Monday, March 30, 2015

Placemat Quilting

One placemat is done - five more to go.  Ooh, I'm excited.  I quilted all of them with a light pink thread, and dark green bobbin.  Each one is quilted with a different pattern.

This first one I did a loopy quilting pattern.  I thought it would be very similar to stipple quilting, but something about the pattern kept me from over quilting it.  I backed it in some mug fabric I bought when I first started quilting.  I had grandiose plans for a tea-themed table runner, but that never happened.  However, it looks great with the yellow border.  I'm using it for backing on the other light-bordered placemat, too.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Time Out

As Boadicea adjusts to life in our house, she's been upping her dominance over Cannoli.  She's a small pig, but she really throws her weight around.  She will oust Cannoli from cozy or hay for no other reason than Because She Can.  Rotten rodent.  It results in more screaming than I'd like to hear, but Cannoli doesn't seem to be too put out.  I suspect Noli makes it sounds worse than it is.

There was a lot of fussing Monday afternoon.  At some point Noli got cornered in the tunnel (only a guinea pig could manage to do that) and her cries sounded truly panicked.  I decided Boadicea needed to spend some time out quality time with me.  I normally plop her in my lap while I do my work, but I couldn't balance her and keep typing.  So she ended up in the desk - and was not happy about it.  Does that look like a repentant rodent?  She didn't budge.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Irish Soda Bread

Last year I saw a recipe for Irish soda bread in the local paper and baked a loaf.  It had been years since I had made soda bread.  Along with corned beef and cabbage, it's the St. Patrick's day thing to do.  When March rolled around this year, I googled a recipe and made another loaf.

Why don't I make this more often?  It's an easy recipe and goes great with a cup of tea.  (In fact, as I wrote this, I had the urge to toast up another slice.)  It doesn't have seasonal ingredients like peach cobbler or strawberry jam.  And it's not time intensive (like Easter candy... only a week away!).  Heck, this bread doesn't even have to rise.  And yet, once this loaf is gone, it will probably be next March before I make another.  Go figure.  I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Placemat Progress

I worked on my sister's placemats this weekend.  I wanted a fairly simple design to show off the fabric.  There are so many patterns on the web!  I liked several of them, but I always returned to Coming Home Placemat.  When I showed my sister the patterns I was considering, it was her first pick, too.

I laid out the fabric on the floor my design wall and was overwhelmed.  I couldn't find a balance I liked.  I almost bailed for another pattern, but decided since I was constantly drawn back to this one, I needed to stick with it.  After moving swatches around for an hour, I took the plunge and cut material for the first placemat.  Hey!  Once it was together, it looked pretty good.  I cut the rest of the fabric for the other five placemats and had them pieced together in no time.

Next step, backing and quilting.  Do I stick with one quilting design or try something different on each one?

Linking up with Freemotion by the River.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fleece Forest Giveaway

I've been cleaning out my fleece supply.  I made some bedding for the upper levels of the cage, then put together some cozies and scrappy fleece forests with the rest.  I really like the last one I stitched up:  snowballs and white surrounded by spring green.  Reminds me of this winter and my hope that we'll see some real spring soon (after another inch of new snow on Saturday?!?).

I am giving away this winter-to-spring fleece forest for a C&C cage to some lucky guinea pig.  It's like the one seen in It's a Clean Cage!  (grids not include). 

To enter:  leave a comment here (if you're a no-reply blogger, please include your email address in the comment) or on the CavyMadness Facebook post.  I will pick a winner at random.  Commenting here and on Facebook will increases your chance to win.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Short Sacks

Boadicea has this strange knack of standing cozies on end and sleeping in the as if they were a cuddle cup.  I've seen her do this a few times.  I tried out a new cozy sack design.  Not bad.  Plus I burned through some of my extra fleece.

Some of my fabric was too small to make tunnels or cozies.  I decided to make a short cozy with a rectangular closed end.  I liked it - it tends to stay open when on it's side (unless, of course, Boadicea sleeps on top of it).  It can be tipped on end, and if I rolled down the sides, could be used as a small cuddle cup.  Cannoli's favorite way to sleep in it involves tipping it over herself, like a shell or a pigloo.  Just a foot sticks out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Placemat Fabric

My vest on top, the new material underneath
Many years ago I made an eight foot table runner for my sister.  It covers a credenza that once was our grandmothers.  She loves it; it's out nearly year-round.  I liked the colors so much I made a vest with the left over material.

