Friday, July 31, 2009

No Roasted Guinea Pigs Here

It's going to be 92° today. And I'm happy about that.

The past few days in the Pacific Northwest have been rather uncomfortable. The temps have risen well past 100°. Being in a third floor apartment with the only windows facing the morning sun and later the scorching afternoon sun, it was like being in a oven. Luckily we have a floor unit air conditioner. Unluckily, it only managed to cool down the living room and reached neither the bedroom nor my studio. The result was my boyfriend and I spending all of our time in the living room during the heat wave. I ventured into my studio momentarily to retrieve something to work on while sitting on the couch, positioned to recieve the direct airflow of the air conditioner.

Mochi stretches out for maximum comfort on a hot, lazy day.

What of the guinea pigs in this hot weather, you ask? OK, well you may not have asked, but it is an issue on days like this. Despite their homeland being in South America, cavies are not well suited for very hot weather. The three boys, Miso, Kokiri and Archie, were already in the living room, but the girls' cages were in my studio. With naught but a ceiling fan, the room had already reached uncomfortable levels on days when the temperature spiked up to 80°. My boyfriend, always the kind and considerate one, set about the task of taking the C&C cages apart and bringing Mochi and Pocky into the living room to rejoin their kin. Some shuffling of furniture was required, and my studio had to be completely rearranged. I spent a couple of days working on the redecorating a few minutes at a time, doing as much organizing as I could manage before the heat became too much and I had to retreat to the cooler clime of the air conditioned room.

"It's much too hot to be in my pigloo today," says the normally reclusive Pocky.

The end result was gaining more floor space, a new table to work on, and a leather recliner in my studio (which no longer fit in the living room with the addition of the C&C cages). All of my guinea pigs were now in a (somewhat) temperature controlled area and could be easily monitored. The thermostats in the bedroom and studio actually read 100° at some points in the preceding days, enough to give any small animal (or human, for that matter) heat exhaustion. Even when the nights cooled to around 70° we opted to sleep out in the living room with the ac running overnight. One of the advantages of a floor unit air conditioner is that you can roll it into another room and set it up rather easily, but we didn't want to risk letting the living room heat up overnight, as warm air so easily becomes trapped in an upstairs apartment. Out came the air mattress, a sleeping bag and some comforters.

It's a brick pig! Kokiri's favorite hangout on a warm day is a cool brick. He doesn't normally have to mess with his eyebrows to cool off, though.

To reiterate, the erstwhile days of this past week were, to say the least, hot. The kind of hot days where you just don't feel like doing much of anything. The kind of days where you can't help falling asleep in the middle of the afternoon, yet have trouble getting comfortable in bed at night. The kind of days where a grilled cheese sandwich is more than enough for dinner. The kind of days where you don't want to so much as lean forward from your seat because of the sound and feeling of your skin peeling off the leather couch. Ever since I was a kid I was the kind of person who was always cold, and was so very relieved when I moved from New England to Southern California. Somehow in the past few years, perhaps due to a change of diet and other circumstances, I can't stand excessive warmth. I'm looking forward to next week's milder weather, hoping that it'll bring with it some rain and the creative enthusiam for my ongoing projects that I'd previously been robbed off.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Custom Plushie Update! Cuy, Daisi, and Shnookums

Here are my latest custom guinea pig plushies. I actually made these a couple of weeks ago, but then I got sick for a week and I got behind on certain things.

Cuy is a handsome silver agouti. He's propped up on a tomato to show off his white tummy.

Daisi is a little black and orange cutie with one white foot.

Shnookums is another sweet black and orange piggy. I love that distinctive white stripe down her nose!

I've got more projects to work on, so I'll be updating again soon. :3

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Squeaky Clean

I've taken advantage of the warm weather and gave my guinea girls baths.

Here's Pocky, waiting ever so impatiently to get out of the sink.

My poor wet puffball! She's sitting on my lap right now, wrapped in a bigger dryer towel.

Mochi is looking unamused after the bath she got yesterday.

The boys could use baths too, but we're trying to get them to all play nice together, at which point we'd give them all a bath collectively. I can just see Archie flying out of the tub....

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Abby Guinea Plushies!

I like going to fabric stores just to look for more materials to use for my plushies. I'm always on the lookout for classics as well as some new and fun fur colors. A while ago I found some nice guinea pig appropriate black fur, so I bought the whole bolt. When the fur is packaged at the factory, they fold the fur in half and wrap it around a flat board, making it easy to store and display. After I brought my roll of fabric fuzziness home and unfurled it, I noticed that someone must not have been paying attention when it was rolled up at the factory.... the outside of the fur was smooth and flat, but the fur on the inside was messed up, sticking up in all directions.

So here I am, with several feet of black fur, half of which is smooth and flat and the other half is unusable.

Or is it?

I attempted to brush the fur out with a dog grooming slicker brush, but to no avail. Then I realized I'd seen fur like this before... on guinea pigs. Abyssinian guinea pigs! They're a breed of cavy known for having rosettes all over their bodies, making their fur stick out in all directions. I really hate being wasteful, so this was a great realization. I made a bunch of little abby plushies. Previously, I'd only made abbies as custom piggies, since I'd have to manually twist and pinch the fur into rosettes. Since the fur is already "abbied", I can make these with no additional effort so I sell them at the same price as my other regular plushies. I've listed each plushie individually in both my Artfire shop and my Etsy shop since each one has its own unique fur pattern.

So when life gave me lemons, or in this case messed up fur, I made abby guinea pig plushies!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sick for a Week, Back with Cookies!

I just got over a cold or flu of some sort, which left me couch-ridden for the greater part of last week. To make matters worse, there's been some really hot weather up here in Oregon lately (with more to come... *groan*). Nothing like 90° weather when you've got a fever. I couldn't look at my laptop for more than a few minutes before my eyes got blurry, so I wasn't on the net. I pretty much stayed on the couch, watching shows like Meerkat Manor and sewing. Luckily I had air conditioning and lots of real fruit popsicles and a considerate boyfriend to expediate my recovery.

I'm back and feeling much better now. I'd made a bunch of plushies before I got sick, but wasn't able to take any photos of them til now. I really hate doing absolutely nothing, even when I'm not feeling well, so I made a LOT of felt snacks for my plushies; carrots and cheese and watermelon and apple slices and orange slices and strawberries. They're easy to make and don't require a huge amount of concentration, so it worked well to keep me busy.

Oh, I made some cookies too.

These mice needed some snacks of their own that matched their cuteness, pink and purple frosted heart-shaped cookies. :3

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Pink and Purple Mousies

I have a couple of new additions to my mouse plushie family.

Blush is a ticklish mouse. A very ticklish mouse. So very much so that she developed a permanent blush, and turned completely pink. Blush giggles a lot, and likes sweets so she'll invite herself over for tea and cake... though you may not she her because she's shy and tends to hide.

Remember that day when you were having a snack and you could have sworn you heard your cookies giggling?

"If you keep eating all those berries, your fur is going to turn purple!" a concerned mother said to a young mouse.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever Mom," replied her daughter with disregard. Even a kid like her knew that it was impossible for a mouse's fur to turn purple just from eating a lot of berries.


Those pink and purple mice remind me of the vibrant colors of this Love Flower Journal. Created by Etsy artist Alternative Journals, it's up for a book raffle on her blog. Leave a comment on her blog and you could be the lucky winner.
My pink and purple mousies are available in both my Artfire shop and my Etsy shop.