Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rex plays Oct. 21 2011

Rexie is playing, Oct 21, 2011, 10am. Just a little over a year old.

Pictures taken Oct. 21 2011. Originally Written Feb. 28, 2014. First posted with pics Oct. 19, 2016.

Here's Rex on our new bedcover, a denim quilt which was my mother's, that we just got in August 2011. Not my colors, but it goes with Rex...

Without the flash, you can see his rich color

He is looking so wild, and having a great deal of fun, playing with a favorite toy....

What is he playing with? 

 What is he playing with?

Yep, the ring that comes off the lid of some milk jugs.

 Oh, Rexie is wild!

The kittens like to bring their toys up on to the bed.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Mousie approx. 2008 - July 2016

Mousie in 2011 with one of the kittens - looking stripey
In December 2010, most of the kittens got calici virus. If Mom's cats had had their shots, it probably couldn't have happened.

They got it after they were weaned. Rexie was very sick, had to be hand-fed again, and 2 others had it too. Then their father Sugar Mouse died in early 2011, of a different horrible disease. I thought Mousie was maybe the carrier.

So I separated the kittens from their mother Patches, and Mousie. And Mousie didn't get to cuddle like this anymore. When she and Patches were frightened, they squeezed into 2 tiny drawers on either side of the sink to hide.

She was living here with Patches when the horrible guest of a renter kicked out the screen in the kitchen door, and then chased Patches out to die. Months later, he tried to do the same to Mousie, but she outsmarted him, and hid where he (and I) couldn't find her. After that, I moved her upstairs. (Buddy was gone by then, so there was a safe place for her.)

She was never friendly or pettable, but she co-existed with me, and liked to sleep in her padded nest-box. She told me when she was out of water or food. There were sunny windows, and a heater in the winter.

But it wasn't such a safe place after all. First, on a really hot day in July, she got very overheated. I re-arranged things so the fan could blow on her, and she seemed to be feeling better. But in the morning, she had knocked over the stuff in the nearby corner, and was across the room trying to hide behind the refrigerator. And among that stuff was a small black widow spider.

So whether it was the heat alone, or mostly the spider bite, she is gone.

The last of Mom's cats. Goodby Mousie. 

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Little Lion Rex, November 2010

Little Lion Rex, Nov 2010
Written 6/22/2013, first posted 9/14/2016

He just looks so healthy here, stalking through his territory.

This mid-November picture is after he had completely recovered from not getting enough food as a tiny kitten, and was growing and thriving.

It was a month before the 2nd major life-threatening problem showed up.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Happy Kitten Day Sept 7 2016

Just found this original kitten photo, Nov 2011
 One of the kittens has a ball. The other grey kitten has a toy mouse. But Spot and Rex are watching the ball, ready to run out and play Kitten Soccer.

Some of my kittens from long ago, when I lived in the basement, used to play kitten soccer, in one of the rooms Grandpa had poured cement into when he was 80. He shored up the foundations, and poured concrete in most of the areas that had had just dirt floors originally. (He had been a mining engineer.) That floor had a wave and a half in it, so the ball would turn and go off in unexpected directions. Very exciting kitten soccer.

Kitten Soccer Nov. 2011
 My darling kittens were so cute when they were little. Now they are beautiful, except for one funny-looking one (Lassie). Rex/Rexie fell off the balcony this summer, the night a coyote howled in the orchard. He was gone by 3:00am, the coyote was howling at 3:30.

 I think he was on the roof in the midday, while I was looking all around for him, and calling. I could hear him, or someone, calling, and it was louder near the fireplace. But by the time I went up onto the roof, he wasn't there. (I waited for someone else to come home before I went up there.)

But after a night and a day and a night, he found his way into the open main floor. I was out on the balcony at 5:15 in the morning, not calling just listening, trying to decide where to look for him. And at 5:30am he started calling me loudly from the living room window under my feet.

Light and reflection Nov 2011
Meanwhile, almost unnoticed in the corner, is one of these fantastic reflections of light off a plant pot. The reflection has to fall against a relatively dark patch of floor or wall to be visible. Just like car bumper or hubcap reflections, which also make interesting patterns.

Enjoy the kittens, but notice the light. 

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, August 26, 2016

Kittens have forts - who knew?

Rex in his fort. Written Feb 11, 2014 3:21 PM  Originally posted Aug 26 2016.

I was going to try to pick-up the floor, and get a cleaned-up staged photo of this, and never got it done. Luckily, though I didn't remember it, I had taken a pic of the real thing. This is Rex in his fort.

They made the forts by tipping over the (sorted) boxes, and dumping the contents out, all over the floor. (When I say randomizing the contents of my room, I'm not kidding...)

The short stairwell down to the door to downstairs makes a good fort too.

And of course, forts are for ambushing your sisters from - leaping out onto them from where you're crouched hiding behind the boxes. Crouch, wiggle, leap!

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sleeping Beauty's House? No, but Grandpa's blackberries. Summer 2016

Grandpa's blackberries have blockaded the house
When he was in his eighties, one evening on the beach at the cabin in Idaho, Grandpa told me the story of his life. This was a spontaneous event, I didn't have a tape recorder. And I wasn't smart enough to think of going inside afterwards and writing down everything I could remember.

