Tag Archive | cats

New new life…

Here are the two newest additions to our household…

twonewcropAs you might be able to tell, I’m being hissed at quite seriously here…

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My yellow girl, Noodle, had two (surviving) very dark babies. Her first didn’t make it. She is turning out to be a better mom than I had expected, aside from the mishap with her first. Chances were 50/50 she’d end up like one of her mothers, the one who left all 11 kittens to be nursed by her sister, poor thing. But so far these two have been nicely plumped up, cared for and cleaned.

As for Olive, her kittens are the calmest, happiest, FATTEST babies I’ve ever seen…

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Sweet Olive kept Noodle company throughout her delivery Saturday, so spent extra time nursing her own. You can see by the size of their bellies this worked out very well for the kitties.

They are going to be so much fun. Unfortunately, I will miss a whole week of them since I am headed to LA Friday for a workshop. *sniff*

Work on the giant doily is nearing completion…

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Gorgeous, eh? The colors look so nice in the sun. I wanted to get a pic so I can mark it up and see how I want to finish it. I’d like to add more color with the finishing touches, provided I have enough pink and purple left over.

I started a new walnut dye pot this weekend and muted some floss…

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I’ll work on getting the rest of it carded, asap. In the meantime, I have a ton of gardening to do before I leave…and a long to-do list to write up for H.

I am hoping to come home to most of my plants alive and thriving, as well as ducks and cats well cared for. I have to admit, H is not thrilled to be wearing my hat for a whole week, on top of work. But, his mom loves ducks, lives only 2 blocks away and will hopefully help with the duck sitting. Today they are doing really well being outside on their own. It is such a relief, as I have a lot to do inside, as well.

I hope the beginning of your week has been lovely…

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New old pursuits…

The days lately are turning out to be like most days…duck watching, gardening, cat wrangling, and a bit of stitching here and there…

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Pillow progress has been put on hold for a bit as I started another giant doily for the front porch. Here’s the pattern:

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I am hoping I will have enough yarn to finish, although I am betting I don’t and will have to order another skein. This is always a dilemma as most of the time I am endeavoring to use up the yarn I already have rather than buying more. I will have to give it some thought as I get closer to the end. Most of the doily is purple, but I may finish up with pink. We’ll see.

It’s not rainy today, which is nice. I was out earlier and the sun felt great. I am headed out again soon so the ducks can roam under my watchful eye. They seem especially nervous in the mornings which does make sense because all the cats are particularly interested in them in the morning. Once kitty nap time hits mid afternoon things seem to calm down a touch.

Check out these bookends…on the duck pen, of course…

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I worked for hours yesterday in the garden getting things planted. It wasn’t so bad, just takes a lot of work followed by putting duck and cat protection over everything. That part is frustrating…but the lettuces are happy…

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The hawk, the cats, and the ducks…

Soooooo….I just about had a heart attack today.

I had been outside all day (about four hours) doing this…

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I was super tired, ready to go inside for some tea to warm me up (it’s cold and rainy AGAIN!) and to do some stitching, writing, reading, relaxing…or whatever. I had been inside for maybe 20 minutes, had barely sipped my tea when the little girls wanted to go outside. Noodle had been a giant pain in the ass when I was working outside, so I had stuck her back inside. So now I really had to let her out. The ducks are only safe from the cat’s shenanigans if they are closed up in either the pen or the duck house, so I went out to put them in their pen.

Just as I stepped out onto the back steps a GIANT HAWK saw me, swooped down from a tree branch and flew away. That sucker had been on a perfect perch eyeballing my ducks…who were peacefully snuggled together at the edge of their pen. I nearly died!!!

I had really been keeping an eye out for hawks and signs of any other critters getting too close. One night I heard an owl very nearby, but no hawks. I guess the hawk had been watching us. Argh…

Now I know the extension on the pen is not adequate, at least not when I’m inside. They really are only safe inside an enclosure. I have more work to do.

As an example, this is what I’m dealing with every day as far as the cats vs. ducks…

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You see, it is CONSTANT, and no amount of cajoling seems to quell the curiosity or the predatory instincts.

The extension was only temporary anyway and not ideal as far as what I wanted. But it did give me an idea of what I do need. This is turning out to be a lot more work than I had anticipated. H has basically said “I told you so,” just not in those words. Hmph…

On a brighter note, we got to enjoy SUN yesterday…

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It was really wonderful.

