take: 3 ways I’m like my Mom

  1. I like to make things.

When we see things we like we try to figure out how to make them ourselves. My mom is very talented in all things sewing and quilting and most other handicrafts. One year for  Christmas I received balls of yarn, needles, and an instructional CD-rom. I didn’t know how to knit, but my mom was right in guessing I would enjoy learning how. Then two years ago I received fabric and a pattern for my birthday, now I have a new wall hanging!

Graduation 055

Preparing to celebrate my brother’s graduation back in 2007

DSC00689

Showing off handmade items at the Chilhowee Fair

 

2. I like denim.

My mom has always had a thing for denim. Denim jeans, jumpers, dresses, capris, and shirts. While I’ve always liked denim jeans recently I’ve acquired several denim shirts and just the other day my mom told me about the new Gap denim dress she got while I told her about my new Gap denim jacket.

statefair 007

Posing at the State Fair with her award winning denim skirt

IMG_4733

Wearing a denim shirt while touring around the National Mall

 

3. I can’t say no.

We are both hesitant to say no to anything. From helping a friend with a sewing project to volunteering. But I also think that is where my willingness to explore new places and try new things comes from (and willingness to sing with the band).

DSC05428

Singing along with the band 

DSC01228

Traveling through Germany, one Christmas Market at a time

 

Advertisements

make: Custom tote bags

For my friend Jenn’s Bachelorette party weekend in Nashville I volunteered to make bags. I ordered canvas bags from Totebagfactory. They were decently priced and pretty good quality. They aren’t see through and the paint didn’t really even bleed through. They also have nice handles. The only problem with them was I ordered them about a week before I needed them and ended up having to stay up late finishing them instead of having a fun crafting Saturday.

My initial idea was to paint them, but then I started working on the design and everyone (Ok Brian and my friend Catherine) liked the design with everyone’s names the best. Adding people’s names would make painting a lot harder. So I thought of doing iron on. I ran by staples to pick up the special paper only to find out that the printer in my apartment building wasn’t compatible with the paper… ok back to painting.

I made the design using Microsoft Publisher. Catherine had sent me a design idea and I went with it. Its loosely based on a Fender guitar pick. The Nashville is a script and all caps for everyone’s name.

IMG_2616

I cut the guitar pick design out of plastic since I would be using it on all the bags. I started painting the gold with a foam pouncer while Catherine started cutting out everyone’s names. Since we would just be using each name once we just cut it out of regular paper. I also cut out Nashville out of the plastic, but it didn’t work out that well. The first one I used the pouncer brush to paint and it bled bad. So after that I used a paint pen and drew the Nashville that way. It was still nice to have the stencil to follow and it made all them come out uniform.

IMG_2619

To save time and to add some style we didn’t cut out the middle’s of the letters. I used the paint pen again for the names. Luckily all it took was overnight for them to dry then we filled them with bachelorette party essentials like advil and nail polish.

IMG_2620

take: Nashville

A few weekends ago I headed to Nashville with seven friends to celebrate our friend Jenn’s upcoming nuptials. We got an amazing Air BnB in East Nashville that was retro cool. I really liked the East Nashville area, some of the spots we checked out:

  • The Pharmacy, Burger Parlor and Beer Garden– Great burgers and beer in a casual cool setting. We sat on the porch which was great, half inside and half out. The staff was great too our waitress gave us suggestions on going out in the area.
  • Lockeland Table– This was our nice dinner out. They had great cocktails and delicious food. Another awesome waitress. She gave us detailed descriptions of most of the drinks and food and told us of a dance party going on that night in the area, which we hit up and had a great time.
  • No. 308– We stopped here on our walk home from the dance party. The music the DJ was playing pulled us in. Great atmosphere and great dancing.
  • Barista Parlor– I went with one friend early Sunday before the rest of the house got up. The whole side of the parlor opened to the outside and it was a beautiful day. We both got ice coffees and shared a doughnut and breakfast bagel. They were both delicious and the place had so much character.

But a Bachelorette party to Nashville is not complete without heading down to Honkey Tonk row. Broadway. We didn’t realize when we booked the trip, but Nashville is currently the bachelorette party capitol of North America. You couldn’t turn around without seeing three or four groups of ladies. We didn’t have matching shirts, but everyone else did. Our favorite places downtown were:

  • Acme Feed & Seed– We stopped here for lunch and drinks and they had a live band and we liked it so much we came back later for drinks on the rooftop and then dinner again downstairs. You order at the counter and they bring your food to you. They had a great selection of southern food with creative twists.
  • Robert’s Western World– The Bride-to-be had good memories of this place from a prior visit so we headed back. It was dirty and gritty and great. The band on stage was dressed in retro country attire and they played one of my favorite songs “The Battle of New Orleans”.
  • Johnny Cash Museum– It was a little expensive, but a nice museum. They kind of glaze over the bad times of Johnny, but also focus on some other little known facts. I liked how they had lots of interactive exhibits.
  • Mike’s Ice Cream– A few of us stopped in here one day because it was HOT out. We all got two scoops, but quickly figured out that one would of been enough. The ice cream was delicious and we all finished, because we didn’t want to throw any of the deliciousness away.

