Monday, February 28, 2011

Mountain Bike Monday - Another 30ish

Yesterday, Dynamo, MBM, and I went out for a spin at Pocohontas State Park. We started early since we knew that we wanted to get in about 30 miles. We ended up registering 29.7(something) miles by the time we got back to the car.

It was a beautiful day for riding. There were tons of people at the Park. There were walkers, bikers, hikers, runners. It was so nice to see the "fair weather" people out using the Park.

We ventured into more unchartered territory again this week. We encountered a dam...
The water from the lake/pond/whatever was nearly dried up. This was on the other side of the park on the Bright Hope Trail. There was no easy way across. The only possibility was where the dam had broken, so we jumped across. There was a way to ride through the creek down a ways, but it was kinda deep and since it was early on in the ride we didn't want to get our feet wet!

The first 15 miles seemed to fly by, but the remaining (almost) 15 was somewhat slower. We had some more technical difficulties with Spot. He's in the doghouse right now! We're trying to figure out the next course of action to repair his issue.

It's fun to check out different sections of the Park. It's nice to have time to look around and see what's there. I feel much more comfortable now that I know more about the Park, and it's various ins and outs! We still make wrong turns, trust me!

It was a glorious day to be together and with our friend, MBM. Hopefully you enjoyed your beautiful Sunday!

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Birdie Sling

The last part of Lindsey's gift was a beach bag/tote bag. She told me that she loves bags and colors, so I wanted to make her something to maybe take with her on her honeymoon or tote stuff around town!

I used Amy Butler's Birdie Sling pattern. Another fabulous pattern by Amy Butler, let me tell you!!! This is the second time I've used this pattern and it was easier than the first time. It certainly wasn't hard to begin with because her patterns are so user friendly, but the more you make something, the better you get at it.

Of course it had to be different on each side. Everything I make is two-sided in case you haven't noticed! Maybe this could be my signature :)

It turned out fabulous! The colors were bright and spring-like. The bag is the perfect size. I know she will enjoy using it!
I try very hard to think about the person and their personality when I make something. Every card, bag, purse, etc. that I make is special to me. Just like the person I make it for. 

If you're looking for a great pattern, this is it! All of Amy's patterns are great! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Something borrowed, Something blue...

On my wedding day, my cousin, Lindsey Marie, gave me the above vintage handkerchief that was her Granny's, and said that it could be "my borrowed" or "my blue," whatever I needed. I carried that hanky with me down the aisle the day I said my vows to my Dynamo. I did cry that day...a lot!! But, they were happy tears!

My mom's friend bought a get well card with a hanky in it...showed it to us...said "Rachel, you can make that"...and I thought I could too...So, I thought hard about it and came up with the above design for Lindsey's card. I wanted to incorporate shells because Lindsey is a beachy girl. The shell was one of many we found on one of our trips to Florida to see Dynamo's parents. It was the perfect addition.
The shell band slides off of the card and it opens to reveal this rhyme:
"Something borrowed, Something blue, Either way it's up to you! Love, Rachel Marie"
This was probably one of my best card creations. It was so special. You see, Lindsey and I are both only children, so we have a common thread. I have always looked up to my big cousin. I'm so happy to see that she's found her "Prince Charming." He will be a wonderful husband to her and a great addition to our family.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

"Pledging" her love

My cousin, Lindsey Marie, is getting married in less than 2 months! Mom and I took the trip up to northern Virginia (NOVA) to attend her lovely shower and celebrate with her on Sunday! It was a beautiful shower and we were so grateful to be able to be a part of her celebration.

Every guest was assigned a time of day and their gift had to be associated with that time. Mine was 6 a.m. So, there are lots of things you could be doing at 6 a.m., and I figured I'd focus on the cleaning theme (for the most part with a kiss or can of nuts thrown in).

I wrote her a letter and used common product names in the letter (i.e. PLEDGE, SNUGGLE, etc). Dynamo suggested that I put each gift in a numbered bag, and she was to open them in order. There was a tag on every item that she read aloud. Here's a pic of all the items lined up ready for bagging...
So, the letter read (each number represents the tag and corresponding bag):

1. Dear Lindsey Marie, Congratulations on your upcoming wedding. In less than 2 months, you'll PLEDGE your love to the man of your dreams.
2. Your wedding day will be the DAWN of your lives together, not as two people but as one.
3. Your marriage can be filled with lots of JOY if you choose to make it joyful.
4. Marriage does take work, but remember that everything worth having does. Not everything will be all lovey dovey and KISSES.
5. Asser may not always be MR.CLEAN or as BRAWNY as he is now.
6. As the years pass, you might not be as TONEd as you used to be either. That's ok, because you should love one another for what's inside. That's what counts.
7. For better or worse, it works best when no one tries to be a HOT SHOT.
8. There will be times when things will frustrate you. Some things he does will even drive you NUTS.
9. It may even make you want to SHOUT.
10. When times get tough it will seem like things just keep SNOWBALLING out of control.
11. When that happens take a deep breath and most importantly, pray, because the TIDE always turns.
12. Never go to bed mad. Be sure to plant a WET ONEs on each other and SNUGGLE as much as you can.
13. Above all, make sure to love Asser with all your HEART always. Love is truly enough.

