In the Thomas Jefferson Library Room is this mosaic, titled "Opportunity"

ICYMI January

How is January already over?! Or as good as – didn’t we just celebrate New Years?!

I was busy this month, despite my best efforts, and felt like I should share some non-bloggy things. You already know about our trip to NYC and my American Girl Doll adventure, but that’s not all I did this month. Here’s a breakdown:

The Mechanic and I also visited the Library of Congress, to see Magna Carta (one never says the Magna Carta, only Magna Carta, apparently). Not only was the 1215 Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta on display, the exhibit followed the different ways Magna Carta, and its ideals, evolved over time – including popular culture! I’m really glad we made time to see that.

I love my Walnut Studiolo “Little Lifter” so much that I wrote a review of it for The Discerning Cyclist. Seriously, if you have to carry a bike up and down stairs on a regular basis, this might be just the thing you want. It makes a huge difference to me.

Staircase of Doom - thanks to my Lifter to make this easier!

Staircase of Doom – thanks to my Lifter for making this easier!

We had our first snowfall, but thankfully have dodged a major storm. I dislike biking in the snow, or more specifically, anything slippery, so I haven’t biked much with these little snowstorms. Snow 2

Our guppies had baby guppies. Lots of them. And they all seem to have survived. I wasn’t really expecting that, and as much as I’m enjoying watching them grow, my teeny 2.5 gallon tank can’t hold 16 guppies and a snail. And the possibility of more. So I’m on a fish tank redesign hunt.

Some of the baby guppies - about twice their original size now!

Some of the baby guppies – about twice their original size now!

Spectre Upside Down

Seriously, Spectre the Mystery Snail is the best pet ever – yes, he was climbing (?) down the leaf upside down!

We saw “Diner” at Signature Theatre in Shirlington, and really enjoyed it. An actor friend said she’s heard rumors that the production is Broadway bound. That would be a true triumph for the Signature! I’ll be watching for that. Diner Signature Theatre

The 2015 National Bike Summit is in March, and I’m hoping to be able to go again. This year, the first day is the women-focused day, which is nice to have it as part of the event, rather than the day before. Two of the sessions that interest me the most are “Powerbrokering for Women in Transportation and Advocacy” and “The Future of the Women’s Market.” I am also amused that one of the sessions is “How to Talk to an Engineer… and Be Persuasive.” I know it’s about bike infrastructure, but maybe it will have tips for me and The Mechanic! They’ve released an initial list of vendors for the women’s pop up shop, too. I am excited to see that Tandem NY will be there with their skirt weight, and I hope that Bikie Girl Bloomers will have her bloomers in a print I want. (For some reason, I can’t find the list of vendors on their website; I got the list in an email. Inconvenient to share.)

Bikie Girl Bloomers in Crazy Daisy (image from Bikie Girl Bloomers website)

Bikie Girl Bloomers in Crazy Daisy (image from Bikie Girl Bloomers website)

 

I was pretty happy to see that one of my blog posts inspired another bike blogger to try the reflective yarn: check out Red Riding’s projects! I hope her knee problems heal up before the nice weather arrives. (Don’t you just love her all-yellow bike?!)I’ve got a few sewing projects lined up, to keep me busy while I’m hoping for warmer, drier weather. I am ready to get out and get biking, but the cold temps and slick bike lanes/roads don’t inspire me to leave my cozy warm apartment. Maybe in February.

Happy Golden Years

Buried by Books

I’ve neglected my blog this past weekend. I was in need of some reading therapy, so I’ve been buried in the Little House on the Prairie books. I blame it on my niece.

The Mechanic and I had our 8-year-old niece over to spend the night last Saturday. It was the first time we’d ever been fully in charge of her, and had her at our house, and overnight, and I was a bit nervous. I just wanted her to have a good time, so she’d want to hang out with us again. I think we were successful.

It was fun – we took her on the Silver Line out to Tyson’s Corner Center. A suburban girl, she doesn’t get to ride trains much, and seemed fascinated by all of it, thank goodness. Our goal was the American Girl Doll store, where she wanted her doll’s ears pierced. I took my American Girl Doll too! I have the original Samantha (she’s been re-released, and is now a bit less historical than before); she was given to me by friends years ago. She’s the 1904 New York Victorian girl, for those of you who don’t know, and I have a few of her historical outfits and accessories, as well as some homemade dresses. I don’t play with her, obviously, and since I don’t have space to display her in our current apartment, she’s been in a box for a while. So she was happy to get out and see the world. Naturally I bought her a new dress at the store.

