Settling the Sewing

Well, that was chaotic! And a bit of a disaster. The Mechanic and I moved into our new apartment, only to discover that it has a fatal flaw: a low, sustained, throbbing noise, apparently from a mechanical closet that backs up to one side of our apartment. It’s like having a very large idling truck right next to your bed. So after we got everything more or less settled, we realized we can’t sleep with that noise, so we swapped bedrooms – now our bed is in the larger bedroom, further from the noise, while our craft equipment is crammed into the smaller room next to the loud noise. I guess when the sewing machine is going, maybe I won’t hear it? I’m not sure what we are going to do but at least we can’t hear it as loudly in the larger bedroom.  : (

Poor little Gaston has had a hard time settling into the new place. I’m not sure how the noise is affecting him, but the other night we woke up to him frantically thumping (a warning or distress noise for rabbits), and came out to find him running around the living room – somehow he busted out of his pen! He goes back and forth between content and unhappy. I’m unhappy at the idea that our noise apartment is bothering him. The low drumming bothers us, how can it not bother him?

I returned from New Orleans to find some fabric orders waiting for me. One was polar fleece for new rabbit blankets, but the other two were exciting. One was the Charley Harper Western Birds quilting cotton I ordered months ago from – this new collection was delayed forever and I was thrilled to learn it was finally shipping. However….. the print is MUCH larger than I was expecting. I was thinking the birds were about an inch, inch and a half, perfect for a small print blouse. But no – they are huge!

Not really blouse fabric. Now what do I do with it?!

The other fabrics I ordered after seeing an Instagram sewing friend make a fabulous dress with one. You know me and florals – I can’t resist them! I ordered this wildflower print rayon from Blackbird Fabrics in both the black and the white. I think I know what I want to make with the black, but the white I will save for next summer.

SO lovely! (spotted in the corner – the polar fleece for bunnies)

All the fall clothing is beginning to appear now, even though we probably have three more months of warm weather. I’m amused to see that several companies have denim shirt dresses prominently displayed.

I like the denim button front dress I made last year but I don’t love it, so I’m considering making another one. Maybe something a bit more bike friendly, ie, with a fuller skirt. Although I did bike to friends’ wedding anniversary cocktail party in my bug-bejeweled Victoria Beckham for Target Little Black Dress last weekend – who needs to drive when going to a party?! (PS – Spanx help more than just sucking in one’s tummy! If one needed to, that is… )

I spotted this blouse in Target:

Love this!

It gives me some flashbacks to my childhood and Laura Ashley and my obsession with the Little House on the Prairie books (NOT the TV show), which I loved. The fabric is fun, the polka dotted piping is fun, and obviously you can see where I’d put reflective piping. I just need to find a pattern for this – anyone know of a close match?

I’m anxious to get back to sewing but the sewing space is barely set up. I decided to use the setting up process as a good time to prioritize stuff, sort out fabric scraps, decided if I really need my paper fashion scrap books, etc. Then I need to register for the “Getting to know your sewing machine” classes at the store where I purchased my new Husqvarna Viking. Although I’ve made several things since I bought it, I’m sure I’ll learn a ton from the classes, so I need to do that. But by then, it will be mid-September. I guess I need to start my fall and winter projects, and put the rest of my summer things away for a while. I think I need to sew faster!

My half of the craft room – same stuff, almost the same floor plan.

Life’s Pendulum Swings

Isn’t it crazy how sometimes our lives can swing so rapidly from one event to a different and totally unrelated event? One day I was on the Hill talking about public policy and transportation, then two days later I was in Pennsylvania surrounded by All Things Bunny. Whaaa…? I know, so random!

