Monthly Archives: September 2012

Helper Cats: Meet the New Crew

It was with much anticipation that we went to Good Mews yesterday to adopt some new kitties. The kitten room was chock full with 15 kittens there, and about 10 more in the back (in from foster homes, but not in the kitten room itself). We had thought perhaps 2 kittens, or 2 kittens and an older cat, but with Fred in the picture we thought all kittens would be the way to go.

Our first pick was Jett. Here he is at the shelter on the green hammock.  I should say Jett picked us. Within 2 minutes of my son sitting down on the floor, Jett climbed in his lap and wouldn’t leave. Then my daughter sat down and Jett climbed in her lap. Then he got in my lap. Then I made my husband sit down and Jett got in his lap. Jett wanted to cover all the bases.  Jett’s litter was named after the West Side Story, and his mother Maria is still at the shelter.

You’ll notice Jett has a little problem with his right eye; he had a conjunctival infection as a kitten, and has had to have several surgeries to trim his third eyelid (the grey part that closes over a cat’s eye underneath the regular eyelid) to relieve pressure on this eye.  He has a follow-up with the animal eye doctor on Tuesday from the last surgery, and there is a good chance he’ll have to have that eye removed.  Right now he’s getting drops in it twice a day, but in looking at his medical record I noted that the eye has shrunk somewhat, which isn’t a good sign for keeping it.  There are lots of cats that get along fine with one eye, so we’re not really concerned about his ability to function without it. I would rather he not be uncomfortable.  Jett is seven months old, the oldest in the kitten room, and I think it was concerns about his eye that kept him from being adopted because he is a lover boy. Lucky for him we are okay with special needs kitties!

Our second pick practically made itself also, since Morelli is Jett’s bud and climbed into my son’s lap along with Jett.  Here is Morelli at the shelter (on the highest shelf, of course).  Morelli is a sweetheart, and his litter was named after the Janet Evanovich characters in the Stephanie Plum books.  Morelli would really just like to be everyone’s friend, and for everyone to get along.  Morelli is 5 months old.

Jett and Morelli like to chill in front of the window in the bedroom right now:

 And finally we have little Nina, who was known as Ninja Girl in her foster home.
I’m sure you can imagine how she got that name. 
Nina had 3 brothers and a sister, and is rather rare in that orange tabby female cats are not all that common - on 15-20% of orange tabbies are female.  Nina is 4 months old. Morelli really wants to get to know her, but Nina is keeping some distance from the boys for now.  Since she wasn’t in the kitten room with them, but rather in the isolation room with her siblings, she hadn’t met them before. She is, however, a fan of us people, and spent most of the night in various positions on my head or next to my pillow.
Fred has been pretty patient as we go in and out of our bedroom to tend to the kittens.  He knows something is going on in there, and always looks relieved when I emerge, as if he’s grateful the monsters didn’t eat me. We’ll probably do a first introduction tonight, and when Fred is at the vet for his first heartworm treatment tomorrow the kittens will get to explore the rest of the house.

Sad Trombone! No Podcast This Week

I just checked my stats at Podomatic and I’m at 116% bandwidth so no new podcast this week; bandwidth will reset on Oct 7. Honestly it’s just as well since I haven’t actually gotten much sewing done since last week, as you can imagine.

Fred on Ted

Fred is adapting well to our family so far, and we start his treatment for the heartworms on Monday since we’ve gotten the all clear from the vet on his kidney and liver function. He’ll have to stay calm and not active for about 4 months while the drugs do their work to kill the little beasties and his body absorbs them.

I had my time to grieve for Zoom yesterday while Fred was at the vet for the day for x-rays and bloodwork, and while I may have had doubts about the timing of Fred’s coming to live with us, I could tell I was over them when the tech brought him into the exam room for me to pick up, and he wiggled his little nubbin tail and me and I was genuinely happy to see him. He is my little shadow, and we are figuring out this whole dog ownership thing together. To my husband’s dismay, Fred is quite fond of me (and my quilts), and can’t be bothered too much with him. So much for Fred being “the boys’ pet” in the family!

Thank you for your kind words on Zoom and Fred, and look for some pictures of a new crew of Helper Cats tomorrow after we get home from Good Mews!

A Case of Emotional Whiplash: Fred’s Story

For those of you who follow me on twitter, you might have developed a case of whiplash yesterday.  On the heels of losing Zoom (and Zapper), it feels rather quick that we have brought in a new family member.  This is Fred:

We knew when Zoom and Zapper passed we would look into getting several more cats and a dog.  I am 1,000% sure about the cats, and pretty sure about a dog. Before we knew Zoom would follow Zapper so quickly, we had contemplated bringing a dog home for a test run at our house once Zapper passed since we knew Zapper could never handle a dog.  Zoom had possibility to adapt, but at 15 and cancerous, it just didn’t seem like a good idea.

