31 March 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Moonrise over Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge
Sandhill Cranes Dance
We're outnumbered.  Let's get out of here!
Sandhill Crane
Sunrise on Monte Vista Wildlife Refuge

30 March 2010

65 miles!

Big MilesThe best part of riding my bike to work is watching the sunrise. No, scratch that. Shooting the sunrise. Ha ha!

I'm learning lots of things I will need to know in June. Such as my headlamp battery will not hold a charge through two mornings of high beam pre-dawn commute. That means I will need to take a charger on my weeklong ride in June — or pack an extra battery or two, which would not be cost efficient.

My pack is not big enough to tote my extra layers AND my camera in the afternoon when the temperature warms up. So let's hope for warmer weather come summer!

I always thought winter trainer hours counted only for keeping my derrière accustomed to being in the saddle and working on bike posture. Yesterday was the first time I’ve ever been able to ride 65 miles in March. So I guess that trainer is good for more than just fundamentals.Sunrise Reflections

When Blood Boils

Greeting Card Universe wouldn't let me list this as an Easter card because it doesn't include the word Easter.

Aargh!

Denver National Quilt Festival

Rainbow FlakesI missed the March deadline for this year's Denver National Quilt Festival in May, even though I had good intentions.

I had planned to embellish a quilt with colorful snowflakes I made from sock leftovers during the Ravelympics. I had a backup plan if I didn't have time to finish that, as it would be from scratch.

LivestrongA couple of years ago, I printed some of my favorite cycling photos on fabric. I finished piecing the black and white photos, but there are mistakes, so I never finished the mini quilt. This was my last-ditch plan, in case I couldn't get anything else done for this year's DNQF. All I would need to do is assemble the layers, and quilt away. I could have it done in about two days.

I never got a chance to piece the color photos. I wasn't able to find bicycle fabric I thought would work as sashing. Ultimately, I thought I might make my own, using creative and possibly artistically manipulated photos of bike parts and tools. That way, I could make the fabric whatever color I wanted. Unfortunately, my printer bit the dust before Christmas. About a month ago, I found some white fabric with black bicycle outlines, and I bought it, just in case I needed to work this option up in a pinch.

Living ColorAlso about two years ago, I used up all the remnants of lizard fabric I'd bought for bandanas for The Lizard to make an all-leftovers quilt top. Not one inch of new anything went into this entire quilt! The backing is leftovers from a charity quilting project I participated in back in 2006, and even the batting is comprised of odd-sized pieces left over from projects throughout the years. All I need to do to finish this quilt is quilt it, which I'd like to do by hand because I have a special design in mind, and finish the edge. This could take up to a month to finish. Unless I'm riding my bike to work several times a week, which would mean the quilting could take up to six months!

After the Ravelympics, I had 18 days to finish a quilt. I was so optimistic. But then an unexpected event took us out of town for a week, and I just couldn't get in the mood to sew when we returned. Two nights before the deadline, I looked over my projects once again, wondering if I could finish something in a night.

Lizard LeftoversNot a chance on the snowflake quilt. Not enought time. That one likely will take me about six months. I decided I don't want to enter something that is not perfect, so the "Livestrong" quilt was out. I still yearn to make my own fabric for the sashing on the color cycling quilt, and I couldn't finish that in a night regardless. I could machine quilt the Lizard Leftovers if I stayed up all night. I had been somewhat sleepless, but I didn't feel like spending a sleepless night slaving over a quilt I hoped might one day envelop anyone beneath it in warm memories.

So even though I'd realized while still in Vernal that I would not be able to enter this year's quilt festival, the reality didn't hit me until that night. Once again, I was somewhat depressed, and I felt as though I had failed because this had been an important item on my list of 2010 goals.

Then I suddenly remembered that I DO have a quilt to enter. My friend Mary Jafek had finished a quilt in 2009 and left it in my hands to enter in whatever competitions I deemed appropriate. It hung across the Rotunda from my fourteener quilt in the Capitol last summer. And now it could hang at the Denver Merchant Mart to inspire quilters from all over the state.

