Final days of the holiday running streak.

There are just a couple of days left in the holiday running streak.  On my Boxing Day outing I got to see the finished Christmas snow fort.

Nice work!  Christmas snow fort finished

And the cozy interior.Christmas snow fort inside

And then we had two sunny days where the temp got above freezing.  We are now back in the deep freeze for a couple of days, so the fort should be preserved in this condition for awhile.  Christmas snow fort melted

Three days are left to go in the holiday running streak, and then…a new streak begins with Janathon.  Woohoo!

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A very happy birthday to Ray Thomas of The Moody Blues, probably best known for his iconic flute solos.  But, he also has a deep rich lovely voice and writes lyrics that are full of amazing imagery and insight, that to me make his songs unique, wonderful, and very much underrated.

I couldn’t choose just one Ray Thomas song, so I compiled a short playlist of my five very favorites.

He also has a great website with old photos, Twitter updates, and a guestbook for leaving him messages.  Ray Thomas website

Christmas Run

A quick mile on a sunny, slightly warmer Christmas afternoon.  The big meltdown is on, but it is messy, so I will need my Neos more than ever for another day or two.  The sun and above-freezing temps brought a few people out for some holiday snow fun.  Here is a very nice snow igloo under construction in the park.

Christmas snow fort-w

I Can’t Believe How Easy This Was.

I have several of these cotton rib knit turtlenecks that are a few years old, and would have a lot more wear in them, if they hadn’t continued to shrink and lose their elasticity, as cotton sweaters seem to do.  This one reached the point where I could barely pull it over my head, because the neck doesn’t stretch wide enough anymore.  *Insert big head joke here.*

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I liked it enough in the beginning, to crochet trim for the sleeves and bottom hems.  So I don’t want to discard it just yet.IMG_5844crop-w

I decided to try cutting it down the front and making it a cardigan.IMG_5845w

The ribbed knit made the cutting and stitching easier.  All I had to do was identify the center rib, and follow it.  I first stitched on both sides of the cutting line, using a wide, overlocking stitch.  Then I cut between the two rows of stitching.  IMG_5846w

My red thread ran out before I had stitched all the way down the second side, so I had to switch to what else I had on hand–a variegated red.  Not a problem; it will be hidden in the end anyway.  But for now, the patch of light-colored thread on the left side allows for a closer look at the stitches. IMG_5846cropped-w

I’ve been warned against using the stitch-and-cut technique with crochet, but I didn’t see any other option here.  I think it worked out okay.  Those ends will also be encapsulated in woven fabric in the next step.

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I sewed a strip of woven shirting from top to bottom, and….ta-da!   IMG_5848w

I included a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing down each side.

For the front closure, I had picked out a card of budget-priced small black shirt buttons for down the front.  But once I reached this point in the project, I decided the look calls for larger buttons.  So, I need to return to the store to see what I can find.  Also, at this point, I like the outcome well enough to invest in more expensive buttons if the look is right.

There is a reason why I chose the grey shirting.  This is just Part I of the project.  Part II is making a skirt from this fabric that has spent too long in my stash.

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Part II coming soon…

On cardigans and skirts, and new beginnings, and maybe a trip to Paris someday.

Back in the Deep Freeze.

Last Thursday, the temperature was in the 60s(F), and I did a run in my running skirt and thin tights.  When I woke Friday, the temperature had abruptly plunged to a single digit (F) windchill.  I switched back to winter tights, 3 layers on top, fleece neck gator, hat and Bear Hand mittens.  Then yesterday we woke to a layer of ice, so back out came my totally awesome screw shoes.   DGE Screw Shoes-a

Then today we woke to several inches of snow on top of the ice.  So, out came my totally awesome Neos overshoe boots.

Neos Navigators

The streets and sidewalks were very quiet this afternoon, but this was cool–I saw another pair of runners.  122220131016a

I didn’t see whoever made these tracks, but it is pretty clear what they were doing.  *ruff ruff*122220131017a

Another fun thing about snow-running:  I made the first footprints along this path.122220131019a

There are my prints.  122220131020a

These pictures show that it was getting dark in the late afternoon.  But hey, we’re past the winter solstice, so the days are getting longer now.  Yesss!

