Click photos to enlarge them.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Barb passed away on August 13, 2014 after a short battle with a bad, undiscovered cancer.  She had so many friends from so many different sources but all of you into cats and quilting have been particularly kind and supportive.  Laura and I thank you.   John Bolesta

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sallie's Baby Quilt

My "other" daughter, Sallie, is having a baby.  Seems like just last year, she and Laura were in high school.  They've been best friends since grade school and still are.  I made Sallie a baby quilt for her little girl.  Sallie likes lighter colors like pastels.  Since I'm more likely to use hot pink, orange, lime green and bright teal, together with a hundred other colors, this quilt was so far out of my comfort zone.  It was fun to do, but I questioned myself at every block.  Oh, and Sallie doesn't care for pink, so the quilt has more teal and green that she does like.  I didn't have the heart to tell her that in five years, everything she buys is going to be pink and purple.  Everything.  Sorry, Sallie.

 This is with the fluorescent lighting in my studio.  Below is at the shower Sunday.  It was in a grade school cafeteria, and there's another window to the left of Sallie.  Regardless of where they stood, somebody's head was going to be backlit.  Sorry, Marc.

There were lots of friends and family there.  The gift table was overflowing.  Sallie kept pulling adorable little outfits out of bags and boxes.  I told her she has more baby clothes than a Penney's.  I've never seen so many onesies, booties, matching socks, jackets, and sleepers in one place outside of a department store. This will be the best-dressed baby ever.

I was going to do a full-strip quilt, but changed my mind after I bought the fabric.  I bought six different fabrics and used three of my own.  Each block has one of all nine fabrics.  I did log cabin blocks with a larger center.  The logs are cut 2" wide.  The center is cut 4" square.  The first strip, I cut 4" wide, cut two center squares from it, then cut it in half for 2" strips.  Then two more strips 2" wide.  Two rounds of logs, and the blocks finished 9.5".

I started out just sewing a strip on and cutting it off evenly after I pressed it over, but it wasn't working very well.  After two blocks, I cut exact-size pieces, about four of every size of every fabric until I knew how many I'd need.  Worked much better.  The block aren't all in the same orientation.  I was much more concerned with the same colors not being next to each other.

I made the top a couple weeks ago at a 5-day quilt retreat.  Up by Hannibal, MO, at a place called Kinderhook Lodge, an hour and a half from my house, in the middle of nowhere.  We saw deer every day.  Ate all our fabulous meals in the dining room.  Had a complete kitchen in our large sewing room.  Everybody had a bedroom to themselves.  Absolute heavenly bliss.  And none of my chocolate-covered cherry jello shots made it back home.  The recipe is on my Nov 13, 2011 blog.

 My non-quilting friends can't imagine why I would want to go to a quilt retreat, and ask what else we did besides sew.  We ate and slept.  Other than that, we sewed.  The other eight ladies are so wonderful.  They've been doing this retreat for many years.  It's my second one with this group, so I'm the new girl.  We'd tell stories and laugh till we cried.  Everybody helped everybody else with any problems and gave advice on colors and fabrics whether it was wanted or not.  My kind of group.

Small world story:  one of the ladies there, who I've known for several years, Sandy, has a boyfriend, Rich, who is a teacher.  He taught school for one year, '69-'70, in my home town of Steeleville, IL, pop. 1600 in '68, at the Lutheran school.  He taught, AND REMEMBERED my brother in the 7th grade.  Steve's now 56 years old.  I didn't know Rich because I'd already left for St. Louis after high school.  Sandy called him, and we talked for about 15 minutes.  He described my brother, tall, skinny, blonde hair, and played basketball (which Rich coached).  Geez, I can't even remember last week!

It's cooling off a little here.  I understand parts of Canada (hi Kim) are having a heat wave.  Hope you're cooling off, too.


Friday, July 19, 2013

New Tie-Dyed Shoes

Yesterday, a giant mushroom, today the coolest shoes ever.  Even the laces are to "dye" for.  Couldn't resist.  Despite what John says, they are NOT clown shoes, NOR do they look like a unicorn threw up on them.   I love how all the bright colors mix and swirl.  Just gorgeous.

