29 June 2018

Friday Fortius

28 June 2018

Scrap Burner

All 517 3-inch triangle scraps have been made into 2.5-inch blocks. All have been pressed flat. Some still need to be trimmed, but all are sewn.

Now I just have to figure out what to do with them!!!

I'm leaning toward a HST sampler, but oversized rainbow themes, hunter's stars and carpenter's stars are calling out to me, too.

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict and My Quilt Infatuation.

26 June 2018

Time Flies

My Siberian irises didn't bloom well two years ago. Lizard and I dug them up in the fall and separated them a bit, hoping a little extra space might encourage flowering. We dug up all the other irises, too, and spread them out a bit more.

Last year none of my irises were very showy. I guess that's what happens the first year after you move bulbs around. Last year, I thought I'd ruined most of my irises. I've since learned they may be separated after blooming so the bulbs can rebuild until fall.

This year, my irises were magnificent after a whole year of bulb growth! Especially the Siberian irises!!! I had at least two or three a day every single day for about two weeks. I was in heaven!

The Siberica Strawberry Fair Iris is the most beautiful of my collection. I wish these babies could bloom all year!

I thought it might be fun to try another time lapse movie, this time, instead of a sunrise or sunset, I'd shoot one of my cut irises in a vase as the flower opened.

First tries sometimes produce significant fails. I didn't realize my Siberian irises take three days to open! I was shooting the blossom every hour I was awake the entire weekend. The flower bloomed while I was at work on Monday. Darn it!

Music is by Peter Hollens.

By this time, the chicory were blooming. Blossoms last only a day. I thought this might be the perfect experiment. I could correct one of the problems I had with the iris. I didn't realize flowers in a vase move and shift weight as they open. The following weekend, I cut a sprig of chicory and shot frames about every five minutes until the main blossom was fully open. I also adjusted the tripod and flash as necessary to keep the flower in the center of the frame and well lit.

Music is by Klaus Badelt from Pirates of the Caribbean.

Success!!! And with another gorgeous flower!!!

The next weekend, I tried again, this time with Cupid's Darts. I framed the shot so I (hopefully) wouldn't have to move the tripod or the strobe. I set the timer on my iPhone and fired photos with my D300 every minute for two and a half hours. I thumbed through about 18 old quilting magazines as the flower bloomed. Perfect way to stay awake while I photographed!

I do have a shutter release for the Nikon, and I should be able to set the camera up to fire by itself, but I haven't tried using the cable yet, and I'd rather experiment with it after I learn how to use it.

Music is by Lindsey Stirling.

Eureka! Blue Gold! I'm getting the hang of this!

25 June 2018

Snowflake Monday

This week's Moda Blockheads 2 project is Carrie Nelson's interpretation of the classic Pennsylvania block.

This is another 6-inch block with a tiny center block, and once again, I was seriously tempted to enlarge the pattern so I could design a bigger flake, but it all comes down to my excitement about making a quilt with blocks of many different sizes.

As an added benefit, there's nothing like a quick and easy pattern snowflake during the heatwaves of summer.

So then I thought... I've already done so many tiny flakes, I'm not sure I can do another one that would be different. I was about to flip through my Garden Snowflake patterns when I decided to peruse Alexey Kljatov's snowflake collection for inspiration. Today's snowflake is not a rehash of one of my Garden Snowflakes or modeled after one particular snowflake, but instead is a representation of a snowflake shape I admire.

Once again, I have loved seeing block interpretations by other Blockheads!

When it came time to type a name on the pattern below, Pennsylvania definitely did not stand out as a snowflake name. It took me all of about 3.9 seconds to figure out a Colorado name with a Pennsylvania flair or connection.

Pennsylvania is the Keystone State, and Keystone also is the name of a very popular ski area in Colorado. Plus, Keystone, in my mind, might look somewhat like the shape of today's snowflake.

I do have to throw a crucial fact out there, though... Pennsylvania also is known as The Chocolate State.

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: 1.5 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

Keystone Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), * 1 dc in ring, ch 1; repeat from * 10 times for a total of 12 dc; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 3. Pull magic circle tight.
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: * 1 sc in next ch 1 sp, in next ch 1 sp work 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, ch 1, 1 dc, ch 3, 1 dc; repeat from * around 5 times; sl st in starting sc; 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.

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict and My Quilt Infatuation.

19 June 2018

Back in the Saddle Again

Although I miss participating in organized rides, I'm sure having the time of my life riding for fun!

I don't have to meet any deadlines (other than being to work on time), and if the wind is howling, I don't have to ride if I don't feel like it. Riding is just plain fun this year!

My goal this year is to become a cyclist again. I had to start over after physical therapy last year and build up from a mile or two, even though I wanted to pedal 50 miles first day back on my bike.

