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Monthly Archives: September 2012

Random kitty tips, featuring Monty as your host

Hello.

Did that just make your Monday better?¬†Poor Monty is such a good sport about these things ūüôā I recently became aware of breadedcats.com, and since Monty is already a repeat star on stuffonmycat.com, I figured he might be interested in expanding his repertoire!

We had such a scare with him recently! We had to take him to the pet hospital due to what’s just referred to generally as a urinary tract blockage. Causes are still uncertain, but there seem to be many links to environmental stress and kitties getting U/T blockages.

Monty was part of that majority in which had no idea why he suddenly was unable to “go” – but after a few days at the hospital on a special diet (and a catheter, poor boy), he was able to come home. Elton missed him soooo much!

Monty and his new haircut last April

There’s actually a lot of things you can do to keep your cat healthy that fall in line with things to keep YOU healthy as well (and sane). For example, every summer we give Monty his summer hair cut. That involves going to his local groomer and paying for a “lion” cut – they shave off everything except his feet, his face, and the tip of his tail.

It takes about 6-8 months for the fur to grow back, but during that time, EVERYONE is happier:

We are happier because he’s not shedding long hairs everywhere, or trailing litter and dust everywhere in his wake. Some long hair cats give up on grooming themselves because it’s just too hard to do – this means unfortunately that their fur coat gets pretty icky, and subsequently anything they touch with their icky fur coat gets icky as well. It was especially gross when he came bounding out of the litter box after doing his business.

Monty is also happier when he’s a shorthair cat because he can groom himself, and he’s less hot during the summer! When the temperatures rose, Monty would become a puddle on the floor, unwilling to play or do anything because of the heat. With his kitty haircut, he’s actively playing with Elton throughout the day.

So I definitely recommend a summer haircut for all long hair kitties who need a little assistance keeping themselves clean! A clean kitty is a healthy kitty (and happy kitty parents).

To end this generally random post, Monty would like me to recommend a fantastic tool for web designers and developers that I found via a coworker this past week: Placekitten.com!

If you ever find yourself designing your own website or blog, and want to use something as placeholder images while you’re coding, try a placekitten!

Elton says “Please use Placekittens.com for your web design needs, so Lorelai stops trying to put our faces in bread slices…”

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Posted by on September 24, 2012 in Informational, Tips & Tricks

 

Home made cat donuts :) (beta testing version)

Has everyone out here seen the pictures of incredibly cute cat donuts floating around the interwebs recently?¬† Just type “cat donuts” into Google or Pinterest and you’ll see tons of pictures of these guys.¬† Wow!¬† Trust the Japanese to continue to make incredibly cute things that I would have serious guilt over eating!¬† (And not just because I always feel guilty about the unhealthiness about fried things coated in sugar.)
AJ brought these adorable guys to my attention and suggested that we try making our own!
So, honestly, deep frying kind of scares me.¬† Wei-ling has a deep fryer but all that boiling oil makes me pretty nervous.¬† The home cook’s alternative to deep frying are baked donuts.¬† I borrowed a co-worker’s donut pans and set to work.¬† Here’s how they turned out!

 

1. I used a recipe from King Arthur Flour – I have had great results with their whole wheat flours and this was no exception.¬† I used 100% whole wheat pastry for the donuts and they really did turn out with a great texture.¬† The batter was quick thick, more like a muffin batter in consistency.¬† These will be more like the “cake like” donuts verses the Krispy Kreme kind, but even though I didn’t do a 50./50 of all purpose flour with the pastry flour, they turned out nice and soft and had a real donut shape.

2. Now the tricky part.¬† I almost never ice or frost my baked goods because I don’t really like gooey things on top of my delicious cake.¬† You can tell I don’t really do this a lot.¬† I thought I’d try a simple sugar glaze, the type you’d make for a gingerbread house.¬† I started with 1 cup of powdered sugar and added water 1 tablespoon at a time to get it to the right consistency.¬† (About 3.5 tablespoons.)¬† Then I dunked the donut it.

3. Ok,¬† Here’s where things where pretty wonky.¬† Once the glaze started to try, it turned really transparent.,¬† So I started to dunk them in repeatedly and the icing started to drip everywhere and boy, that icing goes fast.¬† I ended up using like the whole box of powered sugar for 12 donuts.¬† Healthiness fail…

4. And then the chocolate chip ears go on….I’m pretty sure that in the original donuts these guys have chocolate chip ears.¬† But with a much BETTER icing that coats and holds everything down and isn’t all transparent and is smooth.¬† I texted a picture to AJ, at which point she did say that well..these would be some super SPECIAL cats.¬† Like how Igor or Frankenstein were kind of special, with weird lumps all over them.

At this point, I just hoped and some frosting faces would save them!

 

Whew.  Kind of saved.

Round 2 of kitty donuts will have to include different flavors and nailing down a good icing.¬† Still, I think these turned out pretty cute in the end…even the one I forgot to take a picture of until I took a bite.¬† Cute or sad?

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2012 in DIY, Tutorials

 

Magnetic Pin Cushion for a Dressform

I like to make historical costumes and a lot of that involves me draping things on my dressform until I like the way it looks.

I’ve discovered that one of my biggest pain points is trying to have my pins handy while I’m pinning on 12 yards of trim. I try to have my magnetic pin cushion near me while I’m working, usually resting on the edge of the couch, but then Bobo will come along and knock it off. (Yes, gravity still works Bobo… thanks for checking!)

I was joking to D that I needed to hang my magnetic pin cushion on my dressform somehow to make my life easier and her response was something along the lines of, “Well why don’t you?”

… Right!

So today’s post is possibly useful to no one but me, but now I’m excited to try out my new dressform magnetic pin cushion on my next outfit!

