Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lest You Think There's Been No Crafting...

I have been crafting up a storm this summer although none of the last four things I've made go toward my stash-busting goal.  I will post photos soon-ish of the aforementioned items (for the dying-of-curiosity types - a shawl, a tunic, a hat, and a cuff).

I've also been biking as much as possible for everyday transportation, and over the course of my travels, it's become clear to me that I could really use a purse-like thing that straps to my bike, either like a pannier to the rear rack, a trunk (also on rear rack), or on the handlebars.  Sometimes I just don't feel like wearing a backpack or constantly readjusting the straps of some bag I'm wearing.  So I started searching for something that might fit the bill and not break the bank.

My favourite thus far is the Logan Trunk bag from Po Campo

But there's a problem.  It's made in China.  This is actually a real issue for me (and often saves me money - hah!).  It seems like it might've been made in the US at one time, and I've emailed the company to see why they moved overseas (okay, I know why, but I feel that by asking them they know that it can affect whether an individual buys their product).  Even though they give a bicycle to a schoolgirl in Africa for every 25 bikes they sell, I'm not sure it's enough to sway me.  Maybe I need to come up with some kind of matrix of pros and cons around manufacturing issues.

Then, the ladyfriend comes home from the mechanic today and I learn we have $3,000 worth of repairs looming in the not-too-distant future, which actually means we have to buy a new car.  Suddenly the relatively reasonable price of the Logan Trunk bag feels unnecessarily expensive.

Enter craft!  I found this Amy Butler pattern (for free!) online, and I think I can modify it to work on my bike.  I'll add a shoulder strap (pattern includes this) as well as straps to secure it to the rack or my handlebars (will decide on that as I sew).
I've made other Amy Butler bags (High Street Messenger bag as well as her yoga mat bag), and they can be a bit involved (the messenger bag was quite the experience, but I love it and use it all the time).  I have some oilcloth although I'm not sure I have enough for this.  Worse comes to worse, I'll Scotchguard (remember that?!) the fabric so I can use what I have in my stash as opposed to buying more fabric.

I will say, deciding to make it myself means more time and the possibility that it might never happen (hey, I'm being realistic), but I have the pattern and the desire.  Hopefully I'll find the time and energy to follow through.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

MichFest 2014!

The ladyfriend and I have been back from the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival for a little over a week now.  This was our fourth Fest, and it was one of the best ones we've attended.  The music was great (holy cow, Medusa!), the weather was good, and there were plenty of workshops, dances, and other activities if you didn't feel like just hanging out on the Land.

I had actually started this post last Tuesday and knew that I needed to address the controversy over the womyn-born-womyn policy, but I was having a hard time putting into clear words some of the thoughts and issues at hand.  This morning I received the following statement from MichFest, and I think it says it best so I am copying it here:

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Update from the Cape


Okay, so the photos you get are of a doe and two fawns and an amazing (if I may say so myself) lobster pasta I made a week or so ago.  I think these encapsulate what it's like to be here - it's quiet with, dare I say it?, simple pleasures. 

Tomorrow we head to Pictou Island with friends to bike around and laze about on the beach.  If it sounds like paradise, that's because it is.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Bikes! Fashion! Kraftwerk!

(Clearly it's a day that I'm on the internet so bear with me)

I have to say, clever marketing because I'm more interested in Phillip Lim than I previously have been.  It's lucky that all these "girls"  (what's wrong with being women?) live in cycle-friendly places and don't have to wear helmets.  But they do look beautiful, don't they.

Making, Watching, Reading, Living

It's that time of the year.  The time when we make our way back to what we consider paradise and all its attendant luxuries.
The view from our back porch
Lots of canning

and eating.
Finished the socks I'd started on the bike ride.

Working on a shawl using the yarn I bought in Granville, Ohio.
Rereading Watership Down.  This is my original copy and contains a hilarious synopsis I wrote when I was probably in middle school.  Oh, the oversimplification.

Okay, this I saw at a rest stop on our way here; I appreciate the bookish take on the mudflap girl.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Environment Hamilton Lake to Lake Ride


As mentioned in my summary post on the New Orleans to Hamilton bike trip, I had signed up for a local two-day ride: the Environment Hamilton Lake to Lake ride from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie.  (If you sponsored me, please don't think I'm ignoring your generosity; I just haven't gotten my donor list yet.)

I have to say, I'm really glad I did it.  While the turnout was small (only about 14 riders for the two-day option), the people were great, and the trails and roads were beautiful.  Plus, we had amazing cycling weather - cool but sunny.

On both days we stopped in Caledonia for lunch.  This was on the first day...
and this was the next.


Our gear was carried in a van by our great volunteer, Ken, who also stopped along the way to provide water stops for us.

We camped right along the shore of Lake Erie.  Some of our group went into the water.  I put my feet in, and that was enough.  Still a bit frosty for my liking.

My tent.  Super cute if I may say so myself.

On the way home, I saw a quilt square that I'd missed on the ride out.  Bonus!

It's too bad, however, that I read about the cyclist killed in Kentucky this morning.  My dad sent me the story; to top it off, neither of us were surprised it happened in Kentucky.  It was the least cyclist-friendly place we rode.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Ride for the Masses

As part of a week-long bike festival (huzzah!), there was a "Ride for the Masses"* tonight.  My reignited bicycle passion overcame my inclination to sequester myself with my crafts, and I headed out to join the ride.  It didn't hurt that the starting point was at a park near my house.

There were all kinds of cyclists represented, which was nice, and I met a woman from Poland, visiting her cousins in Hamilton, and a young man from Uganda, who was here on a volunteer exchange program.  There were families, hipsters, city cyclists, and more.

He had a Brooks saddle on this.
There was also live musical accompaniment, courtesy of the Velo Stage.

I bailed at the turnaround point; it had been one of those slow and steady rides, and the Rangers-Kings game had already started.  I figured I had helped make a statement;  my Rangers were calling me home.

Tomorrow - the Lake Ontario to Lake Erie ride.  Yay!

* as opposed to Critical Mass, which apparently has negative connotations for some.  Note:  the revolution will be polite.