Of Rats and Jen

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Camera Phone Picture Dump

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Folkcat's Fotos,Shopping Adventures — folkcat at 9:37 pm on Monday, March 9, 2009

Wow, some of these go back a bit.

December 8th, 2008 – Target store at the north end of Nashua

Click for larger image

We found these fused plastic recycled totes for sale for $5.99 each. I was amused and slightly annoyed. Fusing shopping bag plastic together to make a sturdier plastic to make totes, and even clothing, with has been a big deal in the indie craft movement since at least Spring 2008. This can be done at home with a simple iron and ironing board, and maybe some teflon pressing sheets.

Target’s tag claiming that “It took a combination of ingenuity and technology to create the Retote bag.” gives no credit to the source of that ingenuity – the independent crafters out there who are always finding new ways to use items that would otherwise be discarded. As for the technology required – like I said, an iron, ironing board, and teflon pressing sheets. Not exactly high tech. And certainly not invented by anyone at Target.

December 24, our living room ceiling:

A few years back, we had a nasty leak in our living room ceiling during the winter. The roof was bad, and there was a weak seam along a wall where the apartment above us is a couple feet shorter than our living room. Ice formed and backed up into the roof space there, and came in over the spot where my desktop computer was sitting at the time. (Fortunately, over to one side. Only a box of tissues and two thick books about HTML coding were soaked.)

The roof got fixed at some point, but massive amounts of ice and snow still accumulate in the area. I get paranoid about it every year, and every so often I’ll take a picture of the ceiling stain so I have a reference point in case I suspect it’s growing again.

February 19, Nashua Social Security Office:

My first time ever Kinnearing someone. I don’t know that I did it right, though – the picture is straight, in focus, and you can see my entire subject.

While Gryphon and I waited for our SS appointment, this delightful older woman came in. The colorful details on her coat are entirely handpainted.

I believe it’s a safety measure – the coat is full length and black, and the handpainting is all in metallic paints, which would provide some reflection for headlights at night. Brilliantly and stylishly done, and it gave me a nice smile.

March 8, My head:


View One


View Two

Yes, we cut that much off. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a long, long time.

I grew up with long hair. I remember that my mother never cut it until I was in grade school some time, and then she did it before my father got home from work because I think he would have protested.

Most of my adult life, I’ve kept my hair somewhere between chin and shoulder length. For years now, I’ve cut it myself, with whatever scissors I had at hand, and working entirely by touch. No one I’ve talked to about it ever thought I did it myself, or at least they were too kind to say so.

Lately, though, I’ve been annoyed by even the chin length hair. It can still flop forward and get in my face and eyes, still get caught in my mouth. Still bunch up oddly under my head and irritate me at night.

Sometime around a year ago, Gryphon had found a professional grade electric clipper at a rummage sale for $1, complete with manual and everything. He bought a little of the oil used to maintain it, and ever since has been cutting his own hair. When I decided I was ready to go short, I asked him if he’d be comfortable tackling my hair.

He said yes. And so, a couple of days later when the stars aligned and we both felt up to it, I sat down in a kitchen chair with a towel around my shoulders, and he started cutting.

On that first attempt, we didn’t go short enough. My hair has a natural wave to it, but an asymetrical one. As a result, the hair on the right side of my head did a nice little wavy dance towards the back of my head. But the hair on the left side of my head stretched out into the atmosphere, like a cantilevered balcony. I seriously considered adding some hair product for strength and building a little woodland diorama up there.

So the next night, we sat me down again, and removed more length. And the cut you see in these photos is where we wound up. There’s still enough length that my waves look kind of cute and flirty, but I don’t have any architectural structures flying off the sides of my skull.

For the first time in my entire life, I can wake up in the morning, run my fingers over my head, and I’m done. In the shower, “a little dab’ll do ya” is finally true for me. The first hair washing after the cut, and my hair dried faster than it ever has.

Best of all, it’s a look that works for me, is versatile, and we can do it ourselves at home, without having to spend money on it.

Nothing new to report on the ratties. They continue to eat and play and squabble. Isabella is definitely just one of the crowd, no two ways about that. We love them all so much!

A Call To Action; and, a Funky New Yarn?

