Friday, March 31, 2017

Yards and Yards

What was I thinking? 

An attendee to Sunday's Tea brought a stack of vintage fabric looking for a home.  I picked out some of it.  A rough measurement after washing it revealed there's over 25 yards of material pictured here.  OMG.  What am I going to do with this stuff?!?

The amazing thing - my claim barely made a dent in the available stash.  There must have been well over 100 yards of fabric in that bag.

I fell in love with the variety of colors.  Most of it is lightweight.  It feels nice, but I'm not sure how good it will be to mix and match with my other fabric.  As I perused the pile at the Tea and thought aloud what I'd make with it, people asked:  can I have that when it's done?  (We do project show-and-tell, too, and everyone wanted to take A Season of Change home with them.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

I attended a Tea on Sunday.  I brought both a savory and a sweet dish.  I have no photos of my savory dish (which has now moved from Try Soon to Keeper folder).  The sweet was also a keeper.  It's a lovely gluten-free and dairy free cookie - perfect for a couple of my friends' diet restrictions.  It has great texture (didn't feel gluten free!) and a nice flavor.  I was asked for the recipe. 

I like my cookies slightly undercooked so they're chewy.  I discovered these cookies are naturally soft.  The first tray I took out at 9 minutes.  The cookies were done, but ended up a little sticky.  The second tray went in a full 12 minutes (and could have even gone in a bit longer).  These had better integrity and still weren't too crispy.  The whole batch of cookies flattened quite a bit - next time I'll chill them slightly before baking them.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Wonky Mug Rug

I made my first wonky block with a 3" internal square that I decided was smaller than I wanted for the quilt.  Luckily, I had plenty of black and orange fabric, so I recut the block with a larger square.  That left me with two leftover blocks.  I decided to make mug rug with it.

I decided to make just one mug rug, not two.  It's reversible.  Threw in some frankenstein batting, added a darker orange binding and ta-da!  I had a fun time playing with the quilting.  I quilted the orange square with black thread so it shows up on both sides.  It's hard to see in the photos, but I quilted the black square with orange thread, with the same design.  It's neat how the corners of the flowers touch.  Then I quilted the rest, black thread on the orange, orange thread in the bobbin.  So everything is quilted in the opposite color of the fabric.  Fun!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Modern Sacking

One of the things I love about our new camera is it doesn't need fussing.  The only way I could get my old one to produce good photos was to manually adjust the settings.  I'd miss antics - by the time I got everything right, they'd have moved on.  I'm hoping I'll get more candid pig pics.  (I'm liking the food and quilt pics, too, but we know it's all about the pigs.)

I caught Wedgwood seriously enjoying her cozy.  Ooh - little feet sticking out.  Look at that nose.  The grey, white and yellow caught my eye.  It's a popular color combination in modern quilts.  I can see why people like it.  Such fashion sense, Wedgwood!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

I Like Thursday: Fabric

I went fabric shopping over the weekend at Ryco's.  They're located in an old mill building in Lincoln, RI.  I forgot  how I stumbled across them in the first place, but I'm glad I did.

I like the people at Ryco.  They're nice people and help me out with whatever I'm working on. 

I like what I purchased!  Aren't they pretty?  I know I've eyeballed the orange scroll fabric before - it was finally at a price I couldn't say no to.  The tea (coffee?) mugs caught my eye.  I seem to be gathering more golds, browns and neutrals in my stash.

I really like the whimsical boats.  I wanted them as a backing on my current quilt (the main reason for my trip).  I was convinced a fishy fabric (not pictured here) went better with the quilt, but I just had to have those boats.  I have no idea what I'll use it in, but it's mine, all mine!

I like ironing.  Crazy, right?  After I wash new fabric, it's soothing to feel the fabric and watch the wrinkles disappear.  Smooth, wonderful stuff - just think what I could do with it!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Alas, All Gone

Boadicea and Wedgwood don't realize it yet, but this was the last handful of dried corn husk until the next crop gets harvested.  They've gotten a small handful every night since the summer.  I had a good sized supply... but they have polished it off.

I'm not sure if Wedgwood will notice, but I know Boadi will be bummed for the next few nights.  Spring is around the corner, Boadi.  Just a few more months to fresh corn husk.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Wonky Blocks

I had several ideas what I wanted to do for my next quilt before I picked a wonky square block.  I found Hopscotch (by Nancy Mahoney) that had an uncentered square-within-square; it wasn't wonky as much as simply off-center.  Then I found a couple tutorials that the middle piece is neither square nor centered.  These are really wonky. 

Paper practice
I liked the cockeyed blocks best, but I was a nervous about cutting my fabric; some colors I picked had a small amount of yardage.  It's one thing to read a tutorial, it's another to do it!  Instead, I pulled several pieces of paper from the recycle bin, squared and cut them to get a feel for the squares.  I'm glad I did.  I was not happy with my wonky centers - they were too pointed, too much to one side.  I wasn't getting a feel for what to do.  But then, I squared the center piece and twisted it in the center of the outer block.  Aha!  This I liked.  This I could tackle with some confidence.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Wedged in Hay

I'm still stuffing hay into paper bags trying to curb the mess.  I must have overfilled this bag and it was too much to fit both the hay and a pig.  Usually a bag gets nibbled apart, but this one split right down the side.

Wedgwood appeared quite pleased with the result.  She barely moved as I walked by and snapped photos.  She's mostly covered by the bag and must feel pretty secure.  In the bottom picture decided to ignore me and went back to eating what was under her.  What a life!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

I Like Thursday: Goodies

Who doesn't look goodies?  Last week I got some great ones. 

