Friday, February 26, 2016

Pig Laundry Prep

I recently wrote about using U-Haul pads under fleece for guinea pig cages.  Today I'm writing about how I prepare the fleece for washing.

Many people just shake out the fleece and throw it in the washer.  However, we had a bad experience several years ago with a clogged washing machine.  I'm not sure if guinea pig fur was the culprit, or if it was from years of accumulated lint before us.  Either way, I decided to play it safe and try to get as much hair out of the fleece as possible.  I've used a variety of brushes and sticky tape over the years and have found a few favorites.  My current brushes are wearing out, I am trying a couple of new items as replacements.

My current favorite is the purple glove called the Love Glove.  I bought it on Amazon for around $6.  This one is about a year old, nearly worn smooth.  Not only do I use it for prepping fleece for the wash, it's great for sweeping out the cage every day.  It does a decent job removing hair and pieces of hay.  My only complaint is that it's right-handed only. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Cleanup Projects

One of my favorite things about finishing a quilting project, other than basking in the glow of a job well done, is cleaning up the scraps.  Wacky, right?  I can't wait to sew together my crumbs, add a few more strings to my triangle blocks and cut up the fabric that isn't quite large enough to put away.  There's backs for the hexies, some kites for my next kite quilt, and a series of 2", 2.5", 3" and 4" squares.

As I play with my hexies and triangles, I'm planning and plotting what project is next.  Then I clean up my sewing room.  That usually lasts all of one night before my next projects starts to spread across the table and floor.  Large projects may spill over onto the living room floor for days at a time.

Right now there's too many hexies and triangles to make something small with them.  But there's not quite enough to make a big piece.  So in the meantime, I keep adding to the collections and dreaming what I'll make of them in the end.

Next up - a needles case, maybe a pillow, and then the next big project:  the Key West print quilt.

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Parrot Plumes

I am so excited to share this quilt.  I fell in love with this pattern when I saw it on a Blogger's Quilt Festival post over a year ago.  I downloaded the pattern and printed it out.  Then it sat waiting for a reason to make it.  Knowing where a quilt is going seems to help with my creative process.

Dr. Holmes has been my vet for over 10 years.  Has it really been that long?  She's been with me through the ups and downs of eight guinea pigs.  Early last year she started her own practice (Holmes Family Veterinary Clinic).  I know she likes parrots, plus the old office had some wonderful feather prints I admired.  The walls in the new clinic were so bare.  Excellent!  That was the inspiration I needed to make the quilt.  A congrats/Christmas/thank-you gift all wrapped into one that could decorate the new place.  During the year I kept my eye out for African greys and pinks, and macaw blues and greens as I dreamed of a feather quilt.

As I planned the quilt I realized it was going to be a stretch project: a new pattern to try, a lot of white space to quilt and a flange binding to sew.  I was a little concerned packing a bunch of new techniques in a single quilt.  What if they all went wrong?  But it seemed like the perfect opportunity to try them.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Sleeping on the Edge

I walked by the cage over the weekend and saw only one guinea pig.  What?!  The gate was closed, so both pigs should have been in there.  I looked again and there was a little bit of Cannoli-butt tucked in the second level tunnel.  This was a little odd, because the front end of the tunnel was clearly hanging over the edge of the second level.

I walked around and sure enough, Noli is sleeping in the tunnel with her nose and front paw supported only by the tunnel.

I wonder if the tunnel just happened to be situated like that, or if she moved it on purpose.  Looks rather comfy, doesn't she?

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Needs a Finish

Before quilting my latest quilt I tried out three different colors of thread and practiced pebbles and swirls.  I now have this 10x15" quilted of fabric that is begging to be finished off.  I could just bind it, but it seems small for a table topper.  I was thinking of cutting it in half and make two mug rugs from it.  But white mug rugs?  I'd have tea stains all over it within minutes, I'm sure.

Folded in half, it might make a nice sized pouch.  I could bind the sides and add a zipper on the top.  Then again, maybe a pillow?  Off white would go with everything.  At Christmas I noticed the throw pillow I made my parents years ago had faded.  This would be a smaller replacement, but it would go with the couch.

What would you do with it?

