A Spoiled Cat Lives here!

I was picking through a bin of my unfinished craft projects the other day and discovered an old cross-stitch picture that I’d done years ago, of Sylvester the cartoon cat holding a frame with the caption “Spoiled cat lives here.”

Of course, with it being a perfect representation of my spoiled fur baby, Otis, I was compelled to frame it for display in my front porch.

I picked up an unpainted wood frame at the buck store and used acrylic paint in three of the colours picked up from the cross-stitch to decorate it. Then I painted some wood letters that spelled out “Otis,” and glued them to the bottom of the frame. Once I stretched the cross-stitch fabric over cardboard and set it in the frame, I had a perfect “warning” for any visitors daring to enter my home. 🙂

Of course, the only way I could paint the frame in peace without Otis trying to dip his paw into the paintbrush water dish was to give him a paintbrush of his own that he could roll around with on the floor. Did I mention that he’s spoiled rotten?

Colorful and cute, fast and easy—Crocheted Pincushions

pincushion_rosie & tiny squares1If you want a really quick, easy and fun project to work on when you need a break away from a large project, try your hand at one of these little pincushions. They’re a great way to use up scrap yarn, and they also make sweet gifts for your stitching pals!

So simple…

PRETTY PINCUSHIONS
Materials for both versions
Yarn: various colours of Bernat Handicrafter cotton
Crochet hook: 5 mm
Bit of Fiberfill stuffing
Yarn needle for weaving in ends

pincushion_rosieROSIE PINCUSHION
Pincushion front:
Chain (ch) 14

Row 1: single crochet (sc) in second ch from hook and in each ch across. Turn.

Row 2: ch 1; sc in same space; sc in each sc across. Turn

Repeat Row 2 five more times, or until you’ve got an even square. Fasten off and weave in ends.

Pincushion back: Repeat above (I used a different color for the back, just to change things up.)

Take your two squares and place the wrong sides together (right sides facing out). Use a contrasting color of yarn and sc to seam the squares together (this kills two birds with one stone—seams the squares together plus adds a pretty border around the edges). Once three sides have been seamed, stuff with a bit of Fiberfill, then continue to seam the last side closed.

Crochet a couple of little roses and leaves (lots of patterns available online!) and sew them to the top to decorate your pincushion.

pincushion_tiny squaresTINY SQUARES PINCUSHION
Using different colors of the same yarn, make four two-round granny squares. Mine were about 1-1/2” squares.

Then seam two strips of two squares together using the same border/seaming instructions as above. Next, seam the two strips together along the non-bordered sides.

Set your square of tiny grannies aside, and make a backing square in a contrasting color.

Then, place the wrong sides of your squares together (right sides facing out), and seam edges together/stuff with fiberfill as per the instructions for the first pincushion.

All done! Have fun making them in all the colors of the rainbow. For those of you with kids or grandkids, they would also make adorable cushions for Barbie dolls!
pincushion_rosie & tiny squares2

The beach is never far away when you have the Beach in a Bottle

Coastal-Living_DecJan-2012-CoverAs you will already know if you’ve read some of my past posts, I LOVE THE SEA. My lottery-win fantasies revolve around one central vision of my family living in any one of those gorgeous beach houses featured in my favourite magazine, Coastal Living. I can see myself gazing out at the sea every day through floor-to-ceiling glass walls or going for long walks in sand that’s damp from lapping waves.

Living in Toronto, the only time I’m around salt water is when a pot is boiling on the stove.

The other day, while daydreaming about past beach vacations (instead of writing the advertising copy that I was supposed to be writing) I had a great idea for a beachy craft.

I had recently bought a pack of those tiny corked bottles from the craft section of the IMG_6376dollar store, with a plan to fill each one with the beach sand that I’d collected each time we’d visited a different area over the years. Once the bottles were filled, I would use fancy script to label each one. So far, I’ve collected sand from Aruba, Curacao, St. Thomas, St. Martin, different parts of Mexico and Florida. I hope to visit many more places in the years to come (especially the Hawaiian islands!!), and what better way to keep a little piece of each place close by.

My beachy craft idea goes a step further, incorporating some tiny shells and a flip flop charm to turn it into a miniature beach scene. I attached the eye pin and chain to make it into a memento necklace, but I think I’d rather just keep my little bottled beach vignette on my desk to keep the beach within sight all year round.

If you would like to make one, here’s how:
beach in a bottle2

Beach in a Bottle

✓ One tiny buck store corked bottlebeach in a bottle3
✓ A couple teaspoons of collected beach sand
✓ Some tiny shells
✓ A small flip flop charm
✓ One small eye pin and a chain (optional)

Fill the bottle halfway with sand, use tweezers to drop the flip flop charm into place, then place your shells in the sand and just use a long needle to nudge them into however you’d like them to be positioned.

