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