After sushi at Wasabi, the restaurant in Tyson’s with a conveyor belt of endless sushi, the Disney store, Bath & Body Works, and some ice skating at the outdoor rink at the mall, we staggered home. When we eventually got her tucked into bed, she pulled out her copy of Little House in the Big Woods, which she’s been reading. Yay, one of my favorite series of books ever! Her version is full-color, so I pulled out my decades old set with black and white illustrations, and we compared the lovely Garth Williams images for a while, before I left her to read in bed.

Then I started rereading them. And haven’t stopped.

Okay, I cut out some fabric Sunday after our niece left, and took apart my wedding dress, so I now have a few projects ready to start, huzzah! But basically all I did Sunday and then Monday night was read. Reading is my way of dealing with stress – when I’m overloaded by life, I need to bury myself in a book. And I felt a bit overloaded by the time she left; both The Mechanic and I were. Not used to being around kids much, close to 24 hours of non-stop attention on a kid overwhelmed true-introvert The Mechanic and borderline-introvert me. So I need to reread some old favorite fiction. I skimmed through The Long Winter last night, which seemed appropriate as Winter Storm/Blizzard Juno was rolling in on the Northeast. I just couldn’t manage to rouse myself from my reading stupor to write a blog post. Do you ever get like that – so overwhelmed that you need to do nothing? Or rather, bury yourself in something to take your mind off things?

This was once a Liberty of London for Target duvet cover. Now it will be a spring blouse.

This was once a Liberty of London for Target duvet cover. Now it will be a spring blouse with an orange sherbert reflective sash.

My poor wedding dress!

My poor wedding dress!

A friend is going to repurpose this. She's an amazing seamstress with two daughters - I can't wait to see what she does with it!

A friend is going to repurpose this. She’s an amazing seamstress with two daughters – I can’t wait to see what she does with it!

Now, however, I feel like I’m a bit more relaxed and I’m thinking ahead to everything I want to do this weekend – I just need to finish one last book… Happy Golden Years

South Street Seaport 2

Touristing Through NYC Without Bikes

The Mechanic and I took advantage of a long weekend to spend some time in New York City. I really wanted to see the Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, Death Becomes Her, and it had been almost a year since I last went up. The Mechanic had technically been once before but he and his buddies didn’t do much sight seeing in the two days they were there. I had a good time planning some sightseeing for him. On the Town The Last ShipWe crammed many activities into a very short period of time. We took the Bolt Bus up on Friday afternoon, and dropped off bags at my best friend’s theater before picking up our Today Tix to see “The Last Ship,” the Broadway musical Sting wrote and was starring in (it closes January 24th, alas; it was really good). A different theater friend was working it, so we stopped backstage after the show to say hi. I’m sure she arranged to have Sting walk past us while we were standing there. Using the fabulous new Today Tix app, we decided to buy tickets to a Sunday night performance of “On the Town,” as well, which we totally enjoyed.

Saturday was a true whirlwind – according to the health tracker app on my phone, we walked over 22,000 steps. The temperature never made it to freezing, either, it was miserably cold. We started off on the Brooklyn Heights promenade, where I pointed out my former Wall Street office, then jumped on a subway to Wall Street itself. I hadn’t been to the 9/11 Memorial before; the pools are so peaceful and reflective. Then we walked past City Hall to Little Italy, where we had pastries, then through SoHo, where I popped into All Saints. I can’t afford the clothing there, but I love the old sewing machine decorations! Then on to the West Village, Murray’s Cheese Shop, Sockerbit, a Swedish candy store, the Meatpacking District, the High Line, the across 23rd Street to Fish’s Eddy, ABC Home, and finally to Rolf’s German Restaurant for dinner with friends. Rolf’s was still decorated for Christmas – my goodness was that overwhelming! This place is famous for it’s over-the-top decorations, and I’m glad I finally experienced it. Photos do not do it credit. After dinner, we went back to ABC Kitchen, and had a lovely glass of wine after saying hi to my friend’s niece, who is a pastry chef there. The desserts we got were lovely! Yum.

