31 August 2020

Snowflake Monday

We are so ready to go home. I’ll make a white version of today’s pattern once we get there and add it here.

Today’s snowflake was inspired by all the spine posters and charts I’ve been studying the past week.

Today’s pattern (and html) was written on my phone and has not been proofed or tested. The above flake was photographed on Lizard’s pillow because that’s the best light-colored background I have access to right now.

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

Rehab Blues Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in ring, [ch 3, 3 dc in ring] 2 times; ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 3rd ch 3 sp of around. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc over post of dc directly below, [ch 5, 2 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 2 dc in same sp] 2 times; ch 5, 2 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 2, 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 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 5 (counts as 1 dc and ch 3), [1 dc in next ch 5 sp, ch 17, 1 sc in 6th ch from hook, ch 2, sk next 2 ch, 1 hdc in next ch, ch 2, sk next 2 ch, 1 dc in next ch, ch 2, sk next 2 ch, 1 tr in next ch 2, ch 2, 1 dc in same ch 5 sp] 6 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 5.

Round 4: Ch 3 (counts a fptr), [1 fptr around next dc, working up spoke sk next tr, 1 fpdc around next dc, ch 2, 1 fpdc around next hdc, ch 2, 1 fpdc around next sc, ch 2, 1 dc in next ch 5 tip, ch 10, 1 sc in 8th ch from hook, ch 2, 1 dc in same ch 5 tip, working back down spoke ch 2, 1 fpdc around next sc, ch 2, 1 fpdc around next hdc, ch 2, 1 fpdc around next dc, sk next tr, [[1 fptr around next dc]] 2 times] 6 times, omitting last fptr of final repeat; sl st in 3rd ch of starting ch 3; 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.

28 August 2020

Anniversary

Two years ago tomorrow, our lives changed.

The Big P took control of our lives.

I guess Parkinson's actually had a big role in our lives before that, but we didn't know, so we didn't acknowledge it.

Now, it demands attention.

But we refuse to let it win!!!

27 August 2020

Eye See You


Working from home is sometimes a challenge because I have such lousy internet. After several conversations with my provider, one of my IT-savvy bosses and representatives from my employer's IT department, I decided to trade in my leased modem for a more recent model. The old one was at least six years old. My provider had run tests on my equipment via a phone app and said my equipment was operating within parameters. But everyone else said it was time for a new modem.

A new modem in this time of limited in-person contact can mean days without internet. Specifically, three days. Today's finish is the result of upgrading my modem and my bandwidth (for three dollars less per month than what I've been paying for the last five years!!!). A very nice trade-off, in my opinion!


I've been wanting to get some good practice on the longarm, and this baby provided exactly that. There are plenty of booboos, and I had trouble with thread tension. But another project or two with this stitch intensity, and perhaps my skills will improve.






I used inherited fabric for the backing, then cut off two more 6-inch strips from the solid to baste onto the quilt sandwich and make it big enough for my longarm to hold and maneuver. Finished dimensions 21x34. The longarm will hold 20 inches, but only about 16 inches are quilt-able. For previous quilts, I've finished the unquiltable edges with my domestic. By applying basted edges, I was able to do the entire 18x30 owl on the longarm. The edges took about 20 minutes to remove when I was done quilting, and I can use the edges again on the next quilt.

I used purple binding leftovers for the finishing touch, and I decided after washing that the eyes didn't have enough definition. I applied the two largest googly eyes in my stash. The wall hanging now watches over my bed. No one will ever see the rat's nests on the back. And I have transformed my five-year and three-month old Lavender Sunrise into a Midwinter Snowy Owl.


Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.

25 August 2020

The Next Best Thing

Just about the only photography I've done since early May was in my garden or out my working-from-home window. I did manage to sneak in two short little hikes before it got too hot, and I managed to capture a few dazzling sunrises, most from over my fence. But the majority of my photography so far this year has been right in my own little paradise. Hopefully it won't be long now before Lizard and I can get out again!

24 August 2020

Snoozeflake Monday

Today’s Snoozeflake was designed while Lizard slept after surgery.

We currently are in acute rehab. I wrote this pattern (and this blog post, along with html coding) on my phone. It has not been tested or proofed. The snowflake was stiffened on the pizza box snowflake factory I created as I prepared for my parents' 50th anniversary and was photographed on one of the T-shirts I indigo dyed for Lizard because that was in his change of clothes bag.

