Friday, December 30, 2011

Assembling "My Tweets"

I've been working on the satin stitching of "My Tweets" so I could get blocks done and work on the last couple of blocks.  Erin put up the finishing directions and I realized I'm going to have to make some big changes.

1.  My center panel isn't 30 inches.  It's 26.  I think the original pattern had it at 24 but I can't find it to make sure.  I wish she had said something.

2.  She has the blocks at 15 inches and while mine are larger so I could cut them down, I'm not sure how to make it work with a 26 inch inch block.

3.  If I understand the borders right, they are cut at 10.5x90 inches with them mitered.

I did play in EQ7 but couldn't find the right setup and if you did a custom design, it wasn't working very well.

So, do I:

Cut out the borders (they are appliquéd and I really don't want to resize) and make the rest of the blocks fit with sashing?  I just can't figure out the math for some reason.  From the 90 inches, I'd take out 20 inches (10 on each side) leaving me with 70 inches square to work with?

However; when I take the four blocks that she has cut out at 15 inches (14.5 inches finished?) and the 5 inches of sashing I come up with 63 inches, not 70.

I put a post up in her Yahoo! group.

I haven't taped up the border blocks yet to check the distance to see what it really is.  I guess I should.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Getting There

I started going through stuff.  I'm one of those crazy people that organize fabric via specific color.  It's not just "red" or "blue" or "yellow"  It's gold-yellow, yellow, red, red-orange, orange and so on.  I pin the color on the fabric and then put in bins according to the color wheel.  Then you run into the problem of re-arranging fabrics when you add new fabrics in.

I do this because some fabric colors aren't what they seem.  When you see "red" and it's really more "orange", it doesn't work with it's opposite, a green.  Oranges and blues are opposite and once you put that fabric in with the blues, it works perfectly.  Your quilts become more colorful, vibrant and blend better when you know it's true color.

It's still a mess with sorting fabric.  Then I thought about what my DH would say if I asked him what to do.  His advice would be, "You know, no one is going to see your stash or care how meticulously you organize it.  It's just going to get messed up every time you raid it.  If you want to match a color, wait for your project, take out your book and do it then."  Translated in man language that would mean, "Stuff it all in bins and don't worry about it".

You know what color each fabric is.  Don't obsess over it.  So I just stuffed everything in bins and figure when I go looking for fabric for a new project, I'll still be good.  I dumped out some fabric and feel better.  Plus, it's an excuse to go buy more fabric that's not 10 years old.

If you are wondering why I'm doing this on Christmas Eve instead of doing some celebration, it's because there isn't anything to celebrate.  I have no family close by.  I'm a hermit with anxiety problems.  Having anyone over would give me a massive heart attack.  It's just been a nice quiet day.

After organizing DH and I started watching a 1978 Japanese series called "Monkey" that was broadcast in England when he was a kid.  I despise dubbing and Japanese/Chinese movies are the worst.  Once I got over the terrible dubbing, it's a pretty good series.  If you lived in England during that time period it was a very popular show.

Now he's watching "633 Squadron" that I found for 5 bucks on Amazon.UK.  It was on the Military Channel about a week or so ago and screamed "widescreen" the entire movie to enjoy the planes.  US version was overpriced and crappy copies.  It came today and with his region free DVD player he's enthralled.  If you or your loved one loves WWII movies, this is a great one.  They haven't put classic WWII movies on Blu-ray yet so I'm glad I could find this DVD for him.
I have a problem.  It's bad.  I had no idea how bad things were until my daughter asked for some drawers to stash her crafting supplies.  It's been ten years in the making of this problem and it's not going to get better.  I need intervention like that one show about hoarders so I can fall apart while someone else goes through my stuff.  

I admit it.  I'm a fabric hoarder.  I'm a book hoarder.  I hoard thread.  I buy patterns knowing I'll never use them but can't resist.  I've got quilt stencils I've only used once.  Homemade stencils of patterns I've designed but will never get around to making.

I fell for the knitting fad and have stuff in the hopes of making a pair of socks.  Anyone want to make me socks?  I have really, really, really nice yarn.  Even knitting needles and the books to make them.  I just don't have the ability to count.

I can't bear to part with any of it.  It's the "I Might Need That Someday" syndrome.  I have A.D. projects.  You know, the "After I'm Dead" project my kids will never finish.  If you don't believe me:

That's only ONE drawer of scraps in trying to do Bonnie's way of organizing.  I'm not about to spend hours cutting all sizes of strips and squares.  I don't even think my Go! Cutter would make that easier.

Surprisingly I only have a small stash of magazines.


So, some questions:

1.  If you really aren't going to use the little scraps are you allowed to toss them?

2.  If I put some of this stuff up for sell via my blog or (gasp) Ebetray would they sell?

3.  How do you know what toss or keep?  Some of this stuff is 10 years old.

4.  Will it really be emotionally okay to give it away, sell it, or toss it?

Back to the basement to help my daughter.




Thursday, December 22, 2011


Still working on my "Red Christmas".  It's looking better and a little easier as I've done more of it.  It's going to take awhile since it's slow going.  

I got out my Cougar cutter as I wanted to do this project:

Things got busy and I realized I may not have enough paper to do it.  It's actually about 9-10 inches tall.

So I tried a free download with my Cougar and got this:

Yeah.  It's pretty bad.  How did my Cougar totally screw that up?  (It's actually been a pain all week)  I put the box together anyway just to see how it looked.  LOL.

I got out my Cricut to see if it would work better and it ate another box project from the same file.  Uggh.  The paper was destroyed.   I got out a different kind of paper and tried again.  Wow! Talk about pretty!  DD and I put M&Ms in them and will take them to some friends.

I really need to work on "My Tweets" blocks.  I just haven't felt like it.

Monday, December 19, 2011

WINE And Applique

I'm not sure I'm liking this appliqué pattern.  It's a pain trying to do the the slender points and I suspected it would be rather boring doing the same pieces over and over.  It's not looking very pretty either given my ugly stitches.  It's not terrible, just looks very amateurish.  The fabric frays badly.  So..keep it up or give up?  

I've been playing with computer programs as well.  I installed Lion for my computer in hopes I could use WINE (not the drinking kind) to work with Windows via the Mac side of my computer.  The WINE software works but not with most of the programs I have.  It doesn't recognize USB ports so I can't use my cutters or my embroidery machine with my windows software.  If I was a computer programmer I can see tons of opportunities with the program.  It just took most of the weekend to install and play with the program to find all of this out.  The joys of being to lazy to boot over to the Windows side of my Mac computer.  LOL.

