Posts Tagged ‘cats’

Some of you may remember that we’ve been having some ongoing issues with keeping our cat Bug in the house when it’s summer and the sliding glass doors are open.

When we moved in to Spacious Green Acres, we made sure that we had a screen door that latched very securely, so that the cat could not get out or slide it open.

The saga continues

I’m happy to report that the door totally works. The cat can not, in fact, slide the door open.


That went well.

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It all started a few weeks ago, during the Twain Harte fair, when Lovebug, Fifth Viscount Naughtypants, the Earl of Angelfluff, Mr. Tinklebritches Esq. III figured out how to get around the patented Grip Security Measures we’d installed on the back screen door. He took several extended romps through the lion and bear infested forest (y’all, there was a black bear just hanging out next to the wood pile two weeks ago), and discovered a lovely system of culverts and pipes under our road. Pipes that a resourceful fellow could duck into in a pinch, say, if a human being were pelting after him trying to forcibly return him to his Indoor Cat state. Done properly, a fellow could then pop up on the other side of the road and make his escape, while the hapless human was still peering fruitlessly into the culvert pipe, calling, “Heeeere kitty kitty….” and shaking a bag of salmon treats.


He is the Lone Free Ranger. Who has only ever had Inside Cat shots, because we erroneously believed that he was on board with the Inside Cat idea.

My bad.

Last week the Lone Free Ranger won an all expenses paid overnight stay in a luxury suite at the cat hospital, where he was diagnosed with asthma. So now he is on steroids. Our rambunctious, bear wrasslin, outside lovin’, take a walk on the wild side, little cat was initially thrilled at the idea of steroids. Visions of bodybuilding stardom danced in his little pea brain, perhaps a walk-on role in an updated barbarian movie was in his future!


No no. Those are the wrong kind of steroids. You aren’t going to be pumping it up with Hans and Franz any time soon, I’m afraid. These will just puff you up, my little Viennese sausage.

A few days later, he had to go back to the hospital. Indoor Cat meets Outside Virus. We added two more medicines to the regime. This is when I realized that every penny I made in San Jose was going to wind up in my vet’s bank account and I might have to sell a kidney to pay the rent.

1. We are now dosing the cat with meds five times a day.
2.My vet is probably planning an extended trip to Hawaii.
3.I will never be able to afford Hawaii because cat nebulizers are expensive.

Hawaii Sunset
This is Hawaii. WHERE I WILL NEVER GO. (and this is the flickr feed of the person who took this awesome picture)

So I’m curious. Do I look like a rodeo clown? Because wrangling this cat feels kind of like what I imagine I would feel like if I were a rodeo clown.

When he hears me open the fridge to get his meds out, he quickly leaps up to the top shelf of the cat tree and turns on the Death Ray Glare. Our cat tree is +6’ and I am only 5’7”. You may be starting to see a problem here.

little black raincloudbug

As I go look for a stepladder, he sinks his claws into the living room curtains and hangs on for dear life. Once the cat has successfully been extricated from curtains and cat tree, it takes three of us to actually get the meds into him: The Squasher, The Big Meanie and The Surgical Nurse.

The Squasher, has to sit (gently) on him and sort of restrain him with their knees, while (gently) maintaining a (gentle) grip on his scruff. It is not a risk-free task. We are all sporting livid claw marks around the knee area.

The Big Meanie, has to get the tip of the syringe between his tightly clenched little jaws in order to squirt the medicine into his mouth. This is tricky. The second he sees the syringe, the cat starts whipping his head around like a Moray eel. It is very easy for the Big Meanie to miss the target entirely. When this happens, the Squasher inevitably winds up with medicine all over his or her pants. At this point, everyone has to wait as the Surgical Nurse reloads the syringe. The Squasher must retain their grip on the cat. The Big Meanie must make the cat believe that this isn’t actually a violation of the Geneva Convention, that really, it’s for his own good and that this hurts me more than it hurts you.

The cat buys exactly none of it.

It is the Surgical Nurse’s job to load and hand the syringes over in the right order, as they are called for. “Doxycyclene!” “Towel!” “Prednisone!” “Water!” “MEDIC!” She must be ready with a paper towel in case a knee or a chin is in need of mopping. She must have band-aids, and Bactine close at hand. We all like this job best.

Last night the cat figured out how to spit his medicine across the living room. This morning he one upped that feat, made an alarming noise, spit his meds out in my face, clawed his way free and leapt to the top of the cat tree in a matter of seconds. There he sat, daring us to wrangle him down for a second time. There’s a point in every battle where someone says, “fuck it. You win.” Well I didn’t actually say, “Fuck it, you win.” No. I was trying to get prednisone out of my eye. But I thought it.

The cat has since informed me that I am violating his human rights. I will be hearing from his attorney and that also, he called the UN. I told him that the UN is busy and to get off the damn cat tree, it’s time for his dewormer. I haven’t had the guts to tell him that after his antibiotics run out, the vet will be jabbing him in the arse with Outside Cat shots. I’ll let her explain that one. She just got back from Hawaii after all. She’s nicely tanned and not covered in scratches and prednisone. Fresh. Yeah. That’s it.


