31 October 2010
These are some of the things that made me smile during October. (Mouse over photos for explanations.) I'm on a quest, along with Alicia over at A Beautiful Mess, to make the world a happier place, one photo at a time. Read more about Project Smile here, and then make sure to visit other Project Smile participants by checking out Alicia's blog.
Oh, and don't forget to SMILE!!!
29 October 2010
28 October 2010
I knew if I kept that potential golf club cover on the arm of my chair, so I had to look at it ever night, I'd eventually finish the second sock. Added incentive came from some gorgeous yarn I couldn't wait to use. I vowed I would not touch the pretty yarn until the ugly sock was done.
The ugly sock is done! Well, and now, I don't think it's so ugly anymore. Maybe I just needed a vacation from the "butterfly" color for a while. I actually like this new pair of socks now. Yet still, these do NOT look like butterflies to me!
26 October 2010
The Colorado Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society recently announced results of this year's fund-raising:
"Thank you for your dedication to and support of Bike MS and the Colorado Chapter! Due to your commitment and hard work, we have exceeded our goal of raising over $3.2 million! This is the first time the Ride has eclipsed the $3 million mark and we could not have done it without your extraordinary efforts!"
Thanks to all of our Premium Pedalers who raised between $1,000-1,999 for this year's Ride! We have 395 Premium Pedalers for the 2011 Ride and look forward to continuing to grow this new club."
I'm in that Premium Pedaler club for the second consecutive year, thanks to my generous sponsors. I also am a Mission First Club member because I donate whatever prize I win each year (ten years running now!) back to the Colorado Chapter. Well, except for the year I won a VIP parking pass for the following year's event. A parking pass costs nothing, so I kept and very happily used that!
"By donating your prize back to the Society, the funds used to purchase the prize will instead be used for national research and client programs and services," the Chapter explains. "A HUGE thanks to all of you who participated in our Mission First Club. By donating back the value of your prize certificate, you directly impact the amount of financial resources and services we can provide to our clients in need."
This year they came out with a fancy chart that shows what a donated prize provides. My prize is the equivalent of two hours of in-home care for someone afflicted with multiple sclerosis. Pretty cool!
This cycling event was called the MS-150 for the first 22 or 23 years. Then they changed it to BikeMS. I'm a creature of habit, and I still wind up saying MS-150 most of the time. It's a catchy phrase!
Now they've thrown yet another curveball. Colorado has joined with Wyoming, so it's not even called the Colorado Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society anymore. The name got longer. Yes, you guessed it! It's now the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. CureMSco-wy for short. I think my aging brain is going to implode!!!
Another announcement was the location and date for next year's ride. As a member of the Premium Pedaler Club, I get to register a month before the general public. In other words, a guaranteed spot if I register right away. I've never had a problem registering for this ride because I typically register the day I get the email saying registration has opened. I have a friend, however, who qualified for the Premium Pedaler Club last year and forgot to register this year until it was too late. The ride sold out, as it always does. My friend didn't get to ride this year.
Typically I book a hotel room for the overnight stay as soon as I register. (We ride 75 miles the first day, stay overnight in the host city, then ride 75 miles back to the start the second day.) This year, everything in the host city was booked. Five months in advance!!! I couldn't believe it! I was able to scrounge a cancelled reservation a month later, thank heavens and persistent effort, but I was determined this debacle would never happen again. I set a goal to book my room the day the 2011ride is announced, even though I can't register for the ride until February.
Imagine my surprise when I discovered only four hotel rooms left for that 2011 weekend! That's 10 whole months in advance! That is one popular weekend. And yes, I do have my room for next year!
Now I just have to keep myself in shape. I don't plan to allow my body to get out of shape this winter. I was able to pedal at least 30 miles at least once a week almost all through last winter. I hope to do a little better than that this year, weather permitting.
