30 November 2022

Wordless Wednesday

29 November 2022

Living With Parkinson's

We participate in several of the Davis Phinney Foundation zooms these days, and this one is one of my favorites. I'm sharing it here because it helped so many of our friends and loved ones understand some of the difficulties Lizard and I face as we navigate his Parkinson's journey together.

28 November 2022

Snowflake Monday

Oh, how I love to create kaleidoscopes with my camera or with my computer. Those kaleidoscopes often become inspiration for future crochet snowflake designs.

Two computers ago, I was able to create stunning kaleidoscopes from existing photos. I literally would play for hours. That particular software doesn't work with newer computers, and I've yet to find a newer program as flexible with ultimate user control. As a result, my kaleidoscopes now are generated within a phone camera app. I don't have as much control, and sometimes, the desired kaleidoscope fractures before I can snap a photo, and I can never re-create it exactly as it was that infinitesimal fraction of a second.

Yet, I do get a few images I absolutely love. With 937 camera-generated kaleidoscopes currently in my repertoire, I have more than enough to keep me busy for the next 300 years.

Nevertheless, I can't stop. I guess I'm hopelessly addicted!

Just look how easy it is for me to get carried away!!!

As long as the inspiration keeps coming, I guess I'll just keep shooting and keep right on crocheting!

Were you able to guess which of these kaleidoscopes I like best and used for inspiration for this week's pattern???

I looked up the word "kaleidoscope" in other languages, and the only really interesting one is in Maori. I did a reverse lookup to make sure the word really does mean kaleidoscope, and it doesn't! It can mean complicated or colorful. As I suspected, most languages don't really have their own word for kaleidoscope, which derives from "beauty" and "that which is seen", which, swirled together and allowed to ferment, become "observation of beautiful forms". Even though it does not technically translate into kaleidoscope, how could I not use such an awesome word?!?

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 in two colors, 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

Heart Motif Instructions (make 6)

With color A, make magic ring.

Round 1: 6 sc in ring; sl st tightly in starting sc.

Round 2: Ch 2, 5 dc in next sc, 1 hdc in next sc, in next sc work (1 sc, 1 dc, 1 sc), 1 hdc in next sc, 5 dc in next sc, ch 2; sl st in same sc as sl st; bind off. Weave in ends.

Takawhīwhiwhi Snowflake Instructions

With color B, make magic ring.

Round 1: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 17 dc in ring. 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 4 (counts as 1 sc and [ch 3), sk 2 dc, 1 sc in next dc] 5 times; ch 1, 1 dc in 1st ch of starting ch 4 to form 6th ch 3 sp of Round.

Round 3: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), [in next ch 3 sp work (1 dc, ch 5, 1 dc)] 5 times; in next ch 3 sp work 1 dc, ch 2, 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 2 to form 6th ch 5 tip 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 4: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 5 dc over post of tr directly below, 11 dc in each of next 5 ch/5 sp; 5 dc in next ch 5 sp; sl st in 2nd ch of starting ch 2.

Round 5: Ch 3 (counts as 1 dc), 2 dc in same ch as sl st, [ch 6, sl st in 3rd ch from hook, ch 3 (picot bar made), sk next 10 dc, 3 dc in next dc (middle dc of 11/dc group), ch 5, 3 dc in same dc] 6 times, omitting last 3 dc and last 3 ch of final repeat; 1 tr in 2nd ch of starting ch 3 to form 6th ch 6 tip of Round.

Round 6: Ch 2 (counts as 1 dc), 6 dc over post of tr directly below, [sk next 3 dc, 1 sc in each of next 2 ch, ch 1, 1 sc in 1st dc of heart motif (top of heart) and in each of next 6 st, in next dc (bottom of heart) work (1 sc, 1 dc, 1 sc), 1 sc in each of next 7 st, ch 1, sk next ch, picot and ch, 1 sc in each of next f2 ch (last two ch of picot bar), sk next 3 dc, in next ch 5 tip work 13 dc] 6 times, omitting last 6 dc 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.

25 November 2022

White Friday

This is my eighth year opting for white rather than black the day after Thanksgiving. I am a craft fair crafter, and I have missed running my office craft fair the last two years. There's no gift better than handmade, but I've never participated in a Black Friday event, and I do not Christmas shop on Black Friday. Eight years ago, I decided to take my feelings on commercialization public, and today's blog post is my latest installment of alternate ways to spend the day after Thanksgiving.

