Thursday, 25 June 2015

Something Green

In the summer, production slows to a snail's pace at meo my crochet. Nevertheless, I continue creating critters. Currently I am working on Something Green. Not a Frog or a Goblin, something new this time. I can picture exactly how I want it to look.
I am following my Green Goblin Baby pattern for the body, arms and head. Only the hood needs to change. A new hood makes a new costume and a whole new critter. I love that options are almost endless.

I won't tell you what I'm making. I'd rather it be a surprise. I hope you don't mind waiting, as I may not finish until after our family visit and vacation next week. 

I'm quite excited about this new Green Something. I hope it turns out like I'm imagining. I think it will look adorable.

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Wednesday, 24 June 2015

New Bike for Work

My indoor bike parking solution (see here) was NOT approved on the grounds it would not be fair for everybody who rides. Instead my company is putting a lid on the bike cage. With latch bolts welded in place and the cage covered, it should be safer. 

Unfortunately, I don't believe the cage can be made totally secure. My next best strategy involves riding a bike that thieves are less likely to want. With this in mind, I bought a Costco bike - Infinity Horizon.3 Hybrid currently priced at $199.97 (clearance). 
I'll raise the seat, lower the bars and add clip-less pedals, a water bottle cage, a bell and perhaps a wicker basket to complete the look. This bike is such a huge departure from my usual ride, it's almost cool. I can't wait to try that spring cushioned seat. It's definitely a bike built for comfort.

So what do you think? Is my strategy likely to work? Will thieves leave this one alone? Let's hope so.

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Sunday, 21 June 2015

Father's Day and a Birthday

Today we celebrated Father's Day at our Sister-In-Law's house. She and our niece invited the Dads in our family for a delicious lunch featuring chicken and ribs from King of Pigs, fries, cheesy bread, two kinds of salad, corn on the cob and Arizona beans. It was delicious.

The Dads posed for a photo - my Dad, my husband's Dad and my husband. His brother is in England on business, so we included his portrait drawn by his daughter some 20'ish years ago. Cheers to these great Dads.
The men at the table were gifted stick-on mustaches. They enjoyed showing off their new looks while we all laughed.
Even our niece's boyfriend looked funny good with a black mustache.
We enjoyed meeting James who just happened to be celebrating his 30th birthday. My Sister-In-Law made a super delicious ice cream cake for the occasion. She makes the best cakes. Truly.
Father's Day and a Birthday - a fun and relaxing family day. Thanks to our Sister-In-Law and niece for hosting. 

Thanks to our Dads for being in our lives and our children's lives. Thanks to my husband for your love and support. Our children and grandchildren are lucky to have you as their Dad and Granddad. 

You probably don't hear it enough, so I want you ALL to know, you are very much Loved and Appreciated. Happy Father's Day!!

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Friday, 19 June 2015

Bike Safety Solution?

Our company built a locked bike cage this year to ensure bike safety for employees. A heavy duty padlock on the gate, video cameras recording from both sides and individual bike locks should provide adequate security. Unfortunately, it does not.

My bike was stolen June 5th when thieves removed the bolts on the latch and cut my cable lock. You can read all about that here. I was shocked to see how quick and easy it is to steal a bike. The latch bolts have now been welded in place.

Another bike was stolen June 15th. This time the thief ran up the stairs, jumped over the fence and tossed the bike over the gate before climbing out and riding off. Thieves are fast. 

The cameras show us when and how the bikes are stolen, but hats and glasses combined with blurry video images make face recognition impossible. Thieves know this. They also know there are very few consequences if they get caught. Bike theft is their sport. They like it.

How can we make this cage safe? I don't think it's possible. If we put a top on the enclosure, the thieves can cut the fence. Apparently, chain link opens like a curtain once it is cut. 

Perhaps, If the bikes are cheap and old, thieves will leave them alone. I don't own an old clunker and I don't want one. I want to enjoy my ride on a bike that functions. 
I've been riding my oldest bike to work this week and parking inside the office. My boss returns from vacation on Monday. Since I don't want to lose my bike to thieves, I'll drive and see if parking inside is allowed now. 
This is my oldest and most compact bike. It fits nicely between and behind the cabinets across from my desk. Can you see it?
These photos show my view of the door and front windows. I have to stand up to see my bike and pack.
My bike is also hidden from view from my boss's office.
You might wonder who is impacted by bike parking at our location. There are approximately 250 unionized plant employees both full-time and part-time spread over two shifts - days and afternoons. There are 20 administration staff including managers and supervisors. The bike cage has been available for use since April - only four keys including mine have been signed out. The cage is big enough to hold four bikes.