Filed under: Blogfriends,Crafting Miscellany,Rats! — folkcat at 4:22 pm on Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I’ve made a few good friends amongst you, my readers. You make me laugh, you’re generally there for me whenever I need you. Thank you!

It’s not often I get to do a little favor in return, but an opportunity arose today. Leesa dropped me an e-mail telling of a contest over at Avenue Beads, where they sell “Unique Handmade Art Glass.” Seems they have a new colorway of art glass shards they’re planning to sell, and they’re having a contest to name it.

Leesa made it into the final poll with the name Amphibian. Remember that name, folks, it’ll be important in a minute. Amphibian. There are ten names being voted on to find a winner, and Leesa’s is one of them. A M P H I B I A N.

If you would like to help Leesa, you can go to Avenue Beads at this link:

http://www.avenuebeads.com/2008/06/15/name-these-shards-poll/

and cast your vote. Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. on June 21 (not sure what time zone that is), so don’t hesitate. Vote for Amphibian today!

(While you’re there, be sure to look around the Avenue Beads site – they do some really nice glass work!)

Good luck to you, Leesa!

A Rattie Yarn

This is a little fuzzy because I took it with my phone, but look at the new yarn that I found in my stash!

Rattie Yarn!

I wonder what size needles I should use?

The New Post

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Crafting Miscellany,Knitting — folkcat at 6:45 pm on Wednesday, March 5, 2008

New Socks

Mere minutes ago, I finished weaving in the ends on Gryphon’s second sock (Socks for Gryphon: Pair 4(SG:P4)).

SG:P4 - Done!

Pictures of them being modelled by actual Gryphon feet next time!

New Projects

Now that Gryphon’s socks are done, I’ll be starting on my Adult Surprise Jacket. I’m going to make this from acrylic worsted weight yarns I have in stash – and believe me, there’s plenty of that. It will be a scrappy jacket of many colors, which suits me just fine!

New Pets

Sourdough Starter
My First Yeast Colony

Mere minutes before writing this post, I stirred up this batch of sourdough starter.

I’ve been wanting to cook more real foods. But with Gryphon working second shift, and not home for dinner 5 days a week, there’s little incentive. I almost never get to prepare a dinner and set it on the table for everyone both of us to enjoy together.

We usually manage a special meal of some sort on the weekends. But I want to flex my cooking muscles more than that. It finally hit me – bread! We use bread regularly, it’s not that difficult to make, and it doesn’t need to be consumed the moment it comes out of the oven. (Though I’m sure that, until the novelty wears off, much of it will go that quickly.)

My favorite is a good sourdough bread. I know I could have thrown caution to the wind and hoped for a good yeast species floating around in our air – here in downtown Wilton, right on several main roads, in an old apartment complex where I doubt anyone has made real bread in decades. I decided that sounded a bit chancey, though, and went for the Fleischmann’s Sourdough Starter that I found in the recipes in MasterCook. (Once I can figure out why my FTP software isn’t loading, I’ll be able to provide a link to a TXT version of the recipe.)

Basically, it’s a big pot of glue – warm water and flour – with a packet of yeast mixed in. Put on the lid and leave it alone for a bit, and theoretically, I’ll have a sourdough starter I can keep perpetually alive to make bread from.

Fingers crossed!

New Crafts

This is a lucet:

Homemade Lucet
Homemade Lucet

It’s a homemade one, at least. A proper one would be nicely hand carved from wood, with aesthetically pleasing curves, a nice grain, and a soft sheen. This one is made of 18-gauge steel wire with a plastic coating, a piece cut from an empty supermarket gift card, and a bunch of blue self-adhesive grip tape. (The tape is usually used to wrap fingers and/or hands to protect them from injury in sports or manufacturing jobs.)

MacGyver would be proud, don’t you think?

A lucet is an ancient tool, used to make a flexible, non-stretchy cord. As you can see in this detail, the cord made with the basic technique is square. There are other techniques I’ve seen on the web that produce flat cords, and one very advanced luceteer (not sure if that’s a real word, but it should be!) that I found in England has discovered ways to make buttonholes and lacy trims on her lucet.

