Saturday, May 29, 2010


Today has been one of those mornings. You know the kind of morning when nothing goes right. You go to pour yourself a bowl of cereal and there is none left, you try to do a load of laundry and you have no quarters, you try to make your best friend a birthday present and your serger won't work, or you go running and trip over a dead squirrel. Do any of these things happen to other people, or is it just me? Sometimes I think it's just me.

All of these bad things have put me in to most awful of moods.

At least the day has no where to go but up after you have tripped over a dead squirrel.


Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sew N' Tell - Summer Purse

When I finished my last Sew N Tell purse for my mom a few weeks ago I knew I would have to make myself one soon. My summer purse from last year was looking a little worn and tired and I really liked the one for my mom and had a hard time giving it up. So last weekend instead of studying for my upcoming comprehensive exams I made another one! I added a magnetic clasp (that was almost more work than it was worth), an inside zippered pocket and a key ring hook so I won't lose my keys at the bottom of the bag.

I wanted something big enough to fit my daily necessary items: wallet, cell phone, lip balm, and camera, and also my not so everyday necessities: a book to read at the beach, a swim suit, sunscreen, or a light sweatshirt for those chillier evenings out on the town.
I really like it. I did make one mistake; I forgot I wanted to add piping so I had already cut the pieces out then had to cut the top off to add the piping, thus reducing the seam allowance I should have left myself. I think I am the only one who would/will notice and I have forgiven myself for this silly oversight after a sufficient slap to the forehead and a certain curse word I typically stay away from.

All and all I really like this purse and am excited to have a summery purse. Check out all of the Sew N Tell finishes today!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spring Flowers

Because Charlie would die of an allergy attack if I brought these inside our house:
And because it is raining and yucky, and because they are my favorite flower and because they are so pretty, and smell so good.
See the bee?

Happy Spring

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sew N' Tell - Purse ** Mum Don't Read This!!!

As if the Sew N Tell wasn't enough of a deadline, I am going to see my Mum later today, and since last weekend was Mother's Day, and since I am a bad daughter and didn't send her a present, I was up late last night working on her (late) present. And I might have been up too late, because I made an idiot mistake. I sewed the handles together the wrong way! It even said in the directions to be sure to not make this mistake, "Doh!"
(please excuse the awful photo, it was late and I was angry)

A lot of seam ripping later I had the finished project:
I used a free pattern I found here, and I also added an inside zippered pocket using my favorite tutorial (steps 12-14). And I used my last twill tape label, I guess I'll have to make more. I thought the purse needed a little something extra so I added some piping, but only had white on hand. Instead of going out and buying another color of piping I covered the white with little scraps of the inside fabric, so it coordinates perfectly. Changing the piping color was way easier than matching up the piping at the seams, does anyone have any suggestions for that? The piping never ever matches!

It's going to be hard to give this purse away, but at least it's going to someone I know will treat it well. I think I will make another one for myself as a summer purse. Maybe next week.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wapack Trail Race Recap

As some of you may know I ran a 21 mile race yesterday. There were some ups and downs and I don't just mean the 8 mountain peaks. I will summarize them all for you, but first of all I want to say thank you to all of my friends and family who I knew were thinking of me, and also Kirsten who taped notes to my packets of food, and my Dad and Mary Lou for standing in the rain at an aid station in the middle of no where waiting for me, and Charlies dad, John, for waiting at the near finish and inspiring me to run as hard as I could to the end, even though I wanted to crawl. And now for the run down of the day (warning this post is very long) :

-I woke up at 5:30 and realized it was pouring rain and potentially thundering. I also realized that at 5 am Charlie had started his leg of the race, a 42 or 50 mile race, and was therefore running in the rain, felt sorry for him and wanted to go back to bed. ** Side note: the 42 or 50 mile race that Charlie did was an out and back loop of the course that I only did one way. That meant that he had to start at the finish line and run to the starting line and then back again*

- I ate breakfast (Honey Bunches of Oats, if you really care), and spent 20 minutes contemplating what to wear based on the temperatures and the rain. Filled water bottles and headed to the finish line with my Dad to pick up my number and wait for the bus to take us to the start.

