Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Without Exception

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin — folkcat at 4:26 pm on Monday, September 22, 2008

Any and all e-mails that I receive that are politically themed will be deleted without reading. This includes forwarded newsletters, statements of support for any candidate or cause, and even humorous material about the campaign or politicians.

I realize that politics is part of life. But I consider it a highly personal and private matter, and not one for discussion.

A Brief Announcement

Filed under: Blog Admin — folkcat at 6:47 pm on Friday, September 19, 2008

This blog is a little over three years old, which means this is the first time I’ve had it during a major election year. So I think it’s worth pointing something out.

You will notice that there is no category for “Politics”. This is not a political blog. I am not a political person. I have no intention of ever discussing politics on this forum, beyond this current post.

I will do my duty as I see fit, and that’s all you need to know.

Change is Gonna Come – Oh, Wait, It’s Already Here

Filed under: Blog Admin,Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 2:23 pm on Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Some of you will already have noticed this, but I did, in fact, change the name of the blog over the weekend. “Crafting Jen” is now “Of Rats And Jen”. The crafting will still be here on occasion, but really, it’s been all about the rats for a while, hasn’t it?

I promised new photos of the babies last week. Since then, Gryphon and I have been experiencing a bit of a life-quake – reality shaking us up and making us a bit unsteady on our feet – so I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. Let’s see what I’ve got in the photo album, though.

I should warn you that I took these pictures last Thursday, and the babies are growing even faster than you can imagine. Net-Net herself is so petite for an adult rat, and the babies have gotten so big, when they gather to nurse their combined mass must be at least three times her own. It’s quite a sight, and it’s always accompanied by massive squealing as they jockey for position.

At this point, I’m very happy to announce that all but two of the babies have been spoken for! Only Norton and Ralph remain. I have no doubts that they’ll find a good home, too – they are both affectionate, quiet ratlets who are already into the male rat trait of sleeping hearty!

The Snooze Pile

That’s Ralph sacked out on his back, paws in the air, with his brothers Norton and Ricky snuggled close. The unidentified female in this shot may be Ethel – she’s got darker eyes than the other beige girls.


Alice is quite a snuggle bunny, always the first to climb into your hand.


The beige ratlets all have pink or red eyes. Ethel and Norton are the only two who have a single white stripe on their chests, and they both have the darker eye color.


Norton is enjoying odd places to sleep all by himself. We give them some fruits and vegetables every day in a small plastic crock, and after it’s empty, Norton can usually be found curled up in it. Or maybe he just wants to be first when second helpings come around?


Ralph has a naturally chunky build, accentuated by his curly rex fur.


Ricky is a great explorer and first to investigage anything new. He’s being adopted by a woman in Maine as a companion for her boy who recently lost his cage-mate.


Lucy seems shy here, but she’s as outgoing as the rest. She accidentally made it to the floor the other day (and was quickly rescued), but I think she liked it, because she jumped off my hand again Monday wanting to explore.


Laura was named for Laura Petrie on the Dick Van Dyke show. The character, like Mary Tyler Moore who played her, was a dancer, and was sometimes seen performing or rehearsing in a black leotard and tights, sometimes with white gloves. Our Laura looks here like she’s practicing her own dance steps.

Harriet (in mug) and Trixie

Harriet and Trixie are two of a kind, but can be told apart by the shades of their fur. Trixie is a bit darker, both in the beige main color and the paler underbellies.

What’s Next for the Nest?

The foster counselors at Mainely Rat Rescue say I’m doing so well with the babies that Net-Net, the mother, can go home to her owner this coming weekend. Rebekah, if you see this message, please contact me – I’d like to collect her carrier from you so we don’t have to transfer her between cages when we meet.

The boys will be going to a new foster home this week. In another week, Ricky will move on to his forever home. So will Ralph and Norton, if they’ve been spoken for. But they’re such sweethearts, how could they not? If you think you’d like to adopt them, and you’re in the New England area, drop by Net-Net’s Nest at MRR and apply.

