25 July 2016

Snowflake Monday


This snowflake was designed as I cooled off after pulling weeds for three hours straight in 90-plus temperatures the day before the summer solstice. Snowflakes are such a pleasant thought when sweat is so prolific.

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: 3.25 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

Summery Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in same sc, pull hook out of loop (dropped loop) and insert in 2nd ch of starting ch 2, insert in dropped loop, pull dropped loop through 2nd ch of starting ch 2 (starting popcorn stitch made), ch 10, 5 dc in ring, pull hook out of loop (dropped loop) and insert in top loop of 1st dc of this 5/dc group, insert in dropped loop, pull dropped loop through top loop of 1st dc (popcorn stitch made); repeat from * around 4 times; ch 4, 1 trtr in top of starting popcorn to form 6th ch 10 sp of Round. Pull magic circle tight enough to make popcorn stitches poufy.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of trtr directly below, ch 3, 3 sc in same sp, * in next ch 10 sp work 3 sc, ch 3, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 sc; repeat from * around 4 times; 3 sc in next ch 10 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 point of Round.
Binding off here makes a super cute little snowflake.
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 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, * sk next 3 dc, 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), sk next 6 sc, 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, sk next 3 dc, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, ending with ch 5 on final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5; 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.

22 July 2016

Friday Funny


I got a big kick out of some of the comments when it was announced Kirk's dad George is coming back from the dead for the 14th Star Trek movie.

"This could be VERY interesting if they use the Guardian of Forever. George Kirk becomes Edith Keeler, and Kirk and co have to decide on whether or not to save George or preserve their own timeline." - LogicalLeopard

"I'm waiting for the day the Enterprise and the millennium Falcon rush in to save Battlestar Galactica. We all know the imperial storm troopers and the Borg are just Cylons in different costumes." - Basil A

"So... Kirk jumps back in time and saves his Dad from the time-traveling Romulans, sending them back to the past... But in doing so, Kirk reboots the rebooted reboot and we're back to only Gene Roddenberry's original universe..." - Chaz Gomez

"He's dead Jim!" - Aquamarine

"Pass....this 're imagining' guts the original characters of any relevance. The logos and the names are used to sell the 'Star Trek' product, and the rest is just SNL-level parodies of the original cast. This is a McDonald's Happy Meal promotion, disguised as a movie." - Don

"Can't wait to ignore this entirely." - Aar

The spelling on this next one had me nearly rolling on the floor laughing...

"There's only one 007: Shawn Conroy ---- Let that be my new 'Star Trek' comment." - Bill H

"STAR TREK: The search for Non-Binary Gender Compliance...." - DasUberMaus

"Once upon a time, an audience would go to a movie knowing only just enough about the movie to spark their interest and they only knew the actors from their previous roles. Now, not only are the plots leaked before movie is even done filming, we get set photos, know the DIETS of the actors and know nearly every aspect of the actors' lives (via social media). Myself, I don't WANT to know anything about the actor, I don't WANT to know everything about the movie. Where is the romance? Where is the anticipation? Where is the mystery? I think this is something that the current generation will really never get the pleasure of experiencing. Now, let me get back to my typewriter and whiteout." - Tracy

"I wish they would put MORE of the original cast in somewhere, like the Enterprise is under attack, an old space freighter pops in to help, and the crew is who is left of the old original crew." - Concerned Citizen

"Don't want to see a Bandaid on a hole in the Star Trek family." - A Yahoo reader

"I am excited as I love this reboot of the franchise, but so sad about Anton Yelchin. I'm sure they'll do a great job, but it won't be the same without him :( " - Jacinth

21 July 2016

Something Fishy


Two days ahead of a road trip to meet our 14-month-old granddaughter for the first time, I got this wild idea to make a mermaid tail for her. Her mom, my adopted daughter, had hinted to me a few months earlier she'd really like a mermaid tail. For herself. She never said anything about one for the baby!

When my adopted kids were still young, I'd tell people I didn't have kids. I had fish. My kids would pedal 50 miles in a day, as long as I'd let them play in the river along the way whenever they got hot.