But I was listening very carefully, and I remember some of it.

One of the stories he told, as a joke upon himself, was that he had planted some blackberries when he was a young man. Way down at the edge of the property, near the road. (Sold long ago). I haven't told this story locally, because I didn't want the neighbors to blame him.

These blackberries are called Himalayan. Definitely not native; they have taken over large areas of the West coast. (If they were native, there would be a natural control on them.) When I came here in 1981, they had at least 3 of the remaining 7 acres. And now they've surrounded his house. I and a friend have finally started cutting and digging them, a couple of hours a week.

So in his story, everybody told him not to plant the blackberries. And he told them he was young and strong, and he could "grub them out".

And now I'm not young and strong anymore, but I get to try to get them under control...

Labels: , , , , ,

Monday, May 09, 2016

Workaround again
Real Minoan fabric design, 1500 BCE approx, as shown by Elizabeth Wayland Barber, from Egyptian frescos.
I need to add a powerpoint presentation to the discussion board for a class I'm taking. This was the workaround for doing images that I used before, but now I know how to do that. Only that way only works for image or video files. Most of the other students have used a link.

So, we'll try. This is the topic I have been totally absorbed by lately. (Well, roses too...)

Minoans, specifically their clothing.

(where did that come from? Well, I have always been interested in costume history. And an Art History class last semester.)

This textile design is derived from one that Elizabeth Wayland Barber shows in her wonderful books, as being a favorite exported by the Minoans to Egypt. (1500 BCE or so?)
No, this won't work to share a powerpoint for my class, but I can share this fabric design. Soon it and other Minoan designs may be up at Spoonflower.

It is up on Spoonflower, and there are other Minoan-inspired fabrics there too now. Not available yet for sale, except a blue-grey one.

smaller Minoan-inspired design from the Snake Goddess' bodice

Of course I did make a colorful one too. 

To see what these designs are inspired by, check my Pinterest board.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Take Photos

Photograph Light and Water 
Photographing is seeing with new eyes.
When you are always looking, you see amazing things,
instead of walking blindly past them.

Learn to see all over again.

Labels: , ,

Cats Are Looking

Cats are the least domesticated of our
familiar friendly animals.
If I watch them, I can see the wild.
Sleeping on my bed. Watching.

I chose these photos for the interesting images.

But the cats are all looking.

Labels: , ,

Take Time to Read

Take Time to Read - (but don't forget the cat). Terry and I took digital photography together; I got rides home with her. This was the best picture I caught of her. We have nice expressions when we're looking at animals...

Reading is very important to me. This spot in my living room near the window is a good place to read without losing all day.

Because the chair is comfortable  only for a while...

Labels: , , , ,

Always Save Some Film for Sunset

Always save some film for sunset - I learned this years ago - the hard way, what else.

I did not know I had pictures of this gorgeous purple sunset, found it looking through my photos for the assignment.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon.

Lupine & Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly at Bridgeport

We had some warm weather, and things were blooming early, but not this early. Pictures from several years ago.

Now it's cool and raining again. We need it.

Labels: , , ,

Rexie thinking about being a wildcat...

Bob In Tall Grass/ Rexie on painted chair
For a class assignment, I was putting together some presentation slides, and found some fun things looking through my images and photos. These  two cats were similar ages, still visibly young, although not kittens anymore, when these photos were originally taken.
Bob, being wild out in the grass, has been Photoshopped, using a filter.

Pure serendipity that I found them and saw how to put them together.

Doesn't Rexie look like he is dreaming about being wild?

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

All the Cats Are Outside Hunting Moths and Won't Come In to Supper Sept 2015

Happy Kitten Day - late. The kittens birthday is September 7th; I made this new fabric design on September 10, 2015. I just got it proofed, edited, re-tested, and put up for sale today, Oct. 21.

Learned 2 things in the process. The first is that Spoonflower's new fabric-printing system is indeed brighter, and I'll want to get this printed on one of those fabrics. (The synthetics also print bright colors.) And the second is that with these textured backgrounds and fills (done from Photoshop patterns), it is important to print them full-size to be at their brightest. Otherwise, just like a small print seen from a distance, they go greyer.

I think I might be going to use this fabric, or one of its coordinates, for a fleece-lined open vest this fall.

The happy kittens (5 years old now) are all happy and healthy. They spend some days out on the balcony and low roofs with the roses, but when I'm gone to classes, I get home too late, and it's getting cool and dark already before I could let them in.

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Rexie Stops to Notice the Roses Thursday April 30, 2015

Rexie on the balcony railing with St Mary mini rose, April 30, 2015
(Written and first posted Sept 30, 2015)

This was a rose year. (It's always Rexie's year, he/(she) and his/(her) sisters.)

I have sequential hobbies-obsessions. They repeat, not in order, every several years. You can kind of tell that, from reading this blog. Roses & gardening, sewing, cross-stitch design, quilt design, jewelry design & making, textile design, fabric dyeing...

This spring and summer again it was roses. In pots on the balcony because of the drought, the conquering horde of blackberries, and the deer. I have never before succeeded in growing them successfully up there, partly because it's too shaded in high summer, although fine in spring, late summer, fall & winter, when the sun is more to the south.

