting readings." Lemanski is educated in a variety of subjects, such as history and modern languages. He earned his bachelor's degree at Concordia College in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1983. Lemanski was a dual major in Greek and Hebrew with a minor in Latin. In 1985, he received his first master's degree at the University of Michigan in near eastern studies. Lemanski continued to study at the University of Michigan and received his doctorate in 1989. The year 2005 brought Lemanski his second master's degree in history department. Lemanski passed his Ph.D. comprehensive exams in 2007 with distinctions in Medieval, Early Modern Europe, the Middle East and the United States pre-1877. In 2007, Lemanski also won a one-year Robert W. Little Graduate Research Fellowship, and in 2008, he was awarded a Graduate Student Government Research Grant from the University of Akron. The year 2009 finally brought Lemanski his Ph.D. in history from the University of Akron. In addition to his extensive knowledge of history, Lemanski is skilled in many language cultures, such as: German, Greek, Latin, Arabic, Anglo-Saxon, Hebrew, Sumerian, Akkadian, Ugaritic and French. “Lemanski’s use of other languages helps to illustrate certain points in ancient Greece and ancient Rome,” Brantley said. Lemanski also has the ability to decipher and translate ancient Greek and Roman clay tablets from the beginnings of written language. Throughout Lemanski’s years of schooling, he has worked in the education field as an assistant librarian of rare books and as reference librarian. He has also worked for the New York Times as an Indexer for the University Microfilms International and has taught courses in Absolution to Revolution, Ancient Middle Eastern Studies, Renaissance and Religious Studies, Early and Late Medieval European Studies, the Latin Language, Middle Eastern Studies and Humanities in the Western Tradition. “This is my last history course required for my degree, but if I had to take another one, I would definitely consider taking a different course taught by Dr. Lemanski,” Brantley said. Lemanski said he's enjoying teaching at Western more than anything else. He feels that the students are very diverse for a smaller community and is enjoying getting to know them through the classes he teaches. “The best part of Missouri Western is the students," Lemanski said. "I like the students; I enjoy talking to them, and getting to know them. They are very interesting and engaging. I like teaching them. I have great students here at Missouri Western, I couldn’t ask for more."

New international student director shares her own experiences

[caption id="attachment_13401" align="alignnone" width="280"] Amy Kotwani, Missouri Western's new international student director.[/caption] Coming to a new school or community always has its ups and downs. When you are an international student, fitting in and getting use to another country can be even more difficult.Amy Kotwani, Missouri Western's new international student director understands that and it is her job to make sure all international students are cared for. “It is my job to work with Admissions to get more international students to come here to Western,” Kotwani said. “When the international students come, I do programming for them, new student orientation and if they have any emergencies, they call me.” The Kotwani family is from India, but she was born in Kingsport, Tenn. She grew up in Virginia before eventually moving to St. Joseph, Mo for high school, and has been a resident for several years. When headed into college, Kotwani took up journalism, advertising and political science so she could be educated about all three areas. “For college, I went to Mizzou,” Kotwani said. “In their journalism program, you could pick a sequence so I picked the advertising sequence in the journalism program and I did the same with political science. So I did a double major.” Prior to working at Western, Kotwani did a lot of volunteering work with the organizations here on campus. Before she was offered the job, Kotwani was already familiar with how things worked. One of Kotwani passions is culture. She noted that she is heavily evolved in the Indian culture in St. Joseph. Dancing is a huge part in the culture and in her spare time she enjoys dancing at different culture events. Kotwani admitted that when she was younger she did not have many friends that were Indian. She did not know much about the culture because the only people she knew of the Indian culture was her parents. “I always wanted to be apart of my culture,” Kotwani said. “My parents were the only members from my family to come here from India. All my relatives were in India when I was growing up, so I have always felt a little starved for the culture.” She started to get involved with culture more when she went to the University of Missouri. Kotwani started to participate in dance recitals in the school and eventually she was surrounded by all types of culture and it helped her fill that missing element in her life. She ended up being the president for the Indian organization at Missouri. Kotwani feels that she can relate to the international students on campus because she was once in the same situation. She understands how it feels to try to fit in a place where you are literally the only member of your culture. “We have a good international student population,” Kotwani said. “But some of them might be the only one’s here from their culture. They are coming to a place new to them. At home, they are around people that are similar to them and their comfortable.” She is very passionate about the international students because having to go through the same thing, she knows what to expect. “I know what it feels like to feel like you are different from everyone else,” Kotwani said. “I also know how rough it is to fit in. That’s why I am really passionate about making sure that the international students here have a real positive experience and feel like they have a good support system.” Some of the international students here at Western really do not have any experience here in the United States. They live with there parents in their respective countries and then are sent to the states for school. Gilbert Imbiri is an international student from Indonesia. Imbiri was sent to states for school as well. He started out in high school here in St. Joe and eventually enrolled at Western. “I like it here,” Imbiri said. “Everybody here is very laid back. I’m really good with adapting to things. With Amy being hired, I feel like we have somebody that knows what we go through. She can help the students here that do have problems with adapting.” Imbiri feels that Kotwani catches on to things fast. She fits in to what it means to be an international student director. “I like somebody to take charge,” Imbiri said. “It’s upsetting to the international students when they found out the director is not involved. We do not have to worry about that with Amy.”

