31 March 2017

Friday Fun

Devin Supertramp makes videos. Oh, my heavens!!!

30 March 2017

A Spoonful of Hexies

(affiliate links to my fabric designs)

My first entry in a Spoonflower challenge didn't place in the top 25, but it was exciting nevertheless, and I can't wait to sew with my Ocean Hexies!

Thank you for voting!

28 March 2017


I recently stopped in at a small downtown shop of my cellular provider because I'd been having trouble with my iPhone 5 ever since the iOS upgrade in about September of last year. The upgrade ate up all the phone's memory. I still had nearly a year to go on the contract for the device, but the phone was rendered just about worthless after that upgrade.

I'd just made a house payment and was walking back to work when I passed by the little hole-in-the-wall shop. Initially, I walked right by. Then I turned and went back to find out if anything could be done to solve the phone problems I'd been having.

I used to be able to shoot anywhere from 200 to 300 photos on that cheap little refurbished phone I picked up for 50 cents. (Plus the two-year contract...) By last September, I couldn't shoot more than about 10 photos before the 8-gigabyte memory would be full. I began deleting apps right and left, finally deleting some I didn't want to, just to be able to access email.

I've often made jokes about keeping the phone only so I could run Cyclemeter, which records my cycling miles and routes, and so I take pictures when I didn't have a real camera with me (which happens rarely, especially after the phone could no longer take photos).

After I lost home email access at work more than a year ago, I had become more and more dependent upon the phone to be able to respond to email. By September, I was deleting emails in an effort to clear up some memory on the phone.

Then that September update came, and the phone was next to useless. I paid for my monthly service but was unable to use the phone for much of anything more than checking the current temperature.

I placed the phone on the counter of the cellular shop and asked the sales rep if anything could be done to expand the memory on my phone. I explained I'd bought an external memory expander and had to remove the Otter case to use it. After the first two times, the plug no longer worked. I was carrying around a phone that didn't work at all.

The sales rep plugged some of my info into his tablet then stared in seemingly horror at the stats.

"I can't believe you've been using an 8-gig phone all this time!" he exclaimed. "Yes, we can fix that!"

"I've still got six more months on my contact..." I thought he might choke and die after he digested that sentence.

"I can't believe you are still on a contract!" he gasped. "Yes, we can fix that! You don't have to be on a contract anymore!"

Wow, competition has really been good for the cell phone business!

I walked out of the shop with a BRAND NEW, not used, not refurbished, iPhone 5SE. Yes, I could have gone newer, but I didn't want to pay that much for a phone. After all, I use it mainly as a camera and to log my bicycling miles. Ha ha ha!

This is the first new iPhone I've ever owned. The camera alone makes it worth more than the price. But I've been walking on Cloud 9 ever since I left that little store.

I can access my email. I put all my apps back on the phone, and I even use them sometimes. Domino's tracker??? Got it! My little 7-year-old neighbor is so thrilled she can use My Talking Pet again. And I can take notes without carrying around a notepad and pen. I can read books on the phone again instead of carrying full-sized reading material in my crochet bag. (Although I still prefer page-turning to an electronic device.)

Happily, I can use Charity Miles and Cyclemeter again.

Mostly, I can take pictures again. I can edit and play with my photos on my phone again. That's a fun pastime when I can't get a seat on the commuter train.

Many of the photo editing apps have changed with time. I was looking through one of my old iPhone photo collections for a specific photo, and I came across a bunch of photos I had played with while my in-laws transported us to a Ride the Rockies starting line. (We had parked our car at the finish line the day before.)

Seeing the old photos brought back great memories, but also made me yearn for some of those old filters and frames. I still have my first iPhone, an iPhone 3, which I use in a Goal Zero stereo on my bike for ride-along music during long tours. The iPhone 3 still has the old versions of the photo editing apps. So one day I may upload some of my newer photos onto the old phone so I can play again, just like old times.

Funny how those old 4-gigabyte phones can hold so much more than the newer 8-gig phones!

