30 March 2018

A Really Blessed Friday

It was a bit chilly when we started our St. Patrick's Day ride up Waterton, but by the time I got to the top, I was sweating. I took off one layer and forgot to put my little camera back around my neck before I headed back down the canyon. I went halfway down, then turned around to go back up and meet Lizard, like normal. He typically goes to the top of the single track on the Colorado Trail. I'm not doing any technical riding yet (and may not ever be able to again), so I just ride up the easy portion of the canyon a second time while he does the tough part.

When I met Lizard on my second pass, almost at the top, I turned around and joined his descent, both of us talking excitedly about our rides. About three or four miles later (about six miles since I left it), I noticed I didn't have my camera. We were almost at the bottom of the canyon. My camera, if it was still around, was six miles back up the canyon.

I was devastated. I called to Lizard, crying, to tell him my camera is gone, probably permanently. I turned around and began pedaling as fast as I could, but Lizard passed me like a flash of lightning and zoomed back up as if he was in a pro race. He is so fast. Yet I assumed the worst, and I didn't think I'd ever see my little point-and-shoot again.

I kept trying to think of what I'd shot on that camera; I hadn't downloaded it all week. What shots had I lost? Oh, yeah; my walk along the greenway before work when I captured a hawk at sunrise. Now those shots would be lost, except for the two I'd transferred to my phone while riding the train to work so I could post one on Instagram. I hadn't even looked at the other shots. And now they were gone.

A couple of bends later, I flagged down a Denver Water employee, who was assisting a cyclist with a flat, to report I'd accidentally left my camera at the shelter at the top of the canyon. He took down all the pertinent information, then called on his radio to see if any of the other employees had news about a found camera.

He was on the radio for what seemed like a very long time. When he returned, he told me he would drive up the canyon to find my husband and tell him the camera had been found, and he instructed me to go back down to the wildlife station at the bottom of the canyon because someone had just turned in a Nikon P530 with a Velcro case containing spare batteries and memory cards on the strap. I was spellbound. It sounded like my camera. How could it be?!?

The Denver Water employee explained the canyon is filled with good people, especially up at the top. I knew he was right. We're always helping others, or we see others helping others. We've given water to Colorado Trail through-hikers who were out. We've (meaning Lizard) helped other cyclists with flat tires and busted chains. We've cautioned people not to get too close to bears or bighorn or rattlesnakes. And I can't even begin to count how many times I've put a Batman or hot pink bandage on a little kid's bloody knee and then presented them a Honey Stinger because fancy bandages and a sweet treat make owies go away.

I raced down the canyon probably the fastest I've ever ridden ever in my life. Didn't know I could pedal so fast.

As I rode to the wildlife station, the ranger smiled and said, "I bet I know what you are here for!"

He handed me my camera without even asking any information. It was indeed my camera. I began to cry. He told me a father and son had turned it in. They had seen me with it, and they tried to find me as they pedaled down the canyon, and they even searched the parking lot but couldn't find me. They probably didn't expect to see me riding back up the canyon my second time, especially if they were riding down fast trying to catch someone they had briefly seen and did not know. They may even have seen me before I took off my tights and fleece, so they might not have recognized me at all, even if they had seen me.

I keep thinking about the example that father set for his son.

I thanked the ranger and told him how grateful I am. He told me the canyon is filled with good people. I'm beginning to think that is true!

I pedaled back up to find Lizard, but not anywhere near as fast because I was exhausted and going back uphill for the fourth time to boot. I also was grateful and humble. I think I prayed about 11 times, thanking Heavenly Father for helping me get my camera back.

I have more than one camera, and this is not my best camera. But I will be needing it as a backup in just two weeks when I am trusted with the responsibility of shooting my niece's wedding. I can't afford to replace a camera before then. To me, it is a miracle I got this camera back.

About halfway up the canyon, I saw Lizard pedaling back down. We rode back down together, talking about how wonderful it is that someone took the time to try to return a lost camera to a stranger.

In all, I pedaled a total of 27.5 miles, the most I've done since I've been back on my bike. I got to ride the last mile with my little neighbor, and she high-fived me at the end for beating my previous mileage.

This was a remarkable ride in so many ways. I am not totally convinced I deserved this amazing blessing, but I sure am thankful.

29 March 2018

Blue Floral Nostalgia

I think I started this quilt back in about 1995 or 1996. It was my oldest WIP.

