Scrap Happy, Cat Happy

Scrap Happy is that time of the month when our host Kate encourages us to bust out the scraps and give them a new life. It’s open to everyone.

Queen B on her lap pad

This is Queen B. She loves sitting on my sister’s lap, but her sharp claws go right though Sharon’s clothes. I thought it would be fun to make a lap pad that would be pleasing to them both, protecting Sharon’s legs while providing warmth.

The lap pad needed to be thick and warm, but I also wanted it to have some weight to keep it in place.

I used three disparate scraps to pull this together: Leftover Minka fabric from my sister’s shrug project,

Minka scrap

terrycloth cut-off from the bottom of a long robe,

and a linen calendar, a gift from my friend Marcia in 2018.

Linen cat calendar

I doubled up on the terry cloth, essentially making one piece out of two scraps. I sewed the layers together in a few places to stabilize. The outer layer uses the linen cat calendar and the Minka.

I tested the pad before delivering it and it is warm and cozy.

Sleepy kitty

Kate, thanks for keeping us organized and engaged. See more inspiration at the links below:

Kate, our hostGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChris,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, PreetiEdithDebbierose, and Jule

Procrastinating in Reverse?

Last May I posted Procrastination Tuesday, sharing a list of things I’d been putting off and why. Here’s a small excerpt:

Three years ago, I bought some beautiful purple fabric for my sister Sharon. She wanted me to make a bolero-styled shrug. We found a used pattern online, I washed the yardage to remove the sizing, and then life got busy. Enter the pandemic when we all had time. Determined to get it done, I hauled out the pattern and prepared to cut and sew. The pattern pieces are too big for any of my surfaces, so I took them downtown, where I volunteer. None of those surfaces were large enough either, so I brought it back. I have three painful labrum tears across my right and left hip, making crawling around on the floor painful, so I gave up.

Gardening Nirvana, May 2021

My solution at the time was this:

On Procrastination Tuesday, I drove to an alterations place, checked my ego at the door, and dropped off the fabric and the pattern with the purveyor. I will finally be able to deliver on that soft, purple shrug.

Gardening Nirvana, May 2021

Well.

That relief didn’t last. When I left my materials at the shop, we were easing out of the pandemic (or so we thought). It was the start of the wedding season. I told the purveyor “no rush,” thinking it would be done in a month or so instead of the usual two weeks. July rolled around, and I hadn’t heard a peep. I called the shop and asked for an update. He said they’d been busy, but he would have it to me in another week. July became August, September, and still nothing. I called again. I said I had been more than patient, and that my sister’s birthday approached. Sharon’s November birthday came and went and I was fuming.

Sometime in late November, I went to the shop to collect the pattern and fabric. Mike drove, but opted to stay in the car. I married a wise man.

At the counter, I contained myself, but I told the owner, “This is no way to run a business.” He kept apologizing, but his words seemed trite after seven months and two false promises. It took him a few minutes to find my things. Finally, he handed over a bag with my material covered in sewing lint. The kicker? He said: “I can have it done in a week.”

In the end, I cut, sewed, pressed, wrapped, and delivered the shrug to my sister for Christmas.

My sister snuggled in her Minka shrug with Queen B on her lap

She loves it. The fabric is warm and soft, and the oversized fit means she can wear several layers. In addition, I had enough material to make a substantial facing to add warmth.

It needs a good pressing but it’s done!

The end. [snort]

Winter is Upon Us

I spent the solstice gathering a few cuttings from the garden and marveling at what survives both drought and early frost. Plants are resilient.

Winter Garden

I snipped three miniature roses, a handful of Salvia leucantha, and geranium foliage to make a small arrangement. There’s a sprig of something pink in there as well, but in the early hours, the name escapes me.

A Sleigh of Winter Blooms

My youngest son is home for the holidays this year, along with his sweet pup Juneau. I’m so happy to have them here for a few weeks, but Juneau’s boisterous presence puts out all three felines.

So, for now, our bedroom serves triple duty as Mike’s office and a feline hotel. Lindy is oblivious to the dog’s presence, but she has to share her favorite spot under the bed. Mouse wants to let the dog know he’s in charge, and Tessa is scared. Extra loving and treats help smooth things out, and of course, the situation is temporary.

I made several Christmas cards this year, but I’ve been slow to send them. Lifted Spirits hosted its first-ever “shop without your wallet” event for survivors of domestic violence. It was an enormous time commitment organizing clothing racks, scarves, and other goodies, but it all came together beautifully. My friend and fellow volunteer Mary organized refreshments and volunteers for the day. Our ED quietly got the word out.

