Sunday, October 22, 2017

Past Pignics: Several Pretty Pigs

<gasp> It's a pignic!
The Boston Pignics have been around since 2003.  (Gads - really has it been that long?)  Which is several years before I started blogging.  While digging through old photos, I thought it might be fun to post some from the early years.

These are some of my favorite pigs pictures prior to 2010.  A few photos had the pig's name on it - I've named those and any others I can remember.  It's funny how many pigs I can still match with their human (but don't ask me to remember their human's name!).

Guinea pigs come in so many colors and fur types.  I recall the Fabio orange pig (alas, no name) belonged to a large herd of pigs.  The short haired sleepy pig in the grass was Wheatie; she came to several pignics.  I love the colors of her coat.

The grey and white one is Simon.  He came for a few years, as did the pair in the next picture.  The creamsicle colored one's head tilt never slowed her down.  The handsome long-haired pig was named Wally.  What a face!

Friday, October 20, 2017

Chocolate Oatmeal Bars

I really like oatmeal cookies and bars - I think it's the texture.  I first made these bars late last year.  I was drawn to them because the chocolate layer wasn't made with sweetened condensed milk.  And yet, look at that fudgey center!  The original recipe had more chocolate than oatmeal and they were really thick.  So my version uses a different pan and <gasp!> reduces some of the chocolate layer.  I know!  How could I even contemplate doing that?!?!  So feel free to ignore my recipe and head right over to the original.

But I wasn't done with my tinkering.  Since I cut out some sugar, I wanted to boost the flavor.  I added some cinnamon and coffee to it.  I used salted butter, so I skipped adding any to the recipe and opted for sprinkling a little sea salt on top just before baking.  My bars ended up with a soft mocha center and a crisp crumbly cinnamon-y crust and topping.  Not bad.  I like it.  Maybe you will, too.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

I Wasn't Ready

I knew with the diagnosis of kidney issues that Boadicea's days were numbered.  She had gained some weight last week, had been annoyingly cranky, and although she looked uncomfortable and ate slowly, she had mostly been herself.  On Saturday we refilled her pain medication and brought home a second one to keep her comfortable.  Sunday morning Boadi woke as her hungry cranky self, but after breakfast she started to fade.  By Sunday evening she was too weak to do anything.  We lost her on Monday morning.

I wasn't ready.

Sunday, October 15, 2017


Next part of Mom's quilt:  chevron pieces.  Yeah, these took a bit longer than I anticipated.  Once again I got the dimensions all mixed up.  Luckily I caught it before I cut my first piece.  But I was so confused I had to cut it out on paper pieces before I got it straightened out.  Whew!

I cut a few pieces, sewed them together and got a feel for the assembly before I started cutting fabric in bulk.  Even then, I only cut the blue and brown, sewed all them together before cutting the straw colored fabric.  Again, a few test pieces and viola!  Looked like good chevrons.  I went to town churning out the rest of the 124 pieces.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

I Like Thursday: Art

A busy weekend, not feeling well, dealing with Boadicea's ailments (she seemed a little better yesterday) and making more tomato sauce has pretty much sucked up all my free time.  I have stuff I want to blog about - just not enough time to sit down and write!

But it's Thursday - and I'm looking forward to joining Not Afraid of Color's I Like Thursday.  It's a bright spot of the week, focusing on some of the simple things that make life worthwhile.

I like my pumpkin lights.  Went to hang them up lights didn't work.  Sadness.  But Rob got a new string and they look good as new!

(I also like that I have birdies at my window feeders.)

I liked the Paradise City Art Festival.  This is where I lost a good chunk of my weekend.  I spent time with my mom and sister gawking at all the beautiful art.  I wanted to take so much of it home with me.  So much bling.  Crazy needle-felted clothing that was gorgeous (it was technically called "wearable art" - which it really was).  Lots of neat ceramics and outdoor art.  We managed to cover all the booths in three hours.  I'm sure if we'd gone back through it we'd have seen all sorts of stuff we missed.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

I Like Thursday: October Already?