Lucet Cord in Progress
Close Look at the Cord

I have known vaguely about lucets for many years, but had no clue how they were used. (The Wikipedia article linked above has several links to online tutorials.) When I needed a cord of some sort, and couldn’t just use a length of yarn, my practice has been to make a crochet chain. But that’s asymmetrical, and not very attractive. Using a lucet, I’ll be able to make symmetrical cords that are non-stretchy and nice to look at, and I can make them to go with any project.

Then I saw Dave at Cabin Cove posting about his lucets, and the cords he makes with them. I was hooked! He has a pair of beautiful, wood, hand carved lucets. Luckily, he also provided a link to the merchant who made them – Lynn the Weaver. Lynn is a Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) merchant and woodworker in the Pacific Northwest.

Let me tell you, I searched the web for the best lucets I could find, and seriously – I never found any as nice as what Lynn shows on his website! I’m going to call him with my order for a lucet made of Purple Heart wood later today. Meanwhile, I’ll continue practicing with my little homemade one.

That’s what’s new with me. Crafty endeavors of one form or another, mostly, and I’m enjoying every bit of it. What’s new with you?

The Ebb and Flow of The Tides

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Rats! — folkcat at 12:45 pm on Thursday, November 1, 2007

I’ve been thinking about my crafting again, and how it seems that everything else I do has been set aside for all entrelac, all the time. What about my hexagon piecing? My Weavette looms? When did I last embroider a rock, fuse some Perler beads, or piece some Pixels?

All crafters go through cycles where their focus on their work waxes, then wanes. Sometimes it’s just your brain telling you it needs a break from a particular technique. Other times, outside influences force a change in what you do. I think the changes may be less obvious, usually, in a multi-crafter like myself, because there’s always something in progress. Until, like now, a single craft dominates for months at a time.

I think there are a few factors at play here. Christmas is certainly one – I’m focusing on knitting items for gift giving, and that, of necessity, pushes aside other crafts with less definitive deadlines.

Then there’s Second Life – an online world where I can be and do anything. I used to play EverQuest and Star Wars Galaxies – heck, I was one of the original beta testers for the latter – and part of me has missed having a virtual world to explore and “live” in. Second Life is fulfilling that desire, but it’s also added an extra drain to the daily schedule.

I think the biggest factor, though, has been the Rattie Sisters. They’ve been through a rollercoaster ride of emotions, ever since Star got so sick and Lola came into the family. They’re living, breathing, thinking creatures, and totally dependent on me and Gryphon for everything. So when they have a need, it has to come first. And they’ve been pretty needy in recent months.

I’ll touch wood as I type this next bit – with reality settling down for Sable and Lola, and the appearance of a peaceful concord between them, I might be able to start easing some of the other crafts back into my days. I really do want to keep on with the hexagon piecing, and finish the Pixel picture I made, sew together the Weavette squares I wove from my own handspun and make that pillow. The knitting is fun, especially when I can do so many entrelac bags, but with a little more freedom available, it’s time to re-introduce some of the other crafts.

Maybe – just maybe – I’ll take the hexagons to Panera tonight, instead of the knitting. That’s a thought. And then I won’t have to change the name of this blog from Crafting Jen to Entrelac Jen!

Arachnophilia

Filed under: Announcements,Crafting Miscellany,Folkcat's Fotos,Holidays,Knitting,Wayback Wednesday — folkcat at 1:56 pm on Thursday, August 30, 2007

…aka, Wayback Wednesday comes on Thursday this week.

I’ve got no crafting to show you, because I didn’t do any yesterday. A few of the fingers on my right hand are objecting to the amount of small work I’ve been doing.

I can’t entirely blame them. My crafting has been alternating between hand stitching 1/2″ hexagons together using a tiny little quilting sharp for a needle, and knitting socks on US size 0 double point needles.

So yesterday I gave my hands a rest. Not my body, though – I wound up doing the major portion of our grocery shopping for the week, involving 2 1/2 hours spent at an Asian grocery and two supermarkets. My legs ached last night, too, but we won’t have to pick up anything but odds and ends the rest of the week. Plus, I found a few interesting items to review at Shopping Jen in the next few weeks.

