Friday, March 28, 2008

Fabulous Foot Friday

This episode of Fabulous Foot Friday will bring to you the Fancy Trim Foot. This is another embellishing foot similar to last weeks foot.

This foot has a flat opening best for ribbons and such. It guides the ribbon so that it is perfectly placed on your project. I like this foot because it is clear and you can see if the ribbon is getting bent on the sides.
So, while this is a similar foot to last week I want to show it to you anyway. Everyone has different needs and I like to show all the different options. As I am showing you these feet I am inspired to use them. I hope you are inspired too. Hmmmm? What is the next project I can use this on?

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Pictures of Next Couple of Projects

I have told you that I am planning to make a skirt and a shirt. Well, I thought you might like to see the pattern that I am using.

The skirt: Burda 7861 (I unsuccessfully tried to get the technical drawing off the website. I love the technical drawings because they really show the lines of a garment.)
I will be making this out of brown fine wale corduroy.
And the shirt: New Look 6407
I am not sure what I am going to make this out of. I have two choices. One is a solid and the other is a really pretty lavender stripe. Eventually I think that both with be made into this shirt if I can get the fit right on the first one.

I am a little nervous to start the shirt. I have been reading about all the "fun" others have been having with their fitted shirts over at Pattern Review. I am hoping that this project does not totally frustrate me.

First though, I will start with the skirt. I think that it will break me back in slowly to fitting garments for myself. I am hoping to start tonight.

I wish that I had shirt fabric that would coordinate with the skirt. It would be so much fun to make a coordinating outfit. Up until now I have not purchased fabric with coordination in mind. I just purchase what I like or what might go with other things in my closet. After I get rid of some of this stash I will definitely try to purchase fabrics with more of a plan. Everything is a learning process!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a fantastic day!!

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Dress Complete!

Saturday was a crazy day. I spent all day sewing. That was so much fun. My husband took my kids out for a bit for and Easter Egg Hunt. It was nice to have some quiet. I finished my daughters Easter dress. The hand stitching took longer than I thought it would on Saturday evening. It was such a relief to have it done. I spent about 3 weeks consistently working on this dress. I don't think that my daughter appreciates me or this dress as I think that she should. She didn't bow down and hail my greatness when she put it on. What's up with that??!! LOL! I didn't get a great picture of the dress because she was busy on her treasure hunt and we were madly getting ready for church. I am going to take her for some more professional pictures sometime to get better pictures of the dress.

The pattern is from Austrailian Smocking & Embroidery Magazine #57. It is a combination of two dresses, Angelique and Field of Flowers (shown on cover). I used the smocking pattern from Angelique but I added the flowers in the middle. To lengthen it I added a contrasting band at the bottom. I hid the stitching for the band under tucks. I love how these patterns are written. They are easy to follow and they have you do some great techniques. I absolutely loved how this turned out. It is such a class little girl dress. To me it looks like that I bought it in an expensive boutique and not homemade.

On to Saturday Project #2 The Cape: I finished this also. It took me longer than I thought it would. I am such a horrible judge of how long a project will take. Anyway, I had it all completed it looked great. I put it on my dress form to steam it. I will not talk about what happened next. It is too upsetting. Next subject.

Project #3 didn't get started. I didn't have time to do anything with my skirt except look over the pattern and wash the fabric. I am hoping to get to it this week. I have been knitting the last couple of nights so I haven't started this yet.

Possible projects this week: Skirt and a fitted shirt. We will see what happens.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Posting to Say I'm Too Busy for Posting

This will be a very quick update on why I haven't posted at all this week.

Project 1 to be finished by Easter: I have been so busy stashbusting for Easter I haven't had time to post. I am almost finished with my daughters Easter dress. I just have a few minor finishing details. It looks great. I will take pictures tomorrow and definitely post them.

Project 2 to be finished by Easter: I absentmindedly told my daughter that I wanted to make her a cape. Ooops! I have some black and white wool that I bought a couple of years ago for this and just haven't done it. She is growing out of her winter coat so this will be great for the rest of spring and probably next fall. It totally doesn't go with her Easter dress but oh well! I have this all cut out and will quickly sew it up today.

Project 3 to be finished by Easter: As I was finishing my daughters dress I thought about what I would wear to church. I do not have very many dresses or skirts that I could wear and realized that I shouldn't wear pants. I have some brown corduroy and a Burda pattern that I could whip up and so that is on the roster for today also. I know that it is not very springy but it is what I have and it is cold here and so I think that it will work. The shirt that I will put with it is a little more springy looking.

So, that is what I am working on. If I get this all finished I will have gone through about 8 yards of fabric. That would be a huge accomplishment for me. I have to get going. I have lots to do!

Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful Saturday and a blessed Easter!

Until next time...

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fabulous Foot Friday! Braiding Foot

On to a foot that is for embellishment. The Braiding Foot or Couching foot tremendously helps keep your desired embellishment to stay inbetween the zig zag stitching. This is the top of the foot.

This is the bottom of the foot. Notice the groove that guides. You can use many different things to embellish your project with this foot. This one is better with things that are thicker. I use ribbon in the photos but you can use yarn, fabric strips or tubes, or flat trim. There are other feet that work better with thin yarns and threads.

Start with the ribbon (or whatever you choose) through the guide hole and under the presser foot. Select a zigzag stitch that is your desired width. You have some creative license here. You can have your stitches catch the edges, go off the edges or even be decorative down the middle. I chose to have my stitches go just beyond the edge of the ribbon.

As you can see in this last picture the ribbon is completely encased by the stitches. Another great application for this foot is a thread casing for thin elastic. This is an easy way to make an elastic cuff or waistband. Simply zigzag directly over the elastic before sewing up side seams. Make sure that your stitches do not catch the elastic. Once elastic is stitched in place you can pull it up to the desired finished width. Then sew the side seams catching the elastic.

