30 December 2016

Friday Funny



29 December 2016

The Big Finish


I am not a Christmas shopper. Ever. I make most of the gifts I give. I TRY to be done well before Christmas. I have been known to make fun of people who put it off until the last minute. I have never been a fan of wasting the final hours before the big day crunching Christmas presents like college exams. To me, that totally destroys the entire meaning of Christmas.

So perhaps I deserve what Christmas 2016 became...

A week before Christmas, my adopted daughter informed me she had arranged a meeting with the adoptive families of her first kids a couple of days after Christmas. She invited me.

I have prayed seven long years I might be able to have a relationship with those kids. I have longed to be a grandma. I have longed to be their grandma.

I set to work making hats.


I made one each day on the train during my commute to and from work, and after the fifth hat was done, I was extremely excited to be done and happy to have Christmas weekend to focus on my husband and unfinished quilts.

I even had time to whip up two bandanas for The Lizard and get them wrapped and under the tree without him seeing!


At 3 a.m. Christmas Eve, while experiencing my typical sleeplessness, I remembered one of the adoptive families has children of their own. Certainly the other families might have other children, too.

I come from a blended family. I have fostered nine children. I know what it feels like to be left out. I wasn't about to miss a single kid. Tiny little kids don't understand why some kids get presents on Christmas and others don't. Yes, life is not fair, and Christmas isn't about presents, but life can be a lot better if everyone could be more considerate of others, and Christmas is about love. I have the opportunity to be an influence and an example. I'm not about to waste it.

I knew about three additional children, so I went to work on three more hats. I raided my basement yarn stash, literally a store of yarn. I was very thankful I had not given away ALL of my stash several years ago to a senior center in Colorado Springs where crocheters make items for Wounded Warriors all year long from donated yarn. The irony of "shopping" in my own personal "yarn store" on Christmas Eve did not escape me.

I asked if my daughter could find out how many kids, and specifically, how many boys, along with how many teenagers, would be at our meeting. Boys and teenagers might not like hats with monkey or bear ears or cute little yarn tufts.

I finished the three extras on Christmas Eve and had time to make two blocks for an orphan block quilt I'm trying to finish before the end of the year. Again, the irony of my Christmas Eve project theme tickled me rainbow.


Christmas Day came my answer... 16 kids altogether. My heart literally skipped probably that many beats, and I'm not sure I breathed for a few minutes. I had eight hats finished. Could I finish eight more in two days??? And would I ever want to see another hat again as long as I live???

We counted about five snowflakes falling gently to the ground while we made our way to church. We had talked about taking a short drive to the mountains after church to find a white Christmas. Supposedly, the ski areas were being hammered by the Christmas polar blast. I wanted to take Christmas snowflake photos for future inspiration. But the five flakes on the prairie floor would have to suffice for my white Christmas.

I made one hat during church. Yes, I am a proud needle-carrying member of the CIC and KIC. I never craft during prayers or sacrament, and I try to be aware of people around me who might be distracted by my needling. But most of all, I listen. I take mental notes, and I include them in my journal. I enjoy doing something meaningful while listening to meaningful messages. People knit and crochet while they watch television. To me, this is no different, especially when the yarn worker is on a mission...

I finished three more hats on Christmas Day. I didn't do anything but make hats on Christmas Day. I felt like I was never going to want to make another hat ever. But don't worry, I say that about snowflakes all the time, especially while working on intense projects such as my snowflake lamp.


I had Monday off, but my dear husband did not. I went to work right away on the remaining hats. By the time I finished the second one, I was so bored with hats, I wanted to hide and skip the next week. But then I remembered I did do something on Christmas Day after all! I had made a hat while my husband and I were on the trainers! We can bike in the basement when the weather is bad by setting the bikes up on rollers, turning on some really motivating rock and watching one of the spring classics such as the Tour of Flanders or Paris Roubaix with the sound turned down. I learned several years ago I could knit or crochet while I pedal because there is no traffic, there are no potholes, and I don't even have to worry about my balance while I'm on my trainer! The Lizard literally rides in place on his trainer, but my bike is held in place, and my trainer takes all the crash worry out of me!

