Ooops.

Huh.  Somehow, it’s been a month since I last posted.  I do have four posts sitting as drafts, and I will get to posting them.  I promise.

It’s been an eventful month.  One of my best friends from Germany came to visit for a week, which was so much fun.  We did some touristing during the week – I worked on the move while we did the National Museum of American History and the National Museum of Natural History.  American History was a lot of fun with her – Europe does American history in broad, broad strokes, so it was really exciting to talk to her about the details, and how history has influenced culture and current events here.  I also took a few hours to take her up to the Hill and introduce her to a staffer friend of mine.  He was able to give us a great tour, including a fantastic extra stop at the Speaker’s Balcony!  As many times as I’ve done the Hill tour, that was the first time I got to do that!  Her last day here, M and I took her up to the National Cathedral, and then over to the Zoo.  We were expecting some massive crowds, especially when we saw that they didn’t have the pandas out in the yard (that pavilion is TINY), but they were doing really great crowd control and the pandas were more active than we’ve ever seen them.  I got some fantastic pictures.

Oh, and M and I were pretty cute too.

mandi

 

After the zoo, M and I took her out to Wolftrap to see the National Symphony Orchestra perform with Sarah Chang.  Immediate reviews on twitter were pretty glowing of Sarah Chang’s performance, but I have to be super honest, we weren’t that impressed.  Don’t get me wrong, she was good.  But there wasn’t anything terribly special about her playing ability.  All in all, it was a great week, and I was definitely sad to have to take her to the airport Sunday morning.  I DID manage to also get her addicted to embroidery while she was here, and I sent her off with a bunch of scraps, floss, needles, a bag to put it all in, and a mini quilt for her to embroider.  Because it’s not a vacation at my house unless you also sew. 😉

Beyond that, it’s just been busy.  Work has been crazy hectic, M started a new job and has been stressed out beyond belief, I started marathon training, and I’ve also been trying to stay on top of swaps AND also put together a travel set for BFF.

BFF found out last month that she’s going to be doing her PhD at Max Planck in Germany!  It’s SUCH a big deal, and I am SO proud of her.  I mean, I love Germany.  It is an amazing place, and I’m so happy for her to get to know the country.  I’m also so so proud of her for pushing forward on the grad school dreams.  Max Planck is a huge deal.  I can’t get over it.  BUT, I’m also heartbroken that she’s moving halfway around the world.  We don’t see each other very often – she lives in Boston, but there’s something to be said for the ability to call her in the middle of the night, or the ability to jump on a plane and be with her in an hour and a half – it’s not cheap, but $300 here or there isn’t the end of the world at the drop of a hat.  This is the end of an era, and I’m crossing my fingers that she gets WhatsApp the second she gets a cell phone over there so I can at least text her.  Because otherwise, I might lose my mind.

Obviously, since she’s leaving, I had to make her a travel set, and it needed to include every bag/wallet she might ever need.  So, I started with a Weekender Bag, and then promptly lost my damn mind.  A Wherever You Go Wallet, an Open Wide pouch in each size, a Jane Market Bag, a Manicure Kit, a Travel Kit, a Document Wallet, a Luggage Tag, a Wet Bag, a Bobby Pin Pouch, a Hair Tie Pouch, a Jewelry Clutch, a Toothpaste/Toothbrush Bag, and (theoretically) cord keepers.

Not all of these things are done yet, but I’m making decent progress.  Not great progress for flying to Boston for our last hurrah in less than 24 hours, but I don’t need to sleep tonight!

I promise to have more pictures once I get home from Boston.  In the meantime, I’m going to go grab a drink and head home to sew!

Sewing, Planning, and Running

I opted to skip the Freshly Pieced link-up this week.  I’ve been fairly horrible about taking pictures and not sharing them on instagram, so I didn’t see the point in re-documenting it here.

It’s been a kind of terrible week.  We got some news last weekend that I’m still trying to digest, and I’m definitely not okay with it.  But it seems that there’s nothing we can do.  It’s been killing me, and I took a day or so to sit around and feel sorry for myself, and I’ve been trying to turn the rest of the horrible feelings into sewjo, which has worked kind of well.  Usually, when bad things happen, I run.  I run out the anger and the frustration and the sadness and I get to go home without the ability to feel anything else.  Running usually helps give me some power back when I feel like everything is out of my control, but this is the one time it’s not going to work.  Everything that’s happened has honestly brought into focus the fact that we/I have no control, that we can do everything right and it still won’t matter, and there’s nothing that we can do to change it.  I want to run, I want to fight, but I feel so defeated.  And that will be the end of the vague-blogging.

