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??

Have you looked at my newly redesigned photo galleries? Tell me what you think!

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

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IMG_3500IMG_3508

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… http://tobthebat.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/godspeed-the-wizard-and-the-king/  A blogpost by Timmy about Gandolf…)

Kitty….

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:

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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!)