Mug rug

I was in the mood to start and finish a project today and I’ve been meaning to make a bigger mug rug for my night stand so that’s exactly what I did.

I pulled a few FQs (fat quarters) from my stash, some had already been used a little, and cut 5″ squares. I made two rows of three and then sewed the rows together – that was just the perfect size. I pulled another (not so favorite) FQ from the stash and used a 10×14 piece for the backing. I decided I was going to use some left over pieces of batting for this project so I pulled three strips and zigzag stitched them together. I wasn’t really sure how that would work out but they pieced together pretty easily and didn’t cause me any problems during quilting…yay!

I pulled another FQ and cut strips for the binding. I tried a new technique when sewing the binding to the mug rug: instead of sewing the beginning and ending pieces together on the diagonal, I created a diagonal crease at the beginning and then tucked the ending piece into it.

Lastly, I tried my hand at FMQ in the center…with my 50 year old machine! Clearly it’s not made for FMQ!! Or maybe I’m the one who’s not made for FMQ! LOL

Here are the results:

Top of completed mug rug
Top of completed mug rug
Close up of FMQ on front
Close up of FMQ on front
Back of mug rug
Back of mug rug
Close up of FMQ on back - LOL!
Close up of FMQ on back – LOL!
Binding join using new method. I don't really care for the bulky look.
Binding join using new method. I don’t really care for the bulky look.

ttfn…

May BOM challenges

I’m finally caught up on the blocks I needed to make for the two Block of the Month challenges I’m following.

First is from Tinkerbellknits called Box Kite. This one was a little easier for me, maybe because I’ve got more experience now with HST…but I’m not getting cocky, cuz those things are still very tricky and they can get out of shape very easily! I did a little better job matching seams this time too…yippee!

May1

Next BOM is from countrycouponlady who I found on YouTube but I’ve been getting the blocks through Instagram as she’s a little behind posting them on her channel. Her May block was a little more challenging because there were so many pieces and seams but I think I did OK. I don’t know the name of this block so if you recognize it please let me know.

May w flash

I’m still working on the quilting from the quilt along with 3and3quarters but I’ve chosen a more elaborate design so it’s taking me a little longer. I plan to share updates this weekend.

That’s all for now…

G’night

and now back to Quilting…

For the last couple of weeks I was focusing on running more than sewing because of the half marathon I had coming up; with that behind me I can pick back up where I left off with quilting. I finally got to Hobby Lobby to pickup batting – I bought plenty of extra so I won’t risk running out again ;-)

Over the last two nights I worked on cutting and piecing the back out of the light yellow polka dot and incorporated my mini block. While watching The Voice finale last night (I just knew Sawyer would win!) I was able to get it all basted and now I can put my ideas together for quilting it.

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Here’s the back all pieced together – before basting.
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I basted with pins

Amanda Rolfe of 3and3quarters has posted the next video in her series “Quilt-Along-With-Me” showing how she quilted her blanket and I’ll be doing something kind of similar…but different. I’ve put together a crude example of my initial idea for quilting and I’m liking it! I’m not sure if I will use yellow or cream color thread but since I have much more cream I’ll probably go with that.  On the black borders around each block and the border, I plan to quilt straight lines with black thread so the blocks really stand out. I hope to start quilting tonight!! Weeeeeeeee!

Quilting template v1

I’m still stumped on what to use for binding but I have plenty of quilting time to think about that, LOL.

That’s it for now…

Sunset Beach Half Marathon…check!

This past weekend I traveled with my running buddies (K & L) to Sunset Beach, NC to complete the Sunset Beach Half Marathon. It’s the first time we’ve traveled together…and I’m sure it won’t be the last! We had a fantastic time before and after the run. The race was on Saturday so we drove down on Friday morning. K had made arrangements to rent a house near the beach and she drove as well – lucky me! It took almost 4 hours to get there but that gave us plenty of chatting time in the car.

There were also two other ladies from Atlanta (H & E) that were friends of K who joined us at the beach. The house was great, it slept 10 so we had plenty of room. After arriving and getting settled in we went to packet pickup around 5:30. The organizers were so great, they had managed to get dinner donated by one of the local restaurants – Chicken Parm with Spaghetti and garlic bread – it was yummy! And OMG, the medals for this race are ridiculous! I kid you not, it weighs 1.5 lbs and measures 8″ x 3.5″…just HUGE!

