kitty companiona

kitty companiona

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Race to Finish

The madwoman has been knitting like crazy!
The sweater must be finished by the end of the year!!!  Am I laboring under the Presidential Mandate, 'No Project Left Undone'?  You would think so.  Or maybe it's just a good excuse to neglect all the things I should be doing around the house.  Like that sink full of dishes....

Yesterday Zip and I drove to Lemoyne to the PA Factory outlet to get buttons for the almost finished sweater. I took a skein of yard along to match them up.  I thought these looked good when laid against the yarn, but when I put them on the sweater....Blech!!!

Now what to do???  Not another 50-mile trip back to the outlet.  I guess I could use them temporarily?

Then I looked at the back side of the button and EUREKA! they looked cool!!!

They might be wrong-side-out, but I think they look 100% better.  What do you think???

So last evening I finished the last few inches of sleeve and the sweater is done with a day to spare.

I still need to block it to stretch out the ribbing a little bit.  It is soooo nice and warm!

This is the third sweater I've done since reacquainting myself with my knitting needles last January.  Thanks to Julie at Knitting at Large, they all fit perfectly.  My faith in sweater knitting has been renewed!
Some of the important lessons I've learned are ALWAYS knit a gauge swatch, take accurate body measurements, draw a schematic and DO THE MATH!  You can have a sweater that fits your own personal shape every time.

I guess now that the excitement is all over, it's time to go to the kitchen and apply my creative talents to cleaning up the dishes.  SIGH!!!

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Tale of Two Feasts

It's over and for that, I am thankful.  All the hoopla can be stashed away for another year
All the obligations and the guilt-laden reprimands for not conforming to the demands of family will now be packed away until the next big holiday.

We (Zip and I and Brad and Kami) had decided to simply visit with Mom on Saturday afternoon so she wouldn't have to cook us dinner.  She called two days beforehand and INSISTED on making dinner.  And if *I* didn't want to eat, that was OK with her.  I am, of course, the Bad Guy here!

So we went.  She had invited my sister, Linda and her SO, which was nice.  I enjoy my sister's company though we don't often get together other than family holidays.

Things went fairly well, with only a few  little negative remarks from Mom.  As usual these revolved around cleaning your plate.  Both my sister and Kami are very thin.  They ALWAYS leave some food on their plates.  So we had the lecture!  Not quite the 'starving people in less fortunate areas of the world' speech but very close to it.  Then we went on to complaints about the price of groceries and the cost of each of the ingredients that made up the meal.  (The rest of us did bring food to add to the table) And last but not least, how some people's eyes are bigger than their stomachs.  Oh, well!  Happens every year!!!

At least Linda's laberdoodle, Simon ate well.  He's watching the table, choosing his favorites and hoping there are lots of leftovers.

Brad didn't have any trouble cleaning his plate.  Here he is having a happy moment contemplating the dessert selection.

Mom is a Christmas collector.  Her favorites are antique ornaments and vintage Santas.  She has about a half dozen feather trees in several rooms of the house, each with a different theme.  She can tell you how much each of the ornaments cost her, too!

The curio cabinet filled with the little stuff.

I was having trouble taking good photos because of the light levels in the house.  Dark inside and bright outside with back lighting from the windows doesn't make good pictures even with a flash.

I finally got one good picture of Mom.

So that is over for another year!

Onward to the FUN feast!
On Christmas day we had dinner at Brad and Kami's.  We each made what we wanted and it all come together harmoniously.  There was no stress, no recriminations, we ate what we wanted in whatever quantities we desired.    Nothing fancy, just delicious food.  There was happy conversation and lots of laughing.

Words can hardly express how much I appreciate our son and Kami.  I could not have gotten a better daughter-in-law if I had chosen her myself.  Brad has turned out to be a good sensitive man.
And they love Cats!!!

Here is their new little rescued kitty Cosmo.  He's laying quietly at the moment, but there were a few wild leaps onto the table.  Their two older cats weren't interested in Christmas dinner.