Anyway, I have to thank Scott, the coolest cat dad ever over at the Katnip Lounge,  He posted a picture of his tie-dyed shoes a couple weeks ago, and I had to have some.  Mine are the lighter version of his.  Scott has an Espy site selling tie-dyed shirts, bags and things.  Check it out from the Katnip Lounge site.  Although Scott probably wasn't even round in the late '60's, I had a front-row seat when the hippies reintroduced the world to tie-dyed clothes.  I've dyed lots if fabric for my quilting, even selling some at large quilt shows across the country.  I once had a 2-yard piece of cotton fabric, dyed with all the colors of the rainbow, and it was stunning.  I had it draped in my booth to show off, but not to sell. I had plans for that baby.  A lady talked me out of it for $50 ten years ago, and thought she got a bargain.

I thought the shoes were something new.  All my friends know I envy all the little kids who come in Petsmart with their sequined, lighted, and blinged up shoes - that they don't make for anyone over 12.  However, these are a limited edition from New Balance and came out early last spring.  I spent two whole nights searching the web for a site that had these in my size - the size everybody wears.  All sold out.  Several questionable places had my size, but just the sentence structure told me they probably weren't in the USA.  No way was I giving them my credit card.  Finally, I found these at Foot Locker's site.  Yea!

Because I know everybody's going to want a pair, too, the number is  NB W 890 V3.  The first letters are for New Balance, Women's.  I think the V3 is version 3.  They aren't as sturdy as my other NB shoes, but they're also about $30 less.  I'm okay with that.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ginormous Mushroom !

Last Sept I found giant mushrooms growing in the back yard. They're poisonous if eaten, but were amazing to see.  This is from the post.  The biggest one was 7.5" across, about as wide as my hand span.

Then, two days ago, we had another mushroom.  Only got one so far, but it's a whopper.  It measures 11.5" across.  Looks like something from outer space.  It's in the same location as the ones last year, about 6 ft from the house and patio.  What I wouldn't give to be able to chop this baby up, saute it with butter and garlic, and eat for a week.

It got so big and heavy it had to lean over to rest in the grass.  The stem didn't break.  It's growing that way.

This was two days ago when the mushroom was just a baby.  I thought it was a different type of mushroom, since it was taller.  I forgot how they got wider.  Lucy didn't want to be anywhere near it, but I got her to sit sort of near it.  But she wouldn't look at me, so she wasn't really there.

Last year they came in Sept, and it's only July.  If I get any mushrooms bigger than a foot across, I'll let you know.  Yeah, I know the grass needs mowing.  Our lawn man, Randy, is a police Lt. in real life and works some lawns in on his days off.  He hasn't had one in a while.  John's mower broke about 5 years ago and it seemed cheaper to pay Randy than buy a new riding mower.  Plus, John can park his car in the garage.  Stay cool, everyone.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Sasha and Kittens

Sasha's kittens are growing up.  They were nine weeks old last week and got their package at the vet -  spay/neuter, microchip, kitten shot, and testing for feline leukemia and aids.  Everybody was fine.  They'll be ready for adoption Saturday.

I had some leather strips to make cat toys with, but the cats like the strips plain, too.

 From the left, Robbie, Christopher, Katie (the calico), Spike above Katie, and Etta on the right.

 This is Rose, and she's as sweet as she looks.

 Etta is playing with the leather strip, and Spike is playing with Etta's tail.

 With kittens, everything's a toy - even a dustpan.  Mama Sasha is still nursing a little, but these guys mainly eat canned and dry food, now.

 Rose is sleeping on the back of the recliner.

A front view of my little angel.

 Spike is playing with the fuzzy tail that I hung from the table.  It's a winner.  The kittens are slowly calming down as they approach 10 weeks.  The time from 7-9 weeks is the crazy insane running and playing, biting everything, and don't-touch-me age.   The kitten equivalent of the Terrible Twos.  They're starting to get their sweetness back, but in another few months, they'll be teenagers for a few months, then calm down again after that.  They definitely have growing cycles like human kids.  They're considered adults at a year old.

 This was one of those lucky shots just taking pictures one after the other.  Katie and Spike.

Very high-tech mechanics.

 Katie came up and fell asleep on my leg.

 This is Crystal/Christopher.  She went to the vet's Monday for her package.  She not Sasha's kitten, but is the lone survivor of another foster mom's mama who wouldn't nurse. She's three days younger than Sasha's kittens, and Sasha adopted her immediately.  Telling the sex of a kitten isn't hard and we do it from day one.  They either have a nubbin, or they don't.  She didn't.  However, when Dr. Marcy was doing her spay, she didn't find any ovaries.  Crystal was a boy whose testicles hadn't dropped down, yet, so he looked like a girl.  Marcy called and said Crystal is now Christopher.  That's fine.  One less name I have to come up with.  I just call him Chris. His fur is black, but he has long guard hairs that are white.  They give him a beautiful silvery look.  And I'll always think of him as Crystal.  He and Robbie are the cuddlers.  Now.  Subject to change.