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It rained all day Sunday. We tried to be inside as much as possible. We started at Grand Central Station, then quickly toured the Main Library. I dragged The Mechanic up 5th Avenue so I could window shop (I did buy this cool blush colored moto jacket and floral tee shirt at Joe Fresh, huzzah!). Once we got past Rockefeller Center, however, I gave up and we took a bus the rest of the way to the Met Museum. I took The Mechanic to the Temple of Dendur, then we split up to see what we wanted.

The Death Becomes Her exhibit was not large, but well presented. I’ve been interested in mourning clothing for a long time, and it was wonderful to see the clothing in person. Even a mourning gown worn by Queen Victoria was on display! I can tell you truthfully that she was tiny and stout. The photos and caricatures don’t lie.

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Monday we just hung out with my best friend, who is soon getting married and moving to Dallas, TX. Much more low key, and less stressful on the feet!

The view from Brooklyn Heights

The view from Brooklyn Heights

As The Mechanic and I were headed back to the Bolt Bus to return home, we realized that not only had we not ridden CitiBikes (too cold! too wet!), we hadn’t taken photos of anything bike related! How very unlike us! We saw plenty of bicycles worthy of our admiration, including several Linuses and Gazelles in Brooklyn Heights. Bike lanes, bike racks, people on bike – we were too cold or wet to take our hands out of our pockets to take photos. Oh well – next time we’ll try the Big Apple when the weather is at least warmer. Then we’ll do the bikey thing! MTA card

Edgar probably makes me not normal either.....

My Name in Lights?!?

Bike-friendly Arlingtonians are all a-buzz these days, ever since BikeArlington announced an open casting call in partnership with Modacity and Vancouver Cycle Chic. Modacity will be doing a series of videos on everyday Arlington residents who just so happen to bike for transportation. They are taking applications through the end of the month, and then the lucky winners will be filmed in May. The whole goal of the campaign is to show biking as a normal activity, something people of all ages, ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds do. Check out this video as an example:

 

Of course I plan on applying! I think I’m perfect for this! What shall I wear? What photo should I pick showing me and my bike? What can I say about myself that will make them choose me as representative of Arlington bike riders?! Then there is a bigger question – I need to have my bike repainted, but what color?! I mean, if there is a chance it could be on film, it can’t just be any color! But I don’t see any reason to pick a different color, so do I ask to have it redone in the same paint? (The Mechanic, by the way, is the one who first painted it that color, before we even met.) And then I might need to make a new reflective dress to coordinate!

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But I think that I might be getting ahead of myself. First of all, BikeArlington is in my office, so is this one of those things where “employees not permitted to participate in contest” rules apply? I’m assured not, but I don’t know what Modacity might think. And I work in TDM, so maybe that disqualifies me. I’m not exactly a “normal” bike rider, although I started biking to work long before I even knew about BikeArlington and got my job. And then, making my own bike friendly clothes is different, not normal. Not everyone makes their own clothes that they can bike in and wear in the office.

How "normal" is this?!

How “normal” is this?!

The whole point of “normal” biking is that it doesn’t take any special gear to do it, just a bike and a desire. My bike is an extension of my style, and I choose to dress around it, as well as dress it up, but I have to say, I don’t see other women biking around like this. More so in DC, but not in Arlington. So I’m not sure how normal that makes me! And frankly, I’d like to see a good mix of bike riders chosen, people who represent all the differences that make up daily Arlington life – families, older people, people biking to the farmer’s market and to their jobs, in all the different neighborhoods, including Columbia Pike.

I still plan on applying and definitely want to be chosen to star in a video. But I will be okay with not being chosen, with not representing “normal” Arlington. I’ve never been “normal” my whole life, so I guess, why start now?

And if you or anyone else you know would be good for this cool project, be sure to apply or pass along the link above! Good luck, Normal Arlingtonians!

Edgar probably makes me not normal either.....

Edgar probably makes me not normal either…..

 

Fabric swatches from Fabric.com

Lining Up the Sewing Projects

My local fabric store options are limited to JoAnn Fabrics and G Street Fabrics, both of which are fine but not great if one is looking to do decent apparel sewing. So I tried something new, and ordered swatches from Fabric.com. Although the swatches didn’t get mailed off right away, hence delaying my instant gratification, I was very impressed with the size of the swatches. Most of them are 8×8″ range.

Fabric swatches from Fabric.com

Fabric swatches from Fabric.com

I was looking for midweight knits for a jumpsuit and a jacket, plus I just love the two corduroy prints and wanted to feel the weight. Yes, the floral one is a Liberty of London print! I have no idea what to do with the squirrel print but I love it so much! It’s a fairly lightweight corduroy, so even a easy top could be an option.