And so the running streak continues.

I honestly felt a little warmer when this song started playing on my mp3 player toward the end of my run.

Difficult Decision

It has taken me a long to time to reach this decision, but I’ve decided not to renew my Runner’s World subscription this time around.  [*sob*]  It’s not that they placed a renewal order with themselves in my name, months before my paid subscription expires.  But as I’ve pondered whether to renew this time around, I’ve gotten too many notices like this, via mail and email, that make me feel like a deadbeat when I’ve done nothing wrong.

RW notice

I’ll miss the “yay” moment of seeing the magazine in my mailbox every month or so, and then reading it cover-to-cover; the good articles and the mundane and repeated stuff, and yes, even the ads.  But I’ve been contemplating for some time, whether or not to renew, because I guess I’m looking for content geared more toward my running interests, and it seems that RW has been trying to go a different way lately.  Or maybe it’s me; I don’t know.  So now that I’ve made this decision, I’ll start my search in earnest for my RW replacement.  I know it’s out there somewhere.  But in the meantime, I feel like I’m severing an old friendship where the cold realities of business crept in and caused us to forget all of the good things we once had in common.   And it hurts.

Janathon 2014

I just registered for my second Janathon.  That means that on January 1, the holiday running streak I started on Thanksgiving will turn into a Janathon streak until Feb 1.  As required in the Janathon rules, I’ll have to blog regularly about my activity.   Join, darn it.  It’s fun, free, and for your health!

janathon-participant-logo

Liberty of London quilt block. Literally.

I stumbled on this adorable paper-pieced quilt block pattern, of the Liberty of London storefront, at the Liberty Craft Blog.

Liberty-Building

Definitely a cool likeness.Liberty of London-w

The block was designed by Joanna Wilczynska, of Shape Moth.  It would be a great accent pillow.  It also makes my imagination go wild with full-sized quilt possibilities.

On other activities, I’m still enjoying the benefits of the daily running streak.  Today’s weather was sunny, warm, and generally superb for a quick run.

An Afternoon in the Kitchen

Sunday afternoon, while it was bitter cold outside, I tackled some indoor tasks:

First, I cleaned the rusted lid of my big cast iron dutch oven.  The rust was pretty bad, so I ended up using two different methods to get it all.  I had stored the pan in my shed, for use on the occasional camping trip.  Then the shed ceiling sprung a leak, and guess what was sitting under the leak.  Anyway, the two methods worked great.  I loved the potato and salt method.  For less severe rust, this would be ideal.

Some of the worst rust spots called for something more, so I then tried this baking soda paste scrub.  That finished the job.

So then I needed to re-season the pan and lid, which meant I’d be using the oven most of the afternoon.  It was a good day for a hot oven.

In the end the restored lid looked like this.  Tada!  I should have taken a ‘before’ shot.  No, it’s better that I didn’t.  Trust me, it was bad.  IMG_5807w

While the dutch oven was seasoning, I made some homemade dishwasher detergent tablets, which I had been wanting to try for some time.  They were easy to make, with four simple ingredients from the grocery store–epsom salt, borax, washing soda, and lemon juice.  I now used the tablets on two loads of dishes, and can give the recipe a thumbs-up.  The dishes look clean and bright, with no residue.  I do have to put vinegar in the rinse dispenser, but that’s the case here regardless of what detergent I use.  The tablets smell great, too.

My tablets look like this.  The ones in the instructions looked smoother, which makes me think I should add a bit more lemon juice next time.    IMG_5822a-w

Then I mixed up a batch of bread using the no-knead method.  I love making bread.  It rose the rest of the day, and then I baked it the following morning.

The dough looked like this in the morning, before I punched it down and shaped it into a ball.IMG_5809w

Here is the finished loaf.  It is bigger than it looks in the picture.   IMG_5812w

Yes, that is the newly-restored dutch oven.  I’d been using a smaller one for this recipe, but with the bigger one cleaned up, I wanted to test it out.  I like the result.

The holiday running streak continues.  We were treated to a warmer sunny day yesterday; great for a late-afternoon run.