Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Year's Worth of Sewing

This didn't feel like a productive year.  I slogged through parts of the spring and summer for a variety of reasons.  But as I went through my photos - wow!  I did more than I thought. 

Clockwise from upper left:  Stained Kites, sewing machine case, Lighthearted Love, Mom's pillow,
mini hearts, Key West Memories, Parrot Plumes

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Penguin Wine Charms

The Sculpey clay comes out only once a year.  It's packed in a large bag with tools and findings and thoughts of other things to make beyond the annual Christmas ornament.  If you're a regular reader, you know I've been on a use-it-or-lose-it kick over the last year.  Among the studs, French hooks and marbles(?!), I found a few coils of ¾" memory wire.  Over a decade ago (seriously?), I made a series of wine charms - some guinea pigs, some veggies and a set of nautical pieces for myself.  I felt the urge to use the rest of the wire, or give it to someone who'd use it.  It needed to go.

I'm not sure where the idea of penguins came from.  At first I was going to give them each something different to wear or to hold.  In the end, bow ties and scarves looked best.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Now We Are Six

I started this blog six years ago during Christmas vacation.  It was born from a desire to show off crafty projects and guinea pig goofiness; it seemed that a blog format would work best.  Since then I've written over 800 posts and appear to have plenty more to photograph and talk about.  I appreciate your comments and hope you have been enjoying my blog. 

To celebrate my sixth blogiversary I'm giving away six cards (with envelopes, of course).  I loved the crafty pigaroos photos so much, I ordered myself some blank note cards.  I also unearthed an old pair of cavymadness cards - also blank inside.  The giveaway will include two of each kind of card.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Boxing Day Gift

Today is Boadicea's Gotcha Day.  She was our Boxing Day present from two years ago.  And "boxing" was such an appropriate name for the day, although not in the way of gift-giving.  Boadicea and Cannoli had quite the boxing match when they got home.

More beautiful photos by Joey of Salem Pet Photo

Quite the rough start, but it worked out in the end.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas

Boadicea and Wedgwood hope you found lots of goodies under the tree.  If you see any extra carrots or lettuce, be sure to share!

Saturday, December 24, 2016


This year's ornament is based on the Warriors series of books.  These are the stories of several clans of feral cats.  Many of my past ornaments have been based on humans or anthropomorphic animals.  The Warriors cats certainly have some behaviors and traits that have been humanized, but they don't use tools, don't wear clothes (not even collars) and mostly act like cats. 

The clans are large and the series takes place over multiple generations.  So I picked the first two cats I read about:  Fireheart and Graystripe.  Fireheart is featured throughout series, and is the ginger tabby with green eyes.  Graystripe is Fireheart's friend is a fluffy gray cat with a dark strip down it's back.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Snug as a Bug II

As it has been getting colder, Wedgwood has been spending a lot of time snuggled in the upstairs cozy.  She must have learned the one-leg-out pose from Boadicea.

Leave me alone, Mama, I'm comfy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Crafty Pigaroos

Have I mentioned how much fun it was to have Joey from Salem Pet Photography come over to take pig pictures?  I'm pretty sure I have.

It was awesome.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Cookie Party

I knocked off two more recipes from the "Try Soon" folder.  Both desserts.  Yeah, big surprise.  In my defense, most of them went to a cookie swap.

I wasn't impressed as I started to mix together these Chai-Spiced Snowball Cookies.  But after they came out of the oven and were coated with the spiced powdered sugar?  Delicious.  I liked the texture and the sweet/spicy coating.  I ended up with extra spiced powdered sugar - I may make another very small batch to try using it up.  Definitely keeping this recipe.

Then I tried these Chocolate Oatmeal Bars.  The recipe caught my eye because the chocolate layer did not have sweetened condensed milk in it (not something I normally have on my shelf).  Wow.  My chocolate layer came out so much thicker I expected.  I probably could have put this in a brownie pan instead of an 8x8 pan.  And these are dense.  I cut these into small pieces.  I may shrink the chocolate layer (it would be easy to cut it by third) and it needs something - cinnamon?  Orange?  I bet it would be easy to swap out to milk chocolate, which I'm sure Rob would like better.  Regardless of the changes I'd make, these bars are addictive and it's easy to snarf down too many in one sitting.

