The Sleeping Shelf

cats sleeping

This is the view in the wintergarden on this fine September afternoon. It’s nice and quiet here, and it turned into a beautiful day, which means that the wintergarden feels like a sauna, and the heat is migrating into the Studio. Shadow and Patches are in heaven on their sleeping shelf under the windows. I’m hanging out in the back room at the beading table, trying to stay cool(er)! Hmm, I don’t think I ever shared a picture (or the story) of my new beading area.

Perfect Sewing Caddy double towers with a table top from HinterbergI really wanted to order one of these Perfect Sewing Caddy double towers with a table top from Hinterberg, and I was willing to pay for it. What I wasn’t willing to do was pay them $250 to ship it over here. Sheesh. I realize it’s wood and all but, well, never mind. I wasn’t ready to spend $1,100 total on the thing.

A quick trip to Ikea (well, as quick as trips to Ikea ever are which is to say, pack a lunch, you’ll be there a while…) produced something even better, quite perfect actually, for less than half the price:

Beading Table

Three separate pieces: two bases on wheels with drawers (lots and LOTS of drawers!), and a tabletop, and I’m in business with plenty of space for all the little bits and bobs, beads and bangles, tools and fibers I’ve collected for a good part of my life. ITMan did have to do the “some assembly required” (more like “all assembly required” actually) but we’d have had to do that anyway with the pieces from Hinterberg. Get a load of these drawers:

Beading Table drawers

Six drawers in each base, four shallow and two that are deeper. Awesome. And perfect. Did I mention this was perfect?!? And being less than half the price only adds to it’s perfection. It’s more than a “Beading Table,” it’s an Embellishment Station. So now I can go hide out in the relative coolness of the “Library,” or back room, or Little Studio, or whatever it is when it’s too hot in the Studio, and play with all the bits and bobs, beads and bangles, tools and fibers, and I can even close the door if the other residents of the house are gettin’ on my last nerve.

And the cats? Well, they’ve finally decided they’re well done and have had to remove to the floor in the studio for a break:

Getting out of the heat!

Patchwork Times: Banker cat does not approve ur loan

Since I don’t want to come roaring in here with a rant at the moment, especially after being absent for a week, this will be a (probably long) newsy, update sort of post. (I’ll save the rant for tomorrow or the next day, when the red mist in front of my eyes may have died down to a calmer color.)

…what the answer really is is that we could be forced to move, but it’s not a quick process…

On the landlord front, Jane Ann reminded me that I’d left you all hanging out over a cliff on the banker issue. I did contact the legal office, and truth, they weren’t much help other than to say that if there turned out to be some big problem, like foreclosure, that we couldn’t be forced to move, and that we’d be instructed to pay our rent to a custodian for the bank. After further questioning on my part, what the answer really is is that we could be forced to move, but it’s not a quick process, and if the house is sold while we’re in it, the new owners have to “show” that they really need to live in the house before we can be asked to move. I wonder who decides whether they’ve “shown” that they need to live in the house satisfactorily?

So the banker came and went, and so did the landlord’s friend, and I think the banker thought it was all pretty strange. I just let the friend handle it, and ignored the whole process. The banker asked me no questions, and when they left, the friend made some weird hand motion to me (when the banker wasn’t looking) like she wanted me to call her on the phone to discuss. Um, no. I decided that if she wanted to chat about what her friends my landlords were up to, she could call me on her dime.

I’ve heard nothing from any of them since. I still don’t have any contact information for the landlords in Canada which they promised to forward to us once they were settled (I only have the phone number of the friend here in our area), the “handyman/yard guy” hasn’t shown up to prune the cherry tree or whatever it is in the backyard like they all told us he would the day we received access to our garage, and yesterday we received yet another strange letter in the mailbox for the landlord, though not from the Finanzamt in Sinsheim this time at least. *shrug* I think the saga isn’t over, but I’m at a complete loss to predict what will happen next.

Fast forward to the last week or so: GuitarGirl’s new job is taking some major getting used to. The job is going great for her, but the Taxi Mom job is a total productivity killer for me, and it makes meal planning for dinner, um, “interesting” is not quite the word I’d choose, but nothing else I can think of is fit for company. ITMan ends up picking her up from work sometime between 7 and 8 p.m., which really blows the usual 6:30 p.m. dinner time out of the water. One evening last week we actually had just finished eating at 8:45. Not my idea of how things should go, but hopefully with better planning things will get more coordinated in time.

