Saturday, February 28, 2015

Road Trip

Cannoli and Boadicea had more luggage than I did!
Every year we go on a family trip for a few days of cross country skiing.  The guinea pigs are usually dropped off at the pig sitter's before we go.  But this year we went to a different place.  It was a shorter drive and they allowed pets.  Road trip!  Cannoli and Boadicea came with us.

This was their first time in a carrier together for a lengthy drive.  They did really well.  Very different than Pinniped and Cannoli's first trip.  There was a few minutes of whining and shifting around.  Beyond that, they spent two hours quietly stuffed in the cozy together.  I brought the second carrier just in case, but it seems we didn't need it.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Arrowhead Mug Rugs

I had a couple of extra squares from Antia's Arrowhead that didn't go with the rest of the set.  I put them aside and decided to make mug rugs with them.

The squares were perfect to practice freemotion quilting.  I tried new patterns and focused on filling in specific areas of the block.  I have a terrible time quilting up next to borders.  I picked a leafy design for the purple one.  It's not terribly even, but it wasn't too difficult to do.

I chose the dizzy daisy for the blue one.  I have a thing for spirals.  I practiced filling in along borders for this one, too, working one quarter of the block at a time.  I probably shouldn't have done that with this pattern, and just meandered across the whole square.  I think it needed more space to do it justice.  I will definitely try dizzy daisy again on a larger piece and remind myself to spread out. 

I enjoy making mug rugs, but when I finished my first one last year, I wondered how useful it really was.  The coasters I have worked fine.  Then I threw it on the corner of my desk.  It is constantly occupied by my tea mug, often with a snack or cereal bowl keeping it company.  I'm glad to have new mug rugs so I can rotate.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Snow Bunnies

My parents are buried from these snowstorms - they got a lot more snow than we have.  My dad showed me photos of the mess last weekend.  These two pictures were among my favorites.

The top photo, believe it or not, was taken from their dining room window (the curvy wood is the back of a chair).  There was a narrow valley between the snow pile and the house and this rabbit managed to hop into it.

The other photo was taken from the basement.  Who knows how this little guy managed to burrow to the window.  I'm guessing as cold as the basement was, it was warmer against the glass than outside.

Enterprising buns!  With this weather, one needs to get creative to stay warm.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Can I Eat This?

Boadicea dives into lettuce and carrots with abandon.  Most other fresh food puzzles her, especially fruit.  Green pepper took three or four days to determine it wasn't poisonous.  During that time she mostly tried to eat the pepper from Cannoli's mouth, rather than eat her own piece discarded on the floor.  At some point I figured Boadicea didn't have a sweet tooth (some guinea pigs don't) when she rejected cantaloupe rinds.  But that changed.  Cucumber and celery were met with the same suspicion.  Even cranberries had to be thoroughly inspected before she'd take a bite.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cuddle Cup from Poland

I belong to the Guinea Lynx forums where I meet guinea pig lovers from all over the globe.  Kind of neat.  I posted that I had an extra calendar to give away, I would mail it anywhere in the US.  A woman in Poland convinced me to send it to her in trade for a custom-made guinea pig bed.  I was intrigued and agreed.

Between international shipping and snow delays, I wasn't sure when the guinea pig bed would arrive.  I was puzzled when the mail carrier came to my door and asked me to sign for a delivery.  Then I realized what must be in the package she was holding.  She laughed when I did a little happy dance before signing the paper.  It arrived!  Isn't it cute?  And so cushy - there's an extra removable layer on the bottom.  I wished I was small enough to try it out.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Frumpy Bluebirds

I looked out the window yesterday when a flash of blue and orange caught my eye.  Except for the cardinals, most birds that frequent the backyard feeders are various shades of cream, brown and grey.  Bluebirds!

There were three bluebirds on the suet feeder.  Most birds won't share the suet - I've never seen that many birds piled on it at the same time.  There were at least five bluebirds in all, out on the feeders and the railing, along with a lone mockingbird.  They all looked a bit out of place in the snow.

The photos are crappy - I was afraid to get too close to the window and frighten them all away.  I couldn't get a good shot of all of them together.  Regardless, I had to share.

I saw my first bluebird in this area last fall, but he was solo and far from the house.  I didn't think the flocked like this.  These guys were all puffy; they looked liked someone had rolled them out of bed too early and they needed their first cup of coffee.  The blue and orange stood against the drab afternoon light.  Seeing the bluebirds, along with some twiterpated titmice give me hope that spring can't be that far off... even if the piles of snow says otherwise.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

So Much Snow

I find it ironic that my snowflake project has come to the top of my list during the snowiest winter we've had in a long time.  As the latest snowstorm whirled around us, I made a couple of more snowflakes.  Like we needed more.