My association, the Association for Commuter Transportation, convened in Washington, DC, last week for the annual Public Policy Summit. Policy is not my strong point, so I like to attend, in the hopes that maybe one day I’ll be able to keep up with all the transportation- related policy going on at the federal level. This year, our keynote speaker was The Honorable Kirsti Kauppi, Ambassador of Finland to the United States.  It was fascinating listening to all the ways the Finnish government is seeking to integrate technological advances while advancing their transportation system. They have such a different mindset, but then again, it’s also a much (much much) smaller country. I didn’t sign up for meetings with my local representatives (or rather, their staff members), but I did attend some sessions “on the Hill.” We met in Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure room in the Rayburn Building, which was pretty cool. Congress wasn’t in session, so the halls were pretty empty, but I still think it’s fun to wander around and see where it all happens. The following day I had to take Gaston to the vet, where he had a skull x-ray and his bottom molars were trimmed, all under anesthesia. Apparently he has been having mouth pain, which causes him to not eat, which can lead to GI statis, which can be fatal and causes his mom lots of panic. But he’s been busy chewing away at all sorts of hay and straw things since the visit, so the simple (and very expensive) molar trim seems to have helped immensely. Whew!

Funny to see what is under all that fluff!

Then that same day, I jumped into my friend Emily’s car and we drove up to Philadelphia for the first-ever Northeast BunFest! She is the creative owner of HopsalotSnacks on Etsy and is our rabbit whisperer, an expert after having had her bunny, Miss Dolley Hopsalot, for over 15 years. I had volunteered to be her employee at BunFest, where she was a vendor – motivated in part by the opportunity to see so many bunnies!!! And did we see bunnies!

HopsalotSnacks in action!

The event is apparently held annually in the Midwest, where it attracts around a thousand people. This was the first time it was held in the Northeast, and some of the people with whom I spoke had come from as far away as Boston. There were rabbit rescue groups, a hay vendor, a few vendors with beautiful wooden houses and castles for bunnies to hide in and play on, and so many different rabbit themed things for bunny parents. I didn’t buy anything, but enjoyed meeting all the bunnies – some with their vendor parents, some from shelters, and some with their parents looking to spoil them. Many had their rabbits in pet strollers, some in regular carriers, and other brave (or unwise) parents simply carried their bunnies around in their arms.

Because this event was geared towards rabbit rescue organizations, there were a number of rabbits who had clearly experienced traumatic experiences – one whose ears had been apparently cut off, another with a deformed leg that had been abandoned with a broken leg which then healed badly, several with head tilt, and several others with leg deformities. All are now being well cared for and loved, I’m happy to report, but you know there are hundreds and hundreds of other bunnies out there who have not yet met their forever parents. (Rabbit PSA – this is part of the reason why you shouldn’t buy rabbits for children and as Easter presents. Too many end up abandoned and in shelters. They are NOT starter pets.)

It was a fun day, and successful for my friend’s business, plus I got to see parts of Pennsylvania I’d never been to before. We were exhausted and glad to get home, where Gaston was happy to see me. Despite father-bunson bonding time with The Mechanic, Gaston still wanted lots and lots of attention. That’s fine, I missed him too. I felt a bit wiped out, between two days of commuter transportation talk, Gaston’s vet appointment, the mad drive to Philly, a whole day of rabbits, and a long, late evening drive home, so I was quite unproductive on Sunday, even though I really wanted to sew. I even took a nap! I never do that. But I need to rest up because although this week is relatively quiet, this weekend I will be a runway model (!!!) in an Aveda Catwalk for Water fashion show, then it’s my 45th birthday, then The Mechanic and I are headed to London for a long weekend, woo hoo! So hopefully I can keep the pendulum centered and I can stay grounded until the next totally crazy swings.

Oh, I did get this Friends of Rabbits bunny magnet at BunFest, which I added to our apartment door. Shout out to the local rabbit rescue group !

Current State of Affairs

After last month’s series of five year anniversary re-introductions, I thought I’d catch everyone up on the current state of my affairs. As always, there is a lot going on, so much so that I missed my last planned anniversary re-introduction! That one was supposed to be about travel and how The Mechanic and I love to travel. Recent examples include a spontaneous rental car trip, where we attempted to go by VeloOrange in Annapolis (not open on the weekends), then drove through a powerful storm to Baltimore, arriving just as the storm ended and discovering their new ebike bikeshare system and bike lane wayfinding signs.