So, nothing fancy today but the snowflake.

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: 6.25 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

SPECIAL STITCHES:

Popcorn Stitch (pc)

Work 5 dc in designated st, take loop off hook, insert hook through top loop of 1st dc and replace loop on hook, pull loop through top of 1st dc.

Snoozeflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: [Pc in ring, ch 3] 6 times, omitting last 2 ch of final repeat; 1 dc in top of starting pc to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round. Pull magic circle tight.

Round 2: Ch 8 (counts as 1 tr and ch 5), [in next ch 3 sp work (1 tr, ch 5, 1 tr] 5 times; 1 tr in next ch 3 sp, ch 2, 1 tr in 3rd ch of starting ch 8 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 2 (counts as 1 dc), [in next ch 5 sp work (3 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, ch 3, 3 dc)] 5 times; in next ch 5 sp work (3 dc, ch 3, 1 dc, ch 1), 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 12th ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [1 fptr around Round 2 tr directly below, 1 dc in next gap between 3/dc groups, 1 fptr around next Round 2 tr, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp, ch 5, 1 dc in next ch 3 sp] 6 times, omitting last 3 ch and last dc of final repeat; 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 5 sp of Round.

Round 5: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 1 dc over post of tr directly below, 2 tr in same sp, 2 dtr in same sp, [in next ch 5 sp work (2 dtr, 2 tr, 2 dc, ch 3, 2 dc, 2 tr, 2 dtr)] 5 times; in next ch 5 sp work (2 dtr, 2 tr, 2 dc), ch 1, 1 dc in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 6 : 1 sc over post of dc directly below, [1 fptrtr back around 4th Round fptr just to the right, 1 fptrtr around next Round 4 fptr to the left, 1 sc in same sp as previous sc, ch 7, 1 dc in next gap between dtr stitches, ch 15, 1 dc in same sp, ch 7, 1 sc in next ch 3 sp] 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 the snowflake twirl freely whenever you walk by! Snowflake also may be taped to window or tied to doorknob or cabinet handle.

23 August 2020

Seismic Foundation

Friday evening was one my darkest days in many, many years. How amazing that I had already selected this video as oart of our home Sunday school lesson for today!

Lizard just got a strenghtened backbone. Now we're both working on our spiritual seismic foundations.

I promise to be stronger the next time my world shakes.

20 August 2020

Tracks


My neighbors who have been helping me with the basement-flood-preventing landscaping in my backyard (with appropriate distancing) have three grandsons. When I found out one of the kids likes oceans and sealife, I knew I had a quilt in the making in my stash. His birthday was coming up, so I literally threw together a quilt in one weekend and presented it to my neighbors just a few days late. He LOVED it!

The two remaining kids said they'd like dinosaurs on their quilts, and once again, I was in luck because I have plenty of dinosaur fabric in my stash.

I had just enough Fossil Rim squares left to fashion one more quilt top. There weren't enough blocks (or other dinosaur fabrics) for a back, and I wanted the quilt to be two-sided. So I bit the bullet and ordered a panel. I was thrilled with how quickly it arrived, given the current world situation, but I was not too happy about how crooked it was cut. I nearly lost the apatosaurus on the right side of the panel due to the sloppy cut. That part of the seam is extremely thin!


This one was finished up in just a couple of days, nearly two weeks in advance of the birthday. Making the 2.5-inch checkerboard borders for the back took the most time, but this turned out so cute, the borders were totally worth the extra effort.

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


18 August 2020

My Turtle Shell


Readers who have visited more than just my snowflake patterns the last 11 years know I have battled depression most of my life. I think I've developed some great tools to manage it, and I felt as if I was ahead of the game.

Until April.

I'd spent most of January and February worrying if I should be leaving Lizard home alone five long days a week after total knee replacement in December that ramped up his Parkinson's. In March, I was one of the lucky ones who didn't lose my job and was able to work from home.


It took a bit of modification to make my dinosaur computer do everything it needed to do for me to be able to work from home. Meanwhile, I could see being at home to take care of my husband was exactly where I needed to be. I am blessed with bosses who want me to continue working from home because it works and because they want me to be able to take care of my husband.