For the previous two weeks, I'd been using Charity Miles, an app on my phone I'd learned about via Road Bike Rider ezine, for every ride, every trainer session and every walk to the park and ride. The phone's motion detector is not very accurate when I'm on the trainer, logging an average of 1.5 to 2 miles for every 15 miles I pedal. But it is on the nose when I walk. Why not crochet and walk?


And just how many miles does it take to crochet a child's hat from crown to start of ear flaps? For me, 1.915 miles. So one of my hats resulted in a charitable donation toward the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. I think that's pretty darned cool!


Of course, I practiced in the house first, walking around my kitchen island through the dining room and around the ottoman in the living room. I logged an additional half mile for charity, and walking in the house was a wee bit more challenging, getting slapped in the face by one stem of a hoya plant every time I walked by and avoiding the slippery obstacles on my floor... namely the snowflake rug and the quilt blocks currently in progress.




After finishing what I thought was the last hat, my husband and I took a short ride up Waterton Canyon, a well-deserved reward for all the hard work and boredom!

At the end of the day, I counted my finished hats. I didn't know how I had done it, but I had only 15 finished hats. It was getting late, and I needed one more. I almost cried.

My husband put on "The Hobbit" and I sat down with a skein of white yarn and started another hat. I finished the ear flaps and reached over into my crochet basket for the blue yarn for the edges, and there hiding was the now 17th hat, another white one I'd forgotten stashing there before our ride so I could edge it in blue when we returned home. I still didn't know how many boys and how many girls or how many teenagers. I'd made a selection of hats with no ears and no tassels, and I tried to make a few hats in colors either boys or girls might wear.

Now I had two unfinished white hats. I edged one in pink and one in blue. Nothing wrong with having an extra hat. Better than being one hat short.

As it turned out, all the kiddos were 10 and younger. All the hats are gone. My adopted daughter quickly claimed the extra hat.

In the end, it was worth every stitch, every worry, every tear. Seeing all those kids in their hats made up for everything. Seeing my new grandkids in hats I made... well, there are no words!






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

27 December 2016

These are a Few of My Favorite Things


my favorite shots of 2016

I'm coming up on my second year of using Instagram. And I'm still learning... I recently learned of an annual meme incorporating one of the companion apps, Layout. You pick nine favorite shots and post them together in a collage using Layout, then use the hashtag #bestnine. Well, this certainly was a fun trend!


my favorite 2016 snowflakes


my favorite crochet shots of 2016


my favorite quilt projects of 2016


my favorite garden shots


my favorite blue (and purple) flowers


my favorite digital snowflakes


my favorite digital art of 2016


Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me...

26 December 2016

Snowflake Monday


I bought "Winter Serenade" back in about 2004 or 2005, when it was brand new, because I liked the snowflake on the cover, even though it has eight sides. I'd never heard of Jon Schmidt, who would go on to join The Piano Guys half a decade later. The CD soon became one of my favorites.

As I recently was working up the blue-green versions of this snowflake while listening to "Winter Serenade", I kept recalling a Jack in the Box my baby brother (who is gone now) used to play with during Christmas break at my grandma's house when I was a wee girl.

I kept remembering the clown popping out of the cranking musical box, making all of us kids jump then giggle, each time I pulled a popcorn stitch tight, then laughing just like we did half a century ago.

Pop Goes The Weasel!

I love the popcorn stitch. I love the bumpy, flowery texture it provides snowflakes. Because I have so many snowflake patterns featuring this stitch now, one of the top Google search terms (incorrectly) bringing readers to my page this month is "Linden Gledhill popcorn flakes." (And now including that in my blog will – erroneously – bring me more of his hits...)

Pop Goes the Popcorn!

Still working away on one of today's snowflakes and contently listening to beautiful piano music, I was caught off guard as the last song on the CD played. I had not listened to this CD in many years. I'd forgotten Annie began singing at her dad's piano concerts when she was just six years old.

Pop Goes My Heart...

Annie Schmidt's cute little six-year-old voice can't keep me sad for very long. Grown-up 21-year-old Annie died in October after falling down a sheer cliff during a hike. Her family didn't know for sure what had happened to her for four weeks. They never stopped searching. Their faith and their love still inspires me.

I've loved The Piano Guys since the first time I heard "Cello Wars" in about 2011. I have a deep love for music by all members of the Schmidt family and Piano Guys. I'm thankful they are able to keep going after such a traumatic experience because music lifts my soul as much as snowflakes.