However; MTC (Make The Cut) software is coming out with a Mac version soon so I'm very excited.

I should be working on my "My Tweets" blocks but haven't felt like it.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Freezer Paper Issues?

First off, are there ads when you come to my blog because I didn't put them there.  If so, how do I get them off.  I don't have "monetize" on nor have I ever enabled it.  Has Google started doing this w/o our permission?  Not happy about this.

On to the blog post.....

Did the people who make freezer paper change their formula?  When I iron the paper onto the fabric it doesn't stick and if you spray starch the whole piece practically falls apart.  It's driving me nuts.  I used to be able to press the freezer paper with ease and use the same piece over and over despite using starch.

The brilliant plan was to cut out all the applique shapes on freezer paper with my Cougar cutter for the "Red December" quilt.  Then use my iron/starch to press the fabric over.  Instead it's just making a gooey mess.

The other plan is to cut out the pieces on plastic templates, but if I starch the piece, all it does is make the template slippery and ruins the design.

Of course, the original plan of just doing it by hand works, it's just slower.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

"Red December" Quilt

I've been working on my "Red December" quilt.  Just like glue, those dang points are killing me.  The fabric is similar to Kona Cotton.  It frays and it's bulky when you get to the points.  The color is so beautiful though.  It didn't even run when I washed it.  A red that doesn't bleed!

I may have to call it quits on the back basting and use templates to get those points nice and sharp with some starch.  It is really pretty despite my bulky points.  Even DH likes the pattern.

Hmm..going to JoAnn's is more and more appealing.  I can drive since I'm not taking the pain med anymore.


I hate glue.  Part of me wants to head to Lincoln, hit JoAnn's and find some scrapbooking glue.  Or glue that doesn't take 10 hours to dry or warps my project.  That entails filling my my car @50 bucks, using half of it for the trip just to spend a few dollars.  Ughh. 

I've spent hours making this box.  Oh, cutting it out was easy.  Press "cut" on the software and you are done.  It took me forever to figure out the inside part of the book.  The YouTube video kept stopping on me before it hit the box and there are no written instructions in the downloaded file that I could find.

The front isn't so bad.  I love the front part of the book.  It needs some berries and twigs that I seem to have lost.  Even the box that fits into the book looks great. I allowed to use Roxanne's basting glue for these?  Or would any form of moisture dissolve the glue?  That stuff is amazing.  I even caught DH using it to glue up the corners of his DVD box sets awhile back.  You know, he's actually been very well behaved.  Something is up.

I used my Cougar cutter for the oval with the circles in it.  Every one of those circles is a circle.  Not kidding.  Those are not hand punched.  I cut out the book cover with my Cricut and it totally messed up the four corner circles.  Now that I've figured out my Cougar cutter, it's been worth every penny.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Spent last Sunday night in the ER.  I'd been feeling sick since Thursday but chalked it up to the "just not feeling good" theory.  By Sunday night around 11:30pm I started cramping over in pain.  My first thought was my appendix and headed to the ER.

ER is 1/2 mile down the road and by the time I was there, I was really doubled over.  It felt like labor pains and that scared me.  I'm not pregnant.  I can't get pregnant unless there's some kind of miracle and if I was having a miscarriage I'd be bleeding.  Other thought was ectopic pregnancy but again, I can't get pregnant. All kinds of thoughts race through your mind when you start thinking about what's going on.  It would kill me to find out somehow I had gotten pregnant and lost a baby.

The nice part about rural hospitals is that there's never anyone there so I got in right away.  The bad part is that there isn't anyone there.  Doc said I needed a CT scan.  However; they had to call in the guy that does the CT scan.  Then they wanted to use a dye to see better and had to set that up.  One glass, wait 45 minutes, another glass and wait 45 minutes before they can do the scan.

Nurse gave me some morphine and DH and I waited until I could do the CT scan.  Umm.  Can't they just use an ultrasound machine to figure this out?  The nurse said they don't have an ultrasound machine and then they'd have to hire a tech to use it.  Yet, you somehow have a CT scanning machine and can pay that guy?  It's a conspiracy as you'd make more money off the CT scanner right?  I could have been out of the ER within an hour or so with the ultrasound machine, but kept me ALL friggin' night for the CT scan.  You can charge more for the time as well.  

The guy comes to do the CT scan.  It has to go to Lincoln.  They have to wake someone up on their end to read it and send back the results.  Geesh.

Why can't this happen during a WEEKDAY so I can hit a regular doc, get an ultrasound and go home?

4am comes along and the final verdict is that an ovarian cyst ruptured and that they found another one.  I get handed some pain meds and they send me home all nice and drugged out.  I'm told I can't drive under Vicodin (duh) as it would be considered a DUI.

Good news after seeing a regular doc is that it's all good and there's no sign of cancer.  Just keep an eye on it and go from there.

Can't wait to get the bill for this.  I shouldn't complain too much.  If it was a big city hospital, it would have been 4am by the time I was even seen.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Red Fabric For Applique Project

I found some red fabric!  Turkey red and it's beautiful!  I cut out one 20 inch square of red fabric and backbasted it to the white foundation fabric.  The red fabric is on the bottom so you can see where I basted from behind.

Then you cut around the design to 1/4 of an inch to start your hand applique.

I've started on the outside and plan to work inwards.  Here's a close up of where I've been working:

Friday, December 02, 2011

"Red December" Quilt

Esther over at Esther's Blog has an amazing red/white quilt pattern for her readers called "Red December" and it's truly gorgeous!  Sigh.  The last thing I need is another beautiful quilt to drool over.

So..I quit drooling and went and bought fabric.  I'm not doing red but browns and pink.  However; I'm torn on what I want to do.  If I do more than one color, will I lose the simpleness of it?  Should I just keep to one color?  The dark brown, the medium or the print?

There are four blocks shown on point with triangles that have part of the design on it.  I know the best idea is to cut out several pieces and play around.  I worry about losing the pink flowers in the design and it comes out just one mottled mess.  The dark brown is truly beautiful and would probably make a stunning allover quilt.  If I use all 3 will the contrast lose the entire pattern that one color does?

