Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Cage Match

We made a trip to the Animal Rescue League in Boston on Boxing Day.  I spent an hour cooped in a kennel with Cannoli and a new pig.  The initial meeting went well.  There was sniffing and pig trains.  There was wheeking and burbling.  About 40 minutes into the meet the newbie started acting a little more curious towards Cannoli; Noli got nervous and started wheeking at the top of her lungs.  She attracted every volunteer at the shelter.  Newbie still wasn't doing anything overtly aggressive, so I was a little surprised.  In fact, she was several inches away from Noli when she started wheeking.

Newbie spent some time checking me out, too.  She was totally charming.  I couldn't resist.  We took her home.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Remembering Bertie and Pinniped

I adopted Bertie and Pinniped (named Sweetie and Midnight) on a cold January evening in  2010.  We had lost Pippin a few weeks before, and I had been on the lookout for a pair of young sows to keep Willow company.  Willow had been very lonely.  Bertie and Pinni had been part of a large seizure of guinea pigs on the Cape and had been in foster care until they had weened their nine pups.  The two of them had been up for adoption only a few days before I took them home with me.

We debated about what to rename Sweetie for several days.  I liked Godiva or Guilian, because her colors made me think of chocolate.  But her blue eyes and dapper, dopey personality made us think of Bertram Wooster.  So we ended up calling her Bertie.

Bertie was one of the most stubborn, opinionated pigs I've ever had.  She liked things her way and took no arguments.  So much attitude in such a small little package.  It was at odds with the cute, timid demeanor she had about her.  Bertie was fairly easygoing about life and yet would stand up to Pinniped if she started to push Bertie around.  She maintained this attitude right to her very last breath.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Flying Solo

Noli has barricaded herself into her favorite cozy
Cannoli has had a hard time adjusting to living as a solo pig.  Physically she's well:  she wheeks for her breakfast and is often on the second level to beg for treats.  She's eating her pellets and hay.  But Noli spends much of time hiding in her cozies.  She's taken to snipping seams again.  I think she's suffering a mix of boredom and depression.

The first several days were the hardest.  She was scared of everything.  I gave her extra attention so she wasn't so alone; but then I leave her be so not to panic her as much.  I put the Teach 'N Treat in her cage to give her something to do other than rip apart her cuddle cup.  I'd give her more floor time, but she doesn't explore without a buddy.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Improv Herringbone Block

I'm getting the hang of these herringbone strips.  I finally finished my first block; only three more to go.  It's time consuming, even doing two strips at a time.  But I do like the way it looks.

I think green will be next.  Then maybe two more colors?  Or just stick with green and blue?  Now that the block is done, I realize this would have looked nice just by itself.  I could have made the pillow from one huge block.  Hmmm... that could be another project for my backlog.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Prisoner of Azkaban

My sister told me earlier this year that my nephew had started to read Harry Potter.  The most recent book he had completed was the Prisoner of Azkaban.  So she asked me to make a Harry Potter themed ornament for this Christmas.

Ooh.  So many things I could choose from!  But it was tough to pick something that would be instantly recognizable as Harry Potter, without picking something that was straight out of the movies.  I didn't want to make Harry himself; I didn't want the house emblems.  However, so much of the stuff from the books are classic fantasy characters.

I borrowed the book from the library.  I had forgotten so many of the nifty stuff introduced in this book!  I picked the few that could fit all together:  the Monster Book of Monsters (including Harry's belt to keep it closed), the Marauder's Map, a tea cup from divination class.  Then I added some of what shows up in all of the book:  Hedwig, a golden snitch and a wand.  I had to work a bit to combine all the pieces together.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Squares and Herringbone

I finished the first of three pillow covers I wanted to make for myself.  My other throw pillows are in desperate need of an update.  I've had the patterns picked out for months and now this is back on top of my projects list.

I don't recall how I stumbled across this first pattern (scroll down a bit).  I'm guessing I found it googling scrappy blocks.  Regardless, I bookmarked to use for one of my pillows.  My blocks are 5" finished, without the white sashing.  I used up some of my string stash.  There's more piecing than it looks, but once I figured out the order to do things, it came together really quickly.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pinniped: The Schnoz

Pinniped of the non-stop nose, proud owner of the double-wide, has left us.

Sunday night she was clearly unhappy and hid herself as much as possible.  Monday morning she wobbled to the lettuce but wouldn't eat.  I wrapped her up in a cozy and we sat quietly together all morning.  At lunchtime I carefully placed her in the cage, still snuggled in the cozy, making sure she was comfortable.  I grabbed a bite to eat, checked on her a few times, and she was gone. 

