Tag Archive | cats

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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Path…

It feels too early for me to write anything. I’m not sure my brain is working yet.

But I want to spend the bulk of the day stitching and relaxing, although a bath and badly needed hair wash is next on the agenda, so it seems like the best plan is to write now, play later.

Do you ever have those days where you wake up and decide you are going to spend the day in bed? And then you don’t? Or you decide today I’m going to do everything I want to do and ignore the rest? But you don’t? This has been my week, a week of feeling like doing nothing but making myself do as much as I could. There is a lot to DO.

In the meantime, we’ve been going around in circles here.

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Our backyard walking has worn a path in the dry grass.

We like that.

We like seeing what our feet have done, what our determination to walk has created. The cats like it too, will sit on it waiting for us to come round, lay in the middle of the path to make us walk around, stalk us – or the string – as we walk by.

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Yesterday did take a lot of determination to make it around the path 50 times. 50 times is 2 miles. It was all I had in me and I had to do it in two parts. It has been bitterly cold the past few days and energy has been low.

It was 36 degrees out when I took these pictures. To the cats it was nothing. They kept running around playing. I turned the faucet on so it could dribble over my cardboard garden plot. Matty – who is fascinated by water, has a thing about water, is not afraid of water – played in the stream for a long time, drank heavily, and walked in the puddles.

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After finishing an unfinished crochet project – the Drops Rondo bag – I decided if I finish one I can start one. So, yesterday I crocheted a bit. Followed by some stitching on the word cloth. The names of the seeds I purchased this week were so lovely I had to put them on cloth.

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Some days I’m impressed with my own penmanship. And other days I can’t seem to get that running back stitch (or whatever it’s called) to work for me, as was the case with Ukrainian Purple. But I think the lovely  names make up for what the stitching lacks. Rouge Vif D’Etamps is a squash and Ukrainian Purple are tomatoes. I hope they will grow for me.

Last night I made chicken and dumplings. It doesn’t look like much in the photo, but it’s been a favorite since childhood.

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Good ‘ole Betty Crocker. She knew what she was doing.

Have a great weekend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just. One. Thing.

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I made it up to the sewing room a few nights ago. It’s cold up there in winter, so I have a tendency to work on projects downstairs rather than spending much time there.

I had some items to take up and took a moment to look around. All my unfinished projects were staring me in the face. I have started so many and finished…none.

Why is it so much easier to start rather than finish?

I don’t know. I’ve been blaming the injured paw on not finishing a couple of crochet projects and for slowing me down with the stitching. But that’s not totally fair. My left hand is much better these days. I only wear the brace at night when I sleep, to keep from rolling over it or pinning it under me. It’s still a bit sore and not 100%, but I have yet to pick up a crochet hook and test it. I’ve been more focused on drawing and stitching, anyway. I guess I need to step it up.

Anyway, I was looking around the sewing room and decided, then and there, to Just. Finish. One. Thing. So, I finished this.

It’s not particularly clever or well done. There’s no story, just pieces put together. The only real story is I had a moon-shaped pearl bead in that space where the stitched moon is now, but it was too clunky and I snipped it off. I decided to stitch instead. The part I probably like the most, the twisted fringe at the bottom, is Jude’s technique.

I went to bed thinking the piece lacks magic. How do I incorporate magic into my cloth work? Honestly, I don’t really know. But, maybe I can start with story.

Onto other things…

In drawing class we practiced hands. Hands are hard…

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These are hard to see. Pencil doesn’t hold up all that well to bright light, at least not my tentative strokes.

We had to do four different poses:

Relaxed…

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Closed fist…

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Renaissance…

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And claw…

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I’m happiest with the relaxed pose. It was the first one and I probably spent the most time with it. This week I’ll make a few more attempts at drawing my left hand. Hopefully, I’ll get better.

Two more words made it onto the word cloth before the end of January. I was tired last night, but made myself keep stitching. That’s the goal, get each month’s words in before the month is gone.

Sunshine, because we’ve had some nice days for which I was thankful. And Las Mananitas…the new Mexican restaurant H and I discovered this month. We’ve been there four times already.

There was one casualty this week. I woke up the other morning to find the largest bud on the winter cactus (May Flower per Maria in Brazil…thank you) had been knocked off or, I suppose, had fallen on its own. However, I had not appropriately blocked off access to that portion of the table and there was probably just enough room for a fat cat to squeeze in there in order to peek through the curtain and look outside. Hmph. That’s ok, I’ll enjoy whatever blooms I get.

