Gifts

Last week was an amazing week for gifts.

I got a book:

Reign_of_Phil_cover

from my friend Steff, as a ‘thank you’ for moving her sculptures.  Which really wasn’t all that much work, but it’s nice to get a book out of it! And something I’m sure it will check a few boxes on my 2015 Reading Challenge (which I’m failing at spectacularly, but that’s another story).

And some lamb:

IMG_3802

from my friend Kris, and although I did buy the lamb, I’m still counting this as a gift, because first, we got to hang out for a bit at the NJ version of the Another Mother Runner book reading/signing and second, now my Easter dinner (and dinners for many days afterwards) is taken care of. (and those two packages are just a sampling–I’ve got a whole half a lamb in my freezer!)

And some fabric:

This was a cute French pattern I found while trolling Kollabora, and that it was only 5 Euro for the PDF (which, because of the Euro’s recent downfall, translated into barely over $5) made me click “buy” immediately.  Of course there were issues with the PDF printing (I can never get European or Australian PDFs to print to 100% without losing some of the pattern), but I SIUBC (sucked it up, buttercup) because French pattern.

The best part of this pattern was that I didn’t need to take a trip to the fabric shop, as my mother had gifted me a bolt of this 100% cotton fabric from her stash.  She had bought it decades ago to make drapes for my brother when he was living in Boston.  I don’t know which surprised me more, that my mother has a stash that stretches back decades, or that my brother at one point was living in Boston.

Anyways, I channeled my inner Maria von Trapp, and just sewed and sewed. Having a bolt of fabric is freeing–I made a muslin, had Thing 2 pin the life out of it, and recut and resewed.  On the muslin, I tried French seams (as the jacket is unlined), but wasn’t pleased with the outcome.  On version two, I found a tiny bit of Liberty in my stash and quickly (well, not really quickly because it is a mind-numbing chore) made some bias strips to trim the edges and finish the seams on the inside.  Having never done that before, I screwed it up, but it looks ok, so I’m good with that.

My success with this jacket of course translated into another trip to the fabric store to get some simply amazing new fabric (with an accompanying contrast lining) for version 2.0.  Stay tuned.

Oh, and the final gift?

IMG_3763

That was from the Mister.  He gave me Time.  To figure out….BUTTONHOLES!

And Shaz, you’re right. They are not so tough!

Posted in family, sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

at what point?

So many questions. So few answers.

At what point…will the snow melt?

Last week we were subject to yet more snow.  Compared to last year, we’ve had fewer snowfalls, but they’re anger inducingly late; thus the frustration. Last week’s came on Wednesday through Thursday. As very little had settled in the morning, I headed out for a short 4 miles. Upon taking my snowy selfie, I realized that I am at fault for the snow…I have yet to take down my Christmas wreaths, which has clearly thrown the universe into a tailspin. They will come down as soon as I unthaw.

At what point…will my long runs not suck?

Honestly, today’s long run (10 miles + 8 min Strong Finish) sucked. Last weeks (13 miles, last mile at RP) did too. So did the two weeks prior to that. Between excruciating side stitches, an inordinate number of pit stops, sub zero temps, and a whole host of other excuses, I just can’t get back into the groove. It’s a tad frustrating, and I’m wondering if my better days are just behind me and I should just suck it up, buttercup. It’s hard to know. This week we should have more typical temps, and I’m going to make an effort to be smarter about my meals (which is an excellent segue to…)

At what point…do I get to stop worrying about my pants being too tight?

I hope it’s just a hibernation thing, but again (like last winter), despite the 30 miles a week of running, regular yoga and giving up salt and vinegar potato chips for Lent, my pants seem to get tighter and tighter each week.  Even my Acne jeans, which, per their instructions, I don’t wash (thus eliminating the “oh they just shrunk in the dryer” excuse) and growing snug. ugh. Honestly, though, I think I’ve been worried about this since I’ve been 13, and it’s growing old.

But let’s turn that frown upside down!  Good things abound:

The Mister and I celebrated our 21st wedding anniversary!

