Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tile With Last Name

I found a tutorial on the MTC forum and figured I could do this.  It was so easy!  I'm wondering if I extended the name box out to the edge if it would look neater.  I'm not sure I like the cut off point up by the top of the "F" either.  I'd like to put something in between the borders as well.  The quilter in me screams that the open space must be filled.  I haven't put it on any vinyl since I'm not sure it's really "finished".  

I have been working on the center panel of "My Tweets" as well.  I somehow lost the end feathers for the peacock on the left and need to redo them before pressing everything down.



Hopefully I can get my bike back tomorrow as it's *gasp* going to SNOW!  Then I can take Muk out for a ride in the snow for the first time.  I'm so excited!!

First Tile Project!

I have always loved the idea of putting designs on tiles.  It looks elegant and thoughtful.  While I was up in civilization I picked up a couple of tiles from Menards and hubby wanted some sticky back cheapie tiles thinking he could put a frame around it and stick the vinyl to the back of the frame.

I headed over to JoAnn's but they were out of black vinyl.  I didn't have time to get out to the other stores as they are located all over Lincoln but figured I'd just order some via Amazon.

Then I remembered I have a store in town that does signs, embroidery and other stuff.  Maybe they'll have something I can buy.  Sure enough, he sold me enough vinyl to make four 12x12 tiles.  Sweet!

I came home, cut the sheet into four pieces and went online to see how it's done.  Now my Cougar cutter is industrial usage and they figure you know what settings you need but I don't.  I figured I'd pull out my Cricut as it's simple.  All you do with a Cricut is change a couple of settings, push the button and off it goes.

The idea is you cut the vinyl, not the paper, take off the vinyl you don't need, put transfer tape on the design and move the design to the tile.  Ummm...I don't have transfer tape, but I do have painter's tape and that's meant to come off easily.

I cut out the design and took off what I didn't need:

Then I put strips of blue painter's shape over the vinyl and pressed it down carefully over the design:

In order to get the design on the fake tile I did it at 11 inches, drew a half inch border around the tile, cut notches in the four corners up by the black border for placement and carefully put it down on the tile.  You can see the notch at the top right corner.  I pressed the design into the tile to get out the air bubbles and then I carefully pulled off the tape a strip at a time.

The finished project:

Now the Cricut cut the bottom flower funny and cut notches in the flowers.  I don't know how to edit the pattern to make it look neater but it was a practice piece. There are a couple of air bubbles and I crinkled up one of the corners.  Usually once it's down and you screw up, you're out of luck.

I'd love to tell you to get a Cricut for Christmas, but software no longer exists to make your own designs.  However; there are several companies that have given Provo Craft the finger and made their own.  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Quilter's ADHD and X0 Bike Shifters

Yup.  We all have it.  That lack of attention span to finish up projects and then end up with PIGS in our house.  Of course ADHD hit in with two projects at the same time; "My Tweets" and "Red December".  There's no warning either with Quilter's ADHD as it just hits hard and fast and you find yourself looking at another project.  At least this time it was a PIG.

Here's what has had my attention for about two weeks now.  I started the project a couple of years ago,  got frustrated instead of ADHD and shoved it back in the closet.  I wish I could say all of this was started two weeks ago, but it hasn't.  Cross stitch is SLOW going.  This project has a LOT of two thread strands, meaning you have two different colored thread in one needle.  Had I known this before I bought the project, I probably wouldn't have purchased it.  Also the grass threads are so close together it's easy to get lost despite having your grid marked.  This won't be done anytime soon.  The ruffles on the bottom of her dress are so intricate it's amazing how the designer even came up with it.    


Last post was a whine about bike shifters.  In fact I was so frustrated with the bike I contemplated selling it.  It's too big, bulky, heavy and overwhelming at times on the trails.  The point of twist shifters was so that you could use gloves during the winter as trigger shifters (you use your thumb/fingers to press on the levers) would get stuck with the cold and possibly not work.  I get that.  Given that I wanted to keep the X7 derailleurs (parts that shift the chain over the cogs and chain rings) I had limited myself to SRAM components.  I had looked at two shifter sets, the X9 and the XO grip shifts but they were expensive and I wasn't even sure if they'd be any easier to use than the X7s.

If I sold the bike, I'd need, okay, want another mountain bike and started looking through manufacturer's web sites.  I'm smart enough now to know my components and what I want.  Nada.  Nothing appealed to me.  I just kept thinking of my Mukluk.  Stupid bike.  Just sell the bike and be done with the love/hate relationship I told myself.  If you got something lighter and more agile you wouldn't struggle so much or be exhausted trying to get up hills.  This sounds crazy if you aren't religious but I gave a quick prayer of what to do and an answer/peace to my problem as I was making myself sick over this bike.  

How can you go through several manufacturers sites and not find anything to drool over?  That's crazy.      Building a bike from scratch would cost far more than buying one as well.  I went to look for my camera to put the bike up on Craigslist and figured I'd go from there but couldn't find it.  Suddenly this peaceful feeling of "Don't worry about selling the bike.  It will be okay." came over me and I felt better.


