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.