Thursday, April 20, 2017

52 Hike Challenge

I love hiking!  So, when my daughter told me she was going to challenge herself to 52 hikes in 2017, one for each week of the year, I just had to join in the fun!  It's such great inspiration to get out there regularly and do something I love and get fit!

We started while she was home on winter break.  Our first hike was a nearby trail that is short and steep.  It's such great training that I decided to try to do this trail once a month.  It's called Monserate Mountain Preserve and it's in northern San Diego county.  The views are amazing!  You can see the ocean on a clear day.  There are beautiful hills all around.  There's a box at the top with notebooks for hikers to write their names, notes, etc.


My second hike was very short but I counted it anyway.  It was a small hill in Tucson that overlooks the city in almost every direction.


Hike three was with hubby.  The destination was a waterfall in San Diego county!  That's pretty amazing to see in Southern California after years of drought!  It was beautiful!


I was sick for the fourth week but managed to do a short hike in the hills above our little town.  Our dog, Salsa, came along too.  The surrounding mountains were covered in snow!  Beautiful!


Hike five was at Monserate again.  Hubby went with me this time and we made it a little longer by taking a different way back from the top.  That added another mile or so.  There were stairs in a section of the east/back side.


Hike six was to Eagle Rock.  It was longer than the previous hikes in my challenge.  And, it was oh so beautiful!  Here's the eagle shaped rock at the turn around spot.  The rocks are huge!


The landscape was just starting to turn green from all the rain we were getting.


Part of the trail meandered through beautiful, old oak trees.


Other parts of the trail went across open grassland.  It was beautiful!  Much of the trail was part of the famous Pacific Crest Trail.  That was exciting to hike on that!


Hike seven was in Tucson!  We started out just before sunset and finished with our headlamps in the dark.  Fun!  Here's a cool silhouette of hubby.


Hike eight was back to Monserate and the flowers were really starting to pop!


I got a pic of a bee enjoying one of the flowers...


Hike nine was to the beautiful Santa Rosa Plateau.  There are vernal pools there and they are very full this year!  Yay for the much needed rain!  There are walkways over the water.  It's fun to look into the water and see fairy shrimp, tadpoles, tiny frogs, and an occasional little snake.


We saw a chocolate lily that day!  We've heard they're rare but we do see them now and then.


On the way to the preserve, we stopped to see a local poppy field in full bloom!  Gorgeous!


Hike 10 was on Mount Palomar.  It's an area we've been curious about but had never hiked.  We were surprised to find a little pond up there, small streams, and even deer!


Hike 11 was back in Tucson with my daughter.  We decided to try Pima Canyon Trail.  We were stunned by the beauty!  There were SO many flowers and it was GORGEOUS!  Pictures don't come close!


Hike 12 was also in Tucson.  We hiked to Seven Falls by Sebino Canyon.  We hiked eight and a half miles that day.  And, I did it in my brand new boots!  It was awesome!  No pics of the falls though.  The falls area was filled with hundreds of people.  That doesn't make for great photos.  There was added interest that day as we saw a woman injured on the trail on our way up.  On the way down we saw that the rescuers had reached her and her family.  We saw search and rescuer people on their way up all along as we headed down.  Here are two that were going up on horses.  The injured woman was later airlifted in a Black Hawk helicopter!  It was a good reminder to be very careful.  And, that if you ever get hurt on the trail that help arrives slowly and might cost a LOT!  I hope she was ok!


I wish photos could come close to how stunning the landscape was with all the flowers.  It was amazing!


Hike 13 was an evening hike back up Monserate.  There were even more gorgeous flowers this time.  Here's one of them...


Hike 14 was in Anza Borrego to Maidenhair Falls.  It's a hike we've wanted to do for a long time.  It was hot that day but gorgeous and the hike was a ton of fun!  There was a lot of way finding and climbing around, over, and under giant boulders to some desert oasis' with palm trees and lots of greenery, and ending at a 20' waterfall.  Ahhh!...Refreshing!




Unfortunately, I twisted my ankle pretty badly on the way down.  I eventually made it to the car but had to rest it for a couple of weeks before I was able to try another hike.  Luckily, I was one hike ahead in my challenge.  That gave me time to let it heal without getting behind.

Last weekend, I went for my first hike after resting my ankle.  It felt SO good to hike again!  However, it started to hurt a bit after about 20 minutes.  So, even though I wanted to keep going, I forced myself to turn around.  I didn't want to go backward on my progress.  I'm glad I did that because it's feeling better and better.


I'm so excited about this challenge and fully intend to succeed.  It's such a great incentive to get out there more often.  And, hiking is a great way to exercise.  Nature is so good for the soul too!  I'm excited to see all the places this challenge will take us! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekend Happenings

How was your weekend?  I hope it was wonderful!

We had a great weekend!  It was productive, successful, and filled with pretty things.