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Spacious Nuthouse Estates is currently chock full of nuts! And, er, cats. The Youngest and her cat have come home for an extended summer visit, before heading up to the Pacific Northwest. They’ll be making the permanent move later this fall but we get to enjoy them for a couple of months before they continue their journey to parts farther North.


Er. MOST of us are enjoying the visit. Except for Mr. MacGreedypants here, who won’t share the catnip mice.
I’m particularly glad to have my favorite show assistant back for the start of the summer shows. She’ll be working the next 3 shows with me and I couldn’t be happier about that. I’ve missed her!

I’m busy prepping for the Twain Harte Art and Wine Festival this week – it’s next weekend, the 26th and 27th of July, in downtown Twain Harte. If you haven’t been to this festival, it’s a great one. Two days of artists, crafters, wine tasting, live music and great food up in the beautiful pines.

Feels like it’s been FOREVER since I posted any new jewelry and it really has. I’m trying to get back in the hang of the studio but wow, life sure has been getting in the way.


These lovelies will be on sale. Focal glass beads are from the super talented Genea Crivello-Knable of Genea Beads. Natural quartz points, sari silk and Czech glass… they are just waiting for a quick dip in some patina solution and then they’ll be good to go.


I like the geological twist on these, both the coated druzy stones and the copper representation of a fossilized ammonite.


Plus, new pieces in our Uncial and Urban Tribal collections, and more! Come on out to Twain Harte for some wine in the pines!

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You know how DVDs and movies sometimes have a blooper reel? Well I wound up with a blooper reel from a recent bead photography session, for my new destash bead store, Six Bad Cats.

In fact. Given the name of my new bead shop, I guess the bloopers are really accurate.


Mostly it worked ok for them to sit in the lightbox behind the little bead platform I’d set up.




At any rate. I thought you’d enjoy this look at some of the behind the scenes trials and tribulations that go on here in our jewelry studio. Because, cats.


Lots of bead pictures with no cats over in our new Etsy store. Great prices on gemstone and art beads that I’m destashing from my inventory!

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I’ll be honest. Financial challenges are for the birds. There is all sorts of stuff I need for the studio, we have a huge show coming up, and the extra money to prepare for it just isn’t there.

But here’s the thing.

It’s ok.


The situation is forcing me to work outside the box because I’ve had to work without the comfortable safety zone of certain supplies. In terms of creative growth, that’s not really such a bad thing at all. And sure, maybe a few weeks before a show isn’t when you want to be all “growth!” and “experiment!” because your brain is focused on “production!” and time can feel a little bit short, but… it is what is.


So I am finding that it’s quite simple, really. Do the best you can with what you’ve got.
If you haven’t got what you wanted, try to find something you can use to replace it. Make it yourself, or work around it.


Use your tools.
Use what you have.


Make do.
Make it work.
Make it up.


My grandfather was all about making stuff up with what he had. It isn’t like he wasn’t able to easily go out and buy the easy fix, but the store wasn’t where he mentally started. It was a last ditch resort. He had a lot of fun figuring stuff out. If he were alive today, he would be considered a Lifehack super-genius and people would be all about his Pinterest feed. If something was broken, he’d go down to the shop, putter for a bit, and come back with a little something he’d whipped up to do the job. It wasn’t always pretty, but it always did the job. Sometimes it was pretty – like when he carved Grandma a little wooden fish out of scrap wood, and put a hook on the end so she wouldn’t burn her hands on the toaster oven rack in the mornings. Sure, he could’ve gotten her something at the store. Or handed her a potholder. But the little wooden fish was way better. The wood was there, and he had two hands and the time so that’s what he did. My dad is the same way. He fixes stuff. He engineers clever solutions to life. Captain Sexypants is very much cast from the same mold.


And then there’s me. If someone carves me a clever wooden fish, I’m thrilled to use it, but my first thought was probably to buy one. My most notable life hacks have been Spanx and refried beans. Imagine my chagrin when I remembered that both of those inventions were already available at Target. I keep trying, though.


I’ve been thinking to myself that this isn’t such a bad attitude to take towards life. Better late than never. Living in the mountains is making this whole transition to a new mindset a lot easier. I haven’t built up the muscles I needed to use in order to make do with what I have, because I was living in a city near five shops that had a shiny new version of whatever it was that I wanted. And I had a lot more income to buy those shiny new things when I wanted them. It can be a bit more challenging to develop those “make it work” chops when there is Thai takeaway just a phone call away. Living up here, I have to plan ahead and make my own damn curry.

So. In the studio. Making it work with what I’ve got.


At other shows and in our shop at Crafted, I’ve always tended to fill in around the edges with the art jewelry while focusing on the more traditional collections. This time I’ll be using mostly art jewelry to carry the show. I have absolutely no idea whether or not this stuff is going to go over well. I’d be lying if I said that I’m not a teensy bit worried – I need to do very well at this show. But you kind of have to shove that sort of anxiety and fear into the back of your mind when you are working in the studio or you get into all the wrong sorts of conversations with yourself.