I’ve been sewing of course – finished the Simplicity 8166 blouse I’ve been dying to make forever, at last! It was sort of a bear. I love the tencel twill, the weight and drape of it, but maybe it was too heavy for all the rows of gathered elastic. Trying to feed it at the same time was challenging, but looks amazing in the end. I haven’t worn it yet because I had to wash it – get the chalk marks out as well as the blood – I managed to stab myself every time I sat down to sew, and didn’t realize until after I’d gotten blood on the garment. Sigh. But isn’t it gorgeous?!?

Gorgeous, but not a single bit of reflective on it!

Gorgeous, but not a single bit of reflective on it!

I *bought* a sweater and then realized I had a spring sewing theme going – a nautical theme! I was lusting after this J. Crew sweater with an Art Nouveau type floral design as well as mermaids! I love mermaids, so much so that even though this sweater is merino, and I find it terribly itchy, I had to have it. I’ve already suffered through an itchy day worn it and think it’s just the loveliest thing (well, I think the ruffled collar is a bit not my style/odd).

(sorry, I couldn't manage a better photo than this...)

(sorry, I couldn’t manage a better photo than this…)

Then I realized that my current sewing plans include some Breton striped garments – a top using some cool ammonite fabric from Spoonflower, and the cute Christine Haynes Marianne dress. nautical-sewing-plansAdding these two patterns plus my mermaid sweater to existing nautical things in my wardrobe, well, I should be headed to the seaside somewhere!

A friend and I are heading to the Philadelphia Flower Show, and I am finally making her a long-promised dress –  she had picked a lovely floral print, so of course she needs to wear it when we go. I love the fabric, although its slippery polyester and has required a lot of hand basting, which I don’t normally do. Am I the only one who tries harder on clothing not intended for me? flower-show-dress

A super cool non-sewing dress came my way last week, the Betabrand 3M reflective dress that I’d supported way last fall – it finally arrived and is really cool! It’s that stretchy nylon fabric that will be perfect for travel, with pockets, pulls on over the head, and omg reflective!!!! Seriously, it’s pretty cool. I can’t wait to wear this somewhere. Clearly not designed with 360* reflectivity, the reflective fabric is only in the front. I’m a bit disappointed by that, to be honest; it seems like a lost opportunity. I’m sorry it’s sold out on Betabrand but keep Tweeting to 3M and maybe they’ll eventually figure out there is a retail demand for reflective fabric and help out us home sewers who are desperate for it.



Speaking of reflective, have you seen Vespertine NYC’s reflective collaboration with Brompton? It’s really lovely and I wish I could get all of it, but there’s that wool thing again. I mean, I guess I could do the shoelaces, but those seem so less interested compared to the cool designs of the hat and scarf. Check them out if you haven’t yet! brompton-x-vespertine-refective-collection

I don’t know if Vespertine will be at the National Bike Summit this week, but she’s been there before, so if you are in the area, check it out!

I’m not attending the National Bike Summit this year, as I have in the past, but I’ve been watching attendees roll in (literally) on Instagram and Twitter. Bikie Girl Bloomers, Pedal Love, Bikey Face, and many other bikey ladies I know from NBS and social media are there. But speaking of bikes, Bletchley, my new vintage Raleigh, is in the process of being taken apart to be upgraded. I’ve been riding The Mechanic’s Workcycles bike to test out the hub, and we found brake levers that I really like. Slowly but surely this bike will come together. bletchley-brake-leversLastly, Gaston is a delight, and seems to be getting fluffier by the day. He’s gotten a bit snugglier and while I don’t foresee him sitting in our laps any time soon, demands and gets as much attention as we can give him. It’s a shame I can’t pet him and sew at the same time! gastonSo what else did I miss while I was reviewing the last five years of my blog life?

Blog-iversary and Re-Introduction

February marks my five year anniversary of this blog, yay! It’s pretty amazing how my life has changed in five years – I had just started my current job, met my now-husband, and was just getting into biking and sewing. And because so much has changed, I thought it would be nice and possibly useful to do a re-introduction of who I am and what I do.  Here’s a quick summary:

  • My name is Elizabeth but I really dislike being called Liz or Lizzie. The blog name is inspired by the “Tin Lizzie”Ford Model T cars; I love vintage cars. I grew up in Sacramento, CA, started off wanting to be a costume designer, ended up touring with Disney on Ice for three years, then moved to New York City to work as a dresser or Broadway. After doing that for a while, I went to grad school and finished a Masters degree in Modern European History. I ended up in the D.C. Area after a stint working as an editor for a human rights nonprofit before finally stumbling into my current job. I promote transit benefits and sustainable transportation in Arlington County (VA). So I’ve been all over the place, figuratively and literally! 