I like the cooler weather.  Unfortunately I haven't been out walking much - work, cooking, errands have been getting in the way.

But the cool, dry weather means my Singer Graduate shouldn't lock up and jump the feed dog gears.  Yay.  So in between piecing Mom's quilt I'm making coil bowls from the leftover dress fabric.  It requires a machine that does zig-zag - thus pulling the Graduate out of mothballs.  Turns out the dress fabric is heavier than the rayon I've used on past bowls, so it's proving difficult to work with.  Why am I not surprised?  But this is the last of that fabric - so happy dance! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

A Sluggish Start

It's only the third of October and my free time this month is rapidly dwindling.  How can that be?!?  I may need to take some time off from work just to do all I want.

I'm excited to have started Mom's quilt.  I have 128 blue and cream triangles.  Goodness.  Next weekend's objective is to have 128 chevron pieces done.  I need to stop getting distracted (cooking, dancing, other sewing projects) and start cutting the next pieces if I want to hit that goal!

Sharing with Freemotin by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Making Rounds

Boadicea continues not to feel well.  Her attitude remains fairly bright, but her weight is low.

Sometimes I put Boadi on the floor after giving her the morning medication.  Usually she heads straight home.  Lately she spends several minutes checking out the nooks and crannies of the living room, ranging far wider than usual.  This last time she spent several minutes checking out the door to the deck.  She's also been attracted to my desk.  I have to shoo her away from all the wiring in the area.  Too much temptation for her!

She also follows me around the room.  It's pretty charming.  This day I had to herd her back to the ramp - I needed to get back to work.

Boadicea was rechecked at the vet last week.  There was more sludge, which made everyone unhappy.  Wedgwood was inspected by the vet, too.  The silly pig took a flying leap off the couch; we suspected she landed badly.  Wedge had been randomly crying and I wanted to make sure we weren't overlooking something serious.  The vet determined Wedg's right shoulder was sore and was told no more high jumps for her.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

No Man's Land

When I clean the guinea pig cage I need to block off the ramp so Boadicea and Wedgwood won't try to get in before it's done.  This frustrates them, because they know where the ramp is and where it should go and they can't understand why they're not allowed to go up.  Any other time they're on the floor they have access.  Besides, a clean cage is so fun to check out.  Aren't you done yet?!?

This cage cleaning I happened to have set the grids up with a triangle dead zone.  I had thought the hay rack would distract Boadi and Wedg from trying to get to the ramp.  Nope.  They wanted to be as close as possible and managed to squeeze themselves between a gap in the grids, and then get stuck in this little triangle of space.

They were very determined.  They'd stuff themselves into the small area then try to move the grids or chew them.  Too bad for them, they got nowhere until the cage was all clean and set up.  Silly pigs.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

I Like Thursday: Some Quality Time

Last week was hectic.  I'm looking forward to a few weeks with not quite so much scheduled, to try and focus on the stuff that's gotten swept to the side. 

I like that I'm starting on Mom's quilt.  Not far, but it's progress.  I'm only cutting a single row of pieces first, then sew these few pieces.  I want to confirm they look right before I start some serious cutting.  I'm glad I did!  I already found one miscalculation.  Sheesh!

Speaking of quilts - I like that I won a raffle prize at the Blogger's Quilt Festival this year.  Yes!  I totally did a happy dance.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Trial Separation

Guinea pigs are hard wired to drive out sick members from the herd.  In the wild that makes a lot of sense, especially if the illness is contagious.  With a caretaker it's not necessary, but it's hard to tell a guinea pig that.  Occasionally you'll find a guinea pig that will protect or care for a sick cagemate.  Wedgwood is not that pig.

