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Making a Knit Pom Pom Hat

IMG_6643Over the Thanksgiving holiday I got a little hat crazy making a knit hat for both myself and my better half.  It started with a hat for my better half but when it knit up so quickly I decided I needed a new hat to match my new down jacket.  From start to finish it took me less than 90 minutes (or the first half of the Penn State vs. Maryland game if that’s your preferred method of telling time) to make the second hat.  I had a pattern I liked but completely changed it because I wanted to use bulkier yarn and I wanted a chunkier look.  You can either fold the brim up or you can leave it down for a slouchier looking hat.

 

What you need to know:

 What supplies you need:

 

What you need to do:

Brim

Cast on 40 stitches

Knit 2, Purl 2 and repeat on each row until the brim is as wide as you want it to be. Mine is 7 rows.

Body

Stocking stitch (knit right side, purl wrong side) for about 18 rows ending on the wrong side.

 Crown

Always knit on the right side and purl on the wrong side.
Row 1: Knit 2, K2tog, repeat to end (30 stitches left)
Row 2: purl
Row 3: Knit 1, K2tog, repeat to end (20 stitches left)
Row 4: purl
Row 5: K2tog, repeat to end (10 stitches left)

Cut yarn leaving about a 30 inch tail. Thread yarn onto a tapestry needle and carefully remove knitting needle. Run tapestry needle through the remaining 10 stitches and pull tight to close.

Sew seam together using the magical mattress stitch.  Weave the remaining tail of the yarn into the inside of the hat.

Make the Pom Pom (if you want to)

  • Cut a piece of yarn about 8 inches long and lay it on a flat surface.
  • Wrap yarn around 4 of your fingers about 60 times. The more times you wrap it around your fingers the bigger your pom pom will be.
  • Carefully slide the yarn off your fingers and lay it on that piece of string you cut earlier.
  • Tie it tight. Flip it over and tie it tight on the other side too.  Cut through the loops and trim your pom pom to your liking.   Make sure not to cut the strings you tied the pom pom with.
  • Take the strings and thread them through the top of your hate and tie it tight on the inside. Weave the string through some of the stitches and then knotted it to hold it in place.

 

Ta-da!  It’s been about 90 minutes and you have yourself a very stylish knit Pom Pom hat.  Enjoy!

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My Year of Yes

This past summer I have been making a concerted effort to try new things and stop saying no to things that take me out of my comfort zone.  Overall, I feel like I have been pretty successful.  The start of my new philosophy started by backpacking through Peru (my second time backpacking in my entire life) and I have been trying to embrace the new idea since my return.

A week ago, I turned 38 (and to be honest, that was a little rough) and I decided I needed to commit even more to my new philosophy…so this is my year of yes.  I’m going to try new things and push myself throughout the year.  What exactly that means, I’m not 100% sure but I’ll excited to see as the year progresses. 20727830_10212032582227700_8240620203770065957_n

One thing that I have always wanted to do was be a writer.  I started writing as a small child (I remember my first book was called Mall Madness and was about some kids that got locked in the mall after hours…it won an award in a third-grade writing contest), continued writing for my high school and college newspapers, and even majored in Journalism in college.  But, as I went through school and learned more about the “news” business, writing became a chore rather than something I really enjoyed.  The reality of not be able to work in the field after graduation also soured my taste towards writing and I just stopped writing all together.  (As a Career Counselor now I am shocked that none of my instructors or advisors ever thought it might be a good idea to mention that written journalism was a dying industry and finding a job doing what we wanted, where we wanted, was going to be near impossible.)

I write occasionally for work and wrote a lot while working towards my Master’s degree, but rarely wrote for fun.  Several years ago, I started a blog thinking it would be a perfect outlet for my desire to write, but it seemed like a hundred things would get in the way of me sitting down and writing and posting.  But, during my year of yes there are no more excuses.  I need to just stop whining about how busy I am and just sit down and write (because really, if you have time to complain about being too busy, you obviously have some free time).  I want to get back to my writing roots and remember why I used to love sitting at my word processor (see, I really am 38) and cranking out stories.  So, my hopes are that my blog will be the outlet for my writing.  I am hoping to write as often as possible and post blogs much more regularly.  We’ll see how it goes…

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Writing is just the beginning.  I have so many more plans for my year of yes.  I WILL learn how to drive standard.  I WILL learn how to rock climb.  I WILL learn (for my husband’s sake) the difference between then and than.  And I WILL say yes to things that scare me, intimidate me, or just make me want to run and hide.

So, I invite you to come with me during my year of yes.  If you have any challenges of things I should try, please throw them out, I am open to all new ideas!

