Thursday, May 10, 2018

Happy Sunflower Crochet



I had a large amount of yellow Super Saver yarn, so I thought, what better project to use it on than a sunflower? I found this pattern online but created it with a few modifications:  Amigurumi: Happy Sunflower.

At the end of July last year, we drove through Lee, New Hampshire and passed by this incredible sunflower farm in full bloom. I have never seen so many sunflowers in one place!

Image credit: Coppal House Farm

The process of creating this amigurumi was a long one. In the middle, it looked like some alien plant had taken over my table.


When I started the assembly, everything looked disproportionate. The head looked way too big and the petals looked too small. So I frogged back the head several rows, which made the eyes look super large, but not too bad. I also didn't have any felt for the eyes so I just sewed them in with embroidery floss.  Then I frogged back all the petals to the row with 16 stitches and increased them to 20 stitches before decreasing again. This required attaching new yarn when I ran out of the original. It took forever!

But in the end, I have this happy sunflower to greet me!


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Solution for Wandering Keyboard Pedal


If you've spent any time with an electronic keyboard and sustain pedal, you've definitely run into the problem of the pedal wandering off. There are a few commercial products out there which don't have a good track record with keyboard pedals. Here is a solution that I came up with that really works. It's so simple that it's not worth trying to market, but please click through the affiliate links!

FORITO Large High Precise Gaming Mouse Pad

VELCRO Brand - Extreme Outdoor - 4" x 2" Strips


In this setup, the pedal is attached to one end of a gaming mouse pad (basically an extra large mouse pad) using sticky back velcro. The pedal won't move away from your foot because your foot also is also on the same gaming pad surface.  The gaming pad has a rubbery bottom, but that also won't move because the bench anchors the other end of the gaming pad and your weight keeps the whole thing in place.  It really works! For gigs, it's easy to wrap up the pedal in your gaming pad and off you go.

The issue with other systems shown below is that the whole thing will move around with your foot and both the pad and the pedal end up moving away without control. Don't bother with these!

CreepNoMore - has a lousy review for a reason!

Pedal-Stay II - for sewing machine pedals, not any better for keyboards

Friday, April 20, 2018

Muck it up for Muckfest


Last year, Dova participated in her first ever charity race at MuckFest MS Boston. She was in a small team of three called the Gymnastys, with a fellow gymnast (obviously) and her dad. This year their team has doubled in size because it's more fun to muck it up in large numbers. You can donate to Dova's page here.

Here are some highlights from last year.  Before the race, the Gymnastys looked clean and dry, standing on the outskirts of the muddy start line.


Immediately after the start of the race, they had to run directly into wet, muddy valleys. Here they are contemplating one of the plunges.


And the subsequent splash.


Next, they battled the Big Balls. They went in so fast you can't even find them in this photo.


After that, they headed off into the woods and many obstacles that we only heard about. The  Muckfest photographers captured the first cover photo and this sequence of Dova's teammate. Oh yeah, they got wet all right.


When they emerged from the woods about an hour later, they tackled the rope climbing obstacles with ease.

Their last big jump was onto the Crash Landing pad.

Clearly, they were not dirty enough, so the last obstacles were designed to get both sides muddy. First, the Skid Mark.


And then the Belly Crawl.


Picture perfect at the finish line.


The coldest part was the hosing off afterward.


There were plenty of festivities around the event, and they had a game of toilet seat horseshoes in their new "Muck U" t-shirts afterward.


Looking forward to it again this year! Please donate!

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