I allowed Wedgie to oust Boadicea from hay or a the choice sleeping spot knowing there was more hay and cozies.  But when Wedgie harassed Boadi just for the sake of moving her along, I knew I needed to pull out the backup cage (amusingly called the pigeon cage).

I feared once separated, I'd never get them back together again.  Turned out not to be the case.  A day or two later, when I cleaned the main cage, I let them on the floor together.  They both returned to the clean cage and were happy. 

I've left the second cage set up, because it's only a matter of time before Wedg becomes a bully again.  For now, there's peace in this house.  I am content.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

I Like Thursday: Lots of Links

Yeah, I'm kind of cheating with this post.  It's been a crazy, busy week, with tons going on, so I'm going to post some of what I've already posted about.  But there was lots to like!

I like this shed/playhouse that was raffled at Windmill Weekend.  It somehow missed last week's post.  Isn't the squid neat?

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Songbirds - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Songbirds is my second entry to this year's Blogger's Quilt Festival.  This quilt was an insanely inspired weekend project.  I plotted and planned for a day or two, but the whole quilt was cut and stitched in slightly more than 24 hours.  Sometimes the creativity just takes over.  Whew.

This also happens to be my second quilt from Anna Maria Horner's feather quilt pattern.  I discovered the pattern goes together a lot easier when printed at 100%.  (Why is it so hard to PDFs at full size?)

My first feathers were based on macaw and African Grey feathers.  This pair was influenced by backyard songbirds:  cardinal and blue jay.  I had plenty of the reds and blues on hand.  I particularly liked the look of blue jay feathers when I googled for feathers.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

A Season of Change - Blogger's Quilt Festival

It's time for the Blogger's Quilt Festival!  It's an online quilt show with beautiful quilts from all over the world.  There's no categories nor voting this year, but we're still allowed to enter two quilts.  My first entry is A Season of Change.

This quilt came about from a small bag full of shiny metallic thread I had been given.  Each piece was no longer than 12 inches, most were only a few inches long.  Too pretty to throw away, but what was I going do with it?  I ended up making fabric from it.  Then I imaged a tree full of these stringy metallic leaves.  But as I started planning, I decided I wanted yellow, green and red leaves with just a few of these shiny leaves.

This tree kept evolving!  I cut the red, green and yellow, then decided there weren't enough leaves and that I needed more colors.  I added purple, peach, orange and different greens.  There's one or two blue ones, but many of my blue fabrics blended in with the background.  In a way, it's a ROYGBIV quilt in reverse (ORVIGY?).

Monday, September 18, 2017

Boston Fall Pignic 2017

The day of the pignic started foggy and cool.  But we trusted the weather forecast and headed out with Boadicea and Wedgwood.  Turned out to be a great day for a pignic.  A little humid, but comfortable. 

I had strongly considered leaving Boadi at home since she's not feeling well.  But she and Wedg had been traveling well, I thought an afternoon of fresh air and grass wouldn't do her any harm.  That little pig hit the ground eating; I think she enjoyed the day thoroughly.  Boadi would come over every time I approached the cage and I saw her flirting with other attendees. 

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Wedgwood's Fourth

According to Wedgwood's adoption paperwork, she turns four today.  She's officially a mature adult guinea pig.


I'm not sure any pig who regularly gets called "Pee-Face" can be classified as a grownup.

She's good and she's bad.  She's healthy and chubby.  She whines more often than she wheeks.  We love that pointy nose.  I can't say she's mellowed at all; however she has most definitely adapted to life in this household.  She uses everything in the cage, and even goes off exploring down to the floor via the ramp.  The only thing she avoids is the hammock - and I'm not sure why.  Wedgie has the unfortunate habit of thinking the last of any food belongs solely to her, and will bite Boadicea if she thinks Boadi's begging will result in Boadi getting treats before her.  As I said - I'd hardly label her as mature.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Kidney Issues

All the girls were at Chick Weekend
Boadicea has had a lot of ups and downs in the last two weeks.  Her health issues prompted me to bring her and Wedgwood to the Cape.  Thankfully, these two are much better travelers than Cannoli was.  So their unexpected addition to Chick Weekend was less stressful than my last attempt at including the sows.

