I think Chowder is stingy.

Most of these are the organic catnip mice I made for them a couple of months ago.  Though I was disappointed in the way they turned out appearance-wise, they’ve held up really well and both cats seem to enjoy playing with them just the same.

Lately

Like the rest of the world, I’m pretty hooked on Instagram. Here are some pictures from the last several days. Two of my favorite things, as you can tell, are cute animals and sweet treats. Enjoy!

Maxine taking a nap on Dawn’s legs

Chowder loves sleeping on the back of the sofa.

This sweet guy showed up on our porch last week. He hung around until his owner came and picked him up.

Tabouli with Chevre, Red Onion, & Cherry Tomatoes

Avocado & Cherry Tomatoes on Toast

RolyYo is possibly the best frozen yogurt in the world, and definitely the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s pretty unbeatable with strawberries and blueberries.

MaraNatha Dark Chocolate Almond Butter & Strawberries on Toast

Being a Grad Student is Hard Sometimes

As was probably made evident by my extended absence, all week I’ve been paying for the fun I had last weekend.  I’ve been barely treading water as far as work is concerned–I have two presentations and two essays to turn in next week, plus a stack of Comparison/Contrast essays to grade at some point (not one of my sixteen students has dropped, which is great but also means more work for me).  So this weekend will be spent in front of the computer, drinking more coffee than I probably should, and eating foldover peanut butter sandwiches.  I’m sure the upcoming week will be more relaxed, and we have Mardi Gras break coming up, so I’ll have some cool (and in no way related to school) things to share soon. Hopefully this cute picture of Chowder will make the wait a little more bearable (since I know you guys are hitting refresh every fifteen minutes and tearing your hair out in frustration over my lack of posts).

Day Four: Learning from my Mistakes

More and more these days I find myself embracing my cat-lady status.  Cat art all over my walls?  Check.  Consistently covered in cat hair?  Check.  Talking strangers’ ears off about Chowder and Maxine?  Check.  I’ve even written some cat poems, which I think is probably the worst offense of all.

So, after completing my first stuffed cat last night before bed (just in time for my niece’s party tomorrow!), I didn’t hesitate before starting on my second stuffed cat this afternoon.  I wasn’t really satistfied with how lumpy the finished product was, so this time I lined the entire pillow with muslin for a (hopefully) much sturdier stuffed animal.  (I’ll be using the terms pillow and stuffed animalinterchangibly, since I can’t decide which one fits better.)  To make the lining, I sandwiched a gray striped tank top (right sides together) between two pieces of muslin and pinned everything in place so that I had a layer of muslin, two layers of gray jersey, and then another layer of muslin.  I then folded the whole thing in half (hot dog style), drew the outline of half a cat face, and then cut it all out in the same way I would a paper heart, leaving a 1/2″ seam allowance.  Then I unfolded it so that it actually looked like a cat face and sewed all the way around, stopping after each ear so that when turned right side out there’s a 6″ to 7″ gap at the top of the head.  This easily accomodates my embroidery hoop and leaves plenty of room for me to work on embroidering the sleepy and awake faces on the front and back.  I’m hoping that the top of the head will be a less conspicuous place to sew the whole thing up once stuffed, since I wasn’t happy with the way it looked on the chin of the previous cat.  So far, all I’ve completed are the sleepy eyes.  I’ll probably be working on this one at a much more leisurely pace since I’m not dealing with a deadline, and the next week of school promises to be busier than this one was (at least I’m not counting on two more sleet days, but who knows?).

Now that I’ve seen this photographed, I’ll admit I think I was subconsciously inspired, at least as far as the head shape and color palette are concerned, by these adorable Kitty-Cat paper dolls I saw on ModernCat yesterday.  So sweet!

Day Three: Completed Kitty!

Including the time it took to take pictures of this little guy, I think I barely squeaked by in time for this to count as day three.  Tonight I finished this cat pillow to give my niece at her fourth birthday party tomorrow!  Having never made a stuffed animal quite like this one (though I made a similar owl, also from a tank top, a while back), I’ll admit there are things I’ll definitely do differently next time.  And since I promised a cat like this to someone else almost a year ago and still haven’t managed to deliver, I’ll be making another one sooner than later!  All of the embroidery was freehanded, which explains why things aren’t quite symmetrical.  Still, I think it gives each animal a distinct personality I’ve found to be lacking in a lot of store-bought toys.  The reverse applique for the eyes on the “awake” side of the face was by far the most challenging aspect of this project–at least the first eye was challenging.  By the time I got to the second eye I had a better handle on what I was doing, which is why the right eye looks so much better than the left.

A special note: this pillow was modeled after a cat pillow that belongs to my dear friend Melody.  She’s had hers since she was small, but I’m not sure exactly what it looked like originally because it’s been thoroughly loved over the years and doesn’t have much of a face left.  I can only hope this one is lucky enough to suffer a similar fate!

Day Two: Cross-Eyed Kitty

Still a work in progress!

My first attempt at a sort of reverse appliqué with a bit of muslin left over from a previous project.
It wasn’t my intention to make this kitty cross-eyed, but I kind of like how silly it’s turning out. I just hope it doesn’t scare my niece!

Day One: Sleepy Kitty Pillow

Today I began working on this stuffed cat pillow (made from a gently-used tank top that no longer fits) for my niece’s birthday this weekend.  On the opposite side I plan to embroider a more awake-looking “day time” face, then sew it up and stuff it.

Happy Friday! (Or, Cats Don’t Understand the Concepts of School and Work)

Chowder isn’t much for book learnin’. He’s actually waiting for Dawn and me to leave the room so he can dig in/eat the plants next to this bookcase.

Most of the time I’m equally cheerful throughout the week, but the past couple days have been very busy, and I woke up tired today.  There’s pretty much nothing I’d rather do right now than crawl back into bed and sleep a couple more hours (or days).  Since I can’t do that, I thought I’d share some cute cat pictures this morning.  On days like today I’m jealous of my cats because they don’t have to go to school or work.  In fact, they refuse to do anything they don’t want to do and spend most of the day sleeping together on my bed in the sun.

Maxine will lie on whatever she feels like, even a pair of scissors I’m in the middle of using.

What a dreamy way to spend the day.

The Laziest Cats in the World

Yesterday was not a good day. The night before last I went to bed nervous, and the when I woke up yesterday morning that nervousness had almost turned into panic.  I spent a large part of the morning chewing my fingernails and trying to distract myself with HGTV. Chowder and Maxine, however, were entirely unaffected.

the biggest feet in town

the biggest belly in town

Needless to say, this home buying thing has stopped being fun.  We thought we’d found the perfect house for the third time, and yet again it didn’t work out. I spent a large portion of yesterday sulking, eating fake hot dogs with a lot of Wickles relish (so fly, but that’s a post for another time), and watching David Bromstead’s Color Splash in my pajamas.  Yeah, I know, that’s a pretty lame thing to do.

But I’m feeling better today.  I have a few new beauty recipes I want to try out, and there are some baby tomatoes on my tomato plant (pictures coming soon), and we’ve put another offer on another house.  Still, we’d really appreciate it if you’d cross your fingers, send us some good vibes, or say a little prayer in our favor.