Thursday, November 29, 2012

Solo Shots

Bertie and Pinniped survived our annual Christmas card photo shoot last Friday.  The holiday cards go out with a group photo, but every year we manage to get one or two nice single shots, too. 

Bertie was so well behaved during the initial set of photos.  She didn't like the tin at first, but changed her mind the second time we put her in.  She's patiently waiting for the fuss to be done and over with.  There will be extra treats, right?

We were unable to get a good solo photo of Pinni in the first series, unless you count a beautiful bum shot.  However, Pinni calmed down a bit when we put her on stage the second time and managed to pose nicely for the camera. 

It's so nice when they behave!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Christmas Photo Shoot

This year's set
Black Friday, for us, is a day of sleeping in, eating Thanksgiving leftovers, wrangling guinea pigs and taking lots of photos.

This year was easier than past years for a number of reasons.  There were only two pigs to herd and bribe.  What a different dynamic that is!  As an added bonus, using the grids to hold up the backdrop allowed me to work with the pigs and keep my hands out of many of the shots.  There was one drawback with that: Pinniped kept facing me for treats and we got a number of her bodacious butt.  Bertie wasn't feeling terrific, so she was fairly tractable.  It was mostly Pinni that I had to chase around when she wasn't in the tin.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Pumpkin-Chocolate Pie

I wanted to try a new recipe for Thanksgiving dessert.  I spent some time this week flipping through a number of bookmarked websites, drooling over the possibilities.  Then I came across a pie I had bookmarked over a year ago from Kriplau:  Pumpkin-Chocolate Pie.  Graham cracker crust followed by a chocolate cream cheese maple syrup layer, then topped with traditional pumpkin pie.  The ingredients certainly looked delicious.

Nothing like trying something new at a big family event.  I had feared that I had overcooked the pie, but it turned out great.  Everyone deemed it delicious.  I managed to bring only a single fat slice home.  The rest had disappeared.

That one slice of pie got a lot of attention.  I wanted a nice shot of the pie, but I also wanted to prepare for our annual guinea pig Christmas card shoot later in the day.   We took this chance to calibrate our cameras, check the lighting and try various settings.
And then, of course, that slice of pie met it's demise.  Alas, gone too soon.  Yum.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Storybook Characters

I have started work on this year's ornaments.  Well... maybe not physically working on them.  I have ideas of what I want to do, and I'm doing the research to see how feasible my ideas are.  As usual, I can't post too much about what I'm working on, since I don't want my recipients to know what they're getting.  So I figured I'd display some of my past ornaments.

I am struggling over what to make my nephew this year.  He is currently fixated with Mario Kart, but he got an ornament based on that last year, so it's time to move on to something else.

His Christmas ornaments are mostly based on storybook characters.  They dovetailed nicely with the set of fantasy characters I made for my sister.  I have been trying to stick with that goal, but I suspect I'll deviate from it more and more as he gets older.

It's quite a collection so far.  It started with the cat and the fiddle, and the cow jumping over the moon.  I stayed with nursery rhymes the following year and made the owl and the pussy cat in their pea-green boat.  It was a tricky ornament for such a simple concept.  I had a hard time balancing the boat.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Shoe Sacks

The Concord Scout House is having a benefit contra dance on the Saturday after Thanksgiving (less than a week away!).  They're no longer having the silent auction, but when I inquired about donating items, I was asked if I could make shoe bags.  Sure!  That seems to be my specialty.

It's been a year or two since I last made dance shoe bags.  I dug through my extra fabric the other night to see what was available.  I came across a chili pepper print I had bought specifically for shoe bags.  The musical mice fabric seemed appropriate.  I found a Christmas print that I have no memory of buying.  It made a pretty bag, although it's terribly seasonal.  Lastly, I found a western print leftover from another project.  There was just enough to make a small bag, but I'm sure someone will like it.  Quite a hodgepodge.

That makes six bags all stitched up and looking for new homes.  Come support the Concord Scout House!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tripp's Baby Quilt

I had pulled out several quilt pictures when looking for a submission for the Blogger's Quilt Festival last month.  It was tough to pick one!  I ended up submitting Summer Day, even though Pinwheels had been my initial choice.  I figure since I had already written the post, I might as well publish it!  So here it is:

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Ambling Along

We are on a fairly regular routine.  Bertie gets Baytril twice a day, in hopes that her failure to gain weight is some well entrenched bug.  She had gained some weight the last time she was on the stuff, but it doesn't seem to be having any effect this time around.  I need to call the vet with a progress report soon.  She won't be happy with my results.  There has been no improvement, and I suspect I've seen a hint of labored breathing.  I've been waiting for this, since Bertie's lungs have not looked good on several x-rays.

Bertie still hovers at about 740g.  She gets critical care once or twice a day (which is a fight), and still is getting jabbed every other day with 30cc of lactated ringers.  The subcues have become a permanent two-man job.  She at least doesn't cry all the time, but she is one pissed off rodent.  Bertie can't stand to be restrained, but she won't sit still, either.  So one person immobilizes her, and the other injects and tries distracting her with treats.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Stitching Strips

Finished rows
The iron is my friend.  I have been coaxing my uneven blocks to match up with the surrounding blocks.  Kind of frustrating, since I focused on sewing accurate 1/4" seams.  Oh, well.  I have about ten rows strung together and three rows all attached.  It's exciting to see it come together.

The pinning and stitching is time consuming.  Every row I work on requires ripping out one or two seams, in an attempt to get everything lined up.  I guess my seam ripper is my other friend.  It can be discouraging seeing all the points that don't match.  I have ripped out some seams, to pin and sew again, only to end up with the exact same problem that I was trying to fix!  If I can't fix a seam after two attempts, I figure it's meant to be as is.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Acorn Squash with Orzo

I got tons of winter squash from the CSA this year.  It's a lot of squash for one person to cook, mash and eat.  So I decided to be a little creative and try some new recipes.  I've been considering some pasta recipes;  a friend of mine just made a delicious butternut squash lasagna.  Then I came across a recipe in this month's Yoga Journal for orzo-stuffed squash.  It looked tasty and I had most of the ingredients on hand.

Do I ever follow directions?  My mother was over last weekend, and we joked about how I learned that from her.  I had two huge acorn squashes, so I used them instead of delicata.  I skipped the pomegranate seeds and forgot the parsley.  I also shredded the sage leaves small and didn't strain them out of the butter.  They smelled so wonderful, it seemed a shame to toss them.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Teach N Treat - Level 2

It was the fifth or sixth time trying the Teach 'N Treat on Level 1 that I saw Pinniped systematically moving the disk and checking the reservoirs for bits of tomato.  Finally - a recognition of cause and effect.  I moved the disk over a few of the pieces she uncovered, and she purposely shoved the disk far over to one corner, and started to check for uncovered tomatoes.  I did not see Bertie do the same, but if Pinni has figured it out, Bertie can't be far behind.

I figured it was time to try Level 2.  This level has four plugs that cover any four holes.  They need to picked up out or knocked over to get to the treat underneath.