Saturday, June 26, 2010

Completed, but not posted

I participated in a pincushion swap. After reading my partner's blog, I decided she liked hexagons and found a picture of a pincushion that looked pretty cool.

I cut up random pieces of batting into a billion tiny pieces and used that as stuffing. I actually sent it to my partner about a week ago and she got it already so I know she likes it.

My grandmother commissioned me (with money exchanged, even) to sew her 8 placemats for her TV trays. This was sometime back in March or April. I decided that I really had to finish them.

She got the package earlier this week and sent me back a thank you card with more money. She loves them.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pioneer woman I am not.

Today I took this (21.5 lbs of U-pick strawberries Groveland Acres; there were 2 other containers full):
And made it into this (there's another shelf as well):
and this:
So why am I not pioneer woman? I tried something new this time - making jam without adding pectin (which is the thing that makes jams gel). I made the jam with apples instead. Sounded like a good idea... no added sugar, no pectin to buy. The directions said to cook it for 30-35 minutes until it got to the gelling stage (220 degrees). I cooked that stupid jam for an hour and a half but it refused to go above 210 degrees. I canned it anyhow. It'll probably be very loose jam.

Here's the run-down of what got made:
1. 14 jars of low-sugar strawberry jam
2. 6 pint jars of strawberry lemonade concentrate canned and 3 pint jars in the fridge from a second half-batch (that's what the drink pictured above is! You dilute the concentrate 1:1 with soda water. It's quite tasty)
3. 7 jars of full-sugar strawberry rhubarb jam
4. 7 jars of low-sugar strawberry with the left-over rhubarb added (1.5 cups rhubarb + 4.5 cups strawberry)
5. 7 jars of over-cooked, yet under-gelled no sugar added jam

A pretty good day's work.


I dropped Kitten off at the vet this morning with very bad feelings... she wasn't eating and she'd been grinding her teeth every time I syringe fed her so I figured her teeth were just AWFUL.

The vet called a couple hours later and said that he hadn't anesthetized her but had looked at her teeth somewhat and didn't think that was the major problem. He thinks she's not eating because the antibiotics and the metacam are upsetting her tummy. Apparently degu grind their teeth when they're nauseous or having gut discomfort... so while the problem probably still is with her teeth, he doesn't think that's a life threatening problem at this time.

He doesn't want to put her under anesthesia until she's eating again (not eating IS a life threatening problem...), so he took her off the antibiotics AND the metacam and put her on something that starts with an R that's supposed to help with her upset tummy and get her bowels moving. We are going to try her on that and probiotics, but no antibiotic or metacam, over the weekend. Hopefully she'll perk up again and start eating. If she does, she can go in and have her teeth evaluated. If not.... but hopefully she'll start eating again.

Poor baby. I really thought that this morning was my last day with her. I'm glad to have her home again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kitten the degu

Kitten is worse. In fact, tomorrow may be her last day.

I took her to the exotic specialist vet on Tuesday because her sneezing hadn't cleared up, she was losing her appetite (or ability) to eat even soft food, and she was losing weight. She's seen this vet before, back when she had tooth problems over Christmas. He's very knowledgeable.

He prescribed her chloramphenicol, which is apparently a good antibiotic for anaerobic bacteria, such as those that might infect the root of a tooth. However, either the antibiotic or her illness has caused her to stop eating all together. She won't even eat a Cheerio, which have been a favorite treat.

They're squeezing us in at the vet tomorrow for general anesthesia and tooth evaluation... but if they don't find anything, there's really nothing else to be done for her.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Actual accomplishments

I don't feel like I've accomplished much recently that was noteworthy. However, today I got some important things done.

1. I made laundry detergent. Becky Ann thoughtfully commented on one of my hypoallergenic diet posts with a link to her homemade laundry detergent blog entry. I found all the ingredients today and mixed up a batch. Well, two really. I edited the recipe slightly based on information found on other websites like this one. Most of the recipes look pretty similar with slightly different amounts of the various ingredients. I used:
2 bars of soap, grated (one bar Ivory, one bar Kirk's original coco castille soap)
2 cups Borax
2 cups washing soda

I'm storing this combo in the big plastic container that we get Costco pretzels in. There's room for about 25 batches of the size above. I don't think I have strong enough arms to grate that much soap (the Kirk's was way more challenging to grate).

2. I finished a new bag for myself! The outside is batik strips from a second jelly roll that I got for the River quilt, but which I didn't end up using.
The pattern is called Sonoma Swing Bag byPink Sand Beach Designs. The pattern was quite clear except for one section about sewing the lining to the zipper. At that step, the picture could have been clearer (it's black and white and it was sort of difficult to tell what was happening). However, the bag went together correctly and I quite like the way it turned out.

I lined it with hedgehogs!! It has two small pockets on one side of the lining and a divider down the center, which I added myself. I didn't think there were enough internal pockets. I should have made the divider slightly narrower as it sort of bows to one side or the other, but I think it'll work fine.

I made a little zipper pouch to use as a wallet, but I think I'm going to have to replace that as the zipper is sort of funky. I really needed a smaller zipper.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spring to Finish... fail.

Well, May is over, and so is the Spring to Finish not-contest. Here's how I did:

1. Paintbox quilt (needs to be quilted and bound) <-- yup. It still does, in fact, need to be quilted and bound.

2. Cherish Nature quilt (just started) <-- I made some progress on this, but it's not even close to done. I haven't finished the top yet, much less quilted it.

3. Happy Stacker baby toy (x2) <-- I actually gave up on this. I decided it was too hard.

4. Pinwheel quilt (assuming that all the blocks are published by then) <-- They are all published, but they aren't all done.

5. Sock Monkey baby quilt <-- A finish! Whoo-hoo!

In my defense, I have done a lot of other things. I've been working on placemats and a matching quilt for my Grandmother. I sewed some napkins for my mom for Mother's day. I am slowly plugging away at my wonky star blocks. And I've made some excellent progress on the sweater I'm knitting (I'm taking a class).

I blame my total lack of completion on the fact that the weather refuses to behave as if it's spring... so how can I possibly spring anywhere?