I started thinking about my Christmas knitting, too. I think I’ll avoid doing a project as ambitious as the Monk’s Travel Satchel that I knit for my brother last year. I haven’t finalized exactly who’s getting what yet, but I think I have a general idea of some things I can start knitting now, then assign to recipients later. The knitting involved is larger scale than the socks, too, so it’ll give my hands a good rest.

In the meantime, so far we’ve got a post without a picture. So I dug back in the photo archives to September of 2005 to come up with this photo of a spider that had built its web over the side surface of Gryphon’s gas grill.

Spider on BBQ Grill

I know many people are frightened or disgusted by spiders, but I find them amazing. Especially these orb weaver types, with the patterns they spin into their webs to draw in their victims. Spiders, and their webs, are among my favorite things in nature.

Coming Friday:

Today is Thursday, and that means Knitting Around at Panera tonight. So I’m likely to have some knitting to show you.

Also, tomorrow I’m going to debut Folkcat’s Freebie Fridays – a weekly giveaway of some cool prize or prizes. It could be something I made, or a collection of craft materials, or cool books. This week, I haven’t made the final choice yet, but I’m pretty sure it’s going to be a hand beaded bracelet, made by yours truly. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for your chance to win!

Revelry, But Maybe Not Ravelry; Done Pixelating, Still Socking

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Knitting,Ravelry — folkcat at 1:49 pm on Tuesday, August 7, 2007

It’s my birthday! I turn 47 today. No, I don’t mind saying that – the fact that I’ve lived another year on this planet doesn’t bother me.

Birthday presents so far:

  1. The nice, big, new cage for the Rattie Sisters. I wanted to do right by them so badly that I considered it a birthday present that we put money into that purchase.
  2. Two books from Amazon: More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch, and World of Knitted Toys by Kath Dalmeny. Browsing these two titles has been a delight, and I can’t wait to actually try them out.
  3. A nice, take-out dinner from Wok-Wok, our favorite local Chinese restaurant.
  4. Spider SpudMr. Potato Head: Spider Man Spud. Found this on a clearance table at the local supermarket, actually. I found the concept amusing enough, but was going to pass on it. Until I saw these words on the front of the box: “Includes Peter Parker Parts!” For some reason, that just sent me into a fit of giggles!

    Gryphon still thought it was a whimsy that would just gather dust. But then, I showed him this image on the side of the box:

Spider Spud Storage Compartment

That’s right – Spider Spud can pull his web, his costume, even his Peter Parker Parts, out of his butt! Well, it was a done deal at that point. Spider Spud came home with us, Peter Parker Parts, Butt Compartment, and all!

Online Knitting?

The jury is still way out on Ravelry. I know everyone out there loves it. But now that I’ve had a chance to look around, I just don’t think it does anything I need. I don’t have a need or desire to hyper-organize my stash. I can find what needles I have without having to go to my computer, log onto a website, and click through menu options until I get to the needle chart.

I keep track of my WIPs and FOs on my blog, fully documenting them there. I have plenty of online social interaction with knitters and other crafters through the blog as well, and I have several real world gatherings I go to every week.

If I’m planning a new project, I’m not much influenced by what other people have done with the pattern. Same thing if I’m trying to decide what pattern to use with a yarn – it doesn’t matter to me what other knitters have done with it. I’m not a follower, I think outside the box and make up my own route.

There’s a message system – okay, fine, but what if I don’t log in to Ravelry for weeks? I realize that may seem impossible to fans of the site, but if Ravelry isn’t offering anything I have a need for, I’m not likely to log in every day just to see if anyone message’d me. And I have yet to see a means for e-mail notification that you have messages.

So, I just don’t know. It doesn’t appear to be worth my setting up any of my own data there, I just don’t have a desire for that type of organization.

Ravelry is good and useful for the sort of people who thrive on online social networking sites. I just don’t think I’m one of them. I’m not going to close my account, but I may not use it much.

ETA: Just want to make it clear, while the above doesn’t sound very promising, I still haven’t given up on Ravelry. I may yet find something there that works for me, you never know. It’s just that most of what I see so far hasn’t given me an “Aha! I’ve been needing this!” reaction. But then, not all sites can be all things to all people, right?