When I first started it, I cut up leftovers from several blue floral dresses I'd made over the years. I finished two blocks and put the finished blocks and the triangles and squares I'd cut into a project bag and forgot about it until 2013 when I joined the quarterly Ravelry WIP challenge. By that time, I'd moved three times, my kids had abandoned the nest and had started having kids of their own, I got married, and most of the dresses I'd made of those blue floral fabrics had joined the scrap basket because the elbows had become so thin and hems had frayed, zippers had busted and underarm seams had ripped beyond repair.

This was (and still is!) the only dress left from those '90s fabrics. It was made with some of the scraps from the scrapped dresses, as well as pieces of the scrapped dresses! I still wear this dress, but even it needs a couple of repairs now. (That's one of my next projects...)

By the time I finally finished this flimsy in 2016, I had plenty more scraps and leftovers to add to the blocks. I even included some of the blue floral fat quarters I earned early in the Ravelry challenge. We'd get a fat quarter or two from each of the other challenge members if we finished a WIP or two each quarter. I finally had to opt out of the fat quarter portion of the challenge because I decided I have too much fabric.

The Blue Floral Nostalgia flimsy was sentimental and not really suitable for a child, in my opinion, so finishing it wasn't one of my top priorities during the last two years when I was trying to finish Christmas quilts for cousins, nieces, nephews and at long last, grandchildren and their adoptive siblings.

I've had little motivation to finish any quilts this year because I currently don't have any kid Christmas quilts to make or finish. As this quarter's Ravelry challenge comes to an end, I realized I had not completed my goal of two quilts each quarter. I didn't finish any quilts in February, although I did bind my little neighbor's first FMQ quilt when she finished it.

I reviewed my WIP list, and two quilts jumped out at me, screaming to be finished. Both were on my second Ravelry challenge list. I'm not sure if I'll finish the second one by the end of the month, but this baby is done, and I love it.

When I first finished the flimsy, I entertained the idea of crafting a backing of more blue floral leftovers. I liked what I created so much, I added it to the WIP list as a new quilt top, Blue Floral Scrappy Block a Day.

When I decided my next finish would be Blue Floral Nostalgia, I needed a backing. I could piece another backing; I certainly have enough scraps! I looked though the blue floral fabrics I've purchased the last few years to make dresses. Some are cut and ready to sew, but there were a few I had not cut into yet. I decided this blue and white daisy print would be suitable for a quilt backing, and if I made up the width with scraps and leftovers instead of the blue and white daisy print, I could use the rest to back the Block a Day flimsy, too! One less dress to cut out. Ha ha ha!

One of the pieces in the backing is another of my reward fat quarters from the Ravelry challenge, which makes this finish even more delicious!

The center six blocks took three nights to quilt. I used lift and rotate instead of FMQ because I was trying to go fast and straight. My FMQ straight lines are not all that straight yet. The extremely narrow throat of my domestic machine makes it difficult for me to draw straight lines of any great distance when FMQing.

As I began working on the border, true FMQ because I could maneuver them satisfactorily through the machine without too much bunching, I noticed I had four kinks in the fabric on the back. I couldn't bear to think about ripping the stitches out that night, so I set the whole project aside until the next night. All day at work the next day, I kept thinking about "Finished is Better than Perfect."

I am by no means perfect in my quilting, but my grandmother taught me back in the mid-60s that the back should always look as good as the front. She was referring specifically to embroidery, but it's a mantra I've tried to incorporate into everything I make, even snowflakes.

My free-motion quilting will not be perfect until I practice tons more, but I can make my quilt back perfectly flat and straight. That night after work, I ripped out the tucks and folds and redid them, and I am very happy to report that even though some of my FMQ lines are wavy, there are no buckles in the back of this quilt. One more reason to love it endlessly.

After finishing all the diagonal border lines in one direction, I was so tempted to call it good and trim and bind the quilt. I had grown pretty bored with the project by that time, I think.

So once again, I put it away for another night, and when I got in the mood again, I began the diagonal lines in the perpendicular direction, which took two more long nights, as well as a couple of quick sessions before work in the morning. Once I had the first side border done, it was easy to resist the temptation to quit early because the crosshatching looks so much better than plain parallel diagonal lines did.

The binding is made of binding leftovers from the kid quilts I've finished in the last two years (See, there was a reason to stockpile all those leftovers!), and the waistband of a blue floral skirt I cut up a year or so ago not because the 20-year-old skirt wore out, but because I couldn't fasten the waistband any more. I surrendered. The waistband fabric was the perfect width for quilt binding! I was amazed by how well the kid fabric binding leftovers I selected match the quilt! The binding makes this quilt even more special to me because of the memories in the fabric.

This quilt is finished just as my (purplish) blue flowers are beginning to bloom!!!

