19 April 2018

Butterflies Aren't Free

Butterfly fabric definitely is not cheap, but that's okay. The prettiest fabrics are worth paying for, right?

I have a collection of blue snowflake fabric, blue floral fabric, and now... blue butterfly fabric. Perfect for dressing up, right?

Back in December, I decided to make a gored skirt because I had seven blue butterfly fabrics, and my favorite pattern required eight. I searched on quiltshops.com and quickly found another blue butterfly fabric at Ann's Fabrics. I'd ordered fabrics from there before, so I quickly placed my order.

A day or so later, I got a call from Ann. Wow! She asked if I'd seen the notice on her front page that the shop was closed until February. I told her I'd found the fabric on a search engine, and I didn't see her home page. She asked if I'd like to cancel the order or wait until February. I didn't have any upcoming weddings or special occasions at the time, so I told her February would be fine.

In February, she called back to make sure I still wanted the fabric. By this time, my niece in California had become engaged, and if added a bodice to the skirt pattern, my new dress would be perfect April wedding attire. Ann said she'd have the fabric in the mail to me the next day, so that night I modified the pattern, added pockets, cut the seven gores with fabric I had, and selected another butterfly fabric in my stash to cut a fully lined bodice. I figured I'd have the dress done in a couple of hours once I had the eighth blue butterfly fabric.

Days turned into weeks. The weeks turned into a month. I called Ann in March to let her know I'd received her shipping notice, but I'd never received the fabric. She had paid for two-day delivery with tracking, so she looked up the shipping info and sent me a copy so I could track the package, too. The package was in Denver and scheduled for delivery in the next day or two.

Neither Ann nor I could understand why the package would take so long, but it finally did arrive the next day. The package itself adequately displayed its age and mileage. Thankfully, the fabric inside was in perfect condition. I cut out the eighth gore that night but did not sit down to the sewing machine until the Monday before the wedding.

I do not have a good track record for finishing dresses (or shorts or swimsuits) I cut out for weddings (or other vacations)! Work gets busier than anticipated as I prepare to leave, and it just seems the vacation is upon me before I know it, and the clothing is still waiting to be stitched!!! Perhaps I need to start a dress WIP list! These are a few of the projects I have not finished on time and am still hoping to finish soon.

I was absolutely determined to finish the blue butterfly dress in time for Ashlie's wedding. I took off work the day before our flight specifically to sew, and in addition to packing, I finished the dress!!! YAY!!!

In California, The Lizard took pictures of me in my dress before I took pictures of my nieces in their dresses.

You'd think I'd had enough butterflies after all that. Not on your life.

I wanted to make a dress when I found the Studio E Fabrics Aflutter pictured above on sale, but only one and an eighth of a yard remained. The next best thing was a block in my simple butterfly fabric sampler.

I began collecting butterfly fabric two years ago after a cinnamon bear snuck up on me while I was completely oblivious taking butterfly photos. I want to make a Bear and Butterfly quilt, inspired not only by the experience, but also by the Heart classic.

This isn't the quilt top I envision, but it shows off 13 of my favorite butterfly fabrics.

Two, including the sashing, were already in my stash before The Day of the Bear. One is left over from the bodice of my dress.

I vowed not to add new projects to my WIP list until I finish more WIPs. If I finish this gorgeous quilt before the end of the quarter and it doesn't become a WIP, it doesn't count, right?!?

What about TWO more tops I'll have to finish quilting before the end of the quarter???

I was piecing a butterfly backing for the sampler above when I decided to go ahead and make a quilt top from the butterfly panels below, which have been cocooning in my stash for who knows how long, to make sure I had enough butterfly leftovers to finish it before I use all the leftovers up in a backing.

And this is what I wound up with... a piece worthy of the Denver National Quilt Festival, in my opinion, if it still existed!

Initially, I planned to put five more butterflies on the left side of the quilt top, but after I finished attaching the right side, I decided I really like the off-centeredness, as well as the size, so I'm leaving it as is and packaging up the five leftover butterflies along with a few other butterfly leftovers for my bus driver, who went nuts over my butterfly dress. She said one of her friends recently gifted her an old sewing machine, she has not sewn in years, and she'd love to get back into it so she can make a dress just like mine. She said she loves butterflies and has them on her dishes, her table cloth, her curtains, her couch and her bedspread.