Lizard and I took short little walks on the mornings he didn't have physical therapy throughout the dark and cold days of March. He was beginning to walk so well! He wasn't shuffling his feet, and he had very little knee pain! Regardless what was happening in the rest of the world, my Lizard was going to be able to walk with me again! Oh, man, was I on top of the world!






As April began to grow a couple of degrees warmer, we began taking tiny little bike rides after I got off work each day. I found a secluded trail hardly anyone knew about, and each day, we would try to build mileage. I could see Lizard was struggling; he was having balance and coordination issues all over again, and he seemed to be growing more disoriented each day. We had a dream and goal of being able to ride at least a portion of at least one of this summer's rides, not knowing all would eventually be canceled or postponed, if not virtual. Elephant Rock was the last ride standing, rescheduled to October, but now it's been cancelled, too.

On April 29, we went for a bike ride after I got off work and were able to pedal 12 miles! I was so excited!!! I thought our dreams were going to come true!






The next day, Lizard wasn't able to get his leg over the bike. From that point on, I felt as if he was slipping further and further away as he lost more and more ability and grew more and more disabled. Literally overnight. It sometimes seemed only his shell remained.

Initially, I suspected a change in his thyroid medication on April 26 week may have been the culprit. Our state was locked down, and no in-person visits with health specialists were allowed unless the patient had coronavirus symptoms. We had Zoom-like appointments with Lizard's endocrinologist, who was worried we might be exposed to the virus if we went for a blood test so she could see his numbers. We held out a few weeks, then finally decided it would be worth the risk to go get a blood test because Lizard could no longer walk or sleep.

One week later, we learned Lizard's thyroid was functioning properly and not the reason he was going downhill so fast. I think I had secretly hoped it would be thyroid because thyroid can be fixed. Parkinson's cannot.


We began communicating regularly with the neurologist. We did a few Zoom-like calls, and the doctor had me hold up the phone so he could see Lizard try to walk. The neurologist had me do knee taps so he could try to see Lizard's reflexes. He did the absolute best he could, but some things just can't be diagnosed over the phone.

When the neurologist finally was allowed to begin seeing patients in his office again - only two days a week - he personally called to ask if we could come right in. We did.

He said Lizard's gait did not look like Parkinson's. He said it looked like Lizard was having extreme back pain. Lizard was having so much trouble with communication and comprehension, he couldn't even tell me he had excruciating back pain. All he'd been able to communicate to me, other than he was miserable all the time, was that he couldn't move his legs.

The neurologist said severe back pain would prevent him from being able to sleep, and sleep deprivation could be causing confusion and balance issues. He scheduled us for a nerve test the following week. A week later, we learned Lizard had at least two pinched nerves. We were scheduled for MRIs the following week. Results took nearly 10 days to reach the neurologist. The MRIs showed Lizard has a congenital condition in his back, plus a slipped disc and severe arthritic narrowing of the spinal cord.

We were referred to a neurosurgeon who specializes in minimally invasive procedures, and we were able to get in the following week. We hoped and prayed our solution could be achieved via injection and continued physical therapy. Unfortunately, that was not the case. The neurosurgeon went over the MRI with us, explaining why things had gone so far south so quickly and even taking the time to demonstrate for us which parts of Lizard's mobility were due to Parkinson's and which were due to a nearly severed nerve bundle.

We had only two choices: do nothing and allow Lizard's back and Parkinson's to grow worse, which would eventually lead to Lizard being paraplegic, or surgery, which likely will make the Parkinson's worse but should enable Lizard to walk again within a few days and possibly even get back on his bike one day, although it may be only a trainer from now on.

The key to Parkinson's is to stay active. Lizard has limited mobility. We have to get him active again. We decided to go through with the surgery, even though doing that during this dark time is terrifying. I initially thought I would not be able visit Lizard in the hospital, after being his sole caregiver for 12 weeks. Lizard will be in the hospital for up to five days, and I thought I wouldn't be involved in his care at all during that time. Learning to trust him into someone else's hands right now is such a huge effort for me.

I've always thought I'm not that fragile. But I guess, when it comes right down to it, I'm only human.


I pulled my turtle head inside my shell and turned off all social media. In just three days after stepping away, my mood and outlook improved. I probably needed to do this a long time ago, but I was lonely. I hung on as long as I could, but eventually, I had to focus on Lizard. Nothing else mattered.

