Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Two for One

Modified neoprene soles and socks
I love contra dancing in my sandasols.  I had a pair that wore out so much that they were no longer comfortable but I hated to just throw them out.  They've been collecting dust in a corner of my closet for a couple of years.  I finally figured out a use for them.

First, I cut off the heel straps and stitched them onto a pair of neoprene half-sole shoes.  The neoprene soles are very comfortable, but never stay on my feet.  It became such a problem I stopped using them several months ago.  I am hoping the straps will keep them in place.  I'll get to try out the new design on Friday. 

Next, I separated the bottom piece of leather from what remained of the sandasols.  I stitched these onto the bottoms of a pair of ragg wool socks I wear around the house all the time.  My last pair fell apart faster than I could darn them.  This solution doesn't help the wear on the heels, but it tends to be the ball of my foot that pokes through first.  Added bonus - they're not quite as slippery on the hard wood floors.

I'm not sure if this is upcycling or just plain recycling.  Regardless, I got two fixes out of one pair of sandasols.  I'll call it a win.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fading Charms Quilt

The plan had been to start on a mixer cover but I just couldn't ignore the Fading Charms quilt top sitting in my sewing room.  How do people start a project and shelve it?  I couldn't focus with this thing in the corner whining to be finished.  So I spent a good chunk of time last weekend quilting and binding it.  All it needs is a label and a home.

It turned out to be a very scrappy quilt.  I pieced the batting.  I had tons of backing material, but some spots were faded.  So I cut swaths of the least faded sections and put them together with some strips of charms.  I really like how it came out.  The green and blue thread I used for quilting was left over from other projects as well.  After all that, my fabric drawer is still too full.  I need to do another scrappy quilt (or two!).

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Breakfast in Bed

Technically this was supper in bed. 

I had cleaned the cage earlier in the afternoon, so I know that the tube of hay had been placed on the other end of the level.  But when I walked in a while later, I found Cannoli, comfortably curled up in the cuddle cup, with the hay tucked right in with her.  No need to get out of bed when the munchies hit. 

Ah - what a life.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Balancing Act

We are often startled by a loud scratching and clunk by the front door at random times during the day.  It's the neighborhood squirrel(s) as he scrambles up the window casing and leaps into the feeder.  Bang! 

The near misses include hanging on with one hind foot - sometimes only with a toe or two.  Very entertaining.  It's impressive, too, when he does get in.  The feeder is tiny, meant for titmice, chickadees and the occasional cardinal that squeezes in.  The squirrel manages to sit on one end and balance while he pulls seed from the other edge.  I'm surprised the feeder stays on the window with only one suction cup holding it there.  But it's the only bird feeder around the house that isn't squirrel-proof or really hard to reach.  We always know when he's there:  Scratch!  Thunk!

Sunday, January 19, 2014


This was the view for the majority of the trip
Both Pinniped and Cannoli made the trip to the vet on Friday.  It was a very different experience than last week.  The ride went by without a peep.  Amazing.  Cannoli's presence kept Pinni so much calmer, even after the indignity of having her belly shaved and heavily gooped up. 

The bad news is that Pinni still has some kind of calcification that looks about the same size as the stone removed last week.  The good news, it's not in her kidneys, which the ultrasound confirmed.  It also confirmed that the cyst on the left ovary is gone and what's left on the right one has shrunk considerably.  X-rays show the calcification is somewhere near her spine.  It's an odd spot.  The vet isn't sure if it's in Pinni's digestive system or somewhere else.  But it didn't appear to have moved much since last week's x-rays.

So we're due for a recheck in another six weeks, unless something comes up earlier.  Pinni continues to get some pain meds, although her grunting is getting less frequent.  I'm hopeful that will stop in a few days.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

New Tunnels

Snug as a bug in a rug
Fleece tunnels are similar to cozies in that they make for a great place to hide in or a comfy bed to sleep on.  However, I find tunnels more versatile than the simple fleece sack.  They're great in high-traffic areas of the cage, because the girls can zoom through them instead of hitting a dead end.  (Or zoom through and then rearrange it, like Bertie used to do.) 

