30 March 2015

Snowflake Monday

Booted

Today's snowflake name may sound like I am having computer problems again. Not this time, thankfully!

Instead, I was composing an email to a very dear friend, and the annoying ad on the right side of the screen kept stealing my attention. Finally I decided to pay a couple of seconds' worth of intellectual absorbency, and I noticed the snowflakes surrounding the women's boots being advertised. Who cares about the boots?!? I want to make the snowflake! (But with six sides, not eight.)

Re-Booted

The snowflakes were very tiny in the ad, so I had to sketch one out so I could remember it, next time hook in hand. It's not all that dramatic a snowflake, but it is unique, compared to other snowflakes I've designed so far, plus, it has a flower in the center, and Friday was the first day of SPRING!!! So Booted gets a blog post of its own.

I tested this pattern with my hollyhock-dyed thread from last summer. The hollyhock thread always wants to change color when I stiffen it unless I add vinegar to the stiffener. I wanted to see what the final color would be if I let it change, and, well...

What a change!

Hibiscus Booted Snowflake

I think I like the vinegar version better!!!

I also pinned the hibiscus version differently, and I like that better, too. But it's good to have one snowflake representative of the original inspiration.

Booted Snowflakes

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

PS: Today's Snowflake Monday is my 1,600th post!!!

Booted Snowflake

Finished Size: 5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, water soluble school glue or desired stiffener, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line

Booted Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 12 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 2: 1 sc in same sc, 1 sc in next sc, * ch 18, 1 sc in each of next 2 sc; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 8, yo 7 times, yo and draw up loop through starting sc, [yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 8 times (mega tr made), to form 6th ch 18 sp of Round.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc over post of mega tr directly below, 1 sc in same sp, * ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (picot made), ch 3, 1 sc in next ch 18 sp, 2 dc in same sp, ch 8, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, yo and draw up loop through each of next 2 ch, yo and draw through all 3 loops on hook (sc dec made) (branch made), ch 6, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch (branch made), ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, 2 sc in next ch (sc inc made) (branch made), yo and draw up loop through 5th sc of previous branch, yo and draw up loop through sc dec of previous branch, yo and draw through all 3 loops on hook (tri-branch made), 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, 2 dc in same ch 18 sp, 1 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 dc and last sc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; bind off. Weave in ends.

NOTE: For the hollyhock version of this snowflake, I worked a sl st picot on the tip of every branch instead of sc.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

If using glue, mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture or desired stiffener. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

The snowflake-covered rock I made using this pattern looks as good on the backside as on the front, in my opinion, so I have to show it off!

Booted Snowflake Rock

Booted Snowflake Rock Bottom

Booted Snowflake Rock Bottom

Booted Snowflake Rock

27 March 2015

Friday Funny

The friend who sent this to me explained videos like this one happen in Kansas because it's so boring there. (I've only driven through Kansas twice and never really explored.) What a hoot!!!

26 March 2015

Missed Again

A milestone approaches!

As I was logging off Blogger the other day, I noticed a pretty cool number. I thought I could stay on just a few minutes longer and catch the sevens as they rolled.

I refreshed and did a screenshot. It was darn close!

Almost there!

So I refreshed again without making an image of the previous screenshot. We're talking seconds. As long as it takes to hit the refresh button.

Oh, man!!!

DANG! I can't believe I missed it!

I logged off, and up popped my blog again, and I got lucky in a different way. Three pairs!

three pairs


24 March 2015

Wordless Wednesday

My sage is blooming!

first flowers of the year

crocus

single blossom

stripey

pink hyacinth

yellow daffodil

pink hyacinth

grape hyacinth

The Color of Sad

Baste Away

I wanted my special project, a quilt for an exhibit that didn't pan out and for the Denver National Quilt Festival, to be perfect. I tried to take my time every step of the way to make sure nothing was rushed and everything was... well, perfect.

Until I got to the free-motion quilting portion.

I was very careful when this segment of the construction began. But my skills just aren't there yet. I've a long, long, long way to go.

I'd wanted to quilt all the free-hand snowflake motifs with metallic thread. After one attempt, that idea went out the window. No regrets. Plain white thread will suit the quilt just fine.

After one attempt at the first free-hand free-motion snowflake motif with metallic thread and the next nine attempts at the first free-hand free-motion snowflake motif with plain white thread, I finally decided perfect can't be the goal anymore or the quilt won't ever get done. I worried I might accidentally rip the fabric if I keep attempting to rip out all the imperfect quilting.