Friday, December 16, 2016

From the "Try Soon" Folder

So many food blogs, so little time.

I bookmark recipes that look tasty, have ingredients I'd use (or have on hand) and aren't terribly time consuming.  But even picky bookmarking results in a lot of saved recipes.  Especially desserts - my sweet tooth shows through.  Many get lost.  While culling bookmarks I often rediscover recipes from years ago that are still untried.  Some are simply awaiting a special occasion; most were just forgotten.

I've recently made a new folder:  Try Soon.  It's for everyday meals or desserts that don't require the excuse of a major holiday.  I tried two recipes this week.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December Disruptions

It's been a quiet month for blogging.  I've been focused on getting holiday stuff done:  some shopping, writing cards, shipping cookies.

I'm feel a little like Indiana Jones in regards to this year's ornament:  Cats.  Why did it have to be cats?  I love kitties, but have yet to create one with Sculpey that looks right.  I've been proud of the ornaments I've made my nephew in past years.  I fear this isn't going to be one of them.  I'll be glad when it's done.

I sewed!  For all of five minutes.  I finished a few more string triangles.  I'm so close to having that whole pile completed (and then I can make something with it!).  My sewing backlog contains clothing fixes for my sister and making some Frankenstein batting.  Need to finish those before I can return to applique and other fun stuff.  Inspiration and motivation are at a low ebb.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Last year I started feeling guilty that the guinea pigs weren't getting much floor time.  I remember years ago watching Eclair and Teddi running laps around the living room.  I loved watching them bound around.  I've yet to have other guinea pigs that run around like that.

Floor setup was time consuming, with food and the water bottle, home base and grids.  My three level setup allowed my sows to have space away from each other, but not really enough for them to get up and go full tilt.

So last November I started the ramp experiment.  It turned out to be a lot of fun for everyone in the household.  The results were surprising, as well.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Lighthearted Love

Funny how timing can be.  It seems the world needs some more love right now and suddenly I'm inspired to quilt hearts.

The applique and glitter is such a departure from anything else I've made.  I figured I'd go whole hog and embellish it with buttons and ribbons.  But I couldn't bear to cover up any of the colorful threads.  Wherever I placed the buttons, they were over some bit of color I wanted to feature.  So there's one button.  I skipped the ribbon for much the same reason.

It works. 

I still can't manage to bind a sharp corner.  Beyond that, I'm really happy with this quilt.  Everything is straight and true and hangs flat.  The narrow red edging doesn't waver.

It's so hard to capture the sparkle.  I had this finished a week ago, but didn't get good photos until Sunday.  You can get a bit of the feel from a little heart in the photo below.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Lots of Leaves

My sparkly hearts are all done, but it has been too cloudy or too windy to get a good shot of it.  I hope to show that off soon. 

In the meantime, I've started on my last shiny project.  No hearts this time.  When I had pondered what to do with all of my cloth of thread I focused on making simple shapes:  hearts, circles, ovals.  I couldn't decide between hearts and leaves... so I decided to go with both.

I'm making a tree.  I found good trunk material, I just purchased background fabric (that bright blue on the left).  Now I'm cutting lots of leaves.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Winter Wonderland Piggies

For the first time in years, we didn't have the holiday photo shoot on Black Friday.  Joey from Salem Pet Photo took pictures in October, so we had the day off instead of wrangling rodents.

I spent the afternoon quilting instead of setting up scenery, wrangling pigs and editing photos.  What a nice change.

There were so many great pictures of Boadicea and Wedgwood.  I have a few prints for the holiday cards.  But then there were all of these single shots that I couldn't use.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

A Little Love

My little practice quilt is done.  It went together quite nicely and gave me the confidence to tackle my main project.  I've already appliqued most of the hearts - sandwiching and quilting is next.

This was my first time using the Singer 15-91 for free motion quilting.  All I can say is wow.  Just wow.  I didn't have to muck with the tension.  No broken threads, no skipped stitches.  How nice.  And what fun.  I can't wait to quilt some more.