Volunteers prior to event

I set up craft tables for the children in the center of the room, and a colleague donated an over-the-top Christmas tree, pictured below. Clothing and jewelry stations were arranged in a U-shape so the children could see their mother at all times and vice-versa.

Polar Bear-themed Christmas Tree

The success of this event has energized us. Our team hopes to do this again in the future. Throughout the event, we served 65 women and 35 children. Domestic violence has soared since the start of the pandemic. I needed to focus on our work instead of its reasons for my sanity.

Filling needs

December’s creative endeavors included my annual snow globe

Polymer snow from the teaching supply store
Snow globe

and a seasonal update to my miniature display. These projects are restorative and fun.

Miniature Winter Scene
Pine twig fencing and a cinnamon stick sleigh

Today I’m headed downtown for our pandemic-friendly Christmas celebration for women in need. After that, I’ll enjoy a week off with my family and the quiet unfolding of moments spent together.

Winter Wonderland

Merry Christmas!

ScrapHappy Snowflake Card

It’s December 15, or in Kate’s speak, time to gather lingering scraps and give them a new life.

I enjoy the challenge of Kate’s ScrapHappy days. Even in December, with the holiday hustle in full swing, it’s nice setting aside some time to craft. I had a sewing project in mind this month, but it will have to wait.

Tis’ the season, so a Christmas card seemed the obvious choice. I used leftover aqua-colored paper strips, gluing them at an angle on scrap paper. After trimming the raw edges, I ran the piece through my paper embosser using a snowflake pattern. 

Assembling monochromatic hues of aqua, then embossing them with the snowflake pattern created an interesting texture for the card. I’ve made strip cards before, but I generally use complementary colors.

As luck would have it, I found a scrap of shiny silver paper to frame the card sentiment and the embossed background. This challenge has inspired me to make more monochromatic cards in the future. 

It should also inspire me to keep the door closed, but where is the fun in that? One of my embellishments went missing, later recovered and removed from the underbelly of a particular cat. I’ll leave it to you to sort the outcome of the Sticky Kitty Caper.

Kate, thanks for keeping us organized and engaged.

Kate, our hostGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChris,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, PreetiEdith, Debbierose, and Jule

A Week of Flowering Cheer: White

I’m joining Cathy, who blogs at Words and Herbs for her Week of Flowers, 2021. Bloggers are sharing a bit of color/colour to brighten our days.

White isn’t technically a color, but a shade. When I studied theater lighting back in the day, I learned that white light comprises all colors on the spectrum. Conversely, if you throw together all pigments on a piece of paper, you get black. Color or not, white is beautiful in the garden. White is crisp and reflective, providing a nice contrast to the shades of green around it.

Camellia

This gorgeous Camellia grows along the side of the house in our front garden. They are as messy as they are beautiful. They flower and quickly dump petals daily. I don’t mind. I think they’re spectacular, and who wants a well-behaved garden anyway? I like a little drama.

On the subject of drama, these freesias give the Camellia a run for their money. They refuse to remain in one place, preferring to populate throughout the garden. They’re not concerned that a certain gardener might trip over them when they grow between narrow openings in the walkway. They sure are cheering, though, with their waxy petals and brilliant yellow centers.

White to pink sweet pea

Once a year, magical sweet peas dominate the garden. They grow in various colors, and in this beautiful shade of white. The only thing surpassing their beauty is their intoxicating scent. You can’t help but linger in their presence, marveling at nature’s extraordinary gifts.

A Week of Flowering Cheer: Orange

I’m joining Cathy and others for a Week of Flowers, 2021. Cathy is inviting all of us to share a bit of color/colour during these dark and difficult times. Today I’m featuring orange flowers from the garden.

A cluster of California poppies growing near the curb

These brilliant orange poppies are California’s State flower. The soft petals fold into a variety of shapes at the end of lacy green foliage.

Cathy is also growing California poppies in her garden, half way across the world. That makes me smile.

A rich orange nasturtium

Nasturtiums come in a variety of colors, but the true standouts are the orange ones. They pop up in various areas of the garden twice a year, with foliage as beautiful as the flower. Aren’t they something?

I think a mollusk chewed this near-perfect hole in a California Poppy last spring. The fresh drops of rain and the teepee like shape always make me smile. I hope you’re smiling, too.

Thank you for following along.