I plan on hand appliquéing since the design is gentle curves and circles.  I have no desire to satin stitch around all of that.  I can't stand raw edges so hand applique would do just fine.  I'd just back baste everything.

Or, just go buy red fabric and make it look like the quilt she has shown?  I had looked at several stores and couldn't find that "perfect" red and liked the idea of brown.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I think I should legally change my name to perpetually frustrated because that's all I am.  It never goes away and never gets easier.  There isn't any medication.  Well, some people could debate that, but I'd rather have legal drugs and even those suck the life out of you.   There isn't a support group.  Banging your head against a wall hurts.  People hide when they see you coming.  Throwing the item(s) that make you frustrated only means holes in your walls or a broken window and voids your warranties.  Thankfully I know that and only mentally toss stuff through the window.

Yup.  Being bipolar sucks and I hate having it.  You do indeed live with being perpetually frustrated.  Nothing is easy and everything sets you off.

The good news is that I'm actually LOVING the holidays.  Normally I want to hibernate this time of the year, but for some reason, I'm so excited it's killing me.  I even hit Black Friday.  Oh, not at 3am.  That's when the crazy people are out and those people are dangerous.  DH and I went late afternoon.  We hit JoAnn Fabrics and Best Buy.

JoAnn was having some killer sales that I didn't know about.  Wait for it...I picked up..gasp..a Sizzix BigKick.   Okay..40% off was a huge deal maker and I've wanted to try one to compare it to the Go! cutter. what do I do with it?  If ya'll know how to find some dies (JoAnn's had been picked clean) let me know.  Yeah.  It was pure impulse.  Dang Black Friday.   I got several scrapbook paper packs half off for a couple of projects and was glad I wasn't buying fabric.  The cutting line was wrapped around the store.

So..what did I do with scrapbook paper?  Check these out:

Blue and silver are my favorite Christmas colors.  My girls and I made the tree using 4x1.5 inch strips going around a styrofoam cone.  It's itty bitty, only 9 inches high.  It was SO much fun to do this with them.  It really needs a silver star of some kind on the top.  Any ideas?  A pin with a star on it would be perfect.

The other tree was made using my Cricut.  It opens up as a box.  I've discovered I suck at using glue.  My daughters were laughing so hard as I was furious that sections kept coming apart.  I'd finally get one section done to have the rest come undone as I went around the tree.  I hate glue.  Within a few minutes they had the tree put together after I'd spent 20 minutes trying to make the sections stick.

So, why am I so frustrated?

I've spent all weekend trying to get my Blackcat Cougar paper cutter up and running.  It kept sliding the blade across the papers leaving cut marks everywhere.  I couldn't get the blade holders to work.  Then it stopped working altogether.

I installed a trial of Parallels to run my MTC software via the Mac side so I didn't have to boot over.  Of course that's been a pain all weekend.  Windows keeps protesting that it needs activated.  Then it made for needing to install drivers that the computer kept insisting that weren't there.  Now I'm worried I'll lose XP for activating it and lose all my stuff.  Yes, it's backed up, but the thought of having to reinstall everything makes me sick if I have to buy a new operating system.  I hate Windows so much and wish more programs ran on Mac computers.  Dang it, you sewing machine companies, Electric Quilt, Embird,
Make the Cut and other software companies need to get with the times and make your programs work on a Mac.

I've spent all weekend wanting to kill software programs, Windows, and my Cougar Cutter.  I'm about tempted to sell the Cougar cutter.  It works, it's the stupid operator that is dumb.

I think I'm going to uninstall Parallels and gripe about booting over.  It's easier that way.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Quilter's Guide To The Nook Tablet Or Kindle Fire

I picked up the Nook Tablet last week and being the electronic nerd I purchased the Kindle Fire last night.  Neither one is better than the other after playing around, but your decision should be based on what you plan on using your Tablet or Fire for.  Everyone in the tech industry seems to go on about the memory, size, and other technical specs, but I'm giving my review as a normal boring person.

My true advice is don't bother with either and go get an iPad.  It's more versatile and truly worth every penny.  That's one purchase I don't regret.  Nothing beats the iPad.  Nothing.

I really have the Nook because my husband picks out better books that I do.  He's into history, politics, sci-fi, and everything else.  I can go into a book store and find myself lost in choices.  He's got 400 books to choose from.

I have a Kindle because I like romance novels and quilting books.  He doesn't want anything like that on his Nook, archived or not.

If you want quilting e-books, get the Fire.  Amazon has so many books to choose from and at much cheaper prices.  Barnes and Noble wanted 32 dollars for a book.  Amazon wanted 21.99.

Both readers play your own movies.  You will need 3rd party software to convert your movies into a readable format.  You need the SD micro card for the Nook to load a movie in.  You use the "Gallery" app on the Fire.  I refused to pay 1.99 an episode for my "Thundercats" TV show via Kindle when I paid a few bucks for the DVD.  It was easy to convert it over and watch on each tablet.  Volume sucks on both readers so it's hard to hear.    

If you want better customizing of your books, get the Nook.

Marvel Comics has worked out a deal with the Nook.  DC has done that with the Fire.  That really sucks if you like comic books like my DH.  I told him I didn't have a problem if he downloaded comic books on my Fire.

User Interface

I tried to get some pics, but the glare wasn't helping.  Once you push the power button the Fire, you get this large bookshelf with oversized apps or books.  It's a truly ugly home page.  You can't scale it down and when I tried to change the order of the books, it just spins through them.  Come on Amazon.  You could have done better than that.

When I clicked on a book and hold it, I have two choices, Add to favorites, or remove from the device.

With the Nook, you push the "N" and it opens up with whatever screen saver you've put in (I have an animated fish tank) and your recent books are stored at the bottom in a nice neat size.  If you hold on one of the books/apps it asks  if you want to open it, view details, recommendations and if you want to remove it from the home page.

Once you get a book loaded, you can go to the menus by tapping.  You can change fonts, size, margins, background color, line spacing.  The Kindle has three background colors, gray, back and Sepia.  The Nook has Day, night, gray, Butter, Mocha, and Sepia.

When it comes to navigating your way through menus, the Kindle is easier because it doesn't have all the menus to go through.  However; when I do need that "N" I know where it is.  Having to tap all the time to go the home menu on the Fire was annoying at times.

I couldn't find shelves on the Kindle.  On the Nook I could add bookshelves, label them and easily move those books into them.