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about this foot. I am sure that there are many great ways to use it. If you have a favorite way that you use this foot please let me know. I would love to have even more applications for this foot.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Alaska Iditarod 2008 The End!

The race is over. And the winner is...

Lance Mackey.

It was an exciting race in the end but Mackey's dogs pulled out some steam over the inclines of the last 77 miles to Nome.

Lance Mackey drives his team to the finish line of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska early Wednesday March 12, 2007. Mackey won his second consecutive Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, completing the 1,100-mile journey across Alaska in just under nine and a half days.

Iditarod sled dog musher Lance Mackey wins the Iditarod early Wednesday Morning March 12, 2008 crossing under the burled arch in Nome, AK. Mackey wins his second Iditarod in a row and the second time in a row he has won the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod in the same year.

Top 20 Finishers:

Place Musher (bib) Checkpoint Time in Time out Dogs in Dogs out 8 hr 24 hr
1 Lance Mackey (6) Nome 3/12 2:46 AM
x x
2 Jeff King (11) Nome 3/12 4:05 AM
x x
3 Ramey Smyth (48) Nome 3/12 9:52 AM
x x
4 Ken Anderson (9) Nome 3/12 10:11 AM
x x
5 Martin Buser (13) Nome 3/12 10:11 AM
x x
6 Hans Gatt (38) Nome 3/12 11:20 AM
x x
7 Mitch Seavey (33) Nome 3/12 11:42 AM
x x
8 Paul Gebhardt (69) Nome 3/12 12:17 PM
x x
9 Kjetil Backen (42) Nome 3/12 12:25 PM
x x
10 Sebastian Schnuelle (68) Nome 3/12 1:14 PM
x x
11 Zack Steer (26) Nome 3/12 1:15 PM
x x
12 Cim Smyth (2) Nome 3/12 1:24 PM
x x
13 Rick Swenson (61) Nome 3/12 2:43 PM
x x
14 Jessie Royer (3) Nome 3/12 4:00 PM
x x
15 DeeDee Jonrowe (39) Nome 3/12 4:07 PM
x x
16 Gerry Willomitzer (7) Nome 3/12 7:46 PM
x x
17 Ed Iten (32) Nome 3/12 7:59 PM
x x
18 Ray Redington Jr. (49) Nome 3/12 8:38 PM
x x
19 Aaron Burmeister (14) Nome 3/12 9:05 PM
x x
20 Jim Lanier (4) Nome 3/12 9:35 PM
x x

Thank you so much for stopping by. I hope you enjoyed these Iditarod 2008 updates. Check back in a year for Iditarod 2009. Wait, please do not wait that long to check back. I will be posting again soon. My smocking is almost done for the Easter dress. My goal is to have it finished by the end of the weekend.

Have a great day!

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Alaska Iditarod 2008 Day 10

I wasn't able to post for day 9. What a day yesterday! The race will end either tonight or tomorrow morning so this will be one of the last posts. The leaders are about 100 miles from Nome now. The next will announce the WINNER of the 2008 Iditarod. How exciting!

Top 10 Mushers so far:

Place Musher (bib) Checkpoint Time in Time out Dogs in Dogs out 8 hr 24 hr
1 Lance Mackey (6) Elim 3/11 12:47 AM 3/11 2:20 AM 12 11 x x
2 Jeff King (11) Elim 3/11 12:50 AM 3/11 3:10 AM 16 16 x x
3 Martin Buser (13) Koyuk 3/10 8:44 PM 3/11 2:10 AM 13 13 x x
4 Hans Gatt (38) Koyuk 3/10 9:12 PM 3/11 2:19 AM 12 12 x x
5 Ken Anderson (9) Koyuk 3/10 9:17 PM 3/11 2:24 AM 15 15 x x
6 Ramey Smyth (48) Koyuk 3/10 8:51 PM 3/11 2:43 AM 10 9 x x
7 Paul Gebhardt (69) Koyuk 3/10 9:55 PM 3/11 3:24 AM 11 11 x x
8 Mitch Seavey (33) Koyuk 3/10 9:56 PM 3/11 3:38 AM 9 9 x x
9 Kjetil Backen (42) Koyuk 3/10 9:56 PM 3/11 3:38 AM 13 13 x x
10 Rick Swenson (61) Koyuk 3/10 10:44 PM 3/11 5:00 AM 13 13 x x

Here is a fun article about the leaders and what antics they are up to. It is a little long but it is fun to read.

Mind games in play as leaders seek an edge

Races is shaping up for a tight finish

Update: Lance Mackey and Jeff King pulled into the Elim checkpoint just three minutes apart before 1 a.m. today. Mackey cut his rest short and left a dog behind before departing at 2:20 a.m. with King following at 3:10. Their times from Koyuk showed them running fairly even with Mackey taking just 13 minutes longer than King over the 48 miles.

KOYUK -- Icicles dangled from the mustache of defending Iditarod champion Lance Mackey on Monday afternoon as he pulled into this village on the coast of frozen Norton Sound with a four-time champion on his heels.

Dozens of villagers dressed in warm parkas, some holding signs that read "123 miles to Nome," cheered the Fairbanks musher when he arrived at 1:19 p.m. But their attention on last year's Iditarod and Yukon Quest champion shifted quickly when Jeff King pulled in eight minutes later.

The two had just traveled 45 miles from Shaktoolik along windswept ice, fighting a ground blizzard, below-zero wind chill and a nasty headwind. With visibility less than a mile, the two ran close together along the flattest terrain on the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail. Despite snow swirling around him, Mackey could turn his head and see King's team in the distance.

"It was kind of hard not to notice," Mackey said. "He was right there."

This cat-and-mouse game could last until tonight or Wednesday morning in Nome.

With storm clouds blotting out the sunshine, King parked his 16 dogs behind Mackey's 12. King shook out straw to bed his dogs, snacked them and pondered when Mackey would make his next move.

