We've had one heck of a day here weather-wise--torrential rain, a possible tornado, and widespread flooding.  Thunderstorms have been churning around and around all day long, and it was the perfect weather for a bit of crocheting. 

I don't know why I always associate rainy, inclement weather with handwork, but I think it goes back to my days in theatre.  On rainy, horrible summer days in the wardrobe workshop we would put on old jazz cds to drown out the driving beat of rain on the corrugated tin roof above our heads.  We listened to everything from Cole Porter to John Coltraine while we stitched away, and to this day I think of a rainy day as an 'old jazz day'.
Today I took up my crochet hook and some pretty yarn left over from my Happy Flowered Garland project and set out to make a cat toy mouse.  I looked online for a bit of inspiration, but in the end I just made it up out of my head.  There's my continuity issue popping up again.  Oh well... 
Pussito is inside due to inhospitable weather conditions so I decided to treat him with the catnip-laced toy.  He was so sleepy that he bit and kicked it for about a minute and fell back asleep with his paws resting against it.  I guess that's his half-hearted seal of approval.

I think he's annoyed with me that he is wearing a girly pink and brown collar (I used one that I already had on hand until I can go pick up a suitably manly replacement for the one he lost earlier this week), but with Oliver, who can ever tell?  At least he got the blue catnip mouse... I'm going to make a pink one now for Sophie Puss.

If anyone is interested in crocheting a cute mousie toy for their feline companion, here is a whole page of links to free patterns. 

Happy Crafting!
Look who arrived home this morning looking all bedragled with his collar missing and his little white-gloved paws streaked with dirt after being out all night...
He ran out of the house sometime yesterday afternoon in a snit about something...  with Pussito you never know exactly why he is so disgruntled--he just is.  There's a reason why they call it 'cattitude'.

He was nowhere to be seen when I called him to come in last night, which is very unusual for little Oliver man, who, although he enjoys his outdoor pursuits and his stray look-alike friend, quite enjoys the creature comforts of his own soft bed and dish of yummy chow. 

First thing this morning he was also notably absent, which was a bit worrying as he never strays very far from home and hearth.  I'm not sure what he was up to, but he appeared a short time later sans collar and looking very tired and rumpled.  I would love to know what he gets up to outdoors--this is the third collar he has lost so far this year!
He has now eaten an entire tub of Market Selects and has taken up residence in my workroom on Sophie's little blanket and is snoring away...  after a tantalizing flash of floofy belly that I dare not touch for fear of retaliation. 

Aah, the furries. 

How I love them.
Wow, what a week.

All has been absolutely silent on the homefront this week due to a series of mishaps and frustration...

You know how you sometimes read a friend's facebook status saying that they've dropped their phone in the toilet and what should they do to salvage their extremely pricey piece of soggy electronics?  Remember how you usually snicker while you're reading it, wondering how anybody could possibly be silly enough to let their phone take a nosedive...

Never laugh at that.  Karma will bite you in the behind.  Seriously.

My beautifully sunny Sunday turned sour when we returned home from breakfast with some friends and I managed to drop my phone... yup, in the toilet.  In fairness, it was in my shallow trouser pocket and it slid out on its own without me actually dropping it... but really it all amounts to the same thing in the end.

Strike one.

Mr Android spent more than 24 hours with his delicate insides exposed to the air and bouts of brutal hair dryer action (on the cool setting, of course), and I am happy to report that (so far, at least) he is working normally.

Thank goodness, because my husband just gave it to me for Valentine's Day.  A six week lifespan would be seriously unlucky for Mr Android.

Monday morning our internet connection decided to die... and it wasn't restored until TODAY.

Yes, that's right.  This (FRIDAY) afternoon we were finally connected once again to the grid.

It's just been one of those weeks for technology, I guess!

On a brighter note, in the absence of electronic entertainment, I managed to commandeer the upstairs guest room (recently vacated by my husband and his home office in his move to the new warehouse) and gave it a fresh paint job and a serious deep clean.

I finally have a work room again! 

The excitement of this room is indescribable.  I had a beautiful custom-built sewing room in my house in Canada (yup, the one destroyed in last year's flood) and I have missed it terribly.  Putting a new workroom together has given me a lift that I have needed since I watched my house being demolished last August.  Finally, I have a proper work space again!