The long drive down didn't slow them down.  Boadi and Wedg made themselves at home as soon as I had the travel cage set up.  They happily explored, just like any cage-cleaning day, then settled in to eat hay and pellets.  Wonderful!

So... Boadicea had not improved after the vet removed her stone.  In fact, her weight continued to go down and we returned to the vet over Labor Day weekend.  Not cool.  Teeth were fine.  Ultrasound showed nothing unusual.  Blood was drawn.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I Like Thursday: The Cape

I was down to Cape Cod for several days this week.  Alas, I am back to work today.  But there was lots to like while I was on vacation.

I liked this little library stand.  There were two of them in the area, less than a half mile from the beach.  What a perfect place to have these!  So many people read at the beach.  This one had a couple of my favorite YA books (The Hero and the Crown, The Dark is Rising).  There was an old Hardy Boys mystery, several little kids books, some romance novels, several thrillers (including The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and the classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  It even included The Book of Mormon.  Covered a lot of reading levels and tastes in a small container.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Cape Chick Weekend XI

Another Chick Weekend has come and gone.  So many good memories to keep us going until next year.

The weather was terrific - sunny and comfortable.  It was small group again this year, two gals arrived on Friday.  The afternoon was spent walking the beach and catching up.  We enjoyed company, wine and the sunset.  I love all the golds and browns of the beach in the evening (a contrast from all the blue and white of the day).

Monday, September 11, 2017

One Pot Meals - Alfredo and Florentine

Only one pan to clean after dinner

I bookmarked a few one-pot meals a while back and tried them out.  Two of them passed the initial test.  I made them again last week.  They're fast, easy and really quite tasty for a slap-together meal.

The first was a cheater Alfredo (which I don't have pictured - sorry if that's misleading).  I cooked up a half-batch both times I made it (because how often do I have over 6 cups of milk on hand?).  This dish will never be confused with real Alfredo - it's missing so much fat.  Still, not bad.  And easy.  And one pan.  I recommend giving it a try.  It's a good base - you could probably add anything to it.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Start of a Big Project

I went fabric shopping with my mother on Labor Day.  I came home with fabric for a twin-sized Celtic Solstice.  I'm excited to be attempting this pattern, although I'm a bit nervous to taking on a project of this size.  So many pieces!

I hope to start cutting in the next week or two.

We traded cookies and veggies, stuff I need to bring to the Cape and more fabric.  Like I need more fabric?!?

The beige pieces are border strips.  Actually, these all go together really well - I may have to figure out what I can make with them.  Like I need another unexpected project.  Ha!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I Like Thursday: Some Small Stuff

It's a small like this week.  I've been dealing with a lot of not-likes:  stressful work, sick guinea pig.  So I'm happy to have any likes!

I liked meeting up with my mother.  We met at Fabric Place Basement to pick fabric for a quilt I'll be making her.  I spotted this lovely brown batik.  Isn't it pretty?  I needed to bring it home with me.  Mom got it for me - thanks, Mom!

I also liked that we managed to swing $10 off the purchase, even though I had forgotten my coupon at home.  Yay!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Shirt with Borders

I need more fabric to do one last border on the shirt quilt to make it twin sized.  I finished assembling the inner and middle borders.  The black and white remained my favorite and I'm even happier with it in place.  Proves that it's worthwhile auditioning even questionable fabrics!

The middle border is a hodgepodge of the smaller scraps of shirts.  There's even a pocket sewn into it all.  Now that it's together, a larger inner border may have been better, or put the middle border as the outside border.  Too late for second guessing - it's together now.  Besides, I don't have enough pieces to expand the hodgepodge border to run along the outside.

