21 August 2019

Wordless Wednesday

20 August 2019

Ring Tales

Lizard and I seem to be having a contest to see who can score the most wedding ring loss and recovery adventures. Lizard currently is winning. I must confess, I don't mind if I never add another episode to my own infamous list! This is a battle I don't mind losing!

Our most recent adventure has been the closest call to date. THREE MONTHS!!! We were certain Lizard's ring was gone forever. We'd even begun looking at potential replacements.

I would love to hoist the crown upon Lizard and proudly proclaim him the Ward of the Rings, effectively putting an eternal end to the Younger Games. We're too old for this!!!

Would the termination of our ring-hunting exploits cast a fateful shadow upon our Jewel of the While? Perhaps luck might bend the opposite way next time, and a replacement ring would require purchase.

I was the first in this union to lose (and never find) a wedding ring. While working a part-time second job at a restaurant, I took off my grandmother's wedding ring to wash cutting utensils in a big, deep sink. I placed the ring on the counter right next to the over-sized spray hose that could have been used to hose a co-worker on a hot day. I finished my task just in time for yet another bus full of hungry tourists (we'd had several that day), and I was called to the front counter to help take orders. When I returned to the sink about an hour later, the eyeball-sore ring, wrapped with about three inches of skinny medical tape to keep it from sliding off my finger, was gone.

Co-workers joined me in a fruitless search. I honestly don't know if the ring went down the drain (we disassembled the drain pipe and used the sprayer to wash out anything that might have been caught inside), was taken by someone or just honestly lost. I never once took a photo of it, unfortunately, so all I have is the memory. Sometimes I wonder if my grandma will have words for me when we meet again in heaven, for losing her one-and-only wedding ring, but I'm hoping she'll take my current ring in exchange. Provided there's a way to get it to her...

Lizard lost his wedding band the year after we said, "I do." Both of our rings would unexpectedly slide off, especially while riding our bikes. His ring slid off during a trip to the La Garitas in the southern mountains of Colorado. We didn't notice until we came down from the summit of a rocky little peak. We climbed back up to look for it, then after a discouraging hike all the way back down the mountain, we searched the trailhead where we'd parked. In a last-ditch hope, we returned to the wilderness camping spot we'd stayed in the night before and actually found the ring!

The very next year, Lizard repeated the feat. Upon the summit of Columbia, he realized his ring was missing again. He couldn’t remember taking it off, so he hoped it was still at home.

When we got back to the car several hours later, someone had placed Lizard's ring on the hood of our car.

In the center of the hood, where everyone could see it. They wanted to make sure we saw it. And others who came and left saw it, too. Everyone left Lizard's wedding ring for him. And there it was, just waiting for him.

The finders could have left it on the ground. They could have taken it. But they left it in a conspicuous place, and so did everyone else who passed through that day. Lizard still wears that very ring to this day. (Except for one more little unplanned jewelry-free vacation...)

I couldn't believe the finders weren't keepers. I couldn't believe they knew to which car the ring might belong. And I couldn't believe the miracle had happened yet again.

Next it was my turn. We were riding up Waterton Canyon last summer when we noticed the key chain on which I'd placed my ring was no longer keeping the ring safe. We looked everywhere. We assumed the ring was somewhere in Waterton Canyon and that we'd never see it again. Ground deeply into the roadway, never to be the symbol of anyone's love again.

Three weeks later, I was digging through my crochet bag, which I keep in my backpack. The backpack goes up the canyon with me, but the crochet bag doesn't. I'd been working on a quilt, so hadn't crocheted in a while. There, at the bottom of the crochet bag, was my wedding ring!

I do not know how it got there. But I certainly wasn't complaining. I think I was just about the happiest girl in the world for at least a few hours!

We traveled to Grand Junction last May to spend Mother's Day with Lizard's mom. While there, Lizard realized his ring was missing.

We searched his mom's house high and low. She checked her dog's droppings to make sure Buddy hadn't eaten and deposited the ring. She went through the vacuum bag to make sure she hadn't cleaned the ring up without knowing it. We searched the car. We retraced all our steps. We searched our own house when we returned home the next day.

This time, we really did think our luck had run out. We were going to have to replace the ring. In time. It wasn't something we could worry about right away. There were too many other obligations we had to fulfill first. Like house payments and vehicle maintenance. Utility bills and insurance payments. Medical costs. That kind of thing.

Weeks rolled by. Summer was escaping. We tried not to think too much about the ring, but there was this nagging loss that just wouldn't let go. There was an aching we tried hard to ignore. Our love was still secure; only the ring was gone. But the missing ring felt like a huge hole in both our hearts.