The song below is the last Annie wrote and recorded with her brother, Spencer.


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: 4.75 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, 1.25-inch button (yes, it should work with other sizes with minimal adjustments, but do make sure the buttonholes are big enough for the crochet hook to fit through multiple times) 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

Pop Goes the Button Snowflake Instructions

Round 1: 1 sc in button hole, ch 5,[1 sc in same buttonhole, ch 5] 5 times, 1 sc in next buttonhole, [ch 5, 1 sc in same buttonhole] 5 times; ch 2, 1 dc in starting sc to form 12th ch 5 sp of Round.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc over post of dc directly below, 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 3, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 5 dc in next ch 5 sp, 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), ch 3, popcorn st in same ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last popcorn st and last ch 3 of final repeat; ch 1, 1 dc in top of starting popcorn to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.
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, * ch 5, in next ch 3 tip (between popcorns) work [ 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, ch 5, 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc]; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 5, in next ch 3 tip work [1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc], ch 2, 1 tr in 3rd ch of starting ch 5 to form 6th ch 5 tip of Round.
NOTE: Binding off here makes a cute little 3-inch snowflake.


No, it doesn't have a mistake on one side. It started melting in the light...

Round 4: 1 sc around post of tr directly below, * ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 7, sk next ch 5 sp, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 5, 1 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc and last ch 5 of final repeat; ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th ch 5 tip of Round.
NOTE: Binding off here makes another cute miniature snowflake.


Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of tr directly below, * ch 4, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 4, 5 dc over Round 4 and Round 5 chains, ch 4, 1 sc in next ch 5 sp, ch 4, 3 dc in next ch 5 tip, ch 3, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), 3 dc in same ch 5 tip; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; 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 snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

20 December 2016

Christmas Miracle Child's Hat


I finished all my Christmas craft fair special orders and thought I would get to start working on family gifts, but my dear, sweet aunt asked me to write the pattern for one of the special orders I'd made so she could make one for her youngest grandchild.

It was VERY tempting to do a Ravelry search for free monkey hat patterns. I'm sure there are plenty out there!

Writing the pattern for what I'd worked up would feel like contributing toward my little cousin's gift, though, plus, it would be something special for my aunt, too, if I share my own pattern. (No, I did not write a pattern for the monkey, and I won't have time to do that until well after Christmas, and I probably won't remember it then.)

I then learned I would be meeting the adopted kids of my adopted daughter for the first time just after Christmas. Suddenly, I needed four more hats!

This is going to be one of my best Christmases ever!


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

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


Finished Size: 8 inches tall, 18 inches around
Materials: One skein 3 oz skein of worsted weight yarn; approximately 50 yards of worsted weight yarn in a contrasting color, if desired; size G crochet hook; stitch marker, if desired
Gauge: 7 dc=2 inches; 4 rows (dc)=4.25 inches

Christmas Miracle Hat Instructions

With main color, make magic ring.

Round 1: 3 sc in ring, 3 hdc in ring, 6 dc in ring. Do not join on this or any Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: 2 dc in each st around for a total of 24 dc. Use stitch marker if desired to designate start of each new Round (and to prevent having to count stitches).

Round 3: [2 dc in next dc, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc] 12 times for a total of 36 dc.

Round 4: [1 dc in each of next 3 dc, 2 dc in next dc] 12 times for a total of 48 dc.

Rounds 5-12: 1 dc in each dc around. At end of 12 Round, work 1 hdc in each of next 3 dc, then 1 sc in each of next 3 dc, then sl st in next dc. Ch 2, turn.

Ear Flaps

Row 13: 1 dc in each of next 10 dc; ch 2, turn.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

Row 14: 1 dc dec across next 2 dc, 1 dc in each of next 6 dc, 1 dc dec across next 2 dc; ch 2, turn.

Round 15: 1 dc dec across next 2 dc, 1 dc in each of next 4 dc, 1 dc dec across next 2 dc; ch 2, turn.

Round 16: 1 dc dec across next 2 dc, 1 dc in each of next 2 dc, 1 dc dec across next 2 dc; ch 2, turn.