For several months, Fred had been living at the airport where my husband works. Fred came to live at the airport because his owner(s) had fallen on hard times. One of my husband’s client’s adult children had Fred, but also had problems with drugs and the law in general. In an effort to help his kids, the client moved them back into his house, but was reluctant to also take their dog. So he took him to the airport and left him.

I cannot condone abandoning animals. It’s horrible and irresponsible and unfair to the animal. It’s also illegal in the state of Georgia. Fortunately, the airport is rather like a large family and Fred was treated okay. He was fed and petted and not abused and my husband looked out for him. He was treated like a dog, but not a member of a family.

I had thought perhaps we would have a day of grieving for Zoom before Fred came to our house. As it turns out, we did not. I felt a bit whiplashed myself, especially when I found myself crying in the bathroom while the kids were playing with Fred in the living room. But Fred apparently is very astute and has been quite cuddly and affectionate with me. He sought me out when I went upstairs to cry in peace away from the kids, and although he needed help getting on the bed, he laid down next to me and did the puppy dog eyes where the eyebrows shift back and forth, and licked my face and just let me be sad.

He’s a good dog.

Our test will be this weekend when we go to Good Mews to adopt some cats.  If Fred can’t get along with cats, we’ll find a home for Fred where he can be safe and loved.  My husband knows that I am a package deal with cats, and that this was part of bringing a dog into the house: it had to be able to get along with cats and not try to chase and/or eat them.

We took Fred to the vet for a wellness check on Wednesday evening and discovered that he’s tested positive for heartworms. The treatment is tough, and expensive, but we are willing to try to help him get better. Thanks for kind thoughts and wishes.

Goodbye, Zoom

I will miss the way you climbed up my back and helpered while I quilted.

I will miss the way you come running for story time, or treats, or the merest whisper of your name.

Mostly I will miss having your 20 pounds of purr in a 6 pound body next to my ear all night long.

Goodbye, sweet girl.

Go find Grama Eddie. She’s got an awesome lap and gives great sunggles, and I bet your sister will move over when you get there.

Sunday Stash: Oy Vey

Um… I got a little bloated this week by getting fabrics for Halloween costumes and Weekender bags. And my mom bought some fabrics for projects she wants me to make, but I had some nice usage from the Beep Boop quilt and other small projects.  I should finish a tablerunner this week, I think, to bring me back to over the net 100 used.
  • Used this Week: 11.75 yards
    • 9 yards for Beep Boop quilt
    • 2 yards for the Cat Goes Here nap mat
    • 0.25 for some potholders for a fundraiser for the kids’ school
    • 0.5 yards for a Finn (from Adventure Time) hat for my son’s Halloween costume
  • Used year to Date: 368.25 yards
  • Added this Week: 17.75 yards
    • 7.5 yards for various projects for my mom
    • 2 yards of fleece for Halloween costumes
    • 2.75 from a layer cake of Morris Tapestry by Barbara Bachman
    • 4.5 yards for a Weekender Bag
  • Net Used for 2012: 99 yards
  • YTD Used for Charity: 128.75 yards (35% of total used)
See more stash reports at Patchwork Times!

HtbaS - Episode 97

Beep Boop Quilt: Finished!

I wanted to wait until I got the delivery confirmation for this quilt, and hopefully I’m not spoiling anything by posting the pictures here now (SURPRISE BURJIT!).  Here’s is the Beep Boop quilt:

Bridget is a fan of robots and the color blue. And awesomeness. Fortunately, I can fit all three of those things in a quilt, so I hope she likes it. If not, oh well. She lives in Chicago and can probably always use another blanket. 🙂
In the blue frame around the white block where the word “click” is quilted, you can see the robot fabric that inspired the color scheme.  I was very happy to find the circuit board fabric on the long borders in the exact right shade, too. You can also see I quilted the words “beep boop” in the quilt in places, too. I also quilted a slightly naughtier phrase in one area, which is the true name for the quilt. Click to see it if you aren’t offended by curse words.
As I told Bridget, making this quilt for her brought me some happiness at a time when I needed it.  And I had some helpering with it from someone else who needed some happiness:

WIP Wednesday: The Sentimental One

After finishing the massive cutting table, and the sadness of last week, and with doing something to my neck this week and getting another cold, things have been slow this week.  Mostly I’ve been playing with this tablerunner idea I’ve had floating around in my head.

