Monday, February 26, 2018


Wedgwood has been doing well.  We have good days where she's happy to interact with me and other days when she seems a little lost.  I'm looking for an older sow for company, but haven't had any luck locating a good match.  I will tell you one thing - two guinea pigs are far more entertaining than one.  Wedgwood may be warming up to me more, but I miss watching and listening to guinea pigs interacting with each other. 

The one fun thing that Wedgwood has developed since being solo is floor-time sprints.  She doesn't do them often and never for long.  I'm thrilled when I can catch her going full-tilt across the floor.  Thumpa thumpa.

It's been difficult to capture her antics.  I swear she knows when I'm filming, because she does her best stuff when the camera is not at hand. 

Wedgwood has an uncanny ability to orient herself soon after she hits the floor, traverses hardwood as fearlessly as carpet and is happy to explore any nook and cranny.  I regularly pick her up and carry her into another room.  If I put her on the floor, she explores locally for a brief time, then gets her bearings and takes off for home.  If I haven't already opened the gate, I need to rush over to the cage to let her in before she arrives.  I've left the gate open all day sometimes, but she very rarely ventures out on her own.  She does her most exploring on cage-cleaning day, when I've blocked access back up the ramp.  It's too bad - I'd love for her to do more exploring on her own. 

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Fixing Grommets on Acoustical Drapes

My most recent Drapes of Doom™ repairs involved some guesswork.  I was frustrated I couldn't find any examples online.  So I'm documenting what I did (and will update with any success/failure).

Removing old headers and replace with new jute
The backstory:  I volunteered to repair a set of heavy velvet acoustical drapes that are used by several dance organizations in the New England area.  The drapes are roughly 6 to 8 feet wide, and 14 to 16 feet tall.  They are well used.  The first set of repairs included splitting three very large drapes (16' across) into two narrower drapes so they'd be easier to handle (six 25-pound drapes are easier to put up and take down than three 50-pound ones!).  I patched holes and restitched hems.

I received 10 drapes for my next set of repairs.  I was asked to patch holes and deal with grommets that were pulling out of the drape headers.  This was more of a challenge.  I didn't want to sew over the metal grommets, wasn't sure how to shore up the weakness.  In the end, I left many of the grommets as they were.  Three drapes had more torn grommets than intact ones and the fabric around the others was tired.  I sliced off the entire row of grommets for those drapes, ripped out the crumbling jute, and attached a brand new jute header.  This required a full set of grommets to be installed.  That seemed to be the safest route to fix the drape:  removing all of the weakened fabric and jute, then add new.  The drawback was that it removed three inches from the height of the drape and required a full set of grommets.  Even though I was given the green light to do the modification, I wasn't sure if there'd be issues with a shorter drape.  (Although I think they've been happy with the modification.)

Thursday, February 22, 2018

I Like Thursday: Accomplishments

I liked this recipe for Marakesh Carrots.  In the end only made a half batch, which is plenty, since they say it should be eaten within three days.  I would add more dates.  Otherwise, it has a nice zing.

I also like this recipe for Cashew Chicken.  Rob had forgotten I had made it once before and said it was good stuff.  I should make it again.  Good thing - because this was again.

I do not like cleaning the bathroom and dusting the house.  However, I really like having them done.  I get to enjoy clean surfaces for a little while.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Is It Random Enough?

The curious thing about random quilts is that they're not really random.  When I first arranged my disappearing nine patch blocks I had a lot like this one:  three of one fabric, two of another.  I really wanted to have no more than one repeat of any given fabric (even better if I could get no repeats at all).  It can be a lot of work to "randomize" a scrappy quilt.

I managed to get all the browns spread out to my liking, although one block snuck through very similar to this one.  I didn't even see it until I ironed the finished block:  three of the same light grey strips.  Right next to each other, too!  Oh, well.  Even knowing it's there, I have to hunt for it.  I was not about to rip it out then search for a swapable square.

This may be the last progress post for a while.  The recipient knows what I picked for a pattern and fabric, but I want there to be some surprise.  The top is complete.  I hope to sandwich it by the end of the week, intending to have it quilted by the end of the month.  Wouldn't that be nice?

