28 September 2018

Friday Fortius

27 September 2018

Rock On

People frequently ask me how long the crochet covered rocks in my garden last. I began putting cotton-covered rocks in my garden in 2012 after realizing cotton does not wick moisture. It holds it. Much of my garden had fried that year while we were away on Ride the Rockies, and I wanted to see if rocks with cotton in the garden would give my plants a better chance at surviving severe heat and even drought conditions.

The experiment was successful... and beautiful! Neighbors often ask me if I will do their garden next.

In 2015 when we had more rain than our ground could swallow, I experienced slugs for the first time in my life. They wreaked havoc in my garden, finding particularly the irises most yummy.

After a bit of research, I poured Mountain Dew throughout the garden, wherever irises were located, and managed to stop most of the slug damage.

However, the following year, all of the crocheted rock coverings that made contact with the yucky drink dissolved. Literally! (The pop is not something we keep on hand. We bought it for a visiting friend, who didn't drink it all.)

carbonation addiction

I found three rocks with the coverings entirely abducted by aliens or something!!

I've been replacing those rocks as I find them. This was the first year I found rocks ready to be replaced that never drank any rocky mountain p... sorry, old habits die hard... Mountain Dew. So I guess you could say crocheted rock coverings last at least six years in the Colorado altitude and weather extremes.

letting loose

One funny rock I discovered turned out to be not a rock at all! It sure felt like a rock when I first put it into the crocheted cozy! Of course, perhaps it really WAS a rock, and it got hit by the Mountain Dew, too...

I've been busily replacing the coverings of real rocks all summer long. I've been saving them up for my little neighbors to put in my garden because they really get a kick out of that. Now that the garden is nearly done and gone for the year, this collection is ready to take up new residence.

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

25 September 2018

Pineapple of My Eye

Three years ago last month, one of my bosses returned from Hawaii with a few fresh pineapples. I took one crown home and "planted" it in a glass of water in an attempt to grow my own pineapple. I'd read pineapple plants have blue flowers, and I've got this thing about blue flowers.

It didn't take long for the first roots to appear. Perhaps two or three weeks. I planted the crown in a little pot.

Here's my happy little pineapple plant the following Christmas, just four months later.

Four months later, in April of 2016, it was ready for a bigger pot.

Now it's three years old and 26 inches tall.

Here's a distant relative in Hawaii. The only pineapple plant I shot during my 2004 Hawaiian trip. I wonder if my pineapple will look like this one day.

24 September 2018

Snowflake Monday

Another small Moda Blockheads quilt square; another small snowflake to fit the space.

This block isn't officially a Blockheads pattern; it's the center of the alternate alternate pineapple block (I tried to draft my own alternate pineapple block, and it looked more like lobster claws), which measures a perfect 6.5 inches. I wanted to replace my wonky block, and I wanted a nice, big center for a great big snowflake. The Connemara quilt block was just perfect. I worked up the center to get the proper measurement for my new and improved pineapple crown.

The Evening Star center turned out so well, I decided to include it in my Blockhead project. The block has a nice-sized center, perfect for snowflake appliqué, and that's where today's pattern comes in.

This is the final week of September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month, so I made a teal flake.

Next week is October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so I made a lacy pink flake.

This is the first week of autumn, and I'm yearning for autumn leaf photography, so I made an autumn version.

My parents' 50th anniversary is coming up. They have seven kids. So I modified the pattern a tad to make a 7-point snowflake. On purpose. Intentionally. Yes, I really did that!!! Don't you just love the flecks of gold for their Golden Anniversary???

And of course, I made a white flake for the quilt. I'm getting antsy to finish this quilt now because it's turning out so awesome!

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: 2.5 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

Teal Treasure Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: * 1 sc in ring, ch 5; repeat from * 4 times, 1 sc in ring, ch 2, 1 tr in starting sc to form 6th ch 5 sp of Round. don't pull magic circle too 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: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of tr directly below, * ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook, 5 dc in next ch 5 sp; repeat from * around 4 times; ch 5, sl st in 5th ch from hook, 2 dc in next ch 5 sp; 1 sc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
NOTE: Oh, look!!! Another sweet little flake if you bind off here!!! And even cooler if you do chain 10 or ch 20 instead of ch 5 on the points. Lizard likes the ch-20 flake best. I'm going to have to include it on a quilt block!

Round 3: * In next ch 5 loop work (6 dc, ch 2, sl st in top of dc just worked (picot made), 5 dc), 1 sc in middle dc of next 5/dc group; repeat from * around 5 times, omitting last sc of final repeat; 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.

20 September 2018

Caught Up

I got behind on my Blockheads project due to cycling, working late and trying to crank out a custom order for my Etsy shop. Of course, that would be the week the designers (whom I admire and love for graciously supplying free block patterns every week for a second year) release two blocks. Then three! I was five blocks behind!!!

Nothing an afternoon at the sewing machine can't cure...

I also didn't get a chance to write about and share what I did after the last block I finished back when I was on schedule, finishing a block every week. The Patchwork Flower block by Corey Yoder is gorgeous, but my blocks all have a snowflake theme. So I made a frozen flower instead.

I had so much fun making the French braid for the icicle on the flower, I decided to use up some more scraps to make another big, long French braid. As in, 57 inches long! Initially, I thought it might be a great insert in a dress. But as it grew, I wondered if I should make a quilt or at least a quilt border out of it.

I haven't decided yet what to do with it, but it features almost every snowflake fabric in my scrap collection.

First up on the overdue blocks was Fidget Spinner by Lynne Hagmeier. I put the same color triangle on the inside of each block quarter so I'd have room for a snowflake in the center. I liked the block so much, I made a second one without a snowflake, a completely scrappy version.

Next came Corner Pocket by Me & My Sister.

The Texas Puzzle block by Carrie Nelson made me think of Texas two-step, and my version of the block turned out pretty darned cute, but I thought perhaps I might have a snowflake that would fit in that tiny one-inch center. Mini Hexie Madness fit like a charm!

Then came a block I could relate to... Big Storm by Brigitte Heitland. I accidentally cut the rectangles half an inch short and decided to extend the "sky" to the top of the block. My storm is rolling in over the mountains.

The fifth block is MishMash by Vanessa Goertzen. This was another fun use of the leftovers from my tree skirt panel.

I also took the opportunity, finally, to replace the ugly pineapple block that looks like lobster claws I drafted myself...

... with an alternate block recommended by Kay Ahr. Thank you, Kay! This block was fun because I worked up the center to find out how big a solid center would need to be, so I got an extra block out of the deal. Both blocks will have snowflakes, but I'm still writing the patterns.

This block also taught me to stop worrying about the leftover triangles that are multiplying every week. I've been trying to incorporate the leftovers whenever I get the chance, and it's led to some of my blocks not being the correct size. I realized while working on this replacement block, which resulted in a ton more triangles, I can use up all those tiny snowflake scraps in a ticker tape quilt. The thought actually is rather exciting, so they can multiply and replenish the stash now all they want. I'll still use them up in a worthy project!

The Blockheads Project is coming along nicely. Everyone who sees it asks for whom I'm making it. Quite possibly me!!!

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