Click photos to enlarge them.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Dead Camera

One of the reasons I haven't been posting for a while is lack of a camera.  John had graciously let me use his "good" Nikon camera for my blog photos.  My little red camera didn't have a very good flash.  The Nikon worked well, but I still thought the flash was uneven in the pictures. 

Anyway, one morning I came into the kitchen and found the camera on the floor  It had been on the counter behind the TV the night before.  The flash attachment was no longer attached, and was laying about 8" away.  I'm sure it fell to the floor all by itself and no cat was involved in any way.  My heart almost stopped.  Crap!  John's going to kill me!  I noticed right away when I tried to put the flash back on the camera, that the metal bracket on the camera that the flash slides into was broken off and still on the flash.  And there was a copper strip with motherboard and circuit stuff on it that was hanging out and had puncture marks suspiciously like feline canines.  And two wires were also hanging out.  It didn't look good at all.

The circuit board copper strip was covering the orange square and the wires were attached to something, and the flash attachment bracket was covering that big gaping hole.  I called a local camera store and found out they don't do any in-house repair.  It would be 5-6 weeks to send it to Nikon to be fixed.  Next I found a place 15 miles away that DID have an in-house repairman, and he said bring it over.  When I showed it to him, he said Nikon stopped selling parts to unauthorized repair shops two months ago, and he would also have to send it in, and the cost would be at least $350.  Crap.  I didn't know how much the camera cost 6 or so years ago, or if we could get a better one now for $350.

For two weeks I debated about how to tell John.  Finally, one night, after he had eaten (never break bad new on an empty stomach), I just told him.  I'm sorry.  It was my fault.  I should have put the camera away.  He took it a lot better than I thought.  A week later a box appeared on the front porch.  And just like magic, we had a new camera.  Smaller, lighter, and takes great pictures.  The first thing John did was take the strap off so it wouldn't look like a cat toy.  Sorry, I can't show you a picture of the new camera, but it looks just like the old one, only smaller.

Ronan helped John open and inspect it.

Ronan is my youngest kitten.  Last Sunday he was adopted out to a very nice lady, Trish.  I know Ronan is going to be loved and spoiled.  Obviously, there's something wrong with the new camera that cut the top of Trish's head off, but isn't Ronan just as cute as he can be? 

I have one kitten left, but lots of teenagers.
I won't take any more kittens until some of the others are adopted.
I won't take any more kittens until some of the others are adopted.
But, I really love the kittens.....
I won't take any more kittens until some of the others are adopted.
I won't take any more kittens until some of the others are adopted.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Kimmy Helps With Christmas

A couple months ago, a lady, Tonya, adopted Kimmy, a black and white kitten of mine.  She sent this picture to me last week.  Kimmy was helping her put up some Christmas lights.  I do raise very helpful cats.  Thinking quickly, Tonya snapped the picture with her cell phone.  Isn't this a beautiful photo of a beautiful little girl.  Thank you, Tonya, for the photo and for giving one of my babies a good home. 

I haven't posted for a long time.  Partly because I was busy, partly because I do my blogging in the evening and stay up way to late doing it, and partly because a cat ate John's camera.  That's the next blog.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Placemats and Cats

All four placemats are finished, but I still need to make two more.  I set a plate and soup bowl on a placemat on the dining room table with silverware and a favorite pink stemmed glass that I sort of collect.  I took a half dozen shots with different lighting until I got a couple I thought would work.  Then the helpers came.  Did I seriously think I could do something alone?  There are a few "good" photos.  Then some of what I had to go through to get the "good" ones.


"Nice, but they're empty!  Get come kibble in there."

When's dinner ready?  I haven't smelled anything, but I know there's chili leftover and burnt cornbread.  Not bad if you cut the burnt parts off.

I hope you all have a very "helpful" and unburnt weekend, too.


Friday, October 12, 2012

Random Cats

My camera wouldn't take a picture!  It was full.  I had the placemats on the design wall and needed a picture NOW.  I could have gone through 500 pictures and deleted some, but all those pictures had been copied to Picasa, and everything is saved weekly.  It was still scary, but I bit the bullet and deleted all the pictures from the card.

So, now I have kitten pictures.  My daughter will be happy. First of all, I want to thank Margie Murphy, fellow member of the Bound Together Quilt Guild, for giving me some batting that she found when cleaning out her parents' house.  Everybody knows I make crate pads and cat beds for the critters of Heartland.  The pads eat up the batting, because every one uses two or three layers of it.  I made one last night using Margie's batting.  As soon as I put it on the floor, the cats came running.

