Kinkajou, Giraffe, Red Panda and Sloth

Monday, December 22, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

redpanda

You know how Mondays can be difficult sometimes? You know what helps? Petting a kinkajou.

kinkajou

Their fur grows in the opposite direction of a cat’s! You know what else helps? Hand-feeding giraffes.

giraffe2

giraffe

You know what is even lazier than I am on a Monday afternoon? A sloth.

sloth2

 

But not by much.

sloth

 

In other news, I did just send out the last of the holiday greeting cards. I have one and a half more scarves to go on the #12scarvesofxmas project. I have not wrapped anything. The packages I sent out of state will be late. But I’m doing the best I can, and that’s all that can be done.

Black Feline Friday

Friday, November 28, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

It’s black Friday, and what better way to celebrate than with some black cat photos!

desi

 

This is Desi. He and his brother Fred have been at the shelter since September. He was born in April.

gunther

 

This is Gunther. He was found at three weeks old in a storm drain, half-drowned and all alone, and brought to the shelter. He was born in March. He and Desi look quite similar, except Gunther’s left-side whiskers are white.

Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. This weekend is ready for another warm-up, with 50 degrees and rain again on Sunday. I’m working on scarf nine of the #12scarvesofxmas. Between that and working on my holiday greeting cards, the next four weeks should be very busy.

Feline Friday

Friday, November 21, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

sychronizedsitting

Here we have brothers Preston and Stiles participating in a round of synchronized sitting in the cat solarium. They’ve both lived with us since they were tiny kittens.

action

And here is one of those fancy blur-action shots, courtesy of Fred.

We’ve made it through another week. And, although we are certainly lucky to not be living in Buffalo this week, we did get maybe four inches of snow from Tuesday through yesterday. And it’s cold, too…16 degrees on the way to work this morning. But today did start out sunny:

sunrise

Seeing blue sky absolutely lifts the spirits. Right now Monday is supposed to be 52 and rainy, so maybe the snow will all go away. Our temperatures have been much  colder than average:

weather
Working on scarf eight of the #12scarvesofxmas. Unfortunately, I believe I’ve saved the most difficult scarves for the end of the project. Thanksgiving weekend is normally when I start the holiday greeting cards, too. I’m going to have to stay focused to make sure I get everything done with minimal stress.

Feline Friday

Friday, November 7, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

fred
This is Fred the cat. He was born in April 2014. He’s fond of being held like a baby, belly rubs, and playing with the other shelter cats.

boo

Boo here is proving that cats can fit in small spaces (it’s no wonder they find their way into your heart…). Boo was born in August 2013.

weather

This weekend should be appropriate for evenings in front of the fire and getting some crocheting done. I’m working on scarf #6 of the #12scarvesofxmas.

Recently Completed Projects

Monday, June 16, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Recently Completed Projects – Lap Blanket

knitpics

I have been working on a lap blanket for a little girl who likes purple. I work with her grandparents through the shelter. It took far longer than I thought it would…crochet hook size really matters.

blanket1

It was a fairly simple pattern…chain 145, turn. sc one, ch one, sc into second stitch. The pattern is nice, though.

blanket

You can’t really see it, but the white has metallic flecks in it so it’s all sparkly. I hope she likes it.

Bon Bon Ring

bonbon
I’ve had the supplies for while to make some bon bon rings, like Julie did in her fantastic tutorial here. I made one up last night. I’ve got enough to make a few more, and will be sending them out as summer surprises.

And here, for your pleasure, is a cat selfie:

selfie

It’s humid today. We did get in a 5k walk this morning, though we nearly died from the heat coming up the hill at the end. Sunny, though. Not going to see a lot of that the rest of the week, I think:

weather

 

Misc. Monday

Well, we actually missed Monday, but nevertheless here we go.

We had our first oriole on the feeder on May 6. This year we have at least three males and a couple of females, too.

oriole
We had our first hummingbird at the feeder on May 9.

hummingbird

The garden is growing like crazy. We finally have leaves on the maple trees. Spring is late in coming, but it really is here. We’re supposed to get a bad drop in temperature unfortunately just in time for our Martini Madness event this Thursday.

may12

Mom and I are going to the greenhouses on Monday and to plant the cemeteries next Wednesday.

maverick

 

 

Maverick came to the shelter as a stray. He has a wound on his hind quarters and something going on with his ears. He is not enjoying his ‘e’ collar.

