Monday, November 3, 2014

10 Uncommon Rules of Trail Running...

especially if you are trying out a new trail for the first time*

1.  Find a trail suitable for trail running.  Some areas are designated as a quiet sanctuary for wildlife and running is prohibited.  Of course, if you are being chased by wildlife... run like the wind!

2.  Do not freak out if you get mud all over your shoes and possibly your clothes.  Unless you live in a dry climate or your area is going through a drought... there will be mud hiding out somewhere.

3.  Take in the fresh air!  You feel that wind on your face?  It's fresh!  You are running like you were meant to run, through the woods, dodging branches, hunting food in the form of antelope or a fleeing berry bush, you are a survivor!

4.  Don't forget to look down on occasion.  Tree roots will send you sailing!

My phone... sailing.

5.  It's a good idea to have your phone in a waterproof covering of some sort, preferably in a color that doesn't camouflage itself in a woodland environment. This is especially useful after your phone lands 10 feet away from where you fell on your face.

6.  Take time to stop and get random photos of fungi, tree roots, and other natural objects that seem really amazing at the time.

7.  Don't always assume you know where you are going.  Never underestimate just how easy it is to get lost, especially on mountain bike trails that branch off every few feet into countless directions.

8.  Speaking of mountain bike trails, watch out for mountain bikes!  In some situations, it's a lot easier for the hiker/runner/ambler to get out of the way than for the biker to go around you.

9.  Be courteous and respectful, even if others are mocking your bewildered look and bloody knees.

10.  Enjoy your run, even if it turns into more of a jog or a stagger, with lots of photo and GPS breaks!   

*These rules do not include or replace the standard rules of trail running safety!  Obviously, do not run alone in a dangerous area; let people know where you are going; do not run if you have a medical condition without getting the okay from your doctor; do not run in an area that has had sightings of escaped convicts, zombies, wild boar, or unaccompanied teenagers;  do not run in the dark unless you are being supervised by a guide possum;  do not run in or near hunting areas during hunting seasons or Celtic rituals, especially if you have antlers;  and finally, do not run without remembering how awesome you are just for getting outside when you could have used that time to rewatch an old episode of Sherlock.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

This Old Backpack

I always put off back to school shopping until the last week.  It's not that I dread school starting, I just enjoy summer with the kids and it's hard to get into the "back to school" mentality until it's only a few days away.  We were so busy tracking down the right glue sticks and markers, I completely forgot that our rising second grader had a raggedy backpack!  

I like making things last as long as possible and I wasn't about to toss a perfectly okay (yet raggedy) backpack that could last another year (or two) if the side pockets hadn't turned into a shredded mess.   Oh, and by the way, I will think twice before purchasing a new backpack with that flimsy mesh junk again!  You're probably thinking I'm crazy for making such a big deal over side pockets, but I really like side pockets... and hydration!

So... the day before (yes, the day before) the first day of school, I ripped off what was left of the mesh and proceeded to crochet a pocket.  Basically, I made a cozy/cylinder using one of their water bottles and left an opening (where it attaches to the backpack)... so it was like a 3/4 cozy.  I started out with a circle for the base (single crochet), then worked the side back and forth in a half-double crochet/diamond stitch pattern.  Next, I found a large needle, some strong embroidery thread, and attached it to the backpack with a ton of stitches.  I left the blue elastic strap at the top to help secure the water bottle.  

I'm curious as to how well it will hold up throughout the year.  So far, in spite of looking a bit eccentric, it's working out well and her water stays cooler during these 95 degree school days.  The other side of the backpack looks basically like the first photo.  I only had time for one side and ... well... that's another day.  

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Blanket Statement

I first learned to crochet when I was 12.  My mom would make those funky ("funky" in a good way) ripple afghans and they were remarkably cozy and practical.  I watched her and picked up on the double stitch ripple groove and made about 10 afghans one year.  Sadly, after compulsive coverlet creating, I kind of fizzled out and focused on smaller projects for the next few decades.

"Citrus Rose"
Several weeks ago, our younger daughter asked me to crochet a blanket for her.  I thought, "why not?" We looked over some ideas on Ravelry and we always love the beautiful designs and ideas from Lucy of Attic 24.  We went with the Granny Stripe Blanket.  After the initial 2 starting rows, which are mostly just long and a bit boring, the rest is a breeze!  There are so many options here.  You can go crazy with color or keep it refined.  You can crochet lengthwise or widthwise, depending on how you want your stripes to run.  I went with assorted colors from my cotton Sugar N' Cream stash, we call the finished product "Citrus Rose."  For the edging, I used a basic shell stitch.  

"Violet Bluebell"

Of course, our older daughter wanted one immediately after feeling the airy, yet cozy softness of the triple-crocheted granny stripe stitch. Since she loves blues, I went with a cooler-hued stash to create "Violet Bluebell."  I used a different edging here, I'm not sure what the appropriate name for it is.  Basically, I start with a shell stitch and add a picot stitch to the middle of the shell.  

These blankets are perfect for this time of year, especially when they are made of cotton yarn.  You could also use a double stitch as opposed to triple, to create a slightly tighter feel to the blanket.  Thicker, woolier yarn would also add warmth, if you need that.