Saturday, January 26, 2013

Take one: Doberman in Stroller

So with Nim on extended bed rest I talked to a friend of mine who had modified a kid's stroller/bike trailer for her border collie.

Due to lack of sleep I have apparently lost all sense of shame. 

We tried it out in the kitchen.

His body is a little long for it. But if he can relax a bit in it, this just might work. I would prefer to have the front open, but I will have to tether him to keep him from jumping out.

Homework and an exam took my day today, so I couldn't deal with its maiden voyage, but maybe I will be brave in the next few days.

(Leela: "You aren't putting me in that thing.")

Friday, January 25, 2013

Injured Shoulder

Today we went to an orthopedic specialist to address Nim's continued limp. It appears to be in the shoulder and at a minimum he needs 2 weeks of no activity.

My house is basically like a small studio. Everything is open and accessible. Thankfully no stairs, but part of his restriction is no on and off the bed. So I barricaded off the bed.

Then I tried to study.

Then I took apart the bed and put the darn mattress on the floor. Emile is in hiding, Nim has gotten on the mattress once and is now in the living room sulking.

 As usual, Leela doesn't much care.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tater Tot Casserole?!

A few years ago I remember a friend of mine mentioning tater tot casserole. I don't know how I got through life not knowing about this dish given my consumption of tater tots, however from the description it definitely wasn't vegan and I sort of forgot about it.

Then a couple of days ago I saw a post on a vegan version. I did some searching and didn't fall in love with any one recipe, but did get enough information to try it for myself.

First I made Mushroom Cream Sauce by Daily Garnish. It is one of my favorites. It seems that real tater tot casserole often involves condensed soup.

I also went with fresh veggies over frozen. This was more of a practicality on my part because I wanted to go very heavy on the zucchini (two small-medium zucchini). I had some cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots around that went in as well.

I mixed in the mushroom sauce and put it in a 9*9 dish. After a lot of consideration I put in some Daiya since I also had it around. I don't think it is necessary though.

I baked the dish at 450 for about 30 minutes. Because of the fresh veggies it probably could have baked longer depending how obliterated you like your veggies in a casserole. This was perfect for me however.

Oh, and in a desperate attempt to put off homework even longer I almost made my own tater tots from scratch. Turns out when you search for "homemade tater tot recipe" you find things like this:

Amazing aren't they? Does that say something about people that are drawn to tater tots?

Powered by tater tot casserole I then did accomplish a considerable amount of homework. I also heavily HEAVILY bargained with Nim who went into crisis mode last night from lack of activity.

I promised him if he would just let me work last night, that no matter what freezing fog had consumed the Snoqualmie Valley I would try and walk him somewhere.

So this morning I was up before sunrise to drag out the garbage and Nim was up bright and early with me. When he wasn't adhered to my rear-end he was keeping one eye on me.

(A promise is a promise)

We headed out to Meadowbrook. He got to carry his long line and yell at the birds.

I was so hopeful that the frozen ground would let us sneak around this puddle into the next field but shortly after this photo we broke through and had to walk along the road a bit.

What I did figure out during this walk is that I step on him. A lot. And it seems that I step mostly on his left front foot (with my right foot). It happens when he jumps in front to face me and shake the long line at me. Sigh.

Now he is on the electric blanket and I am crossing my fingers that our walk didn't make his left front leg worse.

At least we have some gentle eyes for now...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mystery Quilt 2013 - Top finished

Not a lot of homework happened today, but the quilt top is done!

Once I got it laid out I had to race the cats to get it sewn together.

Interestingly this quilt photographs "better" than I see it in person. I think it is one of those quilts in which you can see the pattern better from a distance and I stand on a chair to take the photo.

Some close-ups of blocks of the finished top:

Mystery Quilt 2013 - Blocks all done

Happy Sunday!

It is still freezing out here, but we got a bit of sun and went for a short walk. The walk was hardly dented Nim's energy expending needs right now...

I can't wait for him to be physically sound again. Eventually he laid around, blowing bubbles, sulking about his short walk.

I finally made a decision and made 6 blocks of one variation:

And 6 blocks of the other variation:

The last blocks to make started with 6 of these units:

And 12 of these:

They all came together to make these 6 blocks. I would say these were my favorite blocks to make:

Time to start putting the quilt together!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mystery Quilt 2013 - Well Shoot

Well shoot. I decided to mess with a little more layout after reading some initial comments from Cindy to see if I could get a better idea of what I wanted.

This was fun times for the cats and my fabric is really scattered now.