Both are fast and load up nicely.  Buying books are easy on both sites. is easier to navigate through and the prices are so much better for books.  There are more apps.  Barnes and Noble website can be a pain to find what you want and some books are almost as much as the regular book.

If you are into Facebook, you cannot chat with either device.  That sucks.  I think that's an Android problem, not the devices themselves.  I can't chat on my Droid either.

It's a hard choice because of my needs.  The nook is better with customizing and I like it more than the Kindle.  I like to watch movies, but don't want Hulu+ or Netflix.  I have Amazon Prime and can watch what I like, whenever I want, but the Nook has clearer, more vibrant colors.  I can buy so many quilting books via Amazon and books are cheaper.

Get the iPad if you want the best.  Even if you despise Apple, you really get what you truly want.

*Edited*  You can hack into the Nook without messing with anything to ruin it.  I was able to sideload Amazon's app store and the the Kindle reader.  It's more complicated to get into the Android Market and I don't buy apps that much so I wasn't worried about it.

If you really only want to read books and not deal with the internet, get one of the simple readers that each offer for a great price.  I like e-ink and not dealing with the glare of a glass screen.

I probably haven't helped, but this is my first impressions with both tablets.  Both have really nice features and I wish I could put it all into one tablet.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Design Wall Monday

I got brave and pulled out my Cricut cutter to see if I could make something that wasn't quilty.  I found my"Make The Cut" forum and found a pattern for a birdhouse .  I downloaded it, had it cut out and then wondered what to do with it.  My creativity has improved over the years but once I saw what the other ladies had done with their birdhouses my spirits fell.  Quilting I know.  Paper crafts I do not.

After rummaging through the scrap booking stickers for birds and finding nothing.  How can you NOT have birds?  I picked out butterfly stickers and found some Japanese blossoms.  I picked out some blue ribbon and headed home.

After playing around I came up with this:

My daughter said to put a candle in and with the lights off you get this:

I have one problem.  If I tape the roof on, I can't get to the candle (fake one) to turn it on/ off.  Any ideas?

Check out Judy's blog for more Design Wall Mondays.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cardinal Quilt

Argh.  The tape kept coming off the wall and I needed a better view for the blocks so I laid everything out on the floor.  A much better view and it's been easier to put my blocks where I want.  The cats haven't destroyed it and I'm leaving it until morning to put the rest together.  Hopefully I can start sewing blocks and maybe even rows.

I'm really liking how this is turning out.


I got quite the scare this morning when I picked up my bike to put it on the stand and the wheel fell out as it hadn't been tightened in right .  That explains the "thunk" I heard yesterday about 6 miles outside of town.  I'm lucky I didn't crash.  I don't how the bike made it home on the rack w/o losing that tire when DH came to pick me up.

I called up the store and brought the bike up for a check since I couldn't get the gearing to work right.  I had my fingers crossed I hadn't bent the rim or frame.  The guy had to true up the tire (make sure the spokes are in place/tension so the tire spins correctly), bend the bottom part of the frame where the tire sits back into place and we spent about 30 minutes figuring out why the chain doesn't move up/down the cassette (where the smaller gears are in the back).  Turns out there's a tension setting on the bar-end shifter that needed tweaking.

Between the bar-end tension and the bottom tension settings, my bike rides beautifully.  And I only thought tension problems existed with sewing machines.  LOL.  Bike cables stretch as you use them.

BTW, if I have my bike terminology off, I make no apologies.  It took me years to get it right for quilting.   

Note to self:

Always check your bike over before going out and don't forget the cell phone.  You got lucky one of your friend's house is 8 miles away to call DH.  

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Stupid back.  It's aching really bad.  That's what I get for loading up my Fargo onto the rack and putting my Trek Y-11 into the back of the car since it won't fit on the rack.  I'm so excited though!  My Y-11 now has a beautiful view to the outside world as a collector's piece in the shop window instead of being in my garage.  She's still mine, but she'll get more attention at the shop.

My Fargo got an adjustment and is back home waiting for a ride.

I thought I could get more done on my cardinal quilt, but my back finally protested enough to stop.  It's a mess up on the wall, but it really is organized chaos.

The top 4 corners will have the sparrows with the cardinals in the center.  The flowers will be centered around/between the birds.  Masking tape doesn't stick very well as you can see and two cats don't help when they pull at the bottom pieces.

Completely off topic:

If you got this far, I could use some help with tactfully dealing with 4-5 ladies that ruin every time I go to church.  You know the ones.  Usually older ladies that seem to think they are more important than they are and probably without realizing it, disrupt the lessons by their comments.  They are in every organization possible.

I come to church to listen quietly to the lesson and enjoy it.  Last week I'd had enough and it hit me why I'm pretty much inactive in my ward.  It's those ladies.  The sacredness of every lesson is ruined.  When your ward is very small you can't get away from them.

We were talking about keeping yourself unspotted from the world and one lady starts in on how TV is unrighteous and all the shows are evil.  I wanted to answer back with, "Why do you have a TV then?" but I didn't.

Another lady tells us that the commercials are just as bad.  I couldn't resist, "Umm.  Get a  a DVR.  I don't even have to deal with commercials".

Then another goes on about the computer and I almost walked out.  Then Brother "Cough and Hack It Up" decides to have 3 minute attack which doesn't help.  Why can't these people realize it's so gross to listen to and leave for a couple of minutes?

After the lesson, I'd had enough and left to go home.  I quit going to Relief Society years ago after a terrible discussion with these ladies demeaning anyone who was on government assistance.  I have been on government assistance at one time or another and was so disgusted I've never gone back.

It doesn't help that one of the ladies is the teacher and they egg each other on.

Is this normal for other wards if you are LDS?  Or if you are part of another church?

Any solutions?  The ones I've thought of aren't really very nice and the ones that are would still be hard to say publicly in a class.  I just want to go to church and enjoy the day.  Most of the time I hide under the covers and wish Sunday would just go away.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I was bad.  Really bad because I didn't tell DH first, but she's incredible.  She's a 2012 Salsa Fargo.  She's an all steel mountain bike with 29inch wheels, with road bike handlebars and bar end shifters.

When you go into a bike store, no one asks what are the road conditions in your area to help select a bike.  I never thought about it until now when I realized I was spending all summer trying to avoid rocks and being blown over by semi trucks on my Madone.  I never really felt "safe".  The rural roads out here are not meant for a racing bike and I wish I had understood that before buying it.