After dinner we watched 'A Christmas Story', my favorite Christmas movie.  I guess having grown up in the fifties is why I can so relate to it.  I remember my father doing battle with the coal furnace and he probably was using some of the same language!  And the nightmare of being stuffed into the snowsuit!  The minute Mom zipped them up, we had to go to the bathroom!  LOL!!!

Yep, there on my dusty and cluttered mantel is a small leg lamp!

Hope all of you had a Christmas to be remembered!
I still can't help breathing a sigh of relief....

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Celebrating the Sun

For those of us with seasonal depression and suffering from lack of light, this is a day to celebrate.
The Return of the Sun!
Today is the winter solstice and the day with the shortest number of daylight hours in the year.  Also the longest night of the year.
But tomorrow the day will be longer!  Only by minutes, but over the next few months, those minutes add up to more Light!
I realize that the coldest, and possibly snowiest part of the winter is still ahead in January and February, but it sure makes me feel better to know that the darkness is now turning the other way.

I want to thank all of you for your supportive comments on my last post about the winter blaaaahs.
Seems like a lot of people suffer from this malady and deal with it in many ways.  Thank you all for your suggestions!

I still haven't wanted to go out much, but I'm not feeling so down in the dumps.  Most of the Christmas parties are over and I bowed out of all of them.  Zip went to his pot luck dinner with his fellow music students and to his Sunoco luncheon by himself.  He doesn't mind going out and socializing and I like the time to myself.
We have a small quiet dinner planned with Mom on Saturday and are eating with Brad and Kami on Christmas Day.  That's it!  All I really want to do.

I've been sewing and knitting.  Never did start that Santa rug.
The sweater seems to be taking a looooong time.  There are so many times when I wish I were a size 6, and this is one of them!  The first sleeve is almost done and then only the other one to do and it's finished.  I wanted to have it done by Christmas, but that isn't going to happen.
After that, I have one to knit for Mom who is a size 0 or something.  That shouldn't take long.
And I want to plan a nice big rug, something to work on for months.  Or maybe work on some quilting.
So many projects, so little time!

Here's Deiter, asking you to remember to keep your furry companions safe during the holiday season!
Poinsettias are poisonous to cats and dogs (the ones in the picture are artificial!).  Tinsel can get caught in their intestines, as can pieces of ribbon and string.  There are so many exciting new things to play with that animals can get carried away and eat stuff that they shouldn't.  But Deiter says he hopes that pet parents will be generous with the appropriate kitty and dog treats.  Wishing all the furry ones a safe and happy holiday surrounded by the humans they love.

Hope all of you have a happy and relaxed Christmas, or whatever Holiday you celebrate.
Enjoy food, family, friends, and conversation!
Peace on Earth!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Holiday Blaaaahs

Warning!!!  This is a really depressing post!

The Happy Holiday spirit is lacking in our house.
No decorations.  Minimal parties.  Definitely NO shopping!
Is it seasonal depression???

Lately it's been a little scary.  I no longer want to go out of the house.
I Googled agoraphobia, just for my own info.  I don't have any of the symptoms.  I'm not AFRAID to go out, it's just cold and I don't want to bother.  No social anxiety.  No panic attacks.  Just don't feel like being around people right now.

The Wenger Christmas gathering has been cancelled.  I am relieved.
This past week Zip's Mom fell and cracked her hip and needed hip replacement surgery.  She's doing OK for a dear lady in her early nineties.  The family dinner is postponed until she's feeling better.

We planned on having Christmas Day dinner at Mom's.  She gets really stressed out cooking family meals so we were all going to help with the cooking.  Then I find out that she has invited twice as many people as originally intended.  Twice the cooking and ten times the stress and confusion.  She's not happy with me but I had to bow out to save what little sanity I have left.  Zip and I want a quiet, non-stressful day.

Then there's the Blue and Gray rug hooking party on Monday.  I've decided not to go to that either.
One by one I'm eliminating the situations in an attempt to make it through the season intact.

