Friday, December 30, 2011


I did a lot of things over Christmas 'break', but you'll have to excuse me for reporting on them all out of order. One of the more exciting and frightening things was taking a llama for a walk, and I'm going to blog on that one first.

For the week between Christmas and New Year's, most of my dad's side of the family goes 'up north' to Tomahawk, WI. Formerly the family cabin, my Aunt Andy and Uncle Paul remodeled and have lived there for many years. They get the distinct honor and pain in the neck of hosting us all at least once a year. Well as it turns out, my aunt knows a woman, Rachel, who owns llamas. One of the family outings was to her farm, to take her llamas for a walk.

Llama Farm

So what's it like to walk a llama? It's pretty much like leading a horse, if horses could spit and were incredibly willful. Llamas are strange and therefore unpredictable to the general populace, which I happen to be a part of in this matter.

My charming girl, who had recently fallen on a slippery floor onto a pile of poo, was very hard to read. Every minute or so, Prairie Flower would balk, and it was up to me to gently pull but not tug, coax but not demand, that she please keep continuing forward if it would please her thank you. As the walk went on, she started 'humming', which sounds like what I would imagine a sasquatch to sound like. Like Chewey, but not so dramatic. I tried scratching behind her ears to reassure her that we would be turning back and heading for home shortly, but she only drew back and looked at me in distrust.

Prairie Flower, Unamused

And distaste.

Prairie Flower, Annoyed

Everyone had a different experience on the walk, with very different llamas. Edie had a fairly easy time with her llama, Morning Glory.

Edie and Morning Glory

Edie and Morning Glory

Steve got the matron of the herd. She was not totally keen on walking but plugged away at the back of our procession for most of the walk. Her number of years was in direct correlation with the snaggleness of her teeth.

Rachel the owner and the oldest llama, with snaggleteeth.

Steve and ol' Snaggle Tooth

Ruben had what might have been the easiest time with the gelding of the herd, which actually seemed to enjoy the outing. It led the way and was amiable and possibly even affectionate.

Ruben and Coco

Sue's llama just seemed to be rubbing it in our faces. While most of us were anxiously trying to read our charges and figure out just how far back the ears would go before spitting commenced, Sue got fuzzy little kisses and all sorts of affection.

Sue and Her Amiable Llama

What a showoff.

Sue and Her Amiable Llama

However, one only had to look at Travis to know that one had it good. Travis spent the entire 20 minutes or so with a llama that seemed to hate him and everything he stood for, which in this case was only a simple walk in the woods. Twenty minutes spent at the end of a lead, avoiding the drops of spit when his llama sprayed the air in frustration (or apparently some dispute over hierarchy).

Llama Walk

Travis tries to avoid spit.

At last we arrived back at their pasture and set them free. You don't have to know much about llamas at all to sense that Travis' llama did not enjoy the outing or our company.

Travis' Llama Hates Us

Overall, it was fun and actually kind of an adventure. It's not often you get to participate in something like this.

Llama Walk

Llama Walk

Monday, December 19, 2011

Team Stampede Submission

The color isn't accurate (the purple should be a little more reddish, and less eye-hurty), but this is my submission for Team Stampede's kit. If they know what's good for them, they'll go with the purplest of all the kits.

Team Stampede Proposal

Team Stampede's page:
(For some reason the link option isn't showing up on the blog template...)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Merry Christmas / Prosperous New Year / Hey, thanks!

Holiday cards for many kinds of salutations. We got lucky at work and managed to beg the help of a couple of guys at the downtown Milwaukee agency Cramer-Krasselt, who took some great photos for us.