The other thing that peeved me was last week I looked online at my Madone and realized Trek had dropped the price to 2000 bucks and I paid far more for it.  If you want a 2011 Madone 4.7, get it now as you'll save nearly 700 dollars.  I wanted to puke right there.  I LOVE my Madone, it's just not meant to be ridden down pothole riddled roads.

This bike was amazing going down the road.  The mountain bike tires go over anything, the road bike frame and drop bars make it like a road bike, the softness of steel and it's a rush.  I wish I had found this first.

I'm going to sell my Trek 1.2, my Specialized Sirrus and maybe my Trek Y-11 on Craigslist.  They need much better homes.  I'm also considering selling my Husqvarna Viking Sapphire 870.  She's sat in a box for several years.  I'm getting her tuned up and hope to have her back next week. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A couple of people were asking why I don't like my Accuquilt cutter, so thought I'd answer.

It's really an ingenious idea and truly has revolutionized the quilting world, but it does nothing for people who don't need dies.  Most of my applique is complicated and right now it's "My Tweets" and there isn't a die for that.  The cardinal quilt has 1.75 inch strips and there's no die for that either.

I bought mine hoping to do my nine patch quilt where each square finishes at 1 inch.  Just cut the strips at 1.5, turn the strip around on the Sharpie lines and cut squares.  Umm.  No.  I broke my first one and put nicks in the 1.5 inch die.  Accuquilt was fabulous about fixing the whole problem and sent me a new one and die.

After you cut the 1.5 inch strips, they would stick to the mat or die and fold open making it a pain to put back on to cut squares.  I got tired of refolding strips and it was just easier to use my June Taylor strip cutter.  Flip the ruler to the side, and it cut squares.  No moving of fabric.  Mine is 12x18 making it even faster.

I realized that Accuquilt made a die with 1.5 inch squares on it.  The first one didn't stick to the back of the die and was very kindly replaced.  The die only has six squares and every time I used it, they weren't square.  Even if they were square, it would take forever to cut out enough squares with only six on the die.  I have no room for the Studio version and wasn't going to pay that much just for squares.

I fell in love with the Rose of Sharon blocks from EQ and bought the book and die.  I don't like raw edges for fusible applique and I never get the stupid fusible to work anyway.  That's user error, not the fusible webbing.  I know I'll never get around to it.

While working on "My Tweets" someone had used their electronic paper cutter and software to make freezer paper templates.  That's what I want.  The ability to cut freezer paper templates of anything I desire.  Long story short, within minutes my Cricut can draw or cut out any design I want via my software.  If I need something larger, I have my 18 inch killer duty Cougar cutter.  You can no long use a Cricut and software together.  Provo Craft threw a tantrum and sued the software companies.  You would have to find another cutter so don't go out and buy a Cricut if you want to try this.

This was done on my Cougar Cutter as a test for intricacy.  It's one of EQ's blocks and done 4 times to make one square.  The last part didn't get cut right due to user error, but you can see how it did.  If I wanted to just make one large block for applique, it could easily cut out templates.

What I haven't been able to do is cut fabric with them yet, but haven't really sat down and tried.  It's a stability issue which is why Accuquilt has the top part that goes over the fabric and protects the die.  I'm just happy to have both draw out on freezer paper the custom templates I need.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

I've decided to sell my Accuquilt Cutter and dies.  I don't use them.  I'm not impressed and think they are overhyped and overpriced however; I know lots of people adore theirs.

My biggest problem is shipping.  I have the original box for the cutter but I have no clue how to ship the 1.5 and 2.5 inch strip dies.  They are long and skinny for those who haven't seen them and don't fit in regular USPS boxes.  I don't have access to a fancy box shop either unless I went to Lincoln.  Would they have something to fit the dies?

I'd like to sell it all together making it easy since I only have the two strip dies, the Rose of Sharon, and the 2 inch square die...oh and the ones that came with the cutter.

I just hate having mine knowing someone would love it more.  I'm not even sure how much to ask for the entire set or if I should put it up on Ebetray w/o knowing how to ship the larger dies.  If someone lived locally within Lincoln, Omaha or surrounding areas we could meet up somewhere.

Any thoughts?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Random Thoughts?

I have been piecing today.  It's been cold and rainy and to keep my mind off those bikes I want, I started working on the cardinal quilt.  It's not working.

I hate random piecing and quilting.  I don't like same fabric pieces touching and it drives me nuts trying to piece and place blocks randomly.  Grrr.

But, here's one layout of this quilt:

Deep down, it really doesn't matter, but sewing and quilting random blocks drives me crazy.  Which is probably why I haven't had this done that fast.  I just need to get over it.


Yup.  I've done my best to forget about bikes today, but it isn't happening.  Stupid Salsa Fargo.  Why didn't I find you when I was looking earlier?  Oh yeah, cause I didn't know what I wanted.  Duh.

I got thinking about what I liked so much about the Fargo and it was the seat post, the shifters and the  handlebars.  If I can't afford the bike, I figured I could get those parts and change my bike around.

Of course it's NOT that easy after I talked to my LBS mechanic.  The handlebars won't fit on my mountain bike and the fancy shifter setup would cost me at least 400 bucks.  I thought about putting the fancy shifters on my Madone but right now I'm not sure I want to put that much money on the bike.

I can put the fancy seat post on my mountain bike.  When I looked it up, it's called a Thudbuster and instead of the suspension going up/down which hurts me, it slides back and forth.

The more I thought about things I realized I wanted that flared handlebar as well.  The mechanic said I could put it on my Madone.  Of course that would be blasphemy to the road cyclists out there.  It's a good thing there aren't any down where I live.  Not that I care.  It's my bike and I can do it the way I want.  I ordered the bars and I hope to see them on Friday.

BTW, here's DH on the recumbent bike he was looking at:

We both tried it out and while lots of fun, not even remotely useful in rural Nebraska.  Hills would take hours to climb.  We got lots of looks though.  It's a Catrike Trail model he's riding.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

I'm at a loss and not sure what to do.  No, it's nothing bad, just confusing.  I'm not really looking for answers.  Just doing some online thinking.

DH and I went to another bike store to look at recumbent bikes today.  We tried out one and he really liked it.  Meh.  I had a good time, but wasn't worried about having one.  He loved it.