make: embroidery hoop di hoop

I had some of my lady friends over a while back and decided to have a craft project for us to do while we hung out and chatted and drank mimosas. I thought a hoop craft would be fun. Once you stretch fabric in the hoop it is a blank canvas for embroidery, appliqué, painting, and/or gluing fabric or buttons. I ordered the hoops from Hobby Lobby. The 4 inch hoops were $0.99 a piece! Shipping was a bit more, but a pretty good deal. I also ordered some new felt, but otherwise I used materials I had on hand.

IMG_2274

I had some canvas I cut into squares to use as the background, but also had some other fabric if someone wanted a different look. Since it was around valentines day I was inspired to do a conversation heart. I free hand cut the heart out of felt then used a simple stitch to attach it to the canvas.

IMG_2279

I eyeballed the lettering too. I don’t remember how I decided on “You Rock” but I’m still enjoying my choice. To finish off I cut the canvas down to within about 3/4 inch from the hoop. Then I used a glue gun to fold the canvas down and glue it to the inside of the hoop.

IMG_2295

I set up all the supplies I could think of on my desk, hoping to spark the creativity in my friends and see what people would come up with. I had a box of embroidery thread, several colors of felt, bits and pieces of fabric and leather, and buttons. The results are amazing!

IMG_2287

So many different interpretations from the same supplies. What would you make?

IMG_2285

gait: Charlottesville Half Marathon recap

Hills. Everyone warned me of the hills. I misread the elevation chart to read around 300 feet of elevation gain, but really it was 872 feet of elevation gain and 870 feet of elevation loss. To picture what that looks like think of a hill you wouldn’t want to stop on with a stick shift vehicle, that lasts for a half mile and then repeat that a few times. There was a reprieve on the river front path, but that only lasted a few miles.

When we arrived in Charlottesville I already knew I was in trouble. While I incorporated hills into my long runs and a few of my shorter runs, I didn’t do any true hill workouts. As we drove around the hills grew. The packet pick up was at the start/finish of the race. The pre-race material said there would be an “expo” but it was more like packet pick up plus some boyscouts handing out safety material

IMG_2555

My race day started like many of my recent race days- early and rainy. The rain chances had come and gone many times and when I woke up at 5:30 it was gone, but then by 6 when we were heading to the starting line it was raining.

IMG_2560

The advantages of a smaller race is we could park in the parking garage a block from the start. Brian was able to hang out with me until a minute before the start and it wasn’t hard to find each other along the course.

IMG_2562

The race started on time and the rain let up a little right before 7. Soon we were off and running around downtown. Soon I realized I didn’t really practice running down hill either. With the wet and rainy roads I was probably a little too cautious but I tried to just let go and fly down the hills.

After downtown there were some Monster Hills, both up and down. I tried to stay steady up the hills and enjoy the down hills. Around mile 3 we arrived at the river and onto a fairly flat trail through the woods. It was nice of the race organizers to add this two mile section for a little rest before some more big hills. Right before the turnaround Brian saw me and cheered, which was good because I had my head down trying to get up the hill. On my way back from the turnaround I had to yell at Brian as I was running faster than my tracking app thought.

From this point we retraced our tracks. I thought I remembered where I had been, but everything looked different when I headed back. I still felt pretty good at this point, but my watch was telling me I was slowing down. I started doing the math to finish in 2 hours and knew I needed to speed up a bit, but nothing was working. Then once I hit the last mile the road headed straight up at 90 degrees. Ok I’m exaggerating a little, but it was steep. I started doing this weird race walk thing that I hope was not caught on camera.

That last mile killed my chances and I finished in 2:02. I’m pretty proud of my race though. I’ve never seen so many hills. At the finish line there was water, milk, bananas, and some pinwheel sandwiches. I thought we were going to get medals, but when I didn’t I didn’t worry about it too much because I don’t really need another medal. However I got an email the day after saying they are mailing the medals!

It was still raining a bit and cold so we didn’t stick around the finish line too long, but they were handing out beer and had a band playing (both would be nice on a sunny day).

 

 

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!

IMG_2881IMG_2880

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.

IMG_2876

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!

IMG_2877

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.

IMG_2878

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!).

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.

IMG_2477

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.

IMG_2486

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.

IMG_2278

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!

IMG_2269

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

IMG_2271

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.