19 March 2019

Flower Power


Every March, I wish I could go back to California for the poppies. We hit it right the year Lizard participated in the Julian Death March, an epic bike race that no longer exists.

I read with interest this week how the "Super Bloom Apocalypse" resulted in "Disneyland-sized crowds", draining the resources of and shuttering tiny Lake Elsinore.

If I had been able to go to California this week, I wouldn't have gone where everyone else goes. I always try to find my own little secret place!






Just about every time we go to California to visit my parents, we see some variety of flower at its peak season.









18 March 2019

Snowflake Monday


Today's pattern is yet another of my California niece Layla's 11 red birthday snowflakes. Now it's time for me to start worrying about a dozen blue and white snowflakes requested by nephew Eli for his 12th birthday this month.

But first, I had to make blue butterflies for my three-year-old New Mexico-turned-Texas grandniece Maddie and my dear New Mexico friend Ruthie's granddaughter Josie. At a restaurant. While we waited for our dinner. No problem. Until I presented them…

Then suddenly grandniece Liliana (whose quinceanera we would be attending the next day) wanted one, and so did her mom, my niece Ysella, and Ysella's mom, my sister-in-law Rose, and Maddie's mom, my niece Jennifer. Turned out Rose's butterfly wasn't finished until later that night at the hotel… Rose was just as happy as the girls the next day. She said she loves all my crochet. Warm fuzzies for me!


Yes, it really did snow in New Mexico while I was there. Don't believe me???


Don't let the white out in the distance fool you, though. That's White Sands National Monument, another of my favorite places in New Mexico. We couldn't even see the Sands or the San Andres Mountains in the distance when we first arrived in the Tularosa Basin, however, due to high winds. Back when I lived in New Mexico, we experienced zero visibility during sand storms just about every March. Didn't really expect that in February. We did, however, see in the forecast that snow was predicted. My family wasn't too happy with me for bringing snow to New Mexico in February!!!






We even managed to bring home a little bit of New Mexico with us. I mean, besides the typical souvenirs…


In southern New Mexico, the snow melts fast. If you don't wake up early in the morning, you may miss it!

Not so in Colorado. We came home to another doozie, which provided some more awesome snowflake inspiration.


And this particular storm (Either Scott or Ryan, I'm losing track these days!) featured some pretty darned chilly temperatures!


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 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

Subzero 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 (popcorn stitch made), [ch 8, sl st in 6th ch from hook, ch 2, 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)] 5 times; ch 2, 1 dc in top of starting popcorn to form 6th ch 4 sp of Round; ch 2, 1 tr in top of dc just made to form 6th ch 5 loop of Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc over post of tr directly below, 1 hdc in same sp, 1 sc in same sp, [ch 8, sl st in 6th ch from hook, ch 2, in next ch 5 loop work (1 sc, 1 hdc, 5 dc, 1 hdc, 1 sc)] 5 times; ch 8, sl st in 6th ch from hook, ch 2, in next ch 5 loop work 1 sc, 1 hdc, 2 dc; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.
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 same ch as sl st, [ch 1, in next ch 5 loop work (2 tr, 2 dc, 2 hdc, ch 3, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, 2 hdc, 2 dc, 2 tr) ch 1, in middle dc of next 5/dc group work 3 sc] 6 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 snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.





15 March 2019

The Most Fun Friday!

I just pretend the sleds are bicycles...

14 March 2019

Block Your Head


I was never a metalhead, but three of my siblings played this song endlessly while we were growing up in New Mexico. One sibling has since converted to country western, but the other two never stopped banging their heads. This song brought back some real memories when I played it after coming up with the idea for today's blog post title.

All of my brothers and sisters (I was the oldest and the first to drive) would bang their heads to the appropriate segment of "Bohemian Rhapsody" in the back of my powder blue fleet Ford Maverick (my first car) back in those days in an attempt to help power the sad little engine up over New Mexico's big hills.

Nowadays, I'm a Blockhead in Colorado, driving, cycling and hiking up even bigger hills, and one of the mountains I'm still trying to conquer is my Moda Blockheads II project, which I'm still behind on by more than a dozen blocks.


I made really good progress last week after getting stuck on a block the night before we left for New Mexico for my grand niece's quinceanera. I had been working on Lincoln's Platform, Block 28, and really wanted to finish it before the vacation. However, I'd cut out all the pieces before assembling the block, and by the time I got to the border section, the outer pieces didn't fit my block.