The mass in her bladder was often uncomfortable in the last few weeks, but she continued to be her nosy self, cruising around during floor time and being front-and-center (and wheeking) for all mealtimes.  Pinni was a little trouper through it all.  She took her meds without a fuss and couldn't wait to slurp down the lactated ringers.  She bore up through multiple rump-dunkings (giving Rob the how could you do this to me looks and voicing her displeasure).  She accepted her wedge of melon rind reward with enthusiasm.  And never once, with all of the manhandling at the vet and at home, tried to bite anyone.  Damn.  What a good girl.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Cloth Boxes and Bowl Cozies

I made my first bowl cozies in March and thought they'd make nice Christmas gifts.  I had planned on making a bunch of them this summer.  Ha!  It's mid-December and I've only just started to make more.  I know at least one friend who started making some of these cozies herself, so I needed to switch gears and make something else as well.

Over the summer I found a tutorial on fabric boxes.  I made a couple of them last week.  They're cute!  I'm keeping the black and green leafy one for my sewing knickknacks that are always collecting around my sewing machine.  I think they'll make great gifts.  I hope my friends like them!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Holiday Cookies

Two days after Thanksgiving and twenty-four hours after herding guinea pigs, I spent the afternoon making cookies and toffee.  It's a two intense days of wrangling, editing and baking.  There are years I question my sanity.  The answer hits me a few days later.  I love to see people's faces light up seeing the goody bag or hear their laughter over those goofy cards.

My almond butter crunch has been part of my Christmas tradition for many, many years.  Cookie were a later addition.  A few years ago I started making Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies and Buckeye Cookies.  Both are big hits.  This year I added another cookie to the mix, called White Chocolate Molasses Cookies.  They appear to be the new favorite.  I'm sure Rob would be happy to polish off all the leftovers.  I used Ghirardelli's white melting wafers for the dipping.  Yeah, it's not really white chocolate; but it was quick and easy to use, and had the perfect consistency for dipping cookies.  This recipe is a keeper.  They're easy to make, look wonderful and are delicious!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Earring Giveaway

I've been tinkering with earrings and made two pairs of lopsided earrings with one stud and one hook.  The first pair is a guinea pig with veggies (carrots, lettuce and a tomato), the second pair has a bunny with carrots.  I am giving these earrings away to two lucky readers.  The bunny is about 1" tall and the carrots are about 1 1/4" (not including the hook).  Little piggy is 7/8" tall and the veggies are about 1/2".

Since there are two pairs of earrings, you have two chances to win!  To enter:  leave a comment here (be sure you are not a no-reply blogger, or include your email address in the comment) or on the CavyMadness Facebook page.  Indicate if you'd like bunny or piggy or no preference.  I will choose at random one winner from the blog, the other from Facebook.  Commenting in both places increases your chance to win.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Holiday Single Shots 2014

My Christmas cards feature both pigs, but inevitably I find a couple of good single shots.  This year's photos were no exception.

I love this photo of Cannoli stuffed in the sleigh.  It certainly captures her dopiness.  She's such a fat, wuzzy pig.

Pinniped can be hard to photograph; the camera doesn't like to focus on all her black fur.  So I'm always happy when I can get a clear photo of her that isn't just a black blob.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Two More Pies

Cranberry Mince Tart
I made the last two recipes I wanted to try from A Year of Pies.  Good stuff.  I made Mushroom and Chevre Galette last week (sorry - no photo).  It was delicious.  I think, though, I like the squash galette better.  It certainly took less prep time.  I admit - sometimes I'm a lazy cook!

The last pie was the Cranberry Mince Tart that I made for Thanksgiving.  The recipes is for an 11" tart and all I have is a 9" tin.  I had lots of leftover filling (that made two mini-pies).  It was a beautiful looking tart.  So colorful!  It's flavorful (although not overly sweet) and really dense.  This tart could feed an army.  I made the orange whipped cream, which was delicious.  Ice cream works well with it, too.

You can find the Mushroom and Chevre Galette recipe here (about halfway down the page).  And the Cranberry Mince Tart recipe is here.  Both of them are really good!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Christmas Photo Shoot 2014

Black Friday!  Round up the pigs, bribe them so we can take hundreds of photos, then I spend the afternoon picking the best ones to make Christmas cards.  Not a bad way to spend the day.