Ick

A few tears were shed.

Pick myself up. Dust myself off. Get right back in the saddle. I may be suffering the blues, but blue also is the color of joy.

Okay, this quilt doesn't need to be 100% completely perfect. It needs to be done.

I decided this quilt is still going to be an awesome and unique project, and I will be very proud of it when it's finally done. Perhaps each free-hand free-motion snowflake motif will be a little better than the last, and maybe the quilt, when finished, will document how far I am coming in my pursuit of perfection.

My free-motion quilting perfectly matches my turtle-slow speed on my bike.

Sigh.

Improving

23 March 2015

Snowflake Monday

Halcyon Snowflake Rock

While the northeast is thanking lucky stars winter is over, we here in Colorado have enjoyed a few halcyon days. We had three weeks of winter in February, and now spring is busting out all over.

Halcyon Hyacinth

Halcyon is derived from Alcyone in Greek mythology. The daughter of Aeolus, god of the wind, married Ceyx, who died in a shipwreck. Alcyone was so devastated, she threw herself into the sea. The Greek gods turned Alcyone and Ceyx into kingfishers, among the most photogenic of birds. Oh, how I wish I had a photo of a kingfisher to insert right here!

According to the Roman poet Ovid, waves threatened Alcyone's waterborne nest, and her father Aeolus calmed the weather for seven days every year to protect Alcyone's brood. This time is called halcyon days. The spell is broken when the eggs hatch, the nestlings take wing and the water returns to normal.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!

Halcyon Snowflake

Finished Size: 2.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 20 crochet thread, size 12 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, school glue (make sure it is water soluble), water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line (NOTE: This snowflake may be made with size 10 thread and a size 8 crochet hook, and it will be a little larger than 2.5 inches.)

Halcyon Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 17 dc in ring; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2. Don't pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same st as sl st, *sk 2 st, 3 dc in next st, ch 3, 3 dc in same st; repeat from * around 4 times; 3 dc in same st as starting dc; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 (counts as final ch 3 sp).
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Round 3: Ch 7 (counts as 1 dc and ch 5), 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch (point made), 1 dc over post of final dc of Round 1, * ch 6, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp (start of V-stitch made), ch 5, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next ch 2, 1 dc in same ch 3 sp (V-stitch made); repeat from * around 4 more times; ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 4: *Ch 6, 3 dc in ch 2 at top of next point, ch 3, 3 dc in same ch 2, ch 6, sl st in next V-stitch dc, ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook (picot made), ch 3, sl st in next V-stitch dc; repeat from * around 5 times, ending with sl st in final sl st of Round 3; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or plastic wrap.

Mix a few drops of water with a teaspoon of glue in small washable container. Paint snowflake with glue mixture. Sprinkle lightly with glitter. Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow snowflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel snowflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one spoke, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

Halcyon Snowflake

20 March 2015

Questionable Friday Fun

Once a few years ago, I linked to a video showing what my dad did when I was a wee tot. The unauthorized video was no longer online by the time my post was published, and a few of my readers expressed regret they weren't able to see it.

One of them recently sent me this. I can barely watch it. I've attached a second video also because the first one includes some free-clmbing, and the second video emphasizes the safety factor. Clipping in may make this job safer, but my goodness, I still could never do this job in a million and a half years. Ever! But I guess this is why I do like to ride my bike up mountain passes. I like to get up in the sky, but not like this!



19 March 2015

Au Natural

hummingbird moth with revived lavender

Infused Epsom salts as an effective defense against arthritis have been in my arsenal for about six years. Initially, I used the store-bought salts pre-infused with rosemary, spearmint and eucalyptus. A soak at the end of a long, hard, winter day, was just what my arthritic back needed for my whole body to attain a good night's rest.

The store-bought Epsom salts became more and more difficult to find, as well as more and more expensive. A couple of years ago, I bought a book about essential oils to learn more about natural remedies. It taught me I could try making my own bath salts. Since then, I've bought regular Epsom salts and used whatever oils were appropriate for whatever I was experiencing at the time. I saved money, and I didn't have to go searching for a specific mix of pre-infused Epsom salts anymore.

Win, win!

As I learned more about essential oils, I began to rely upon them more than over-the-counter remedies. Less chemicals. Less expense. More self-reliance. More control over what goes on and into me.

Win, win!

lavender love
homegrown lavender

During the rampant forest fires two and three years ago, I found essential oils in a humidifier to work better than any allergy medications I've ever taken.