And Mr Oliver Puss (aka Pussito) has reclaimed his spot, as you can see above.

Shots of my new room coming soon... I can't wait to really use it!

Happy Easter, Everyone! 
I've been meaning to make this tote for ages now, and last week I finally dove into my fabric stash and came up with enough odds and ends to make it!  There is such a great sense of accomplishment when you finally finish a project that you've been procrastinating over for a long time, isn't there? 

This little beauty is actually a mail bag--I swear, we receive more mail than anyone in the country, and I always go to collect it when I go for a stroll around the neighborhood with my Charlie Dog.  I'm all about multi-tasking, but we run into problems when I have Charlie's leash in one hand and my phone, mail bag, and keys in the other one.  If it is really hot and I'm wearing a skirt or shorts, I usually don't have a pocket to use, so I was in dire need of a multi-functional tote where I could stash my phone and keys as well as the mail.  And here it is!
I used a natural heavy cotton twill for the body of the bag and lined it with a pretty summery blue paisley, then added a contrasting stripe of the lining fabric around the outside.  I liked the blue paisley so much that I ended up using it as contrast for the handles as well, and placed them so they would be visible on the right side of the tote.
Inside I used a repurposed blue shirt pocket (my husband's old shirt has been reincarnated in countless projects now!) and also attached a long grosgrain ribbon with a key fob to attach my keys.
I had originally planned on using pink floral scrap fabric from Sophie Kitty's little tent, but when I went to cut out the lining, I realized that I didn't have enough of it for this project... so I had to set aside my crochet cutie flowers in shades of pink and purple and whipped up a few new ones in blues and peach with some embroidery floss I had hidden away.  My sewing and crafting stash never ceases to amaze me--I swear, I have things in it that I'm sure I have long forgotten!
I'm so pleased with this tote--I debuted it last week, and it makes my life so much easier when it comes to mail time!  I love the fact that it's kind of pretty and girly without being too 'every little girl is a princess'-esque.  I confess I have issues with that.
I have to admit that I've had a terrible time trying to photograph it...  the colors just aren't coming out true to shade, and every shot seems to look dull and lifeless.  Apologies for that.
As Charlie is my constant mail-collecting companion, when he decided to photo bomb my little snapshot session, I decided to include him--he gives this project his seal of approval!
Here we are in another week again...  what are you working on this week?!

Happy Crafting!
I was reminded today of one of my all-time favorite photos--and memories--from my old house back in Canada.  Those of you who have been with me for a while will remember that my hometown flooded last year, destroying pretty much all of the properties adjacent to the beautiful river flowing through the center of the village.  My mid--1800s home was one of them.

The kitty in the photo is my girl Bella... aka 'Bingy'.  I rescued her when she was a 6 week-old kitten living rough behind someone's woodpile with her Mum, Aunt, and three siblings.  Sadly, one of the kittens died before the rescue, but the rest of her furry family all went to good, loving homes.  Miss Bella is one of the nicest kitties I've ever met--always loving and playful, never a scratch or hiss... an absolute sweetheart.  She was always a household favorite, and every time my Mum came over, she would call her 'Bella Wella Bing Bang'.  With time her nickname became 'Bingy', and the name stuck--somehow it suits her.

Each year a groundhog family used to take up residence underneath the porch of my house.  Groundhogs are rather curious creatures I always found, and they would come up onto the big brick porch steps for a spot of sun and a nose around.  At some point they came to realize that there were other furry creatures inside the house...  and they were as intrigued by the cats as the kitties were by them.

This particularly handsome little fellow was a young one, and after he and Bingy caught sight of each-other, it was fascination at first sight.  Each day, Bingy would roam the porch and spend long periods of time staring out the glass door, waiting for her furry little friend to appear.  A few times I was fortunate enough to capture their  'through the glass' interaction, and every time I see this shot, I can't help but smile all day long! 

The groundhog came to be called 'Edward'',  and I wonder what has become of that family of subterranean dwellers...  My beautiful house was contaminated with fuel in last March's flood and sadly it had to be demolished last August as it was no longer safe.  So many wonderful memories were made in that house, and so much of myself went into renovating it.  I swear, I touched every square inch of it during the years I called it mine, and it's loss was a terrible blow.  The basement was filled in, along with their burrows.  I hope they managed to rebuild their underground empire...

I am so thankful to be able to look at photos like this one and remember the happy days spent by the river.

