Friday, November 26, 2010

The Kittens with Helicopter Parents

I'm not sure where I first heard the term "helicopter parents", but it just might be the perfect description of my friend, Ellen*, when it comes to her 2 kittens.  Loosely, the term is for those parents who hover over their kids, barely letting the kids ever out of their sight.  In this case, substitute cats for kids.

A few months ago, my friends rescued 2 kittens from the animal shelter, sisters from the same litter.  They had lost both of the cats last year, and had finally decided it was time for some more.  Their prior kitties, Asti Spumonte & Makita, both lived long, happy lives, and were, for the most part, laid-back cats.  Enter the kittens, now named Possum & Riesling (or Ries). 

I don't think you could get any farther from laid-back than these two!  They are full of vim and vigor &  mischief!  Just like kittens should be....

Last week, I got an email from Ellen, asking if I was going to be around & available to look after the cats & house while she & her DH took a few well-deserved days off for a short trip.  Not a problem, I replied, just let me know when you'll be leaving.  So, all the arrangements were made.  A few days before their departure, she called me so we could go over any special directions she had for me.  (I've done this for them for about 20 years now, but these are new cats....)  We got off the phone after about an hour & half of stories & dos & don'ts. 

It seems that Ries likes to look out the front window, while Possum prefers to chase any lights that come reflecting on the wall across from the window.  They are not allowed on the tables or countertops ~ well, at least not when anyone is looking of course.  Don't let them wrestle too hard, or scratch on the throw rugs.  Close the bathroom doors at night or they jump on the back of the toilet & it rattles & will wake you up.  Sleep low on your pillow if you stay over or they might run over the top of your head chasing the lights in the night.....

"Ellen,": I said, "You know I'm more relaxed about those things than you are."  "I know, but, I just thought,..."  "Don't worry, we'll be fine.  I'll just feed them a peanut butter & jelly sandwich & everything will be OK!"  (Did I tell you that their cats always ONLY get CAT FOOD?  No treats or table scraps.  Therefore, I have always teased that I feed them strange people food when 'mom & dad' are gone!)

So, off they went on their little trip.  The first night, I went to the house right from work.  On the counter, Ellen had left me 3 pages of info/instructions for the kittles!  OK, there was a disclaimer that she got up too early & didn't have anything else to do, but really, THREE pages??!? 

The food dishes were still pretty full, but Ries & Possum both came into the kitchen & greeted me, then ate their food while I was there.  I took a check thru' the house & all was secure & in one piece, so I made sure to refill the dishes & water bowls & went to my Guild meeting.  I came again the next night, after eating dinner early at home, this time, prepared to spend the night. 

I did find Possum laying up on the buffet in the dining room, so I told her "no", which she ignored, then went & picked her up to carry her into the living room.  She did not like being picked up & especially didn't like the carrying part!  The more steps I took, the more upset she got, trying to push away from me so I would put her down.  (No scratching though)  Then she started growling & hissing - so I growled & hissed right back at her!  She did not know what to make of THAT.  Guess mom & dad never have done that to her!  When I put her down, she ran & hid for a while.  Look, Possum, I am the alpha cat here!

While I was watching TV, they played a bit in the living room, chasing each other from the bedroom through to the dining room, slipping & sliding & having a grand time.  They checked in on me a few times, but mostly just ignored me.  After waking up on the couch about 2:00 am, I went to bed, completely forgetting about the 'sleep low on your pillow' rule, and slept deeply & happily the rest of the night.  No late night/early morning romps across my head or racing through the house.  Just nice, quiet sleep for all of us!

The next morning, Ries came out to play with me for about an hour, and posed for some pictures.  Possum was still irked about the alpha cat thing, so she didn't come out until I had put the camera away.  I knew that Ellen & DH wouldn't be home until dinner time, so topped up the food & put down fresh water & left for my painting time at the ceramics shop.

Ellen called me in the late afternoon, just as they were starting home, so we chatted for a while about the 'girls' & how they were.  She could not believe that they were quiet all night long!

I told her it was the peanut butter & jelly sandwich that did it.  ;^)

*name changed to protect the....well, you get the idea!


There's a big quilty giveaway at Stray Stitches - if you like Thimbleberries, be sure to check it out!


Peace to all ~

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So Much Generosity in Blogland!

One thing that I have noticed, is there are an awful lot of generous bloggers in the blogosphere! 

Here are two that I just came across:

I'm hoping to win this one!

