Sunday, December 30, 2012

Lemme Out

Doc tends to dash to the door jam and stare at you until you let him out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Pumpkin 2012 Finale

Well, a bit of a hurricane delayed this post.  Not having power for 7 days can do that, and then, I kept putting off posting the pics, but without further adieu.  Here they are.
 Although it may take them a few days, they do a very good job of cleaning out the inside and carving their pumpkin.
 Here's their sky light.
 The bottom was starting to collapse.
 View through the front door showing the collapsing floor.
 Another view through the front door.
And, this shows how well they clean out the inside of a pumpkin.

We got this pumpkin at the grocery store, and it did not last as well as previous pumpkins which we picked out at pumpkin farms.  So, next year, we will have to do a U-pick pumpkin.

Bittle is a Bed Hog

This bed had been made this morning, but apparently it wasn't comfy enough for Bittle, so she modified it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Doctor in the Snow

Doctor in the Snow.

This photo was a one shot deal, and Doctor definitely was not in the mood to model for the camera. So, I kept the whole experience short and sweet and let him play on the bed afterwards. He was happy and bouncy.

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SNOW - Bittle LOVES snow.

The Northeaster arrives.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We Survived Hurricane Sandy

Just wanted to let my readers know that Hurricane Sandy cut our power for 6 days.  We've been just getting back to usual here.  Indeed, we restricted the rats to just one section of the Critter Nation, and we still need to open up the bottom half.  I'm sure they will really enjoy having their whole cage to play within.

I was able to keep up with Etsy and Ebay during the power outage, but I depend on my laptop for Blogger, so unfortunately, my blogging went by the wayside because my laptop's battery is shot, and it needs to be plugged in to work.  Therefore, no blogging when we had no power.

Figuring out how to blog when I lack a consistent power source is now on my to do list.

And, I have lots of blog post ideas stored up, including the final 2012 pumpkin post.

Our area had extensive damage to power lines from wind especially from trees falling on lines.  Most of the trees were old thick pine trees.  Initially, our town had 98% power loss.

This we drove under, but were blocked just a few feet farther by a tree with power lines across the road.

We believe this was the tree that kept us from getting power for 6 days.
Here's a close-up on Day 5 of Bittle demonstrating the thickness of the tree hanging on our power lines.  Bittle is 2 1/2 feet tall from the ground to the top of her head.
Here's the tree trunk remnant.
Bittle enjoying an MRE.  These actually were awesome.  We were able to have a warm meal at home during this stressful time, and I didn't have to break out the camp stove.  And, Bittle enjoyed licking the packets.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Pumpkin Festivities Day 4 - Inside Here We Come

Expanding the entrance hole to inspire the rats has met with success.

Jimmy nibbling on her hard earned yummies.

Front entrance - We shall soon have rats able to hang out inside the pumpkin.

The sky light is still in the beginning stages, but apparently they want a BIG skylight.

Here's Jimmy demonstrating her excavation technique.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Pumpkin Festivities - Day 2

Report from the Pumpkin Cage-

Well, it's Day 2 of the Pumpkin Festival.

Nighttime is when most of the excavation occurs.

Here we find the starter hole has mostly been ignored.

However, a fairly significant excavation is occurring in the roof of the pumpkin.

So, we have made a minor alteration to the starter hole, and we shall see over the next 24 hours how this affects pumpkin excavation operations.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pumpkin Festivities 2012 BEGINS

Pumpkin time is a special and eagerly awaited for time in my household. And, this year's festivities has officially begun.

First, the pumpkin.

This year's start hole is ... small.

And, this photo was taken within minutes of placing the pumpkin in the cage. Yes, Lily has already begun the excavation festivities.

1916 Sewing - Post 4 - Origins of the cross stitch design for my needle case

This beautiful pin keeper comes from the blog, Heart in Stitches.

I'm using the central portion of the design for my needle case.  So, far my purple portion is this one's blue portion.  And, I still have to decide what color to make my center.

Isn't the original stitcher just fabulous?  It makes me a tad embarrassed, but hey, I'm learning.

Mouse or Is It Something Else?

This little fella was wandering (at times in circles) on the road on my way to the post office. I thought he might be a hamster, so I stopped, but he's definitely a wild rodent. Not a baby rat because he's too small and well-developed.

