Friday, July 7, 2017

Cat Month Follow-Up

Happy July everyone!

I posted last month about the National Adopt a Cat Month and the rescue kitten, Pippin, I was working on re-homing. As a recap, Pip was a stray kitten my husband and I worked to socialize and transition into an indoor cat. Last month we brought him inside for good, got him vaccinated and fixed, and then I flew him up to his new family in NH.

Our flight was quite an adventure... First we got delayed at security when they picked my to have my hands swabbed before letting me put the cat back in his carried. But he was very well behaved on his harness for me and didn't fuss, just watched people walking by. We ended up having a 4 hour delay with the poor cat having to stay in his carrier the whole time! He was so good though, not a mess made our a peep out of him.  He was very calm, hammed it up to the few kids who noticed him and very few people even noticed he was on the flight until we landed. There was a scary moment when he overheated when we were stuck on the malfunctioning plane for an hour before the unloaded us to fix it, but he cooled off quick enough when we got some ice for him. After a total of 10 hours in his carrier, we finally made it to NH.


This cat is such a trusting boy, and more adaptable than any cat I've ever met.  Once we got to his new home, my parents house, we put him in my old room to acclimate.  He hid under the bed, but my father managed to tempt him out with treats and toys. Being the angel he is, he was already rubbing up against them and being pretty sweet. It took him a few days to start exploring outside of his safe room, but I was there for the first week to help him adjust. Both my parents and my little brother are in love with him and were going up to check on him and play with him multiple times a day. So now he's a spoiled little boy who's slowly getting used to the other cat and two dogs he lives with now.

So that's Pippin's rescue story. Both my and my husbands two cats are also rescues that we've had since they were kittens as well, and we've helped to rehabilitate other strays as well. I encourage you, if you're looking for a new cat, to check out your local animal shelter. They have lots of cats, young and old looking for homes.
Do you have any rescue pet stories? Share them below and thanks for reading!

Friday, June 16, 2017

National Adopt a Cat Month

June is National Adopt a Cat month! While I didn't plan it, this actually coincides with my own cat rescue story.
When we moved down to Florida in the end of August last year, a stray cat had shown up within the week. We named this little sweetie Maggie and started feeding her and keeping an eye on her. She looked like she had recently had kittens, but we never saw them. Then Hurricane Mathew happened in October. The day of the storm when we went to shut her in our porch to keep her safe she had a kitten with her! It looked to be at least 2 months old and was timid at first but ended up being as friendly as his mum.


 Unfortunately, while everyone rode out the storm well, Maggie disappeared about a week after and we were left with the kitten. We've been feeding him, and trying to figure out what to do with him. We couldn't keep him, because we already have 2 cats, and all the no-kill shelters in the area were full. 

Finally we found a solution: my mum decided she would take him. This presents its own complications, but is amazing because we're moving soon and really had to figure out what to do with him. So last week we got him his vaccines, got him fixed and brought him in to adjust to being an indoor kitty! So far the transition has been pretty smooth. He's a little wild child and full of energy, but he's not destructive and my Tavin has been teaching him manners when he gets too wild.
He's a cuddle but, and very lovey. Now to just fly him up to NH to meet his new family!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Mini Costuming

As I've posted here many times, I love making costumes. Historical costumes, Cosplay costumes, costumes for theater performances. Every sort of costume you can think of. Unfortunately, costuming is expensive and takes up a ton of time that I usually don't have. How I've gotten around this in the past is by making costumes for my ever patient and clothes loving cat, Tavin. I posted about this before in 2013, but really didn't go into detail.

As of right now, Tavin is an almost 9 year old rescue cat that I've had since he was about 8 weeks old. He's got some weird health issues including hip dysplasia, balance problems and trouble regulating his body temperature. That last one was the one we noticed first. I got him the week of Halloween in New England, and if any of you are New Englanders you know this can be a cold time of year. The poor thing was cold all the time, and usually spent the day curled up in my sweater being carried around. Eventually I decided he needed his own sweater and got him the only one I could find that would fit him. It was a bright green hooded fleece dog sweater with black polka dots. I don't have any pictures of him in it, but believe me when I say he was adorable in it. And best of all, he loved wearing it! This was the start of some wonderful costuming adventures.

