Monday, July 31, 2017

Careful Cutting

I spent a lot of Saturday measuring and cutting.

First - I finished my stacks of shirt blocks!  All 90 or so of them.  Some fabrics were easier to deal with than others, so I finished all the difficult shirts first.  I'm thinking about how I want to arrange the blocks as I moved to the next project:  the dress.

Oh, it's been years since I've made clothing.  I forgot how tedious it is to pin the pattern.  Then there's the cutting - I triple checked the pieces because if I cut one of the big pieces wrong, there's not enough fabric left to fix it!  I left it pinned on the floor for about an hour before I was ready to take the scissors to it.

The pattern has long sleeved and sleeveless options.  I want short sleeves.  I had just enough fabric to cut some sleeves.  I'll sew them together to see how they look - I suspect they're really short!

I dropped off the charity quilt tops on Thursday evening.  Yay!  I got a tour where the group meets on Mondays and a peek at their supplies.  They've got quite a setup, including fabric swapping with other charity groups all going to good causes.  Very cool.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Fussy Plaid

Plaid shirt fabric is difficult to cut.  Well... it's difficult to cut squares that are aligned with the plaid.  I considered starching the fabric first, but that still requires squaring it before ironing with starch.  So I'm just slowly, carefully cutting squares.

I had hoped to have this quilt done by the time I dropped off the other two charity quilts.  Ha!  No chance of that.  I barely started cutting squares by Thursday.  Besides, I must switch gears next week to sew my dress, so this project keeps getting pushed out.  I plan to make disappearing nine patch blocks.  I'm excited to see what it will look like.

The five shirts are yielding more 7" squares than I had anticipated.  I will easily get a throw-sized quilt from this; maybe a twin?  That could be fun!  I'm also generating a ton of smaller scraps; more than I want to throw away.  I wonder what kind of crazy quilt design I could do with them.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I Like Thursday: A Few Days Away

We spent a few days in Maine this week.  Most of my likes come from there.

Before we left my volunteer sunflower bloomed.  I doubt I'll harvest any usable seeds from it, but I like the cheerful, bright yellow flower.  I love that it looks the same several days later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

A Little Quiet

We headed north over the weekend; spent a few days at Thompson Lake in Maine.  Friends had rented a cabin and invited us to stay.  Sunday was beautiful sunny weather.  I'm glad I brought my suit - I splashed around in the shallows and swam out to the boat.  It's been ages since I've swum in a lake.  It was fun to paddle under the trees.  I had a curious fish nibble my toes.

Later in the afternoon I read.  This was my view from the hammock.

There was some traffic on the lake during the day.  The evening and the next morning it was so wonderfully still.  The light rain just added to the beauty.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Strawberry Treat Balls

My first attempt with the cardboard treat balls were met with mild interest.  Both pigs got bored quickly and failed to remove all of the treats.  I kept trying.  Lo and behold, strawberries did the trick.

Boadicea had the biggest learning curve.  She kept rolling the cardboard balls around expecting the treats to pop out, just like the egg-cersizer.  The strawberries were enough incentive enough to keep trying.  Her favorite move was to grab a flap and shake it up and down.  Wedgwood preferred to chew the flaps until she could reach in and pull out the strawberry top.

Hey - whatever works!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

I Like Thursday: Yard Art

There's some interesting yard art in the neighborhood.  I finally got a chance to photograph a few of my favorites.

I really like this saxophone playing ant.  He's gotta be five feet tall.  It's hard to tell in this photo, but he's smiling, too.  Happy, musical ant!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Zag and Weave

The idea was to make a few quilt tops for charity from the vintage fabric I brought home in March.  It took forever to get this project off the ground.  Then suddenly, I have two completed tops!

The first is this zig-zag diamond quilt (which is what I'm calling it, since I can't find a name for the image I copied).  I ended up using black for the setting triangles.  I wishy-washed so many times over the blocks and the color and the design and the setting triangles.  Now that it's done?  Love it.

I picked a strip pattern because the fabric had a few discolored spots - it was either in sunlight or had gotten wet while in storage.  So cutting it in strips seemed the best way to cut around the bad spots and hide the variegation in the solid colors.  The blocks went together really easily and all the points lined up without much work!

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Getting Comfortable

Most guinea pigs excel at being loafy; Boadicea is a master of chill.  We caught her several times over the last two weeks.  This pig seriously knows how to veg.