Anyway, check out this mix of the two blocks I preferred. Turn out that once in the full assembly my second layout (I know, it gets confusing...block on the right, top row) is holding up the best in full assembly.

I could alternate the two layouts as shown below, but I don't think it will be the best look.

It seems to be that option 2 shows pattern best with all the scrappy fabric. The final quilt will have 12 of these units.

How does it look to others?

Mystery Quilt 2013 - ANOTHER layout

Right after my last post I was dissecting some of the other variations and realized I think I like this layout even better:

Previous preferred layout is on the right, new preferred is on the left. I am not going to risk doing half and half of both, but I was seriously tempted...

Mystery Quilt 2013 - Finally back on it!

Hello on a freezing Saturday! This cold weather has caused an electric blanket truce between Emile and Nim.

Leela is complete unfazed by the cold. She has the pellet stove and her tail. Sometimes I think she is more tough because she was born semi-feral and started life completely outdoors. I do remember it was a cold night when I went to pick up her up with her siblings.

Today I picked up a lot of cat food and some treats from my mom. Including Yaky Nugget. These are funny treats.

You microwave them and poof...

Crunchy cheese puff.

Today I also picked up something called rhus toxicodendron for Nim's limp. It is a homeopathic medication for joint pain. A friend of mine had success with it for her German Shepherd.

They are ridiculously tiny and the dispenser was almost Samantha-proof until I bothered to read the instructions.Anyway, I am willing to try anything that will help him out.

On to quilting!

I finally returned to the Mystery Quilt and I am working on the quilt blocks step. Misha was right about looking ahead and looking at other layouts.

The layout on the right is the one described in the instructions. The layout on the left is one of the alternates made by a tester. In my opinion, the one on the left works better with my scrappy selection.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sunshine Award

It is ironic to get a Sunshine award in the freezing cold, but I totally loved it. These awards are always a great way to learn about other bloggers.

Millie (with Cindy and Charlie) of Bird Brains & Dog Tales presented me with the Sunshine award. They received it from Sage at The (mis)Adventures of Sage. You will want to check the link out to see Sage in the cat tree. I wonder if I could get a cat tree to support Nim!


Sunshine Award Seven Questions:

  1. Favorite Number? Probably 5 or 13. Not sure why. I just think they are numbers I tend to pick. I do know that I have a general preference for odd numbers in general. Oh, and I hate the number 8.
  2. Favorite non-alcoholic beverage? Green Tea
  3. Facebook or Twitter? Neither, although I do enjoy reading some people's tweets. I don't have much to tweet, or perhaps I do but do others need to read them? I really should have set up a twitter account for Rusty. He would have had stuff to tweet about.
  4. Your Passion? Dogs for sure (really most animals). I love hiking and the outdoors.
  5. Favorite Pattern? For my quilting work I have a huge attraction to triangle and points. When I fabric shop I think I tend towards smaller patterns on the fabric, but that comes with quilting as well. 
  6. Favorite Day of the Week? Right now it would have to be Monday. This very much changes depending on my life, but I love the fresh start of a Monday. 
  7. Favorite Flower? Dahlias. I always love a more wildflower/small stand look to my flower bouquets. 
I would love to see some people pick as many as they want and comment to me with their answers!

Our week is going.

Emile requires a lot of electric blanket time. Nim just kicked him off a few moments ago. After this post I need to intervene.

We are simply freezing out here. I don't know what it is with Emile, but he doesn't keep warm well. Kind of odd for a cat. Perhaps he needs his own electric blanket and pellet stove. I also find him against the space heater which I don't like.

In Nim's world the limp persists. Today we went to the vet for some Rimadyl and he has been swimming more frequently. I almost asked for a tranquilizer while I was at the vet too. One for Nim and one for me.

Still no sewing this week. Darn! Maybe this weekend...

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Pascal on a mat, Lentil Stew, & Happy Nim

My headache finally broke today. Hallelujah. This one was complete with lightly blurred vision and nausea.

Anyway, on to more fun stuff like Pascal on his new mat that I got on my Petsmart spending frenzy due to gift cards. Cute as ever. He will be 13 this September.

I had been thinking about the Lentil Stew recipe from Chocolate-Covered Katie for about a week now except Lentil Stew sounded too heavy. Today it finally sounded good and to be honest I need some healthier food for next week after the way I ate last week.

This is easy to make and a really great stew.