Partly because, I thought in the past, by July I couldn't carry enough water to keep them healthy. That turned out to be not true. 6-8 gallons a day for the whole row, in still-fairly-small-pots. The problem in the past turned out to have been spider mites (and aphids, etc) drying them out. Soapy-water spray &/or dip turns out to fix that. Plus watering on the leaves more. Plus a couple of friendly spiders.

As for the shade question, I mostly bought and grew shade-tolerant roses, as I could get them. Yes, there are shade-tolerant roses! Especially Hybrid Musks, which are mostly contemporary with this 1917 house, but with some new ones too. I passed on the totally tempting Darlow's Enigma, which apparently wants to be 12ft x 12ft! Not on the balcony...

But I love Lyda Rose. Also old favorites Angel Face and Iceberg are shade-tolerant, and a few minis. And several of David Austin's English Roses, like Abraham Darby. And I also tried some totally tempting ones, which I'm thinking of trying to breed - purples Ebb Tide and Rhapsody in Blue.

Because I think what I need here for the balcony are shade-tolerant, heat-tolerant (Lyda Rose and probably other Hybrid Musks are both plus disease-resistant), fragrant, purples or pastels, disease-resistant. And for the long-term in pots, small roses or larger-bush minis, or hanging basket minis.

So I was out on the balcony very early in the morning for much of the summer. Trying (trying!) a little hybridizing just to learn how. Plus potting-up, fertilizing, spraying soapy water for bugs, or apple-cider-vinegar for diseases (mostly a minor problem). Also in pots, I knew from when I worked in the nursery, roses can become Magnesium deficient, although there's plenty in the soil here.

I can do better with all of that next year, and get more flowers. But the advantage of the balcony is that everything is close up. I always had some flowers, mostly fragrant ones. I took 1000s of pictures. And Rexie was out here with me part of the time - but he kept telling me (by walking on the rail between me and the flowers, and bumping me) to stop taking pictures and Pay Attention To The Cat.

He also decided that the balcony was his exclusive territory, and his sisters couldn't go out there.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Rosemary, that's for Remembrance - Remembering Buddy

This picture of Buddy out in the snow on the balcony is from March 18, 2011. Pandora was out there too.
(Buddy died Oct 30, 2014 written Jan 6, 2015, first posted Jan 8, 2015 )

Buddy and Valentine were the 2 kittens whose feral mother was killed either by a raccoon or a boy and a dog. They were in a cage in the shed. Something pulled the bolt on the cage. Something killed the mama cat, who had just been spayed.

I had tried to bring them in for the night. The idea was that they would go back into the carrier inside the big cage, and then I could pick them up and take them in. The big cage did not have a secure floor that i could have picked up. (My good big cage had Cheesecake in it, who had been badly beaten up by something, and was supposed to stay confined for a month. The vet was surprised he survived.)

But when I went out to bring them in, they were all wild-eyed, and didn't go into the carrier. I didn't make the connection. And, fatal move, I fed them out there.

So, probably the giant killer raccoon who also probably beat up Cheesecake, and whose 3 inches across footprints I had seen on my windshield, pulled the bolt, opened the cage, and killed the mama cat.

But she fought long enough for the kittens to escape. And because they were used to coming to my car, when I went to feed the feral cats behind where I used to work, the kittens found their way to the house.

So I fed them canned cat food for a few times, sitting out on the porch. Then I got the bright idea of tying a cord to the screen door, putting the can of cat food just inside it, and letting them go in, and pulling the cord to close the door.

It worked. Then I had wild kittens loose in the house. I do not recommend this idea.

Eventually I got them up into the bathroom, where I had started taming other cats, and then out onto the balcony with the others, when it was warm. Buddy was named for his liking to be friendly with other cats, and do his greeting ritual with them. He became very good friends with Dovey, although not with her brother Lovey. (They rolled off the roof in a fight once.)

Originally he was not pettable, except over the backs of his friends at feeding time.

But in recent years, after he was upstairs with (Cheesecake and?) Pandora and Bob and me, he did become pettable, and even liked sitting on my lap when he had the chance. And his tabby fur was very soft.

He was one of the only 2 of my old cats who were still alive when I brought Mom's cats here. I put Musketeer upstairs with Buddy and Pandora, since he had lived with us for a while, until Mom took him away.

Musketeer lasted an amazing year and a half, considering how skeletally thin he was. When he finally went, after he stopped moving, he woke up from time to time, and took a little water in his mouth from a syringe. I spent several days in the nearby chair to be with him.

When Pandora went, she only lasted a few days after she stopped moving around.

I was keeping the older cats separated from my kittens, as much as possible, because of the various disease possibilities. So Buddy got to be with them out on the balcony on warm days, without food or water there, but did not get to just live with us. Or he was outside while we were inside. Or he was in the room with the wood-stove and we were in the bedroom area.

I always meant to get a picture of his large Buddy-face outside the window, and little Rex's small tabby-face inside the window, since they were similar soft-furred tabbies, only Rex and his sisters are so much smaller.

But this summer he stopped going out the window onto the roof and balcony. He was getting thinner, very thin. His fur got harsh. I was trying to feed him more, but he stopped eating the canned food, just ate the liquid off of it. I should have brought him some grass. I should have taken him down outside into the grass. There was a fenced area, until a tenant tore it open.