I started making him costumes with the extra material from whatever costume I was making myself. Little Tavin had a highlands costume complete with a little tam hat and plaid. While I don't have a picture of that one, I do have a picture of his King Arthur costume. He even went trick or treating in this one...
He wasn't sure about the crown, but he loved the satin vest
 The next costume I made him seemed to be his favorite. From scraps from a long ago Jedi cloak project I made him his own Jedi cloak. This was awesome because it kept him really warm, and he was happy to just hang out in it. Cutest thing ever was him and my little cousin curled up together, both wearing Jedi cloaks, while my cousin played LEGO Star Wars.
 I've also knitted him sweaters, sewn him fleece jackets, and a ton of outfits I never bothered taking pictures of.
See how happy he looks?
Now, I want to start making him cosplay costumes. Now, my question is, would you guys be interested in reading about that? Also, any costume requests or suggestions?
As always, thanks for reading and leave your comments below!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Goodreads Reading Challenge

Last year was my first year participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge. I set my goal at 50 books at the beginning of the year, then later upped it to 60 when I started closing in 50 sooner than expected. I ended up surpassing my goal and reading 73 books.
It was so much fun challenging myself to read more, that I decided to do it again this year. For this year's challenge, my goal is set at 70 books, and to date I've read 22 books and am working on 2 more at the moment.
This month I've read or listened to 5 novels and 3 novellas:

This book is the third in a series I've read before. Garth Nix has been a favorite author since I was about 8 or so and found his The Seventh Tower series. Every so often I go back and read through one of my favorite series, and this spring The Keys to the Kingdom is my pick to reread. It's an awesome series involving magic, a mysterious place called the House that is actually the center of the universe and a boy named Arthur Penhaligon who is the reluctant Rightful Heir. Read it if you love fantasy, Garth Nix doesn't disappoint with this series.
This was a new one for me. I've read most of the author's other books, and loved her Inkheart trilogy, but for some reason I've been dragging my feet about actually starting this one. As fantasy novels go, it was pretty good. It had some nice and mostly original ideas, but it is at heart a normal fantasy novel. I liked it, but found it to be paced a little slower than I like, and am in no hurry to read the rest of the series. Don't get me wrong, it was good and I will read the rest, but just not a favorite.
The Harry Potter series, as I may have mentioned more than once, is a beloved obsession of mine. Since I first read the series at 7 years old, I've been rereading and re listening to the books about once a year. Yes, that means I've experienced these stories upwards of 15 times but they never get old. I do the same thing with the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. My favorite way to experience the books is to listen to the audio books, because I adore Jim Dale's reading of them. Never get tired of listening to them, just magical.
I've been slowly working my way through the Outlander series since I saw a trailer for the TV show in theaters in winter 2015. It gave me goosebumps, and seemed like a perfect story for me. Historical Scotland during the Rising, plus time travel and romance? Yes please. I love how it weaves fantasy and historical fiction together, two of my favorite genres, and I adore the characters. In this one Jamie, Claire and their family are in the colonies right before the Revolutionary War. Right now I'm very impatiently waiting for the next book, with a hold on it at the library.
The next book in the Keys to the Kingdom series by Garth Nix. Just as good this time over.

The three novellas I read were Diane Gabaldon's, A Plague of Zombies, and two of the cheesy chick flick style ones I read when I'm really bored and don't want to have to deal with any sort of deep plot or known characters.

My current books are Lady Friday by Garth Nix and the Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Are any of you participating in the Goodreads Reading Challenge? What are your goals, and what books have you read so far? Share in the comment section below, and thanks for reading!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Lets Tell a Spooky Story

I feel like telling a spooky story today, which recently seems to be the only thing getting written around here. So, instead of my usual blog posts I'll tell you about a recurring nightmare I had as a child.