Happy memories and definitely one of my favorite things  :-)
Sophie hanging out by her new tent!
Hi Everyone!  My name is Sophie and I'm the newest furry member of the household.  I'm somewhere around 6 months old but my Mummy doesn't know exactly how old I am--the vet told her I was around 3 months old when I found her--I've been with her for three whole months now!
We are a family of five--there's Mummy, Daddy (he plays with me... we had a great laser pointer session just this morning!), Charlie (he's kinda big and when he gets excited he runs in circles... I have to be careful that I don't get run over by his stamping paws, but otherwise he's cool.  The humans call him a 'dog', whatever that is...), and Oliver.  Oliver has a lot of nickames, but he tends to go by 'Pussito'.  He's a big kitty--Mummy tells me that he turns two in April, and that he was just a little baby at three weeks old when they rescued him.  He's not really too sure about me at the moment and he hisses and growls a lot, but I want to be friends.  I think he'll come around... eventually.
Oliver's old tent: the before shot.
Because I'm new I get a lot of what Mummy calls 'hand-me-downs'.  I guess that means that they belonged to the big boy before I came along, but that's okay--I enjoy playing with them anyway!  Everything is new to me!  See that red tent?  That was Oliver's but he got too big for it.  For a while he would play with me through the tent, so it got a bit torn up.  So Mummy decided that I would get my very own version... yay!
So Mummy did some stuff... not sure what everything was, but it involved a lot of cutting and sewing, and her machine scared me a bit at first but I was a big brave kitty.  She told me I was a good helper.
Pussito Checked it out first to make sure it was okay for me to try out.  He said it was too girly for him... see the lace around the doorway?  I really like that part.
I love it! 

It's so pretty, and it's just the right size for me to curl up inside and take a nap.  I did just that last night and it was really nice--Mummy put something called 'batting' in the bottom of it so it would be soft and comfortable for me.  I'm so lucky! 

Unfortunately I got a bit confused and tried to get on top of the tent.  It didn't work so well.  Mummy told me that I couldn't be like 'Snoopy'--does anyone understand that?  I don't know what she meant, but she was laughing, so I guess it wasn't so bad.
I'm kind of afraid that Pussito will change his mind and want his tent back.  I make sure to check in behind it to make sure he's not going to ambush me...  he's good at that.
See?  It's the perfect size just for me--and my toys. 

I'm not too happy with the photo because I know that black kitties don't photograph very well, but Mummy says I'm beautiful anyway.  She always tells me what a good girl I am.  I'm so glad I found her!

I think I'll go see what Mummy is up to before I go take a nap in my new tent...

Do any of you make special things for your fur babies?  Believe me, it's worth the effort--we really appreciate them!

Have a great Sunday!

Love, Sophie     >^^<
Tevy--Zoo Miami's 12 year old Malayan Tiger
It was a sad day at Zoo Miami today as they said goodbye to Tevy, their 12 year old female Malayan Tiger.  She was found dead in her enclosure this morning by zoo workers and had been experiencing declining health for several weeks due to a liver condition. 

It has indeed been a hard 12 months for Zoo Miami as they lost Roshe, their 19 year old female tiger, last March.  Such a sad loss considering how few of these gorgeous creatures are left roaming the earth...

Rest well, Tevy.  Roshe is waiting for you on the other side.
Mr Charlie Rose resting after his first bath with us!
It was on the night of January 6th 2011 that my husband and I made an evening  run to the mall for frozen yogurt.  We never did get that yogurt, but instead  found a dirty, starving little dog running around desperately in the parking  lot.  It took us a full hour to get him to trust us (we went to the food court  and bought meat... that helped), but eventually he calmed down and sat down on  the sidewalk with his head in my lap, looking up at me with huge brown eyes.  I  swear he was asking for help...

We brought him home, cleaned him up, took him to the vet for his shots... and he   wasn't chipped.  It's very unusual to find a Schnauzer running around as a stray, so we assume that he either got lost and kept on running, or someone  abandoned him.  I suspect that he was abandoned, because for the first year of   his time with us he would whine and draw away from me if I picked up the broom in his presence.  The suggestion of past abuse brought me to tears, and he got lots of extra reassurance and love.

Now here we are two years later, and it's hard to remember a time when Charlie Rose (yes, I have many nicknames for my furry boy) wasn't with us.