When I finished, Lizard asked me who is getting this quilt. I think I get this one. There are tons of memories in this quilt, and I think anything that takes 22 years to finish has a right to stay in its creator's hands.

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

27 March 2018

Reign of Judges

I wish I could have been there! I hope we can bring this to Colorado!

AUDIENCE REACTION to Reign of Judges: Title of Liberty.
BUY TICKETS: EpicMovieTickets.com ($12 each or 10 or more for $10 each)
READ REVIEWS: imdb.com/title/tt4275958/reviews
Hurricane (St. George), Utah - March 29, 2018
Centerville, Utah - April 5, 2018
Los Angeles, California - April 12, 2018


Watch OUR STORY in 4 minutes:

Videographer:Dave Skipper
3rd Videographer: Doug Johnson
2nd Videographer: Drew Greer
Event Managers: Philip Niu & Melissa Niu

Music by: Greg Dombrowski
Buy on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1319137256

26 March 2018

Snowflake Monday

Today's snowflake pattern is the second of three inspired by this lovely 12-pointer (that isn't truly 12 points) captured by master snowflake photographer Don Komarechka. I loved designing this flake! The challenge of creating a true snowflake from a triangle... six (or 12) sides from three... is one of my great thrills in life.

I'm naming this one for Lightning Pyramid because it's the next tallest of the non-14er Pyramids after Thunder Pyramid at 13,722 feet and next to Thunder Pyramid on the ridge of the most famous of Colorado's Pyramids, 14er Pyramid Peak. Plus, Thunder and Lightning go together so well, don't they?

Here's one of my shots of sunrise on Pyramid Peak. Thunder Pyramid and Lightning Pyramid on on the backside of this difficult peak.

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

Lightning 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 stitch 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.
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 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), 1 dc over post of tr directly below, * in next ch 5 sp work (1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc (V-st made), ch 3, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc (V-st made)); repeat from * around 4 times; in next ch 5 sp work 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc (V-st made), ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 3 to form 6th ch 3 tip of Round.
NOTE: Working a 10-ch point instead of a 3-ch point and binding off here makes a cute little flake.

Round 4: Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2), * 1 dc in gap between next 2 V-st, ch 15, 1 sc in 6th ch from hook and in next ch, ch 6, sk next 6 ch, 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, 1 dc in same gap as previous dc, ch 2, 1 dc in next ch 3 tip, ch 20, 1 sc in 11th ch from hook, [ch 2, sk next 2 ch, 1 sc in next ch] 2 times, 1 dc in same ch 3 tip, ch 2; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last dc and last ch 2 of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 4.
NOTE: What a cute little flake it makes if you bind off here and pin creatively!!!

Round 5: Sl st into next ch 2 sp, * ch 10, 6 sc in next ch 5 tip, ch 10, sl st in next ch 2 joint between spokes, ch 6, sk next ch 2 sp, 1 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 6, in next ch 10 loop work (3 dc, ch 3, 1 sc in 3rd ch from hook, 3 dc), ch 6, sk next ch 2 sp, 1 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 6, sl st in next ch 2 joint between spokes; 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.

22 March 2018

Oh, My 'Ryllis!

We have amaryllis seeds!

This year, I cross-pollinated the red and white picotee amaryllis, and I was thrilled to get seed pods a few weeks later!

My previous experiments with pollinating my amaryllis plants has produced four babies that are still very small, but not dead yet! I also have one larger baby that grew as a second bulb from the parent picotee amaryllis. I broke it off last year and planted it in a pot of its own, and it seems to be doing fine.

One of the seed babies I've almost given up on three times because the single leaf it produces has yellowed and died all three times. But each time, it shoots up a new leaf a few days later! I just found its fourth seed last weekend!

Once the amaryllis seed pods dry and crack, I have to remove the seeds and put them somewhere they can dry without getting moldy. Living room window works great for this.

Then I have to plant them right away. First I sort them. The paper-thin seeds with a bump in the middle are the only viable seeds; the rest are discarded. Just because a seed is viable doesn't mean it will grow. I got four seedlings out of my last batch of about 24 seeds.

Too bad it can take up to seven years to grow an amaryllis from seed! I'm anxious to see what the new flowers will look like!

I also learned in researching this topic one more time that the white picotee amaryllis is expending all its energy making seed pods, which probably is why it has produced only two flowers each of the last two years. So next year, I will cross-pollinate the red amaryllis (perhaps I'll have a bit of fresh pollen from Phil and Maryann's pink amaryllis to play with, too!), but I won't ask the mama white flowers to make any more seeds. I'd love to have more than two white picotee amaryllis flowers again. Which can't happen until 2020 now, darn it!

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