I wasn't paying enough attention to him. I wasn't sitting with him. It wasn't wood-stove season. I spent time with my "kittens", but not with him. He called and I didn't always come. I didn't really notice when he stopped eating any dried food at all. I didn't try to give him canned food at every meal. He was still trying to move around, to the cat-box and the water dishes, the day he died. He died on my lap.

When I buried him, as I put his little light curled-up body into the grave, I suddenly thought "rosemary". I went to pull some rosemary off the old bush which Grandpa or Grandma probably planted. (Mom's sister's name was Rosemary.) I had never done that while burying a cat before.

But when I pulled at the trailing branches, some of them broke off with roots. So I planted them around the edge of the grave, and tossed the others into it. The rosemary was beginning to flower. It was just before a rain, and it rained a little bit every week or two this fall. The rosemary should survive. Maybe I'll try to find some rue too.

So I will always know where Buddy's grave is.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Smoke Vacation! Sept. 23, 2014

Yesterday late afternoon - the ground-level smoke had cleared somewhat
I took this picture to show the charming old sawdust-burner, from when this was a lumbermill, all grown-over with a vine. It's turning color at the top - not sure if too much sun/too little water, or fall color. And also to show the exaggerated atmospheric perspective given by the smoky low visibility.

The last time we were having smoke for weeks on end, from over a 1000 fires* caused by one set of lightning storms, I was wondering just how smoky it was in Renaissance Italy, when artists discovered the idea of atmospheric perspective. (How things get fuzzier, lighter, and bluer with distance, caused by more atmosphere between us and them with more distance.)
This was about noon today!
Today visibility is much lower; that further hill which just showed yesterday is gone today. (Maybe just a ghost there.) Normally, I think I remember, there's another hill or two to see...

And the air smells much smokier. So glad I had a chance to open up the house for a while yesterday evening to air out - my rooms had been closed up for 3 days - and even more glad that I was awake in the middle of the night to close it all up again, including the floor which was open before.

*This time it's one giant fire to our Southeast. It's West and Southwest of Lake Tahoe. The King fire.

And the college campus, as well as the high school, is closed today. We've had snow vacation before, but smoke vacation? That's a new one to me.

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, September 19, 2014

More Nomad Dress Ideas (Folkwear#107)

Batik-look version of the Nomad Dress
This mock-up version of the Folkwear #107 Afghani Nomad Dress is made from some of my virtual-batik fabric designs at Spoonflower, a print-on-demand fabric designers' site. Although I have tested these 2 designs shown, the Arts & Crafts Deer and Grapes design, and the 2-Sprig design, the deer in quite a few colors, I have not yet made them in the same color, as shown here. This color prints as a deep rich Aquamarine.

Love Explosion fabrics version of Nomad dress Folkwear#107
This is a more brightly-colored and multi-fabric mock-up, using some of my computer drawn quilting fabric designs. Of these, the hearts and the maple leaves are available, but the Love Explosion and this new color of my 2-Papercuts design I have not yet tried out. But this gives an idea how combining brighter colors would look. The hearts as shown here is a larger version than I tested, I think, but these vector designs can be made any size.

Soon I'll be ready to show the fabrics I'm working on now, derived from the copper batik stamps I just got, and others, which I am making into virtual embroideries instead of virtual batiks, and with textured backgrounds.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Friday, September 12, 2014

Lassie Came Home August 7, 2014

Lassie on balcony railing. You can see how she might fall off, with the birds going by at eye level.
 (written Aug 29, 2104) (first posted Sept 12, 2014)

She, as it turned out, fell off the balcony, apparently, rather than getting taken off by one of the (now 3!) Great Horned Owls from down the hill. There was some wind, a large branch fell nearby, a drawer that was leaning against the railing fell off, not right below where it was. So she might have made a frightened leap, and she and the drawer fell together.

But Lassie is one of my "kittens". They come running when I call (for food).* I had left them out on the low roof/balcony after dark for the first time, forgetting why I had been so careful to not do that. (The rabbit that I saw the owl killing, before sunset one year, was no smaller than these cats.) It rained some that night. (Yes, rain. August.) When I let them in, she didn't come.

So I called and called. And walked around the house looking, for 2 days. The second night after the evening when she vanished, I was on the balcony, calling. Well, having Siamese cat hysterics, really. Loudly.** And someone said something, somewhere nearby. I asked "who said that?" No one said it again. It didn't seem to be any cat I could see, inside or outside.

But it turns out that Lassie must have found her way up onto the roof right over my head. Because first thing in the morning she found her way in through the high window on the other side of the roof, into the kitchen.

Now, don't you think there is something in the idea of cat names as self-fulfilling disasters? Since it was Lassie , (not Rex or Spot or Grey Mouse) who went off and had an adventure? And came home.

*In fact, a great thundering horde of cat...

**Lisa taught me to speak Siamese long ago. We used to keep in touch that way, going for walks in the woods together. And twice, after she had been missing a long time, she found her way back after I went up on a high place and called, in Siamese cat,"Where are you?" Once we had just moved to a new city, and she had gotten lost. Once, down at the coast, she had been shot. (Hunting chipmunks in the neighbor's garden.) She had to have her shoulder pinned back together.

