Saturday, May 30, 2015

Snug as a Bug

Looking at this, one would assume it's the depths of winter.  Granted, last Saturday morning was a bit chilly.  However, the house was at a comfortable temperature when I found Boadicea like this.

I am also rather amused at how her dewlap hangs out like she has a little beard.  Makes her look grumpy.

Get off my lawn, you young whipper-snappers!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Between Projects

Junk basket fabrics, feather pattern
Snowflake repair, bedspread blues
Oh, so many things I want to do!  Just when I thought I was catching up with my project list, I've just added a few more items.  And I'm dreaming of two more after that.  Oy!

Currently, I'm going through my fabric to make a couple more junk baskets.  They will be the next size larger than the one I made for myself.  While digging through my fabric I found several 2" squares of the background fabric to my wonky snowflake.  Yay - I can now square it to the same size as my other snowflakes.  Maybe that will motivate me to finally sew them into something.

I've picked a pattern for a summer quilt that has been on my to-do list for years.  I plan to incorporate a fat quarter bundle I got from my sister at Christmas.  I calculated yardage for the rest of the quilt a few nights ago - and double checked my numbers.  I tend to underestimate, but I think I have the right sizes this time.  Off to the fabric store this weekend!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Top Ten Tips to Help a Sick Guinea Pig

I’ve owned guinea pigs for over 20 years.  I have hands-on experience in some areas (what to feed, dealing with UTIs, URIs or ovarian cysts) but am completely void in other issues (anything specific to boars, bloat or elongated roots).  It seems that each of my sows tries to teach me about some new illness I haven’t seen before (the latest was a bladder tumor).  I try to tell them I don’t need first-hand experience with every guinea pig illness, but guinea pigs have their own ideas.

While contemplating the guinea pig illnesses I’ve dealt with, I came up with a top 10 list of what to look out for and how to deal with a sick guinea pig:

1. Know your guinea pig’s weight.  I can’t express enough how important this is.  Invest in a kitchen scale and weigh weekly.  (My girls get weighed every time I clean the cage.)  By the time I can feel the weight difference when picking them up, the pig has lost 100g or more.  That's a lot of weight for a little critter.  I have hauled pigs to the vet with no other symptom than a significant weight loss to discover they had some sort of illness.  I go by the a 30/60/90 rule: weight fluctuation of 30g is normal, a loss 60g is worth watching, but a 90g loss is alarming.  Time to call the vet.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Junk Basket

Now that I have a nice new table runner on my end table, I needed to keep my junk from spreading all over it.  I saw this cute little fabric basket some months ago.  Perfect for containing my hand stitching supplies next to the couch.  Woo hoo!  A sewing project to try out and something useful at the end.  Love that.

I dug through my scrap 2" squares twice before I found a combination I liked.  But once I picked my squares, I whipped up the whole basket after dinner one night.  It was a quick, easy project and I'm pleased with the result.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I haven't made biscotti in ages.  I can tell, because I've never blogged the recipe nor posted pictures.

The recipe I have is oddly written.  It starts with a base dough, then add-ins and flavors to taste.  Our favorite combo has almonds, craisins and orange zest.  Good stuff. 

It had been so long since I made these, ended up grabbing a cup of almonds, and added a mix of cinnamon, clove and nutmeg.  It wasn't until I had already added the spices that I found my container of orange zest and recalled our favorite combo.  Oh, well.  I'll have to make that for my next batch.

Most of my recipes have notes scribbled in the margins.  At one point I was making this recipe often enough that I kept all the notes in my head.  Hmm... doesn't work so well after a long hiatus.  Something in my gut told me to use room temperature eggs, but I have no idea if that made a difference.  I did recall how sticky and gooey the dough is to handle.  I had to flour my hands and work quickly before my fingers were fully glued to the dough.  As I wrestled with it, I vaguely remember chilling the dough a bit so it was easier to handle.  Oh, well.  It still worked fine.  I need to do this a few more times and update my notes.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Preseason Husks

Reject pile for the compost and a pile of clean husks and silks.
The grocery store has had corn the last couple of weeks.  No husking bucket, though.  However, as I walked by I saw a guy picking over several ears of corn.  So I figured - what would it hurt to ask?  I told him, if he wanted to husk the corn now, I'd be more than happy to take the husks; it would make two guinea pigs very happy.  He was amused.  And accommodating.  Look what I brought home!

Once I got home, I trimmed the husks down to the clean inside leaves.  I also clipped off the dried brown ends of the silks.  Good stuff, ready to eat!  I won't bother shredding and drying this bunch - it's small enough they'll probably eat it all this week.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Hand Me Downs - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I'm entering Hand Me Downs as my second entry in this spring's Blogger's Quilt Festival.  It was really difficult to choose a category - small?  scrappy?  original design?  I ended up picking home machine quilted.