"He's been the wild man, so we'll let him wild man it up a little more," King said as he tossed a match in a clump of straw to heat his cooker. "He's very comfortable in the lead."

Frustrated with his slow time on the ice, Mackey said he would let King depart first and lead the way to the next checkpoint of Elim. But that was just the first of multiple bluffs told by each musher.

"They're fading away for sure," Mackey said about his dogs. "I'd love to (win the Iditarod), but the only thing I can do (to win) is take away more of their rest. I'm comfortable (with them) getting the rest they need and finishing second.

"At the moment, I know he's very capable of pulling away from me. But I'm stopping, and I'm not leaving until he leaves."

He said it, but he didn't do it. After resting 4 hours, 22 minutes, Mackey took off at 5:41 p.m. with 12 dogs. King left 16 minutes later, resting eight minutes longer than Mackey.

Earlier in the day, they arrived in Shaktoolik minutes apart before Mackey pulled out onto the Norton Sound ice at 5:57 a.m. King left 39 minutes later and eventually trimmed 31 minutes off Mackey's lead.

"He's clearly got the fastest dogs this round," Mackey said after his Norton Sound run. "I think he knows that."

Mackey said King's team had the capability of passing him on the Sound. But King said Mackey is keeping a good poker face, downplaying the strength of his dogs. King averaged 7 mph on the way here, while Mackey averaged 6.51 mph.

Mackey's dogs are losing their focus, he said, and the musher's feet have gone completely numb from the cold weather he faced two weeks ago in the Yukon Quest. He's trying to keep this team -- winners of three straight 1,000-mile races -- together until Nome.

But he's been saying that since Ruby, the first checkpoint on the Yukon River, where some dogs had diarrhea and others had poor enthusiasm. They were also running without Hobo, one of Mackey's best leaders, who was dropped in Rohn.

So how could Mackey still lead out of Koyuk?

"Fluke," Mackey said. "I think he's playing with me. In fact, I know he is. He knows he's faster. He purposely left Shaktoolik behind me to give me enough time to set tracks all the way here. He ain't dumb. I'd do the same thing if I had the opportunity."

King claimed that wasn't true. Whenever he got within a mile or less of Mackey, the 37-year-old cancer survivor asked his dogs to run faster.

"I'm deliberately not trying too hard to catch him," King said. "(But) when I got close to him, I thought I could pass him. He clearly shifted it into another gear. I don't know how he did it. In 15 minutes he gained what looked like a mile on me. He didn't like the idea of me passing him."

"That's bull----," said Mackey, who said his dogs are stuck in four-low gear.

King said later that unless he's ready to pass Mackey, he doesn't want to get too close. All that does is encourage King's dogs to chase Mackey's team, and he doesn't want that to happen.

"Don't tell him that," King told reporters, who didn't know whether he was being sarcastic.

When will you take the lead for good, someone asked King.

"I have no idea," he said. "It's not like I could at will. (Mackey) flat tore it on another gear. If he keeps doing that I won't."

But if King does pass beneath Nome's burled arch first, he would tie Two Rivers' Rick Swenson for the most Iditarod victories with five. Swenson has held the title of "Iditarod's winningest musher" since 1991.

On his way to this village, Mackey's thoughts weren't focused totally on the Iditarod. In two weeks, he's scheduled to compete against King in the All-Alaska Sweepstakes, a 408-mile race from Nome to Candle and back. The winner takes home $100,000.

"We might have a pattern going on -- Jeff wins (2006 Iditarod), I win (2007 Iditarod), Jeff wins (2008?), I win (Sweepstakes)," Mackey said. "We meet again in two weeks.

"So if he wins this one, it'll be my turn."

Despite all that was said Monday, neither Mackey nor King was backing down.

"I'll do best on good trail, if there's any out there," King said. "I'm guessing the beach. One way or another it's bound to be exciting."


The finish chute for the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race with the burled arch sits on Front Street in Nome, Alaska Monday, March 10, 2008, ready for the finish of the 1,100 mile sled dog race from Anchorage. Snow will be trucked in and laid down on the street when the musher near the Bering Sea town.

Koyuk villagers Michelle Kavairlook and Katie Hannon look at a photo they made of themselves after Iditarod sled dog mushers Lance Mackey and Jeff King came into the Koyuk checkpoint Monday, March 10, 2008.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!
Until next time...

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Alaska Iditarod 2008 Day 8

I apologize for the late info. I thought I had posted this but apparently I didn't. The update for today will soon follow.

Top 10 Mushers so far:

Place Musher (bib) Checkpoint Time in Time out Dogs in Dogs out 8 hr 24 hr
1 Lance Mackey (6) Unalakleet 3/09 3:32 PM 3/09 6:17 PM 14 12 x x
2 Jeff King (11) Unalakleet 3/09 2:02 PM 3/09 7:01 PM 16 16 x x
3 Paul Gebhardt (69) Kaltag 3/09 5:39 AM 3/09 5:50 AM 12 12 x x
4 Ramey Smyth (48) Kaltag 3/09 9:11 AM 3/09 9:20 AM 12 12 x x
5 Zack Steer (26) Kaltag 3/09 9:30 AM 3/09 9:36 AM 12 12 x x
6 Sebastian Schnuelle (68) Kaltag 3/09 10:12 AM 3/09 10:20 AM 15 15 x x
7 Kjetil Backen (42) Kaltag 3/09 4:12 AM 3/09 10:21 AM 14 13 x x
8 Hans Gatt (38) Kaltag 3/09 4:10 AM 3/09 10:22 AM 12 12 x x
9 Gerry Willomitzer (7) Kaltag 3/09 10:34 AM 3/09 10:43 AM 13 13 x x
10 Jessie Royer (3) Kaltag 3/09 7:40 AM 3/09 11:40 AM 12 12 x x

This race is getting so exciting. Jeff King and Lance Mackey are certainly fighting it out. King was first into Unalakleet but Mackey was first out. Mackey is down to 12 dogs where King has all 16. King is probably the faster team and since he left less than 45 minutes behind Mackey they are probably neck and neck. They are about 200 miles from Nome. On to Shaktoolik for the leaders. Martin Buser, Rick Swenson, Jim Lanier, and DeeDee Jonrowe are all fighting to get back in to the top 10. There is still a lot of race left. They have around 250 miles left.