First Rob caught Boadicea trying to bury herself under the hay.  This was probably her most unsuccessful attempt of getting comfortable.  The bundled hay didn't really allow her to hide under it, which I suspect was her end game.

But later attempts were far more successful. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

I Like Thursday: Progress

It's funny - there are many weeks that I get to Tuesday or Wednesday and think:  I have nothing for my Thursday post!  Then like magic, all sorts of things pop into my head.

After a dry spell of sewing, I've started to make progress.  Then inspiration hit and I've got three different things in the works.

I like the points on my latest blocks.  There are just so many corners that are supposed to line up.  Turns out, they way the blocks are ironed, stacked, then sewn came out perfectly, with almost no effort on my part.  Woot!

I like crayons.  Makes me feel like a little kid any time I use them.  I pulled out the box that has been gathering dust for years so I could get a feel for the design of my next quilt. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017


Lots of guinea pig stories, but not so much sewing.  I hope that will change soon.  I have finally made progress on the pastel strip quilt.  These are the vintage fabrics I picked up in March.  I changed my mind on what block to make; changed my mind on what colors to use before going back to the original block and color combo.  I've put together and pulled apart a few test blocks.  It's ridiculous.


I've got blocks.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Boadi Birthday Number Four

Today we celebrate Boadicea's fourth birthday.  This pig continues to be Ms. Mellow and lives for nose scritches and dried corn husks.  Plus she's still the master of the dubious look.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I Like Thursday: Color

Last week's Thursday post was supposed to be about color; the wedding was certainly colorful.  I found more color this week.

I like the woven box I got as a party gift at the wedding.  I forgot to mention it last week.  Orange and pink.  So festive!

I liked the sweets it was filled with - interesting flavors and spices.  They went great with a cup of tea.  Now that it's empty, I'm trying to figure out what needs to go in it next.  I'm sure I'll find a good use for it.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Why Would You Do That?

A few days ago I wrote about Boadicea and Wedgwood enjoying a pile of freshly dried corn husks on the floor.

What I didn't share was the badness that occurred soon after.

Both guinea pigs decided that it was the perfect day to do some exploring on the floor upon eating their fill.  There was a pig train through the living room, to my desk, then back to the couch.  At this point Wedgwood returned to their cage.  I made the foolish mistake of walking into the next room to talk to Rob.  I returned to the living room just in time to see a spark of light.  Right next to that spark was my computer power cable and a naughty Boadicea rodent.

Just look what she did!  There are four nicks in the jacket before the big chomp that clipped through several of the wires.  I hope that pig got a bit of a jolt for her trouble.  She high-tailed it back to the cage as I came running into the room.

Why, why! does she always go for the power cables?  Why not something a little less expensive, like the electric cord for the lamp?  It had been years since she's taste tested a power cord, and I had become less vigilant.  I spent the next several minutes checking every power cord and cable in the living room (there's a lot of them and some are really long).  Thankfully this was the only one she decided to taste test.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Windy Day Husks

It's corn husk drying season - the time of year I get strange looks for "dumpster diving" the bin next to the corn at Stop & Shop.  I feed my guinea pigs fresh husks and silks.  I shred and dry the extra husks (link to my how-to post) to use them well into the winter.  Drying works best on calm sunny days.  On windy days the corn husks can end up all over the deck.  It's a mess and I lose husks!

I normally dry them on a sheet.  On breezy days, I've taken to spreading the husks on half the sheet, folding it over, then placing something heavy on three or four of the corners (potted plants are great!).  The husks don't dry as quickly, require good strong sun, and need to be uncovered and stirred a few times to dry.  But it works, and is a lot better than chasing bits of husk across my deck.

When I brought in the latest batch, I plopped Boadicea and Wedgwood in the middle of the sheet.  Wedgwood was such a dope - she took off for home as soon as she oriented her self.  Boadicea paused for a bit, then decided it would be silly to run off when surrounded by her favorite food.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

All the Toys

I recently posted about the cardboard treat balls I made up for Boadicea and Wedgwood.  It included a video of Boadicea opening one of the balls.  What I didn't show you was Wedgwood being an unmitigated pee-face. 

Several times Boadi contemplated going elsewhere, but obviously really wanted to play wit the new toys.  Equally apparent - Wedgie wanted all of the treat balls to herself, even if she couldn't get into them.  She actually abandons two of them to chase Boadi away from a third.  Really?  You're that greedy??

What a rotten little rodent.

On a side note - who knew guinea pigs could move that fast in reverse?