Friday, October 30, 2015

Camouflaged Cavy

Boadicea usually doesn't try to hide from me but she must be practicing her stealth mode, just in case.  Doesn't she match the background so well?  I bought these fleece patterns because I thought they'd be good for hiding poo.  I hadn't considered they'd be good for hiding guinea pigs as well.  If this wasn't such a close up shot, she'd blend right in!

The other day I walked into the room as I heard the water bottle rattle.  At first glance, there was no guinea pig at the bottle - until the nose popped out of the tunnel.  Boadi made me think of a kid wrapped up in a sleeping bag on Saturday morning.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Navy Bean, Sausage and Spinach Soup

Fall.  The perfect time to try out new soup recipes.  This time I wanted to try something with white beans and kale.  Unfortunately, I was unable to get my hands on my favorite Russian kale.  Sadness.  So I grabbed some spinach and tried this recipe, instead.

This is a hearty soup, reminiscent of Lentil Kielbasa Soup.  I may try it again without the sausage and more spinach.  A small bowl is quite filling.

I've been on a dry bean kick, but you could easily substitute the dried beans with four 15oz cans of navy beans (or any white bean) and skip the soaking/precooking step.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Shattered Kites - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I'm entering Shattered Kites as my second entry in this fall's Blogger's Quilt Festival for the Scrappy Quilt category.  Regular readers have seen it before (bear with me one more time!).

Last year I decided I wanted more rulers than just my plain straight ones.  I bought a kite ruler because it seemed more versatile than an equilateral triangle (which I wanted).  It sat amongst my boring rulers for nearly a year - then this the summer I began a crumb quilt.  I decided making kite-shaped crumb blocks would look really cool.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Snowflake Banner - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I love that I finished this just in time to enter into the fall Blogger's Quilt Festival in the Small Quilt category.

My quilting projects normally start with an end result in mind.  I'm making something for myself or a friend or donation.  These snowflakes were the first time I made blocks just for the sake of making them.  Then they sat for a while as I figured out what to do with them.  Who knew they'd start a trend:  I now have three stacks of various quilt blocks I've stitched up without a final item or destination in mind.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Raining Carrot Peels

Cannoli is a timid guinea pig.  Generally, if I'm standing near or over the cage, she will be tucked in whatever corner is farthest from me.  Food can draw her out, briefly; it's usually a grab and go.

There is one scenario that she's out in front and stays there:  when I peel carrots.  Most veggies are prepared in the kitchen and trimmings delivered to the pigs.  Carrots, however, are peeled directly over the cage.  Saves me time.  Plus it's entertaining.

Cannoli and Boadicea beg for the first peel or two until they realize what is happening.  At that point, it's heads down to devour whatever carrot curls have hit the ground.  They often stand right in the line of fire and covered in carrot confetti.  Noli had to shake herself off the other day, but still refused to budge from her spot.  They do their best to eat as fast as I produce.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Trial Run

I was asked to bring something to a bake sale.  Actually, it's less bake sale and more silent auction, so I want to bring something that catches people's eye.  I also need it to be something that can travel well, doesn't require refrigeration and goes on a plate I don't need returned.  I also need it to be quick and easy to make.  So, unfortunately, those requirements nix many of my decadent Thanksgiving/Christmas desserts.

About the same time as the baking request, I found this giant peanut butter cup recipe from Bon App├ętit.  Certainly looks decadent.  But there was no way I wanted to make something this large for the first time to raise money.  What if it looked terrible?  Or worse, tasted bad?  It was tempting to make a full-sized one for myself.  Instead, I whipped up a half recipe and split it into two mini pie plates.  I topped one with milk chocolate, the other with semi-sweet.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

A Slew of Sewing

September was a slow month for sewing - vacation and several days of not feeling well will do that.  Now that I'm feeling better, it's like SEW ALL THE THINGS!

I keep slopping stuff all over the table next to the guinea pig cage.  I've had to refinish the table recently, and figure a table topper may prevent more damage.  In August I made a stack of half triangle squares from Summer Seashore trimmings.   I've started on a table topper with the HTS and some other summer scraps.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Bar Chewing Badness

Boadicea is concerned that Cannoli is having all of the fun getting picked up, weighed and medicated twice a day.  Especially since this routine happens to coincide with snack-time.  As if dealing with Cannoli isn't enough, I am now getting bad behavior from Boadi.

First, it was limited to chattering at me.  I can understand that.  After all, a little pig can only be patient for so long when expecting bell pepper treats.  Obviously I was not forthcoming with those treats fast enough.  Still, I am not giving her the attention she deserves - so she's added bar chewing to her repertoire.

This is not cool.

I could live with bar chewing while I medicate Cannoli.  Except Boadi is extending this new-found activity into the day and focusing on other off-limit items such as the ramp and binder clips.  Needless to say, Mama is not amused.

I've seen genuine enthusiasm in Boadi comparing flavors or textures (or whatever piques a guinea pig's interest when chewing things they shouldn't).  I haven't had serious bar chewers since Victoria and Willow.  Most of the bar damage in the cage dates back to them.  I am hoping this behavior will be short lived and she'll get bored with it.  May I be so lucky.  I will start with some attention and affection (ew!  kisses!).  Meanwhile I have dug out the sheets of Plexiglas I used with Willow to block the bars.  It wouldn't take much work to reinstall those.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Falling Flakes

Last year I started making paper-pieced snowflakes from the Canuck Quilter's Snowalong.  I loved these.  I wanted to make them all.  I picked a blue from my stash that had been waiting just the right project and this was it.

