Friday, January 30, 2015

Scrappy Fleece Projects

I recently decided to replace Cannoli and Boadicea's fleece hay rack.  As I dug through my pile of fleece scraps, I figured I could make a few other items for the pigs.  We're down a hammock since Noli snipped most of the seams from one of them.  And I've been wanting to make little pig pillows since I saw this post on Cali Cavy Collective.

The new hay rack is a little smaller than others I've made.  I didn't pay attention and cut the straps along the non-stretchy grain of the fleece, which makes stuffing it with hay a bit more difficult.  I may need to make note of that in the instructions.

I think the hammock looks great.  The flamingo fleece was very thin, so I added a layer of batting to give the hammock a bit more padding.  I'm happy with the pillows, although I'm not sure how popular they will be.  I put the flamingo pillow in the cage last week.  It has traveled around the cage but I haven't seen any pig snuggled up with it.  I guess I'll give it some time and see what happens.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Anita's Arrowhead

I'm still on my throw pillow kick.  They're fun little projects that I get to keep (because I have a place for them).  Plus I get to try out new patterns.

The latest one is called Anita's Arrowhead.  It starts with two 8" squares and voila!  you end up with a two-toned X block.  They're so easy and quick.  I think I did six blocks in less time than it took to do a single herringbone block.  I've been been thinking of making a new quilt for my bed.  I've been looking at several different patterns and this one has just entered the running.

I may have to try some more of these sew-together-and-cut-apart kind of blocks.  This was fun.

I'm linking up with Freemotion by the River.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Grow Your Blog

Today I am participating in the Grow Your Blog blog party.  Welcome to Crafts, Cavies and Cooking!  (And if you notice the URL, it used to be Contra dancing.)  I realize it's a somewhat eclectic mix.  But hey, it's what I enjoy!  I hope you do, too.

2014 quilting projects

Friday, January 23, 2015

Perpetual Motion

Good pigs, sharing pellets
Boadicea has lost a little weight since she's been here.  I haven't seen any sign that Cannoli is guarding the food.  In fact, they're often at the hay rack or the pellet dish together.  I think Boadicea has a touch of ADHD.  She starts eating food, then something catches her interest and she goes off to investigate.  She'll come back and take a few more nibbles, then get distracted again.  If she's unlucky, Cannoli will have polished off whatever she left behind.  Noli has never been a fast eater for a guinea pig, but she's consistent.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Boadicea is interested in everything, including a clean cage.  She checks out the corners and the grids, and ooh!  Is someone in the kitchen with treats?  Talk about fearless - I've never seen any other pig leap off the ramp to the first level.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Cozy Conflict

Cannoli in the cozy and Boadicea is left out
Cannoli and Boadicea have been getting a little heated over the third floor cozy.  When I glance over at the cage, one or the other is usually occupying that cozy.  The third level itself is a popular place to hang out.  Pinniped and Cannoli regularly slept overnight up there, and I find Noli and Boadi up there, too.

The loudest whining occurs when Noli is in the cozy and Boadi is looking to get in, too.  I realize that Noli makes things sound more dire than they are.  On the other hand, I'm beginning to think that Boadicea enjoys inciting a fuss.  She looks sweet and innocent, and all she wants is to be near Cannoli.  That may have been the case in the beginning.  I'm not convinced.  She's a devious rodent.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Chance of Flurries

I spent Sunday evening watching the Patriots while printing and preparing snowflake patterns.  (You can find the series of patterns on Craftsy.)  I printed out the freezer paper for snowflakes 1, 3 and 4. (I had already printed snowflake #7.)

They all look alike!  Before I cut apart the pieces, I labeled them with their snowflake number.  Then I printed out each snowflake's cutting table, folded them in half and stapled the sides.  Voila!  Envelopes to hold the pieces when they're not in use.

I'm ready to go!  I'm hoping to get sewing by the weekend.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Strutting Her Stuff

A clean cage is always something to get excited about.  New fleece is an excuse to check out every corner.  Cannoli decided it was the perfect time to reestablish her dominance.

I'm not sure how successful it was.  In Cannoli's mind, she did a bang-up job.  She clearly rumblestruts over every level of the cage.  However, I don't think it made any impression on Boadicea.  She blithely checked out the whole cage and pretty much ignored Cannoli. 

I particularly like Noli's ending popcorn bounce.  See?  All mine.  I did a good job.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

We Interrupt This Cage Cleaning...

Boadicea inspecting my cage-cleaning progress
Things have settled quite a bit between Cannoli and Boadicea in the last three weeks.  Holy Moses, they've been funny.  I wish I could have captured their goofiness.  You'll just have to take my word on it.