IMG_3666

That is us at our reception. Snow seems to be a theme of our lives, as in 1994, the week prior to our wedding was extremely snowy (my in-laws arrived from Japan on the last plane let into JFK before it closed for two days, and my 3 great aunts had to sleep in their minivan on route 80 in Pennsylvania as they drove from Indiana to NYC). Our dinner reservation got cancelled because of the snow storm, so we spent our evening shoveling and then being entertained by Frank and Claire Underwood, but lucky for us, the restaurant was able to squeeze us in on Friday night.  All was good!

Also last week, Thing 1 and I took an early morning trip into Brooklyn to help my college friend move her sculptures into a gallery for her upcoming show.  It was great to see her again (I wrote of her previous work here), and great to spend a few hours with Thing 1.

11050734_10206247319887944_5315903342511840882_o

Finally, in an effort to convince Mother Nature that spring is, in fact, a good thing, I jumped the gun on a new wardrobe piece: the Bento T-shirt

I LOVE this shirt. I lengthened it about 2″, and when I do my next one, I will add just a smidge more length so I can have a more substantial hem. I made the short sleeved version without the front pockets. The fabric is a sturdy organic cotton knit from Birch Fabrics which meant that I was able to use my regular machine (good, since I don’t have a serger) and regular foot (because I was too lazy to switch out to my walking foot). My local fabric shop doesn’t have any more of this great coral color, but they do have the same pattern in a nice yellow, and I’m thinking I may have to get some of that for the Marianne Dress. But that will come after this:

jasper

(Jasper by Paprika Patterns)

An added bonus? I made this in my newly designated sewing room, and when I finished, I just left my sewing machine on the table and AMAZINGLY…the world did not end!

Posted in family, running, sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Stalling out

This truly is the winter of my discontent. For such a short month, February has packed a wallop temperature-wise:

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 7.16.04 PM

You can see we’ve only had 2 (TWO!) days with temps at normal or above. I have forgotten what it’s like to be able to feel my legs when running, and that’s not just from the cold, it’s from wearing so many layers.  I’m going to attribute the cold (and Michelin man layers) to my consistent inability to reach my paces during training runs.

To move beyond this craptastic mood, I’ve been diligent about reading every night. I finished Murakami’s The Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimagewhich I thoroughly enjoyed, although it did nothing to dissipate the lingering winter greyness. On both an up then downside, Murakami also had a short story in the New Yorker’s recent double issue, and again, while absolutely loving the story, it wasn’t, let’s say, much of a mood lifter.  I’m hoping my next book–The Hare with the Amber Eyes–turns things around.

I’ve put personal knitting on the back burner, as for work I’ve committed to “knit for Lent.” I’ve got six projects on the docket (one per week, more or less). I’ve finished the first (a cowl), and started on a beanie today. However, I’m trying to sneak in at least one more winter sweater project, because I know the minute I cast on in some super duper fuzzy yarn, spring will come. You’re welcome.

Similarly, my sewing has slowed, mostly because I haven’t gotten a chance to finish straightening up my new room.  I was much more inspired today, though, after I was given THE. MOST. FABULOUS. OF. SURPRISE. GIFTS:

IMG_3638

Yep! That’s a La Maison Victor craft mag and Knip sewing mag!  Woot!  I’m going to attribute this to 1. a colleague’s awesome generosity and 2. the power of social media.  A few weeks ago when I was on the hunt for a sewing Belgian, my blog post (which is linked to my FB) reached a Canadian colleague who oversees an association of seafarer’s agencies in North America.  On his last trip to Rotterdam, he took time to look for LMV, and picked up Knip, because, according to him, it looked like a magazine I would enjoy.  Today this colleague was in our offices for a conference, thus making my entire 27F day so much warmer! Although I can’t read Dutch, I have an A+ in deciphering Ikea instructions, so I think I’ll be ok with sewing patterns, especially since I won’t be arguing with the Mister about which piece goes where.

Now I’m motivated to get moving. As soon as it gets above freezing…

Posted in cold, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, gifts, Haruki Murakami, Knip, knit for Lent, La Maison Victor, Lent, running, sewing magazines, The New Yorker, winter | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Talk to me

so many things out there just speak to me.

Like this:

(I think I’m supposed to be friends with her, she just doesn’t know it yet.)

And this:

reversible-cowl-600-13

(Of course I cast on for one, ignoring, yet again, the mound of projects that await me in my still yet to be organized room of my own, but–silver lining–I used re-discovered yarn from my stash!)