What I really want is to stay home with the kitties and work on my knitting, hooking, etc.
This is my ideal way to spend the time.  Out of the picture is a big mug of hot chocolate!

I didn't get my Santa rug started, but I've been hooking.  These standing rabbits are for a friend.  I told her that they'd be done before Easter (that was back in the summer!).  She probably thought I forgot all about them.  Am I ahead of the game or what???  Oh, they're not done yet...

We haven't taken this loom down yet so the kitties are still having fun.  Can you imagine what they'd do to a Christmas tree???

I hope the rest of you out there are having an ENJOYABLE Holiday Season.
Please don't let the Grinch bite you!!!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

More Experimentation

Still trying to get this irritating stuff to work!
I'm now trying to put the video on YouTube.
Seems to be working so far!  (I think!)

Thanks Daisy the Curly Cat for the suggestion!!!

And Thank You! Sharon from Moosecraft, for giving me another suggestion!
And now it's right here!

Thanks to all of you who have helped the technologically impaired (me!) to accomplish the impossible!!!

Not Yet Successful!

I guess I should have known that putting a video on the blog was not quite as easy as it seemed!

It appeared to work at first but then after getting this warning and reloading repeatedly with the same results, I'm going to have to do more research.  But at the moment, I'm too busy.  So it will have to wait.

 We've been moving furniture and looms around in an effort to make a bigger sewing area, one with room for a 6-foot cutting table.  Those of you who have cats know how they can be sleeping peacefully one minute, and come fully awake in an instant the minute you start doing some work.

Looms are not light, and we old farts are trying to get one up the stairs to a spare room so I can finish threading and get some weaving done.  Meanwhile the three young heathens are running up and down the stairs under our feet!  And of course, I'm screaming 'get out of the way!!!'  We managed without any one getting seriously injured, but next trip the kitties were secured behind the kitchen door.

Then we brought in the cutting table and immediately there are five cats all over it, sniffing the underside, and swatting at each other for position.

Then we folded up the treadmill and pushed the other loom aside till we can take it apart and carry it upstairs.  It just happened that these two items were right under the ceiling fan.  Horay!!!  Another new game!!!  This is why I wanted to be able to take a video.  The live action was hilarious!

They had the two balls on the end of the pull chains swinging wildly in all directions!  At times there were three little wild beasts up there swatting madly!

There are reasons why people who love cats have to be slightly insane.  And if they aren't already, the cats will gladly drive you in that direction!

The new cutting table is working out nicely, when I am able to use it.  It's a great afternoon napping spot.
Brad and Kami had hired a new seamstress and I thought my retirement from sewing was within reach.  But don't get hasty!  She didn't work out for them and I will now be back to uniform making.  I knew it was too good to be true!  Oh well, what else do I have to do with my life???

Thanks to all of you who left comments and helpful info on my video attempt!
Hope your week is going well.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

This is a Test

Can you find the cats in this video???
No that's not the test!

I took the video off because it just was not working!
Guess more research is in order.
I knew it was too easy to be true!
Will have to try again at a later date!

I've never done this before.  Obviously (duh!) the camera needs to be oriented on the horizontal.

But what I would like feedback about is how long it takes to load when you click on my blog.  If it takes forever, I won't be doing this!

Does the video work on your browser???

Thanks for any input you leave!!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your day is filled with the joy of spending time with family and friends, much feasting, and counting your blessings.

We are indeed blessed!  
We are fairly healthy for our ages. 
We have a wonderful son and daughter-in law (who is more like me than is sensible.  LOL!)  
Both Zip and I have mothers who are still doing well at ages in their late eighties and early nineties.
Brothers and sisters with which to share childhood memories and commiserate with about growing older.
Friends that we get together with often and ones we wish we had more of an opportunity to see.
And last but not least, our five delightful kitties!

And where might those kitties be???  What are they up to???

Up is the answer!  Deiter has learned how to open the bathroom closet doors and Penny and Izzy climb right up.  Now how do I get down???

