Monday, June 25, 2012

Moving: Arrived in Colorado!

Well, we did it. This has not been the most graceful of relocations, but it was a better trip than the insanely long and trouble-laden one last year across the whole country. This one was less than half of it. Hopefully it will also be our last big move.

My dad arrived in Oregon Friday evening around dinner time, which is great because he had an empty stomach. He brought with him an electric drill, because ours in cordless and therefore too wimpy to drill through the frame of the black car to install the tow bar. I finished most of the packing with Jamie's mom while he installed the tow bar. Then we moved everything out into the garage for a "staging area". We managed to cut out a lot of stuff from last year, I was surprised. The black car IS a monstrosity of cavernous cargo proportions, though. Jamie did his magic tetris act and made the entire pile of our worldy possessions disappear into the black car, with only a little bit of overflow into the Camaro backseat, and a bag of doggie stuff to ride in Dad's truck with me and the doggies.

We had sort of misunderstood the timing of plans, or I did, and Dad planned to leave insanely early in the morning at about 2am. We finished loading everything at 1:30am and I woke him to let him know the time, and that we were ready to go and would be going to sleep until he woke up. He slept until 5am and we headed out with hot fresh cups of Dutch Bros. treats. I had chai instead of coffee.

The trip itself was actually very easy from a passenger viewpoint. My job was to keep Jackson settled so that he did not whine, and to see to the puppies at each stop. 

We did make a few unplanned stops along the way, though. Soon after we left, maybe 90 minutes or so, we stopped and did a little bit of weight rearranging, to take some heavy things out of the black car and put them into the bed of the truck. Zoomie and Vandal switched spots, no longer riding in style on the bike rack on a black trunk, but strapped rather unceremoniously to the top of the truckbed load. Zoomie's streamers flapped like crazy! 

We also stopped after missing what we thought was a dead animal in the road, which turned out to be a chain-binder that we didn't miss. The drive-shaft came loose from where it was secured beneath the black car and we heard scraping noises. Since it was already mostly out anyway, along with the fluid, the drive-shaft was tossed into the bottom of the truck bed also. After that we had no issues.

We were around 400 miles from our destination, I think, when Jamie started to get really sleepy. I had switched to being a Camaro passenger during our dinner stop, anticipating that fatigue would be an issue, and also to be fair with company. It really sucks to drive along by yourself. We talked a great deal, and I successfully kept Jamie awake for another 200 miles, when my dad called a stop because he was getting too tired. We pulled off into a gravel lot by a gas station and slept. Dad stretched across the back seat of his truck. Jamie's driver seat is sort of reclined anyway to keep his head from hitting the roof, so we hung my robe (a nearly forgotten item hanging on the back of the bedroom door like that) in the windshield to block light and I sort of used my pillow to fill the gap between seats while Jamie's chest was my pillow.

We woke up to bright sunshine staring at us from just above the horizon, and continued on our way with me riding back in the truck. There was some chaotic confusion about where exactly we were going in Colorado, but then we arrived, and my family came to see me. We had a wonderful dinner and I met my niece, who was very confused as to why she wasn't supposed to call me Jessie (my twin sister).

I have pictures for later when my laptop comes out of hiding. I had my interview for the St Vrain Valley school district this morning and everything went well as expected. We also have an apartment on hold for us pending the completion of some paperwork including another letter of Intent-to-Hire, since two thirds of us are starting new jobs instead of being able to show current pay stubs. People like to know how exactly you can pay the rent, I guess.

Anyway, I'll talk to you more when I get another chance to write. Bye!

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Pannier On The Bike Is Worth Two In The Project Folder

If you can't tell by the title, I've been busy with my sewing machine again. The beautiful flower fabric, and the green PUL fabric were conspiring- calling my name. I just HAD to do something with them.


One bicycle pannier.

The effect on the whole bike- streamers match! 
(now you know why my streamers are so colorful)

Close-up of the pretty black ribbon bows holding the pannier onto Zoomie's rear rack.

Pearly snap closures. 
There are two pairs of snaps on the front- one for a full pannier, and one for it empty.
There is also that smaller flap- you'll see why in a minute...

The bag is very floppy, so there are snaps on the sides to keep it folded neatly.

Folded neatly, snapped closed.

Looking down through the rear rack- 
the pretty brown ribbon bow on the back to keep a full pannier from swinging about.

And the best part! It rolls up into a cute little package when not needed.

Another view, better centered.

I admit, it isn't the most polished project I've ever undertaken. The bag came out a lot more... shapeless, than I had imagined. Also the lining ended up being not quite a perfect fit for the outside, which makes things lay not quite right. The snaps on the sides to keep the bag folded closed helped very much with that.

The lining is Babyville Boutique brand PUL fabric. PUL means polyurethane laminated. The fabric is waterproof but breathable (theoretically) so anything put into the pannier has a chance to remain dry if it rains or snows. The fabric is intended for use as homemade diaper covers for washable reusable diapers and other baby needs. I forgot to photograph the pannier lining, but it is a bright soft green, not really matching the greens on the outside of the pannier. I didn't particularly care. I could have gone with pink, but I'm a greenie.