The other bike that was stolen belonged to a part-timer. He borrowed it from his Dad for the summer. Biking to work takes him 20 mins. The bus takes much longer, plus it stops service before our afternoon shift ends. He replaced his stolen Raleigh mountain bike with a Super Cycle which Canadian Tire sells for $99 new.

One full-timer on the afternoon shift was riding to work and getting a ride home, so she wouldn't have to cycle in the dark.

Another part-timer has a key. I think she lives within walking distance, but riding is faster. I'm not sure if she is still riding.

I know one other person who had his old bike stolen from a bike rack in our parking lot last summer. He would like to ride, but will not risk leaving a good bike in the cage and has not replaced his old bike.

One supervisor expressed an interest in riding his son's bike which cost ~$500 new, but he doesn't want to risk losing it. 

So about six people are interested in riding. That's it out of 250+ people. 

Parking inside was OK up until a couple years ago. Finding space inside the plant to store multiple bikes is difficult, if not impossible now.  

realize my solution for the front office is self-serving, but I really don't want to lose another bike to thieves. Let's hope my Bike Safety Solution is approved. I'd like to get back to worry-free riding.

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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Pretty in Pink

My husband has been busy this week. He spent hours fixing up my Devinci after it was messed up by thieves. Then he spent more time fixing up my oldest bike, so I can ride it to work. I took it for a test ride in the park this afternoon and I like it. 

It's light and fast and handles fairly well with the new straight bars. This was my first proper road bike - a pink and white Gardin with blue accents bought in 1986. I used to wear matching pink, white and blue cycling shorts and jersey. Can you picture it? Too bad they wore out long ago. 

I hope this bike is less appealing to thieves. Although, now that I see it, I'm not so sure. I think it's Pretty in Pink with a cool retro vibe.

You know what I really hope? I really hope I can lock it inside. That is probably the only way to keep it truly safe at work.
If you missed it, you can read all about my better bike being stolen here.

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Green Goblin Baby

All babies are cute and a Green Goblin Baby is no exception. To make this little green guy, I followed my Ellie Elephant pattern omitting the trunk and altering the ears. The Green Goblin Baby pattern is available for free here if you would like to make one too.

This week Freddy Frog leaped out of the basket to live in his new forever home with baby Nolan. Green Goblin Baby is happy to take Freddy Frog's spot. Green Goblin smiles as he gets to know all his new friends. 

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Green Goblin Baby Pattern

green goblin baby PATTERN

PDF Version

Materials used:

2 1/2 balls of Patons Angora Bamboo yarn (50 g) in Laurel Leaf (green)
partial ball of 100% acrylic worsted weight yarn (white)
Small amount of black yarn (for eyes)
Small amount of pink yarn (for mouth)
Hook size = 3.25 mm
yarn needles to join pieces
Polyester Fiberfill for stuffing

Stitches used:

ch - chain stitch
ss - slip stitch
st - stitch(es)
sc - single crochet
sc2tog - single crochet 2 together
inc - 2 sc in same stitch
Magic Circle - see how here (start each piece with magic circle)

Time to Complete - 15 hours (approximately)
Finished size - 11 inches tall

Legs (x2)

Use green yarn. Working from the bottom up, starting with a magic circle, use stitch marker to mark end of rows (work in continuous rounds with no joining)

R1 - 6 sc (6)
R2 - inc x6 (12)
R3 - (sc inc) x6 (18)
R4 - (2 sc inc) x6 (24)
R5-R6 - sc around (24)
R7 - sc2tog x4 + 16 sc (20)
R8 - sc2tog x4 + 12 sc (16)
R9-R13 - sc around (16)
R14 - (3 sc inc) x4 (20)
R15-R16 - sc around (20)
R17 - (4 sc inc) x4 (24)
R18 - sc around (24) Finish off and stuff leg.


Join legs on middle 2 stitches as shown in this tutorial. The instructions are in German but the video alone is enough to understand the technique. Once the legs are joined continue crocheting around both legs to form the body.

