Saturday, July 29, 2017

New to the Neighborhood

I had some visitors--new to the neighborhood, 
they came by my house today.

We have lived in our farmhouse for more than 25 years. 
In that time generation upon generation of deer 
have made their home with us 
(actually, it was their home first). 

In the  morning they graze upon our salal and wild berries. 
At noontime they bed down on the front lawn, relaxing and chewing their cud. 
At dusk they graze the apple orchard for fallen fruit, 
and as night falls they bed down in the cedar grove. 

We rejoice with the does when their new babies are born, 
we are saddened when a little one dies 
(we have buried several), 
and we are thrilled when the babes become yearlings, 
learn independence, 
grow antlers, 
and go on to nurture families of their own. 

And the circle continues.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Free Pattern - Summer Porch or Wall Hanging

A few weeks ago I created new planter boxes for my front porch. They turned out so well I was inspired to make a matching banner. The planter boxes contain blue and purple flowers, and are grouped with several blue-hued bird houses (and even a robin's nest). So I decided to make "bird house" the theme, and concentrate on using purples and blues.

Well, of course we also love kitties, so there is a sneaky little kitty hiding over there on the right hand side, wearing a roof on her head, hoping to fool an unsuspecting bird. 

Supplies and Equipment Needed:

  • 3/4 yard background fabric (I used ecru-colored canvas, also known as duck cloth)
  • sewing machine thread that matches background fabric
  • scraps of assorted cotton solids and prints
  • sharp fine-pointed scissors suitable for cutting small pieces
  • iron and ironing board
  • 1 yard Wonder-Under fabric bonding 
  • Ultra fine point black permanent marking pen 

The banner I made measures 18 inches high and 36 inches wide. To make your banner this size, cut the background fabric 20 inches high and 38 inches wide. Fold in one inch of each side, top, and bottom; iron and stitch with matching thread.

Here's the pattern for the kitty. Isn't she cute!

Next are the three bird houses:

The leaves, flowers, and kitty "bird house hat" are next. 

The tree branches are too long for one sheet of paper, so I drew them in several sections with A|  and  B|  notations to show where they should be joined. 

I used the same pattern for both tree limbs--flipping it over for a mirror image.

Now that you have your patterns, the next step is to trace your pieces onto the paper side of your Wonder Under. If you've never used Wonder Under, here are two great tutorials to get you started.

I used the ultra fine point permanent marker to add details such as the kitty's whiskers and grin, the centers of the small flowers, veining on the leaves, and the ivy vine.

Good luck and have fun. If you want additional information please leave a comment and I'll be happy to help you. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

A Love Story

Pixar created a better love story in 8 minutes 
than Twilight did in four books.

Happy Anniversary to
the love of my life.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Beautiful Visitor

Look who showed up in our backyard today:

Western Tanager

The Western Tanager is a medium-sized song bird in the same family as Cardinals. According to Wikipedia:

The breeding range of the western tanager includes forests along the western coast of North America from southeastern Alaska south to northern Baja California, Mexico. Western tanagers extend east to western Texas and north through central New Mexico, central Colorado, extreme northwest Nebraska, and areas of western South Dakota to southern Northwest Territories, Canada.The western tanager's wintering range stretches from central Costa Rica north through Nicaragua, Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala to southern Baja California Sur and extreme southeastern Sonora in western Mexico and to southern Tamaulipas in northeastern Mexico. Western tanagers do not typically occur in the Caribbean lowlands. They have been reported wintering further north and have been observed as far south as Panama.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Saying Goodbye