As I was looking around they had a Salsa Mukluk that I tried out and really liked.  It's a bike with 4 inch wide tires and rides like a tank over anything.  Perfect for rural gravel roads and the snow.  Then the guy showed me a Salsa Fargo and it was almost love at first ride.  It's a touring bike/mountain bike with 29 inch wheels and has funky drop bars.  I thought I loved the bikes I have, but this was different.


Salsa Fargo:

What's hard about bikes is the same about sewing machines.  You think you know what you want until you start getting better and then realize you may have gotten the wrong machine/bike.

When I first started looking the guy asked "Where do you plan on riding?" and "What kind of bike are you looking for?" "Ummm...dunno.  Just want a bike."  I had no idea so many kinds of bikes existed, touring, mountain, racing, cyclocross, racing, hybrid, time trial, cruisers and whatever else is out there so I just winged it.  Then there are price points between all of those depending on the level of bike.

After today, I realized I don't like racing bikes.  I won't ever race.  My Madone is hard to handle because it's so light and despite several fittings, it just doesn't seem right.  Rural NE doesn't have roads built for light carbon bikes and blowing semi's don't help.  I thought I wanted a racing bike.  Really.  I did.  But the more I ride it, the less enthralled I am.  It's a gorgeous fast amazing bike, but not for where I'm at.  

My Sirrus is a hybrid and I bought it before the Madone.  I was told a hybrid was the perfect match between a racer and mountain bike.  No.  It's crap.  You can't ride the trails and it's not fast enough to race.  Hybrids suck.  Don't bother.

I've realized cruiser and comfort bikes are not my style, but I already knew that.

I LOVE my Mamba 29er.  After doing a real ride yesterday I realized I picked the perfect bike and no regrets.  I regret the Sirrus and Madone purchases and selling them is awfully tempting.

Salsa Fargo

Like I said, it's a touring bike with 29 inch wheels.  I rode it around and it was incredibly fast, agile, light and stable.  Never once did I fall off the bike or feel like I was going too.  I have spent the entire summer falling of that Madone.  I've had bruises that have taken weeks to heal because of it.  Since it's not a racer, I wasn't bent over like a pretzel.  Since it's not a crappy hybrid, you're not stuck sitting upright with straight bars wondering if the ride will ever end.

A touring bike is made for going long distances in comfort.  They are also built to hold luggage and bags while you ride.  I didn't look at them before as I figured I would never get farther than a few miles so why look at them?  I thought they'd be slow and cumbersome, but this wasn't even close when I tried the  Fargo.


If you truly live rurally, you know what the gravel roads are like out here.  I thought my mountain bike would do great, but all you do is control slide the bike over the gravel.  This bike makes going over anything easy.  You can glide over snow from what I've been told.   There are miles and miles of gravel road out there.  Oh, the possibilities.

There are several disadvantages.  It's a tank.  It's not going to handle nimbly around a mountain bike trail unless it's a wide trail and if you have to stop while going up a hill, good luck gaining momentum.  It's huge.  I'm not sure I could take it anywhere and it's really location specific.  People stop and gawk at you as you go by.  While that's not a bad thing, I found that while riding it, people kept coming up and asking about it.  


The shop that sells these bikes is in Council Bluffs.  That's over an hour away if I need quick adjustments.  The shop was fantastic though and almost worth the drive since my store can get cranky.  I'm not sure my bike store could order the bikes in either.  If they could, would it be worth it for easy service?

Anyone who has bought machines through dealers know that dealer availability and help is necessary.  However; a brake adjustment that is 5 minutes makes it hard to drive up that far, even though you like the dealer better.

I'm not sure my shop would let me trade up the bikes I own and I'm not sure how easily I could sell them  myself.

If I had to choose one, it would be the Fargo.  The guy said he was putting together a Fargo that was my size, but a lower model.  He said to come in and check the size for reference as the one I rode was 19 inches after he got it built.
Maybe this post can be a true "First Mountain Bike Ride".  I was talking with my LBS and he metioned a couple of bike trails near Omaha.  Once again, determined to do a real trail before it gets cold, I call up DH and tell him I'm picking him up to take me there.

WOW and WOW when we got there.  We started riding and immediately I fell in love.  The hills, the turns, the descents, dodging trees and being with DH was amazing.  He did awesome for being a part-time weekend warrior despite his protests of thinking he's in the way.

My 29er did beautifully on the trail.  She handled everything that was in her path.  I LOVE this bike.

Go to your local mountain bike park and try out a trail.  Don't worry about feeling inexperienced.  We actually did an "easy" trail which was still challenging, but SO much fun.

I'm in least until I hit a tree which brings me back to reality.

Sorry there are no pics.  We only had about a 1/2 hour to ride before it got dark.  Another time I'll find a way to go during the day and explore more.  You really don't want to go by yourself.  

Thursday, November 03, 2011

First Mountain Bike Ride

I finally got the courage to head for a true mountain bike ride today.  I called up the local state park and asked if the trails were cleared to get a bike through.  I was told the trails were great and come on down.  I lugged my bike onto the rack and headed out.  I probably shouldn't have gone out by myself, but winter is coming and I wanted at least one attempt at using my bike.

Lady at the front office gives me a map and tells me to use the number 7 trail as it was easy.  I head out, find the trail parking lot and unload my bike.  I grab my stuff and helmet and start my first ever adventure.  I'm doing pretty good getting up/down the first couple of hills and then come across this monstrosity:

Right lady.  The trail is cleared for bikes.  For what?  Monster size bikes like the monster trucks on TV?  Obviously you haven't been out on the this particular trail anytime soon.

I pick up my bike and haul it around the tree. I go a little further down the trail and nearly slide all the way down the hill via the leaves in the rut.  Brakes are NOT helping and I'm praying I don't fall off onto the left side since there's a steep drop-off.

Number 7 trail is EASY?  Lady, who hired you?

I slide down the hill and walk up the next hill.  There is no shame in walking if no one is around.  I start down and realize there's ANOTHER tree about 3/4 of the way down.  It's not as big as this one, but it's there.  I slow down best I can and haul the bike around this tree.

I spent more time hauling my purple 29er over trees than I actually did riding it.

