Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Steudel Residence

My parents' house as I was packing up to leave for Madison and Milwaukee.


I'm about to leave the Milwaukee area to head back to Connecticut, either tomorrow or the day after. This Christmas break has been on par with prior ones. It just plain feels good to be home in Wisconsin, visiting people and places, and being back amongst good friends and family. It's hard to describe any of it without sounding cheesy, but I'm so grateful for the warm welcome I get from so many people. It's what makes it still feel like home. (I told you it would be cheesy!)

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Butcher Block Anchor

For almost exactly a year, I've hauled around this butcher block table top that my friend Kate gave me. My parents and I drove it down to Asheville, NC, after Christmas last year, and I bought steel hair pin legs for it. However, there wasn't really space for it, and I was frankly frightened to drill holes into this table top valued at hundreds of dollars. That's a lot of dollars, you guys! I thought for sure taking on the project myself would lead to a blog post ending in "...and this is why we can't have nice things."

And so it looked like this for about a year.

Butcher Block Table

Butcher Block Table

I moved it up to Connecticut when I moved and nearly ruined one scrawny college neighbor kid moving it up to my second floor apartment. At two inches thick and solid maple (I think?), it's easily the heaviest thing I own, and now I know it requires not only two people, but two non-scrawny people to move.

Months after moving in, I managed to trick a coworker with woodworking experience into helping me drill holes for the legs and pick out the hardware to attach said legs. Behold my new craft table:

Butcher Block Table

Butcher Block Table

Seeing it all built up draws this chapter of the traveling table top to a close. And now for the crafting!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Stew Leonard's

Have you ever taken a field trip with a bunch of coworkers during your work lunch hour to a grocery store? Now I have.

Introducing Stew Leonard's, the grocery store to end all overpriced novelty grocery stores. Everything's family-sized and the place is literally a maze. If you forgot something near the beginning, you have to work your way back through along the one long, zig-zaggy aisle to get it. As an upside, there are lots of free samples and there's plenty of entertainment.

Here's Cindy and Jimmy watching rice cakes being made, as Cindy, the veteran of Stew's, explains.

Stew Leonard's

There are a lot of animatronic.... animatrons throughout the store.

Stew Leonard's

Yep, that banana dances and sings.

Stew Leonard's

This apple doesn't do anything but loom overhead.

Stew Leonard's

Stew Leonard's

Stew Leonard's

Stew Leonard's

Stew Leonard's

Stew Leonard's

Staten Island Cleanup

This is old news by now, but over a month ago I went with a Team Pegasus teammate to volunteer for the Staten Island cleanup. Staten Island was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Sandy, and there were lots of homes that were still cleaning out their flooded basements and first floors.

There was a motorcycle club (gang? haha) volunteering at the supply station.


Supply Tent

This was my gang for the day.

Part of the Cyclist Crew

Hey look there's me! We cruised around in a big 15 passenger van for the day. The first hour or so was more like a tour than volunteering, as we cruised around trying to find somewhere to get to work. There were so many volunteers and, understandably, it was hard to organize everyone.

Staten Island Tour

There were lots of pop-up stations with supplies in people's backyards, etc. Here we grabbed some supplies to hand out on the streets.



Distribution of Goods

Some families threw everything out, including all of their children's toys, while others spent their day cleaning off every pair of shoes, string of plastic beads and bottle of nail polish. Here we've got a nicely organized trash pile (some stuff just got dumped out on the curb, no bags or anything) with a trashed car.

All Garbage

Many junked cars still lining the streets with water still in the headlights.

Flooded Car

Lots of cars exactly like this when you peered in the window.

High water marks were apparent all over the place.

High Water Indication

The woman who lived here said that her second floor wooden floors and walls were just starting to warp from the moisture wicking up the walls from the saturated first floor.

High Water Mark

The streets looked post-apocalyptic.

Most streets looked like this or worse.

What a lot of the streets looked like.

Most streets looked like this or worse.

There was some heavy machinery roaming the streets, too. This machine clamped piles of trash and dumped them into a waiting dumpster.

Heavy Machinery

Heavy Machinery

Here's the group just before wrapping up for the day.

Katy, Grant, Peter, Ben, ?

It's interesting to see the difference between Hurricane Sandy and the Sandy Hook shooting. With Hurricane Sandy there were plenty of things people could do to help. All you had to do was carve out some time and get dirty. With Sandy Hook, it's much more confusing and frustrating.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Introducing Kathy

At the office there's a bike room where people can park their mountain bike, or their bike that they commute on. It was recently reorganized and people were assigned one spot apiece, to keep the bikes from piling up. How does one know what spot is theirs? I'm glad you asked. They get a little piece of paper taped to the wall with their name on it. Or, if you're me, you get a piece of paper with something resembling your name on it. Mine says not 'Katy Steudel' but 'Kathy Steadel'.

I actually get called Kathy quite a bit. People just read an 'h' in there. This particular combo is one of the best I'd seen, however, and it reminded me of an older woman's name. And so my alter ego Kathy Steadel was born. This is one hip mom-type. I've been waiting to break her out, and this past weekend at a holiday party was as good a time as any.

I also made some very, very special shirts for a friend an I out of some knock-off Twilight fabric. I added the present and the Santa hat, but believe it or not that fabric is a real thing.


This is a photo my friend Lindsay titled 'A Very Candid Kathy'. (Although I usually pose for photos with my mouth agape, so it's kind of hard to tell it's candid.)


Yes, those are velvet pants. I know. I'm sorry your mom isn't as cool as Kathy, too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Who's up for some Citizen Snips?