A couple of years ago, I bought homemade soap from a co-worker and absolutely LOVED the way I felt after using it. I'll never use store-bought soap bars again unless necessary. I'm convinced we have so many chemicals in most everything we buy these days, much of the real purpose of any store-bought household or body cleansers is diluted beyond helpfulness. I'm hoping to begin making my own soap this year, but until then, my co-worker's homemade exfoliating oatmeal soap is one of my best cleaning investments.

About a year ago, I decided to try something a few of my friends and many people I didn't know were trying. I took the plunge into a shampooless world.

I had been a Breck or Herbal Essence girl ever since I was in grade school. I have been a conditioner addict because my baby-fine, thin hair is so tangly. I've longed for beautiful hair like what I see in advertisements and in the various forms of media, but I just didn't think I had the genes for beautiful, shiny hair.

For the past several years, I've unsuccessfully fought dandruff. I knew part of the problem was the shampoo and conditioner remnants on my scalp, and each time I shampooed, I was adding to the build-up. I have tried to use good products, but the problem just didn't get any better.

Last year, I followed a friend's advice and tried using nothing but baking soda, tea tree oil and lavender oil (mixed with water) as my shampoo, followed by apple cider vinegar as conditioner. I was skeptical of the apple cider vinegar. Until after that first wash.

HOLY COW!!!!!

My comb went through my hair as easily as ever, and my hair felt better. With just one baking soda/ACV shampoo, I had already made a difference in the texture of my hair. My hair was soft and shiny, my scalp tingled, and oh, the natural curl!!!

I'd learned how to wash dishes with baking soda and ash from the camp fire back in seventh grade during girls camp. I should have known all this time baking soda is a great cleanser. I think I remember my grandmother using it instead of soap products in a pinch.

I'd read the smell of the apple cider vinegar doesn't last. It doesn't, but it's a whopper while you're using it. Also, I learned the very hard way, don't get this stuff in your eyes!

2011
2011

2011
2011

Now
Now

Now
Now

Initially, the most difficult thing about making my own shampoo and conditioner is they are water-thin. I was accustomed to gooey stuff that was easy to see and feel saturating my hair and my scalp. I had to get used to the thin and penetrating nature of making my own.

After the first poo-less shampoo, I researched how to make the home solution thicker. Easy enough; stuff readily available in the kitchen may be added. The same stuff used to thicken gravy and sauces. Corn starch, arrowroot powder or guar gum. I tried mixing a tiny bit of arrowroot in my homemade baking soda, water, tea tree oil and lavender oil shampoo, and although the mixture did thicken up nicely, I didn't like the feel of my hair using it. So I went back to using the thin mixture.

It took a while to become accustomed to the thinness of homemade, but now it doesn't bother me, and I've found I don't use as much. The drippy stuff goes down the length of long hair without having to keep reapplying. It literally goes everywhere all by itself. Gently, and without tangle-imposing work. I do still massage my scalp, and the dandruff is gradually subsiding. The overall feel of using baking soda, apple cider vinegar and essential oils on my hair has been magnificent. I can never go back now.

I've since learned sage oil in the shampoo, in addition to the lavender, supposedly helps darken gray (or silver in my case), plus it smells good, and I grow my own. One day, I hope to be able to make all my own essential oils. I now add sage or lemon oil to the lavender oil in the apple cider vinegar, and I'm now using apple cider vinegar "with the mother" because it's just all kinds of healthy in several different ways, a second of which I'll get to in a minute. In the meantime, I've already shared why I like sage; lemon is supposed to bring out shine. Plus, it smells really, really good.

I've also used chamomile, which is supposed to be good for conditioning. The oil is pretty darned stinky. I didn't mind the smell as much when I infused the vinegar myself with chamomile blossoms growing in my backyard.

Suncatchers
Grapefruit, Orange, Lemon and Lime Suncatchers

Before all this, I had tried African black soap (for both hair and skin), and I liked it, even though it does have some chemicals. I'm not sure it will be feasible to take my pre-mixed little baking soda and ACV containers that are viable only a few days after I mix them for a whole week of shower trucks during Ride the Rockies, so I've decided to pour the leftover African black soap into empty hotel shampoo bottles to carry along with us. The African black soap doesn't have an expiration date, and it doesn't have an many chemicals as other commercially popular brands of shampoo.

neem seedling
neem seedling

Another thing I've learned along the way is lavender, rosemary, sage and thyme are supposed to help reduce mosquitoes. I have been growing these spices in the garden for years. I grow them in the kitchen and living room in an effort to help fight indoor predators.

