31 May 2024

Friday Fabulous

30 May 2024

All Grown Up

Back in 2010, I crocheted socks for each of my female friends and family members. I was SO thrilled, and I thought they were the best gifts I'd ever given. Not only did I love crocheting socks, but who else had ever done such a cool thing???

Some of the recipients loved the gift. Some never said whether they liked their socks. A couple told me they were allergic to wool and never said thank you or anything appreciative. (That happens to most quilt-givers at least once, too.) One recipient told me her daughter quickly adopted her socks and asked if I might make one more pair... (Of course I would!!! And I did!!!)

I liked making socks SO much, I began making baby socks. One co-worker asked if I could make baby socks for her dog to wear in winter. I thought about all the quilts (including one I made) that wound up on the floor as a sleeping pad for a beloved dog. It wasn't my idea of how such a treasured gift should be used, but I tried to remember how much my mom has always loved her dog(s). The "child" who never talks back, who never sneaks out the window in the middle of the night, who never wrecks the car and who never runs up a $200 phone bill (LONG before cell phones).

I think I listed three pairs of handmade adult socks in my Etsy shop over the years. (My Etsy shop has been paused since Lizard's December 2019 total knee replacement because I have been so overwhelmed as a Parkinson's caregiver ever since.) (But I hope to re-stock and re-open my Etsy shop this summer...) But who wants to spend $30 (the cost of wool fingering at the time) for a pair of socks when you can get affordable footwear at Target and Walmart and you can get wool socks for $18ish at REI? To date, I've sold only baby socks (and four baby socks for a dog).

I designed a fingerless glove pattern to match my sock pattern. Both patterns were designed to match my hat pattern. I began making matched sets for Etsy and my annual office Christmas craft fair. (I also designed a key chain, cowl, phone cozy and even a snowflake to match...)

Again, I don't think I ever sold any of the sets. I did break up a lot of the sets, though, because buyers wanted only the fingerless gloves or only the hat. I tried to replenish the missing itens as I was able to replace the fingering yarn I'd used for each broken set.

I think most of the sets were given away as gifts after several years of no sales. No complaints. I got no complaints for these gifts. Perhaps I've become more selective in who gets handmade gifts from me... Ha ha ha!

One of the now-grown girls I taught way back during my sock days recently announced she will be serving a church mission in Finland. In two weeks!!! Her mother was looking for wool items to send along. I did NOT have enough time to make another set!!!

I kept thinking I might have at least one pair of adult socks left. They took a while to find because I haven't tried to sell any of my creations in the last five years except for a neighborhood craft fair back in December of 2022. (The reason I didn't try to do the 2023 neighborhood craft fair is I didn't sell anything but quilted table toppers and a couple of crocheted snowflakes at the first one. Definitely not worth leaving Lizard alone that long.)

I found the final pair of adult socks and was surprised to find a matching hat... complete with crocheted flowers I'd intended to sew onto the hat before listing it on Etsy. I never finished the embellishments because I couldn't find yarn to re-make the fingerless gloves (or the full-finger gloves!!!) that had sold at my last office craft fair back in about 2017.

I quickly attached the flowers and wrapped the set in snowflake wrapping paper. My gorgeous hat and socks are now on their way to Finland!

28 May 2024


A couple of years ago, I had to streamline the living room and dining room to eliminate tripping hazards. I knew then the day would come when I would have to begin working on the rest of the house, too. That day has come.

Some of the things I'm finding are taking me back in time. Back to the days of craft fairs, handmade greeting cards, spray paint for rocks and snowflakes, weeklong bicycle tours, overnight drives to 14er trailheads to begin hiking at 2 a.m. and hopefully summit before any threat of lightning... man, where on earth did all the time go?!?

Here are just a few of the stashed things that brought back pleasant memories:

an entire box of used and shredded paper scraps I hoped to craft into homemade paper (circa 2016)
travel sanitizer bottles I planned to crochet wrap for loved ones
every variety of glow-in-the-dark glitter and pigment I can imagine
17 bottles of colorful Elmer's glow-in-the-dark glue (not the clear I used on snowflakes)
reams of photo paper and ink for a printer no longer made

Crafts and activities I planned (pre-pandemic) to do with the grands during the summer:

homemade rock-painting kits
crazy buttons for homemade Christmas tree hoodies
coloring books
boxes and boxes of photos of their birth parents as children
eight huge bags of to-be-recycled plastic lids for a giant mural

Therapy tools I collected to help Lizard increase or maintain skills:

sliced-up pool noodles to help combat shuffles
mystery novels he would hopefully read to me in his LOUD voice
three huge boxes of colored pencils for his art therapy
southwest, shark and aircraft coloring books to motivate coloring
word game magazines
cycling magazines
wooden birdhouses he intended to paint and seal for outdoor use

Lizard belongings he can't or won't use now:

maps, maps, and more maps
hydrology textbooks
college thesis materials (for two hard-earned degrees!!!)
camera batteries and memory cards
his GoPro
his calculator
his flight simulators

My own unfinished projects (which doesn't even rate on the scale of quilt WIPs):

a stack of unfinished snowflakes
a stack of finished but no-pattern-yet-snowflakes
three crochet baskets
the motif project I began after Lizard's knee replacement
the Harvest Flower motif project
a pair of crochet leg warmers (or, more accurately, 1 and a quarter leg warmer)
three headless troll bodies
dragonflies in every color of thread I've dyed
the snowflake flower vest
carbon fiber I intended to spin into yarn for a Christmas beanie for Lizard
hundreds of beads, charms and drilled stones I'd planned to crochet into jewelry for my (still empty) Etsy shop

The unfinished projects listed above also don't rate on the scale of handmade greeting cards. I'll bet I could open up my own card shop if I finished all these!!! But, oh, yeah, most card shops are like extinct dinosaurs these days. No one sends paper cards now. Everything is virtual these days. Too bad we can't make Parkinson's virtual.

