International Cat Day!

In honor of the day, I thought I would post some photos of my feline friends.

Our first cat, Squigglez, enjoyed 14 years in our house. This was much longer than we expected to have him. Shortly after adopting him, he was diagnosed with the cat version of Ehlers-danlos syndrome. EDS a connective tissue disorder that is caused by a genetic defect in the production of collagen. This weakens the skin, gastrointestinal system and heart. The average lifespan of a cat with EDS is five years. Even the slightest scratch can damage and tear the skin of affected animals, leading to scarring. Heart failure is the usual cause of death.  Amazingly, his heart remained strong, but sadly his GI system was too fragile and deteriorated with age.  But, we had many more years with him than we expected.

About a year later, we adopted another cat.  Comet was a really young kitten that was abandoned in the ditch near a friends farm.

My second son, Sam, adopted him as his own. Comet was incredibly playful and loved to run around – thus the name!

Comet also got along with everyone, human or pet.  Both Squigglez and Duke (our Yorkie who past away a few months ago) would allow him to eat and sleep near them.  That’s saying a lot because both of them were very independent and did not get along with any of our other pets.

Eleven years ago, Comet got out of the house one night. Now this wasn’t too unusual for him. Comet loved to roam the woods behind our house when it was dark outside. Usually around 5:30 am I would be awakened by him meowing as he walked through the front yard asking me to let him in. Unfortunately, one morning he never returned. We searched the neighborhood and contacted Eagan Animal Control, but he was not to be found.  Every Monday and Friday I would go by the South Metro Humane Society to see if he may have been taken there.  After six weeks, he was not to be found.

img_3203Each time I stopped at the Humane Society, I would spend some time in the cat room playing with the kittens.  After six weeks, I had fallen for one of the kittens that was really affectionate.  I decided I would adopt her.  However, this was early October and I was told that the Humane Society policy was not to adopt out black cats the weeks before Halloween (apparently there are some people that have done evil and cruel things to black cats at that time of the year).  Sadly, I left without her but I would return and visit her several times a week.  My plan was to adopt her after Halloween to take her home.  Luckily about a week before Halloween, the staff decided that I was not going to harm her and allowed me to adopt her earlier than I had anticipated.

IMG_5018

img_3855

 

Onyx has since become my constant companion.  She is close by me almost all the time.  In fact, as I write this posting, she is sitting right next to my computer!  Of course, she is sitting on the computer case because it is the softest thing near me.

 

img_3854

Hopefully we have several more years to enjoy her companionship!

 

“Childhood Memories” – finished quilt

 

When designing a quilt, I like to plan the quilting at the same time as the piecing.  This allows me to think about adding something unique to each quilt.  My recent project for the two sided tree quilt was no exception.

The quilting of the tree, leaves and background would be fairly straightforward.  Wanting to add something special to the quilt, I thought about what I could add to the tree.  One idea was to place flowers or shrubs at the base of the tree.  Another was to add some animals.

My final idea, and the one I actually used, came while reviewing some photos from my childhood.  These photos brought back memories of things growing up.  I decided to add theses memories to the quilt.

I needed to invoke the idea of a memory without overwhelming the quilt.  To do that, I planned to used only thread to make the images appear very faint.  After stitching, I realized  that the images were there but extremely hard to see.  Having recently purchase some textile medium (InFusion Textile Medium) that was very lightweight (did not stiffen the fabric) and shiny, I decided to use this to enhance the visual effect of the memories.

I am really happy how they turned out.  If you look closely at the images, you will see a boy leaning against the tree reading a book, a girl on a tree swing, and their faithful dog laying on the ground near them.

Painting

 

Here are the full images of the quilt front and back:

IMG_2708IMG_2710

Custom Footrest For My Craft Room

img_2230Lately, I have been doing a lot of hand stitching – applique, embroidery and quilt binding.  When hand stitching, I like to have a place to rest my your feet higher than the floor in order to make myself more comfortable. Unfortunately this was something that I did not have in my new craft room.

img_2253Wanting to add one, I starting looking around the room to see where I could store the footrest when it was not being used.  The size of a place to stash the footrest would be the limiting factor for the size of the footrest itself.  With the room maximized for storage, I was not finding a good spot to keep one.  So, I put off purchasing one.