We've been on a mission to declutter this year. I'd finished the pantry and the coat closet. I'd finished all the non-silverware drawers in the kitchen. It was time to start beneath the bed. Ugh. I'd procrastinated way too long.

And right there, in the middle of the thick carpet (which actually needed to be vacuumed, thanks to Colorado dust), was Lizard's wedding band. Once again, I have no clue how it got there, but I'm very thankful it was there.

Ever since my little ring adventure last year, I've wanted to crochet a ringtail to visually help me tell the tale. I actually would like to make a ringtail from each color of thread I've dyed. But I've yet to finish the owl project (a 3D owl from each of the 90-plus colors I've dyed) I began back in February of this year.

Until I finish the owls, one little ringtail will just have to do. I think her tail comes in very handy.

19 August 2019

Snowflake Monday

Back in May, I sent a box of rocks to my sister-in-law for her garden. She'd fallen in love with the "dinosaur eggs" I made for my grands for Easter, so I made a bunch more and sent them to her.

I'd started crocheting snowflakes for rocks with my store-bought thread colors so I could get rid of it. I planned to plant a whole rainbow of new rocks in my garden, which currently has about 120 rocks with crocheted snowflakes. The moisture the cotton holds helps keep my garden healthier when we have hot, dry spells.

I didn't know if the colored crochet thread would hold up to the bright sun, but I thought it would be a fun experiment. Some of the off-white rock coverings have lasted six years or longer. If the colors bleached out over time to pastel shades or even white, it would still make beautiful garden ornaments, and I don't mind bleached rock coverings if that's the final product.

My sister-in-law didn't put her rocks in her garden because, she said, she doesn't want them to weather or walk away with unapproved human assistance. I hadn't put any colored snowflake rocks in my garden yet because every time I made one, someone asked for it.

Only one remains. I've kept it on my porch with full intentions to complete a rainbow. A rock tenant meanwhile has taken up residence.

We had some unexpected fireworks on July 4. The biggest hail I've ever seen in person shredded most of my garden and left three dents in my car.

We went away for the rest of the July 4 weekend, and upon our return, I discovered something else the hail really pounded. I'm glad I didn't notice before we left to visit my daughter and my granddaughter in South Dakota. I might have spent the entire weekend being depressed.

We don't often get hail where I live. We're too close to the foothills. I think we'd had hail three times in ten years, and now, this year, we've had four hailstorms in just over a month.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to make any more garden snowflake rocks. About 40 percent of the existing rock coverings were destroyed. I tried not to think about the rocks too much because it just hurt too much.

Now, more than a month later, it still kind of stings every time I see one of the nearly naked rocks. But I'm beginning to heal and move on.

I once dreamed we sold our house, complete with all the crocheted rocks and the snowflake lamp.

In my dream the new home owners contacted me a while later. All the crochet-covered rocks in the garden had been stolen while they were away on vacation.

I decided to crochet new rock coverings for the owners because I knew firsthand how much joy those rocks bring. After I published the first pattern for the first new snowflake rock along with the story of what I was doing, my readers all started sending crochet-covered rocks to the new home owners, and within a month, my old garden was covered with rocks once again.

When I awoke, my first thought was, "Yeah, right! The thieves will just steal them all again!!!"

I wondered what the point of replacing my rocks now would be if another storm comes along and destroys them again. With time, I finally was able to get past that fear.

I guess it's like when anything I make gets ruined. Time to start over with a fresh, new canvas. I don't want to stop creating just because something I created went to crochet heaven. I can create an all-new crochet heaven right here in my very own front yard. And if another storm comes, I guess I'll have yet another reason to keep on crocheting.

I've replaced the covering on the first destroyed snowflake rock with another red snowflake to match the one I sent my sister-in-law. Here's the original rock brand new in June of 2012.

And now it's fixed! (And I've now officially almost run out of one of the 12 store-bought crochet thread colors! And I've finished the next color in my own rainbow snowflake rock collection!)

Tanager Snowflake Rock

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: 3.5 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

Tanager Rock Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc in ring, [ch 5, 2 dc in ring] 4 times; 2 dc in ring, ch 2, 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 5 tip of Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of tr directly below, 2 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, [in next ch 5 tip work 1 sc, 2 hdc, 3 dc, ch 3, 3 dc, 2 hdc, 1 sc] 5 times; in next ch 5 tip work 1 sc, 2 hdc, 3 dc, ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of staring ch 2 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 6 (counts as 1 tr and ch 3), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, [ch 10, in next ch 3 tip work (1 dc, ch 3, 1 tr, ch 5, * 1 tr, ch 3, 1 dc)] 5 times, ending * on final repeat; 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.

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.

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