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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Etsy Shop

OMG, I'm a big kid now, and I have one.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

"Crazy Cat Lady"

We got a new kitten.

I frequently hear about how I am a "crazy cat lady", and I tolerate the label because it's become one of those ubiquitous statements that almost unconsciously rolls off people's tongues once they hear you a) have more than one cat, b) love cats, or c) share lots of pictures of said cats. (PS - I do all these things).

Seriously though, how could you not love a face like THIS?

(Hesitantly observing me sanding a dresser)


He's quite photogenic, and seems to understand that when I'm photographing him, he needs to stay still ;) 

Oh, hai (I can't - I simply can't)

Most people ask me how the other cats have handled the arrival of this furry interloper.  At first, they were a little wary.  My oldest cat (a male), wasn't really that interested in the kitten and basically ignored him.  Our middle cat (Smokey, gray and white, below, a female) ran away from the kitten.  She was crazy scared of this little one pounder.

Oh he's so scurry!

He was SMALL when we got him.  Definitely the smallest kitten I've ever had.  Vinny (his name) was bottle fed after being found on the street at 10 days old.  When we adopted him, he was about 6 weeks old.  

I iz cute.

The post-script of the story of inter-cat relations in our house is a happy one - they get along.  They all groom each other, and it not uncommon to find them ALL in bed with us (and ALL on my side of the bed thankyouverymuch.)  If I get up in the middle of the night, I have to basically slither back into position in order to avoid disturbing any of the snoozing felines.  My life is controlled by creatures weighing less than 10 pounds., two, and three.  Vinny on lower left, a little hard to see, but Cotton is lookin right at him!
Lots of rough and tumble going on around here.

Here is the whole posse hanging out on the couch next to me.

Though I was somewhat concerned prior to bringing home another cat, I have to say, at this point, the work load has not substancially grown or anything.  We have 2 litter boxes, and we buy more food, but all-in-all, the maintenance factor is not so bad.  After all, they are cats. 

Shabby chic kitten in the bedz


Cats at play.
Oh, I'm sorry, am I in your way?

 I do believe I will draw the line at three, however...because I only have a queen sized bed, and I sure do like to actually sleep in it.  More cats would overrun the thing completely.  Also, three cats fill my attention bandwith just enough that I can pay due attention to each of them. 

So we have three, and I'm not slated to be featured on Animal Hoarders anytime soon, which is a plus, even though by mainstream standards I've entered the sanctum of Crazy Cat Ladies.  But that's cool; I have good company.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


I love pinterest.  Love, love, love.

I can endlessly scroll through pictures and find inspiration in ways to make life a little easier, prettier, more fun, and sometimes, a lot more funny.

Anyway, one project I'd seen several times involved putting decals (letters, numbers, whatever) on a canvas, painting over the letters, and then peeling the stickers off.

Now, I bought the letters and I bought a canvas probably about a year ago, but lo and behold, the stickers would not stick to the canvas and the project was abandoned.

So then, we had this tray table.

Somewhere along the course of home ownership we acquired an unfinished wood tray table.  It did not take long to find out that unfinished wood does not do well as a tray table; it gets dirty, nasty, and icky quite quickly.  So I painted the table.  And then...I didn't like it.

I left it be for a while.

Then one day, it rained.  It rained and I was bored, and on this particular Saturday, I decided to take things to a whole new level and do something with this table.  Something crazy, outlandish, something....pinterest.

This was not a hard project and requires very little artistic skill.

First, I painted the table the color I wanted the letters to be.

Second, I applied the decals (which fortunately stuck to the wood)

I didn't know what I wanted to write, so I covered the board with the names of towns on Long Island, because I'm a Long Island girl, and I love it here, so I let the table REPRESENT!

Now, once you have finished applying your decals, apply a thinnish (that's a word) coat of the second color of paint you'd like to be the background of your piece.  I shouldn't have to say this, but I will - you should not use the same color of paint as you used on the table below because...well, you figure that out.

Then, after you've allowed the paint to dry, peel off your decals.  You will be happy you did not apply the paint on top too heavily, because the letters will come out better and peel off easier.

Here are some shots of my handiwork.  I painted the bottom with some light blue paint I had kicking around the house.

Some additional shots:

So there you go, folks, an easy project that you, too, can tackle on a rainy day.

Another fun craft inspired by pinterest is working with are some flower bouquets I've created...

Happy Crafting, friends!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

The realities of DIY

Remember this post?

Well, I finally at long last have finished the dresser project.

You can see the early stages of the project in the post above.

