Saturday, June 24, 2017

Terrifying Orange Ice Pack

On most warm days I put an ice pack in the guinea pig cage.  I wrap it in a cozy to keep the hay off it and to soak up some of the moisture when it sweats.  Usually the guinea pigs will ignore it - occasionally I've seen a pig snuggle up to it or sit on top.  But last Monday, there was panic. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

I Like Thursday: Events

I enjoyed the Contra Prom a lot last week.  It's always fun to wow people; the dress impressed and I never come to that dance.  So I was a surprise.  What fun.  The only thing I'm bummed out about is I didn't get a good photo - I ducked out during the break because...

I was moving drapes out of my trunk.  I can't even express how happy I am to have the Drapes of Doom out of the house.  They had been stacked in a neat pile in the living room for weeks, so they weren't that obtrusive.  It wasn't until I drove home in an empty car and walked in the door (not needing to walk around the drapes) that I realized how wonderful it was to have them gone.

I like what I see when I go walking.  I still need to photograph the saxophone-playing ant, but I did capture a giant rooster and a giraffe?!?  They're fun, aren't they?

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Boston Spring Pignic 2017

The pignic had been postponed due to heat, and the alternate date dawned with a slight chance of rain and the prospect of being too hot as well.  But there was a breeze, bits of sunshine and the temperature hung just low enough to still be comfortable.

We had one of our smallest gathering of guinea pigs yet:  15 sows and 12 boars.  They came with lots of people.  There were several first-timers to the pignic, along with a handful of regulars.  A good time was had by all.

Blobby pig, chilling pig
Looking to bail, trying to avoid the grass, and the cutie I wanted to bring home

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The First Warm Day of June

We've had our first warm weather this week - a few days in the 90s and 100s.  I turned on the fans.

This is what I got.

Melting pigs.

Oh, so hot.

So I turned on the air conditioning.  How could I not?

Thursday, June 15, 2017

I Like Thursday: Sunny Times

I like the rumble of thunder.  And sun showers.  We've had plenty of rain this spring.  Thunder-bumpers are fun.  I've been surprised by two sun showers in just over a week.  I managed to photograph the latest one.  Big HUGE drops.  The way the sun was hitting it, it looked like it was raining only on one side of the deck, and tons of blue sky overhead.  What fun!

I like my hair braided in pigtails.  I get this done every time I get my hair cut.  Makes me feel like a little kid.  Whee!  This is what they looked like the next morning - still pretty good

I got these done in time for a contra dance, and had a number of people comment the braids and pigtails made me look like a kid.  Just ignore that gray - mission accomplished.

Rob liked the way it looked the next day when I pulled out the braids - lots of curly hair (I updated my avatar with that picture).

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Squares and Strips

There's been a lot of distractions that kept me from starting my next projects.  I got a chance last weekend to change that.  I cleaned out my sewing machine from the Drapes of Doom (I deliver them on Thursday - yay!).  I cut strips and wonky blocks and actually sat down to sew last night.  How nice!

I'm working on a set of dark wonky block rug mugs.  They're layered up and ready to quilt.  I'm trying to figure out what thread I want to stitch with:  something that will show up, but neither leap off the fabric or get lost.  I'm still learning what works best for that.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Uphill Battle

I walked into the living room to find Boadicea perched on the ramp obviously wanting to partake of the third-level hay, but not wanting to run the gauntlet past Wedgwood.

"Would you not like to share, Wedgwood?  There's room for both of us on the third floor."

"No," says Wedgie.  "Can't you see?  I'm comfortable here and the hay is blocking your way."

"I'm sure I could squeeze by.  There's lots and lots of hay; we could both eat it."

"There's not that much.  I've nested in a bunch of it, so you can't eat that.  The rest is all mine.  I don't want you up here."

Thursday, June 8, 2017

I Like Thursday: Kripalu

I spent a long weekend at Kripalu in Stockbridge, MA.  A weekend of yoga, hiking, friendship and generally chilling.  I liked that a lot... and there was a lot to like.