27 March 2017

Snowflake Monday

Hunchback Sunrise

We were focused on photos of the Weminuche 14ers when we traversed Hunchback Pass into the Vallecito drainage. I'd just finished a quilt with photos of Colorado's 14ers, and I'd had to borrow a few photos, including Sunlight, Eolus and Windom, in the Weminuche, because I'd never seen them. We wanted to make sure I had my own photos, in case I ever make another 14er quilt. (Which, yes, I do plan to do one day...)

We spent our time trying to get me in position to take the best photos I could of the 14ers, and I all but ignored the other peaks surrounding us.

Weminuche 14ers

I managed a few "accidental" photos of Storm King Peak, Mount Silex and The Guardian because they happened to be in the background for some lovely wildflower shots.

We camped at the base of 13,684-foot Mount Nebo, near Rock Creek, and not once did I get a decent photo of the thirteener above us! The sun was in the wrong position for satisfying peak mug shots along the east side of the drainage.

We had planned to stay in the Vallecito drainage four or five days, but biting flies were so bad, we decided to seek out friendlier camp spots after I obtained usable photos of the 14ers. (Which resulted in wonderful impromptu excursions to the Castles, Blue Lakes, Highland Mary Lakes and Ice Lakes, as well as an unplanned hotel stay and a much-needed hot tub soak after my first – and so far only -- 50-plus hiking miler! If memory serves, I think we hiked a total of 56 miles that week.)

We did try hiking up the Rock Creek trail because it was right there. The upper reaches may have provided a spectacular view of Nebo. Plentiful bear scat made us a bit nervous and caused us to retreat and head back up to Hunchback Pass, where I may have accidentally snapped a peekaboo photo of Mount Nebo while admiring vast daisy meadows.

Utah's twin nearly 12,000-foot Mount Nebo summits were named after the biblical 2,680-foot Mount Nebo, which overlooks Israel and may have been where Moses died. I've driven across the Mount Nebo Scenic Byway outside of Payson. I've probably seen Utah's Nebo, but I don't have pictures of it.

There's another Mount Nebo in Arkansas, near the city of Dardanelle, and its 1,345-foot summit is nearly 5,000 feet lower than where I live! It is said that from the summit, on a clear day, two other peaks more than 36 miles away, Mount Magazine and Petit Jean, may be seen.

I suspect our Mount Nebo got its name the same way Utah's did, but I couldn't find any evidence. Kind of like looking for pictures of Mount Nebo in my archives. I'm definitely going to have to make sure I and my camera look up as much as down next time I take it hiking!

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: 4.5 inches from point to point
Materials: Size 10 crochet thread, size 7 crochet hook, 1.25-inch 2-holed button, 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

Mount Nebo Snowflake Instructions

Round 1: * 1 sc in button hole, [ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook] 2 times (double dc picot made), ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 5, 1 dc in same ch, ch 5, sl st in same ch (lacy tri-picot made), [ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook] 2 times (double dc picot made), [[1 sc in same buttonhole, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook] 2 times (double dc picot made), ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 5, 1 dc in same ch, ch 5, sl st in same ch (lacy tri-picot made), [ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook] 2 times (double dc picot made)] 2 times; repeat from * in next buttonhole, 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: Ch 7 (counts as 1 tr and ch 3), 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), * 3 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), 3 sc in next ch 5 sp (top or middle point of lacy picot), ch 3, 3 dc in same sp, ch 3, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook (picot made), 3 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), 1 tr in next sc; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last tr of final repeat; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 7; 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.

24 March 2017

23 March 2017

Jelly Shelly

By the Reservoir, by the Reservoir, by the beautiful Reservoir-y
You and me, you and me, oh, how happy we'll be!

I began collecting sea shell prints about four years ago, and sometime after that, probably at the height of the race quilt craze, I began cutting a few jelly roll strips off each piece, fully intending at the time to make a ocean-themed race quilt of my own.

With two dear friends named Shelly, inspiration hit me, and I decided to make a quilt called Jelly Shelly because it would be made of jelly roll strips and would feature sea shells and... this was a later addition to the original idea... jelly fish.

