the helpers

I’ve been writing more lately, but not necessarily quilting or happy thoughts. So I thought today I would share some fun. I’ll tell you right now, if you are not a fan of cats, then you can read at your own risk.

I have 4, all of which were ‘rescued’. I have almost always had cats around, but when I got divorced I didn’t have any. And then Fred came along. We found him in the Walmart parking lot at dark as we were leaving. He was a kitten with a scuffed paw, black and gray (white but he was SO dirty)!

He still gets dirty like that when he climbs into the fireplace, looking for the birds chirping from above.

Kaela implored me to get him, so I did. Not for one moment have I ever been sorry for that decision. He’s a total mommas boy. He’s fat and half dog. Before he lays down to sleep he has to circle three times. He lays on the floor with his legs out behind him,

he licks the shower door when I’m done, and taught the other cats to do it too.

He lays on his back sparing no one’s vision of that big white belly.

I love him, even when he awakens me at midnight for a headbutt and some scratching.

But Fred got lonely when we left town for the weekend. I knew because when we came home he was super lovey and then would wrestle with my arm and play mean. And when he climbed the ladder he shot lasers out of his eyes at me.

So we decided to get some friends for him. We found Iris and Kelley at Petsmart during their Saturday adoptions. Kelley was fluffy with incredibly bright eyes,

Iris was angry looking and her tail looked like she had lost some fur.

They are supposedly sisters, but Iris has this motherly prescence, and Kelley has this needy LOVE ME PET ME PICK ME persona. She still chases her tail. They drink out of the toilet together. I have proof. What’s really funny is to watch one come sauntering out of the bathroom like nothing is new, and a few minutes later the other one comes out. Mhm.

They also drink out of any glass or vessel possible. Most often that would be the water glass next to the bed. Much like Fred taught them the fun of licking the shower, they taught him the art of getting water out of a glass his head doesn’t fit in.

If you scratch Iris just right in her ears, she drools. Scratch right above her tail and she licks like there’s no tomorrow. I mean, licks whatever is in front of her (like Kaela’s computer). When Kaela is gone for the night, Iris goes up to her room and drags down her assorted belongings. We’ve found socks, bras, undies, shorts, tank tops, blankets and TONS of barbie clothes.

Because of this instance, we thought for a while that it was Fred, and then I caught Iris in the act.

These two look like Russian Blues with long hair. After they got comfortable in the house, Kelley lost her weight playing Nascar all night on the stairs, and Iris fattened up and regrew all her fur. Sometimes you can’t even tell them apart.

Iris is playful sometimes, like around 10am she goes to the 2nd stair and sees something that makes her bolt. Then she sneaks back over, back twitching and attacks the side of the step again. Sometimes she plops down to lick herself, throws her leg up and just sits there. Other days, we’re lucky enough to catch her sitting on the couch like a true couch potato.

Iris has the most amazing amount of fur. I call her the nappy ho. In fact, she doesn’t know it yet, but she’s getting shaved week after next. This should be interesting.

And then theres CJ.

Kaela brought him home from their dad’s neighborhood the weekend we were in Galveston. CJ stands for Captain Jacks, which is where Joe proposed to me that weekend. CJ was a handful at first, with bad diahrea for the first month and trying to mark. He also hadn’t been fixed, so I took him to the vet and resolved these things. I had to take him back again because he had some allergies that needed treatment. sigh, high maintenance little guy.

Once he was fixed, he turned into a total kitten.

He playfully attacks every other cat in the house, feet under covers, awakes me with a wet nose on my arm in the middle of the night, or bringing his crumpled paper toy up on the bed to play with… His favorite toy is a blue bow he stole off a gift Amy had wrapped. He’ll play with it, then pick it up in his mouth and carry it somewhere else to play with.

He also meows incessantly sometimes. He will do that and go by the back door if he wants to go out, or by the pantry door if he wants baby food (stops the diahrea). Sometimes he just sleeps, for hours and hours and hours…

Most of the time he, um… sings? It’s like a trill and meow and brrrrrrrrpppp with TONS of tonal fluctuation. Like he’s really singing or saying something different to you. And then sometimes it’s just whining.

