15 January 2018

Snowflake Monday


During one train commute last month, I wanted to try my New Year Snowflake with different shades of my hand-dyed thread. The pattern had not yet been published, and I couldn't remember the instructions pas the first Round, so I decided to play.

On New Year's Day, I got to deliver, in person, all 15 quilts I'd slaved over throughout 2017. Those kids were so thrilled, as if it was their first Christmas ever. They asked if they can call me Grandma Deb.

So now I have 16 "grandkids" with which I get to interact! There are seven more out there, and they are my planned quilt recipients this year. I hope this Grandma Deb thing is contagious!

I think the multicolor version of today's pattern (with my hand-dyed thread!) has a little bit of a granny square flair, don't you agree?

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: 4.25 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

Grannyflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 4 dc in ring, take loop off hook, insert hook through 2nd ch of starting ch 2 and replace loop on hook, pull loop through ch (starting popcorn stitch made), * ch 3, 5 dc in ring, take loop off hook, insert hook through top loop of 1st dc and replace loop on hook, pull loop through top of 1st dc (popcorn stitch made); repeat from * 4 times; ch 1, 1 dc in top of starting popcorn st to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of dc directly below, * 3 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 7, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, ch 1 (spoke made), 3 dc in same sp; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * sk next 4 dc, 1 dc in next dc, ch 3, 1 dc in tip of spoke, [ch 3, 1 dc in same tip] 3 times, ch 3, 1 dc in next dc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.
NOTE: Binding off here makes another great little mini snowflake. You can even do something fancy on the spoke tips to make it more unique!


Round 4: Sl st into next sp before next dc, work starting popcorn st in same sp, * ch 3, sk next ch 3 sp, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in same sp (V-stitch made), 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, ch 7, 1 dc in same sp, ch 5, 1 dc in same sp, V-st in next ch 3 sp, sk next ch 3 sp, work popcorn st into next gap between dc stitches; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last popcorn st of final repeat; sl st into top of starting popcorn st; 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.

11 January 2018

Surprise, Surprise!


A couple of months ago, my parents' home was broken into while they were sleeping. My dad's iPad, wallet and all his keys were stolen, as were my mom's phone and car. They've got their car back now, and my sister and nephew have re-keyed the car and installed an alarm in the home. Nevertheless, life for my parents isn't going to completely go back to normal anytime soon. They're both still extremely jumpy, and they are frightened by every noise they hear at night.

This year my parents celebrate their 50th anniversary, and I want to send them something that will bring warm fuzzies and pleasant thoughts. Lap quilts would be a tad late for Christmas, quite early for the anniversary, but hopefully the most joy I can send by mail until we get to go visit again... twice this year!!! (Another niece got engaged, and I get to shoot the wedding in a few months!)


I bought the panel for my mom's quilt (because she loves carousel horses) so many years ago, I couldn't even begin to guess the age of the fabric. One thing I do remember is the original plan was to make it into a quillow, so the carousel panel is at least 17 years old.


I bought the panel for my dad's quilt (because he's a train fanatic) more recently, and both panels got stuffed away when I organized my stash a while back. I hadn't planned to work on these quilts in 2017. I'd totally forgotten about them. Until the break-in.

I began working on my dad's quilt on Christmas Eve while my Lizard was working. I entertained thoughts of finishing both quilts by the end of Christmas Day, then mailing them on the 26th. I didn't get as much sewing machine time as I hoped, anticipated and planned, and that's actually a good thing. I loved getting to spend all of Christmas Day with Lizard, and I took full advantage of it, making the quilts even more tardy.

I finally finished everything but the binding on New Year's Day, and last week, I finally got off work early enough to finish both. I didn't mail them until Monday because, well, I had to take pictures of my dad's quilt at the Colorado Railroad Museum...


... and I had to take pictures of my mom's quilt at the Colorado Mills carousel! (I could have taken pictures of my mom's quilt at the Denver Pavilions Christmas carousel downtown if I'd finished it one day earlier, darn it.)


There's a special place in my heart for red cabooses, not only because my dad lives, breathes, eats and dreams of trains, but because I gave birthday parties in a red caboose decades ago while working at McDonald's.