I like that we got a dorm room just for the eight of us that chose dorm accommodations.  One of the girls likened it to being at camp.  It made for a gab-fest up until lights out.  I liked the camaraderie.  

I like the food.  Nope.  I love the food.  We laughed that we seemed to go from one meal to another.  I ate strictly vegetarian the whole weekend; it was delicious.  I took photos of a few ingredient lists in the buffet line, hoping to make them myself.  There was chai every morning.  What a treat!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Chick Yoga Weekend XV

Fifteen years of Chick Yoga Weekend.  I don't know where the time goes.  We had a large number of gals this year, most were new to the group.  I spent time telling the story how Chick Weekend started, how we got where we are now.  I thought of those who couldn't make it - people were asking about you!  We've had some fun times.

Kripalu has been a lot of things to me over the years.  The place itself has changed a lot, too.  But it is always a haven of love and tranquility.  For that I am very grateful.  In the beginning, it was a lot about taking classes and learning about myself.  Now I tend to spend more time simply reflecting and enjoying the company of others.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

I Like Thursday: Keeping Busy

It's been a busy week (and I'll be repeating some of what I've already written about).

I like the hay field across the street.  The seed heads are purple, which looks great against the green.  It was hard to capture the color, but trust me - they're purple.  There's a few purple clover blossoms in that photo, too.  The whole field is quite pretty.

I really, really like my Singer 15-91.  It handily took on the Drapes of Doom.  I had no problem sewing with heavy thread through layers of velvet, jute and denim.

I like that I have my sewing room back.  The floor is no longer covered with piles of drapes.  I'm so excited every time I walk through the room.  Ah!

I like the Molly Murphy mysteries.  I tried the Tea Shop Mysteries, and it wasn't my cup of tea.  But I've really been enjoying Molly Murphy (her Royal Spyness is pretty good, too).  I've just started Hush Now, Don't You Cry.  Thanks Lee Anna for the suggestions!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Circus and When Guinea Pigs Fly Giveaway

Believe it or not, there was more to Saturday's Pig-a-Palooza than nail clipping.  Really!  Some guinea pigs were lucky enough join the circus.  Salem Pet Photo was there snapping pictures of guinea pigs who had aspirations to be clowns or lion tamers.  Be sure to check out the photos over at The Wheekly.  So much fun!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Stashes, Holes and Headers

Ryco had a sale this weekend on precuts.  I went to pick up a few reds and darks.  Technically I succeeded; I got a few of each... plus a lot of colors I didn't need.  But I just kept picking them up and couldn't put them down.  Especially in the bargain bin area.  Those peacock feathers were so pretty!  I loved the watercolor greens.  The gold had bits of shiny specs.  So they all came home with me.

Monday was a cool, cloudy, rainy day - perfect for sewing.  I rolled up my sleeves and attacked the last of the sound drapes.  I recognized my handiwork on two of the drapes.  Some fixes had held better than others, so I adjusted how to patch holes/rips this time around.

I went through a lot of denim iron-on patches for the big holes and menders tape for little holes that hadn't quite frayed.  One tear was 30 inches long!  I patched over a dozen holes on another drape.  And I finally found a use for the Fray Block that has been sitting in my sewing box for decades.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Pig-a-Palooza 2017

I spent Saturday at Nevins Farm's Pig-a-Palooza in Methuen, MA.  I went to the first Pig-a-Palooza two years ago.  (I missed last year's since it conflicted with candy making.)   Wow - what a difference two years makes.  The first Pig-a-Palooza was well attended, but this one was packed.

Raffle table (there was some great stuff!)
Happy sows and happy people.  It was a packed room.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

I Like Thursday: Nothing to See Here

So much happened this weekend and I liked so much about it.  But I forgot the camera.


So you'll have to imagine a lot of my likes.

I liked the Escape from Boston battle reenactment at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in Newbury, MA.  My mom and I stopped by on Saturday afternoon, just in time to see the redcoats get routed (although we missed my poor Uncle Redcoat get shot down like the dog he was).  Amazing how loud those muskets were!  And a cannon.  And the smoke!  And how damned close you need to be to see the whites of their eyes!  I got history lessons from some of the bystanders.  Very cool.  And we got caught up with my aunt and uncle.  Nice.