How to: Make a Philly with a twist

Andy Garrison gives a how to on how to assemble a Philly Cheese Steak sub.
[caption id="attachment_12909" align="alignnone" width="300"] Andy Garrison gives a how to on how to assemble a Philly Cheese Steak sub.[/caption] Whether you want to flex your culinary muscles for friends, family or a casual date, or you are just plain hungry, this recipe for a Philly style roast beef sandwich will tick all the right boxes at a steal for under $15. *Note: Pricing does not include items commonly already found in the home; recipe feeds up to six people. Here is what you are going to need: The hardware: • spatula • serving spoon • small saucepan • large frying pan • knife, or meat shears • measuring spoons Ingredients: • 1 package of eight deli style rolls – $2.78 • 1 package of thinly sliced deli style roast beef (6 oz) – $3.39 • 1 package of sliced provolone cheese (8 oz) – $3.90 • 4 tablespoons of butter (1/2 of a stick) • Pre-sliced Baby Bella mushrooms (8 oz) – $2.99 The “wet” mix: • 1 box of beef broth (13.7 oz) – $0.99 • Black pepper (to taste) • Table salt (to taste) • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder • 1 teaspoon of onion powder • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce The optional ingredients: • A.1. Steak Sauce • onions • jalapeños • red or green bell peppers Step 1: Pour all of the beef broth into the small sauce pan. Step 2: Add the Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder to the beef broth; mix well with the serving spoon; and let it simmer on a burner over low heat for the duration of the other steps, up to step eight, stirring occasionally. Note: Don’t let the broth come to a boil, and don’t forget to adjust heat accordingly if you notice it start to boil up. Step 3: Take the large frying pan and put it over medium-low heat and allow it to heat up for approximately two – three minutes. Step 4: Add the butter and slowly move it around the pan, using the spatula, until it is melted and evenly distributed across the bottom. Step 5: Rinse off the Baby Bella mushrooms in the sink under cool tap water. Shake them dry and add them to the butter in the pan and sauté, stirring occasionally for approximately three minutes. *Note: This is also when you would cook the onion, bell peppers and jalapenos if you opted to use them, you would sauté them with the mushrooms, and it should take three to four minutes. Step 6: While the mushrooms are sautéing, take the roast beef and cut it into one inch wide strips up to four inches long. Step 7: Take a plate and lay two or three paper towels on it. Using the spatula, carefully remove the mushrooms from the pan and allow them to drain on the paper towels. Step 8: Drain the remaining liquid from the pan and return it to the heat. Step 9: Carefully pour half of the broth mixture into the frying pan (remain mindful of the steam that can burn you) and pour from the side not directly over the pan. Step 10: Add the beef strips to the liquid in the large frying pan, return the mushrooms to the pan and allow the mixture to cook in the beef broth over medium high heat, stirring often for approximately ten minutes. Leave the remaining broth in the saucepan simmering. Note: The broth will absorb into the roast beef as well as evaporate, if it gets too dry and begins to burn, add more broth until it barely covers the bottom of the pan. Step 11: While the mixture is reducing, prepare the deli rolls with A.1. Steak Sauce, mayo or any other garnish you may want to add. Step 12: After the broth and beef mixture has finished cooking, take a circle slice of provolone cheese and tear it in half. Carefully maneuver the beef and mushrooms off to one side of the pan. Make two small piles, roughly the size of an ice cream scoop, in the cleared part of the pan. Place one half of the cheese on one pile, and the other half on the second pile. Allow the cheese to melt. This should take about two minutes. Note: Make sure your piles are small enough for your spatula to handle or this could get messy in a minute. Step 13: Carefully slide your spatula under one of the small piles of meat and cheese and gently lift, setting it onto one half of the bottom bun of your deli roll. Repeat this step with the other pile onto the other half of the bun. Note: The remaining broth in the sauce pan makes a great dipping sauce for your sandwich. Repeat steps eleven, twelve and thirteen until you reach the number of sandwiches you want to make. Bon Appétit!