And this:

(This is my work ‘hood. The Wall St. stop is my subway stop. There are never that few people on the street, and I double dog dare this guy to try this on a weekday. In heels and snow, dodging tourists, especially the ones in line, or as they say in NYC, on line, anxiously waiting their photo op to pet the bull’s balls. Oh, and where’s his metro card? That’s the only thing that would keep me from making it–rifling through my damn bag for my metro card).

Posted in knitting, miscellaneous | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Fruition

I have been planning this moment for a long, long time.  Like close to 17 years.

Finally, I have a work room!

IMG_3616

My work room is only 8’x8′, and it has been the first bedroom for each of my children, but I knew the minute we moved it, that while it is nursery size, it’s also the perfect space for a workroom.

So over the weekend, I moved almost everything of the yarn and fabric ilk in there.  After I got 90% of the stuff in there, I began to think I’ve outgrown it already. All the plastic bins? That’s yarn. There are 12 of them. What you can’t see are the several other bins and boxes (also containing yarn). The dresser is empty, and I’ll put fabric in there. I’m glad it’s all in one space, though. No more traversing 3 flights of stairs wondering where my needles/sock yarn/measuring tape/stitch holders/etc. etc. are. Also, it means I can set up my ironing board and not block access to the kitchen or den. These are all good things.

Last night I started organizing it all, and I’m flummoxed. Color? Yarn weight? Half-finished projects? So basically I cleared out all the things I will never use (2 trash bags full of tiny odds and ends) and stuff I’m giving to a coworker (because she’s got even less time than I have to knit), and I put the rest in time out for marinating, but packed away so Kitten is not tempted.

I’ve been dreaming of springtime projects, as I’m sick to death of my winter clothes, but given that our forecast is for continued below normal temps for the time being, I have plenty of time to organize (and dream).  A weekend trip to the fabric store whet my appetite.

Now that I’ve got the space, there’s no excuse at all for ignoring buttonholes!

Posted in family, hobbies, sewing | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

ugh

I totally get the snowbirds thing now. After our fourth week of below average temps, I’m basically chilled to the bone and ready to pack up and move. Nope, we haven’t had the snowfall of New England (70″ and counting), but the cold is beyond frustrating. The last time we hit “average” was Jan. 19.   Not to be a moaning Myrtle, because usually I’m ok with winter, especially of the NJ ilk.  It’s typically in the 30s and 40s and sunny with an occasional blizzard just to remind us that we are still North. But this year, gray and freezing. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I’m not doing myself any favors either.  Every morning, the Mister and I compare temps on our phones to the other locales we’ve saved on our temp app.  I’ve got Stockholm, Copenhagen, Brussels, and Amsterdam. The Mister has San Juan (PR), Bangkok, Singapore, Nagasaki. EVERYWHERE is warmer. EVEN NORTHERN EUROPE! In fact, Northern Europe is downright balmy compared to NJ.

The cold is wreaking havoc on my running. I’ve jumped into the Train Like a Mother 13.1 “own it” plan on week 3.  What a mess. Two workouts were complete flops: a 3 mile tempo run (3×1 mile at tempo pace with a .25 mile recovery) and my 12 mile long run with the middle 3 miles at race pace.  I just could. not. reach. my goal paces.  Maybe that it was only 7F and 9F respectively on those mornings, but it’s disheartening to say the least. During the 12 mile long run, I actually questioned my sanity as I had to stop and tie my shoes, and then could not feel my fingers (courtesy of my Reynaud’s) for the remaining 4 miles.

The lack of feeling in my hands dissipated about 2 hours later, giving me plenty of time to whip up a gift for Thing 2’s upcoming birthday.  This is my 4th sewn raglan tunic. It’s becoming my go-to quick sew.

IMG_3575

Yes, she knows this is a birthday gift. And no, the colors do nothing to improve my mood. However, I do want the shirt to get worn, so I went with Thing 2’s favorite color scheme. Black and more black with a side of gray. The sleeves are actually a herringbone. The entire shirt is flannel.  And yes, I centered the plain in front, and matched them on the side seams. Not that she’ll notice, but I will.

Because nothing is more depressing than an unending winter than mismatched plaids.

Posted in family, running, sewing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

T-11

February is in its infancy, but basically, it’s almost April.  And April 25 is the Rock N Roll half marathon in Nashville, which means if I’m going to run (and I haven’t pulled the trigger yet, although I will definitely be there for work), I’d better start training.