I'm at the stupid worry stage:  Is it big enough for a throw quilt?   (I compared it to my favorite afghan - same size.)  Does the binding color work?  (That was a late night panic that I should have picked something dark to blend the espresso/blue squares.  Did a quick audition - hated it.  Original choice is still the best!)  Will they like it?  (Oh, I hope so, but people who have seen parts of it think it's pretty.)  And my stitch length changed from 15 to 10 stitches per inch at some point while piecing.  Hmph.  I'm sure that will be fine, too.  At least I noticed to flip it back.

I need to stop worrying.  And... that's easier said than done.  I trying a new all-over free motion pattern.  Eek!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

I Like Thursday: Chocolate Browns

I like pastries.  Give me any kind of chocolate, pastry cream (or whipped or sweet cream), ganache, mousse, caramel, buttercream and I am a happy camper.  I stopped by White's to pick up treats for me and my Valentine.  They were delicious (and gone long before Valentine's Day).

I like that I'm living in a drape-free house.  With the latest Drapes of Doom modifications complete, they were finally shipped out on Friday.  Bon voyage!  I hope they've been all re-grommeted and ready to hang by tomorrow at The Flurry.

I like that I'm working on a quilt.  This one is primarily browns, creams and greys.  Actually, it has a lot of similar colors to that box of pastries.

I like figs.  Something my ex-husband got me into.  I just bought a container of them from Trader Joe's.  Yum.  And speaking of Trader Joe's - I like them too.  Do you have one near you?

Hmm... food and sewing.  Good stuff.  But now I'm hungry again!  Need to go occupy myself reading the other posts at Not Afraid of Color's I Like Thursday.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Lots of Nine Patches

The first part of creating a disappearing nine patch quilt is stitching together a bunch of nine patch blocks.  After making a pair of test blocks, I got to work cutting and sewing 225 squares.  It made a nice little pile on the floor all chain-stitched together.

Then all those squares became a set of blocks. The two top corners are what the blocks will look like once they're sliced and put back together.  Pretty cool - so different than the original block. It's neat what you can do with a bunch of squares.

Sharing with:
Freemotion by the River: Linky Tuesday
Sew Fresh Quilts: Let's Bee Social
Confessions of a Fabric Addict: Can I get a Whoop Whoop?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Two Test Blocks

You don't know how excited I am to finally start this project.  I'm a little nervous, too.  Now I'll find out if my vision will survive implementation.  I did a couple of test blocks this week:  block sizes are correct, color layout is good.  I used a couple of fabrics we weren't sure about - one if fine, the other jumps a bit (and if you can't guess which is which, even better).  I'll probably throw in a few squares of those, just to give the quilt a bit more diversity.  I have four medium-brown fabrics that passed inspection and I'll use a lot of them.

Espresso cornerstones vs. blue cornerstones

Thursday, February 8, 2018

I Like Thursday: Lovely

I can tell that life is encroaching on my free time by the number of blog posts I publish (not many) and ones I have partially written (a few).  It's not a bad thing - but I feel a little out of control.  Plenty of happy stuff going on.

I can't believe it's been three years since I did my first Blind Date with a Book.  This time I pulled a book of ghost stories, named The Small Hand and Dolly.  I haven't gotten too far - I had to finish up the other book I was reading (a great series called The Broken Earth).  I like the prose; We'll see how the story unfolds.  So far so good!

I like my mom doing a happy dance.  I wish I had taken photos.  I handed over Sunshine to her on Saturday and she was just. so. excited.  OMG, that was fun.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


I mentioned back in December that we went to the Ipswich River Sanctuary to feed the birds.  I finally culled through the photos and videos to share some of my favorites.

I love, love, LOVE, feeding the birds at Ipswich.  The flutter of feathers.  The chirps and calls.  The brandishing and displays.  The little bitty pricking when their feet hold on to my fingers.  The flurry of activity.  Happy birds.  Happy me!

Chickadee in motion and a nuthatch picking the best seed

Thursday, February 1, 2018

I Like Thursday: Game Day Additions

Oh, a successful weekend:  a dance on Friday, Game Day on Saturday and most of the drapes repaired on Sunday.  Definitely an "up" week with lots of likes.

I like that I arrived in time for the pre-gaming hike, which is becoming a tradition for Game Day.  There is a wooded area behind the house with trails, a beaver pond and a waterfall.  Or I should say, there was a beaver pond.  The dam broke during the last storm and cleared out the whole pond.  The difference was stunning (wish I had before and after photos - sorry).