22 March 2017

Wordless Wednesday

21 March 2017

Happy Spring!

Emotionally surviving and thriving this last winter was more difficult, in some ways, and easier in others. I typically fight off depression during the winter months when I am unable to get enough sunshine to prevent my mood and outlook from spiraling into darkness.

The Lizard landed a new job last autumn, and he works almost every weekend now. Which means I was on my own during the weekends. I did a lot of quilting, and that helped. I tried to get outside as much as I could both at work and on weekends. And as always, I tried to enjoy what time I did have with my beloved husband.

One of the tools I used this time around came in the form of a bag of hyacinth bulbs.

These blue babies helped me beat the winter blues by painting my inside world the most beautiful hues during the darkest times of the year. I "planted" at least three each month in water vases I saved from past birthdays when my sweetheart gave me flowering bulbs as gifts. We keep blankets over the heat-leaking windows during the coldest weeks, so we use two daylight lamps to provide "sunshine" for my indoor garden.

All winter long, I had at least three flowers blooming!

I tried the bulbs-in-water experiment with grape hyacinths and daffodils, too. The grape hyacinth in soil mostly are showing greenery; the one I tried in the water vase disintegrated, I suppose feeding the hyacinth and daffodil along side it. The daffodils haven't bloomed yet, but they haven't died, either.

In addition, I had four patio pots still blooming when the first freeze hit. I brought them inside, not knowing if they would keep going or even survive.

I was delightedly surprised to experience yet another winter of larkspur, cosmos, grape hyacinth, amaryllis, Christmas cacti and, for the first time, love in a mist and campanula! Yes, after a few weeks of dormancy, the love in a mist and bellflowers began blooming again! The daffodils have been stubborn, but they are finally coming along.

I'll be dreaming of another Blue Winter come September!

20 March 2017

Snowflake Monday

I thought this hike to Highland Mary Lakes was about as close as I've ever been to Storm King Peak, 125th tallest peak in Colorado. It's taller than but hidden behind Peaks One, Two and Three to the left in this photo from our last trek up to Highland Mary Lakes.

When I asked The Lizard if he had a photo of Storm King Peak, he reminded me we had a much closer view when we traversed Hunchback Pass into the Vallecito drainage. This is one his photos from that magnificent backpack trip. Storm King Peak is the far right mountain, and Lizard says he thinks I might be able to climb that mountain one day.

Even I got a photo of a sliver of Storm King Peak during that trip! You can definitely tell what I focus on compared to what The Lizard photographs.

Storm King Peak at 13,752 feet sits in the middle of the chain of Grenadier Mountains, a subset of the Needle Mountains Range, which is a subrange of the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado, where we'll be pedaling this year during Ride the Rockies. This is the stormy view of Molas Pass, the second of three alpine passes I'll attempt to climb on Day Four. I did this same section on Day 4 of the 2010 Ride the Rockies, but in the opposite direction. So I know it can be done. I just have to train like crazy!

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: 5 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

Storm King Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: . 12 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Don't pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), * 1 dc in next sc, ch 1, 1 dc in next sc, ch 3, 1 dc in same sc, ch 1; repeat from * around 4 times; 1 dc in next sc, ch 1, 1 dc in next same sc as sl st, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 3 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.

Round 3: 2 sc over post of dc directly below, * 2 sc in each of next 2 ch 1 sp, 2 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 12, 2 sc in same sp; repeat from * around 4 times; 2 sc in each of next 2 ch 1 sp, 2 sc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 1 trtr in starting sc to form 10th ch 12 loop 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 4: 2 sc over post of trtr directly below, 2 hdc in same sp, 2 dc in same sp, 2 tr in same sp, * ch 3, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook (sc picot made), in next ch 12 loop work [2 tr, 2 dc, 2 hdc, 2 sc, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, ch 7, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, ch 15, sl st in 14th and 15th ch from hook, working back down branch ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, sl st in next ch (between 5 sl st branch and 4 sl st branch), ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, sl st in next ch (between 4 sl st branch and 3 sl st branch), ch 4, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, sl st in next ch (between 3 sl st branch and main body of snowflake) (tree branch made) **, 2 sc, 2 hdc, 2 dc and 2 tr] 6 times, ending ** on final repeat; 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 snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

17 March 2017

16 March 2017

Ocean Hexies

Eighteen months ago, we traveled to California to visit my parents. We took a daylong tour along the southern coast to get our biennial ocean fix. I shot about 800 photos. We had a blast.

A little more than a year earlier, I had used a manipulated photo of lightning to create hexagon fabric on Spoonflower. Back then, I didn't know how to do repeats when the image edge was not smooth and even. My lack of skill didn't stop me from using that first hexagon fabric in a dress I still wear today. I had to crop and cut creatively, but the dress turned out great!

About four months later, I had the chance to access the internet via a free wifi location (back when I still had AWFUL and next-to-no internet at home), I watched a few YouTube tutorials on creating repeats... making designs with uneven edges printable on fabric without the telling lines between design starts and stops. I also studied some Photoshop tutorials on different websites in an effort to learn how to make the process work with a variant of Photoshop five versions back.

I quickly went to work recreating my hexagon artwork with no seams. One of the variations I uploaded to Spoonflower has gone on to become one of my most popular fabric designs, and now all my new Spoonflower designs are fashioned to repeat seamlessly. Tutorial time well spent!

I then used my newfound talent to create yet another seamless Spoonflower design. I ordered a fat quarter, which is required in order to sell the design. I've yet to craft that fat quarter into something useful. After all this time, I do have plans for it now. I just need to sit down and do it. This particular hexagon design incorporates "snowflakes" from 102 different manipulated photos. "Hexie Patchwork" went on to become quite popular on Spoonflower, too.

This design even shows up in one of Spoonflower's latest offerings, roostery. I wasn't sure if that meant someone used my design for a roostery item. I simply cannot imagine a chair with such an... um... outspoken design!!!

Just a little wild, don't you think???

This chair's a bit easier on the eyes, but still kind of bright, in my opinion.

I wondered why some of my designs show up on roostery while others do not. Apparently a shopper has to pull up one of my designs in order to initially generate the image. Which means someone has been looking at my designs on roostery! How cool!

Here's the design I would pick. But I would make my own pillow and placemats.

Spoonflower began running weekly design challenges seven years ago. I've looked at a few of them, and nothing really inspired me until the geometric theme hit this month. Hexagons are right up my alley! I dream in sixes!

I went right to work on a new hexagon design, this time, created from the ocean wave photo above I shot back in California 18 months ago.

Last week, I submitted my very first Spoonflower challenge entry, after ordering a yard of the design in cotton Spandex. Guess what I'm making for the first time in at least 30 years!

My newest fabric design should arrive today, and I expect the Stretch and Sew pattern to arrive by week's end!

Meanwhile, voting on the hexagon challenge will commence on March 23. I will post a reminder, just in case you'd like to vote. I expect there will be some cool designs, and not just because I'm partial to hexagons.

Of course, I had to play a little more in Photoshop to create some different color combinations for my newest design. Just because. It will be a while before I can order more Spoonflower fabric. I've spent the budgeted amount already. Mostly, I need to use up what I've already got. Fortunately, that can be a fun process.

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