That said, I decided to take the week off of running and just let myself exist and sew, which seems to be what I need.  It’s been unusually satisfying to create this week, and it seems that my soul is crying out to make beautiful things from little pieces.  Because I don’t have enough projects on my plate, I think I’m going to start working on a postage-stamp scrap vomit quilt.  We’ll see when that gets started, since I have a ton of other stuff that HAS to be done first.  You can see my WIPs on the WIP page by clicking on the pink menu button.

In the past week, I’ve finished the second handmade item for my SPD Fairy Tale Swap partner, made fantastic progress on the mini quilt for that, finished the Alison Glass Angel Mini and thread catcher, accomplished my June DCMQG Bee block, and added about 15 projects to my plate.  I need to do individual posts for the Alison Glass packages I sent, as well as for DCMQG, so those are coming.

I’m also on the hunt for my next planner.  For the past 6 months, I’ve been working out of a Kate Spade agenda (large, gold dots.)  I love it.  I love how it’s organized, I love the font, I love all the extra space for notes to keep track of my swaps, I love the paper, and I especially love that it’s spiral bound, but with a hard cover over the spiral.  Each month is color coded with the important stuff.  Last minute stuff tends to get tossed in in regular black ink when I’m sitting at my desk at work, but theoretically, each month is a different color.  What I don’t love about it is how the hard cover has worn.  My dots are faded, it looks dirty, and it’s not.  So, for the past few weeks, I’ve been researching hard.  And I’ve come to a few conclusions.  Some of these conclusions might insult some of you, and I’m sorry, but this is where I am.

1. I do not understand people who need 7 leatherbound planners.  If you need this many planners for your life, you are doing it wrong.

2. I do not understand the purpose of spending $60-75 on a planner and then using it as a scrapbook.  If you really want to scrapbook your life, there are gorgeous albums for that.

3. Why, why, WHY is it so hard to find a planner with a covered spiral at roughly the same size as the Kate Spade?

4. WHY does KS not make vinyl covers for her planners?  I mean, yeah, it’s $36 for the large one and that’s not breaking the bank, but I HATE that in 3 months I don’t want to show off my gorgeous KS planner because the dots have started to rub off.

5. WHY ARE DISPOSABLE PLANNERS SO EXPENSIVE?!

6. There are not enough real-people review blog posts about planners out there.  I actually also feel this way about fashion, but that’s another blog post entirely.

I’m honestly down to one of two options.  I’m either going to re-order a KS planner, although I’m incredibly sad that the fun quotes each month are gone for 2016, and then cover it with clear contact paper to prevent some of that wear and tear.  OR, I’m going to suck it the fuck up and order an Emily Ley Simplified Planner in Pineapple when they are available in September.  I’m not super okay with either option, but I feel like there’s not much choice.  Thanks, universe.

And, finally, I’m in the process of trying really hard to reorganize my sewing space.  I’ve been using these fantastic drawers for my fabric, but I’m having a hard time keeping everything folded when I’m constantly rifling through them to find what I need.  And my blue and neutral drawers are about to explode.  They are stuffed full.  In addition, my notions are a disaster and I can’t ever find anything, and I don’t have a good storage option for my UFQs/WiPs.  I’m getting really frustrated with the mess, and I don’t know how to make it better.  I’m also really tired of having to cut on the floor or move my sewing machine off to the side of my table, which usually involves moving eight million other things in order to get enough space to move my machine and cut.  Basically, my space is a mess and I can’t function anymore.  I need some serious help.  Suggestions would be much appreciated.  We don’t have a ton of space here – M and I share a small bedroom as his office/my sewing space.  So, adding a table in the middle of the room isn’t an option (although I feel like that’s where I might be.)  Help.  Someone help me.