Weekend Crafting

I finished it!

FO Pixel Hobby: Native American Dreamcatcher
Native American Dreamcatcher, from PixelHobby-USA

The last pixels were put in place on Sunday night. Next step is to use clear packing tape on the back to bind all these baseplates – there are twelve altogether – into a single panel. Then we’ll back that with foamboard, and put it in a frame.

Dimensions on the image are 12 inches high, by 20 inches long. This will make a striking centerpiece on one of our walls.

Having pixelated to a conclusion, I picked up the current pair of socks again. Socks for Gryphon, Pair 3, Sock 2 (SG:P3S2). Only did a couple of inches – I was watching some distracting shows (Design Star, Hell’s Kitchen, Who Wants To Be A Superhero?), and kept putting the knitting down. It didn’t help that I found a knot in the yarn, either (Regia Brasil). It didn’t break the color sequence, just shortened one of the segments, but I’ll have to remember to go back and weave in those ends later.

SG:P3S2, Half the Foot

Now that the Pixel Hobby picture is done, I’ll be picking up the mini-hexagon quilt again. Stay tuned for progress on that front!

Pixelating Along

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Rats! — folkcat at 2:23 pm on Wednesday, August 1, 2007

It’s taken me three days (at least two more than it should have), but I finally finished the ninth baseplate for my Pixel Hobby picture.

PIP - Plate 9

And here’s what it looks like in place with the previous eight baseplates.

PIP - Plate #9 complete

As you can see, we’ve started into some decorative elements that run across the bottom of the design.

I’m afraid today’s post doesn’t have much to offer besides that. I’ve been a little short on ability to focus this week. It seems that, even though Lola, Star and Sable are all living together in one cage, we still have a way to go on teaching Lola about how to handle attention, how often she can get it, and how long it can last.

I’ve fairly often needed to set aside all projects and just interact with the Ratties for a while. Lola needs to learn how to be part of the family, and Star and Sable need extra attention to make up for forcing a roommate on them. It takes my focus away from other projects, which is why baseplate nine took three days to finish.

I’m evaluating how much time they all get right now, and telling myself it’s okay to say “no” to Ratties coming out of the cage now and then. I really have to do that more than I used to with Star and Sable – Lola is just that active, running everywhere and getting into everything. It’s not like the elder Ratties, who calmly poke their noses into a few places, then tuck into a corner by my hip or a box on the ottoman to snooze most of the day. When the Ratties are out now, I need to drop everything else and pay attention the entire time.

I’m hoping to get to baseplate ten today, and see how far I can go with it. This project has been going for a while, and I finally feel like the end could be in sight!

Drip, Drip – See How Much I Love You?

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Rats! — folkcat at 1:31 pm on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Whew! I’m exhausted, folks.

Lola has settled in enough that she is still energetic, but isn’t quite as frantic, as she crawls on me and my chair outside Castle Rattie. But it’s still tiring just watching her, or sitting there while she explores all around me.

She’s also comfortable enough that she’s started pee marking as she runs around. She’ll, say, run across your arm, and there will be a couple little drops of liquid left behind as she goes. If there’s a smell to it, it’s slight enough that I can’t detect it. So I just grab a tissue, wipe myself up, then surrender the tissue to Lola who heard it come out and now demands to be able to drag it back to the nest.

Star and Sable never did this, but then, I’ve figured out with Lola’s presence that I don’t know how much I can use Star and Sable for markers of normal rat behavior. It seems that they’ve always been much more laid back than one should expect from female rats. But, as first time rat owners, who knew?

As for what the pee marking means, female rats seem to use it a couple of ways. They will pee on each other to indicate “this is a rat I like.” They’ll also mark places they like in a similar fashion. So I suppose my appropriate response is to take it as a compliment that Lola leaves little droplets on me so often.

I don’t have much to say about current crafting today. I did work on the Pixel Hobby picture yesterday, but not as much as I might have liked. I can’t have it out when I’m allowing the Ratties roaming time outside the cage. Especially Lola, who hasn’t met a single object she didn’t like to taste, and drag back to the cage if possible. In Lola, we’ve got both Sable’s love of tissues, and Star’s fondness for plastic objects, all wrapped up in one fireball of energy.

