Thursday, May 31, 2012

Project Progress

Seems like there's always something going on that distracts me from the quilt.  Lately, it's been the weather; it has been too nice or too warm to sit at the sewing machine.

The cross stitch is nearing completion.  Just the other night I closed the loop.  All I need to do now is fill in the gaps.  That should go quickly with all these reference points.  I hope that this is the end of ripping out stitching.  I had to pull out one whole flower bud, and later the beginnings of several leaves, because I had counted from a bad reference point or added one too many stitches in a critical spot.  Bummer.  I lost two whole evenings carefully pulling out the stitches and another two nights restitching them into the right spot.

I have nearly finished the next set of black strips on the blocks.  Now comes the frustration of keeping everything square.  I cringe at the idea of ripping out and restitching the pieces that aren't quite right.  I think I'd rather adjust when adding in the next triangles.  We'll see how that goes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Baby Bib

I love quick little projects that whip up in less than a day.  I have no idea where I originally found this baby bib pattern.  I've used it several times over the years.  It's a fun way to use up scrap material that I can't bear to throw out.

In this case, I used a lot of pieces from the watermelon baby quilt.  The colors are just so bright and cheery.  And oops - after I made it I discovered it's for a boy; sorry for the amount of pink in it.  However, get enough baby food on it, and no one will care.  Besides, the mice on the reverse side will work for any gender.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Kripalu R&R

Chick Yoga Weekend is an opportunity to chill out, as well as a chance to learn some new stuff.  I participated in several activities during the weekend beyond my morning and evening yoga classes.

The grounds at Kripalu are beautiful.  It's a wonderful place just to hang out and unwind (the KYTA teacher we went with happily confessed that she did absolutely nothing for the whole weekend).  There are shrines and devotional spots tucked away in nooks and crannies.  Walking around the estate can be a bit like a treasure hunt - I never know what I'll stumble across.  Sometimes I find rock sculptures, offerings or trinkets left behind, scraps of papers with petitions or words of thanks.  They're little glimpses of other people's lives and evidence of their passing through.  Even some of the plant life can be an unexpected find.  I discover something new every year.

Beauty and hidden treasures

Friday, May 25, 2012

Chick Yoga Weekend X

This year's chicks (minus one member - sorry about that)
I can't believe I have been organizing Chick Yoga Weekend for a decade.  Seriously?  It can't possibly be that long.  And yet, another Chick Yoga Weekend has come and gone.

There were eight Chicks this year.  We got the dorm room we had two years ago - an 11-bunk room overlooking the lawn and the lake.  It was a very busy weekend so there were 21 women in that room!  We like when we get a room to ourselves, but this was in a prime location (1st floor, just above the whirlpool) and the cross-breeze was most welcome at night.  I considered it a fair tradeoff.

It was sunny and warm all weekend.  I spent a good chunk of time on the back lawn, taking in the view of the mountains and the lake and walking the grounds.  The clouds rolled in on Monday morning; the rain started just as I hopped in the car to drive home.  Perfect timing.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bummed Out Bertie

Years ago, I discovered that guinea pigs could pine, ration their food and throw a snit.  Teddi and Eclair introduced me to all three of these concepts.  They would suddenly curb their eating if I was gone longer than two days, even though I had someone come in to feed them and they were given plenty to eat.  Then, when I got home, Eclair would give me the stink eye and turn her back on me.  (My dad's cat used to do that, and then check over his shoulder to verify my dad realized he was being snubbed.)  Such attitude from such a small little rodent.  Then, after 20 minutes of giving me the cold shoulder, Eclair would wolf down food, non-stop, for what seemed to be forever - as if to catch up on what she hadn't eaten in the last few days.  A full tummy returned me to her good graces and our normal routine would resume.

I couldn't understand where Eclair learned this, or where it came from.  I never saw this behavior in another guinea pig... until now.

I was away for a few days last weekend, and Rob took care of the pigs.  Overall, it should have been the normal routine, but he reported that Bertie seemed out of sorts all weekend.  Pinni wasn't quite herself, either, but ate with gusto when food was presented.  Bertie was sulky and unenthusiastic.  I was told she didn't bite the bars the whole weekend.  It's always a bit worrying when bad pigs suddenly behave well.  Something is wrong when they stray from their errant ways.

I still don't understand what triggers this reaction.  I've been thinking of what Bertie and Eclair have in common.  They were fairly young when they came home with me - Eclair was seven weeks old and Bertie was six months old.  They're also a bit smarter than most pigs I've had and may have noticed that I was missing.  Pinni, I suspect, didn't notice or didn't really care, as long as the food kept coming.  A pig needs priorities.