Hayes Components Chinese New Year

Hayes Components Holiday Thank You

Hayes Components Santa Upgrades

I made a few different versions- One for the Chinese New Year, for our guys in Taiwan, a simple Thank You with no 'cute' quips for our European customers, and a classic Santa/Christmas card for the heck of it. I think I might have missed the mark with the typography on the Christmas card, but overall I'm pretty pleased with the day's effort.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Cruel Mistress

I'm beginning to realize I use the term 'cruel mistress' quite a bit... in this case I'm referring to Graphic Design. My job at Hayes is drawing to a close, and I'm on the hunt for other design jobs in the cycling/outdoors/sports realm, because it interests me and because I'm efficient, proficient and elicit great sales in the cycling industry. (WOO HOO alliteration!) Recently I found what looked to be a pretty cool job that unfortunately pays a pittance. It gave a range that started at $20,000. And their ad got 60+ applicants in three days. I was talking to Robb about this job and just kind of hashing things out. It went something like this:

Robb: ...Yeah, but that salary at the high end is like working at Target.
Me: But they said they got 60+ applicants, and they even had a guy lined up to start in that salary range.
Robb: What happened to him, why didn't that go through?
Me: The person mentioned it but I don't remember.... I think maybe he starved to death.
Robb: Hah.
Me: Or it might have been some combination of exposure to the elements and starvation...

Point being, I'm not good at quitting while I'm ahead on jokes, and that times are tough, people! Boo Hoo for me, right? I swing between optimism: "Surely the universe will provide! Things will be ok after this little rough patch! Keep at it!" and despair: "There's nothing out there! And there are hungry designers dying of exposure who will surely take any job at any salary at any cost! Oh, the humanity!"

If you would like to help the universe provide, let me know if you know of anything.

This is my most excellent recent catalog that I use to lure potential employers in. Feel free to pass it on.


To the friends who've already alerted me to opportunities (you know who you are) thank you very much. It stocks the optimism that's in short supply.

Job Hunt 2012 continues....

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Lionel Supporter

A few months ago, I designed a 'Lionel Supporter' t-shirt for Lionel Rocheleau and his family to sell as a fundraiser. He was recently chosen to go to EuroCross, which is an honor and also a financial burden :) If you'd like to help out and learn more, or buy a t-shirt, see the MadCross page for more details.

Lionel Supporter shirt

Lionel Supporter shirts

Crocheted Bling

As I've said, the urge to craft is upon me, and the list of projects I can do is limited. I recently ran across photos of a big crocheted gold chain so simple that just by looking at it, I could tell how it was made. That's my kind of craft! It was easy, it was funny, and I was halfway finished with it before I thought "What am I going to do with this?"...

I solved that problem. Sort of. I sewed a Hawley 'H' on it, send it to my ol' friend Bloggy at The Hawley Company, and now it's their problem.

Crocheted Bling

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The 16th Annual Green Race

A few weekends ago Todd, Robb and I headed out to watch the 16th Annual Green Race, which is a creek race (using kayaks) on the Green River Narrows. I'm not a paddler, myself, but it's interesting to me, and the spectating was supposed to be prime.

There was limited parking when we got there- there's one long, rural road to park on and we wound up parking a long ways away from the trail. Luckily Robb was thinking quickly when the driver of a truck stopped to ask us a question. With the driver's permission, we hopped in the back and watched the poor suckers trudging down the road as we floated along for a few minutes.


The race is well attended, and that showed along the hike down to the river. Young and old piled up at slightly difficult sections.


We got down to the section of river and watched at different spots as we walked further up. There was a pretty good crowd, and most people were intently watching the racers.

(Hiking on the trails along the river)


You can see paddlers on the other side- we hikers couldn't access that side.


We watched for a while at the end of a particularly hard section. At the end of the run were some volunteers in safety gear, waiting to flip people right side up. It seemed to be pretty common that a paddler would spend the entirety of a section upside down, swept along with no break to right themselves. Fun, right?


Since I don't know much else about whitewater kayaking or the race in general, how about some more photos?







Rock Climbing

Lucky for you, I don't know enough about rock climbing to really talk your ear off about it. Instead, here are a bunch of pictures and a little narrative.

I went rock climbing last weekend for the first time; a 5.9 or 5.10, and nothing death defying since I was on top rope the whole time, but I'm counting it. Here we are parking and unpacking, arriving after a 30 min hike, and setting up at the base of the wall.




I managed to get up this wall, which is slightly sloping, but as you can see from the third photo (the one with my bum in it) it was really smooth and hard for me to learn how to stick to. Please do note that in this second photo, Official Trip Photographer Todd has the camera tilted, making it look easier. He's since been let go. That's Former Official Trip Photographer Todd.