I scared him back into the bushes. I'm worried that he won't survive the winter or even the day if he's running around on the road. But, my fear of a rodent-borne illness kept me far away from him. (The camera provided the close-up).

Mabel has recovered as well as she will from her pneumonia, and I don't want to risk losing any of my rats after having just lost Rose.

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Sunday, October 21, 2012

1916 Sewing. 3rd Post

The cross stitching begins on my sewing needle book.

But, I must have lost count somewhere because one of the "leaves" is a tad long. I was hoping it wouldn't be too noticeable, .... but...

it's lopsided. And, that's just one line too many. So, I'm going to have to figure out how to unpick it. The stitches aren't perfect either. Counting 3 lines up and across for each stitch is not easy. But, I'm pleased with the overall appearance, except for the "obvious" oops.

This would have come together an awful lot faster if I'd used aida fabric. So far, it takes one episode of Battlestar Galactica (40 minutes) to complete each of the four sections.

And, it's really amazing how my old skills at cross stitch are helping. It reminds me that this is why I'm doing this course. Some skills you learn by doing. And, once you've learned them, you have them for life.

Oh, And, I'm using a purple variegated embroidery floss. I'm pleased with the variation in color, and I'll just have to see how the oops repair affects the color.

My pattern calls for a contrast color in the center of the design. I still have to decide what color to use.

And, hmmmm did I post about where I found the design? I'll have to double check on that. I think I did not, so I will just have to do another post on that.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rainbow Bridge - Rose

Rose as a baby. She's the beige hooded. She, later, became a Siamese.

Rose passed in her sleep last night after a prolonged battle with pneumonia, the same pneumonia that troubled Mabel. Despite hand feeding and antibiotics and theophylline, Rose just did not gain weight, and our vet had cautioned us that she was just not going to recover.

Sweet Rose doing what she loved, hanging out in a sleeve.

Rose with her sister, Martha.

Rose was always a shy rat, and she had struggled with skin irritation and a breast lump. Since we'd switched to a wheat free diet, she'd been much more assertive and active and her rash improved, but then, the pneumonia.

She will be joining Curly, Doctor #1, and Gwen at the rainbow bridge.

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Sunday, October 14, 2012

1916 Sewing. 2nd post

And so begins my 1916 sewing project....

I've dilly dallied enough, so here goes....

First, I had to find some fabric, and a garage sale had what I wanted.

The blue marks are from my water soluble marker. This photo is pre-ironing. Sigh.. I hate ironing.

Now, I'm designing the decoration for the cover. I can't stand Aida fabric, so I'm trying to use an even weave fabric, but the weave may be too fine. We shall see.

The orange embroidery floss is just for testing. I haven't decided on a color other than for monochromatic. Maybe brown, purple, red, or black.

One of the odd things about this project are the anachronistic (if I'm using that word properly...) moments. When I was measuring with my quilting square, I was thinking how wonderful a product it is, and that in 1916, these didn't exist. I shall just skip mentioning water soluble pens.

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Halloween Hammock Sets on Etsy

Finally, I got them listed.  (Here's one of the hammock sets) I've had them sitting around the house for weeks, but with Halloween coming soon, they needed to be put on sale.  I'd been working on a garment that just took forever which had kept me from my other sewing.

This time, I made 3 sets made up of flats and a couple of bunk beds.  So, more fun for spoiled pets.

Friday, October 5, 2012

A Rittles and Bittles Rule

Do not use paper money for a bookmark.

Last weekend I funded my garage sale shopping from the contents of one book I bought for less than a dollar. Inside the book, a crisp $20 bill was secreted. That so made my day.

Here's Doc playing with a pile of buttons.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's the Season for Squirrels

This is Stripe, one of our neighborhood's resident squirrels. He is named after his two grey stripes along his back.

Stripe busily doing squirrel things.

And, Super Stripe....

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Monday, September 24, 2012

My Two Singers

So, what's the plan with the two Singers? Some of this is self-evident, but I was going to mention it anyways.

My Singer 66 is my workhorse. This weekend, as you can see from the photo, I was sewing garments. She is so reliable, and even without reverse, she's a delight to work with. For my Etsy sewing, most of it will be done on the Singer 66 or my modern Janome.

