Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween Candy Corn Bark

What was I thinking?

The food blogs I follow have recently posted Candy Corn Pretzel Bark and Candy Corn Cookie Bark.  Talk about sugar overload.  Have you looked at those links?  Doesn't it look tempting?  I kept telling myself not to do it.  But we went to the grocery store on Saturday.  I was just going to get candy corn, but then I thought:  I have some white chocolate at home; all I need is a few pretzels....

Thankfully, I only had 4 ounces of white chocolate in the house.  And I flat out refused to buy Halloween Oreos.  So I scaled back the first recipe and ran with that.  First mistake?  Following directions in trying to melt the white chocolate in the microwave.  That never works for me.  I pretty much seized it.  And I was a little generous with the candy corn and pretzels.  So my end result wasn't nearly as pretty as what their photos looked like.  But oh, yeah, it was yummy.  A total sugar rush.  I'm so glad that I buy candy corn only once a year.  One could die of an overdose with this stuff.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Apple Streamers

Whenever I make apple pie or something that involves peeling apples, I give the peels to the girls.  I try to make a game of it.  Since the peelings are long and thin, I can easily wrap them through the grids on the third level.  They dangle like streamers.  It's pretty funny watching the pigs trying to catch the ends to pull them down.  When they get too short to reach, sometimes they're smart enough to head upstairs and grab what's left. 

Bertie and Pinni managed to pull these apple peelings down pretty easily.  Normally they have to work at it for a while.  It can be like watching a kid bob for apples or try to hit a piƱata.  It's good to make those pigs work for their treats!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Building Blocks

I find myself spending more time pinning and ironing than sewing short seams like I had been over the summer.  I'm hoping to wrap up the last bits of individual blocks this weekend.  I've started to lay out the overall quilt.  Huzzah!

Next comes assembling the top of the quilt.  There were days this summer that I thought this day would never arrive.  The quilt languished most of September and October; it's a wonderful feeling to be making some noticeable progress.  I am curious what problems I'll run into as I start stringing all of these blocks together, but I'm excited to start, regardless.  It is great to see the quilt taking shape after being focused solely on the blocks for so long.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Summer Day - Blogger's Quilt Festival

A friend of mine has been trying to persuade me to enter a quilt in a show.  I'm not convinced my sewing is that good, and besides, all but my very first quilt have been given away, so I have nothing to submit.  Then I stumbled across Amy's Creative Side blog, which features a semi-annual virtual quilt show.  I was intrigued.  So, I'm taking the plunge.

Every quilt I've sewn is my favorite for some reason or another, so it was difficult to pick one to for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I've decided to go with Summer Day, which was a wedding present for friends of mine.  I'm not a prolific quilter, so even though this quilt was made over three years ago, I've only done two baby quilts since then.  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bertie in a Bowl

Although we mostly experimented on Pinniped with various containers, we didn't forget Bertie.  About the time that Pinni had had enough, we were trying a bowl shot that just wasn't working with her.  So out came Bertie for a bit of camera time.

This bowl has quite a pretty "ping" to it when it's hit, and I liked the sounds of Bertie's nails against it.  However, her nose demanded that I put a sound track on this video (you can still here the ping, if you listen for it).

I would have loved to have a longer clip, but Bertie was more interested in eating her apple peel than nosing about for more.  Starlets and diva sows - you work with what they give you, on their terms!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

At Home with Bertie

We're on vacation this week, at home.  Bertie is still getting regular subcues and I didn't want to saddle a pigsitter with that thankless task. 

At least we knew this well in advance and planned accordingly.  I didn't have to deal with what many guinea pigs are experts at:  acting like they might be ill at the worst possible time.  All of the pigs I've had have mastered this trick.  Since guinea pigs excel at hiding illness until they're really and truly sick, it's not a good thing to wait a day or three to get them to the vet.  I've had pigs suddenly be ill days before I'll be out of town or just after the vet closes, so I can't even call to consult.  My favorite?  Willow showed all the symptoms of a URI on New Year's Eve, after the vet and most pharmacies were closed.  Luckily, I have a good relationship with the vet on call, and she had me pick up a prescription at a 24-hour pharmacy two towns away.  Yeah, that was a fun way to spend the evening, on icy roads to boot.