- Bus ride was uneventful. I am shy so I didn't talk to anyone. I just sat and listened to others who had run the race before, and thought to myself; "Self, what the heck are you thinking?"

-Once we got to the start it was mad dash for the woods so everyone could pee. I'll leave you hanging as to what I did, because I am a lady and would never divulge that information on my blog.

-At this point it was raining very hard and so instead of standing around in the rain waiting for 9 o clock (the official time we were supposed to start) the race director just said "Alright start on 3. 1, 2, 3!" And we were off. The first section was all uphill so we all kind of race walked. The rain was really coming down, little did I know the bus ride was the last time I was dry all day.

-Everyone walked up the hills and would kind of gingerly bounce down the hills, and ran on the "flat" sections. The first 5 miles were definitely the most technical/ steepest of the course. At this point I made friends with 2 others, Sarah and Mike, both first timers. The three of us ran together for the next 13 miles. This was a big help. Six sets of eyes instead of 2 prevented us all from getting lost on the trail, falling numerous times, and in my case having 2 other people prevented me from even wanting to cry. It was so nice to have people to talk to, it made the miles really go by quicker.

-I forget where exactly but I did see Charlie pass on his way to the halfway point. He was going pretty fast and was not far behind the other (wicked fast) ultra runners.

- Mile 12 or 13 was the second aid station. The hardest part was that we didn't know exactly where the aid stations were so we kept thinking "maybe around this turn", and then we were disappointed. So by the 15th turn I was putting that though out of my mind until we saw two people in raincoats and I happily exclaimed; "That's my Dad!" And Sarah said "Pretend you're having fun!" because he was taking pictures. I got my water bottles refilled and grabbed some animal crackers and set off walking again, and Dad and Mary Lou walked along with me for a bit. At this point Sarah went on ahead and Mike and I continued on together.

-Not long after the 2nd aid station was what I will now call "the never ending hill." Honestly this hill was over a mile long and made up of all switchbacks. You would think you could see the top, but once you got there it was just a switchback and you would have to go up even more. Mike and I separated at this point. His legs were cramping up and he told me to go ahead without him.

-At the top of the never ending hill I met up with an older man named Richard. He was very slow at the uphills but somehow managed to keep catching up with me on the downhills. He had done the race 4 times before and continuously brought up the fact that the Wapack trail was probably not the smartest choice for someones first trail run, and especially silly for someone who had never run over 13.5 miles (i.e. "Lauren, you're crazy!"). Richard was kind of starting to annoy me, then he farted (nearly on me) while going up a little hill and didn't even apologize. At this point I decided it was time to leave Richard in the dust.

- Running by myself was quite relaxing for a while. Thinking back on it now I don't understand how those 7-8 miles passed by so quickly. This was also the time that I fell down. It all happened very quickly. I just remember being upright and then being in the ground with mud all over my leg and blood coming out of 8 spots on my knee. I would have cried but I could hear someone coming up behind me and decided to get up and keep going. The man who passed me turned out to be the ultra winner. In total he passed me 4 times, which made me feel pretty inadequate, until I realized that he passed other, slower people only twice.

- More switchbacks proceeded to drive me nearly bonkers and also the fact that I could hear the road; which meant the finish line was close, or so I thought. The trail at this point looked like the Forbidden Forest from Harry Potter (I'm a geek I know) and I kept waiting for a giant spider, centaur or Hagrid to come out from behind a tree.

-I had no idea how much longer was left but I knew I wanted to finish in under 6 hours and 30 minutes, so I started running faster than I had been and just crossing my fingers that I wouldn't fall again. Out of no where I saw John, Charlie's dad, and he told me there was less than a mile to go so I began running even faster. I was sure there was no way I would finish in under 6:30 but continued to run at a fast clip. The terrain was much better at this point, a slight downhill with only a few rocks and not nearly as much mud as I had encountered previously. Then out of no where the finish line appeared. I hit the stop button on my watch as I crossed; 6:30:45. Sarah was at the finish line, she congratulated me and for no apparent reason I started to cry. This means that every long race I have run to date I have cried at the finish. I have no idea why, it just happens.