After seeing one too many jelly roll quilts in various shows and competitions, I decided I really didn't want to make a race quilt after all. I sort of forgot about Jelly Shelly until I finished Orphan Gemtones. I started out the year with a goal of finishing two WIP quilts every month, and I got behind in February, thanks to a relentless head cold. I thought I could make up at least one of the two quilts I didn't finish in February if I did a fast project. And what could be faster than a race quilt when the strips have already been cut and are just waiting to be sewn together?

The quilt top was finished in two nights. The back was pieced in one more night. Enough strips remain to make a sequel later on, after I finish quite a few more WIPs (works in progress). One of my goals this year, besides finishing 24 quilts, if at all possible, is to bring my WIP list down from last January's 37 to under 20, and to keep it down beneath 20 from now on, and even lower if I can. Which means no more new quilt projects for a while. Except for scrap quilts, of course. Because I still have way too many scraps, and they sometimes make adorable quilts.

I have wanted to try quilting with an embroidery stitch on my machine for at least a couple of years now, and a jelly roll quilt seemed like the perfect opportunity. I do not have very many embroidery stitches on my machine, so I picked the one that looked closest to ocean waves. Quilting was finished in five or six nights. I went through more than an entire spool of thread doing this.

The thread broke only once the entire time. I ran out of bobbin thread in the middle of a row three times. Tension was off about six or seven times when I pulled a little too hard while quilting middle rows, trying to get the rolled-up quilt through the neck of my 35-year-old Viking Husqvarna, built long before free-motion quilting became a thing.

Overall, I'm not disappointed with the way Jelly Shelly looks. I might not try using a machine embroidery stitch again until the day I am forced to buy a new sewing machine, at which time I'll take a step up and get one of those fancy machines that has tons of different stitches. There was a model with quite a few more stitches when I bought this one, but at the time, I thought, "Why in the world would I need to spend $300 more for extra stitches when I'm perfectly capable of hand embroidery?"

Funny how your perspective changes after you adopt and raise older special-needs children, and then your adopted children start having children, making you a grandparent...

I still LOVE to hand embroider, and may even do an entire scrap crazy quilt completely by hand at some point. AFTER I finish making quilts for each of the adopted grandkids and their siblings.

Binding took one more night, and once again, I really cut it too close for comfort with the fabric I chose as binding. All that remains is a small triangle and 3-inch strip about 30 inches long.

After washing, this quilt became even more lovable.

Actually, the quilt did look a tiny bit different after washing... I ran out of the 505 Temporary Fabric Adhesive I've been using to baste my layers for about two years now, and I didn't want to wait for a mail order. So I tried another new method I'd been curious about ever since I first read about another quilter's success in using it.

I mixed Elmer's School Glue with water and sprayed it to the batting, ironing the top and then the bottom to the batting to quickly dry the layers. I already knew from experience the glue would wash out without a trace, and good thing, because I could see glue puddle stains on the lighter fabrics and the solid borders. Before I dried it, I checked pretty thoroughly to make sure no stains were visible, knowing from experience heat would set them. Not a single stain. Jelly Shelly may be the closest-to-perfect quilt I've finished to date.

It would have been the second of 15 quilts I'm trying to finish this year for the grandkid crew, but Orphan Gemtones found an unexpected new home last week when one of my friends from New Mexico asked if she could buy it. Her dad was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in December, and she lost him less than a month later. I couldn't think of a better home for that colorful, bright and cheery quilt. I told her I hope she can feel the love that went into making it every time she wraps up in it.

So now, with the completion of Jelly Shelly, I have 14 more quilts to finish by about the end of November.

Don't forget, voting begins today on Spoonflower's hexagon challenge!

My challenge fabric arrived Monday, and the pattern got here Tuesday. I'm going to have to invest in some swimsuit lining because the Spoonflower fabric is just a tad thin, but it turned out awesome! I just wish I could look that good in the swimsuit when it's done!

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