R19 - (23 sc inc) x2 (50)
R20 - sc around (50)
R21 - (4 sc inc) x10 (60)
R22 - sc around (60)
R23 - (9 sc inc) x6 (66)
R24 - sc around (66)
R25 - sc around (66)
R26 - sc around (66)
R27 - sc around (66)
R28 - sc around (66) 
R29 - (9 sc sc2tog) x6 (60)
R30 - sc around in blo (60) 
R31 - sc around (60)
R32 - sc around (60)
R33 - (8 sc sc2tog) x6 (54) 
R34 - 14 sc (sc2tog)x2 + 20 sc (sc2tog)x2 + 12 sc (50)
R35 - sc around (50)
R36 - 14 sc (sc2tog)x2 + 16 sc (sc2tog)x2 + 12 sc (46)
R37 - sc around (46)
R38 - 14 sc (sc2tog)x2 + 12 sc (sc2tog)x2 + 12 sc (42)
R39 - sc around (42)
R40 - 12 sc (sc2tog)x2 + 12 sc (sc2tog)x2 + 10 sc (38)
R41 - sc around (38)
R42 - 11 sc + sc2tog + 15 sc + sc2tog + 8 sc (36)
R43 - sc around (36)
R44 - (4 sc + sc2tog) x6 (30)
R45 - sc around (30)
R46 - sc around (30)
R47 - (3 sc + sc2tog) x6 (24)
R48 - sc around (24) [switch to grey at end of row]
R49 - (2 sc + sc2tog) x6 (18)
R50 - sc around (18)
Finish off and cut yarn leaving a long tail to attach the head. Stuff body firmly.

Arms (x2)

Start with white.
R1 - 6 sc (6)
R2 - inc x6 (12)
R3 - (sc inc) x6 (18)
R4 - sc around (18)
R5 - (4 sc dec) x3 (15)
R6 - sc around (15)
R7 - (3 sc dec) x 3 (12)
Change to green at end of R7
R8 - sc around (12)
R9 - (4 sc dec) x 2 (10)
R10-R32 - sc around (10)
Finish off and cut yarn leaving a long tail for joining. Stuff only hands and part way up arm.


Use off white yarn.
R1 - 6 sc (6)
R2 - inc x6 (12)
R3 - (sc inc) x6 (18)
R4 - (2 sc inc) x6 (24)
R5 - (3 sc inc) x6 (30)
R6 - (4 sc inc) x6 (36)
R7 - (5 sc inc) x6 (42)
R8 - (6 sc inc) x6 (48)
R9 - (7 sc inc) x6 (54)
R10 - (8 sc inc) x6 (60)
R11 - sc around (60)
R12 - sc around (60)
R13 - sc around (60)
R14 - sc around (60)
R15 - sc around (60)
R16 - sc around (60)
R17 - sc around (60)
R18 - sc around (60)
R19 - sc around (60)
R20 - (8 sc dec) x6 (54)
R21 - sc around (54)
R22 - (7 sc dec) x6 (48)
R23 - (6 sc dec) x6 (42)
R24 - (5 sc dec) x6 (36)
R25 - (4 sc dec) x6 (30)
R26 - (3 sc dec) x6 (24)
R27 - (2 sc dec) x6 (18)
R28 - (2 sc dec) x3 + 6 sc (15)
R29 - sc around (15)
R30 - sc around (15)
Finish off and cut yarn leaving a long tail for joining. Stuff head and neck firmly to hold shape.


Use green yarn. Check to make sure hood fits head and adjust tension based on fit. You may have to move up a hook size if the hood is too tight.
R1 - 6 sc (6)
R2 - inc x6 (12)
R3 - (sc inc) x6 (18)
R4 - (2 sc inc) x6 (24)
R5 - (3 sc inc) x6 (30)
R6 - (4 sc inc) x6 (36)
R7 - (5 sc inc) x6 (42)
R8 - (6 sc inc) x6 (48)
R9 - (7 sc inc) x6 (54)
R10 - (8 sc inc) x6 (60)
R11 - sc around (60)
R12 - sc around (60)
R13 - sc around (60)
R14 - sc around (60)
R15 - (8 sc sc2tog) x6 (54)
R16 - sc around (54)
R17 - sc around (54)
R18 - sc around (54)
R19 - sc around (54)
R20 - sc around (54)
R21 - sc around (54)
R22 - sc around (54)
R23 - 7 sc sc2tog x6 (48)
R24 - sc around (48)
R25 - ss loosely around (48)

Finish off leaving long tail. Place on head as shown in photos above. After attaching head to body, I like to wrap the tail from the hood around the neck to cover joining stitches.