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  • I married The Mechanic in June 2014. We met in September 2011, when I was fairly new to biking. Our second date was a bike mechanics class – he taught me how to change a tire, remove the chain, and so on. It was a marathon date that lasted all day! We couldn’t stop talking. Because of his love of taking things apart and fixing them, and his vast range of bicycle (and motorcycle and car) knowledge, he stays anonymous on the blog and other social media outlets as “The Mechanic.” He’s a civil engineer by training, and although his professional focus is water resources management, he’s personally interested in transportation and urban design and how cities can make it easier for it’s residents to walk and bike as much as possible.
We biked to our civil ceremony in Arlington, VA

We biked to our civil ceremony in Arlington, VA

  • I haven’t owned a car since I moved to New York in 1999. (Technically I’ve never *owned* a car, having driven one of my parents’ cars up until then.) I have gotten around quite easily on public transportation, on foot, by bike and by a wide range of rental vehicles. Moving to Arlington, VA, showed me how easy it was to get around by bike, and I drank the Kool-Aid, as it were, and now try to encourage others to try it as well. (Seriously, this is part of my job.) Between The Mechanic and I, we now own EIGHT bicycles – we each have a folding bike, a mountain bike and two commuter bikes. Thank goodness we recently moved into an apartment that has a bike storage room that allows us to keep them safe, protected and out of the elements.
The Mechanic's blue Workscycles bike with my new vintage Raleigh

The Mechanic’s blue Workcycles bike with my new vintage Raleigh

  • Biking revived my interest in sewing. I don’t want to ride my bike to work and then change clothes, so I started exploring ways to sew clothing that I could wear in the office, but were also bike-friendly. Basically this means “are also reflective” because just about everything I make myself has reflective fabric or trim somewhere on it.
  • I love to travel. The Mechanic and I love to travel. Sometimes we travel domestically (just got back from Disney World!) but we really love to travel internationally. We are planning on another European bike tour later this year, huzzah!

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  • We recently adopted Gaston, an extremely fuzzy 3lb lionhead rabbit, from the local shelter. Poor baby, in his almost three years of life, he had been in the shelter twice. I told him that although we couldn’t guarantee his forever home, we’d be his forever parents, wherever that takes us. He’s a naughty, smart, cautious boy with chronic runny eyes, and I couldn’t love him more. Isn’t it amazing how wonderful it is to have a pet? gaston

So that’s a summary of me and my loves. I plan to expand on these over the rest of the month, to bring you up to speed on my bikes (new bike this weekend!!!), my sewing and our travel. You can follow Gaston’s antics on my Instagram or Twitter feeds, as I tend to share photos of him there.  Instagram is where I post mostly sewing pics while Twitter is bike and work related, so pick yer poison.

I look forward to sharing more in the future, and hope to get to know you more as well! smithsonian-penny-farthing

Tales from Gaston’s Tavern: Smart Bunny!

We have now had Gaston for two months, and already it seems like we have had him forever, and it’s changed our lives so much! I guess every new parent says that, but it’s true! I am so less productive now because I want to hang out with him, and my computer is in a different room. <sad face> But that will change soon. Gaston needs to be the heart of the home!

And in fact, Gaston's pen is pretty much the heart of the living room, it takes up so much space!

And in fact, Gaston’s pen is pretty much the heart of the living room, it takes up so much space!

We continue to adjust to one another – he’s definitely warming up to us, and we keep trying to find new things to keep him occupied. He had a nice fuzzy tube (really for cats) that I thought he’d like to snuggle in, but then he destroyed the bottom, so I replaced it with another cardboard house like he has upstairs. He loves that.

Fuzzy fabrics and crinkly metallic fabrics are probably not the best bunny toys...