I liked the Chocolate Tour in Newburyport.  Chocolate!  We gave them our tickets, got a bag and a map, then wandered around for two hours to at least twenty different stores.  Happy people!  Happy shopkeepers!  Beautiful weather!  And did I mention chocolate?  Some was run-of-the-mill.  But Lindt chocolates are always good.  Plus there were some wonderful handmade chocolates, brownies, lava cake (to bring home and microwave), even gelato.  Oh, yeah, I liked this a lot.

I like that proceeds went to charities like Nevins Farm (MSPCA) and Habitat for Humanity.

Ooh.  I do have something to show - I liked the paper quilling art I found in one shop.  She had some beautiful framed pieces - I bought a little card.

Monday, May 22, 2017


But why can't we go in the living room?
Did not feel well last week, so nothing much was done.  No sewing.  No writing.  Very little of anything was accomplished around the house. 

But stinky guinea pigs ensured there was cage cleaning on Friday.

I was not up to cleaning the cage as well as chasing pigs all over the living room, so I put up the grids to keep them in the kitchen.  I was quickly told this was unacceptable.  First I was chattered at.  Later, when Wedgwood determined they couldn't sneak around the edges, Boadicea attacked the grids.  I haven't had a pig so determined to breach grids since Pinniped.

Cage cleaning was easier without chasing them.  Still, their antics were so distractingly funny I kept stopping to watch and photograph them.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Wedgwood's Gotcha Day

Photo by Salem Pet Photo
It was one year ago today that stormy little(?) Wedgwood blew into our lives.  On the surface she was just what I was looking for:  a mature sow to keep Boadicea from getting bored.  The added bonus -  she was my favorite color of agouti grey and white.  She's ridiculously cute with her long pointed nose.

Wedgwood was not quite what we expected, as we've discovered over the last year.  She doesn't wheek, she whines.  She's relaxed when being held but OMG, don't pick her up!  She wants all of the food and none of the affection.  She's one of the meaner butt-headed pigs I've had in dealing with other pigs.  Yet she's the absolutely the gentlest pig I've had when handled by humans.  She wants to be near Boadicea all the time and doesn't like to be separated for long (even when she's picking on Boadi).  I suspect a lot of her quirks is from living years in two different households without guinea pig company.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I Like Thursday: Fun and Games

I like my new kitchen scale.  My previous scale got dunked - I wasn't thinking.  Water is never a good thing with electronics.  The old scale eventually turned on, after I jab the button a dozen times.  I told Rob how bummed I was, and to please keep his eye out for a new one.  This arrived on our doorstep two days later (the guinea pig was an add-on).  Love that.  I may have to wish for things more often....

Monday, May 8, 2017

Doomed Again

Three years ago I took on a project to split three large acoustical curtains in half.  They are (fondly?) referred to as the Drapes of Doom.  They were heavy and massive.  Unfortunately, my Singer Graduate never recovered from the experience.  Sadness.

But I did... and somehow agreed to work on another eleven drapes.  How did I manage that??  When we hauled them into the house, Rob swears there were thirteen of them.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

I Like Thursday: Spring and Scraps

Spring has sprung.  Huzzah.  The green and flowers are making me happy.  A little warmth, lots of new growth.  I'll even deal with the pollen.

I like the little purple flowers that are growing up between the stones in my front yard.  I've never noticed them in prior years.  They're really pretty.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


Songbirds was my insane inspired project.  I love this feather pattern.  When I first bookmarked it, it was a year before I had a chance to make it (Parrot Plumes).  I was excited to do it again.  This one came about in a similar manner:  a gift for someone who made me think of birds.  This time I had the added advantage of printing out the correct sized pattern and knowing the piecing/quilting pitfalls (I avoided most of them).