Squirrels!

Squirrels!

My first project idea is for a bomber jacket. I think I’ve mentioned the McCalls 7100 pattern already, but the reflective fabric I got from Oanh in Australia made me think about it more. I think the black would be great for the sleeves, so I am looking for something more silvery for the body of the jacket. I’m not sure this knit is exactly what I had in mind, but I’m not sure I’ll find anything better. However, it is more lightweight than I think I’d want. And I’m not a fan of black jackets. So probably back to the drawing board with this one. Maybe a basic sweatshirt gray?

Black reflective for the sleeves for sure, but what for the body?

Black reflective for the sleeves for sure, but what for the body?

McCalls also came out with a jumpsuit pattern, M7099, that tempts me to make one. I was a bit horrified when jumpsuits first became a thing, but they don’t appear to be going away, and they are also beginning to grow on me. Being able to make one means that I can lengthen the torso for my long waist, and make sure it’s comfortable on a bike. I think I’d want to make it sleeveless, however. I’m not sure about the color – a dark solid would be comforting, but I dislike wearing too much black, but gray might look like PJs. I really like this teal, but is that too much? I’m not sure I’d make it reflective, but a sash out of the reflective black fabric is definitely happening, so that would take care of that.

I like both of these knits...

I like both of these knits…

The reflective fabric on the top would be great as a sash with either fabric.

The reflective fabric on the top would be great as a sash with either fabric. (ignore the incorrect pattern number on the page… it really is 7099)

I also really love these swatches together, but I’m not sure what I’d do with them.

Love that black and gold knit, and the Liberty of course. The solid gold in the back works so well with either, but for what...?

Love that black and gold knit, and the Liberty of course. The solid gold in the back works so well with either, but for what…?

I do have the fabric already to make a spring/summer top, which, although I obviously couldn’t wear it any time soon, I should just make, since I have all the materials. I’d rather make something a bit more seasonal, but might have to start here.

McCalls 6794, out of Liberty fabric with a reflective sash

McCalls 6794, out of Liberty fabric with a reflective sash

This Liberty of London for Target fabric (with coordinating throw pillow) used to be a duvet cover - I am going to turn it into the McCalls 6794, with the orange sherbert reflective fabric as the sewing in sash

This Liberty of London for Target fabric (with coordinating throw pillow) used to be a duvet cover – I am going to turn it into the McCalls 6794, with the orange sherbert reflective fabric as the sewing in sash. Perfect for Spring!

Despite the fun of ordering swatches, I’m not as excited about these options as I’d hoped I would be. I guess it’s back to the drawing board. This will make it harder to be in New York this weekend with The Mechanic, since I doubt I’ll manage to get to the fabric stores with him in tow. Most of the Garment District stores have limited weekend hours, and we have other things to see. Of course, if we happen to walk through there to get to anything, well, I’m sure it won’t hurt to duck in somewhere. After all, he needs to see the places I keep talking about, right?!

On the other hand, I have a project that needs to get done before any of these. I promised my niece I would make her a carrying bag for her American Girl doll. I think it’s only appropriate that I practice the pattern first on my American Girl doll, don’t you? As the Victorian doll, I could come up with some lovely fabric combinations for my Samantha. Liberty of London would be perfect for her, if only it weren’t so expensive.

Samantha, in her winter school dress, wants a fancy carrying bag!

Samantha, in her winter school dress, wants a fancy carrying bag!

So I’ll start there, then move onto the spring top, while trying to come up with a better option for the bomber jacket and jumpsuit. And see what else comes up in the meantime!

Print Corduroy Skirt_2

Corduroy Christmas Skirt

My latest skirt looks nothing like Christmas, no holly and ivy, no red and green, no angels and snowflakes, or any of the other things that one normally associates with Christmas. But I finished making it on Christmas Day, so in my mind it will always be known as the Christmas Skirt.

Christmas Skirt_1I fell in love with this corduroy at JoAnn Fabrics earlier this fall, and just bought two yards without knowing what pattern I’d want to make it into. I wanted to make something easy and casual, and, inspired by this Express ad, decided to split the skirt to add the reflective piping in the middle, rather than on the hem.

I love this skirt, and okay, I love the jacket too...