Robbie is taking a rest on his little quilt.  He's usually the first one to come up on me in the recliner after they all run around like maniacs. This is a little strange, but two of these kittens are now Rob(bie) and Chris. John's brother is Rob and Rob's wife is Chris.

Sasha's been a great mama.  She got very thin last month, and a blood test showed she had an intestinal bacteria, but one Marcy has only seen in dogs.  Just trying to keep my reputation for bringing new, weird stuff to my vets.  After a couple medications, lots of canned and no-grain food, she's regaining some weight, finally.  I was really worried about her.  The kittens have enjoyed the extra food, too.

I made package appointments for 10 more kittens in the other two rooms in the next few weeks.  That will finish everybody except the four mamas.  They'll need their packages when their milk dries up.  Then they'll be ready for adoption.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

New Refrigerator

It all started with cleaning out the pantry Sunday.  I found a box of brownie mix that expired over two years ago.  What the heck.  I had a new 9x13 baking pan I wanted to try out and brownies sounded really good.  My fridge is about 25 years old and has had a problem with cold spots in the refrigerator part for a long time.  I throw frozen lettuce and veggies away every week.  I had 4 eggs and that's what I needed.  When I cracked the third one, it was weird.  It was frozen!  So was the fourth one.  FYI - you can't microwave eggs low enough to thaw them and not cook them.  John was only too happy to drive four blocks and get me more eggs.  The brownies turned out fabulous - thick and half cooked. No dry, cakey brownies for me.  I took half the pan to the vet techs Monday morning when I took little Crystal in for her spay/shot package. 

 Monday we went to Lowe's for a couple things and looked at refrigerators.  I think mine was about $400 back in the '80's.  Now, they're thousands.  We found one that had a couple dents on the side at the bottom that would be against the wall and was $500 off.  It was discounted more than I paid for my old one!  It was stainless steel, and I hate stainless steel, but it matched the other appliances in my kitchen.  We bought an inventory home, so I didn't get to pick out anything.  Bought it and had it delivered today.  I spent all day yesterday cleaning out the one in the garage to have space for the stuff from the kitchen.  I threw out four trash bags of old, dried-out food.  I date every food item with the month and year.  I must have cleaned out in '06, because the oldest stuff I found was dated '07.  Only 6 years ago.  Freeze-dried pasta, meat and bread.  Yuck.  Bags of frozen vegetables that were more ice crystals than vegetable.  Trash doesn't get picked up until Monday morning, and it's been very hot here, lately.  Things are going to get ripe.  I got all the kitchen stuff in the garage last night. 

 The new one looks a lot bigger in my kitchen than it did in the store.  I thought they'd be closer in size since they were the same 36" wide.  Except this one is a couple inches deeper and taller.  A close fit against the island.  Oh, did you know that magnets don't stick to stainless steel?  Yet another reason to hate it, not to mention the fingerprints if you get within 6" of the thing.  But, it looks great.

 Everything looks so shiny and bright.  The water filter is that little round white thing between the two bottom drawers.  The water tastes better than any bottled water I've every had. 

The shallow drawer below that is the drink drawer.

There's a few things left in the garage freezer, but this is about it.  Prepared food in the top draw, meat and chicken on the bottom left, frozen veggies on the right.  That little shelf at the bottom of the picture flips up so you can stand pizza boxes up in the bottom drawer.  I swear we're eating all this before I buy anything new.  Two people don't need any more than this.  I know, it's just a refrigerator, but it's the first new one I've had in 25 years!  We tend to keep things till they die.  And for what it cost, I'm getting a blog out of it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

One More Kitten

All my friends know I keep late hours and sleep late in the morning.  So, when Cheri called at 8am this morning, I knew it wasn't to say hello.  A lady found a kitten in her yard and instead of waiting for the mom to come back for it, she took it to one of our vets - who called Cheri - who called me.  I picked the kitten up, brought her home (she screamed whined the whole time in the car), and put her in with Brenna, who had the least number of kittens nursing on her.  Brenna wasn't smitten at first, but did accept the new girl, who was very hungry.

 Where'd you come from?

 Which one of these is not like the other?

 Isn't she just adorable.  She's not solid black, but has white hairs and dark brown mixed in, as well as white patches on her tummy.  She's more of a dark chocolate color.

 Although she weighs the same as the middle white kitten, she's at least a week to two weeks older.  She had no problem getting out of the box and wandered the nursery like she owned the place.  She was quite pushy towards Brenna, too, demanding she be fed, NOW.

