Purrsday Poetry: Monkey by Donna Marrin

Otis has made another guest appearance at Katzenworld!

When the baby bird spreads her wings for college

My girl has long finished her stints at both university and college, and has worked as an advertising copywriter at an agency for several years now. But I will never forget that turning point in our lives—her transition from my high school baby girl to my college big girl.

Just like that, I was no longer required to meet with her teachers, attend functions at her school, be on top of the day-to-day minutiae of her life. All of it came to an abrupt standstill on the late August afternoon that we dropped her and all her worldly possessions off at the two-hours-away campus dorm where she would live for the next few years.

I was still waving goodbye through the back window of the car as she dwindled to nothing more than a wide grin in the distance. I’d been anticipating my first taste of that glorious newfound freedom that’s part and parcel with being an empty nester, so it came as a huge surprise to find myself bursting into tears the moment my girl was completely out of sight. Mind you, my grief didn’t last long, but I know now that those tears were my final acknowledgement of our rite of passage from roots to wings.

With that said, here’s a glimpse of the college experience through a mom’s eyes.

college_courtesy of gratisography.comMy College Girl

Two years have passed quicker than a sigh since my baby girl left home to embrace campus life. The fact that she found it so effortless to sever what was left of the umbilical cord between us speaks volumes about my child-rearing skills. As they say, “It’s your job to give them roots and wings.” I know I’ve accomplished that task. The real hardship has been with growing wings of my own.

girl_courtesy of images.unsplash.com:by Julia CaesarShe doesn’t call as often as I’d like her to, caught up as she is in her exciting whirlwind of a life, so when the phone rings and I hear her voice chirping from the answering machine, I toss aside my newspaper, leap from my wing chair and scramble to reach the phone before she hangs up.

I greet her with laughter in my voice. It always happens like this: a cascade of questions flood my mind, surging dangerously like a tsunami toward my lips. I struggle to keep the dam barricaded. If I slip and my questions break free, I know she will fly quickly above the tide and recede with it back to her perch on the other side of the ocean that separates us.

Instead, I try my best to spin interesting stories about an uninteresting week. I hope this will be enough to keep her on my side of the ocean for now. In return, she spins stories of her own, feeding me safe snippets of a life that, I have no doubt, is far more exciting than I’d ever care to know.

We laugh together as she relates a lecture hall incident. Since I’ve been a pretty cool cat so far—no gifts of unsolicited advice to ruffle any feathers—the olive branch she extends is my reward. She tells me about a boy. A boy with soft, brown eyes and a talent for clever banter. He makes her laugh.1280px-Pāhoehoe_lava_meets_Pacific

Oh my. How the dam ruptures!

I need to know: his name…first and last…the color of his hair…his career aspirations…his family pedigree. Soft, brown eyes and a great sense of humor is simply not enough to keep the tsunami in check.

I can almost hear the squeak of her eyes as they roll in their sockets. I’ve blown it. There is nothing more to tell. He’s just a boy.

courtesy of Andrew SchmidtThe wave crashes onward. What about your test? Essay grades? You missed a class? Why? Walking alone at night? Are you mad? You spent how much this week? You’re not coming home till when?

She stops my barrage with a sudden urgency to prepare for her next class. Her tone is abrupt and final. The swell settles immediately into a drip, drip, drip of dismal regrets.bridge_courtesy of images.unsplash.com:by Modestas Urbonas

The phone lines bulge and ripple with hurried exchanges of I Miss You. I Love You.

We disconnect and fly back to our separate shorelines.

Pterodroma_cervicalis_-_SE_TasmaniaBaby bird has mastered the art of flight, but Mama bird still has a lot to learn.




Photo acknowledgements:
1. Courtesy of http://www.gratisography.com
2. Water baby, courtesy of http://www.morguefile.com
3. Courtesy of images.unsplash.com/by Julia Caesar
4. Pāhoehoe lava meets Pacific, courtesty of https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Featured_pictures/Natural_phenomena
5. Wave, courtesy of Andrew Schmidt
6. Bridge, courtesy of images.unsplash.com/by Modestas Urbonas
7. “Pterodroma cervicalis, SE Tasmania” by JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons-https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pterodroma_cervicalis_-_SE_Tasmania.jpg#/media/File:Pterodroma_cervicalis_-_SE_Tasmania.jpg
8. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Commons:Featured_pictures/Natural_phenomena Pāhoehoe_lava_meets_Pacific

I can’t believe how easy this was to make!

top & skirt1I made this two-piece dress by crocheting the top first and then making a long, fabric skirt with an elastic waist to pair it with. I made this project up as I went along, but I swear to you, it was so easy that a beginner in both sewing and crocheting will find it a breeze. Because of my impatient nature, I am very clumsy with a sewing machine, so if I can produce these results, a chimpanzee could probaby do just as well!

