Monday, January 30, 2012

Studded Tires!

On the way to work this morning I fell off my bicycle again. The roads were wet at my house. The temperature was hovering above freezing there, according to the thermometer. Somewhere along the way the simple wet turned into slippery frost or ice, and I was unaware. I was worried at the time because my headlight batteries were failing.

Anyway, I was going too fast and tried to turn, and ended up on my butt skidding backwards down the road. I suppose I might have panicked since I wasn't looking in the direction I was headed. I remember being worried that I was on my butt, and that maybe I was ripping jeans away little by little and soon it would be skin. I also had my right hand dragging the ground trying to stop my slide. I knew my glove was getting ripped, but I remember deciding to push down further to try to stop sooner. It worked, but my glove is ruined. Turns out my jeans are fine. I lightly banged that knee I hurt earlier, and the heel of my hand stung a bit from very minor rubbing that my glove saved me from.

So, I immediately cursed Mother Nature and Zoomie as well, and when I got home I looked up studded tires. Originally I asked my parents to get me those for my birthday, but it's supposed to snow tomorrow and well, they are stupid expensive. I've seen how to make some on forums, so I figured we could try that. Jamie said if we messed up he'd get studded tires for me and new regular tires in spring. So...

Zoomie in for surgery.

The surgical instruments. Also a Philips screwdriver, duct tape, and bolt cutters.

Step 1: Dismount tire and turn tube inside out. Commence adding screws from inside pointing out. I had marked the locations with a silver sharpie on the outside of the tire, but that turned out to be a futile gesture. I got better at aiming with the second tire, though. You just want the screws pretty evenly spaced.

Inside out tire with screws being installed.

Step 2: Cover screws with duct tape.

Step 3: Turn tire back rightside out (careful of those points!). Remount.
Step 4: Trim screw tips with bolt cutters.

I haven't ridden the improved Zoomie yet. We're giving it the night to recover (and see if the tubes go flat). However, just rolling it along didn't seem too bumpy, but the screws were very obviously touching- so they should theoretically provide better traction for me out there. 

We shall see!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Busy with....


For the most part.

We've had three weeks of real winter weather here. Each week began with snow, sometimes causing extremely slick conditions. Then after a few days the temperatures would warm up leading to rain which melts the snow. Rinse and repeat. Unfortunately I also came down with a cold, so I have not built a snowman despite the best intentions.

I have ridden Zoomie most days. It's not as bad as I feared it would be, but its no picnic either. To be honest, riding a skinny-slick-tire bike on hard-packed slippery snow is safer (for me) than trying to walk on it in my sneakers. I go slowly, maybe not even going out of first gear, and everything is usually fine. I fell twice the other day. The first was completely my fault. I thought I'd pause for a photo oportunity, and instead of braking slowly on the rear wheel, I accidently pulled the front wheel brake. Bam! Down I went. Very fast, pretty minor. Nothing hurt. My handlebars turned backwards, but other than that, I got my picture.

Pretty worthless, huh? I wonder if that's my breath.

Some better pictures:

My (old) bus.

I fell again on the snow on the way to Walmart. With all the snow, this last time being deep enough to threaten my ankles, I wanted to check for snow boots again at Goodwill. I found some.
My feet are finally warm!

The second fall was bad. I joked to my sister that instead of falling on my butt, I actually did something more like busted it. I was just sore up until after my afternoon run, but when I got home it was hurting more. Not really my butt, but my hip. The thick part of my leg where a sewing measurement would be for hips, not high where my hipbone is, either. So I count that as busting my butt. Jamie shoved an ice pack down my pants for swelling. The day after, I also had a sore shoulder and the right side of the middle of my back ached. I'm not sure if that is all from the one fall, but I felt beat. Today I got car rides from Jamie and co-workers even though the sun finally came out. 

On the way home from Walmart via bike path (not used often enough by me, perhaps):

Because I've been sick, my hobby pursuits are suffering also. I barely had a plan put together for our Saturday Pathfinder game, but I managed to get through it without any complaints. The players killed my bad guy as planned, but they are infected with a deadly virus needing a cure, which is of course why they will go where I want them to. I'm too new at Dungeon Mastering to let them mess up my plot.

The Jamiejacket has seen very little work, although I've tried. Jamie of course was disappointed. But, not only did the sun show itself, but I finally had a better day in a string of bad ones (up til midnight coughing uncontrollably after a whole day of that and sore abs? not fun when you tried to go to sleep at 8). I managed to screw up a simple piece-together when my head was a bit muffled. That's when I have a pattern piece that's huge, but only small scraps of material to use. They get pieced together to make the larger piece needed. Well, I neglected the seam allowance on two sections. I had to make do with very close seams for that section, and hopefully I can make it up with extra fabric where the sleeves connect.

Today I managed to mostly finish the entire back section piecing, and most of the cutting for the other pieces. Still need some lining. Jamie is letting me add parts of the maroon jacket to make up for only one jacket-worth of flannel to act as lining. With all those pockets, there isn't enough flannel to make up the difference. Still, with the freedom to add in the red, I think the jacket will look great.