Lizard's surgery was yesterday. Waiting for so long meant some restrictions have begun to lift, and I get to visit him in the hospital For the first time in months, we have a reason to hope. He should be able to walk today. I am beyond grateful.

I stepped away from my electronic life for a while. I needed time for a few wounds to heal. I didn't go away. I just wasn't in plain sight. I was behind a chain link fence while damage was being repaired.

17 August 2020

Snowflake Monday

About the only place I've been since March 16 (besides physical therapy for Lizard) is the grocery store to pick up prescriptions and/or fresh fruit and vegetables. One trip resulted in a new glue, which, of course, I absolutely had to try out. It's called Cosmic Glue. Given our affection for all things Star Trek (and space), I bought a bottle. I tried it out on this week's snowflake. What do you think? Does it scream galaxy?

To me, the metallic blue glue never looked as good on a flake as it does in the bottle, even after three coats. The cosmic blue will join the metallic blue in the "not for snowflakes" stash.

I think the blue glitter glue version (made with ch 7 on the 6th Round instead of ch 2) looks more cosmic, night sky-ish or nebula-like. The cosmic glue-stiffened snowflake, to me, looks more like pumice. Or perhaps it's an ashy snowflake after a volcanic storm…

It has taken us more than 18 months to finish all seven seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Lizard had never seen any Star Trek episodes until he married me, and I didn't realize until this year I had never seen any TNG episodes from the final year. It was so fun to watch programs that were new to both of us! We really dragged our feet the last couple of months because we knew we were nearing the end of the Final Frontier, where our eyes had never been before.

After the final episode of the final season, we had planned to watch all 13 or so movies, in order of release, which would have taken another six months or so, as we can tolerate only about an hour of TV in the evenings without messing up our sleep pattern. However, I had loaned all our Star Trek movies to one of the families of our adopted grands way back in March, and we have not been able to spend time with them again since then due to quarantines and Lizard's health issues. We have to come up with different boob tube offerings on those nights when we just don't feel like doing anything other than being couch potatoes.

We considered renting a few timely, albeit perhaps depressing, given current circumstances, virus movies… Contagion, Outbreak, Andromeda Strain… We watched a few trailers and quickly decided life is depressing enough without such fodder.

While looking for something better and cheery, we came across a stack of volcano DVDs we hadn't touched in quite a while. We decided to give our Mount St. Helens documentary a spin. Within minutes, we began reliving and remembering the horrors described by friends and family who lived within the monstrous pyroclastic cloud's shadow in 1980. Within a few minutes, we realized there are worse things than a pandemic.

We watched to the end. We actually slept that night. And we woke up very grateful to be safe and far from any of the volcanos that have been trying to steal headlines this year. (We pray for those who face more terror than we.)

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: 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

Mount St. Helens Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 18 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. Don't pull magic circle too tight.

Round 2: Ch 4 (counts as 1 tr), 1 tr in same sc as sl st, [ch 3, sk next 2 sc, 3 tr in next sc] 5 times; ch 3, 1 tr in same sc as starting tr, sl st in 4th ch of starting ch 4.

Round 3: Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2), [2 fptr around post of next tr, ch 3, sk next ch 3, 1 fptr around post of next tr, ch 2, 1 dc in next tr, ch 2] 6 times, omitting last dc and last 2 ch of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 4.
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 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [3 dc in next ch 2 sp, ch 5, sk next ch 3 sp, 3 dc in next ch 2 sp, 1 dc in next tr] 6 times, omitting last dc of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 5: Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2), [sk next 3 dc, 1 fptr around each of next 2 Round 3 fptr, ch 7, sk next ch 5 sp, 1 fptr around each of next 2 Round 3 fptr, ch 2, sk next 3 dc, 1 dc in next (middle) dc, ch 2] 6 times, omitting last dc and last ch 2 of final repeat; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 4

Round 6: Ch 4 (counts as 1 dc and ch 2), [sk next ch 2 sp, in next ch 7 sp work (7 dc, ch 3, 7 dc), ch 2, sk next ch 2 sp, 1 fp dc around next dc, ch 2] 6 times, omitting last dc and last ch 2 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. 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.

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