I like it with all the blues and browns.  Rob keeps trying to convince me to keep it, but what am I going to do with another twin-sized quilt? 

So this will get put to the side, until I find outer border fabric.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Or in my case, this is Nearly Vegan Chocolate Zucchini Cake; I'm sure my chocolate chips aren't vegan.  Regardless, this cake is yummy.  The original says it serves six?  Hmmm... maybe.

I'm not sure how I stumbled across this recipe, but the photo must have caught my eye with it's rich, dark chocolate.  I looked through the ingredients and thought:  I have most of that on hand and it looked easy to make.

I don't have almond butter, but have had luck using almond meal as a replacement, so I did that again.  Although I didn't process it long enough to become true almond butter consistency, the cake was still moist and dense.  I may try skipping the food processor next time and add the almond meal like flour.  If you try that, tell me!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

I Like Thursday: Food Stuff

I like food.  It's good stuff.  And it seems to pop up a lot in this week's I Like Thursday.

I like cherry tomatoes.  I especially like these little gold ones; they're so sweet, it's almost like eating candy.  My sister gave me these when I met up with her on Sunday.  What a great surprise!

My sister also surprised me with a belated birthday gift (well - is it really belated when this is the first time we've seen each other since my birthday?).  I like Japanese rice bowls and have a few of them.  They're the perfect size for so many things (like ice cream!) and I love the blue.  My sister got this one because the dragon flies reminded her of when we kayak together (we did that on Sunday).  How cool is that?  I'll think of our kayaking trips whenever I use the bowl.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Well, That Wasn't Fun

Nobody wanted to be at the vet, especially Boadicea
Boadicea has continued to very slowly lose weight.  Then she took a plunge well under 900g last week.  I stuffed her with Critical Care, gave her some extra attention, and hoped it was like the other dips that she'd bounce back in a day or two.  When that didn't work, I called the vet.

Not the way I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon (especially since I had to navigate Gillette Stadium traffic on the way home).  It was a fruitful visit - this time there was definitely something wrong.  Poor Boadicea got manhandled, then x-rayed, then manhandled some more.  But we discovered a yeast infection and a small stone.  No wonder she was losing weight.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Not Quite There Yet

62 finished blocks vs 62 fabric bases
I have been working on a pile of string triangles over the last two years.  The majority of them are selvedges sewn to a fabric base.  I finished stitching up the last one a month or two ago.  Or so I thought.  A few days ago I grabbed the stack of them to make a throw quilt.  Not even close - I have about half of what I'd need.  Well, that's a bummer.

So I've cut another 62 triangle bases.  The good news is, I have a quart bag stuffed with selvedges just looking for a project.  At this rate I'll be ready to make the throw quilt in another two years.  Ha!

Thursday, August 24, 2017

I Like Thursday: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic

The word like doesn't work so well as the word enjoy for some of today's topics.  But I think they'll be fine for I Like Thursday.

I enjoy meditating, or at least I like the after effects.  I don't do it nearly as often as I should.  I am grateful whenever I get a chance and think afterward:  I need to do more of this!

I discovered last week that meditating on the back deck is good stuff.  I don't know what motivated me to try it.  Between the breeze and the birds, it's a great way to drop into the here-and-now.  The deck has been mosquito-free this summer (I like that, too!), which makes it possible to sit still and not be eaten.

I like my mala beads.  I'm one of those people who has a hard time settling and doing nothing, which is what meditation is all about.  Mala beads give my fingers something to do while the rest of me tries to let go.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Border Lines

The shirt fabric played nice once I cut the squares; everything looks relatively straight.  One of the easiest pieced quilt I've had.  Once I completed those last four blocks, everything just lined up - no easing or stretching to get corners to match.  Huzzah!  The back of it frays something awful and my living room was covered with dark threads.  That's the worst I have to say about this quilt.  The fabric is so soft and I'm pleased with the way it looks.

