1. As my niece would say when she was 3, "Hewow"(her word not mine)"Christmas projects take TIME" (my words not hers). It's unfortunate that magazines and blog posts with adorable hand-made Christmas projects come out in late November isn't it. You find just the right apron idea for Aunt Nell or Uncle Henry and you find yourself hunting for the pattern and then the fabric and by the time you finally have everything together, it's December and you decide you'll have to wait until next year. Of course you forget. 2. You will feel a gigantic sense of relief when the holiday season rolls around and your hand-made gifts are neatly wrapped and ready for giving. How many times have you stayed up way too late on Christmas Eve putting the last button on that adorable dress you made your granddaughter, or hand sewing the binding on that quilt you know your husband will just LOVE? If you start now, these crazy, sleepless nights will be a thing of the past.
3. You can set your holiday table with all of the items you need. The holiday meal is an important annual tradition for many families and friends. You can personalize your holiday table with handmade projects, like centerpieces, table cloths, placemats, whatever. The day before the meal is a bad time to plan your table. Do it now. If you know what you want, you can start collecting and preparing the items now so more of your time and energy can go into sharing a meal and time with the ones you love.
4. The items you need for your holiday crafts are available. There are so many cute items out there for Christmas crafting this time of year but they go quickly. What if you find the pattern for the perfect apron for Aunt Nell or Uncle Henry but all of the adorable holiday fabric has been snatched up by people who planned ahead.
5. You can avoid the Christmas rush by getting started early.
Actually, you won't avoid the Christmas rush because you will always be rushed at Christmas. But, you can check some items off the list early if you start today. You are in luck, my shop Christmas Jul on Etsy has lots of fun craft items for you holiday projects. You'll have to stop by and peruse and get in the mood. It's at Christmasjul.Etsy.com, or you can just hit the Christmas Jul tab on this blog. I also have a Pinterest site dedicated to Christmas. Click Here Check it out.
If you are a runner, you simply must bring a team to the Klondike Road Relay in September. This event always occurs the weekend after Labor Day. What follows is a list of 8 reasons the Klondike Road Relay ROCKS!!
1. This is truly an international road race.
The relay is run on the 110 mile road that connects Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. There are 10 legs in the race varying from 5.6 miles to 16 miles. The majority of participants are from Alaska and Canada but I ran into a couple of ladies who were driving support for 3 teams with members from London, Vancouver, Chicago and many other places.
2. The race is very well organized.
The race starts in waves with the first group of about 20 runners starting leg 1 at 6 PM on Friday evening, followed by a new group every half hour until 11PM. Each team enters their estimated finish time and the race coordinators issue a team start time based upon this estimation. The goal is to have all of the teams finish between noon and 3 PM on Saturday.
Each leg exchange point has a tent for the staff, a couple of porta potties and a big bon fire. There are also staff at the point of the '1 kilometer until the finish' that radio into the staff at the exchange tent as runners go by them. The staff at the tent holler out the team ID numbers as runners pass the 1 kilometer point. This allows the next runner to be ready for the exchange.
3. You have bragging rights.
All of the legs are fairly long and the short ones are hard. Leg 1 is 8.8 miles and leg 2 is 5.6 miles but they go up a mountain from Elevation 0 to about 3450 feet in 14 miles. The third leg, is called the 'Princess Leg' because it is the shortest at 7.8 miles, and really the easiest of all of the legs, but it isn't easy. By the time a runner gets to leg 4 it's about 11 PM. This leg is 13.1 miles long, a half marathon. Leg 5 is 13.9 miles long and leg 6 is 16 miles. Runners starting Leg 7 get to watch the sun rise. Leg 8 is 13.4 miles, 9 is 11 miles and 10, the glory leg is 12.1 miles. Most people sleep at some point between the 6 PM start and the end of the race, but very few people are running these distances on more than 5 or 6 hours of sleep.
4. You get to see people at their best.
Runners excel! Everyone gives 100% to run their race. Team members give 100% to support their runners. The result is 200% incredible.
Close quarters and hard work encourage lasting relationships. This race brings family and friends together and gives us an opportunity to make new friends.
6. The race ends in a big park, where you pick up your Klondike Road Runner Relay T-shirt and have team pictures taken.
Michael finishing his 20th leg-the 'glory leg' for sure!
