Waist pouch solves lost key problems

Last year around this time I went jogging. My jogging pants had no pockets and my hoodie had open pockets. I just carry a single key and put it in my hoodie pocket. I would remember to check on it every time I moved my jacket around. I finally warmed up enough to take my jacket off and reached in my pocket to make sure the key wouldn’t fall out. Too late! It had already fallen out. I turned around and retraced my steps – 3 times! No key.

I posted on the blogs and kept searching lost and found sites. It never turned up. I grudgingly coughed up the $175 to replace the key and vowed to never let it happen again. This meant some pretty awkward arrangements like always wearing a coat with zippers (even when it was 90).
At last I looked at my remnants and discovered a fun piece of striped material which I have turned into a waist pouch. It is lightweight and not awkward like those big fanny packs I used to wear that held everything. I can put my single key in it and my phone. Which is nice because I was tired of carrying that in my hand.

I love my new pouch. Maybe I’ll take the $175 I’ll never have to spend again and get a new jogging outfit and shoes to go with it.

Lightweight waist pouch ready to go

How do you solve your awkward carrying problems?

Post Turkey Ride

On Thanksgiving we had a marvelous turkey feast at my sister in laws house. She lives in the small town of Shine on the far end of the Hood Canal Bridge.  I suggested we spend the weekend on the peninsula. The weather was marginal but miraculously we did not get rained on until we went to the rain forest!

On Friday we tried out the new section of the Olympic Discovery Trail. This portion went from a trailhead at Diamond Point Road and we rode it into the QFC in Sequim. This section was mostly trail with a couple miles on very quiet roads and a small portion on the shoulder of the 101 off ramp in Sequim. It was a delight to ride through farmland and thick forest with views of the Olympic Mountains to the south and Discovery Bay to the north.

As soon as we pulled into the lot an older dog came and sat looking at me through the window. Soon his owner followed and we learned his personal history of the area. It was a delightful conversation and the perfect introduction to the trail. Before we had even gotten on our bikes another car pulled up and began a conversation. This young man had just moved to the area and after watching the months of construction he was delighted the trail had opened. People and dogs were more open than in the city. The trail itself was fairly busy for a potentially  rainy November day in a quiet part of the state. By busy I mean we saw about 20 people riding and  a dozen or more walkers.

On this stretch you also ride past a native art gallery and a casino with a few dining options as well as a lavender farm and a state park or two. There is a long bridge over what used to be a rail trestle. It had some interesting historical information about the old train.

It felt good to get out into the country and away from traffic for this week’s ride. I also tested my new tool roll under seat bike bag made from my far out paisley upholstery remnant. It passed with flying colors.

The Ride to SAM

Wow. Fablulous ride this week. Quite a contrast to the last trip downtown (see the Memorial). Did a test ride with my new tool roll and handlebar bag. Tool roll under the seat bag worked great but my basket gear on the front of the bike prevented me from putting on the handlebar bike bag (so I put the basket on and threw it in there).

Paisley tool bag in progress

The weather was chilly but dry. No wind either. Pretty sweet for November.

The only hitch was the loss of a library card by my husband earlier in the week. The Seattle Library has a fabulous benefit. You can reserve a pass to many of our local museums. We scooped today and have had it on the calendar for a month. I tried to print out our pass and was stymied by the change in card. Fortunately my husband remembered they had emailed him the pass when we reserved it and the day was saved.

The Andrew Wyeth exhibit was inspiring. The artwork was breathtaking and precise. As always my big question was about the unrecognized heroes. Who framed the art? Who selected the frames? The frame is an important piece of the art. Something to ponder and google later.

I forgot to get any photos at the Wyeth exhibit but loved these 2 nature inspired pieces that are also at SAM

We stopped at Henry’s Tavern on the way home. I was delighted by the ease of removing my bike bags for safety and by the beer selection at Henry’s. It was dark when we got out but traffic had eased. There was something magical about riding on this November night. It is like walking in the rain. Very cocooning and cozy.

I wish I had gotten a photo in Occidental Park. They have wrapped the trees with white lights and it is like fairyland. I did catch a shot of downtown framed by the palms and lights at Salty’s. My photo fails to do justice.

Night view from the Alki Bike trail

As the days get shorter, have you tried riding at night? What do you experience? I look forward to reading your night time notes.
Till next week remember to have fun and enjoy the passing seasons.

New Times, New Processes

The following article came into my news feed in a blog from Fashion University.