I made my first tunnels a few years ago in three different sizes.  The narrower tunnel was my favorite because it did not collapse in the middle as easily as the wider ones.  All three had boning in the ends to keep them open.  Over time, multiple washings and some taste testing, the long plastic boning began poking through the fabric.  I now need to constantly clip off or pull out the ends of the boning to make sure Pinniped and Cannoli don't chew on them or poke their eyes.  Time for some new tunnels.

I have several cozies that stay open when the edge is rolled over a few times.  I decided to try making a tunnel with rolled edges instead of boning to keep the ends open.  The plan had been to document the steps and write up instructions for this post, but my resulting tunnels are somewhat laughable.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Heavily medicated Pinni
Pinniped went to the vet on Saturday for a recheck for her cysts.  At least that was the plan.  I thought she had looked better but was puzzled by her lack of weight gain.  Plus she seemed a little leakier than usual (she's always had a tiny bladder).  I mentioned this to the vet and she took x-rays.  What did we find?  Stones.  Two of them.  One couldn't be pinpointed (x-ray showed it in her digestive tract, which we know isn't right), but the other was already in her urethra.  The vet spent at least thirty minutes extracting the 1/4" stone.  During the procedure they gave Pinni some opiates.  It took a while to fully take effect, but it did.  I had a very stoned pig on the drive home.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Belated Anniversary

With all that has been going on, I spaced out about Pinniped's adoption anniversary!  It was a cold January night four years (and one week) ago when I brought Pinniped and Bertie home.  The time flies by!

This was a year of change for Pinni.  It started with the loss of Bertie.  Then she had to adjust to a new, energetic little pig and a brand new home within months of each other.  It was mostly an uneventful summer, with afternoons in the sun and a trip to the Fall Pignic.  Her ovarian cysts made a comeback in the fall.  Pinni isn't the rotund heavy-weight she has been, although the nose continues to be non-stop.  I'm hoping to get a plumper Pinni soon.

Happy adoption anniversary, Pinniped, my nosy little pig.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Karma Quilt

A co-worker of mine was recently diagnosed with cancer.  We've been working together for over 20 years.  The news has been a shock to all of us.  Having just finished the Fading Charms quilt top (that went together so quickly), I was inspired to make a quilt for my co-worker.  It's a basic 6x4' throw quilt that I hope will be physical reminder of what he means to all of us at work as he fights his cancer. 

It was an insane project to start at Thanksgiving.  But I was driven:  I wished to give him the quilt soon after his surgery and prior to any other therapy.  I started by bouncing ideas off of a few co-workers, then announced it to the office so I was committed to making it.

As I began designing and calculating yardage, I realized many of my colleagues probably felt as helpless as I did about the whole situation.  I decided to add sashing after the initial design, so I could personalize the quilt with the names of people who work with him closely.  I invited co-workers, including those no longer with the company, to send me their signatures or give me permission to embroider their names into the quilt.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Peeved Pinniped

A few of peeved Pinni's chew marks
We finally got the medication to treat Pinniped's cysts.  It's a different drug than what I've used before on the cysts, called Cystorelin.  It requires two doses.  Pinni received the second dose last week.  She'll be going to the vet soon for a re-check, to see if the cysts have shrunk.

Pinni's in good spirits, although she's not gaining back weight like I had hoped.  The medication seems to have the odd side effect of making her extremely peeved for a day or two afterwards.  Goodness, she can be destructive enough to rival Bertie.  I covered the raw edges of the cage years ago because of her penchant for scalloping them.  This time, though, Pinni was not deterred.  She pulled the fleece from the ramp to the third level and began chewing the exposed coroplast.  Each time she'd do this, I'd put the fleece back and add another binder clip.  It took three binder clips to finally stop her!  She then started to chew the hay rack itself.  I had no luck luring her away with cardboard tubes.  I had to remove the hay rack for a few days until she cooled off.

She's back to normal, now.  Obviously, I need to discuss this side effect with the vet.  But I'm hoping it's done the trick, as far as the cysts are concerned.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Guinea Pig Cozies

Making guinea pig cozies is a fairly simply sewing project.  All it takes is a rectangle of fleece, a slightly larger rectangle of cotton fabric and a bit of stitching.  Less than 30 minutes of work can result in a happy, warm guinea pig.

My cozies tend to be 12-15 inches square.  They can be easily customize them based on the fabric on hand and the size of the guinea pig occupants.  This particular cozy was made from a piece of cotton material 12.5x25" and a piece of fleece 11.5x23".