  • No celery (just forgot)
  • Light on the mushrooms (too expensive - I did 2 packages of sliced)
  • No tomato paste (not worth the partial open can)
  • No fennel. Fennel is like cilantro or dill I think. You either like it or you can't stand it. 
  • No paprika. Apparently I am out. 
  • No veggie stock. Didn't seem necessary, and it wasn't. 1.5 cups water instead.
  • Added 1 can coconut milk. Add when you add the spinach. Coconut milk and lentils have a flavor love-affair, they are meant to be together. 
  • No lemon zest. We all know how I feel about zesting.

Nim went swimming today at Aquadog Spa. I panicked to see him limping this morning for the 2nd time this week. I panicked because:

a. he has to be active or it is bad for everyone, and
b. I don't like him hurting.

I am not sure what is going on here, but he did have a great swim. Apparently he likes to snuggle with his antler.

I hope everyone is having a productive weekend. I have too much coming due in the next two days, but I am getting stuff done.

To make matters worse, another mystery quilt calling my name! I better get the New Year's Day one finished before January 27th.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Friday, I Love You

It is icy cold. But compared to the dark and the rain of the beginning of the week I will take the cold with the clear.

I am so darn happy this week is over. I started getting behind last week and by this week I was suddenly overwhelmed.

Leela of course is never overwhelmed. 

My final straw was a flat tire two days ago and knowing I literally didn't have time to deal with it (hooray for a full-sized spare).

Last night while I watching Nim "play" far too rough with Emile because he is now pretty much a week long without proper exercise I decided the tire was being dealt with this morning and while it was in the shop that would give me at least an hour to walk
 The walk started ugly. I was struggling with traction since we were on very icy pavement and Nim was in rough spirits. Then I got the dreaded phone call that the tire was unfixable which meant buying two new tires. I should be beyond grateful that at least my 2 front still had enough tread that I wasn't facing all 4 new tires.

So we got even a longer walk in and nearing the end I started to see my calm and pleasant dog. And he was all full of contentment once the walk was over.

I have lots of homework, an exam, a three-day headache, and I haven't done squat on my quilt but I am already planning on next week being a better week.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Mystery Quilt 2013 - More Sewing. Time out for dog tricks!

I am waiting for UPS to deliver my textbooks. I know they are coming today, I just don't know when.

This morning I assembled 10 of these units.

I am finding the block overall "cool" right now, so I am glad that the next sewing involves some of my warmer fabrics. I will say, I think I have a tendency towards a "cool" stash to begin with.

I seemed to be down about 10 squares for this unit. I either missed the instruction to cut them in the first place or they are hidden very well.

January's trick is going to be:

  • "Jump over my Knee" (my vision is over my right knee while kneeling on my left. Eventually the word will be "knee")

This trick will be useful as a free choice on a Rally-free course as well as a trick behavior. He knows "jump" from agility, however I will not be using that word so I am starting from scratch.

Today I sat on the floor, my right leg out flat on the ground. If he advanced towards the leg he got a click, and treated on the other side of the leg. Absolutely no words or naming of the behavior at this point. No luring.

We made reasonable progress, except for Leela stealing the treats behind my back which made Nim frantic. (The cats actually know when the clicker comes out that treats are involved. You would think I would use this to train them).

December's tricks:

  • "Through" (Passing through my leg from left or right heel position. I just added "through" with him facing me head-on this Saturday)
  • "Paw" (Only his left paw at this time. His right paw will be trained separately and put on a different verbal cue)

"Through" is applicable to Rally-free. "Paw" is applicable to Rally-free and Canine Good Citizen (CGC). Both are being shaped without luring. I have just started added their naming today: I give the word, wait a moment, and then give the physical cue.

Hopefully more sewing later!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Mystery Quilt 2013 - More Cutting, Sewing, and Corners

The next set of cutting instructions very quickly needed post-its to keep all the measurements straight

Tiny paper and tiny can imagine all the excitement that caused. So far one 3x3 square of fabric is unaccounted for. I suspect Leela this time, only because she was constantly getting into the piles.

Lots of different strip sets were sewn at this point. Despite "basic" sewing, it was this instruction page that about did me in. The only thing that kept me trying to re-read instructions and maintaining careful organization was knowing I couldn't go to bed until all those little pieces of fabric and paper were taken up.

Finally corners of the quilt are constructed which was very satisfying.

And sadly this is where I will stop. I really don't want to, but tomorrow starts Winter quarter of classes.

All of us need to be back on schedule.

I do plan to keep working tomorrow. This is the sort of project that is hard to store which means it is really all over the place. I am afraid if I don't at least get the top completed in the next couple of days I won't finish the quilt at all.

And I want to see how it turns out...