She seems to be as obsessed with butterflies as I am with snowflakes! So I don't mind indulging her at all. My little butterflies might give her something to practice on until she rebuilds her confidence and skill, and that makes me a very happy butterfly dress wearer!

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

17 April 2018


I've made sugarless and even flourless cakes for my bosses and co-workers over the years. I've bought grocery store cakes. I've bought bakery cupcakes.

Some of the celebrations have been delicious; some have left us wishing I'd done something differently.

The daughter of one of my friends, Janiel, recently started her own commercial bakery, and I asked if she could make a low-sugar cake with lots of fresh fruit for my boss' birthday. This is what I got!!!

I'm utterly amazed the cake made it to the office the next day without being devoured! I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into this, and train passengers were equally as willing to perform taste tests!

The genuine taste test... My boss and co-workers LOVED it! I think I'm going to ask her to make my husband's birthday cake next month, too. I'll need to come up for an excuse to order a cake every month! And oooh, she delivers...

Thank you, Janerek Bakery (Janiel's husband name is Erek, and together they are anything but generic!), for the best cake I've ever taken to work and the best cake I've tasted in ages!

16 April 2018

Snowflake Monday

Are you tired of Don's faux 12-pointer yet? I'm certainly not! I may have one or two more 12-point snowflakes starting from triangles up my sleeve!

My goal was to get five snowflakes ahead so I could concentrate on photographing my niece's wedding, then downloading, editing and uploading the photos. This is the fifth snowflake, I'm writing this post a few weeks before the wedding, and hopefully I will be all done with the photos by the time this pattern is published!

I can't tell you how much I love today's pattern. I picked a very special name because I think this is my favorite of the Pyramid flakes so far.

I was born just north of the mighty Rio Grande in El Paso, Texas. I grew up on the opposite side of the Organ Mountains of southern New Mexico from the Rio Grande. When I got older, I made several trips to Bosque del Apache, a beautiful wildlife preserve along the Rio Grande wetlands in the center of New Mexico. Still later, I spent a great deal of time camping, fishing, exploring, hiking and photographing everything around Elephant Butte, also in central New Mexico. That reservoir is right on the Rio Grande.

I guess you could say I have Rio Grande in my blood.

So does my Lizard. He has wanted to climb Rio Grande Pyramid since before we met. He's seen the peak from the summits of 14ers Windom and Sunlight, but that's as close as he's been so far. This is another area we both long to explore one day.

Rio Grande Pyramid, at 13,821 feet is Colorado''s 97th tallest peak. A ridge running south from the summit contains a gorgeous rock cut called The Window, a place where I plan to take many, many photos.

The Rio Grande Valley in Colorado

This has absolutely nothing to do with today's pattern, but one of my bosses has worked hard to qualify for the Boston Marathon this year, and she's running today!!! I'm so proud of her! In honor of her achievement and participation, here's one of my favorite music videos of all time. Go, Melissa!

UPDATE: Melissa finished in 3:50! Pretty darned awesome! I also learned another member of our work group in another state ran, and Drew finished in 3:27!!! Way to go, Drew!!!

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: 7.5 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

Rio Grande Pyramid Snowflake 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 (beginning popcorn stitch made), [ch 5, 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)] 2 times; ch 2, 1 tr in top of starting popcorn st to form 3rd ch 5 sp of Round. Pull magic ring tight.

Round 2: Beginning popcorn st over post of tr directly below, [ch 5, popcorn st in next ch 5 sp, ch 5, popcorn st in same ch 5 sp] 2 times; ch 5, popcorn st in starting ch 5 sp, ch 2, 1 tr in top of starting popcorn to form 6th ch 5 sp of Round.

Round 3: Beginning popcorn st over post of tr directly below, ch 3, popcorn st in same sp, * in next ch 5 sp work (popcorn st, ch 3, popcorn st, ch 5, popcorn st, ch 3, popcorn st); repeat from * around 4 times; popcorn st in starting ch 5 sp, ch 3, popcorn st in same sp, ch 2, 1 tr in top of starting popcorn to form 6th ch 5 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 4: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), * 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 11, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, 1 hdc in each of next 3 ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp (cone spoke made), ch 1, 1 dc in next ch 5 tip, ch 15, 1 sc in 6th ch from hook and in each of next 8 ch, ch 1, 1 dc in same ch 5 tip (skinny spoke made), ch 1; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last ch and last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 3.

