Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cage Match

We made a trip to the Animal Rescue League in Boston on Boxing Day.  I spent an hour cooped in a kennel with Cannoli and a new pig.  The initial meeting went well.  There was sniffing and pig trains.  There was wheeking and burbling.  About 40 minutes into the meet the newbie started acting a little more curious towards Cannoli; Noli got nervous and started wheeking at the top of her lungs.  She attracted every volunteer at the shelter.  Newbie still wasn't doing anything overtly aggressive, so I was a little surprised.  In fact, she was several inches away from Noli when she started wheeking.

Newbie spent some time checking me out, too.  She was totally charming.  I couldn't resist.  We took her home.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Remembering Bertie and Pinniped

I adopted Bertie and Pinniped (named Sweetie and Midnight) on a cold January evening in  2010.  We had lost Pippin a few weeks before, and I had been on the lookout for a pair of young sows to keep Willow company.  Willow had been very lonely.  Bertie and Pinni had been part of a large seizure of guinea pigs on the Cape and had been in foster care until they had weened their nine pups.  The two of them had been up for adoption only a few days before I took them home with me.

We debated about what to rename Sweetie for several days.  I liked Godiva or Guilian, because her colors made me think of chocolate.  But her blue eyes and dapper, dopey personality made us think of Bertram Wooster.  So we ended up calling her Bertie.

Bertie was one of the most stubborn, opinionated pigs I've ever had.  She liked things her way and took no arguments.  So much attitude in such a small little package.  It was at odds with the cute, timid demeanor she had about her.  Bertie was fairly easygoing about life and yet would stand up to Pinniped if she started to push Bertie around.  She maintained this attitude right to her very last breath.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Flying Solo

Noli has barricaded herself into her favorite cozy
Cannoli has had a hard time adjusting to living as a solo pig.  Physically she's well:  she wheeks for her breakfast and is often on the second level to beg for treats.  She's eating her pellets and hay.  But Noli spends much of time hiding in her cozies.  She's taken to snipping seams again.  I think she's suffering a mix of boredom and depression.

The first several days were the hardest.  She was scared of everything.  I gave her extra attention so she wasn't so alone; but then I leave her be so not to panic her as much.  I put the Teach 'N Treat in her cage to give her something to do other than rip apart her cuddle cup.  I'd give her more floor time, but she doesn't explore without a buddy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Improv Herringbone Block

I'm getting the hang of these herringbone strips.  I finally finished my first block; only three more to go.  It's time consuming, even doing two strips at a time.  But I do like the way it looks.

I think green will be next.  Then maybe two more colors?  Or just stick with green and blue?  Now that the block is done, I realize this would have looked nice just by itself.  I could have made the pillow from one huge block.  Hmmm... that could be another project for my backlog.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Prisoner of Azkaban

My sister told me earlier this year that my nephew had started to read Harry Potter.  The most recent book he had completed was the Prisoner of Azkaban.  So she asked me to make a Harry Potter themed ornament for this Christmas.

Ooh.  So many things I could choose from!  But it was tough to pick something that would be instantly recognizable as Harry Potter, without picking something that was straight out of the movies.  I didn't want to make Harry himself; I didn't want the house emblems.  However, so much of the stuff from the books are classic fantasy characters.

I borrowed the book from the library.  I had forgotten so many of the nifty stuff introduced in this book!  I picked the few that could fit all together:  the Monster Book of Monsters (including Harry's belt to keep it closed), the Marauder's Map, a tea cup from divination class.  Then I added some of what shows up in all of the book:  Hedwig, a golden snitch and a wand.  I had to work a bit to combine all the pieces together.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Squares and Herringbone

I finished the first of three pillow covers I wanted to make for myself.  My other throw pillows are in desperate need of an update.  I've had the patterns picked out for months and now this is back on top of my projects list.

I don't recall how I stumbled across this first pattern (scroll down a bit).  I'm guessing I found it googling scrappy blocks.  Regardless, I bookmarked to use for one of my pillows.  My blocks are 5" finished, without the white sashing.  I used up some of my string stash.  There's more piecing than it looks, but once I figured out the order to do things, it came together really quickly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pinniped: The Schnoz

Pinniped of the non-stop nose, proud owner of the double-wide, has left us.