I wondered if my granddaughter will be a water baby. I'd just learned she'd not yet been in a pool or a fountain, and a swimsuit was on my list of potential gifts for her.

So with less than 48 hours but with a ten-hour drive looming, I decided to race the clock and see if I could finish a properly sized fish tail for my little grand merbaby. Actually, she's not that small. She was a big baby, and the first several dresses I made for her when she was born were too small. A couple she was able to wear only once before outgrowing them.

To help me with the sizing, I bought a cute little pink cupcake outfit for her in size 24 months. I wanted her mermaid tail to double as a warm sleeping bag come winter. Her mom doesn't really care for the frigid winters where they live, and I suspected baby would be just like mama.


I began the first round, the waistband, on the train two days before the road trip. I didn't get to work on it during my lunch hour, and I did a lot of frogging and redoing on the trip home that night. I tried several different versions of the crocodile stitch before settling into a rhythm with which I was comfortable. I think I finished four rounds that first day.

The next day, the day before we left town, I finished six more rounds on the train. I was making progress.

On road trip day, we got up at 3 a.m. It takes me 45 minutes to container water the indoor plants, the garden in the front yard and the three raised-bed gardens in the backyard. My dear husband always shines one of the bike lights on me when I have to water anything in the backyard in the dark because we've had several bear visits, and I'm a fraidy cat in the dark!

We hit the road at 4, and I couldn't crochet for another two hours because I didn't have enough light. Fortunately, that meant I could sleep just a little bit more! Which actually helped me stay awake the next 8 hours as I tried to hook faster than the car could drive.

We pulled into town at about 3 p.m., just as I finished the final round of the narrow tip of the mermaid tail. We took my daughter's family to the local department store, where Grand Merbaby got a Frozen swimsuit with a mini tutu and an Ariel swimsuit that perfectly harmonized with the mermaid tail she hadn't even seen yet. Oh, and we had to get a package of swim diapers...

Then I picked up a solid color of yarn for the mermaid fins, which I worked up at the hotel while my better half and Merbaby's daddy got to know each other. About half an hour later, we transformed my grandbaby into a mermaid!




















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

19 July 2016

It's About Time


Back in the days before smart phones, Internet and Pokemon, my sewing machine was a quillow factory. I was going through a divorce, adopting my second older special needs child, changing venues, changing jobs, and recovering from a motor vehicle accident that destroyed all my camera equipment. I had to find a way to feed my adopted kids.

My new job was in the biggest office in which I'd ever worked... something like 120 employees! And we had more offices all over the country. About 900 employees nationwide.

Many of my co-workers had kids. They liked handmade things. When they found out I could whip out a quillow, a quilt you turn into a pillow by stuffing it into a pocket on its back, in a couple of nights, I was in consignment heaven. I started buying every single quilt panel I could find and turning out two or three quillows a week, which I'd then sell for $25 or $50 each, depending upon the price of the fabric.

Do you remember when fabric was that inexpensive?!?

Back then, my personal "office" at work was a closet, and I could work on craft projects when there wasn't any proofreading to be done and between calls while I manned the office switchboard during lunch and after hours. I could do the hand-sewing while I was at work. Back then, there was lots of hand-sewing because I didn't know how to free-motion quilt at all. I'm not sure it existed then!

I think this may have been the oldest WIP in my collection.

Eventually, I moved into a higher-paying position at the same office. By that time, everyone I worked with had quillows. I could finally sew for my own kids instead of always sewing for other people's kids. Both my kids ended up with at least five or six quillows on their futon beds!


I still had a bunch of panels I hadn't used. For years! A wildfire in California brought the call for Project Linus quilts. I whipped up almost everything remaining in my panel stash into 18 quick flimsies (because there were size requirements, and some of the panels weren't big enough without additional sashing or borders), and the women at church crafted them into tied quilts which then were donated to families who'd lost everything.