Ironically, we found carousels at the Colorado Railroad Museum.


And we found a train at Colorado Mills!


Hopefully the quilts have arrived so I won't be spoiling the surprise when my dad reads my blog today.

Dad's Quilt














I also managed to finish a pair of Perkiomen Valley blocks from scraps for Carole's drive and got them in the mail. These blocks hopefully will be incorporated into quilts to be presented to victims of the Thomas fire in California.


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

09 January 2018

Fury Unleashed


Last November, I blew off steam by writing the blog post below in the hopes I might get some sleep. I was pretty fired up that day, and I think I didn't sleep, even though I tried to vent before head hit pillow.

Now I've had a chance to calm down, and I'm not depressed about what happened anymore. I've rewritten the most harsh portions of the post, but there are nuggets of gold here and there buried within the trauma. There are things we all can do to be safe in our homes, and that's why I decided to go ahead and share a watered-down version of what I wrote on a very dark day.


My dad woke up this morning to a call from a credit card company. Someone was attempting to make fraudulent charges on my parents' card. Thank heavens it was caught almost immediately, and the charges were not processed.

My dad was somewhat groggy and incoherent when the phone rang, so it took a bit of sunshine and head-clearing for him to realize his wallet was missing. Then he noticed his iPad was missing. Then he noticed every single key in the house was missing.

My mom had alarmed the car the night before. My dad went out to the driveway... the empty driveway...

The burglars had taken the keys, so they were able to de-arm the alarm with ease. My mom's car was gone.

My dad went back inside the house, now wide awake but in a state of unabashed panic. He woke my mom, who now was drowsy and not entirely understanding the gravity of the situation yet.

"We've got to call all the credit card companies! We've got to call the bank! We've got to call the insurance companies!" my dad directed with agitation and frustration.

My mom grabbed her purse from the dresser and went to the kitchen, where she discovered her phone was missing.


By the time both my parents calmed enough to alert police, as if that's even possible in this type of situation, my mom had forgotten she carried her purse into the kitchen. For a short while, both my parents panicked because they thought my mom's purse had been stolen, too. From the bedroom, while they slept. This was just too close for comfort. Literally.

As my parents began checking around the house to find out what else was missing, they realized the burglars indeed had been in the hallway right next to the bedroom. Both my parents are elderly, and my dad is becoming more frail with age. My parents would not have been able to defend themselves.

They realized their little dog had not barked during the night. Then they realized if the burglar(s) had awakened the dog, who had been sleeping with them, all three of them might be dead now.

Thank heavens for humongous miracles.

As the day progressed my parents realized, with the help of police and neighbors, their home (and possibly the entire neighborhood) had been methodically cased for at least two weeks.

I'm writing this because I'm angry my parents have been terrorized and are fearful of living in their own home now. But I'm also writing this to spread knowledge of the depths to which criminals have sunk. If I can help others be safe and not fall victim to this asinine scheme, I will do whatever it takes.


About two weeks before the break-in, my mom went out to the car for her weekly trip to the grocery store. One of the brand new tires was flat. She tried to get the car up on the jack but was unable, so she summoned my dad, who also was unable to accomplish the task.

Three "boys" on bikes appeared out of nowhere and offered to assist. Although they did put the spare on and secure the damaged tire, they also did things my parents now realize made them uncomfortable, but they were so grateful for the help at the time, they didn't notice.

The "boys" verbally noticed my parents' health conditions. They seemed to be too interested in what was inside the car and the backyard, as well as the house. More than once, they pointed out my dad's health. They also seemed to be paying a little too much attention to neighborhood homes.

A couple of days later, police showed up at my parents' house for a wellness check because they'd received a distress call from that location. A couple of days later, it happened again. Then a third time, this time in the middle of the night.


Police now have informed my family this happens when criminals use anonymous disposable cell phones to determine how long it takes for police to arrive at a specific location. The criminals had it down to a science by the third time. I wish someone had figured this out prior to the break-in. Spread the word far and wide. Please don't ever let this happen to you or someone you love.