Dwila Gerih embroideryThis quilt has such an amazing story, it immediately lifted my spirits. And that's the kind of emotion I want to tuck into the quilts I make. So my quilts are on hold for a while, but Mary's soon will be hanging, if juried into the show, at the Denver National Quilt Festival.

Dwila Gerih of Wauneta, Nebraska, hand-embroidered all 50 states, state flowers, state birds and dates of statehood during the long commutes to and from Denver while her husband was being treated by Bruce Jafek, my friend Mary's husband. Dwila presented the embroidered squares to Dr. Jafek as a gift when her husband's treatment was completed. Mary pieced the quilt, and Merrie Jones of Aurora, Colorado, quilted it.

Mary and her husband currently are serving a medical mission in the Philippines. That's why I've been entrusted with her priceless quilt.

Now, I think this is a quilt the judges absolutely cannot refuse. What do you think?
America the Beautiful by Mary Jafek, Dwila Gerih and Merrie Jones

29 March 2010

Snowflake Monday

Unstiffened Versatile FlakeBecause this versatile flake holds its shape so well, it doesn't necessarily need to be stiffened. (It does look better blocked than unblocked, though.) This flake also can become a flower by binding off at the end the first round and joining a new color to complete the second and third rounds.

This flake/flower also works well with four-ply yarn and a larger hook.

This flake/flower also works very well when joined with other flakes/flowers made from the same pattern. Join points of one flake/flower to points on another flake/flower by slip stitching into the point of the first flake instead of making the second chain of the chain-3 picot during the third row of the second flake/flower. A long strip of flowers will make an attractive headband, scarf, belt, collar or strap for a purse or bag. Join many flakes together to form fabric, and make a Wildflower Meadow or Snowy Field centerpiece, tablecloth, afghan or window covering.

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

Versatile Snowflake FlowerFinished Size: 2 inches from point to point

Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 4 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or foil, 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

Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: *[Yo and draw up a loop through ring] three times (cluster stitch made); ch 3; repeat from * 5 more times. Sl st into top of starting cluster. Bind off here to make flower instead of snowflake. Do not cut thread if making snowflake. Pull magic circle tight.
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: If making flower, join new color on any ch 3 sp. If making flake, sl st into next ch 3 sp. For both flake and flower, sc into ch 3 sp, ch 6, *sc into next ch 3 sp, ch 6; repeat from * around 4 more times; sl st into starting sc.
Round 3: *Into ch 6 space work 2 sc, 2 hdc, 2 dc, ch 3, sl st into top of last dc (picot made), 1 dc, 2 hdc, 2 sc; repeat from * around 5 more times; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: To stiffen snowflake, tape wax paper or foil to top of empty pizza box. Pin snowflake to box on top of wax paper or foil.

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 foil. 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.join flowers at points to create a string of colorful snowflakesTo block flower, tape wax paper or foil to top of empty pizza box. Pin flower to box on top of wax paper or foil. Spray lightly with water and allow to dry thoroughly before removing. (Back in the days of the dinosaurs, I used to block my flowers and doilies on clean carpet or on my bed. A pizza box with foil works so much better!)Versatile Snowflake Scarf

26 March 2010

Eye Candy

unaltered photoIt's been way too long since I participated in NatureFootstep's photo challenge, and her meme this week was just too tempting to pass up, even when I'm running short on time.

The challenge is to use various filters to turn a photo into a piece of art. This week, Nature Footstep's challenge is flowers, one of the subjects I most enjoy shooting.

GraduationA couple of weeks ago I got this wild idea to shoot one of Lynette's roses against the vanilla sky. The plain, simple white made the photo perfect for adding abstract backgrounds and special effects.

After shooting the rose, I created a duplicate layer and then knocked out the white space in the top layer and used a graduated overlay on the bottom layer, which I then tinkered with using Harry's Filters and played with the hues until the background harmonized nicely with the rose.

I then flattened the layers and used Ulead's Fantasy Warp to create... well, I'm not sure what I would call the result. Sort of a floral kaleidoscope bouquet?Fantasy Warp

Friday Funny

And here is the link in case you are not able to view the movie above.

