make: kindle holder

For Christmas Brian got me a Kindle Fire. I had an old Sony eReader, and since Sony had since gotten out of the eReader business, it was starting to not work so well. So the Kindle was much appreciated and enjoyed but as soon as I took it out of the box I started worrying that I would scratch the screen. So I stared looking online for a case. I didn’t want a big case because I wanted to be able to easily slip the kindle in my purse to carry around and read whenever I had a moment. I didn’t want a boring case either, because well… I’m not boring. Nor did I want an expensive case. So I decided to make a case! More of a sleeve really.  I didn’t put a lot of thought or planning in to it, one could say I didn’t put enough, but I think it turned out great in the end!

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I started by finding a movie on TV. I picked The Hundred-Foot Journey and picked out my fabric from the craft cabinet. I decided on some fun batik fabric for the inside, a layer of thin batting for padding and some grey felt for the outside that won’t show dirt. Here is where a little more planning would of come in handy. I just kind of eyed a seam allowance around the kindle and cut out a rectangle.

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I sewed the three layers of each side together on three sides and turned it right sides out. I ironed the pieces and ironed the open ends under to prepare for sewing them together. I put the open ends on the bottom so when I sewed them together I closed the openings too!

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I used a contrasting blue thread for an additional pop of color. To secure the kindle inside I cut a rectangle of leather and sewed one side to the back. I had some large snaps on hand that I decided to use. I sewed the one side to the sleeve and then glued to other side of the snap to the leather. I used my E600 permanent craft glue and so far it has held amazingly well. I can tug the snap by the leather and there is no sign of the snap coming off.

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I think it turned out great and I’ve been using it for a few weeks now with zero issues. What would I of done differently? I might assemble the pouch differently, sewn the outside together than the inside instead of the top then bottom. The Kindle fits perfectly, I would of made it a touch bigger and a touch longer as the end sticks out a tiny bit (good thing I made a closure!).

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take: cherry blossoms

Its my fifth Spring in DC and I still can’t get enough of the cherry blossoms and all of the other spring flowers and  trees in DC. I took these pictures at sunset last Wednesday and although they were quick and with my iPhone they really capture how pretty they can be.

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gait: Cville training week 11

Taper week! I never really got tired of the long weekend runs this time around. Probably because the last race I trained for was a Marathon and the long runs were all so long and time consuming that a few runs nearing two hours were no big deal. A few of the midweek runs didn’t happen again this week. Running after work each day is too much for me, it helps to mix in some morning and midday runs, but then sleep and weather sometimes get in the way.

Monday: 4 miles. Cold again, 4 miles on the treadmill. 3 at an even pace, final mile faster.

Tuesday: 30 minutes of yoga (then a beer and food pairing event at the Washington Post)

Wednesday: 5 miles. Easy with pauses for photos.

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Thursday: Cross training day. Brian and I walked down to the Tidal Basin for a picnic. This may not sound like cross training, but it was about 2.5 miles down and 2.5 miles back and both of our legs were tired.

Friday: Rest day

Saturday: 8 mile long run. Felt good and fairly fast and smooth. I witnessed some bicycle rage on the rock creek trail. A girl wearing headphones was passing me as a guy on a bicycle was trying to pass her. She didn’t hear him honking at her, and was taking her time to get back in front of me after passing. He starting yelling. I wanted to just say “Isn’t there room for all of us” but I didn’t want to be yelled at and well the girl never heard him so his anger was wasted.

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Total Miles: 17

Now its Race Week! The weather forecast has been all over the place with rain, now it looks clear so I hope it stays that way! Time to pick out my race outfit and pack for the weekend.

make: easy “doughnuts”

For the brunch I hosted a few weeks ago I wanted to serve some type of bread. I was feeling uninspired and browsing the quick breads at the supermarket when I saw the idea to use a muffin mix to make baked doughnuts. It sounded interesting enough so I gave it a try. I bought the box of Krusteaz cranberry orange muffin mix and headed home.

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It is super easy. Just mix up the batter and put it in a zip lock bag. I used the gallon size and snip the corner. Then draw circles! The instructions also said you could use one of those doughnut pans, but unnecessary I say! As you can see below I wasn’t exactly neat and precise in drawing my circles, but it didn’t matter the oven corrected everything!

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I cooled them on a rack and mixed an icing of powdered sugar and orange juice to drizzle over the top.

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It made a ton! Maybe 3-4 dozen? And they were a hit. They were softer and fluffier than a doughnut or a muffin so they made a light sweet treat.

gait: Cville training week 10

PEAK WEEK! AHHH! I didn’t end up running as many miles as my plan called for, but I did run more than the last few weeks so… it counts!

