Friday, June 28, 2013

Le Tour de France


Hi beautiful people!  I am completely excited that the Tour de France will be starting tomorrow, June 29th and will continue for three weeks.  My husband and I are huge cycling fans and love every minute of the Tour.  We follow other cycling races throughout the cycling season, but this one is our favorite.  We even traveled to Solvang in 2011 to attend the Time Trial stage of the 2011 Amgen Tour of California.  It was so awesome to stand at the start line and watch the riders head out of the starting gate for the time trial. 
At the end of the race I even got autographs from Dave Zabriski and Levi Leipheimer - two of the winners of the trials that day.


 The Leader Board for 2011 Tour of California

 American George Hincapie in the start gate....

...and he's off!
The Tour de France is a multiple stage race mostly held in France, but occasionally the race stages will visit other countries nearby. The race has been held annually since 1903 except for when it was stopped for the two World Wars and this year is the 100th year of the Tour!
They ride through beautiful country in Europe and it’s great fun to see the spectators, some of which may spend weeks along a stage route to get the best view or follow the Tour for the entire three weeks. They are crazy! Some wear goofy costumes and wild wigs. We've seen Elvis, men in Speedos that have no business wearing a Speedo, clowns, and lots of super heros. It's one big party.  We would like to go to Europe one year and see it in person - its definately on our bucket list!
The race route changes each year, but usually has at least two time trials, several strenuous mountain climbs in the Pyrenees and the Alps, and the finish on the Champs-Élysėes in Paris

The Tour is a 21 day-long stage race and each day the length of the ride is about 100 or so miles and covers about 2,200 miles total. The number of teams usually varies between 20 and 22, with nine riders on each team. Not all riders finish the race. Some crash, some don't finish the days stage in the alloted amount of time, some get sick and some just can't continue at the gruelling pace they need to ride.

Climbing in the mountains!

All of the stages are timed. After finishing the days stage,  the riders' times are added to their previous stage times. The rider with the lowest combined time is the leader of the race and gets to wear the coveted yellow jersey.  And not everyone is out to win the overall classification. Some team members are riding to set the pace and to help the team leader. Some are better at the sprints and others are best at climbing the mountains.
There are other races within the race and colored jerseys awarded for them also.
For the sprinters (green jersey), the mountains classification for the climbers (red polka-dots jersey), the young rider classification for the riders under the age of 26 (white jersey), and the team classification for the fastest teams.

The first rider to cross the stage finish line wins the stage for the day, but that doesn't always mean they receive the yellow jersey.  It's VERY complicated and confusing and I have a hard time keeping track.  My husband knows all the rules and statistics and who needs to win what in order to remain in or receive the jerseys.

2012 Tour winners left to right:
Best Young Rider: American Tejay van Garderen
Best Overall:  Britian Bradley Wiggins
Best Sprinter:  Slovakian Peter Sagan
Best King of the Mountains:  Frenchman Thomas Voeckler

The leader in the first Tour de France was awarded a yellow armband. The color yellow was chosen because the magazine that created the Tour, printed its newspapers on yellow paper. The yellow jersey was added to the race in 1919  and it has since become a symbol of the
Tour de France.

On the Champs-Élysėes in Paris.
2012 winner, Bradley Wiggins from the UK

My husband is also a HUGE cyclist. He loves his bike and rides it every.single.day.  In all kinds of weather. He can’t get enough and his bike is "the other woman."   I tease him that when I go on my annual Chicas weekend with the girls, his bike sleeps on my side of the bed. :o)
Chris has participated in several of his own bicycle events/fundraisers where he's ridden 60+ miles including the Bike MS Waves to Wine and Livestrong Foundation Challenge.  And in 2010 we both rode the Tour of the Unknown Coast in Northern California.  I rode and finished the 25-mile ride and Chris rode and finished the 65-mile ride through the giant Redwoods.
It was great fun!
Tour of the Unknown Coast

Livestrong Challenge - 2012


My favorite cyclist, Fabian Cancellara of Team RadioShack, will not be participating in the Tour this year. He wanted to focus on the Swiss National Time Trial race, which he won in June for a record eighth time! I will miss cheering for him this year. He is the rider to wear the most yellow jerseys and not win the general classification overall. 
 I am not sure who I will be cheering for this year.  
There are many cyclists that I follow, but he is my favorite.
Fabian Cancellara when he rode for Team SaxoBank.
He is now riding for Team Leopard-Trek.


We usually record the Tour because they are a day ahead of us in Europe, and watch a stage or two at a time when we get a chance. I have a few hand embroidery projects ready and a couple projects I can cut while I watch the Tour.
Looking foward to see who takes it in Paris!