The doors at the top are right up at the eight-foot ceiling and she jumps!  Usually they try to land on the back of the toilet.

Sometimes Zip gets the ladder and climbs up to get Penny.  Izzy is too skittish and will claw us if we try to carry her down.  She has to do it her own way.  If Deiter goes the whole way to the top, we have to rescue him because he's too big and heavy to land safely.  He's also VERY HEAVY when you try to carry him down the ladder!!!

Reggie still jumps up and walks along the top of doors.  Someday I expect to see him upside down, hanging from the ceiling.

Cats certainly know how to entertain themselves.  And give us heart failure!!!

Have a good day, everyone!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


It seems like a long time since I last posted.

I started this month with cheerful motivation to do lots of new projects.  Then illness hit me upside the head.  It started the day after I had a very stressful incident over my Mom's long distance phone card which involved dealing with the phone card company and my credit card company, and Mom.  By the time the whole thing was resolved, I was a nervous wreck.  And then the intestinal disruption started.  And on and on it went for over a week.  The bathroom was my best friend and worst enemy.  There was no getting away from it!  I could not go anywhere for a week.

At first I thought it was an intestinal flu, but now am wondering about irritable bowel syndrome.  I have all the symptoms (except weight loss!!!).  From now on when I get this affliction, I should take note of the stress level preceding the incident.

I was able to get some knitting done.  I started my Braids Cardigan in the brown wool and then decided that the color was too dark to show the braid pattern effectively.  So I selected a blue yarn and awaited it's arrival.  Since there wasn't much else that I felt up to getting involved in, it seemed a long time coming!

I chose the color to go with a silk scarf that was a gift from my dear friend Willa.  She hand dyed this beauty.  I think they will look nice together.

On Monday I finally felt as though I could go out of the house and make it to the Blue and Gray hook-in without having to wear Depends!  Just joking!!!

It was nice to get out and talk to other hookers after my seemingly long confinement.
I didn't get any group shots, too busy talking.

Our featured Hooker of the Month was Pat Donahue.  I hope I spelled that right!
She is a very talented primitive hooker.  Her colors are perfection!

This flower basket is my favorite!

This is only a portion of the rug.  It was so large that I couldn't get a full shot without standing on a chair (which I did not attempt!)

Isn't this dog portrait wonderful???  Even in a wide cut, it's so realistic.

The day was lovely for the drive down to Biglerville.  There were only a few trees left with leaves still on them, but they were the ones with very rich exciting colors.  I wanted to stop and photograph every one, but driving on the narrow curvy roads with no place to pull off didn't allow it.

This lovely tree was at the edge of the parking lot at the church where we held the hook-in.

Hope next time I post I will have some rug progress to show.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Project Optimism!

I think I'm going nuts!!!  There are so many things I want to do right now!

Between sweater projects, while waiting for my yarn to arrive from Knit Picks, I finished this beret.  I used Paton's silk bamboo yarn. It's sooo soft and wonderful to work with, but slightly pricey.  I wish I could afford to make a whole sweater from it.

So that's my ONE finished project.
Now for the MANY that I want to work on in the next few weeks.

Proposed Project #1
First is The Doll!  I've been following a blog by an artist and dollmaker from Maine named Dixie Redmond. For the past five years she has been documenting and studying Izannah Walker dolls.  Ms. Walker was a dollmaker in the mid-eighteen hundreds and made the most delightful folk art dolls.
You can check out originals and dolls made by Dixie's students here

Recently Dixie has published an e-book detailing her research for making a representation of an Izannah doll.  Of course, I had to purchase one!  And yesterday we went to Michael's and collected all the supplies for sculpting and painting.

Way back in my creating history, I made reproductions of antique porcelain dolls.  This endeavor required hundreds of plaster molds, jars of liquid porcelain slip, a kiln, wigs, eyes, shoes, fabric for dresses and scads of other supplies too numerous to mention.  The molds and kiln are still cluttering up the basement and the rest of the stuff is taking up space in the attic.
But I still love old dolls!!!  So here I go again!