My sister and her husband just bought a new house and I offered to quilt something as a house warming gift.  She wanted placemats... and if possible, could they match the table runner?  The original material is long gone.  But I grabbed my vest and headed to the fabric shop.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Cannoli's Gotcha Day

Two years ago today, we packed Pinniped for a trip to Nevins Farm and came home with a small wuzzy Cannoli pig.  She was tiny, timid and young.  Today she's a tub, still tries to hide from her own shadow and is the oldest pig in the house.  Funny how some things change and others stay the same.

Noli tolerates people - they're good for bringing food and cleaning the cage.  She warmed up a little after we lost Pinniped, but it's clear she prefers guinea pig company.  She makes a terrible fuss when Boadicea picks on her, but whenever Boadicea is out of the cage a few minutes, I can hear Cannoli searching for her, asking where she is. 

Friday, March 13, 2015

Dinner with a View

I add to Cannoli and Boadicea's hay a couple times a day.  I fill the hay rack on the first level, then stuff a loop of fleece with hay that goes on the third level.  So - do they go for huge amount of hay in the rack?  Nope.  The two of them squish together on the third floor, sharing the handful of hay.

I'm not sure what the draw is.  Maybe good ol' piggy competition?  The food that one pig eats is always best, so the other needs to eat it too.  But then you'd think Noli and Boadi would go for the larger supply in the hay rack.  All mine!

Perhaps they've adopted the human view that the smaller lump of hay is rare, and therefore more precious (and more tasty).  Must eat that first. 

My current theory - they enjoy looking at the living room from up there, to view their domain.  Boadicea probably plots where she can run to and hide during the next floor time.  Noli is prepared to tell anyone coming through the front door that I haven't fed them all day.  Such trouble!

Monday, March 9, 2015


Did you know that March is Adopt-a-Rescued-Guinea-Pig Month?  The Nevins Farm MSPCA in Methuen, MA celebrated with Pig-a-palooza!  It was a two hour event on Saturday afternoon; I made the trip up, sans pigs.

It was a quiet start, but within 20 minutes there was a steady stream of incoming adults, kids and guinea pigs.  Like the Boston Pignic, there was a pen for boars and another for sows (and I briefly spotted a time-out pen).  Most of the guinea pigs that attended had been adopted from Nevins Farm.  What a nice reunion.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

It's a Clean Cage!

A clean cage is an excuse to check out all of the corners of the cage.  Occasionally, it's an all out celebration.  I never know when the jubilation is going to hit.  Sometimes I set up the camera in advance and there's nothing to video.  I get a full ho-hum attitude.  Boadicea is normally interested in a clean cage, but I rarely see Cannoli celebrate.

Friday, March 6, 2015

One Last Snowflake

I chuckled as I named this post.  It would be nice if this was the last snowflake of the season.  The six inches of snow we got yesterday tell me winter's not done with us yet.  (Although the guy with the snowblower told me on good authority this was the last storm of the year.  Ha!)  The bluebirds are still flocking to the suet feeder, along with a northern flicker that's having a hard time landing on it.  There's also a grounded swan hanging out in a neighbor's yard.  He's been there nearly a week.

I managed to squeak out one last snowflake from this blue material.  Except... I screwed up.  I cut the big pieces first - the triangles and the strips on the sides.  The strips are supposed to be 1.25" wide.  I cut them 1" wide.  The square isn't square.  There isn't a scrap big enough to fix it.  <sigh>

The good news is, since I wasn't planning anything specific with these blocks, I'm sure I can adjust the four of them to look right.  But still - how aggravating!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Serious Sacking

Among Boadicea's talents is her ability to sack out.  She's so often on the move, but when she isn't, she comes to a dead stop.  Doesn't this pig look totally comfy?

Monday, March 2, 2015

Caramel Heavenlies

Caramel Heavenlies is a good name for these things.  Although, one could argue they're wonderfully evil.  They smelled so good coming out of the oven, I barely let them cool before taste-testing them.  I nibbled some more when the pan had cooled, then sampled a few when I cut them.  I'm a little surprised enough survived to be photographed and packed away.

The pieces are sweet and crunchy, a little gooey.  They'd go great with a cup of tea or coffee.  It's a quick easy recipe even though I managed to botch it.  I always have sliced almonds on hand for making toffee, but as I started to cook, I discovered I was out.  Then I got distracted while chopping almonds and forgot to add the cinnamon.  Really?  Regardless, if I liked them without the cinnamon, I know I'll like them even better when I add it.  Obviously I need to make another batch soon.

You can follow the recipe at The Girl Who Ate Everything - Caramel Heavenlies.