Here I've got one hand hanging onto an undercut in the rock, which made it easier for me to lean back and kind of stand.


All in all, not a bad time for a first climb. The second route I took (the one in all the photos) was much harder than the first. I'm not used to how much or little the shoes grip, and it was frustrating to try to find purchase on what seemed to me like a smooth wall devoid of any purchase. At one point I gave up and said "I want down." only to look up and declare, seconds later, that I was going to finish it. Robb was not amused, but he complied because he knows what's good for him.

Post about Posting

I haven't posted anything new in a while, but the urge to do wintery-style crafts is upon me. There's no shaking it until I've made scarves for just about anyone I think might want one. Being as this is my fifth year of crocheting only scarves (patterns = HARD) I'm kind of scraping the bottom already. I thought I might learn to knit this year, but to be truthful, I like the simple repetitive act of crocheting long lengths of scarf while I watch a movie or chat with someone.

Crocheting with Snips

New Carpet and Living Room Tour

New Rug

What is this? you ask. Did you stay at a tacky hotel recently? A: No! That is our new carpet. It's much too big for the room, it's busy and colorful, and I really like it. It's super thick wool, and the colors seem to change all the time in different lights.

Living Room

I think the 'ol futon needs some different throw pillows to go with the rug, but once you start down that road you find you need new end tables, and a coffee table and some matching throws and then it's too late for you. The pillows stay for now.

We switched up the shelving thang, which used to be horizontal and between the futon and the table.

Table Corner

Eyes Open

Check out that handsome fireplace. Surely there's something better that could go on the hearth, but I haven't figured it out, and it's good as-is.


Check out those hot moon bootie slippers and busy flower pattern. Sorry to make you jealous, this just comes naturally to me.

Flowers and Booties

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Ok, the original costume idea went out the window while I focused on a couples costume for me and Robb- he was a beekeeper and I was a bee. I also 'remixed' my old showgirl costume for Monday's Halloween costumed CrossFit workout. I've wanted to wear corpse paint (the black and white face paint) for a number of Halloweens now, and I finally got my chance as a Black Metal Showgirl. Here I'm lifting sans feather fan, wig and headpiece.


Here's a photo with those things:

Photo on 10-31-11 at 9.01 AM

Wicked, right? I had also planned on wearing this to race in, but the morning of it was just way too hard to get up and drive two hours.

But back to the bees! Here are some process shots of the costumes, Robb's beekeeper costume first:

I made a bee smoker out of cardboard and some canvas I had left over from oil painting.


Here the green clips hold the canvas on while the glue dries. (Halloween is the worst time to misplace your hot glue gun)


Amazon provided a great, cheap Safari style straw hat that I spray painted white.


I made some bees from pipe cleaner, following and tweaking a tutorial I found. I took short sections of white tulle and wedged it between the coils for the bee wings (one of my more genius time-saving ideas).


Robb bought a suit you'd use to paint or clean, and voila! Bee keeper for probably under $30, including spray paint and all materials.


We went on a ride, the Pumpkin Pedaler, and there were several other bees there. There was a bevy of bees.

There were many bees at the Pumpkin Pedaler

I taped off and painted a cheap yellow silk shirt I found at TJ Maxx.



I made wings from coat hangers around the house and cheap pantyhose in a coffee color- perfect! I had a specific (and anatomically correct) pattern in mind, so I drew it in Sharpie on a piece of paper. That way, I could flip over the paper and trace both wings with fabric paint (or 'puffy paint', as my mom and I used to call it).


I had no idea how to attach these suckers. I wound up winding yarn around the top and bottom pieces, and using electrical tape to secure one side to the other by matching up the curved 'hanger' part of the hanger.



I liked the angle these wound up at. I added a cutesy bow for full cutesy points.


Shoes? No ordinary shoes.


Voila! Bee shoes. The black bow they came with happened to work perfectly to tie a pom pom on.


Not pictured- I bought a cheesy springy bat headband, cut the bats off to make them more antennae-like and added a yellow bow to that as well. I also wore a wig and false eyelashes because you can! You can do these things on Halloween! And that's part of the reason why it's such an amazing holiday. Le sigh. Why can't there be like four Halloweens per year?