From left to right, fosters Deeks, Doyle, Abby and Bridgette.

Doyle, Abby, Bridgette and Xena.

Bridgette is so beautiful.  She's been playing with the kittens a lot lately.  She chases them through the house, then they chase her.

She's still not a lap cat, but she does lay on the couch next to John, and she winds in and out of your legs when you walk.  I pick her up and hold her for a few minutes, and she leans into my hand, and then she wants down.  I wish I had nothing to do but hold her and work with her all day long.

 Sabrina and Bandit.

"What ya doin' down there?"
 Ziva.   "You woke me up for this?"

 Abby and Bridgette playing.  Really.

 Bridgette and either Hetty or Kensi. Two of the orange kittens are almost identical.  I had colored collars on them to tell them apart, but they both got them off.  I'll have to take one to Petsmart or the vet and scan her microchip and try the collars again.  For now, they're both HettyKensi.  If you watch NCIS: LA, their siblings are Callan, Deeks, and Nell.  Needing two more girl names, I went to Rizolli and Isles for Jane and Maura.  Callan, Jane, Maura, and Nell have been adopted.

 Gibbs on top and Doyle below.  With Halloween coming, Doyle is practicing his haunting laugh.   Waaa ha ha ha ha ha.

 This is Abby.  Her siblings are Gibbs and Ziva (NCIS).  All three of them are just the sweetest and most lovable of kittens.  Gibbs is sleeping on my arm as I type this.

Doyle was carrying one of Lucy's dog toys all around the family room.  He ran down the hall to the bathroom, chirping the whole time for everyone to stay out of his way.  Karla was just watching him like, "What's your problem, Dude?"

It's been fairly quiet around here lately.  I've been getting some sewing done.

I don't watch much baseball, but I'm watching the ninth inning of the playoffs.  Cards have bases loaded, winning run on first, try to lose to the Washington Nationals.  The Nationals have a big W on their shirts and it looks like the Cards are playing against Walgreens.  Wow!  Somebody just hit a double and tied it up 7-7.  OMG!  Two more runs, and the Cards lead Walgreens 9-7.   Bottom of the ninth and I'm going to do bedtime scooping and feeding.  They'll have to win or lose without me.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Take Four Placemats

A quilt friend, Jan, sent our group pictures of four placemats she made.  They were really cute and I determined from the picture how they were made.  Now, John and I don't eat at the kitchen table.  We make our plates and eat in the family room watching shows we've taped the night before.  However, I had to make a set of these.  I bought an antique set of china three or four years ago that have little pink flowers around the edge.  Although the placemat design is probably too contemporary for the china, the colors will look very good together.  I host four friends for lunch a few times a year and will use them then.  When the placemats are finished, I'll take a picture of a place setting and show you how pretty the china is.  Are you watching, Deb?  You'll love them, but they're not white.

I'm used to making quilts using at least 100 different fabrics.  So much easier than picking FOUR.  I already know what's wrong.  The dark pink is too dark and bright, and the light pink doesn't have enough pattern to it.  And, they're too contemporary for the china.  Other than that, they're perfect!

All four tops are done, and the backs are cut.  They're made using the slice and dice method. I got some thin batting today and will finish and ditch quilt them tomorrow.  I'm birthing them, so no binding.  The pattern is Take Four Placemats, designed by Cary Flanagan.  Available from

I don't have Simba, yet.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Simba, My Next Foster Kitten

This little 9- to 10-week-old boy is Simba, and he'll be my new foster kitten in a couple weeks, after his second surgery.  We think he was hit by a car.  He had two broken legs when he was rescued from a busy intersection.   One of my adopters, and friend, Barb, and I met Simba's rescuer, Angie, last Sunday, picked him up and took him to an emergency vet clinic.  Angie's kids named him after the Lion King.  He had x-rays and pain meds.  When the tech brought him back, Barb held him to her chest in his towel.  He just melted into her and snuggled.  He is such a beautiful, sorry, handsome boy.  And so sweet.  Both legs on his right side were broken, but he didn't seem in pain - even before the meds.  It had been at least four days since it had happened.  I just can't imagine what he was feeling, but he never cried once.

Since I had just had eye surgery three days before, Barb drove and took us back to my house from the clinic.  I put a heating pad under a towel in a small crate.  Simba was dehydrated and very hungry.  He ate half a can of canned food, a small bowl of dry, and two small bowls of water over an 8-hour period.  He even wobbled over to a shallow litter box and used it several times.  He still had dried poop and litter on his back end, so after he was settled in, I very carefully held him under the kitchen faucet and washed his butt off.  I had left a message on our regular vet's phone on Sunday afternoon that I'd be bringing him in Monday morning.  I took his food away at midnight hoping they could squeeze him in and do the surgery Monday.  Since he was dehydrated, I left a little water in his bowl.  He was matted again in the morning, but I knew the vet tech girls would clean him up while he was out.

