Thursday, December 2, 2010

New XC Trail Bars

Some handlebars I designed for Answer came in yesterday. My favorite? The women's version, of course.

Girlie Bars

Fear not, the busiest, girliest graphics will be hidden under the grips.

Girlie Bars

The men's version is cleaner, simpler, and they come in a lot of different annodized colors. I was supposed to narrow down the bar colors, but it was hard! "We could get rid of blue... but it looks so good! What about green... green would look good with a brown bike, though." So I think we've settled on green, red, blue, orangey gold, brown and black. Plus the pink girlie bars.

New bars

New bars

New bars

Monday, November 29, 2010

We can rebuild it!

I'm repairing the horse for a Santa themed bar crawl in a few weeks. I modified the rear legs to pick them up a little more from the ground, so hopefully they'll last this time. Cale made a support for the tail so it won't bounce up and down when I ride. I'll have to get some updated photos up soon.


I used duct tape for a little extra strength. The rear legs flex up and down a bit, so if there's something in there that can't rip, it should hopefully be able to stand up to a few hours of riding.

Followed by lots more paper mache, of course.


Fatty Boombalatty

I'm all for making a little room for a cat on your lap while you're on the computer, but when the cat starts abusing his privilege by spreading out and gnawing at his claws like a heathen, that's not cool.

Fat Cat

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


I found a better groomed, more put-together version of me on Facebook. This photo in particular, I thought.

From Sike Style

Monday, November 15, 2010


It occurred to me the other day that I haven't put a Snips picture up here in a while. This is the first cat I've had that likes burrowing under the covers. Last night he searched for hours for the perfect spot. He was supremely satisfied with what he eventually arrived at. Ever had your legs spooned by a tuxedo cat?

This cat <3s cuddling.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Post Halloween

What have I been doing since Halloween? I'm so glad you asked. I've been staying on the craft/art kick, and I've been making myself get out and about a little bit. I've been saying I would go to open drawing night at MIAD for a few months, and the same went for Doodle Day. I'd been putting both off because my drawing skills were so rusty! And because the Doodle Day crew is seriously creative and skilled. It was intimidating.

I dipped my toe in the water first by going to figure drawing. It has been so long, I don't think I've seen a naked model for... four years, maybe more. It was a bit of a shock to realize that, and strange like first-time-figure-drawing-strange to see that again. But! The setting was familiar and I soon fell back into the art groove. After a few hours, I realized that I've still got it! And by 'it' I mean drawing skills that are neither great nor totally shameful. I'll take it!

First drawing back (1 min gesture drawing):

MIAD Open Figure Drawing 11-02-10

Last drawing of the night (20 or 30 min):

MIAD Open Figure Drawing 11-02-10

Next up was Doodle Day, a week or two later. I biked up to Alterra (a coffee shop) on the East Side (look at me, getting out!). I sat down at a table with a bunch of people, set up my markers and stared at the blank page for a while. Then I stared some more. So big, so much paper, so white! Glancing around, I saw all sorts of good ideas and cool executions. Talent to the left of me, talent to the right! I decided to keep my head down and go for quantity over quality.

Doodleday 11-11-10

I did manage to fill the whole page, and it wasn't so agonizing!

The other thing I've been doing with nearly all my free time is crocheting. Maybe this is the year I finally learn to do more than just scarves. Maybe not! I made this one for myself out of a bunch of smaller balls of yarn. I tried to make a gradient in purples and yellows. I'm happy with how it turned out.

Crocheting Season

A better look at all the colors:

Scarf Pile

Playing Adult

Ever feel like you're playing adult? Like today for instance, during my lunch hour (9-5, what-what!) I went to the gym, and on the way back I stopped at the gas station to fill up. When you were a kid, did you think you'd ever be this grown up? Having a real job and running errands in your very own CAR?

At the gym, I put my hair into a sporty pony tail, changed into an old t-shirt from an alleycat and some PRO looking running shorts, put my headphones in and stepped out... in my pilly black ankle socks and some scraggly old flats.

Workout Wear

I forgot my tennis shoes and extra socks today. Also, when I stopped at the gas station, I may have bought myself some gas station nachos for lunch. You'll never take me alive, adulthood!

Halloween Wrap Up

Get with the program! Here are some older posts about the process of making the Equestrian costume.
Costume Post #1
Costume Post #2
Costume Post #3
Costume Post #4

Alright, you adoring fans, you. You wanted the finished Equestrian costume, so here goes.

I borrowed a helmet from a coworker's mom. I didn't have a backup plan and I got it a few days before Halloween.. luckily it was perfect, if a little large. Easily solved- Halloween is the time for wigs, and I had one left over from last year. Helmet is pictured below, wig is not. Those luscious tresses are mine, all mine!


I also got the breeches and boots on the same day, so I came home and hopped on the bike for a test ride. This is before I added the bridle and saddle.

Test Ride

This is what it looked like before the tack. I never did get the hounds painted and attached. They were going to get attached to the pedals. While it would have been exceedingly hard to get on and off the bike with them there, I think it would have been TOTALLY WORTH IT to see them 'bounding' along with each pedal stroke. Alas.