In order to make this a twin quilt, it needs a 9" border.  There's still a bunch of shirt pieces, but not enough to make any more disappearing 9-patch blocks.  So I randomly sewed what was left to incorporate this hodge-podge into the border.  I did something like that on my Key West quilt.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

The Dress Debacle

Enough time has passed that I can at least laugh at how much this smarts.

I got the dress finished to the point I could try it on.  First word I thought of was dowdy.  Then frumpy.  Then I showed Rob.  He said I looked like a substitute teacher.  The substitute!  And then, just so he could tweak my mother in the retelling of the tale, he said I looked like a children's librarian.

Yeah, I doubt my mom has ever dressed like this.

So.  The thoughts of finishing this two weeks ago went right out the window.  But it can't stay wadded up in a ball in the corner forever (although one or two people said it could).  Something needs to be done.

It looks worse on the hanger than it does on me.  It needs hemming, the sleeves done and top-stitching.  I am miffed that I picked a pattern that should have flattered my body shape, looked stylish and yet ended up like this.  I plan to bring it to my mother, assess it, and either fix it so I can wear it or finish it to give away.

A learning experience, that's for sure!

Some positive/fun things from this:  I recalled a lot of my training (Mom taught me to sew by making clothes).  I remembered how to read the pattern, what steps could be skipped if you pinned like crazy, how to mark with needle and thread.  I also discovered that the pattern tissue sounds exactly like crinkling plastic bags... at least to a pair of hungry guinea pigs.  I had lots of demands for food while I was working with the pattern pieces.

Once I figure out how to finish the dress, the next project will be to get rid of the scrap.  I think there's some more rope bowls in my near future!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

I Like Thursday: Fun and Family

Today's the day to share the things I like and link up with Not Afraid of Color's I Like Thursday

I like arranging quilt blocks.  As you can see, I don't have a design wall, I have a design floor.

Random blocks are never truly random and take a while to get them looking the way I want them to.  I initially tried to put the shirt blocks in some kind of color pattern, but hated it, so random it was.  (And I like how it came out!)

I like my sister.  (Yeah, that's such a complete understatement... but let's just go with that for now.)  She's creative.  She paints things.  Years ago, she painted the family Dodge Omni with geometric patterns.  I inherited the car soon after graduating college and enjoyed it's uniqueness.

She's recently gotten around to decorating her current car.  Looks like ginko leaves blown in the wind.  I like that, too.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sewing Shirts

This is the third charity quilt I've promised.  I've ripped apart five shirts, cut them all into squares and stitched them into a bunch of 9-patches.  If you look at the bottom row, you can see these blocks aren't exactly whole.  That's because I'm making disappearing 9-patch blocks, and when I ran out of fabric to cut 7" squares I cut 7x3.5" rectangles (or 3.5" squares) instead.

Turns out I had way more blocks than I needed for a throw quilt, but not enough to stretch it to a twin sized quilt.  Right now I'm in the process of scrapping together four more cut-apart blocks so that I can do a full 6x8 block layout.  There's a ton of smaller scrap, so the plan is to randomly piece that together, then see how much of a border it would make.  I'm thinking of filling the rest of the border with a cream fabric, or possibly sash the blocks.  Either would be enough to twin-size the whole shebang.

Not really the color scheme I go for, but this has been fun.  I'm liking how it looks, the fabric is so soft and I'm sure someone is going to love it.

Sharing with Linky Tuesday.

Monday, August 14, 2017

I'm Hiding

Poor Wedgwood.  She gets picked up every day, either because she's harassing Boadicea, or she's being whiny, or she's just too darned cute for her own good.  I put her up on my shoulder and go looking for Rob, so Wedgie can plead her case why she shouldn't have been picked up.  This time Rob had a camera.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Bacon Cheddar Whatever Quiche

We intermittently visit Seven Stars Bakery on Saturday mornings as part of our weekly grocery shopping routine.  I'm a sucker for their ginger biscuits; we both like the little mini quiches, too.