A Week of Flowering Cheer: Purple

I’m joining one of my favorite bloggers this week for her Week of Flowers, 2021. Cathy lives in Bavaria and blogs at Words and Herbs. Her garden is stunning. Cathy is inviting all of us to share a bit of color/colour during these dark and difficult times. She wrote:

Last year my Week of Flowers 2020 was such a success, with so many people from around the world joining me and posting wonderful colourful photos from their gardens. It really did me good, and the feedback was amazing. Let’s do it again! All you have to do to join in is post one flowery photo a day, for a week, starting from Wednesday 1st December, 2021. Put a link to your post in the comments section on my daily post, and turn on the sunshine!

Cathy – Words and herbs

Today’s post features vibrant shades of purple. It’s fun revisiting these blooms from earlier this year.

Serbian Bell Flowers

These lovelies bloom in the early days of spring, looking gorgeous as buds and flowers. It lifts my spirits looking at them, knowing they’ll come around again and again.

Salvia in bloom, a hummingbird favorite

Salvia is part of the sage family. The shrub grows well in our semi-arid climate, requiring minimal water once established. It provides a lovely infusion of color all summer.

Purple pom-pom flowers

My final flower of the day is (I think) a Scabiosa. Please correct me if I’m wrong. This one grows in my curb garden, mixing in with a variety of summer bloomers.

Purple is my sister’s favorite color, so it continues to remind me of her. This post is for you Sharon.

Thank you, Cathy, for inviting bloggers around the world to share in the fun.

Halloween Light

I’m enjoying a scaled-down version of Halloween this year. It’s been a positive transition away from the usual hustle and bustle. We’ve also had an extremely rare and powerful storm blow through, which makes it feel more like autumn instead of summer-light.

Further, nothing screams “autumn” like foraging squirrels. One of the California Grey’s sent my miniature tea-house akimbo outside our kitchen window, which I interpreted as an invitation to make seasonal changes.

The birdhouse gourd, aka teahouse, came indoors for a dust-off. Here is a picture of the teahouse in its former glory.

Summer Tea House

I’ll put the gourd into the fairy garden rotation for next summer. I reused the tray, the moss, and the miniature seashells, along with the tiny “tree stump” to bring a bit of autumn magic to the fairy garden.

Autumn vibe

Building the fairy house was a breeze. I used a regifted candle holder for the base, then added an inverted coconut shell, once a floating candle holder, for the roof. The chimney is a tiny watering can with a bit of wool roving for the smoking chimney.

I used my crafting dye to spritz a bright green wood slab into a darker, earthier color. A seashell makes the perfect door nob. I used the same dye to darken a pair of take-out wooden chopsticks, then adhered seashells to create a fence.

Seashells from New Zealand
Autumn Scene

Rounding out the miniature setting, I used blue glass vase filler, white sand, and a pair of arched shells to create a tiny brook along the front of the garden.

Nestled Near the Little Free Library

Those clay pumpkins were also a gift several years ago (my friends know me well), with the tiniest pumpkin made from a bead and a twist of jute.

The autumn miniature spent most of the month next to the children’s Little Free Library where it stayed till a heavy storm arrived over the weekend. It’s now having a bit of a dry-out under the eaves.

Card-making also found its place in October.

Earlier this summer, I played around with my gel press and brayer, creating patterns and textures on white paper. I used several of those gel press images to make moons and pumpkins for Halloween cards.

The pumpkins are die-cut from some of my brayer images, while the stems use leaf impressions made from garden greens.

A couple of months ago I treated myself to a new die. I used it for the majority of my cards. I like to invest in dies that I’ll get a lot of use from, and this one fits the bill. Here is a quick video of how the die-cutting gadget works.

Here are a few of my cards.

Black-embossed cat, gel press moon, and green patterned paper cut with my new die
Silver embossed cat, gel press moon, and green textured paper
Two for one: I used the off-cut of this blue background to make a bookmark.
Card series showing dies used in two different orientations. I like the first image the best.

The card in the lower-left corner is for my sister. I used her favorite color for the moon, cut the leaf pattern from sheet music paper, and made a shiny black cat, complete with notched ear like her sweet kitty, Queen B.

It wouldn’t be Halloween if I didn’t use a few pumpkins in my designs. My friend Jasmin gave me that bottle of gorgeous bath soak for my birthday earlier this month. It’s the perfect compliment to my cards. I used holographic paper for the border, then die-cut the pumpkin, lettering, and stem from various gel press images.

The second pumpkin card is framed on two sides by spiderwebbed Washi tape but it doesn’t show well in this photo.

This final card is made from a sheet of acrylic embossed with spider webs. It’s been part of my stash for years. I liked it when I bought it, but I could never quite figure out how to use it. I think I used it on a card many moons ago, but I couldn’t say for sure. I like the effect.

A few assorted bookmarks rounded out the month before I cleaned off my desk and put the Halloween leftovers away. It’s been a great stress-buster and a chance to connect with friends by mail.