I did get the Arts & Crafts Manager and one of the other long-time employees alone and ask them if I could be a mom for a minute and ask how she was handling the job. They both were very complimentary about her, and said she was doing great. All my happy mom buttons got pushed, and I was feeling all warm and fuzzy for her. She seems to like the job and the people she works with, though she’s going through a bit of adjustment as well, of course, and learning to balance school and guitar practice and work and what free time she has left without being a grouch! She’s definitely looking forward to that first paycheck, but if she keeps borrowing money from me in the meantime, she won’t get to keep much of it!

In kitty news, Shadow’s been ill, with some non-specific tummy troubles. Much vomiting since Monday morning (what a way to spend Labor Day, eh?), two trips to the vet, $200+ later, and I’m still not sure he’s getting better, though I have more hope this evening than last. He did eat his special diet food this evening, and managed to keep it down and wants more, so things are looking up, but I’ll not be convinced until I get through a night without waking to the wonderful sounds of, well, … never mind. I’m sure those of you who are owned by one or more cats know exactly what sounds I’m talking about here.

he sniffed once or twice and looked up at me as if to say “Seriously?!?

After Monday’s visit to the vet clinic, we were instructed to feed him a special diet of boiled chicken and rice. Yeah, right. I got up early Tuesday to fix said diet of boiled frozen chicken thigh and white rice, which he sniffed once or twice and looked up at me as if to say “Seriously?!?” After the second trip to the vet clinic Wednesday evening, we came home with a 3 Euro small can of Royal Canin food for sensitive stomachs. 3 Euros!! 😯 That’s $4.30 for a can of cat food the same size as a can of Friskies from the Commissary that costs 39 cents! The vet also gave me some matching (coordinating?) dry food in sample bags that were free, thankfully, so we may try him on some of that later tonight or tomorrow. Oh, and we got pills, lots and lots of pills, which I have the dubious pleasure of shoving down his throat. I’m just hoping that this stomach issue doesn’t turn into a sudden and severe allergy to regular cat food, forcing us to purchase “special diet” food for him for the rest of his life at a cost of thousands per year. Then he’ll be even more of a money pit than he’s already been for most of his short life.

All of this rigmarole with the cat has my fun meter pegged, I tell ya. I’m such a nice mommy that I let him sleep on my chest or stomach at night, and I don’t make him move like I usually would after a bit since he feels so rotten and I’m such a sucker. The result of this is that my back is totally unhappy, again. It took me a couple of days to even figure out what I’d done to my back, but then it finally dawned on me that 11 pounds of sleeping cat is probably not a great thing to leave on your stomach or chest for extended periods, like most of the night. And I’m not a back sleeper anyway, so it’s no wonder I’m waking up needing a wheelchair, hot packs and muscle relaxers. And a massage. Is there a masseur is the house?

Quilt days like that are golden, and go a long way toward offsetting the rest of the dreck that life has a habit of tossing at you.

Oh, and I suppose since this is ostensibly a blog about quilting, you’d like to know if I actually do quilt or if I just prattle on (or rant?) about all this other stuff that goes on around here. Yes, I have been quilting, and as a matter of fact last Sunday (before cat/vet drama and in between Taxi Mom duties), I was a maniac. I had the most productive quilting day in months, working on about three different projects throughout the day, and progressing on all of them. A little sewing here, some pressing there, a bit of embellishment in the middle, and everything went as well or better than planned. Quilt days like that are golden, and go a long way toward offsetting the dreck that life has a habit of tossing at you. I wish I could figure out the magic formula for those golden quilt days, but I’m sure it’s just a spontaneous thing, like all nine (or is it eight? ten? I can’t keep up) planets being aligned or something.

Okay, there, you’re all caught up on the minutiae, and I can plan on letting fly with a good rant on the morrow after the redness clears a bit. I’ll give you a hint: IQA and Quilt’s Inc. have just been permanently bumped from my “happy quilt show” list after the return of the last quilt I sent them for exhibit. I won’t promise to be gentle, but I will be accurate in the details.