I also managed to get in a wee bit of stitching…

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I have decided to name my little pillow project the Heart Pillow…

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I may be stitching on a few more hearts…I could use the love right now.

 

 

 

Why so cold?

How was March any different than February?

H asked me that this weekend when we were outside. There wasn’t much difference, really, except in March it was cold and wet, instead of cold and dry.

We got a ton more rain last night. Just for grins I put the duck’s old tubs under the shed roofline last night. This morning they are half full of rain water.

The ducks seemed oblivious to the cold. They got right into their new pool. I don’t know if you can tell, but they love it.

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I don’t know if you know this, but those cheap kiddie pools? They’re kindof pricey! We got this one at the dollar store for 8 bucks. I was expecting to pay $5 or $6 for a larger one, at least the medium size one. I need to start selling fabric to support my duck habit.

It really does crack me up when all 3 of them get in there. Funnier in the litter box, but this is good, too. They actually look like real ducks on a pond…sortof.

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Ok, so not the greatest shot. Gyrtie was excited and swimming around…or is that Yoyo?

Noodle got in on the action, too. She was paddling in the water like a weirdo. I don’t know what goes through that cat’s head sometimes.

Even though it was cloudy, cold and rainy, I managed to get a couple of trellises built. I’m pretty happy with them.

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The one on the right is made with stronger branches. I’m going to grow Armenian cucumbers there. The one on the left is made with thinner branches, not so sturdy, and is in what will hopefully be a little bit of shade once it gets hotter. Peas for the ducks are going there.

On the stitching front, I’ve been working on the pillow…she still doesn’t have a name yet…

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She’s coming along nicely. Although, I have to admit, I think she is more charming in person.

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I took her outdoors with me so the ducks would have company. They played, ate, pooped and swam while I stitched. I have to play guardian a lot, any time they have the run of the yard. As it turns out, I really can’t trust those darn cats AT ALL. They are far too curious and predatory…at least at this stage. I am hoping the newness of having ducks wears off soon. In the meantime, I am scoping out some options for building a pen. I need something quick, cheap and easy which requires zero building skills. I’m not asking for much, am I?

I snagged these from a lilac bush in the alley, just before the Mulberry tree came down. Sadly, it’s already time to throw them out, but they were pretty while they lasted.

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Calgon, take me away…

My bathtub is back.

Ahhhhh…..

It only took four days for me to realize having the duckies inside was NOT going to work long term. It did get them past the worst of the cold, I think. And I am more confident now about keeping them warm when the temps dip down, as the forecast (if it can be believed) indicates will happen at least a couple of nights this week. I still have some things to take out to them in Chicky’s shed, but for now they are dry, fed, watered and very warm.

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As you can see, they’ve already grown. It’s quite amazing because every morning I could tell a difference in their size. In a day I had to go back to the larger water trough, as the smaller containers just weren’t working out. The large chick feeder also had to go. It was just too long and the duckies had the habit of going from food to water, food to water, food to water, so that the food was getting soaked and the water was, well, disgusting. I know the water will still be disgusting…ducks are messy…but I’m hoping keeping the food and water apart will slow them down a bit, give them a little of a journey so they exercise more (they are already tired of being cooped up in this tub and can you blame them?) and make less mess for me to clean up.

I know I can’t call them the duckies forever. I didn’t mean to name them. I didn’t want to name them. But, I ended up naming them, pretty much on the first day. Like most small things, anything can happen to them and I didn’t want to get attached by naming them, but, too late, it happened automatically.

When I thought of potential names, an old store that used to be here when I was a kid in the 70s popped into my mind. TG&Y it was called. Its nickname was “Turtles, Girdles and Yoyos” because you could get just about anything you were looking for there. I like the nickname and used it as an idea for naming the duckies. They are now: Myrtle, Gyrtle and Yoyo. (Turtle just wasn’t working for me.)

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Now that MG&Y are back in the shed, we will see each other less. To make up for the time away and to keep them used to me (hopefully) I decided to spend a little time every day reading to them. I’m not much of a talker, but I can read. Today they got to hear about crushing grapes at Cecelia’s place. They settled right down, snuggling into their grass and pine chips for story time. Yoyo (the one with the yellow band around its neck who I suspect may be a drake/boy) even fell asleep.

