Photos of the Week ending 5-17-14 #CY365


This is CY365!   My photography website.    Follow me on Facebook.    On Twitter, I am@rteest42

11. Motherly Love

12. Check Up
13. Activity
14. Health
15. Relaxing
16. Self Discipline
17. Growth

I Used ALL of my prompts! (sometimes with the help of interpretive dance moves)

10358108_10204302273420933_2134705634_n11. Motherly Love ‘Nuff said. Love my Thuglee.
10344935_10204316039445075_174045326_n12. Check Up—A screenshot, not a ‘photo’ but need I say more? SUMMER is here.
10331758_10204324575778478_1574887677_n13. Activity—That little rose bush twig that I threaten to yank every year because it hasn’t thrived and is totally in the way always redeems itself with roses that remind me of Daddy Gus’s garden. (HIS red roses were rambling and prolific  and nothing like this sad twig.)
10356594_10204343386808742_1427419482_n (1)14. Health… Tell me you didn’t just close your eyes and sniff deeply? Be honest. That is two senses that are working well, sight and smell!
10356616_10204310985558731_138393321_n15. Relaxing.  Because Batman.
10346781_10204302823114675_629768280_n16. Self Discipline –Things you can’t believe you are saying UNTIL you are dealing with a toddler …”Don’t bite the cats tail again.” (Thankfully it wasn’t OUR cat who scratched her neck!) and if you ask where she got the scratch she says, in a very matter of fact tone, “I bit Bert’s tail.”  I recall reading once that 90% of disciplining toddlers is not laughing.
10364532_10204332556257985_345801874_n17. Growth This azalea must have heard about my plans to yank it a few years ago, because it had sat, basically stunted, giving a half-hearted attempt at flowering and no effort put into filling the space I had for it. But as I am slow to act upon these decisions (read—lazy) it stayed put. Two years ago, it bloomed. In AUGUST. And since then it has become a thing of beauty, rambling, wild, with very large flowers that bloom three weeks later than other azaleas.

CY365 Week ending 8/31 Photo a day…

Yup, heavy on the babies and kittens routine again. (work with what we have, no?)

25. Extraordinary In The Ordinary
26. Go Green
27. With Seeds

28. Rust
29. Fashion Statement
30. Bump
31. Bright Background

IMG_468025. Extraordinary In The Ordinary—  The everyday burger, dressed up. (could also work with 26)
20130826-20130826-IMG_533126. Go Green —Chesterfield County Fair (also could be 27)
20130826-20130826-IMG_530127. With Seeds —Tasty, juicy strawberry!
IMG_478129. Fashion Statement– Rather Pisces and water like colors this week. (Could also work with 26)
IMG_472531. Bright Background —Yeah, pushing it as to theme. But Neko is pushing Tatiana’s buttons by finally figuring out how to get onto HER SPOT. (Aka, the ironing board)

Bonus Video footage of the encounter!

IMG_4739Neko is learning how to operate a sewing machine.

20130826-20130826-IMG_5332Someone asked HOW can she look so innocent AND so guilty all at once??

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CY365—a photo prompt for every day of the year. My photography website. MyFLICKRphoto page. Follow me on Facebook. @rteest42 on Twitter

Sir Gandolf the Grey, in photos

…because he really was just too cute for words.

2010-Gandolf2010-Gandolf-52011Dec21-0292011-Jan 9-12012 01 05 Layla-322012-04-14-72012-09SEP-0262012-JAN 29-2

20120719-untitledfilegandolf in cabinetgandolf water



IMG_3653IMG_3733IMG_5434IMG_5527 copyIMG_5530 copyIMG_5545 copyIMG_5607 8x10IMG_5888 5x lguntitleduntitled-2untitled-2-2untitled-3Two post-surgical patients.

untitled-5untitled-6untitled-7untitled-8untitled-9untitled-10untitled-11untitled-24untitled-39Animals steal your heart, and they take a bit of it with them when they go….

RIP Gandolf… 2002-2-27-2013 He never met a box he didn’t like. (edited to add…  A blogpost by Timmy about Gandolf…)


My dad was a cat man; the story goes how when my mother was in the hospital giving birth to me, my father was home helping  Scrapper, the cross-eyed cat he brought home in a motorcycle bag, deliver her first litter of kittens.

He let me have a cat that lived with him that I named Tinkerbell when I was little.  When he died (two years ago today), I believe he was owned by about 6 cats.

I asked his girlfriend if I could have some of his ubiquitous flannel shirts (EASY to shop for at Christmas, plaid flannel never goes out of style)….I didn’t know what I wanted to do with them but I needed to own them.

They hung around the studio for a while, while I was trying to decide what I wanted to do, and then it occurred to me. Rather than making only one quilt with the shirts, or a number of wall hangings for all us kids, I could make stuffed animals—and cats seemed the obvious choice.