Lets start with the beginning.  The house was an old one. An ancient farmhouse with a dilapidated barn and carriage house. It was old and drafty, so drafty in fact that one was forced to wear multiple layers, hats and mittens to bed to keep from freezing. While my father had lived there as a child, no family members had lived in the house until we moved in when I was about 4 years old. I remember the house well, even though we moved out when I was 7, because of the strange feelings that it gave me. And the many many recurring nightmares I had there. And the strange half dreams when I sleep walked through the house at night. However, those are a story for another time.
Today I will tell you about the wolves.
It's a seldom known fact that the coyotes of New Hampshire are genetically the closest thing to the wolves in Yellowstone. And the ones that lived behind that old farm house were no exception. My nights growing up were filled with the mournful howling coming from the boneyard out in the woods were the animals from my grandfather's farm were buried. When I was 5 I had a close encounter with these wolves. My older cousin and I were playing in the backyard when my mother came rushing and brought us quickly into the house. Unnoticed to us there had been something strolling into the yard behind our backs.
It was a large gray canine that was larger than any coyote we had ever seen. It looked exactly like a wolf. I distinctly remember watching it as it sat under a tree and stared back at us through the bathroom window.

I'm telling you this because it might be the cause of my nightmare. A catalyst if you will. I must also tell you that the hallway inn which it takes place was the centerpiece of every nightmare I had in that house, and many times I woke up there having walked out of my room to stand at the top of the stairs in my sleep.
Here is my dream:
You wake in the pitch dark, in your little bed tucked under the slant of the roof. The soft glow of the nightlight by the door has gone out, and perhaps that is what woke you. But the gleam of the moon still pears in through the window, lighting your room and painting it with shadows. Then you hear it. The soft tread on the front porch, something scratching and the creaking of the door.  Terrified, you set your feet on the cold wood floor and creep stealthily into the hall to stand in the shadow at the top of the stairs. Its then that you see them. Lithe gray shapes flit outside the door, pacing back and forth across the porch. Then, as you watch the door begins to swing open and there they are. The wolves, staring up at you as the old screen door slowly starts to crumble away between you.

There is is, short and too the point. Did you like it? Want to hear more about the creepy old houses I grew up in? There were two of them, with lots of stories from my generation and the last. The stories include the discovery of real secret rooms, and rooms where people were shut up in for life.
Let me know in the comment section below! And for those of you waiting for more geeky posts, bear with me, there are more coming soon!
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Henna for Hair

All my life I've wanted red hair. I have family roots in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Germany, all places with a red-headed Celtic history.  My mother and father both had red hair as little kids, and my brother is a strawberry blond red head. Me on the other hand, I'm blond. I liked to call it honey blond growing up, because of my highlights, and the very very few red highlights that showed up is I'd spent a lot of time in the sun.  It's really a dirty blond darkening to light brown as I get older.

In late 2012, I finally decided to take a leap and dye my hair.  I used Garnier Nutrisse Ultra Color Nourishing Color Creme in True Red.  I loved how the color turned out, and I loved being a red head.
This is my Mara Jade cosplay with box-dyed hair

While this dye is pretty gentle for a box dye, and the after condition that comes works wonders, I don't get along well with chemicals. So, after over a year of dying my hair with this dye, I dyed it back to blond and let it grow out.
I was sad to not be able to dye my hair red again, so I started looking into alternatives. After a lot of looking around and research, I found henna. I had used henna for henna tattoos before, so I was familiar with the mixing process and decided to try it. There's a lot of information on the internet saying how complicated henna dying is. I've never had an issue with it and now dye my hair with it every month to month and a half. So many people who've only known me as a red head are surprised to find out I dye my hair, and customers at my retail job are always commenting on it and assume it's my natural hair color. While I'd never lie and say it is, I love that it looks so natural. 

Henna dyed hair for my wedding, weird face and all.