The girls are all spoken for, but will stay with me one more week for further socialization and to be sure they’ve weaned well. We’ll miss them when they go – I can’t tell you how close we came to adopting Alice and Ethel ourselves – but I’m very happy that Mainely Rat Rescue has found such promising situations for them.

Just to Clarify

Filed under: Blog Admin,Mainely Rat Rescue,Rats! — folkcat at 4:29 pm on Friday, September 5, 2008

When I mentioned yesterday that I was thinking about changing the blog, I didn’t mean opening a new one, moving some subjects to a different blog, or anything like that.

All I’m thinking about is changing the decor here, and the blog name. Same location, just re-dressed to better fit the things I write about these days.

Crafting Jen was conceived as a crafting blog, first and foremost. Although the name can also have the double meaning that I referred to – the concept of crafting myself – a crafts blog is still the primary perception. Since I’m not really interested in blogging about my crafts anymore, at least not to the extent I always have of multiple incremental progress reports and such, I no longer feel what I’m doing here is a craft blog.

The current front-runner in my head for a name change is “Of Rats and Jen”. It brings in the Ratties, but still leaves me wide open to anything I want to write about. And I like the literary play on words.

Baby pictures soon, probably over the weekend. Or you can get a sneak peek here: Net-Net’s Nest at Mainely Rat Rescue. They’re three weeks old and looking more adorable than ever!

Just testing something

Filed under: Blog Admin,Rats! — folkcat at 5:33 pm on Friday, April 18, 2008

Just installed a new version of the blog publishing software I use, and had to check a function. Here’s a view of the Rattie Tunnel that hangs in the cage, looking down at Yuri looking back at you:

Yuri - Light at the end of the tunnel?

That couple hanging upside down by his head is a page from an old TV Guide.

And It Is Good

Filed under: Blog Admin,Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Knitting — folkcat at 2:31 pm on Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The latest loaf of bread, that is! The recipe that I linked to on Friday – Honey Oatmeal Bread – 2 lb. – turned out be be not only huge, but absolutely delicious, with a light, fluffy texture. This one’s a keeper!

Honey Oatmeal Loaf

It’s a big, big loaf. The recipe says it’s making a 2-lb. loaf. Mine rose enough – in spite of using 1/4 teaspoon less yeast than called for – that it touched the glass dome of the bread machine lid.

Honey Oatmeal Bread - Cut Open

Cut it open, and it’s got a nice, light texture. I added 1/3 cup of sunflower seeds to the recipe when the bread machine beeped for mix-ins. From the distribution I can see, it’s just the right amount. The sunflower seeds added a nice flavor note, as well as a little extra crunch.

Honey Oatmeal Bread - Close-up

This stuff is amazing just eating a plain piece out of hand. Or toasted, with butter. Makes an incredible sandwich, too!

I’ll be making this bread again, often enough, I’m sure, to justify buying the large jars of honey.

Next baking will probably be Friday. Tomorrow’s Panera day, so I’ll be out of the house. Hmm…maybe I’ll test the delayed baking feature, and put the ingredients in tomorrow night for Friday morning!


Not much to report here. I’ve been working steadily on the Adult Surprise Jacket. It just doesn’t look much different at the moment. I’m still knitting with the brown variegated yarn, and I’m still working increases. Whcih is probably a reason why it doesn’t look much different for now – the rows are getting longer, and taking more time to complete.

Blog Stuff

As promised, I’ve updated the 105 Things About Folkcat page. Now called 105 Things About Folkcat (Now More Things!), it includes corrections to family history as offered by my mother, and some updated information about Things that had gone stale or were obsolete. Enjoy!