Weekly Running Recap

I know we basically just did this, but I’m trying to get back on track with blogging.  Since this particular blog is still so new, I’m still figuring out an actual post format.  The overall goal is still to keep this blog as a mostly quilting/sewing/fabric-porn blog, but running is a humongous part of my life, and if I’m only going to talk about it once per week, I’m going to cram as much into it as possible.  Which brings me to my next point, I’m going to try and delve into the technical as well as the fun for these posts.  I want to talk about how much I love running and why I run and all that jazz, but there’s really only so much I can do with that before you’re all like “shut up already, we get it.”  So, I’m going to try something else.  I’m going to try this thing where I do some data analysis and don’t just tell you what I ran this week.  Which means you need some background.  And then we can talk about the running and I promise there are pretty rainbow graphs.

I run with a Garmin Forerunner 620.  No, they didn’t give it to me for free, and no, they don’t pay me.  My Garmin has a chest strap to monitor my heart rate, as well as eight million other fantastic awesome things.  I go for a run, and then it spits out fantastic interactive graphs for me to look at.  It gives me three standard graphs that are basic, straight data.  Elevation over time, pace over time, heart rate over time.  The other three are percentile-based, which makes them a little harder to read but a lot more fun to look at!

The graphing behind cadence, vertical oscillation, and ground contact time is done the same way.  Each point is ranked individually based on data that Garmin has amassed and determined percentiles based on the rest of everyone.  So, purple points put you above the 95th percentile, blue 70th-95th percentile, green 30-69th percentile, orange 5-29th percentile, and red is below the 5th percentile.  Vertical Oscillation and ground contact time both want low numbers – the less you move up and down, and the less time your feet spend touching the ground before you take your next step, the more efficient you are.  Cadence wants higher numbers, since the faster you move your feet, the faster you run.

One last note before we dive into this week.  I love data, and I do have some experience with data analysis.  I do not, however, have any real qualifications as far as analyzing this data.  If you do, and I’m wrong on anything regarding this data, let me know.  I’d love to get it right!

Monday, June 15: 
Planned: 3 Miles
Actual: 2.83 Miles
Pace: 9:19/mile
I was a little short on Monday, but it was hot.  We ran our 5 States route, and by the time we got back up to 15th St, I was not at all interested in running up Rhode Island to 14th to get back to the store.  But hey, I’m good with it.

Capture ALL the data!!!

Capture ALL the data!!!

Overview!

Data Overview

So, what does this data mean?  Well, for starters, it means that I didn’t have the BEST run on Monday, at least technically.  I felt pretty good, which has to be worth something, right?  My cadence was pretty solid, as it looks like I’m tracking mostly green.  The red spots match up with breaks in pace, which is where we hit traffic lights.  My ground contact time looks even better, although there are those red spots again, but they seem to line up with the breaks in pace as well, which makes sense.  I need to improve my vertical oscillation, which is tracking orange.  So, no more bouncing, I guess?

The summary data tells us that based on my heart rate, I had a fantastic run and that I’m seriously improving.  This information is probably the most interesting for me.  I’m on stimulants to deal with a sleep disorder, which increases my heart rate.  Without meds, I have seriously low blood pressure and my resting heart rate is something like 58.  It’s fun to watch it skyrocket, and I’ve been enjoying watching the changes.  My average cadence was 167.  The overall target is 180, so I’m doing well there.  Vertical oscillation is high, which is really interesting.  Higher vertical oscillation is connected to shorter ground contact time and faster pace, but it’s theoretically less economical.  So, run fast but not too fast?  As far as ground contact time goes, I’m actually really happy with 237 milliseconds.  Elites track at under 200 ms, which means I’m really not too far off there.

Tuesday, June 16
Planned: 6 Miles
Actual: 5.83 Miles
Pace: 11:15/mile
Hm, I’m seeing a pattern here.  I was a little short on Tuesday, and WAY slower than normal, but I had good reasons.  To start with, I’ve never run this route all the way through before.  I’ve never been fast enough to run this route before.  You see, we start off essentially racing the clock if we’re not careful about leaving basically right at 7PM.  We ran from the store to the Zoo.  It’s about 3.5 miles to the Zoo, and they close somewhere between 7:45 and 8:00.  When you add in traffic and the heat and the hills (oh god the hills), it can run late.  I did opt to walk the hills, but Garmin says it was 93* outside, and it was way too hot and humid.