So when I came across this cartoon, I couldn't help but smile.  It's all true!  Obviously the artist is a seasoned guinea pig slave who has piggies as badly behaved as mine.  Look at that sweet innocent face.  Don't be fooled!  It's the pigs you love most that are the worst delinquents at playing The Sickness Game. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Pinniped in Pyrex

After shooting Still Life, we were curious what other containers Pinniped could fit into.  I plopped her into a Pyrex measuring bowl, in part to determine how much volume Pinni takes up.  As you can see, Pinni is well over four cups of pig.

Then we kept her entertained with bits of treats.  Her handling of a slice of tomato was... well... gross.  Really, Pinni, you can do better than that.  So sloppy.  Look how far she flings those juicy tomato seeds!  On the other hand, look at that little tongue go!  And her nose is all over the place.  That pig is never still.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Fighting Points

Jewel blocks nearing completion
I swear that something must have shifted slightly between sewing together my test block and cutting/stitching all the rest of the pieces to this quilt.  I had done lots of pinning over Chick Weekend, and recently started stitching up what I had pinned.  After the first dozen seams, I stopped to inspect my work.  The good news is, I'm terribly consistent.  The bad news?  I'm consistently off by at least 1/8".  Which means none of the points were lining up like I wanted.  I spent an evening ripping out seams and repinning the blocks.  (And then spent another evening ripping out seams on at least another 50 blocks, as I discovered I had sewn the wrong colors into the block.)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Still Life

Are you going to feed me?
Pinniped was being bad the other day, unduly picking on Bertie while she tried to sleep or eat.  I know, it's hard to believe, but it's true.  Pair that fact with a recent viewing of baby guinea pigs in espresso cups, and two thoughts came to mind:
  1. Was Pinni ever small enough, even as a baby, to fit into a cup that size?
  2. Do I have anything in the house big enough to shoot a cute photo of that with Pinni?
I quickly realized that not a single mug in the house was large enough to handle Pinni's ample figure (and we have some pretty big mugs).  I pulled apart my kitchen cupboards, but everything was too small or way too big for what I envisioned.  Then I walked into the living room and came upon a large, beautiful tapered crystal vase.  I could see the bottom of it was wider than Pinni's hips, so I knew she'd be snug, but not uncomfortably constricted in it. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Apple Breakfast Casserole

More often than not, my turn for Breakfast Club ends up on the same day as making home-made ice cream at work.  It makes for quite the juggling act in the morning, balancing breakfast and lugging a four quart ice cream maker up a flight of stairs.

This time if year I often make apple crisp for Breakfast Club (and when I'm really decadent, I bring ice cram to top it off, too).  Breakfast of champions!  Since we were doing sundaes in the afternoon, I wanted to bring a savory breakfast.  I always enjoy the egg and casserole dishes that others bring in for Friday morning, but so far I had not attempted one myself.  I had already bought the apples, so I googled for an apple breakfast recipes and cobbled together one based on a few different things I read.  It read similar to an Apple Sausage Pie I sometimes make for dinner, so I figured it would work.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Teach N Treat - Level 1

I broke out the Teach 'N Treat this weekend to see how well Pinniped and Bertie would do with it.  This puzzle is intended for guinea pigs, rabbits and other small animals.  It has eight depressions to put bits of food in, and three different levels of complexity to get to the prize.

I set it up for the easiest level.  The goal is to move a large disk away to expose the treats.  They managed to pull out the first two tomatoes within seconds.  I was shocked that Pinniped accomplished this so quickly (it took her several tries to work the egg-cersizer).  But it was obvious that neither pig had a clue how the tomatoes suddenly became available.  Bertie kept testing if she could bite through the plastic, and tried to pick up the disk.  At one point, she successfully shoved away the disk, but was so focused on it that she missed the fact she had uncovered two tomatoes.  Then Pinni attempted to steal what was left of Bertie's tomato, completely oblivious of the one in the hole she was standing over.  Silly pigs.