30 January 2015

Covered in Scraps

Ticker Tape

I wanted to crank out a couple of quick quilts before I get buried in my special quilt project (which has a finish deadline), and the Ticker Tape quilt I started after Christmas seemed like the perfect project to finish up quickly, especially because I've become completely addicted to this method of using up scraps.

When I first started this little quilt, I thought it would be a great way to use up scraps as I go. But I didn't want to wait until I had more scraps to start, so I began sorting scraps and rough-edge appliqueing them by machine, initially intending to work a swirly rainbow of patches.

I should have known before I started I don't have enough yellow, red and orange scraps to pull off a successful rainbow. The greens, blues and purples all go together well, though, so it's not so bad to me to be limited to the cool half of a rainbow.

I buried my thread ends as I worked. The top layer has white stitching; the bottom layer has stitching to match the color of the scrap, green, blue or purple. I thought it would be fun to have a gradient-type effect on the back of the quilt as well as on the front, and the entire time I was making this, I was so glad I'd decided to do it that way because I just love the back of the quilt!

Following four weeknight evenings of quilt-as-you-go patch application, my first (and definitely not last) Ticker Tape quilt was done, and I hardly even made a dent in my scrap pile!!!!! How can this be?!?

Ticker Tape, before washing
before washing

Ticker Tape, after washing
after washing

I was half-motivated to wash the quilt after finishing it. I wanted to see how it would hold up, but I also knew all those rough edges would leave a bit of a thread mess on the quilt top. Now that the initial wash is done, I do cherish the quilt even more with the laundered puckering texture, and I love the frayed edges of the patches. It took about 35 minutes to trim off all the knotted messes, and in my opinion, that was time well-spent. I could clip somewhat mindlessly as I mentally planned my next quilt.

I'm anxious to work up many more Ticker Tape quilts, including pictorial versions, and I do plan to try to make another one with current scraps as I go, moving forward, instead of adding to the never-ending scrap pile. Just as I settled into THE big project, however, I received a baby shower invitation for a niece in ONE WEEK (!!!) (I thought I had until May!!!), so it's back to the quick quilt cutting board once again. Yikes! Good thing I'm a deadline worker!

The best thing about this little quilt, other than it's done, is it includes scraps from almost every quilt I've ever made in my life (as well as quilts I haven't finished yet), scraps from dresses I made for myself in high school, scraps from clothing I made for my kids 15-20 years ago, and scraps from bandanas I've made for my husband during the last ten years. I'd originally thought this might make a nice baby blanket, and it's the perfect size for that. But oh, my gosh, I'm not sure I can ever part with it!

Ticker Tape, before washing
before washing

Ticker Tape, after washing
after washing

Ticker Tape, before washing
before washing

Ticker Tape, after washing
after washing

Ticker Tape Roll

Ticker Tape

Ticker Tape

Ticker Tape

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

29 January 2015

I'm Not So Sure That Was Fun...

my favorite cyclist

We attempted our first bike ride of the year on Saturday, January 3, following a 13-incher. We thought the mountain bikes would be able to handle the snow. But it was too icy. The Lizard did okay; he's got such great balance! I, on the other hand, couldn't stay on my bike. I kept falling!

So a whopping big three miles that day!

We tried again the following Saturday, January 10. We'd had a few inches a couple of times during the week, and we'd had two nights in the teens, but the sidewalks and streets had been plowed. We thought the mountain bikes would be able to handle all the snow and mud in Waterton Canyon.

They did, but boy, were they a mess!!!!!!!!!!

I can remember when we used to think it was fun to ride in all kinds of weather.

Does this mean we're getting old?!? :)

my favorite post-ride protein

My post-ride protein boost was what would be my last real meal, chased by a bowl of Cream of Wheat, for two whole days. Bonus points for whoever can guess what medical procedure this old lady had to endure. Hints: clear fluids only, no red fluid, no dairy, nothing but water on Day Two, "get someone to drive you home because you are going to be super loopy when we're done with you." Oh, and the prescription to prepare for the procedure was $42 after insurance!!! Owie!

But now the annual stuff is done until next time they decide they have to do some poking around inside me. Hopefully that will be a very long time from now. And hopefully, the mountain biking will dry up a little and get a little warmer before then.

muddy, muddy, muddy

mud spiders

gonna have to wash those

27 January 2015

Wordless Wednesday

from a stained glass photoshopped photo

from a pair of socks

from a photoshopped flower

A snowflake created from, of all things, an amaryllis!

from a photoshopped tree

from a photoshopped knitted hat

from a hydrangea

from a candlelit flower

from fireworks

As the Wheels Turn

3000-mile smile

Steve Abraham wants to pedal more than 75,000 miles this year, as do Kurt Searvogel and William "Iron Ox" Pruett. (Track their progress here.) RBR reader Michael M. wants to pedal the 430-mile Grand Traverse of the French Alps to celebrate his 60th birthday.

