Sunday, September 30, 2012

Christmas Plans

After doing most of my applique shapes for my 3rd block I started messing with my Cricut and MTC software.  Christmas is coming up and I'd really like to make some cards and/or Christmas boxes as gifts.  I'd also love a 3-D Christmas tree.  After doing some searching I found a couple of trees I liked but will have to wait until payday to get them.  The other thing I'd like to try is putting vinyl on a tile, like a quilting design.  There are some fabulous ladies out there with stunning results with wood and tiles.

I did find a Christmas tree and cut it out with my Cricut.  My Cougar isn't needed for simple projects and I like the ease of the Cricut.  The Cricut no longer works with 3rd party software of any kind so don't rush out to buy one thinking you can do what you want.  The Cougar would have cut the small openings much nicer, but not worried since it was a test cut.  I wonder how this would look in vinyl.  I do have white for a test try.  I think the top star needs opened and two more stars added at the bottom of the tree triangle.  

I also decided to try a tutorial from MTC.  I did an aperture card with "Thanks" on it.  I have done several of the tutorials from beginner to advanced, but never get to the cutting part.  I wish MTC worked with a Mac so I didn't have to switch over.  Someday...

Well, somehow the "a" didn't cut right and my settings weren't perfect for the cutting as parts are torn, but at least I got it mostly right.

MTC is like EQ7 quilting software for paper.  

Friday, September 28, 2012

Quails And Another Block Done

After something petty happened yesterday, I figured I deserved a pick-me-up today instead of sulking.  I haven't been to a LQS in months and figured I'd find some solace in fabric.  Of course there are tons of fabrics that I loved, especially the oriental lines of fabric that she just got in, but I ended up coming home with just a pattern.  It was just great to chat with the owner and talk quilts and the latest quilt gossip.

It's "Quails Table Runner" by Pearl P. Pereira and I fell in love with the sample on the wall.  It was light, airy, quaint and simple.  I don't know when I'll get around to it, but eventually I will.  Forgive my cell phone camera, my camera battery pack has disappeared.  It's probably with my lost "Perfect Circle" bag.

I got block two almost stitched out except for the circles.  This pattern is going to look so fabulous when done:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Woot!  After 2 weeks of not getting a real ride in, finally made it out.  The group ride I did a couple of weeks ago wiped me out, then the weather changed aggravating my fibromyalgia and on Friday I picked up a nasty cold.  Sunday I messed up my ribs while reaching over and had to have my chiro push them back in yesterday.  Probably shouldn't have put a 10lb backpack on, but I needed it.

My Mukluk just loves this trail.  I just glide along over the bumps and tractor wheel tracks.  Vehicles aren't permitted, but they use it anyway.  By looking at the map I realized the trail went further south and headed out.  A couple of miles in there were warning signs were everywhere threatening to make your life miserable if you trespassed and I wondered if I was supposed to be out there.  Up ahead was the nuclear plant and realized why the signs were posted.

All of a sudden shots were fired and I about hit the ground.  I halfway expected a truck with sirens to show up, get dragged off to a security office and detained for hours while they go through my backpack.  I looked over and realized there was a shooting range across the field and it was being used.  I figured it was a good time to go and headed back up the trail.

It's been a great ride and my physical/mental health has really needed it.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Design Wall Monday

After getting a bill of 350 dollars (after insurance) for three stitches, next time I'll do it myself via YouTube and a Google search for supplies.  Health insurance is nothing but legal extortion for everyone in the medical field and no one wins.  Sorry...rant over.


Before I got my cold I finished one block with the edge stitching.  I cut out circle templates with my Cougar cutter since I never found my "Perfect Circles" that suck anyway.  BTW, painters tape works wonders with heat resistant templates especially for circles.  At first I was going to give up on the circles, but they bring out the best and unify the block.  I have a LOT of circles to do.  My camera battery died right after taking this so I can't put a close up of the stitching.  


Was looking into winter clothing for riding the other day.  They make all kinds of stuff for your hands which I hope to order sometime soon.  I also need some fenders.  Winter riding sounds like a lot of fun, but I don't want to invest too much in case I decide I hate winter.

