Ice Box Canyon
Since neither my husband nor I have ever been, we went hiking and exploring the Las Vegas area. As if we need an excuse to do some hiking, we were able to visit both Red Rock Canyon (not to be confused with Denver’s Red Rocks Amphitheater) and in the Valley of Fire State Park. The most fun part of the trip was hiking in Red Rock Canyon and the superb cactus garden at the Ethel Mars Chocolate factory in the Las Vegas suburb of Henderson. Henderson was already on my list, because one of my spice book customers Sheffield Spice Shop has a spice shop there. I found some new blends (the fajita seasoning really enhances turkey burgers, Cheryl) and found the perfect light-weight, metal water bottle.
We got up early one morning to beat the heat and the crowds and scrabbled along the rocky trail to Ice Box Canyon in Red Rock Canyon Park. It was an out and back hike totaling 2.5 miles, but climbing around the boulders was plenty of exercise and like a playground for adult kids. Although there is no longer a waterfall in the canyon, we were able to admire the smooth rock formations that had been carved into the cool ending point of our trail. Just the shadows themselves hint at a waterfall.
My husband later tried his hand at the atlatl, an ancient hand-catapult for throwing spears further. The local park service folks were giving a demonstration.
As far as the city of Las Vegas and its accompanying gambling, we loved the Bellagio fountain performance on the strip and, of course, the people watching. Putting on a mask and costume gives one a little more courage to let the alter-ego escape for a moment of unfettered freedom. Those not wearing masks can freely play the voyeur.
Fremont Street was much seedier, a bit creepy and from a safety aspect not to be seen solo. We did enjoy the two-decker Container Stores in actual truck-like trailers there and the overhead zipline. People watching reminded me of going to a strip show at Halloween. You couldn’t escape the smoke in either gambling location, though. The airport was about the only place to gamble smoke-free.
Like Phoenix, Las Vegas is in the dessert with few trees other than palms planted there over the years. Denver’s semi-arid climate is much more lush, but the cactus garden in Henderson was worth the visit for any nature lover and a quiet oasis from the gambling fever. Say hi to Cheryl Sheffield if you go there and check out my spice book.
I went back to Blair-Caldwell Public Library to another of their Harmony Street Concert Series. This time on April 8th Mary Louise Lee sang accompanied by her keyboard player. Most people know her through her mayor/husband, but her voice is noteable enough for her to stand on her own. Both the current governor and ex-governor Lamm attended. Mary Louise sang standards and I found the slower tunes accentuated her vocals more. She was going to do a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald for Ella’s birthday in late April, but I wasn’t able to make that.
I found a fun book at the library that, if you crochet or knit, you just might enjoy. It is called The Yarn Whisperer, My Unexpected Life in Knitting by Clara Parkes. In it she talks about knitting and uses the craft to explain life’s happenings. I found myself relating to quite a bit of it, even though I am a crocheter. It is an easy read and something yarn lovers will enjoy.
I went to a spring craft show in Mid-April. There I bought a couple of luggage identifiers–a great way to help distinguish your luggage amongst others. Not only are these handle holders colorful, but they pad the handle for an easier grip. There are a lot of travelers, who use red ribbons, but I like how secure and unique these baggage markers were during our mini-vacation to Las Vegas. I also bought a little travel holder for teabags and a pair of earrings designed by Kelly Anne Munro. They were like the old-fashioned cloth-covered buttons and very pretty.
Hairpin Lace Project & Marty Miller Shrug: A visit to Thompson’s Hobbies & Crafts, where I picked up a hairpin lace loom, inspired me to try my hand at a vest. I had seen a loom at a MeetUp group a couple of years ago and thought it was worth $5 to give it a try. Here is the result. The loom is easy to figure out; it’s the loops, once they are removed from the loom, that can create a bit of a mess. It may explain why there aren’t a great many videos and patterns available in hairpin lace. I think the key is to have narrow strips and more stitches in the middle of each, so that the loops are easier to control. I single crocheted the end of each loop together in the white yarn and then slip stitched the sections together in black. I used #4 cotton yarn. The tails or ends that one usually hides, looked decorative, so I decided to trim them evenly and keep them as a light tassel. It was a good first effort, but I’m not 100% satisfied.
My other project turned out nicely. It is a shrug pattern that uses the simple afghan square. You make one for the back and two more for the arms. You then do a front and back post around the outside of the garment as a ribbing to tie it all together. Don’t forget to do the same kind of ribbing on the end of each sleeve, which I did afterward to add more length to the sleeve. I was pleasantly surprised at how nicely it turned out. I’m in the process of doing a variation on the idea, by making a vest in spring-colored variegated cotton. No sleeves this time. I intend to make 4 smaller squares for the front vest panels and see how it works out. The pattern came from a design by Marty Miller, which you can find on Ravelry under Shrug it on! Make sure you mark the right side at the beginning. It will help when putting on the sleeves, so that the seams are hidden. I had to try it on to figure out how the sleeves connected.