Iditarod sled dog musher DeeDee Jonrowe feeds her team the Galena checkpoint on Saturday March 8, 2008.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Alaska Iditarod 2008 Day 7

Top 10 Mushers so far:

Place Musher (bib) Checkpoint Time in Time out Dogs in Dogs out 8 hr 24 hr
1 Lance Mackey (6) Nulato 3/08 9:40 AM 3/08 2:49 PM 14 14 x x
2 Jeff King (11) Nulato 3/08 11:40 AM 3/08 4:32 PM 16 16 x x
3 Mitch Seavey (33) Nulato 3/08 2:35 PM
x x
4 Paul Gebhardt (69) Nulato 3/08 2:49 PM
x x
5 Rick Swenson (61) Nulato 3/08 3:38 PM
x x
6 Hans Gatt (38) Nulato 3/08 5:18 PM
x x
7 Kjetil Backen (42) Nulato 3/08 5:19 PM
x x
8 John Baker (67) Nulato 3/08 5:37 PM
x x
9 Jessie Royer (3) Nulato 3/08 7:26 PM
x x
10 Jim Lanier (4) Galena 3/08 7:06 AM 3/08 7:33 AM 14 14 x x

Two Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race mushers drives their teams down the Yukon River between the Ruby and Galena, Alaska, checkpoint of the race Saturday, March 8, 2008.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Friday, March 7, 2008

Fabulous Foot Friday Cancelled for this Week

Due to circumstances beyond my control (fighting with my smocking pleater) I was not able to prepare the Fabulous Foot Friday post for this week. Since completing my daughters Easter dress is my first priority right now I will probably not have a chance to post about this within the next couple of days. Check back though. I do have some posts already started so it might not be a post free week.

Thank you so much for hanging in there with me. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Alaska Iditarod 2008 Day 6

Top 10 Mushers this far:

Place Musher (bib) Checkpoint Time in Time out Dogs in Dogs out 8 hr 24 hr
1 Lance Mackey (6) Ruby 3/07 7:32 AM 3/07 3:32 PM 14 14 x x
2 Jeff King (11) Ruby 3/07 10:08 AM 3/07 6:08 PM 16 16 x x
3 Kjetil Backen (42) Ruby 3/07 1:37 PM 3/07 9:37 PM 14 14 - x
4 Mitch Seavey (33) Ruby 3/07 1:56 PM 3/07 9:56 PM 13 11 x x
5 Ed Iten (32) Ruby 3/07 6:49 PM 3/07 9:58 PM 16 16 - x
6 Hans Gatt (38) Ruby 3/07 2:09 PM 3/07 10:09 PM 13 12 x x
7 John Baker (67) Ruby 3/07 3:49 PM
- x
8 Rick Swenson (61) Ruby 3/07 3:57 PM
- x
9 Jim Lanier (4) Ruby 3/07 4:10 PM
- x
10 Ramey Smyth (48) Ruby 3/07 4:38 PM
- x

As I have said before this race changes all the time. Yesterday DeeDee Jonrowe was 1st. Today she is 13th. Martin Buser, who was up at the front yesterday is 15th today. These crazy changes have to do with the 24 and 8 hour manditory rests. Some of the mushers take them earlier than others. DeeDee pushed on to Cripple while others rested. They caught up and passed her while she took her manditory break. It is all up in the air till the end with the frontrunners. The end is getting very close. The mushers will soon be making their final push to the finish at Nome.

Here is an article in our local paper about the race, specifically Zoya DeNure the prior fashion model.

Iditarod is no catwalk for rookie DeNure

Former model takes a rough ride through Dalzell Gorge

TAKOTNA -- Zoya DeNure holds a Phillips head screwdriver in Thursday's mid-afternoon sun, thinking it's the right tool to fix her busted-up dog sled, tucked among the log cabins high on the bluffs of the Takotna River.

ohn Schandelmeier, a fomer Yukon Quest champion following his wife on the trail, kneels down to check the damage on the sled that didn't make it through the notorious Dalzell Gorge in one piece Tuesday.

But he leaves the sled for DeNure to fix.

Years ago, the woman from Paxson would have had no clue. She was a model in Europe, smiling for cameras on runways and partying with celebrities. That life got old, though, and she sought different adventures in Alaska.

She found them here on the 1,100-mile Iditarod Trail. Life is much different these days. When DeNure first arrived in Alaska six years ago, she didn't know how to start a campfire. Now she's driving dogs in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

"Is this going to be OK?" asks the 29-year-old native of Wisconsin about the broken stanchion.

chandelmeier doesn't answer.

"Wow, it's coming apart," she says, picking at the frayed wood of the vertical bar that helps keep the sled upright.

By Iditarod rules, Schandelmeier can't help his wife. Besides, as an Iditarod rookie, DeNure needs to learn how to mend her broken sled -- and do it quickly.

It's 2 p.m., a balmy 30 degrees and she's planning to leave for Ophir by nightfall when the temperature drops into the 20s.

"I need to get some water going," DeNure says, feeling rushed as she thinks of all the dog chores that need to be done.

Minor jobs around camp are important to running the 1,100-mile race across Alaska. But fixing her broken ride and changing the runners is top priority if she expects to finish.

Reaching Nome was her main thought Tuesday when she negotiated the harrowing trail that snakes through the Dalzell Gorge with a broken left stanchion and badly bent brake pad.

"My dogs were having a great time," she said. "But my sled paid for it."