After the paint stripping, staining, repainting, replacement of knobs, repair of drawers, sanding of drawers, waxing of drawers, and pain-staking process of getting once broken drawers to fit again, the project is done.  I'm tired, and I've injured my elbow somewhere in the process of finally getting the last drawer in today.

Was it worth it?

Of course.  Not only do I get bragging rights (which help), but I have saved hundreds of dollars and enjoyed myself.  Some parts of the project were more difficult than others (i.e. I wanted to throw the drawer out the window and watch it smash on the ground below when I couldn't get it to fit for the zillionth time), and paint stripping is not for the faint of heart, but I have a feeling the next time around I'll use what I've learned this time and continue to improve.

And I LOVE making what is old new again.  I hope this blog has helped you consider the joys of rescuing classic pieces that JUST need a little love!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I will ART work you, dog!

Do you get the reference?  10 points for you!

If not, you might want to check this out for a little lesson in male posturing.


I'm a little all-over-the-place today, as evidenced by the meandering nature of this post.

So I don't know if you've noticed, but artwork is expensive.  Add a frame to the artwork, and you'll easily tack on another hundo to a price that was already too much.  And you know those Michael's 60% off framing coupons?  Oh yeah, they are a scam.  One lady tried to tell my mom that normally to frame a piece she had it would be $800.  Right.  Because who is paying $800?  Really?!  Stop.

When we moved into our house, a huge box of artwork from the apartment went into the basement.  In this box, many a frame lay for about a year while I figured out what to do with them.  Some were frames that I had neglected to fill, and others were art work I was mostly bored of.  Now, we had a couple of pictures that used to hang in my bedroom, but I was tired of the prints.  So, I opened up the frames and then, and THEN!


First, I should show you introduce you to the additional cast members in our story.

First - Picture Frame.

Now, enter Snow and Graham Calendar.  My lovely MIL has given me one of these calendars for Christmas the last 2 years and I love love love them.

Here are some samples of what the calendar looks like:  (all of these pictures are from the S and G website, linked above, I own nothing)

Lovely right?  Now, when the year is through, it really would be criminal to throw out these pretty pictures.  The calendar is made out of a card-stock type material, so the illustrations are on some pretty sturdy paper making them prime for re-purposing.

I've started to pick apart my calendar from this year already to create some art.

Meet Ms. February:

This little ditty found a new home within an old frame.  Because the matt was built-in to the frame (it had come with the store bought art), I simply removed the old picture and put the new one in its place.  TA-DA!

(the other graphic is from last years Snow and Graham Calendar...i love tulips)

I have not yet decided where these will live in the house.  Hopefully it won't take a year to figure THAT out.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Yard update

Because I love a good before and after:

So you say you want a cat?

It's no surprise that I love cats.  I frequently hear comments about how I will grow to be a "crazy cat lady", or how I better watch it before I have "10 of them".  Others are more subtle -- "So, um, ya really like your cats, huh?".

I can't help it.  I really do love them.  From the time I was a little kid, there were always cats in my house.  My dad also loved cats, so I blame him.  Imagine a German-American police officer coo-ing to a tabby cat - it's enough to melt your heart.  My husband, consequently, always had cats as well.  He likes our cats, although he hardly coos at them, and when I ask if he loves them, he says he likes them, and that he "loves people."

Cats are decidedly low-maintenance animals, which makes them a better choice for the working crowd -- some dogs are fine being left home, but we occasionally like to jaunt off for the weekend, so we'd feel bad having to make accommodations each time we did so.  Plus the whole picking up poo thing doesn't really appeal to me.

Our cats sleep for a large percentage of the day.

Whole lotta this going on...

Sometimes together....

Other times alone...
Or with - um, on - me.

Together like BFF

On top of mom's robe

Most people who dislike cats end up liking ours, simply because they are very social and friendly.  I have to give the credit to myself for this, because I'm good at selecting cats.  What a talent.  I attribute this to being genuinely interested and doing a lot of reading.  I'll recommend some books at the end of this post.

Things to keep in mind:
1) Is/Was the cat feral?  When adopting, be sure to find out if the animal is/was "feral" - meaning, wild, aka not domesticated.  If a cat has not been exposed to humans in the first 6 or so weeks of its life, it's not used to humans, and may end up being the cat variety who sits under the couch or bed for hours at a time.  Now, for me, I don't want to feed something that doesn't provide some love or engagement.  You should ask about the cat's background, and also, just observe how it reacts to you as a stranger - does it run away and hide?  Although this cat may "come around" a bit, most times you won't see a drastic change in behavior or temperment, so keep that in mind.