Oh, I also have to get my bike in shape. I lost my derailleur during Ride the Rockies this year. The Lizard had planned to rebuild my bike with new and improved components, since the old components are not available anymore. In reviewing prices, it will cost nearly as much to turn my 9-speed into a 10-speed as it would cost to buy a new bike. So we're still up in the air on that right now. I have a mountain bike derailleur on my road bike, and the shifting is pretty rough. But I can and do still ride.
Takes a lot more than a wimpy shifter to keep this camera-toting freewheeler off the trails and bike paths!
25 October 2010
Sometimes I study the clouds in search of shapes. And sometimes I see shapes within my snowflake designs.
This skullflake was inspired by a highly unlikely flake I designed recently. The holes in the flake I was designing looked almost like a skull face. Because it is October, I decided that wasn't such a bad idea. I made this flake on 10.10.10, and writing the pattern was complete in the 10 o'clock hour. Bewitching!
Note to Self: Never design a pattern with black thread! Make a white one, an orange one or even a purple one first. After you finish tweaking, then you can make the spooky black one!
Jack 'o Lanterns full of gratitude to Allicats for helping me work the bugs out of this pattern. I wouldn't have been able to share it with you today without her patience and expertise in testing this pattern for me. And get this... she made her own beads for her skullflake!!!
You may do whatever you'd like with skullflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell the pattern. Thanks, and enjoy!
Finished Size: 5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 8 crochet hook, 12 clear red 6 mm beads (or whatever size and color desired) empty pizza box, wax paper or plastic wrap, cellophane tape, glue, water, small container for glue/water mixture, paintbrush, stick pins that won't be used later for sewing, clear thread or fishing line
String 12 beads onto thread. (I use glue to stiffen tip of thread, let it dry, and then thread beads with "glue needle." I also tend to string more beads than needed, just in case.) I've also included instructions for a beadless version. Skip this step if you are using beads.
Starting at inside of flake, at jaw of skulls, ch 48. Being careful not to twist ch, sl st into 1st ch. Ch 1.
Round 1: 1 sc in same ch, 2 sc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, [yo and draw up loop in next ch, yo and pull through 2 loops, repeat 4 more times, yo and pull through all loops on hook] (5 dc cluster made), *1 sc in next ch, 2 sc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, 5 dc cluster over next 5 ch; repeat from * around 4 more times for a total of 6 jawbones; sl st in starting sc.
Round 2: Making teeth, ch 1 (does not count as sc), sc in same st, ch 1, sl st in 2nd sc of 2 sc increase below, *ch 1, 1 sc in next sc, ch 1; working into top center of 5 dc cluster (as shown in photo below), 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc; ch 1, 1 sc in next sc (to minimize "Katherine Wheel hole", pull loop up through cluster below sc instead of just through sc as shown below, but hole also may be camouflaged during pinning and stiffening), ch 1, sl st in 2nd sc of 2 sc increase below; repeat from * around 4 more times; ch 1, 1 sc in next sc, ch 1; working into top center of 5 dc cluster, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc; ch 1, sl st into starting sc.
Round 3: Round 3: *Ch 3, [2 sc in next ch 1 space] between next sc and dc (top of tooth); repeat [ ] 3 more times; repeat from * 5 more times; sl st into 1st ch of starting ch 3. (total of 8 sc across the top of each skull with chain 3 in between each skull)
Round 4: Forming nostrils, ch 6 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), *sk ch 3 and next sc, 1 dc in each of next 3 sc, ch 2, 1 dc in next sc, ch 2 (nostrils formed), 1 dc in each of next 3 sc, ch 3; repeat from * around 4 more times; sk ch 3 and next sc, 1 dc in each of next 3 sc, ch 2, 1 dc next sc, ch 2, 1 dc in each of next 2 sc; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 6.
Round 5: *Ch 2, 2 sc in next dc, 1 sc in each of next 2 dc, 3 sc in next ch 2 sp, 3 sc in next ch 2 sp, 1 sc in each of next 2 dc, 2 sc in next dc; repeat from * around 5 more times; sl st in starting ch.