I put her back in the box before I left the room, but I'm sure she got out, again.  Brenna spends considerable time outside the box, so I'm also sure the new baby is getting fed.  And she can get back in the box by herself, too.  She's like an old kitten in a little kitten's body.

After taking all the above pictures, I fixed myself some dinner, turned my back for a second to put stuff back in the fridge, and Macy, my favorite foster cat, thought my Parmesan-crusted chicken and risotto smelled very good.  Lucy thought it smelled good, too.  Macy got one piece of chicken, I got the rest, and poor Lucy got none.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Introducing Brenna and Her Kittens

When Erin at the Warrenton Animal Control called and asked if I could take a mom and her three babies who didn't have their eyes open yet, I couldn't say no - especially when she told me mom was a gray tabby and the babies were white.

Well, according to my cat ID book, mom is a silver classic tabby (with a bit a tan here and there, and some spots) and the hairs are tipped (lighter at the ends).  The classic tabby has the swirl on each side.  She is truly a stunning cat. And very friendly, too.

 And then there's the gorgeous, fabulous, stunningly beautiful cream lynx point kittens.  Lynx point means their ears, legs, and tail are a little darker than the body.  I've never had all cream kittens before.  They're!

 One's eyes opened yesterday, and all three had open eyes today, so they're about 11 days old today.  I've looked for slight identifying marks, and there are none.  These are triplets.  Just kidding.  I don't even know if kittens come in triplets, but they sure are carbon copies of each other.  Colored collars will definitely be needed.  Now, I can only tell them apart by their weight.  The porker is at the bottom, the middle one is in the middle, and the top one is the runt.

This is my second rescue of cats and/or kittens from a wooded area by the Warrenton high school.  Brenna is definitely not feral and was somebody's pet.  I won't start preaching about keeping cats inside and never letting them out so bad things won't happen to them.  The best thing that could happen, did.  Brenna's safe, warm, fed, and loved.  It will take some special people to be able to adopt these cuties.

 I can't help but wonder if a little girl is crying and missing her beloved cat.  Is a family wondering what happened to their pet?  Then, I can't help but wonder why the hell they would let the cat outside in the first place!!!  And not have her spayed!  If if wasn't for stupid people, I wouldn't have a job.  But, I'm not going to preach about it. Time to make the evening rounds.  It takes a lot longer to scoop, feed and play when kittens are involved.  Do I have a great life, or what?  Remind me I said this when I've got 8 or 10 on meds for colds and diarrhea.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sasha and Her Kittens at Five Weeks

A few days ago, I started Sasha's kittens on a mixture of canned kitten food and formula.  Over the years I've learned that a large shallow bowl to feed kittens any liquid food is guaranteed to end in disaster.  Kittens have to stand in it to eat it.  Plain and simple.  I found sets of four of these little plastic bowls and bought two sets.  They're perfect for introducing canned food.  No dirty feet.  No food tracked all over the floor.  I don't even have to have a bowl for each kitten.  They don't all eat at the same time, anyway.

Last week I agreed to take a mom and her three newborn kittens from the Warrenton Animal Control.  I've taken quite a few of their animals and they've all been wonderful cats.  However, this meant changing rooms for almost everybody here.  In four days, I cleaned three cat rooms and the nursery closet and moved everyone.  Gemma and Gina and kids went to a bedroom vacated by Madison, who went back to her original foster mom.  Sasha and family only got to enjoy sharing my room a few days before being moved to the downstairs office where they have much more room.  Tasha and Wallie who had been in there were adopted by a wonderful couple, so Ben was the only one in the office.  I moved him to my room, and the Warrenton mom, Brenna, went into the nursery.  There will be a test later.

Mom is showing the kittens how a scratching post works.

 "Hey, look, another box."

 "Let's see if there's anything good in there?"

 "No, just an empty box."

 I think there's more kitten than mom, now.

 The kittens are playing with toys before 5 weeks of age.  There's pompom balls all over the place for them.

Pompoms and my slipper ties.  The kittens don't mind that my slippers are butt ugly and from Walmart, but they're the only slippers I could find that had a back to them.  I don't want scuffs or clogs, I want a SHOE.  But, they never leave a cat room still tied.

 "Oooh, a big orange one."

 "Look, Mom, a big orange one!"    "That's nice, Dear.  Go play with your sisters."

 "My ball, my fuzzy tail.  Back Off!"

"Yeah, I'm really scared.  Take that and stuff your pompom."