23 March 2010

In Training

summer sunrise rideI logged 60 miles yesterday. !!! Not a lot of climbing, but good distance. I must be able to pedal 90 miles in a day, twice, by June. With 70-milers scattered between. And tons of elevation gain. I'll spend the next month trying to increase my mileage, and then in May, we'll be working on elevation. When the snow finally begins to melt up high...Independence Pass in May

22 March 2010

Snowflake Monday

Spring Flower FlakeItching for spring? Make this flake with your favorite bright color instead of white, use yarn instead of thread, make five or eight petals instead of six if desired, and/or pin the points rounded instead of sharp to make a lacy flower!

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes and/or flowers you make from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!spring flower snowflakeFinished Size: 3.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 4 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or foil, 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

Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 13 (counts as 1 dc and ch 10), *1 dc in ring, ch 5, 1 dc in ring, ch 10; repeat from * 5 more times, ch 5, sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 13. Leave magic circle opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat with a little bit of ease.
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: *In ch 10 space work sc, ch 3, hdc, ch 3, dc, ch 3, dc, ch 3, hdc, ch 3, sc, in ch 5 sp work sc, ch 5, sc; repeat from * around 5 more times; sl st in starting sc, bind off. Weave in ends.

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

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 foil. 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.

19 March 2010

Paralympics

Oh, how I wish this could get as much attention as the Olympics.Andy Yohe carries puck during Ice Sledge Hockey on day two of 2010 Winter Paralympic GamesAndy Yohe of the United States carries the puck during Ice Sledge Hockey Preliminary Round Group A Game between United States and Korea on Day Two of the 2010 Winter Paralympic Games. Getty Images photo by Kevin C. Cox.

Friday Funny

And here is the link, in case you are unable to view this treasure above.

16 March 2010

More Free Months

Spring Blossoms in the SpringsBecause my cycling season is in full gear now, I've decided to go ahead and release the next couple months of the 2010 free weekly planner now. This way, you have a head start on your summer planning!

So, here they are...
May and June. Enjoy!

The next installment(s) will be available in April.

Of course, strings are attached... you know, all that legal mumbo jumbo. This calendar is copyrighted and provided by Snowcatcher Photos. You may print the calendar and share the calendar via link back to this site. You may not under any circumstances sell the calendar or any of the images therein. Modification or republication of the calendar or any of the images therein without prior written consent of Snowcatcher is strictly prohibited.

15 March 2010

Snowflake Monday

I'm looking over six four-leaf clovers, and they make my flakes as lucky as can be!

The events of last week prevented me from posting a snowflake pattern, so today I am sharing two, a giant one and a tiny one. The tiny one also looks good in green thread or sock yarn.

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

Finished Size: 9 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 4 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or foil, 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

Ch 4, sl st into 1st ch OR make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 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.
Round 2: Ch 10 (counts as tr and ch 6), *tr in next sc, ch 6; repeat from * around 4 times, ending with ch 2, dc in 4th ch of starting ch 10 instead of ch 6 on final repeat.
Round 3: Sc around post of dc just worked, *ch 10, sl st in 4th ch from hook, [ch 3, 2 dc in ring just formed, ch 3, sl st into ring], repeat [ ] 3 more times, ch 6, sc in next ch 6 loop; repeat from * around 5 more times, ending with sl st in starting sc instead of sc in ch 6 loop on final repeat.
Round 4: Ch 1, sc in sc below, *ch 20, sc in 5th ch from hook, ch 5, sl st in sc, ch 5, sl st in sc, ch 15, sc in next sc (after next clover); repeat from * around 5 times, ending with sl st in starting sc instead of sc in next sc on final repeat.
Round 5: *In next ch 15 sp work 5 sc, ch 5, 5 sc, ch 5, 1 sc, 1 hdc, 1 dc, 1 tr, 1 dtr, ch 3, 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 15, sl st in 12th ch from hook, ch 6, 2 dc in 3rd ch from hook, on other side of tri-picot work 1 dtr, 1 tr, 1 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc, ch 5, 5 sc, ch 5, 5 sc; repeat from * around 5 more times, sl st in starting sc; bind off. Weave in ends.Tiny Shamrock SnowflakeTiny Shamrock Flake Instructions

Finished Size: 3 inches from shamrock to shamrock
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 11 crochet hook, empty pizza box, wax paper or foil, 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

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 12 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Do not pull ring too tight.
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 next sc, *ch 12, sl st in 4th ch from hook, [ch 3, 2 dc in ch 4 loop just made, ch 3, sl st in ring], repeat [ ] three more times to form shamrock, sl st in next ch of ch 12 and in each of next 2 ch, sc in each of next 3 ch, hdc in next ch, sc in each of next two sc in starting ring; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc instead of 2nd sc of final repeat, bind off. Weave in ends.