So this little quilt is 10½ inches square.  I put pockets in the back to insert a dowel for hanging.  Not that I bothered cutting a dowel to length for the pictures - I was too excited to catch the sunlight and show this off.  None of my photos capture how it shines.  Oh, well, you'll have to imagine the sparkle.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Let It All Hang Out

The hammock is back in the cage this week.  I've been getting a kick watching Boadicea sleep in it.  In the past I've noted that Boadi has some similarities to Bertie.  This time she's channeling Pinniped.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

All That Glitters

Front on top; back on the bottom (with little bits of tissue paper)
Cutting that nifty shiny thread fabric has resulted in lots of glitter:  all over my clothes, the cutting mat, the floor and in my laptop keyboard.  Damn.  At least it's pretty.

I pulled threads from the leftover cuttings and made another piece of thread fabric.  Using a fabric backing had pros and cons.  It's stable and opaque, but bulky, can't be easily appended together, it's not reversible and some of the fabric edges fray when cut).  I understand why some tutorials instruct using water soluble stabilizer on both sides.  I will do that next time.

I didn't have much left stabilizer left, so I tried a tissue paper backing.  The tissue didn't all disintegrate or pull out, but I like this result better that the fabric backing.  It's a bit thinner.  I can easily sew small pieces together to make a bigger piece.  This was a dense chunk, but I considered what a looser "weave" would look like.  You'd be able to see the fabric it's appliqued to through the gaps.  Oh!  So many ways to play with this!

I have laid out my main project - have the colors picked, the hearts all cut, it's ready to piece.  Raw edge applique seemed the way to go with this.  I've never done that before - I don't like how messy it looks.  But these pieces are messy!  I felt a clean edge would clash with the rest of the hearts.  As I pondered how to applique it, I also thought about how to quilt it on the new machine.  So many things new things I've not attempted before - did I want to risk trying them out on this quilt?

I stopped my work to make a smaller version with the extra pieces.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Six Month Update

Wedgwood has been with us half a year.  The time flies by!  She's changed a lot from the scared pig we brought home from the Potter League for Animals.  Mind you, she still has some of the pee-face attitude she arrived with.  Her latest thing:  she gets her nose out of joint if Boadicea wheeks for treats.  Seriously.  Like Wedgie is afraid Boadi will get all the food if she makes all the noise. 

Speaking of wheeking - I'm convinced it's something that Wedgwood will never do.  She is a master whiner.  I've never had a guinea pig whine so much.  I recall my mother threatening me I'd have kids that whined as much as I did.  I swear I wasn't this bad....

Friday, November 18, 2016

Not So Bodacious

What guinea pig doesn't work hard making beans?
I called the vet to make an appointment for Boadicea.  The receptionist misread Boadicea's name and thought it was Bodacious.  Excellent!  We had considered that as her name at one point.

Unfortunately, Boadi is not feeling so bodacious.  There's been occasional blood and crying.  No stones were seen on either xrays or ultrasound.  A week of antibiotics hasn't seemed to do anything.  She has good days and bad days, and otherwise appears to be her usual loafy self.

Some of what has me concerned is that Wedgwood has upped her butt-headedness.  She appears to be picking on Boadi far more often.  So something's not right, but we're not sure what.

I brought the vet a poo sample yesterday for more tests.  I hoping this gives us a diagnosis, otherwise, there will be more tests in our future.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Trunk Full of Quilts

Online Quilt Trunk Show | Whims And Fancies Whims and Fancies is hosting a trunk show.  I found out about it through some quilt blogs I follow and decided to join in.

The first couple of quilts are at least a few years old, but the rest were completed in the last year or so.

Summer Day
This was my first Storm at Sea quilt.  It was my first wall hanging as well as my first gift quilt.  Perhaps an odd choice for a wedding present.  But I really wanted to try the pattern and loved my choice in colors.  It remains one of my favorite quilts.

Northern Lights
Northern Lights was a crazy stretch project.  So many pieces.  So much work.  Loved the pattern the first time I saw it.  Loved the colors.  Added bonus?  I got to keep it.