Now that I have 1.5 hours of experience mountain biking I've learned these things:

1.  I need a small backpack that isn't labeled specifically for cycling since those cost 150 bucks to put crap in.

2.  Wool socks are awesome and my waterproof/windproof tights under my jeans worked amazingly.   I really wish they made mountain bike style pants for fall weather.  Jeans are unfcomfortable, but if I fell off I'd have some protection.

3.  The windproof goofy looking beanie hat works great for your ears, lets you put your hair back and fits under my helmet.

4.  Disc brakes ROCK.  If you are looking for a mountain bike get them.  You can slide through mud and other debris much better than if you have rim brakes.

5.  Love my armwarmers.  I can fit them under my sweater and if it gets too hot, I can take them off.

6.  I'm not nearly as bad at this than I thought I would be thanks to reading several books.  I won't be doing anything fancy soon, but I never crashed.

7.  Always look where you want to go, not where your bike goes.  That advice saved me several times while going down some steep hills.

8.  29ers rock at going up hills, not so much going down since they aren't as agile as 26ers.  That will take some practice.

9.  I need to figure out how to work my shocks, or I may be too heavy for the WSD bike shocks.  I kept tweaking it, but it was still too much.

10.  Take a friend.  It's no fun going alone and not having anyone to share the adventure is a shame.

I could really use some more mechanic skills as my brakes were causing problems on the way up the road back to the car.  LBS fixed it after about 5 minutes and there was no way I could have done it by myself.  Make sure your bike is in perfect condition before leaving.

Oh..the nice part?  There was a hunter walking up the road with his crossbow and he was smoking hot.  Very nice view of nature at it's finest.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Bike Fit!

I had another professional fitting for my bikes last week.  Another?  Well, after putting my Madone on a trainer for an hour, everything just started aching.  Something was off and made an appt for a new fitting from another LBS.

After taking several measurements of inseam, thigh length, torso length, arm length, shoulder width, hand size and foot length, he put them in the computer and bam..out comes a picture of how my bike should be set up.  Neato.

He starts fiddling with the magic numbers and sets up my bike.  He raised the saddle up, made it level and moved it closer to the bike.  He dropped the handlebars down a level, and tweaked some more.  He said I might need my cranks smaller but that would be a huge expense and said to wait and see how the bike fits as you use it.

It's AMAZING what a couple of tweaks can do.  It's like getting the tension exactly where you want it for FMQ and the perfect satin stitch.

Of course he does this and the weather turns nasty.  Maybe it's a good time to try out my cold weather clothing?

Here's my bike now.  The changes are small but wonderful:

He also raised the seat post and leveled my saddle for my mountain bike:

Best 45 bucks I've ever spent!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My dad is doing great.  Thanks for all the support.  100+ stitches but he'll heal up just fine.  He's lucky he didn't take off half his head being so stupid.  I know everyone is laughing at him and I can see the humor in it, but I'm pissed off that he was even using a chain saw.

After talking with my sister, I found out he had no protection (brain bucket and other stuff), was alone across the street in the field and didn't have a cell phone on him.  He headed home bleeding all over and if it wasn't for a passing stranger who stopped and called 911, he may not have made it home.

If you are going to play with big boy toys, you better have the safety gear to go with it.  You better have a buddy with you in case something goes wrong (and it usually does) and a cell phone to call 911.

When cycling I make sure I have a cell phone, let someone know where I'm headed, all the crap you need in case your bike falls apart, a helmet, and basic food/water supply.  I have a few dollars and medical info for emergencies.

Enough ranting.  I love my dad and I don't want to lose him.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Please keep my dad in your thoughts.  He was cutting wood when the chainsaw he was using backfired and cut up part of his forehead.  He has at least 100 stitches and the doc said he'd be okay, but I still worry.

If you are using power tools, please take care.  It only takes a second for something bad to happen.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cardinal Quilt Picture From LQS

I cycled 23 miles on Saturday with DH.  Woo Hoo!  He wanted to see the flooding and we followed the newly opened trail all the way to the start.  Sadly, it doesn't go near the river but we had a great time going up and then back.  Surprisingly I'm not a walking zombie so I must be in better shape than I thought.  Does cycling up grueling hills in 95 degree temps for 5-6 miles over the summer equate to 23 miles on flat terrain and 65 degree weather?

I was able to get a picture of the "Northern Cardinals" quilt that one of my LQS has on display.  I love how she did this:

I'll put some blocks up soon.  I have to redo a couple and keep sewing them.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Harlequin Wrapped Bar Tape

I saw a harlequin bar taping design online and thought I'd try the same thing on my bike.  I've never wrapped bar tape but know it's a tension deal.  If your tape isn't tight enough, it will fall off while cycling.  I must have weak hands because I spent 3 hours trying to get this design to work by wrapping the tape under/over and keeping the tension the same but it's still not right.   It's still not bad for a first attempt.  Well, try about 6 times on each side to make them equal but the finished look is pretty sweet.

I didn't know how to finish the bar ends and to make it all nice and pretty so I called up my LBS to see if they had time.  The guy said yes and to bring it up.  He loved the harlequin design but said it wasn't tight enough and that this kind of tape makes the design nearly impossible to stay on correctly.  Darn.  I really wanted this, but he very sweetly wrapped it up in the red bar tape.  It was previously wrapped in white so nice burst of red color makes it fun.

Go figure.  I felt totally in the way the past few visits but today we talked shop and how to wrap tape.  Maybe I'm far more paranoid than I realize even though I try hard not to be that way.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Dear Moda

Dear Moda,

I would think by now you would know what a square is.  You know, the one we all learned about in in geometry and every quilter knows how to make perfectly. Your individual "Northern Cardinal" blocks are NOT square which made for some fudging to make them a 9 inch square.  See picture at the 9 inch lines if you don't believe me.  (Top right hand corner).  The bottom left corner is where the ruler starts.

In future panels, please check that they are geometrically correct or print a label letting people know that they are not.


A Blockhead


Monday, October 17, 2011

Cardinal Quilt Kit

Well, if the bike gods hate me today, the quilting gods do not (sticks tongue out at the sky).  While at my LQS looking for thread I found this gorgeous quilt kit using these cardinal panels from the "Northern Cardinal" line from Moda Fabrics.  The coordinating fabrics are to die for and I rarely say that phrase.  LQS said the fabric was getting hard to find as it's so popular and she only had one kit left after I picked up mine.