Pinniped wasn't too happy about the whole thing.  She vented her displeasure at eating the scenery whenever it was within reach.  No, no!  Cannoli, of course, hates being photographed and froze still like a lump for most of the shots.  Sitting still isn't so bad, but many shots were unusable because she looked scared out of her wits.  There were several shots of stink-eye from both pigs.  On the other hand, I didn't spend much time chasing after pigs like I have in past years.

The second sitting went better.  Noli relaxed and Pinni hammed.  Pinni was somewhat snug in the sleigh, so I was amazed that Noli could fit at all.  But both seemed happier with the switch.  We shot most of the second series with Noli in the sleigh.  I've picked my three favorite photos; time to start writing cards.

Friday, November 28, 2014


I had big plans when I bought earring supplies.  I needed studs for the guinea pig earrings, but I also bought silver and gold tone French hooks.  My old Sculpey book has instructions for dangly flower earrings.  I've been dying to make these for years and now I finally had the time and materials.  Now was my chance to make them.

It ended in total disappointment.  The directions were terrible.  I had no problems with other projects I pulled from this book.  Then again, I usually just glance through the instructions and go with what feels right.  The fuchsia earrings were a different style than what I normally did, so I followed the instructions step by step.  What I ended up with didn't look at all like the photos.  Clearly whoever made earrings in the photograph didn't write the instructions.  Bah!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A Grand Day Out

Sunday was cage cleaning day.  We spent some time hanging out with Pinniped and Cannoli during their floor time.  It was great seeing Pinni tool around the floor.  Pinni may not be feeling her best, but it's not stopping her from puttering around.  She spent some time playing with the egg-cersizer and exploring the cozies and hay tube.

I was a mean mommy and loosed Cannoli in the middle of the kitchen.  She didn't freeze solid like last time but took only a few steps before loafing.  When Rob walked away get his camera, Noli was torn between heading to where he had been standing, or following him across the floor.  Oh!  These big decisions are so taxing!  I took pity on her and placed her by the side of the island, at which point she recognized how to get to home base and took off.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


Pinni hung out with me as I work, so I could watch how she's doing.
There's a reason why my guinea pig posts have been few and far between.  Pinniped hasn't been well, in spite of the extra care and medication she's getting.

We were at the vet early last week.  X-rays were taken and we all expected to find a bladder full of stones or that she was trying to pass a stone.  Imagine our surprise - not a single stone in Pinni's bladder.  The odd calcification near her spine had split in half and the x-ray clearly indicated the pieces were less dense than they had been months ago.  Proof that the hydrochlorothiazide is slowly working.  Not only has it prevented new stones, it's dissolving the old one.

They gooped up Pinni's tummy for an ultrasound and found a mass in the middle of her bladder.  It looked to me like the peak of a mountain.  The vet was very concerned about the fluid all around Pinni's organs, too.  Her diagnosis:  cancer.  Well, crap.  We're finally successfully battling the stones only to be hamstrung by a bladder tumor.  So unfair.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bits of Love

The last of my scrappy dress quilts goes to my aunt who had made the dresses.  I finally ran out of usable material, so the binding and hanging sleeve are from my stash (what a match!).  When I first planned to do a fourth quilt, I figured there'd only be enough fabric to complete the top.  Surprise!  Once I finished the top, I managed to piece together a back with what was left. 

As expected, the remaining pieces of fabric got smaller (except for some chunks of green).  So this quilt mostly has 1.5" squares.  In addition, at 20" square, the finished size is about 4" smaller than the other three wall hangings. 

This quilt included all of the trimmings from the dresses, the lace and the buttons.  I tried to work these into the previous quilts, but they just didn't fit.  It's very satisfying to have used every bit from the dresses.  I even added one of the original labels onto the hanging sleeve.  Because of the hearts and the hodge-podge of trim, I named it Bits of Love.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Squash, Sage and Cheddar Galette

So far, every recipe I've made from A Year of Pies has been delicious.  I would highly recommend getting a copy.  Even though I've made this galette twice, I have yet to get a good photo of it.  By the time it sets so I can take a nice slice photo, it's eaten.  This photo was taken in haste before I packed it up for a get-together.  Maybe next time I'll leave more time for photographs and fend people off.  Right.