Graphs June 16

June 16 Graphs

Overview June 16

June 16 Overview

So, clearly my watch and my run were off a little.  I love that as soon as we were walking up the hill, it looks like I was floating.  That’s right guys, I can fly!  But otherwise, I look good except for the two hills we walked up.  I can live with it, I think.  As far as summary data, it’s interesting that the training effect is “overtraining.”  I don’t feel overtrained, although I did wake up out of a dead sleep screaming later that night with a charley horse (cramp in my calf) that’s left a very sore knot.  I’m really okay with this route looking so freaking terrible, as far as data goes.  Or at least, I’m trying to be.  We’ll run the route again either later this summer or in the fall, and I’m hoping there will be significant improvement.

Thursday, June 18:
Planned: 1 mile to track, 400m sprint, 200m rest, 800m sprint-ish, 200m rest, 400m sprint, 200m rest, 200m all out sprint, 1 mile back to store.
Actual: 0.5 miles to office, 1.5 miles to track, 200m sprint, 200m rest, 400m sprint, 200m rest, 800m sprint-ish, 200m rest, 400m sprint, 1 mile back to store.

HA. Last night was just off.  My normal routine is to change at work, walk to the store dressed like a normal person, drop my shirt in bag before we run, run, get dressed, metro home.  Well, last night, I got all the way to the store and then realized I forgot my watch in my office.  So, I dropped my shirt in my bag, told the group I’d meet them at the track, and then ran back to the office to grab my watch.  And ran in to my boss.  Awk.ward.  Fortunately, it seems that he’s not going to make it a thing.  So, I got up to the track and missed the first 400m sprint and the first 600 of the first 800m.  I jumped in and started there.  It did feel good to be on the track, and I did feel fairly in control of my pace and my legs and my body.  That was nice.  I ran my 800 in 4:00, which is an 8:00 mile, and then seemed to be holding on to a 7:30-7:15 pace for the 400s.

Track Workout June 18

Track Workout June 18

Overview: June 18

Overview: June 18

I’m still working on figuring out the best way to work this data, so I’m going to leave it at “ooooh, pretty colors!” for now.

It’s Wednesday?

Oops.  I swear, you guys, I actually had planned on posting on Friday, and then work is insane and this weekend was insane and then it was today and I don’t know where the past week has gone.  I’m sorry.

So, three posts in one?  Here we go!

Last week’s running was kind of intense.  I did 3.23 miles on Monday, and then 3.89 on Thursday.  Monday’s run was our basic 3-ish miler, and we did our normal P&Q route.  Thursday was track, which was ROUGH.  You guys, it was hot.  It was awful.  But I pushed through.  I did drop the last 200m sprint off my workout, but I’m blaming it on having not done track in forever and then it being so hot.  No weekend runs yet.  I’m planning on adding in the long-er easy run this weekend, and then by the middle of next month, I’ll be running Saturdays and Sundays.  I missed Tuesday’s run last week due to a work dinner, but don’t worry.  I’ll be back on track.

I don’t really have much to report as far as my normal rambly Monday post, so we’ll just dive right on in to the WiP Wednesday fun!

This week, I shipped out my Alison Glass Mini Swap, and it’s actually out for delivery right now!  I seriously can’t wait for my partner to get it.  I went a little crazy, but I refuse to feel bad about it.  🙂

That’s the big project that’s been eating my life for a while, so I’m getting prepped to move onto other things.  The next big ship date I have is the SPD Fairy Tale Mini on July 6.  I’ve been playing with part of the pattern, and I’m really not loving how it’s working, so I’m going to have to run back to the drawing board with it.  It makes me sad, but I don’t know what else to do.  I had planned on doing a two-sided mini for that one, so I may just make it one-sided with your standard backing, but we’ll see.  If I do that, I probably need to get a better fabric option for it.  Maybe something from Heather Ross’ “Far Far Away.”

Other ship dates that are looming? The DCMQG Bee block for June still needs to be started.  It’s a challenging pattern, so I’ll be super honest and admit that I haven’t had the courage to even decide on fabric yet.  And, I’m also planning on submitting two blocks for #FloodTexasWithLove.  One from me, and one for one of my very good quilty friends.  She’s actually from Houston, and she really wanted to submit one, but she’s so swamped with work that I’m going to make hers.

