Monday, January 26, 2015

Garden of the Gods Quick Visit

On Saturday afternoon the weather was turning pretty brisk and windy but we had just enough time to stop by the visitors center at the Garden of the Gods to pick up a trail map and then we headed into the park.  We did pull up clues to a Letterbox inside the park, found the parking area but then could not make sense of the trails and where we needed to go.  We walked in circles a bit, snapped a few pictures and admired the scenery but with the increasing wind and darkness we had to give up the hunt.  I would really like to come back tot his park to spend more time on the trails and hopefully locate the Letterbox that is hidden.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Nicole Finds Her First Letterbox in Manitou Springs

While in Manitou Springs we stopped for lunch at the Stagecoach Inn.  This must be a pretty popular eatery as it was bustling.  With us being in town during the off season we noticed a lot of the smaller restaurants were closed for the season.  We also spotted lots of deer in peoples yards while driving around.  

Stagecoach Inn:

We had promised Nicole my eight year old niece that we would take her Letterboxing so she could work the clues and find her first Letterbox.  Nicole is a very academic young lady and a cracker jack reader so this was a good opportunity for her to read the clues out-loud to us and then work them a bit. The Gilbert Reunion 2014 - Drive By box seemed like the perfect first find with easy to understand and follow clues without lots of difficult terrain.  Nicole made quick work of the clues and was so excited when she found the Letterbox.  I showed her the stamping-in protocol (inky fingers and all) and taught her how to re-hide the box properly (better than you found it).  As soon as we were headed back to the car Nicole said "Okay, let's go find the next box!"  She is a born Letterboxer!

Manitou Cliff Dwellings Girls Day Out

Yesterday my Sister, Michelle, and her daughter Nicole headed to Manitou Springs, Colorado for a girl's day out.  Dylan (Nicole's little brother) decided to stay home with dad so it was just the three of us.  The cliff dwellings are open 7 days a week and it appears that January is definitely off-season as there were only a few cars there when we arrived and left.  I love when attractions are like ghost towns because you can take your time to meander, learn and absorb the culture without fighting the crowds.  As we got out of the car I did sneak a glance at Box Radar but I did not see any Letterboxes listed at this location.  I did not have time to research and print clues before traveling and since we were not sure where we were going it would have been too much work to try to anticipate our agenda.

The Anasazi did not live in the Manitou Springs area, but lived and built their cliff dwellings in the Four Corners area, several hundred miles southwest of Manitou Springs. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings were relocated to their present location in the early 1900s, as a museum, preserve, and tourist attraction. The stones were taken from a collapsed Anasazi site near Cortez in southwest Colorado, shipped by railroad to Manitou Springs, and assembled in their present form as Anasazi-style buildings closely resembling those found in the Four Corners. The project was done with the approval and participation of well-known anthropologist Dr. Edgar Lee Hewett, and Virginia McClurg, founder of the Colorado Cliff Dwelling Association.

Manitou Cliff Dwellings:

I think this is a great place for kids to visit.  They can run around the ruins and touch and feel everything without having areas roped off like so many museums and preserves.  Although the massive and beautiful gift shop is another story.  If you visit you will be overwhelmed by the selection at the multi-level gift shop and this would be a spot where you would want to keep an eye on little kids as there are lots of breakables within reach of tiny fingers and hands.  I did note that they have some amazing jewelry including White Buffalo Turquoise from the Dry Creek Mine.  Anthony bought me an amazing bracelet in Virginia City last summer and I would love to get a pendent and earrings one day to compliment my bracelet.    
White Buffalo Turquoise is found in only one mine worldwide, the Dry Creek Mine in Nevada.  The mine is located on the Shoshone Indian Reservation near Battle Mountain.  It was discovered in 1993.  It is said that its name comes from Native Americans in the area, who believe that the stone "is as rare as a white buffalo."  It is believed to form like "normal turquoise," with the exception of the absence of copper (which makes turquoise blue), iron (which makes it green), or zinc (which leads to yellow-green turquoise).

Friday, January 23, 2015

Always Check Under the Covers

Our cruise ship steward on the Carnival Breeze decorated our cabin each evening with a different towel animal. These towel animals have been so popular that Carnival even has a book on how to make Carnival towel animals and we also attended an on board towel folding folding class one afternoon.

I thought the towel animals were too fun not to continue so ever now and then Cruise Ship Kelly ambushes Mr. Dally with a creative surprise on his side of the bed.  I purchased a used book off of Amazon called Towel Folding 101 - Discover the Wonderful World of Towel Origami.  Originally I was going to purchase the book on board but I wanted to mix it up a little and have completely different animals than the ones we had already seen.

