17 January 2018

Wordless Wednesday













































16 January 2018

Up Close and Personal


I normally am not an ad clicker. Ever. But every once in a while, I'm tempted beyond my ability to withstand.

An ad for the Micro Phone Lens came up on my phone the other day, and being the snowflake photographer I love to be, I couldn't resist checking it out.

The price wasn't bad at all, and all four of the lenses actually had good reviews. I splurged for the $21 holiday bundle. I figured for that low a price, if the stuff is worthless, at least I wouldn't be out a ton of money.




I couldn't believe it when the three lenses arrived in the mail two days later! An empty breath mint box makes the perfect carry case to keep them safe and together.

And I could not wait to try them out. I spent my lunch hour playing with the new lenses, which look and feel an awful lot like soft contact lenses!


The photo at the top of this post is taken with my iPhone with no additional equipment. It took me about six shots with heavy cropping before I got one with my wedding ring almost entirely in focus. I think I can go as close as about six inches. The above photo is with the 4x lens and no additional light. The photo below incorporates my hiking headlamp (just a cheap little LED) I've been carrying in my coat pocket ever since my November Reign project so I wouldn't be walking along the bike path in total darkness.


I was impressed!

Here's the 8x lens with the light of the headlamp.


And here's the 15x with my headlamp.


Below are my tiny little crocheted cupcakes, the first photo to show the element of size, and then with the iPhone with no additional lens, followed by the 4x, the 8x and then the 15x.










Obviously, I'm not going to be able to use these little gems for praying mantises and ladybugs because I'm not going to get that close to them with an iPhone. But we are expecting some snow this week (thank heavens... it's about time!!!), and I may just have to test my newest arsenal out on frozen fractals!

15 January 2018

Snowflake Monday


During one train commute last month, I wanted to try my New Year Snowflake with different shades of my hand-dyed thread. The pattern had not yet been published, and I couldn't remember the instructions pas the first Round, so I decided to play.

On New Year's Day, I got to deliver, in person, all 15 quilts I'd slaved over throughout 2017. Those kids were so thrilled, as if it was their first Christmas ever. They asked if they can call me Grandma Deb.

So now I have 16 "grandkids" with which I get to interact! There are seven more out there, and they are my planned quilt recipients this year. I hope this Grandma Deb thing is contagious!

I think the multicolor version of today's pattern (with my hand-dyed thread!) has a little bit of a granny square flair, don't you agree?

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!


Finished Size: 4.25 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 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

Grannyflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in ring, take loop off hook, insert hook through 2nd ch of starting ch 2 and replace loop on hook, pull loop through ch (starting popcorn stitch made), * ch 3, 5 dc in ring, take loop off hook, insert hook through top loop of 1st dc and replace loop on hook, pull loop through top of 1st dc (popcorn stitch made); repeat from * 4 times; ch 1, 1 dc in top of starting popcorn st to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, * 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 7, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, ch 1 (spoke made), 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * sk next 4 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in tip of spoke, [ch 3, 1 dc in same tip] 3 times, ch 3, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.
NOTE: Binding off here makes another great little mini snowflake. You can even do something fancy on the spoke tips to make it more unique!


Round 4: Sl st into next sp before next dc, work starting popcorn st in same sp, * ch 3, sk next ch 3 sp, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp (V-stitch made), 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, ch 7, 1 dc in same sp, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, V-st in next ch 3 sp, sk next ch 3 sp, work popcorn st into next gap between dc stitches; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last popcorn st of final repeat; sl st into top of starting popcorn st; 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.

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.

11 January 2018

Surprise, Surprise!


A couple of months ago, my parents' home was broken into while they were sleeping. My dad's iPad, wallet and all his keys were stolen, as were my mom's phone and car. They've got their car back now, and my sister and nephew have re-keyed the car and installed an alarm in the home. Nevertheless, life for my parents isn't going to completely go back to normal anytime soon. They're both still extremely jumpy, and they are frightened by every noise they hear at night.

This year my parents celebrate their 50th anniversary, and I want to send them something that will bring warm fuzzies and pleasant thoughts. Lap quilts would be a tad late for Christmas, quite early for the anniversary, but hopefully the most joy I can send by mail until we get to go visit again... twice this year!!! (Another niece got engaged, and I get to shoot the wedding in a few months!)


I bought the panel for my mom's quilt (because she loves carousel horses) so many years ago, I couldn't even begin to guess the age of the fabric. One thing I do remember is the original plan was to make it into a quillow, so the carousel panel is at least 17 years old.


I bought the panel for my dad's quilt (because he's a train fanatic) more recently, and both panels got stuffed away when I organized my stash a while back. I hadn't planned to work on these quilts in 2017. I'd totally forgotten about them. Until the break-in.

I began working on my dad's quilt on Christmas Eve while my Lizard was working. I entertained thoughts of finishing both quilts by the end of Christmas Day, then mailing them on the 26th. I didn't get as much sewing machine time as I hoped, anticipated and planned, and that's actually a good thing. I loved getting to spend all of Christmas Day with Lizard, and I took full advantage of it, making the quilts even more tardy.

I finally finished everything but the binding on New Year's Day, and last week, I finally got off work early enough to finish both. I didn't mail them until Monday because, well, I had to take pictures of my dad's quilt at the Colorado Railroad Museum...


... and I had to take pictures of my mom's quilt at the Colorado Mills carousel! (I could have taken pictures of my mom's quilt at the Denver Pavilions Christmas carousel downtown if I'd finished it one day earlier, darn it.)


There's a special place in my heart for red cabooses, not only because my dad lives, breathes, eats and dreams of trains, but because I gave birthday parties in a red caboose decades ago while working at McDonald's.


Ironically, we found carousels at the Colorado Railroad Museum.


And we found a train at Colorado Mills!


Hopefully the quilts have arrived so I won't be spoiling the surprise when my dad reads my blog today.

Dad's Quilt














I also managed to finish a pair of Perkiomen Valley blocks from scraps for Carole's drive and got them in the mail. These blocks hopefully will be incorporated into quilts to be presented to victims of the Thomas fire in California.


Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
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