Round 5: Sl st in next ch 1 sp, starting * popcorn st in same ch 1 sp (or next ch 1 gap between spokes on repeats), ch 8, 1 sc in tip of cone picot, ch 3, 1 sc in same tip, ch 8, popcorn st in ch 1 gap between spokes, ch 12, 3 dc in skinny spoke tip, ch 3, 3 dc in same tip, ch 12; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting popcorn.

Round 6: * Ch 12, popcorn st in top of cone spoke, ch 10, sl st in top of next popcorn, ch 10, 1 dc in each of next 3 dc, 3 dc in next ch 3 skinny spoke tip, ch 10, 3 dc in same tip, 1 dc in each of next 3 dc, ch 10, sl st in top of next popcorn; 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.

12 April 2018


Oh, my. This news story raised a Vulcan eyebrow on my space ship, but the comments... oh, the comments!!! For those who didn't follow the story, Canadian Manitoba Public Insurance revoked a custom ASIMIL8 license plate because two people were offended. The plate was framed with other Star Trek phrases and had been on the automobile for two years. In this reference, the word "assimilate" references the Borg, the meanest, baddest enemy introduced in the "Next Generation" television series. (Yes, worse enemies have been unleashed in the Star Trek movies, in my opinion.)

May the comments ever be in your favor...

"Lock on to complaining party and fire photon torpedoes." - TonyD

"The plate's owner should've stuck with, 'Live Long And Prosper,' or 'Final Frontier.'" - Juan

"The needs of the Many outweigh the needs of the Few, or the One." - Ron

"It's official. We've Collectively Lost our Minds. (Get it? Collective???)" - Justin

"Must have been Star Wars fans who complained." -DW10

"Star Wars fans will never be pleased until all Trekkies are exterminated... " - BrutalTruth

"A license plate ruined your day... Really?" - Mike

"Yet people can wear T-shirts that say offensive things?" - Troy

"About half the human race today needs to be retrofitted with a new brain." - Ronald

"Seems like the book '1984' is becoming a reality." - JosephC

"How does it feel to be so weak that mere words hurt?" - Michael

"Just wait until you can't say the word without being sent to jail. That's when the REAL fun begins." - FP

"When we ditched the 'sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me,' we weaponized feelings. Now any word can 'hurt.' It's a way to silence critics. Notice how easily offended some people get over everything, but then call everyone else names?" - Emerric

"You will follow the government's orders, you will be politically correct, you will be forced to relinquish your property. Who's assimilating who here?" - Dave

"Sounds like it's time to paint the car with that phrase, in big enough letters so they do not have to strain themselves to get even more offended. Better yet, make it into an auto wrap, so as to assimilate more into the collective." - Andrew

"Just get a huge bumper sticker with the same thing on it." - DallasAmerica'sTeamCowboys

"I didn't know the Borg had reached Canada...who knew, right?" - Akagi

"Hell's Bells! The premise isn't even in this galaxy." - SomeoneWhoKnows

"It's easy to get offended at someone else being offended, but far too many people have completely lost track of what a License Plate is in the first place: it's property of the Government purely for the purposes of identifying a vehicle. The guy can simply put a bumper sticker on his car with that same phrase, and if someone is offended, they can take a short jump off a long pier. This isn't an issue about whether the person is allowed to express themselves; it's an issue about whether the guy is allowed to make the government express itself in certain ways." - JoshH

"The whole idea a couple malcontents can force another person to 'toe the line' because they read something sinister in his creative expression is the real problem here, not the plate." - Douglas

"What? Canada never broadcasted Star Trek? Everyone knows Star Trek is about inclusiveness and anti-discrimination." - BirthdateJune21

"It is ironic that, in the end, resistance is futile." - Richard1138

"I'm starting to think resistance to the snowflake culture is futile." - WN

"OK, I volunteer to be the person who is offended by the use of the term snowflakes. I hear actual snowflakes are offended and will initiate a class action suit." - Glenn

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