Friday, December 23, 2011

  Only two more sleeps until christmas and its been super fun thus far at our house.  I'm really excited to have rediscovered my love of sewing.  I designed, drafted, and sewed an apron for my mother in law (she doesn't read blogs so this won't be a spoiler).  I love it so much I'm going  to make one for myself too.  Bonnie (my MIL) is much taller than my model and since she's not 16 like my model, a bit wider too.  I'm hoping that means the bib will fit her without the little gap at the neck.  I think this design is both flattering and practical (nice big pockets and plenty of coverage) so I'll probably use it again.
   Katie didn't actually wear the apron while baking (just posed for me) but she did make most of the gingerbread for our annual houses.  That means enough fronts, backs, sides, roofs and accessories for seven houses!  That's a lot of cookies.  It took three days.  The results were really fun though.  We used the Wilton Gingerbread House Mold to make them (easier than making templates and rolling and rolling...but you can only bake 1/3 of a house at a time). 
   Everyone in the family got to make a house (except Miles, who  wanted to share with Katie and since her friend Vittoria was over she got to make one too).  Coconut "snow" and gummy trees, santas, wreaths and snowmen complimented our mini m&m "lights."   
   All that sugar (I ate some of the candy-not the cookies, I haven't tried to make gluten free gingerbread yet) made me crave a green smootie.  So for breakfast this morning I did a christmas one with Kale, bananas and oranges layered with strawberries, bananas and oranges.  So yummy and pretty too.  Happy Holidays!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Owl Hat

I"m still doing fun crafty stuff (and really enjoying it).  Yesterday I finished this owl hat that also seems to double as a koala.  Its pretty cute either way.  In the background of the hat picture you can probably also see some house shaped ornaments.  Those are a direct result of my latest obsession: Pinterest.  My friend Liz pinned the inspiration from and I had to make them.  Next time I will go to the quilting store to get fabrics that I love because my intention was to make 12 of them and I'm bored after three since they don't quite have the look I envisioned.  No worries though, there are plenty more inspirational ideas where that one came from!  Seriously.  Hours and hours worth of just finding ideas.  I had to set a time limit for myself.  For every hour I spend on there I have to actually make one project.  Its a win win that way. :) 

PS.  I made up the hat pattern as I went along but there are some great video tutorials on You Tube that could get you started if you wanted to do something simillar.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Its Beginning to look...well you know

My first christmas craft of this year is altered house blocks.  I used scrap lumber which I marked with a t-square then trimmed using a chop saw (fast but not safe for the angles, a jig saw would have been better).  I then sanded the pieces with a belt sander because I wanted square (not rounded) corners.  I used PVA glue to attach patterned paper to all sides and trimmed the paper with an emery board (this also seals the edges).  As I did this I smoothed the paper with a bone folder to get out any bubbles and bumps.  Once I had the paper on I decorated the blocks with vintage family photos (my granmother-in-law and her sisters) and letters that I cut out with my cricut (second time I've used it in three years :P ).  Buttons, ribbons, and mica flakes finished them off.  I hope to post a few more things that I've been working on soon but for now thanks for stopping by, if you were inspired to try a project like this I hope that you will link it up in the comments.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Trying New Things

One of my favorite things about belonging to Team Blaze Spokane is that there are so many opportunities to mentor and be mentored. Our club is full of knowledgeable and inspirational people who are excited to help others succeed. One such person is Angie Fesser. Several times this year she has invited me to try cyclocross (correctly guessing that I would love it). When I told her I had no mountain or cyclocross bike she lent me her own bike. When I admitted that I was really unsure about my ability to stay tire-side-down on a course with no pavement she arranged a midweek ride out at seven mile to help me get comfortable with some basic off road skills. On a side note: All the things that I read about in Bicycling Magazine turned out to work in real life. Shifting your weight to gain traction, shifting gears ahead of time on a hill, and most of all if you stare at the giant rock in your path (instead of a line around it) you will ride right into it(sorry Phil).