After oooing and ahhing over the medals we ate dinner and went back to the house. We chilled out and chatted for several hours telling stories of other races we’ve completed and then called it an early night. Even though the race didn’t start until 7 am and we were only a 1/4 mile from the start line, we still got up the next morning at 5:15 am. After we were dressed and fueled, we set off for the starting area around 6:30 am.

Not sure if I mentioned this in my last post but I tweaked my back on my last training run Tuesday and it’s been giving me some issues for a couple of days. I first tried ice and that worked but only for a short time, so I switched to warm baths and that seemed to provide longer term relief. The night before the race, K let me use some of her pain cream (Real Time Pain Relief) and that stuff worked great! I applied a little more in the morning and I was all set.

We milled and mingled until they started the race (which by the way, 100% of the proceeds went to their designated charity Save the Sea Turtles). The weather wasn’t too bad at the start, we were really close to the beach and there was a soft breeze but the sun was pretty strong so it got warm pretty fast.

From left to right: Me, L, E, H, K
From left to right: Me, L, E, H, K

The first three miles were pretty easy running the streets on the island of Sunset Beach but then we had to cross the bridge back to the main land (cue the scary music!)

The bridge

The photographer captured me heading toward the bridge
The photographer captured me heading toward the bridge

We previewed the run the night before so we already knew this was on the course and we’d have to run it out and back but it’s pretty ominous when you see it coming up in front of you. I knew there was no way I could run over the bridge if I hoped to complete the race so I did the same as many others and walked up to the top and ran down the other side.

The rest of the course is relatively flat which was great except it was also mostly in full sun. They had water stops about every 2 miles but as I always do, I had my own bottle of water and my GU packets to get me through. Around mile 5 my body started sending me signals that I needed to use the bathroom – oh great! I ignored the signals until mile 6 when I knew I had no choice but to stop and take care of business. Luckily there was a gas station on the corner so I paused my Garmin and C25K app and made a pit stop. Unfortunately that added about 7 minutes to my overall time but when Mother Nature calls you gotta answer!

I got back on the course feeling much better and picked up my regular pace using 3-1 intervals. We finally turned into a golf community that offered some shade – yippee! I tried to keep my mind occupied with the music and the scenery and I was pretty successful. Believe it or not I was actually looking forward to crossing the bridge again because that meant there was only 2 miles left. As I did on the way out, I walked up the bridge and ran down the other side. By the time I got to the last water stop I was pretty exhausted. I gulped down two cups of Gatorade and the angel at the stop refilled my water bottle for me (all the volunteers were just so sweet and supportive).

As I made the turn to finish the last two miles I hit ‘the wall’. I started cursing the course and the heat and had an internal debate about just throwing in the towel…LOL! I recognized it for what it was and fought back with as much positive self talk as I could muster. At this point I was walking more than running but I didn’t care…all I wanted to do was just finish. There was one last turn and then I could see the finish line in the distance, it was about 1/2 mile away but it seemed much further!

Finally, FINALLY I crossed the finish – although I was pretty exhausted and a little over heated I felt MUCH better than I did at my first Half in Myrtle Beach; I’m sure it was all the GU and water I had during the course. When they handed me my medal it just about threw me off balance…seriously, I had forgotten how heavy it would be! There was no way I was putting that around my neck – not yet anyway – so I stuffed it in my fanny pack. My finish time was 3:17:15, clearly not as good as my first half but considering the pit stop and the heat I’m satisfied. All the girls were off their normal times by 10-15 minutes because of the heat.

There were all kinds of post race goodies: bananas, oranges, icees, smoothies, chicken and pork sliders, popcorn, pretzels, chips and of course plenty of water. But…no beer! That was the only let down. No worries though, K, H & E had finished about 30 mins ahead of me so one of them went back to the house and carried the cooler back to the finish line – there were Angels everywhere that day!! LOL!

After we all hobbled back to the house, we cooled off, put on our bathing suits and went to the beach. H & me could only take about an hour of that so we went back to the house to sit on the porch where we enjoyed the shade, the breeze and a few beers. The rest of the girls finally came back to the house a few hours later. After they got cleaned up, we went out for dinner and then came back to the house. We sat around looking at the race pictures and laughing like a bunch of school girls – it was great!

Here are a few post race shots:

post race medals2

post race medals

Heavy medals

So… the ‘one and done’ girl now has two Half Marathons under her belt and believe it or not I’m actually considering doing more! I can’t believe I just typed that – I must be suffering from heat stroke, LOL!!!