-Soon after finishing I realized how wet and cold I was. John took a picture of me and in the photo my lips were blue and my legs were bright red. I quickly changed into warm dry clothes I had packed and proceeded to wait for Charlie.

-Charlie had told me he would be passing me for the 2nd time somewhere around miles 15-18. However, he never did. I was a little worried but put it out of my mind and just hung out with the other finishers. One man asked me how I felt and I responded; "I hope childbirth isn't any harder than this."

-About 2 hours after I had finished and Charlie still hadn't come in I began to really worry. I spoke with a few people who had run the 50 or 42 and asked them if they had seen Charlie. One man mentioned that he had seen him about 9 miles back walking slowly and he thought that Charlie had hurt his ankle. This wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear. The race director told me he would go out to the last aid station and see if Charlie had checked in.

- At 6 pm the race director called me to say that Charlie had checked in at the last aid station at 5:30. John and I decided to hike up the trail to meet up with Charlie. The whole way up the trail I kept thinking "How did I run down this and not die?!" We went about a mile up and finally saw Charlie. He said that his ankle was really sore and he had been walking for a long time but wanted to finish because he was never running this far ever again. We walked with him down to the finish. The last two people to run the 50 miler passed us on our descent.

- Charlie said that his body is not cut out for an intense run such as a 50 mile trail run and mentioned that he would be better off sticking to 20ish mile races. This was the first race I have even finished and actually wanted to run again. Typically when I finish a race my first words are; "I'm never running again!" But I had so much fun doing this one that I am already trying to recruit people to run it with me next year. Who is with me?

-Today Charlie and I are hobbling around like two 90 year olds.

Did you really read all my mindless rambling? Wow you must really like me. Thanks again to everyone for the support, it means a lot! And I can't wait for next year!


Friday, May 7, 2010

Sew- N- Tell- Accidental Landscape

I try to drag Charlie into quilting shops as few times as possible. But sometimes I just have to beg him to stop, and sometimes he doesn't want to wait in the car, and then he ends up following me around making comments like, "Don't you want to save your money?" or "Aren't you on a fabric freeze?". Several months ago we stopped at a quilt store and I thought that this would be the result when Charlie decided to come inside with me. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I looked over my shoulder and realized he wasn't tagging along behind, he was in the corner looking at something..."that's weird" I thought to myself. I went over to be nosy and see what he was admiring. Turns out he was looking at a few sample "Accidental Landscapes". I can't remember the exact conversation we had but Charlie said he liked them and I said to myself; "Self, you should be sneaky and buy the pattern and make one for his birthday." And that's what I did, sneakily bought the pattern, sneakily compiled/ dyed the necessary fabric, and sneakily worked on the project when he was at work.

Here's a close up:

I tried to make it look like a ski mountain.

Charlie says he wants a birch bark frame, and he also said he wants a path or a tent or something a little extra. Any ideas are welcome.

Happy Sew- N- Tell Friday!


p.s. Tomorrow is my 21 mile trail race, cross your fingers that it doesn't rain!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


Sometimes I get really scared that I will find a job and hate it. Spending 6 years in school is a long time to devote yourself to something that you aren't positive you will like, and it's especially tricky when you don't even get a chance to get your feet wet until the 5th year. Add on top of that a tough job market and everyone and their grandmother telling you to quit school and sell crafts, and you have yourself a frightening situation.

After a particularly rough day a few weeks ago I asked Charlie how much longer I had to work until I could retire, he pointed out that I haven't started working; what a low blow.

There are very difficult days, days when it feels like no one is improving, or no one appreciates what I am doing, and worst, days when it seems like no one cares. But then there are days when one of my clients speaks clearly. Or says /s/ correctly 95% of the time. Or gives me nice thank you cards and pictures they painted specially for me. Or when team members finally get on board with ideas you have been pitching for 2 months. Or when someone who can't communicate effectively navigates a communication device so quickly that it gives you goosebumps. Those are the days that make me sure I am meant for this. I really like fighting for the underdog and standing up for people who can't stand up for themselves. Any job that allows me to do that is worth 6 years of school, loads of hard work, sweat, tears, and a lot of tuition. Days like today remind me that I do like what I do, and I will like what I do. Days like today give me certainty.
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