Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year’s Resolutions…for the Cats

As we get ready to start writing the year 2012 instead of 2011, I, like many people, ponder what changes I’d like to make in my life with the New Year. Losing weight is my usual resolve. But life is not all about me; it’s really about the cats. But I realize that if we cat lovers were to ask our cats to promise to do a few things differently, we should probably compromise and give them something in return.

• If you’ll promise to aim your hairballs where I don’t walk, I’ll promise to comb you more often and take care of any mats before they become uncomfortable for your skin.

• I will feed you food without cornmeal listed in the ingredients so you will vomit less to being with.

• You will all try to get along with each other. If you can’t stand the other cat, just leave the area. Don’t have a hissy fit just because Bubba looked at you “that way he does”.

• When using the bathroom, please think INSIDE the box. Knowing how you don’t like to use dirty toilets, in return I’ll try harder to keep your litter box clean on a regular basis.

• I promise to spend more quality time with you, playing with cat toys or laser pointers so you can have fun and exercise too. In return, stop pretending that human feet under covers are critters that need to be tamed at 3 a.m.

• If you will cooperate better with claw clipping, I will try to trim your nails every 3-4 weeks so they don’t get hung up on furniture and bedding. If the process makes you nervous, I’ll give you treats to nibble on while I do it so the clippers don’t seem so scary. Read my blog on claw clipping for more advice.

• Stop teasing the dog for your own amusement. We all know you have superior intellect (and smell better too). There’s no need to make her look like a fool all the time.

• As I care about your health, I will monitor your diet carefully to make sure you don’t become too heavy, feeding you a quality, high protein dry food and canned food twice daily. Being a Maine Coon doesn’t automatically mean you are supposed to weigh 25 pounds if the weight doesn’t fit your stature.

• Speaking of diet, I don’t put food out on the counter just for you. Kindly refrain from licking the butter or stealing food as if I won’t notice. I don’t eat your food so don’t eat mine.

Wishing my readers and their feline companions a healthy, happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Trying to Get Crafty for Christmas

Christmas is coming, the kids are getting restless....let's make Christmas ornaments!  I went online to research what opportunities there were for a teenager and two grandkids, ages 6 and 9.  I found a few possibilities I liked and printed out the instructions.  We spent about $75 at AC Moore and the next couple of days creating personal masterpieces.  Some worked out better than others.  I put links to the detailed instructions of the ones we liked which also shows you what they're supposed to look like compared to our reality.

Ben, Kelsey and Amanda

Peppermint Candy Ornaments - Not worth the aggravation - Will likely drop on the way to the tree

The individual candies are arranged onto a wax paper-covered cookie sheet and heated in the oven so the candies melt together to form a shape.  The candies often didn't hold together unless they were over-melted.  They tended to break, but Ben says they taste the same either way.

Amanda adds sprinkle decorations to the soft peppermints right after they come out of the oven

The candy cane on the right is a remelt after it broke the first time

Duck Tape Ornaments - Interesting

I didn't get any pictures of the finished product, but we bought clear ornament balls (I think we got the last of the plastic ones at the Waterford store) and Duck Tape with Christmas print.  We improvised on the instructions, but essentially cut the tape into narrow strips and covered the balls.  I found that a razor blade works infinitely better than scissors for cutting so that task fell to me.  Since Kelsey already had a collection of different colors and patterns of tape she'd done little with, she taught Amanda how to make a wallet and the girls got off on a wallet-making tangent.  Amanda made a wallet for me and one for her mother.  I found out more than I wanted to know about Duck Tape creations as AC Moore has an area with instructional books and sells paper-sized sheets of Duck Tape for the serious taper.  My phone book now has a protective cover of multi-colored Duck Tape.

Kelsey's shows off her Duck Tape Wallet

Marbeled ornamentsPretty - Will actually hang on the tree

I chose three colors of small bottles of enamel paint; red, gold and green.  Taking a clear glass ornament ball, I squirted each color into the ball and let it run down the sides, four lines of each color.  Gold worked great, but the red and green globbed up and fell to the bottom.  I gave up on green and did the other three balls in just red and gold.  The balls are rotated every ten minutes so that the paint slowly merges and covers the entire inside of the ball, creating a marbeled look.  They take days to dry completely, but so far I like them.   This was my project as I thought it'd take too long for the kids to get their finished product.

Kelsey's ornament filled with glitter and snow, my marbeled ornaments

Filling Clear Balls with Stuff - Pretty - Will also hang on our tree

We didn't follow any of the instructions provided on the website for these, but borrowed the general idea and the kids came up with their own things.  They used glitter and fake snow.  This would have been less messy if I had a funnel that hadn't been mangled at the tip as it was hard to get material that sticks to everything to go down.  I ended up making a funnel out of paper so the snow would flow better.  Raised paint was used to put designs on the outside of the ornament.  I expect we'll be haunted by glitter and snow until summer.

I really liked all the things you could do with the clear ornament balls.  They're much more professional-looking than the reindeer made out of brown pipe cleaners from last year which ended up as cat toys.