Maybe, someday, my sweet Singer 15-91 will be a workhorse, but for now, he is relegated to making liners and hammocks for my own rats. I'm anticipating that he will become my free motion quilting machine, and maybe my primary straight stitch machine. I must say that, when he's working properly, he's a delight, but his reliability is lousy right now. I'm still working on the bobbin issue and the rest of his refurbishment.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Not So Awesome, Doctor

I caught Doctor being very, very bad, and, of course, I had to grab the camera to document his misdeed.

    Ok, that may seem strange, but one does develop an odd reaction to rat's modification of objects.  It sort of becomes your fault if you leave something that they shouldn't chew on in reach of their chompers.  In Doctor's case, he isn't a chewer typically.  He is much more interested in getting places and exploring.  Lily, on the other hand, is incorrigible when it comes to chewing.  She is never left unattended near fabric otherwise, she WILL make lace.  She's already nibbled holes in a couple of my slacks.  So, I've learned to not let her squeeze into my pants leg.

So... I will be mending the quilt on my bed.  LOL

Awesome Dean

I just had to share this adorable pic of Dean that my hubby took. By the way, that's Rose he's leaning on.

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My New Big Sewing Project - 1916 Sewing Course

I've had an idea for awhile that my sewing skills would improve if I took a course. And, with my interest in vintage sewing machines, I've been looking at old sewing text books. I've been looking at a lot of old sewing text books.

Finally, I found one that I really liked. My wish list included

1. No need for buying additional patterns

2. Easily obtainable text - In this case, I downloaded it to my iPad via Kindle from the Internet Archive. FREE is awesome.

3. Most of the projects need to be machine sewed.

4. The projects, for the most part, needed to remain practical for the 21st century, and I had to want to do them.

School Sewing Based on Home Problems by Ida Robinson Burton B.S. and Myron G Burton A.B. This particular book met my requirements best, although it is somewhat lacking in the directions for specific hand stitches, but I have other books for that.

So, here's the first project of the book, and the first that I am going to do. I'm going to try to work through the book project by project.

One of the cool things about the book is that it includes several options for each project. For instance, instead of a needle book, I could make a book mark or a napkin ring, or a penwiper (whatever that is - Wouldn't it get dirty if you wiped a fountain pen on it?)

Well, I'm going to make the needle book. I think having a little container for my hand sewing needles will actually be quite convenient. It's such a pain to reinsert needles back into their original sleeve.

So, I scored some nice art canvas while garage saleing. I can't stand that thick, coarse Aida fabric, so I have some nice regular "thick"? weave fabric that should work.

Now, to design my decorative stitches. Oh, and I need to find out what outing flannel is. Otherwise, I will need to obtain some felt.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

My Style of Sewing Machine Shopping

Today, I was out yard sale perusing, my idea of sewing machine shopping. Tough thing is that I don't want to buy another machine right now. Even tougher was that I saw my next machine although the price may have been high for me. ---- Treadle for $75 Singer 15-something from 1907. All parts moving. Intricate decals but not in the best shape, but I don't know if 100 year old decals can even look better. Anyways, I walked off with a small bag of sewing incidentals.

Fourteen 66 bobbins - I'm puzzled why they were in the drawers of the Singer 15, but there was a Kenmore sewing machine upstairs that used 66 bobbins, so probably just its bobbins. Fortunately, my Singer 66 will enjoy these.

Low shank feet - I've not seen this before. Please note- I'm pretty much a neophyte with vintage machines, so it really ain't earth shattering that I don't know what I've got. I'd been hoping that these would be variations of hemmer feet and such, but they aren't. Some have hinges. Some don't. Mainly they appear to have different widths to the pointy parts. Some are actually labelled 1/4", so I think I have a couple nice quilting feet (one hinged, the other unhinged.)

Now, for the real puzzle, these appear to be attachments for the feet, but I'm not sure how and to which foot they attach, but they are labelled with like 5/8" and 1/2". So, I am thinking they are seam guides which explains why the old Singers lack the seam lines on the throat plate. You were apparently supposed to switch out the feet or use one of these ?seam guides for seams.

You may notice the bobbin case, and you may be thinking... ah, she found herself a new bobbin case to fix her bobbin case issues for her Singer 15-91. You are wrong. Ok, maybe I was hoping that it was a bobbin case I could use, but on closer inspection. It is just plain bizarre. It appears that it is a 66 bobbin case which I've never heard of (not earth shattering news). And, it lacks that handle like thingy.

So, I've got a few mysteries...

1. What are all of these feet/spacers and how are they used?

2. What the bleep is that bobbin case?

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