Without even knowing the route this year, I want to do the 30th anniversary Ride the Rockies. I want to pedal 3,000 miles this year after commitment-forced off-bike time and construction-stunted mileage the last two years. My goal equates to an average of a mere 250 miles per month, but as you can see from my mileage this month in the sidebar to the right, winter months do not make 250 miles in four weeks an easy goal. Summer months will pick up the slack.

These are not my big goals, however. These are just fun challenges for me. My big goal this year is the summit of Pikes Peak. Actually, I guess my big goal this year is to attain the fitness required to pedal 3,000 miles in one year and to keep it this time, not let it softly fade away.

RBR's Coach John Hughes, long-time distance cycling and endurance coach and sport science expert, asked reader Michael M. about the training objectives he plans to achieve before starting his French Alps tour. Michael M. then in turn outlined plans and goals, which includes spending quality time with his family. That part of the goal really resonates with me!

I don't make new years resolutions the way the average resolver does. I set goals each year and actually try to meet them. I don't give up after two weeks, and I don't consider it the end of the world if I don't reach my goal, as long as I gave it my best shot.

Pikes Peak

Reading the training-goal exchange between Coach Hughes and Michael M. helped me solidify my Pikes Peak goal and my long-term fitness goal. I am not going to ride up Pikes Peak (even though it is open to cyclists now) just because I say I'm going to do it. I'm going to train, and I'm going to be ready, and I'm going to do my best to be well-hydrated and adequately fueled throughout the climb so I won't feel dead at the end of the ride.

I can say I want to finish six quilts this year, and I might even be able to achieve that if I stay focused and limit new quilt temptations. I can say I want to design 80 snowflakes this year, and I'll probably do that without putting anything more into it than I have each of the last four years. Writing 80 patterns takes a bit more; I have to discipline myself to sit down and write each pattern within a week or so unless I want to spend a lot of time reverse engineering. I can say I want to shoot 40,000 pictures and finish writing two books-already-in-progress this year. These goals, however, don't require physical preparation and training, just dedicated time.

I know from my previous attempts on Pike Peak that I must train and develop lots of on-the-bike habits and strengths in order to achieve my goal. Seeing Michael M.'s eight-month plan, all written out, inspires me to do what I can to make my goal more achievable. To give myself the best chance for success I can.

Day 4 2010 RtR, Ouray to Durango, 2nd hardest ride I've ever done, three mountain passes to go.

I'm married to a cyclist who dreams of completing the 142-mile Kokopelli Trail in a day, WRIAD (103-mile White Rim in a Day), the 500-mile Colorado Trail Race in seven days and the 2,745-mile Great Divide Mountain Bike Race (from Canada to Mexico along the Continental Divide) in 21 days. I've infected him with my contagious dream to pedal up Mauna Kea from Hilo if we can ever afford a trip to Hawaii. Oh, and I mustn't forget, he'd like to motorcycle the Baja 1,000 one year. He, too, knows he can't just get on his bike and start pedaling, although his spur-of-the-moment effort likely would be much more fruitful than mine ever could!

So, I do need to set a few goals in order to be ready to take on Pikes.

I'd like to exceed 200 miles per month by May.

I hope to achieve 1,000 miles in June.

Ideally, I'd like to repeat that monthly mileage in July and August.

Indy Pass in May

Before tackling Pikes again in September, after thunderstorm season, I'd like to make it to the top of Deer Creek Canyon (multiple times), Vail Pass (multiple times), Independence Pass (in May), all the passes in this year's Ride the Rockies, Trail Ridge Road, Mount Evans (sometime during the summer when danger of thunderstorms is minimal and multiple times if I can) and centuries in Santa Fe (May), Elephant Rock and MS-150 (both in June). Completing all those climbs will require a few and perhaps many unsuccessful attempts.

For all of these rides (and training), I'd like to stay properly hydrated and fueled. This is going to be a challenge for me because I often forget to drink or eat until it's too late if I'm having a really good ride.

To help me remember to drink and eat properly, I'm going to try to take more pictures along the way. If I can train myself to eat or drink every time I stop to take a pictures, I think I'll be much more successful in building my strength and endurance.

Through all this training, I want to balance my time writing, taking pictures, sewing, designing, gardening and being a really good wife. And friend. (Oh, and employee...) The cycling is important, but so are other things. I hope to be able to keep everything in perspective.

Most of all, I'd like for all of it, the whole mess, to be fun. There will be struggles, and there will be failures. I'd like to keep a good attitude throughout and be able to keep enthusiastically looking forward to each new ride instead of dreading the next suffer fest.

One month into this quest, I can honestly say I can't wait to get back on my bike this weekend. Let's see if I'm still saying that at the end of February...

a snowy ride

26 January 2015

Snowflake Monday

Dusty Snowflake

This unfinished snowflake sat on my desk since January 29, 2012, patiently waiting for someone to love it enough to bring it to life. Not only did it collect dust during its half-life; the original was gray.