Sunday night she was clearly unhappy and hid herself as much as possible.  Monday morning she wobbled to the lettuce but wouldn't eat.  I wrapped her up in a cozy and we sat quietly together all morning.  At lunchtime I carefully placed her in the cage, still snuggled in the cozy, making sure she was comfortable.  I grabbed a bite to eat, checked on her a few times, and she was gone. 

The mass in her bladder was often uncomfortable in the last few weeks, but she continued to be her nosy self, cruising around during floor time and being front-and-center (and wheeking) for all mealtimes.  Pinni was a little trouper through it all.  She took her meds without a fuss and couldn't wait to slurp down the lactated ringers.  She bore up through multiple rump-dunkings (giving Rob the how could you do this to me looks and voicing her displeasure).  She accepted her wedge of melon rind reward with enthusiasm.  And never once, with all of the manhandling at the vet and at home, tried to bite anyone.  Damn.  What a good girl.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cloth Boxes and Bowl Cozies

I made my first bowl cozies in March and thought they'd make nice Christmas gifts.  I had planned on making a bunch of them this summer.  Ha!  It's mid-December and I've only just started to make more.  I know at least one friend who started making some of these cozies herself, so I needed to switch gears and make something else as well.

Over the summer I found a tutorial on fabric boxes.  I made a couple of them last week.  They're cute!  I'm keeping the black and green leafy one for my sewing knickknacks that are always collecting around my sewing machine.  I think they'll make great gifts.  I hope my friends like them!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Cookies

Two days after Thanksgiving and twenty-four hours after herding guinea pigs, I spent the afternoon making cookies and toffee.  It's a two intense days of wrangling, editing and baking.  There are years I question my sanity.  The answer hits me a few days later.  I love to see people's faces light up seeing the goody bag or hear their laughter over those goofy cards.

My almond butter crunch has been part of my Christmas tradition for many, many years.  Cookie were a later addition.  A few years ago I started making Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies and Buckeye Cookies.  Both are big hits.  This year I added another cookie to the mix, called White Chocolate Molasses Cookies.  They appear to be the new favorite.  I'm sure Rob would be happy to polish off all the leftovers.  I used Ghirardelli's white melting wafers for the dipping.  Yeah, it's not really white chocolate; but it was quick and easy to use, and had the perfect consistency for dipping cookies.  This recipe is a keeper.  They're easy to make, look wonderful and are delicious!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Earring Giveaway

I've been tinkering with earrings and made two pairs of lopsided earrings with one stud and one hook.  The first pair is a guinea pig with veggies (carrots, lettuce and a tomato), the second pair has a bunny with carrots.  I am giving these earrings away to two lucky readers.  The bunny is about 1" tall and the carrots are about 1 1/4" (not including the hook).  Little piggy is 7/8" tall and the veggies are about 1/2".

Since there are two pairs of earrings, you have two chances to win!  To enter:  leave a comment here (be sure you are not a no-reply blogger, or include your email address in the comment) or on the CavyMadness Facebook page.  Indicate if you'd like bunny or piggy or no preference.  I will choose at random one winner from the blog, the other from Facebook.  Commenting in both places increases your chance to win.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Single Shots 2014

My Christmas cards feature both pigs, but inevitably I find a couple of good single shots.  This year's photos were no exception.

I love this photo of Cannoli stuffed in the sleigh.  It certainly captures her dopiness.  She's such a fat, wuzzy pig.

Pinniped can be hard to photograph; the camera doesn't like to focus on all her black fur.  So I'm always happy when I can get a clear photo of her that isn't just a black blob.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Two More Pies

Cranberry Mince Tart
I made the last two recipes I wanted to try from A Year of Pies.  Good stuff.  I made Mushroom and Chevre Galette last week (sorry - no photo).  It was delicious.  I think, though, I like the squash galette better.  It certainly took less prep time.  I admit - sometimes I'm a lazy cook!

The last pie was the Cranberry Mince Tart that I made for Thanksgiving.  The recipes is for an 11" tart and all I have is a 9" tin.  I had lots of leftover filling (that made two mini-pies).  It was a beautiful looking tart.  So colorful!  It's flavorful (although not overly sweet) and really dense.  This tart could feed an army.  I made the orange whipped cream, which was delicious.  Ice cream works well with it, too.

You can find the Mushroom and Chevre Galette recipe here (about halfway down the page).  And the Cranberry Mince Tart recipe is here.  Both of them are really good!