Siamese cat hysterics, you ask? Speak in Siamese. The same thing that the mama cat says to the kittens when she comes back in and lies down to feed them. Meowwrrrr. With a purr at the end. The same thing that the tomcat says outside the window when he is calling a female to come out and play. MEOWWRRR. Now, louder and deepen your voice. Again, louder and deeper. Stand up straight. Make a megaphone with your hands. Louder and deeper. Let how upset you are show in your voice. Tighten your diaphragm. Put an echoing crack into it at the end of the call. Bounce it off the neighbors house a block away, just to check. And of course, when you do this, all the not-missing cats will stand up and put their paws on your knees, to tell you that they are here. And if they are inside, they will be answering you.

PS Happy Kitten Day, September 7 (The kittens birthday)

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Nomad dress ideas

Folkwear #107 Afghani Nomad Dress pattern, using my ideas for Spoonflower "cross-stitch embroidery" fabric designs
 I am thinking of making a Nomad dress from Folkwear pattern #107. Seems like I have always wanted one. But somehow I never noticed this pattern. And here this style is, coming around again.

Back in the day, I would have embroidered  the bodice myself. Today, I am using some of my cross-stitch designs from the '80s to make Spoonflower fabric which I can have printed, and use for parts of the dress.

I'll probably use either fabrics I dye, or lightweight cotton batiks, or both, for most of the dress. Fabric from Spoonflower comes in many weights, but the cross-stitch patterns look best on the linen-cotton canvas, which is heavier than I would use for the whole dress.

To do this version, I need to put those cross-stitch designs on different background colors - I'm thinking of a deep, rich aquamarine which I just tested as a virtual batik. Once I've bought some of the new colors, they will be available for sale too.

Here's a different version, using some of my Decorator Collection coordinates. The bodice and sleeve prints are available for sale now. This one shows the waistband that the pattern has. These vector-drawing patterns can be any size; I'll have to test appropriate sizes for this dress.

Folkwear #107 Nomad dress pattern, another idea using my Decorator collection fabrics at Spoonflower
Sept. 9, 2014 New tjaps today! I captured a couple of my top choices. New virtual embroideries this time, instead of (or in addition to) virtual batiks. Coming soon, with luck. And this time, no chance for the mail carrier to deliver the package to the garbage can so it vanishes!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Empire-waist dress in Regency Stripe fabric, dark bluegreen

Regency-inspired dresses and fabrics April 2014 (written 4/16/2014)

This spring I was taking a costume history (fashion history) class. And one assignment we had was to design some modern clothing inspired by a historical period.

In the days when I was an active Society for Creative Anachronism member, I designed, drew patterns for, and made 12th century and Renaissance clothes for myself. But for this assignment, I decided to do Empire/Regency inspired designs, since I knew from my long-ago experience that those dresses, if cut right, could be flattering. If not, like the granny dress revival from the 60s, they can look like a sack of potatos tied with a string.

The secret, also mostly not apparently known by the designers of recent empire-waist tops, is that they have to flare from that high waist, not be cut straight.

The fun thing about doing this type of assignment today is the great research possibilities for the historical references. Even the current costume books may have larger color pictures, compared to 20th century ones. But of course, the internet sources are the great difference.

Turns out there are thriving Regency/Jane Austen communities out there, including commercial patterns drawn to re-create real period designs, which have to be worn over period underthings or they won't fit. (No wonder some of the period paintings and drawings, like some by Ingres, don't look right in their proportions. Their stays pushed the bust way, way up.)

But of course, I was doing modern clothes designs, in fact, things I might want to wear myself. And, since my clothes designing has always been fabric-driven, and since textile design is now my passion, first I had to design the fabrics...

Besides some overall prints, I wanted some border prints which might look like embroidery patterns. And I will be making engineered versions which can be placed around curved, flared hems and necklines, as well as straight for on sleeves.

This stripe is not like any period fabric, although maybe it has a little rococo flavor. But I like it on this dress. I designed it smaller, but liked the effect when I stretched it larger to put on the drawing, so I made a larger version of the fabric too. There's a link on the picture to one of the fabric pages at Spoonflower. I will be making one even taller too, and soon this large-scale darker one with a textured background will be available.

**Other versions coming, including border prints which look fairly in period, one based on a vintage copper batik stamp. And, I'm working on some fabrics to recreate the big surprise I found in my research - shawl dresses in rich colors with deep borders, made from imported Kashmir shawls, or the European copies made in merino wool. They weren't always wearing those drafty transparent white muslins...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Lost Cat, May 2014

She's gone. She was my mother's cat, born in her house, slept on her bed. She was beautiful. And before anyone else moved in here, she used to sit on my shoulders.* She was  the mother of my darling "kittens" (3 years old now, still act like kittens).

She was probably gotten by a wild animal the first night.** It rained. She might have tried to come back in through the hole in the screen where I had left the door open for her, and gotten chased off by the Horrible Roomer's cat or dogs. She wasn't very old, maybe 1 or 2 in 2010, so 6 now, or less.