It hit me that hadn't browsed through Craigslist in a while.  Maybe someone's got a bike or some parts that might work.  I can't see someone wanting to sell X9 or XO parts but you never know.  I start reading down the listings and about halfway down saw a listing for bike parts with SRAM XO 3x9 grip shifters listed.  My shifters are X7 which puts XO's two steps up in niceness.  Pretty much TOL.

No way.   I clicked on the ad and there they were in the picture.  He had the set for a decent price so I emailed him.  Several conversations later I have a set of XO grip shifters in the mail on it's way and the camera was in front of me the entire time next to the computer.  I don't know how I missed it.

Are the XO grip shifts the answer?  I won't know until I get them on.  Dumb luck with thinking of Craigslist?  Maybe.  But I do know God does answer prayers, even mine.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Never Ask a Guy a Simple Question...

And then never ask a group of guys on a mountain bike forum a simple question and expect a simple answer.  All I wanted was another shifting option for my Mukluk and I know not all components are compatible and asked for options.  Twist grips are hard on my hands.  Fibromyalgia is a PITA which doesn't help with grip shifts.  It's as simple as that.  I hadn't expected (but should have) a "you just don't know what you are doing and twist grips are the best ever".  Which I guess is a simple answer.

Turns out my Muk has SRAM X7 components that aren't compatible with anything in the Shimano line.  I can get X7 trigger shifters or keep the twist.  I think I can move up to X9 stuff, but that doesn't mean it's any easier to use.  Or I buy different parts and spend more money on Shimano.  I just wanted another option for shifting, not buy more components.

Which leads into my thought of women really are different when it comes to bike riding.  We have smaller hands, smaller shoulder widths, and aren't as strong as men.  For me, riding a 30+ pound bike with a left grip shifter that isn't easy to use makes for some rough riding at times.  It's murderous going up steep hills.  If your bike components don't work for your needs you can't get better.  However; if you haven't learned to use the parts correctly, getting something else is pointless and I get that as well.

I've bought sewing machines that I thought were perfect but after some time realized I didn't like them.  There wasn't anything wrong with the machine itself or my skills at the time, but it just wasn't working out.  Janome machines aren't for me as I'e discovered and I love my Vikings.  Once you find that right machine that you bond with, quilting becomes more enjoyable and your skills improve.  However; buying a machine that's way over your skills will prove just as frustrating.

I'm wondering if my Mukluk is something I'm just not strong enough to use.  I miss a bike with suspension.  I miss having something light and agile.  At the same time there's that fat bike smile that I would really miss.  



Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Any Runners Out There? Sore Feet?Neuroma

I saw a podiatrist a little over a week ago about my feet being so painful.  He said that the soft tissue around the balls of my feet are swollen and it's irritated the nerves.  He called it a neuroma and gave me an anti-inflammatory med and some insoles.  I've just dealt with the pain all summer until recently when it's hurt so bad I figured it I probably should see someone.  I've just figured it was part of fibromyalgia so never really questioned the pain.  Doc said to keep doing what you do and don't rest or you won't know if anything is helping.

I did just fine with the weekend trip and did three miles of walking yesterday and had some pain, but nothing torturous.  Today all I could do was half a mile and my feet said no more.  Again, not as painful but it's hurting.  I did try running which didn't help.

I've been looking at some different shoes, but don't know what to look for.

Anyone else deal with this?  I love riding my bike but it's hard to pedal with the pain and obviously walking/running is just as bad.

Doc said the other option was to get shots and the last resort was surgery.  


Saturday, December 01, 2012

Global Fat Bike Day!

Today was Global Fat Bike Day and all of us with fat bikes headed out on our trips.  Jamie and I met up in Lincoln, Nebraska for our ride and had a great time.

About two miles in I thought I'd be cool and try to make it down the ravine, cross the creek and make it back up the hill.  I've been wanting to do it for awhile and after doing Tranquility, I figured I was good.  I sat back, planned my path of destruction and possible bale-out plan if necessary, and headed down the hill.  I made it across the creek and started up the hill when my back tire spun out, lost traction and I fell backwards/sideways into the water.

Cold water is just that.  COLD.  I stood up as fast as I could, checked out my bike and myself and asked Jamie to take a pic. I probably scared the crap out of her as she was behind me.  No worries, my head is just fine.  My back pack took most of the abuse which is partly why I use one.  I saw a video once of some guy who fell down a mountain after he lost his balance on the bike.  The back pack saved his life and I've just had one ever since.  I also ride in more remote areas so I need the pack for water and tools.

After cleaning myself and the bike up (always have baby wipes in your pack) we headed back to the parking lot to get some clean clothes.  After my concussion I now carry a set of clothes in the car for emergencies as I wished I'd had some clean clothes while in the hospital.  Only thing I didn't have was a band-aid as I'd scraped my hand when I used it to brace for the fall.  I landed on my arm and wrist as well.

We kept riding and finally headed out on to the limestone trail.  Jamie had never ridden her Pugs on limestone and was surprised at how easy it was.  Now she knows how versatile her bike really is.  I ride my Muk everywhere.

After she left to go home, I did a quick check of my left arm.  It's got a lump, scrapes, bruises and is swollen.  My left leg is picking up a nice bruise as well.