Later this week I’ll have a crochet project update and a vintage postcard. Really.

Dog Belly Band Tutorial

Monday, March 10, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

bellybandfinished

One of my coworkers has four Boston Terriers. One will have an indoor accident. The other three dogs, trying to be helpful, will mark over the spot. As you can imagine, that can be a lot of urine and a lot of housecleaning.

Additionally, we run a Pet Therapy program at the shelter, taking dogs to visit local nursing homes. Sometimes we’ll have a great dog with the right disposition, but we can’t guarantee that it won’t mark or use the bathroom indoors, making it a canis non-grata.

It was with those thoughts that I set out to make a dog belly band. Please note that a belly band is not a substitute for taking your dog outdoors as needed, and a dog should never be left wearing a wet belly band for any amount of time (see: urine scalding). But if you have occasional need, here’s how you can put one together for yourself.

bellybandsupplies

You’ll need a measuring tape, scissors, sewing machine and polyester/all purpose thread, fleece material, cotton material, Warm and Natural cotton batting and velcro tabs. You may also want PUL fabric (polyurethane laminate) if you have a large dog or a dog with a large, full bladder. I purchased all items at JoAnn Fabric. The PUL and velcro tabs are in a separate area from the regular material. Ask a sales associate for the location of the baby diaper-making supplies. You can also buy everything on Amazon online.

Measure your dog around the waist, and inch or so in front of the dog’s urine dispenser, aka dog junk. Now, all seam allowances are 1/4 inch for this pattern. And you need to have an overlap where the velcro can close. I added 3 inches to the total measurement of the dog in question. The width is ¬†4 1/4 inches. I made a template to work from out of thin interfacing, but paper would work fine too. Wrap your template around the dog in question to ensure it is going to fit appropriately (measure twice, cut once!).

bellybandmaterial

Now it’s time to cut the fabric. The fleece and cotton material should be cut to your dog’s measurements, plus three inches, by 4 1/4 inches wide. You can eyeball the Warm and Natural to the middle of the fleece, as seen above, but double it over. You want it to be quite absorbent. I don’t put the PUL in the belly bands for the smaller dogs as they don’t seem to soak through. However, if you have a larger dog, or a dog that completely evacuates a full bladder due to age-related urinary incontinence, you can cut and use the PUL to stop any urine soaking through the top cotton material. The PUL is not sewn in, but slid in between the layers, so you’ll want to cut it approximately 3/4 inch more narrow all the way around compared to your fleece and cotton material. Also, you shouldn’t put PUL in the dryer as it may melt.

bellybandpad

Pin your Warm and Natural to the inside of the fleece. Sew it in with a 1/4 inch seam. If you wanted, you could get all fancy and do some quilting on it, too. Your choice.

bellybandvelcro

Next, you’re going to sew your velcro tabs to the right side of the fabric…one on the fleece, one on the cotton. I had to then put them back-to-back to make sure once I sewed it up, it was going to close appropriately. Make sure you have both sides of the velcro, and not two similar pieces that won’t stick together. I used my seam ripper a lot during this project due to lack of attention on my part.

bellybandinsideout

Pin the right sides together, and sew around 3 of the sides. Leave one of the short sides open to turn it and insert the PUL, if you plan on doing that.

bellybandpul

Sew, and turn your belly band right-side out. If you don’t have a pair of chopsticks to help with the corners, you really need to pick up a pair next time you go to the Chinese buffet. Now is the time to insert the PUL if you’re going to use it. Plan on swearing a bit, because it’s not easy to fit in there or get it all the way down. They say you’re not supposed to sew it because each individual piercing from the needle can wick fluid. Who knows.

bellybandtopseam

Now you’re going to stitch closed that top seam. If you feel confident in the security of your blind stitch by hand, use that. However, it’s right next to a velcro piece that’s going to take some use. I ran it right through the machine. Then you can stitch all around the edges for a nice, neat look if you like. Or not. I won’t judge you.

Finished top:

bellybandfinishedtop

Finished bottom:

bellybandfinishedbottom

Modeled by Teddy:

photo courtesy of Katie Mullen

photo courtesy of Katie Mullen

I do find it somewhat odd that I spend more time sewing dog items (including every ripped dog bed at work) than I do cat items, and I do not have a dog. Cats seem to be so much more…reasonable.