Monday, November 14, 2016


I am not into politics.  My attitude towards it, for better or for worse is:  I don't really want to know, don't have a strong enough opinion to discuss, and largely in my day-to-day life don't care.  Although this whole 2016 campaign and election has made me unhappy and discouraged, I am holding off predictions of doom-and-gloom while I wait to see what happens.  On top of that, I do not view myself as a white privileged person - which I realize is probably the very definition of white privilege.  Like it or not, this is me.

But the uptick in hate crimes from all of this?  I have a real problem with that.

I read several articles about wearing a safety pin.  It began with Brexit to show that the wearer is an ally against anyone who feels targeted by hate.  Soon after I saw several posts about how wearing a safety pin is just an empty gesture (like so many Facebook "click Like to show you're against such-and-such" posts), or a show of white privilege, or whatever.  So I sat on the fence for several days.  Last night I spoke to an acquaintance of mine who was wearing one and asked him what spurred him to add a safety pin to his attire.  I can't recall all of the details of what he said, but what sticks with me was his conviction.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Color and Layout Auditions

I cut my first piece of the shiny threads.  So many applique patterns to choose from.  I decided to go with hearts.  I'm thinking about how I want to stitch it together, what kind of overall pattern to do, how big to make it.  The weather was overcast when I snapped the pictures, so they don't look like much.  In sunlight it really sparkles.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Messy Shiny Threads

I was given a bag full of shiny threads.  Lots of gold and silver, a variety of bright colors.  It was a tangled mess.  As I started to pull them apart I discovered a lot of short scraps.  So I gave up trying to salvage them individually and decided to use the whole mess.

I've seen tutorials on making fabric out of thread and scraps of cloth using water soluble stabilizer.  I decided to give it a try.  I dumped the thread on a few pieces of scrap fabric, covered them with the stabilizer, then randomly stitched all over it.  The two light-colored pieces still have the stabilizer on them, the darker square has it washed off.  They all ended up as vibrant as the square piece when washed.

The stabilizer melted away under warm running water.  Goopy, sticky stuff as it melted.  Kinda gross.  But the end result looks pretty awesome.

Now I have to figure out what to make with them.  I've been looking at applique patterns.  Should be fun.

Sharing with Linky Tuesday and Scraptastic Tuesday.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Great Timing

My Celtic knot project is slow going.  I had a couple of false starts before making any progress.  I managed to lay out the basic shape, but wasn't able to press it all flat.  There were too many pins and too big of an iron.

As I pondered how to tackle this, I was gifted a mini iron.  Oh, what a difference!  I can only work on it in short bursts, but I'm making progress.  I keep screwing up the over/under - I had to pull out one side twice before it lined up correctly.

I planned to machine sew this, but I'm not confident I can catch the finished edges properly.  Now the plan is to hand stitch.  I may start stitching the one side before completing the pinning of the other just to get a better feel for how it will look when it's done.

Along with the mini iron, I received a bag of scrappy metallic thread.  Very pretty stuff - not something I usually use.  But it's inspiring me.  Suddenly I have a new project at the top of my list.  Then I really need to start focusing on Christmas stuff.  Is it really November already?

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Goodies All Around

I hosted a Tea on Sunday.  Such fun having a bunch of friends over for an afternoon of good food and conversation.  I always love using my vintage tea cups.  Plus I got the chance to show off my Key West Memories table cloth.  Doesn't it all look lovely?

I had the window bird feeders up in time for company.  Everyone loved the birds flitting around.  I was asked how many kinds I get.  Oh, so many!  Right now it's mainly chickadees and titmice.  But wow, if I think of it, my window feeders get downy woodpeckers, Carolina wrens, nuthatches, juncos, house finches and goldfinches.  Occasionally a cardinal or a flicker can stuff itself onto the front feeder.  There's a big feeder in the back - they have an easier time with that, and we get blue jays there, too.

Monday, October 31, 2016

What a Jungle

I have written about how badly coordinated the guinea pigs' cage fleece can be.  I've been fleecing the upper decks since 2005;  I started to regularly fleece the bottom of the cage just two years ago.  Of course fabric patterns don't stick around that long, so nothing matches from top to bottom.