7. There is always a kick ass party at the end of the race.
The real reason for this race is to get your friends, new and old, to Whitehorse for a fun, fun Saturday night. Our team begins the night with a little post-race debrief. This year Michael ran his 20th Klondike, every leg 2 times. We helped him celebrate this momentous occasion with gallons of love and affection but only teaspoons of the energy we'd had to celebrated his finish of the first 10 legs.
Scott created a magnificent plaque for Michael out of a piece of the Haines gym floor and pins from all legs of race. In addition, he composed a lovely poem to commemorate Michaels many years of hard work and continued service.
After the team debrief, we break bread together at a Whitehorse restaurant. Many people end the evening at the race sponsored dance where a live band plays and you can purchase beer and wine to ease the aches and pains from your run. Many master runners say goodbye to their younger counterparts at this point and hit the hay.
Beasts of Southeast on their way to post-race dinner
The road that connects Skagway to Whitehorse has some of the loveliest views on the planet. The yellows and reds of the trees show starkly against the gray rocks and dark evergreens. The lakes and rivers are spectacular.
The Klondike International Road Relay is all about endurance. Imagine, a 110 mile, 10 leg relay run, that takes you from Skagway, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada. Each team has 10 members, one for each leg of the relay. Each leg has lots of mileage and lots of hills, but these don't take the endurance. Endurance is needed to participate because this race starts Friday at 6PM and finishes Saturday at about 2PM. The three longest legs of the run happen in the middle of the night. Leg 4 is 13.1 miles, leg 5 is 13.9 miles and leg 6 is 16 miles.
This is kind of a blurry sketch of the 110 mile run. Click Here to see the profile and individual leg details.
My husband and I began running this crazy, fun event when we turned 40 and finished the 10th leg when we were 49. We both have memorial plaques thanks to the members of our incredible team. After running all ten legs of the relay, we went back for an 11th year and re-ran one of our favorite legs. Sadly, after 11 years of participating, we stopped attending the Klondike Road Relay. It had been such a big part of our lives for 11 years so it was truly sad when we were unable to make the time for it.
Well, this May we received an email from a former team mate asking if we'd like to form a team because another of our former team mates, Michael would be running his 20th consecutive Klondike Relay meaning all 10 legs twice. We jumped at the chance to see the old team again and to be there for Michael's accomplishment. Our daughter Helen, had run a few of the Klondike's with us over the years and she was thrilled to be able to be there for the historic occasion. In addition, a good friend of Helen's, Bradee will com with us and run her first Klondike Road Relay.
Young people can be asked to participate at the last minute because well, they're young. They only need few weeks to get their legs in shape. But Master Runners need a little more time to plan and prep.
I have devised a list of 8 things that can help Master Runners prepare for the Klondike Road Relay.
1. Make the decision to run early.
I think May is a good month to make the decision to run this relay race. The Klondike Road Relay starts the first Friday evening after Labor Day. Having 3 months to prepare gives your body the time to work up to the mileage you will run and gives you time to recover from the injuries that will happen during your training. Remember, you are a Master Runner and it takes a lot longer for things to heal.
2. Do a training run that is close to the distance and time your leg will be run.
If you are doing 16 miles in the middle of the night, in the dark, it's good idea to know what that will be like. It's also okay to just wait until the race and be surprised. Surprises can be fun.
3. Run hills.
There are very few flat surfaces on the road. You will be going up or down a hill during the entire run. Legs 3 and 4 are running down from the summit but there are still up-hills thrown in here and there. Leg 9 might be the flattest run, but there are still hills. And when I say hills, I mean HILLS.
4. Bring the right clothing for the run.
You don't know what the weather will be so bring a a few clothing options. The run from Skagway to the top of the mountain can be warm, cool, dry or blustery. I've seen snow at the top of the pass.... COLD. There have been warm winds on the Yukon side, and there have been cold, frosty mornings. So, bring layers. You won't go wrong with capris but you may need thin running pants. I suggest a long sleeve shirt, a short sleeve shirt and a running rain coat. I've seen plenty of rain on the Alaska side of the mountains. Don't forget your shoes and socks. If you are running one of the first 6 legs, bring a headlamp. There will be lots of lonely dark miles on this road. And most importantly, bring a change of cloths for after the run. You will be wet.
5. Decide what you want to do about sleep.
You will not get very much of it. If you need sleep before you run, you may want to talk to your physician about getting a sleep aid. I learned about Ambien in my late 40's and it has been a lifesaver. I didn't ever use it for the Klondike but I always use it prior to other races. This year I'm bringing it with me to the Klondike. Remember, you are a Master Runner and sleep may be the difference between running and not running.
