Friday, January 29, 2016

Let's Try This Again

When I quilted Summer Seashore I selected thread color very close to the fabric.  I was disappointed that the quilting was only visible when viewed close up and in person (it was very hard to photograph).  On the one had, it hid all the mistakes.  But it would have been nice to have that work a bit more visible.  So I promised myself I'd be more daring in my next quilting project.

Hmmm.  Maybe I should have qualified that promise.

I started my next freemotion quilting early December.  I used a taupe thread on an off-white background (lighter than the dark grey thread I had originally picked).  I didn't get far before I realized thread was a lot more visible on a solid light colored background than the prints I had been quilting before.  These waves are just the first step - there will be swirls and pebbles next.  I panicked.  Would the quilting overwhelm the rest of the quilt?  I tacked the thread with small stitches, so I fear ripping it out would hurt the fabric.  Rip or continue?  I couldn't decide.  I stuffed it into a corner and successfully avoided it for the better part of a month.

Now, it's back.  Gotta get it done (it was supposed to be a Christmas present!).  After some discussion, I've decided not to rip.  Some feedback was positive; maybe the thread wasn't that dark.  So I bought two lighter shades of thread, thinking that I'll mix the darker and lighter threads.  That way the darker waves won't look out of place, and the rest won't be overwhelming.  Maybe it will look like I planned it this way?

I normally dive into quilting, right on the project I'm doing.  I have a little quilt sandwich I run on just to test the tension.  Now I'm now thinking of layering up a chunk with the off-white background and test the threads before I continue quilting the real quilt.  I need help visualizing what this whole thing will look like before I continue.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Seesaw Weights

It's been over a year since I last posted a chart of my pigs' weights.  In fact, the last chart was with Pinniped and Cannoli.  New pigs and, sadly, a new swap in weight.  Just like my prior chart, it's not really the trending I wanted to see.  This time Cannoli's weight was the one to drop.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Full of Fleece

This is the last of my fabric purge.  I will be back to a quilting project that I'm struggling with:  should I rip or should I continue with the quilting?  I can't keep pushing it off.  I've finally run out of distractions.

In the meantime, I have a wonderful pile of guinea pig fleeces.  I had some of the cotton fabric for 20 years.  It feels so good to get this stuff sewn into something.  I will never open the drawer again and see a pile of it.  The few small leftover pieces have become QAYG hexie backing and various sized scrap squares for my next scrappy project.  Yay!

Now I need to get some new thread, throw on my freemotion quilting foot get working on something pretty to show off.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Noses in the Corner

Years ago our kitchen was to the left of the guinea pig cage.  When we moved, our kitchen is now to the right.  We used to laugh at Pinniped after the move.  She continued to beg by the water bottle for food (the old kitchen side) even though treats came from the other side of the cage.

Cannoli and Boadicea, however, roll with the times.

When I added the ramp, I moved the cage away from the wall and slightly (like 6 inches) closer to the kitchen.  For Noli and Boadi, this means the second level is no longer the closest to the kitchen... the corner of the second level is.

So where should one beg?  As close to the kitchen as you can get:

Sunday, January 17, 2016

A Bunch of Baskets

I now have another, smaller, fistful of leftovers - this time it's home decor and denim scraps.  Not only did I wipe out my old chunks of fabric, I used up nearly all of the two yards of purple flower fabric my mother gave me.  It was too light to make shopping bags out of, but too heavy to quilt with.  However, it made wonderful lining for these.  Huzzah!

Now there's lots of room in my fabric drawer.  Which, of course, I've already filled with quilting fabrics.  Plus it feels good to have done something with this old fabric.  Out with the old, in with the new.

Turns out I had enough material to make five baskets.  Wow!  The second and third baskets looked so good, I couldn't leave the first basket alone.  I pulled it apart enough to cut down and reattach the handles.  Yeah, that feels better.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Can You Find the Pepper?