Cheri stopped by the vet's office on her way home from work and took these two pitiful pictures of Simba.  The back leg had two breaks, both above and below his knee, and each got pins.  When Marcy was almost finished with his back leg, he wasn't doing so good, so they weren't able to get to the front leg.  He'll have that done this week.

Monday evening Simba went home with Sharon, the head of Snuggle, a wonderful organization that specializes in at-risk care for kittens.  Sharon knew how to take care of him, and I didn't.  I can do diarrhea, colds, and birthing, but I've never had a broken bone.  Okay, I stepped on a kitten's paw once and broke his toe, but he stuck it under my foot - honest!

Simba's surgery is costing over $2000, even with our discount.  Heartland could sure use your help.  If you go to our website,, and click on Simba Needs Your Help, you can read more about him.  Click on the Donate symbol to make a much-needed donation.  Or you can send a check to Heartland at the address at the bottom of the page.  Every little bit helps.  Thank you.  I'll be keeping everyone posted about his recovery when I get him.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sauted Mushrooms and Dreamcicles, But Not Together

More mushrooms today, but of the edible variety, this time.  I was hungry for sauted mushrooms ever since I found the giant ones growing in our yard last week.  And, yes, they were poisonous.  I bought two 8 oz packages of real mushrooms at the store and used one tonight.  I fixed these a little differently than usual, and they were awesome.  Not that my usual ones aren't, but these rocked.

 I started pulling things from the fridge and announce to John I was playing "Top Chef".  For those non-foodies, it's a program on the Food Channel where cooks and chefs compete week after week to be the Top Chef.  They're given odd ingredients and have to make a dish using them.

Besides the mushrooms, I found a package of fresh basil, some grated Asiago cheese, bacon grease and some leftover garlic butter.  Sliced and sauted the mushrooms in the garlic butter and some bacon grease - can't go wrong so far.  Chopped up two leaves of basil and added it.  Threw in two handfuls of Panko bread crumbs and some grated Parmesan cheese.  Yes, I like the Kraft stuff that looks like powder.  Mixed it all together and let it cook some more, stirring often.  When the mushrooms were getting soft, I sprinkled on some fresh Asiago cheese, turned the burner off and put the lid on.  OMG!  I hadn't intended to do another mushroom blog, but this was so pretty, I ran for the camera.   And it tasted even better.  There's no specific amounts.  Use what you like, in quantities you like. This is what was in the fridge.

Barb's Rockin' Mushrooms
Bacon grease
Butter with garlic powder
Fresh basil
Panko bread crumbs
Grated Parmesan cheese
Grated Asiago cheese

Four friends, Holly, Kathy, Mary, Terry and I have been getting together for lunch at each other's house twice a month for 23 years.  It was my turn yesterday, and I had made comfort food - two meatloaves, so we would have leftovers for days, broccoli, and skillet potatoes.

For dessert I served dreamcicle floats.  Another OMG!  I don't have a picture of them, because the ice cream is all gone.  However, I think most of you can follow this.  Put some half melted vanilla ice cream in a tall glass  and pour some orange soda over it.  Mix slightly and suck, drink, or spoon it down.  That's it.  Takes me back to my childhood and the Dreamcicles on a stick that were very popular in the '50's and '60's.  I don't even know if they still make them.

 This was our most excellent dinner tonight. No artistic staging, no linen tablecloth.  Just really good food.

 And, this is all that was left from the pan of mushrooms.  Yes, we ate the whole thing.  I'm not going to blame it all on John, either.  I did my fair share.

Thursday, September 6, 2012


It's been a long time since my last post.  I'm still here.  I've had some sick kittens that have taken lots of my time.  So does blogging, so something had to go for a while.  The kittens are better, so I hope to make regular posts again.

We've finally gotten some rain here in the midwest.  When I let Lucy outside this morning, I noticed the grass had grown about 2" overnight, and there was a patch of mushrooms in the yard.  So what, you ask?  Everybody has mushrooms in their yard after it rains. 

  Well, feast your eyes on these babies.  Lucy's not a small dog.  She's about 75 pounds.  I know portabellas get this big, but I've never seen mushrooms this big growing in my yard - overnight.  Lucy didn't want to get this close to the alien beings, but she slowly came when I called her, but wouldn't look at me, so she's not really there.