Ears (x2)

Use green yarn.
R1 - 6 sc (6)
R2 - sc around (6)
R3 - (sc inc) x3 (9)
R4 - sc around (9)
R5 - (sc inc) x5 inc (14)
R6 - sc around (14)
R7 - sc around (14)
R8 - sc around (14)
R9 - sc around (14)
R10 - sc around (14)
R11 - (sc inc) x7 (21)
R12 - sc around (21)
R13 - (2 sc inc) x7 (28)
R14 - sc around (28)
R15 - sc around (28)
R16 - sc around (28)
R17 - sc around (28)
R18 - (2 sc sc2tog) x7 (21)
R19 - sc around (21)
R20 - sc around (21)
R21 - (sc sc2tog) x7 (14)
R22 - sc around (14)
R23 - sc around (14)
Finish off and cut yarn leaving a long tail for joining. Position on head as shown in photos.

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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Devinci Drama

On Friday at 3:58 p.m., my bike was stolen, not just any bike, my Devinci Copenhagen valued ~$2,000 including upgrades.

Espresso brown sloped frame size XS, "Ride Like a Girl" stenciled saddle, carbon fiber seat post and handle bars, Thomson stem, disc brakes, clip-less pedals, brass bell, cat-eye bike computer, bike pump and mountain bike fender. The Devinci was my ride for two tours with Canbicuba (2010 and 2015). This is a picture from 2010. I LIKE this bike A LOT.
It was bought for my birthday in 2009 as a fun commuter bike. Bike parking was located inside the building back then. I stopped riding my Devinci to work when bike parking moved outside in 2012 and switched to an older Rocky Mountain hoping it would be less attractive to thieves.
Last year, during construction the bike rack sat in front of my office where I could watch it. I kept a close eye on anybody who approached and foiled one attempt to steal my old bike. This year, a bike cage was built under the fire stairs beside the employee entrance. It seemed secure, but I continued to ride my Rocky Mountain.

After a couple months with no issues, I gave my old bike to our son in Guelph. I started riding my Devinci to work. It was safe for a week.

The cage was locked with a heavy duty padlock. My bike was locked inside the cage with a cable lock. There are two video surveillance cameras capturing the cage and surrounding area from both sides. I can't see the cage from my desk, but I can check the cameras or lean out the door if I see anything suspicious. I watch for young men wearing ball caps and carrying pouches slung across their backs.

On Friday, there was a lot of activity back and forth past our office to the river. I noticed a man with a bright red pouch, blue cap and sunglasses walk past heading to the river ~3:50 p.m. He returned a few minutes later. Since he was walking in the middle of the street, I didn't lean out the door to see what he was doing. My computer was turned off. It was time to change into cycling clothes.

I was shocked a few minutes later when I walked outside to ride home and found the gate hanging open with nothing except my cut cable lock in the cage. The heavy duty lock on the gate was intact, but the bolts holding the latch in place had been removed. Nobody, including me, had considered how easy it was to remove the latch. Forehead slap! How stupid is that?

I went back to my office to report my bike stolen. Our Maintenance Manager headed out in his vehicle to search for the man I had seen and our Production Manager reviewed the videos sending an image to help with the search. As luck would have it, our Maintenance Manager spotted a man matching the description (blue hat, blue sunglasses, grey t-shirt, black/white plaid shorts and high top shoes) at Adelaide and Grey walking across a parking lot then up stairs to apartments located above a pawn shop. He no longer had my bike.

This picture was a screen shot taken with a cell phone. The video image is clearer, but not clear enough for facial recognition. A hat and sunglasses make a good cover on video. Thieves know this.
At 4:13 p.m., I sent an email to my husband; "Bike Stolen Need Ride". I was upset. He called right away to let me know he was on the way. We drove around the neighbourhood and past the pawn shop, but found no trace of my bike. It was gone and I was NOT happy.

We went out for dinner later that evening then spent more time driving around to see if we could spot my bike or see the guy who took it. We drove past the pawn shop a few times finding nothing.

Whenever we had spare time over the weekend, we would pass by the pawn shop and tour the neighbourhood. I reported the theft through London Police on-line, but my report was rejected with instructions to call on Monday, so an Officer could review the video. 

