Friday, May 31, 2013

Photoshop Friday

And here I thought I was done with posting today but then I realized I'd forgotten all about Photoshop Friday.  That's what I get for spending time with the Divine Miss M having lunch and thoughts got all fuzzy.  Since my brain seemed to be kind of blurry, I thought I'd play with using that technique.

Here is a photo of my friend's daughter dancing.  I used the radial blur to add some drama to it, but it just didn't seem to pop enough since there wasn't a colorful background.

So I used a photo of her younger child on the same stage, removed the background and added one with lots of colorful dots that might look good blurred.  And here is how that one turned out.

Long Live the Photoshop Queen

Cats with thumbs

This was just too cute not to share, especially for Feline Friday.  Enjoy.

Feline Friday

Long Live the Queen Cat

Sibling Love

We continue to learn a bit more today about George and Gracie.  George had been with the former owners for 2 1/2 years.  Gracie had been with them for about 6 months and came from a farm and had never been to a vet.

On April 26th they were both surrendered to the Humane Society and separated with Gracie went to be neutered.
Then George had an upper respiratory virus and had to be in isolation for quite a while.

These poor things had their life turned upside down and then to be pulled apart must have been horrible for them.  They truly love being together and get so much comfort from one another.

Last night there was a bad thunderstorm and Gracie took it all in stride.  She appears to be fearless as storms, loud engines and machinery and the like don't effect her at all.  Must be that barn cat experience in her early years.

George on the other hand is the cowardly lion and runs from any loud sudden noises.

I had George on my lap during the storm and kept the quilt up over his head.  The TV was on loud enough to hear over the sound of rain on the roof and I kept massaging his ear to muffle and distort the sound.

Gracie came over and wanted to be scratched but could see George was fearful.  She daintly sat down and cocked her head to assess the situation.  What she did next blew me away.

She proceeded to stretch out the length of her body on top of George and then put her paw over his other ear.  With her job complete she lowered her head down near his and I could feel his anxiety lessen.

His breathing became slower and deeper and gradually he closed his eyes and slept.

I guess theres' more than one reason we chose Gracie for her name.

Long Live the Queen of Cat Comfort

Thursday, May 30, 2013

What we have here is a failure to communicate!

A long time ago I complained to Left Brain about the decibel level of the TV and demanded he go get checked out for hearing aids.  He suggested I go with him, which I foolishly did.  As it turned out he DID need a hearing aid....I was right!  Seems I needed two of them.

Now the TV is a decent volume since he tends to wear his one all the time.  I tend to pick and choose when I will wear them.  This has nothing to do with vanity, I'm just to lazy to stick them in my ears.  But for the most part I can manage throughout my day just fine, thank you...except for mumblers and those who talk too fast.  Like the other day.

Picture it.  I'm crusing along in my Honda minding my own business, singing at the top of my lungs since it was cold and the windows were up when I spot the flashing lights behind me.  Ooops.  How fast was I going?  I had no idea since I tend to ignore the dials on the dashboard.

In my defense I started to debate with the nice officer and told him "I'm sorry, but the road seemed clear and..."

He interrupted my stream of thought, which irritates me no end, by asking "How would you have reacted if Mister Fog had suddenly appeared?".  Now I'm getting a bit steamed.  I hate being patronized and he was truly treating me like either a child or a senile old woman.

Now, what I did I don't recommend to anyone.  It's never good to mouth off to a policeman, but I couldn't help myself.  I dished it back to him just as sarcastic as he presented it to me.  "Well."  I said. "I suppose I would have applied Mister Brake and turned on Mr and Mrs Headlights!"  Oh, I am just too clever sometimes for my own good.

He hemmed and hawed for a moment and then enunciating very clearly for me repeated his first statement in a manner I could clearly hear.  "How would you have reacted if mist OR fog had suddenly appeared?"  

Hmmm.  I guess I'll have to dig those hearing aids out and start wearing them if I can't control my mouth.  I suppose it might not hurt to glance at the speedometer once in a while as well.

Long Live the Queen of Eating Crow

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

They're here!

Well, we've had our first 24 hours and things are going well.
the mouse toy is their first welcome home gift
 from Uncle Eric and Auntie Colleen
To our utter amazement and surprise we were met at the Shelter by Eric and Colleen with kitty gifts for our new family. 

This act of kindness just blew us away.  I was already emotional and it was all I could do not to burst out in tears of happiness. 