“Instead of researching for inspiration, research a current problem in the fashion industry.
Instead of producing more fashion industry waste, use waste from the fashion industry to produce.
Instead of using extensive (and often toxic) processing to achieve a new finish, explore a new process to reduce the fashion industry’s footprint on the environment.
Recently featured in an issue of Hue, a magazine published by FIT, Stacy Flynn and Christopher Stanev are a dynamic duo who have set out to change how clothes are made, in effect proving the “everything’s been done before” argument dead wrong. Formerly with DuPont, Target and Eddie Bauer, Flynn had sourced millions of yards of fabric and seen first hand the pollution produced by textile factories—in particular those factories using recycling technology.
While using plastic from bottles to create polar fleece may sound like a move in the more sustainable direction, unfortunately, the process necessary to transform plastic into fleece is almost as detrimental as creating polar fleece sans recycled plastic bottles. And those retailers who have started recycling programs in which consumers bring in clothes they will no longer wear are only making a small dent in the current landfill crisis in the US. Of the 16 million tons of textiles Americans dispose of each year, on 16 percent is reused or recycled.
And so, Flynn and textile chemist, Stanev began to research how they could create a virgin fiber by dissolving and purifying donated clothes, then extruding the results for use in creating new garments. The pair did not find answers overnight—Flynn started asking questions in 2010, partnered with Stanev and together they invested their savings and retirement accounts to discover a way to liquefy fabric, extract the raw cellulose (which makes up 98 percent of cotton) and turn it into a reusable sturdy fiber.
Stanev’s team of researchers developed safe, reusable solvents to break down fabric and in 2015, Patrice George (Flynn’s former weaving teacher) began to weave what Stanev and Flynn called Evrnu yarn into denim. At first the yarn was very weak. George described it as “a cross between cotton candy and peanut brittle.” Stanev worked to make each new skein of Evrnu he sent George stronger and she created 4.5 yards of denim with Evrnu as the weft and cotton as the warp.” (Credit From Fashion University blog)

To me this was super exciting! And I discovered they are in Seattle! And they had partnered with Levi Straus to incorporate this technology. I have spent a little bit of time digging deeper and can’t find a Levi product made with this. Unfortunately. I guess I will have to dig a little deeper on a day with a little more time. Does anyone have any knowledge of this or other partnerships using this technology? Would love to support it. Especially with an American made textile by the yard using this product technology. One can always dream.



The Memorial

It was wet and wild. Don’t I look happy?

This week’s ride was wet, wild and full of mishaps.
It began with the intent to get into downtown Seattle for a memorial without needing to worry about traffic from the pro football game that was also going on. And to save some $$ And to eliminate a car trip. It was raining/snowing and the wind was howling but I pulled on my rainpants (never before used for a bike ride because as I always tell my husband “I don’t ride in the rain”), down jacket, bike coat, merino wool cap, polarfleece gloves, and safety glasses over my dress and tights. And of course my prototype handlebar bag with my trusty extra tube and cell phone.
We stopped for a picture on the beach to document.
The wind was blowing so hard at times that I was probably only going 2-3 miles per hour. When my bike started pulling to one side I figured it was the wind pushing me. I rode a little more and it was still pulling. I looked down in disbelief to see a flat tire. I suggested my husband ride on and I would catch the bus. He insisted on changing the tire and continuing together. I reached into my trusty bag and handed him a fresh tube. He changed the tire. But the bike pump didn’t work. It had probably been tossed around enough over the years that things got jammed up. We started walking towards the gas station about a mile away. I suggested it might be faster if he rode with the tire and I kept slogging along.
Off he went only to return with a tire that had already lost its air. He reached for his phone for the bus schedule, we locked our bikes and hopped on the bus. I reached into my trusty bag for my Orca card. At that point he must have handed me his phone and I must have put it in my trusty bag. We were on the 132 which is full of distractions when he noticed he didn’t have his phone. He said go on ahead I need to go look for my phone.
When I got to the memorial I opened my trusty bag to turn off my phone and OOPS – it had two phones in it.
He eventually showed up. My moral of the story is – slow down and pay attention to what you are doing and always bring your trusty bag.
Tell me about your weekly ride.



If you have been reading this you know that this blog is like the impromptu speeches I have given at Toastmasters. A challenge to myself that I don’t always succeed at, that meanders all over the place with no point. It’s purpose has been to explore my style and figure out what to do when I grow up.

Along the way I wondered if I wanted to be a personal stylist (I know pretty odd considering all those awkward photos of awkward outfits). I wondered if I could teach classes on finding your style (but that has already been done in a much better way than I could do it). Could I be a blogger that links to items I like and gets a small return? (Now we’re back to the awkward photos). For a while I experimented with a sewing blog thought. With patterns and instruction. Then I asked myself could I design women’s clothes and or patterns? Maybe but there is still a lot of learning that needs to happen there.
Then there is the question of the guilt over adding to the mounds of products we already produce and consume. I really couldn’t bring myself to add to it. Or else it was that secret fear that always lingers in the back of our heads of “I’m not good enough”.

