Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trip to Topsfield

I made the long drive to Topsfield to drop off Shattered Kites for the fair.  The women processing the entries oohed and ahhed over it, so I'm hoping for a ribbon.  We'll see.  They were saying they've got a real certified quilt judge this year.  I would be very excited if my quilt was up to snuff!

Hours driving in the car for a five minute hand-off seemed like the waste of a morning.  So I brought sunflower seeds and we made a second stop at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary.  We spent an hour or so wandering the grounds and feeding the birds.  Yes!  That made the trip worthwhile.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cavymadness Bookmark Giveaway

As I was putting away the supplies for the Boston Fall Pignic, I found a few extra CavyMadness bookmarks tucked in with the pignic bookmarks.  They're awfully cute and they could be yours!  I will draw two winners; each will receive one pair of bookmarks as pictured here.

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 two winners at random - one from the blog, the other from the CavyMadness page.  Commenting here and on Facebook will increases your chance to win.

Be sure that I can contact you!  CavyMadness cannot send a direct private message to Facebook comments.  Check back after 12pm on October 5th - I will reply to the winner's comments if I cannot email them directly.  If a winner does not respond within 24 hours, I will randomly draw another name.

This drawing closes on Friday, October 5th at 12pm EDT.  Congrats to Heidi and Daniel!  Those bookmarks should last through many good books.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Candy Corn Bark

I buy one bag of candy corn every year.  It's way too sweet, but I gotta have some.  How can it be Autumn without candy corn?  Three years ago I blogged about a couple of candy corn bark recipes I found.  Insane.  Sweet upon sweet.  And yet, so addictive.  I make one batch each year (really small - about 1/6 to 1/2 the original recipe).

I've had trouble with the candy corn bark seizing when I mix it altogether.  Looked awful, tasted great.  I'm happy with this year's batch.  I melted about two-thirds of of the white chocolate, spread it in the pan and pressed in the mix-ins.  Then I melted the last third of white chocolate and drizzled/spread it on top.  Ooh.  Looks like chocolate bark should and not a lumpy mess.

I couldn't find a small bag of pretzels, so I coated the leftovers in dark chocolate.  Mmm.  Something to offset the sickening sweet.  I'll be sad when it's all gone, but grateful I won't make this evil concoction again for another twelve months.  I doubt it will survive the weekend.

Friday, September 25, 2015

We Are NOT World Travelers

Chick Weekend included a pair of sows along with the human gals.  Cannoli and Boadicea came along for the ride so I could wrestle pills into Cannoli and track her weight.  Unfortunately, the weekend wasn't quite as fun for them as it was for the humans.

First, it was a long ride down, since I stopped to visit with a friend on the way.  They did so good in the car, but the poor pigs were a bit strung out when we arrived.  (So was I.)  Sorry about that!  I had hoped Noli would recognize the familiar cage and setup since she'd been to the Cape before.  However, she was freaked out over the sounds and lighting.  I'm glad I brought along the Critical Care - she ate so little the first day I mixed some up and she wolfed it down.  Even Boadicea lost some weight (although you wouldn't notice it on that pudgy pig).

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Thank You Basket

I made another of my fabric baskets.  It's a thank you gift for our accommodations at Chick Weekend.  We are often at a loss at what to get to say thank you.  We all love the cottage and the time we get to spend there.

This seemed easy - hard to go wrong with a pretty container you can put stuff in.  The blues and sandy colors make me think of the beach.  My aunt is a big tea-drinker like me, so there's several squares with tea kettles on them.  I even remembered to sew in the mini label before stitching the whole thing together.  I hope she likes it.

This is the third basket I made based on Pink Penguin's instructions.  This is the 24 3" squares version described at the bottom of the post.  I like it better than the 3" version I made with 28 squares.  I may have to try making a pattern based on 2.5" squares.  I think smaller versions are cuter (although this is a great catch-all size).

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Boston Fall Pignic 2015

It was not an auspicious start for Pignic day.  I woke up to cloudy skies, fresh raindrops on the deck and a splitting sinus headache.  Cannoli had just started to gain the weight she had lost last week, so as much as I wanted to bring her and Boadicea for some fresh grass, we decided to give them a stress-free day at home.  I lay on the couch, waiting for tea and drugs to kick in, knowing it was supposed to be beautiful weather and that Boston area pigs were counting on me.  By the time we arrived in Wellesley to set up, I was feeling much better.  The sun was shining and the grass was green and dry.  Oh, perfect!