It slices beautifully, is yummy either pipping hot or cool.  It works great as an appetizer and I've served it at dinner.  It's dense enough that a narrow wedge can be treated like finger food.  Even Rob ate it - and he won't touch squash.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Hand Me Downs

I mentioned in Something Old, Something New that I had a lot of material from my cousin's childhood dresses.  I wanted to use it all.  So when I finished the pair of wall hangings, I decided to make two more quilts:  one for my cousin's mother and the other for my aunt who had sewn the dresses.

I normally start with a pattern then get the material.  These quilts were the opposite.  I browsed through tons of scrappy quilt photos and picked whatever inspired me with the dress material.  My first choice for this quilt didn't feel right (I hated it!) and I scrapped it after a test block.  I'm keeping it for quilting practice (I'm sure someone will love it).

Thank goodness my next attempt was more successful.  I looked for a pattern that would use smaller pieces than the wedding quilts.  I found a simple black-and-white sketch (which I can't find now no matter how much I google!) of a tiled block.  I adapted it so that all of the pieces were no larger than 2" wide and 2 to 4" long.  I even added some of the dreaded velvet, without as much swearing and seam ripping.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Something Old, Something New

Something Old, Something New
I desperately wanted to share these quilts in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  The big plan was to share something new I hadn't posted before!  But my sewing machine put the kibosh on that idea.  Still - I get to share now.  I'm so excited!

I wanted to make a quilt as a wedding present for my cousin and her husband.  I contacted my aunt for ideas and she offered some sentimental material to incorporate into a quilt.  I expected a scrap or two.  Imagine my surprise when a box arrived with three hand-made kid's dresses and about 1/3 yard of fabric.  The dresses had been my cousin's when she a little kid.  Another aunt had made the dresses (have I mentioned I have a lot of aunts?).  I felt guilty taking the seam ripper to them, although it gave me a good look at the workmanship.  These dresses were beautifully made.

So much material!  I had enough donated material to complete the pair quilts and still had enough left over to create two additional wall hangings.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Fully Fleeced - A Year Later

All fleece, all the time (with extra layers under the hay rack)
I bought the bulk of my fleece about a year ago and switched to a fully fleeced cage.  So far, it's worked out pretty well.  I have to go to the laundromat to wash the fleece because our washing machine can't get it clean.  That's an unexpected expense and a bit of a drag.  On the other hand, the fleece lasted really well between cleanings in cooler weather - even better than shavings.  It required more frequent changing in the summer, about the same as shavings.  Not surprising.  There were some issues with lingering piggy smell in the fleece towards the end of the summer, until I changed my combination of detergent, vinegar and oxiclean.

I love the multi-colored fleece, especially ones that are brown, black or dark blue, because they hide the poo so well.  Keeping the cage dry was a bit of a challenge with a really leaky rodent.  I learned to keep an extra layer of fleece or a cuddle cup under the hay, since that got soaked so quickly.  Some areas of the cage need an extra layer of towels underneath the fleece.

Monday, November 10, 2014


Coolness!  I've been following the Canuck Quilter's Snowalong since it started the end of September.  I had planned to start participating in October, but it wasn't to be.  I promised myself I'd do at least one of snowflake before the Snowalong ended.  So, on the last day of the week of the last released pattern, I finally managed to make a snowflake.  Look!

This is my first paper piecing project.  I bought freezer paper just for the snowflakes (although I've already used it to print labels).  For this project, I printed the pattern right on the freezer paper.  It worked pretty well, until my printer ate the third page.  The paper went in, and never came out.  It took several minutes before I figured out how it was wound around some inner feeds.  I extracted the page in several more minutes, printed my last page, cut the pieces and piled up my fabric.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Grindstones and Millstones

October was a slow month for blog posts.  But it wasn't a slow month for me.  There was lots of sewing in-between bringing my sewing machine back to the shop.  I'll have four quilts to write about in the next few weeks.

I attended a Tea and a quilt show.  Put up more bird feeders.  Let the pigs have their last romps outside before the weather turned cold (and the grass got too brown).  Made more earrings and tried new recipes (piggy pudding and squash-sage-cheddar galette).  I dressed up and went dancing for Halloween.  There were so many wonderful costumes.  I wish I had more photos.  My little camera doesn't do well in low light.

Friday, October 24, 2014

String Pillow - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I am submitting my recently finished Scrappy String Pillow for this fall's Blogger's Quilt Festival in the Mini Quilt category.

I have several throw pillows that are old and worn, and that I've intended to replace for a year or two.  I made the first replacement this summer.  I had collected several neat patterns I wanted to try (I know at least one of them came from prior Blogger's Quilt Festival entries).  This pillow was a chance to try two of them.