When I saw the Sentiments Christmas line by 3 Sisters for Moda, it immediately made me think of my aunt’s house, which is full of Victorian knick-knacks and the comforting presence of family.  The fact that the line featured a panel of vintage postcards sealed the deal, and I had the idea to embroider the names of my female relatives on the postcard panels, in their own handwriting.  Here’s two samples (my handwriting, and Grama Eddie’s):

There are six different postcard designs on the panel, with repeats, so I’ve gotten Grama Eddie’s (my aunt’s mother), my mom, me, my sister, and my aunt’s two daughters.  One of my cousins passed around 30 years ago, and I know my aunt still misses her every day, and I am so grateful that my mom kept all sorts of cards and mementos, one of which was a “Congratulations on the New Baby” card from when my sister was born from this cousin, which she signed.
It was a bit awkward to send an email asking my other cousin for a handwriting sample, but I think once I explained what it was for, she loved the idea. And didn’t think I was trying to steal her identity. Whew.
And here is a little peek of the oversized nap mat I made for my new cutting table:

It’s about a yard of fabric sandwiched and quilted - 4 FQs from the Mama Said Sew fabric line sewed together backed with a cat print fabric from my stash.  I made it oversized so it could be folded in multiple layers for extra comfort.  Of course Zoom doesn’t want to sit on it now that it’s done, but she helpered me make it, though.

Sunday Stash: The One With the Jazz Hands

I might finish another quilt tonight, but wanted to go ahead and the stash report up for the week. I guess it won’t kill me to wait to credit the Beep Boop quilt for next week even if I finish it later tonight. I did buy some yardage for borders and backing to finish that quilt, which was my only intake for the week.
  • Used this Week: 8 yards
    • 7 yards for CATS! (the quilt)
    • 1 yard for fabric inserts for cutting table doors
  • Used year to Date: 356.50 yards
  • Added this Week: 5 yards
    • 5 yards for the Beep Boop quilt
  • Net Used for 2012105 yards
  • YTD Used for Charity: 128.5 yards (36% of total used)
See more stash reports at Patchwork Times!

The New Cutting Table

State of the Stash - Avert your eyes… or “Why the jealous 13 year old boys could suck it when I won the Excellence Award in 8th grade for Shop class”. I’d like to point out I won the Excellence Award for Home Ec the same year. Thus is the dichotomy of my existence.

Anyway, here is what this area used to look like. In case you haven’t figured it out, this is going to be picture heavy.



New Cutting Table - 1

And here is my new cutting table. It’s 4 feet by 8 feet total. The primary base is two cabinet units from Home Depot when they had a half off sale. The 3-drawer unit is the “junk drawer” on top (calculator, paper, etc), batting scraps in the middle drawer, and apparel fabric in the bottom drawer. On the end is peg board with my small rulers, pinking shears, and my bottle of Best Press. Just above the pegboard is a tray for my applique pressing sheet and applique shears (a picture frame ledge from IKEA). My small drawer unit rolls under the countertop behind the base drawer unit.

When you roll the rolling drawer unit out of the way, you see where I store my Featherweight tote. Peel the onion back another layer and move the tote, you can see the long storage for batting rolls on top, and finished quilt storage on the bottom.

New Cutting Table - 2 New Cutting Table - 3

New Cutting Table - 4On top of the table, the purple slab at the end is my pressing surface. Going a slight bit to the right, here’s the view. My ruler storage holds my most frequently used rulers. My Daylight tabletop lamp (with magnifying glass for my old lady eyes, apparently). That basket is for scraps I need to cut into my standard sizes. Although you can’t see it, there’s a nice empty spot above my cutting mat to the right of the scrap basket, right in front of the window that will be a perfect Helper Cat perch. I need to make a nap mat to go there, I think. Knowing Helper Cats, though, I imagine they would sprawl willy-nilly and not stick to the designated spot.

New Cutting Table - 5On the other end of the cutting surface, I’ve got more pegboard storage. This is for my large rulers (20 1/2″ square and Shape Cut), my few quilting templates, and the t-square from my brief time as an architecture major in college. I changed my major to engineering before my first day of college. Here you can also see the bestest part ever: cupholders!

On the far left is a cupholder for tools, one for actual cups in the middle, and a cupholder I cut the bottom off of to make a receptacle for trimmings that will get put into pet beds.  If you look at the picture above, you’ll see a purple bin hanging from the table top.

New Cutting Table - 6

New Cutting Table - 7I can’t get a good picture of the cabinet doors with current lighting, so this picture is from before I attached them to the cabinets.  I added a little sewing touch each door by creating a fabric insert for each door from a different FQ from my Mama Said Sew! assortment.  I think I’ll use the other FQs to make other accessories for the sewing room, including the nap mat for the top of the table. So…. who wants to come over and play?