A couple of days later, my mom returned home from church to find a neighbor at the front door trying to contact my dad, who had not been feeling well. The neighbor had observed one of the "boys" on my nephew's bike with a large bag of "stuff", leaving my parents' backyard. He confronted the "boy", who claimed to be a grandson. The neighbor knew my now married-with-three-kids-of-his-own nephew well enough to accuse the "boy" of lying. The "boy" sped off. The neighbor, also elderly, ran to his car and attempted to chase down the "boy" because the whole situation just didn't seem right. He wasn't able to catch up to the "boy," though. So he'd gone to my parents' front door to alert them.

Police were notified, and descriptions were taken. Losses were minor, and no one felt unsafe. My parents at that time still had not made the connection to the flat tire.

It took the break-in and a more thorough investigation before the police were able to connect all the activity to a deliberate scam.

The "boys" had flattened my mom's brand new tire. They knew neighborhood comings and goings. They knew how much time was required to make a clean getaway. They even knew where car keys were stored and which vehicles were routinely alarmed. One of the "boys" who helped fix the flat tire is the same "boy" who stole the bicycle from the backyard. Police are convinced now these "boys" are the burglars, and the whole experience was premeditated by experienced "boys" who know exactly what they are doing.


I hate to be suspicious of the kindness of strangers, especially in today's world, but now I realize it's necessary. Especially in today's world.

Please be very cautious and alert when help comes out of nowhere. Please never be afraid to contact neighbors or someone you trust when something goes wrong with your vehicle. Please form neighborhood watch programs. Know your neighbors, and watch out for each other.

Please keep an updated list of all your credit cards, and please don't store anything with personal information in your glove compartment. EVER.

Please don't keep your phone, keys, phone, purse and wallet neatly together near the front door or any entrance/exit. Please do not leave credit cards out where they may be seen.

Be aware of your surroundings. Be aware of routines that might set you up to be a victim. Shake things up every once in a while. Don't follow the very same routine day after day after day. Make sure elderly and potentially vulnerable friends and loved ones are safe and secure once in a while. Just check on them now and then, and keep the bonds strong and healthy.

And please always make sure to keep in touch with your elderly relatives. Never let an opportunity to express love escape.

08 January 2018

Snowflake Monday


I wanted to crochet Don Komarechka's December 18 snowflake for my Christmas Day snowflake pattern, but this one was a doozie! Several times during the construction, deconstruction and reconstruction process, I wanted to save today's pattern for Halloween and call it Prickly Picots, Count Cruel or Nightmare on Pin Street.

Yet, it is such a beautiful snowflake. So, proceed with extreme caution.


Precarious Peak stands at 13,380 feet, but it doesn't sound like a mountain I will be climbing. The loose and blocky 13er is further along on the very same ridge with Pyramid Peak, another dangerous mountain, and is near Gothic and Schofield Pass. I think we've been atop (or near the top of) Mount Bellview, which gazes over at Precarious across Rustler Gulch, but I didn't know enough about the range at the time to snap photos I could have included with today's pattern. Mosquitoes may have been involved, too...


Speaking of things I won't be doing, it looks like we will not be participating in any big organized rides this year. We really had our sights set on Ride the Rockies, and Lizard wanted to return to the Triple Bypass for the 30th anniversary. We weren't sure about these rides and the MS-150 because I've been asked to shoot another out-of-state niece's wedding, and we also plan to attend my parents' 50th anniversary.

Add to that my inability so far to get past 21 miles now that I'm back on my bike. I'm not sure I'll ever be able to pedal 70 miles or more in a day again. I will keep trying to improve, but winter doesn't make that task easy. Whatever happens, I will be grateful for the miles I can pedal. Any miles are better than no miles.

I've been fielding lots of inquiries lately about "this year's snowflake booklet" and where donations may be made. I haven't put together a new booklet for this year because I didn't get to crochet much last year, due to the same elbow and neck problems that kept me off my bike.

However, I am still invested in the battle to wipe out multiple sclerosis, so I set up a virtual rider donation page, located here. The previous seven pdf booklets are available to those who have not received them yet as my way of thanking donors. Each new booklet traditionally has been available for a donation of $10 or more, and I've offered the entire set for donations over $45. If you would like a specific booklet, please make sure to let me know either via email or via comment when making a donation.