Well, a few of the top level pieces have shrunk (fleece shrinks?) too much to fit across the coroplast.  In addition, one of my first attempt at lower level fleeces fell apart.  Pair that with a $2.99 fleece sale at JoAnn's - I had a great excuse to buy new fleece.

Goodness - this means there is one full set of matching fleece for the cage.  Boadicea and Wedgwood are finally styling instead of looking like they got their big sister's hand-me-downs.  The fabric is a bit more eye popping than I realized when I bought it.  The feathers look more like palm fronds and all that blue and green is rather tropical.  It's a jungle in there.

The girls seem happy enough.  Works for me!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Aren't We Cute?

In case you didn't get enough of Boadicea and Wedgwood being cute, I'm sharing a few more photos.

This first one makes me laugh every time I see it.  Pretty much sums up the photo shoot.  Wedgwood was hamming it up in almost ever photo.  Boadicea often looked like she wanted to be elsewhere.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Try Outs

I'm loving my Singer 15.  The motor is so quite - all I can hear is the whir of the gears.  I've been getting used to the feel of it by sewing together crumbs from Stained Kites.  I stitched enough together to cut out another 20 hexies.  I switched over to my other old Singer to sew on the backing/binding, since all my colored thread is already wound on those bobbins.  It was interesting to feel the difference between the two machines.

Next project is something new:  a bias tape Celtic knot.  I made this lilac dress five years ago and felt that it needed a little something.  I decided a some green would be nice (probably when looking for something to wear on St. Patrick's Day).  I've been meaning to do this a year or two, bought bias tape makers this spring and finally started working on it.

Saturday, October 22, 2016


This is a post about dancing that features photos of quilts.  Yeah, a little odd.  I wasn't about to pass up a dance so I could show you what that looks like.  And those quilts were gorgeous.  How could I not share those?

I was disappointed that my trip to Minnesota coincided with two contra dances I really wanted to attend back home.  Lo and behold, I discovered there would be two dances in Minneapolis during my trip at a place called Tapestry.  I was unable to make the techno contra, which I'm sure would have been fun.  However, I did attend the Saturday night contra dance.  I'm so glad I made it.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Valley of the Green Giant

Did you know there really is such a thing as the Valley of the Green Giant?  There's even a sign to prove it (although the trees now block much of it).  My father grew up there, in Le Sueur.

The Green Giant, restaurant front, Addam's Family?
Last weekend was his 60th high school reunion.  Sixty.  Wow.  So my parents planned a trip to Minnesota, where we lived for many years before coming to Massachusetts.  I had intended to visit the area for ages, but never quite got myself on a plane.  I was overwhelmed with the what I'd want to do and who I'd want to see, so it was easier to just stay home.  Kinda sad.

My mother said:  come with us.  Well, that seemed reasonable.  My sister came too; it was the first time all four of us were in the state together in 17 years.  I spent much of the weekend with my friends (high school, childhood and an ex-coworker) and visiting old neighbors (along with a tour of our old house!).  We picked the perfect weekend - the temperature was unseasonably warm and the trees were close to full color.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Pig Paparazzo

It was a dreary rainy day on Sunday.  (Which we really needed - the rain was lovely.)  But I spent a cheery afternoon wrangling guinea pigs for Joey of Salem Pet Photography.

Joey breezed in with scenery, lighting and camera.  Then we dug through my sewing room for extra props.  I was excited to use my Singer 99 as background.  What fun!

Boadicea and Wedgwood suprised Joey by returning home by themselves in-between takes.  I would simply put them on the floor and they'd trot back to the cage and up the ramp.  Well, most of the time.  Wedgie considered exploring more of the living room rather than a direct trip home.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Setting Up

I spent an evening getting to know my Singer 15.  It didn't come with a user manual, but I found one online.  I cleaned out the lint and oiled the gears.  Then I read that the motor needed lubrication as well.  It was obvious that hadn't been done in a long time.  What I scraped out was all black and somewhat tacky.  It may explain why the needle doesn't entirely disengage when running the bobbin winder.  I re-lubricated, but it may take some time to spread around.