I’m a bit at a loss. I have training plans in the hopper, but the biggest hurdle right now? Getting that stupid garmin to behave. The thought of spending HOURS on garminconnect, programming the watch, having it not sync properly and then spend my mornings frustrated isn’t the way I want to start my days for the next few weeks.

So I did what any normal person would do–I updated my playlists!  I found some great new songs courtesy of the AMR Winter Chaser playlist on spotify (AMR=Another Mother Runner).  Some of my faves:

So jaunty! (although I do have to add, I like the song better without the video.)

and this:

and this:

So this morning I awoke with a spring (figurative–there’s still tons of snow on the ground) in my step and set off for 5 miles.  Now since November I’ve just been plodding along, some days faster, some slower, but without any sort of aim.  This morning started out this way, but after mile 2 (10:07) I saw that it was faster than mile 1 (11:02, which is ok, because it’s my warm up and it’s uphill). When mile 3 clocked in at 9:50, I thought “hey only two more, let’s go for negative splits.” So I did.  Mile 4: 9:38 and Mile 5: 8:57.

Not speedy, but with a purpose.

Maybe it was Pitbull?

Posted in running | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Things I’ve learned this January

1. January has 31 days.  I realized that yesterday after I posted my Janathon wrap up, and everyone else was talking “penultimate.”

30 days has September…

2. I’m not so interesting. In fact, according to my vivofit, I’m rather sedentary (except on running days), and I sleep well (despite my achy hips). I sorta want to abandon this device, but then again, I guess having a constant reminder that you’re SITTING ON YOUR ARSE ALL THE TIME is a good motivator for getting off the sofa. Even when it’s comfy. And you’re tired.

3. I need a race calendar. I’ve hesitated putting one together, but now I’m feeling the urge. I think my hesitation stems from not having reached my sub 2:00 HM goal, and my ambivalence toward trying for that again.  I much more enjoy experiences, although I did really like the heavy duty training I was doing last fall.  So far I’m considering: Nashville Rock N Roll HM and the American Fork Canyon HM (I’m visiting both Nashville and Salt Lake City for work coincidentally at. the. same. time!). I have a chance to revisit the Montana relay (with the same wicked fun group).  MaryLou at Still a Runner reminded me of the Capital 10 miler (which seems like a perfect race distance) which is also convenient to Thing 1’s college and not far from home for me.

4. It’s really cold and my old house is very drafty. I was potentially going to revisit my bullet-proof sweater. But then I saw this from Brooklyn Tweed:

sanford_03

{swoon} (because I think I’m a 10 year old boy at heart).

Posted in Janathon, running | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Wrap up!

“January is a very long month,” says Capt. Obvious to anyone who’ll listen.

Here’s a wrap up:

  • 101.3 miles (23 hours and 26 “activities” which I think is another word for “run.”)
  • 2 hats and 1 sweater knitted
  • 2 sweaters not yet complete
  • 3 shirts sewn
  • 1 book started in my 2015 reading challenge
  • 1 trip to Phoenix (3 runs!)
  • 3 non-work trips to NYC (no runs! but knitting! and Broadway!)
  • 1 bust of snowstorm, but still 8″ of the white stuff
  • 1 Mister delayed in Las Vegas
  • 7 (? maybe more) blogging days missed
  • oh, and one “what the hell” (and unblogged) lottery entry in the NYC Marathon for 2015. ha!

Yes, January is a long month. Janathon certainly helps me get through it. Imagine trying to squeeze all that in in February!

Posted in Janathon, knitting, running, sewing | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

almost there….

only one more day, and 5 more miles and I’ll be at 100 miles for the month. Of course, we’re supposed to have some snow overnight,  so those plans are a crapshoot. There’s been no hype about this impending Alberta Clipper, so with our luck, we’ll wake up to the 3 feet of snow that never materialized earlier in the week.

My yellow and white sweater is progressing:

IMG_3548

I am not enjoying the intarsia. Too many bobbins. I like my knitting to be less…stringy (?), more contained. But I’ll persevere; it’s only the front, and only about 100 more rows.

Posted in hobbies, Janathon, knitting, running | Tagged , , | 5 Comments