Voila! The beach in a bottle.

Which is the better choice—the husband or the cat?

Picture this: I am a weight scale; my arms are stretched out at my sides.

My husband (who right this moment happens to be hypnotized by his computer screen as he watches round after round of YouTube videos instead of changing the furnace filter, which he promised to do three weeks ago) sits in the palm of my left hand.blue eyes

My adorable ragdoll cat sits in the palm of my right hand, purring and gazing up at me with his big blue watercolour-painting eyes.

As I weigh the pros and cons, the hand holding my husband suddenly drops to my side with all the weight of a mountain boulder. The hand holding my cat has risen to hover like a fluffy cloud above my head. The cat has tipped the scales big time.

Why the cat trumps the husband:

1. The cat will never keep you awake all night with his snoring.
No need to wear earplugs. No need to keep poking him to turn over. No need to mash the pillow over your head until you almost smother yourself. The cat = loads of beauty sleep.

purina cat chow2. The cat eats the same thing every day without complaint.
A bag of Purina cat chow does the trick. You simply pour it into a bowl on the floor. You don’t even have to set the table. Dinner is served in 10 seconds or less and every morsel is consumed gratefully without one word of bitching.

3. The cat will never litter your bedroom floor with dirty clothing.
My husband still does not understand that the l-a-u-n-d-r-y b-a-s-k-e-t was, in fact, manufactured for a specific purpose. Our bedroom always looks like Mark’s Work Warehouse toiletafter the bomb exploded. The only time I ever see anything in my husband’s laundry basket is when the cat is in there taking a nap.

4. The cat will never leave the toilet seat up, nor does he sprinkle when he tinkles.
Consider this—If men were trained to use litter boxes we would no longer need separate bathrooms!

oats with shoes5. The cat couldn’t care less how much you spend when you go shopping.
As long as you don’t betray him by buying tiny pet clothing to dress him up in, he will always be ecstatic to see you walk in the door with twenty or more new pairs of shoes.

6. The cat is happy to watch chick flicks all weekend long.
The cat does not care a whit if some old Super Bowl or Stanley Cup or US Open or other game is on TV at the same time that you want to watch a rerun of Sleepless In Seattle. Best of all, his paw can’t hold a remote control so…no need to compromise. Ever.

dented bumper7. The expression on the cat’s face will not change if you confess that you’ve put a ding in the car.
He doesn’t even know what a car is, so there’s nothing to fear if you accidentally back into a rather large, annoying curb that rips off the underside of the car (which you’ve been forced to leave behind in the mall parking lot).

oats with yarn8. Cats LOVE yarn and they totally want you to buy as much as you want, as often as you want.
The cat will not shake his head when you return home with yet another shopping bag brimming over with sale yarn from Michael’s. Whenever I crochet the cat watches raptly, his eyes glowing with appreciation. He would never ever dream of referring to my projects “dust collectors,” as does a certain other person.

9. The cat is devoid of opinions. Therefore, your way is always the right way.
You can say whatever you want and there’s no response to contend with. No opinions contrary to yours, no arguments, no passive-aggressive sarcasm, not a peep. You are always right, as you should be.

10. The cat would never DARE to ask if you’ve gained weight.
The cat will not give you that look if you so choose to hoover up a mega-size order of nachos and cheese and then chase it with a Peanut Buster Parfait from Dairy Queen. He doesn’t care that you can’t do up the top button on your jeans, that you haven’t bothered shaving your legs, that you woke up with hair that looks like Neanderthal man’s, that you’re wearing frayed granny panties. As long as you’ve dumped chow in his bowl on the floor, you are a goddess.

Ok. I have to admit. There are a few pros for the husband:
cat licks butt1. He can be useful for fixing stuff around the house.
2. When the car breaks down, it’s his problem.
3. He mows in the summer and shovels in the winter.
4. He brings a paycheque into the equation.
5. He never licks his ass.
6. You don’t have to have him castrated to keep his hormones in check.

And the cat and the husband are equals in some areas:sleeping oats
1. They both lose their hair on a regular basis.
sleepy oats2. They both despise vacuum cleaners.
3. They both take an awful lot of naps.
4. They both have a bad habit of falling asleep while I’m talking to them.

Stay tuned for my future blog post: Which would you rather live with under one roof for the next twenty-odd years of your precious life—the kids or the cat?playing cat

I love to paint!

I’ve been bitten by the painting bug, specifically tiny acrylic paintings on plain vanilla ceramic tiles. As with any crafty pursuit, the simple act of creating something beautiful drains the stress of the day from your bones and leaves you feeling relaxed and joyful.

Here are some of my latest samples:painting_cabin in the woodspainting_love u for heifer

painting_chickadee

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