A few years later, I joined Ravelry's quarterly quilting WIP challenge in an effort to finish up non-panel projects that had become so numerous, they were denting my creativity and taking up too much valuable space. The goal is to finish at least one WIP every quarter. One early quarter I finished a small wall quilt that wasn't on my official list, so it didn't count. (Although it still got cheered!) So I pulled out every single project I could find and made a WIP inventory list so every finish from now on will count.

I did not remember buying this fabric or making the three Dresden plates, probably my first Dresden plates ever. I did not remember hand-sewing the Dresden patches onto blocks cut the same size as the cheater panel blocks. I didn't remember piecing the blocks together, and I definitely didn't remember setting aside the last remaining cheater panel block for the quillow pocket. I snapped a photo of the finished flimsy for my official WIP list, then set the project aside again until this year.


This year's personal goals include finishing enough WIPs to give all 13 cousins a quilt at Christmas. (All the existing nieces and nephews got quilts last Christmas.) After revising my WIP list in January, I decided I should try to finish as many of the really old projects this year. I pulled out this charmer, working name Long Forgotten, and noticed the pillow pocket block for the first time since stashing it away two decades or more ago. My goal was to finish it by June. But I wasn't sure I wanted to make another quillow. The project got set aside again, but this time, near the sewing machine so it wouldn't be forgotten again.


Once I settled into the idea of finishing the project as a quillow because it would be quick, it took me only a few hours one night to complete it. I pieced a back from the remnants of the Dresden plates, then pillow-case seamed the layers and hand-stitched the opening. I sandwiched the pillow pocket layers and pillow-case bound them. I (rather sluggishly once again) practiced free-motion quilting on both the quilt and the pillow pocket. Every time I take a many-month break from free- motion quilting, I feel like I have to start all over again learning to set the machine and smoothly move the fabric beneath the presser foot. Some of the stitching is fairly jerky, but if I work on another free-motion quilting project again soon, perhaps I can develop a steadier hand once again. Any improvement would be welcome!

After finishing all the quilting, I machine-stitched the pocket to the back of the quilt. Back when I was doing these to supplement our Ramen noodle diet, I hand-stitched the pockets to the quilts. Talk about speeding up the process!!!

Which might be a good thing because when I pulled this project out again in January, I discovered not all the "remnant" fabric matched. There is yet one more long forgotten quillow panel in this particular stash, and I'm highly suspicious my quillow projects pulled some hanky panky while stuffed away in a dark basement. I think they multiplied and reproduced to prevent extinction!


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

18 July 2016

Snowflake Monday


This is my 2001st blog post!!!

Yes, you do remember correctly. I did indeed post my 2,000th post a while back. Many of my blog posts are done in advance, thanks to insufficient internet access. I truly did compose this blog post right after my "Heart of Gold" post. Right after volunteering for this year's Colorado/Wyoming MS-150, too, to give you an idea of how far in advance I typically plan.

Now that the confusion is all cleared up, can you guess why I gave today's snowflake the name Odyssey???

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

Finished Size: 5.25 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, glue, water, glitter, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line


Odyssey Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Sl st inside ring, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, ch 3, * 2 dc in ring, ch 3; repeat from * around 4 times, omitting last ch 3 of final repeat and instead working ch 1, 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 3 (counts as final ch 2 sp). Pull magic circle tight

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same sp, * 3 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 3 dc in next sp, ch 1, 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 3 (counts as final ch 3 sp).

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 3 dc in same sp, * 4 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 4 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 4 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 3.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 hdc), 1 hdc in next st, * 1 sc in each of next 4 st, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st, 6 dc in next ch 3 sp, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 2 hdc 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.

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in next st, * 1 dc dec across next 4 st, 1 dc in each of next 4 st, 3 dc in each of next 2 st, 1 dc in each of next 4 st; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 dc dec across next 4 st, 1 dc in each of next 4 st, 3 dc in each of next 2 st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st, sl st into 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 6: Ch 1 (counts as 1 sc), * 1 sc dec across next 3 st, 1 sc in next st, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st, ch 6, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, 1 dtr in next ch, ch 1, sk 2 dc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; sl st in starting ch; 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.

15 July 2016

My Lucky Day


Eleven years ago today, I said, "I do."

I still do!







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