So with that much encouragement I had to show up Sunday morning and try it out. David and I drove up to Walter's Fruit Ranch in Greenbluff. After signing up and buying my one day licence (which I was supposed to return afterwards but forgot) I geared up in my Team Blaze jersey (lent to me by Angie since I only have a tri top and that was not going to work weather wise). I met up with Angie, Janelle and Phil who passed along encouragement and tips before we got out there and rode most of one loop to see the course. Thank you Phil for suggesting we come early enough to do that, it really made a difference.

I was shivering at the start but couldn't tell if it was the biting wind or nerves. Probably some combination of the two. Once the officials blew the whistle for our wave I was fine but somewhat disappointed to find myself in very last place (definitely need to work on the start). Since I knew we would be out there for half an hour I tried not to worry about it and just rode. It was so fun! Scary but fun. I did have a couple of mishaps on corners where my back tire slid out, but for the most part I did okay bike-handling wise. I could have been a little more aggressive about passing people (going around on the narrow track worried me so I stayed behind even though I could have gone faster, especially uphill). The last lap was hard because the high level of effort maintained for that long made my brain not as able to coordinated the more technical stuff with my body. I did pass all of my teammates but not the other woman who was doing her first ever solo race (she was an avid mountain biker and had done the 24hr race). It was really great to hear a bunch of our friends out there cheering too. Rob and Lisa and Jenny and Jessica all came just to watch and cheer, how great is that?

I loved it! I finished up coated with dirt but wearing a giant smile (which meant I had dirt in my teeth). I may have a new obsession (its probably good that the season winds down with one more race in CDA this weekend-I don't really have time for another hobby at the moment). Combined with the Fall Folk Festival (at which I learned some basics of belly dancing) it was a really great weekend!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween 2011

So first the cards: Yes it is passed halloween and they aren't relevant anymore but I like them so I'm posting them. stamps are from the greeting Farm and everything else is years old since I'm using up my stash and not buying anything until it can fit.

I made costumes as always and mostly enjoyed it. I frankensteined a bunch of patterns together and even drafted some parts from scratch and managed to get a reasonable facsimilie of a Beaux Batons student (from Harry Potter 4) and a pretty good fairy. Miles got to be a ninja which he loved and still plans to have a his future career. Not sure how I feel about my child wanting to be a secret assasin but we're hopeful that a position will open up with the city of Spokane ;). Max's zombie clown scared the pants off several people and Luke was his usual quirky self when he said "Mom I want to make things easy for you; I'll just be super me."

It was a pretty fun weekend, Lucy's "blue girl" :P won the best costume at one party and on Halloween night they all got more candy than they could possibly consume in any reasonable amout of time.

we are into November now (happy anniversary to my Mom and stepdad today-28 years I think). The holidays are fast approaching and 2012 is right around the corner. I looking towards the races that I want to complete and goals realated to them but enjoying a little time off of the heavy stuff.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Troika Half Ironman Race Report

When I finished Boise 70.3 in 2010 at 6:02:25 I made a goal for 2011 to do a half Ironman in under 6 hours. My other 2011 goal was to go under 4 hours for a marathon but I broke my tailbone 6 weeks before my planned race (Windermere) and was just glad to still be able to finish it. So my goal for Troika was pretty important to me.

My last Troika swim in 2009 was around 42 minutes. My Boise swim was also 42 minutes. My swim at this year's troika was 53:34. Not only was the course long but the turn buoy came unmoored and floated out as I was approaching it!!!??? It was very weird and frustrating to look up at the bright orange globe that I’d been sighting off for a couple hundred yards and have it suddenly disappear as I reached it. It was being towed back in by a kayak!

T1 went quite smoothly and it was reassuring to see several Team Blazers get out of the water at the same time as me. I did drop my chain as I was mounting my bike however and I may have said a naughty word in front of some spectators, not a very good reflection on my team colors.