When all the bags were filled, I stuffed them into a large rubbermaid tote, which was also part of the gift, and really good for transporting.

I think she really enjoyed the gift. She cried! So, more on the card and tote bag I made her in the next couple of days! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Mountain Bike Monday - Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

We couldn't have asked for a better day than we had on Saturday! It was a glorious day, and we, of course, couldn't spend it inside! So, what did we do? Well, what we always do...we biked!

I was fighting a terrible sore throat (still am), but decided that some fresh air and a nice ride would hopefully get me feeling better. It sure did make me feel better!

The ride started out a little cool. By the end I was down to my sleeveless shirt and shorts! Wow! In February!
Spot was back from the shop and feeling great! I felt good too! Together, we were unstoppable :)

We did the blue and green trails at Poco in record time. For some reason, I tackled the hills much better than I ever have. Except for this one...
I doesn't look like much, but trust is pretty steep. This picture doesn't do it justice.

Dynamo was really helpful to me (he always is) by encouraging me to keep my pedals going more on this ride. I think I've gotten complacent and haven't been keeping the pedals turning as much as I can/should on the downhills and through the turns. It truly helped me to attack the hills with more umph!
I was really starting to wonder why the hills were still pretty hard for me to tackle, and why it takes so much strength to climb, but I really think it has to do with me not using the downhills as much as I can to gain the speed. Also, I'm still working on standing sooner on the hills. Dynamo still yells, "get up!" to remind me every once in a while.
He has some serious patience! He has taught me well! Not all couples could tackle sports together, but we've done well.

I really like this pic of Dynamo! I was sitting on the bank of the creek and looked up to take this photo!

Saturday's ride was about taking time to enjoy the day. We were in no hurry. We had no place to be. It was nice. So often, we spend our days rushing to and from to get to one thing or another and never really take time to soak up the moment.
After we finished the green and blue trails we decided to venture a little more into new territory as well as old. We checked out the Qualla connector trail that we've heard about, which was twisty turny, and pretty neat. It was just a short cut thru to get to another parking lot at the park.

Then, we rode some fireroads around and eventually crossed the creek to the Forest Exploration Trail. Along the way we snapped some photos that you might enjoy...
On the Forest Exploration Trail, we took time to inspect the giant rock from a couple weeks back.

Dynamo scaled the rock like it was nothing! I stayed on the ground below! My bike shoes were a little slippery, so I thought I'd stick to ground.
From the top of the rock this is what he saw...
The day was beautiful. We were enjoying the day so much that we just kept on riding. We explored the Timber Management Area of the park and contemplated what the map said was there versus what was really there! The map is not very user friendly, nor does it have all of the roads labeled/identified. So, our next mission is to ride through the various sections of the park and make notes to help us remember mileage and routes.

By the end of the ride, we had done about 16 miles, and Dynamo's cyclometer reached 1,000 miles.
Dynamo got this cyclometer after he got his new bike, around this time last year. So, it's fair to say that we've traveled well over 1,000 miles in a year's time! Pretty cool if you ask me!

Thanks for a great ride, Dynamo! I enjoy every moment we spend together! I treasure all of these wonderful days that God created!

Well, I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I'll have more about my cousin's bridal shower and the gifts I made her in the next few days. Thanks for reading! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

journaling away

Well, I was super inspired by the Graffiti of My Life Art Journaling class I took and some of the new techniques I learned! Here's a recent journaling page I completed...
Who doesn't love pink?

I had an old ledger that I hunted forever for and finally found.

The pages were just lovely with old handwriting from the 1980s. It's so weird to think that wasn't so long ago and we used ledger books instead of computers! And, this was a local person's ledger, so I was familiar with all of the business names used.

I glued several pages together to create stability for the many layers of paint and collage. Then, I gessoed and collaged away.

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Mountain Bike Monday - Ride and Run

On Saturday morning, we woke bright and early to meet up with MBM and another guy at the Park for a ride on the Lakeview Trails. Our newest addition to the trio, making us a quartet for the day, was warned beforehand that it wasn't going to be a race. He said he didn't mind going at a social pace! Now...keep in mind that it was a social pace for the guys, but for me there wasn't much talking going on. I know that's hard to not talking, but there's not much chance of me being able to speak when I'm huffing and puffing up the hills (with no gears remember?).

The ride was a good one. The trails were really crunchy and frozen. The temperature read about 30 degrees when we started! I felt really good. My legs did take a while to warm up. We did have a little technical difficulty with Spot. The trails were a nice change after having riden on the fireroads for a couple of weeks. I think it's good to get in different kinds of rides. Each different route we take challenges us differently. MBM and the "other guy" (we will call him this since he didn't authorize me to use his name on the blog) even saw a coyote! Dynamo and I were a little ways behind, so we missed it.