A disadvantage of indoor cats is that they may not really learn to come when I call. She hadn't. (My outdoor cats came running when I called them.) So when they're hiding out or lost, I don't have that second chance for them to find their way back, to my calling. I called. I looked.

She liked being out on this screen porch, she and her friend Sugar Mouse, that first summer, before they had kittens. (My mother's cats had not been fixed nor had shots.) She was a good mother, protecting her kittens from their father and everything else. Once a kitten made a squeak when I was near it, and she flew at me to protect it.

When she got frightened, she and Mousie, her companion, they used to squeeze into the little drawers on either side of the kitchen sink. She was frightened by someone just before she vanished, and hiding in there. And I took a picture of her. With a flash. She maybe thought it wasn't a safe hiding place anymore.

**Dogs and cars kill more cats here, though.

*This last year and a half it has been too unpleasant here for me to sit with her at all, in this part of the house, with the Roomer here. I really missed that, her sitting on my shoulders. I'm afraid she missed it too.

I learned later that the low-life slime who lived here, guest of a renter, the one who had kicked out the screen in the kitchen door, had deliberately chased Patches out to die. 
I learned it when he tried to do it to her companion Mousie too. But Mousie was too smart for him; she hid where he couldn't find her. And I locked him out forever. (They were already supposed to have moved out.)

Labels: , , , , ,

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Sugar Mouse in Exile October 26, 2010

Sugar Mouse in Exile Oct 26, 2010, 9:57am
Sugar Mouse, the kittens' father, still exiled, looking through the door from the porch. The morning after the kittens broke out.

Why is Sugar Mouse in exile?

Because Mama Cat Patches won't let him be near her kittens!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Kittens on bench Dec. 7, 2010

Spot and Lassie
Photo from Dec. 7 2010. Written Mar. 15, 2011.First published Jan 24, 2014.

That is Spot in the front, the friendliest kitten, and her sister Lassie (I think, Lassie and Grey Mouse are very similar) behind her.

Spot could have been named after the grey spot on her nose, but actually she has a tan spotted spot on her stomach.

(The names? Well, once I had decided the little kitten was Rex, Spot and Lassie became irresistible.)

Labels: , , ,

Monday, December 02, 2013

Kittens in box Dec. 2, 2010

Lassie, Grey Mouse, and Spot in box
Photo from Dec. 2 2010. First published Jan. 21, 2014.

This cute photo is a little misleading - the kittens were in this box in the cupboard with the door closed. I had just opened the door and discovered where my missing kittens were.

To get here, they had to jump (or be carried?) into the shelf visible above this cupboard, that I had taken the drawer out of, and jump down off the side of it into the bottom cupboard.

Why had they, or their Mama, done this? Well, at the beginning of the week, I had chased their father into the cold out on the porch again for a night so he would go into the carrier and I could catch him to be fixed. Then he was isolated in the bathroom for a few days.

So apparently this was scary, because everybody was hiding.

Disclosure - I did Photoshop some printing off the box, which distracted from the image.

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Kittens in chair November 26, 2010

Grey Mouse and Rex in chair
Photo from Nov. 26, 2010. Written Mar. 15 2011. (First published Jan 10, 2014)

Rex is on the right, and his sister Grey Mouse is behind on the left.

Grey Mouse is the cool gray colored kitten, her sister, the other light tabby, has a buff underside and undertone to her gray.

(A kitten named Grey Mouse? Well, partly because of her father Sugar Mouse. And partly because she has the most receding-chin, under-bite, rodent-profile face of them all.)

PS My equal opportunity spelling of the word grey/gray? Early exposure to British English has left me totally confused as to which is the American spelling. I can keep straight words like color/colour, but not the greys. The kitten's name seems to have turned out British - not unreasonable, since a sugar mouse is (was?) a British thing.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Happy Kitten Day Sept. 7

Little Kitten who will be Rex, October 2010
I can't resist posting this cute picture, from when the kittens were little, now, even though it's not October yet. Written October 8, 2011. First published Friday, May 31, 2013. Moved to Sept. 7, 2013.

I was thinking that Kitten Day (the day the kittens were born), was Oct.7, but when I checked my calendar, they were born in September. But before getting up on the morning of Oct.7, I kept telling Rex "Happy Kitten Day" - and he kept purring, kneading my neck, and putting his nose on my face.

This picture was taken when I was feeding the Little Kitten supplemental kitten formula, when he was just a few weeks old, and not getting enough to eat. After eating his tablespoon or 2 of formula out of a teaspoon, he would climb up on my shoulder and go to sleep.

After a couple of weeks, when he was almost this small, I named him Rex.

King of my heart.

Every day is Happy Kitten Day here.

Sat. Sept. 7, 2013 This morning Rexie had small puffs of spiderwebs decorating both his/her eyebrows. It looked very cute. We had some Happy Kitten Day purring and cuddling.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, August 09, 2013

Bats in the bedroom again… August 8, 2013

Brown bat in bedroom June 26, 2006, 2am close-up. He was about to fly out the window when I flashed in his face. Whoa!

Two nights in a row, Aug. 4th and 5th. First time in several years. Cheesecake and I used to have our bailout protocol all figured out for when there was one circling the bedroom. (Screens are tighter now, usually.)