Happy Cycling, Sewing and Quilting!




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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hop, Skip & Jump!



I have joined my first Block-of-the-Month Quilt Along! It is a 12-month quilt program sponsored by Sew Lux Fabric.  I will receive one 12-inch block pattern per month. The series will run from June 2013 through May 2014.

The Hop, Skip & Jump BOM Quilt block kits will feature prints from the Happy-Go-Lucky collection by Bonnie & Camille for Moda. I love the colors and prints of this fabric line!
I think they are so happy and fun!

 

The twelve blocks in the series are supposed to be beginner-friendly and will be variations of the Churn Dash and Snowball blocks. Sew Lux will provide all the step-by-step instructions as well as photos, illustrations, and cutting diagrams with each month’s block pattern.

I am excited to get started.  I received a "bonus block" today via email and it's a fun Churn Dash Block in dark blue, red, white and gray.

The fabric and first block are scheduled to arrive around June 1st.
Can't wait to receive my supplies and get started!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

I'm a Bag Lady!

My three awesome blogger buddies, Karen, Amy and Regena and I often pick a project and swap with each other. It's fun, we can get creative and we each get 3 completed items!

Regena was the organizer of our recent Friendship Swap and decided that we all needed to make the Reusable Grocery Bag! It's an awesome pattern from Michelle Patterns.

It's a very quick and easy bag to make.  They are designed like the plastic bags that every store in America is using. 
You can choose your own fabric and you are being "green" and fashionable at the same time!

These are the bags that I created:

 Cherries and gingham for Karen

 Doxie for Amy - who has the cutest two dachsund fur babies ever!

 and happy chickens for Regena!

These are the awesome bags I received!


They are fun, sturdy, hold a lot and make spending so much money at the grocery store
somewhat enjoyable! You don't have to use them just at the grocery store either!
I also take mine to our weekly Farmer's Market at work.
They will tote anything!

The black and white bicycle one Regena made specifically for my husband. She thought he needed a more "manly" bag of his own. Chris and I do most of the grocery shopping together and he does the majority of the cooking at our house. 
And he's an avid cyclist so the fabric is perfect.

If you would like to become a bag lady and have your very own resuable bag but don't want to make one, just hop on over to Karen's etsy store. She has them for sale and let me tell you - they are awesome, extremely well made and come in a ton of fabric choices!

Being a Bag Lady is so fun! Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

It's For the Birds Blog Hop!

Welcome to my blog and my day of the Birdie Blog Hop! Thank you for hosting another awesome hop Madame Samm and Mary

This is my second blog hop and I'm sure it's going to be as much fun as the April Showers Hop!

I LOVE birds!  We have a fountain in our backyard and it so enjoyable to watch the little sparrows and finch and hummingbirds come to play and splash around.  They are all very "chatty" and it's so relaxing to listen to them "talk" to each other.  Sometimes there are as many as six playing around at once. The little birdies are so sweet and innocent and I'm glad they visit!

 Here is Mr. Robin. Isn't he beautiful!

 Splish Splash!

Sorry for the blurry photos.  I took them with a zoom from my back door so I didn't scare them away!
We also have an African Gray Parrot that lives with us, however he is in NO WAY innocent!
name is Rascal and you can read about him here.

Last September we took a trip to Oregon and visited the little town of Sisters and the Stitchin' Post Quilt Shop. Every July they host the largest annual outdoor quilt show in the country.

I purchased an appliqué pattern with little Chickadees. I really didn't think I would ever actually use the pattern.  I had never done appliqué and didn't really want to learn - I just thought the little birds were cute! But when the Birdie Hop was announced I knew I was in and it was the perfect opportunity to learn something new.

I LOVE the way this little quilt turned out! It's cute and sweet - just like my backyard friends!
I have to admit that it was a bit challenging. Lots of little pieces to cut and stitch. I made a few mistakes, but actually enjoyed the process of watching the little Chickadees come to life. It was fun and I'm really happy with my little mini quilt!

Close up of the little Chickadees!
The original pattern did not have the leaves. I added them because
I thought the tree needed a touch of Spring.     I took the following pictures outside in my backyard. You can see the difference in the colors with the sun shining on the quiltie.  



I used mostly scraps that I had I my stash, but did purchase the fabric for the borders. I also created corner pockets on the back for easy hanging if I choose. I used this tutorial from Patchwork Pottery.


Thank you for visiting today! I hope you choose to follow me or come back and visit anytime!