The first side is a string web pattern.  I had a lot of blue scrap to burn through - so that is the primary color for this quilt.  I recently bought a new freemotion foot for my sewing machine, and have taken the plunge for freemotion quilting.  I just stipple quilted the white, but am so pleased with how it turned out.

Monday, October 20, 2014


When I was in the basement digging out the pignic equipment, I came across a cornucopia.  I bought it a few years ago for a Fall photo with Willow, Bertie and Pinniped.  I thought it might be nice to dust it off and use it again.

I was amazed that Cannoli fit into the cornucopia as well as she did.  What a loaf.  

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


I was so close to finishing the quilting on my wall hanging, when my sewing machine suddenly locked up.  I manually eased it forward, pulled out the quilt, removed the walking foot and needle, and gently pushed the pedal.  Lots of rattling; occasional sticking.  Everything looked fine from the top, but when I removed the bottom panel, a small pile of black shards fell to the floor.  Closer inspection revealed a stripped gear - the black shards had once been the gear's teeth.  I was surprised the feed dogs had been moving at all.

Just look at that toothless wonder

Well, at least it's no secret what's wrong (to my chagrin and gnashing of my teeth).  The repair guy isn't going to have to search for the problem.  Google tells me the part is inexpensive - so the big unknown is how hard it will be to install.  Fingers crossed!  In the meantime, four quilts are on hold.  I'm dying to show off my latest work and had planned to submit it to the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  I was sprinting to the finish and now have no choice but to sit back and be patient.  Humph.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Quietly Quilting

I've started sewing a series of quilts that have been in the planning stages for months.  I can't show much until they're finished and gifted, but I'm sharing what I can.  I am so excited to finally see them come together.

The material is three different weights and it's been a challenge sewing them.  Usually all my fabric is the same weight and weave.  These quilts have some normal quilting cotton, a very light cotton and lastly, a lightweight velvet.  The lightweight cotton doesn't keep it's shape; the velvet's nap is killing me.  It crawls all over, even when using a walking foot.  I hand basted several pieces together in an effort to have my pieces stay put.  Ack!

I considered abandoning the velvet (twice), but it looks so good in the overall design.  So I said bad words and ripped seams nearly as fast as I stitched the pieces together.  It's all together and looks wonderful.  The first two are sandwiched, the third is pieced and the last one is starting to come together.  It's like reading a good book:  I just can't get through it fast enough, there's not enough hours in the day!  I love it when I'm inspired.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Piggy Picture Mug

One of my favorite tea mugs got a big chip on the rim.  Sadness.  I had checked out a few guinea pig mugs online to replace it, but hadn't found one I liked.  Then, a couple of weeks ago tinyprints offered a terrific deal on mugs (free small mug or $4 big one).  I decided to design my own.

It arrived late last week.  Isn't it cute?  I'm really pleased with the color and quality.  I wanted to stuff photos of all of my guinea pigs on it, but there wasn't enough room.  So I opted for the best pictures of my most recent sows.  

Ah.  Tea and pigs.  It makes me smile.  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Marimekko Cozy Giveaway

I recently received a pair of cozy sacks from CavyMadness.  Pinniped and Cannoli already have a large supply, so I thought I would share these with my readers.  Just in time for the cooler weather.

I am giving away a pair of CavyMadness Marimekko print cozies.  These are wider than most of my cozies - 12.5" and 13.5" wide, and each is 12" deep.  So if your pigs are willing to share, there's room for two.  Since there are two cozies, there's two chances to win!

To enter:  leave a comment here (be sure you are not a no-reply blogger, or include your email address in the comment) or on the CavyMadness Facebook page.  Indicate which of your pigs would love these cozies, and if they would prefer the striped or polka-dot cozy (or no preference).  I will be pulling one winner from the blog, the other from Facebook - so comment in both places and increase your chances to win.  This drawing closes on Friday, October 10th at 12pm EDT.  Congrats to Jack, Little Pig and Truffle - the winners of the two cozies!

I have had difficulty contacting winners on Facebook.  Please leave your email in the comments or check back after 12pm on October 10th - I will reply to the winner's comments.  If I cannot successfully contact the winner within 24 hours, I will randomly draw another name.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Scrappy String Pillow

Yay!  Finally it's done.  I hope the next pillow I make goes a lot quicker than this one.  I simply stitched the edges together, without cord or other trim.  I wasn't sure how the two patterns would look when it was all put together.  The edges match up nicely, though.  The points on the front and the back lined up and the colors all went together.