What a great start into our new adventure as we start Year Two of our RV life.

We knew Gracie was ready to go as she kept jumping into the car carrier and looking at us as if to say "Okay...let's go!"  George took a little more convincing to get into the carrier. 

He's 10 pounds of pure love

Since we only had one carrier we took George out first and I sat in the back seat with him while Left Brain went back in for round two.  Poor Gracie must have thought we were only taking George for a minute.

Gracie is our light weight at 5 pounds.  I've never had a cat this tiny.
But pound for pound she has more personality than any other!

We were braced for howling and crying all the way home as it's at least a half an hour trip, but Left Brain controlled himself nicely.

Gracie sat on my lap and squirmed around a bit but managed the journey well.  George was fine inside the carrier as long as my hand kept contact with the back of his neck and head. 

Nothing like doing a little Reiki energy on two excited cats.

this view shows how pretty his coat is

When we got home we put them both into the one carrier for the short walk to the RV.  Upon opening the carrier they lept out and ran for the bedroom and hid between the bed and the wall.  Hmmm.  I lured them out to show them the lovely "cave" I had created for them, to which they immediately turned and sped down the hall for the bedroom.

this shows off her beautiful tortie markings

Unfortunately we had a lunch date with a friend of ours at 11:30, so we had to leave them to deal with adjusting on their own, which may have been for the best....but it felt like the longest lunch I'd ever been to.

When we got back we worked again on getting them to check out the rest of the RV.  Gracie would come and go often, but George had to be encouraged to venture out once more.  Gradually they became more and more bold.
the back of the couch with the large windows seems to be a favorite place for both of them
They both love watching the birds in the window.  It didn't take long for the birds to figure out they were in no danger.  We decided if it made them too crazy we'd take them down, but by this morning it's obvious that it's a source of entertainment for them and they ignore them when they are busy grooming or playing.

She's ready to kill the bird, but he seems to have some kind of magic force field around him!

When the night came they discovered the dashboard with the large windshield to check for creatures in the moonlight.

It sure feels safer knowing we have night patrol now.

What's with this sign?  Now that's just plain insulting!

In the morning I reached down and felt for George and sure enough, there he was in his "safe spot".  After scratching his ears for a while I patted the top of the bed and invited him up, which he did.   The three of us had a wonderful snugglefest before he decided to head off again.

There is a sure way to bring both of them running at the same time with rapt attention.  Pop open a can of cat food.  They do love their moist cat food!  I do love their kitty kisses but not as much with cat food breath.

George checking out the birds in the window

I'd forgotten how much cat litter flies around the house and they certainly ran and hid while the evil vacuum cleaner roared it's way down the carpet.  But they forgave me quickly.

So, we're building a routine now.  Food - snuggle - play - grooming and then what we call the "big kitty nap" where they go hide and zonk out soundly.  It's a good life and not that different from ours.

Long Live the Queen of Cats

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Awaiting the pitter patter of little feet in our household...lots of little feet.

It all started out innocently enough.  I'd been wanting to do some volunteer work for the shelter and be part of their Pet Smart project.  After emailing back and forth I didn't feel like my answers were getting met, so we went to the Humane Society to talk to the coordinator about the program.

I'd seen a cat on their web page that was orange and white and figured while we were there I'd take a look at him.  Left Brain's no dummy.  He knew by doing this something fur-covered was probably coming home with us.  But he played along with the game.

After chatting with the director and straightening out my questions with her she was willing to meet with me next week for a crash course and get me going on this volunteer activity.  When I asked to see Mortimer at the end of our session she casually mentioned that I should be sure to see the cats in the office as well.

So I met the orange and white cat and although he was very nice there wasn't any magic in our meeting and with a sense of disappointment I looked at all the others in their cages.  It's so sad and as much as I want to rescue them all I know I'm restricted in our space and figured I'd go out and get my kitty-fix by seeing them at Pet Smart.

I almost didn't bother seeing what I considered "the office cats" as I didn't think they were adoptable but went in anyway.

Lo and behold...there was my friend, Peg Zappen, petting this big fluffy beautiful orange cat.  Now I almost felt sick.  There was magic here and I wouldn't be able to consider adopting unfair! 

When I voiced my frustration it was explained that they were available for adoption my heart did a flip.  Then the other cat slithered around the corner and crawled on my lap, which was soon followed by purring and the happy feet thing cats do so well.  Now I was over the moon!