The Bay Beauty

Here it is at the race (Photo by Karen Larson):

Stolen Photo

What, want some more photos of me and the horse that I stole from other people? Suuure! I never did pose for a picture with my camera, so I thank those who got pictures.

This one's from John Owen. I was pretty much mobbed as soon as I pulled up to the race- I should have taken my bag off! There's my ratty wig, with my actual hair sticking out the bottom.

Stolen Photo

Speaking of getting to the race, and also of thanks, I owe Nick H. many thanks for letting me borrow his big 15 passenger van to transport the horse and my regular bike! I don't think I've ever been more uncomfortable driving than I was when driving that gigantic mass of metal. Luckily we both made it out unscathed.

And of the actual race? I planned on doing an awesome job racing the Women's 1/2, then doing a second race with the horse bike. The only other race I could do, according to an official, was the Men's 1/2. So I told eeeeveryone to look for the horse in the Men's 1/2 in the first lap, because I planned on doing one lap and then getting out of the way. The best laid plans of mice and men...

I did not do an awesome job in my race. It was almost what you'd call.... terrible. My racing lately has not been all that great, and that combined with a hot, hot, hot costume was enough to pretty much do me in. The one year I'm wearing a bunch of clothing, it's too hot for it! The nerve. Anyway, on the run up I asked a friend to hand me off the horse in the pit. The next time around I grabbed it and the fun began. I lost the race to everyone else, I think, but I was proclaimed winner of all costume contests in the land.

Stolen Photo
Photo from here.

Stolen Photo
Photo from here.

These I just flat out took from Peloton-Pix, but I'm planning on buying them, along with a few more, at the end of the season. So we're cool?

Stolen Photo

Stolen Photo

Thanks again for photos and/or comments on the costume. It took about two weeks total of about three hours a night, minus a night or two. It sounds like a lot of work, and it was, but I found myself actually skipping around at times. I had a ball making this thing! Gotta plan next year's now...

Monday, October 25, 2010

Halloween Costume, #4 & 5

This was my neighbor, Pat, who was apparently conflicted as to what to go as for Halloween. Pirate? Cowboy? Pirate Cowboy! Heheh, that looks like a pillowcase on his head. Looks like I'm casting a spell with my beWITCHing eyebrows. Har har.


As a bonus, here's another picture of Pat and I. (Wonder what he's up to these days.) I love this photo because I remember these pajamas, and the horse dad made for me. And of course Tiger Kitty, truly a saint among tiger striped kitties.

What a patient animal.

It's been two (or three?) costume nights since I last posted.

The horse is cut out.


Cale helped me attach both cut outs to both sides.



I did the rear haunches first, to see how things would go. It worked alright!


Sunday night I worked on the head and neck, and tonight I did the front legs, tail and nearly got the mane done. One more night with the goo, finishing the mane and putting another coat of strips, and I should be done with that stuff.

Here's the head and neck all taped up and ready to go. Note the bib over the handlebars.


Here it was at the end of last night.


Tonight, taping up the tail...


...the front legs and the mane, while Cale builds up the new Pugsley in the background.


I tried using a little different technique while working on the tail. For the rest of the horse, it was easiest to kind of criss cross (no, not Kris Kross) the strips to make the smoothest surface. I tried a unidirectional approach, and I'm just pleased as punch with myself.


Nice, right? Here's where I got to tonight.


Today I broke down and bought some boots (but ones that I'll wear after Halloween as well) and a pair of breeches online. They just were not forthcoming. However, I managed to borrow a riding crop and a helmet, things I would probably never use again (yeah yeah, I know, riding crop, hee hee!). The crop needs a little work, as it's missing a piece of leather at the end, but I can use the leather coat I bought at the thrift store to fix it up. So here's my modified to-do list:

1) [DONE] cut out horse(s)
2) [DONE] attach them to bike
3) [DONE] find a way to attach front legs to fork/possible front fender (any ideas?)
4) [mostly DONE] paper mache horse
5) make 'saddle', bridle and half-chaps (to cover calves and look like boots) from leather jacket already purchased
6) switch out thread in sewing machine, sew up jacket
7) sew velvet collar onto jacket
8) paint horse and dogs
9) attach dogs to pedals
10) [DONE] find/buy breeches, riding crop

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Halloween Costume, #3

I think this is the earliest Halloween photo I have. My mom made me a .. what would you call that? Mask? Helmet? out of a paper bag. Yes, I literally I had a bag over my head. I can still remember it, it had glitter eyes and yarn hair.

Halloween Horse

Night three of costume making. I cooked up another batch of goo. Add this to the short list of things I can cook! Jeremy taped some features on his balloon form head and went over them...

Jeremy's Head

and I finished another Hound (the other one I put a primer on the other day).


I started on the horse this evening, too. Gotta hit it hard tomorrow! Here's how I figured out how large to make the horse.

Step 1) I printed out a picture of a Breyer model horse on transparent sticker paper that looked just about right, then I cut it up and stuck it back together to modify it, drawing where I needed to. Then I stuck it to an overhead projector.


Step 2) I projected it over the bike, so I could size it.