DeNure was tossed around like a rag doll when she hit a stump and crashed. She recovered, but her sled didn't.

For the next three hours, she tightly gripped her wobbly handlebar on a wild ride into the Rohn checkpoint.

"There was so much stuff -- lots of hitting, crunching," she said. "What a wild ride.

"I couldn't steer and everything was coming apart. I couldn't use the brake or the pad because they were bent."

A volunteer checker at Rohn drilled a six-inch piece of hockey stick to her sled as a temporary splice. That was good enough to get her though the next 150 miles to reach this checkpoint, but it would never last the 680 miles left before Nome.

"You just deal with what you have," DeNure said.

A few front-runners agreed the first 150 miles of trail leading into Rainy Pass was a doggie highway. But those in the back of the pack found the aftermath of dozens of dog teams carving deeper and deeper gooves in the trail.

How bad was it?

Just ask Gene Smith, a 64-year-old Washington state musher who reported trenches three feet deep.

"It was as high as your sled," Smith said. But the good news was "you couldn't tip over."

Out of the trenches and in open areas, however, he tipped his sled 40 to 50 times from Rainy Pass to Rohn. At least, the former rodeo cowboy acknowledged, it wasn't as bad as the long fall from a bucking bronc.

Smith arrived in Takotna around 5 a.m. Thursday. Without the energy to search for the musher's sleeping quarters up the road, he crawled upstairs at the checkpoint and slept next to media crews on the wood floor.

"It'll be over some day," Smith said. "That's why we're here. To see how many days it takes to get over the pain."

His back and shoulders ache, but he was happy to be here for his 24-hour layover. He ate a hearty meal of hot pancakes, eggs sunny-side up and hash browns. Maybe all that good food fueled him with optimism.

"I started out wanting to be top 30," Smith said. "At Rohn I think I changed it to top 60."

Photo by BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News
Lance Mackey leaves the Ruby checkpoint and heads down the Yukon towards Galena on Friday March 7.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Alaska Iditarod 2008 Day 5

Top 10 Mushers as of today:
Place Musher (bib) Checkpoint Time in Time out Dogs in Dogs out 8 hr 24 hr
1 DeeDee Jonrowe (39) Cripple 3/06 6:22 AM
- -
2 Paul Gebhardt (69) Cripple 3/06 6:30 AM
- -
3 Zack Steer (26) Cripple 3/06 6:38 AM
- -
4 Martin Buser (13) Cripple 3/06 6:40 AM
- -
5 Ed Iten (32) Cripple 3/06 7:20 AM
- -
6 Ken Anderson (9) Cripple 3/06 7:42 AM
- -
7 Silvia Willis (40) Cripple 3/06 8:33 AM
- -
8 Hugh Neff (16) Cripple 3/06 8:43 AM
- -
9 Aliy Zirkle (17) Cripple 3/06 8:53 AM
- -
10 Rohn Buser (37) Cripple 3/06 9:22 AM
- -

They are at the halfway point now. DeeDee Jonrowe won the $3000 in gold nuggets for being the first to this point. Paul Gebhardt was ahead of her but got turned around on the trail and ended up behind her in 2nd place to Cripple. This race has so many twists and turns. Just a few days left to go.

Photo by AL GRILLO / The Associated Press

Ryan Redington runs his team past the Takotna post office as he leaves the checkpoint on Thursday, March 6.

If I have some extra time I will post about the dress I am making my daughter for Easter. It is smocked and I have loved this pattern forever. I am so excited to make it. Tonight I will finish cutting it out and hopefully get it pleated. My goal for today was to begin on the smocking. So far I am a little behind.

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Alaska Iditarod 2008 Day 4

Top 10 Mushers today:
Place Musher (bib) Checkpoint Time in Time out Dogs in Dogs out 8 hr 24 hr
1 Paul Gebhardt (69) Ophir 3/05 12:42 PM 3/05 12:52 PM 15 15 - -
2 Hugh Neff (16) Ophir 3/05 10:40 AM 3/05 4:18 PM 14 13 - -
3 Zack Steer (26) Ophir 3/05 12:19 PM 3/05 6:13 PM 14 14 - -
4 Silvia Willis (40) Ophir 3/05 6:06 PM 3/05 6:38 PM 14 14 - -
5 DeeDee Jonrowe (39) Ophir 3/05 6:31 PM 3/05 6:45 PM 15 14 - -
6 Martin Buser (13) Ophir 3/05 1:00 PM 3/05 7:30 PM 15 15 - -
7 Ed Iten (32) Ophir 3/05 12:34 PM 3/05 7:31 PM 16 16 - -
8 Ken Anderson (9) Ophir 3/05 2:57 PM 3/05 7:54 PM 16 16 - -
9 Mitch Seavey (33) Ophir 3/05 10:00 AM
- -
10 Ramey Smyth (48) Ophir 3/05 1:08 PM

- -

It is amazing how fast this race changes. Yesterday, Lance Mackey (2007 Winner) was in first and today he is in 15th. It is quite the exciting race. So far only 5 mushers have scratched.

Positions of some of the other mushers I mentioned:
Jeff King 16th
Rohn Buser 12th
Sigrid Ekran 22nd
Melissa Owens 29th
Rick Swenson 44th
Zoya DeNure 69th
Rachael Scdoris and Joe Runyan 75th and 76th

Melissa Owens, of Nome, Alaska, drives her team down the bank of the Kuskokwim River as she leaves the McGrath, Alaska checkpoint on the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, Wednesday, March 5, 2008.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Oilily Jumper Knock Off

Pattern review was having a RTW knock off challenge as I mentioned before. I decided to get in on the challenge even though I was a bit late. I am so glad that I did (even though I wasn't able to enter in the end)! This project challenged me more than anything I have ever done. By doing this I have gained so much more confidence in my ability. My inspiration:

Here is my finished jumper. It was adorable on my daughter and fit her perfectly.

