April Update

Wednesday, April 24, 2024 0 No tags Permalink
April Update folded sleeves

As I haven’t posted since last month, it is more than time for an April Update. Things have been scattered since March. I’m hoping everything will settle out once the warm weather comes and stays. We will have a few days of lovely warm spring weather, then it gets cold again. We’ve had a freeze warning the past two days. Anyhow, the month started out with the moss terrarium class. As you might remember, I offered a private class as part of a package for last year’s Humane Society silent auction. The day came when I actually had to teach the class. The folded sleeves above were given to each of the participants. They were made from vintage children’s book pages, washi tape and stickers and included a small description of each moss in the terrarium as well as a page about moss and how to care for the terrarium.

April Update moss terrarium class

I’d teach a class like that again, but I wouldn’t do it in someone’s home. I feel more comfortable at my Mom’s church or ideally if I had a studio space.

Zine Update

April Update collage zine

I did manage to get one zine done in April. I have an idea for the next one, but not sure I will have time to work on it. Collage for Motivation and the Star Trek zine are now up on my Etsy. I’ve had a good month of zine sales as well, which is nice.

Slow Stitch Meditation Rolls

April Update slow stitch meditation roll

The weather has been too cold for outdoor work. I started on a new project, slow stitch meditation rolls. The idea is the slow stitching itself is a meditation for you, and when you gift them the roll becomes a meditation tool for the recipient. They can look at the individual bits of fabric scrap and the different stitches, and run their fingers over the different ways the fabrics feel. These scrolls would be especially helpful for someone with anxiety or dementia.

The scrolls are created using fabric scrap. For the first one I did, I purchased vintage fabric scraps from Etsy. I’ve also purchased vintage trim and lace for upcoming scrolls. However, if you have your own scrap at home, especially if it was meaningful, that would be especially nice. If I could go back in time and save scraps, these are some of the fabric pieces I wish I had in my collection:

  • the yellow and white gingham curtains in my bedroom on Winston
  • a piece of fabric from one of Hudda’s house dresses
  • a bit of my favorite skirt from junior high, purchased from Mervyn’s
  • a bit of the red upholstery fabric from Grandma and Grandpa’s couch at Long Blvd.
  • some of the orange curtains that covered the doors up north in Ocqueoc
  • a piece of the turquoise Camp Merrie Wood tshirt I wore at Girl Scout Camp

What are some pieces of fabric from your memory that you’d like in your own meditation scroll? Share in the comments below.

My Cassius

Monday, March 4, 2024 0 No tags Permalink

My Cassius. Cass has been living in my office for a couple of years now. Of course, he had my heart when he was a return adoption in 2015. He was adopted out as a tiny kitten and returned likely because he had IBD. He has been on steriods for years to manage his condition.

In January, he went through a spell where something wasn’t quite right. He spent 48 hours at the vet on emergency, with IV antibiotics and fluids. He improved after that, but wasn’t quite the same. The past week or so has had another downturn.

Today is a beautiful day, sunny and warm. It feels like May, like spring. And so Cass goes off to explore the rainbow bridge.

Baby Cass, 2015

I hope there is a heaven for cats. I hope Cass is restored to health. And I hope every now and then, he looks down on me.

Good Reads Thrillers

Thursday, October 26, 2023 0 No tags Permalink
Good Reads Thrillers September House

It is the spooky season, and I’ve been tucking into some good reads thrillers this month. If you like true crime podcasts, Britbox mysteries and watching 48 Hours, these might be some good books for you. I’ve been following a lot of #booktok recommendations. Watching and then reading, you can kind of sort through which TikTokkers have similar reading taste to you, and which ones have no taste at all! I also wonder what they do for a living, based on how many books they read per week. Some of these I tore right through, and others dragged a bit. I’m a fast reader, but there’s no way I can work full time, do everything I need to around the house, and read eight books in a week.