They got weighed, just to ensure the change in attitude wasn't due to illness.  Pinniped got squeezes because, well, she's Pinni.  And bar chewing resumed within hours of my return home, because one must chew the bars for carrot.

Ah, yes.  All is right with the world again.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Jewel Flags

Finally, the sewing has begun.

We had beautiful weather this weekend.  I spent most of my time visiting and puttering in the yard while the guinea pigs played.  (Well, they ate a lot of grass.  That's playing, right?)  I really wanted to go biking - it had been way up there on my to-do list.  But it never happened.  I was bummed.

What does this have to do with the quilt?  Well, my other big priority was to start sewing.  So when Sunday evening rolled around and cycling became an impossibility, I knew I had to fire up the sewing machine or face Monday feeling like a total slacker.

I laughed when I finished the first seams of the red and blue centers.  They look like strands of Tibetan prayer flags.  I pray they don't look like this for long!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Finally Spring!

Grass and Fresh Air Coma
At last - a day that is warm enough and a yard that is grassy enough to allow for the first outing of the year.  As I write this, Pinni and Bertie are sound asleep in the back yard, after hours of munching grass and sniffing at unseen breezes.

It took me a while to find all the pieces for the pen and set it up.  Then Bertie was not overly enthused when I brought them outside.  She didn't want to come out of her cozy.  She was more interested in eating the hay than the grass.  I'm sure an afternoon of fresh air has done wonders to her attitude. 

I spent some of the afternoon with them, puttering about in the back yard.  Now, watching them is starting to make me sleepy.  They have the right idea - all this fresh air and sunshine is giving me a powerful urge to take a nap.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Spiced Raisin Pearl Couscous and Orzo

On a whim last fall I bought some Israeli pearl couscous.  It looked interesting.  I finally got around to cooking it up last month, and it wasn't quite what we expected.  Pearl couscous had a much different texture than the little couscous I usually use.  It was alright with the meal I had cooked, but we decided it needed a bit of something.  Plain was just too plain.

A week or so later, this recipe for Spiced Raisin Pearl Couscous was posted on Very Culinary.  It caught my attention because it uses pearl couscous.  I got a chance try this recipe last night.  I had no idea how it would come out or how it would go with leftover roast pork.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Raspberry Pink

I was so happy with how my first nightshirt turned out, I made a second one.  For this shirt, I got the color I really wanted: screaming raspberry pink.  I chickened out with the first nightshirt and selected the safer, more subdued, light blue.  But this time?  I stopped being conservative and went with inspiration. 

I had cut the fabric for this nightshirt at the tail end of my marathon quilt-cutting session.  The pieces have been draped over my sewing machine for the last couple of weeks (it has added to my delay with the my quilt).  I became motivated to stitch it together after few chilly evenings last week (and the blue nightshirt was in the wash).  So I spent Thursday evening sewing and finished the whole thing in less than four hours.  Cool!  It's just as snuggly and comfortable as the original... just a lot more flamboyant.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Trouble on the Floor

Us?  Trouble?  How could you think such a thing?
Pinniped and Bertie have seemed bored lately.  It's still too cold to let them outdoors to let them stretch their legs.  I don't let them have a lot of floor time in the winter because the tile floor is cold and drafty.  Plus, I have to pig-proof everything.  They're allowed in the kitchen and the living room and occasionally the front hall.  Most of it is tiled.  They're generally pretty good about not peeing on the carpet, but accidents happen.  A few weeks ago, during a visit with the Girls Next Door, Pinni and Bertie discovered they could move the grids and get behind the couch.  Oh, joy!  It was a new place to explore, pee and poop on, and to hide from everyone.

I did not share their joy.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Another week or two has passed and pieces of the quilt are sitting, untouched, in my sewing room.  I had fully intended to work on them last weekend, yet nothing had happened by the time Monday rolled around.  Too many other things have been going on!  This weekend has not been much different.  I think I find the box of pieces a bit daunting.  I need to just sit down and start sewing - the rest will follow.

However, the cross stitch keeps plugging along.  We've been watching movies and working through our TiVo backlog, so I stitch a bit more every chance that I get.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Laundry Day

We had laundry day this week.  Makes for happy pigs, even if they're not really aware of it.  There is always popcorning for clean fleece.

Bertie was all excited to have a new tunnel to reposition around the cage.  She had to do without for a few days, and there had been much sadness.  But now all is forgiven, even of Mama still can't remember that the tunnel does not belong on the second level.

It was so nice to see stacks of fleece bedding, along with a variety of tunnels, cozies, cuddle cups and a hammock.  This should keep them going for another few weeks.  Huzzah!