A film and filmaker are made

Student Kiefer Helsel (left) and Andy Tyhurst (middle) rehearse a scene from Josh Cominellis' short film "Skip Distance" as cinematographer and instructor Jason Cantu (on right) controls the camera.
[caption id="attachment_12692" align="alignnone" width="300"] Student Kiefer Helsel (left) and Andy Tyhurst (middle) rehearse a scene from Josh Cominellis' short film "Skip Distance" as cinematographer and instructor Jason Cantu (on right) controls the camera.[/caption] Missouri Western theater and cinema student Josh Comninellis has turned what began as a scriptwriting class assignment in the spring of 2011 into a working short film, “Skip Distance.” Skip Distance, a suspense drama, was shot last August and is in the post-production process. A late-winter or early-spring release is what all people involved in the production process are hoping for. According to Comninellis, the plot is centered around the family ties of a child whose mother has recently died. The setting of the film is of a diner and a radio station call booth. “The theme of “Skip Distance” is children’s acceptance of family and about accepting family members for who they are,” Comninellis said. “My passion for redemption influenced me to write this short film.” The main character James Carmichael, played by Western student Kiefer Helsel (Romeo in last fall’s theater production of “Romeo and Juliet”), is left with an absentee father (played by Mark Pennington) with whom Carmichael has no relationship with, and a stepfather (played by Western student Andy Tyhurst, who recently played lead role of J.B. in “J.B.”) with whom Carmichael has an unsettling relationship. Comninellis not only wrote the screenplay, but co-directed with his wife Brittany, who is also a student of the theater. Western alumna Mallory Edson was the creative producer, and professional cinematographer and Western adjunct professor Jason Cantu did the filming. Once the script was finished, it was then sent to “Kickstarter,” an arts fundraising platform website that reviews the work of artists and rates the work as being viable. Kickstarter is self-motivated, and they do not give anybody money; it is a platform where the artist or artists raise funds for their own project. Once the work has been approved by Kickstarter, the artist must set a goal and a specific time limit to raise funds for project completion. For Skip Distance, they made their limit $3,600. The catch with Kickstarter is all or nothing—if the artist raise the exact amount of money or higher, they do not get the money for their project. “I believe four weeks is the limit for the Kickstarter platform, while the hype for the project is at a high point,” Edson said. The art or in this case, film, is then placed on the Kickstarter platform so that community members, family members, friends, business owners, and public can donate money to help in the production of the project. The crew was able to raise $3,700 in one month. Edson said many of the crew’s family members from around the country donated money on the Kickstarter platform to help with costs of the film, and they are still accepting donations for post-production costs. Many Western alumni, current students, faculty, St. Joseph business owners, community members, and Cantu contributed to the production. Comninellis is also thankful for the university allowing them to use its film equipment as it helped the process and cut a lot of the costs for the production. “It was a community effort,” Comninellis said. “We had help from the entire community, many students from Missouri Western, Western alumni, a few of Missouri Western’s professors and local businesses contributed time, effort and money.” The film, which took months of preparation, was shot in less than 24 hours and they filmed it on just two separate nights. Western alumna Erin Williams did wardrobe and make-up, and Western student Robin Ussher designed the sets and did prop arrangement. Props came from local stores as well as some Kansas City area shops. Local businesses The Spot Café and Hazels Gourmet Coffee and Tea Co. also contributed to the film’s production. Hazels Coffee contributed chairs for the set. The Spot Café donated their diner as the main location for the set, which Comninellis said was the perfect location he had in mind for the screenplay. Tyhurst also felt that the Spot Café and Western’s Black Box Theater were the perfect locations for the movie filming because the atmosphere matched Comninellis’ vision of the movie set diner perfectly. “The owners of the Spot Café were great, they were very nice, and they even fed the entire crew,” Tyhurst said. “Everybody that I have met in this community has been a great supporter of the arts.” Edson has also said working with Skip distance has been a wonderful learning experience. Edson, who graduated from Western’s theater department last spring, is already working in the film industry. She is currently working on a documentary series. Edson is also looking into graduate programs. Tyhurst will graduate in December 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in theater and cinema. Tyhurst liked working on Skip Distance and said it was a great opportunity. “I learned so much just by watching and observing.” Tyhurst said. “It was neat. It has been a great experience.” The movie poster and storyboards are being designed and created by Western art student Truman Vasko. Comninellis and the film’s crew are planning a late-January or early-spring release of the film. “I am working on editing right now, it is a lengthy process,” Comninellis said. After the premiere, there will be a film festival tour around the Midwest. Everybody involved in the production is hopeful of a possible nationwide tour. Comninellis is not locked in, as to what he will do for a future career, but he knows it definitely involves the film industry and writing. He might continue to write screenplays, or maybe write a book, as he enjoys creative writing. “I have a passion for telling stories,” Comninellis said.