Fuzzy fabrics and crinkly metallic fabrics are probably not the best bunny toys…

We got him a few bunny smart toys, toys that make him problem solve to get a treat. The first one we had to coach him on a bit – it has doors on either end that he has to open to get the treats. He figured out the first door pretty quickly but the logistics of the second door took him longer. Gaston got so excited for it! We had the best time watching him with that.

Figuring out the doors on his first smart toy...

Figuring out the doors on his first smart toy…

But then we decided to get him another one. This seemed harder – several lids he had to remove to get to the treats (or food pellets, which apparently are just as exciting as treats). But he figured it out without any coaching from us! Smart bunny!

Standing it the smart toy is a smart idea, right?

Standing it the smart toy is a smart idea, right?

It’s hysterical to watch him yank the lids off, even though there is no resistance. Sometimes he inadvertently pushes the lids back in place or on another spot, which then makes him think there are still *more* treats. I love watching him twitch with excitement when we put this down, but I think we’ll soon need to move onto something even more challenging. This Train Cube toy seems like a good option.

When he’s not playing, he can become as flat and relaxed as a bunny can be. It’s pretty funny to see him stretched out and dozing. gaston-3Lately we’ve been sitting in the “front yard” of his pen to get him used to being around us. He will definitely come down and sit in the cardboard house out there, but then sometimes he’ll come relax super close to us. Really, this is a big deal – if he’s comfortable enough around us to sit within inches, it’s only a matter of time before he’ll want to snuggle. Or at least come up to us when he has even more space to play.

Lounging (albeit somewhat cautiously) near my knee!

Lounging (albeit somewhat cautiously) near my knee!

It’s so much fun watching him explore and observe and play (and snooze), and we couldn’t be happier to have this little fuzzball in our lives. I have so many videos of him but I’m too lazy (well, busy) to upload them to YouTube, but maybe later.

#gastonthelionhead #bunnylove

#gastonthelionhead #bunnylove

Tales from Gaston’s Tavern: Birthday Bunny

According to the animal shelter, October 2, 2016, was Gaston’s 3rd birthday. I don’t know how they knew but that’s fine with us. Our birthdays are also on the second day of our birthday months, so it fit in nicely. And it was a fun excuse to buy him a new toy and give him a raspberry. But only one – he’s too small to get more fresh fruit than that!

Birthday Treat!

Birthday Treat!

Exploring his new birthday cozy hideout, in his front yard

Exploring his new birthday cozy hideout, in his front yard

It’s also been just over 6 weeks since we adopted Gaston – and a somewhat traumatic 6 weeks it’s been! Oral antibiotics and eye cream for an eye infection stressed all of us out, and I’m still worried because his eyes are still a bit watery, which mats the fur around his eyes. Between trying to wipe his eyes and eye drops, we still aren’t bonding as well as I’d like. Unless I have a snack. The health trauma was intensified when we took him back to the vet, who trimmed the fur around his eyes and trimmed his nails. Gaston didn’t speak to us for days.

Gaston at the vet

Gaston at the vet

But the lucky bunny got a fancy new tavern earlier this month! The Mechanic turned carpenter and built a wonderful, two-story pen on wheels, with vinyl floors and a carpet-covered ramp.

My contribution - covering the floor with vinyl

My contribution – covering the floor with vinyl

Gaston's Tavern

Gaston’s Tavern

Because we used exercise pen wire panels, The Mechanic was able to create four sets of doors – two on top and two on bottom. This makes it easier to get into to clean and play with Gaston. We are both hugely pleased with how it turned out! Gaston loves running up and down the ramp.

The top level is not this clean any more, after he destroyed the paper bag full of hay and scattered it everywhere!

The top level is not this clean any more, after he destroyed the paper bag full of hay and scattered it everywhere!

We added a “front yard” so Gaston can start to come and go as he (mostly) pleases. However, it took him about two week before he finally ventured out in it. He hasn’t taken to hanging out in it yet, but I guess he’s slow to warm up to things, so eventually we’ll see him there. The front yard is the next step to someday letting him run around the living room, but at the rate he’s going, that could be a while. That’s okay, baby steps are fine.

He finally came out, just this past weekend!