What matters in the short term is that I’m having a good time with it.


I do really love how these more textile oriented pieces – which I have named the “Into The Woods” collection – work with the hammered metal of the Urban Tribal collection.
The new pieces are a lot of fun to wear. Irish linen is very comfortable!


So for the next few weeks, I’ll be in my studio. Making it work. Making do. Making it fantastic. If you need me, you can find me rooting through all the forgotten corners of my stash for things to play with while the cats shake their little pom poms and act encouragingly.




It’s a form of encouragement, anyway.

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This week in mountain weather I have learned that sometimes, rain freezes when it falls.


The tiny frozen raindrops fell gently, like rain, but looked like hail when they hit the ground. I’ve never seen anything like it. They covered the ground and everything outside in a light, sparkly crust. The world looked like someone had taken a sifter and gently sprinkled powdered sugar on top. Sugar which melted a little bit when the sun came out, then refroze into something harder.


Our Very Bad Cat, Bug, Fifth Viscount Naughtypants, is not content to sleep by the fire but rather, must be very busy. He ran outside as the frozen drops were coming down, and we had a merry game of chase which ended with him seeking refuge under a neighbor’s deck. Fortunately he is a young cat, and not always very smart, so he fell for the old “Bag of Tuna Snacks” trick and was quickly lured back out. I have tried to convince him that only a very stupid cat runs outside when ice is falling from the sky, but he insists that he is a fierce outside mountain cat and that he fears no icy paws or hungry mountain lions. That if I would only allow him to run free, he would be the terror of finches and the slayer of field mice, and after all isn’t that what a cat is born to be?

I tell him that cosy wood fires are better than finches and I feel thankful that he hasn’t got thumbs to work the doorknobs when I am not looking.


Now I totally understand why people panic and run to the stores for bread and milk when weather is on the way. Though in our case, it was bacon, honey and sweet potatoes. And a wreath of evergreen for the door. And perhaps some maple syrup and goat cheese as well. It’s important to make sure you don’t starve during a snowstorm. The essentials are key.


It froze even harder in the night, the ice locking us into the cabin as effectively as a foot of snow might have. I’ll be grateful when we get that four wheel drive we are buying, as the little Honda wants to slide everywhere on the slick mountain roads and we just can’t drive it when they are like this.

All this means, of course, that I will not be at Uptown Village Market in Long Beach this weekend, because between the miserable head cold I caught from someone at the Handmade Expo and the ice covered roads that didn’t melt till after noon on the day I was slated to leave, I have thrown in the towel as far as any travel goes. So I will be sorry to miss it, but you should totally check it out anyway. Some good artists on tap!

We will be raising a cup of paleo cocoa to them this weekend.

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The weather has most definitely turned up here on the mountain. Nights are cold, cold cold, and mornings are crisp like the best apple you ever ate. Clear blue skies and autumn sunlight filtering through the pines. After 18 years in LA, all my visual cues are set for “warm” and it is always a shock to step outside and feel the air – always colder than I expect. It was in the 50’s here the other day – probably not cold to someone who hasn’t lived in Southern CA for nigh unto two decades – but certainly on par with what I expect from “winter” there. The woodstove is getting a lot of use in the evenings.

There is some reframing of seasonal norms going on!

But really, that’s not the most exciting thing. Ollie and I made a Discovery the other day… I’d heard rumors before I moved here, of course, of a mysterious tribe that lived in the park. But it was all myth and legend until the other day.

Hark! What is this?


Could it be… kittens? It IS kittens. Three kittens, to be precise.


It is a confirmed kitten sighting and one that I hope will be helpful. I mentioned it to another resident of the park here, and she has called a local rescue group and let them know where the kittens are hanging out. Apparently the group has been aware of them for some time but had been unable to find them. It’s a big park and there is a lot of brush. There have been plans to trap, spay and release the mother/rehome the kittens if they could just be located. Of course, no sooner did we locate them, but the owner of the cabin next to ours came out and started to do some work on the place, scaring them away. I’m hoping they come back.

Meanwhile, inside OUR place, it is All Cats All the Time. There is Exploration going on and I have realized that perhaps I should have taken the mountain of boxes down to our storage unit. I’d hoped to wait for D’s return, as those boxes are heavy and I really don’t feel like shlepping them all to the car by myself, but…


Oh… well… never mind.

Looks like vertical space is in hot demand here at the Fortress of Solitude. We will have some catification to do upon D’s return. A vertical cat superhighway? You bet. The low beam ceiling poses a conundrum, but I have faith that with a little creativity, we will be able to create some up high spaces. Even though I stuck a hummingbird feeder not 12″ on the other side of the living room window, and the hummingbirds provide diversion for most of the day, it would appear that the Gleaming Cat Towers of Gondor are not sufficient variety for our arboreal dwellers.


Princess Bonbon Fluffypants Von Schnitzeltoes has not got many deep thoughts, but she does like exploring.

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