Still on the mend, that's all for now. I need my sleep. Goodnight everyone!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jamiejacket: a piece is done!

So the scottejacket, which I think should be termed the Jamiejacket, since it's for my husband specifically, has some definite progress! I have literally just stopped in my sewing to come and post this because I'm proud of it.

Here are some pictures:

What you are looking at is the left section of the front of the jacket. There will be a sort of shoulder piece above this part which goes to the collar. The patch pocket should end up positioned similarly to any other shirt pocket. Behind that patch pocket, though not quite hidden, is the invisible zipper leading to an interior breast pocket. You can see the lining peeled back in the middle photo to show that zipper opening. The full liner there is also the front of the handwarmer pocket. The back of the handwarmer pocket (not made yet) will include all the other interior pockets still making up the front panel of this jacket.

It sounds very confusing, because it is. I'll include more pictures as I go along to help explain things. 

Now all I have to do is make this section again for the right side, but I get to leave off the outside patch pocket. Still, this isn't really that much simpler because if you look closely, you'll notice that zipper stuck smack dab in the middle of nowhere. It isn't sandwiched neatly and easily between a seam. I hate it. But I also love it. The challenge of figuring out how to construct such a thing from only a very vague picture taken months ago was sort of fun while frustrating me to death. Maybe the second time a round will go faster.

So this is what I'm doing with my holiday (I also slept in, of course!). What are you up to?

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Jamie's jacket is coming along, little by little. Every day I put everything away neatly. Ok almost every day. When I fall asleep watching Psych after dinner, Jamie is nice and piles things on my desk for me and puts up the table, then unfolds the bed while I go to the bathroom before properly going to sleep. For some reason I get so sleepy watching TV that I've been conking out at 8pm. Really, I'm missing out on great cuddle time here!

In any event, because I can't leave things a mess like I like to during a project, things are going slowly. But, it IS going! I've cut out fabric and lining pieces for the front of the jacket and need to figure out the front breast pockets. The left side will have a patch pocket with a button flap cover over it also. I decided to try and create the jacket in sections which will be ready to fit together once each part is done. After all, it's very easy to tell the pattern pieces apart when they are made of paper and labeled. Not so much so when they are all the same color and vague unlabeled shapes!

I've considered taking photos along the way, but honestly I don't think they would be able to really show anything. I might make a video after the jacket is complete to show exactly how many pockets there are. That sounds like a wonderful idea, and our hosts have a couple cameras capable of doing that.

My reward for finishing the jacket: Jamie gets to wrap me up in my underwear with duct tape! No, this isn't some weird fantasy, but rather an attempt at making a custom dress form. Theoretically we can get my shape in the duct tape and stuff the form so that I have a fairly accurate double of myself to use for making my own clothes. It sure beats paying $200 for a dress form that doesn't even have my shape! I was hoping to make it out of Island Lime so the whole thing was green (of course!), but it is much more expensive than the plain silver version. So Jamie got me 2 rolls of regular, and one roll of green. I might be able to finish with the green, or maybe just make measurement lines with it (hips, waist, bust, etc).

I can't wait to finish, not only to get to the dress form, but also because this jacket, a pain though it may be, should be really, really awesome once it's done.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Oh my gosh, it's January

I am a horrible blogger.

Time goes by without me realizing that I haven't actually written anything, even though I've meant to several times. Then I sit down and open up blogger and not only see that my last post was half a month ago, but I've also completely forgotten some of the awesome things I should have written about since then.

I will try my best to do better going forward.

I have several topics i want to discuss, but I'd rather do it separately and in shorter posts. So the two weeks past in summary:

Christmas was great. We had dinner with Tig's family at a lone-bachelor-relative's spacious house. Jamie made my favorite holiday treats again- green bean casserole, my special delicious sweet potatoes, salmon dip. He deep-fried a hunk of beef by request that turned out to be wonderfully delicious. I now believe that holiday meals should be as follows: turkey for Thanksgiving, beef for Christmas, and ham for New Year's unless you'd like to add it to one or both of the previous. We didn't have a special meal for New Year's.

Instead, we had a lovely smorgasbord of snack foods that we ate all day long while playing Pathfinder and generally hanging out in the living room with friends both present and skyped-in until well after midnight. We had sparkling cider to celebrate, but there was no countdown or anything. I texted well-wishes to people as the New Year came to them in their earlier time zones.

Working over the holidays wasn't bad at all. The weather was warmer, I got up with the sun instead of way before it, and after a much briefer break than usual I returned to take the boys back home, which means my workday was over much sooner than usual. It was weird.

Now I'm getting up early again and strangely I haven't been able to fall asleep easily or stay asleep without waking up a bunch. I'm really hoping things fix soon because I'm really freaking tired. An attempt at a nap yesterday failed, resulting in two hours of wasted time.

There, now you are all caught up and I can talk later about other things.
Yay! A package just arrived and I get to try on some hand-me-down jeans. Be back soon, I promise!