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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gryphon the Destroyer, aka the Gryphon-ator

Ya know the paper they stuff into the toes of new shoes?
'Tis an excellent, if messy, kitty toy.
"Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!"
Clean off the Paper Smudge...
"Rowrrr" some more...
"Oh, um, ball..."
(Handsome Fellow - he almost looks like a regular cat here, huh?.)
"Attack Anything!"
"I'm feeling wild and wicked!" (Tail flicking...)
"K - I'm done"
"Leave it for the "staff" to clean up".
(That's my cue...)

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Quilt Square for Jane

Happy sigh! The 2nd pass at making a quilt square to go in the quilt for an ailing, elderly friend of mine, Jane, went much mo'betta this time!!

Because Jane has always asked after my cats and because I am the Crazy Cat Lady of my crafting group (i.e. "the person with the most cats must be crazy"), I chose to put a cat on my quilt square to represent meself in  Jane's quilt.

This is how paper piecing is supposed to go (Sorry - this is a rough outline, not meant to be a tutorial):
1.)  Pattern:
From "Paper Pieced Cats and Dogs" by Shirley Liby

2.) Plus fabric sewn on in the right order:

3.) Plus pieces joined in the right order:

4.) (Lika 'dis): 

5.) Minus the paper:

6.) Equals This :

7.) And I added a note to Jane :
(I am profoundly tickled at how well this turned out!)
Jane told us that her Dad taught her how to knit when she was a child.
Jane taught me how to "Tink". ("Tink" = "Knit" Spelled backwards).
Yes, she taught me how to un-knit. And I've never seen anyone else Tink this way - in a way that is easy to pull the stitches off without leaving a twist or having to finagle the stitch as you Tink to avoid the twist.
Sheer spiffiness.

She is one of the original members of our crafting klatch. She is a retired nurse, can kick butt/take names if need be, crafts for a wide variety of charities, and has an excellent sense of humor.
She showed us that moderation can help us craft for many years - even with arthritis (moderation and shifting to different crafts each day or even every few hours.).

She's recently moved away to live with her son and we miss her.
So - we're crafting a quilt to hug her for us. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Carpet Shopping! (With helpers...)

So, as you may have noticed in the variety of pictures on the blog, our carpeting is not, um, new.
Or attractive. Or clean - or cleanable.

It's about 17 years old. Maybe older, I can't remember.

The living room carpet has been through a lot of work boot imprints, bare feet, paws, 1 kitten, 4 very old or very sick cats, a leaking fish tank, a couple of escaped fish (no, the cats didn't go fishing - the escapee fish were jumpers), a lot of sneaker-scuffs, pretty regular drips from the DH's meals in front of the TV (a few from me as well, but I tend to wear my food...), cat nip blizzards, visitors (2-legged, 4-legged, and a variety of arachnid-legged types), broken glass from the front window along with scuff marks from the big rock that the vandal heaved through said window, fireplace ash, 1 melted spot from a leaping spark,  A LOT of vacuuming, 1 Chem-dry cleaning, 1 marking (not the cute kind) from Bob-Cat pointedly expressing his dislike of the smell of Chem-dry, several rounds of steam-cleanings, lost beads and the occasional pin from crafting projects, A LOT of Christmas and Birthday presents wrapped on that carpet, a ton of spot-cleaning, near-constant kitty play, baths, or naps on the carpet, some yoga-with-cats by myself, DH-napping during movies, and lastly - it is my seat of choice - I usually sit on the floor.

Last year, I suggested we change out the carpeting.
This year, the DH embraced the idea and we went carpet shopping.
We found some samples we liked and brought them home to check with our furniture - and pretty much everybody "helped" in the review process.
Yes, we stored the samples in the Laundry Room overnight so they wouldn't look like our old carpeting when we returned the samples to their owners the next day.
Yes, we made an attempt to clear off the residuals from the cat frolicking but since one carpet-gent asked if one of my cats was black - we obviously weren't entirely successful in the de-fuzzing.

The DH, who had this last week off work,  has packed up about half of my books and all of our movies that are stored in the living room shelves. (Kudos and thanks to the mostly patient DH.)
I'm becoming slightly less panic-stricken about his efforts (he does best packing standard-sized books) and it's generally agreed - I pack the breakables like my curios, my mother's china and my grandmother's tea set.
(If I break my stuff, it's my own fault. If he breaks my stuff, I have to be relatively nice about it. That would be extremely hard - I'm just not that good a person.) 

The carpet should be installed in 2 weeks.
I have to wonder if the cats will find the wall-to-wall version as interesting as the samples?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Pink I really like, Cat Interests, and Craftiness.

Bear with me - this one's going to meander a bit, but I'll try to keep it down to just a chapter of "War and Peace".