The recipient is into photography, the outdoors and has several bird feeders in the yard.  No parrots this time around - I was thinking North American songbirds.  A search of the internet produced two feathers I liked: blue jay and cardinal.  I had these colors on hand plus I thought blue jay feathers were interesting.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Some Sewing Insanity

Flange binding, hexies and knot bags
Inspiration sometimes hits like a tidal wave.  I get swept away - physically trying to keep up with what my mind is designing.  It happened this weekend.  It started innocently enough - the plan was to make a couple more knot bags and perhaps some more strip blocks.  Then another project butted in. 

I had an idea for a wall  hanging on Friday afternoon that simmered overnight.  I woke up the next morning with a firm idea of what I wanted to do.  By 11am I was running between the cutting mat, the sewing machine and the iron.  I pieced together wall hanging blocks until I started going cross-eyed, then switched gears and assembled knot bags for a while.

I briefly came up for air about 3:30 (for a nice dinner out - it forced me to focus on something else), then dove in again for another couple of hours.  I finished the blocks, layered the wall hanging, top-stitched the bags.  Pinning backing/binding to the hexies were icing on the cake.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

I Like Thursday: NEFFA

I went to the New England Folk Festival last weekend in Mansfield, MA.  It's held at the middle school and high school - it takes over a good chunk of the campus.  I look forward to this every year for all sorts of reasons.  I logged nearly 40 miles on my fitbit, and at least half of that was from dancing!

I like that I finished adding leather to my new dance sandals in time for the dance.  Then I spent the weekend breaking them in.  Oof.

I like the volunteer work - I trade work for a ticket.  I helped with setup and signs.  It's great to see my handiwork during the event.  Added advantage:  I know where everything is prior to the event.  Win-win!

I like the custodians at the Mansfield schools.  I can't tell you how much these guys make the weekend.  They're always there, wonderfully helpful and always cheerful.  I look forward to seeing them every year.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies

When I first saw these cookies, I immediately thought of Do-si-dos.  As a kid, I'd open them up and eat the filling first (or save it for last, because it was the best part of the cookie).  My second thought was - I bet these would be good half dipped in chocolate.  I decided to test that thought.

I had committed to making the recipe before I realized I was low on powdered sugar.  So I made a half batch - which was 19½ sandwich cookies.  Trust me, that half a cookie got the full measure of filling.  Yum!

I don't know if it was because I skimped on sugar or that I used whole wheat flour, but my cookies ended up a whole lot puffier than the ones pictured.  I will need to flatten them a bit, or somehow compensate when I make these again.  It's rather comical - one needs to be able to take a big bite to eat these.  But they rapidly disappeared, so it was a challenge we both accomplished.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Passes Inspection?

I fell in love with this bright blue and green fleece when I purchased fleece for the upper levels.  The light color wasn't good for bedding - it would always look dirty.  However, a half yard needed to come home with me.  After some debate, it became a hammock, a cozy and a fleece forest. 

I haven't made hammocks in ages.  I based this design on a hammock a friend gave the pigs years ago, with some new hooks to try out.  I was pleased by the results but the real test was when I put it in the cage.

What do you think?  That looks to me like the stamp of approval.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Ginger Nut Clusters

Years ago my cousin gave me Chocolate (Practical Cooking) as an Easter present.  Several recipes in the book were earmarked to try for candy making.  Uh-huh.  I'm still not sure who the true recipient was of that gift.  Still - I've really liked most of the recipes including one savory stew (yes, with chocolate!).  There are still several recipes I want to try - one of these days I'll get to them.  But I think this one recipe for Ginger Nut Clusters was worth the book.  It was everyone's favorite from the first time we tried it.

On the surface, it's a strange combination:  graham crackers, cashews (we swapped out the original macadamia nuts), candied ginger and white chocolate, dipped in dark chocolate.  There's a lot of different texture and the unexpected zing of the candied ginger.  They're easy to make, and their lumpy asymmetrical shape is pleasing change next to all the round truffles.  I am torn between inhaling these or hording them after Easter.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

I Like Thursday: Baking

I like to bake.  Well, I like cooking in general.  It's a form of creativity and there's a tangible product at the end.  Not only that, most failures are still edible, even if they're not presentable to a larger public.  Plus, the act of baking can be good for you.  Imagine that!

