Saturday, May 26, 2007

Kitties, Kitties, and Kitties

Yes, well, I haven't accomplished much this week except for about 3 hours of knitting on the Banff sweater. That is coming along nicely. I have roughly half of the front complete now. All the quilting gets put away after this weekend for a couple of months, so you'll see more crochet and knitting stuff for awhile and hopefully a return to cross-stitching.

I've been spending some time this week cleaning up my blog. I love the new Blogger features and think I've managed to label every post now. I have to go back yet and fix broken photo links. June is devoted to cleaning out my emails plus getting that painting done so that I can get my new furniture!

I'm spending more time training kittens. It's a slow process. Nobody seems to truly know their name except Cuddles, although Polly is a good runner up. They don't ever want to come unless it's for dinner. I've only trained individual kitties in the past, not a herd of them. I need a cat wrangler.

Up until now, only Polly and Cuddles have been in the basement under close supervision due to remodeling. On Wednesday, a fast storm system came through. I was almost to the driveway when the sirens went off. Not being dumb, I just ran into the house and got all the kitties downstairs. We had lots of wind and rain, but the tornado was across the river this time around. Kittens ADORED being in the basement. Couldn't get them out for an hour after the 'all clear.' They didn't even want supper. Some of my groceries melted, since I didn't want to take the time to put them away during a tornado warning, but I just used them the next day.

This was an eventful day for the kittens. That night, they discovered: a mouse! The hunt started with Alice and Sylvester at around 10:30 p.m. under the vanity in the bathroom. At around 3:30 in the morning, the band of hunters swelled in numbers and moved suddenly, with lots of banging, to my bedroom closet. By 5 a.m., the kittens (all 5) had surrounded the mouse in the living room. Success! They slept the rest of the day, not even wanting to break for supper. Tired little things. It's hard work being a kitten. There is at least one more mouse.
Here are 4 of the kittens looking intently at a chipmunk.
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Do you HAVE to keep doing that? Bart and Polly are sick of the camera.
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Here's a story on the weather.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Cutty Sark

I was so sad that to hear this morning about the near loss of the Cutty Sark in a fire. I've always been interested in historic navel vessels and this is one of the few that I have actually seen and touched. My sister and I were in London in the Fall of 1995 (just before I started losing my vision) and were trying to get to the Royal Observatory (Greenwich mean time). We learned to ask folks and bus drivers for the scenic route. The bus driver dropped us off at a weird black, round thing and said 'go through there'. We went in. There was an elevator. Ok.. this is weird. Middle of nowhere and there is an elevator. A really big one, easily holding 30 people. Elevator opens and there's a guy there. Turns out that you walk UNDER the Thames River from here. So, we go 4 or 5 stories down and sure enough. A very long tunnel (anybody who has been to Logan airport in Boston can visualize this including the occasional leaks of water). So, we walked and walked and then there was another manned elevator to bring us up. On the other side was the Cutty Sark in drydock. It was closed, so we never got to go on it. But I did touch it! So, hopefully they will be able to fix her. She was a beauty.

Lots of folks are providing their personal photos of the Cutty Sark at the link below.

[edited to add] Here's a 2 links to photos of the Greenwich foot tunnel that we went through. Apparently, there are more foot tunnels than this!

Royal Observatory/Greenwich stuff (pronounced 'Gren itch')

Other ships I've been on: USS Massachusetts, USS Missouri, USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), USS Bowfin (sub), and seen, but not touched USS Arizona.

To keep this craft related, here's the quilt that I was working on while in London (it was done section-by-section by hand so it was portable. This is my very first completed bed quilt. I should redo the photo. I had a poor quality digital at the time. Anyway, have a great day!
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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Garden Maze

No, no quilt today although I'm working on quilting. I took some photos of the things growing in the yard yesterday and thought I would show you.

First we have the new iris plants (planted last Fall).
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The Cinnamon Ferns are totally taking over again. Gotta pull a whole bunch this year as they have spread 1.5 feet beyond their little brick barrier. They look great now, but come July, ick.
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Yes, we didn't bob the chives again, but they still work well. I like chives in salads for the slight oniony taste. These are more than a decade old and planted in a half whiskey barrel. You wouldn't think they'd survived Minnesota cold, but they do. Look pretty too. My favorite colors are purple and green.
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Here's the Rosemary Shrub. I can barely taste this stuff, but we use it in biscuits, turkey and focaccia. It has its own wagon as it needs to be brought into warmer places when it gets too cold. By June, we'll take it off its wagon for several months to be part of the patio decor.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007


My sister Patty went fishing during the Minnesota Fishing Opener this past weekend and look what she caught! A big ol' Northern. This one is 5 pounds. She caught two others, both a decent size, but a little smaller. I didn't get any photos of Bill my BIL with any fish, although I know he caught some too. Look at those teeth! So, what does this have to do with Needlework? Not a darn thing (pun intended) other than last year, I finished knitting my blue socks in that chair behind her last year (I know, weak reference, but it's all I can manage. Hopefully, I will have as impressive of photo to present later this year when I go fishing. Finally, before you ask, yes, my sister and I look very much alike except she has blondish hair and blue eyes and I'm a brunette with brown eyes. She is also a hunter and a terrific gardener (with my BIL) and is growing 6 or 7 different varieties of tomatoes this year. Her needlework hobby is primarily making doll clothing (I featured a few examples a few months ago). So, congratulations Patty!! I'll try to find a celebratory recipe for you!Image Hosting by