There was only enough for four flakes.  <sigh>  Even with that, I ended up piecing the last block with scraps.  And unlike my usual projects, I had made these with no real purpose.  So they sat in a corner of my sewing room all year, until I started working on my summer quilt.  The light blues from that looked wonderfully icy against the snowflakes' dark blue.  As I worked on my summer quilt, I thought about a winter one.

I decided to make this into a hanging to go on the front door.  It could also work as a short table runner.  I didn't go off of a pattern and had a little difficulty making the new wonky blocks line up.  I kept wanting to straighten them!  But it looks pretty good on the wall!

I had debated about bordering it in white, then maybe binding in white.  In the end, I've picked a blue that's darker than the edges, but lighter than the snowflake blue and plan to bind it as is.  Next step, sandwich and quilt.  I'll be so happy to have it done!

Sharing with Freemotion by the River's Linky Tuesday.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Medicating Cannoli

The setup: scale, pig, weight journal, meds and reward
I have often told people that you do not want to give guinea pigs pills.  Liquid meds is the only way to go.  Cannoli has been getting medication for her thyroid for the last couple of months.  I went against my own advice and got pills, because I could get them immediately instead of waiting several days to pick up a suspension at the vet.  The pill she gets is so tiny, I thought I'd have no problem.  However, one of these days I'll have no choice but to drive to the vet.  Cannoli gets cagier every day in tablet avoidance.  (In fact last night she managed to secretly spit it out and I only found it this morning.) 

Back in August I started by hiding the pill in a bit of banana.  So easy!  One whiff of that and down the hatch.  Which was great, until Noli remembered that bananas aren't supposed to crunch.  She stopped eating banana.


Thursday, October 8, 2015

Return to Topsfield

My girlfriend and I headed to the Topsfield Fair on Sunday.

After running the midway gauntlet, we made it to the rabbit and cavy barn.  It was a chilly morning; most of the disapproving rabbits were huddled in corners.  So cute!  but I felt bad for them.  I guess it's better to be cool than to be too hot.

Our next stop was our true destination - Coolidge Hall.  Once again, my girlfriend placed first for her applesauce and I won a second place ribbon for my quilt.  Shattered Kites looked so tiny tucked in between some huge quilts.  I look forward to reading the comments on it when I get it back.  My living room wall looks bare without it.

The quilts were lovely.  I've learned so much in a couple of years - I could identify paper pieced and appliqued quilts much easier than in the past.  I appreciated the work that went into them (especially a huge quilt that had been hand quilted).

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Japanese Knot Bag

I used to have a little tote bag (more like an over-sized purse) that went through the wash one too many times.  It disintegrated.  It had been a nice size to dump in a couple of books and a snack.  It got a lot of use going to appointments that may keep me waiting or on short road trips.  I currently have a little drawstring backpack, but it's just not the same.  I want something that can sit on the floor, fall open so I can see inside it, and yet will cinch up when I carry it.  

While searching for a good replacement, I found a couple of patterns for a Japanese knot bag that caught my eye.  They're simple (no snaps or even drawstrings) and appeared to have all my requirements.  My favorite set of instructions were on The Chilly Dog.  I ended up free-handing my own pattern, based on some other patterns I found out there, but other than that, I followed these instructions for putting it together as well as how long to make the straps.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Labor Day Pig Wrangling

It's October and I'm posting about what we did during Labor Day.  Think I'm a bit backed up with posts?

Boadicea - watch out for The Hand!
During Labor Day weekend we rounded up Cannoli and Boadicea to take some photos for my blog.  Cannoli has never been cooperative for photo shoots.  We could always count on Pinniped or Willow to wave their nose around.  Noli is much harder to coach; she tends to hunch up in one spot and keeps her head down.  Boadicea has some potential for being a camera ham - she's a bit more relaxed and keeps an eye out for treats.

We snapped a few good "official" shots I hope to use here and there.  But honestly, the outtakes are always more fun (and as you can see, it's not always their fault).

Friday, October 2, 2015

On the Bed

Already the weather has started to turn cooler, but Summer Seashore made it onto the bed before it goes into winter storage.  Didn't it look huge hung up on the garage door?  Doesn't look as big on the bed, does it?

I can really feel the difference in it's weight from my other quilt.  It has a little warmth, but not too much.  It's what I was hoping for when I started this project.  It looks so cool and refreshing.  It will be so exciting next spring to put this on the bed at the first sign of warmer weather. 

This quilt had so many pitfalls, angst and redesigns.  It's not the color I originally imagined.  At one point I thought I'd hate it.  I wasn't sure that the flannel backing would work.  And I ripped out so much quilting!  Nearly ran out of the dark green!  (There's literally nothing more than a short stack of corner trimmings left.)  I had to piece together part of the binding from scraps.

It's perfect.  I love it.  Thank goodness I'm moving on to smaller projects.