I like cookies.  I tend to do small cookies.  There's less guilt eating one.  The drawback is that often one isn't enough, and suddenly I've eaten five.  On the other hand, small ones are good for sharing at gatherings, especially if I have more than one type of cookie.  My current favorite is Brownie Batter Cookies, followed by Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Rob's favorite is Biscotti.  (Which reminds me - I need to make a batch of those soon.)

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Hay Rack Feedback

I had lots of little fleece scraps that were too small to make cozies or even a hammock.  So I threw together a couple of hay racks based on a design I created last year.  I've liked mine - but I'd like opinions from others.  Do you think your guinea pigs would use a hay rack like this?  Would you be willing to try it out?

I'm looking to trade hay racks for feedback.  I'll send you a hay rack, try it out, then tell me what you and your pigs like/dislike after using it for several weeks.

If you are interested in participating, please pick a color:  yellow, floral, teal or blue/green and eave a comment here or on the Cavymadness Facebook page.  If you leave a comment here, be sure you are not a no-reply blogger or include your email address in the comment.  I'll pick a few people on Tuesday, April 25th and send them out.  Thanks!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Candy Making 2017

No one would guess looking at our kitchen today that 24 hours ago there was chocolate and confections spread across every horizontal surface and most of the utensils and bowls.  There was a constant chatter of conversation, a stack of bowls and spatulas that needed to be washed and used again, plus a pair of guinea pigs that managed to sleep through most of the hubbub.

All signs of a successful day.

My usual candy making crew showed up; we were in full swing by noontime.  The recipe list was most of the usual, too:  butter creams, mint Oreo truffles, peanut butter balls, cookie dough truffles, ginger nut clusters, paves, straw baskets and toffee. 

We had one new addition - pumpkin cheesecake truffles.  I had a half cup of frozen pureed pumpkin I had roasted in November, which was too small for cookie or bread recipes.  As I pondered what to do with it, I rediscovered this Halloween themed recipe I had bookmarked, and rolled it into the Easter lineup.  Everyone really liked these; they've been put on the list for next year.  We dipped the truffles in white chocolate, which was nice, but I bet they'd be good in dark chocolate.  We'll try that next year.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

I Like Thursday: Spring Cleaning

I had piles of scrap fleece after making new bedding for the guinea pig cage.  Then there's all that fabric I brought home from the Tea.  Heaps all over the sewing room table and chairs.  It needed to go.  I hadn't even finished sewing the label on Confetti when I started cutting fleece.

I like to see scrap fabric become a stack of finished cozies, pig pillows, hay racks and hammocks.  Three different piles of fleece have dwindled to a handful stuffed into a corner of a drawer.  I also got to use some of my quilting stash - fabric I was bored with or that really didn't go with anything else.  So satisfying to use it!

I like the two shopping bags - and finished in time to be handed off on Saturday.  There was very little salmon fabric, so I couldn't do the full swap of bag and handles as I intended.  I kept the blue fabric for handles on the salmon bag since I love the combination.  I dug out my trusty pastel floral print for the blue bag's handles.  Not as stunning, but it works.

I like making mug rugs.  I managed to squeak out four of them from the shopping bag leftovers.  I'll be backing them in the next fabric and binding in the pastel blue.  I hope to have them done by Saturday, too!

Monday, April 10, 2017

Confetti - A Celebration

Confetti was gifted to my cousin's new baby girl on Saturday.  Rob named it - I think it captures the movement and the color so well.  My cousin was thrilled; I hope baby will enjoy it when she gets old enough to notice.  This is one of my bigger baby quilts at 40" x 48".  It's large size should make it versatile over the years. 

I had a different pattern and different fabric picked out for this baby quilt that I just couldn't get to work together.  As often happens with my quilts, it took on a life of its own.  I grabbed a pile of fabric and had my sister help pick colors.  I settled on a wonky block design and started sewing.  I really wasn't sure how it would turn out until I made 30 blocks and placed them on my design floor.  Behold!  Except for a few adjustments on four blocks, they worked well together.  I liked the overall effect.