I've used the Teach N Treat cups to create the guinea pig version of the shell game.  In this case, there's a prize under every cup; for a guinea pig that can still be a real challenge.

Their first instinct is to nudge the cup until it tips over.  The Teach N Treat works like that, it's also true when placed on fleece.  But when the cups are on the hard wood floor, they slide!  Cannoli has figured it out.  I have seen her try to lift the sliding cover off the Teach N Treat, so I knew it wouldn't take her long to pick up the cups.  It's pretty funny - she gets so focused on the cups, she misses the fact she's uncovered the pepper!  What a dope.

Speaking of dopes, Boadicea has not figured out the lifting part.  So she ends up chasing the cup around.  And yet, Boadi managed to get as much pepper as Noli did.  These two are a winning combination.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Pouches and Baskets

A fistful of fabric
My old fabric purge continues.

All that is left of my clothing material is a fistful of scraps.  I now have the dilemma of what to do with that little pile of pieces that aren't quite small enough to just throw out.

I made one more clothesline bowl, but the majority of this fabric went into drawstring bags.  I made over a dozen little 5" pouches.  My local library is having jewelry sale next month and these may make nice bags to go with the jewelry.  I'll see if they'd like them.  The ice blue and raspberry colors keep making me think of Frozen.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Play Time

Cannoli and Boadicea continue to have lots floor time.  I open the free-range gate most days.  Their treat schedule changes a bit on free-range days.  Breakfast lettuce is still served in the cage.  Bell pepper, though, is cut up into small pieces and divvied between the Teach N Treat and Egg-cersizer.  They have to work for it.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

More Bowls and Bags

My 2016 goal is to get rid of fabric that has been sitting around for years.  I got a jump start over the holidays, doggedly working through my stash.  My first focus has been on the coil bowls.  My chunks of rayon, lining material and knit fabrics are gone.  There's a few scraps left; I need a bit more clothesline to finish them.

My mother snagged my absolute favorite bowl when I saw her at Christmas.  I was sad to see it go - I considered keeping it for myself.  But I'm glad she has it.

The bowls made with the leftover lining-material are pretty.  I wasn't sure how they'd look; I like the sheen.  The rayon bowls were my favorite to sew and looked great.  The knit bowls were soft and slightly fuzzy, but my sewing machine was determined to skip stitches when I sewed it, no matter what needle I tried.  Ugh.  (Although two smaller ones stitched up better with a different thread.)

I also made a few more shopping bags.  My aunt and I selected the fabric especially for my mom when I went on my fabric spree two weeks ago.  I thought it was pretty, but wow!  The finished bags are stunning.  I misremembered how many yards I needed with 54" width, so I managed to squeak out three bags in what I original thought was yardage for two.  Coolness.

Next up are some pouches and shoe bags from leftover corduroy and fleeced satin.  That will use up almost all of my remaining clothing fabric.  My home decor stash is up next.  Those pieces are small or in strips, which is presenting a challenge.  I have some ideas... we'll see how it goes!

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Pumpkin Pecan Cobbler

I like cobblers and crumbles.  It's one of my favorite ways to cook up apples and peaches.  So I was intrigued when I saw a recipe for pumpkin cobbler.  The original post described it as a lava cake.  Yeah, I had to give this a try.

It's simple to make; don't even need to pull out the mixer.  At worst, if it's over baked, there's just less sauce.  I really like how it came out:  warm cake, gooey caramel sauce and crunchy nuts.  I made it for Christmas - it was a hit with everyone.  The cobbler is delicious on it's own, but even better with ice cream or whipped cream.  And it never hurts to throw a few chocolate chips on it. 

Of course I played with the recipe.  I liked the texture best using whole wheat flour (it was a prettier color, too).  Halving the recipe worked well, but making it smaller than that messed up the consistency.  There's a lot of sugar, so I tried cutting down the sugar (and water) of the topping.  I lost almost all the caramel sauce.  Sadness.  It worked better removing the sugar from the batter.