Thursday, March 30, 2023

I Like Thursday: Little Bits and Pieces

Quick post this week to share with I Like Thursday.  Work has been busy.  Managed to get a bit of work done in the yard.  Pulled fabric and have been researching a quilt (I think I finally picked a pattern).  Working on my crumb blocks.  Once I go through them, I'll move onto strings and selvedge blocks.  And then onto my next baby quilt.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

I Like Thursday: Thaw

We've gone from winter to spring all within a week.  I squeezed in some cross country skiing.  Thursday morning I explored some of Upham Road at the top of my road.  It was a nice climb, but too icy to ski down.  I had to pop off the skis and walk down.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


Mandala is finished, bound and labeled!  I had a beautiful sunny day for photographs in between snow storms.  It's just taken me a while to write this blog post.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Project Quilting 14.6: Broken Dishes Cover

The last of this season's Project Quilting challenges was an odd one:  Conquer a Fear. Quilting fear?  Personal fear?  How do I represent that?  And what do I fear?

I dismissed most of the sewing/quilting fears... almost all those are just something I haven't gotten around to trying yet.  Personal fears?  I have some strong dislikes (like making phone calls to people I don't know).  But what causes me the most anxiety is around What if I couldn't....  I've had some illnesses that have made me too weak or painful to do basic things, like climb stairs or go shopping (let alone go dancing).  Made my brain too fuzzy to do my work.  I've been lucky - my worst problems have cleared up in months or maybe years.  But a few never got a real diagnosis, so they could return.  What if I couldn't dance any more?  What if I can't sew?  or do yoga?  can't eat real food?  have a heart attack?

My fear is becoming broken.  

How the hell do I quilt that?

Thursday, March 16, 2023

I Like Thursday: Spring Flowers

This week's I Like Thursday prompt asks us for our favorite Spring flowers.  I love tulips.  I don't know why - they're just appealing.  Daffodils are always so happy, too.

My sister invited me to come to a flower show at a local greenhouse.  Not a big place, but oh, the color!  We came to the door and even with a mask on, the scent was amazing.

Just look at how bright and cheery that is.  How wonderful!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

I Like Thursday: Snow and Seeds

I have stories but not many photos for this week's Likes.

I got out skiing on Sunday.  Conditions were wonderful!  I made it across the top of Chestnut Hill over to Wendel. State Forest.  I had a map and was told to go around the pond for a fairly short loop.  Perfect, since it was still going to be another mile and a half back to my car.  Well... I got temporarily misplaced and instead of doing the simple mile loop, I went a couple of miles.  By the time I thought about turning back, I could see I was halfway around, so I decided to keep going.  

The truly unfortunate bit was, I was still breaking in some new boots and hadn't laced them tight enough to start.  My heels had massive blisters.  I had initially planned to ski again on Monday (I took the day off), but it hurts to put on any kind of shoe.  Bummer.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

Project Quilting 14.5: Fabric Bowl

I spent most of the week quilting my mandala quilt, which I was determined to finish by the end of the week.  (It's quilted!)  That made this week's challenge a bit more challenging.  The rule was simple - Sew Not A Square.  

I picked it up on Saturday morning and it proceeded to go in a few directions.  I started out with a bunch of leftover pieces from one of my kite quilts.  I stitched them into a hexagon, which was a little large for a mug rug.  Then I remembered Rob asking for another bowl cozy.  I pinned in some darts which looked pretty good.  I decided to go with it.

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Spring Cheese

Dakin asked for some St Patrick's Day or spring photos of my two foster boys, Bleu and Provolone.  I don't have any shamrock stuff, but I do have plenty of fake flowers.  I threw flowers on the table top, grabbed some cilantro and strawberry tops, plunked the boys down and this is what happened.

Pretty cute, aren't they?

Thursday, March 2, 2023

I Like Thursday: New Growth and Old Memories

It's Thursday!  Welcome to my likes of the week.  I have all sorts of color to share this week with LeeAnna and friends over at Not Afraid of Color

I still have the Cheese Boys - guinea pig fosters from the Dakin Humane Society.  Dakin wanted some spring or St Paddy's photos of the Bleu and Provolone.  I don't have Irish stuff, but I do have flowers.  We did a quick photo shoot on Monday, but I haven't had a chance to do a whole post with them.  Here's a little preview of the boys.

Monday, February 27, 2023

Mandala Progress

My latest baby quilt is progressing!  I'm thinking about the name for the quilt.  Mandala, in Sanskrit, means circle.  This quilt certainly has circles within circles!  

My goal had been to get the top stitched together.  Not only did I do that, I sandwiched and quilted a good chunk of it as well.  I got half of it quilted no problem, then I've had some thread tension issues.  So far I have all the X pieces quilted, like old fashioned pen nibs.  Now I need the orange peels quilted.  

