Monday, December 27, 2010

Random After Christmas Stuff....

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!  We attended several celebrations and had some great family time. 

Grace and Gus got a new kitty tower. It's been difficult to get a picture with both of them on it, because for some reason Gus seems to think it's his and his alone.  Every time Grace jumps up on it, he plays King of the Jungle and runs her off.  I'm not sure why he's being so possessive about it.  My husband, who has a man-cave garage, says Gus must think it's his man-tower.  I suggested that maybe he should haul the man-tower out to the man-cave and he and Gus and can hang out there together and bond. Men! lol
And Gus is still carrying around his pet string.  If you look closely at the first picture, you can see it laying beside him on the left.  And heaven help Grace if she tries to play with that string, cause he doesn't like to share that either.  :)

"It's MY tower, and MY string!"

 Gus was also a big "help" with gift wrapping this year.  :)  While I was wrapping, my tissue paper fell to the floor and within about 15 seconds, I heard rustling sounds and looked down to find this:


"Um, can you pass the tape?"

I also thought I'd share one of my favorite (and easy) recipes.  I have to admit that cooking/baking is not one of my favorite activities, so when a friend shared this recipe with me a few years back, I put it high on my list to make, because it's quick and easy, and yet so good.  I usually make it for any holiday gathering, and it's always a hit.  In fact, my brother, who never eats dessert, loves this cake and always wants some to take home. 
Rum Cake
Mix together:
1 box yellow cake mix
4 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup rum
1/2 cup water

Spray a Bundt pan with Pam, then sprinkle 1/2 cup of chopped nuts over the bottom.  Pour in cake batter and bake at 325 for 40-50 minutes. (mine is usually done at 40 min)

Rum Glaze:
Combine in a saucepan and bring to boil:
1 stick margarine
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water

When it begins to boil, remove from heat and add 1/8 cup Rum.  Pour over cake.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Scarf That Almost Wasn't

Awhile back I bought a lovely hank of  Tosh Merino Light at my LYS.  Because I've learned the hard way that I need to keep my yarn (especially the nice yarn) out of reach of the cats, I put it safely away on a shelf in my craft room.  Once again, I under-estimated Gus.  He's very resourceful and can always sniff out anything new.  He soon spotted it, stood on his back legs, stretched and reached up his arms and used his claws to snag and grab that hank of yarn.  I then moved it to a new, and also supposedly safe spot, but he was still able to get to it.  After this happened a few times, and since this yarn was still in a hank, I figured I better get it wound up into a ball and see how bad the damage was.  I laid it out carefully, trying to smooth the strands, when Grace decided she wanted to help and jumped onto it before I could even react, messing it up even more.  Sadly, this too happened more than once. (Yeah, I know. I should have seen this one coming.) At this point, there was no way I was going to be able to use my ball winder, so I slowly started hand rolling it into a ball, thinking it would probably take me about an hour to wind it all up.  That turned out to be wishful thinking.  I sat on the couch for 7 straight hours, untangling and winding, untangling and winding, only glancing up occasionally to shoot the cats a dirty look, while they happily napped, totally unfazed. :)

Had I known beforehand that it was going to take over 8 hours altogether to untangle, I probably wouldn't have bothered and would have just tossed it.  But I'm glad I stuck with it.  After finally getting it untangled and wound up, the yarn itself wasn't damaged and I used it to knit a scarf using a pattern called Saroyan which is a free pattern on Ravelry.

This yarn is so beautiful and it was such a pleasure to work with.  I love the results. I like this yarn so much that I've already bought another hank, and it's currently locked up in a closet where it's safe until I'm ready to use it.  Well, it's safe until Gus figures out how to open a door, then I'm in big trouble.  :)


"I laugh at your precautions!  No yarn is safe from me."

Monday, December 13, 2010

Gus's New Obsession

A few weeks ago, Gus was nosing around in the basement and as usual, getting into things he's not supposed to.  He found this green string and brought it upstairs.  It's been his constant companion ever since.  He is obsessed with this string.
Gus and his "pet" string
He even takes it with him when he eats



He'll drag it around and play with it on his own, but mostly he wants one of us to dangle it and make it move so he can chase it.  Once it moves, he first "captures" it by stomping his paws down on it.

Then he bites it, and wants to play tug-of-war.

He never gets tired of playing this game, and he doesn't like it when we stop.  He's a smart little guy though, and he's figured out how to get my husband to pick the string back up and keep playing.  First he drags the string over by his feet and sits and stares at him.

Who could resist this face?


If my husband doesn't take the hint quick enough, Gus will reach up and tap him on the leg and make a little meow sound.  THAT works like a charm every time, which Gus figured out very quickly, and so the game continues....  :)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Some Fine Feathered Friends....

Gus and Grace love to sit on their little kitty tower and look out the window watching all the birds.  They got a little surprise yesterday when a flock of wild turkeys showed up in our backyard.  These turkeys show up every year when the weather starts getting cold, but since this is Gus and Grace's first winter with us, they hadn't seen them before.  Sometimes the turkeys just sort of migrate thru the yard and back into the woods, and sometimes they hang out for a while, trample the yard, and raid the bird feeders. They should provide some entertaining viewing for the kitties this winter.  :)



"Wow Grace, those are the biggest birdies I've ever seen!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Another Batch of Christmas Ornaments..

Each year, my sister buys a special Christmas ornament for her son.  She always looks for one that reflects something in his life for the year.  She wasn't having any luck finding just the right one this year, so I said I would try and make one for him.  Zakk is 17, and is very much into music.  He plays the piano (keyboard), guitar, and also writes and sings his own songs.  I found all the designs as usual at the Embroidery Library.  You can't really see very well in the picture, but the bottom section dangles from the top section, and when hung on the tree, the bottom section can twist in the opposite direction to add dimension.  Although it's not a traditional looking ornament, it does capture his interests very well, and I sure hope he likes it!  I did add the red bows to make it more Christmasy.  :)

Front Side of Ornament
     
Back Side of Ornament

One of my friends has a new grand-daughter this year, and she asked if I could make her a 1st Christmas ornament.  So this one is for baby Alison.  :)


Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Few Christmas Ornaments and a Hat

Every year I make a Christmas ornament for my two godchildren, Sarah and RJ.  These were machine embroidered on my mom's Janome 11000, and I purchased the designs from the Embroidery Library site.  I love that place!  My mom and I have used many designs from there and have never been disappointed. 
Back Side of Ornaments
And I also learned that RJ was in need of a new hat for the winter.  I found this really nice and well written free knitting pattern called Rib-A-Roni Hat by Jane Tanner.  The pattern can be found here.  It worked up easily and quickly and hopefully it fits RJ's noggin.  :)