Pink Fig Designs is giving away 2 quilts using Miss Mod fabrics - you have until December 1st to enter.

Allie at Strandz is giving away a charm pack of beautiful fabrics - enough for a quilt.

Besides giveaways, there are so many tutorials & free patterns too.  I seem to find a new one almost every day.  Just today I found one for some lovely ornaments made from decorative paper.  Since I don't have any paper, I'm going to attempt to make them from fabric - I have LOTS of that! 

And then there are all the beautiful photographs to see!  Everything from a bug on a leaf to quilts, to gorgeous scenery.  Each day, something new to lift the spirits & inspire creativity.

Thank you bloggers!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Don's Old Jeans

Enough years ago that I'm not sure how many, my friend Shirley gave me a giant trash bag full of her husband's old jeans.  They sat around for a long time in that room, before that room was transformed by my lovely sisters into The Fabric Shoppe.  At that time, they were taken out of the bag, and put onto the bottom shelf in one of the beautiful cabinets my sisters bought for the room.  And finally, a few months back, when I was looking for some fabric to use in a quilt, I took some of the jeans out & started cutting them up.

I wasn't exactly sure what sort of quilt I wanted to do, until I began wielding my rotary cutter.  Since Don was on the thin side, I could only get a couple blocks from each pair that was 8" square, then more at 6".  Plus every single pair had a hole worn in the front thigh of the right leg!  Only the right leg......I think that's where the remote control rested....  Anyway, I decided that I would make my first rag quilt using the jeans blocks.  I think I had cut up maybe 4 or 5 pairs when ---- squirrel!!  Oops!  Lost focus, once again, and the jeans & squares became  P.I.G.S. (Project In Grocery Sack)

Fast forward to October.  I tripped over the jeans P.I.G.S. and decided to take it with me to my quilt class on Tuesday night & continue cutting.  Then, I actually got out the graph paper & made a plan!

I used two blues & the white just for reference, so I could see the design better, it's all used jeans.  It will have the 8" squares (finished at 7") in the center, then two different sizes of coping strips so that the 6" (5" finished) squares will fit easily around the outside.  I'm using 1/2" seam allowances for the rag effect, except that I will need to piece the coping strips, so where they are joined I've decided to put the seams on the inside & not rag them.

I made a trip to M&L Fabric in Anaheim the next week & bought at 4 different flannels for the back.  This puppy is going to be heavy, but it will be living in No. California & it's cooler up there. 
plain, solid light blue flannel

light blue w/ paw prints

This blue plaid is a bit darker than it shows in the photo

Black w/lt. blue dots

The next Tuesday, I managed to get all the flannel squares cut up too.  I'm on a roll now!!

Please ignore all the stuff around the blocks, it's my desk at work....

Now they're ready to be matched up & sewn together with a big X.  Hooray!  But will the quilt be finished in time to give it away at Christmas?  Or will it ~ squirrel!!!
To be continued...

Friday, November 5, 2010

Addicted... reading blogs!
I started out innocently enough.  One of my friends started a comedy website & wrote an occasional column, called "Rant-Man".  I looked forward to seeing what he had to say every week & would try to remember to check. (Now he's moved it to an occasional blog:
Then another friend started a blog (, & I signed onto blogger so I could follow it.
A friend posted a link to a blog that makes me laugh so hard I have tears running down my face: - Allie Brosh is made of awesome.
Then Quilter's Home Magazine published a list of blogs relating to quilting & I was sunk.  I started with one, and that one linked to another...and another...and another.  Some of them even have giveaways, like Stray Stitches (!  Now I find myself lost for hours, reading blogs, looking at some fabulous photography, following links.
And, as you can see, I've even started my own blog.  Maybe my blog will cause an addiction too some day!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Numbers, numbers, numbers!

My life is filled with numbers.  Vehicle Identification Numbers, Personal Identification Numbers, User Numbers, Repair Order numbers, Labor Operation Numbers, Part Numbers, Technician Numbers, Employee Numbers.  Add them, subtract them, multiply & divide them.  Cost plus 40%, retail minus 10%.  Please pay this amount.  Don't forget the phone numbers:  landlines, cell phones, fax numbers.  House numbers, condo numbers, apartment numbers, space numbers.  Numbers on the clock, channel numbers on the TV, station numbers on the radio.
Then I decided I wanted to be a quilter.  No math there, right?  WRONG!  Numbers on the rulers.  Numbers on the credit card to pay for the number of yards of fabric bought at the quilt shop. 
I think I'll go read a nice novel.