As usual, I got so caught up in my project, I forgot to take photos of each step as I went along, so I did step-by-step drawings on paper. Hopefully, they’re clear enough to understand. As I describe the process, keep in mind that I’ve measured everything to my own size, which is medium. Take your measurements ahead, and make sure you try on the pieces as you go along to make sure you are custom fitting to your own measurements.

topAs is the case with many of my projects, I hadn’t intended on making a dress. It just sort of happened as things evolved. I began with the intention of crocheting a simple tank top. I decided to start with a plain, bandeau-style piece that I would later add two shoulder straps to. Really, a bandeau top is nothing more than a wide rectangle (along the same lines as a scarf).

Using a 6 mm hook and navy blue worsted weight yarn, I chained a row that measured approximately 10 inches. Then I chose a very simple stitch pattern that would produce a tight enough stitch to negate the need to wear a camisole underneath. As I said earlier, the finished top is a medium size. To make it smaller or larger, just measure around your chest and adjust the sizing so that it’s smaller or larger than 10 inches. Here is the stitch pattern I used to make a medium-sized top:

Chain (ch) an even number of stitches to make a 10-inch-long row, plus ch 2. Turn.

Row 1: (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into 3rd chain from hook. *Skip next ch, (1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into next chain, repeat from * to the last chain; 1 sc into the last ch; ch 2 and turn.

Row 2: *(1 sc, ch 1, 1 sc) into ch-1 space, repeat from * to the end; 1 sc into last sc, ch 2 and turn.

Repeat Row 2 until desired length.

1I repeated rows until the bandeau was long enough to wrap around my chest with both ends meeting. Then I used a yarn needle to seam both ends together so that the piece became a tube top shape.

2Next, I carefully measured and used stitch markers to mark where I wanted the two straps to be. I wanted wide straps, so I made each one a 3 inch width, using the same stitch pattern as above.

Once the top was completed, I single-crocheted around all the top 3edges, including the straps, just to give the entire thing an evenly finished look. I chose a scalloped edge for the bottom (any 5 sc shell pattern will work), and it was done.

For the skirt, I measured the widest part of my hips, and bought a square of silky fabric that would wrap around my hips, also allowing for a quarter-inch seam. At the top (which is the waist), I 4folded over a “hem” a little wider than the elastic that I’d be using for the waist. (Keep in mind that all sewing is done on the wrong side.) Then I just straight stitched the hemmed section across on my machine. What you end up with looks just like the sort of “pocket” you would have at the top of a curtain, with both ends open where the rod slides in.

5Next, I pinned the back seam of the skirt together and sewed it with a ¼ inch seam from just below the waist openings where the elastic will run through, right down to the bottom of the skirt. The hem will be the last thing you focus on.

Cut your piece of elastic just a smidge smaller than your waist. Hook a safety pin onto one end of your elastic, and use the safety pin to push it along through the waist 6“pocket.” The skirt waist will gather as you run the elastic through, and that’s how it should work.

7Once you have both ends of the elastic poking out of either end of the pocket, sew the elastic ends together. Once secure, you can sew together the rest of the back seam of your skirt.8

All you have left is to trim the bottom of the skirt to whatever length you desire (I elastic waistwanted a long, ankle-length skirt) and then hem it.

When you put the top and skirt on together, the top edging will cover the elastic waist of the skirt and it appears as if it’s one piece.skirt with elastic waist

The skirt took me all of 20 minutes to make, from start to finish. I made the crocheted top within a week of on/off crocheting at night in front of the TV. Easy peasy.

I can’t wait to make another one!top & skirt2

I wish I could be a kid again

clouds2Like most kids, I spent my youth wishing time would speed up so I could finally become an adult. Like a mantra, I constantly grumbled to myself, “I can’t wait till I’m older. I can’t wait till nobody can ever tell me what to do again. I can’t wait till I can stay up till whenever I want, buy whatever I want, go wherever I want. I can’t wait till I’m free to do anything I like, whenever I like…”

Well it sure wasn’t long before my wish came true.