He finally came out, just this past weekend!

Gaston is quite comfortable in his tavern, however, which makes me happy.

I also created a Go Bag for him – September is National Preparedness Month, and how could I not have a box of his things, ready to go in an emergency? I need to add some more things but it has the basics, including a towel, food pellets and some hay. gastons-go-boxI’ve been much less productive since we got Gaston – all I want to do is sit and watch him, or talk to him, pet him, and try to get him to play with his toys. petting-gastonIt’s fun to watch his personality emerge, and I’m excited to see what adventures we’ll have as he begins to play with us more. Someday, I hope, he’ll be snuggling with us on the couch! #bunnylove

Competing Hobbies, Different Tribes

One evening last week I braved our Metro system to go to an event at Stitch Sew Shop, a fairly new sewing store in Old Town Alexandria totally geared towards people who want make their own clothing. The event was an opportunity to meet Lisa Comfort, the sewing genius behind London company Sew Over It. Lisa’s goal with her shop is to teach as many people to sew as possible, and the store offers classes, patterns, online classes, and I believe has expanded to other cities. Her patterns have both a modern and a vintage feel. There were maybe a dozen other women who had traveled from all over the DC region (Tyson’s, Bethesda) to see Lisa and to talk sewing. Our conversation ranged from the fall of good fabric stores to why dressmaking seems more popular in the UK to how do we teach our husbands to be better photographers?! I bought some fabric and a pattern, and returned home feeling a bit euphoric.

Lisa Comfort and one of her patterns, in Stitch Sew Shop in Alexandria, VA

Lisa Comfort and one of her patterns, in Stitch Sew Shop in Alexandria, VA

Wonderful new fabric, too!

Wonderful new fabric, too!

The evening got me thinking about the different hobbies and interests I have, and the different tribes therein. There is the bicycling world, the sewing world, and now, the bunny world. I’ve been in the bike world for several years know, admittedly on the periphery, and my interactions with the sewing world has been primarily online. And I’ve just dipped a toe in the rabbit world since adopting Gaston a month ago. And I’ve discovered something interesting.

The sewing world seems to be the most supportive and accepting. I think this is because it is the only one of these hobbies where there truly is no wrong way to do things. That’s what makes it so great – everyone’s personality and creativity is celebrated by all of us. Through blogs, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, I have found a group of people who are creative, who constantly strive to try new things, and who cheer on each other, even if the project isn’t their style. No “you shouldn’t put *those* sleeves into *that* bodice,” or “That fabric isn’t suitable for that outfit.” Nope, we are all exploring with what we love, and everyone is okay with that.

Not everyone would make (or wear!) a skirt like this, but my sewing community on Instagram loved it!

Not everyone would make (or wear!) a skirt like this, but my sewing community on Instagram loved it!

In the bicycling world, I still observe a lot of “you are doing it wrong!” attitudes, many “You aren’t doing that *my* way, therefore it’s wrong,” articles and commentary. Okay, there are some things that you shouldn’t do, like biking the wrong way in a one-way bike lane. But I hear stories from new (or not so new) cyclists about how they were treated by others on bikes, and it makes me sad that we can’t support each other’s choices. Why have some of us in the bicycle community still not learned that biking slow/short distances/old bikes/upright bikes/in street clothing/cautiously/casually is still GOOD biking? Yelling at a new rider or buzzing too close to pass them is *not* how to encourage them to keep them biking. Daily I am grateful, though, for the conscientious, supportive bike people I know. Without them, I would have left long ago.

My bicycle is an extension of my style - it expresses who I am.

My bicycle is an extension of my style – it expresses who I am.

I’m learning that bunny ownership is probably similar to parenthood – lots of people think they know best and want to make sure you know their way is best. And there are legitimately some things that you can do incorrectly with a rabbit including feeding it the wrong things (not enough hay. never enough hay), bad cages, and so on. Luckily I not only have past experience, I have a trusted source. But I also know enough to keep this group at arm’s length. Too many negative experiences in the bike world to want to get too close to this group.

This is a very relaxed and happy rabbit - we must be doing something right!

This is a very relaxed and happy rabbit – we must be doing something right!