Cannoli makes a ruckus every day.  I don't want to share!  It's my cozy!  It's my lettuce.  Go away!  Noli rumblestruts over the 3rd level cozy; oh, such a big scary pig!  <ahem>  NOT.  Boadicea ignores Noli's demonstrations.  Reminds me a lot of Cannoli's first weeks home - she largely tuned out Pinniped's efforts to be dominant.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Water Bottle Label

I don't blog about it often, but I am a regular contra dancer.  We were recently reminded to label our water bottles, since so many of them look the same.  A piece of masking tape and a magic marker would have been quick and easy.  Boring.  Overkill is more fun.  Many of my projects are so practical.  This label was an excuse to be creative just for the hell of it.

Originally I had plans to paper-piece the label (I did say overkill, right?).  But when I got around to making it I got lazy.  I grabbed some scrap fabric, cut out the letters to my name and appliqu├ęd them to a plain background.  Lots of hand stitching, but it was an enjoyable way to spend a few evenings.

The label ended up much larger than I had intended.  Good grief, it's almost the size of the bottle!  It looks a little silly.  On the other hand, no one is going to mistake my water bottle for theirs.  And if it ever lands in lost-and-found, they'll know exactly who it belongs to.  I can live with that.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Chicken Quesadilla Pie

I have several recipes that are great for leftover roaster chicken.  This one is quick and easy to make.  The pie is very dense - the piece shown here is enough for two.  We typically get six dinner servings from a single pie.

The original recipe says to cook from 16-20 minutes.  Every time I tried that, it was too soupy.  I needed at least 25 minutes in my over to start to firm up.  However, depending on your oven and pie plate, you may need less time than what I've stated.  One other note - when it says to pour the flour/milk mixture over the pie slowly, it means slowly.  First time I made this I didn't take that to heart and had goopy slop all over the edge of the pie plate and on the counter.  What a mess!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Throw Pillow Two

Finished!  Now I have two bright and cheery pillows to replace my old faded ones.

The patterns on both sides of this pillow were outlined in white.  So I bound this pillow in white, rather than just sewing the two sides together.  I really like how it looks.

Hand stitching the last bit of binding in place was tricky with the pillow stuffed in there.  I did a great job - I can't tell which edge had the opening in it!  All of the binding corners are sharp, too.  How did I manage that?  I never get sharp corners.

Not much quilting on this pillow.  I simply added some radiating lines on the squares.  I didn't want any quilting to cross the white.  All I needed was enough to tack the batting and add a little interest to the top.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Herringbone Pillow Top

It took me much longer than I had expected, but I finished the improv herringbone pillow top.  I discovered this block on Color My World.  I can appreciate making these blocks in a bee and the poster's enthusiasm in winning the bunch - these are time consuming!  Sewing one isn't bad, but I didn't want to face stitching up the last two.  I can't imagine needing to sew a bunch of these for a big quilt.  I love how they look together, but the block is a lot of work.

Quilting was problematic, too.  There were so many seams; much of the block was two or three layers of fabric.  I did a little stitch-in-the-ditch to tack down the batting.  I couldn't think of any quilting pattern to stitch over the whole thing that wouldn't make it even busier.  And I didn't want color over all those white lines.

When I had completed the first block, I wondered what the pillow would look like as a single large block.  Now that I've finished this piece, I think that would have been the better idea.  There's a lot of white on these 8" blocks.  Now I know that this block doesn't shrink well.  Regardless, I'm pleased with the final result and it was a neat pattern to try.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Volatile Introductions

Little did I know, when I wrote Cage Match, that I had picked a title that so accurately described introductions.  Good grief!

The first hour of introductions at the shelter went very well, I thought.  I knew things would intensify a bit once we got Boadicea home in Cannoli's home turf.  It was relatively quiet for first few hours.  I set them up on the floor with tons of space.  I gradually shrunk their introduction area down to a 2x4 gridded area.  There was lots of talking from Cannoli, some teeth chattering from both pigs, a little snapping, but nothing too concerning.  Cannoli was acting as the submissive pig and I was expecting more of the same for the next day or so.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Meet Boadicea

Say hi to Boadicea. 

It's pronounced Boe-di-see-ah, rather than the more common Boo-di-kah (Boudica).  Why?  Well, at some point I was told that's the proper way to pronounce the name.  More importantly Boadicea is a bodacious little rodent.

The shelter had very little info on her, since she had been transferred from another shelter.  I like to know my adoptee's background (age, environment, health).  I contacted the previous shelter and found a couple of people that remembered her background.

Boadicea's records indicate she's about a year and a half old.  She's been in shelters since mid-November.  Her original home had children.  She was surrendered with another sow (but not a cagemate), due to allergies.  The other sow had been adopted before Boadicea was transferred to Boston.