For those of you who might be curious about the henna dying process, this blog post is for you!
The henna I use is Light Mountain Natural Hair Color & Conditioner, Red. You can get this on Amazon in a single or 3 pack. I get the three pack and it lasts me a really long time.  For my a little longer than shoulder length hair I use a quarter to a third of a box.
Other ingredients:
Warm green tea
lemon juice
Lavender essential oil
Rosemary essential oil
Vaseline

To make your dye mix, put some of your henna(not all) in a glass or ceramic bowl and mix with a plastic fork or spoon. It's important not to use metal, even to heat the water for your tea because the dye reacts with metal. Poor some of your tea (I microwave mine in a ceramic mug) into the henna and mix. Then add about a half teaspoon of lemon juice, and a drop or two of each of the essential oils. Then add more henna/water until you have a mixture that's a little thinner than Greek yogurt. You need to make sure that you don't make the dye too thin or it'll make a mess when you apply it.

Now make sure you're wearing something you don't care if it gets stained and you have some old towels or sheets the same goes for. Spread these out on the floor of where you're applying the dye, just in case.  I usually wear a pair of old pjs and settle in on the kitchen floor with a mirror on a chair in front of me so I can see what I'm doing.  Then you'll need a plastic grocery bag and some plastic gloves.  Here's where it gets messy. If you're not used to working with henna I strongly recommend applying some Vaseline to the edges of your face to keep from staining it orange from the henna. I've been there, done that, you don't really want to be an oompa loompa so do it until you're sure you can keep from getting it on your face. If you have dry hair or split ends you can put a little oil in your hair here too. I usually put some avocado oil on the ends of my hair before the dye.
Using your gloved hands, apply the dye to your hair starting at your roots. Be careful to get the hair around your face and then start working it into the rest of your hair. Once its spread evenly and you look like you've put a mud pie in your hair you can pin it up into a bun and tie the grocery bag over your hair. I usually cut the handles to make it easier to tie, then cut or rip the back to tie it again there. You can then leave it on for your desired time, but remember that the longer you leave it on the brighter the color is going to be! I usually leave mine in for about 2 hours before I wash it out. 
To wash it out, just rinse your hair then wash and condition it normally and let it dry. Once it's dry you can brush out any henna you missed. This keeps your hair from drying out from the henna and over washing. Just remember not to get the dye on anything else!

Now you have the hardest part, waiting until your hair dries to see how it turns out! It's worth the wait though.
Have any of you tried henna for hair dye? Have any questions? Comment below and thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Knitting Up A Storm

For this past Christmas me and Gillian over at YoungYankeeLady made a deal that all of the gifts we give should be handmade, locally sourced or thrifted.  So, most but not all of the gifts I gave this year I knit or crochet.  Usually this would mean gifts for my brother, parents, and hubby, but this year I had a cousin ask if I could make him a hat.  So I decided to make all the cousins something knitted for Christmas.  This meant a lot of knitting.
This is the hat my little cousin asked for. He wanted a blue hat with ear flaps and a big pompom. So he got one cuz he asked nicely.

 These are for three other younger cousins who didn't ask for anything specific
 This is for the baby baby who is obsessed with Mickey Mouse.



 This set is for another cousin, my aunt and her boyfriend.

 Last set of hat and hand warmers is for another cousin and his long-time girlfriend.
There was also a hat for my grandfather, a Ewok hood, a set of hat&hand warmers, and two sets of crochet pot holders.

I also tried something new and crochet two pairs of snowmen.
They were inspired by a set my grandmother made, and I made a set for me and another for my older cousin. These are my cousin's set, took ages to make and turned out great. Unfortunately, her dog ate them....
 The last thing I knit for Christmas was a Star Trek hat.
It's a based on Captain Kirk's uniform, so the base is golden yellow and the edge is plain black.  The Star Fleet insignia is crochet in gray and black then sewn on.

Did any of you knit up a storm this Christmas season? Share your results in the comment section below. And as always, thanks for reading!