And about Banker cat? Well, that phrase just popped into my head, and it seemed to fit all the disparate themes in this post. I went looking for the source, and all I found was this LOLcat pic at I don’t know whether that’s where this little phrase originated, but I did get a chuckle out of the cat!

funny pictures
more animals

Quilting with K

Look who’s here:


Kimberly came to visit last week, and we had a blast! We quilted (a little), shopped (a bit), ate (lunch and pastries), and gabbed (a lot)! She brought me a pile of goodies:

The goods

How cool! There’s Kimberly’s Easy Hearts cutting template, a nifty little rotary cutter to go with it, her Easy Star & Geese ruler, and a Simplicity apron pattern. How awesome is it that she has a Simplicity pattern with her name all over it?? And the best part:

More goods

She brought me my very own copy of her book, Quilt a Travel Souvenir, and signed as well! I’m much more of an armchair traveler than most, and I really enjoyed reading about her European travel experiences that inspired the quilts in the book. It’s truly a beautiful book, with such creative, yummy quilts! I’ve already planned a quilt using the Easy Star & Geese Ruler, and the Easy Hearts template may have inspired something as well.

Kimberly and I have decided to make this quilt/eat/shop/gab thing a regular happening every couple of weeks or so. I don’t expect we’ll run out of things to talk about, that’s for sure! The problem might be actually getting anything quilting-related done while we’re together! Which isn’t really a problem, after all. 😉 I’m sure Shadow will be pleased:

Kimberly & Shadow

What is it with this cat? He totally charmed Kimberly, by only showing his cute, calm, lovable side while she was here. Everyone who visits thinks he’s just precious and such a good kitty! They obviously don’t know the real Shadow, since he’s always on his best behavior for guests. Sheesh. He did steal Kimberly’s chair the moment she got up, of course, but that only endeared him to her even more it seemed. Hmphf. I’m sure his true nature will out eventually! Patches played least in sight, being the big, fat, chicken cat that he is. Maybe Kimberly will get to see him at some point after she’s come around a few times. He’s the true cute one, after all.

Kimberly treated me much too grandly while she was here, I must say! “Thank you” just doesn’t quite cover it! We had such a great time, and I can’t wait to do it again in a couple of weeks!

A Series of Unrelated Rants

Why?? Because that’s what I’m feeling like today. And these probably have nothing to do with quilting, unfortunately. I’d even be happy to be working on some quilting project that wasn’t going well, as opposed to not quilting at all, which is how it is right now. Anyway,

Rant #1: Six weeks ago or so, in preparation for the move, ITMan cleaned out the storage room. Um, let me rephrase that so that it actually fits with reality: Six weeks ago, in preparation for the move, ITMan was supposed to have cleaned out the storage room. Okay, that’s better. I had planned to be around for this big event which was likely to take the better part of two days, because I knew there was stuff in there that I would need to a) prompt him to GET RID OF, and/or b) look through myself and decide what to do with it.

Somehow I wasn’t around for a good portion of that first day, though I have no idea why at this point. When I came home and he said he was done ( 😕 ) with the whole storage room project and he’d cleaned out and gotten rid of everything that needed to go, I was very skeptical, especially when the only things that needed my attention and decision making abilities were two little bags of stray Christmas decorations that he didn’t know what to do with for some reason.

Even under close, repeated questioning, he swore that the job was done. Flash forward to last Saturday. He went into the storage room to locate the old ceiling lamp that was hanging in the dining room when we moved in, so that we can replace it and take the one we installed with us when we move. He didn’t even think it was in there, though I KNEW it was, and I couldn’t understand why he was so confused about it since he’d just been in there a few weeks before cleaning and sorting, right?

Right. He starts pulling stuff out to try to find the lamp, and I start seeing things that shouldn’t even still be here. Many, many things, all of which should have gone bye-bye six weeks ago when he supposedly cleaned the storage room out. Two SUV loads left the house yesterday, most of which was from the storage room, and we only got through half of it. What exactly did he do six weeks ago? Got me! Continue reading “A Series of Unrelated Rants”

Things that keep me from quilting #11: Severe cat reactions to vaccinations

NOTE: If you have found this post through a search for “cat reactions to vaccinations” or something similar, STOP!

If your cat (or dog) is experiencing any of the following symptoms after a vaccination, take your pet back to the vet IMMEDIATELY:

  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • whitish or pale gums in the mouth
  • facial swelling or hives
  • rapid or difficult breathing
  • restlessness or difficulty settling down

The above symptoms may mean that your pet is going in to anaphylactic shock and needs IMMEDIATE medical attention to survive!

Severe reactions to vaccinations can be life threatening and are a medical emergency! Don’t wait and wonder, have your pet checked by a veterinarian ASAP!

My cat had a severe reaction to a rabies shot (I firmly believe), and only immediate medical attention saved his life. Though I’m not a vet, I’ve had cats all my life and I’ve done the research about the symptoms. Please, take care of your pet NOW, and then come back and read this post!