Monday: 5 miles, 4 easy with a fast 1 mile finish. I ran on the treadmill. All the lovely weather of last week is gone and I just wanted to get it done. We have three treadmills in my apartment gym. I was running on the right one and another girl on the left one. During my run three people came in to use the middle one and couldn’t get it to work and left. SO of course this was bothering me. It looked like it should work! So when I got done I flipped the on/off switch. nope. I got on and tugged on the safety rope… yep. Someone had tied the safety rope so tightly around the handle that it was constantly telling the machine to stop.

Tuesday: Yoga, an hour flow class.

Wednesday: 3 miles, planned on 5, felt awful the whole time and then it started raining.

Thursday: 3.75 miles, I ran during lunch, down to the National Mall. I stopped by the tidal basin to check on the cherry blossoms. There were a few trees blooming, but nothing spectacular going on. My legs were tired. I don’t know why.

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Friday: Rest day, cause my legs were tired.

Saturday: 13 miles. I got up early to run so I could avoid the rain. The first half of my run was a bit choppy and I had trouble getting in gear. I ran down to the National Mall first to loop around the Capitol and check on the blossoms again. Thursday in my office’s locker room a fellow runner recommended running behind the Smithsonian castle and checking out the magnolia trees, so I took her advice and she was right, it was pretty. But it was such a cold morning I couldn’t fully enjoy any beauty. Then I headed to the Tidal basin, there were a few more blooms and a random stranger told me I was wearing the wrong running shoes and needed to wear Brooks. Thanks random guy who knows nothing about my feet or running! I carried water with me for the first time this training cycle, which lead me to needing to stop at the Lincoln bathrooms. Then I headed up rock creek and without having to stop at lights I got a good rhythm going and actually achieved a negative split on my run, which doesn’t usually happen.

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Sunday: Rest day!

Total miles: 25

gait: Spring Backyard Burn Trail Race: Laurel Hill

After agreeing to run part of my sister’s 100k this summer with her I decided I might want to do a trail race beforehand. I looked around the DC area and found the Spring Backyard Burn series. As I’m training for the Charlottesville Half Marathon I consulted Crafty Runner on when I should do the race. We decided that a ten mile trail race on the weekend of my eleven mile long run would work.

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With no real trail running to prepare, real meaning dirt and hills not a nice paved path through the woods, I signed up for 10 miles through the woods. Laurel Hill is in Lorton, VA which was about a half hour drive from my apartment, but luckily the race had a relatively late start time of 9 am. I drove right to the start and didn’t have to wait at all to pick up my bib. I headed back to the car to stay warm for a bit. They had some indoor bathrooms that I tried out before lining up to start at 8:50 to hear the race instructions.

My goal for the race was just to take it easy and finish. As soon as the horn went off I forgot the “take it easy” and just remembered the race director saying “after the first mile there is single track so line up where you want to be before you get there”. I wasn’t sure where that was so I pushed it a bit and well the first mile was mostly paved and all down hill.

 

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The woods portion of the race was my favorite, there were a lot of switch backs and some tiny rolling hills. The grassy portion was my least favorite. The trail in this portion was narrow and deep and only one foot wide. My ankles and knees didn’t like running this portion. Near mile five (and 9 the course was two loops) there was a sign saying “don’t run over snakes” Uh? I would definitely run away or jump over any snakes, running over snakes is not a problem for me.

The second loop seemed to go much faster even though it was much slower. The second time through the woods I caught my foot on a rock and fell. I caught myself pretty quickly, but two girls passed me while I was down and I lost some energy. Looking at my paces below, I’m pretty sure this was mile 8.

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When I saw the 1 mile to go sign I got a burst of energy until I saw the huge hill to the finish. Everyone else was walking up the hill so I joined in for awhile. Once at the top and back on pavement I got some speed back and finished strong-ish. The course was confusing as it looks below, but well marked and I never questioned which way to go.

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I ate two slices of pepperoni pizza afterwards (big advantage of trail races) and sat around to watch the awards ceremony (the winners got pint glasses!) as long as I could without returning my car late. There were some fast ladies (and men). Although I had a big positive split, I’m happy with my overall average pace. I was done for the rest of the day and spent some quality time with my couch. Lesson’s learned include starting slower, train on some trails, and maybe eat something if I’m running that long.

Have you ran a trail race? What are your tips?

gait: Cville training week 9

Monday: 5 miles. It is finally warmer around DC now and I was able to sneak this run in outside before it got too dark.

Tuesday: 0 miles. Race recovery?

