Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Bows!

Here are some of the bows I've been working on for a show on Friday (thanks Rebecca!).  They still need a little work and to be attached to clips.  Hopefully I'll be able to finish the princess bows this evening.
Double boutique with spikes

Double ruffle boutique

Single boutique

Removable layer bows with headband

Close up of the pink/green layer bow

Close up of the red/black layer bow

Double boutique

Double boutique with spikes

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sewing machine update

Well, the machine shop has gotten back to me and basically the bobbin case needs filing down, the needle placement fixed and everything reseated.  It'll be done this afternoon and is embarrassingly expensive.  *sigh*

At least I can get back to this quilt this weekend!

FW tank has finally cycled!

Well, just when I was starting to lose hope, the 20g freshwater tank has completed it's cycle.  I waited a couple days to make sure ammonia would cycle within 24 hours and then went out to get some fish.  On Wednesday, George, Dora and Boots (*sigh*), all Emerald Catfish, joined Mr. Cat in the big tank.  There was much rejoicing.  Unfortunately my second Aqua-Tech filter decided to almost explode (I'm guessing from the sand the cats were churning up) so I switched it with the Aqua-Tech filter from the BW tank that's still cycling downstairs. By yesterday morning that filter was toast as well.  I'm very frustrated but glad that the retailer would take them back.  This morning I exchanged one of the filters for my 4th (and LAST...this is where I draw the line) Aqua-Tech filter.  This time I shoved a piece of sponge on the intake tube in an attempt to keep out the sand.  We'll see if it works.  Unfortunately I have to stick with this filter until I can get something else in there to keep the nitrifying bacteria alive.

The FW tank, ready for fish!

Emerald Catfish (not mine).  They might look ugly but they are awesome.

As for the BW tank that had donated it's filter to the cause, I'm afraid it's cycle will at best be stalled and at worst be lost and I'll have to start it all up again once I get a permanent filter for it.  That's another month gone.  I've actually ordered a canister filter for it, and just need to wait until it arrives to get going again. Seriously, if anyone needs pet supplies, buy them from're AWESOME. For example, I ordered a number of things on a Thursday night and they delivered them on a SATURDAY.  FEDEX.  NO ADDITIONAL SHIPPING COSTS.  Awesome.

Anyway, in about a week I'll start purchasing a school of tetras, probably Long Fin Red Minor Tetras.  I think I'll be getting about six, but will start with three so that the bacteria can adjust to the bioload.  A week after that I'll get the last of the tetras and hopefully will FINALLY be done with that tank, minus regular maintenance.

I reserve the right to change my mind about the tetras at the last minute.  :)
Long Fin Minor Tetra

My only other concern is that one of the emerald's is acting insanely.  He is constantly darting up and down the tank walls and won't school.  As much as I would hate to do it, I might have to bring him back to the store tomorrow. 

Mr. Black is still not doing well.  I've been treating him for about two weeks for what I think is constipation and/or swim bladder disease.  He's been a sickness magnet.  I really need to get him in proper conditions.  Anyway, he spends most of his time in the hospital tank either lying on the bottom of the tank, or hovering near the top looking like an apostrophe.  He's certainly gotten better but, to be honest, he's either dying or the saddest fish on the planet.  After two weeks of forcing him to eat peas and have epsom salt baths, on top of the daily water changes, I have made the decision to put him in with the emerald cats.  I don't think what he has is contagious (Mr. Cat has been fine) and if there's any hope for him at this point, it's in a well heated, fully cycled, appropriately sized tank.  And now that I might have to restart the cycle on his future home, it's probably for the best.  Of course if he is suffering greatly in the FW tank, I'll put him back in the hospital tank and hope he does better in his BW tank, once it's ready.  He's is currently going through a gentle acclimation process and in a couple hours I'll put him in the tank and see how he does.  I'm crossing all my fingers and toes that this will be good for him.

Monday, March 7, 2011

New bow style

Here's a new style of bow I've been working on, the "Twisted Boutique".  These are just my first attempts at the style, and they are far from perfect.  Still, I think they have a little more personality than a "regular" bow.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Broken sewing machine

What a week!

One of the crowning moments was when my machine totally hosed on me.  A friend came over to help me pin the quilt I'm currently working on and at some point I started setting up my machine.  I'm so clueless about sewing/sewing machines that I didn't realize my needle placement and stitch size could be altered.  I also knew I needed to change my tension.  So since I needed a scant 1/4" seam allowance (it was set at 1/2") and larger stitch length (5mm would be fine, I was at 2mm) I followed the manual's instructions on how to change the settings.  I put in a scrap of the same cloth I was using for the quilt and proceeded to break two needles.  As if that wasn't irritating enough, my thread then kept bunching at the bobbin.  After lots of looking in the manual and online, we think the problem is with the bobbin case, which has been scratched by the breaking needles.  That's a big worry as broken needles are not too rare around here and an unusable bobbin afterwards (with a $35 part replacement) will be very, very bad.

I'm taking the machine in today for repairs (just getting a diagnosis won't be cheap) and they say it will take at least two weeks until it's repaired.  *sigh*

I'm assuming I'll eventually get this quilt finished....