28 February 2018

Wordless Wednesday

27 February 2018

Celebrate Late

I got off work late on my birthday, and The Lizard had to be at work the next morning at 4. Valentine's evening wasn't much better, but we did get to eat lasagna that night, one of his favorite meals.

He gave me a pot of tulips and a pot of hyacinths, both of which will go into the garden after they are done. The deer eventually will eat the tulips, but I might get to enjoy them another year before they become dinner.

We had done our first hike in Roxborough State Park back in October, a last-minute and rushed mini hike, and were so impressed, we couldn't wait to explore more thoroughly. We knew there were red rocks jutting into the sky from our visits to nearby Arrowhead Golf Course, where we had shot a few weddings and a a few more senior portraits. We had no idea the ridge of red rocks extended so far, and we marveled at the red rock majesty that had been so close for so long, and yet we never ventured into the state park.

The Saturday after Valentine's Day, The Lizard had the day off, and we finally got our chance!

We decided to climb Carpenter Peak, well, because it's there. We hadn't even looked it up on a map to see how high we'd be climbing. It didn't matter. It would be a winter peak, my third ever, and my first since March 2005! It would be my first non-bike summit since 2009. Oh, my heavens! I cannot believe it's been that long since we've climbed a mountain!

The Colorado State Division of Parks purchased 500 acres of deceased developer Henry S. Persse's red-rock studded property in 1975, while I was still a teenager in New Mexico. Roxborough State Park, now more than 3,300 acres, is the only state park designated as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Carpenter Peak is the highest point within park boundaries at 7,166 feet, but it is not the high point of the mountain upon which it sits. The rocky outcropping, however, affords unparalleled views of Fountain Valley.

The park is open only during bright daylight hours, currently 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., even though sunrise and sunset photos there would be phenomenal, and no bikes or dogs are allowed. We headed up the trail at about 10 a.m. and encountered a wide range of conditions the entire 3.2 miles to the rocky sub-summit. Skies were entirely blue, and although we learned later in the day the Front Range had been pummeled with 50-mph winds, we must have been sheltered from the westerly airflow... not even a breeze.

The trail, however, provided a full spectrum of adventure.

There were sections of easy, dirt path.

There were slush puddles.

There were charming snow-packed forests.

And there was mud.


And more mud.

And just when you thought you were done with the mud, there would be another dastardly stretch of it.

I fell flat on my behind about a quarter of a mile into the hike, so I didn't worry about getting dirty the entire rest of the hike.

Yet for every mudhole we encountered, there was a magnificent view.

red rock heaven

One exceptionally cool viewpoint was of downtown Denver, where I work Monday through Friday.

When we reached the rocky outcrop atop Carpenter Peak, Lizard had to stand on the true high point.

Surprises along the way included a scrub jay...

... Oregon grapes not afraid of winter...

... and trailside benches with potent messages...

The contrast between nearby modern homes and century-old homesteads is dramatic.

On the way out, the sun hitting the red rock provided the most picturesque setting. We'd love to go back and cross-country ski after a big snowstorm, and we can't wait to go back when the trails aren't quite as muddy. We missed out on this place for more than a decade, but it won't be hiding from us anymore.

26 February 2018

Snowflake Monday

Last week, I shared how to craft a word flake, such as the Pyeongchang flakes displayed during the Olympics, and today, I'm sharing a crochet version, inspired by one of the Korean alphabet snowflakes.

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: 6 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

Pyeongchang Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Don't pull magic ring too tight.

Round 2: Ch 9 (counts as 1 tr and ch 5), * 1 tr in next sc, ch 5; repeat from * around 4 times for a total of 6 spokes; sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 9.
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: * 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, ch 5, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch (spike picot made), 1 dc in same ch as previous dc, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 sc in next ch, ** ch 12, sl st in 9th ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch (loop-top spoke made); repeat from * around 5 times and bind off... OR, for fewer thread ends to weave in when you're done... 4.5 times to ** and work hdc into starting sc to form base of 6th loop-top spoke. Insert hook into bottom loop of hdc and draw up loop, yo and draw through 1 loop on hook to form ch of first fsc, yo and draw through both loops on hook, [insert hook into fsc ch and draw up loop, yo and draw through 1 loop on hook, yo and draw through both loops on hook] 2 times, ch 3, 1 dtr in ch of fsc just worked to form 6th loop top. Pretty cool, huh?

I have to show you how the snowflake looks if you finish here...

Round 4: If you opted to bind off on Round 3, work 3 dc into any loop top; OR if you worked the fsc, ch 2 to form 1st dc and work 2 dc into loop top, * ch 9, 3 dc in next loop top, ch 3, 3 dc in same loop top; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 9, 3 dc in starting loop top, ch 1, 1 dc in top of starting dc or 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 point.

If you bind off here, you get a spicy little hexi flake...

Round 5: Ch 2, 2 dc over post of dc directly below, * ch 4, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), ch 1, sk next 4 ch, 1 sc in next ch, ch 3, 1 sc in same ch, ch 4, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook (dc picot made), ch 1, 3 dc in next ch 3 point, [ch 5], 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 7, sl st in 4th ch from hook, 1 sc in next ch, 1 hdc in next ch, 1 dc in next ch, ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, 1 tr in 5th ch of [ch 5] to form base of hanok, the traditional Korean home, 3 dc in same ch 3 point; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last 3 dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2; 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 if desired. 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.

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