This time I used patterns 3 and 4.  I was amused when they were finished how similar they are to the version I picked from pattern 7.  Can you tell I'm partial to the feathery looking snowflakes?  I'm trying to scrap together enough of this blue to make one more snowflake.

I have two other blue fabrics on hand.  I think the light blue might look pretty good and could work with the darker snow flakes.  The other blue could be interesting, too, since it looks like wind!  Not that I know what I'm doing with these snowflakes.  I'll keep making more.  Then I guess I'll throw them on the floor my design wall and see what happens.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hide and Seek

Catch me if you can.
We've been living here for nearly two years and in that time, neither Cannoli nor Pinniped wandered far into the living room.  They never took an interest in chewing furniture or exploring under the couches.  So I never properly pig-proofed the place.  

I occasionally let Cannoli and Boadicea have floor time during work hours.  I blocked off the side of the room where the cage was, but I ran grids only as far as the love seat.  Why pig-proof more than that?  No one had figured out they could go under the couch.

Until now.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Blind Date with a Book

My local library is running Blind Date with a Book for the first two weeks of February.  I've not heard of this before, but a little Googling indicates many libraries participate.  My library has a shelf of paper-wrapped books, each tagged with a classification and a quick blurb about the book.  You pick a book and promise to devote at least 100 minutes for your date to charm you.

I had a hard time deciding which book I wanted.  The librarian tried to convince me to take two, but I was already picking up two books I had on reserve.  Lots of reading!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Throw Pillow Three

The throw pillow kick continues.  Added bonus: more freemotion quilting practice.  I tried a big loopy pattern on the Anita's Arrowheads side.  It was my first time tracing a pattern - it was the only way to keep it fairly uniform.  As it was, my lines still wavered a bit.  I also discovered the green ceramic pencil doesn't rub off as easily as I thought it would, so there's a few spots I can still faintly see the lines.  The design shows up best on the back. 

I began quilting with some heavier pink thread I bought for the dress wall hangings.  My sewing machine had been giving me problems back then, but this time around I confirmed - my machine hates any heavier weight thread.  I couldn't set a tension that would properly lock the stitch that didn't shred the thread or snarl the bobbin.  I swapped to my normal thread and everything runs fine.

Monday, February 9, 2015

German Pancakes

German pancakes are kind of like a sweetened Yorkshire pudding.  I first made then when I was 12 or 13 years old.  I had taken a cooking class over the summer and this was one of our assignments.  I remember serving these regularly for our family Sunday breakfast.  Happy memories.

The recipe had been buried in some old scrapbooks; I rediscovered it a few months ago.  I hadn't made German pancakes in decades.  I was curious if they were as good as I remembered and whipped up a half batch last month.  We decided the portion size was a bit small.  I adjusted the recipe and made a second batch this weekend.  We deemed this a keeper.  Crisp on the edges, chewy in the middle, it's great breakfast comfort food.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Care to Share?

When asked to share, a guinea pig's answer is almost always, emphatically, NO.

Boadicea has been with us just over a month.  Her favorite pastime is asking Cannoli to share:  the food, the cozies, the hammock.  I've been listening to Cannoli say "no" a lot.  My appearance by the side of the cage is enough for Boadi to pause and change her mind:  I wasn't causing trouble.  Honest.  I was just stopping to chat before going elsewhere.

How could you doubt that face?

I could.  That is the face of trouble.  That is a pig that makes inquires solely to get a rise out of Noli.  Just because she can.  The day is not complete without Noli screaming at Boadi.

Guinea pigs - who'd think so much noise and badness could come from something so cute and fuzzy?

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Knock Off

I fell in love with this quilt when I saw it on the Blogger's Quilt Festival last spring.  I decided to do a mini version as a throw pillow.  At first glance the pattern is a pleasing simple weave.  But when I attempted to mimic it, I found the design had all sorts of rules: where the colors and greys are placed, the size and shape of the strips.  Now I'm even more impressed with original design.  It's elegant, deceptively simple and tricky to recreate.

This is what I ended up with.  The blank row in the middle didn't jump out so much when I had it in pieces on the floor.  It shows up now!  I was tempted to move one of the perpendicular lines to break it up, but that would either break the rules (assuming I have them right in the first place) or pull out more color.  I think if I wasn't afraid of white space I could have evened it out.  Regardless, this was a fun exercise and appealed to my anal retentive, mathematical frame of mind.

Linking with Freemotion on the River.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Moving Bowl

In the past, the pellet bowl remained next to the water bottle.  It stayed that way for years, until Cannoli arrived on the scene.  Since then, I never know where I'll find the pellet bowl

It used to move in one direction:  from the front of the cage over to the back corner.  Noli just wanted to be hidden.  But now it travels in more than one direction.  I guess priorities have changed?  It's not as important to be hidden than it is to play keep-away from Boadicea.

Who knew that eating dinner could be such an exercise?