We’ll see how it goes, K & L are doing the Myrtle Beach Half again in October but I won’t be joining them because I’ll be in the Caribbean celebrating my 30th wedding anniversary (awww, poor me!). I think I would prefer doing my next Half in March when hopefully it will be much cooler…I’ll have to see what’s available…

That’s about it for now…

Where did I leave off…

Oh yeah, I’ve got a few updates regarding my running and sewing escapades for the last several days.

Unfortunately I haven’t made any progress on the yellow & black lap quilt because I still haven’t made it to Hobby Lobby for more batting…ack! I have however been working on a few other things. I’ve been following two different folks as they complete their ‘block of the month’ challenges and I’ve fallen a tad bit behind, so this weekend I finished the April block for one of them. I have no idea what the name of this block is…anyone know?

April1

I’m not really loving the fabric choices I made but it’s done and now I can move on to May. I have two blocks to make and the rest of the month to do it so I think I’ll be fine.

I also decided I would add some quilting to the baby blanket I posted about last week. It’s not a traditional quilt in that I sewed it together like a pillow case and there is no batting because I used flannel for the back. I decided I would follow the diagonal lines on the front which gives the flannel a bit more interest on the back. I also added a zigzag stitch around the border to help disguise the start/stop of all those lines.

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IMG_2252[1]

Now all I need to do is add a label and then offer it up to one of my friends or put it up for sale on my Etsy page.

Yes, I’ve still been training for the Half marathon – it’s coming up this weekend…wow! My last long run was on Saturday and as luck would have it I ended up doing it alone. One running buddy, L, had to make a trip to Raleigh so she couldn’t run and the other buddy, K, hurt her heel and didn’t want to press her luck by trying to run 10 miles! So, I mustered up the motivation and hit the pavement around 8am Saturday morning. I decided to do an out & back from my house – I mapped out the course and even allowed for a stop/water refresh at my local Anytime Fitness.

The first 4 miles weren’t too bad, there was a little shade and a light breeze which made it feel pretty comfortable. I turned around at that point and headed to AF where I used the facilities and refreshed my water bottle. I left there and ran the next couple of miles in a neighborhood behind AF which offered quite a bit of shade. Around mile 7 I was back on the main street and in full sun…ugh…it was really, really hot. My energy was draining quickly in the heat – even the GU gels I had didn’t seem to make a difference.

As I turned down my neighborhood street, I knew I had about 1.5 to go so I talked myself up as best I could and finished the 10 miles…it wasn’t pretty but I did it. And what’s even better, at the 10 mile mark I knew I could’ve kept going if I had to (i.e. another 3.1 to the finish line) so I’m pretty hopeful I’ll do OK this weekend.

I had two issues with my tracking devices:

1. I forgot to start my Garmin until 2+ mins into the first run segment so it looks like I didn’t complete a full 10 miles…but trust me, I did! And even though the temp says 66, with the humidity and full sun it felt more like 106!

GARMIN

5.9.15 garmin

2. I set the C25K app for 35 intervals (3/1) and it stopped recording right before I hit 10 miles…grrr…note to self: add extra intervals next time ;-)

5.9.15 c25k app

I had another training run this morning, only 4 miles because I’m tapering. It was another hot/humid run but thankfully I had a bit more shade today. The C25K app could not get a GPS lock this morning so I used it just to cue the 3/1 intervals and relied on my Garmin for distance. I did pretty good until that last mile…then I did a bit more walking than running.

5.12.15 garmin

I have one more training run on Thurs..only 2 miles…then the Half marathon on Saturday. It’s going to be a girls weekend, we’ve rented a house on the beach (there’s 5 of us running the race) so after the race we can crash on the beach and recover…woohoo!

ttfn…

Running and sewing

Running and sewing seem to be the two main themes in my life right now. I’m getting close to my next big run (I don’t call them races because I don’t ‘race’!), it’s a half marathon in Sunset Beach, NC on May 16. This will be my second Half and unless I let myself get talked into it again, it will be my last. I’m really not a fan of running more than 6 miles so I think I’ll stick to 10Ks in the future.

I ordered a variety pack of GU Energy gels so I tried out a few new flavors yesterday – I had Vanilla Bean before my run which tastes a lot like cake frosting, not great but not bad either. I had Salted Caramel during the run…so far that’s my favorite, but I’m a sucker for anything caramel! I also tried out compression calf sleeves to see if it would help during and/or after the run. Jury is still out because I really didn’t feel anything different. I’ll give them another chance tomorrow – if I don’t notice any difference they’re going back.