 

WIN_20180707_18_07_34_Pro

This past week  I have been working on binding a quilt.  As a temporary measure, I pulled out one of my storage boxes from under my long arm table and used that to prop my feet on.  It worked out fairly well, just the right size, but a bit too low. So, to get the height right, I  put a folded flannel quilt on top of it.

Unfortunately the quilt I used was a favorite of my cat, Onyx.  Most times, when I went into my room to sew, she was sleeping on the quilt. So, I needed to figure out a more permanent option.  img_2229

A trip to Hobby Lobby to purchase a few items (2″foam, 5/8 yd print canvas fabric and elastic braid) and I was ready to make a slip cover to place on the storage box.  First, I cut the foam to fit on top of the box lid (10.5″ x 14″).  Then, I cut the fabric to 20.5″ x 24″.  A few box seams in the corners, a hem with the elastic into and I was done.

img_2254Now I have  a colorful and comfortable foot rest. When not in use it fits nicely into the original storage spot without taking up any space in my room.

 

 

img_2256

I even had enough leftover fabric to make a nice throw pillow for my sofa.

Fused glass Art

There are many forms of glass art. Fused glass is one of them. The basic idea behind fused glass is that art objects are created by melting glass in a kiln.  Unlike stained glass, fused glass has no “lead lines”.  Unlike blown glass, the learning curve is relatively short and projects are easier to make. The precise origins of glass fusing techniques are not known, but there is archaeological evidence that the Egyptians were familiar with these techniques. While other glass techniques enjoyed a revival during the Renaissance, fusing was largely ignored during this period. Fusing began to regain popularity in the U.S. during the 1960s.

A few years ago, I took a class to learn about fused glass techniques.  It was a really fun class that made me want to be able to make more things. Months later, when a glass supply company had their kilns on sale, I decided to invest in getting one.  Fused glass has since become another hobby that I like to pursue. I have enjoyed creating many nice pieces of fused glass art over the past couple of years.  I will, over time, try to post some of these previously made items.

IMG_2133
Recently, I tried a new glass idea.  The birthday of  my sister-in-law, Ruth, gave me an excuse to make something kinda fun.  Ruth likes cats.  But, unfortunately she is allergic to them and can’t have any cats of her own.  So, I decided to make her an allergen-free cat.  I selected blue glass to match the colors in her home.

 

 

This cat turned out so cute, that I decided to make someIMG_2169 more.

I next tried some burgundy colored glass. These almost look like foxes.

 

After that, I decided to try to make some cats that looked like some of our pets.

IMG_2190

 

After making these, I realized that I wanted to make some more pets.  A little bit of time on-line and I found some clipart images that I want to try.

The kiln will be busy again!

Window on My World – designing a landscape quilt.

blogger-image-677978051

Our home, once filled with the busy-ness of four boys, is considerably quieter with only one son still living at home.  And, this week he is on a field study trip with his school making our house even quieter.

Looking to the future, my husband and I have started thinking about moving in a few years.  When that happens, we will leave behind a house that I have spent considerable time and effort into making a lovely place to live.

My backyard is especially enjoyable to me, with the trees and flowers and many places to sit and relax.  To help remember this space, I decided to make a landscape quilt that shows my yard.  I plan to call this quilt “Window on my World”.  The idea is that the quilt will depict a view of my yard looking out of a window. Since all seasons and all times of the day are enjoyable, I plan to incorporate various times into the quilt.

The window will have four panes in it.  Each pane will depict a different season in my backyard – Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn.  And, each pane will depict different times of day – Midnight, Sunrise, Midday and Sunset.  So, starting from the farthest left pane and going right the landscape quilt will show the my yard:

  • Midnight in Winter
  • Sunrise in Spring
  • Midday in Summer
  • Sunset in Autumn

The first step in creating this quilt was to draw out my ideas on a few pieces of paper. I’m not very good at drawing, but these do show the idea fairly well.Composite.jpg

I now need to plan out the background.  To make the quilt more visually interesting, I am playing around with different piecing ideas for each pane. That will be the topic of my next posting.