I decided to go with the guilt. At last after a year plus of awkward writing and exploring I have decided to launch a line of up cycled and refashioned bike bags that are pretty enough to use everyday even if you don’t ride a bike. They would also work on a stroller handle or walker handle if life has taken you there. They can carry your bike equipment or your life equipment. They are designed to be easy on and easy off and bring joy to your life.

Most items are made from pound store purchases (rejects from even the thrift store) on their way to be turned into rags. I LOVE the challenge of looking at something that was once something else and turning it into a useful well loved item again. Everything gets thrown in the washer and dryer and put in a stack for future creations. It is a slow process that provides unique items.

What isn’t a pound store rescue is a remnant from a project in my life or someone else’s life. Buckles and webbing are new and I am exploring which options are most eco friendly. I recently purchased some past their prime leather coats that may provide handles or other bag pieces.

With this launch I am officially changing my blog page name to The Weekly Ride. Yet another way to walk my talk.
I’ve finally found my joy. I hope it brings you some as well.
What have you found to bring joy?

Dad’s Closet

Who would guess at 59 I would still raid my dad’s closet. He is 92 and has kept everything he ever owned even though he admits he is overwhelmed by it. He is of the generation that kept everything. Even things his dad had kept and things other people gave him even though it didn’t fit him. I asked him if he wanted me to give items to the thrift store and he was pretty adamant that “no all the relatives need to be asked if they want things first.” So I dug in to see what I could find. Unfortunately I had already raided all the bowling shirts when I was a 20 something.

I did manage to find this vintage cotton bomber jacket and this spiffy vintage nylon shirt both in pretty good condition and sizes and colors that fit me. I also took an old hunting suit he wore 60 years ago and a lovely black wool overcoat that were both in sad shape. I ran them through the washer and dryer and am in the process of re purposing them into bike bags. Photos of that project next time.

Vintage shirt from dad’s closet

Vintage blue bomber jacket

I guess I am lucky to still have a dad’s closet to raid at my age.

Did you ever raid your parent’s closets when you were younger (or today)?

Shawl collar shirt

I continue to test new ideas and patterns. This shawl collar shirt is my latest.

Latest pattern

It is my test run for a more flattering bicycle shirt. I love it! I disappointed myself by not adding pockets. At one point I swore everything I made should work for bicycling and have pockets. Future trials will include hidden side in seam pockets, back pockets like a traditional cycle shirt and patch pockets on the front. I am also going to try a 3/4 sleeve version and some different prints.

Need to figure out swayback adjustments

It is hard to see in the photo and with dark fabric but I need to make a swayback adjustment (ten months ago I had never heard of such a thing). This was the most understandable discussion I could find on it and I look forward to trying it next time (and on my fitting bodice that is still a work in progress.)

What sorts of adjustments have you made to eliminate wrinkles? This is a lot easier than trying to make my body perfect.

Hike? Skirt? Update

To update my hike in a skirt post I wanted to add these pictures of the skirt I decided not to use. Problems – waistband too tall so it doesn’t fit my waist well (although it fit better after the hike). Skirt too long to provide needed cooling.

The skirt I did choose was also too long but had some advantages I would recommend in a hiking skirt – elastic waistband that made it easy to slide on and off before and after those clothing changes to either warm up or cool down. It had no pockets so that was a deduct.

I now have a personal verdict on hiking in a skirt and that is No for me. The chafing would have created another potential problem to deal with that I did not need. I did like having a lightweight skirt along at camp though. It was like a portable changing tent for the above mentioned changes.

Here are the pictures I forgot to include in the last post.

Hike in a skirt?

Each year we hike 100 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail in an effort to one day complete the trail. Each year it is interesting to see what people are wearing and how they pack. Since we are still in Washington state near the northern terminus and the end of the trail some of the items we see are nearing the end of their useful life. A trend I noticed in 2013 was women hiking in skirts. It seemed impractical to me at that time but 4 years later I am considering it for this year’s hike.

Possible advantages will be easier use of the bathroom in the woods, easier to add layers when I stop hiking and more cooling (since temperatures are supposed to be in the 90s in the lowlands). Possible disadvantages will be getting tangled up in bushes or caught on rocks or the perennial skirt getting caught up in the back in underwear or pack.

This year I am going to wear a skirt and carry my hiking pants just in case I hate it. I made this skirt which is from the first pattern I ever drafted for myself. I am not happy with the pockets and will probably redraft them next time to see if I can’t get them to lay flatter. I have also seen interesting pocket treatments and shapes for this hip pocket style that I will try next time. My waistband is also not a consistent width and I should spend more time measuring to get it right on the pattern.

I am delighted with the experimentation I did with top stitching. I tried one of the many patterns available on my sewing machine as the top stitch on the waistband and decided to do the same on the hem. Now I can’t stop and am considering adding at least 2 more rows to the hem if time allows.

I am not sure about the practicality of the length but hesitate to shorten it until I test it out. I’ll let you know what I discover.

What do you think? Are you a skirt hiker?