Thursday, February 23, 2023

I Like Thursday: Cheese and Lemons

A long weekend makes for a short week!  Some nice likes, though, to share with LeeAnna's I Like Thursday.

The Cheese Boys had a little floor time while I cleaned the cage.  I need to do a photo shoot to put on Dakin's site.  They're going to try to relist these two - I can't believe they're still not adopted!  Since Provolone and Bleu have stayed with us they've gone from little boys to somewhat-loafy boars.  

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Experimenting With Caramel

I have a favorite recipe that calls for a bag of caramels mixed with evaporated milk.  For me, that was a bother - I rarely kept a bag of caramels in my pantry, I hated removing a zillion wrappers and melting the caramels with the milk was always a sticky mess.  Caramel is just sugar, cream and butter, so I wondered how hard it would to make from scratch.  The short answer?  Hard at first, but now I can make it faster than unwrapping and melting those store-bought caramels!

I've played with a few different caramel recipes for the better part three years.  Some use straight sugar, others mix it with water or corn syrup.  I don't keep corn syrup on hand.  I tried the straight sugar recipe (referred to as dry caramel) but it had hard lumps or was crumbly instead of being chewy.  (Yes, I managed to make caramel that wasn't gooey.)  It tasted good, but I was aggravated with the issues.  I tried mixing the sugar with water to make a syrup first (called a wet recipe), but wasn't happy with those results either.  It separated.  It didn't set right.  At least the failures were tasty and paired well with ice cream.

Saturday, February 18, 2023

Project Quilting 14.4: Watership Down Post Cards

My Project Quilting projects seem to be shrinking.  I started with pillows, then switched to a phone pouch and now I made post cards.  This week's challenge was A Novel Project - inspiration drawn from a book I've read.  So many books!  Which one to choose?  I immediately thought of some of my oldest favorites:  The Westing Game, The Tattooed Potato and Other Clues, The Blue Sword.  But they were obscure or would be hard to work with.  And what would I make?  

I stewed on it a day or two and decided a post card of Watership Down.  I wanted El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of InlĂ©.  I ended up with a couple of extra brown rabbits, so I made two post cards.

The hardest bit was shrinking the rabbits down small enough to fit on the 4x6" card and yet be big enough to work with.  Once they were cut out and ironed on they needed a little embellishment.  I pulled out my book and first read the very end - it always makes me weepy.  Then I read the chapter where El-ahrairah goes to the Black Rabbit.  The Black Rabbit has very little description, other than having red eyes.  I caught the bit where Frith restored El-ahrairah ears and added a little bit of starlight.  I had to go back and reread the ending.  The movie/mini-series portray the Black Rabbit collecting Hazel at the end, but it's El-ahrairah who comes to get him.  The faint silver light around the ears is the give away.  I don't know if I realized that before.  

Thursday, February 16, 2023

I Like Thursday: Valentine Goodies

This was a week of goodies, which gives me several nice things to share with LeeAnna's I Like Thursday.

Usually we stop off at the pastry shop when transporting guinea pigs to Dakin.  But we've had the current fosters since early December.  So we made a special trip to Cerrato's pastries this week.  They had a lot of beautiful (and delicious) items special for Valentine's day.  This one was a white chocolate shell filled with chocolate mousse.  Yum!

Saturday, February 11, 2023

A Back and a Front

I'm getting close!  I now have a finished backing to go with a finished top.  Once again I've made a back that would look pretty good on its own! 

I need to prep some batting but it's ready to sandwich.  I probably won't get to that this weekend, but I'm hoping by the end of next week.  I could be quilting by the long weekend.  I've already started to pull out thread and think of how I want to quilt it.  I'm excited!  I've certainly accomplished my OMG - now I'm going for my stretch goal. 

Friday, February 10, 2023

The Cheese Incident

"I got bit!" I exclaimed.  I examined my injured hand as two little marks welled up.  I couldn't remember if I had ever been bitten hard enough to draw blood before.

With all the guinea pigs I've cared for and Pignics I've worked on I have rarely been chomped on.  I've had nips, generally from stressed out guinea pigs that I'm medicating or otherwise treating.  Sometimes the occasional taste-test from young guinea pigs or the over-zealous chomp when offering bits of carrots and my fingers got in the way.  I've had what I call "touching teeth" (the guinea pig whack you with their teeth - like a punch, but no biting pressure) from irritated guinea pigs that telling me they want to be left alone.  Prior to this, the worst incident was getting between two arguing sows (total accident and all parties were sorry afterward).  That's why you should always use the Dustpan of Doom™ to break up a fight.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

I Like Thursday: Finishes and Favorites

A busy week with good stuff to share with the I Like Thursday group over at Not Afraid of Color. 