In the last week, I was VERY surprised to find a Pink I liked. Most anyone who knows me or has visited this blog has heard tell of my aversion to pink. Usually accompanied by a {shudder}.

Last week I was watching Oprah, and she did a show with the singer P!nk. (Yes, I was being oddly punny. I still have an aversion to the color pink...)
I was impressed with P!nk 10 or so years ago. Interesting songs. Eye-catching look (understatement).
Kinda cool, I thought.

So on Oprah, they discussed allllll sorts of stuff - including the challenges in P!nk's marriage that inspired a lot of songs on her latest album, Funhouse. I'd heard some of the songs/seen videos and was intrigued.
More-over, they showed clips of a performance she did at the Grammys. I tracked down the video of her singing "Glitter in the Air" at the Grammys - and I thought it was stunningly beautiful.
She also sang "I don't believe you" on Oprah's show - again I was impressed. I think she writes well, she writes in her range, she uses her voice well, she really portrayed the feelings of what she was dealing with - and she (and her husband) seem to have a good sense of humor. From the interview, it sounded like there was some serious personal growth that came through the challenges of her marriage and creating the album.
I looked up the album on iTunes and I've since dropped several tracks into my "favorite" play list!

Aside from being smitten with "Glitter in the Air", this is a topic for me because I shocked and maybe offended some older friends of mine by noting last week how impressed I'd been with the February Grammy performance. (Yeah, I'm all about current events, huh?) But their reaction surprised me - a lot. I'm still not quite sure if it was the female rocker thing, the implied nudity (I've seen less on Pilobolus performers), or the water-flinging acrobatics, but they were seriously non-plussed about P!nk's performance.
And I thought it was lovely.
Hmmm - guess I'm showing my age. {wry grin}. And I'm not a youngling. How weird is that?

The orange kitties are settling in nicely. We rarely have fisticuffs now (oy - I'm tempting fate typing that) but there's a lot of romping and wrestling - mostly good-natured and generally very silly.
I caught the three big 'uns sacked out in the kitty beds on the spare bed:
 Why CooPurr, probably the largest of our kitties, is in the smallest bed - is a typical mystery for me.
Gryphon? No snoozing for him! He was up on the treadmill control panel plotting his "high-wire" balancing walk down the side support bars:
We recently picked up one of the emery scratching-pads (so maybe I wouldn't have to trim kitty razor-claws).
It was received as a general curiosity and the feather toy was a hit (semi-destroyed within 3 days). And the best part of the scratching pad for the cats? It came with Cat Nip.
But there has been absolutely no interest in scratching on the scratching pad...
(Straying to a cool, semi-related video...
Not unlike the June pictures of my cats nipped-out on Cat nip, the folks at Big Cat Rescue answer the question "Do the Big Cats like Catnip?")

Finished Object! I finally finished inserting the straps and sewing in the pockets and the button on to finish the Wave Knit Dr. Bag:
Not as charming a crafting attempt: Recently I was attempting to pull together a quilt square to go into a group quilt for an ailing elderly friend.  I was sailing right along when I realized....
(Yeah, it looks very odd at this stage, but the end results can be pretty spiffy.)
This must not be a regular paper-piecing pattern. {sigh/darn}
Too many seams on the ears and other pieces aren't numbered at all. I'll need to go back to the book to see what gives, but I'm pretty sure I'll be picking a different pattern to use.
Tomorrow's another day.
Pleasant dreams to you-all tonight!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shared video joy and giggles

I believe I've e-mailed these out to some of my friends, but I belatedly thought to post them here...
('sides...then I have them handy if I want to go for a giggle myself....)

Simon's Cat is worth a re-visit to YouTube - there are 7 cartoons now. All Excellent!

Matt Harding, of "Where the Hell is Matt?" Internet video fame has got a new video in honor of the World Cup.  "Where the Hell is Matt in South Africa?" - learning the Diski Dance.
(Love the Elephant kiss!)

I generally don't dance, so this gent earned my admiration traveling and dancing, as he says, "badly" with people from all over the world.
I think what I like best is that he's found a common ground - a common joy and open-heartedness to which people across the world respond. "Where the Hell is Matt? 2008" still makes my eyes tear up and I laugh out loud for the joy of it. (And I love the music - tracked down "Praan" by Garry Schyman" on iTunes.)

This Natural Gas Commercial features knitting!
(This is the Making of the Natural Gas commercial video.)

Courtesy of Peace IndustryOne of the last felters working in Iran.
This gentleman is so graceful at his art. Such strength!

Not a video but profoundly fascinating: The History of Rome Podcast
(later entries can be found on iTunes)

Ah - and lastly, this stray goodie tickles my sense of humor:   Scullcrusher Mountain

(I've become mildly enamored of Jonathan Coulton.)