June 27, 2017 - 

When my husband and I were wed 36 years ago, we were a union of two--no pets. He was a dog-lover. I was a lover of cats. I guess you could call it a mixed marriage.
As the years passed, we became a family of four with two beautiful daughters. And we thought we were content and happy and had everything we needed.
We were wrong.
One day, our younger daughter met a kitty. An adorable little kitten living in a miserable, unforgiving, unloving place; a place where a newspaper was her litter box; a place where food was whatever her "family" felt like giving her; and a place where an out-of-control 3-year old routinely pulled out her whiskers and terrorized her.
Her "family" knew so little about her, that they assumed she was a male and called her "Buddy". One look and we knew that Buddy was a sweet little girl in need of a real home, a real family. And so she became ours.
We had read all of the books about introducing a kitten to your household. We live in a large house, and we didn't want her to feel overwhelmed by such a large expanse. We thought it best to isolate her to just a small room to start with, and then gradually introduce her to the larger world.
She knew different.
As soon as she crossed the threshold, our world was her oyster. She ran to every room, nook, and corner, happily sniffing and exploring. Her first night in our house was spent in the utility room (husband had no experience with cats and feared that she might leave an unpleasant "surprise" on the carpet overnight. Maybe dogs do that, but cats certainly don't).
But before the week was over our daughters' bedroom doors were left open and she was welcome to sleep wherever she wished. (What a brazen hussy!)

Remember the movie "Signs"? 

We learned that cats are more perceptive, much more evolved than we. They hear what we cannot hear, see what we cannot see, and (I think) feel beyond what we feel. And they love unconditionally.
(And they are so wise, we need to protect their thoughts from alien invasion!).

In Kyla's mind she was top-of-the heap, cat-of-the-walk, best-of-the-best. She was our queen bee (and she knew it!). She thought highly of herself, and why not? She was the kitty that needed us, but we found that we needed her even more. I firmly believe that in her unequivocal love she made me a better person.
We would not allow her to step outdoors on her own because we live in an environment with raccoons and coyotes and even the occasional bear. Not a safe place for little girl kitties. She did go outside, however, on a leash. And she loved it.
On the safety of a leash she could explore and sniff, chew on grass, pounce in the vinca minor, and love the fresh air. She did this in rain, shine, and even when snow was on the ground! But the house--our rooms, our carpets, our closets, special boxes and perches and hiding places--was her home.
In time, the little ball of fluff whom my husband had originally referred to as "the cat" became his lap-buddy. Not an instant transformation mind you, but as days turned into weeks, months, and years, the little girl who originally seemed to fear men came to recognize that Dad was kind and gentle. Gradually they formed an alliance, a bond.
In the last 2 or 3 years I don't think my husband was able to sit in a chair without our little girl hopping up into his lap. My husband is tall, and she was a beautifully long and slender kitty. She luxuriated, stretching out to the max on his long legs.
She spent 13 years in our house. Thirteen funny, and fun, and loving years.

Three years ago today, she left us without warning. The veterinarian said it was a heart attack. All I know is that in a moment she was gone, limp and lifeless, already romping in that Heavenly place where kitties can run to every room, nook, and corner, happily sniffing and exploring.

floral remembrance from Kyla's veterinary staff. They loved her too.

In the days and weeks that followed we received several loving notes in response to this post:

So bittersweet. Your family was blessed to have Kyla just as she was blessed to spend 13 years with a loving family-- HER family. My condolences on your loss. Kyla was obviously more than a pet and you experienced the pure love that only an animal who is a member of the family can give.Oh, what a heart-warming, touching piece and a fine tribute to your beautiful friend.

Oh, how I know that heartache, that sudden, unexpected loss. We, too, lost a kitty suddenly, without a lot of warning. She was so much younger, had been having some troubles, but neither we nor the vet thought it was fatal problems. One morning, we woke up, and she was gone; left us in the night. Oh, how I cried, as I have no doubt you cried over such a sudden loss. The age matters not; it is no less painful than losing any other family member, for family members they surely are! 
This was a beautiful and brave piece; written with such a clear picture of the love you felt for this beautiful little cat. My heart goes out to you and I'm sure your dear kitty is keeping watch over you from the other side of the Rainbow Bridge. 
Should you find another kitty, don't think of it as 'replacing' your beloved lost girl; simply know that she sent you a new companion to help heal your heart until you meet again.
Bright blessings upon you for rescuing her and giving her a loving home for the rest of her life.

Aw, I am so, so sorry for your loss. What a wonderful joy of a cat that came in to love you guys! I think that a lot of people, especially men, say they don't like cats--until they are around them! Who could help but not respect and love a cat? I have six (and a dog who probably thinks he is one), and have lost several. My two oldest are 13 plus two that are 11, so I worry about losing them. I'm so sorry you lost your sweet girl but so glad that you saved her--and she saved you in return. It may be too soon, but I hope you take in another one at some point. Lovely post. Thinking of you....