ALSO: Even if your pet wasn’t recently vaccinated, any of the above symptoms can still indicate a potentially life threatening condition, and your pet should be seen by a veterinarian! Insect bites or stings (and many other things as well) can also trigger anaphylactic shock, and your pet may have been stung without your knowledge. Take care of your pet NOW, and then come back and read this post!


Monday wasn’t pretty. The rest of the week hasn’t been quite as bad, but it’s not been a picnic either. But back to Monday’s issues: I took Patches and Shadow to the American vet on the Army post to have their shots. Now I usually (at least for the last year or so) don’t even do this because they don’t ever go outside, and they only see each other, and I’m still not completely convinced that it wasn’t a vaccination a couple of years ago that made Patches so sick and nearly caused his death. Yes, he was THAT sick. The vet says the vaccination was probably not the cause, but probably isn’t certainly.

This year, because of the move, I decided that vaccinations would probably be a good idea, despite my misgivings about Patches. There will be a lot of people wandering in and out of the house, so you never know what could happen with a cat getting out the door, and the house we’re moving into has been home to at least one dog for many years and who knows what kinds of germs or whatnot are there in the new house. So off to the vet we went.

After waiting over an hour to get seen, the staff then tried to tell me that the reason for the wait was because they had a military working dog come in to be seen. Um, right, would that be the one I saw walk through the door, unassisted and obviously not in need of any emergency care, about 15 minutes ago? Such great service we get here from the Army.

We finally saw the vet, and we chit-chatted about general health issues like teeth and weight and the like. Yes, Patches is still the fat boy at 17.5 lbs., but Shadow has finally outgrown his baby fat and is perfectly sized at 10.5 lbs, just like I figured he would be, though the German vet kept telling me he was too fat as well.

The vet gave them their shots and away we went toward home. Now remember that they’ve been in the cages for, hmmm, let’s see, over 2.5 hours at this point and are stressed. We arrived at home only to find that Shadow had used the cage as a litter box, and that was only the beginning of his symptoms over the next couple of hours, which included vomiting and diarrhea all over the house, and hives and facial swelling. He was having a severe reaction to one of the shots, probably the rabies vaccination, and going into anaphylactic shock. Continue reading “Things that keep me from quilting #11: Severe cat reactions to vaccinations”

The cat and “his” quilt

Okay, we quilters know that any quilt is the cat’s quilt if and whenever he wants it and can get to it to decorate it with his fur, but sometimes they do have their own quilts as well. Shadow has his up on top of the shelf unit that serves as my computer desk. It’s nice and warm up there, and he can see the world, or make plans to pounce on Patches when he comes in the room:

Shadow's quilt

This particular quilt really is a cat quilt, since the pattern is pieced kitties and flowers. I made this years ago, way back in the beginning of the whole quilting addiction. It wasn’t always meant to be the cats’ quilt, but somehow along the way it became one. Our old kitty CB used it daily until she passed away, and then it sat in a bag for a bit until GuitarGirl would let me wash it. She was quite attached to CB, and was adamant that I not wash the quilt after CB went to kitty heaven. Now Shadow uses it almost daily.

I quilted it with some decorative machine stitches that were on my Pfaff 955 that I had back then. I had no clue what I was doing, and I couldn’t figure out how else to quilt it. The binding is a bit on the sad side (had no idea how to do that either at the time), and now it’s coming undone in the bargain. I’d take a picture of the actual quilt (once he gets done with his snooze), but it’s likely so covered with cat hair that it wouldn’t actually be worth it! I dug the pattern out of the closet and scanned the font of it:

Kittens in the Garden quilt

Even back then, I couldn’t just make the pattern like it’s shown; I had to make things complicated and do a black background, and then some of the flowers were too dark, and I think that added to the whole “how do I quilt this” quandary. The pattern even had suggested quilting designs in it, but that was also before I knew how to free motion machine quilt, there were too many curves in the quilting patterns, and I wasn’t doing it by hand for sure!

Being the packrat that I am, I’m keeping the pattern around. It’s not available anymore as far as I can tell, and you never know when you might need something like this for whatever reason. (I use that reasoning for a LOT of things which is why my house is too small. Note that I don’t have too much stuff, it’s the house that’s too small!) I don’t think I’d ever make it again, but maybe one of my kids will someday. It doesn’t take up much space in the overall scheme of things. 🙂