While in the shed I noticed the Asian lady bugs that wintered over there were up and swarming, trying to find their way out.

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I could have opened the window for them, but why deny MG&Y the fun? They love pecking at bugs. Maybe they will even eat a few.

On the sewing front, I had some fun with In Nature this weekend. I started adding lace…and couldn’t stop.

While playing with lace I was reminded of another time when I got to play with lace. I stopped by the home of a wedding dress maker I knew, back many moons ago when I was a 20-something and worked at Hancock Fabrics in Texas. This lady would come in and buy yards and yards of brilliant white satin for the gowns she made for new brides.

This night when I stopped by her house – it was so long ago I don’t remember why or even what her name was…Anne, I think – she was working on a dress and, so she said, wasn’t getting anywhere and what did I think. I looked at the lace pieces she had scattered about and began placing them in a dramatic yet orderly fashion. There was a lot of lace as it was a huge train she was attempting to decorate. When I was finished with my masterpiece, Anne said that looks great and thanks that really helped. I’m sure she was just being polite and had her own vision firmly in place, but it really was a lot of fun.

I really loved all these pieces surrounding the center square…and left them for a day or so just to enjoy them.

I was surprised how nicely the purple worked.

In the end, I decided to go with this one, although it’s not stitched on yet.

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We’ll see. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

P.S. H knows now. Nothing I do really surprises him any more.

A bit of this and that…

I don’t have much to write about today. I’m mainly sharing pictures.

Why?

Because it’s sunny and gorgeous out, I slept late so I am missing a chunk of the day, and I’m itching to go here and stitch:

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Hey, don’t laugh. It is a very redneck set up, but it works! I made this discovery last spring when I was desperate to be outside but tired of baking in the sun. I kept eyeballing that piece of lattice and thinking…I wonder if it would work? On hotter days I throw an old sheet over it for enhanced shading. Is that called make-do ingenuity? I don’t know, but it works.

That’s my word cloth pictured above. I’ve got a few words to get on there. And my socks are already off in preparation for some grounding. The grass is greener since taking this photo, thanks to all that rain. Earlier I found a ladybug in the kitchen and took it out. I have more gnats than usual and a few moths in the house. I suspect the plants upstairs are hatching things. It’s that time…

Jude has been putting together log cabin blocks. I have admired them for a while now. They look so easy and fun I wanted to try it. It was a good excuse to start using some of that fabric I dyed last year.

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Jude has a video she posted recently where she talks about the stitches she uses on seams. I found her method actually creates a beautiful decorative stitch, so I went with it using perle cotton and some bamboo silk thread, which sews like a dream. The stitches remind me of a Morse code pattern…dot dash….dot dash… After all, we are communicating with fabric and thread…

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I enjoyed putting this block together so much, I started another one. Here I’ve used thicker thread again to make the invisible stitch visible. I like the effect. That magenta thread is soy silk.

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On the drawing front, I showed this sketch to my instructor yesterday.

He helped me understand what was wrong with it…the eyes are off a bit. He explained how eyes need to be level with the tilt of the head. However, he said it was too good a sketch to change anything about it. That was nice to hear.

As far as kitty shenanigans, not much to report. I suspected it wouldn’t be long before Buggar started playing with the little girls. I have been enjoying their antics in the back yard.

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They do love the tall grass that grew in this little garden plot, Buggar especially. She loves to hide in it. That’s her poofy tail on the right and Matty (aka “Noodle”) laying in wait on the left. As Matty grows older it gets harder and harder to tell them apart. They are so alike in coloring…and personality…you’d think they were related.

Everyone has behaved pretty well lately, even Bully, although there has been more chasing of Wienie, which I really dislike. She has always been chased by the other cats. I don’t know what that’s about, but I’m going to look into it. Everyone also came in right away last night, except for Matty. She giggled above my head on the roof for a long time. She loves to get up there. Finally, I directed her to the top of the shed, where she jumped down and then finally ran inside, as if she hadn’t done that by herself a million times. Cats…

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Getting it wrong…

I read a blog post recently which gave new bloggers tips for how to do things right on a blog.

It went something like: post at the same time every day, have a detailed explanation of exactly what your blog is about, respond immediately to every comment (not to do so supposedly shows you don’t care about your readership), only take photos with a professional camera…etc…

I don’t do any of the above.