Christmas is about giving, not spending. Black Friday, for me, is not a time to stand in line waiting for a store to open, and it's not a time to spend, spend, spend. It's a time to enjoy family, continue the attitude of gratitude and to seek out ways to make the world a better place. This is where I share what I did the previous year to keep my Friday white, even though snow often may be nowhere on my horizon.

The first snowfall of autumn 2021 broke the previous record of November 21, 1934, for the Denver metro's latest measurable accumulation. We got nearly an inch at our house the day before Thanksgiving on November 23. However, Denver International Airport got none, so the official snowless streak extended until December 10, 2021.

Our 2021 White Friday plan was to shoot the sunrise, and hopefully some beautiful white pelicans, perhaps finding some frozen areas along the lake's edge and maybe even traces of unmelted snow in the shadows. The wind was furious, and our completely cloudless skies tricked us into thinking the sunrise wouldn't be spectacular. So we watched from our living room window as feathery clouds began to materialize just as the pre-dawn sun painted them pastel pink and then peachy yellow. Darn! There was a fierce wind... sort of the story of 2021. Bittersweet regrets.

(the next day)

But hey, white is white, right? The feathery clouds lasted the rest of the day.

The moon was pretty awesome, too!

We thought we might drive up to the mountains to find some white, but Lizard has a difficult time being seated in the car more than about ten minutes, plus, we were trying to save money for the replacement of our front and back stairs the following week. So my White Friday began with a photo editing session. I got to shoot snowflakes the day before Thanksgiving 2021 -- my first snowflake photographs since April 17, 2021!

The snow didn't last long, and most of it was clumpy, so I took some not-so-macro shots, too.

Also waiting to be processed were photos from our afternoon walk on Thanksgiving Day 2021. These are some of the photos that inspired my (unrealized) plan to shoot the sunrise on White Friday.

My white picotee amaryllis was still in the basement, and my white Christmas cactus was getting ready to put on a show, but not quite there yet.

The amaryllis had sported its first-ever summer bloom in August of 2021, and it hasn't bloomed again since. Fingers crossed for early in 2023; I didn't get any of my amaryllises down into the basement this year until nearly Halloween.

I made a snowflake with white thread. That actually wasn't too unusual for 2021 because for whatever reason, most of my 2021 flakes were white. Perhaps the shortage of real snow made me crave white flakes?

I also took some photos of some old flakes on white fabric (or a very pale blue batik that looks white via the iPhone). That was something new for me. I typically like true blue batik best as a background, but for a special project I'd been contemplating for a while (my now finished digital temperature quilt!!!), I'd been shooting every new snowflake on a variety of batik colors. But not on white. I don't know why it previously never occurred to me. It looks kind of cool. To me...

I also hunted down and pulled out the fabric for the Christmas snowflake skirt I'd been wanting to create for about 15 years. Unfortunately, that's as far as I got until the following week. But I do have a finished white snowflake skirt with white crocheted edging I finally get to wear this Christmas season! (Finished the edging while visiting my mother-in-law after Christmas.)

I also pulled out my Moda Blockheads project fully intending to get at least one block sandwiched and quilted and then begin the white thread crochet around the edge for my quilt-as-you-go join-as-you-go snowflake quilt. I did make a backing totally from scraps (which included some whites), and I did get the first and biggest block sandwiched (which required batting from my leftover stash, all of which is white or off-white). However, I didn't quilt it until two full months later! The lace edging (made from white thread in my stash)... Well, that finally got going in February of this year. Block 1 is done now! I may be trying to finish another block or two today...

Last but not least, I did not spend any money on White Friday last year. I did, however, spend the following week what I would have spent had I gone downtown White Friday. My employer was still on controlled limits of employees (as well as visitors) allowed in the office at any given time. I reported for two hours on my assigned day. After I finished my work duties, I walked a few blocks to the Giving Machines. To me, charities are the best way to spend money on White Friday. I bought diapers (YES, white!!!) for needy moms and bus passes for refugees. If the Giving Machines are available again this year, you can darn sure bet they'll be receiving some money from Lizard and me! If not on White Friday, the very next week.

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