Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Squirrel Making

A few months ago I decided to try my hat at creating my own toy pattern. I wasn't trying to make something revolutionary but just something simple with simple shaping and one color. The little town that I live in celebrates a White Squirrel Festival each year and the owner of the consignment shop in town had been asking me if I knew how to make a white squirrel toy so I took up the challenge and decided I would make a pattern for a white squirrel. Above are Chris' and my sketches to try and determine the general shape. Evil Patrick is not related to squirrel making but rather a creepy manifestation of Chris' psyche.

The sketching helped me a lot with visualizing where I should be adding increases and decreases and was a great reference to look back at as I went so that I could judge whether I was really heading in the right direction. You can see where I scribbled notes as I went to keep track of what I was doing and, when it wasn't working, scratch it all out and start over. I definitely need more practice to get the hang of making up my own toy pattern. While I like how this turned out I feel that I hit a better cat note than I did squirrel. My next step is to modify the pattern to make a pirate squirrel like the one drawn near evil Patrick. I always loved making pirate monkeys and I think that pirate squirrels will be pretty damn cute, too. Really, everything looks better when dressed as a pirate. I think it's the eye patch.

The in progress and finished squirrel are below. I'm super happy with the tail although I think I could have stitched a Swiffer on it's butt and saved myself about 3 hours of tedium. In the finished product I also added a jaunty little scarf because the squirrel just seemed like it needed something to break up all that white. Plus it makes it look sophisticated and jet-setting and, really, don't squirrels sort of look that way in real life? Something about a fluffy tail makes an animal look fancy.

Squirrel in progress
Finished squirrel

Monday, May 28, 2012

White Squirrel Festival 5k Run

Before the race. You can tell by my nervous smile.
After the race. Exhausted and crazy proud of myself.

Earlier this year I made a list of 30 things that I wanted to do by the time I turned 30. I've got an update coming later this week but one of the things that I'm most proud of is that as of Saturday I checked off #12: Run a 5k. This was no easy task for me. I'm a total couch potato, never very athletic and after having moved to NC and spending 6 months living without a kitchen I'd gained a fair bit of weight.

There were two or three points last year when I tried getting into the couch to 5k program but I usually burnt out by week 3 or 4. In January, after making this list, I committed. I started running with the C25K Pro App on my phone 4 to 5 times a week. It's interval training and starts out with really short runs of just a minute or so at a time but I remember even that seemed grueling at first. The absolute worst was when I hit the day like 6 weeks in when the plan just says run for 20 minutes. It pulls out the safety net of a minute or two of walking somewhere in the middle there. I remember when I finished that jog for the first time that I texted Chris saying that I had run for 20 minutes and not died. That alone was pretty awesome.

So after a couple of months of training I have finally run my first 5k. As you can see by the photos I made it from beginning to end and somehow managed to look happier after running up the hills of NC. I went into the race with one goal: run the whole time, no walking. If you'd seen some of those hills you'd know what a task that was. Although I didn't win a medal or run any amazing time I met my goal and couldn't be happier. Part of me is also proud just to have managed to get to the start line by 8am. I'm not a morning person. I've never run a single morning before because whatever my best intentions I cannot respect an alarm that wants me up before 10am.

I ran the course in 37 minutes 24 seconds all while listening to a Twilight Podcast by Pop Stuff from How Stuff Works. I know everyone makes play lists when they run with music that's fast and motivating with good beats and whatever but I love me a podcast. Most of my couch to 5k was spent listening to the guys on Stuff You Should Know and giggling a little as I ran. It might explain why I'm not very fast. Josh and Chuck may be super entertaining but they don't really have a great beat. For me though they were a great distraction from my mind's constant reminder that I don't have to run. No one is making me run. I could walk now or now or now or anytime I want and zombies won't get me.

Speaking of zombies, I am desperately psyched for an app called Zombies, Run! that's coming out on Android next month. It could be a great motivator for upping my speed a little. In the game you're a runner for a town after there's been a zombie apocalypse. You go into town for supplies to keep the survivors alive. As you run the game will chime in with supplies you've picked up and warnings of zombie hordes! If you're being chased you actually have to speed up to outrun the attack and live. You can even hear the zombies in your ear buds! The app is way pricey but I've got to say it sounds like wicked fun and I've got the ladies at Pop Stuff to thank for mentioning it in their running podcast.

Now that I've checked off running a 5k from my list I think I'm going to go for a 10k. I'm not sure that I'll ever consider myself a serious runner but I think that I may like it. Plus, I've lost about 15 pounds since January and I just feel healthier. Chris was asking me where I was planning to go after the 5k run a few weeks ago and the conversation somehow ended in a ridiculous bet. We agreed that if he runs a 5k I'll run a marathon. I may have started liking running but I will say that marathons seem like complete madness to me but I do know my husband and I feel like this is probably a pretty safe bet for me. Although I'd love to see him get healthier I've got my fingers crossed that he chooses biking instead.