We did some some plant shopping and came home with some beauties.  Here's one of the flowers we got for our front yard.  Isn't it gorgeous?!  I love the colors in this verbena!


We planted these and several other kinds of flowers in our front yard.  Shortly after we'd finished and we were standing in the yard admiring the pretty new flowers and how nice our yard is looking, a hummingbird buzzed around and discovered some of the new flowers.  It quickly started eating from them.  That made us so happy!  I love having flowers that the wildlife enjoy!  In fact, we bought two bushes that are supposed to attract butterflies.  I'll be sure to post pictures when they start blooming.  Maybe I'll even get some butterfly pictures.

Our spring and summer garden is shaping up nicely, so far.  We continue to add more to it.  And, we're already enjoying food from it!  Our lettuce and arugula are doing so well that we haven't been able to keep up.  It's so cool to go out and pick fresh food right before a meal.  I'm excited that the arugula is successful because I love arugula!  It's so tasty!  I usually buy a bag every week or so and they often have a lot of moisture in them and don't last long.  Right now, I get it fresh whenever I want some and don't have to worry about it spoiling in the fridge.  I find myself munching on it whenever I'm in the backyard. It makes great pesto too!


I twisted my ankle a couple of weeks ago and have been resting it since.  It's feeling quite a bit better than it has been.  So, I went out Saturday morning and tried to hike on it.  It felt SO good to get back out there again!  I love hiking SO much!  I was encouraged that it felt pretty good.  But, it started to hurt a bit after about 20 minutes.  So, I turned around and kept my hike short so I wouldn't make it worse again.  It was a short hike (only about 40 minutes) but a hike nonetheless.  So, I counted it for my 52 hike challenge and I'm still up to date.

Here's one of the pretty flowers I saw on my hike...


Probably the best part of the weekend involved our SUV (aka what we use to pull our camping trailer).  About a week ago the brakes locked up and started smoking.  We were near a mechanic/dealer that we thought we trusted and pulled in to have it checked out.  It made sense because the only other way to get it home would have been by tow truck.  Well, to make a long story short, they told us the entire brake system and more had melted and that they needed to do $8,000-$10,000 of work on it.  What?!!!  That's insane!  We thought, explored, and shopped many options and ended up having it towed home.  The tow truck driver told us that he tows cars from that mechanic to other places all they time because that place is so crooked and expensive.  Well, now we know!  And, he looked underneath and didn't see anything melted.  Hubby took it apart, found the problem, and fixed it this weekend for about $200!  Whew!  He's going to change out everything in the brake system and more just to be on the safe side.  However, the total cost will be significantly less, about $1,000!

It was a good experience to go through because we learned not to trust that mechanic.  And, we found out, after lots of shopping, that we still like our Yukon XL better than anything we could find to replace it with.  It has so much of what we want on it.  And, best of all, it's paid for!  Besides that, fixing things is so much better for the earth than constantly throwing things out and getting new.

Wishing you all a wonderful week!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Almost Free

Thrift shopping and bargain hunting are things I love to do!  I like to stretch my dollars as far as I can.  That can sometimes involve a little creativity.  That's the case with this apron.


I found the start of it at a rummage sale.  It was a rolled bit of fabric that was wrapped with a piece of masking tape and marked twenty five cents.  All I could see was the bottom of the apron and I thought it would make a great dish towel.  When I got home and opened it up I found that it was an apron kit.  Directions were printed alongside the apron pieces.  It just needed to be cut out and sewn together.


I completed the project by only using supplies I had.  I liked the challenge of keeping it cheap and using what I had to de-stash my supplies a bit.  I used buttons from my button jar, white thread, and some left over cotton yarn to make the ties at the neck and waist.  Ta da!  A brand new and cute apron for just a quarter and some time!  :-)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Color Pooling

The Create 52 Challenge is exciting and inspirational.  I've been finding all sorts of things I want to do, try, and make.  One of the things I found that really caught my curiosity is color pooling.

I researched it via Ravelry, Google, Instagram, and YouTube.  Then, I got some multi colored yarn and got started.  It took a couple of tries and I finally got it.  Keeping the pattern is all in knowing a little trick of making sure that when the color changes it's diagonal from that color change two rows down and by one stitch to the right.  That takes a lot of ripping out and crocheting tighter or looser to adjust where the color changes.  In short, it's fussy and not as fun as it would seem.  It is fun seeing the argyle pattern emerge.  But, this project is on hold for now just because it's not that fun.


Thursday, April 13, 2017

Handwoven Towels

This is a little catch up post of something I did while I was away from blogging...

I wove some kitchen towels for Christmas gifts.  I used yarn that I had.  The colors were perfect for my daughter and a friend of mine.  I wasn't sure how they'd work up though since they weren't exactly the same yarn.  The towels looked ok when I wove them but the shrinkage was different with each color when I washed them.  I ironed them and it helped a bit.  My daughter has been using them and I was able to when I visited her.  They're actually quite nice and very absorbent for drying dishes.  They're nice and soft too.