The design is out of my head, with inspiration from a really cute bag that Jamie got me once. It was a large green bag that zipped across the top, and folded up like the pannier does into a tiny handbag size. The bag I had actually folded into thirds lengthwise before rolling up, but the pannier proved too bulky to do that. I like it better this way anyway. Since my pannier wouldn't zip closed, I added the large flap cover.

I was going to immediately start on the second pannier, when I realized a couple of things. I've run out of snaps (both plain and pearlized), and I have no more black sparkly ribbon. I'll have to restock because I won't have mismatched panniers! For now the second pannier will have to wait, as will the matching handlebar bag.

Can you look at that fabric without a smile coming to your face?
Happy Monday

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Drawing: Redeyedtreefr0g on her bicycle

I felt like coloring yesterday, but I have no coloring book. Instead of going and printing out some Disney princess to color, I decided to try and draw. I had asked an artist friend if she could doodle for me, and she had said it wasn't really something she thought she could do. So...

Drawing is really my sister's area of expertise. Along with the fashion sense I lack, photographic eye, and tidy handwriting, she got most of the drawing talent. I'm good at other things. But sometimes things just happen to line up just right for me and I can actually reproduce the image I have in my head. This was one of those times.

Ta Dah!
I wanted a frog on a bicycle for a while now. Partly because my internet handle since I was allowed to use a computer has been Redeyedtreefr0g, and because I love my bike. But I also wanted her to have long hair, since that is my other dream- and I wasn't quite certain how a hairy frog might look (and what color hair would a FROG have anyway??). I wasn't too thrilled with the pencil version, but in color she turned out to be just like I wanted!

I just had to share.

And in case you feel like coloring too:

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Last Day of School (and what I've been sewing!)

Today is it: the last day of school. I'm free for the summer. This should make me nothing but happy, but instead there is a mixture of excitement and sadness.

I'm excited to be closer to the date of our move to Colorado, to my dad showing up in his truck and getting here just in time for a great big Father's Day hug. I can't wait to see whatever new house we end up in (they all are awesome, even if after a short while the novelty of a new place wears off), and to meet new people who might become friends.

But then I'm sad at the same time, because I have great friends here.

I have Tig, who let us live with her for nearly an entire year, not to mention making sure our furbabies were always taken care of. She never gets tired of animal questions. She is always ready to hop on a bike with me and go to the park, even if she's already been awake and at work for 16 hours saving the critters.

Then I have the wonderful people at work, one in particular. She started my bus every winter morning to let it warm up for me, gave me rides home even when my stubbornness would have had me biking home in less-than-ideal conditions. She cared for Pascal, the little gummy lizard which showed up in my window one morning (named for the chameleon in the Disney movie Tangled). My bus-neighbor had found it while sweeping and set it there. Pascal got named, and promptly became a major character in my work life. M would start my bus, and set Pascal somewhere for me to find. Before I had really discovered this game, he leaped out at me from high up in the overhead first-aid kit while I was driving along. That was the only time he really made me jump, because then I knew to look for him.

Pascal showed up on turn signals, intercom mics, the steering wheel, the seat belt, once the student mirror and once the sun visor. His game of hide-and-seek made my mornings fun, and kept my pre-trips more diligent (hadn't actually checked the seal on that first-aid kit in a while).

When M stopped starting my bus for me, I started hiding Pascal in her bus. Every afternoon I'd stop by on my way past and put him in a new spot. I confess that I reused some of the ones I'd found him in. Then one day I couldn't find him in her bus, so Pascal took a break.

Today, M gave me dirty, floppy, and sentimental Pascal. She extracted from me the promise to relate his future travels, including the one where he moves to Colorado with me. He also must get a bath. I shall have to wash him gingerly, as he is not a young lizard- he was treated harshly by whatever student had him before he found his way to me.

So check back for the story of Pascal And His Travels!

I will miss my friends, coworkers, and boss, but life goes on, and I hope to find other good people where I'm going. I'm sure I will.

Today on my last day of work, my students behaved (for the most part), and I felt really good in general. I wore a new skirt created from the scraps of corduroy used to make the curtain in Astral Games. The strip was several yards long, but only about a foot wide. I had to piece together fabric in order to make the pieces the pattern required. The result is a heavy brown skirt with a flounce on the bottom, and pockets that I already love. I wore the skirt with my favorite shirt of multiple colors, one of which is orange. So I put on the tights I own which happen to be an autumn orange color, and wore my boots. Here is the photo promised on Facebook:

I was so excited to have the skirt nearly done, that finding out I did not actually have the zipper I thought I did didn't faze me. This is secured with a safety pin. The zipper was installed before my afternoon run.
See the pattern I used HERE. Simplicity 2655.

I also wore my newly-covered helmet, which makes me ridiculously happy. Now it isn't some weird non-matching baby blue color, but has the same colors which my streamers were made to match. The dark green seems to be very similar in shade to the crate, windbreaker, and trailer I have. I'm not sure yet if I'll add the holes, ones in the back weren't fantastic, and so far airflow isn't an issue anyway.