First up on the good reads thrillers list is The September House by Carissa Orlando, which I am currently reading. I am really enjoying it and it is a fast read. It has an interesting premise, which the author reveals right away. The main character lives in a haunted house, and the haunting reaches peak each year in the month of September. It’s a haunted house, so you can expect some descriptions of gore and death.

good reads thrillers The One by John Marrs

Next up for good reads thrillers is The One by John Marrs. It follows several individuals as they interact with an online dating service that matches you to your one soul mate based on DNA. It was a super fast read, done in about five hours. There is some violence, and not all things turn out well in the end. Still, I think it’s well worth a read for its interesting concept and clear writing.

Good Reads Thrillers Wonderland

I am a sucker for a book about a carnival or amusement park. I do compare everything I read in this genre to Stephen King’s Joyland, which I consider to be the best. Wonderland wasn’t as good, but I still didn’t really expect the ending. It’s fairly long, and took me awhile to get through.

good reads thrillers Pretty Girls

Lastly, there is Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter. Lots of folks on TikTok recommend it. I do not. It’s violent. It’s mostly about snuff porn. I wish I hadn’t read it.

What are you reading this spooky season?

Mid-October Ills

Thursday, October 13, 2022 0 No tags Permalink

When I tried to think of how to express my current state of being, mid-October ills seems to be the closest fit. Is it allergies, or is it illness? Is it the state of the world in general, or just a series of things I don’t want to do? I didn’t realize so much of adult life would be a mental bargaining in the form of “if I just get through this event, that event, and the next thing, then I can relax and enjoy life.” But there’s a never ending number of new events or things that get in the way between now and the time when I can relax and enjoy life. I need to get my flu vaccine and COVID booster, but I know you can’t get them if you think you might be ill. And right now, the mid-October ills are dominating my life.

I have put together a few more moss terrariums, mostly as holding jars for moss I’m propagating. It’s just a matter of keeping it all healthy and alive now. I do wonder what will happen when it gets quite cold in my art space. I know the moss survives outside in the winter.

Shelter Feline Update

At work, Cass has moved into my office. In fact, everything at work is a bit of a topsy-turvy mess now. We had the lower drive paved. All of the cats have gone on a urinary rampage, causing us to move some of them to other locations (including my office). Kittens are moving onto the floor, and new kittens are coming up. Pi is still here and doing fine enough.

He’s cute, but he’s a mess. He sheds more than any other cat I’ve known. He insists on sharing my lunch. He’s so desperate for attention after a night alone, he’s frantic for the first half hour I’m at work. But he hasn’t destroyed anything yet. And sometimes, when he’s curled up napping in the bed next to my keyboard, I can’t help but reach out and pet him. I had to do a BIG cleaning on my office, and it is now more cleared out than just about since I took the job 14 years ago. It’s my office, but it’s Cass’ new home.

Art Projects

I started a little Etsy thing, as I spend a good deal of time crocheting in the evenings. Might be nice to have the cost of the yarn returned to me. We’ve done no cat adoptions, so I don’t need to make cat blankets, and right now I’m caught up on lap blanket projects. So I’m currently making dish cloths and decorative pumpkins. I still have the embroidery hoop art, birdhouses, reusable paper towels, painted quilt squares and book nooks on my list of things to do. We’ve been cleaning up stuff around the house and moving things to proper locations, and unfortunately quite a bit of it has temporarily ended up in my art space. Hopefully sometime soon I’ll have time to work on straightening it out.


It’s more than time to put the gardens to bed, and then there’s that rock garden that I didn’t get to this summer. It has turned cold and we might even have some snow next week. I will try to bring in the hose this weekend, and I did pull the bubbler for the tiny water feature. As always, I wish I was doing something fun to celebrate Halloween but I don’t have the time or ambition. And I’m even, dare I say it, starting to get more in the mood for the winter holidays. I know they will be here before we know it.

August Misc.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
August Misc.

It’s looking like the end of summer. Time for an August Misc. update. The leaves are starting to color on the trees and the goldenrod is in bloom. It just feels different now, too. Of course, you could argue it’s the loveliest time of the year, and is not so hot so you can actually enjoy being outdoors. Our veg garden did nothing this year, but the flower beds were gorgeous.

August Misc.

I’ve made another moss terrarium, this one for Mom. It’s doing well and I’m pleased with how it turned out. The little cat glass terrariums I posted in the last post are going crazy. The baby tears cuttings are going to take over.