6. Think about how you want to be supported during your leg and bring the food and drink you want for support.
Some people like Gu or Power Gel. Some people like Gatorade. Some people like water. Whatever you like, be sure you have it in your car. Be sure your support team knows how often you want them to stop and what food or drink you want them to have ready. If you like something special at the end of a long run, a treat for your hard work, be sure you have it in the car. I love a beer after a long run so that is also on my list. You can justify anything at the end of a long run, no matter the hour.
7. Do a nice slow run 2 days before your leg of the race and then just chill until you are passed the baton.
Of course you should be carbo loading during these final two days too. Actually, you should carbo load for at least a week before the race. The best part of running any race is the carbo load. It is a requirement for a good race-Really. That means, cookies, pretzels and beer. You are a Master Runner and simply can't skimp on the rest and carbo load stage of your race preparation!
8. Prepare to have FUN!!! The Klondike Road Relay is truly one of the most fun running events you will ever participate in.
I have run lots of races and I can honestly say, this run has left me with the most incredible memories. The run is only the beginning of a fun weekend. The reason you run all night Friday is so that you can feast and party all night Saturday. For the Master Runner, the feast and party generally happen at the same time and "all night" really means until about 10PM. But, no matter how old you are, the camaraderie, support and shared experiences make wonderful stories and memories that last a lifetime.
Helen, Doug, Audrey and I at the end of a nice slow run.
We are done running until the race! Cookies and beer here I come.
One of the great advantages to shopping in my Etsy shops is that you can create your own fabric bundles using the Build a Fat Quarter Bundle option. You can purchase the fabrics you need to start or finish a project or add to your stash.
It's easy to do. Just purchase the Build a Fat Quarter Bundle you want and tell me which fabrics you want in the 'convo' box. You can copy and paste the title of the fabrics you want, or the link to each fabric.
You can also purchase each of these items separately using the menu, but Etsy can't calculate accurate shipping costs for multiple items. For example, if you order 5 fat quarters separately from my shop, the shipping charge will be $10.60. The actual shipping cost for 5 fat quarters is only $3.25. You will have to pay the $10.60 for shipping and then I will refund the $7.35 in overages. This is a lot of extra work for you and for me. If you order your 5 fat quarters using the 'Build A Bundle" option, you will pay the correct shipping charge for your purchase. I have a 'Build A Bundle' order option for 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9 and 10 fat quarters.
This week's deal in my Christmas Jul shop is 20% off on a machine embroidery Santa Claus pattern from Bird Brain Designs. It is a versatile pattern. You can make a Santa quilt, or make a pillow or wall hanging. This pattern is regularly $49.00. This week only, you can purchase the Santa Clause pattern for $38.40 + shipping. Click the picture to make the purchase.
This weeks deal in my Run 'n Stitch shop is, 20% off my Lena and Ole raw edge quilt patterns. Lena and Ole regularly sell for $5.00. This week only, the price for each pattern is $4.00. When you purchase these patterns from my Etsy shop, they are sent to you via email within two days of your order.
Our local quilt guild, The Rain Country Quilters, used to bring nationally known quilt instructors to our little town once a year. They opened up the classes to everyone, quilt guild members and non-quilt guild members alike. The Rain Country Quilters hosted many wonderful quilters, Kim Dihl, Carol Doak, Elenore Burns and John Flynn to name a few. I attended a quilt class with instructor John Flynn. I am still working on the 'Storm At Sea' quilt we did in the class. It is a UFO I must finish.
It was at this class that I learned about the quilt frame John Flynn had recently developed. One of the class members had purchased one and hadn't had a chance to use it because she wasn't quite sure how to put it together. She brought hers in and John gave us all a little instruction.
For the past several years, I have been thinking about purchasing a John Flynn Quilt frame. This winter, at the Road To California quilt show, I bit the bullet and bought the frame. I walked by the box for 6 months before I could muster up the courage to take it out and put it together. There is a DVD and alsobpaper instructions for setting up the frame. I chose to go to the website to get my instructions. The instructions on the website are easy to follow and you can stop and replay them over and over. (John Flynn Website-CLICK HERE)
I've accomplished step 1 of the process, the frame is put together and the quilt is on the frame. Now to figure out what to quilt.