Sunday, June 28, 2009

Some Kitties

Not mine. Well, the pics are mine, but the kitties are not. It's the first time in a long time that I've had my camera out for real pictures so thought I'd share a few.

Mama Cat

Time out!



Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fun With Slideshows

I recently found this cool - and FREE - website/tool thing. It's called ImageLoop. Here's their link: Image Loop
You use it to make your own slideshow then just copy the small snippet of code to embed the slideshow anywhere you want. That's the easy part.

The hard part is figuring out what's happening behind the scenes. I'm still figuring it out myself. Your photos get stored on ImageLoop and you get a public page like this one: where people can view your shows, comment on them, rate them, etc. You can make shows private if you want so that they don't show up on this public list. And you can make shows and allow other people to add photos to them. I know that would be useful for something, just not sure what yet.

But if you just want a slideshow to put on your webpage - which is all I wanted- this is a fun and easy way to do it. There are tons of design options. Have fun! Here's one I made for a sample:

Fiesta Kitchen

More pictures and my comments on them are here: Fiesta Kitchen Album

Down in May there's a "Home Decor Horror" post. Two small pics there will give you an idea of what this kitchen started out like. Blecch! I love being in it now. Colors really do affect your mood.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Silver Enamel Bowl

Isn't it fantastic? I found it in a thrift shop today. It had an original sticker on the bottom reading "Reed & Barton. World's Finest Silver Plated Ware. Made in the U.S.A." and a "Reed & Barton - #102" stamp. I bought it because it was deeply tarnished and I love polishing silver. There's something about rubbing that magic polish on and watching something old and dark turn new and shiny again that's quite satisfying. Pity there's no such thing as a people polish.

So I brought it home and polished it up and then decided to look up this "Reed & Barton". Turns out Reed & Barton is a rather respectable outfit that's been operating since 1824. But I wasn't able to find anything about their enamel-lined line of ware other than a few eBay listings.
Blue #1
Blue #2
Green #1
Red #1
Red #2
Red #3
(That green is gorgeous!)

So I don't know when this bowl was made or how many other items they made in this enamel line or how many colors they made, but I just love it. And I paid exactly $1.00 for it. :) Gott'a love thrift shops.
The orange & yellow vases, I found them at the thrift shop, too. The trio will make a nice addition of absolutely-useless-but-decorative knick-knacks for my kitchen, ey?
silver bowlbowl and vases

Monday, June 8, 2009

Trying a New Thing

Clay! Polymer clay. See that link under "Who I'm following" for MoeArt Polymer Clay Creations? That's my Aunt. She's a self-professed clay addict. But that's OK because she's very good at it. (And very funny so go read her blog!)

Aunty Em, being the generous soul she is, sent me a wonderful box containing everything I would need to try my hand at clay. I haven't touched any kind of moldable material since SillyPutty and the Play-Do Barbershop days but I was eager to get started.

One of the many things in the box was a large bag of clay scraps.

scrap bag

Perfect for practicing on without wasting any of the pretty, new, solid color bricks. So I rolled and kneaded and folded and smooshed and rolled and kneaded and... and made lots of gray.
I practiced rolling out snakes and had fun cranking clay out of the extruder and spent a great deal of time with the brayer trying to make a flat rectangle of the same thickness. Harder than it sounds. Harder than picking up the polymer clay lingo. ;)

After several hours (uhm ok, more like all day) I had a piece ready to bake. 45 minutes later plus a little cooling time, and I had this, a cuff bracelet made entirely from polymer clay. Mis-shapen and mangled in places, but a bracelet nonetheless.

baked cuff

How cool is that? From the above melange to a bracelet!

After I tried smoothing the edges with a disposable emery board (wrong!) I ended up with what, to a visually impaired person, could possibly pass as a worn leather cuff.

I then decided, what the heck, I'll paint it. So I dug into my drawer of acrylic craft paints and found a sheer metallic copper and a sheer metallic silver. Alrighty! Seemed like just the thing. An hour later I had this:

painted cuff

I couldn't get an accurate picture of it, one that didn't make it appear shinier/brighter or flatter/matte-er than it really is, but you get the idea. It looks like medium-aged penny with pewter accents.

Is it beautiful? Is it going to win awards and make people stop me on the street to ask where I got such a grand bracelet? Heck NO! But it's my first ever polymer clay piece so I am shamelessly showing it off here.

Many thanks and mahalos to Aunty M, and a special thanks to "Mary Kay Too" from the PCC forum who contributed items for my clay care-package. I now have another hobby I am going to love.

Hunters in the House

We have a dog and two cats. The older, larger cat, Scratch, is your typical black shorthair. Typical except that Scratch is a bully cat sometimes possessed by demons. We've about given up trying to keep Scratch from getting outside. This seven pound mass of fur has bested us humans in that contest of wits.

One reason we try to keep Scratch inside is because he's an excellent hunter. A natural feline trait but one that tends to upset bird & bunny lovers everywhere.
And cats as you know are not satisfied with just catching something, they have to bring it back to the lair and give it to the humans. So we occasionally find mice & shrew corpses on the front porch or back deck, lying just over the threshold where we can't miss the little gifts.

Saturday morning I'm relaxing in the living room when in struts Scratch, as only cats can strut, carrying a live chipmunk in his mouth. Lookie Lookie what I have! If this were the NFL he'd be doing the "I'm so special look at me I made a touch down happy dance". I immediately jump up to grab the cat but the cat is much quicker than I am and I can't even get within lunge-distance. And now that the cat has my attention, he wants to play. He releases the chipmunk and all hell breaks loose. Now both cats AND the dog are rocketing around the apartment after the thing. With three predators and a human after it, its only means of escape is to seek cover in small places. Boom! Thump! Meeeooow! Clang! Yowl! Bark! Crash! #$%&*!

Each time the chipmunk got cornered, Scratch would pounce, take it to an open area, and release it again. ARRGG! I need a net! After 20 minutes of Keystone Kops antics, the little thing finally ended up under the water heater in the basement. So I give up. I figure the chipmunk will eventually make a break for it, the cat will catch him, tire of playing, and I will find the trophy waiting for me somewhere out in the open. Well, I was sort of right.

Sometime overnight the chipmunk did make a break for it as Sunday morning the cat has my office area staked out. The little critter is now apparently behind my computer desk and large metal filing cabinet. Do I want to move the desk and file cabinet, knowing the little thing's just going to shoot off somewhere else as soon as I do? No. And now I'm getting mad at the cat. YOU started this, YOU finish it.

Well, the cat sat patiently in front of the filing cabinet all morning. The dog however - not so patient. Barking and whining and pawing at the floor and getting tangled in the computer cords and being a general nuisance 'til I finally banished him to the backyard. Then we had to leave. We were gone most of the day and returned to the same scene - cat STILL patiently lying in wait in front of the filing cabinet. The dog though had thankfully either given up or forgotten about it.

Another night goes by and it is now Monday. The chipmunk is now behind the dresser in the corner of the kitchen. (Yes, you read that right, I have a dresser in my kitchen.) Once again, cat is quietly, patiently lying in wait while the dog is going crazy. Dogs do not apparently understand that making a ruckus does not help lure prey out into the open.

I can deal with a chipmunk in the house. The cat will eventually tire of his catch & release game and will end it, leaving the trophy corpse out for me to find and dispose of. But in the meanwhile, the dog is making me crazy! I will have to take an active approach now ...