After we finished Lakeview, Dynamo kept on riding and the rest of us went on our way back to the car. Remember, Dynamo is training for a 100 miler this Spring, so he has to get in some longer training rides. I accompany him for as much of his training as I physically can to keep him company. It's a long time to ride by yourself for 30, 40, 50, or even (I can't imagine) 100 miles!

I used to get so nervous when Dynamo would go out riding. I worried constantly about him. I still worry, but in a different way. Now that i bike, I understand a little better. I understand why he does it. I understand why he loves it. And, I totally respect him for wanting to accomplish so much. I want to encourage him and help him along his way. Together we can accomplish so much more. So, when he says he needs to ride I want him to, with or without me. The "to do" list will always be there waiting, and that doesn't matter. I admire him for aiming high and wanting to do something not many can/will/want to accomplish. I'm just glad that I don't have a couch potato for a husband! He's not only good for his own health, but for mine as well. He inspires me to be better! Everyday!

As for Spot...he's in the shop this week getting new tug nuts! Dynamo worked on him for a long while after we discovered the rear tire had a flat. Because it's a belt drive aligning it all back up can be very trying on your patience. After the ride where we had some issues, we decided to take it into Carytown Bikes for a little tune up and replacement part. So, this is the first time Spot will be away from home visiting with all the other bikes in the shop. I guarantee you he was the only one in the shop with pink grips!

I apologize for the lack of pictures this week. But, I do have this...

What is that you say? Well, we took a trip up to VA Runner in Fredericksburg to get analyzed for the right running shoe. Dynamo had done this before, but I had not. I run a couple times a week to get some cross training in and hopefully to strengthen different leg muscles to maybe help me on the bike.

Lately, I've been having some issues when I run. Dynamo really thought it was because my shoes weren't right. I agreed, so off we went. And, after some analysis and jogs in the parking lot with different shoes, I ended up with these...
They are Nike Vomeros. They fit really well. I never thought I'd have a pair of Nikes as my top choice, as I've been an Asics fan, but these just felt so good. So, I'll report in after my first run how we did.

It's really important to have the right shoes. I know this. I have avoided the analysis for a long time. I always thought I'd feel awkward running in front of someone while they watched. I know I was self conscious. But, when I got there I saw all different kinds of people...all shapes and sizes, walkers and runners. I felt completely comfortable. I guess all of my life I've struggled with the fact that I didn't really look like a runner. When I started biking I thought the same thing..."I don't look like the other bikers." But, I've gotten over that now. Runners, bikers, swimmers, etc. come in all shapes and sizes. I'm ok with that.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunday Sermon - February 13

"Dusty Bibles lead to dirty lives."
       - Church sign on Crater Rd., Petersburg, VA

Friday, February 11, 2011

more valentines wishes

I just can't get enough of the teal/red combo! It just goes so well together! I loved it so much that when Dynamo built me my gorgeous cabinet/bookcase for my craft room a while back, I painted it black and red and then accented it with these gorgeous teal drawer pulls from Anthropologie!

Valentine's Day is so wonderful! It's only a few days away! Have you gotten your sweetie a gift yet?
The gold foil looking stuff is actually a doily! I picked up a whole bunch of them a while back at the thrift store.'s another card...

On both of these cards, I used the new rub-ons from Stampin' Up! for Valentine's Day! Super cute!
And...I love the letter stickers! They are fun to mix and match types and fonts.

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

rushing swift creek

This is from our Sunday ride at the Park. Can you believe the boys crossed it last week? Turn up your volume for the full effect!

Swift Creek Super Bowl Sunday Ride from Rachel Chieppa on Vimeo.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Mountain Bike Monday - Super Sunday Spin

While most of you were preparing for your Super Bowl festivities, we were getting our weekly ride in at the Park. The water at the dam was still rushing...

And rushing...

It was a really nice day for a ride. We were looking for a route that didn't involve crossing the creek. It's no big deal in the summertime, but in the winter it can be pretty chilly! Earlier in the week, we found a very helpful guy through the Cycling Central VA site who had mapped out a 26 mile loop throughout the park (mostly fireroads). He shared this route with us, so we planned to go exploring. Many thanks to Brian for the route.

We explored lots of new territory in the park. It is so amazing how much we still haven't discovered at the park. There were more sights including this cool camping area (not that I camp remember)...

more rocks... this one was so awesome! I love the crack down the middle! It was beautiful!

more animals...

The trails we explored on the opposite side of the park from where we normally ride were quite utilized by these four-legged creatures. There was evidence everywhere (if you know what I mean). It was like dodging land mines!

...and, more hills!

We stopped at the top of one of the many hills and encountered this gentleman, who asked us if we were looking for the "flat trails." We all looked at each other and back at him implying "not really." We thanked him for his help and got back to our route.

It was a very nice ride. MBM, Dynamo, and I made a day of exploring and really got a workout.

By the end of the day, the cyclometer read...
30.19 miles! My longest off-road ride ever! Of course, Dynamo rode a little more after I stopped. But, I was super proud. Spot and I had a good ride!

I think I finally got my energy drink mix, I've got to work on the food intake!

Hope your Super Bowl Sunday was great!