It's like having two pillows in one.  It certainly brightens up my sofa!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Freemotion Practice

Look!  Look!  Many mistakes and a few puckers later, I've successfully freemotion quilted my pillow tops.  I practiced several different patterns on the first one, which was the roughest.  I've never tried anything but stippling before.  The shadowed lines weren't too bad.  Pebbles were a lot harder than the video I watched.  I'm not thrilled with them, but they actually don't look bad.  Stitching on patterned fabric with a similar colored thread was hard to see.  I learned so much!  The back looked really cool (but I forgot to take a photo of it).

It was much easier to stitch the white on white on the second piece - I could see what I was sewing.  I'm really happy with the whole effect on this side of the pillow.  I was much more comfortable with the quilting; the stitching was even and I didn't pull the bobbin thread too tight.  I felt like a little kid that successfully colored inside the lines.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Sneaky Probiotics

Banana-and-Probiotic Sandwich
Giving medications to a guinea pig can be difficult, especially if they're pills or powders.  It's been a while since I've tried to give Pinniped powdered probiotic and I had forgotten how I normally gave it to her.  I tried sprinkling it on some green pepper.  That was a mistake!  She ate around the edges and kept pawing at it, clearly unhappy with it.  I'm sure she'd have made faces if she could.  I eventually washed off the probiotic, and she wolfed down what was left of the pepper.

Rob reminded me that I usually hid the probiotic in a bit of banana.  Banana should only be fed sparingly to guinea pigs, but it is a wonderful medium for hiding pills and powders.  It worked great for Willow's shilintong... until she realized that banana shouldn't be crunchy.  She was very deft at eating all the banana and spitting out the shilintong.  Bad pig!

However, Pinni isn't so discerning.  Probiotic powder wedged between two thin slices of banana quickly disappears.  I'm not sure if the banana flavor overwhelms the probiotic, or if it's because she eats it too quickly to notice.  Doesn't matter - it works for me!

Monday, September 22, 2014


Silly me - I waited until my sewing machine was back from the shop before I started work on my sculpey projects.  I feel like I'm behind on everything.  So, instead of switching back to quilting, I've found myself making more earrings.

I made some sets of ginger piggies.  To give them their typical floppy ears, I attach them inside-out and straight-up.  Usually I'm so intent on the work, I don't stop and look at the progress.  But I did with this one and it made me laugh.  Doesn't he look ridiculous?!  Or maybe he's excited.  Ooh!  Veggies!

I had hoped to test drive the sewing machine this weekend - but was distracted by Coastal Cleanup (my sister and I picked up close to 10 lbs of trash in two hours) on Saturday, and sidetracked by the Patriots game on Sunday.  Hmmm... maybe I'll find some time during the week?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

They're Back!

I put up the small window feeders this week.  The birds must have been watching and waiting.  Chickadees, titmice and woodpeckers arrived within a day.  Huzzah!  Such a difference from last year.  It makes me so happy to see them return.

And goodness!  this is my 500th post.  I started this blog to share guinea pig goofiness and whatever projects I was working on.  I hope it has entertained you, at least a little.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy 2nd Birthday, Cannoli

Cannoli has become such a round little rodent over the last year.  Just look at how she fills that basket!  She occasionally tries to throw her weight at Pinniped, but Pinni still rules the roost.  Noli doesn't have a problem with that.  She loves being near Pinni; they are so very compatible together.  We discovered earlier this year how bonded they were when I separated Pinni to go to the vet.  We returned with an unhappy Pinni to a freaked out Cannoli.

Cannoli learned to be a good traveler in the last year.  Such a difference from our move, when she and Pinni bickered throughout the 30 minute trip.  She has accompanied Pinni on multiple vet visits as well as trips to the Cape and pignics.  The lack of fussing makes a less stressful trip for everyone.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Boston Fall Pignic 2014

The morning of the pignic dawned beautifully sunny, but rather chilly.  The forecast had been for a clear day with a high of 70F, but as we packed the car, the temperature was hovering around 50F.  I had warned people to prepare for the cool weather, but I still worried.

It was still very cool when we arrived, but the sunny spots in the grass were wonderful.  I wandered around in bare feet to make sure the pigs would be comfortable on the ground.  I just wanted to lay down in a sunny spot and nap - so I figured we were good to go.  It never got above 66F in the shade, but the breeze died down in the afternoon, and people brought plenty of cozies and houses to share. It turned out to be a good day for a pignic.