 I wish I knew if they were edible.  I'd have these sliced, sauted in butter, garlic, and panko bread crumbs, and wouldn't need anything else for dinner.
 To give you a better idea of just how big these are, the Sharpie pen is 5.5" long.  The large one here is 7.25" wide.

 This is the largest at 7.5" across.  Why is there a red dot on the marker?  All of my notions and tools that I take to quilt classes I teach, have a red nail-polish dot on them so I know they're mine.  Anyone is welcome to use my things.  I just want to make sure I come home with all my stuff.

My hand is only to show the scale.  Even the smallest mushoom is bigger than any mushroom I remember seeing in my yard.

My weak attempt at artistic photography.  The mushrooms really are cool.  The areas around the edges look like dew, but are flaky and rough places.  The large darker pieces are the skin of the mushroom when it was smaller.  As it grew, the skin cracked.  Like when all the continents drifted apart from one land mass.

A baby mushroom, only about 3" across, with the skin just starting to split. 

As I was taking the last of the pictures, I heard Randy, the guy that does our lawn, start his weed eater.  The sky was very dark to the south, and he was trying to get our yard done before it rained again.  So, I pulled up all the mushrooms.  I'll always wonder how much bigger they would have gotten.

I will get some kitten pictures posted very soon.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Intruducing Hope and Her Ten Kittens

Foster mom, Jen, took in a pregnant cat from a shelter a couple weeks ago.  An x-ray showed possibly eight kittens, probably within two or three days.  She looked ready to pop.  She was way bigger than Elsa was with her eight kittens.  No way would she make it two days longer.  Well, mama Hope didn't get the email because she went over a week longer and had her kittens Saturday night.  Jen hadn't seen kittens being delivered and was looking forward to the experience.  Aunt Barb was on standby, and standby, and standby. 

Jen checked on Hope about 6pm on Saturday night, and all was fine.  She checked again at 10pm and there were eight kittens in the box!  Jen was changing the towels and heard a slurping sound as #9 came out.  She changed towels again and #10 came out.

I've never heard of a cat having 10 kittens.  I'm sure they have, many times.  I've just never heard of it.  I had a litter of eight kittens here two months ago.  Now Jen has 10.  Heartland sure does like to grow them big.

 Beautiful Hope with her babies.
The kittens will learn how to eat in shifts.  Mom only has eight nipples.

 The kittens are about 15 hours old.
 This is all 10 kittens, but it's hard to tell the individuals.  All are black, white and gray.
 The vet techs shaved Hope's tummy when she had her x-ray.  It helps the babies find the nipples easier.
Jen has a digital scale and reports that most kittens have doubled or tripled their birth weight in three days.
 One of Hope's nipples was inverted - pushed inside and not usable.  I tried to gently squeeze it out like popping a pimple, but it didn't work.  I tried to put a kitten on it and have it sucked out, but that didn't work, either.  Jen also reported today that it's fine now, so someone did suck it out.  Probably a very hungry determined kitten.
From day one, a kitten will hold a sibling off with one paw while eating.  The universal sign for, "Bug off."
This beautiful little girl is Jen's daughter, Samantha.  She's a very lucky girl to be around all the cats and kittens they have.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Kittens Named

It was very hard to give names to the orange kittens.  I couldn't think of eight name I liked, and there aren't TV shows or movies that have five girls and three boys as leads.  So I picked several of my favorites.

The orange kittens, three boys and five girls are Callan, Deeks, Julius (his new mom named him), Kensi, Nell, Hetty (NCIS:LA) and Jane and Maura (Rizolli and Isles).  After 150 cats and kittens, you look for names anywhere you can find them.  Callan, Julius, Nell, and Maura have been adopted. is Jane.  The basket was just something laying around the house and got played with.  It ended up in a kitten room and has become a favorite toy.  The handle is only attached on one side, now.

 Jane, again.  Her hair is a little longer and she's a little more red.

Mama Elsa with her seductive come hither look.


I've named the Tent City orphans, two girls and one boy, Abby, Ziva, and Gibbs (NCIS).  Abby is the calico in back, Gibbs is the gray tabby in front, and Ziva is the tortie on the right.

  Jane and Hetty.
 Abby being her cute adorable self.
Ziva on the recliner.  Ziva's tummy is shaved because she, Abby, and Gibbs got their package last week and are now available for adoption.  

Kensi and Gibbs playing.

Ziva playing with the ever-popular basket.



Abby in back and Gibbs in front.