Mt. Flora

1My husband is an avid mountaineer. He has over 40 of Colorado’s 14ers under his belt as well as many, many 13ers. He gets up above tree line and at elevation on a regular basis. Me on the other hand – I may live at 5,280 feet but I am pretty much a flatlander. I don’t get up to the mountain nearly as much as I would like to. So, I was so excited when my husband suggested that we hike Mt. Flora. Mt. Flora is a 13er near Berthoud Pass.   Mt. Flora stands at 13,146 feet and the majority of the 7+ mile hike is on a ridge high above tree line. According to SummitPost the total distance from Berthoud Pass to Mount Flora is 3.6 miles one way with about 2200 feet total elevation gain and 350 feet elevation loss.

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We got to the parking lot at Berthoud Pass around 9:00 a.m., coated ourselves in sunscreen because we would be walking directly next to the sun, and headed up the old Berthoud ski hill towards Colorado Mines Peak. Instead of continuing up the road to the radio towers on the top of Colorado Mines Peak we took the trail pointing towards Mt. Flora. From this point Mt. Flora is 2 miles away. The trail was very easy to follow and was mainly made up of fine gravel and stones. While you are pretty constantly climbing upward the incline never seems overwhelming. The higher we climbed the more mountains you could see and the views were incredible. There were vast open fields that made you think you were in a scene from The Sound of Music. You expected Julie Andrews to start running across the field singing The Hills Are Alive at any moment.

3On this hike you get a lot of bang for your buck. For a relatively easy hike you get to see a lot of mountains. The higher we climbed the more beautiful our surroundings became but the higher we climbed the windier it got. At times there was probably a 30+ mph sustained wind. The wind was definitely the most difficult part of the hike. Because it was a relatively warm day the wind wasn’t freezing cold but it was just constantly blowing in your face. Before long my eyes and nose were running and at times it was hard to catch your breath.  But, we tucked our heads and continued upward!

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Along the way we saw so many wildflowers. Colorado’s rainy spring and summer has lead to an amazing wildflower season and the greenest I’ve ever seen Colorado. There are a few of what some might consider false summits along the way (or in my case I had no idea which mountain we were going to summit so when we passed over one and headed to the next I didn’t even realize and just thought it was part of the hike). We hit the summit in about two hours and spent some time taking pictures and visiting with a friendly marmot before heading back the way we came.

5We passed a lot more people starting up the trail as we were headed down then going up which always makes me worry a little bit. Living in Colorado you need to be thunderstorm aware and get up and down mountain as early as possible in the day before the thunderstorms roll in. I think this summer has been one of the most dangerous for lightning strikes and its hard to go more than a week without seeing another news story about people getting struck while hiking above tree line. So my PSA for the day – don’t be an idiot, hike early, and keep your eyes to the sky!

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It took us significantly less time to get back down then heading up and before noon we were back at the truck and ready to head to Idaho Springs for pizza at Beaujo’s.  There is nothing more satisfying after a day of hiking or skiing then pizza at Beaujo’s!

 

What is your favorite hike and what makes it so special?

 

7

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

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Friendly giraffe begging for Weetabix

One of my most favorite places in Colorado is the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.  When we lived in Colorado Springs we found the zoo by accident when exploring our new city and have made it a habit to visit often.  About a week ago we battled the I-25 traffic past the Renaissance Festival in Larkspur and spent a great afternoon at the zoo.

I have always loved the giraffe exhibit where you can feed the giraffes giraffe crackers (aka Weetabix) or lettuce and get an up close and personal experience.  If you get there too late in the day and the giraffes have eaten too many giraffe cookies their diet consists of lettuce.  Every time I go I wonder how much they eat in a day with all those visitors buying them all those treats and waiting for the giraffes to come up and snatch them out of their hands with their long blackish tongues.

Since our last visit they have finished the new elephant and rhino exhibit and we were excited to see that too.  The elephants were happily playing in their new yard giving themselves dirt baths and the rhinos were in their building trying to save themselves from the sweltering heat.

As we meandered through the zoo, and the hoards of people, we got to see baby wallabies, alligators attacking dragonflies, the meerkat on his perch, and the moose drinking from his pond – as well as a ton more sleepy, less active animals that were not particularly photogenic.

While the zoo is a fun place I often feel a little out of place without a child tagging along behind me and I often feel guilty for wanting to get up close to the animals when I know I should step aside and let the children see…but, luckily I don’t actually have a conscience so I just run up the glass and peer through to see the next animal…in all fairness I try not to shove the children 🙂

 

What keeps the moose from walking out of his pen?

What keeps the moose from walking out of his pen?

Sleepy wallaby

Sleepy wallaby

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The hungry alligators

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A curious meerkat

After our visit to the zoo we had to stop by a couple Colorado Springs favorites before braving the traffic and heading back north.  A stop for lunch at McCabe’s for some chips and curry and a tasting at Trinity Brewing (I highly recommend the The Menacing Strawberry, Farmhouse Fraise) were the perfect ending to a great day!

What is your favorite zoo?