The One Paw Vs. The Sewing Machine

Typing Slave has been madly sewing on her sewing machine lately, and I have been a huge help! Not only have I gotten cat hair all over the clean fabric she was using in her project, but I have run off with spools of thread, jumped on her feet, knocked her scissors and seam ripper into the floor repeatedly, rolled around on her pattern, batted her buttons, lurked behind her sewing box, and interfered with her stitching. Here’s a good sample of me employing my patented one paw technique to hinder her progress:

I know other people who happen to stumble across this video on YouTube totally won’t understand what’s so Tube-able about a (gorgeous) cat repeatedly scratching a (stupid, cheap) sewing machine, but YOU guys will understand. And YOU guys will appreciately my devious psychological torment of Typing Slave using a single, perfect white paw.

I like to paw on the edge, what can I say? I will have TS post some more photos soon of how much help I have been, but it’s been awhile since I’ve shared a Meankitty Mini Movie.


Beaded Bookmarks

One of my recent crafting obsessions has been the creation of beaded bookmarks. I make them out of cotton thread which I crochet in a single chain in the middle so it’s thick enough to be sturdy and bead each end or crochet a circle on one end and add beads to the other.

If you like this type of bookmark, winners of my contests (one of which is going on right now!) may now find one of these gorgeous, one of a kind bookmarks in with their other assorted items. I have a couple helpful readers testing out some types of beaded bookmark for me so I can get an opinion on how they function in a real-world environment.

In making these bookmarks I learned a few things I hadn’t previously known (but possibly could have guessed).

1) I need bifocals. Wah!

2) Never engage in a beading project, particularly not one that involves a hard to find beading needle, when a toddler is in the house. While it won’t result in damage to the toddler if you’re conscientious, you’re probably going to be finding beads all over the house for weeks to come and your beading needle — that 4 inch long sharp piece of dangerous metal — will disappear entirely. Yeah, uh-oh.

3) Some beads are best thrown into the trash when you realize there’s no way you can get anything through their stupid little holes. At least if they’re in the trash can you won’t have to look at them any more. Especially when they’re pretty.

4) My artistic talents are limited, particularly my eye for creative color combinations.

5) Plain hemp twine is too thin for bookmarks, but cats absolutely loooooooove to grab it in their mouths and run off with it.

6) If you haven’t knotted the end of the twine when the cat happens to run off with it, beads will scatter throughout the house.

7) If you intend to make the bookmark exactly the right size for a mass market paperback, it will be too short for the mass market paperback.

8) If you intend to make the bookmark just long enough for a trade paperback, it will be too long for a world atlas and flop around on either side in a way that is very enticing to cats.

9) If you want the crocheted circles on the ends of the bookmark to be stiff, you can use diluted school glue to starch them. However, as the circle is drying, make sure it’s not touching something like paper.

10) Or another bookmark.

Have a nice day and happy crafting!

Jody W. (She certainly helped with the bookmarks.)

Who Is Awesome?

Meankitty is awesome, that’s who! And now she’s art.

Speaking of art, Meankitty fan Judy L. is awesome, too, because look what she sent Meankitty for the holidays:

Yes, folks, bow down in envy of Judy’s talent and our new wall hanging because that is gen-u-ine cross stitch.

And Typing Slave thought she was so cool crocheting gnomes! When she manages to crochet ME, then we’ll talk.


Contest for Gold

Liam’s Gold, that is. Since there was a tie between tuna and a trinket pot, I’ll give away a copy of Liam plus a trinket pot full of tuna!

Ok, seriously, you can read the full details about the new contest here. Accepting names until the first week of December, so be quick.

Meankitty would like me to add that she promises not to let Big D kak on the yarn we’ll be using to make the trinket pot. She doesn’t promise not to do it HERSELF, but luckily she’s not much of a kakker.

So far.


Crafty McCrafterson

Some of the Halloween trick or treat bags I’ve been seeing in the stores are pretty dang cute, so when I dropped by a store on one of my rare shopping jaunts, I checked in the section where the bags were advertised. This was 2 weeks ago. The Halloween stuff had been clustered into one small sale section and the Christmas stuff was already out, so I didn’t get any great bargains or bags.

I have since sewn trick or treat bags for the girls out of some of my Grannie’s antique velvet:

The decorations are sewn on, not glued on. I learned of a trick. Now I want to crochet a gnome hat, perhaps for myself and another for some lucky winner in a future contest. Tell me, would you want to win this (imagine it in red) in a contest:

Or would you prefer this (imagine it in red without a brim):

Essentially, should I figure out how to make the hat stand up or let it flomp over? And should I also crochet a fake gnome beard to go with it?


The Force Was With Me

And by that I mean, the humans had to “force” me out of their way when they were working on their Halloween costumes the past two weeks. Every year they do this. I can’t for the life of me figure out WHY, but they seem to enjoy it.