I’m hoping to get some more Pixel Hobby time in today. I want to see this project finished, and hanging on the wall. There’s only about three and a half tiles to go, then I have to decide what we’re doing about a frame.

Castle Rattie

Filed under: Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Crafting Miscellany,Daily Life,Rats! — folkcat at 1:16 pm on Monday, July 30, 2007

Well, my hopes to get out to a farmstand on Friday were squelched when Gryphon came home from his morning job and told me in no uncertain terms that he didn’t want asthmatic, allergic me to go out in the oppressive heat. I’ve seen him express concern about me and the weather before, but seldom with such conviction in his voice. So I respected his wishes and stayed in on Friday.

Saturday was a big day. Finally, all three Ratties would be introduced to the new, spacious home we’d bought them. Here’s a picture of Castle Rattie, in its place by my chair:

Castle Rattie In Situ

First floor, water, loose bedding, and Igloo; Mezzanine, rolled grains, pellets, and produce; Third Floor, sleep furniture and rugs. There are two doors, one located to the right between the first floor and mezzanine, the other centered on the third floor at the top.

We started the day by setting up bedding, food, and everything we thought the Ratties might need. The cage impressed us by how roomy it was – we had space for everything, and to spare. We were even finally able to use a large plastic Igloo we’d bought a couple of months ago for Star and Sable, but which didn’t fit in the old cage.

Star and Sable w/ Igloo
Sable (on top of Igloo) and Star, checking out the new digs

Once everything was arranged, we gathered up the Ratties, and introduced them into the new cage through the same door, at the same time. We then shut the doors, and left the house to do errands. We figured it was probably better for them to sort things out and do their exploring without us watching their every move.

We’d either come home, we figured, to a bloody mess and dead rats, or to a scene of relative domestic bliss. (We didn’t really expect carnage, but Lola is so…fizzy…that we didn’t know if she’d finally push Sable too far when they couldn’t get away from each other.)

We were quite pleased to find this scene when we returned:

Lola, Star, and Sable Sleeping Together
Sable in the Hammock, Star in the Cloth Bowl, Lola curled up with Star

So things are working out. Sable still gets a little annoyed with Lola, but we do notice that they spend more time together – or at least, not running away from each other – than they do apart.

Star, btw, absolutely loves the new cage. The ramps between the floors are much easier for her impaired mobility to handle, and she’s going up and down stairs more rapidly than she was able to manage in the old cage with the wooden bird ladders. Her mobility, then, has actually increased a great deal in the new cage, between full grid ramps with gentler slopes, and simply more space to move around in.

Lola runs around like a banshee on amphetamines. The good news is, the new cage has room to include an exercise wheel for her to run on. The bad news is that it will take a couple of days for it to arrive in the mail.

Meanwhile, I was pleased to remember that we still had a rat-sized exercise ball in the house. We’d bought it last year to try with Star and Sable, and they both absolutely hated it. Lola, while still not sure whether she likes it or not, seems to be quite willing to drive this thing around the floor at high speeds:

Lola In the Exercise Ball
Run, Lola, Run!

Star Watch

We have discovered a new tumor, a large bean-sized one hiding in a fold of skin under her chin. We’ll be watching this one closely to see if it hinders her ability to eat.

Star has already been having issues with her mouth and teeth. Her teeth have been growing in unevenly, and we’ve had to trim them several times now. And the stroke we suspect she had seems to have impaired her use of her tongue – where once she licked yogurt from my finger, she now nibbles it off in little bites, as if her tongue isn’t as dexterous as it used to be.

She’s still eating hearty, though we are cutting her vegetables finer to make sure she can handle them. And there’s been no sign that she has trouble swallowing, no evidence of choking. So fear not – the girl is still fighting as hard as ever!

Apple Crisp

In spite of our failure to get to a farmstand even on Saturday, I did pick up some Braeburn apples from Washington State at the supermarket. Okay, not as local as I’d have liked, but at least from this country. I whipped up a quick apple crisp that night, and, well – there’s a reason there’s no picture! Gryphon and I had inhaled the entire thing by Sunday afternoon.

