Blog Archives

Cat Tinsel

The boys are in for an interesting December as we have decided to acquire a Christmas tree this year. I’ve googled what is likely to happen and I think this could be happening in a living room near me soon.

Cat reluctant to give up sleeping spot

Did you know that wheelchair cushions have a gel insert designed to cushion your bum? Well, they make a slight well in the cushion, which, the cats tell me, is the perfect sleeping spot. Here is Andrew trying to persuade Pickle to get out of the chair.

Reclaiming wheelchair from the ginger ninja cat

Licorice and Saffron meet the Catnip Carrot

‘I’m looking for a toy to wear Pickle out,’ I said.

Dedicated Cat Protection Staff Member recommends a Catnip Carrot. She promises me that this toy never fails. I order one. I wait. I brought it home and this is the reaction. (For those of you who find it hard to tell my girls apart – I can’t think of why?! – Saffron is first to check out the carrot).

What can I say? At 11 Licorice can still beat the crap out of a catnip carrot. Good call Bronwyn. Excellent advice as always. Let’s hope Pickle likes his just as much.

When cats don’t get along

IMG_3623Gesso has been pulling out his own fur. We thought we were doing the right thing by taking him to the vet to check for a medical cause before we decided it was an anxiety behaviour.

After visiting the vet, he came home to a very bad reception by Pickle. Apparently it can happen. One cat goes to vet, other cat acts aggressively when it comes home because he doesn’t recognise his scent. PIckle decided to attack Gesso, if poor Gesso wasn’t anxious before, after a vet trip and being jumped on repeatedly by Pickle, he certainly was now.

The following day, Pickle continued to behave very aggressively. So Pickle went for ‘cat time out’ – kind of like the naughty corner; for a week; at the mothership.

We researched the reunion.

We did the scent swapping etc. Pickle has lost all his aggressive behaviour but unfortunately Gesso has a memory. So when Pickle comes up to groom Gesso; or to play, Gesso runs away. He is just plain scared.

The situation is unresolved and rather stressful. Hence the lack of blogging. When there is a resolution, I’ll let you know!

Is that a cat in your luggage?

‘You have to turn your phone off, so you don’t get international roaming fees.’ says Andrew.

‘Well, what am I to use for an alarm clock then? Without my phone and Licorice, I’d be lost!’

Hmm… Licorice in the luggage.The first challenge there would be whether she would fit. Licorice has a wider than average girth. That said, she is a cat. If any creature can fit itself into a space that is too small for it’s body, a cat can! Challenge one dismissed.

The second challenge would be convincing her it was a good idea.

Second challenge dispelled. The girls have ‘packed’ themselves.

Suitcase? What suitcase.

Suitcase? What suitcase.

Third challenge? Customs.

‘Miss, you appear to have some organic matter in your luggage?’

Hmm… cat alarm clock plan fail. Ah, but it would have made a good story for Border Security!

Fibonacci Floral Lap Quilt: Part 1

Fibonacci Floral Step 1Recently I was fiddling around with some fabric and ended up creating these ‘mushrooms’ by hand stitching using perle cotton. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but I had an idea to incorporate them into a small lap quilt.

After some pondering and meddling by my dressmaking teacher, the idea of a Fibonacci Floral Lap Quilt was born. I loved the lines in the ‘mushrooms’ and wanted to use the colour of this background fabric (a faded grey-green to blue; not unlike the leaves on some wattle trees) in ‘strips’.

Fibonacci Floral Step 2Step 1Make a life size template

I daresay a sophisticated photocopier may have come in handy here and an extra big piece of paper. However I adopted the thrifty method. My piece of paper is in fact 6 pieces of paper stuck together with masking tape. With a ruler and a pencil, I carefully enlarged the drawing to actual size (about 18.5″ X 20″ – no there’s nothing fibonacci about the dimensions!)

Step 2: Dividing the Flower by the fibonacci number 

You may be wondering where’s the fibonacci piece of this quilt. It’s coming! As I was choosing fabrics, it was suggested to me that I should try to use fibonacci numbers (e.g. 2,3,5,8,13,21 etc). I knew that I wanted the fabric pieces to probably be between 1/2″ and 1.5″ in width. So I had a choice – 34 strips or 55. The former made the strips far too fat. So I had no choice but to try to divide the flower outline I had drawn into 55 strips without making any of them too small to sew and also trying to vary the widths as I went along so it didn’t look too predictable.
Fibonacci Floral Step 3

Step 3: Selecting fabrics and cutting strips
So I now had a template of 55 strips, and 13 fabrics selected. (13 being a fibonacci number). The next challenge was whether I could use on a fibonacci number of each fabric within the 55 strips. Now any person halfway decent at math would be able to figure this out quickly. I have to confess that it took me a while.
Fibonacci Floral Step 4
The end result is:

  • 2 fabrics at 2 strips each
  • 2 fabrics at 3 strips each, and
  • 9 fabrics at 5 strips each.

Of course, while you are laying out your fabrics and deciding the order, cat help is critical! Licorice supervised. For once she didn’t ‘help.’