In December I created two small black and white penguins utilizing washcloths.  I discovered that there is a bit of a learning curve with towel origami.  You should always practice your folding ahead of time and make sure to have your props right at hand (double sided tape, safety pins, buttons etc.).  I also discovered that fabric softener is not your friend.  If your towels are too soft they do not fold well and are floppy.  Since they left us chocolates each night I decided to step it up a notch with holiday truffles to accompany the penguins.  Yesterday I created a giant red scorpion from two red full sized bath towels.  Seated next to him were two Bundtlets cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes.

Who knows what creature or sweet treat will show up next!

A Glimmer of Hope on the Knitting Front

Jay and I are sporting my very first knitted project above. This is the cowl pattern I completely messed up a couple of weeks ago. On Jay it's not half bad! But never fear Knit Wits Yarn Shop is here! I spent three hours on the 10th casting off (finishing the ends of my mistake cowl), picking out new yarn, completing a gauge sample and then casting back on.

Two weeks later I am proud to report that there is very encouraging news on the knitting front lines.   By week one of the cowl re-knit project I had completed the first run through of the pattern (20 lines). The early success is that I am currently on count with each section and you can finally see the correct pattern emerging. Each day it is looking more and more like the picture. Very exciting!  I will be repeating this pattern twice more and then knitting lines 1-10 once more after that.

Because this yarn is thinner than the grey yarn I purchased two hanks of yarn which each had to be rolled into two separate balls.  A hank is basically a big loop of yarn. When you buy a hank of yarn, it’s usually twisted into a yarn pretzel for easier shipping. But when you unfold it, you’ll see that what you’ really have is a big loop or doughnut of yarn.  I have almost knit the entire first ball and I will need to go back to Knit Wits for assistance in how to transition from one ball to the next.  I learned there are no knots in knitting so I am hoping they will once again impart their knitting knowledge my direction.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Free Range Knitting - Still No Enchantments

"Well this is peculiar."  Those were the exact words out of Cindy's mouth at Knit Wits Yarn Shop yesterday.  The good news was that I has made quite a bit of progress on my very first project - a cowl.  And I have also started to find my own errors as I am knitting (knowing when something does not look right).  What was so perplexing was that my cowl looked nothing like the picture of the finished cowl in the magazine.

Cindy asked me to knit and purl a row for her so she could watch exactly what I was doing.  She seemed mystified as she said my stitches were looking good and I was following my row just as printed on the graph.  But then I said "Now I move my sticky note up to the next line."  Mystery solved.  During one of my classes we were learning to read a chart and the sample I made was very small.  I moved from line to line through the chart and then back down and through it several times more.  I assumed since that was how the chart was worked during class that all charts were knitted that way.  Guess what...I was wrong.

What I should have done was line one over and over through my six sections (of eighteen stitches each) and then moved on to line two.  Instead I have worked through the chart over and over switching which line I am on in each section.  In other words I have made my own pattern out of the graph.  Not really enchanting but at least it somehow created it's own pattern completely by accident.  Since I have so much time and energy into it already I have decided to just keep working on it until it is completed.  Then I will purchase a new ball of yarn and start the project all over again to see if I can get it to look like the picture.

Hi my name is Kelly Dally and I am a Free Range Knitter.  Stay tuned to see what I create next.  Maybe it will be backwards, upside down or inside out.  Nevertheless it will certainly be entertaining.   And if anyone tells you knitting is easy they are stretching the truth!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stampers' Sampler January - Ferbuary - March 2015 Published

The January/February/March 2015 issue of the Stampers' Sampler just arrived in my mailbox.  I am not sure why seeing my cards and name in print gives me giddy butterflies in my stomach but it does every single time.  I rip off the wrapper and it's like an explosion of inspiration. Not only finding my own cards in the publication but also enjoying art created by others. 

I have mentioned previously how time consuming card submissions are.  You not only need to create a unique and interesting card but then you write the recipe of it's creation including all of the products you used including stamps, inks, embellishments etc.  Add on top of that the submission form, packing and shipping and all together it's a lot of work from my hands to their printed pages.  And there is never a guarantee that they will like what you have submitted.  Magazines receive hundreds and thousands of cards each year from all over the world to consider for publication.  It is humbling to be selected for print and featured in any publication.

If only I had some new papers or stamps to work with tonight.  All of a sudden I am feeling a great gust of inspiration.  Thanks for sharing in my excitement! 
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