This pair of cats were surrendered by a family who fell on hard times and lost their house.  Not being able to keep their pets they surrendered them to the shelter.  They had been at the shelter for a month and since they were inseparable they stayed in the office instead of being in the normal cages. 

To say I was smitten was an understatement!

This is George. He's a shy guy and is three years old. His original name was Garfield, but that was just too predictable for us. Left Brain suggested George and when I looked at him again he did look like a George. 

We're old enough to remember the red headed comedian,George Gobel, from those early days of television. 

He's also very similar to George Burns in his quiet movements, no big gestures.  He's definitely the straight man of the act.

And then, of course, there is the King George version ...since I am The Queen and all.

His eyes look blue because of the blue color behind him but they are actually a very pale green.  He likes to stay in his little hiddy spot but allows people to pet him and will sometimes then come out to visit, but isn't crazy about being picked up.

He looks like a huge cat, but it's all fluff.  After the behemoth cats we used to have, these two are definite lightweights.

This is not a good photo - she has exquisite gold eyes that match her fur.

This is Gracie. Her original name was Honey. But since we had George it seemed natural to name his sidekick Gracie.  She is simply sweetness personified.  She is affectionate, curious, very relaxed, funny, laid back and wants to be in the middle of things.
Again...we are dating ourselves here with an old vaudeville team...but so it goes. She has the ditzy personality of Gracie Allen, so it fits nicely.  Her motto seems to be any lap open is her lap.
Since these cats are deeply in love and inseparable, it was yet another similarity to the old duo of George and Gracie.  And what better comedy that watching a pair of cats?  I rest my case.  It's how we came up with the names and it works for us.
I took the grandkids with me to visit on Saturday and Sunday and by Sunday they actually had George out and playing with the toy we brought them to keep them entertained on Monday when the office was closed.
It was so hard to wait until Tuesday to bring them home, but we didn't want to toss them into the crowded craziness of having family for the holiday.  Add to that the noise of the park with people shouting, the band playing and the possibility of fireworks and it was just too much.  I'd rather have them stay in their familiar location for a couple more days.
So at 9:30 this morning we will go and sign papers, pay the adoption fees and bring our new family home to start bonding with them.
So enough already- we gotta go pick up our new babies!
Long Live the Queen of Bliss

Monday, May 27, 2013


It's a rainy, wet Memorial Day here on the Island.  Our family just left to return home and I can now resume my blogging.  There's always so much to write about when they are here, but no time or energy to do so...much less get to the computer.

The granddaughters arrived with Left Brain on Saturday and we went to see "Epic" since it was too wet to do any hiking or sit outside.  Cute movie - kind of a blend of Avatar, Wizard of Oz and a little bit of The Birds tossed in.

The parents arrived later in the day on Sunday and my son joined us to have supper.  This was going to be a nice outdoor cooking on the grill, but again it was raining.  So the seven of us holed up inside for supper and a game of cribbage.  It's a small space but we made it work.

Sunday night soon arrived and it was time to make beds for everyone.  One kid slept on the couch, another on an air mattress on the floor and the parents were on a full bed sized air mattress on the floor since the tent idea was too miserable to consider.  As I went to bed and looked out over the bodies literally covering every inch of floor it looked like a refugee camp for Nordic people.  Thankfully Left Brain and I had our queen sized bed and a door to pull closed.

I was all set to enjoy the quiet of the night but the band in the park played until 11:00 and the bass and back beat continued to ring in my ears.  Add to that the shouts of people milling about in between rain showers.

This morning we watched a lot of soggy disgruntled campers packing up and rolling out.  I waved to each of them and smiled, knowing our nice quiet park would be back on Tuesday.

The family left about 11:00 this morning as we couldn't get out to do any walking or anything and they decided to just get an earlier start home.  Now it's just two old people enjoying the sound of rain on the roof and reading quietly...smiling...enjoying our quiet little cocoon.

Tomorrow will bring a new craziness to our lives as we signed adoption papers last week for two cats to join our lives.   There will be photos coming - trust me, lots of photos.

When I had my first oriole visit the new feeder I just had to snap his image.

Since orioles are considered to be orange and are attracted to oranges it seemed a good fit for today's theme.

So I cranked up the orange in hue and saturation a bit.

I think he's beautiful either way.

Long Live the Queen of Orange Birds

Friday, May 24, 2013

Photoshop Friday

Due to the vast bird population here on the Island and the willingness to clean out all the shelves at the grocery store in search of grape jelly for them, I seem to have a plethora of bird photos to fix.