Randomizing is always more difficult than it sounds.  But stitching them together was easy, since they all cut to the same size.  Sure I groused about some of the blocks, but this quilt was so much easier to assemble than the tree quilt.   Wonderful! 

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Hiding in Plain Sight

Wedgwood managed to burrow under the little bit of hay there was on the third level.  Not sure how she managed that - I'd have thought that a few  strands like that would just get pushed around.

She thought she was well hidden until I tried to get an overhead shot and caused a pig panic.  Sorry, Wedg.

Later I found her in the tunnel.  Covers her a lot better, although I could find her easily enough.  That tunnel is a favorite, more than any of the cozies.  If it's in the cage, she's usually in it.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

I Like Thursday: Silly Stuff

I like silly things and there was a variety of foolishness over the weekend.

I like the turkeys in the back yard.  I'm not happy that they're clearing out the bird feeder (or leaving "presents" on the deck).  However, they are entertaining to watch and I can't help but laugh at their antics at the feeder.  At least do less harm to the feeder than the raccoons.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

No, Not Nail Clipping!

Nail clipping.  Everyone's favorite day.


I have a nag message that pops up every two weeks to clip nails, but it often gets ignored another week or three.  I know clipping often keeps the quick short and the nails will not get so curled.  However, no one seems to mind if we're a few weeks late.

In the past, my bad guinea pigs were threatened with the stew pot.  I threaten Boadicea and Wedgwood's bad behavior with nail clipping.  I would say both threats are equally effective... which is to say that they're not.  However, I actually follow through with the promise of nail clipping on occasion.  I had an opportunity to do that on Sunday.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

New Upper Fleece

geckos and flowers
I recently bought new fleece for the upper levels of Boadicea and Wedgwood's cage.  As usual, they don't match any of the first floor fleeces.  At least they don't clash as much as some combinations.  I'm positive the geckos will be excellent at hiding poo and hay.  The ice blue flowers should blend in with most of the lower level colors.

New fleece is fun, but I am kind of bummed out.  Some of my favorite fleece shrunk or had worn through in spots, even though there was still plenty of nap left.  I retired the teakettles late last year (oh, woe!); I could not quite stretch it over the coroplast to keep it in place.  Today it's the rooster print, which was such a great color.  I've stashed it away as backup (there's barely enough to clip into place), because I'm not ready to part with it.  I bought those back in the day of Pinniped and Bertie.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Yards and Yards

What was I thinking? 

An attendee to Sunday's Tea brought a stack of vintage fabric looking for a home.  I picked out some of it.  A rough measurement after washing it revealed there's over 25 yards of material pictured here.  OMG.  What am I going to do with this stuff?!?

The amazing thing - my claim barely made a dent in the available stash.  There must have been well over 100 yards of fabric in that bag.

I fell in love with the variety of colors.  Most of it is lightweight.  It feels nice, but I'm not sure how good it will be to mix and match with my other fabric.  As I perused the pile at the Tea and thought aloud what I'd make with it, people asked:  can I have that when it's done?  (We do project show-and-tell, too, and everyone wanted to take A Season of Change home with them.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I attended a Tea on Sunday.  I brought both a savory and a sweet dish.  I have no photos of my savory dish (which has now moved from Try Soon to Keeper folder).  The sweet was also a keeper.  It's a lovely gluten-free and dairy free cookie - perfect for a couple of my friends' diet restrictions.  It has great texture (didn't feel gluten free!) and a nice flavor.  I was asked for the recipe. 

I like my cookies slightly undercooked so they're chewy.  I discovered these cookies are naturally soft.  The first tray I took out at 9 minutes.  The cookies were done, but ended up a little sticky.  The second tray went in a full 12 minutes (and could have even gone in a bit longer).  These had better integrity and still weren't too crispy.  The whole batch of cookies flattened quite a bit - next time I'll chill them slightly before baking them.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Wonky Mug Rug

I made my first wonky block with a 3" internal square that I decided was smaller than I wanted for the quilt.  Luckily, I had plenty of black and orange fabric, so I recut the block with a larger square.  That left me with two leftover blocks.  I decided to make mug rug with it.