We never did get our frozen  yogurt, but we found a  wonderful companion that night.
~A person who has never owned a dog has missed a wonderful part of life~
                                                                                                                                                  Bob Barker
If any of you are like me, you'll understand what I mean when I say that I'm a 'fabric hoarder'.  Regardless of the amount of fabric in my stash, I always have room for more if it catches my eye... and that happens A LOT.  Sadly, I not only accumulate tons of pretty fabrics, but I have issues with throwing away the scraps.  I blame it on my childhood...  really. 

I spent my entire childhood in my Mum's fabric store.  Some of my fondest childhood memories involve rainy afternoons in the fabric aisles, matching up colors and patterns, or sitting on my Mum's lap to 'help' her while she was sewing.  It was an innocent, happy time and there is something in that which rubbed off on me and I now carry it with me as an adult. 
Sophie Puss lounging on Charlie Dog's cuddle quilt.
I've made quilts for Charlie Dog (see above) and Oliver Kitty (and actually bought the fabric specifically for them), so when little Sophie came into the household, I felt it only fair that she have something of her own too.  I wanted to make her something pretty and special, and went for a wander through my fabrics to decide what to use.  I found a whole bunch of scraps left over from a variety of projects--a dress, a skirt, a shirt for my husband--and decided to use them to make her something unique.

Here's the result:
Sophie's modified 'Log Cabin' kitty cuddle quilt.
I've always been a fan of the Log Cabin pattern, and I decided to create a modified version of the classic motif.  My Mum tells me that the fabric strips should be lighter in color on one side and darker on the opposite... but I did this my own way.  I've never been particularly traditional.
The quilt is great for a kitty, but would work beautifully as a table topper, or even a wall-hanging. Quoting my Mum: "That's way too nice for a cat--hang it up on the wall!"
The colors are a bit off in this shot, but it gives a general idea of the piece--I machine quilted it by doing a 'stitch-in-the-ditch' at the seams between the strips. Overall, I think it turned out really well!
I didn't have any particular order in mind, I just prepared the strips and started it, making it up as I went along.  I really love how it turned out--the colors and patterns are so different when they're placed in strips as opposed to a whole larger piece, and the overall look is happy and colorful in an understated way. 

The pale blue border is repurposed fabric from one of my husband's old shirts--he was done with it and I loved the fabric, so of course I claimed it!  It had embroidery on the back, so I worked that into the overall look of the quilt and it is visible at two opposite corners.

Sophie absolutely loves it, and is always cuddled up on it, or burrowed under it for a snooze.* 

*Forgive the blurry cell phone shots--my blackberry sucks... I really need to modernize and go for a Galaxy :-)
Sophie loves her quilt--she burrows under it all on her own and gets comfy!
Sophie lounging with her quilt.
I made the little quilt at the beginning of November, and you guessed it--I had scraps left over. 

Scraps of scraps....

So when it came time to make a Christmas stocking for the newest member of the household, out came said scraps (of scraps) and I whipped up something pretty for my girl.
Sophie's Christmas stocking--using left-over scraps from her little Log Cabin quilt!
Christmas Sophie!
Totally off topic, but overall it was a great Christmas--and one of the best gifts of all is that, after a long road to recovery for little Soph, she is doing so well!  She just had her second set of vaccinations on Sunday, and is going in for her spaying on the 20th.  She's come a long way from the sick, starving, emaciated little ball of fur that I found in mid-October, and I am so thankful to have her with us!

As I type this post she is laying in my lap asleep, paws and tail twitching as she dreams of chasing mice and cackling at birdies...  such a sweet little scrap of life--I will always wonder where she came from, but regardless, I am so glad that she found me!   

Black kitties never photograph very well, but isn't she the cutest little thing?  The vet estimates her to be around 5 months old... and with so much personality and love already!  She's going to be a beautiful girl!

One of my resolutions for the new year is that I plan to do a lot more sewing--in fact, I have my eye on some left-over fabric (of course) that I plan to make into some modified Log Cabin pattern pillow covers.  Our beautiful modern sectional sofa came with the most hideous throw pillows I've ever seen, and I've been meaning to get rid of them for almost two years now (there's the procrastination I mentioned yesterday... ugh), so this is the year! 

Update to follow :-)

Happy crafting, y'all!