Here is a little white breasted nuthatch photo I liked but didn't care for the distraction of the background. And then there was that strange blue blob on the tree like it got hit during a game of paintball or something.

They are such hyper birds, never landing for very long in any one spot.  If anyone could use a dose of ritalin it's these guys!

I blurred out the background and removed the blue paint. It ended up a bit dark. 

So just like doing the laundry, I lightened and brightened with a click of the button.  Oh, if only the laundry were so easy!

Then I started to play with my favorite filters.  This one is the dry brush filter.

This one is posterized edges.

This one is the sponge filter.

This is the watercolor filter.

And finally just for fun I reverted back to the original image (the lightened version) and added a filter using a photo of an old stone wall to give it texture to go with the tree trunk.

Long Live the Queen of Photo Fixes

Thursday, May 23, 2013

What's new in your back yard

I am having too much fun with these window feeders!

They allow a very up close and personal view of the birds that visit for the offering of meal worms and seeds. It allows us to view them holding the seeds and pecking them open.  Those feet are impossibly tiny!

They attach by suction cups to the windows and I've positioned them so I can fill them from inside the RV.  It's not that I'm too lazy to go outside and fill them...well, actually that has an element of truth to it.  It's that they are too high to reach without getting out the ladder all the time.

Some of them seemed hesitant to approach the plastic feeder, so I used a suction cup hook and duct taped a stick to it.  After I added that below the feeder I've dramatically increased the amount of birds that come at one time.

And the best part is that it makes for a much better photo when they are on the stick instead of sitting on a plastic feeder.

Even though I'm shooting through the glass for these, they seem to turn out pretty good.

Long Live the Queen of Feeders

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Life is like a box of chocolates

I adore making little baskets and tote bags.  So when I saw these patterns, I just had to have them.

The beauty of this kind of storage is that when they are designed to be folded up flat and take up very little room.

There is a narrow shelf behind the couch that just begs for storage uses, but it was hard to find a box that was skinny enough, much less the right color.

So when I saw this pattern I knew it was going to be the answer for my odd storage needs.

The other big plus was that this has a zipper on each side and I've always had a fear of zippers.  But the way this is designed it was so easy to install them that I'll never be afraid of them again.

I wanted to start small so I created the little square one.  It is perfect for holding my eye drops, chap stick, pens, vitamins, and an assortment of loose things old women like to have nearby.

Since Left Brain and I are trying to cut back on our calorie consumption I decided to make this in a candy fabric so I could enjoy my chocolates visually.

I refer to this as my Forrest Gump box since "life is like a box of chocolates".

Long Live the Queen of Fabric Boxes

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hanging in there

One of the birds favorite feeders is the simplest in design - it's just a mesh sock that holds bird seed. 

It was explained to me that if you fill it with niger thistleseed you get only finches, which is nice, but with the smaller wild bird mix you get a variety of birds.

The other favorite feeder is the oriole feeder with half an orange and grape jelly.  I usually find this on the ground each morning waiting for washing and refilling.

Long Live the Queen of Hangups

Monday, May 20, 2013

More book covers

Making these book covers are addicting. 
front cover

Each one opens a new canvas for a small art quilt.
back cover

But sometimes the fabric is so cool I don't want to bother with design at all, just to showcase the fabric. 

This super hero fabric was just too much fun and I wanted to use it alone for this one.

Then this fabric summed up the meaning of the books they were to cover with expressions of gratitude.

 Those take very little time to produce.

Long Live the Queen of Books

Sunday, May 19, 2013

MOM #5

For this week, I will attempt to alter the color on something.

Here is the photo of the yellow flowers against a brick wall.

Here is my attempt to add some orange to them.  Hmmm.  I think I need to work on this technique a bit.

It's not great - but at least I'm off the ocotillas!

Long Live the Queen of Orangy Stuff

Book Covers for the Talmud

My other project is to create book covers for the Rabbi's books. I love these kinds of projects because it's fun making a special block for a small project instead of trying to tackle something larger. It really appeals to my short little attention span.

this is the front cover

He only needs three of the book covers, but said I could make extras if I choose to. This will provide me with some fun projects off and on as I desire.

this is the back cover

The joy in this is that we both share a love for zany things and lots of color. 

this is how the inside flap looks when open

Long Live the Queen of Quilting