Prior to this project I have followed patterns pretty closely. I didn't do much altering to the pattern pieces. I always had the pattern instructions posted and looked at them throughout the construction of my garments. It has been a goal of mine to become competent enough in garment construction techniques that I would not need to look at the instructions. This project blew away all my past barriers. I completely altered my pattern. This is what I started with.

This is a simple v-neck, a-line jumper. The bodice is separate from the skirt and the back has a zipper. I changed it into a v-neck wrap jumper with front button closure (removing zipper). I made it all one piece with princess seams. I also gave it an interesting back yoke and moved the shoulder seams so that they were in the front not on the shoulder. None of these alterations were particularly difficult. There was just so many to keep track of. Because I changed the pattern so much I was not able to follow the pattern instructions. I was completely on my own.

I thought I would show you some highlights of how I altered this pattern.

1. I started by attaching the front bodice to the skirt front. I used my daughters back waist measurement as the guide. I had to overlap the two pieces more than the normal seam allowance because by daughter is a bit short waisted. Then I lengthened the skirt below the waist because my daughter has long legs. You cannot see it on the picture but I also marked the cutting line on the side. I had to cut a a size between the 6 and 7. Multi size patterns make this so easy.

2. Next I worked on the wrap. First I traced my new dress front onto tracing paper so that I would have a pattern piece of the whole front. I marked the center front. Then I cut the shoulder off (looking at the picture I cut off the right shoulder) making the shape of the wrap. Then, I cut my princess seam. I didn't add seam allowances. I noted on my pattern where I needed to add the seam allowance and cut it when I cut out the fabric.

3. This is the back. I attached the bodice to the skirt in the same way that I did the front. The original jumper has an interesting back yoke. In the closer picture you can see the shape. In my next post I will show how I sewed the yoke. I drew the shape that I wanted. Then I cut the top of the yoke away from the rest of the dress. I added seam allowances to these pieces since they were curved. After I had my yoke made I cut the seams that run from yoke to hem. The godets were put in these princess style seams in the front and back.

4. I changed the shoulder seams last. I taped the front to back at the shoulder seam eliminating the seam allowance. I then cut the new shoulder seam and added the seam allowance back on each side.

So as you can hopefully see there were many things that I changed but none of them were too difficult. It really helped me to just take one feature that I wanted to alter at a time. Doing one little step at a time helped curb the overwhelmingness (is that a word?). Please, if you have any questions (I am not sure I was clear) please ask.

I am so thankful for this exercise. My next project is a smocked dress. My goal is to have it finished by Easter. On the pattern I did not like the collar. It seemed too large to me. But because of this project I am totally confident that I can grade up another collar pattern that I do like and make it fit on the new dress.

Sewing can be such a fun challenge!! Boy, do I love it!

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Alaska Iditarod 2008 Day 3

Top 10 Mushers so far: They have traveled around 250 miles so far.

Place Musher (bib) Checkpoint Time in Time out Dogs in Dogs out 8 hr 24 hr
1 Lance Mackey (6) Nikolai 3/04 11:36 AM 3/04 4:17 PM 15 15 - -
2 Jeff King (11) Nikolai 3/04 11:46 AM 3/04 4:47 PM 16 16 - -
3 Kjetil Backen (42) Nikolai 3/04 10:39 AM 3/04 5:22 PM 15 15 - -
4 Paul Gebhardt (69) Nikolai 3/04 11:33 AM 3/04 5:32 PM 16 16 - -
5 Hugh Neff (16) Nikolai 3/04 12:05 PM 3/04 5:33 PM 15 14 - -
6 Zack Steer (26) Nikolai 3/04 1:23 PM 3/04 6:03 PM 16 14 - -
7 Hans Gatt (38) Nikolai 3/04 12:04 PM 3/04 6:32 PM 15 15 - -
8 Mitch Seavey (33) Nikolai 3/04 12:40 PM 3/04 6:43 PM 14 14 - -
9 Gerry Willomitzer (7) Nikolai 3/04 11:17 AM 3/04 6:46 PM 14 13 - -
10 Jim Lanier (4) Nikolai 3/04 2:38 PM 3/04 6:53 PM 16 16 - -

I thought you all might be interested in reading a little about the land they are mushing through. It is a little long so you might want to skim. It is interesting reading. The terraine is very different that what we are used to.

Rohn to Nikolai

by Donald Bowers, Jr.

Quick Overview

This leg isn���������t as long as it���������s alleged to be. Some people say it actually runs only 75 miles, but the real distance is probably closer to 80. It���������s still quite a pull, but not as bad as it could be. (The published figure probably comes from the old trail routing over to Farewell Station and then to
Nikolai.) On the other hand, there are some truly bad spots on this stretch, mostly within the first 20 miles. Expect a total of 10 to 15 hours for this leg; you���������ll want to rest the dogs for several hours somewhere, or else take a lot of shorter breaks.

This run breaks into three natural sections: 20 miles along the south side of the South Fork of the Kuskokwim from Rohn to Farewell Lakes and up onto the Farewell Burn, 35 miles across the Burn itself to Sullivan Creek, and then 20 miles north from Sullivan Creek past Salmon River to Nikolai.

Detailed Description

The first 20 miles out of Rohn has some of the consistently worst trail on the whole race. Allow yourself at least three hours of good daylight when you leave Rohn���������you���������ll definitely want to see what you���������re getting into. Also, it wouldn���������t be a bad idea to run this stretch of trail in convoy with one or more other teams. preferably someone who has done it before. You can get into situations on this leg that can require all the help you can get.

From Rohn, the trail immediately breaks out onto the windblown gravel and sandbars of the South Fork of the Kuskokwim River have about a mile of really lousy going over bare spots, through driftwood tangles, across large stretches of slippery ice, and maybe even through some overflow and shallow open water.