As we interact with others who have similar interests and hobbies, I hope we can all remember to take a breath and not jump down their throats for doing whatever it is in a different manner (assuming it’s safe and legal, etc.). Really, it’s okay to be different. It’s what makes us all interesting people.

Not everyone would wear this, either, but everyone loves it! (Can we talk about how adorable the star purse is?!?!)

Not everyone would wear this, either, but everyone loves it! (Can we talk about how adorable the star purse is?!?!)

New Blog Series: Adventures of Gaston

It was bound to happen eventually – I got a rabbit.

I had rabbits years ago, when I lived in New York and knew nothing about them. When Tobie, my beloved lop, died in 2007, I knew it would be a long time before I had another, and in our current apartment, I didn’t really think we had the space. But…. the bunny longing increased, and I would occasionally haunt the Animal Welfare League of Arlington‘s website, to see what sweet bunnies they would have. It wasn’t until recently that I found The Right One.

Look at all that fluff!

Look at all that fluff!

It wasn’t too hard to convince The Mechanic to go look at bunnies, and we brought this little fuzz ball home August 26, 2016. A whopping 3lbs, we named him Gaston – a nod to lionhead rabbits‘ Belgian origins, as well as something a bit sinister to counter his small fluffy size. Belle’s nemesis in “Beauty and the Beast” wasn’t very nice but this Gaston is just as sweet as can be.

Nope, not a cat!

Nope, not a cat!

Hello, I am Gaston!

Hello, I am Gaston!

The Mechanic was picking on me, because I’ve always sworn that my bike Fauntleroy would stay in the living room, but didn’t blink when it came time to give Gaston space for his pen. Poor Fauntleroy has joined the other bikes in the storage space. And promptly got a flat tire. His way of getting back at me, I’m sure.

Gaston takes over

Gaston takes over

We have had two major adventure so far, in the short time we’ve had him. The first was to the vet, and the other is the construction of a custom pen.

Gaston needed a vet appointment as part of his adoption agreement, but since I suspected he had an eye inflection that was just as well. He did really well on his Lyft ride to Paws, Purrs and Exotics Animal Hospital, in Old Town Alexandria, where the vet determined that yes, he does have an eye infection. Now we have to give him oral antibiotics and put cream in his eyes twice a day for two weeks. No one is really happy about this arrangement. But Gaston sat quietly in my lap while we were at the vet, and has been fairly good about the medication process. (Confession – I ran into Stitch Sew Shop with him after his appointment… I couldn’t be *that* close to the store and not stop by! So he’s already learning about the sewing addiction.)

The Mechanic decided that he would build a two-story pen for Gaston, and over Labor Day weekend, we went to Home Depot and JoAnn Fabrics to stock up on supplies. Me being me, I had to get thematic and color-coordinated fabrics for the vinyl floor and blankets and rugs. I’m definitely working the Gaston’s Tavern theme – think woods and rustic and reds.

We will work on his pen and continue his medications, and try to get some improved litter box habits this month. And just spend time hanging out next to his pen, watching him and trying to get to know each other. I’m so excited by this fuzzy bunny! I’m very happy to have a rabbit in my life again.

Follow our adventures on Instagram and Twitter #gastonthelionhead

Follow our adventures on Instagram and Twitter #gastonthelionhead

THe Save


ICYMI January

How is January already over?! Or as good as – didn’t we just celebrate New Years?!

I was busy this month, despite my best efforts, and felt like I should share some non-bloggy things. You already know about our trip to NYC and my American Girl Doll adventure, but that’s not all I did this month. Here’s a breakdown:

The Mechanic and I also visited the Library of Congress, to see Magna Carta (one never says the Magna Carta, only Magna Carta, apparently). Not only was the 1215 Lincoln Cathedral Magna Carta on display, the exhibit followed the different ways Magna Carta, and its ideals, evolved over time – including popular culture! I’m really glad we made time to see that.

I love my Walnut Studiolo “Little Lifter” so much that I wrote a review of it for The Discerning Cyclist. Seriously, if you have to carry a bike up and down stairs on a regular basis, this might be just the thing you want. It makes a huge difference to me.

