Tuesday, July 16, 2013

A newcomer and adapting a plan...

Last week I mentioned that I had "soft and sharp" things going on and that I'd fill you in on it this week if everything went well.  Many of you have heard about this already, so you already know our little secret:

We rescued a kitten!  A week and a half ago (on Saturday) Steve woke me up telling me that there was a kitten sitting on our stoop meowing.  I'll spare you all the details of us getting Katy to meow so we could locate the kitten in the bushes and the over-an-hour-chase through this bush and that while looping a YouTube video of cats meowing (Katy got sick of having milk dangled over her head).  Finally, though, I got him with the help of our neighbor - he was in their bush at the end.

He was very terrified and a bit aggressive, but we fed him, gave him water, and fixed up the spare room so he could be quarantined and get used to being in a house.  We handled him with gloves for a day, but except for a bit of hissing when we reached for him for the first few days, he was very gentle and even cuddly.

This is him just two days after we brought him in:

I took him to the vet, and he was only 1.2 pounds, and that was after three days of him eating as much as his little stomach could hold.  Turned out he had lice and roundworms, and we're giving him the medicine he needs as well as taking extra special precautions that Katy, Pixel, and Fe don't get anything.  We're washing our hands and changing clothes like surgeons, and we dosed everyone with the same medicine the kitten had just to be safe.

After a number of days of being very cuddly, he's now comfortable enough to play.  He's so playful, actually, that he doesn't want to cuddle very much right now.  We're sure that he'll get back to that once he gets a little older.  He's getting braver every day, and we're so happy we were able to rescue him.

His name?  Why, I thought you'd never ask!  I'm sure you all know by now that Steve is a train nut.  Katy is actually Miss Katy, named for (I have to look this up every time) the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad ("the Katy"), and Fe is named for (thank goodness for Wikipedia) the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway.  Pixel was my cat from before Steve and I met and was named for computer pixels and for the cat in Heinlein's book The Cat Who Walks Through Walls (which I haven't read yet - I should get on that).

Steve has been adamant that any new cat who comes into this house would have a railroad name.  Le sigh.  A few of the names he mentioned were Burlington (Burly for short) from the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad and Frisco from the St. Louis-San Francisco Railway.  I think "Frisco" is cute, so I was calling out to the kitten in the bushes, "Frisco!  Come here, Frisco!"

So I give to you.... Frisco:

And here's the cutest picture I've been able to get of our little Frisco so far:

"I look crazed, but I'm really just sleepy"

I could talk about this little furball all day, but this is a craft blog, so I need to show you some crafts!

A few times a year Rings 'n Things goes on tour with their bead shows all over the country.  Check out their bead show page and show schedule.  It's always a lot of fun, with shopping, chatting with friends, Tootsie Rolls, and more shopping.  You can find some very interesting beads such as these Mirage fly "mood beads" that change color and the longer beads in the following necklace:

The smaller round ones I already had.  I made a bracelet and earrings to match, but they sold the first time I set them out!

Another great find was the dyed white wood saucer beads that I used with peanut beads for my Simple Stitched Saucer Set design which is modified Right Angle Weave:

These beads are great - they're lightweight and come in a wide variety of vibrant colors!  (If you're interested in making the above set, please contact me at traci@creative-pursuits.biz for the instructions and kit.  I have five different colorways: red/black, hot pink/black, lime green/pink, purples, and blues.)

Possibly the most interesting beads I've come across were found at the clearance table.  They're 20x4mm Opaline sticks:

Yup, that's right - some are drilled diagonally, and some are drilled straight across:

I found the diagonal ones fascinating and tried stitching Right Angle Weave (RAW) with them, but it didn't work too well because the beads overlapped each other.  I ended up making two triangles stacked on top of each other with one bead in common:

I really liked the final result.  It reminded me of a futuristic mobile or piece of art.  I used Fireline and had to stitch through each triangle a number of times for it to hold its shape.

I wanted to make earrings since my dream of making a bracelet wasn't going to work, but when I stitched the second one, the Fireline kept breaking.  I must have tried at least three or four times, and Steve said, "The holes on some of the beads must be sharp and are cutting the thread."  He's a smart man.  Don't tell him I said that.  :)  I had assumed I was pulling too hard, and that's why the thread broke.  I even tried different beads, but it still broke.  I must have gotten lucky with the first set.

So I had to adapt my plan.  I used very, very thin wire to create the same structure.  I could only go through each triangle a few times, but the shape is holding very well.  The wire shows through, but I don't think it detracts very much.  It's not ideal, but if I wanted those earrings, I had to adapt.

The bright side of switching to wire is that I could make wrapped loops for hanging on earring wires.  With thread I would have had to figure something out, and the thread might have slipped off of the earring wires' loops.

Here are the final earrings:

So the moral is: don't get set on just one way to do things.  If it doesn't work after a few attempts, try something different.  You may find that the new way is just as good or better!


  1. Welcome to Frisco! What a cutie! Great job in rescuing him....he knew he was in the right place, that you and Steve would make great parents! And I love the earrings! They remind me of frozen crystals. Pretty!

  2. Nice blog post, Traci! But then, I love kitties so, so much. I would have rescued him if he'd been in MY yard! <3