The Pig Patrol appeared, ready to go.  We had everything set up and settled before the first pignickers showed up.  It was a strange start - there were a ton of boars in the common pen, but almost no pigs in the sows pen.  By 1pm we wondered if it was going to be as quiet as the Spring Pignic.  Nope - at 2pm we were inundated; wave after wave of guinea pigs arrived.  That was more like it!  The sows poured in (we decided they planned to be fashionably late).  When the last pig was checked in, we had 47 guinea pigs and roughly as many people attending the pignic.  That's more like it.

Pigs in bowls is always cute;
can you tell which side has the nose? and baby pig with a mohawk.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Cape Chick Weekend IX

What happens in North Eastham tends to stay on Facebook.  Another Chick Weekend has flown by and I'm the last one to post photos.  Lots of wine, pastry and beaches.  We do have fun.

I got an early start on Friday, and stopped on the way to visit with a friend I hadn't seen in years.  I continued my trip with a memento - a little stuffed nuthatch.  It says "greeb-greeb-greeb" when it's squeezed and it got lots of squeezes over the weekend.

Last year's weather was good for lounging; this year we had sunny cool weather, so we were on the go.  Saturday morning we started with photographing my quilt, then moved on to taste testing a set of beach plum jelly.  My cousin made four different batches.  All of them were yummy; we liked numbers 3 and 4 the best (tester #4 came home with me).

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cannoli is Three

At three years old, Cannoli is now considered a mature sow.  Ha.  I could say she did some serious growing up in the last year.  With Pinniped's lack of eating and lack of energy, Cannoli did a lot of eating and sitting.  Towards the end of 2014 she weighed 1240g.  Oof!

She lost some weight after Pinniped passed away, then went down a bit more when Boadicea arrived on the scene.  Nothing like a younger upstart to keep you moving!  Then she kept dropping.  By June Cannoli had dropped below what I considered her normal weight.  We started visiting the vet; by August we had a diagnosis.  Noli had an overactive thyroid.  With treatment, I'm hoping she'll soon get back to her 1kg self.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Summer Seashore

I brought Summer Seashore down to the Cape for Chick Weekend.  It gave me the chance to show it to friends and family, as well as finding a good spot to photograph the whole thing.  It's a big quilt!  When I get home, I'll have to take photos of it on the bed.  Trust me, it is a queen sized quilt.  I like my quilts to have lots of overhang.

To give you a size perspective, I posed with it (all squinty-eyed in the bright sun).

BIG quilt.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Summer is Done

The summer quilt is done!  I added the label and clipped off the dangling threads on Labor Day.  But then I had no time to get it up to take photos.  It's a big quilt, and the one place I can hang it to photograph has good light only in the morning.  I'm hoping to photograph it properly this weekend.

As soon as I stitched the last stitch, I started working on two other sewing projects, then squeezed in a third.  This is ridiculous.  They're all small projects.  Yay.  I don't want to tackle a big project like this again for a while.

The bundle shot - why is this a popular quilt photo?

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Loaf of Boadicea

We had a photo shoot this weekend.  Cannoli and Boadicea are not the camera-hams like Pinniped and Willow were.  They're not too hard to herd, but the noses don't tend to wave around as much.  Boadicea worked best when she was placed in something.  She has become such a loaf, and look!  she fit perfectly in my large bread loaf pan.

I placed the Boadicea Loaf on the deck so Rob could get some overhead shots.  Boadi decided she wanted out.  I'm surprised she got a good grip on that slippery glass.  Just look at that fat belly getting squeezed out over the rim of the pan!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Lots of Learning

Sea-themed quilting
Quilting my summer quilt has been quite an experience.  I haven't free motion quilted anything of this size before.  Heck - I haven't made a queen sized quilt since my first one in 2001.  Because this quilt has no batting, I was mostly interested in just tacking it down the front to the back.  So I didn't plan to densely quilt the whole thing - I mostly wanted to add some interest in the melon and cream colored sections.

In quilting this, I learned a bunch of things:
  • Basting was a must.  I started with pins, and the first time I put it under the presser foot, I knew that was a bad idea. 
  • Quilting gloves were a life saver.  I generally hate not being able to feel what I'm working on, but in this case, I was much happier being able to move the material where it needed to go.  Got a lot of mileage from a pair of $2 gloves.