Proposed project #2
The Braids cardigan by Deb Gimmell at Cabin Fever.

I love her designs because they are knit all in one piece and there are no seams.  A knit along for this cardigan will begin on Nov. 7 on Ravelry and I'm gonna do it!

Proposed Project #3
Start a rug!
Since I missed Halloween and Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I thought that going straight for Christmas would be the best idea.

Better transfer the pattern to backing.  Is there hope of finishing by Dec. 24th?

Proposed Project #4
For quite a while I've been wanting to make a tailored jacket from a Connie Crawford pattern (Butterick).  In fact I have FOUR different pieces of fabric set aside for this purpose!  I think I'll start with this herringbone twill.

It has a nice winter look.

That's it!  Project Optimism!  Ha-ha!  Maybe two out of four???
Oooops!  No time for housework!  He-he!

Deiter will have plenty of opportunity to sit by my side while I work.  And chew the cord on the camera.

I love these big fat furry paws!!!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 28, 2011

The PA Dutch Market

Lately when I have called Mom her phone beeps with a low battery halfway through our usual 20-minute conversations.  She tried to get the back off the phone to see what kind of battery she needs but with limited strength in her hands, wasn't able to do it.  Zip and I decided that after his music lesson yesterday we would take her to get the new battery.  He was to drop us off at the Pennsylvania Dutch Market in Hagerstown while he had his lesson.

The lesson was cancelled at the last moment, but the plans went on anyhow.  I must add here that family outings are not without stress.  Mom is a perfectionist and is always right.  Always!  She likes to make moral judgments about people based on their physical appearance and many times voices them out loud within hearing of the offending person.  This makes me cringe!!!  She and Zip get along fine, so I usually let them walk along ahead and talk and I slink behind them trying to be quiet,  hoping for invisibility.  So that was the scenario yesterday.

This is a nice market!  Clean, neatly organized and well run with quality products.  (thankfully it was CLEAN, or remarks would have been made!)  It isn't huge, but is as nice as many of the larger markets found in Lancaster County, the heart of our Amish country.

We'll start in the dry goods and grocery section and work up to the really yummy stuff last.

A nice selection of specialty flours and pasta.

Pickles and jellies of every description.

Zip checking out the ingredient labels.  Yes, he looks like he ran into an Indian scalping party.  He went to the salon to get a 'trim' and returned home with inch-short hair!  Not his best look!

Mom checking out the chocolates.  She kindly bought me a box of dark chocolate raspberry jellies for bringing her along on the market excursion.  Sugar Free!  This was a hint!!!  (see what I mean???)

They are excellent and you can't tell they are made with no sugar.  I bought myself a small box of dark chocolate with mango puree.  Also yummy!  But how did I miss that espresso truffle???

There is a very impressive meat counter.  I wanted to get a picture of the wonderful selection of sausages, but there was a crowd in front of that area of the case.

The steaks were a thing of beauty!  We had to try two small filets.

A lovely selection of cheeses.  When we talked to the young man in charge of the cheese counter, we found that he lives only a few miles from us near Newburg!  I forgot to ask if they sell from their home.

My favorite part is the bakery.

Even if I don't buy, I love to look!

They are mixing up dough and making these treats right there on the spot so you know they are fresh.

There are several lunch stands, a section of Amish-built furniture, handcrafts and seasonal decorations.

Just as we were leaving we ran into Jill, my rughooking friend from Grant Street, her husband and son.  Jill was the kind person who offered us Penny for adoption.  That gives her a special place in my heart!
It was nice to get a chance to chat with her for a while.

We all had a great time at the market.  I went home physically and emotionally exhausted!  All I could manage in the evening was some knitting.

I've been working on a lace knit beret in a silk bamboo yarn that is sooo soft and nice.  I can't show a picture because I got up this morning and ripped it all out and am going to start over adding more stitches after the ribbing.  I want it to be a bit more pouffy.

The rughooking meeting of the Cumberland Valley hookers is coming up on Monday.  I guess it's time to start another project.