It kind of blends in with the counter top
They've recently swapped out the ham and cheddar quiche for bacon and potato.  Rob didn't find it as satisfying, and on Sunday morning he was hankering for bacon cheddar quiche.  Could I make one?

Sure, why not?

I've never made a quiche before.  I read through three or four recipes online for bacon-cheddar quiche and cobbled a recipe together.  As recipes go, it's kind of like pizza:  start with the crust and a base, then throw whatever you want in it.  I found some mushrooms in the fridge, so we added those, too.

It smelled delicious as it was baking.  Looked pretty when it came out of the oven, too.  And it was as tasty as it looked and smelled.  The recipe made about 5-6 servings.  I bet I could adjust it to make a couple of mini-quiches instead (although the leftovers reheated nicely).  I know I'll be asked to make this again!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

I Like Thursday: Mostly Mailboxes

It's Thursday!  Time to join Not Afraid of Color's I Like Thursday lineup.

When I rode my bike last week, I remembered to bring the camera.  Captured some of the fun stuff around that I've mentioned in previous posts.

I like the mailboxes.  These ones I pass regularly when I bike to the library or the farmer's market.  The house is my favorite - look at those dormer windows!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Who's Missing?

Nothing quite like walking by the guinea pigs' cage and finding only Wedgwood.  Wait, what?  The gate was closed, the cozies were empty.  There should have been two rodents.  Where's Boadicea?

That paper bag wasn't quite as empty as it looked at first glance.  There's a butt back there.

Friday, August 4, 2017

What a Day

I had quite a day earlier this week:  running around, some highs, some lows, a bit of stress, lots of love and success.  Oh, and it was my birthday.

I took the day off for myself, then spent the morning cleaning house.  Crazy, right?  Good thing I did that early, because the plumber came unexpectedly to put in a filter for the well water.  So no water for a hour or two.  But yay!  it will be much cleaner water!

I biked to the library at lunchtime.  They had a fundraiser in which people purchased flamingos to bring home and decorate.  They held a contest last Saturday to award the favorites.  Get a load of the creativity:  a rhinestone Elvis, some kind of plesiosaurus-looking creature, Harry Potter, a clown, and one covered in print that makes me think of a secretary bird. Maybe it's a Librarian Bird?

Aren't they fun?

Thursday, August 3, 2017

I Like Thursday: Veggies, Berries and Dopes

I like to visit the Farmer's Market during the summer.  We biked up there this Sunday.  So much to choose from!  I limited my selection to what I could eat this week and that would fit in my little string backpack.  I need to get a back rack for my bike so I can haul more home!

I bought the zucchini to make zucchini fritters for a Tea later that day.  I've made these fritters several times before; tasty, easy recipe.  Replacing the cornmeal with gluten free flour?  Does.  Not.  Work.  I tossed the first four fritters out when they failed to become anything other than lumps of wet dough (even after the edges burned).  I gave up on fritters, poured the rest of the batter into the pan all at once and attempted some kind of zucchini frittata instead.  Came out the consistency of pudding - tasted delicious.  It all disappeared.  What's there to like?  That it wasn't a total failure.  If I try gluten free again, I'd probably do better swapping with corn starch, or find gluten free cornmeal.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Careful Cutting

I spent a lot of Saturday measuring and cutting.

First - I finished my stacks of shirt blocks!  All 90 or so of them.  Some fabrics were easier to deal with than others, so I finished all the difficult shirts first.  I'm thinking about how I want to arrange the blocks as I moved to the next project:  the dress.

Oh, it's been years since I've made clothing.  I forgot how tedious it is to pin the pattern.  Then there's the cutting - I triple checked the pieces because if I cut one of the big pieces wrong, there's not enough fabric left to fix it!  I left it pinned on the floor for about an hour before I was ready to take the scissors to it.