The goal is to use this sewing machine in my existing cabinet for piecing and freemotion quilting.  It looks promising.  The hinges fit.  The Singer 15 is the same depth as Graduate, although the edges are a little more rounded.  I was a little nervous - the machine stood correctly, but the bottom only made contact on the left side of the cabinet ledge.  It's a lot heavier than the Graduate, and I worried I would damage the sewing machine and the cabinet if it slipped off the edge.  So I widened the ledge on the right side:  half a craft stick screwed into the side of the ledge.  It's enough to assuage my fears.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

A Few More Bowls

Early this year I made baskets, bowls and drawstring bags to purge an odd assortment of clothing and home decor fabric.  (To make room for more quilting fabric, of course.)  I successfully whittled it down to a fistful of fabric. I stumbled across that fistful the other day and thought:  this needs to go.

Some of the fabric was already cut into strips for clothesline bowls; I figured I'd make some more.  The scraps were all different weights and textures, so I wasn't sure if they'd work together.  The pieces were too small or unsuitable for my quilts.  It was bowls or bust.

The purple home decor fabric bowl was first.  It was heavy to work with and hard to wrap around the cord, but ended up looking better than I anticipated.

The second was a truly scrappy bowl:  corduroy, lightweight lining fabric, rayon, a wee bit of cotton.  All dark colors, so they kind of went together.  The uneven material was challenging to sew since it wouldn't feed evenly through the machine.  It was worth the challenge - I really love the result.

I pooled together the remaining blue fabric for the last bowl:  some gabardine, flannel backed satin and really cheap cotton fabric (I liked the color but couldn't bear to sew it into a quilt - it's gawdawful stuff).  Quite the combo!  My machine rebelled stitching this one.  I'm sure it was the humidity, but it may have been reacting to that cotton....  The result is quite pretty.  I like the contrasting textures - shiny and smooth with matte and rough.

That's it for zig-zag stitching for a while.  Time for another round of crumb hexies as I start planning my next quilt.

Thursday, September 29, 2016


For me, Shangri-La occupies a three-to-four mile radius centered on Campground Beach in North Eastham, MA.  A part of me remains there, all year round.  I sometimes forget I'm not whole, until I step to the top of the beach stairs and run into myself, like an old friend.  Hey!  there you are!  Damn, I've missed you.

I spent my childhood summers there, with the freedom to roam the neighborhood, the dunes and the beach all day long.  When I learned to sail (and weighed enough to upright the boat by myself) I could take the sunfish anywhere in the bay (I even made it around the Target Ship while it was mostly intact).  It was like flying.  I spent my college summers working on the Cape; the afternoons were still mine, filled with reading, bicycling and sailing wherever I wanted.  I spent my evenings cooking dinner, baking goodies while listening to stories from my grandmother and vintage radio shows.

High tide, low tide - so much to explore
Perfection.  Magic.  Heaven.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Just One More

One would have thought when I bought my Singer 99 that I'd stop looking for another sewing machine.  Whatever the reason, I left my Craigslist search bookmarked in my browser.  My regular machine had been behaving.*  Yet, I still wanted a real backup machine; one that might fit into my existing table.  It's bad enough I wanted another machine, I didn't need another table and chair too!

Lo and behold, this portable Singer 15 appeared late July.  Not only that, no one else snatched it up when I waited at least two weeks before responding.  To top it off, I got sick for a couple of weeks and couldn't pick it up.  I told the woman if she could sell it to someone else, go for it.  I'd contact her again when I felt well enough to come look at it.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tomato Treats

Can you see the tomato?  We  know it's here somewhere....
All those tomatoes we've been preparing for sauce resulted in quite a pile of parings.  The bruised and spoiled bits went straight to the compost.  However, all of the bits near the stem were saved for the guinea pigs.

Boadicea is not highly motivated for tomato pieces.  She'd rather have corn husk or bits of cucumber.  But if there's tomatoes right there in front of her, she won't say no.

Wedgwood his far more enthused and will eat whatever tomato is closest to her, even if it's the piece Boadi currently has.  They ended up in a brief standoff when Wedgie figured it would be easier to take from Boadi than to figure out how to manipulate the toy.  Very similar to Boadi's old "wouldn't you like to share that with me?"

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Stained Kites - Blogger's Quilt Festival

I am entering Stained Kites for the Home Machine Quilted category in the Blogger's Quilt Festival.