This is Meece:


I found a simple stuffed animal pattern on the web. Sorry, I don’t recall where, it was a while back. I wanted something with a minimum of parts, and nothing too fussy.

I totally ignored the fabric requirements. The pattern was only for the actual shapes.

This is what I did: (and, no, I didn’t take pictures)

  1. Wash all the shirts. Their weights do not have to be the same. (I had 4)
  2. Reverse engineer all the shirts (fancy way of saying take them apart!!!!) I used a seam ripper and pair of snips. Cut off collar, button placket and cuffs. SAVE BUTTONS. Open up the entire remaining shirt, seam by seam. LEAVE pockets intact. Do not worry if there are balding patches or parts that haven’t faded.
  3. Press with steam. Use starch if the fabric is really flimsy.
  4. Using a straight edge and rotary cutter, straighten the edges. Don’t cut fabric into perfect shapes. This is really about just eliminating some of the curvier edges. (you will end up with many sided, uneven geometric shapes )
  5. Purchase the thinnest available fusible interfacing, and according to manufacturers directions, iron all fabric pieces onto interfacing, wrong side touching fusible.  Cut away excess interfacing.
  6. Try to not worry about grain, pattern or any of that. Just take two pieces that have a similar length side and sew them together, with right sides together. (standard quilter 1/4 inch)  Press seam open. Grab another piece and attach this to one of the sides of the previous piece.
  7. You are basically making a big piece of fabric. Resist the urge to square off! You may need to snip off a bit so you can find a flush edge.
  8. Stop when you feel the piece begins to get unwieldy, or you can’t find a good place to sew onto.

Now, you are going to make cats! How many are you making?IMG_0044

  1. Find the primary pattern piece (biggest body, and face, for example.) Place the paper pattern anywhere on your new piece of plaid patchwork.  Keep in mind WHERE the POCKETS will end up when doing so (right side up, etc)
  2. Do not obsess about grain or any color matching.
  3. Cut out those shapes the number of times you need to make your cats.
  4. DO NOT toss your scraps! Keep cutting out your pattern pieces. 
  5. When you have a lot of scraps, sew them back together, like you did at the beginning. (straighten a bit, sew together, iron.)
  6. Continue cutting pattern pieces, “making” more fabric whenever necessary.
  7. Build your cats. Sew and stuff according to directions.
  8. Hint: Sew buttons on for eyes and stitch black whiskers before sewing or stuffing head.
  9. I made a little ‘dog tag’ out of Shrinky Dink material that I ran through the printer with a photo of Dad and a phrase on the back, which I put on the cats as a collar.IMG_4740IMG_4741

I sewed all the scraps back together a few more times, and made little 5 inch tall stocking ornaments that I did a quick blanket stitch around the top.  2012-11 NOV 28-2

The cats all found homes with his sons, his granddaughter, his sister, his girlfriend and myself. The stocking ornaments were given to other family and friends.

A hint or two : This fabric is valuable in that it is a memory and you have only a finite amount.. If you are making a lot or cats, or you are not comfortable sewing, you may want to make a mock up out of muslin, so you can see if there are adjustments to the pattern you want to make, before you start cutting.  You can always sew the mistake pieces back onto the new fabric you are making, and try over, but…. 

Also, if you feel that there won’t be enough fabric, you may want to run to Goodwill and buy a shirt so you have a little insurance. Or you could mix in some other family fabric item.

There is no reason this can’t be made from women’s dresses, dress shirts and kids clothing,—and/or! It’s a patchwork cat, after all!

(linking to Off the Wall Friday!)

DECEMBER 8, 2011 Christmas Photo A Day


Escher was bummed to find out that HE was not the subject of the Christmas photo session on Wednesday…

DECEMBER 3, 2011 Christmas Photo A Day

A bittersweet day. I have never given up an animal before, because they are family and you tolerate quirks from family, so you should from pets as well.

But we have two senior cats, and one is chronically ill. And then we have Rory. Who is 5 years old, and playful as the day is long, and who totally can’t understand why the two older cats have little interest. If it were just that, we’d probably work things out, but because of the aggressive tendencies of his play, he has caused destruction in the house via the others marking. Everything.

Having attempted for almost 7 months to work things out, Rory is going back to the rescue today.


My Christmas wish for him is to find a home with younger cats, or to be an only cat to someone who can lavish attention on him.

In better news, Arlie is moving in today!

The balance of cats to people is swinging again towards the humans—the servants will outnumber the served.

One Year…A de-cluttering tail (tale).

This week marks the end of year one with three cats in the house.

I am surprised we all survived. Seriously. I almost hesitate to mention it, as we have gone something like seven weeks without an accident. I feel we are overdue.


(GANDOLF. 8.5 years old.)

