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.