Monday, May 14, 2007

I Hate Losing Weight

Now, don't get me wrong. I really want to be down into my proper BMI range. It's the clothing. I am currently about 8 lbs. from the next size down of clothing. The jeans I have now keep sliding down all the time. They don't actually slide off, but they feel like they will. Yes, it's true, it's a fashion statement nowadays, but nobody needs to see my butt. I'm not much for sewing clothing, but I definitely need to get these under a needle and do something about that waist! I'm working hard on this, so that I can fit into my Independence Day shirt by 4th of July. I can get it on and button it, but the gaps would be a little embarrassing. I go to fireworks every other year, and this is the year!

Anyway, today was very hot, but otherwise pretty pleasant with a light breeze this afternoon. Yeah, ok, 80 isn't that bad, but I whine anyway.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Banner Border

It's a lovely day outside and I've been in and out. Did a little sewing too! As mentioned before, I am doing the Courthouse Steps quilt in 3 sections (easier for me to quilt). I finished the scrap border for all 3 sections today, so this project is done until after the painting in June. Then I can quilt it. This weekend is the fishing opener. I still have to get my license. Caught my first Northern and Large Mouth Bass last year.
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Here's a closeup. Haven't pressed it yet. I had just enough dark fabrics to finish the border. Lots of leftover sashing fabric. I already have a purpose for it though, so not a problem.Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Pattern is Sonnet Collection by April Cornell.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Climbing the Courthouse Steps

I'm making some headway on quilting projects in anticipation of packing up everything for the painting in June. I'm just afraid of losing some of these big pieces and I HATE ironing things again. I started this Courthouse Steps quilt at a quilting class last Fall. I'm using some of the 37 yards worth of fat quarters I won at a now closed quiltshop. This is actually a really slick pattern. Easy to do. I particularly like the sashing. Still to go is the pieced border. Now, since I've already decided that I want to quilt this using a walking foot, I'm leaving it as 3 pieces to quilt. Not quite sure how I'm going to attach the pieced border sides. I may just have to hold off on the side borders until the main pieces are connected and then quilt them seperately. If you are interested in this pattern, it was a Moda University pattern originally, but it should be easy enough to find instructions on the Courthouse Steps (Log Cabin variation). The sashing is just strips with 9 patch blocks (note: inner 9 patches have different light/dark layout than sashing 9 patches).
Here's the layout so far.
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Closeup of layout. My flash really drowned out the pattern of the fabrics. That sashing is NOT a solid, but a very pretty yellow Moda.
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Even though she is not in the pot, she is never far from it. Here's Miss Polly (formerly Potsticker) watching the world go by. Most of the plants will be going outside soon. It will be nice not having to sweep or vaccum dirt all the time.
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Saturday, May 05, 2007

More Kitties

I've been spending way too much time on the computer lately and not enough time working on crafts. So, it's time for some kitten photos. They are now 6 months old and all but Cuddles has been fixed.

This is a near daily event. Kittens at the back door looking hard at stuff. While we other places for them to look, this is a particularly good vantage point to watch not only the comings and goings of the chipmunks, but also the feral cat that lives in back (we call it the musk ox). We added stools for watching. Saves on the screen.
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Sylvester, Bart and Polly

I have no shortage of computer help, but I wish they could help set up a web page for me! Cursor chasing is the latest game. Only Bart doesn't join in (he doesn't seem to like the computer fan and stays away).
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Polly helping me surf

Polly's little eyes kept closing and closing while waiting for me to go to bed (yes, she is one of my personal bed cats). Suddenly, her little head just plopped down, totally out. I took pity on her and shut down and took her to bed. Unlike Sylvester, who will wait for nobody, Polly doesn't want to be in a room by herself. I should add that she almost never goes into pots any longer because she doesn't fit. Despite all her practice names (Mittens, Julie, Potsticker), she comes to Polly pretty readily. She also adores the game of throwing the yarn ball up the stairs and chasing it down. Since she just got spayed, the vet says she can't run up/down the stairs for awhile, so in the meantime, she goes into my bag and pulls full skeins out, drags them over to the stairs and waits. I got the hint, Polly!
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It's tough to be a kitten.

If the computer is on, Cuddles is usually on it as well. Since she has occasionally slid off, she wedges herself into the palm tree and then sleeps. Alas, our Cuddles is not a thriving kitten and not only is still battling the mange mite problem (which has finally improved!), but she also had ear infections and eye infection. She's pretty stoic about her meds, and does seem to be on the mend. She's the feistiest kitten despite her problems, but I'm hoping that her growth will recover when this is all done. On the other hand, she still fits nicely on the back of the computer, while none of the other kittens do.
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Cuddles at work testing the computer for adequate heat capabilities.