As an adult I discovered that I finally had the freedom to: (1) buy whatever I want (most of which I can’t afford); (2) eat whatever I want (except if I do, I won’t be able to fit into any of my clothes, all of which are bargain basement vs. designer); (3) go wherever I want (as long as I’m back home before the street lights come on so I can be up in time for work five days a week); (4) do whatever I want (after I’ve discussed it with my spouse); (5) not allow anyone to tell me what to do (except for my boss, my spouse, my kids, my doctor, my banker, society, etc.); and so on. You get the gist.

Little did my child self know that the joys of adulthood would also include: (1) increasingly achy joints, along with other my-body-is-falling-apart-faster-than-an-overstuffed-hard-shell-taco health issues; (2) a burgeoning intolerance to loud and intrusive noise of any kind—particularly where neighbors are involved; (3) the realization that pretty much nothing you purchase is actually a good deal; (4) bills, bills and more bills for totally boring stuff like a new roof, car repairs, taxes; and (5) learning that: surprise!—life’s not fair; no matter who you vote for, there’s always an asshole at the top making chimpanzee-level decisions; you have a lot less control than you thought you had when it comes to any form of interaction within the confines of the human race; unless you’re Helen Mirren, your window of opportunity for wearing a bikini without appearing as if you’re desperate to regain your lost youth closes with a wham after a certain age.

So, now here I am—a full-fledged adult—wishing I could be a kid again.

our gangGo figure.

I Wish

If I were to:

Wish upon the brightest star,

Catch fireflies inside a jar,

Ditch my car and ride a bike,

Switch “hell” and “damn”

With “rats” and “yikes,”

Race outdoors to build a fort,

Guzzle Kool-Aid by the quart,

Play Barbies with the kid next door

And hopscotch till my feet are sore,

Read the comics instead of the news,

Wear only scruffy running shoes,

On Saturday mornings, watch cartoons,

Make farting noises with balloons,

Make sure I’m indoors every night

Upon the glow of outdoor lights,

Fight to stay up far too late,

Keep ignorant of time or date,

Do some homework every day

But always find the time to play.

Do you think if that is what I did,

I could just go back and be a kid?

I wish…
our gang lineup


1 scarf + 1 scarf = A breezy summer butterfly top!

I’ve seen a lot of different tops made from silk-type scarves on the Web, so I thought I’d try my hand at coming up with one of my own, which I’ve called my butterfly top.

To make it, you need to start with two rectangular scarves. I boughtIMG_6252 mine from a flea market stall. I liked the combination of earthy colours as well as the silky texture. Of course, since you’re working with finished scarves instead of pieces of raw fabric, the edges are already hemmed, which is a great start to any sewing project! The length of your top will depend on the length of your scarves. With long enough scarves, it would even be possible to make a cute dress, rather than a top.

I’ll attempt to explain how I made my butterfly top, and if you compare my instructions with the photos, the process should become clear. It’s really a very quick and simple project.


(1) Side by side.

(1) Spread both scarves out lengthwise on the floor, side by side.

(2) Find the middle, then place a pin at either side of the approximate area where you want to leave an opening for your neckline.


(2) Pinned together with middle space for neckline.

Take a moment to slip it on over your head (wrong side out) to see how it fits, then make any minor pin adjustments to ensure that the neckline is where you want it to be. Before you make your neckline adjustments, you want to make sure that both back and front hems line up evenly behind and in front of you. You also want to make sure that the V of the neckline is at a depth that you’re most comfortable with.


(3) Four holes reinforced with zigzag stitch.

Next, use your sewing machine to stitch the scarves together from the front bottom to the beginning of the front neckline, then from the back bottom to the beginning of the back neckline.

(3) At this point, it’s much like a poncho, but you want to go a step further and be able to belt it into a top. The way to do that is to create four belt holes, where you will run your belt/tie through from front to back.

To know where to place the holes, you need to put the “poncho” on again (wrong side out) so that the front and back hems are lined up evenly behind and in front of you. The holes will go at your waist, one at either side, both back and front. I used a Sharpie marker to mark a tiny dot at either front/side of my waist. Then I removed the poncho, laid it on the floor, and using a yardstick, marked the back holes with the same spacing between hem and holes as the ones I’d marked on the front.

top_scarf front


Next, I carefully made about a 1-1/2” slice at either hole (enough for a tie-belt to go through), and to prevent fraying, I reinforced the edges of each hole by running a zigzag stitch around them.

top_scarf back


I used a black satin tie as my “belt” and it’s as simple as that! It looks pretty great with a pair of white jeans.

Happy #TRT – Tummy Rub Tuesday (Week 53)

Otis is one of a lineup of beauties at Katzenworld again!

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