Family Matters

Filed under: Blog Admin,Blogfriends,Brother,Cooking - Folkcat in the Kitchen,Knitting,Mom — folkcat at 4:58 pm on Wednesday, March 12, 2008

First things first. I made some progress on the Adult Surprise Jacket yesterday, though not all of it knitting. The tower of blue/green variegated yarn, once upon a time, was my Clapotis. I never wear it, even though I love the Red Heart yarn that it was knit from. (I just wasn’t as delighted with the finished Clapotis as everyone else seems to be. And no, I don’t think it’s the yarn – I actually didn’t like the look of what, to me, was a fairly boring piece of fabric with lots of drop stitch runs. *yawn*)

ASJ: March 12, 2008

I had incorporated the small bit of yarn leftover from knitting the Clapotis in the ASJ, and really liked how the color worked with the purples. I wanted more. Being a stash-buster project, I determined I wasn’t going to buy it, however. So I decided the Clapotis counted as stash, and spent a chunk of time yesterday frogging it.

Those nice cakes, btw, are center pull balls wound by hand, not on a yarn winder. I was pretty pleased at how nicely they came out!


We’re making another attempt at bread today. Same recipe as last time, but this time I’m letting the starter proof longer, using olive oil instead of shortening, kneading longer, and letting it rise more. Fingers crossed!

Fan Collector Geek

That’s the name of my brother’s new blog! We grew up with collecting parents, and he, like me, came honestly by his habit of gathering all sorts of interesting stuff. He started this blog last week as a place to showcase his collections, and to reflect on the nature of collecting and collectors. Check it out, and if you like what you see, drop him a comment!

Your Mother Should Know

For a long time, (this blog will be three years old on April 23rd), I’ve been writing here without my family much looking at what I have to say. My brother was always too busy to peek, and my mother simply didn’t have a computer.

All that’s changed! This past Christmas, my brother actually went through my blog to get gift ideas, and came up with an amazing one. He also, for my mom’s birthday in November, gave her a MacBook computer.

Mom has been taking lessons at the Apple store near her, and she’s been exploring the web. She even takes pictures with the camera built into the laptop, and e-mails them to family! It’s been great to be more in touch with the family in Syracuse this way, we just don’t seem to be the type that phones much.

Until this past weekend, though, I never got a clue that she might be looking at the blog yet. Then, she e-mailed me Sunday night, saying she’d been looking around here, and she had a few things to nitpick about in regards to my “105 Things About Folkcat” over on the sidebar! Mostly some details about family history that I, having “learned” them as a child, hadn’t quite gotten right.

I doubt I’ll change how I post here just because my mom may be looking over my shoulder. I’ve always hoped the family would do so, actually, and could thus understand more about what life is like for Gryphon and I here in New Hampshire. Mom, if you’re reading this, welcome, and do stick around, please!

105 Things Redux (Soon)

I was prompted by Mom’s e-mail to read through my 105 Things again, and realized it’s actually quite outdated! There are facts that have changed (I comment at one point that “spinning never clicked for me”, for instance). Lists of favorites that could be updated, desires I express that have been fulfilled. And of course, now, corrections to family history to post, courtesy of my mom!

I’ll be working on a new and improved version of “105 Things” to post Real Soon Now. And in that vein, I will point out that I was recently tagged by Crafty Christina for the Seven Random Things meme. Normally, I don’t do memes, and technically, I won’t be doing this one. But I think I can claim a pass anyway, because the 105 Things will be, well, 105 random things about myself. I hope that works for you, Christina!

Wag The Dog

Filed under: Announcements,Blog Admin,Blogfriends,Books — folkcat at 4:33 pm on Monday, November 26, 2007

First things first – I’ve posted a review of the new Potter Craft Book, The Yarn Lover’s Guide to Hand Dyeing, over at Shopping Jen. Do go read it – there were some, um, interesting developments in the process of examining this title.

Second – over the Thanksgiving break, I’ve had a chance to think about the place that blogging holds in my life. I originally created my blogs with the intent that they would support, and help me to explore, my crafting.

I have generally really enjoyed the process, writing blog posts, making connections with so many people who have become friends. Which is why I was really surprised to find last week that I felt relieved not to have to blog. That had never happened when I’ve taken breaks before.

