Friday, July 27, 2012

A quick hello

No pictures this post, sorry.  Of course I caught a terrible summer cold (another bout of the crud) on my flight to Fargo, so on top of being gone for five days, I came back and was walking around like a disgusting, coughing, sputtering zombie.  I am starting to feel better already, thanks to several naps, regular doses of medicine and vitamins and some hot baths.  I will post pictures soon of what's been going on here, but I have a little news to share.

The day before I left for Fargo, I took eight kittens to the shelter for kitty-sitting.  Bungalow Bill, Prudence and Sergeant Pepper were all ADOPTED!  Maiden is still at the shelter...she was a short-term Theresa's House resident.  And four little ones were left in Anthony's care in the cat cottage in a cage with everything they needed to get by for a week.

Unfortunately, that entire crew came down with coccidia, a bacterial infection of the guts which causes terrible diarrhea among other things.  Poor Shaggy and poor Minus did not survive.  They died within several days of my leaving them.  Gumbo and Short Stack were also treated.  Both are still not 100%, and I do worry a little about Gumbo, because he's still so skinny.  But they're both happy and toodling around the house.  We hold Gumbo every chance we can get, because that's how he's happiest.

As long as I was picking up a particularly amended set of kittens (dropped off eight...was picking up two), I asked Anthony if there was anyone else who needed saving.  He said, "Let's see," and took me to the "E" room (the most unfortunate room at the shelter.)  He pointed at a cage to the left and said there was a kitten in there, but she was probably feral.  The sign on the cage said something to the effect of: Cannot do exam. Feral. PTS. (PTS means Put To Sleep.)  He said she had bitten through the leather handling gloves and no one was able to do anything with her.

"Let me see," I said.  I opened the cage and peeled back the layers of newspaper she had burrowed herself into.  I saw a beautiful mostly-white calico with olive green eyes and she looked terrified.  About ten weeks old -- maybe 2 1/2 pounds or so and very healthy.

I talked to her for a while, then started putting my hand in the cage...slowly.  She wasn't happy, but she was all right.  So I touched her face a few times, then her shoulder, then her side.  I picked her up once, and she swung around wildly, claws slashing and doing her best angry hissing.  I set her back down and went back to talking to her, touching her gently, and eventually, I was able to scoop her up and hold her against me.  And she started purring.

I named her "Brave," and she is at our house learning to love people.  I've been spoon feeding her nice wet food, and she is slowly learning to trust me.  She's actually very social with our other cats so far (she wants so badly for them to love her.)  I've been able to hold her a few times, and once she fell asleep purring on my lap.

She's got a ways to go yet, but I think she's far from feral.  She's just a scared little girl who needs some TLC.  And I happen to have a little of that lying around. (wink!)

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Kitten pics and a vacation

I'll do my announcement first, because I know once you start looking at kittens, your brain is going to overload with cuteness.  I am going to be closed Wednesday the 18-Sunday the 22, so I can visit relatives up north.  I will answer e-mails when I get back.

I'm always excited to go back home, but this time I am going to catch the 37th annual Fargo Street Fair.  I remember attending the Street Fair as a child, back when the booths had a lot of crocheted doilies, modge-podged wooden plaques, and homemade Barbie clothes.  It has grown into a huge area event where an estimated 150,000 people go through hundreds of juried arts and crafts booths, eating kettle corn and drinking fresh squeezed lemonade.

OK, here are the kittens.  You can click on the pictures to make them larger.  All of these guys were dropped off at the shelter this morning for kitten sitting while I'm gone.  It's possible some will be adopted during that time, and I'm ok with that.  I took pictures this morning before I loaded everyone up.  Except Lucy.  I have no idea where she curled up this morning, but Harrison will take care of her when he housesits for me.

This is Shaggy.  He's probably a little less than a pound now...or there 'round.  He is clingy -- loves to be right all up in my business and is going to be a really pretty long-haired black cat with bright green eyes.  I will be picking up Shaggy and a few other of these kittens when I get back, because they're too small to be kept long at the shelter.

I picked Maiden up along with Shaggy about a week and a half ago.  She is one of the most sweetly affectionate kittens I've ever had at home.  She is gentle and so loving.  She's not quite big enough for surgery yet, so she may come back home for a little bit before surgery.

Short Stack -- he's got only half a tail.  He was borderline feral when I picked him up a week ago, and he tore me up that first day (I could not believe how hard he bit me and how loudly he could yell.)  But now...well, now he's a lap kitten and very nice.  He just needed love.  Again, he's very small, so he'll be coming back home.

Bungalow Bill.  This was another wild child...Bill hissed and arched his back at everything when I brought him home.  He's going to be BIG, but he's a lover now, not a fighter.  He's got really pretty peachy fur.  Look at those ears!

Sergeant Pepper is Bungalow Bill's brother.  He LOVES to wrestle, and is a little more independent than the others, but definitely still a friendly guy.  I think he'll end up pretty big, too.  He found a little bit of sunshine this morning to rest in.

Prudence is sister to Bill and Sarge.  She is a gorgeous calico girlie, smart, loyal, and social.  I do not expect to find her at the shelter when I get back.  I wouldn't be surprised if she gets adopted out yet today while I'm still in town.  So pretty, so nice.

Minus has got no tail -- her brothers are Short Stack (see above) and Gumbo (below.)  These three kittens were hours away from being put to sleep when I smuggled them home to foster.  They are adorable and so badly wanted love, care and attention.  She's a little more confident than her brothers, and took to home living quite easily.  And when I say she has no tail, she has not even a little piece of a tail.