Boo-k marks

ScrapHappy Day: Once a Diary

My friend Alicia sent me the following note, along with this Cats in Art diary from 1988.

“I came across this unused diary, and though I have no use for it, was reluctant to discard it. I thought of you, wondering if you might find some purpose for it in your crafts.”

It’s nice when your friends get you, eh?

I’ve had so much fun taking apart the pages and turning them into cards, both big and small. My favorite images included cats in the garden or perched near windows and the art that beautifully conveys the natural world. While I appreciate all art, I’m not enamored with dark oils or dreary scenes.

I made two small blue note cards, a pair of craft paper cards, two oversized cards, and even a couple of postcards. I wanted to preserve as much of the original art image as possible.

The one exception is this z-fold card. I used part of the image on the front and another part of it on the inside. Both are viewable when the card is open.

I made ten cards in all, plus the thank you card using the beautiful art. I cut circles out of some of the calendar pages and made stickers to go with the cards.

It then occurred to me that I could re-purpose the calendar cover to make a folio for the set of cards. I carefully cut the remaining pages, made a flap over the rough center, and then covered it with Washi tape from my stash.

I adhered three craft envelopes in two different sizes to hold the cards and stickers in place. Everything fit beautifully. The final detail: adding a piece of vintage seam binding, also from my stash, to pull it all together.

I hope she likes it. I sent it off last week.

Thanks for hosting, Kate.

Kate, our hostGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChris,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, PreetiEdith, Debbierose, and Jule

ScrapHappy Cards: Stress-Busters

Stress is the enemy, and crafting is the cure…or something like that. I’ve had a lot of stress in my life this past month, so I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my card-making distraction.

I cut several paper scraps into half-inch strips and tossed them in a box. Rhythm is great for reducing stress.

Time permitting, I then sorted the strips by color. Some of my scraps are printed on both sides, offering lots of variety. Still no actual cards at this point, but sorting by color is cheering.

From there, I looked up some simple quilt designs for inspiration. Who doesn’t like looking at beautiful art and quilts?

At the suggestion of my friend Dawn, I bought an embossing folder that imprints a quilt-like texture on paper. A little retail therapy for the win.

I love the embossing folder. It feels like a bit of magic each time the folder imprints on the card. Here’s a closeup:

After assembling a few cards, my colored strips were in disarray. So I cut a few wax seed envelopes in half and taped the open side. Now the strips are contained but still easy to see.

Wax seed bag, before cutting it in half
One bag makes two

Here’s my collection of cards:

I’ve made cards using this simple pattern before. I enjoy the blending of color, pattern, and texture.

Here’s a similar card, but using the strips of paper at different angles.

Two solids and two patterned papers

I enjoyed using one solid and one pattern on this card. The sentiment is printed on the reverse side of the fan-shaped paper.

This card loosely follows the colors of the rainbow. The dark purple is too saturated in color for this combo, but it’s all about using scraps so there you go. It’s the only solid purple scrap I had.

This might have been the last card of the day before the Tessa interlude. I used 18 different paper scraps. It reminds me of some of the heritage quilts I’ve seen over the years assembled from old clothing pieces. I’ve always admired the history and beauty of those quilts.

18-Patterned pieces
Tessa loves paper, too.

This pattern primarily exists in my imagination. I call it the tea party. The light pink along the bottom represents the table; the gingham is the tablecloth and above that is the tea service. The fourth layer represents flowers outside the window. Along the sides are lace doilies draped on the back of the blue chairs. Still don’t see it? Try switching from tea to wine.

Tea Party Card

This last card is for a special friend who suffered an unimaginable loss. I made this card by laying down half-inch strips in a simple square pattern before cutting a heart from the center. Next I raised the heart with small pieces of foam tape, then replaced it in the heart-shaped opening. The raised heart adds some interest and texture, though it’s hard to see in this photo.

That look on Tessa’s face put an end to my crafting for the day, but that’s okay. Kitty’s are great stress-busters, too.

Tessa always has an opinion.

Thank you for hosting these monthly ScrapHappy Days, Kate.

I learned something new in the Block Editor today. I saved the list of ScrapHappy bloggers as a reusable block. Now I drop it into my post without the need to cut and paste each month. Welcome, Jule, our newest ScrapHappy Day blogger.

Kate, our hostGun, EvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill,
Claire, JanMoira, SandraChris,
KerryClaireJeanJon, HayleyDawn,
Gwen, Bekki, Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin,
Vera, NanetteAnn, Dawn 2, Noreen,
Bear, Carol, PreetiEdith, Debbierose, and Jule