Typing Slave got the four grown up Jedi and one small Princess Leia costumes done in time for the humans to hit the dark and spooky trail at the zoo this past week-end, but it was a struggle, and I’m proud to say that I was part of that struggle!

Here are some illustrations of my tricksy cleverness:

Typing Slave conned the other humans into helping with the costumes–some folderol about since they were the ones who wanted to wear them, they had to work for it. Both Food Slave and Nanny Slave got a taste of cutting out a sewing pattern. Neither had done such a thing before and probably won’t do it again. You can see that they had exceptionally gifted assistance from myself.

There was a better picture my booty in Nanny Slave’s face, but Nanny Slave said it showed “too much” (too much what, of my booty?? no such thing!) and wouldn’t let us post it. At one point Big D was getting in on the pesky action until he heard the rattle of the treat bag in the kitchen, at which point he deserted me for food. Not that I needed his help to get on Nanny Slave’s last nerve.

I also spent quite a bit of time three inches from the sewing machine whenever TS was using it, vulturing her and making her worry I was going to playfully stick my paw under the needle. As if! And of course every square inch of their costumes was covered in cat hair. I took naps on any fabric I could find strewn about, and lately I’ve been working on the orange velvet trick or treat bags TS is creating for the “big night”.

Pink Thing’s Leia costume was completed first, except for the crazy bun hat, which was a ski cap with crocheted lumps pinned to the sides. TS swears she’s going to crochet a more appropriate cap to go with the buns, but here she is on the computer instead of crocheting now that she has a day with Loud Thing at the sitter.

Nanny Slave in full Jedi regalia, accompanied by the smallest and greenest Jedi, Mistress Yoda. The Yoda costume was store-bought.

Originally, TS intended to make Lego masks for everyone, since Lego Star Wars was the inspiration for the costumes and not, as might be assumed, the live action movies or cartoon that was recently released in theaters. The masks did not come to pass, which is a good thing because she would have done such a terrible job, nobody would have “gotten” it.

So say me all.


Gift Bag Winner!

Using a highly scientific and fair method, I have chosen a contest winner for April-May. I will be sending the hand made, reusable gift bag plus additional loot to another person with a most excellent name: Jodi S.

Thanks to everyone who entered and included all the fun suggestions! Just for fun, here are some of the things you said you might put in the gift bag:

1) Books (#1 answer)

2) Mittens and hats

3) Candles (not burning ones)

4) Yarn and/or thread for crocheting and/or knitting

5) Lingerie

6) Hair scrunchies

7) Papers, shopping lists, bills, etc.

8) Holiday gift giving

9) Poetry (separate from books)

10) Children’s toys

11) Ipod

12) Bandages

13) Make-up

14) Crocheted runes (somebody is uber talented!!)

15) A bag (in a bag)

16) Catfood (in the can or packet, not loose)

17) Dried herbs and sachets

18) Fine china

19) All those unused packets of plastic utensils you get from take-out places

20) Bookmark collection
Can you guess which one of these items is one I added instead of one a reader sent me? Hint: it’s not #1. Or #20. It’s somewhere in between those two.

Disclaimer: The cat in the blog entry was not involved in the selection of the winner. She was rooting for the person who said “catfood”.


Contest & Newsletter for April, May

For those of you not yet signed up for my awesome newsletter, you should know the 2nd issue went out today and is being devoured by people who are not you. This month includes a Wallace family recipe for graboid, 4 excerpts (one never before published), many witticisms, the announcement of my new contest, and other goodies.

Check it out here:

Now, this contest thing. As you may expect, at the end of the submission period I’ll give away an ebook download of A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH, but the unexpected bonus is a handmade giftbag, if bags that were sewn by my little Singer sewing machine can be considered “hand”made. Perhaps homemade is a better description. We use homemade gift bags over and over at holidays and for birthdays to slowly cut down on paper waste. My sister, that font of recycling and earth-saving wisdom, suggested it a couple years ago.

What an adventure sewing the gift bags turned out to be! Took a week-end and told DH it was ALL MINE and he was not to plan any garage forays or poker games or anything. Found the sewing stuff in the attic, where it’s been since we moved my sister’s room upstairs, and dumped it out on the kitchen table, where it stayed for somewhat longer than it took me to actually sew the bags, because after sewing I promptly vacated the house and the junk on the table and visited Grandma for Spring Break, leaving my long-suffering husband with a wreck.

Meankitty certainly got in on the act. If she wasn’t grabbing for string and ribbon, she was sitting on my sewing box, the completed bags or the fabric:

You can get the full details of this contest at my site, if you want to try your luck at winning one of these useful sacks:

One last bit of information. At the Otherworld Diner, we’re all doing flash fiction and vignettes based on Diner-themed prompts. I posted the prompts today, and if you want to play, too, just let me know!