Here are the panels (cat is not part of the panel nor is included with the kit):

As soon as I get the rest of the fabrics pressed I'll put a pic up.  Bandit and Buttons are not helping as they attack the fabric as I'm gushing over it making pictures impossible.

I'm using Terry Atkinson Design pattern "All About Me" that came with the kit.  Terry's patterns are usually KISS simple to cut out.  Maybe I might get some real work done today.

Design Wall Monday

I am one block short of caught up with the "My Tweets" blocks!  I've been working on satin stitching this weekend with my Ruby as well until I ran low on several thread colors.

I went to my LQS to get them and realized my Mettler silk finish 0900 didn't exist in her store which of course is the one I'm really out of.  I would have to go to Papillion to another store as she has all of the threads Mettler makes.  The last thing I want to do is travel 60 miles for a 3 dollar spool of thread.  If I needed other stuff I could justify the trip.  I figured I'd order online but the shipping for one/two spools of thread is more than the thread.  I guess it's cheaper than using up all that gas though.  I really despise Mettler thread but it's local and easy to get except for 0900.  If I can, I get Aurifil.  I love my white cone of thread from them.  I think it's something like 5500 yards.  Those are hard to find as well.

Here are the blocks:

This one needed redone as I messed up the first.

Block Nine:

My LQS mentioned the bike trail is now open as the flooding has gone down.  Guess who's going after this post?  If you hear wheezing, a loud crash and some moaning, that'll be me down the ravine or tossed into the cornfields.  Don't worry too much.  I have my cell phone, emergency contact info, and my brain bucket.

edited:  NOOOOO.......  They open the trail for the first time today and as I loaded up everything I realized it was dark out where I was heading.  It's RAINING over by the trail.  The bike gods must truly hate me right now to do this to me.  It's been fine all morning until I decide to load up everything and head out.  Frickety Frack...

Make sure to check out Judy's blog for other Design Wall Mondays

Saturday, October 15, 2011

New Tires!

I finally put white racing tires on my blue Trek today and added a computer.  I've been meaning to for some time but wasn't sure I wanted to pay 60 dollars a piece for the tires.  LBS gave them to me for 50 bucks and I couldn't resist.

I haven't had a chance to really ride her much this summer as my Madone is a much faster, lighter bike, but there's something about this Trek that makes her so sweet.  I'm not sure what year she is but she's a Trek 1.2.  LBS sold her to me for 300 dollars when I first started cycling this summer.  I moved up to the Madone 4.7 when I wanted something fancier.      

Friday, October 14, 2011

Catching Up on "My Tweets"

Woo Hoo!  A real post for once.  An energy bar does wonders.

I spent yesterday catching up on two of the "My Tweets" blocks.  Block number 10 came out today and I'll start on that later.  I may actually be caught up and can do some more satin stitching.

I hate leaves so I got out my software, deleted everything but the leaves and traced them out onto fusible webbing.  Here's the software:

Here's the tracing.  Yeah.  I wasted a lot of fusible, but I didn't feel like arranging all the leaves to save paper.  I've gotten faster with the software so it didn't take long.  I didn't trace out the birds because I need overlapping to keep everything together without having gaps.

Sorry about the lousy pictures, but here are the blocks I worked on yesterday.  I still haven't decided on the heart colors and need to finish up the flowers and small items.


I got myself a new toy the other day for my bike.  My anxiety has been really bad lately and leaving the house to ride has been really hard.  I decided I needed an indoor trainer.  You can fit your bike into the back part, put your front tire on the block and off you go.  My house is a wreck, ignore that part.  Why spend a huge amount of money on an indoor boring cycling thing, when for a couple of hundred bucks you can put your favorite bike on one?

What would be totally cool is if you could virtually hook up your bike to a system and go through trails via a video game or something like that.  Then you could watch yourself fall off the cliff down into the ravine when you didn't see the turn.  That would be more exciting than putting a movie in and pedaling for 4 miles at 10 miles an hour before your body gives out.

If you have a wireless system for the back tire (see the small black area above the pedal?) you can track your speed, cadence (how fast your turn the pedals) and all that fancy stuff.  My Android has a couple of apps for cycling but I don't know if they would work with the bike stationary.  I do have an app for heart rate which is nice.  Don't know how accurate it is, but close enough.

My son decided to try it out and went almost 40 mph on the bike for about 5 seconds.  I can do about 20 mph and my body protests a couple of minutes later.  I have to remember I'm 36 and not 15 and invincible.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I haven't posted since standing at an ironing board hurts my back and makes fusing fabric really hard.  It's like my lower back is sinking into my hips and butt.  Even sitting down to iron hurts.  A kitten doesn't help either.  Last thing I want is Buttons to burn herself out of curiosity.  Both of my cats go bananas when I sit down to sew hoping they can dig through the drawers in search of bobbins.  Their favorite game is drop them in the tub and play hockey.  You can hear "plink", "plink", "plink" for hours.

I didn't do my back any favors when I cleaned up three bikes a couple of days.  Putting them on the bike stand and taking them off wasn't helping and even though I was sitting down on a chair to clean them, my back still aches.  However; the bikes ride beautifully after a good chain cleaning.  It's like when you clean out your bobbin case of lint and threads and your machine runs beautifully again.  Which reminds me I need to do that.  Satin stitching makes a huge mess of lint in your bobbin case.

Hopefully I can get another post up soon with some pics once I feel a little better.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Late Design Wall Monday

I have pics of the "My Tweets" now.  I'm still not done and will have to redo two blocks that didn't fuse right. Here you go with the satin stitching.  Check out Judy's blog for more blogs.


I found this shirt and couldn't resist.

BTW, if you happen to have a retail store bike it's all good.  It's just a funny shirt that I couldn't resist.  Love whatever bike you have regardless of where you got it.  I haven't had the courage to walk into Wally World with it on yet.

My wireless sensor went out on my today on my Madone.  I'm guessing I did around 5 miles.  I only stopped because it was getting hot and between pedestrians and cars, it just wasn't safe for an inexperienced rider like me.

I tried out some new energy gel called GU energy gel to see how it worked.  I'm not into energy drinks and specialty products but with cycling you need something.  The last thing I tried was some fizzy stuff that made me puke when I got home after one sip.  This stuff wasn't too bad and kept it down the entire time I was out.  I had DH try some and he was the one gagging on it.  It was pretty funny watching the look on his face.