I had plenty of time to think about the why and wherefore of that discovery. The conclusion I came to was that the blog was no longer being driven by the crafting – the crafting was being driven by the blog. I had reached a space where I would alter my crafting choices so I had something to blog about, make myself work on projects when I didn’t feel like it, and more.

I had become a blogger, not a crafter. And Crafting Jen is supposed to be about my development as a person who crafts. Not as a blogger.

Clearly, the blog has started to get in the way of me doing what I really want to be doing. It makes sense, then, to change that.

I’m not saying I’ll never blog again. But it will only be when something really noteworthy happens, like whenever we finally get a new pair of Rattie babies to add to the family.

As for Shopping Jen, I had already pulled that back to a “when I have something to review” basis, and I think I’ll leave it there. So it won’t go away, either.

I realize this choice will make it difficult for my readers who don’t use a news aggregator like Bloglines or Newsgator to read. I’ll understand if you can’t keep checking back to see if I’ve posted something new. But I have to do what I have to do.

As a corollary to the above, I’m also going to stop reading the vast majority of the fiber blogs I follow. There are some that are genuinely entertaining that I will continue reading. And of course, there are some of you that I feel a special connection to whose blogs will stay on my roll as well.

If I am known to have read your blog in the past, and I disappear, please know that it’s not you. I just can’t keep reading all the blogs that I do, and writing a blog daily, and continue to pursue my crafting in a way that is meaningful to me.

Freebie Fridays will also disappear, though I may offer a freebie on random occasions where I come across something to good not to give away. I won’t promise anything – we’ll just have to see what develops.

It’s been a long, strange ride, and I’ve learned a lot from my blogging, and from all of you. Maybe I’ll come back to this one day, maybe not. Meanwhile, I’m leaving the blog up so the information it offers will still be available to all who want it.

Thank you to all my friends and readers, and have a very Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!


Filed under: Blog Admin — folkcat at 8:16 pm on Saturday, September 8, 2007

Pretty cryptic for a title, huh? There’s a reason for it, though!

That string of characters is verifying this blog for FeedM8, a service that will create a mobile version of a website. Once verified, you’ll be able to view Crafting Jen on your web-enabled mobile phone, wherever you are!

On the sidebar to the right, you’ll see a new item, right below the Subscribe with Bloglines button. Click on the Get Mobile Version button, and you’ll be taken to a page with instructions for viewing this blog, pictures and all, on your mobile phone. Anytime, anywhere.


Knitting Around, and Around, and Around…

Filed under: Blog Admin,Knitting — folkcat at 4:01 pm on Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Entre-lac bags are wonderful things. Once you master the technique of knitting backwards (from right to left) instead of turning your work to purl, you just keep knitting around and around.

It makes it easy to so rapidly get to this:

WIP - Xmas 2007

On the left, you can see the beginnings of Tier 6 of entre-lac squares. Starting with Tier 7, each round will be smaller than the one before, so I would guess that I’m near the halfway point on this bag already. Then it’s just whip out a couple miles of I-cord straps, work in the ends, and run it through the washing machine.

After that, I just have to figure out who this bag belongs to. I still haven’t made a formal list of my Christmas recipients for this year!

I think I may be knitting some stuffed toys, maybe even sewing some, for Christmas gift-giving this year. And a few more bags, and some of those needle cushions I knit last year that were so well-liked.

The plan, as you can see, is fairly vague. But there is a discernible one, and it’s well underway!

Blog news

Again, much of my time on Tuesday was spent working on the new Shopping Jen blog. This time, however, we’re talking real, brand-new reviews! If you’d like to see what I thought of a couple of new items on the Panera Bread menu, pop on over. I’ve also added an item to the sidebar – a link to an explanation of the rating system I’ll be using for food reviews.

Quiet day

I think today, after I get my blogging done, I’ll see how much of the entre-lac bag I can finish. I’ve got a Season Two, Disc Two of Weeds in the DVD player, no where else I have to be, and nothing else I have to do. Works for me!

Next Page »