The first night it was very late, maybe 3:30 or 4 am. I was waked up by the *kittens* bouncing all over me and the bed, chasing it. By the bedside flashlight it looked like a small bat.
Small bat in bedroom, June 26, 2006, 2 am approx

So I grabbed the Spot *kitten*, who was closest, locked her up, then caught the others one at a time, and once they were all locked up, closed the bedroom door to wait for it to settle out.

Once all was quiet, I went back in with the flashlight. Didn't see it. (They usually settle clinging to a screen.) So I opened a window wide and left. By that time it was almost showing some light in the sky. Went to sleep for the rest of the night in a chair.

I had hoped that it had gotten out, but kept the kittens and Buddy locked inside all day, and not in the bedroom. Because in the past I have thought that a bat had gotten away, but as soon as I let the cats out, they found it. (Once  a very small one had crawled under the cat-house on the porch. They were trying to fish it out. Once there was a bat clinging to the shingle siding outside the bedroom. Several times one was still in the bedroom. Once in the torchiere lamp. It couldn't get out. After I had gone back to bed, I heard it skritching. Had to tip it out the window as soon as it was slightly light.)

So the next night, the bat appeared early, maybe 9:30 or 10:00pm. I was still reading, the light was still on, but luckily cats still locked up. It looked like a larger bat this time.
Medium-size black bat in bedroom, June 26, 2006, approx 2am Notice the same calendar is in this picture.

Leave, close door, wait for it to settle, go in and open window, and TURN OUT THE LIGHT. (Very important, otherwise there will be lots of bats in the bedroom, following bugs! See previous post about bats.)

This time, it was so much earlier, I just read in the chair for an hour or two, then went back to bed. Good chance it had escaped, and seems to have done so.

Think I've found where it/they got in — screen pulled loose from frame, and I had left the window open too far so they could easily get in.
I'm sure that this time it wasn't this guy - you can see (there's that calendar again) how much larger he was, and brown not black.

These pictures, from June 26, 2006, when I stood out on the porch roof and took pictures, the time I cleverly opened the window from the outside, thus leaving the light on, show, I think, three different species of bat.

I like my bats a lot. Haven't seen a mosquito for a month. But I prefer them outside, not in the bedroom.

Haven't heard them for a couple of years now. My extra-high-frequency hearing might be gone.  (Never heard them in the bedroom; apparently it's the social calls, not echo-location, which are in human hearing range, sort-of.) 

** The kittens are all grown up, though small, cats. But they still act like kittens. And they're my kittens, especially Rexie. (He thinks so too...)

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Mom's Applesauce Cake 12/10/2011

batik furoshiki from Japan
No, this isn't applesauce cake. This is a gorgeous hand-painted batik furoshiki she bought the year we were in Japan. I've always loved it, from long before I ever tried to do any batik.

Her applesauce cake recipe was in her old hand-written cook book, with notes for instance on how she cooked the turkey each year when I was a kid. She knew right where it was on a shelf when I asked her, and I made the cake the first week I was there, when she could still enjoy it.

The unfamiliar ingredient in this recipe is cornstarch. What is cornstarch doing in a cake recipe? Well, I think it is like putting it in apple pie; the cake can have lots of applesauce in it, and be moist, without falling apart. This recipe is from long before things like carrot cake and zucchini bread.

In fact, her cookbook says her mother got the recipe from Mom's godmother Mrs Dorsey Ridge.

Mom's Applesauce Cake      ( from Mrs. Dorsey Ridge, approx 1920)

Put in large bowl, then sift together:

2 cup flour
2/3 c sugar
1 tsp soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves or allspice
1/2 tsp nutmeg
3 Tablespoons powdered chocolate (or cocoa is ok)
1 T cornstarch
(pinch iodized sea salt?)  (Her recipe did not call for any, but it seemed a little bland last time.)

Add and mix in:

1 c nuts  (she used walnuts) optional
1 c raisins

Add and stir in:

1 1/2 - 2 c sweetened applesauce  (1 1/2 may be more like she made, she said.)
1/3 c oil or melted butter  (Or I substitute yogurt sometimes.)

Turn into a buttered loaf pan.
Bake at 350°F for 45 minutes to 1 hour
until toothpick comes out clean.
Maybe cover with aluminum foil at the end, if it is getting too dark before the inside is done.

When I was a kid, she kept a canister of 6 times the dry ingredients mixed up. Then she could quickly take 3 cups of that mix to make a loaf.

Great toasted with butter for breakfast.

After Thanksgiving, when she was in the hospital bed, and had stopped eating solid food, I was heating in the microwave a piece of this cake I had made for my brothers' visit, and I heard her call loudly from the bedroom "Cut the bread! Cut the bread!"  I took a piece in there, and broke off a small corner to put in her mouth - and she smiled... so beatifically.

Dec 11, 2011
Just got the oven fixed, after more than a year when I couldn't bake. And the first thing I made, to take to the last day of class, was this applesauce cake. She always used to make it during the holidays, for my sister's and brothers' birthdays. 

Yesterday it was 2 years since she died. Just since the end of summer am I starting to get things done again.