If I had just been patient about showing off Stained Kites, I would have waited until now to post it.  But I was too excited to share (plus I forgot that the festival was this week).  So I'll just have to show it off twice this month.

After I completed Shattered Kites last year, I thought it would look amazing with a black background, like stained glass.  I began playing with fabric this spring and stitched it up over the summer.  After I squared the quilt I decided it needed black borders and a flange binding.  I really like the little edge of color (it pops more in person than it does in the photos).

It's quilted in a mix of walking foot over the black and free motion in each of the kites.  I tried a bunch of new designs I had never quilted before, which was so much fun.  Spent lots of time doodling and surfing the web for ideas.  There's a few kites with the same pattern, but most of them are unique.  (There are close up photos of the quilting on the original post here.)

The quilt has been promised to a fund raising event.  I hope it will be popular.  For now it hangs in my sewing room - I get to admire it in person for another month or so before I give it away.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Parrot Plumes - Blogger's Quilt Festival

This year's Blogger's Quilt Festival snuck up on me!  It's a month earlier than in prior years and I had to scramble to find stuff I wanted to show.  (I'm still focused on guinea pigs and Pignics right now.)

Parrot Plumes is my entry for the Small Quilts category.  I fell in love with the feathers from an earlier Blogger's Quilt Festival, tracked down the pattern and saved it as a future project.  Inspiration hit when my vet started a practice on her own.  She specializes in birds and I know she has a soft spot for African Greys and Macaws.  I had pattern and colors - time to sew!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Cape Colors

A few things that caught my eye during Chick Weekend that didn't really go in another post.

Campground Beach, looking towards Great Island.  The colorful tables and chairs at PB Boulangerie.  Quirky lawn art?  political statements? on Shurtleff Road.  The Entering West Eastham sign is on a sand dune that overlooks the bay.  There is no more west that that.  The weird keg creature, that appears to be spouting like a whale has a sign:  The Dune Monster (Donald T. Grateagain).  You never know what's going to appear on this guy's lawn.  But it made my morning walks interesting.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happy Birthday, Wedgwood

Imagine my surprise when we brought Wedgwood home and discovered the shelter gave her the same birthday as Cannoli.  So here we are, celebrating a third birthday all over again on the very same date.  I'm having birthday déjà vu.

May the déjà vu stop right there.  The last twelve months were rough for pigs and we're due for some smoother sailing.  Wedgwood has decided this is a great place to live and has recently received a clean bill of health.  Sounds like a good start to me (Boadicea just wishes Pee-Face would stop chasing her around the cage).

We've been enjoying the meaty little loaf.  Her nose often waves around like Bertie's used to, testing the unseen breezes.  She's slowly starting to whine less and wheek more.  Wedgwood has even convinced Boadicea to wheek from time to time.

Happy Birthday, Wedg.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Cape Chick Weekend X

It was a very quiet weekend this year.  Most of the gals could only come down for a day trip and everyone had cleared out by Sunday afternoon.  Still, a good time was had by all.  It was wonderful to see my friends - it had been over a month since I had had the chance to visit with any of them.  Far too long.

Since the majority of people were down for such a short time I asked what they wanted to do for the day.  Consensus was the craft fair and the sand sculpture contest.  Once everyone arrived, we took off.  Nearly all of us came away from the craft fair with goodies: earrings, cards, a mobius scarf (I wish I had seen those when I was there!).  I picked up the stylin' hat.  Then we headed to First Encounter beach.  We arrived early; the contestants were only about halfway through their creations.  We took the opportunity walk the beach and returned just before judging began.

Our favorite was Gullzilla:  A giant seagull (complete with real feathers in it's sculpted wings) swooping in to destroy Cape Cod.  The Cape was nicely done, we got a kick out of the Eastham Windmill being attached by a T-Rex.  So tiny compared to the oversized gull.