That’s where we are this week.  I’ve also been sketching/doodling ideas for my Michael Miller Fabric Challenge Quilt entry.  I made the horrible mistake of looking through previous winners, and I’m kind of super freaked out about putting together a good design.  Since the challenge is focused on the “Celebration Glitz” line, I’ve been trying to really focus on the “celebration” aspect.  I’ve thrown around the idea of a memorial quilt for my grandmother, but I’m not completely on board with it yet.  I’ve also played a little bit with the whole “runner with a fabric problem” concept, and I’m kind of loving that direction, but it has the potential to get really busy if I’m not super careful.

I did also finish cutting out 118 hexie paper pieces, which are for a surprise selfish sewing project.  I want to dig in HARD to it, but I’m trying to exercise some restraint.  You know, because I have eight million other things to do.  Points to anyone who can guess why I need exactly 118 hexies.  It’s going to be epic.

And, since I need an actual picture of something that’s a work in progress in order to participate in the official link-up over at Freshly Pieced, here’s a new bag pattern I’m working on.  This had been planned as an extra for my Alison Glass MQS, but it just did not work as it is.  I don’t love the execution, but I do love the concept and I am definitely going to be continuing to play with it as I have time.  Eventually, it’ll work and I’ll write a tutorial or a pattern.  I couldn’t find either when the concept popped into my brain, and I think the world needs this.

Bag!

 

I want it to work so badly!

So, as long as we’re all here, just a reminder that you can access my running calendar and my swap calendar by clicking on the coral menu button at the top of the page.  In addition, I’m going to be adding my WiPs either on a new page up there, or in the sidebar. Look for it!

WiP-Wednesday

Oops.  This was supposed to go up yesterday.  I’m not going to be super wordy here, and unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of pictures.

This week has been insane.  Today (Thursday) is my first and only day this week without meetings, and I’m still drowning in files at work.  My desk is a disaster.  And, since I’ve had meetings, I worked late yesterday, the day I didn’t have run club or an evening meeting, and got home at 8.  By the time we had had dinner, M was off to bed, and I was basically only able to interface part of a project and then change the thread in my machine from red to the dove I use for normal piecing.  I am exhausted.

So, there hasn’t been a ton of progress.  I did finish up that AG mini, I pulled fabric and cut part of the back for the SPD Fairy Tale mini.  That HAS to get pieced tonight.  I’m thinking that if I drive in to the office today, I can drive home immediately after run club, which will be faster.  I should be able to get home in time for the MQG Webinar, which I’ll watch while piecing, I think.

So, without further ado, here’s my (very small) submission to Freshly Pieced‘s WiP Wednesday!

WiPs:
AG Mini Extras – all cut
SPD Fairy Tale Mini – mostly cut
Broadway Mini – fabric pulled, pattern finalized
HP Mini – pattern finalized,
Nola’s Quilt – cut, partly pieced
DB’s Quilt – cut, needs interfacing, sashing fabric finalized
Superhero Quilt – partly pieced, no new work done
Supernova Quilt – partly pieced, no new work done
50 States – HA.
POD – LOL.

Fabric pull/cuts

Fabric pull/cuts

This is going to be adorable once it's done.  Just wait.

This is going to be adorable once it’s done. Just wait.

Let’s Talk About Fabric

I had planned on using today’s post to give some insight into my weekend of sewing, but the truth is, all I did (sewing-wise) this weekend was finish quilting my AG Mini and bind it off.  And then snip all the threads.  It was a thrilling weekend.

I’m not going to show off pictures because, well, I want my partner to be surprised and maybe she’s reading this.  But, one of the main prints I used was Sun Print Text.  I used one text print for the main part of the mini, and then bound it off in a contrasting text print.  And I want to talk a little bit about it.  Alison Glass, if you’re reading this, your text print sat down in my soul and won’t leave.  Thank you ❤

When Alison Glass released her Sun Print line, she did a blog post about the designs, and she said this about the text:

“There is also a text print, called Text, very original, I know!  Sometimes it’s just good to go with the obvious, right?  It’s a simple design, truly meant more than anything to create texture.  The nine colors are usable with tons of projects!  I wrote the words, and while they mean something to me, the meaning is not the main thing, it’s the feel of the design and how it is used that is the focus.