Round 17: [1 dc dec across each of next 2 dc] 2 times; bind off, leaving 14-inch tail to be included in braid at finishing.

Count 15 stitches over on main body of hat from end of ear flap, and work second ear flap according to instructions above. See Moogly's standing double crochet join tutorial here.

Edging: With both main color and contrast (or two strands of main color, if desired), starting at back of hat from right side between ear flaps, 1 sc in in each st across to 1st ear flap, sc down ear flap along edge to point, 3 sc in each of 2 dc dec at point of ear flap, sc up ear flap to front edge of hat, 1 sc in each st along hat to 2nd ear flap, sc down ear flap along edge to point, 3 sc in each of 2 dc dec at point of ear flap, sc up ear flap to back edge of hat, 1 sc in each st to starting sc; sl st in starting sc. Bind off. Weave in ends.

Ears (optional)

Ear front: make 2.

With contrast color, make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring; do not join on this or any Round. Pull magic circle tight. Work tail into st each Round to carry it to outer edge without having to weave through work from the back when done.
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: 2 sc in each sc around for a total of 12 sc.

Round 3: [1 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6 times for a total of 18 sc; bind off. Ends will go inside ear when layers are complete.

Ear back: make 2.

With main color, make magic ring, leaving long tail for sewing to hat.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring; do not join on this or any Round. Pull magic circle tight. Work tail into st each Round to carry it to outer edge without having to weave through work from the back when done.

Round 2: 2 sc in each sc around for a total of 12 sc.

Round 3: [1 sc in next sc, 2 sc in next sc] 6 times for a total of 18 sc; sl st in next sc. Turn. Sandwich ear front with ear back, right sides facing out.

Round 4: Working in opposite direction and from front of ear front, work one Round of sc all the way around, catching stitches in both the ear front and back and increasing 3 sc evenly spaced around. Stuff contrast ends inside ear before closing gap. Sl st in starting sc.

Round 5: Sl st in each sc around, forming a rim around ear; bind off. Use main color ends to sew ear to hat in approximately 9th and 10th Rounds (according to personal taste; notice how ear placement changes the personality of the hat) centered above ear flap, contrast color facing front of hat.

Finish: To make tufts instead of ears, cut 24 pieces of yarn 12 inches in length each and divide into 2 equal groups. Insert crochet hook under two dc in 6th or 7th Round directly centered above ear flap. Fold 12 yarn strands in half and with crochet hook pull through dc stitches, leaving ends sticking out opposite of hook on other side of dc stitches. Pull ends through folded loop as shown below and pull tight. Repeat 2nd tuft above 2nd ear flap. Trim ends even, leaving enough length for yarn to stand up. (Or make longer tufts for floppy ears.)






To make braids, cut 36 pieces of yarn 26 inches long. Divide into 2 equal groups. Fold each group in half and pull through bottom of ear flap same as tuft shown above, catching finishing tail in, too. Divide into 3 equal groups and braid to end. Tie braid end in knot and pull tight. Measure 2nd braid to match 1st braid when tying second knot. Trim braid ends to match. Weave in hat starting end and ear ends. Present to child. Take lots of pictures!

19 December 2016

Snowflake Monday


Here is yet another sparkly big button snowflake pattern that works up fast enough you can make plenty by Christmas!


Yes, it works without a button. Just use your favorite snowflake center, then pick up with Round 1 as Round 2 or 3.

You may do whatever you'd like with snowflakes you make from this pattern, but you may not sell or republish the pattern. Wishing you a very merry Christmas!


Finished Size: 5.25 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, two-holed 1.5-inch button (yes, some other sizes will work), 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


Seek Snowflake Instructions

Round 1: 1 sc in button hole, ch 7,[1 sc in same buttonhole, ch 7] 2 times, 1 sc in next buttonhole, [ch 7, 1 sc in same buttonhole] 2 times; ch 7, 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 2: * In next ch 7 sp work [2 sc, 2 hdc, 2 dc], ch 9, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc dec across next 3 ch (leaf picot made), ch 16, sl st in each of 15th and 16th ch from hook (loop tip made), ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 3 dc in next ch (leaf picot made), sl st in each of next 2 ch preceding 1st leaf picot, in same ch 7 sp work [2 dc, 2 hdc, 2 sc; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; 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.

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