August Misc.

Pi is scheduled for surgery to remove the leg September 14. He’s struggling a bit. Everything feels a bit crap these days. I’m watching Twister constantly and dreaming of inappropriate toilets.

Mountain of Moss

Tuesday, August 9, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
mountain of moss

My life is now a mountain of moss! No complaints. If you remember from my last post, I created my first moss terrarium. Above is the second creation, put together as a raffle item for the Humane Society’s Canine Carnival. It features two small plants as well as two kinds of moss, plus some fun stones and little faux mushrooms.

mountain of moss

Next on the mountain of moss were these two little cat-themed terrariums. They have mood moss (Dicranum scoparium) and Aquamarine Baby Tears (Pilea Glauca) cuttings in them. The Baby Tears are starting to put down roots, which I find quite exciting! As I’ve only just started working with terrariums in July, the track record for how they survive and hopefully thrive isn’t there yet. But cuttings that are rooting is a good sign!

So now, I have a few holding areas for moss as I prepare to make my next terrariums. I’ve put the different varieties into several containers to hopefully continue to propagate, and the mountain of moss should grow.

mountain of moss

Mood moss on the left, pincushion moss (Leucobryum glaucum) on the left, and two strings of baby tears on top.

mountain of moss

And in this holding area, Tree Moss (Climacium americanum) and Brocade Moss (Hypnum imponens) along with two small plants in the back.

mountain of moss

Here’s the little setup at the window. No direct sun, and regular misting with filtered water. If you’re interested in getting started in moss terrarium building or moss propagation, I highly recommend Green Mountain Moss. You can find them on Etsy (click for link here). Their supplies (soil, etc.) and live moss plants are fantastic. Fast shipping and the moss arrives in perfect condition, well labeled and beautiful. They often include extras as well. Their website is here (greenmountainmoss.co) and their facebook is here (www.facebook.com/greenmountainmoss). You can also find them on Instagram and TikTok. Anyhow, they are my absolute favorite moss supply company.

We are well into August. The hibiscus in the garden are in bloom. I need to get a video done this week. I think it is looking like late summer outside. The summer events are over at work, thankfully. Pi came and stayed the night before going in for his surgery. They decided not to amputate, so he was neutered and he is in the kitten room with the other kittens. After a power outage last week, we are trying to see about getting a generator for Mom’s house. I think with climate change, we may well be facing more power outages.

January 2022 Update

Monday, January 10, 2022 0 No tags Permalink
January 2022 update

I haven’t been able to do several things since October, updating catobear.com being one of them. Today I woke up feeling a little better, more able to think of what I need to do and plan for in coming months. Don’t know if it is just a fluke or an actual change. When I look and realize I’m the only one looking at this, I suppose it doesn’t matter much anyway. I have been pulling together my 2022 bullet journal, photo above. I always like a new journal when it’s compact and clean and full of possibilities.

January 2022 update

I cleaned up my art space, as I am starting a botanic illustration course online through Cornell this Wednesday. I have a real fear that I won’t be able to keep up. I haven’t really painted or done much artistically since October. Perhaps you’re thinking the desk is still a mess, but everything I need is within easy access.

I have managed to keep some YouTube videos going up on my channel. Do check it out if you like postcards, vintage calling cards, old Christmas cards, etc.

Anyhow, that’s where we are. Miles away from spring. Treading water, but no longer going under. At least for now.

National Postcard Week 2021

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
national postcard week 2021

It’s National Postcard Week 2021 and I didn’t get my crap together. I had selected a great vintage card and was going to photoshop Maxy’s head on, but I didn’t get it done in time to have the cards professionally printed. So this year I’ll be sending fewer cards, with an uglier, more personal touch.

national postcard week 2021

I’m not counting these as paintings, because I’m doing them in about 15 minutes each. And they aren’t turning out great. Some of it is I’m trying to paint new things. Some of it is that the postcard paper is really crap. The images are inspired by various card sets…flowers and different tarot cards. Mom and Kirsten did such an amazing job on their tarot cards for the Trail of Terror, I thought some fun small cards would be good inspiration.

national postcard week 2021

I’m going to have to practice the cat cards more if the shelter is going to do a pet portrait thing in June and I volunteer to paint. I mean, the middle one above looks like some kind of demon. Of course, I wouldn’t use postcard paper and probably not acrylic either. It’s easier to fudge gouache and blend it better I think.