I love this skirt, and okay, I love the jacket too…

I’d also been lusting after a Boden skirt, and studied the measurements of it, which helped me decide that all I would do with this fabric was stitch the selvedges together (it was 54″ wide, so that gave my hips wiggle room) and add an elastic waistband.

Inspiration for my skirt and outfit - they say imitation is the best form of flattery, right?

Boden inspiration for my skirt and outfit – they say imitation is the best form of flattery, right?

I carefully sketched out my pattern, but opted against adding a lining and pockets. I really wanted something quick and easy.

Pattern drafting at it's finest!

Pattern drafting at it’s finest!

I added three rows of 1/2″ elastic for the waistband, and ended up making a very deep hem, which turned out to be pretty unelegant on the backside. Actually, the front isn’t that great either, don’t look too closely. Christmas Skirt_2 Christmas Skirt_3I really love how it turned out, and have worn it several times since Christmas. I’d like to take it to New York next weekend when The Mechanic and I go up for a quick weekend trip, but I’m not sure it’s quite warm enough (I don’t have tall black boots, which it would need to be warmer). I did wear add snow boots and leg warmers on Monday, when I wore it to work. You know how New York is – much more fashionable than functional! We’ll see. But yay, a fun new skirt!

Bundled up and reflective! Legwarmers, skirt, Vespertine belt and scarf.

Bundled up and reflective! Legwarmers, skirt, Vespertine belt and scarf.

Many thanks again to zigzagmags for her mad photo skillz during an especially cold and windy outdoor photoshoot!

Ooh, spooky woods...

Into the Woods

The Mechanic and I saw “Into the Woods,” the new movie, over the New Year’s weekend. We rarely go to see movies; apparently this is our New Year’s tradition. What a brilliant movie to see on the big screen! There were so many excellent moments in the show, lines (“I was raised to be Charming, not sincere…”), costumes, songs, sets, scenes…. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the show, and I was really happy to get to introduce it to The Mechanic. Now I want him to see the video production of the 1987 Broadway version, to see the original. The movie isn’t that much different, but it is a bit altered. Still, I loved it and recommend it.Into the Woods Movie

The musical has some special memories for me too – when I was an undergrad, majoring in history at CSU Sacramento, I worked in the theater costume shop. One semester they did “Into the Woods” with costumes rented from the Broadway tour. I had been dressing Broadway tours already at that point, so I was not new to seeing Broadway costumes, but I remember a moment of disappointment in the repairs in the Stepsisters’ costumes. Twenty (or so) years later, I understand what I saw, but at the time, well, I assumed that professional costumes at least used matching thread colors! That CSUS production was also my first draped costumed, draped, then dyed, and that will also always be special to me.

Despite all the wonderful moments and memories, there was something in the back of my mind while I watched the movie that bothered me. The forest, the Woods, was the biggest uncredited performer in the movie, and not necessarily well represented. It started off well: in the first act, the Baker and his Wife have a duet in which she sings about how different he is in the woods – “stronger, braver.” It made me think about the Children & Nature Network, and all the research that shows the benefits of being in nature – not just the health impact of physical exercise over sitting in front of a screen, but also mental health and development, emotional health and reduced stress, etc. In the first act of “Into the Woods,” each character that ventures into the woods learns something about themselves, they grow as a person. This is exactly what we want children to get out of playing in nature.

Being in nature soothes my soul

Being in nature soothes my soul

However… in the second act, the Woods are dark, sinister and dangerous, the paths are gone, everything looks different – it’s gotten scary. The characters fight, some die, and they all panic. Even when some of them join forces to solve the problem, they still come out of it scarred. This unfortunate portrayal of the Woods reminded me of an op ed in the LA Times, found through the Children & Nature Network newsletter, entitled “The Great Fear of the Great Outdoors.” The author, Gary Ferguson, makes a startling statement up front: “…our unease about nature is beginning to outweigh our desire for it.” He then goes on to list the number of TV shows and movies that cast Nature as the bad guy. Not only are we addicted to our electronic devices, we are being told by the media that nature is scary, dark, sinister, dangerous and deadly. No wonder no one wants to play outside! And now we have a movie that ends with a scary Woods, exactly what everyone will remember when they leave the movie theater, not the empowering discovery of the first act. Even the movie ads make the Woods seem menacing!

Ooh, spooky woods...

