Sunday, February 27, 2011

Scroll Sweatshirt

I cut the material for the scrolls yesterday and sprayed the backs with iron-on adhesive.  (Thanks again, Jane, for recommending 606 for this type of work.  Its amazing!)

I spent a chunk of this morning rearranging the filigree and eventually found a layout I liked.  What looked good on the shirt when it was flat on the table did not look good when I wore it.  None of my original designs worked.  In the end I simplified what I was doing, reversed what I had left and came up with what you see here.  It was a challenge to get all of the pieces in place and not pin myself in the process.  Ouch!  I gave up trying to have the pattern continue over the shoulder and onto the back.

Designing this took at least three times longer than cutting the pieces and sewing it together.  Once the pieces were ironed in place, I zigzagged stitched the edges.  Lots of looping.  The red in the material matched the shirt so closely that I had problems seeing where to stitch in places. The looping wasn't as hard to sew as I feared and the whole thing remained flat.  Yay! 

I know what I'm wearing to work tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Scrolling Patterns

I haven't done any applique work for myself lately, so I bought myself a sweatshirt with the intent to do something artistic.  I went through my fabric stash and came across some black and red leafy material and thought it looked great against the red sweatshirt. 

I love decorative scrolls and Celtic knots.  I decided something winding would be neat. I started to cut templates.  I had trouble with my first set of scrolls.  They looked fine on the sweatshirt when the sweatshirt was laid out flat, but didn't look right when I tried it on.  I then realized that the delicate scroll-work looked great, but its too thin to show off the pattern of the fabric I want to use.  In addition, at that width, most of the fabric would be covered with the stitching.

So I started again.  I retraced my existing scrolls, fattened them up and made a fourth scrolling piece so that the overall pattern come farther down on the left side of the shirt.  I think this width will look better with the material, even though it lost some of its daintiness.  It looks better when I'm wearing it, although it still needs some adjustment before I'm ready to cut the material.  This is as far as I got before I ran out of time.

Ha.  I may be dragging my feet to finalize the design and cut the fabric just because I don't want to face the nightmare of stitching all those curves!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Willow's Stone

Last June Willow was diagnosed with a very large bladder stone.  After much angst and research, I opted not to surgically remove it.  Life returned to normal and living with a bladder stone didn't seem to affect Willow's day to day life.

In December she acted odd a few times and I noticed her girly bits looked a little larger than usual, but nothing struck me as worrisome.  No stone, no blood, lots of pee and poo.  Then this weekend, she didn't want to come out of her cozy.  Didn't finish all of her food.  I found bloody pee stains in the bedding.  Sunday morning I inspected her....and I could see the tip of the stone lodged in her urethra.  Yikes!  She was peeing.  She was eating, mostly. I did as much research as I could and contemplated what to do.  In the end, I pumped her up with more shilintong, some pain killer and waited.  The painkiller helped:  two hours later, she was perky and chowing food.  It was the best she had looked all weekend.

On Monday, I took Willow to the vet on the way to work, knowing that my regular vet wasn't in.  Poor Dr. McMillan:  guinea pigs are not her specialty and I left Willow for her to take care of.  I would understand if Willow couldn't be saved.  I could understand if McMillan did triage and had me bring Willow back on Tuesday.

What a Valentines Day present I got!   At lunchtime Dr. McMillan called me to tell me she had removed the stone and that Willow was doing fine.  My jaw dropped when I came to pick her up at the end of the day.  The stone was HUGE.  I am so glad I didn't try expressing it myself.  I'd have killed her.  As it is, I'm amazed they got it out of her without leaving a mark.

Willow and her stone
I couldn't bring home the stone immediately, since they wanted Willow's regular vet to inspect it.  I picked it up today.  Just look at the size of it!  (Closeup of stone here.)  Dr Holmes told me this is much bigger than when described it as "massive" last spring.  She didn't think it could be passed back then and Willow managed to pass this thing now?  We are all amazed.

Willow is doing well, has been eating like a champ and peeing all over.  She limped a bit her first evening home but that has gone away.  I suspect she pulled something when struggling with the vet.  Who could blame her?

The x-ray they took of her on Monday showed no other stones forming in her bladder.  So I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Willow will remain stone-free for a while.

Bits of Mitts

One or two of my oven mitts are starting to get ratty, so I pulled out the materials to make me a new one.  But why make one when you can make three or six?  So I went a little crazy the other day cutting oven mitt pieces.

I spent so much time on cutting all the pieces that I didn't have time to complete a single one.  These aren't as bright as some of mine, but this was the color scheme for the majority of my scrap fabric.  I try to put all dark colors on the small curvy pieces, since that's the part that actually touches the baking sheets and pans.  Its the most likely to get dirty and burnt - so dark is good.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

I haven't made chocolate crinkle cookies in I don't know how long.  Mom used to make them all the time when I was a kid.  I was mixing oatmeal cookie dough tonight, and thought I'd make a half-batch of the crinkle cookies, too.

For those of you familiar with chocolate crinkle cookies, the dough is a lovely even shade of chocolate brown, due to the melted unsweetened chocolate.  This is what I ended up with.  It tastes delicious, but it looks like I added shaved chocolate, not melted chocolate. 


I cook much like my mother in that I don't always thoroughly read the directions.  I get the ingredients and start slapping stuff together.  I guess I shouldn't have tried substituting the oil and I probably should have followed the instructions when it said to add the melted chocolate to the sugar, first.

Turns out I seized the chocolate, by adding it to the rest of the batter as I did.  The only reason I didn't end up with one huge lump of chocolate in the middle was that I was whisking it into the batter, which caused the shredding effect.   

Its supposed to chill overnight.  Tomorrow I see how well they cook and taste.   Next time, for this recipe, I'll have to remember to follow directions!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Hanging Out

The hammock has been the place to be.  After weeks of being ignored, I see it occupied more often than not.  It could be that I've been home a lot lately and have had more opportunity to witness the usage.  Or it could be that they've realized the hammock is a pretty cool thing.

Pinni often sacks out in it soon after the cage is clean:

Monday, February 7, 2011

Sewing Backlog

I took an MHD day off from work (Mental Health Day).  In addition from some time off from work, its an opportunity to do some errands and to catch up on my projects.  There's never enough time!

I started two backlogged projects today:  appliqueing a sweatshirt and sewing a pair of wrap pants.

I really wanted to work on the sweatshirt - I came up with the idea of black scrolls on it and I'm curious how it might look.  But the wrap pants project just needed to get done.  I've had the material since last spring, I think.  I managed to cut the pattern some time before Christmas.  Its been sitting in a heap in a chair ever since.  This pattern is beyond simple (and I've modified it, so its only two pieces, plus four strips for the ties).  It has a ton of hemming, though, which took a lot more of today than I had planned.

 But they're done and in plenty of time for the warmer weather. Yay!