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 6: Making eyes, ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), *sk ch sp below and next sc, 1 dc in each of next 4sc, slip bead up to needle, 1 dc in next sc, making sure bead stays at front of work facing you (I place each bead at final yo, prior to final draw through 2 loops of st), 1 dc in each of next 3 sc, slip bead up to needle, 1 dc in next sc, making sure bead stays at front of work, 1 dc in each of next 4 sc; repeat from * around 5 times, finishing with decrease 1 dc (yo, pull up loop through 4th sc, yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, pull up loop through 5th sc, yo, pull through 2 loops, yo, pull through remaining loops) across final 2 sc instead of 1 dc in each of next 4 sc on final repeat; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 3. (Total of 13 dc across each skull.)
(NOTE: Notice how placing the eyeballs in different stitches than what I've instructed here changes the personality. Close together and close to the nostrils makes the skull look mean or angry, while placing them further apart and/or higher on the skull – such as next row – makes the skull look goofy or happy.)
Round 6: Making eyes, ch 3 (counts as *1 dc), sk ch sp below and next sc, 1 dc in each of next 3sc, ch 2, sk 2 sc, 1 dc in each of next 3 sc, ch 2, sk 2 sc, 1 dc in each of next 3 sc; repeat from * around 5 times, finishing with 1 dc in final 2 sc instead of 1 dc in each of next 3 sc on final repeat; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 3. (Total of 3 dc, 2 ch, 3 dc, 2 ch and 3 dc across each skull.)
Round 7: Sl st in next dc, ch 1,1 sc in each of next 2 dc, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st, 2 tr in next st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st, 1 sc in each of next 2 st, ch 1, sl st in same st; repeat from * around 5 times; 1 sc in each of next 2 st, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st, 2 tr in next st, 1 dc in each of next 2 st, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st, 1 sc in each of next 2 st, ch 1; sl st in starting sc.
Round 8: Forming tops of skulls, *ch 1, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st, 1 dc in each of next 3 st, 2 tr in each of next 2 st, 1 dc in each of next 3 st, 1 hdc in each of next 2 st, 1 sc in each of next 2 st, ch 1, sl st across next 3 st - sc, sl st and sc; repeat from * around 5 times, ending with sl st in final sc of 6th skull instead of sl st in each of next 3 st of final repeat; bind off. Weave in ends.
This flake is tight and dense enough that it does not need to be stiffened, but it hangs better if stiff. You also may make it with yarn instead of thread (worsted weight, size H hook), but it comes out HUGE, and you need much larger beads.
Finish: Tape wax paper or plastic wrap to top of empty pizza box. Pin skullflake 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 skullflake with glue mixture, taking care not to drench beads with glue. (Gently clean beads with cotton swab if necessary.) Wash paintbrush and container thoroughly. Allow skullflake to dry at least 24 hours. Remove pins. Gently peel skullflake from wax paper or plastic wrap. Attach 10-inch clear thread to one skull, weaving in end. Wrap fishing line around tree branch (or tape to ceiling or any overhead surface) and watch skullflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Skullflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.
22 October 2010
21 October 2010
I rode 22 miles to get this picture. That's right, 44 miles roundtrip to shoot a pair of socks in a flowerbed!
The next day, I rode 17 miles to get this shot. 34 roundtrip miles of gorgeous red and orange trees beneath heavenly blue skies, all to see roses thriving in the middle of October and in the midst of autumn gold.
This second ride also was an opportunity to remember what veterans have done for me. I've been wondering what lies behind the "War Memorial Rose Garden" sign all summer long. I finally investigated, and I was amazed at the beauty and tranquility I found within the garden. I shared more photos in yesterday's Wordless Wednesday.
May I never take my freedom for granted.
Why ride? Why drive when the weather is so perfect and the scenery so picturesque? I wouldn't mind if this lovely prelude to winter continues long into November!