I'd had this same problem a couple of times last year when I had to take breaks from blocks because of work. I'd started the project on one sewing machine, which gave out, then continued working with another machine. It seems not all quarter-inch presser feet are created equal. Once I realized that was the problem last year, my final block sizes were once again consistent.

But then I was forced to take a three-month break from any kind of sewing during last year's fourth quarter due to not having a life outside of work. When I got back to sewing again this year, I'd forgotten about the presser foot on the newer sewing machine. My blocks weren't all coming out the right size.

I went to New Mexico stewing about how to fix Block 28 when I got back home. I even considered leaving it as is, without the border, because it was an attractive block and I didn't want to cut more 11-inch strips because I was running out of the solid royal blue I've been trying to incorporate into most blocks so they work well together.


At one point during the vacation, I thought I'd just sew all the 11-inch strips together into one long strip with an additional piece of solid blue about five inches long when I got home and recut the strips so they wouldn't have seams right at the edges of the strips. By the time I got home, I'd decided a couple more yards of royal blue won't hurt, and I then could just recut the strips and use the short strips in another project... I've got another selvedge crochet project going on the side, and I've been adding all my narrow scraps to my fabric "yarn" ball to make it bigger.

Once I finished Block 28, I fell in love with Blockheads all over again, about my fourth time now since last April! This block turned out really cool, even if it is just a tad too large. My plan for joining the blocks will take care of everything that doesn't fit perfectly, I think. But that part of my project is still a secret!


Block 29 is supposed to be Courthouse Steps, but I turned it into a log cabin because I like the layout and color scheme better. This block was finished in no time, and I think it's beautiful.


Block 30, Gaudi, is simply gorgeous, but it got under my skin and ended up taking three nights because no matter what I did, I could not get the center block to come out the right size. I initially thought I must be making my seams too small again, but the block was coming out too small, and my seams were NOT too big! I ended up making the center block over again three times before I discovered the version of the pattern I'd downloaded had been updated because the rotary cutting instructions were not correct.

As a result, I've got one little block center I'm saving for a future block because it turned out so cute. If it doesn't fit into one of the official Blockhead blocks, I may design another block just to include it in my project.






The best part of this particular adventure is the correct pattern was big enough for a bigger snowflake!

I'm actually running out of large scraps big enough to fit some of the larger Blockhead patterns. I had planned to do the cross pieces in dark snowflake fabric, but only one scrap was big enough. So I used the solid. I didn't have enough large light-colored scraps for the fat stripe sections, but those sections would be trimmed from rectangles into triangles. So I used up more of the snowflake scraps from the still-yet-to-be-finished tree skirt panels.






This is yet another block I really like, and I could see an entire quilt with just different renditions this block.


Block 31, Interstellar, was one and done so quickly, I was able to start on another block the very same night. This is another block in which I couldn't resist the temptation to incorporate my own idea. I replaced the star in the quarter circle with a crocheted snowflake.


Block 32, X-Quartet, also worked up very quickly.


I've been trying to catch up in order, but when last week's pattern was released, I had an instant idea of how to do my own thing. I love both the official Block 47, Bird Basket, and the alternate, Rainbow Vine, but neither fit into my snowflake theme. I'd been wanting to do a plain, solid block with a snowflake, and the oblong size of Block 47 gave me the opportunity to use THREE snowflakes!


After finishing 47, I played with my blocks again to see if there is any way to put them together on-point. I think it might possibly work, but I'm going to need a few more 6.5-inch blocks. Blocks 33, 34 and the alternate Block 34, Happy Scrappy Basket, are beautiful, but they are 12.-5 inches, so I'm skipping them for right now. I may make Block 33, Star Power, and the Block 34 alternate after I finish a few more 6.5-inch blocks because I could always put a bigger block in place of four smaller blocks and then use the four smaller blocks to fill in the edge gaps. For right now, though, I'm plowing ahead to see what other 6.5-inch blocks I'm missing.


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

12 March 2019

American Tragedy


Twenty years ago next month, I was a single parent living on the opposite side of the Denver metro area from Littleton. My adopted kids were 15 and 13. Both were older and special needs when I adopted them. Both were in therapy and counseling nearly the entire time they lived with me. My son would be starting his first year of high school in the fall of 1999. My daughter was having enormous problems, and I'd pulled her out of school and was attempting to homeschool her while working a full-time job and a freelance job as a stringer with local newspapers.