The bike was great. I had prepared a bottle of concentrated Heed and marked out levels so that I knew how much I needed to take in per hour on the bike. With water in my aero bottle that I refilled at the aid stations and one gel that I took about 30 minutes in, it was just about perfect for the 56 miles of a half Ironman distance race. Except that the bike turned out to be 60 miles. I still liked it. My average at Boise was 18.54mph and this year it was 20.33mph so definitely some improvement.

The run was hard but steady. I put ice in my hat and jersey from the first aid station because I knew how hot it was going to get. Each little cup of coldness seemed to give me a tiny burst of energy. It was encouraging to see everyone out there cheering and to have coach Scott come up and give me a mental push. Kind words make a huge difference at that point. I tried to pick it up as I ran into the park but I kept looking down at my watch and seeing that even though it felt faster my pace was still holding about the same. One girl in my age group had passed me at the beginning of the run and I could see her walking up ahead at the place where the trail splits before CI Shenanigans. I passed her and kept thinking she was going to run me down again but mostly I could see I was so close to my time goal...if I could just go a little bit faster...I turned onto the bridge and could hear the cheering and the announcer saying my name and then I saw the clock said 6:05:17 In my head I'm thinking “minus3minutes for the women's start =6:02.” :( David was there at the finish line and the caught me. The first thing I said was "I didn't make it" and started crying. He and Tristin and everyone from Team Blaze were so nice and kept saying lovely things and reminding me about the longer course. I felt better quickly, I really appreciated feeling part of the team and everyone being so supportive. Thanks Team Blaze! When I felt like I could go over and check my times (I still had to know if I had made my secondary goal of beating David's bike time ;) ). I saw that I was second in my age group. That definitely boosted my spirits!

I have two more Triathlons this season: Priest Lake at the end of August and Titanium Man one week later. Both are Olympic distance so a harder effort over a shorter time. I can’t wait! J

Thank you Suzanne Smail and Donna Melville for the photos.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Swing, Swing, Swing, Swing...

While searching for motivation to make and finish my dress for a 1944 Armistice themed swing dance I came across this blog: . She was near the end of leading a Sew-a-long for a 1940's swing dress. Unfortunately I had already cut the main front pieces of my dress or I would have switched to the pattern that they were using-it was super-cute (a phrase I don't use lightly :)-but I wouldn't have had enough fabric and I had bought all that they had. I did use some of the tips and especially loved Casey's tutorial on belt making. I wanted a cover belt buckle but was too short on time to order one online and they were not sold locally, so off to the thrift store I went and found a hideous (forgot to take a picture) belt with a heart shaped metal buckle. A coat of red paint made it sort of "brush-strokey" and easily chipped, but a coat of red nail polish over that made it just right (done after the picture).
I used simplicity 2917 for the dress(mostly because it was $1.99, it had a 40'sh-ish sweetheart neckline, and I'm familiar enough with princess seams that it fit my rushed time frame and meager budget). I added (pre-made *gasp*) piping and the before-mentioned belt and I lined the entire dress as my fabric was quite see-through. As far as being true to the time period, I would have liked to do more with the shoulders and to have used a non-polyester fabric but I wanted the drape and cheapness so yay for technology! I love how it turned out and wish that I had better pictures (I'm trying to teach my 15 1/2 year old to use my camera but we are still at the take-72-photos-without-looking-at-them -or-checking-the-settings stage :). I took the one of the belt :). Even though I'm a little late I'm going to share this on the Sew A Long.
I have to say that I really loved dressing for the 40's. Shapely (read large, muscular) calves were considered an asset and the dresses were really flattering to my broad shouldered, curvy body-type. Plus I loved the red lipstick and feminine hair styles.
The Swing Dance was really fun. The live band, The Stolen Sweets, was amazing and it was great to see so many of the dancers that we dance with at the Spokane Swing dance Club in their 40's garb (and to watch them dance-lots of talent!). To add to the already great atmosphere of the Glover Mansion (where it was held) there were guys in WWII era American and German uniforms wandering around (not dancers but a few of them tried and did pretty well). It was a great night and I hope they do it again.