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Sandbag Weights

It’s great to have a network of friends who have the same hobbies as yourself.  I have certainly benefitted from folks who decided to upgrade or sell spare equipment because they outgrew it and I am growing into.  For sewing, I think I could be “little AJ” because in addition to her spare sewing machine I also inherited her old dress form.  (Wow, miles better than stuffing a dress with body pillows, despite the post-30 readjustment of body image, sadly, my bosom will never be pillowy.  Sniff.)
AJ did give me a bit of a warning though, “Watch out, that thing is INCREDIBLY tippy”.  Her kitties were constantly tipping the thing over with their antics and should I ever have a heavier dress on mine, I’ll have the same problem.  Once I took a look around the house, it did also seem like I was stocking my house with nothing but unsteady tripods – camera tripod, photography light stand, background stands.  Tipping over a dress is one thing, but expensive electronic equipment?  Nu-uh.

I ordered this set of sandbag weights from Amazon (sand not included) – studio photographers use these to weight down various bits of equipment to prevent tippage.  Each one has two side bags so it can drape over tripod legs and distribute the weight more evenly.  The color is a little bit unfortunate, however, the material is extremely tough.  I filled each side with about 5 lbs of fish tank gravel I picked up at my local Petco.

 

 

 

 

I especially like how each side has a double zipper – so it’s very secure against the sand leaking out.  I imagine that other things that will work equally well if you weren’t inclined to buy this particular set of weights.  Those arm/wrist/leg eights for working out would probably do well, though you’d have to get a few of them to provide enough stabilization.  Or anyone out there put dumb bells on the legs of their dress form?  Hey, even a bag of rocks would probably work!

Ten pounds of gravel makes me feel much more kitty safe – and fairly “I-bumped-that-thing-with-my-hip’ safe too!  So, I’ll be sure to have my weights out any time I’m using my equipment for proper safety.   Look at the kitty already coming to check it out!  HAHAHA…kitty safe now!

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2012 in Shopping, Tools & Accessories

 

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Decorative Cat Grass Tabletop Garden

One of my many hobbies includes gardening, although it’s often one of those things I keep up optimistically by shuffling dead plants away and replacing them with nice live ones from the store.  But after I adopted Otoro and discovered one of his bad habits is ALWAYS jumping on the table to see what is up there, I got a lot more paranoid about accidentally poisoning my cat through household greenery. At the same time, I really wanted to continue to enjoy having plants inside.

The ASPCA has a good list of what plants are toxic to dogs and cats (and horses) that I look at before I buy any flowers for myself or for anyone who has a cat.  Sadly, lilies (my favorite flower) are like #1 deadly toxic to cats and so I’ll never have them in the house again.  Even some of the non-toxic ones are kind of barf-inducing, as I discovered Otoro going after the Alstroemeria (a lily-like plant but not toxic to cats)  like it was a salad bar and finding barf spots all over the carpet for 2 days.

I’m starting simple now with a cat grass garden.  Like, hey, if he’s going to eat it, it might as well be good for him, right?  And, having cat grass available can* encourage him to stay away from more dangerous variety of plants.

*Really? I keep reading this, but would you think it was safe to put poison next to something that was OK to eat on the theory that your pet or child will eat the safe thing and then not be interested in the poison? Yeah, I wouldn’t risk it either.
tabletop catgrass garden

tabletop catgrass garden

So, key factors in mind for an indoor garden:
1) non-toxic
2) solid enough so a curious paw won’t knock it over
3) visually attractive

Here I’ve got my little container going.  I went to IKEA and got a glass planter.  Ross, TJ Maxx, and stores like that are fantastic places for glass vases for cheap.  Of course, any planter would work, but I just happen to love glass ones.

I filled up the bottom with rocks for drainage and weight, because there are no drainage holes at the bottom of this thing.  (Rocks also from IKEA, get the undyed ones if you get them from there – after all, your cat will eat this grass and you probably ought not grow a food in dye-rich rocks.)  I put in about an inch of dirt at the top and scattered in cat grass seeds from my local PetCo.  I wasn’t sure how much dirt I would need and if all the dirt would just filter through the holes in the gravel as I watered, but it seems to be doing fine so far!  You can see the roots extend all the way to the bottom of the container so I water it lightly every few days to prevent too much stagnant water from drowning the roots.

This is my first attempt at this cat grass thing. so I will have to do a follow up with the long term sustainability of this thing.  Does cat grass keep growing if you mow it, or do you have to to throw down new seeds every few weeks?  Anyhow, it all did grow in about a week so it is at least an easy and (to my mind) attractive way to get some green in the house.

Anyone else have cats and indoor plants?  What do you do?

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Informational, Tutorials

 

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Bitter YUCK! spray

ooo….one day

I was surfing around the internets looking at and drooling over beautiful sewing rooms.  In an ideal world I’d have a gorgeously decorated and organized sewing area too, with space for cutting and lots of light and everything in its place!  Of course in an ideal world I’d have perfect skin and be able to hold my own in educated conversations about the current geopolitical situation and its impact on environmental health too!

But I noticed that even in something as beautiful as this – isn’t 100% catproof.  Specifically – power cords.

When I got into full sewing mode a few weeks ago working on a particular dress, I dragged my kitchen table over to the living room to be able to have the tv on while sewing.  While it made my living room an absolute wreck and unfit for company, the main problem was having the sewing machine power cord trail l off the table to the table behind.  That tempting cord that was now waving around in the wind proved irresistible to my cat.

I’ve heard of kittens in particular liking to gnaw on power cords and my friend’s kitten once sent herself to the emergency room overnight and my friend to tears with this habit.  Not all cats grow out of it and while mine doesn’t make it a huge habit or anything he took a few test nibbles on the power cord recently.  I totally freaked out because I thought he might end up frying himself the second I stepped away.  Enter in the solution: Bitter YUCK! spray. It leaves a non-toxic but nasty tasting residue on the cord that cats (and dogs) don’t like.  He took one more sniff and then left the cord alone!

This ought to work as well on general household things if your pet has a chewing fixation, and I did test this spray on something else first and it didn’t leave a stain.  So huzzah!!  A product that mutually assures the safety of both your pet and your household items.

 
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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Shopping

 

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