Linking up with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Monday, February 15, 2016

U-Haul Pads

I made the switch to all fleece bedding all the time just over two years ago.  Before that, only the upper portions of the guinea pig cage were fleeced (I've been doing that since I've had a C&C cage).  In general, I've been happy with a full fleeced cage.  I was recently reviewing old blog posts and realized I could use a few updates; my cage cleaning routine has evolved over the years.  So this is the first in a short series on my experiences with fleece bedding.  (If you're unfamiliar with using fleece bedding with guinea pigs, a great place to start is The Fleece Project.)

Layered up: U-Haul pad on the bottom,
then towel(s), then fleece
Fleece bedding smells best when it has a chance to air out.  Unfortunately Cannoli is a big drinker, which means she's a pees a lot.  I need to change the bedding more frequently and end up with a lot of stinky laundry.

I know some people use U-Haul pads or puppy pads.  When I made the full switch to fleece two years ago, I had several old towels on hand and saw no reason to purchase more bedding.  Cannoli's drinking is motivating me to research my options.  I recalled an article by Cali Cavy Collective about their experience with U-Haul pads.  (Check it out - she has way better photos than I do.)  She said that using furniture pads helped extend time between cleanings.  Extra towels wasn't working for me, so I figured this was an inexpensive solution to try out.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

To Squeeze or Not To Squeeze

Noli firmly believes all wheeking should be met solely with food
To squeeze or not to squeeze.  That is the question.  It can be a real dilemma in this house.  Sometimes it's the urge to pick up and shower affection on a silly little pig that runs away, or in response to so much wheeking, or because a pudgy pig just needs to be snorgled.  Regardless, there are guinea pigs in need of squeezings.

Cannoli and Boadicea beg to differ.

Noli is under the impression she should be able to demand food at any time all the time.  Not only should the veggies appear immediately, her wheeking demands should not warrant any human attention in the house other than timely food delivery.  She also seems think she's safe from snuggles and kisses if she runs and hides when I appear without food in hand.  Ha.  No one is safe from the Mama!  Noli would get picked up less often if she'd just sit still for a nose-scritch.  Wheeking at the top of her lungs while standing on the third level of the cage doesn't help.  You mean she wasn't asking to be picked up?  Oh.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Quilted Quills

I'm done quilting the feather quilt!  The binding is done, too.  It just needs the threads clipped and a label.  I can give you sneak peek of the back; the rest will have to wait until it's gifted.

I'm hoping to do a full reveal later this month.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Footie Prints

We had snow on Friday, which clung to everything.  The sunset was breathtaking, all pink and white.  However, driving home in the evening was pretty eerie.  The trees near home were so bent by the snow, it felt like I was driving down a tunnel or a spooky forest from a Disney movie.  The car was occasionally pelted by sloughed off snow or broken branches.  We lost electricity for a few hours, no doubt due to downed lines.

The next morning was amazing with white trees and blue skies.  I didn't think of pulling out the camera until most of the trees had shed most of their snow, but I did managed to catch this before it all melted.

The dusting of snow on the front porch was my favorite.  The porch was completely covered by little birdie foot prints; I mean every square inch.  Each little print was clearly defined.  It made me think of stipple quilting!  The window feeders were emptied by early morning and I suspect the birds had been searching for any spilled seed.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Shaded Swirls

I spent Monday evening frankensteining some batting, then layered up a sandwich with the background white of my problem quilt.  I spent Tuesday evening trying out my various thread colors.  My lighting this morning was terrible, but you can get an idea of my test piece.  The lower right corner is all done in taupe.  The middle section is done in buff, the upper in ecru.  All of the double wavy lines are done in the taupe, just like on my real quilt.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Making Faces

The first time I ever saw a guinea pig dislike the smell of something was Revy from Cali Cavy Collective.  Not one of my guinea pigs had ever done this before.  But it turns out Boadicea doesn't like the scent of certain things, too.

I had seen her make faces once or twice over a slice of bell pepper.  If I hadn't seen Revy's video, I may not have understood why she was reacting that way.  It must have been a particularly strong pepper.

Now I see that face every three days.  Turns out that Boadicea is not fond of the smell of metacam.  I agree, it's pungent.  When I unstopper the little bottle the super sweet scent hits me.  But it must taste delicious - I've never had to wrestle with a guinea pig to give it metacam.  Every single one of them suck it down.  So does Boadicea, once gets past the smell.