Wednesday: 4 miles. Running around the neighborhood. IN SHORTS AND A TANK TOP!

Thursday: 1 mile and weights.

Friday: 0 miles. Unintended rest day. This wasn’t my week.

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Saturday: 12 miles. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon was running through town on Saturday morning. I planned to run on the C&O canal towpath to avoid running into the race. However by the time I got out the door at 9:30 and got over to where my route crossed the race’s course there were only the very last runners going by. It was interesting seeing the end of the race. I felt for the people walking at mile 6 with over half of the race to go, with the sag wagon right behind them and the street sweepers not far behind them.

The C&O towpath was a great run. You are kind of in the wilderness, but can still hear the traffic, which is disappointing. The crushed gravel is a good run, but you have to watch out for a few bigger rocks and some washed out areas. I did an out and back, which I didn’t mind about going back the same way, but I didn’t notice there was a pretty good wind until I turned around and it hit me. Luckily the wind was only bad for the first mile back towards home.

The 12 miles didn’t feel too bad, but then I walked another two miles to eat and then another mile to a festival and then stood and walked the rest of the day… my legs were tired.

Sunday: Rest day!

Total miles: 22

make: knit cap

Last winter I rotated between two hats that both would slip down over my eyes and cover my whole face. So when hat weather rolled around again this year I was looking for something new. I have a rather big head so I didn’t want to buy something without trying it on and then I thought about my big stash of yarn and my knitting skills I hadn’t used in awhile and decided to make my new hat.

I tend to use free patterns and began my search where I always do at Lion Brand Yarn. I found a cabled knit pattern to try that fit with the yarn and needles I had on hand. I don’t have a lot of cabling experience, but once I pulled out a notebook and pen to track which stitch I was on, the hat went together pretty quickly. I finished it over one weekend.

So I’m not one to test my gauge. I know! I just figure things usually turn out right, so I must have the perfect stitch (insert sarcasm). I think it came out correctly, I just think my big head is getting in the way. It tends to slip up a little and expose my ears a bit once I’ve had it on for awhile.

Overall I think it came out great. I asked Brian if he liked my hat so many times he wouldn’t talk about it anymore. Best of all is it matches my favorite scarf that I bought in Amsterdam.

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gait: Cville training week 8

Monday: rest day since I did my long run on Sunday

Tuesday: 3.8 mile interval workout. Flew to Seattle Tuesday and was looking to do some run exploring. Seattle weather has other plans, rain and high winds made it hard to walk so I decided to run inside the hotel.

Wednesday: 3 easy miles. I knew the time difference in Seattle would help me wake up earlier, but it didn’t help the sun come up any earlier. I still managed to fit in three miles before sitting in meetings from 8 to 5:30. I ran from my hotel to the space needle and on the paths around the space needle and Key arena. Seattle has a lot of interesting architecture, new and old. There were lots of fun signs and sites to look at and I wished I had more time.

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Thursday: all day airplane ride rest.

Friday: 4 miles. Three easy with a faster final mile. I bought trail shoes in preparation for this weekend’s trail race and to prepare to run in Colorado this summer. I hadn’t had a chance to try them out, but didn’t want to wear them for the first time in a race so I wore them on the treadmill. They felt great so I think I’m good to go.

Saturday: rest day to prepare for the race Sunday.

Sunday: 9.79 miles at the Backyard Burn Spring Series Laurel Hill race in Lorton, VA. It was rough, I started too fast. I’ll write a full post on the race once they post the official times.

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Total Miles: 21 miles, I missed one day of running and cut two runs shorter than my training plan called for, but I still did a long run and a workout run so with all of my traveling this week I still call it a success.

gait: Cville training week 7

Monday: 4 easy miles on the treadmill. 

Tuesday: I was still feeling tired from my long run on Saturday or I convinced myself I was, so I just did an hour of yoga and pushed my speed work out to Wednesday. 

Wednesday: 7 miles on the treadmill. The first two were warm up then I increased my pace for four miles. I increased the speed every two minutes until I was at a 7:40 pace then did a mile cool down. 

Thursday: 3.5 easy miles on the treadmill. Thursday was originally a cross training day, but since I just did yoga on Tuesday I did a few miles. I also did some weights (arms) and core work. 

Friday: unplanned rest day. Brian and I had to head out of town last minute so I didn’t get a run in on Friday. 

Saturday: unplanned rest day. I decided to swap my Saturday run with my Sunday rest day. 

Sunday: 9 miles around beautiful Addison, Texas. I found some nice walking paths through some neighborhoods that weren’t very long, but I was able to patch together enough miles. 


Total miles: 23.5 miles