I pushed through my puckering problem and finished the quilt top as well as part of the backing.  I've even cut the binding.  Once I prep the batting I can sandwich it.  I'd like to do that by Sunday so I can focus on the next Project Quilting challenge next week.  Exciting!

I bought a "new" sewing machine to replace my dying.  I was considering how to get rid of the old machine, until Rob pointed out we could try to repair it.  The pieces that are broken are fairly inexpensive - it's the labor involved that I was told wouldn't be worth it.  But we're curious, so we'll give it a try ourselves.  It would be nice to pass on a working machine to someone.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Puckering Snowballs

I spent a good chunk of the weekend working on the flowering snowball quilt.  Progress!  But it wasn't smooth sailing.  

The first few pieces I sewed together backwards.  Not an auspicious start!  Ripped them out and put them back together the right way.  Then I kept getting puckers - about every third block.  Stop, rip, restitch, iron, repeat.  I had some choice words about that (one of them rhymed with pucker).  Bah!

Friday, February 3, 2023

Project Quilting 14.3: Phone Pouch

For this week's Project Quilting challenge I knew what I wanted to make before the challenge was announced: a pouch for a smartphone.  Something with a cross-body strap, just big enough to fit in a largish phone (why do they make them so big?!?) that won't fit in a small pocket (and why are those so small?!?).  

When the challenge was for the 54-40 or Fight block, I realized I'd be working with lots of little pieces.  I looked at variations of the block and I found one that looked like a cross of tulips.  I still had a bunch of dark pinks and reds I had rejected for the last challenge, plus the recipient's favorite color is red, so I went with that.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

I Like Thursday: Starts and Ends

It's the start of a new month!  And I've started a bunch of things.  Good things to share at I Like Thursday.

I'm working a set of little blocks for this week's Project Quilting challenge.   Not a pillow this time!  These blocks are little - they'll be 3¾ inches finished.  Then I need to figure out how to assemble them into a little pouch.  Can't take too long to think about it - it needs to be done by Sunday.

I've started the Flowering Snowball quilt in earnest.  Doesn't it look great on my wall?  I need to cut a few more pieces and see what grabs me for the corners and I'm still wavering over all purple or purple and gold in the center.  But I'm nearly ready to begin the stitching.  Yay!

I've started working on chick events!  I think we've picked a date for a weekend at Kripalu and I just booked a place for the Cape weekend in the fall.  I'm feeling rather rusty at organizing stuff. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2023

February OMG - Finish a Flimsy

I have most of the pieces cut for the Flowering Snowballs quilt.  The corners need a bit of work, and I'm still flip-flopping between two different centers.  But it's close!  I hope to start stitching soon.

My focus is split between this and my Project Quilting challenges.  I'd really like to have this sandwiched by the end of the month, but I think my goal should be simply to have a finished flimsy.  If I can finalize the layout, I think it will go together quickly.

Sharing with:
Elm Street Quilts - February OMG

Saturday, January 28, 2023

A Little Crazy

I kind of ran off the rails trying to lay out this quilt.  At one point I had 14 different layouts, all slightly different.  I've whittled it down to six.  It's amazing that the same pattern with five colors can come up with so many different looks.

The top left box is the first layout, which I liked.  But compared to some of these others?  Right now the two left-most layouts are my favorite.  At this point, I need to walk away for a bit, then come back and see what grabs me.  I had no idea I'd go so wild and crazy over this quilt!  

Thursday, January 26, 2023

I Like Thursday: White and Blue and Gold

Welcome to I Like Thursday, where we share some of the good things that happened during the week.  

I like that we got snow (even better - the power stayed on!).  I haven't had a chance to play in it, but I've at least gone out for a walk to enjoy the beautiful trees.  Alas, it may rain by the time I get up and ruin the fluffiness.  Enjoy it while I can.

I'm really hoping enough snow will remain to go skiing - maybe this weekend?

Friday, January 20, 2023

Project Quilting 14.2: Wavy Pink Pillow

I finished my second challenge of Project Quilting with plenty of time to spare... but then had trouble finding good light to photograph it for my post!  This week's theme was Pink Tint:  the project need to be inspired by the color pink.  I dug through my stash and found more pink than I thought I had.  The first thing that popped into my head was wavy strings.  I kept coming back to that every time I tried to think of some other pattern to do.  I swung between a quilted post card or another pillow case (since I still have all of last season's mug rugs).  My fabric drawer is rather packed, so I picked the pillow to use up more fabric.

Initially I thought I'd contrast the pink with some black.  I though all pink would be overwhelming.  But as the piecing progressed I decided to make the entire pillow pink.  I added in a bit of red, just for some interest (the kitties are pink!). 

Thursday, January 19, 2023

I Like Thursday: A Bit of Quilting

Welcome back to I Like Thursday, where I join up with LeeAnna and friends to share the good things of the week. 