Ta Dah!

The top.

While at JoAnn Fabric for the zipper I needed, I grabbed a zipper to replace the one utterly failing in my green windbreaker, and found out that the waterproof breathable PUL fabric I was ogling earlier had gone on sale. Babyville Boutique is the brand, and it is Polyurethane-Laminated fabric for making diaper covers and other baby stuff where you really don't want that moisture touching you. I bought 3 yards, and it will become lining for panniers (bicycle bags) made from the same fabric on my helmet. I won't need the crate bungied to the rear rack anymore unless I want it there.

So the next week shall see me packing, and perhaps sewing this last project. A square shape should be ease itself after clothing- I'm sure I'll get those done one afternoon when I realize that I really have nothing better to do (except pack up the craft stuff).

Tomorrow I'm sleeping in! Have an early Happy Friday from me :)


Saturday, June 2, 2012


The Jamiejacket is DONE!

I stayed up all night working on it. I spent a lot of time cursing the sharp pins, which had to be everywhere to hold all the pieces as I assembled the jacket. Not only do I have sore fingers from accidentally stabbing myself constantly while pinning, but also numerous scratches along my hands and arms from manhandling the cloth and sometimes gingerly draping it over myself to check how things were hanging. I"ll have to avoid touching anything for the next few days.

It is painfully obvious that my lack of sleep is affecting me, as I had to fix about 50 errors in my typing in that paragraph... have some photos.


Finally done! The jacket is for my husband, who is much larger than me, as you can see. Can't even see my jammies :P

Front Exterior

Rear Exterior

Front Interior Inside-Out

Friday, June 1, 2012

Nearly Complete Sewing Project

I have been under a self-imposed laptop exile. My computer is a major distraction and time-sink. I could spend hours browsing useless and uninformative threads on forums, reading blog posts, and other equally unproductive things, if given half a chance. 

So I put the computer away. I brought it out recently only for blog posting, then put it away again. One of these times of opening the lid on my computer made me believe that it was broken forever- the thing refused to go online. I took it as a blessing in disguise and put the thing away again.

However, I do use a computer more than I realized. I'm glad my laptop was only feeling ill that day, because I opened it up yesterday to find an email from the St Vrain School District, where I will be moving over the summer. After some back-and-forth, I have an interview set up for June 25th! Our actual move has been scheduled to occur the weekend of Friday June 15th. My dad will be driving to us with his truck to tow the black car back. The transmission is well and truly broken-it wasn't just a clogged filter as we'd hoped.

I also discovered the powerful motivating factor of background music. Because I was checking email regularly, I just set my computer on the floor on top of my sewing box, with the mouse being the only thing left on my plywood desktop. I listened to Pandora and would regularly like or dislike songs as they came on. I listen to Breaking Benjamin, Aaron Tippin ("Kiss This"), Skillet ("Hero"), Blue October, Creed, and Disturbed. I had Tool mixed in, but then the shuffle puts in entirely too much of the same type of slow music. Adding Aaron Tippin introduced a wonderful upbeat country vibe bit to mix things up a bit.

The good news is that staying away from the computer is working: I'm nearly done with the Jamiejacket! I need to add a collar (which may involve alterations, as it seems larger than needed), sew the rear sides together with invisible zippers for the jersey pockets, add the front zipper, and both sleeves. It may sound like a lot still, but most of the hardest work is already done (I hope). 

In the picture above, my beagle Grunt is "helping". You can see that the entire left interior is unsewn. In the last few days, that side is now complete. Then I had this random puzzle of flaps that could be draped over the shoulders like an ugly shawl- the interior and exterior were two separate parts because the lining had to be fully separated for the large handwarmer pockets. I've now completed sewing the front sides, where the handwarmer pockets zip closed, and now the puzzle is beginning to actually resemble an article of clothing!

I am convinced that a pin's goal in life is not to secure layer of fabric so that they can be sewn together, but rather to hide in any location imaginable with the intent of causing as much harm as possible to unsuspecting (and sore!) fingertips. It looks as if I have been warring with sharp things ( I sort of have been), the way my fingerprints are currently mangled. I never did figure out how to use thimbles, if you haven't guessed.

Again, though, this project is nearly finished, and that makes me excited. I was trying to catch up on blogs a few minutes ago, and I got impatient with the number of unread posts. I'll catch up later. I believe with a little bit of coffee or an energy drink, I can have this thing finished...tonight! I'm going to try, anyway. We shall see.

Also due to my own impatience, I will talk about the end of the school year in a later post (perhaps). There are a lot of emotions tied up in moving to a new place and leaving the old one behind, but I must get to sewing. This photo is the third one so far. I've taken a picture of myself with my bus each year I have driven so far. I hope there won't be any more buses with differing districts on the side- I think I'm ready to find my forever-home. 

I hope Colorado is it.

And Happy Friday!!