I guess I’m doing it all wrong.

I’m actually pretty ok with how things are going on my blog so far. Considering it was really started as an online diary, to have a following at all is pretty sweet. Having an excuse to write about myself and a venue to put it on is even sweeter. I’m having a lot of fun with it. I hope any readers who happen by here are enjoying it, too.

To start things off today, I’d like to share a Kansas sunset…

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Nice, isn’t it? Blurry, through the glass, on the road, only half a grain elevator-pictured photo and all. I like it.

Sunday – two days ago now – I finally got to mostly stitch. It helped that I refused all the errands H suggested, which were really just ADD-type excuses to go and go and do and do. He complains every day about being tired, but won’t rest. Both of us were “going to bed is boring” kids, so sometimes it’s hard to make ourselves go to bed.

And he likes to go do things, but I have projects – he doesn’t. Maybe I will start making him a list. There is so much to do here, things in which he never participates. I have, honestly, never understood that about him, although I’ve mostly been fine to see him do what he wants when he wants. He is a really hard worker.

Staying home allowed me to stitch. Mostly it was finishing up the seed names on the wordcloth, although I started a new project which I am really loving.

First, the seeds:

Aren’t the names beautiful? Five Color Silverbeet is Swiss chard. I bought it at the local Farmer’s Markets last year in big bunches and juiced it. It was one of my favorite ingredients. Feher Ozon Paprika is a mild pepper.

And then, there was the Strawberry Spinach. I was SO excited to stitch this one, had a lovely idea for it at all, but this happened:

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I got the “font” sizes wrong so that Strawberry looks much bigger and completely separate from Spinach. I’m not sure how that happened. I was also SO excited to stitch the berries on Spinach, but I grabbed the wrong red, instead of the red I used on Strawberry, so the berries, which were supposed to unify the two words of the name, don’t. *sigh*

Still, the stitching is nice and, overall, the cloth is just looking so beautiful. I’m really pleased and every day I’m amazed at how pretty it looks. I’ll try to take a photo soon that encompasses all the stitching.

There was also some work in the rose garden…

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Adding a little outline stitching is really bringing this rose patch to life.

I also discovered what I was doing wrong (specifically on Ukranian Purple) with what I am calling a running back stitch, although I don’t think that’s the name. I’m not being too hard on myself for not remembering since, technically, it has been nearly 40 years since my Grandfather’s wife showed me how to stitch it. It’s also been about 8 years since I was heavily into embroidery, and I guess I’ve forgotten some of the basics. I have books upstairs. At some point I will look it up.

Anyway, what I found was: keep the working thread under the needle; work left to right with the outline (in this case words) vertical; don’t travel beyond the previous stitch (if you do, the stitches stack up); take smaller stitches on the curves and tack them down if necessary to keep them from drooping; and, start work at the bottom of the letter, stitch to the top and then begin again at the bottom. Most of this is pictured below.

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These guidelines kept my stitches flowing together much more eloquently.

I also remembered how tough it is to do knots – French or otherwise – without a hoop. You need both hands on top of the surface of the fabric to make them accurately, and some switching positions back and forth to get them just right. I’m guessing this was some of the inspiration behind Jude’s thread beads. The dot over the “i” in Silverbeet is a thread bead. Thread beads can be made without disrupting the flow of your stitching, because the stitching hand stays on top, and the support hand on the bottom. You just keep going. I’m using a lot of thread beads in the new project. They quickly get better with practice.

Here’s a look at the preliminary stitching:

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I think I’m going to give it to H as a late Valentine’s Day present. I would have finished it today…I still might if I have the energy…but we were gone most of the day. H had some business to attend to and I had my art class. And…speaking of getting things wrong…we drew people today…it was a rough one. I won’t be sharing any sketches.

We had just two days in the blissful 70s. Each of those days I whipped around Path and easily got in 3 miles. The following days have been crappy and cold. It was a strain to do 2 miles, but I did them. No walking Path today…too busy.

But I did catch another photo of Matty playing in the water. She is fascinated by it.

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Sleep cycles have shifted again and I have had some earlier mornings. I went out to feed Chick and saw a quite beautiful silver moon, framed in pink and blue. H’s iPhone captured it the best.

We began with the sun…I’ll leave you with the moon.

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