My cats are a great source of happiness and entertainment. I feel a great bond with Fred, and when I’m not well, he curls up next to my head for the entire time I’m down. Some people prefer dogs – I don’t know what to do with them. But I know how to make a cat purr, and I appreciate that little bit of attitude they give sometimes. Maybe because they’re like me. 🙂

I’d have 20 cats if I could. But I’m pretty sure Joe wouldn’t have that. sigh. I just love them all so much!

the fun of baby quilts

Let me start by saying that my baby is 10, and my other baby is 14. I’m still working off the baby fat, but I’m ok with that. We all have our own timelines for these things. Regardless of the absolute concrete rock-solid plan to have no more diapers grace this loving household (unless Kaela is babysitting…), baby quilts are one of my FAVORITE projects to complete!

First of all, the fabrics are always adorable! Tougher to find boy-oriented cutesy tootsie fabrics, but oh well. 🙂

Secondly, THEY ARE SMALL. This means the amount of work to complete one is exponentially less than completing a large bed quilt. Trust me on this one.

Third, they usually come as a result of celebrating a special event = an addition to the clan.

Now there are drawbacks. Minky, ultra-soft, fleece, whatever soft cuddly fabric you choose, it is A ROYAL pain to work with. That stuff shifts, stretches, waffles… I swear I could do without the fallout from cutting minky for eternity. And trying to get it out of your cutting mat is like trying to get the spaghetti sauce stain out of a tupperware dish after it’s microwaved to the boiling point. I call it: permaminky.

Despite the nasty nuances that tag along with working these fabrics, they really are soft and cuddly. In fact, the quilt below was made with all fleecy softy fabric for a friend of mine that just graced the family with a boy:

I quilted it with a triangular meander, which is pretty boyish and went along with the angles in some of the fabric. I found this fabric as a sample pack from a vendor and matched the back, which all worked out to be in his room colors! No pattern used, which made it pretty exciting; I just figured I would use the panels as a start and make squares and rectangles to fit around them. I added borders to enlarge it a bit and voila!

Unfortunately not all quilts are destined to grace a new baby’s crib. The one below was made in memorial to the mother, for this Mother’s Day. It is a gift from her wonderful circle of family and friends, as are the materials included in the quilt. A special onesie is embroidered on the front with her name and birthdate and a label on the back in homage to her support group. It is sad to share, but it will always serve as a beautiful reminder to her of a member of her family awaiting her in heaven.

I felt very special to be included in this project. I quilted it with all over hearts, and I think it couldn’t have turned out better.

Felt like quite an honor. OK I have to move on to something a little lighter…

This one was more fun – I found out my cousin brought home a new girl so I matched fabrics to the ladybugs and copied a pattern from a magazine. I put it together at a retreat one weekend. The loopy quilting matches the round shape of the ladybugs and the white on white fabric. So cute:

I made this cutie just cuz… the center fabric was on clearance at the shop, so I used it as the main focus and matched all those border blocks to make a simple but sweet little quilt! I quilted it in rainbow fans because they are in the fabric and, it just looks cute.

These two I made at the same retreat mentioned above. I had left over Peter Rabbit fabric, so tried two different patterns to use it up. I like the 9 patch best, but they both went to good homes. The blue bordered quilt was quilted in feathers and curls, and the nine patch (yellow border) has hearts all over it (which is the pattern of the yellow fabric).

I have actually made MANY quilts like these, but the ones below are made from CHILDREN’S CLOTHING. They have more of a purpose, because the child has outgrown these clothes, sometimes 16 years ago (seriously). But I like to be involved in preserving someone’s memories in such a special fashion.

Each quilt has it’s own unique purpose, for a different person, for a special reason. Each quilt is one of a kind, beautiful in it’s own right, no matter to whom it belongs. 🙂

Happy quilting my friends!