We had a good showing.  People arrived early, despite the cool weather.  We had nearly 60 people and close to 50 guinea pigs.  The guinea pigs spent the afternoon chasing each other and eating grass.  The boars got rather rowdy, and a few ended up in the time-out pens.  Most pigs, though, interacted peacefully and many seemed happy to spend the afternoon with other piggy friends.

Clockwise from upper left: Pignic in full swing; Pigachu; disapproving guinea pig (being with Mom was better than participating in the contest); goofy rodent being inspected; gray guinea pig that completely filled the weigh-in bowl; a boar that was bigger than the tissue box (he broke it!); peeking boar - do you see me?

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cape Chick Weekend VIII

Plenty of reasons to smile at PB Boulangerie
As I packed my car, fretting if I had all the food, supplies, guinea pig stuff, I wondered why I bothered with the stress for a long weekend away.  Would be easier to take a few days off and stay at home.  Or sneak off to Cape Cod by myself.  Friday was so hot and humid.  I was a puddle by the time I had everything brought in to the cottage and the guinea pig cage set up on the porch.  Whew.

Then my friends started to arrive, full of smiles and laughter.  This.  This is why I organize Chick Weekends and stuff this cottage full of babbling women.  I had a blast.  I'm pretty sure they did, too.

Most of the gals arrived on Friday afternoon.  We walked the beach.  Made dinner.  Had chocolate cashew coconut tart for dessert.  This weekend is all about conversation, food and relaxing.  My morning stress was forgotten.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Love Rocks

I discovered Love Rocks through a friend of mine that lives in Washington state.  She had made some and posted photos on Facebook.  They were cute, simple and I liked the idea of spreading some love on the East Coast.

I brought Mod Podge and fabric scraps to the Cape, figuring I'd collect rocks and make some during Chick Weekend.  The idea was to leave a few behind at the beach before I returned home.  However, I didn't get a chance to coat them until my final day at the Cape.  They were still pretty tacky on Wednesday morning, so I left two around the cottages and the rest came home with me.

I had expected to use lighter colored rocks.  All the ones that caught my eye were medium-to-dark gray.  I like the results.  I also failed to bring down a paint brush, so I ended up coating the rocks with my fingers.  Sticky business!  Next time I need to remember a brush and to allow plenty of time to dry.

I never have an offering to leave that the Kripalu shrines I visit each spring.  Next year I plan on bringing a handful of these to leave at the shrine and wherever else the spirit moves me.  Should be fun!

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

X Marks the Spot

I'm doing the nerd thing again and showing off my latest guinea pig weight chart.  Last year's tracked a fairly stable Pinniped and a growing Cannoli.  What a difference to this year's chart:  X marks when Pinni and Noli traded weights, just before the new year.  Not really what I forecasted last year.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Buried Treasure

With the sewing machine in the shop, I've spent the last week going through my photos.  Thirty year's worth of pictures.  Whew!  I'm weeding through photo albums, keeping the good pictures.  It's freaky how much I've throw away.  The plan is to digitize the ones I keep. 

It's been quite a trip down memory lane.  I'm looking forward to share some of my favorites on Throwback Thursdays.

In with the photos were a variety of old cards, including this birthday card my sister made for me.  Guinea pig, quilting and tea!  My favorite things all together!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Comparing Fleece

When I bought a batch of fleece on-line last October, I happened to buy one yard of micro-fleece.  I wasn't sure about it, but how could I pass up those flamingos?  It seemed very thin when it arrived but I decided to use it anyway.

Months later, it seems to be holding up as well as the other fleece I from that batch.  The interesting thing is that the micro-fleece seems to slough off hay easier than anti-pill.  The hay doesn't cling like it does to regular fleece.

Of my older fleece, I'd say the anti-pill fleece has held up better than the blizzard fleece.  The few pieces of blizzard fleece have lost most of their fluff.  My anti-pill fleece has taken a beating and still looks pretty good.  I will be interested to see how well the micro-fleece looks after a few years.  All of them seem to wick moisture well.

If your guinea pigs have fleece bedding, what kind is it?  Anti-pill?  Blizzard?  Micro-fleece?  How well has it held up for you?

Monday, August 18, 2014


Quilting my pillow didn't get very far.  I had some kind of wavy pattern going on with the blue patch.  It wasn't quite what I had planned, but I thought it worked.  I was having problems moving the fabric around freely and the foot kept catching on the seams.  I think I ripped out as much as I stitched in.