By this point, I was chuffed that I had managed to use only fibonacci numbers – 55 strips, 13 fabrics of 2, 3 or 5 instances each. I was also starting to wonder what the point was. Dr Google told me that fibonacci numbers are common in nature – in Irises, sunflowers and pine cones and they were naturally pleasing to the eye. Oh well… it was worth a go.

Step 4: Tracing the template onto stitch and tear

When it came to tracing I cheated and used a lightbox. Saffron thought she’d help be sitting on the lightbox. Unfortunately, the lightbox is not designed for a 6 kilo cat, so I had to continually kick her off for fear the perspex was not going to withstand her weight – it’s loose as it is!

Fibonacci Floral Step 5

Step 5: Critical. After cutting the pieces. Drop them.

It really would be no fun if you didn’t have to put them back in order at least once!

Iron pieces onto the back of the fabric strips.
Fibonacci Floral Step 6
Fibonacci Floral Step 7
Step 6: Trim them up!
I left 1/4″ seam allowance on the long sides and a very rough half an inch or so on the stop. I figured I could always tidy up the ends later.

Fibonacci Floral Step 8
Step 7: Sew the strips together
This was the fun bit – watching it start to take shape. I’m about 70% done. (Hence the part 1). I’ll be sure to post pics when I have finished the flower.
Fibonacci Floral Step 9

Meanwhile in cat land, a territory dispute is at play. I bought a cheap cat bed from the $2 store. They only had 1 in this size. Licorice and Saffron both want to sit in it. Generally, they seem to alternate – every now and then one ‘hijacks’ it from the other. Tonight, Licorice wouldn’t give it up. So Saffron just sat on top of her!

Can't we share?

Can’t we share?

I want my Internet back

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I have no Internet. I feel as if someone has deprived me of food! Typing a blog post on a iPhone is way too slow. Not quite as slow as the telephone company is about fixing my access. What makes typing this post even more painful is that Licorice is wailing. She’s been put in the bathroom for the night with sister Saffron, who has cystitis again. Saff is the sick one. Does she complain? No. But licorice thinks howling like a banshee is going to get her out of there.

If anyone has any tips re managing cat cystitis please let me know. I’ve tried feliway, rescue remedy, zylkene, switch to wet food and trying to maintain a routine. Of these the feliway and wet food seem to have some impact but she is still having recurrences when I have to give her anti-inflammatories.

Anyway, my one fingered typing is getting worse and worse. Attached – I hope – is a picture of a mad hatters hat made from fabric pieces.

I had someone ask me today whether this was a example of crazy patchwork. My dressmaking teacher replied: ‘no, it’s patchwork by a crazy woman.’

Pickle

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Gesso the deaf white cat does Jumpin’ Jack Flash

I awoke this morning to text message from Andrew – ‘I’ve made a video of Gesso!’

The link is below. Unfortunately the words at the front are too quick to read, so here they are:

“One year ago… on a day just like today… I went shopping with my girlfriend… Neither of us were to know that our lives would never be the same… we came home with a deaf white kitten… and although it was cute… we didn’t know that it was absolutely mental… but we love it dearly… especially that crazy fluffy tail… we have nicknamed it… the arctic  squirrel. Here is some footage. I hope you like it.”

There is a guest appearance by Pickle, the ginger ninja.

If the link doesn’t appear below, you can go directly to Andrew’s youtube page.

Postscript: The stickler in me wants to clarify we did go shopping for a cat – it wasn’t some spur of the moment adoption. I take my cat responsibilities very seriously!

Da bird is da success!

Tilba the Devon RexPurchase cat toy with excitement, take cat toy home, and watch cat look at it with disdain. Not with “Da Bird”. I read many reviews saying Da Bird was the ultimate cat teaser toy. It looks like many others – a rod, string and attachment on the end. The one difference I knew pre-purchase was that you can replacement ‘feathers’ without needing to buy a whole new rod.

Well, Da Bird arrived at mum’s house (the place for all parcels when one lives in a unit). I gave it a test drive on my brother’s cats who have been staying there for the last month, while he travels the states. Willow, the 8 year old burmese (pictured) gave it the thumbs up, as did ‘brother’ Tilba the Devon Rex.

Willow the brown burmeseEven at about 8 years of age, Willow took to this toy with the vigour of a kitten. Once he’d caught the ‘prey’, he got a little cranky when Tilba came a little close.

Successfully road tested, I packed it up and headed over to Andrew’s. While this was a present for Saffron and Licorice, I couldn’t wait to see what the ginger ninja would do with it.

Pickle did not disappoint.

He leapt, twisted and grabbed for it. When I did pack it away, he was quite annoyed at me.

Finally I brought it home to Licorice and Saffron. At ages 10 and 7 respectively, I wasn’t sure what to expect. (Although Willow is a similar age and he’d gone nuts over it). Saffron had more activity than I think I’ve seen since I got her. She was doing somersaults trying to catch this thing! Licorice tried. She didn’t quite leap. Ok, she didn’t leave the ground. But she did energetically bat at it when it was close enough… which for a 10 year old, 8 kilo cat isn’t bad!

I didn’t have the camera handy but here’s a link to another blog with some great pics of a black and white kitty in action with Da Bird.