Noodle’s been in good spirits lately. Still enjoying the string game. Sometimes I’ll put the string down when they seem tired, so as not to wear them out. It does get a little old for me after a while, too. When the string’s not there, and she still wants to chase it, she has begun taking a running jump and pouncing off the backs of my legs. Thanks, Noodle.

She really cracks me up.

I thought about selling the piece above. I don’t even have a real name for it, just “Moth.” If anyone would like to have it, let me know. I will send it to you. For free.

As I spread the word cloth over my legs last night while I stitched, I noticed how soft and light it is. It will make a nice summer blanket. Here’s wishing you all some sunshine and a nice authentic Mexican meal.

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Isn’t she lovely…

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I’ve been enjoying the winter cactus blooms.

About five are fully opened. Three more decent sized blooms are on their way. More than half a dozen are just beginning.

It’s wonderful to have a blooming plant in the house again.

On the creative front, there has been drawing practice:

I’m especially fond of the basket drawing. Practicing circles and shading…that’s something I enjoy, too. Things are a bit lopsided, but hopefully that will improve.

Weaving happened yesterday while watching Z: The beginning of everything on Amazon Prime, about Zelda Fitzgerald. I recall reading a biography about her some years ago.

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There has been some heart-felt stitching:

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I’ve a few ideas for backings, but honestly, not a lot of vision is coming through. Instead, I’m merely enjoying the process.

The word cloth grew by two new words…20170130_122235with a little embellishment to boot.

I thought about my grandmother while photographing the winter cactus. I’ve put the one I started from her plant upstairs. I’m hoping the warm days from the sun streaming in and the cool nights from minimum heating will inspire it to bloom. It wasn’t showing any signs of inspiration in my cold dark bathroom, so we’ll see what happens upstairs.

I snapped a couple photos of the blooming cactus, then noticed I had something of my grandmother’s in the shot: the ceramic graduated measuring cups that hung on her kitchen wall during my childhood.

I happened to be there when she passed away and when her belongings were divvied up amongst her children. None of the grands were allowed, which was fine with me. But some cousins were quite concerned I was around…what did I want? what was I trying to get? I think mainly they were all vying for her rocking chair, which was a big part of her daily life. She loved that thing and, if she was sitting, she was bound to be in it.

My mom asked if there was anything I wanted as a keepsake and, if so, she would try to get it.

I wanted these.

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Together with a blooming winter cactus, it is such a fitting reminder of Grandma. If the cactus from her plant blooms, I will place it here and photograph it again in memory of her.

Buggar wasn’t all that interested in the cactus. She kept wondering why I was poking her. (to get her to turn around, of course)

I think this one is my favorite…

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Before I go…

I wanted to write one more post as I will be gone for the next 5 days or so.

I don’t have a lot to say. Just that it’s been a rough one. I managed to go for a brief walk, maybe 1 1/2 miles, doing laps in the backyard. I took the string I trailed behind me on yesterday’s walk, for the cats to chase. They love it. Matty followed for TWO AND A HALF MILES yesterday…I couldn’t believe it. She was SO focused.

Today she was tired. I noticed she wasn’t as peppy as yesterday, so I put the string up for a few laps, only to see she was still following me. Maybe looking for the string? I don’t know.

Olive kept me entertained hopping around. She is clueless when it comes to the string chasing game, but loves to jump and hide in a small clump of tall grass. Yesterday Matty was so intent on capturing the string, she held the end in her mouth and walked with it like that.

Weanie had fun popping up on the walking trail here and there, only to dart away and laugh when I got close enough to chase her. (Cats do laugh.)

Buggar chased intently for nearly one lap, but then went back to only occasional attempts.

They were all having a really good time, though, and their antics greatly improved my day.

I noticed dark clouds in the south and at the end of my walk it sprinkled a bit, all the encouragement I needed to head back inside. I had just sat down on the couch when I caught sight of the neighbor’s house.

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A pink sunset was shining on it, shining through something to it. Pink on blue.

More photos from the back.

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The cats…and the sunset…were the highlights of my day.

I haven’t gotten any stitching done. I might bundle up the word cloth and take it with me. I already have a few words jotted down from the month. Scissors, the cloth, thread, a gel pen to write on the fabric, that’s all I’ll need.

Tomorrow I will drive 7+ hours to Texas by myself. I hope I feel better tomorrow than I did today. It’s a long drive.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend.

I fear the Christmas cactus, for which I have been waiting so impatiently, will be blooming without me.

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