Ooh, spooky woods…

The implications of children not knowing the outdoors are well documented; you only need to spend a bit of time on the Children & Nature website to see some proof. But beyond the individual development of nature play, there is a greater concern that children who have no connection to nature will grow into adults who see no value in national parks, state parks and local green space. That means the parks are at risk; god forbid we lose the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite, along with numerous other smaller parks, because generations after our see no reason to keep them as public parks. The National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary in a year, in 1916, and I hope we can keep it around another hundred years. But maybe we need to make more of an effort to ensure that children see nature as a positive thing, not something to fear. And that effort needs to include the arts and entertainment – TV shows, movies, and adults dedicated to putting down the electronics to sit still and enjoy going into the woods.

Happy Nature!

Happy Nature!

 

Happy New Year's from Edgar!

Making Plans for 2015

My mother swears I was born with a notepad and pencil in hand, making lists from the beginning. The Mechanic will tell you that he’s demanding I only plan 50% of all our trips from now on. Basically, I love to plan. I’m happiest making lists, buying a brand new notebook, and turning over a new page to start a new list. Nothing like a fresh start!

So it is with great joy that I sit down to make my New Year’s goals. A whole new year, twelve months of exciting possibilities! What will 2015 bring?! 2014 was definitely momentous, but I think The Mechanic and I are agreed about this year being much calmer and quieter. This, then, is my list, things I want to accomplish in 2015.

Blogging

  • Biggest blog goal for 2015 is to improve my photos! I especially want to try to get better photos of the clothing I make, and me wearing them whilst biking, but I also need to set up a better “studio” at home to take pictures of products.
  • I want to do more product reviews, and find good options for women like me who are interested in functional bike fashion, clothing they can wear in the office as well as on the bike.
  • I’d like to write more about the women in bike fashion who inspire me. I think listening to their stories can teach us all about the industry.

    I love this cork from Irony Wine

    “What’s your story?” from Irony Wine

Sewing

  • First and foremost, I need to get my equipment cleaned up. Maybe I’ll finally get my machines serviced, and my scissors sharpened. And I need a new invisible zipper foot, and I lost my regular zipper foot.
  • Then I think it is time to do what my sewing instructors always told me to do, and focus on my technique. Maybe I’ll take some Craftsy classes. I’d like to learn more about stitching knits and fine fabrics like chiffon. Well, maybe not chiffon.
  • I want to take my wedding dress apart and turn the chiffon and satin layers into a midi skirt. I love the print and want to rewear it, maybe to a friend’s wedding this spring. Stay tuned for that adventure! Ulp.
  • I need to find a new source for reflective fabric.

Biking

  • I can’t believe 2014 slipped by and I never once touched my road bike! That’s embarrassing. I want to do two half centuries this year, one in the spring and one in the fall. (I’m not interested in training for a full century; I have other things to do with my weekends, too.) Definitely the CASA River Ride in Shepherdstown in May, but what in the fall? The Shenandoah Fall Foliage Bike Festival always looks fun, while the RABA Heart of Virginia ride is a section of VA I’ve never explored. Then again, there is always the Great Pumpkin Ride, and I do love pumpkin. Any other ideas?
  • I want to try more mountain biking. The one time I tried it this fall I was a nervous wreck, and I’d like more experience to get more comfortable. I like the idea of biking in nature, so I really want to like this!
  • I’d like to do some local events as well, even though I had claustrophobia attacks the last few I did a few years back. Still, everyone seems to have a good time, and I want to support local biking, so I’ll see which ones I can add to my list. Or be talked into. And I should also attend a few Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee meetings, especially now that it’s headed by a woman, woot!

In Addition…

  • I want to take classes at the TechShop in Crystal City. They have the coolest equipment! I am kind of obsessed with their 3-D printer. Who wants to take an injection molding class with me?!
  • I also need to get back into my German language skills. I’m so rusty, yikes! Our trip this summer proved that. Luckily, The Mechanic wants to learn, so helping him will help me out as well.
  • I want to get more serious about the ballet classes at Adagio Ballet Studio, and get more serious about yoga (ie, find a class to replace the one at my gym).
  • And I really want to visit Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg!

So basically all of 2015 could be spent in classes. Even sewing will involve classes! Luckily, learning is what I love to do most, so this should be a good year.