There was a bake sale fundraiser at the Rehoboth contra dance.  I scored some of the treats.

I like Cookie Man cookies.  A guy from the dance makes these massive chocolate chip cookies with huge chunks of chocolate and generously sprinkled with flaked salt.  Decadence I never make with my own cookies.  It's always a treat anytime his cookies appear at the dance.  I happily plunked down my money to bring a half dozen of these home from Friday's dance.  I've had to hide them so I didn't eat all of them in one sitting.  Yay for the Cookie Man!

I like these lemon shortbread cookies.  Isn't the icing beautiful?  The colors!  The details!  They'd be too pretty to eat, except I had sampled some of these a couple of weeks ago and I knew how delicious they'd be.  It would be a sin to let them get stale, right?  These were part of a silent auction.  I was excited to have entered the winning bid.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Season of Change

The tree quilt is finished.

OMG, I think I need to repeat that:  the tree quilt is finished.  And the wind died down yesterday long enough to photograph it.

This project lasted so much longer than I anticipated.  Quilting was difficult.  The trapunto was a neat idea, I really like how the leaves look.  However, I'm not sure if it was worth it.  The tree trunk came out a little lumpy (which is okay - what bark isn't a little lumpy?).  I considered quilting in some wood grain to tack it down, and decided that would only draw more attention.

Working around the extra batting certainly complicated things.  I really need a walking foot for my new machine.  I'm sure it would have prevented several of the puckers I had to rip out and restitch.

I was worried the binding would look too stripy, but I'm happy how it turned out.  Adds a bit of interest to the edge without taking over.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Typical Cage Cleaning

Cleaning Boadicea and Wedgwood's cage is pretty straightforward.  Twenty minutes of pulling stuff apart, wiping the cage down, replacing towels and fleece, then reassembling.  And chasing guinea pigs.  No cage cleaning day is complete without herding curious or mischievous pigs.

With the magic of time lapse photography, I seem to do it all in a minute and a half.  It would probably go well with Yakety Sax (especially the pig trains).

I weigh Boadicea and Wedgwood, then let them loose on the floor.  I sweep out most of the loose hay.  Pull out the third and second levels, sweep up and pull out the first floor bedding.  Sweep out the the debris on the coroplast and spray vinegar all over the bottom level.

I pull out my box of clean bedding, pick what I want and change the second level bedding; put the second level back into the cage.  Wipe down the bottom level and a put in a fresh layer of towels.

Chase pigs (because they're hanging out in the living room more than they should be).

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Puffy Pepper-Eating Pig

The last few days, Boadicea has been puffing out when she eats her slice of pepper.  I've seen guinea pigs do this to look foreboding so no one will try to steal their treats.

So puffy!

The vet says Boadi isn't hyperthyroid.  So we still don't know what's up.  She had a sudden drop after bringing her to the vet, but she's gained it all back and a bit more over the last day or two.

I sound like an Italian mother when I walk by the cage: Mangia!  Mangia!

Then I get that look:  I'll finish eating my pepper as soon as you stop taking photos.

So much attitude in such a small package.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Oatmeal Chocolate Ginger Cookies

One of the candies we make for Easter are called ginger nut clusters.  The candied ginger in them can have a kick.  So when I first saw these oatmeal cookies with the candied ginger, I was intrigued.

I made them last weekend.  Even though they have more than a half cup of candied ginger, the cookies are very mellow.  Not at all like the candies.  It's the oatmeal?  Maybe the baking?  Did they need more chocolate?  Not what I expected.  I wasn't sure if I'd keep the recipe when I brought the cookies to a party.  And snap!  just like that they disappeared.

I've taste-tested a few more and decided to keep the recipe.  They're wonderfully chewy, have a nice flavor.  Not the hit I had anticipated, but they're interesting.  A few things:  I used Ghirardelli chocolate chips which are big; I should have chopped them a bit so they were more evenly distributed in the cookies.  And I don't care, I'm adding more than ⅓ cup of chocolate next time, too!  Some of the candied ginger clumped together; I'll have to make sure they're broken apart.  Lastly, the original recipe had several different options for baking the cookies.  I will definitely chill them first, because I like fatter cookies.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Look What I Got!

I am so lucky to have friends that know and love me.  This calendar was handed to me as I lined up for a contra dance last Friday night.  My dance partner, whom I had just met, looked amused as I did a happy little jig and hugged my friend.

I spent some time Saturday morning transferring appointments from my old, boring calendar.  I get pretty piggies on my wall for the rest of the year.  What fun!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Promised Road Trip

Boadicea recovers (hay and napping) from an exciting morning
I haven't heard any crying from Boadicea in over a month, which has been wonderful.  But the slow weight loss continued.  I threatened Boadi that if she dipped below 950g, we'd be taking a trip to The Mean Lady.  (My vet is a wonderful woman, but we figure the pigs may not hold her in such high esteem.)

Two days in a row Boadi dipped into the 940s and true to my promise, we visited the vet yesterday.  I also informed Wedgwood she'd get squeezes from the vet techs, who were happy to oblige. 

It was a jam packed morning.  Boadicea was weighed and examined - I even had a hand in it, as the vet instructed me how to feel Boadi's lumpy thyroid.  Oh, not another thyroid pig!  She does not present classic hyperthyroid symptoms, but I know thyroid diseases shows up in all sorts of conflicting ways.  I was astonished to feel her thyroid.