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

Dusty Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [yo and draw up loop through ring, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 3 times, yo and draw through all 4 loops on hook (starting dc cluster made), * ch 10; [yo and draw up loop through ring, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 4 times, yo and draw through all 5 loops on hook (dc cluster made); repeat from * around 4 times; ch 5, 1 trtr in starting cluster to form 6th ch 10 loop of Round. Pull magic circle tight, but leave opening big enough to allow stitches inside it to lay flat.

Round 2: 3 sc over post of trtr directly below, * ch 8, 5 sc in next ch 10 loop; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 8, 2 sc in next ch 10 sp, sl st in starting sc.
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 tr and ch 2), * 3 dc in next ch 8 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp, ch 2, 1 tr in middle (3rd) sc of next 5/sc group, ch 3, 1 tr in same sp (V-stitch made), ch 2; repeat from * around 4 times; 3 dc in next ch 8 sp, ch 3, 3 dc in same sp, ch 2, 1 tr in same sc as sl st ending Round 2, ch 1, 1 dc in 3rd ch of starting ch 5 to form 6th V-stitch of Round.

Round 4: Ch 6 (counts as 1 tr and ch 3), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 3, 3 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 3 sc in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc top of next V-stitch, ch 3, 1 tr in same sp, ch 5, 1 tr in same sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last tr, last ch 3 and last dc of final repeat; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 6; 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.

IMPORTANT NOTE: I try to help crocheters having difficulty with my patterns when possible, but I do not have (and do not want) 24-hour internet access.

If you need immediate assistance, please consider asking for assistance on Ravelry (either the Snowflake group or the Techniques group), Crochetville or Sisters of the Snowflake. All three are totally free and wonderful resources loaded with friendly, experienced and helpful crafters. Thank you for being patient and considerate.

23 January 2015


second attempt at snow-dyeing fabric

Just one year ago, I attempted snow-dyeing fabric.

second attempt at snow-dyeing fabric

snow-dyed fabric

snow-dyed fabric

snow-dyed fabric

Anxious to use my new collection of one-of-a-kind fabric, I crafted my first disappearing four-patch.

Disappearing Four-Patch

This was fun! I think it will be SO fun to quilt, based on a suggestion by Mrs. Micawber!

playing with color

A Snow-dyed Quilt Top!

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

22 January 2015


a way of life

NOTE: I originally wrote this post a couple months ago, then couldn't get online to post it. Maybe that's a good thing. Less whining, right?

I've complained and grumbled about poor internet access at home. Sometimes I've been downright frustrated and/or angry. There are evenings when we get cut off six times in ten minutes.

Many times, I decide it's just not worth it. I don't even bother to connect. I've got plenty of other things to do, and I wouldn't give up my paradise outside the metro area for anything. Well, maybe paradise in the mountains...

I've had pretty good internet options away from home, and I think I've been taking them a bit for granted. We recently learned one of my other options is going to be blocked soon. Blocked. Not just restricted. Completely blocked. Nothing. End of the line. Get off the train.

This new change is going to totally change my blogging world, which can sometimes be somewhat akin to a second full-time job for me.

I love my blog, or blahg as I affectionately called it in the beginning. I crave the journalistic aspect, I love to create, I love to see what others create, and I love to read, learn and challenge myself. Many hours go into my behind-the-scenes, from designing and writing snowflake patterns and sometimes other handmade items, to writing my own html, building my own pages, stalking and photographing wildlife, training and riding, and even helping crocheters who have trouble with my patterns.

Many people are more cantankerous and belligerent about this soon-to-be internet bottleneck than I've ever been over my home internet woes. I'm trying really hard to take the higher road. I've come to the conclusion I had a pretty good thing for a very long time, and I'm grateful for what I had while I had it. Instead of complaining and whining about a situation I cannot change, I'm going to attempt to adapt.

That means my internet presence is going to morph into something different and unpredictable, sort of like Zuul in Ghostbusters, an ugly monster that becomes a gigantic marshmallow man. Or maybe it's the other way around??? I probably won't get to hop and comment as much as I'd like. My blog is one of my important communities, and I have no intention of letting it go. (Current movie fav "Frozen" is no help to me at all in this respect! "Don't let it go, don't let it go, hold it back ever more...") I enjoy the friendships and sometimes even the challenge of finding adequate internet access.

Nevertheless, things in this blogging neighborhood likely will change in the very near future due to circumstances beyond my control. Do not fear, however. I'm not abandoning my post. I just have to work a different shift, so to speak, and it may take me a while to adjust to this new way of internet life, but adjust I will.

Please be patient with me while I get my feet back on the ground.

UPDATE: I've dumped my 23-year internet provider to try something new, and fingers crossed this new setup is better than the disintegrating service I've had (and paid for) the last six months...

Are you looking at me?
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