Unfortunately, white flies in my neck of the high-plains-meet-foothills seem to be ignorant of spice technology. These pests even try to feast on my two miniature indoor neem trees, and that's not supposed to happen. (Neem oil is supposed to repel all insects.) However, the other pesties seem to take note of what we're growing, and I have noticed an improvement in the reduction of fruit flies, spider mites and even mosquitoes.

I LOVE the smell of lavender, so last summer and fall, I tried using straight lavender oil instead of Avon's Skin So Soft during my biting fly bicycle rides. Biting flies HURT. Period. They, too, sometimes ignore repellents. But the lavender seemed to do the trick. I did find I have to carry a small bottle of it with me and reapply to sweaty areas often, but that's not such a bad thing. Smells really, really nice!

Some people have a low tolerance for applying undiluted essential oils to their skin. I am one of the lucky ones. I have no problem, and as long as the lavender works, I'm going to stick with it.

This brings me to another natural skin application I heartily recommend.

While doing all this research and testing different homeopathic remedies, I came upon several recommendations for the mother of apple cider vinegar as a treatment for acne.

I do not have acne, but I have had the complexion of a teenager since I became a teenager. It's the one aspect of aging that has not taken a stranglehold on me. My mom used to tell me when I was a pimply 13-year-old, "One day you will be so glad you have oily skin because all your friends will be wrinkly, and you'll still be smooth." She didn't mention zits would be included in that smoothness, but she did try to drill into me that oily skin was not the end of the world.

I have tried every commercial product. A was a Noxema girl. I was a Strident girl. I was a Clearasil girl. I was a witch hazel girl. I have always washed every morning and every night. I carry little pads around with me so I can dab problem areas throughout the day. Nothing worked. Nothing. No one ever told me about apple cider vinegar. Of course, I had to try it the moment I first read it might be a great remedy for some cases of acne.

For the first time in 42 years, I'm finally beginning to see some zit relief. I still get them, and they still drive me nuts. But breakouts are not anywhere near as bad as they have been my whole life. I get two or three at a time now, as opposed to... well, I'm not going to divulge the count. Just trust me when I say there's a reason I learned to retouch photographs of teenage girls with problem skin.

I know the horror. I know the embarrassment. Still today, at age 55, I still wake up every once in a while with a Klingon gorch. I don't wear makeup because that only clogs my oily pores. So I must grin and bear it. Zits bother me more than crooked teeth, split ends, dandruff, hose runs, broken fingernails, chin hair or even the unforgiving accidental unexpected release of methane gas. I have hated my skin for 41.5 years. Apple cider vinegar with the mother has made a new woman of me!

wormhole
fibery apple without the mother

Of course, apple cider vinegar is supposed to have multiple other health benefits, too. I tried putting a teaspoon of it in my filled water bottle. I don't know if it lives up to all the claims made about it, but weight loss might be 100% true. After just one gulp of my ACV-infused water, I wasn't thirsty anymore. Perhaps I should drink a gulp of this stuff before every meal. Ha ha!

And now, for another, and possibly the best, use of natural stuff on skin...

I recently read an article claiming lavender and tea tree oil, mixed with a bit of carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut or almond) works great to help with arthritis pain. No need to tell me twice!!! I already knew from experience these oils in a warm Epsom salt bath help relieve muscle pain.

I tried the lavender/tea tree/coconut oil mixture almost immediately. As soon as I could get the brew mixed.

It worked so well, my husband is trying it now, too. I know this might not work for everyone, but it works for me better than the Bengay, Icy Hot and Flexall I've used for years. Smells a heck of a lot better, too. Mineral Ice comes close and doesn't smell as obnoxious as some of the others, but my preference now is lavender and tea tree oil. Oh, how I wish I'd known about this remedy eight years ago!

There's a great deal of satisfaction in knowing I'm making my own body and hair products, knowing what goes into each and the way I feel after using them. I love not having so many plastic bottles to throw away every month. I love not having to buy more shampoo and conditioner every time I go to the store. And you can't beat the cost benefits of baking soda and water. Pennies per use. Pennies!

Next up, I'm going to try making my own deodorant. I've already been experimenting with my own body balms. I can't wait to try homemade bath bombs. I can remember using baking soda as toothpaste as a child; maybe I'll even go back to that one day.

Naaa... I like the flavor of the commercial cinnamon stuff I'm using!

homemade fingerling potato soup with homegrown rosemary
homemade fingerling potato soup with homegrown rosemary
Related Posts with Thumbnails