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

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 foil. 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.

12 March 2010

Lost in Thought

January 2010I don't think my feet touched the ground after we learned we'd been drawn for my third and my husband's second Ride the Rockies. Until 11 hours later when we learned his brother had died.

Eleventh hour. A forlorn number if ever there was one.

My Lost BoysNow it literally feels as if a million years have passed. Yet I still catch glimpses of glistening crow's feet on my husband's face. And I wonder if the pain will ever fade.

And yet, I've walked this path. I'm not in uncharted territory. I lost a brother of my own eight years ago the very same way. This is not a place I'd freely choose to be, but this is familiar ground.

I know what lurks behind the darkness when I close my eyes at night. I know what brings comfort and what sets off chains of memories – pleasant or not. I know who I am and where I am going. I know how long this unending journey lasts.

Now I just have to try to be as gentle a trail guide as I can for The Lizard and his family.

Me and My Lost GirlFor the first three days, The Lizard kept saying he wishes he'd been there for me when I went through this. We met two years and two months later. I wish I had known him when I went through this, too. I wish we'd met 20 years ago! Just think of the kidlets we'd have produced! Little Lance Armstrongs with morals who could write poetry, shoot a camera and blast through a skein of yarn as fast as they could pedal up Mount Evans. Teenage cyclists who might be vying for a Team USA spot in the next Summer Olympics.

For the first 12 hours or so, we plunged through mind-numbing shock. When we finally began to come back to life about 24 hours later, we were able to make silly jokes about the pea soup fog cushioning Douglas Pass. Douglas. My brother's name. Memories. Our weak attempts at humor were the first time the Lizard and I were able to smile since learning of Kelly's passing. I wondered if any mountain pass bears his name.

My Lost GirlDuring the 11-hour drive to the memorial service (there's that melancholy 11 again), I mindlessly performed another aerial unwind. I unraveled a scarf I'd begun a little more than eight years ago and was unable to finish after my brother died. I'd taken along an entire bag of projects (UFOs – unfinished objects) to work on during the long, long drive. But I didn't feel like working on any of them. Instead, I unwound. The detangling process brought soothing comfort. I created a huge ball of yarn that will one day be reborn into something else. A treasure that won't hide in the deepest recesses of our still all-concrete, frigid-in-winter basement.

An hour and an eternity after we returned from the memorial service, deep in the middle of the night, I learned I'd lost a medal in the Ravellenics due to a tiny technicality. I cried.

The Lizard and His Lost BoyBut was I crying over the lost medal or my newest Lost Boy?

Flashes of profound sadness and split seconds of exquisite peace dance restlessly.

I recalled Olympians I've watched courageously train, struggle, win and lose. I recounted how many of those valiant individuals came back four years later to reclaim glory and triumph. Perseverance. A timeless, precious lesson.

I vowed to try again for a Designer Biathlon medal during the 2012 Summer Olympics. I silently promised Kelly I will not allow discouragement to keep me from doing my very best. I will conquer the two 90-mile days in this year's Ride the Rockies without sagging. I wondered if Doug and Kelly have met each other yet. I wondered if they will become good friends. I wondered if they will be together, along with my sister Susan, cheering me up the Grand Mesa and over The Million Dollar Highway.

And that… that possibility made me smile.
You Calm the Fear Inside of Me When the World is Spinning Out of Control - Lowell Alexander

11 March 2010

Sometimes He Lets it Rain - Katherine Nelson

10 March 2010

You're Not Alone - Michael McLean

09 March 2010

Stay with me, just until my heart recovers - Michael McLean
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