This area is a natural wind tunnel and is a perennial Excedrin headache for the Iditarod Air Force pilots. The wind is often blowing hard out on the open riverbed, 40 miles per hour or more; it always blows from the east, or down the river. You might have some trouble keeping the team going in the correct direction on the ice if the wind is strong enough. Be prepared to grab your leaders and help them if the wind is really strong.

Markings across the river usually aren���������t very good. You���������re looking to cross the river on a diagonal to the southwest, picking up the trail on the far side where it re-enters the trees. There should be plenty of markers on the tree line. You can use your headlight even during the day to help pick out the reflective markers. Once you���������re back in the trees the trail is generally okay for ten miles or so climb quickly up out of the river bottoms through a steep ravine onto a low plateau bordering the river on the south side. The plateau is well wooded, but you���������ll make a couple of drops into small open side valleys flowing into the main river from the south (left). There will probably be glare ice and some frozen marshy areas as you cross these valleys.

Five miles out of Rohn on an otherwise straight trail, you���������ll make a sudden swing to the right and then slowly start bending back around to the left. The entire side of the mountain overlooking the south side of the valley collapsed in the winter of 1997-8 and obliterated about half a mile of the trail, burying it under 30 to 50 feet of mud, rocks, and entire uprooted trees. The bypass trail may be a bit rough in places, but it shouldn���������t be any trouble. What looks like a small hill on your left as your work along the bypass trail is actually the edge of the landslide���������it was a Really Big One! Be happy you were here when the mountain decided to come down and visit the river.

About ten miles out you���������ll come to the Post River. Don���������t worry���������you���������ll know it when you see it. This is a major river flowing in from the south and you���������ll have a hundred yards or more of gently sloping ice to cross, probably without much snow cover. It may have a light covering of water in places, making it Really Slick. On the far side you���������ll have a quick left turn back up the bank and into the trees again; slow the dogs down as you leave the ice and don���������t miss the turn up the steep bank.

Half a mile later you���������ll come to what most people call the Post River Glacier, but which is really a separate, smaller stream. This little stretch is about a quarter-mile of pure nightmare even under good conditions, followed by some merely terrible trail for another quarter-mile or so.

You���������ll come to the crest of a hill and will see a hundred-yard expanse of ice in the canyon below, with a side ravine feeding in from the other side. The side ravine will look like a sloping cascade of ice perhaps 30 yards wide with rocky sides. The hill down to the ice is short but steep. At the bottom you will make a sharp right turn.

Do NOT go straight across the ice and directly up the icy ravine on the far side. It is feasible, but strongly not recommended. The trail should be marked to bypass the ice to the right. You will then climb a nearly vertical fifty-foot hill, swing briefly left through the trees at the top, and then come down onto the upper part of the icy ravine you saw earlier.

The trail turns uphill on the ice for about fifty yards, bending right around a sharp rock outcropping (keep your sled clear of this) and continues up to the end of the ravine through a field of rocks the size of softballs (usually with no snow cover) then come into a short open tundra area that is often bare of snow before regaining the trees and a semblance of normalcy.

When you first come down into the upper ravine onto the ice, DO NOT let your dogs turn left, or downhill! If they do, you cannot stop them and must hang on for dear life (hopefully stomping on your brake for all you���������re worth) as you scream down the icy chute and return to GO to start everything all over again, ideally without wrecking your sled in the process.

Once you are back in the trees the trail will begin to climb slowly up to a saddle on the south side of Egypt Mountain. This area is called the Buffalo Chutes because the local herd of several hundred wild bison wanders through here and grazes in some of the small pothole marshes and lakes in the woods. You may or may not see the buffalo; they have not been known to bother anyone.

For the next ten miles through the Buffalo Chutes you will probably see stretches of bare dirt, rock, and ice, some very narrow trails through the woods, and a couple of areas of frozen overflow that can be bad enough to obliterate the trail. Watch carefully for trail markers and don���������t take any wrong turns. You can mark your progress by watching Egypt Mountain slowly drop behind you on your right. Once you are by it you will be approaching Farewell Lakes Lodge.

One of the potentially worst stretches of overflow is after you are by Egypt Mountain, only a couple of miles before the lake. The trail will enter an area of several acres of swamp and trees that may be flooded with ice. The trail exits up the hill to the left, although in some years it is entirely possible to miss it and continue on down the icy swamp, ultimately coming to the South Fork of the Kuskokwim River. (In 1997 six teams were tangled up in this mess for an hour and a later musher missed the turn completely, got lost, and ultimately took almost two days to get to Nikolai.)

The first large lake you reach will be Farewell Lake. You won���������t go directly past the lodge, but at night you might see the red light on the FAA radio beacon tower at the east end of the lake, at the Farewell Lake Lodge (closed during the winter except for a caretaker). For the next five miles you will run from lake to lake with some excursions through the forest.

After you leave Farewell Lake, you���������ll see one more ���������Dangerous Trail Conditions��������� sign just before a short, steep downhill onto another lake. Also somewhere after Farewell Lake, just after you cross a creek in an open area, you���������ll duck back into a treeline and pass the old Pioneer Roadhouse, one of the original stops on the old Iditarod. It���������s a good place to take a break and explore for a few minutes; ruins of a couple of the old cabins are still there.

After leaving the lakes, the trail will start to work up a series of low wooded hills and ridges. You will crest one last forested ridge and suddenly be in the Farewell Burn. This was the site of Alaska���������s largest forest fire, a million and a half acres in the summer of 1978 be running through it for the next 40 miles.

The trail through the Burn was almost impassable for several years after the fire, with snags and all manner of obstructions, but it has been cleaned up by the Bureau of Land Management and isn���������t usually much of a problem. You will run from ridge to ridge for 15 miles or so on a generally good trail. The visibility from the tops of these ridges is forever because there are no trees; at night you can sometimes see the lights of other mushers for 20 miles in either direction. At night you can also see a single light on top of a mountain far to the west. This is the light at the military radar site on top of Tatalina Mountain, 15 miles southwest of McGrath pass right under it on your way from McGrath to Takotna in a couple of days.