I was upset about the theft and even more worried about options for safe parking. Without a viable solution, I couldn't sleep. I love riding to work. It's one of my favourite things about working. I wrote about my route here - a perfect ride and safe when I parked INSIDE.

With no old bikes at home, I decided to ask if I could buy back my old Gardin from a friend at work who got it last year for his wife. She isn't riding because of a neck/shoulder injury. Happily he agreed. It's a pink and white road bike with down tube shifting and skinny tires. We have ordered a straight handlebar and brake levers and heavier tires. My husband will retrofit it for me to ride as soon as we get the parts. 

I have a heavy one inch cable lock to leave around the post in the cage. Once the latch is fixed and more secure, I will be riding a very pretty pink bike to work. Hopefully, thieves will leave this one alone. 

For the next couple weeks, I can park inside. My boss is on vacation and it is quiet in the office.

Now back to my Devinci Drama and the saga of my missing bike.

On Monday morning, I called London Police to report my bike stolen. A London Police Officer arrived in the afternoon to interview me and the managers and watch the video. He was very thorough, attentive and sympathetic. I was impressed.

At the end of the day, I decided to drive by the pawn shop at Adelaide and Grey one more time. I had watched the video and noticed a white van drive down the little street across from the cage before the thief arrived; then back out before the thief opened the gate. It looked suspicious.

Funnily enough, a van looking like the one in the video was parked behind the pawn shop. The man in the van saw me looking at him and motioned me on before driving out. I put on my signal and stayed put. He crossed the street into another lot to pick up a man I had passed on Adelaide. Again he motioned me on before pulling out on Grey St. I stayed put. I wanted to follow him and get his licence. I got it and gave it to the Officer. The van turned at the next corner. I carried on to my parents' house to pick up my poodle.

This is where the story gets interesting.

While I was checking out the pawn shop, the Police Officer was confiscating my bike. After leaving our office, he went to the pawn shop apartments. He found nothing, but when he walked out and looked down the street, he saw a woman walking my bike. He recognized it right away with Devinci and Copenhagen in large lettering on the frame. 

He questioned the woman and she claimed her boyfriend bought the bike Friday night for $240. When the Officer said it was stolen and he was confiscating it, she asked him to wait until her boyfriend came, so her boyfriend wouldn't think she had sold it. He waited because he wanted to see if her boyfriend matched the description of the thief. He didn't. I wonder if he was the man who got into the van?

When the Officer asked him if he knew the value of the bike, he said it was a 2007 and worth $1,500 new. He said it was old and beat up, but a bargain at $240. The Officer took the bike, put it in his trunk and returned to our office ~4:25 p.m. Our Corporate Development Manager tried calling me at home, then realized I would probably be at my parents' and called there. Because of my detour, I arrived just after my Mom picked up the phone.

I was thrilled to hear my Devinci had been found. My Mom went with me to pick up my bike. The Officer was still there completing his report. He filled me in on the details. I thanked him profusely for taking the time to look and for returning my bike. 

This is the list of stupid things these people did to disguise my bike:
Stupid thing #1 – removed and completely disassembled $150 clip-less pedals putting all the bits in a plastic bag - woman found walking bike with no pedals (my husband managed to reassemble them - amazing!!)
Stupid thing #2 – hadn’t finished camouflaging the frame with paint, brushed clear primer on recognizable Devinci Copenhagen frame (my husband is removing it with a combination of detailing spray, soft scrubbers and elbow grease - almost done)
Stupid thing #3 – removed cabling and put it back wrong, made adjustments to everything trying to make it work (My husband has re-cabled the back derailleur and made some adjustments - almost there)
Stupid thing #4 – painted seat, all metal and other parts in black and gold - tacky (thankfully my husband got most of it off using paint remover)
Stupid thing #5 – removed expensive water bottle cage and bar ends and lost the ringer on my favourite brass bell (my husband took a ringer off my new bell to make the old one whole, other parts will be replaced)

My Devinci is back; messed up, but back. I feel extremely LUCKY. I am lucky to have it back and lucky my husband is a magician with bikes. He has been working diligently to get it back to normal. I don't know what I would do without him.

Let's hope those fine folks who lost MY bike after paying $240 don't take offense to my luck and retaliate in some way. Let's hope that's the end to my Devinci Drama. 

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