My kids would help me take notes at high school football, basketball, volleyball, soccer and baseball games and track meets. We had front-row seats for state tournaments, and we covered every band, drill/dance team and drum line competition we could because both my kids wanted to participate in band when they reached high school.

I also interviewed seniors at each of 12 high schools on the north side of the metro area every spring for a special graduation publication. The interviews often would take place right around Take Your Child to Work Day, so I would take time off from my day job two or three days a year to visit the local high schools and alternate taking my kids on each day off. One of the most popular interviews at each of the high schools was the "miracle grad," the senior who was graduating against all odds, having overcome tremendous difficulties to achieve their diplomas. I wanted both of my kids to get a feel for high school, honor societies, valedictorians and most especially, the miracle grads.

Twenty years ago, those high school interviews were very different. The schools all were under heightened security because of the shooting at Columbine, a good 20 or so miles from us, and my son was begging me to homeschool him, too, because he no longer wanted to go to high school. He was terrified. Both my kids had become clingy, and both of them were acting out because they felt so insecure.

At one of the schools we visited that year, my son and I met the brother of one of the victims at Columbine. The boy's parents had transferred him to a religious school clear across town. Later, I would meet and befriend one of the survivors who was under the table in the Columbine library, her mom and several of her mom's friends. We go to church together.

In December 2013, several people in the office where I work rushed to Arapahoe High School in fear of a Columbine repeat, not knowing if they would ever see their children alive again. Two of my very dear friends, Mark and Lisa Sabey, were on site as well because their son attended Arapahoe. Read the account of their experience that day here.

Two of my loved ones have committed suicide, and another was brutally murdered at point blank range.

No one knows better than me how critical mental health care and intervention are before it is too late. I applaud Mark and Lisa for their herculean effort to heighten awareness and make a difference in our world first through goingsane.org and now through "American Tragedy."

11 March 2019

Snowflake Monday


This is one of the red snowflakes I made for my niece Layla's belated birthday gift. We were in yet another polar dip when I worked up the white flake to test the pattern.


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, 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

Zero Degrees 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 (popcorn stitch made), * ch 10, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, 1 hdc in each of next 3 ch, 1 dc in each of next 2 ch, ch 1, 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); repeat from * 4 times, omitting last popcorn st of final repeat; sl st in top of starting popcorn. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc and ch 1), [sk next 2 dc, sl st in next hdc, ch 3, sk next hdc, sl st in next hdc, ch 5, sk next sc, sl st in next sc, ch 7, sl st in spoke point, ch 9, sl st in same point, ch 7, sl st in next sc (this and each sl st on this side of spoke should be directly across from sl st in opposite side of spoke), ch 5, sk next sc, sl st in next hdc, ch 3, sk next hdc, sl st in next hdc, ch 1, 1 dc in top of next popcorn st, ch 1] 6 times, omitting last ch and last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 3; bind off. Weave in ends.
If you're not reading this pattern on Snowcatcher, you're not reading the designer's blog. Please go here to see the original.

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.

07 March 2019

Scrappy Stitches


Remember all the owls in every color I'd dyed?


And all the butterflies in every color I'd dyed?


This is the mountain of cotton yarn I used to tie the hanks of thread I dyed. I used to use black acrylic yarn to tie the hanks, and I used to use the ties over and over and over. Until one day while natural dyeing a hank of cotton yarn that needed to be nuked for a few seconds... The acrylic yarn caught fire and melted. The cotton yarn got some unexpected color. I found a stinky way to make pure black... Ha ha ha!


So I started using cotton yarn for ties, which resulted in a lot of short pieces of really pretty colors. The day before we left for New Mexico, I started three different projects I hoped to finish during the drive. One was double tiny bear crochet for a friend who just had cochlear implants and who would like to decorate her hearing aids with Velcro charms, including tiny red bears. One was a hand-quilting project I began back in about 2003 and hope to finish this quarter. (Time is running out!) And one was this snazzy one-of-a-kind scarf.






I got a bit done on each of my projects. The day after we got home, I decided to finish one. The scarf won.


This was such a fun project! I can't wait to dye more thread now so I can collect another mountain of dyed cotton yarn ties! I have ideas bubbling in my head...













I Love This Scarf!

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.
Related Posts with Thumbnails