In addition, my sewing machine sounds like a washing machine with an unbalanced load.  I decided to suspend my sewing projects and bring the machine to the repair shop.  They told me the backlog was a three week wait.  Ugh.

In the meantime, I'm cutting pieces for a new quilt, sorting through old photos.  Maybe I'll start on some more earrings.  I'll have stuff lined up for my Singer's return.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Guinea Pig Spaghetti

Corn season!  I picked up a big bag of husks this week and shredded the lot for drying.  That left a mound of corn silks, which looked to me like a plateful of spaghetti.  Doesn't it?  It just needs some tomatoes on top to complete the picture (however, I'm unwilling to share my few that have ripened).

I grabbed Pinniped and Cannoli to take some photos.  Pinni was more than happy to sit right down and start munching.  Cannoli, as usual, was a bit shy.  She wolfed down a mouthful of silk, but as soon as I moved her to get a better shot, she was gone.  Made a beeline out of the living room to the home base in the kitchen.  Better to hide where it's familiar than to eat good stuff in a strange place.  Noli is such an odd guinea pig.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Liquifying Pinniped

I've switched Pinniped's daily fluids from subcutaneous to oral.  I had a hard time getting the full 30ml into her the first few days.  It took more sittings than I had time for so she got needled every couple of days.  But Pinni has caught on.  She's either developed a taste for lactated ringer's solution, or she's figured out that if she drinks what I give her, she doesn't get poked.  We have a new routine in place of the quick (but stressful) two-person evening shot.  I draw the fluids in the morning, squirt it into a clean baby food jar and feed it to her throughout the day using the 3ml syringe.  Pinni goes through 10-12ml at a sitting; if I'm lucky I can finish off the fluids in two sittings.  When it's time for evening meds and fluids I announce:  I'm off to liquify the pig.

Pinni's pretty funny.  She pulls the syringe like I'm not giving it to her fast enough.  But I don't want to plunge the syringe too fast - I'd hate to choke her.  I can tell Pinni's had enough when she either starts dribbling fluids or when she grabs for the syringe from the side instead of straight on.  I wish all feedings and medicating were this easy.  Down the hatch!

Good girl, Pinni.  Oral fluids may interrupt my daily schedule than administering a subcue, but it makes everyone much happier.  If she keeps this up, I may have to return my collection of butterfly needles.  Oh, joy!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Who Let the Pigs Out

Wheek, wheek, wheek-wheek!

This summer has been pretty good for spending time outside in the yard.  Pinniped and Cannoli had several afternoons in their pen while the weather was dry and sunny.  But we had rain and thunderstorms last week, so they had to stay in.  Friday cleared up and was a perfect day for an outing: sunshine, not too hot, and dry.  There was much happiness!

The grass had grown quite a bit from the rain.  Pinni wasn't sure what to eat first - the wide-bladed grass or the clumps of clover.  She kept chewing as she moved from one spot to the other.  Cannoli preferred whatever she could find under the house.  She's so hard to photograph!  That chicken runs and hides whenever I come near (Pinni, as you can see, could care less).

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ipswich River Sanctuary

It's been several years since our last visit to the Ipswich River Sanctuary.  I was excited to feed the birds.  We usually make the trek in the fall or winter.  Monday was our first summer visit.  What a difference!  The ponds were lush and green with lilies and dragonflies.  The Rockery was so quiet and still, it seemed as if no one else was at the sanctuary. 

The birds were pretty quiet, too.  We walked around the pond and listened to the croaking frogs, but any peeping trees seemed far away.  We came across a couple of shy titmice who watched me, but wouldn't risk taking seed from my hand.  A lone chickadee took the seed I offered.  This was not the flock of curious birds I've met in the past! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Pieced Pillow Tops

I have too much going on.  It's taking forever to finish even a small project, because I keep getting interrupted to work on something else.  There's just not enough hours in the day!

I've finished two 16" tops for the pillow. The diagonal strings piece is so bright and cheery.  If I made another one, I'd change the colors of the center square.  But other than that, I'm happy with the results.  It will be my little piece of String Theory when that quilt goes to it's new home later this month. 

I think the spiderweb panel is really pretty.  It's my favorite of the two.  I've never pressed open seams on a quilt before.  Quarter inch seams are a pain to press open!  But the results are terrific - the middle of the webs were much easier to line up and stitch through.  I wish I had done this with Northern Lights.  Lesson learned!