I saved this picture for last -- would you LOOK at those eyes.  Don't they kill you?  This is Gumbo.  He, like his brother, was VERY nervous about people, a home, other cats, what-have-you.  But now, he's a little purr bucket.  He's a really nice bright orange color and will make someone a perfectly lovely big orange cat some day.  But in the meantime, we'll take care of him, and love him, and help him grow.

Other kitten news: Bunny, Jelly Bean, and Peter have all been adopted at PetSmart.  Still over there are Charlie, Willie, Isabelle, Peep and Highness/Princess/Miss Priss.  I got to meet Peter's and Bunny's families (nice folks) and Jelly Bean went to a new couple...the wife is in grad school, and Jelly will be their only pet right now, so she'll get lots of attention.

Have a great couple of days.  I'll check in when I get back into town!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It's all so beautiful

When I send a new reproduction off to a model stitcher with flosses, fabric, chart and notes, I am always anxious in anticipating how the finished product is going to look.  And I get it back, and it's like Christmas to see it finished.  And then when I get it in the frame...even better!  I present to you Ragamuffin #2: A Quaker Sampler.

This sampler was a challenge to reproduce, because the alphabets were almost entirely MISSING IN ACTION.  I think that the last time this original sampler was framed, someone thought they were being clever and washed this dear sampler and a lot of the letters just fell out.  So, while the sampler is very clean, it is (to me) a ragamuffin...a little rough around the edges.  You will notice (see below) that the original is more square-shaped, and the reproduction is rectangular.  The original was stitched on an un-even weave linen (meaning the stitches are shorter than they are wide.)

I could see where some of the letters had been near the top, and could tell what type of alphabet was used.  And I did some research with my sampler books at home, magazines, and even called Pat Ryan from R&R Reproductions.  She took a look at photos of the original and gave me some great advice.  I think the alphabets I have put in are pretty close to the feeling the original would have had.  And I love the juxtaposition of the dark and angular lettering against the whimsical and free-spirited motifs at the bottom.

There are a lot of "essential" Quaker elements on this sampler -- the alphabets, a swan, a wreath, Quaker stars, a bird in a branch, urns.  The colors are gentle golds and greens, with a soft black and cream.  The "white" areas of stitching are done with TWO strands of silk, rather than one, to help that show up better.  The original sampler had areas that were almost the same color as the fabric, and I wanted this faded feel for the reproduction.

Anyway, I hope you like it -- I'm working on printing/packing charts, and will be ready in a few days.  You can order through me, or contact your local/favorite needlework shop to pre-order a chart.

We had more graduations this weekend!  I took four cats over to PetSmart on Monday afternoon.  And is my house more quiet?  No.  I picked up more kittens (I took three sweet ones out of the "E" room at the shelter Monday afternoon.  The "E" room is not the place to be at the shelter.  These three do not have names yet, but it's two orange males and one tortie female.  The tortie has NO tail at all, one of the orange fellas has half a tail, and the other a full one.  I'll post pictures soon.)  

I also have a sweet little black fella named Shaggy who only weighed 14 ounces when I found him in the Kitten Cottage.  Once I took him home, I realized that he did not know how to eat solid food, and probably hadn't eaten since he arrived at the shelter.  We're alternating between formula and wet food, and he's doing great.  He wants me to hold him ALL OF THE TIME.  ALL OF THE TIME.  I mean, literally, ALL OF THE TIME.  He's really nice.  And I have Maiden, who is a white/black short-hair.  She's also very, very sweet.  Maiden and Shaggy have been non-stop purring machines since they came home with me.  I'll post pictures of them soon, too.

But, onto the graduates:

I wasn't able to get a good final shot of Peep.  She is an anxious girl, and once I got the carriers out, she was just a blur.  The only couple of pictures I snapped are just big splashes of black.  Her siblings and mother left the house about ten days before she did.  And she cried.  But she had a cold, and actually, she got a lot more used to human interaction without her mother around.  She had never purred before, and once her family left, she started purring.

The shelter called her "Miss Priss," but we called her "Highness," "Your Majesty" or "Princess."  This lovely little cat was also taken out of the "E" room by yours truly.  She had ringworm on her back and was almost put to sleep.  I got her all cleaned up, and now she's a healthy, big girl who is ready for adoption.  A very nice and regal cat.

Willie's final pictures were a little blurry, too.  (Kittens are very difficult to photograph.)  She was in Violet's litter, and it made me a little sad remembering dear Violet when Willie and Charlie were taken to PetSmart.  Willie is smart, loyal, friendly, and a solid cat.  She has kind of a "wild" coat, but a great personality.  Willie likes to be blown with the blow dryer and then lifted up to drink from the sink.  Now when I blow dry my hair in the morning, I think of Willie.

And here's dear Charlie.  He drove me crazy when I was bottle feeding him.  He would always bite my nose REALLY hard.  Finally, I hissed at him a few times, and after that, he was very gentle, but would still put his mouth on my nose after eating.  He's a talker, and has a really earnest quality to his personality.  He'll be such a nice companion for his new adopter.

And I received another picture of Savannah with Bunny this morning by e-mail.  You can tell this little girl is still pleased-as-punch with her new kitten friend.  Bunny's new name is "Sprinkles."  This is why I foster -- for the animals and for the adoptive families on the other end.  And for me, too.  Kittens are so, so beautiful.