During the day you can easily see the hills west of McGrath, and Mounts McKinley and Foraker looming above the Alaska Range far to the northeast. (At sunset or dawn the view from the Burn can be positively breathtaking as the sun ignites the lofty summits of Denali and Foraker above the dark landscape below.)

When you come down into a sheltered gulch with a tent camp on your left (people may be there on snowmachines) you will be 41 miles from Nikolai. This is called the Buffalo Camp (for obvious reasons). You are usually welcome to stop here for awhile if you wish; the owner lives in Nikolai and is a friend of the race. You will climb another ridge or two past the Buffalo Camp and then the trail will drop onto a mostly level plain for the rest of the way to Nikolai.

If the wind isn���������t blowing and there has been sufficient snow, this level stretch of the trail is a speedway and you can make superb time all the way to Nikolai. However, if the wind is blowing (from the north, like it was in 1997) the trail will probably be drifted in as soon as you drop off of the ridges.

The trail runs basically straight ahead (west-northwest) for about ten miles after leaving the hills and is marked by permanent reflectors. If the trail is obscured when you come to an open area, look carefully for the markers on the next treeline. The fire didn���������t burn everything in this area, and the trail runs through stands of swamp spruce and willow bushes.

About ten miles past the Buffalo Camp you will see a sign on the right for the BLM Bear Creek cabin, about 30 miles from Nikolai. This is the first of the bush shelter cabins you will see on the way to Nome (actually the old cabin at Rohn falls into this category as well). It���������s less than a mile off the trail and is an excellent place to stop for a few hours. It���������s a snug log cabin with space to park the dogs, bunks inside, a good woodstove with plenty of firewood close by, and a real outhouse.

The cabin is usually a five- to seven-hour run from Rohn, and about three to four hours from Nikolai. The cabin is normally set up for ���������easy-off- easy-on��������� access from the main trail. (Note: In 1998 the sign wasn���������t there, but the turnoff was marked by a six-foot tripod festooned with
reflective markers and survey tape. If you miss the first turnoff, you can run back up the ���������out��������� trail, which joins the Iditarod a mile or so west.)

After the long straightaway (a couple of miles after Bear Creek Cabin), the trail will begin to curve in and out of treelines���������still maintaining the general west-northwest orientation���������for another half-dozen miles until it comes to Sullivan Creek, 21 miles from Nikolai. There is a good bridge across the creek (which is usually open and too deep to ford), but the approach has some nasty blind turns and a couple of ditches that are often open. Just take it easy in this area and you���������ll be across with no problem.

After Sullivan Creek the trail continues to wind generally west-northwest, in and out of treelines. There may be minor seepage-type overflow from the adjacent muskeg on some stretches, but it normally isn���������t much problem. Permanent markings for the next 9 miles to the Salmon River fish camp can be very sparse; if the trail is blown in and you can���������t find the Iditarod trail breakers' stakes or survey tape, you should not try it at night. (Several teams got lost here for varying amounts of time during a 60-mph windstorm in 1997.)

The Salmon River fish camp is easily recognizable: it consists of the first structures yoursquo;ve seen since the Buffalo Camp and the Bear Creek cabin. The trail turns right (north), off the river and through the camp; don���������t continue down the Salmon River. (Many streams in this area have stretches of open water even in the dead of winter.)

From the camp the trail is marked and maintained by local villagers for the last 12 miles north to Nikolai; it is normally flat and fast, running through woods with occasional cuts across open swamps, sloughs, and lakes. A couple of miles before Nikolai you���������ll drop down onto the South Fork of the Kuskokwim. Follow the Iditarod trail stake markers carefully on the river; there are several side trails before you get to town.

Once you reach Nikolai, you���������re through a lot of the bad trail on the race (although anything can happen on down the line, and often does). Your team will be bedded down in the area surrounding the school and village public works building. Cold water is available in the village public works building, and maybe in the school or in the washateria in the municipal building. In some years hot water may also be available, but don���������t count on it. A snack bar is sometimes set up in the school gym and there���������s a small restaurant upstairs in the game room of the municipal building. You can catch a nap upstairs in the village public works building and dry your soaked gear in the boiler room. As a rule, if yoursquo;ve made it to Nikolai, you���������re through the toughest trail and you���������and more importantly your dogs���������have managed to make the mental transition to the long-haul trail mode. Many veterans say if you can get to Nikolai with your team and your wits intact, yoursquo;ve got a good chance to finish the race.

Canadian musher Karen Ramstead drives her dog team out of the Finger Lake, Alaska, checkpoint of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race Monday, March 3, 2008.

Thank you so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...

Monday, March 3, 2008

Alaska Iditarod 2008 Day 2

Things are constantly changing in the race right now. A storm is coming in and that will really challenge the dogs and mushers. Most of the leaders have left Rohn (checkpoint 8).

Top 10 Mushers So Far:

Name Checkpoint Time
1 Lance Mackey OUT OF Rohn 03/03 20:36
2 Hugh Neff OUT OF Rohn 03/03 20:38
3 Kjetil Backen IN TO Rohn 03/03 17:41
4 Paul Gebhardt IN TO Rohn 03/03 19:49
5 Gerry Willomitzer IN TO Rohn 03/03 19:54
6 Aaron Burmeister IN TO Rohn 03/03 20:10
7 Zack Steer IN TO Rohn 03/03 20:31
8 Rick Swenson IN TO Rohn 03/03 20:43
9 Hans Gatt IN TO Rohn 03/03 20:46
10 Warren Palfrey OUT OF Rainy Pass 03/03 16:29

Four-time Iditarod champion Jeff King, in the starting chute on Willow Lake during the restart, was the second musher out of Skwentna March 3, 2008.

For more Iditarod events you can check out our local paper:

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...