Citizen Snips

Citizen Snips

Snips has been inconvenienced with a visiting dog for the past week or so. The dog, Kyu, is a tiny little thing and they get along well enough. This 10 lb (or so) wonder is a lot different than Snips' old roommate, Cooper, who more closely resembled a small horse.

With Kyu.

Citizen Snips and Kyu

With Cooper.


Soon Kyu will be gone and Snips will be the Supreme Commander of this outpost again.

Sunday, November 25, 2012


This Thanksgiving I stuck around New England instead of going home to Wisconsin. Since I was all sad and orphaned-like, my friend Ben invited me to his family's dinner at their lake house in New York state. In the morning we went mountain biking, realizing after we were in the woods that the trails were on multi-use land, complete with deer hunters. Some hunters, taking pity on a poor city slicker, gave Ben their orange vest and we beat a hasty retreat from the woods.

Ben at Ninham

We were at Ninham and I plan to go back, maybe some other time when I don't so strongly fear being shot. There are some cool little features, decent little hills, some nice big rocks on interesting descents, and it all looks well cared for. The leaves were even blown off of the trails.

Since we were fleeing, I didn't take the time to try this, but it looks like fun. Next time.

Me at Ninham

Me at Ninham

A gnarly jump. (Not next time. Not... ever.)


We got back, cleaned up and did the whole turkey dinner thing. It was a beautiful dinner. I don't have any photos of the spread, but I did snap some when we were hanging out by the lake after, recovering from it.

Thanksgiving 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

I was glad to be invited to tag along on Ben's family's Thanksgiving. It would have been a long four day weekend otherwise.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I made a SnowSkull at lunch.


That's about all there is to it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I Voted

From years past:

I Voted

I Voted

I've taken a few more but I can't quickly find them, so that's it for the slide show!

Here's today's.


Don't worry, those are from three separate elections :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sorry, Parents

Sorry parents and relatives, you're gonna see some leg. But I must point out that this costume is tame - SO. TAME. - compared to so many others. Be glad.

For Halloween I made a dress out of Thomson seat post, seat post collar and stem bags. For those not in the know, Thomson makes bike parts. They come packaged in off-white synthetic fabric bags with the logo on one side and illustrations of what's inside on the other side.

I came up with the idea when I was making a business card holder out of one of the bags I had. I was looking at the stack of them I had on the floor and got the idea to make a dress out of them. I was a little slow in coming up with a costume idea this year because I was stumped as to how to raise the bar from my horse bike costume a few years ago. As I've mentioned before, the horse bike was a whole different story, but this was also a really great challenge! I haven't sewed much before, but I have a friend here at Cannondale, Lindsay, who works in apparel who sews a lot, and I also had a seam ripper for the inevitable mistakes! Lindsay was a great great resource and I would have floundered around a lot more without her advice.

I hope you guys are just itching for details, because it feels like I'm winding up for a long post, here.

I had a lot of assorted bags from saving them, and also from wonderful friends in Wisconsin who knew I collected them and would pass them off to me when they ran across them, or bought new Thomson parts. [Thank you!] I started seam ripping the bags and ironing them flat to use as fabric, but I wasn't sure how many I needed, or how I wanted to arrange them into a dress. I went to the local fabric store to look through patterns and found one that would work. It was a costume-specific pattern, meant for witches or sexy Santas, etc. It was short enough to not need too much fabric, and it was a brand known to be easy for beginners.


If you're not familiar with patterns, they come printed on big sheets of what amounts to tissue paper. I laid out the bags underneath the panels of the dress so I could see approximately how it would look. That's what this was:



I tallied up the bags needed and knew I needed to use my status as Super Important Cannondale Employee to muscle more bags out of somebody. Luckily, a coworker had a contact at Thomson, so I didn't need to get physical with anyone. Big thanks to him for speedily sending a box with all the extra bags I needed! While I waited for the bags in the mail, I did a mock-up of the top to make sure it would fit. After the box arrived, it was really Game On. I started cutting a putting together the different pieces to form the panels of the dress.

This is the skirt, before being gathered and attached to the bodice.


Likewise, the sides of the bodice.



Since I planned on racing a cyclocross race in this dress, I modified the top to have two stretchy panels on the sides, so it would be easier to gasp for breath in. The only other modifications I made were to make it an inch longer on top on account of my longer torso, and to make the skirt longer to fit the Thomson logos and also be just a tad bit more acceptable to wear in public.


I added some little touches, like the black band along the bottom of the skirt.


It also has what I would call an additional underskirt? Something like that. I added it and some black tulle to make the whole thing puffier than a chickadee on a cold day. (Ok, I just made that up. Think of it as a Midwest version of a Texas-style saying, which would almost certainly involve a rattlesnake, boots, or both.)

Oh, and of course the flask holder.


Sewing the stretchy fabric for the band around the thigh was proving difficult, so I dug around in my box of obscure sewing notions I got from a church garage sale around 2001 or so. No joke. I'm a pack rat. I found some wide, patterned elastic and sewed the black stretchy fabric over it. The patterned stuff made it substantial enough that I could figure out how to sew it properly. I made a hasty little pouch for the flask and hand-sewed it on in an equally hasty fashion. I had decided to make this addition shortly before getting on a train to South Norwalk for some dancing, etc, and wound up bringing some supplies along for the ride and finishing the stabilizing elastic that comes down from the waistline of the dress on the train.

As you may guess, I'm a fan of the process, and this dress project didn't disappoint. And Halloween isn't even technically here yet! I'm sure I'll post a few more photos up here. The past few years, I've forgotten to take posed photos to document the final costume. I won't let you guys down this year ;)