Well, Alison, I would love to know the meaning to you.  Because every single time I use this print, I find another set of words that hits me directly in the feels and refuses to be ignored. (You can read the rest of that blog post here.)

The first time I ever used the text was in a baby quilt.  I had gotten the colors from the mom, and I was pulling fabrics and trying to come up with a cohesive design that would match the feel of their nursery.  Since I was still fairly new to quilting at the time, I didn’t have much of a fabric stash and was just looking at swatches online.  I stumbled across Text, and the first words I read were “your birth it is redemption” and “pointless rejection of him of beauty for you and a real companion.”  I sent it off to the mom with my feelings about the print, and she said she was a little overwhelmed by the feelings.  That was enough, it was in the quilt.

I didn’t know until much, much later how true those words rang for her.  I didn’t know that she had struggled with so much until she found out that she was pregnant.  I didn’t know that finding out that she was pregnant really was a second chance for her.  She’s embraced motherhood in a way that I don’t think I’ve ever been honored to witness before.  I am so very proud of her drive to be a wonderful mom, to give her little one a better life.

Binding off this mini for my partner, it was like the fabric demanded that I think of this story.  That I remember why I fell in love with this fabric in the first place.  And then, it demanded that I connect with it again.

Don’t worry, I’m not pregnant, and I’m not struggling with too terribly much.  This time, it wasn’t a message of redemption.  It was a message of growth.  Growth in my career, growth in my relationship, growth in my sewing.   And a message of remembrance of my grandmother.

Jump as off a diving board

we serve simplify celebrate

What is there wouldn’t keep from being happy

Holding our breath and moving forward

There was filling the empty with empty

In a pond of tragedy

With you and me we belong

Live in the now, in integrity and freedom, so hard, so good

Then two, who we wouldn’t it seemed so improbable, then there you were

I’m still feeling the feels over this one.  Today, M and I have been together for 3.5 years.  It’s still kind of baffling to me.  Our story is a weird one, and something for another post, but it’s ours.  And I wouldn’t change any of it for the world.  Last year we had this absolutely horrible fight, it went on for weeks.  I’ll never forget sitting on the couch as we neared the end of it, being completely exhausted, every fiber of my being telling me that what I was about to say was going to destroy me if he agreed, and saying “maybe this is the end.”  We looked down that concept together, talked about what it would mean, and decided that neither of us could live with it.  And then we set about working to repair the damage that we had caused through that fight.  It’s still not completely fixed, almost a year later, but we’re getting there.  We DO belong.  Sometimes our relationship feels improbable, even impossible, but there he is and there we are, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else.

To the other side, to the remembrance.  My grandmother passed away on March 10, 2015.  At the end of March 2014, she was diagnosed with Stage IV Leukemia and given 3-6 months to live.  When we found out, I booked a flight to CA and made a quilt for her, and took it out to her in early June.  The old woman lived for almost a year after that diagnosis.  My aunt and uncle assure me that she didn’t feel too much pain for the last 9 months of her life.  All of this is another post, and we’ll get there eventually.  For now, my mother is in CA to visit her parents, and I’ve asked her to see if she can pick up that quilt from my aunt and uncle and bring it home to me.  Without getting into major specifics, let’s just leave it at the fact that those sadder ones are attached to this story.

I’m sorry that I don’t have pictures for you guys today – like I said, I didn’t do a whole lot this weekend!  I should have a bunch for Wednesday though!

Weekly Running Recap

Mmmm, Friday.  I have the hardest time getting it together to go to work on Friday, but there’s so much to do.

Fridays around here are going to be mostly dedicated to running posts.  Right now, I’m running 3-4 days per week, usually M/T/Th/S.

This week’s running was not the best.  I missed my Monday run, which was actually the most ridiculous part of my week.  We finally had cooler weather, although it was pouring.  I went to get my clothes on, and boom, no shorts.