Right next to it was another sculpted Cape Cod.  It was beautifully rendered, but it was hard to compete with this entry.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Tomato Sauce

A year or so ago we decided to make our own tomato sauce.  I don't recall exactly how it came about, but I bet it started with a disagreement on what sauce to buy at the store.  I asked a local farm if they'd sell me their reject tomatoes for sauce.  They did, and in the late summer I took home about 40 pounds of tomatoes to make into sauce.  It was lovely stuff.  Rob was so bummed in June when I used the last of it.

We froze the sauce last year, which was great - except that I had trouble stuffing everything I wanted into our small chest freezer.  We researched canning the sauce, even going as far as buying jars, but the tomatoes ran out before we gave it a try.

This year we learned canning.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Unusual Beasties

Neighbors down the street have a pond on the edge of their property.  They've been trying to convince the Canada geese that frequent their yard to hang out elsewhere.  There's been pie plates tied to stakes and shiny ribbons.  It worked for a while, but the last week or two the place has been goose central.

A few days ago I noticed a pair of swans joined their group.  And then a cormorant, which I found more surprising.  I've seen swans visit the pond before, but never a cormorant.

While walking by Sunday evening, I had my biggest surprise:  an alligator.

Say what?!?

Yup.  Rob wondered why I had suddenly stopped and was laughing and pointing at the pond.  OMG, it's an alligator!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Stained Kites

Stained Kites is done!  And I finished it in August.  Woot!  I'm pleased with how it came out, so I'm going to babble and post lots of pictures (click on any of them if you want to see more detail).

I tried so many new things.  Half of the kites were quilted in patterns I had never tried before.  The rest were variations of stuff I've done on other quilts.  I did some McTavishing, several patterns I've admired on The Inbox Jaunt and a few designs I found while googling "freemotion quilting."  I quilted three or four kites with what I call an Easter egg pattern because that's what the finished area looks like.

First time with feathers - and it looks good!  It took two attempts.  I ran the spine along one side of the kite the first time, which made for very long feather loops.  They were terribly wobbly and I ripped them out.  Then I put the spine down the middle; the shorter feathers were easier to deal with.  I am improving at quilting back over a line I've already stitched.  Which is probably why I haven't attempted feathers until now.  Being able to accurately stitch over stitching makes my pebbles look better, too.

Saturday, September 3, 2016


Boadicea loves her morning greens and pepper and afternoon treats.  However, I think her favorite time of day is when I refill the hay.  Once Boadi hears me pull out the hay box and rustle the hay, she bolts upstairs.  The nose waves about and she gets that jaw limbered up (I call it pre-chewing).


I rotate between the two hay racks.  Whatever is left on the third floor (if there is any) gets tossed out.  Then I fill the third level ring with whatever is in the first floor hay rack (sometimes adding a bit of fresh stuff, if it's nearly empty).  I finish by adding fresh hay to the first floor rack.

The funny thing is, Boadicea waits on the third floor for the leftover hay.  I guess being able to jump into the hay is more appealing than working the fresh stuff out of the downstairs rack.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wedgwood Update

Wedgwood has been with us just over three months now.  She's really fitting in.  The little stinker still beats up on Boadicea from time to time, yet she hates being separated from Boadi.  Go figure.  It's like Wedgie feels the need to keep an eye on her.  It's pretty funny.

She's still very talkative - mostly whining, but occasionally there's some genuine wheeking in the morning.  Wedg is far more adventurous with food than Boadi ever was.  Boadi had to check with Cannoli every time I introduced new food.  She'd only eat it if Cannoli was eating it.  Wedgie has no such qualms.  If it's in reach, she'll eat it.  Her weight reflects that!  She is a meaty rodent.

Monday, August 29, 2016

It's Getting There

Progress, little by little.  I quilt four to five kites an evening.  They're not perfect, but when I step back and look at them, I say: hey, that's not bad!

It's been interesting.  Some thread that I thought would show up, doesn't. (I really thought orange creamsicle on light gold would show more.)  Colors that I thought would be overbearing, aren't (salmon pink on white).  I am so grateful I didn't try to quilting Key West Memories because I have fought with ever single screenprint kite.  They all have skipped stitches and shredded thread.  I had to rip the blue one out twice.  The last time I ran into problems like this, a smaller needle did the trick.  This time, as I quilted the very last Key West print, I discovered a larger needle prevented the skipping.  What a pain!