Bob was so romantic. He found this vintage postcard of the dining hall at Brook Lodge and sent it to me for National Postcard Week 2021. The card is from the 1960s. We ate dinner here on Memorial Weekend many years ago, and Bob proposed to me by the water surrounded by forget-me-nots.

It has turned cold again. We had a fire last night and will hopefully have a few more over the next few days. I did get the radishes, arugula, carrots and beets planted last weekend. Bob and I planted 30 trees at the shelter over the past two weekends as well. We still have a few weeks before greenhouse day, so hopefully the warmer weather will catch up. Really looking forward to having the martini event behind me.

Signs of Spring

Friday, April 9, 2021 0 No tags Permalink
signs of spring carnival

Signs of Spring are everywhere to be seen now. The maple trees are fuzzy puffballs, the forsythia, daffodils, and crabapple trees are in bloom, and the carnival has arrived in town! Probably the carnival isn’t the best thing for our huge local spike in COVID, but it did brighten my soul a bit driving past it. We’ve had some rain and everything is really greening up.

signs of spring carnival

It’s hard not to get excited about planting. I ordered some tree seedlings from the Calhoun Conservation District to do some planting around the shelter. Still too early for vegetables, but by the end of the month the trees can go in the ground. I am tracking the progress of the hummingbirds on the Journey North website as well. There’s so much excitement in the air, it’s hard to keep one’s thoughts tethered to work and responsibilities.

signs of spring carnival

We’re in a bit of a pickle at work, with not enough staff. I’m working this Saturday, but may get in a situation where using my vacation time is difficult. Kitten season has started as well and we have several mom cats with kittens. They aren’t well socialized, so we will be working on that. I feel like I need a whole extra day to catch up on sleep again. Meanwhile, the stacks of letters keep growing and I can’t catch up on anything else. I am scheduled for my vaccine on Tuesday, the Johnson and Johnson, in Albion. I also have to get a crown towards the end of the month. April is moving so fast, as this time of year often does. I can’t even think about the martini event without feeling dizzy and sick to my stomach. Better to concentrate on painting, the recorder, and upcoming gardening and hope for the best. What signs of spring are you sighting in your area?

Misc. Updates

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 0 No tags Permalink

Today’s misc. updates include gardening, sewing, and painting. What a mix! Last weekend I got some gardening done. Did the preliminary clean-up on the monarch butterfly beds. Last fall I planted a cover crop and it didn’t die back, so I turned over the soil and put down heavy black plastic. Hopefully by April 17th the soil will be ready for planting arugula and radishes. It’s still well over a month before the rest of the vegetables can be planted. Today and tomorrow are supposed to be around 80 degrees, so it seems like we went straight from winter to summer. Bob put in the screen in the bedroom Sunday night after we got home from a bonfire at Cindy’s. The spring peepers were singing their love songs.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done any sewing, but this weekend I had a few mending projects to take care of and so I decided to make a pillow as well. I don’t remember why I bought this fabric originally…maybe for a skirt? I do love it though. It was nice to do a little sewing again. Maybe as I have more time off the next few months I will do a bit more sewing. Right now I’m working on a crocheted shawl and practicing at least half an hour an evening on the recorder.

This is painting #37. I was going more for the concept and of course the brush “lettering” is not real lettering as I couldn’t make it out from the reference image. I like the yellow lamp to the left best of all. It didn’t turn out quite how I had hoped, but on to the next painting. I’ve been having some trouble with inspiration, and clipped some photos from a travel magazine. I’m not sure what my problem is. I sometimes think the more you paint, the less your inspiration has to do with it and it becomes more about the act of painting. I don’t know.

I’m working on a new project, Bright Line Publishing. I’ll have some documentary film reviews coming up. Click here to check out the site. More misc. updates will be coming up here, with summer reads not too far off and the progress of spring weather. Hope your spring is off to a good start!