The pattern has long sleeved and sleeveless options.  I want short sleeves.  I had just enough fabric to cut some sleeves.  I'll sew them together to see how they look - I suspect they're really short!

I dropped off the charity quilt tops on Thursday evening.  Yay!  I got a tour where the group meets on Mondays and a peek at their supplies.  They've got quite a setup, including fabric swapping with other charity groups all going to good causes.  Very cool.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fussy Plaid

Plaid shirt fabric is difficult to cut.  Well... it's difficult to cut squares that are aligned with the plaid.  I considered starching the fabric first, but that still requires squaring it before ironing with starch.  So I'm just slowly, carefully cutting squares.

I had hoped to have this quilt done by the time I dropped off the other two charity quilts.  Ha!  No chance of that.  I barely started cutting squares by Thursday.  Besides, I must switch gears next week to sew my dress, so this project keeps getting pushed out.  I plan to make disappearing nine patch blocks.  I'm excited to see what it will look like.

The five shirts are yielding more 7" squares than I had anticipated.  I will easily get a throw-sized quilt from this; maybe a twin?  That could be fun!  I'm also generating a ton of smaller scraps; more than I want to throw away.  I wonder what kind of crazy quilt design I could do with them.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Like Thursday: A Few Days Away

We spent a few days in Maine this week.  Most of my likes come from there.

Before we left my volunteer sunflower bloomed.  I doubt I'll harvest any usable seeds from it, but I like the cheerful, bright yellow flower.  I love that it looks the same several days later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Little Quiet

We headed north over the weekend; spent a few days at Thompson Lake in Maine.  Friends had rented a cabin and invited us to stay.  Sunday was beautiful sunny weather.  I'm glad I brought my suit - I splashed around in the shallows and swam out to the boat.  It's been ages since I've swum in a lake.  It was fun to paddle under the trees.  I had a curious fish nibble my toes.

Later in the afternoon I read.  This was my view from the hammock.

There was some traffic on the lake during the day.  The evening and the next morning it was so wonderfully still.  The light rain just added to the beauty.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Strawberry Treat Balls

My first attempt with the cardboard treat balls were met with mild interest.  Both pigs got bored quickly and failed to remove all of the treats.  I kept trying.  Lo and behold, strawberries did the trick.

Boadicea had the biggest learning curve.  She kept rolling the cardboard balls around expecting the treats to pop out, just like the egg-cersizer.  The strawberries were enough incentive enough to keep trying.  Her favorite move was to grab a flap and shake it up and down.  Wedgwood preferred to chew the flaps until she could reach in and pull out the strawberry top.

Hey - whatever works!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Like Thursday: Yard Art

There's some interesting yard art in the neighborhood.  I finally got a chance to photograph a few of my favorites.

I really like this saxophone playing ant.  He's gotta be five feet tall.  It's hard to tell in this photo, but he's smiling, too.  Happy, musical ant!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Zag and Weave

The idea was to make a few quilt tops for charity from the vintage fabric I brought home in March.  It took forever to get this project off the ground.  Then suddenly, I have two completed tops!

The first is this zig-zag diamond quilt (which is what I'm calling it, since I can't find a name for the image I copied).  I ended up using black for the setting triangles.  I wishy-washed so many times over the blocks and the color and the design and the setting triangles.  Now that it's done?  Love it.

I picked a strip pattern because the fabric had a few discolored spots - it was either in sunlight or had gotten wet while in storage.  So cutting it in strips seemed the best way to cut around the bad spots and hide the variegation in the solid colors.  The blocks went together really easily and all the points lined up without much work!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Getting Comfortable

Most guinea pigs excel at being loafy; Boadicea is a master of chill.  We caught her several times over the last two weeks.  This pig seriously knows how to veg.

First Rob caught Boadicea trying to bury herself under the hay.  This was probably her most unsuccessful attempt of getting comfortable.  The bundled hay didn't really allow her to hide under it, which I suspect was her end game.

But later attempts were far more successful.