I decided to make just one mug rug, not two.  It's reversible.  Threw in some frankenstein batting, added a darker orange binding and ta-da!  I had a fun time playing with the quilting.  I quilted the orange square with black thread so it shows up on both sides.  It's hard to see in the photos, but I quilted the black square with orange thread, with the same design.  It's neat how the corners of the flowers touch.  Then I quilted the rest, black thread on the orange, orange thread in the bobbin.  So everything is quilted in the opposite color of the fabric.  Fun!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Modern Sacking

One of the things I love about our new camera is it doesn't need fussing.  The only way I could get my old one to produce good photos was to manually adjust the settings.  I'd miss antics - by the time I got everything right, they'd have moved on.  I'm hoping I'll get more candid pig pics.  (I'm liking the food and quilt pics, too, but we know it's all about the pigs.)

I caught Wedgwood seriously enjoying her cozy.  Ooh - little feet sticking out.  Look at that nose.  The grey, white and yellow caught my eye.  It's a popular color combination in modern quilts.  I can see why people like it.  Such fashion sense, Wedgwood!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I Like Thursday: Fabric

I went fabric shopping over the weekend at Ryco's.  They're located in an old mill building in Lincoln, RI.  I forgot  how I stumbled across them in the first place, but I'm glad I did.

I like the people at Ryco.  They're nice people and help me out with whatever I'm working on. 

I like what I purchased!  Aren't they pretty?  I know I've eyeballed the orange scroll fabric before - it was finally at a price I couldn't say no to.  The tea (coffee?) mugs caught my eye.  I seem to be gathering more golds, browns and neutrals in my stash.

I really like the whimsical boats.  I wanted them as a backing on my current quilt (the main reason for my trip).  I was convinced a fishy fabric (not pictured here) went better with the quilt, but I just had to have those boats.  I have no idea what I'll use it in, but it's mine, all mine!

I like ironing.  Crazy, right?  After I wash new fabric, it's soothing to feel the fabric and watch the wrinkles disappear.  Smooth, wonderful stuff - just think what I could do with it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alas, All Gone

Boadicea and Wedgwood don't realize it yet, but this was the last handful of dried corn husk until the next crop gets harvested.  They've gotten a small handful every night since the summer.  I had a good sized supply... but they have polished it off.

I'm not sure if Wedgwood will notice, but I know Boadi will be bummed for the next few nights.  Spring is around the corner, Boadi.  Just a few more months to fresh corn husk.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wonky Blocks

I had several ideas what I wanted to do for my next quilt before I picked a wonky square block.  I found Hopscotch (by Nancy Mahoney) that had an uncentered square-within-square; it wasn't wonky as much as simply off-center.  Then I found a couple tutorials that the middle piece is neither square nor centered.  These are really wonky. 

Paper practice
I liked the cockeyed blocks best, but I was a nervous about cutting my fabric; some colors I picked had a small amount of yardage.  It's one thing to read a tutorial, it's another to do it!  Instead, I pulled several pieces of paper from the recycle bin, squared and cut them to get a feel for the squares.  I'm glad I did.  I was not happy with my wonky centers - they were too pointed, too much to one side.  I wasn't getting a feel for what to do.  But then, I squared the center piece and twisted it in the center of the outer block.  Aha!  This I liked.  This I could tackle with some confidence.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wedged in Hay

I'm still stuffing hay into paper bags trying to curb the mess.  I must have overfilled this bag and it was too much to fit both the hay and a pig.  Usually a bag gets nibbled apart, but this one split right down the side.

Wedgwood appeared quite pleased with the result.  She barely moved as I walked by and snapped photos.  She's mostly covered by the bag and must feel pretty secure.  In the bottom picture decided to ignore me and went back to eating what was under her.  What a life!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Like Thursday: Goodies

Who doesn't look goodies?  Last week I got some great ones. 

There was a bake sale fundraiser at the Rehoboth contra dance.  I scored some of the treats.