Even though the Strava app on here says I haven't done any miles, I've put about 15 miles in the past week or so.  When I checked my Mukluk's computer it read 117 miles done this year.  Wow.  I've got a lot more miles on my Fargo, but I was surprised about the fat bike.



Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Spent part of the day working on more appliqué pieces.  It's not that it's hard, just boring and my iron doesn't like it.  I still need to do the center, a stem and then glue the pieces down.  I'm still leery of cutting them down to 18.5 inch squares, in case something goes wrong with the measurements.  The four panels (I have two done) will be set on point.  This is going to be really pretty.


Woot!  Yesterday hubby said I could go to Omaha that night for a group ride at Tranquility Park.  I called up the store to make sure it was a no-drop right and they confirmed that.  There are a couple of other guys that have fat bikes that invited me up to ride if I could ever make it.

The group leader stayed with me the entire time while I worked through the course.  Obviously the guys were long gone so it was nice to have help.  I nearly crashed over the first log when my pedal caught on the edge.  I caught myself and kept going.  After a couple of more near crashes, the leader said I wasn't keeping my pedals horizontal while going over stuff.  Towards the end it was getting easier to judge speed/distance and keeping my pedals flat.

Surprisingly, I was able to get up hills on the Mukluk.  It wasn't easy but I guess doing the main highway with hills all summer has actually paid off.  I wasn't gasping for air the entire time either so riding all summer really helped.  I had to stop a couple of times, but not for very long.  Remembering to get off the saddle is hard when you've basically ridden a road bike all summer.  Every rule of the road no longer means anything when mountain biking and retraining your brain isn't easy.

Watching the guys ride through was fascinating as they sped through the woods, up/down the hills and getting up the big hill to ride the rolling hilly section down to the bottom.  There's a grace to mountain biking that I'd never known until seeing them go in unison down that section.  It was truly breathtaking.  I learned a lot just from watching them as well.  By the time I did one loop, the guys had done 3-4, but I was having a great time.  Speed and agility will come later.

I managed to do 5-6 miles of tougher single track with a 30+ pound bike, not crash or go over the handlebars, learned how to do switchbacks/turns, both uphill and down without braking, and gained some much needed confidence.  I just wish I lived closer to the trails.

Just like when you start to learn how to quilt and take classes, I strongly suggest that if you start riding, either road or mountain, to get with a no-drop ride.  I've been terrified to do it not wanting to come across as stupid, green and inept.  The leader that went with me was patient, understanding and never once made me feel stupid, green or inept.      

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Thorny Situation

Grrrr.  Went out to ride my Mukluk and realized the BACK tire is flat.  The thorn bush I thought I'd managed to miss still decided to leave it's mark on me and as I discovered today, the tire.  After my last attempts to fix the front tire I seriously considered going tubeless today.  Basically you find a way to keep the tire sealed to the rim and run sealant to keep the tire from going flat.  KISS simple right?

Found a couple of YouTube videos for doing fat bikes and like the idea, but it's the sealant problems that make me leery.  You'd still need an inner tube for "just in case".  I know the LBS in Council Bluffs will send me out a tube, but it's still a pain every time I need a tube.  At 15 bucks a tire is a lot of money.  The sealant isn't cheap either so maybe I shouldn't complain so much.

I got two thorns in my leg from that ride so I guess the Mukluk fared better with one.  I should have told DH that I got bit by a snake when I got home just to watch him faint.  He's petrified of snakes.

The trip with the Fargo left me with a scraped left leg from some kind of grass when I was positioning the bike up against the cliff.  Let's see, so far this year it's been a concussion, stitches, thorns and grass.  Mother Nature always wins.  At least I haven't broken anything..yet.    

Last trip with the Mukluk I got wondering about my skills attempting this at the trail:

I took this at the bottom of the creek bed.  It's a steep hill down to the bottom and another steep hill going back up to the top.  If you got the speed right, you'd have no problems.  The rocks are pretty loose despite being larger and if you crashed, my concussion would pale in comparison.  With the Mukluk, going across would be easy, but getting up would take considerable strength.  There are two creek crossings and both are pretty steep with the loose rocks at the bottom.