July 13, 2013
I just made applesauce cake again last night. It's funny, I follow the recipe, but it isn't the same as her dense, dark cake. I even put in walnuts this time, like she did. Maybe it's the type of chocolate/cocoa. (I have Guittard, I think she had Hershey's in her cupboard.) And maybe she used her home-made applesauce. . .

The cake keeps well and stays moist.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Full moon puzzle

full moon mandala photo, @15 sec. July 22, 2013 1am
The full moon was clear and bright in a black sky. The exposure was 15 seconds, f6.3, with a tripod.

Apparently that was enough time for the close bright moon to light up the surrounding sky.

I don't know why the photo has a star shape, with hexagonal patches of light, and a greenish sky color, but I like it.

Labels: , , , , ,

Saturday, July 20, 2013

This doesn't look like a heat wave . . . July 4th, 2013 noon

July 4th, 2013 noon - over 100 degrees today
But it was.

With the clouds and extra moisture, it was hot and muggy, and didn't cool off as well at night. And around 100 degrees F all week!

At least the possible thunderstorms didn't happen and cause fires.

This week, July 18, it's about to heat up again, after a week of low 80s. 100 degrees by Saturday.

Amazing how cool 80 degrees feels in the summer. And how hot it is in the spring.

And at the end of that week, walking up the hill, I met a neighbor who said how cool 90 degrees felt!

Of the 2 tall trees on the left, the right one was the redtails' home tree. You can just see that steep crotch, near the top. You see how far away it really is.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The hummingbird and the hawk July 3, 2012 about 1:30pm

And while I was out there watching them, I saw lots of other life in the canopy in a way I had never noticed before...

Some of the things I saw were hummingbirds, rising straight up in the air, maybe 60 feet or more, then dropping straight down, and near the ground, swooping off to the side. Then again (or another one, maybe). Repeated several times. Friends said it was a mating display.

I've lived here over 30 years, and never saw that before.

In this photo, the hummingbird is nearing the top of its rise. It is about 30 feet from me (horizontally).

The tree is about 100 feet away. The large crotch is the location of the redtails' nest. The nest is over 100 feet off the ground, maybe 60 feet above eye-level on the balcony, with the slope of the hill. It's probably one of the redtail chicks in the branches, flying by that date, but still often in the home tree.

Hummingbird and Redtail hawk,  July 3, 2012
The relative sizes are very distorted by the different distances. They look close to each other, but are not.

I was not out on the balcony as much this year, and have not seen the hummingbirds' display.

July 23, 2013 The swallows have apparently left for the mountains already. I was on campus on the 18th, and noticed they weren't  there. I had hoped to catch them gathering, as I did once before, but I've missed it for this year. Maybe they left early because it's been so hot.

I don't know, because I missed it.

Labels: , , ,

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Now that I've posted a sun halo, I guess I should show a sundog

picture from fall 2011
This picture is of a sundog, related to the halo. Often they come in pairs; this one was single. Called sundogs because they follow the sun around. There can be one on each side of it, at 22 degrees.

Since I learned that they exist, I've been seeing them 3 or 4 times a year. Before that, I never saw them, even during the years I worked outdoors, until the end when I knew about them.

This is the best one I've seen.

Update: for best sky pics, especially without a polarizing filter, try lowering your exposure by a stop or even 2 stops. Or, of course, do that afterwards in Photoshop by adjusting the exposure setting.

Aligned hexagonal ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. This one shows the prism-effect of spectral colors too.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Redtail chick flying July 2, 2012

 young redtail photo July 2, 2012
After the redtail chicks had begun to fly, they were still nearby. And the parents would fly over to see if anyone was in home tree, to deliver a prey item. And often there would be a chick in hot pursuit of mama and lunch.

The v-shaped crotch of the tree showing at lower right of photo, was the nest site. It's about 30 feet down from the top of a Ponderosa pine tree. Somewhere over 100 feet off the ground. Only about 100 feet away and 60 feet up from my balcony, because of the slope of the hill.

I miss "my" redtails, which didn't come back this year. But they're around; I just saw one circling over the old nursery down the hill yesterday morning.

I'm trying to use this year to finish sorting last year's photos. At a thousand pics a day average, for a month, it's no surprise that's not done yet. I'm finding some unexpected images.

And while I was out there watching them, I saw lots of other life in the canopy in a way I had never noticed before...

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

After the rain

Just after the rain stopped, June 25, 2013, 5:30pm
Rain?! After the rain? No kidding?

Yep. It rained solidly for about 2 days. Not a hard rain, but a steady soaking. Something about a large Arctic low moving the jet-stream, and oceanic tropical moisture. It was a warm storm, just down to the 60s F.

Actually, it often does rain in June here, but not every year. It is more surprising this year because of the warm dry spring we had.

This picture is looking out over the top of the grocery store, between tall trees, from the bus bench across the street, about an hour after the rain stopped on Tuesday. There are houses all around, and under those trees too — but what a lovely view. And the clouds sitting on the tops of the hills.

Today, Wednesday, it was a lovely walk to campus. The air yesterday and today was very soft-feeling, with all the moisture, and warm.

By next Tuesday, the temperature is supposed to be back up to 101 degrees F.

I decided years ago that if it ever didn't look like this here, I wouldn't want to live here anymore.

Labels: , , , , , ,