2) Does the cat tolerate being handled?  I always attempt to pick up a cat before I decide whether or not they are a good candidate for adoption.  I tend to swoop up the cats and kiss them or put them on my lap or what-not, and I sure don't wanna get bitten or scratched when I do so.  Also, sometimes we have little visitors in our house, and I'd be very embarrassed if my cat assaulted a toddler.

3) Does the cat get overstimulated?  You usually need to spend a little time with the cat to figure this out.  Some cats, for whatever reason, will bite you when they are done being pet.  Usually it's not a full scale attack, but it's a symptom of overstimulation.  It's not a big deal, but it's usually a deal breaker for me.  I want to have kids one day, and I don't want my cats biting them -- and we have guests over frequently, and the same goes for them.  I like to take the preventative approach to this one!

4) Kitten Vs. Cat?  When we got Cotton, he was full grown - the shelter estimated he was about 1.5 years old.  The implications here are that your cat's personality is developed, and "what you see is what you get" -- now, some cats are shy at first, esp in a shelter setting.  That's fine of course, but again, it doesn't really work for me.  I want a cat that loves all over you, so I shy away from the word "skittish", or "needs time to warm up", or "timid".  You may not mind if your cat is shy with strangers, but it doesn't work for me.  Cotton was extremely loving and social at the shelter, and he is even more so now that we've had him for 5 years.

Cotton at the shelter - look how skinny!

Cotton at the shelter, again.

Cotton when we first got him home.

Okay, I derailed there.  We got Smokey as a kitten - she was about 8 weeks old.  Freaking adorable.  Her personality, even at that time, was good.  I asked for the sweetest cat in the place, and I was immediately directed to her.  This was appealing for many reasons -- bringing a grown cat into a house with a grown cat already living there can be tricky.  At least a kitten is less intimidating to the cat already living there.  Second, I knew our second cat should be a female.  I didn't want to have territorial nonsense (read: piss spraying) going on in my house, so I figured two opposite sex cats would be less inclined towards male posturing.  Kittens are really cute, but they do require a tad more maintenance.  They need more "play", and they can be a pain in the A around bedtime, as they haven't settled into the sleep-all-night routine.  They need to learn how to use the litter box, too, but this is usually an easy transition, and I can't say we've had any issues there.

Smokey as a kitten -- that's my husband's hairy stomach, not mine.

Smokey girl as a kitten

Quick friends, thankfully.

5) Be aware - cats will get into everything.

Your wreath?  A perfect fit!
Drill bag?  No problem!
I can't read, but I CAN sit on them.

Oh, hi.

No box is safe.
You thought this was a tray for your keys....but it is a tray for  CATS.
When we first got Cotton, we didn't think our cats would sleep in bed with us.  We were wrong.  The cats are in our bed, on our couches, and really, everywhere.  We try to keep them off the counters and the dining room table, but I think we haven't been as consistent here as we could have been.  Cats will most likely scratch your furniture, even if you get one of those jazzy cat trees.  In fact, you might have a jazzy cat tree that they will completely ignore while f-cking up your couches.  Unless you are very vigilant with training (i.e. my mom....i.e. not me), you may need to accept that these things happen.  I try to be zen about it.  I usually succeed.  One thing that keeps me cool about it is that nearly all of our furniture is second hand.  Sure, would it be great if they didn't mess with anything?  Of course, but this is life, and I don't sweat it too much.

5) Cat HAIR will get into everything.

We have 2 (soon to be 3) shorthaired cats -- in that regard, we are somewhat lucky.  However, I still have completely abandoned buying black and navy colored clothes.  White hair gets on everything in our house, no matter how much we vaccuum, sweep, and try to keep up with it.  We are good about staying on top of the hair situation because we are used to it at this point, and it's important to me for our home not to be a "dirty animal house" - we've all been to one.

6) Litter.

For those who don't know, cats poo in a box.  Our cats happily share one box (they are wonderful), but in some houses, it is not uncommon for the litterbox to become a warzone.  If you are pregnant, you can't change the litter (lucky you), but otherwise, its another part of pet ownership you need to keep up with -- if you don't, you'll be reminded by a cloying smell of ammonia (i.e. cat piss) that could peel the wallpaper off your walls.

7) Knowledge is good.

I've read a number of books about cats (yes, I know, cat lady, etc).  I would strongly recommend all books by Vicky Halls -- she is a cat behaviorist in England, and her books are full of interesting case-studies about common situations owners may encounter  -- i.e. cats not using the litter box, cats not liking each other, cats and dogs, cats and boyfriends/girlfriends, cats and whatever....I've learned a lot from reading her books.

Overall, cat ownership is great fun.  They are easy, low maintenance pets who love sleep and cuddling (kinda like me).

Cheers mates.