27 May 2024

Snowflake Monday

I didn't get a chance to make a snowflake rock this week, darn it, but I did work in my garden! I added another row of lavender to Lizard's mini farm, and I replaced three lavender plants that didn't make it through the winter. We got a truckload of red mulch, and boy, did the fresh woodchips dress up our backyard, which has been in serious need of attention. I pulled weeds along the fence line (only halfway across the yard so far), removed the rocks, replaced the ground cover (with cardboard and tarp), then replaced the rocks. I also redid the rocks along the retaining wall because the wind had practically buried them with leaves and debris.

Back-breaking work. Seriously. But, it's gotta be done. The mini lavender farm looks so much better now! We still have a ton of work to do out there, but for now, I'm dreaming about the day I get to start crocheting wraps for some of the rocks lining the mini lavender farm.

This week's pattern and last week's accomplishment leave me searching for an appropriate name. And the name I picked leaves me wanting to crochet one more flake... in lavender!!! I wish I had more time!

Oh, wow!!! I almost forgot to show you my real snowflake from Winter Storm Rachel in March of 2022 that inspired today's flake!!! So now you can see clearly how distracted I've been...

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: 6.75 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

Lavandula Snowflake Instructions

Make magic ring.

Round 1: 12 sc in ring; sl st in starting sc. 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 7 (counts as 1 tr and [ch 3), 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, ch 5, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 7, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, ch 4, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch, ch 7, working back down spoke, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook, 1 hdc in each of next 2 ch, 1 dc in each of next 3 ch, ch 3, 1 sc in 2nd ch from hook and in next ch, ch 7, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 3 ch, ch 6, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook and in each of next 2 ch, ch 3, 1 dc in 3rd ch from hook, 1 tr in same sc as Round 1 sl st (or in same sc as previous tr in repeats), sk next sc, 1 tr in next sc] 6 times, omitting last tr of final repeat; sl st in 3rd ch from hook; bind off. Weave in ends.

Finish: I've been stiffening my flakes with undiluted, full-strength water soluble school glue for quite a while now, and I've been squishing the glue onto and throughout each flake with my fingers (yucky mess!!!) instead of gingerly painting the flakes with glue. Yes, it's a mess. But it's faster. And stiffer.

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.

23 May 2024

Eye Candy

Yellow Sky by Shirley Gisi, Best Interpretation of Theme

There's a festival this weekend in Castle Rock, but I sure miss the Denver National Quilt Festival. These photos are from 10 years ago.

Purple Salsa with a Twist of Lime by Barb Gardner, Colorado Quilting Council on Parade

I bought Ringo, my longarm, at the Castle Rock event in 2019 after Lizard was diagnosed with Parkinson's. We both thought it might be a great form of art therapy for him. I'm still hoping to be able to teach him to use the machine again one day. I'd love for us to be able to create masterpieces like these!

I haven't touched Ringo in about two years. Quilts like these inspire me and motivate me to get back to quilting.

Squared Illusion 6 by Gloria Hansen, SAQA Color Wheel of Emotions

Fire in the Sky by Alice Kay Arnett, Judges Choice

I Dream of Wild Horses by Kristine Vierra, Honorable Mention

21 May 2024

Processed Canned Pork

Bet that title threw you for a loop, huh? You know what I'm talking about, right?

Got a Mother's Day email from a cherished friend from whom I'd not heard in way too long, mostly my fault. I get easily sidetracked these days. Last year's birthday card and Christmas card to this particular friend had been returned, non-forwardable. The email address was strongly suspicious, and the link within the email (which was not filled with conversation I would have expected from this particular friend) looked like one of those links you should not click. Ever. I didn't. I didn't have a choice, but I wouldn't have clicked anyway without checking what my friend was trying to communicate.

The email came to my work address, which I don't use a whole lot for personal correspondence, and that also raised the apprehensive alert level. However, I did meet this girl through work, and it was at one time a legimitate way to contact each other. Rather than try to email this friend, whom I may not have contacted since changing my home email address twice and who has changed jobs at least twice since we last exchanged emails, I looked her up on one of the social media platforms we at one time had in common. (I am not on social media much these days because I just don't have time.)

I was a little shocked to see my friend, who also enjoys photography, had not posted in more than six months. The quizical questioning leapt another level, and I sent a message.

Because all the signs pointed to a possibility I wasn't truly ready to accept, I investigated the source codes in the doubtful dispatch (the suspicious email). Good thing my work email security system automatically blocks all incoming links, not that I would have clicked it anyway. The email originated in Thailand. My friend was known to travel, but I honestly believe she would have found a way to let me know if she had taken a job with a company overseas. And there would be social media posts of her adventures. She typically couldn't go too much more than a week without shooting and sharing a photo!

I hoped like heck my friend was not gone. At this age, that is a real possibility when you haven't heard from someone in a very long time.

Thankfully, that was not the case. My friend reported her social media account had been hacked, and she just doesn't bother with it anymore. And no, she had never been to Thailand, but she had moved. It is so good to be in touch with her again. And it is good to know people don't have to be duped.

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