I like Cookie Man cookies.  A guy from the dance makes these massive chocolate chip cookies with huge chunks of chocolate and generously sprinkled with flaked salt.  Decadence I never make with my own cookies.  It's always a treat anytime his cookies appear at the dance.  I happily plunked down my money to bring a half dozen of these home from Friday's dance.  I've had to hide them so I didn't eat all of them in one sitting.  Yay for the Cookie Man!

I like these lemon shortbread cookies.  Isn't the icing beautiful?  The colors!  The details!  They'd be too pretty to eat, except I had sampled some of these a couple of weeks ago and I knew how delicious they'd be.  It would be a sin to let them get stale, right?  These were part of a silent auction.  I was excited to have entered the winning bid.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Season of Change

The tree quilt is finished.

OMG, I think I need to repeat that:  the tree quilt is finished.  And the wind died down yesterday long enough to photograph it.

This project lasted so much longer than I anticipated.  Quilting was difficult.  The trapunto was a neat idea, I really like how the leaves look.  However, I'm not sure if it was worth it.  The tree trunk came out a little lumpy (which is okay - what bark isn't a little lumpy?).  I considered quilting in some wood grain to tack it down, and decided that would only draw more attention.

Working around the extra batting certainly complicated things.  I really need a walking foot for my new machine.  I'm sure it would have prevented several of the puckers I had to rip out and restitch.

I was worried the binding would look too stripy, but I'm happy how it turned out.  Adds a bit of interest to the edge without taking over.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Typical Cage Cleaning

Cleaning Boadicea and Wedgwood's cage is pretty straightforward.  Twenty minutes of pulling stuff apart, wiping the cage down, replacing towels and fleece, then reassembling.  And chasing guinea pigs.  No cage cleaning day is complete without herding curious or mischievous pigs.

With the magic of time lapse photography, I seem to do it all in a minute and a half.  It would probably go well with Yakety Sax (especially the pig trains).

I weigh Boadicea and Wedgwood, then let them loose on the floor.  I sweep out most of the loose hay.  Pull out the third and second levels, sweep up and pull out the first floor bedding.  Sweep out the the debris on the coroplast and spray vinegar all over the bottom level.

I pull out my box of clean bedding, pick what I want and change the second level bedding; put the second level back into the cage.  Wipe down the bottom level and a put in a fresh layer of towels.

Chase pigs (because they're hanging out in the living room more than they should be).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Puffy Pepper-Eating Pig

The last few days, Boadicea has been puffing out when she eats her slice of pepper.  I've seen guinea pigs do this to look foreboding so no one will try to steal their treats.

So puffy!

The vet says Boadi isn't hyperthyroid.  So we still don't know what's up.  She had a sudden drop after bringing her to the vet, but she's gained it all back and a bit more over the last day or two.

I sound like an Italian mother when I walk by the cage: Mangia!  Mangia!

Then I get that look:  I'll finish eating my pepper as soon as you stop taking photos.

So much attitude in such a small package.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Oatmeal Chocolate Ginger Cookies

One of the candies we make for Easter are called ginger nut clusters.  The candied ginger in them can have a kick.  So when I first saw these oatmeal cookies with the candied ginger, I was intrigued.

I made them last weekend.  Even though they have more than a half cup of candied ginger, the cookies are very mellow.  Not at all like the candies.  It's the oatmeal?  Maybe the baking?  Did they need more chocolate?  Not what I expected.  I wasn't sure if I'd keep the recipe when I brought the cookies to a party.  And snap!  just like that they disappeared.

I've taste-tested a few more and decided to keep the recipe.  They're wonderfully chewy, have a nice flavor.  Not the hit I had anticipated, but they're interesting.  A few things:  I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips which are big; I should have chopped them a bit so they were more evenly distributed in the cookies.  And I don't care, I'm adding more than ⅓ cup of chocolate next time, too!  Some of the candied ginger clumped together; I'll have to make sure they're broken apart.  Lastly, the original recipe had several different options for baking the cookies.  I will definitely chill them first, because I like fatter cookies.