I had planned to get in 5 miles yesterday morning but I had a hard time falling asleep the night before and got up late…so I decided I would hit the pavement after work. Not a real good idea as the temps have started climbing here in the Carolinas; it was 81 degrees when I left the house – ugh – but at least there was very little humidity ;-) The heat got to me around 3.5 miles and I just had to call it quits at 4. Hopefully tomorrow morning will be better.

GARMIN

5.5.15 garmin

C25K app

5.5.15 c25k app

SEWING

I started a new project over the weekend – I had already cut and sewed HST units a few weeks ago so I pieced them into a top approx 32×48. I wanted to finish it with a flannel backing using a pillow case technique (sew the right sides together leaving an opening and then turn it right side out). I finished that up tonight and now I’m toying with the idea of doing a few quilting lines following the diagonal pattern on the front…what do you think? Have you made a blanket like this and have you quilted it after you’ve sewn it together? I’d appreciate any feedback.

The front is made from a variety of fat quarters I received in the April shipment which was color themed Yellow. The backing is a teal flannel I picked up at Hobby Lobby. I threw in the multi-color chevron for a little contrast.

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I still need to get more batting so I can finish the yellow & black lap quilt from the “Quilt-Along-With-Me” I’ve been following. The good news is I have next week off work so I hope to be able to spend time sewing…the only problem is we have friends planning to visit which could interfere with my sewing time…I’m so torn…

That’s all for now…

G’night!

9 miles and then some

With only two weeks until my Half Marathon, I really needed to put in some miles to make sure I’ll be able to cover the distance. I also wanted to try out GU gels before & during the run to see if it provided any help.

I met up with my running buddies (L & K) this morning and we drove to a local greenway – it’s an asphalt path that winds in and around wooded areas for two miles (4 miles out & back). The temps this morning were a perfect 55 degrees and with most of the route covered in shade it still felt great even as the temps started to rise.

Me & L planned to do 9 miles while K planned to do 12 – which was fine because K is faster than both of us! We started out together with a 5 minute warm up walk and then we all fell into our own pace. The first few miles passed quickly with the turn around point at the top of the only real hill on the path – I was able to run up the whole thing, small victories!

As I said earlier, I recently purchased some GU gel pouches and wanted to give them a trial run today. The website says you should eat one 45 mins before your run and another 15 mins before; then one every 30-45 minutes as needed. I had a small bowl of oatmeal this morning so I skipped the one 45 mins before but I ate one just before we arrived at the greenway.

I had covered 3 miles by the 40 minute mark so I had another GU (mandarin orange flavor, btw). I was running a 3-1 interval for the first 4 miles which brought me back to our starting point; I turned around and headed back in for round 2. I passed several other runners that offered me words of encouragement – that was pretty cool. By the 5 mile mark I started to take longer walk breaks falling into a 2-2 interval. I took another GU at the 80 min mark which was just shy of 6 miles…clearly I was slowing down.

When I reached the hill this time I walked it, ugh…my legs were starting to feel heavy and I still had 3 more miles to go so I didn’t want to push my luck! Around 7.5 miles an old familiar song came on – Footloose – it was the perfect tempo to run to and it gave me the boost I needed. I ate one more GU at the 2 hour mark and then finished 9 miles about 7 minutes later :-)

I felt pretty good afterward and although I snuck in a 20 min nap later in the afternoon I still don’t have any stiffness or soreness…hmmm, maybe this GU thing really works!

I wore my Garmin and used the C25K app but again the app gave me some trouble – it jumped almost 3 tenths ahead only a few miles into the run…I have no idea what’s wrong with the darn thing!

GARMIN:

5.2.15 garmin

C25K:

5.2.15 c25k totals

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So here’s the ‘and then some’ part – I needed to get fabric to finish the yellow & black quilt top I showed in my last post so after dinner tonight we went to Hobby Lobby. I was hoping to find a yellow that would match well with the top but maybe not as bright. I took the mini block with me and held it up to several options until I found the perfect one.

backing with mini block

It’s a little difficult to tell in this photo (I used my phone) but this fabric has a very pale polka dot design – from a distance it reads like a solid but up close you can see the dots.

closeup backing

(the shade of yellow didn’t turn out well in this shot)

Here’s what it looks like laying on the topper with the mini block…I think it’s going to look fabulous!!

backing on topper

And of course after I got back home and started to pull everything together to create my ‘quilt sandwich’, I realized I didn’t have enough batting – what!? ugh! how did I not notice that before…grrr!

So now I need to go back to Hobby Lobby (or some other store) to get batting. So many lessons learned :-/

That’s about it for tonight…

G’night