Whether or not you make goals and set resolutions, or avoid the whole song and dance, I hope you will join me on my adventures as I attempt to achieve some of the things I’ve outlined here! I look forward to another year of story telling and story swapping, and hearing about your adventures as well. Here’s to 2015!

Happy New Year's from Edgar!

Happy New Year’s from Edgar!

Knitting 8

ICYMI: Jeans, Australia and Knitting

December is always a busy month, so I want to catch you up on all the other things going on other than my blog posts. Between the blog, Twitter and Instagram, it is hard to keep up, I realize, hence this ICYMI (In Case You Missed It) post. Highlights of the month were the Ligne 8 jeans, two packages from Australia, some sewing and lots of knitting from my mom.

  •  I reviewed the Ligne 8 Aubrey jeans for The Discerning Cyclist. I quite like these jeans, and will most likely buy them in the spring (since I had to send them back). I thought that the quality is really nice, and it makes me want to try out some of their other stuff. I really want the Camille red stripe long sleeve tee. I can see this being a really useful part of my wardrobe.
  • I got a fun package of reflective trim and zippers from Susan at Measure Twice/Cut Once, in Sydney. We have connected through the amazing world of social media, and she’s “in the business,” and able to send me some stuff. I can’t wait to play with these! I’m not sure what I’ll do with everything, but I have an idea for the glow-in-the-dark zippers already.
  • Another social media friend, Oanh at Unique Schmuck, coordinated a reflective fabric purchase, woo hoo! Oanh bikes and sews in Melbourne, and also makes clothing with reflective trim. I don’t know how she found the reflective fabric at King-Tech, but luckily for us, they were willing to sell her some remnants, which meant we got decent size chunks of some great fabric! Again, not sure what I’ll do with all this, but it will be fun to compare notes with Oanh as we go. Don’t worry though, I’m already getting ideas…
  • I retrieved my sewing machine and serger from the repair show. Neither were actually repaired, so I didn’t pay anything, but they weren’t even cleaned either. #annoyed. Immediately I made my first ever infinity scarf, and cranked out the skirt I’ve been dying to make for a while. I’m not in love with the scarf, since the fabric that seemed really cool is too limp to hang properly, but the skirt came out great and I can’t wait to wear it! I had hoped to finish it before The Mechanic and I went out to dinner on Christmas Eve, but I got sick and finished it Christmas Day instead. It will probably get its own post in early January, so check back for that.
  • My mom has done some fantastic knitting for us! The stuff she made with the Red Heart reflective yarn she sent earlier in the month, but then surprised us both with some lovely things for Christmas. I got a beaded shawl, which I love, and socks in my favorite color, while she made The Mechanic a hat and scarf. She even added reflective stuff to his hat, so while he is walking to and from work, he’ll have a bit of reflective detail on him. She makes the knitting look so easy that I’m tempted to take it up, but I still have bad memories of trying to learn it as a kid. I think I should stick to sewing.

     

  • Last but not least, The Mechanic got me the Christmas present I asked for – a nicer handle for my bike. No, there is technically nothing wrong with the 550 cord wrapped handle me made for me when we moved into our apartment… but there are nicer options out there. And now I have a lovely black leather “Little Lifter” handle from Walnut Studiolo. It matches my black leather handle bar wraps. Tres chic!

It’s hard to believe that 2014 is almost over; my, it has been a momentous year! Between The Mechanic graduating and starting a new job, our wedding, and our honeymoon, it has been very exciting! I think we are both looking forward to a slightly more low-key 2015. I’m not sure if that will happen, but I’m busy setting some goals anyway! Have you started your list yet?

 

Target_Santa Bikes_TL

Yes, Virginia, Santa Bikes

Christmas is my favorite holiday, full of magic and surprise and friends and family, not to mention Gluehwein, bulging Christmas stockings on Christmas morning, candlelights in windows, gingerbread, German Christmas markets, and Santa Mouse. Just because we are adults doesn’t mean we should leave the magic of Christmas to children. I especially love the story of Santa Mouse – be sure to read it if you don’t know it.

Target_Santa Bikes_TL

If Target thinks Santa bikes, who are we to argue?!

The Mechanic and I are spending our first Mr. & Mrs. holiday together, just us, and we look forward to our new Christmas traditions. Given the weather, one new tradition might be a bike ride together – but not dressed up as Mr. & Mrs. Claus!

Many best wishes for a loving, peaceful and magical holiday season to you,  no matter where you are and what you believe!

Merry Christmas!