I purchased some super strong magnets from Home Depot. (I love Home Depot in case it’s not obvious…)

I measured my dressform neck circumference and added 3″ for how long to make my pin cushion strap. My dressform neck is 13″, so I cut a strip 16″ long and 3.5″ wide¬†out of some leftover quilting fabric.

I folded the strip in half lengthwise and made a tube by sewing along the length of the strip using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Then I flipped the tube inside out and ironed it flat.

I folded the strip in half to find the center and marked a line 2 3/4″ from the center.

I stitched along the line, dropped the magnet into the tube, and then marked a vertical line on the other side of the magnet. I sewed along the new line, sealing the magnet in.

I closed the ends by folding the raw edges inside and stitching the tube closed on both sides.

I took my magnet necklace to my dressform and pinned it on and marked where the ends overlapped. I used a pin to mark where the overlap is, but you can also use chalk or a fabric pen.

Then I took the magnetic necklace off the dummy to sew a closure on. I prefer hooks and snaps over velcro because velcro can tear up fragile materials that I might be draping, but whatever you have on hand will work. I went with a huge snap because I have a ton of these.

And here is the finished magnet pin cushion necklace! I can’t wait to see how it works out on my next project!

 
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Posted by on September 11, 2012 in DIY, Tutorials

 

D.I.Y Free Standing Bird Feeder

My kitties like to sit at the patio door and sun themselves, and watch the birds and squirrels that come by. The birds don’t come very often though so I thought I’d put a bird feeder out back in the hopes that Yoyo and Bobo can bird watch all the time. I should probably mention that they’re indoor-only cats so there’s no danger of them bringing me dead animals as presents. (Honestly, I’m not sure they’re smart enough to catch a bird even if they could get out…)

I then ran into the problem of trying to find a bird feeder that would work in our backyard. I didn’t want to nail anything to our fence or to the outside of our house in case it was against the HOA rules. We don’t have much dirt either so I couldn’t use one of those bird feeders that sits on a stake. What I really needed was a standalone bird feeder that could go on cement. I decided it wouldn’t be that hard to make one, so after a quick Target and Home Depot run, and a couple hours of work, I’d made my own standalone bird feeder.

Supplies:

a.¬†8″ diameter terra cotta pot – any size that looks stable enough to support 3 bowls will work

b. 36″ long 3/8″ diameter threaded zinc rod –¬†make sure to get the zinc rode and not the stainless steel one as that one is 3x as expensive

c. 3 plastic bowls

d. 8 ¬†3/8″ wingnuts – these come 3 wingnuts in a bag at Home Depot¬†so I got 3 bags

e. 6 ¬†3/8″ washers – these need to fit onto the threaded rod

f. 2 ¬†3/8″ x 1-1/2″ Fender Washers – these need to fit onto the threaded rod and¬†be big enough to cover the hole in the terra cotta pot

g. clear caulking – if you want to turn one of the bowls into a bath

Not pictured: a drill and a 3/8″ drill bit

My total spent on supplies came out to about $26, including getting a 3/8″ drill bit because I didn’t have one of that size already.

Assembly Instructions:

The first step is to drill holes in the 3 bowls. For 2 of the bowls, you want the holes to be in one of the corners and on the 3rd bowl, the hole should be in the middle. You want to make sure there is room for the smaller washer to sit flat so I placed a washer and wingnut in the bowl to figure out positioning and then marked where to drill with a pencil.

Mark 2 of your bowls in the corner.

Mark 1 bowl in the center.

Drill a 3/8″ hole in each bowl where you marked. I find what works best for me is to start with my smallest drill bit and drill a small pilot hole. I then work my way up to the size hole I need, using progressively bigger drill bits. Any method works, as long as you get a 3/8″ hole into each bowl.

Now it’s assembly time!

Start with the base which is the terra cotta pot turned upside down. Wind a wingnut and one of the large washers onto the rod. You want the wingnut to be placed at about the same height as your pot.

Put the rod through the hole in the pot.

Place your pot with the open end down and make sure that it sits flat. Adjust the wingnut if your pot is not sitting flush with the ground.

Now place the other large washer on top of the pot and wind a wingnut down the rod to clamp the rod to the pot. This takes a while because the rod is pretty long, so watch some tv while doing this part. =)

Tighten the wingnuts and make sure the rod is secured to the pot.

Now you need to do the same process to add the bowls. Take a wingnut and wind it down the pole until it is about 10″ above the pot. Make sure your wingnut’s ‘wings’ are facing down. Place a washer on top.

Place one of the bowls with a hole in the corner on top, lay down another washer, and screw on a wingnut to secure the bowl.

And your first bird feeder bowl is now attached.

Repeat the process with the other bowl with a hole in the corner, placing it about 10″ above the first bowl.

At this point, your cat will probably decide he needs to investigate what is going on…

The last bowl, the one with the hole in the center, goes on the very end of the rod. I had to put the bird feeder on the ground at this point because I couldn’t reach the top of the rod.

And here comes the other cat to check out what’s going on…

If you want one of your bowls to be a bird bath, you’ll need to seal the bolts to prevent water from leaking out. Open your caulking tube and cover the bolt above and below with caulking. I used a toothpick to smooth it out a little.

I like to use clear drying caulking because I can tell when it’s completely dry.¬†I would suggest spreading yours a little thinner than I did because mine took forever to dry.

Once the caulk dries, your bird feeder is ready to go!

Place it outside, and fill the bottom 2 bowls with birdseed and the top one with water. Now we just wait and see if any of the local wildlife come by to check it out!

I’m not sure how we’re doing with attracting more birds as I’m not usually home during the day, but something is knocking the seed onto the ground, so I’ll have to see if I can catch a photo of whatever it is.

 
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Posted by on September 4, 2012 in DIY, Tutorials

 

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