Take a minute to check out the other awesome projects today! You won't be sorry.


http://marlarockscrafts.blogspot.com

HAPPY QUILTING, HAPPY SEWING,
HAPPY HOPPING, HAPPY SPRING!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

April Showers Blog Hop!


Hello beautiful people and Welcome to day three of the April Showers Mug Rug Blog Hop and Welcome to my Blog!



"April Showers" usually means rainy weather, which brings lots of pretty flowers and Spring! Spring is also when we start loading our trailer and heading out of town to go camping! Yay!



I've never done a blog hop before but my good friends Amy, Karen and Regena were participating and twisted my arm to join them, so here I am! They are also posting their lovely creations today so be sure to hop on over to their blogs and look at their awesome creations!

What is a MUG RUG? It's a mug for your cup of coffee, tea or other beverage, and maybe a snack or a few cookies. It's smaller than a placemat but larger than a coaster. Or even a mini quilt! They are fun and fast to create. My sister Debra thinks I should make her one for every holiday and season...me thinks maybe she needs to learn to quilt..... :o)

I've struggled lately with my creative sewing mojo (sew-jo), but this hop has helped and it sure felt good to be back at my sewing machine. So good in fact that I created not one, but three mug rugs! I had a few ideas rattling around in my head and I just couldn't decide between the three of them so I did them all!



The first one I LOVE! I won a charm pack of these yummy, bright charm squares from Nadine. The fabrics are mostly Michael Miller fabric - The Gypsy Bandana and Lush and Picnic ginghams and Bella Flora by Studio. They are happy and cheerful and remind me of Spring and the flowers in my yard - Impatiens, Geraniums and Hydrangea!


I am also in love with the Dresden so I decided to combine the two and made a happy Dresden flower! I stitched-in-the-ditch between the blades on black wool felt and black/white polka dot fabric and then used pinking sheers to cut away from the edge.  I love the way it turned out! It's a little bigger than a normal mug rug, but it will look great on my desk at work and it makes me happy!


My 2nd mug rug is made from scraps of "Happy Go Lucky." I used this tutorial from Jenna at Sew Happy Geek. I really like the way it turned out. They say "April Showers Bring May Flowers" and I think the blues in the fabric could be the "showers" bringing out out the "flowers" of coral, light blue and green. I quilted it following the lines of the zig-zags.



And my favorite is this one I made for our trailer! I am so happy with the way it turned out. I didn't have a pattern, just played around with it and I think it's adorable.  The red and white gingham match the tablecloth we use when we are camping and the Martians in the door and window just make me giggle! My husband said "I've never seen a flowered trailer before." Haha! I haven't either but I think it would be adorable!


It was great to feel creative again.  Now to clean up the mess that I made during this project and get crackin' at the other projects that need to be finished!



Be sure to visit the other awesome blogs today. Thank you to Erin at Sew at Home Mummy and Madame Samm for all the hard work they did organizing this Blog Hop!

Happy Sewing!

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 10th
Hayley @ Mrs. Pickles
Karen @ Sew Much 2 Luv
Mélanie @ Les passions de Cliodana
Cindy @ Quilt Doodle Doodles
Jamie @ Busy Bee Quilts
Regena @ The Distracted Domestic
Amy @ Domesticity and other Ponderous Things
Denise @ My Whittle Adventures
Heather @ a Reformed Heath'n
Marica @ ~Englating

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Work in Progress (WIP)

I made a deal with myself on January 1st, that I wouldn't buy any new fabric, new kits or other crafty projects until I finished the projects I already have at home.  But there are sooo many pretty fabrics out there and so far, I've only purchased one small little item.
Hey I made it until January 10th - don't judge....

Anyway...one of these projects was a quilt for my grandson, Christopher. I signed up for a class at my local quilt shop to sew a Radiant design and it was supposed to be for him for Christmas, however the class was canceled in December and I just didn't finish it on my own.

Last Saturday, was the re-scheduled class. I was able to finish all 30 blocks for this fun quilt.
Now I need to sew the blocks together and add the borders then it will be time for batting, quilting and binding.
My goal is to have this quilt finished by January 31st and have my first project for 2013 done!


 These are the fabrics that I chose. I LOVE the center fabric with the multi-colored stars.
The fabrics are fun and bright and perfect for a Lil Man.
 


The blocks all finished. To create the final block you sew the light block and dark block (the one with the black center) together on the diagonal, cut the block in half and that creates the light / dark block combination. You can see a finished one in the upper left corner of the picture.

 My finished blocks on the design wall.
The way the blocks are placed creates the "radiant" effect.



I Love the way it turned out! It's so bright and fun!
Now to decide on the border fabric and finish it up!