Photo by Carrie Bammer

Photo by Carrie Bammer

Like this? More pet-related crafts here:

Dog Treat/Bait Bags

Wet-felted Cat Balls

Cat Xmas Toys

Happy Birthday Maxy

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Maxy turned 11 years old on Monday.

maxy
He celebrated by enjoying an afternoon in the sun, eating mashed potatoes for dinner and staying up late and watching tv.

Jefferson is doing well.

jefferson6
He likes his belly rubbed and chatters all the time. He has two days left on antibiotics and the sutures should come out of his tail this Friday.

jefferson4

The cold has been pushed back through Thursday, but there’s nothing below a 30 for the high predicted after that. We will see. The first day predicted in the 50s is March 25. This time in 2007 and 2008 we had snow on the ground. In 2009 and 2010 we didn’t, and we had the start of spring bulbs. Sunny and warm in 2012 but cold and snow last year. I think we’re supposed to get another 3-6 inches of snow this Wednesday.

I haven’t seen any robins since two weeks ago. Maybe they’ve given up and headed back south? I wouldn’t blame them if they did.

Also, my favorite of the search terms that lead someone to my site? “postcard made out of catnip” I need to work on that one.

Jefferson the Cat

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

Jefferson the Cat was dumped out in Fort Custer. He was brought to the shelter by a gentleman who was frustrated with the situation, but wanted the little cat to have a second chance.

When Jefferson first came in, he was terribly dehydrated and was starving. His ears were strangely flopped over.

jefferson the cat

We gave him lots to eat and subcu fluids. He seemed to be in pain and he ears puffed up and became infected. He was still terribly sweet, offering a quiet little “meow” and a purr to anyone who would pay him attention. We arranged for Dr. Jen to take him in at her veterinary hospital to check him out. It was then we realized the extent of his frostbite damage from being outside this brutal winter.

jefferson the cat
Jefferson lost much of his ear flaps, skin on his hocks and the tip of his tail. But he didn’t let it get him down for even a minute. He loves to cuddle and loves to eat and is a happy little beast.

jefferson the cat
Jefferson came back to the shelter Tuesday night. He will finish his healing process and will be available for adoption in the coming weeks.

1. Spay and neuter your pets
2. Don’t leave your pets outside in Michigan in the winter
3. Support your local shelter, where lives are being saved every day.

Wet Felted Cat Toys

Saturday, January 11, 2014 0 No tags Permalink

This is a photo-tutorial for how to make wet-felted balls, which are actually Maxy’s favorite toys. He loves to bat them around and play fetch with them. They are the perfect density for him to pick up in his mouth and run around. And again, if you know the sources of the wool roving, it’s a much safer toy than the Chinese-products you find at the store. They are easy to make, too.

You’ll need wool roving, water and a little liquid dishsoap. I used the Dimensions wool roving pack in pastels from Amazon.com:

dimensions wool roving

photo courtesy of amazon.com

The total weight is two ounces. For each ball, I used one of the solid color portions…they are rolled up together but are actually separate pieces. The Dimensions roving isn’t as soft/fine as the Wisteria roving, and I find that it works better for wet felting than the Wisteria.

First, unroll the wool  completely, spread it out, and get it wet.

catball
Next, you’ll be massaging in some liquid dish soap (I did all of these balls in one setting, but this is a pink photo slid in among the purple…sorry about that).

catball1

The dish soap makes it slippery. You’ll then fold it up, all in the same direction, kind of like how you’d fold a flag. It will be a loose blob at this point.

catball2

Now you’ll want to start forming it into more of a ball shape with your hands cupped, like making a snow ball. You can rinse a little of the soap out as you go here and there, and the ball will tighten down.

catball3
Ultimately, you want the ball to be solid, without any cracks or lines, and free of soap. As you continue to roll it, continue to rinse it.

catball4
After it is in its final, small compacted shape and all the soap has been washed, you can leave it to dry. The drying normally takes about 24 hours.

catball5
We have quite a few of these around the house, as Maxy seems to shuttle them under the furniture and loses them. They roll well on carpet, too. At around sixty cents each, and knowing they don’t contain who knows what from China, it’s well worth the effort. The whole process takes maybe 15 minutes per ball.

Like this? Check out more animal projects here:

Needle Felted Cat Toys

Dog Bait/Dog Treat Bags