Staircase of Doom - thanks to my Lifter to make this easier!

Staircase of Doom – thanks to my Lifter for making this easier!

We had our first snowfall, but thankfully have dodged a major storm. I dislike biking in the snow, or more specifically, anything slippery, so I haven’t biked much with these little snowstorms. Snow 2

Our guppies had baby guppies. Lots of them. And they all seem to have survived. I wasn’t really expecting that, and as much as I’m enjoying watching them grow, my teeny 2.5 gallon tank can’t hold 16 guppies and a snail. And the possibility of more. So I’m on a fish tank redesign hunt.

Some of the baby guppies - about twice their original size now!

Some of the baby guppies – about twice their original size now!

Spectre Upside Down

Seriously, Spectre the Mystery Snail is the best pet ever – yes, he was climbing (?) down the leaf upside down!

We saw “Diner” at Signature Theatre in Shirlington, and really enjoyed it. An actor friend said she’s heard rumors that the production is Broadway bound. That would be a true triumph for the Signature! I’ll be watching for that. Diner Signature Theatre

The 2015 National Bike Summit is in March, and I’m hoping to be able to go again. This year, the first day is the women-focused day, which is nice to have it as part of the event, rather than the day before. Two of the sessions that interest me the most are “Powerbrokering for Women in Transportation and Advocacy” and “The Future of the Women’s Market.” I am also amused that one of the sessions is “How to Talk to an Engineer… and Be Persuasive.” I know it’s about bike infrastructure, but maybe it will have tips for me and The Mechanic! They’ve released an initial list of vendors for the women’s pop up shop, too. I am excited to see that Tandem NY will be there with their skirt weight, and I hope that Bikie Girl Bloomers will have her bloomers in a print I want. (For some reason, I can’t find the list of vendors on their website; I got the list in an email. Inconvenient to share.)

Bikie Girl Bloomers in Crazy Daisy (image from Bikie Girl Bloomers website)

Bikie Girl Bloomers in Crazy Daisy (image from Bikie Girl Bloomers website)


I was pretty happy to see that one of my blog posts inspired another bike blogger to try the reflective yarn: check out Red Riding’s projects! I hope her knee problems heal up before the nice weather arrives. (Don’t you just love her all-yellow bike?!)I’ve got a few sewing projects lined up, to keep me busy while I’m hoping for warmer, drier weather. I am ready to get out and get biking, but the cold temps and slick bike lanes/roads don’t inspire me to leave my cozy warm apartment. Maybe in February.

That’s a Bike Rack?!

The Mechanic and I had a fun morning at a horse show somewhere in the wilds of Maryland. The horse show world is a very different world than cycling, even though both involve saddles and riding. It’s very concerned about posture and position and show. Thank goodness cycling is not like that! At least, not in my world – maybe the pro world?




Afterwards we went to Tyson’s Corner for some errands at the mall. We were surprised to see fun bike racks in front of L.L. Bean! I was irritated that after we’d parked the Big Green Van, some car had parked next to the bike racks to load up something big from L. L. Bean, ruining the good shots of two of the four racks. IMG_5521




We couldn’t quite decide if the Cannondale was a prop from the store or not. I am pretty sure L. L. Bean doesn’t sell that line, which would make me think shopper or employee, but the tires looked brand new. Despite the fact that they weren’t really being used, and that I don’t think Tyson’s is very bikeable at all, I was pretty pleased to see them, and know that if I biked out there, I’d have a hard time choosing which “shopper” rack I would chose.

Then we headed out to Bailey’s Crossroads, where I was shocked to see cool bike racks at the PNC Bank. IMG_5516

PNC bike racks cropped

They are the PNC logo! How cool is that?! And the logo actually makes a really great design. I could see that as a pendant on a chain or something. I love that PNC actually had the wisdom to install creative racks that match their brand! I wish more companies would get on this bandwagon. I’d love to see big red bullseye bike racks in front of every Target. What other companies have logos that would be perfect for bike racks? Or what other company logo or theme bike racks have you seen? I know there are some in DC and NYC, I’ve seen them, but there must be some in other cities. Anyone wanna share?