We adopted Rory and Gandolf last October, after our Hamish died suddenly. To say it’s been an adjustment is something of an understatement. Tatiana was left alone, and Timmy was missing his good buddy. He found Gandolf, and Rory came with him (or the other way around.) Whatever, they came as a set, and we agreed, considering their past history. Gandolf settled in rather easily. It was HIS house, right? Tatiana moped and hissed. (Perfectly in character.) Rory decided under the couch was a lovely home for the first few weeks. Beyond that, nothing major. They shared food. (Well, to a degree. All food belonged to Gandolf—and three bowls made it VERY hard for him, as he couldn’t eat out of them ALL at once.) They shared a litter box. They didn’t destroy the Christmas tree. Life was good.

IMG_5559 copy

(RORY 3.5 years old)

Something happened come spring. Suddenly, Tatiana was being stalked at the litter box. We got a second, removed the lid from the first, and have ultimately moved both to locations I would prefer they weren’t in. Gandolf spends his days lying in the doorway to the studio, or in the studio itself, always in view of Tatiana. Tatiana spends hers under the cutting table in the studio, or on the ironing board. Rory is off somewhere. Is Gandolf jailing Tatiana? Or, is he guarding Tatiana from Rory? We still can’t say exactly. Rory wants to play– he is a baby, a clown,  and these two sulky adult cats don’t like it. There is a LOT of hissing. There is a lot of fur flying. (Literally.) I spend my days thinking I am the mother of three toddlers, hearing in their hisses and growls, “Mommy, he’s looking at me; make him stop LOOKING at me!”

(What exactly, you are asking, may this possibly have to do with de-cluttering? Unless I am flinging a cat or three? Patience, young grasshopper. I am building to the climax.)

This, I could tolerate. Hey, who doesn’t want to be mommy’s favorite? However, suddenly our noses were getting a workout. Someone was not using the litter box. Was it Tati, because she couldn’t get to them without assault? Was it Gandolf, aggravated that Tati gets first dibs on my lap? Was it Rory for reasons un-guessed? Number 1 and number 2, but not every day, indeed, not every week. Just often enough. Gandolf had the nerve one night to go right in front of us in an empty cardboard box. The couch, the table, the floor….Someone decided since we abandoned them on vacation they should go on a pile of quilting fabric.

IMG_5571 copy

(TATIANA  11 or so years old)

Yes, FABRIC. Nervy, I tell you. It’s not a happy house. They are segregated for feeding, they are examined by the vet. They all get lap time. There is no proof of it being one or the other or the third, (with three exceptions), so they are ALL to blame. I spend copious amounts of time and money cleaning, washing, deodorizing, disinfecting, and then discovering some other place someone went, unnoticed.

And can I just on the side mention Rory never learned to groom himself? I don’t know if he was taken from his mother too early, but the boy knows nothing about cleaning his own backside, or coat. It’s not a good thing when you are a long-haired cat. It’s not something I have ever dealt with before. Cats like to groom!

Ok, ok. The de-cluttering part of the post. I ordered new carpeting for the house. A risky move with pee-ers, I know. But if you could see the carpet the house has now, well… circa 1980 and gross. It is time.  Anyway, they will be installing in about two weeks, and so I have a drop-dead deadline. A good thing for me. I am trying to do this the smart way, and not end up with boxes of things I don’t need getting boxed and then having to be unboxed. (Or worse, left boxed for months afterward.) So, slowly I am working on things in the studio, because it has the most “stuff”.

I discovered a plastic tray, with sheets of sleeved negatives in it, with a layer of dried out pee. OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOHHHHH, I was SO aggravated, you just don’t know. This container was apparently once in a location they could aim at. (Where I just pulled it from it was impossible, even for a cat.) That means that months back they did this, I didn’t notice and moved it after it had dried. I can’t get mad at them– they don’t know why I get mad at them WHILE they have a knocked over house plant between their teeth– months is out of their scope.

The sleeves seem to have made things better than they could have been. The de-cluttering part of the story? Last week, I was up in the attic, and opening one of the totes during my flinging, discovered I still had a bunch of darkroom supplies.  (I haven’t had access to a darkroom since 2002.) I put the lid back on it to deal with it another day. Classic procrastinators move, don’t you think?

I am now slowly removing negatives from sleeves, and rinsing in Photo-Flo–which helps dry without water spots–(circa B& H Photo back when they were still a hole-in-the wall on 17th Street, NYC) and hanging them to dry. Its a long, slow process. The moral of the story?

When “flinging” I suggested you think about:

  • whether you need the object,
  • do you use the object,
  • and if you needed to replace the object, how hard to come by and how expensive would the object be to replace.

Two potato peelers? If you have two cooks, I guess you could keep two. Six potato peelers? Can you FIND that many people to put to work, let alone fit them all in your kitchen?

Photo-Flo is definitely worth not flinging, as to get a new bottle when I needed it would have been somewhat less than simple.

It’s a VERY good thing the cats are cute.