Sizing up the horse to the bike.

Step 3) Out with the bike, in with the cardboard. Trace.

Remove bike, put up cardboard.

That's what I got done tonight, after working on signage for the Pegasus race this weekend. I tell you, I'm super busy but I love it. All these fun and interesting things to do after work. MAKING things!

To Do:
1) cut out horse(s)
2) attach them to bike
3) find a way to attach front legs to fork/possible front fender (any ideas?)
4) paper mache horse
5) make 'saddle', bridle and half-chaps (to cover calves and look like boots) from leather jacket already purchased
6) switch out thread in sewing machine, sew up jacket
7) sew velvet collar onto jacket
8) paint horse and dogs
9) attach dogs to pedals
10) find/buy breeches, riding crop
11) make more numbered lists, because I clearly have a thing for them

Uhhh, phwew. And a little over a week left 'til the race. But I WILL get it done, and it WILL look superb.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Badger Prairie

Traditionally I've really disliked this race (nothing personal, Badger Prairie), so it was a shocker when it turned out to be a great race.

Inexplicably, I got the hole shot... what was up with that? I never try for it, preferring to sit a few back and then ramp up throughout the race. I think I got clipped in before anyone else, or maybe nobody wanted the hole shot? It was seriously strange. When I realized what was going on I went with it, though. Through the first loop (before the first lap) I led- preliminary feedback suggests I should have gone faster, but what do I know about leading a race?

At the end of the first loop, Abby and Elicia flew past me and I stepped it up to get on Elicia's wheel. (This is starting to sound like a real race report, isn't it?) We went from the road and onto the grass, where the course snaked around a bit before coming to the first set of barriers. In the first turn Abby went down, followed by Elicia. Lucky for me, I hadn't quite caught up to them, so there was a second or two to slow down and wait to see if I could get through- and I could! I knew Abby was probably the big threat of the day, so I kicked it in to try to get a gap on her. Amanda was right behind me- I forget when she passed me up, but I figured I could catch her later on so I let her go. Dun dun dun!

Abby caught up and we raced for a little over half of the race together, near as I could tell. I'm not actually out there taking notes on each lap for the blog... Anyway, we were racing together for a longer time than I thought I could go. I began to dream of slowly but surely racing Abby into the ground (oh glorious racer, me!) and then catching Amanda for my first win over a horde (OK, six) of excellent, top shelf cyclocross racers.

Was that foolish? Sure was. I think they call it counting chicks before they hatch. BUT it's the first time I've ever thought I could actually achieve that. I think they call that daring to dream. For a few years I've been sweeping up the 3rd through 7th place finishes, resigned to it. There are some top shelf ladies in WI, ladies I thought I could never actually race with. Now, whether or not I was having a great day and Abby was recovering from the Bubonic Plague, we're going to count this race as actually hanging with the upper crust for a good chunk of the race; something I haven't done before.

No doubt dreaming of top spot on the podium. (By djonn)

Back to the race, where things were playing out a bit differently that I had imagined. During one of the laps, Abby led for a while. She was fast on the straights, I was a little bit faster on the steep climbs (but not the run up), and I was blessedly faster on the long descent. I noted that as I put on my brakes not to run into her, and the next lap I was sure to keep the lead until that hill, so I could make her work to keep up. I led for about two laps, but then she dropped me on the run up. So long. That was pretty much the end of my race. I was tired from racing head to head, so I sat back a little, while still keeping in mind that the rest of the race behind me was still going on.

That sounds pretty discouraging, but like I said, I was just kind of tickled to have been in the game for so long. The race ended with Abby catching Amanda, and me not catching Amanda. Hm. Oh well. Glory, perhaps we will meet again at a later date.

Season so far: Last year I was usually 5th or 7th or so. However, this year I've had people come up to me and comment on what a great season I'm having. It's true! I'm consistently placing 3rd or 4th, with even a 1st thrown in there (when almost everyone was gone to a mtb race and the woman in first got a flat, yaaay!). Sure, some of the very fast women in the 1/2s race have moved away. Or gotten pregnant. Or are racing other races instead.

Long story short, I think it's obvious that we're seeing my strict training regimen of racing once a week starting to pay off.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Halloween Costume, #2

Today's photo, a photo of Abbie, my best friend growing up, and I out on the town. Apparently I didn't find it all that important to tuck my hair up under the wig. And that blue fabric draped around my neck? It was shiny and pretty, darnit! So what if it didn't go with the costume.


Last night I tried my hand at making paper mache goo out of water and flour, the easiest and cheapest option. It goes like this: 5 parts water, 1 part flour, boil for 3 minutes. Let me tell you, it works great. I'll have to have a look at the projects once they dry, but they look pretty good to me.

Looks comical, works quite well, thank you.
Uh, that's paper mache paste, alright?

I projected a hound using a tiny projector, cut it out, built up a low relief for it, then pasted away.

A wild Thursday evening.



Jeremy's working on a big head- he's not sure what it's going to look like yet, so he just put down a base coat on the balloon.

Erick came over and did laundry and doodled, too, while Cale pretended not to be interested in helping me make my costume ;) I'll suck him into it, yet.