All donations to the Colorado-Wyoming Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society are tax-deductible.

I do not have 24-hour access to the internet and email, so I am not always able to respond immediately when a donation is made. If you don't hear from me within a couple of days of making a donation, something is wrong, and definitely let me know via email at snowcatcher at att dot net.

I still have potential covers (and plentiful inspiration) for three more booklets, so I don't think I'm done yet, but I just did not get the opportunity to complete a new booklet for this year.


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: 8.5 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

Deadly Design Snowflake Instructions

(just teasing)


Precarious Peak Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2, 1 dc in ring, ch 2, sl st in ring, * ch 3, 2 dc in ring, ch 2, sl st in ring; repeat from * 4 times for a total of 6 petals, ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to complete 6th petal.

Round 2: Sl st into next dc, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in same dc, 2 dc in next dc, ch 12, * 2 dc in 1st dc of next petal, 2 dc in 2nd dc of same petal, ch 12; repeat from * around 4 times for a total of 6 petals and 6 ch 12 sp, sl st in 2nd ch os starting ch 2.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), * 7 dc in next ch 12 sp, ch 2, sl st in same sp, ch 2, 7 dc in same sp (M-shaped arch made); repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
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: Sl st into gap between ch 2 and next dc, ch 6 (counts as 1 dc and * ch 4), [yo and draw up loop through 3rd ch from hook, yo and draw through 2 loops on hook] 2 times, yo and draw through all 3 loops on hook (double dc picot made), ch 9, draw up loop through 2nd ch from hook and through each of next 2 ch for a total of 4 loops on hook, yo and draw through all 4 loops (3 sc dec made), 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, 3 sc dec across next 3 ch, ch 5, 1 sc in 4th ch from hook (sc picot made), ch 6, 3 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, 3 sc in next ch, ch 3, double dc picot in 3rd ch from hook, ch 1, sk over M-shaped arch, 1 dc in next gap between 7/dc groups, ch 1, 1 dc in same sp (V-stitch made); repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last ch 1 and last dc of final repeat; 1 hdc in 2nd ch of starting ch 6 to form 6th V-stitch of Round.

Round 5: Sl st over hdc directly below, ch 2 (counts as 1 dc) 4 dc in same sp, take loop off hook, insert hook through 2nd ch of starting ch 2 and replace loop on hook, pull loop through ch (starting popcorn stitch made), * ch 4, double dc picot in 3rd ch from hook, ch 7, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, [ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook] 2 times, ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 6, double dc picot in 3rd ch from hook, ch 1, 5 dc in top of next V-stitch, take loop off hook, insert hook through top loop of 1st dc and replace loop on hook, pull loop through top of 1st dc (popcorn stitch made), beginning spoke ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 7, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc in next ch, sl st in each of next 2 ch, ch 7, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 5, working back down spoke sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, ch 4, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, sl st in spoke ch between 3/sl st picot and 4/sl st picot on opposite side of spoke, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, sl st in spoke ch between 4/sc picot and 5/sl st picot, ch 6, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, sl st in spoke ch between 5/sl st picot and 5/sc picot, ch 6, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 4 ch, sl st in spoke ch between 5/sc picot and leaf-shaped picot, ch 5, sl st in 2nd ch from hook, 1 dc in next ch, sl st in each of next 2 ch, sl st in next 2 spoke ch, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, sl st in next 3 spoke ch, sl st in top of popcorn st; repeat from * around 5 times; 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.

04 January 2018

Favorite Things


favorite finished quilts of 2017

The Instagram #bestnine meme is a fun way to finish out the year. I didn't put together as many collections in 2017 as I did in 2016, when I first discovered the fun activity, because I didn't have enough time to go through old photos. Yet, I'm pretty happy with the few I did complete.


favorite flower shots


favorite snowflakes designed in 2017
(although had I waited a week longer to compile these,
my Christmas Eve Snowflake would have replaced one of these)



November Reign made it SO difficult to pick 9 favorite sunrises!!!


I didn't get to ride much in 2017,
so I didn't get to shoot many cycling shots,
but I like what I did get!
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