Tuesday was better than expected – we did 5.5 miles from Logan Circle up to the Memorial Bridge.  I pushed a little too hard at the beginning, which ended up screwing me at the hill up to the top of the bridge to get to the turnaround.  But, it was kind of worth it?  I was talking to a couple guys in our group about FIFA and Blatter’s resigning, and getting out my feelings.  Unfortunately, those guys run an easy 8:30, which is NOT my pace.  That being said, Tuesday was also my first time ever running in shorts and a sports bra!!!  I lost about 40 lbs between August and December, and I finally feel mostly confident enough to do the shorts and bra thing.  It’s been a really hard mindset for me, because the women in our group who do run in shorts/skirts and sports bras are tiny tiny, and I am not.  But, they’ve been really encouraging, and H promised me I didn’t look like a beached whale.

Thursdays are track nights.  We do speedwork as a group, because most of us are trying to get faster, and quite a few of our group have grabbed their Boston Qualifying times, and some of us are trying to eventually get there.  I’m on the 5 year plan for my BQ.  This Thursday was relay night, which means that we were broken up into teams and we raced each other.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been at a track workout in quite some time.  We started out with a 1600m time trial, and halfway through, I got some bad cramps and pulled off.  Instead of running the relays, I opted for cheer squad.  So, my workout last night should have been 1 mile warm-up (to the track), 1600m, 200m, 200m, 400m, 1 mile cool-down (back to the store) and I got…1 mile warm-up, 800m fast, 400m easy, 1 mile walk back to the store (a good friend of mine was struggling, so I walked with him.)

It’s okay.  There are good days and bad days and sometimes you have to remind yourself not to come back to track workouts on race days.  Seriously, I’m full of poor life choices.

Marathon training officially starts on July 20, so I have some time before I need to be in really perfect shape for this.  So, for now, I’m going to get back to running M/T/T/S, and then as I get closer, I’m going to need to add in a second weekend run.  My Saturday runs are going to be marathon pace, and since I’m shooting for sub-5:00:00, I’m going to need to run those at about a 10:00-11:00 per mile pace.  My last 10 miler paced out at 9:48, and my half PR is sitting at a 9:59 pace, so I’m thinking that’s pretty doable.  And hey, if it turns out that I can run a full at a 9:59 pace, that gives me a 4:21:45 finish!

If you’d like to follow my marathon training plan, you can do so by clicking the pink menu button at the top of the page, and then clicking on the Training Plan/Running Calendar page.  I’m working on getting everything set up in that calendar, but it takes some time.

Why I Swap

This post has been bouncing around my brain for about two weeks now, so it’s probably about time to let it out.  If you found me through Instagram, you’re probably aware that I have a minor problem.  Okay, I might eventually need rehab for this problem, but it’s not alcohol or drugs.  I’ve become a swap-a-holic.

I signed up for my first swap ever in August 2014.  It was the Stitch It Swap, and we made little pouches full of office supplies.  I joined because I saw the post on FB and was like “huh, apparently people who sew hang out on social media together and that’s super cool because no one I know sews.”  (Excepting, of course, my cool friend out in Texas.)  I felt very isolated in my sewing.  Sure, I was making baby quilts and a couple people were talking about paying me to do things, but for the most part, my sewing was something I did to give away part of me.  Which is awesome.  I love it.  And I really love seeing my baby quilts that have homes (as opposed to the ones sitting half-pieced on my sewing room floor) in the wild, being played with and on and it’s fantastic.

Noah

zoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seriously, getting those kinds of pictures warms the cockles of my stone cold heart.  Also, I love those kids.  As a quick side note, 2015 is the year both of their moms are getting married, and I’ll have the honor of having been in both weddings.  ❤

But, as you probably know, there’s something about a project when you’re in the middle of it.  And you need to talk about it and share it and just let it keep living on its own without smothering it.  Until I started swapping, the only person who ever lived a project with me is the same person who still lives them with me – M.  He’s pretty phenomenal, and he does a great job of humoring my need to talk through projects in real time, but he’s not a creative type, and he’s fairly easily bored by my “well, what do you think about this vs this vs this?”  I felt incredibly isolated in what I do.

And then, I had my first swap.  It was magical.  I had all of these people who cared about the fabrics I picked and what I was doing with them.  So, I signed up for the Schnitzel and Boo Mini Quilt Swap (Round 3) and got addicted to swapping on Instagram.  Since August, I’ve sent out six little projects to new homes, and I have another 13 due to ship before the end of the year.  And I’m hoping to host one…more details coming in the next few months.