The Braeburns turned out to be a great choice – not too sweet themselves, but good flavor for a baked dessert. I’m going to remember that. The other thing I did that I liked a lot – after the apples were sliced and in the pan, I sprinkled them with my favorite seasoning for homemade applesauce – Chinese 5-spice. Then I covered the top with the crisp mix – a simple blend of flour, brown sugar, and cold butter, cut together with a biscuit mixer. The recipe is from the Joy of Cooking, the edition from the 70’s. Best cookbook I’ve ever owned!

Pixelating

I’ve continued to make good progress on the PixelHobby picture. There are now eight tiles completed. That’s four each in the top and middle rows of the image:

Pixels In Progress (PIP): 8 Tiles Done, 4 To Go
Two Thirds Done

And here’s a look at the detail around the wolf’s face.

PIP: Detail of Wolf Face
Pixel Detail

Each of those little squares is a tiny piece of plastic that I placed on a peg on the baseboard, using tweezers. The squares are one-tenth of an inch – there are 100 of them in every square inch of the image. The final picture that I’m working on is 12 x 20 inches.

No, I’m not going to do the math. I don’t think I want to know! But I am enjoying this a great deal, and I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together at last.

Sable and Lola – Caught by the PappaRatzi

Filed under: Crafting Miscellany,Knitting,Rats! — folkcat at 2:45 pm on Thursday, July 26, 2007

I haven’t touched the knitting since Monday, at least. And I’m okay with it. The last two days, the crafty pastime has been working on the PixelHobby picture that we bought the kit for, oh, seems like many months ago now. It’s been very satisfying, too.

I’m actually thinking that I may steer my creativity into doing more cooking and baking than I’ve done in years. It’s hard to plan real meals when your husband works second shift, and eating around here more often resembles snacking, which isn’t entirely good. But I’ve had occasion to stumble across a new-to-me cooking blog this week, and her recipes and the way she writes about the food is inspiring me to think about the way I used to be in the kitchen, whipping things together on a whim, and making really tasty meals.

I think my first adventure will be to visit one of the local farm stands tomorrow, and pick out some berries or other local fruit to make a cobbler with. Yum!

You will, of course, be kept informed with photos and everything about how it turns out. Blogger’s Honor!

As for the knitting – I’ll be bringing Gryphon’s socks along to Panera tonight to work on. I suspect that socks will continue, regardless of my knitting slump. So don’t worry, the knitting content will be ongoing at least weekly!

Ratties, Caught in the Act of Getting Along

The Ratties continue to get little visitations and play dates. One of the ways I’m getting them used to each other is letting each visit the other cage. (Mostly Sable and Lola – Star is just too slow moving, and probably couldn’t deal with the high ramps in Lola’s cage anyhow.)

Last night, I was lucky enough to have the camera nearby while Sable hung out in Lola’s cage for a while.

There is still a certain amount of “Hey, new girl – cut your rowdiness!” going on from Sable. Here, we see the two Ratties just ending a brief boxing round, where Sable gave Lola a bit of comeuppance.

Sable and Lola - End of Boxing Round
Sable and Lola, After a Boxing Round

But then, mere moments later, you’ll see this scene – Sable carefully licking the fur around Lola’s face:

Sable Grooms Lola
“Hold Still – Your Face is Filthy!”

I think they’re really ready to be put into a larger cage together, all three of them. It’s believeable now that they are ready to live together in peace.

Sable and Lola - Peaceful
Sable and Lola – a Peaceful Moment

Of course, hyperactive young Lola couldn’t sit still for long – two seconds after the above picture, she had to dash over and check out the camera:

Lola - Camera Chasing
“Ooh – what’s that shiny round thing?”

Durned little starlet, that’s what she is! And we love her for it. (“Her name was Lola, She was a showgirl…”)

And Now for the Good News!

Gryphon gave the budget a good, hard squeeze today, and out dropped enough money to buy the cage! It’s sitting on the living room floor right now. Over the next couple of days, I’ll be getting it set up and ready for the girls to all live in together, and we’ll probably introduce them to it tomorrow or Saturday.

Hooray!

I will, of course, be sure to show you pictures of the girls all exploring Castle Rattie. This is going to be so great!

Next Page »