I like that I finally started cutting pieces for the next baby quilt, although it's on hold while I find some more fabric.  In the meantime, I'm working on the next Project Quilting challenge.  I decided to make another pillow.  The front is pieced and quilted - I just need to pick a color for the binding:

Pink, red or black?  I'm starting to lean away from the black.  If I do pink binding, it would be red back and vice versa if I do red binding.  I'm hoping to bind it later today, so I need to pick soon!

Monday, January 16, 2023

It's a Start

There's one more baby quilt in my project backlog.  After a lot of straight-line piecing, I felt the need for another curved pattern.  I had seen Flowering Snowball pop up in other quilters' blogs and decided to try it out.  It's one of those fun patterns that change depending on what you focus on.  I found a template and sized it down for a 9" finished block (so I could have more blocks to work with).

My living room floor had been covered with all sorts of fabric for the better part of two weeks as I contemplated what I wanted the quilt to look like.  I wanted scrappy and colorful.  But I couldn't decide - did I want to focus on the circles?  the Xs?  Then I found Deb's Flowering Snowball.  That quilt was seven blocks square and mine would only be five, but it was still enough to make a mandala-like pattern, which appealed to me.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Yay for Hay!

Dakin foster guinea pigs, Bleu and Provolone, are still hanging out with us.  They've been getting along quite well for a pair of young boars.  Bleu wants to be bossy every so often and ousts Provolone from a favorite cozy or chases him away from the hay rack (which is why there are two separate places to eat hay in the cage).  

Generally, though, things are peaceful.  The boys don't like to be separated.  They're pretty good at sharing and will often be at the pellet bowl or hay rack together.  The often nap close together.

They've been with us long enough to learn the routines, including when we're most likely to bring treats from the kitchen.  Provolone has a sing-song wheek and has also mastered the very pitiful you-haven't-fed-me-in-days wheek.  He's the one that speaks up first.  Bleu's squeaking, when he decides to speak up, is much more straight forward and demanding.  

Provolone still does not like to be touched in the cage.  He's fine when he's picked up and held.  I'm not sure if this attitude will change as he gets older.  He may just not like humans.  Bleu is the opposite - he likes scritches around his shoulders and generally is okay at being touched and picked up.  He's first to come to the edge of the cage for treats.

Thursday, January 12, 2023

I Like Thursday: Winter Lull

Not a lot to share this week with everyone at I Like Thursday.  I spent a chunk of the week with online research - nothing fancy to show about that.  Otherwise, this week was first time in ages that I've had a few moments to myself.  It's quite nice.  

The guinea pig fosters from Dakin shelter continue to entertain us.  Bleu gets so excited every morning when I fill the pellet bowl and add new hay.  He bounces and zooms and doesn't want to settle down.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Project Quilting 14.1: Dresden Plate Pillow

Project Quilting is here again!  I've enjoyed participating in the last two years of challenges.  It's a series of one-week projects, creating whatever comes to mind with no worries on how it turns out.  My creativity seems to work best when given small parameters or when using stuff I have on hand.

This week's challenge was The First One.  For me, that meant trying a new pattern or technique.  I dug through and rejected several paper pieced patterns before I hit upon my Dresden plate ruler.  I bought this at Swanson's more than two years ago, because who can pass up a $4 quilting ruler?  It was brand new - still had the protective paper on it.  Using it would be a first!  Then I decided the quilt needed to be one color.  I discarded all my blues and reds to pick brown (beige/cream is a brown, right?).  I never know what fabric is going to speak up.  Excellent.  I've covered both the words first and one.

Thursday, January 5, 2023

I Like Thursday: A New Year

My first like of the week is that I caught up with everything (even if it's only briefly).  I spent New Year's weekend with time on my hands. How nice! 

Bleu is showing off his (and Provolone's) favorite way of sitting in the hammock.  Is it comfortable? or ist it because he can commandeer both the hammock and the cuddle cup.  Piggy pigs are piggy!

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

The Cheese Boys

Our current foster guinea pigs from Dakin Humane are named Provolone and Bleu - the Cheese Boys.  We've had them for three weeks now.  They've been rather shy until Christmas.  Everyone peered in the cage and asked, "Is there only one pig?"  Nope - there's two of them!

But after the festivities, the boys decided life wasn't so bad here.  They even said hi to my mother while she was here.  Blue has been lounging around in the open.  Provolone hasn't been trying to hide under the cuddle cup all the time.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Sea Glass

Sea Glass is done and gifted!  It came out as lovely as I had imagined when I first picked the pattern and fabrics.

I really enjoyed piecing this one together, based on the Squareburst pattern from 13 Spools.  I sized down the original blocks to be 9" finished, so the quilt is a little under 45" square. 

My quilting stash is small, so I was amazed that I pulled all these ocean and sea glass colors.  The whole quilt is from fabrics I had on hand (and extras from another recent pastel finish).