My point though, is that I started swapping because I felt so stinking isolated.  Sewing and quilting wasn’t something I did for fun or to escape anymore, it was something I felt like I had to do because I had made quilts for a few people so I should probably make them for everyone.  I don’t feel isolated anymore.  I’m back to sewing to escape “real life” – the pressures of work, mostly.  Swapping partially gave me the courage to join a guild.  Our guild is awesome, btw.

Why do I keep swapping?  I keep swapping because these swaps challenge me.  They challenge my creativity, they challenge my skills, they make me a better quilter.  They make me a better artist (I use that term loosely – my drawing skills are crap.)  Do you know what I made for the IG Pincushion Swap?  A fairy home.  Out of felt and furniture sliders and clay, because wood wasn’t allowed based on customs rules for Australia.  Six months ago, I would have looked at a similar project and been like “holy crap that’s the most amazing thing ever.”  I conquered it this year.

I MADE THIS.

I MADE THIS.

I swap because I love connecting with my partners.  I love learning more about each of them over the course of whatever the timeframe is by interacting with them on IG, and I love how often those little interactions turn into inspiration.  I’ve had/have a few partners that I can’t find a connection with, and putting an idea together is actual torture.  I’ve spent almost four months banging my head against a wall for one of my partners because we have nothing in common, including the swap theme.    I have another partner who has basically not been active at all on IG since signing up for the swap.  For more on this, please check out KarriofBerries’ post here.

And about that, in case you’re making something for me and you’re irritated because I haven’t been super helpful.  For starters, I’m sorry.  I do try to stay ahead of the swaps, but I’m not always super successful.  Work gets in the way kind of a lot lately.  I am going to spend the next week or so catching back up, and then getting some selfish sewing projects back into my rotation, so that my IG feed isn’t full of things for everyone else.  Be patient with me, I’m working on getting there!

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s talk a little about logistics around here.  I’m going to try to post actual blogs on M/W/F.  This was actually planned to go up yesterday, but I got stuck on the phone with Cox and then had to run to run club to make our run.  (Thanks to mailfromcheekymonkey for getting my tucus back in gear!)  And then I had to actually finish that LPS Disney Hoop Swap mosaic when I got home, instead of this.  So, let’s run M/W/F.  It seems most practical.

I’m also going to try to start linking my Wednesday posts to WiP Wednesday over with Freshly Pieced.  I swear she used to have a button, but I can’t seem to find the code on her blog.  I’m going to try to get it and add it over on the sidebar.  And also a DCMQG one.  Because why not?

For this week’s WiP Wednesday, I’m going to focus on the stuff that has to get done ASAP to get me caught up:

1. Finish quilting, then bind AG Mini Quilt.
2. Fabric pull and pattern finalization for SPD Fairy Tale Mini Quilt.
3. Finalize extras for AG Mini
4. First cuts for Broadway Mini Quilt
5. Fabric pull for Hogwarts, and quilt math.
6. Finish up exterior for mom’s Sew Together Bag, then finish assembly.

I think tonight is going to focus on finishing up my AG Mini to send out.  I have one extra for that done, five others cut and ready to piece, and then I need to get myself to a couple places to pick up a few things.

Quilting Started for AG MQS

Quilting Started for AG MQS

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Right side: Sew Together Bag for mom – need to finish the exterior.

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Fabric pull for Broadway MQS

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Beginning of one of the extras for AG MQS

 

DCMQG Bee – May!

I’m loving being part of the DC Modern Quilt Guild.  It was kind of a big thing for me to join – I spent several months thinking about it, and then another few months debating with an out of town friend who had loved her guild before she moved, and she convinced me to just do it.  And I am SO GLAD I did.  I haven’t been able to attend quite as many events as I would like, and I’ve missed every meeting since the first one I went to, but I’m participating in other places.  Like the test group for the Bee!

Lynne asked for a wonky star block from this tutorial in aqua or purple, with a low volume background.  This was my very first time making a wonky block on purpose, and I really loved playing with it.  I opted to do the aqua version (shocking!), and I kept the scrappy to the star, rather than scrappy-ing up the background too.

Wonky Star Block

 

Thanks, Lynne, for a great first round!  I’m looking forward to next month’s block from Anna!