I'm up to 30 miles now, and I don't know if I'll be able to go beyond that, but there is SO much I can do in 30 miles!!!

I can ride to work, and Bike to Work day is next week! I did half the ride over the weekend, and most of the construction that hampered me the last three or four years is finished!

I can ride up and down Waterton, probably my favorite ride. Close. Fun. Easy. Wildlife. Water. Bighorn. Need I say more???

On a recent very hot ride up Waterton with the Lizard, I pulled my my homemade refrigerator pickles from my jersey pocket to beat the 95 degrees, and I thought the degrees had beat my snack! I forgot I'd packaged the first resealable bag with brown napkins inside a second bag to keep the vinegar off my jersey! My initial thought was, "Ick! I'm not eating that!" Lizard's first thought was, "Why did you bring baby poop???" (The pickles were fine, and I enjoyed them, every bite!)

I can ride up Deer Creek Canyon, which I have not attempted yet this year, but it's a good climb. I can ride Vail Pass, which I also have not attempted yet this year, and it's a great climb in thin air. It probably will be the most important training I do this year, just to make sure I can still ride with less oxygen!

I can ride along the greenway. On a workday when I can't get up into the mountains, the greenway is the next best thing.

On Day 2 of Ride the Rockies, I was riding along the greenway, enjoying the wildflowers, the cool breeze, the sound of the river and many different species of wetland birds, taking way too many photos, chancing being late for work. I kept seeing chalk messages on the bike path with "RTR" directions. Ride the Rockies was about 120 miles away, pedaling from Breckenridge to Edwards... I confess, I felt as if I was riding my own personal Ride the Rockies!

Finally, I realized this RTR was for the Run the River, a foot race that occurred the previous day. Well, RtR will always mean something else to me, and I had no problem pretending!

I can ride all the way around Chatfield Reservoir, which has been under heavy duty reconstruction, I think due in part to the floods a few years back. The new road on the west side of the lake is higher, I assume above the flood plain, and it has a bike lane on both sides all the way to the paddle board ponds!!! I assume the east side of the road will be redone, too, so for now no bike lane on that half, but if I ride early in the morning, I shouldn't have to contend with too much traffic.

I love Chatfield for the sunrises, the wildlife and the dam. The dam is one of the best climbs in my neck of the plains meet foothills without going up in the foothills. The dam also has a one-mile road along the top, closed to traffic, that I've enjoyed many times over the years, but it was a bumpy ride more suitable to a mountain bike than a road bike, thanks to all the goat head stickers and pavement cracks.

Not anymore! The new road along the top of the dam is OUTSTANDING! I've noticed far more cyclists on it than ever, now that the pavement is brand new and smooth! No stickers, and every once in a while, I even get to hear the lovely song of a meadowlark!

On a recent Chatfield ride with my deer, sweet hubby, we encountered my first kingfisher ever. I wasn't able to get a photo, but I had no idea how many different noises they can make. I got into a shouting match with it, trying to imitate each of its calls, one after another, until it finally blasted a rattle I couldn't duplicate. It clearly won the contest and continued to rattle proudly. Show off!

My crowning Chatfield achievement, though, came last weekend when I was able to climb the dam with the same speed and vigor of 2011, my second year of training for the climb of Pikes Peak (which I did not successfully finish).

I had to work my way back up to being able to ride uphill at all after emergency back surgery in 2004 and the arthritic side effects that linger even this day. In 2010, I missed the summit of Pikes Peak, a timed event, by less than a mile. I worked throughout the next 12 months to shave 30 minutes off my time, not knowing they had cut the official allotment by a full hour. I missed the Crags cutoff by less than five minutes. But I was in the best post-surgery shape of my life, and the next year was going to be my year.

In 2012, an unplanned Over-the-Bars Scar Club membership left me with a cast on my right/write hand and a crushed disc in my back. I've been trying to work my way back ever since, but was sidelined again last year with what I initially thought was mouse elbow... you know, too much Photoshopping on the computer, but turned out to be two collapsed discs in my neck.

After Saturday's climb, my fingers on my right hand were numb. That's not a good sign, ever. But I finished my ride before elbow pain could take me down. I'm still very slow, and Chatfield's dam is not a long climb. Nevertheless, I climbed the way I was climbing in 2011, and even if I can never get up to 70 miles in a day again, I am thankful and celebrating being back on my bike and being able to keep on trying, even with limitations.

My bike can take me so many places I can't get in a car and can't get to as fast on foot. My bike allows me the freedom to get from point A to point B under my own power, and I get pretty darned good gas mileage off a superfood salad and ice cold lemon/cucumber infused water!

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