This will be saved for a time when I'm more confident.

Going to get the second block pieces done tonight and tomorrow.  Pics coming soon.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Steamboat Trace Trail Ride

Still can't find my stupid circles but got the rest of the block stitched out, so I'll post a couple of pics of my last ride.  Ride was fantastic except for the cross wind.  Hit 15 mph pretty much all the way to Brownville but the wind killed me on the way back to Peru.  It was nice and cool, perfect riding weather.  Fall is wonderful riding weather.  Once the leaves start changing, the views will be fabulous.

This the view of the cliffs going down to Brownville.  Just wish the trail was single track instead of crushed limestone:

I always fall over with laughter when I pass this sign.  I'm assuming it's for the weather but living near a nuclear power plant it makes you wonder.   BTW, my car is 6 miles back from this sign..LOL.  Any "shelter" is still about a mile or two away.  Apparently the sign is perfect target practice as well.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Edge Stitching

I don't know if you can see the complete detail work, but I love how this is turning out with the edge stitch around the pieces.  I don't have the patience to do hand work, I hate the blanket stitch and invisible thread has always seemed weird looking.  A small zig zag seems too primitive as well.

What I'd like to do for quilting is to do the same kind of stitch in white around the pieces or find a way to compliment the quilt with this stitch.  I really don't want to free motion quilt and while hand quilting would set it off, I hate doing it.

I'll worry about the quilting when I actually get around to it.

With the next block, I'll be much faster at making the pieces since I know what I'm doing now.  I still can't find my circle templates so those will have to wait.

I've also found regular paper is perfect for stabilizer.  I can just one piece where I want keeping the rest of the block from being to stiff to move around.  I hate the stitch and tear crappy stabilizer as it's a pain to remove.

I'm going to need more thread.  I didn't realize I'd pulled out my Gutterman thread which I can't get here in town and have to either take a trip to civilization or order it online.  I don't know if Mettler makes the same color and weight.  I meant to use Mettler machine embroidery thread, but the heavier thread looks nicer.

Monday, September 03, 2012

Single Track and Playing With Glue

It's hot, muggy and miserable outside so it's a perfect day for catching up on "Red December".  I got the edges  neatly folded over, glued down and ready for sewing.  I can't find my circle templates right now despite looking so those will be done later.  I love how this looks and hope the topstitch works beautifully.  Three more blocks to do now before heading on to the border if this block works out like I hope.  


After moaning about how heavy my Mukluk is on the MTBR forum the other day and that I was contemplating selling it, a lady from Lincoln said she had a Pugsley and would love someone to ride with.  Wow.  Another girl with a fat bike!  I'm sorry I don't have pics.  I was so busy having fun that I forgot to use it.  Mukluk was a blast to ride on single track and I'll keep the bike.  It's easy to forget that some bikes are used for different things and the fat bike is one of them.

We agreed to meet up at the park and she took me around the trails.  It was a gorgeous day and we had the park to ourselves.  While not technical, it's full of twists, turns and it's perfect for going fast once you knew the trail better.  There are two places where you cross the creek that I would consider "expert" as the banks were steep and you had to get over the flat rocks to get back up., I'm good for walking.  We did 8 miles of single track and I forgot to set up my Strava app so I don't have a map of my ride.

What I don't get is how I sweat buckets, use up two water bottles, one filled with an electrolyte solution along with the water in my Hydrapak, and the lady I rode with had just one bottle and didn't even look hot and sweaty.

I took my bike over to the LBS and asked about my reach.  I'm finding that I keep scooting forwards and then having to move back.  He put on a shorter stem, but my reach was still off.  He put on an adjustable stem where you can change the height/position of the handlebars.  I'm now more upright and the bike rides a lot better after testing it out on the trail.  I just really need a better handle bar for long distances.

Another thing I plan on doing is getting back over to Omaha and doing Tranquility Park.  Gas is so expensive right now and I can't just go up when I feel like it as I won't ride alone.