The story of this quilt really begins with a pair of quilts named Something Old, Something New and Something Borrowed, Something (Aqua) Blue that I made as a wedding gift (you can read about them here).  When I finished them, I still had a lot of the donated dress material left over.  I created this quilt for the bride's mother.  I saw a tile pattern (which I would reference if I could ever find it again!) on the internet.  The blocks were simply pieced from squares and rectangles, which I thought would work well with the scrap material I had left.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Split Rails Table Runner - Blogger's Quilt Festival

It's time for the spring Blogger's Quilt Festival!  And for once, I'm entering a brand new completed quilt that hasn't been previously posted.  Woot!

I bought way more fabric than I needed when I made placemats for my sister's family.  I had a few different patterns that I liked before I settled on the Coming Home pattern.  One of my favorite runner-ups was a split rail design.  I thought it would be pretty with these colors.  So when the placemats were done, I made a table runner for myself.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

It's Warm

Just look at those feet sticking out.

The weather has warmed up quite a bit from an unseasonably cool spring.  The result?  Very blobby pigs.  Cannoli, of course, got spooked by the camera and darted into the corner.  But Boadicea was too warm to be bothered.

I guess it's time to find the ice packs to make sure I have chillin' pigs as the summer approaches.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Quilt Sew Easy Tool

I keep my sewing stuff in an old dresser.  The top drawer had warped and I pulled it out to fix it last month.  Amazing what you can find when you clean out a drawer!  People have given me a variety of sewing paraphernalia over the years.  At some point I received a Quilt Sew Easy Machine Quilting Tool.  I wasn't freemotion quilting at the time, so it got buried in the drawer as something I could use at some future date.  Then I totally forgot about it.  Well, now I can use it!  I decided to give it a whirl as I quilted my table runner.

It worked pretty well.  I'd forget to move it from time to time - being so focused on the quilting, I'd wonder why I couldn't move the quilt to discover the edge of it was against the presser foot.  Duh.  I had an easier time moving the quilt overall, which was nice.  At this point, I just need more practice, both with this thing and the quilting overall.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Pillow Fort

Did you ever make pillow and blanket forts as a kid?  I remember creating some pretty neat ones with my friends (and occasionally getting yelled at by the adults for destroying the family room).  Ah, yes, some good memories there.

I came home the other day to find the cuddle cup pulled out from the edge and turned halfway around, smack dab in the middle of the third level.  The first two things that came to mind were snowball forts and pillow forts.  There was Cannoli, occupying the high ground.  She looked like she was prepared for an attack.  Not only was she safe behind her fort, she had a moat of hay to further slow down the enemy.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Split Rails

I'm making a table runner for myself with the leftovers from the placemat material.  I certainly overestimated the yardage I needed.  I still have leftovers (I love the colors, I'm not complaining).

Random patterns are so hard to really get random.  I spent some time shuffling around colors, eventually ending up with this.  It's a bit darker on one side than the other, but I wasn't paying attention as I cut up the leftover strips.  Oh, well!  I still like it.

It will get a brown border and binding.  I have one or two quilting patterns I'd like to practice.  I'm hoping I'll get time this week to work on it some more.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Some guinea pigs like their pillows.  I've seen all sorts of stuff used as a pillow:  hay, toilet paper tubes, fleece, corn cobs, other guinea pigs.  Over the weekend I caught Boadicea using the food bowl as a pillow.  It doesn't look terribly comfortable.  On the other hand, comfort may not be her primary goal.  There's pellets in that bowl!  If she got the munchies, she wouldn't even have to roll out of bed for a snack.  Laziness?  Or efficiency?

Friday, May 1, 2015

Small Pet Select Orchard Grass

I have been buying KMS Hayloft (aka Kleenmama's) hay for many years.  Their bluegrass and 3rd cut Timothy hay is beautiful stuff.  I had to switch over to bluegrass just over a year ago, when I discovered I'm allergic to the Timothy.  KMS Hayloft recently changed their source of bluegrass and it turns out I'm allergic to the latest bluegrass cut as well.  Serious sadness.

For now, I seem to do alright with straight orchard grass.  I did a temporary test with Kaytee hay earlier this year.  It was terrible stuff and so expensive - $5 per pound!  But I was desperate to see if another source would stop my coughing.  There's so much local baled hay that's inexpensive, but the few places I checked either have first cut only, very brown hay or a Timothy mix.  Here I am, surrounded by farms, and have to deal with funny looks from the FedEx guy as he delivers a box of hay to my doorstep.