While I was weaving the towels, my electric bobbin winder got hot and started smoking.  Uh oh!  

Hubby was so sweet....he made me a new one as a gift for Christmas.  It's so nice!  I need to get back to weaving to really try it out.



Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Finished Projects

I finished two more projects that I can count in my Create 52 challenge...

I made another needle felted drier ball.  Although, just like the last one, I'm thinking it might be too pretty to use for a drier ball.  It's supposed to be a mandala.  The outlining makes it look a bit like a stained glass design too.


This pair of socks is finally finished!  I started them a couple of years ago as a lesson to learn the toe up method.  However, the person that was teaching me wasn't very regular about coming to our stitch gatherings and then stopped altogether.  I thought about trying to figure it out on my own by using YouTube videos.  I was just frustrated with it and tired of it sitting around that I decided to just rip it out and make them the way I know how, cuff down.  I still might learn toe up someday.  In fact, I saw a different way of starting it recently that seemed a lot easier and more fun.  It uses circular needles instead of double point needles.


I'm now caught up with my challenge.  Yay!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Drawing as Meditation

I used to draw a lot.  Especially as an art student in college....years ago.  I've been wanting to get back to drawing again.  I've also been wanting to start each day with some quiet or meditation time.  Combining the two seems like an excellent combination!

I bought a fresh new journal and got started on it last week.  I'm beginning with drawing words to focus on throughout the day and more in daily life.  I started with "love".  I want to approach each person, each day, and the things I do in a more loving way.  It's easy to get angry or frustrated and let that cloud the better and more important things like love.


Today, I drew "quiet".  I've realized that I tend to fill so much of everyday with noise and chatter.  I often turn on the radio or the TV for noise.  I also find myself getting nervous when I'm with someone and it gets quiet for a while and find myself talking to calm my nerves and keep the conversation going.  I've realized that quiet is such a good thing!  I'm trying to have more quiet moments in each day and to quiet my brain and my mouth more often.


I'm using this project as part of my Create 52 challenge.  It's creative and it's out of my current norm of creative things I do.  It's interesting how drawing came pretty easy to me in the past and I'm finding it challenging now.  My hand isn't as confident and the muscles aren't trained to make those movements like they used to be.  This is going to take practice!

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Create 52 Challenge

I've challenged myself to creating a minimum of 52 things this year...one for each week of the year.  The creations can be crafty, yarny, cooking, etc.  Within that goal, I'm trying to push myself outside of my normal box and try new things.  That can include new techniques, making things I've never made before or making them differently, new recipes, etc.  I had originally thought I'd use Pinterest as my inspiration but I've found inspiration in so many other places too.

Here's what I've created so far...

I fell in love with Caron Cakes yarn and just had to give it a try.  I just couldn't resist these colors and that I wouldn't have loose ends to tuck in at each color change.


The new thing I tried with this shawl project was knitting a triangle from end to end.  The pattern was on the label of the yarn.  I used two balls of this yarn and size eight needles.  It was a lot of fun to knit up.  I found myself knitting pretty fast on it as I would always want to knit to the next color.


I knitted up a pair of boot cuffs.  The new-to-me on this project was that I'd never made boot cuffs and I'd never worn them.  I thought they were pretty cute, could keep me warm, and was something I could make with some leftover yarn I'd acquired from a knit friend.  They knitted up quickly and were fun to make but I wasn't thrilled with how they felt or looked when I tried them on.  I ended up turning the photo black and white in an attempt to like the photo.  I may give them to my daughter.  I think she might enjoy them more than I will.


I've been noticing crocheted jewelry online for a while and finally gave it a try.  I tried making earrings.  It took a few attempts and was surprisingly not as easy to crochet onto the wire as I thought it would be.


I made myself a "pussy hat".  I didn't march in any of the protests as I was sick that weekend.  But, I felt strongly about a lot that was going on.  And, I just love these hats.  It was a fun project to make and to wear.  I found a pattern on Ravelry that was knitted in the round.  I love this color!  And, the hat is really comfy.  It's fun to wear little ears too.  Makes for funny shadows too.  lol


I crocheted a wavey scarf with some yarn I had leftover from my Taos vest.  The pattern is Nanci's Waves Scarf from Ravelry.  I liked how a few people had crocheted the pattern lengthwise I and decided to do that too.  The wave technique was new to me and fun to make.


I crocheted some fun tassels for the ends with little circles.


I made a Pussy Hat for my daughter.  She didn't want it in pink.  So, I knitted it in gray.  I embellished it with a little pink heart.  I've been wanting to embellish some of my projects.  This is a tiny start.  I did it with some pink yarn and duplicate stitch.


I'd knitted up a few gnomes last year and I guess they must have been fun because I just had to make another one.  lol  This time, I made it as a leprechaun.  I bought him a little hat, gave him a shorter beard, a little belt with a felt buckle, knitted stripes for socks, and used the same color for his hands instead of another color for gloves.  And, it was done before Saint Patrick's Day!


I made up a bunch of wool felted balls a few years ago and had been meaning to decorate some and use them for drier balls.  I finally got around to making one.  It's a simple design on natural, multi-color wool.


I got a little fancier with the next one.  I decided to make a desert scene on it.  I started out by making one scene on one side but decided to go all the way around.  It was fun needle felting little cactus.


My daughter was home for spring break and we all found ourselves enjoying an entire day outside on the back patio to enjoy the incredible weather we had that day.  While I was out there, I decided to harvest some lavender from my yard and make a lavender wand.


When my daughter went back to college, I went with her and spent a week there.  There's a great little thrift shop in town that I always go to when I'm visiting.  This time, one of the things I found was a package of tiny glass jars with cork lids.  When I got home, I added lavender to one of them and put it on a chain.  It's cute and I can take a whiff of that lovely scent anytime I want.  It's like aroma therapy on the go!


That's 11 projects and I should be up to number 13.  So, I'm a bit behind on my challenge.  However, I have several projects in the works.  I should be able to catch up with no problem.  I'll try to post the new projects as I finish them up.

You can also follow me on Instagram.  I post on that a lot more often.  You can find me there as acorntooak

Friday, March 10, 2017

Taos Wool Festival

I miss blogging but I don't miss the large amount it takes to post and the very low amount of response compared to Instagram.  But, I do miss it enough that I've been wanting to do it again.  In fact, I've been feeling that way for a while.  For example....this set of pics has been sitting in draft mode since October!  I think it's about time I add some words to it and get it out there.  Here it goes...

I was lucky to finally go to the Taos Wool Festival in Taos, New Mexico this last October.  I was so excited that I made a special project just to wear to the event.  It's a huge, colorful vest that was perfect for the event.  So perfect, in fact, that I was stopped by people all day long at the festival and in town to take photos, ask questions, and give me compliments.  Wow!  I certainly didn't expect that response.  In fact, I almost chickened out on wearing it that day for fear that it was a little too far out there and definitely more out there than I would normally wear.  It ended up adding more fun to my day because of all the wonderful people I met.


The festival was so much fun!

I finally got to see Navajo Churro sheep.  They were beautiful!  Especially the jet black ones.  I've never seen a sheep that black.  Gorgeous!


There were cute little pygora goats...


There were also bunnies, alpacca, and more!

Of course, there were gorgeous yarns!  Here's a set I bought...it reminds me of the southwest that I love.  I haven't found the perfect project for it yet.


Besides the festival in the park that's right in town, the town itself has several yarn shops!  How cool is that?!!  I bought stuff there too!  Mooncat Fiber is my favorite!  They have so many gorgeous indie dyed yarns that I felt my heart racing just standing in the store amongst all the the beauty.  I bought these two skeins or gorgeousness...


I also bought this beautiful roving (much, much prettier in person).  And, I met the dyer...she is super cool!  Can't wait to see how this spins up.  I just got my broken wheel fixed.  Time to get started!


And, Taos!  I LOVE Taos!  Such a charming, pretty, fun, and interesting town!  There's so much to see in every direction and everywhere you look.  Here are a few examples...

Decorated posts outside shops....so cute!


I love these strung marigolds outside of another shop.  I think they're used to keep bugs away.  They sure are pretty!


Taos was one of the first stops on a two week trip hubby and I took with our RV.  We went to Kingman, Flagstaff, Taos, a couple stops in Kansas (including the famous Yarn Barn!) on our way to Missouri to see family, Colorado Springs, back to Flagstaff because it was so gorgeous in it's fall color, and ending in Sedona, Arizona.  I cozied up our trailer with a little lamp on the table and some fall decorations.  It's our little home away from home!


There was a lot of time on the road...aka knitting time.  I got really good at knitting without looking as I worked on a hat project.  I started it on the trip and had it almost finished by the time I got home.


My sweet Penelope was a great little traveler and I loved having her with us, as always.  She even helped us catch a mouse that got in our trailer in Missouri!  Good Penelope!


Salsa was a good girl too.  Although, she had some intestinal issue going on that wasn't fun for her or us but she's better now.


It's been so long since I put these photos in this draft that I'm not sure where this was taken but I'm thinking it was probably a sunset shot on our way home.


I have so many things I could post that have happened, places I've been, and things I've made.  I'm planning to try again to get back to blogging.  We'll see how it goes.  I've just been enjoying Instagram so much more for it's ease, speed,  so much more feedback.  But, blogging is great as a journal to look back on experiences and stuff.