Thursday, November 27, 2014

HeartBreak... A tough year

A few weeks ago, I said goodbye to another member of my furbaby family. My sweet Striker "Greyson" Pawsley went to live in kitty heaven with his brother who passed away in June.  Needless to say, things have been tough this past year, especially the last few months.

As he was my first solo pet, he was always my #1! While I don't like to play favorites, he definitely was mine... He was sweet and independent, but also loved spending time with his mama.


He was a great older brother to Mischu and barely put up a fuss all those years ago when I brought the little fur ball home. The two could be found napping and snuggling together when they were little.

As they got older, it was less seldom to find them as close, as one was terrified of the dog and the other tolerated her, but they were always still buds!

I'll never remember the day I visited the Humane Society.   I had been torn between a dark female kitten and the white and grey boy in another kennel. Both piqued my interest but the white and grey ones' attention weaned as he had 3 other buddies in with him to play with. So I asked if I could spend time with the dark one- unfortunately once we got alone in a room, she wanted nothing to do with me, just wanted to explore the room.  I also inadvertently went to pick her up and must have agitated her stitches and she let out a hiss.... I told the rep that she might not be a good fit and asked for the white and grey one instead. As soon as we got in the room, that sweet boy jumped into my lap, started purring and fell asleep! I knew immediately he was the one for me!  

That night, when we went to bed, Grey lay on my chest, put a paw on each of my cheeks, and kissed both my eyelids goodnight. From that day forward, he would always have my heart. I had moved out of my parents house for the first time the week before and think that if that sweet boy hadn't come into my life when he did, I probably wouldn't have lasted out on my own very long. He kept me sane living on my own. He was comfort and compassion and everything I needed in a roommate who wouldn't give me any grief! 

He was curious and smart- I taught him to sit, lay down, stand on his hind legs, roll over and he would even catch foil wrappers in his paws! I awoke one evening when he was still a kitten to a rustling noise. In the dark early morning light, it appeared he was playing with a cardigan in a plastic bag.... Turns out my then-boyfriend had left a loaf of bread on the counter and he had dragged the whole bag (bigger than him) up the stairs to bring it to me so he could eat it! 

He was so mischievous as a kitten and caused me a scare more than once. I remember driving home from work one day, and looking up at my apartment 7 stories up to see him walking along the railing on the balconies.... several suites down from mine.  I could see the screen door was ajar even from that far away and as I raced around the corner, up thru the parkade and waited for the elevator, I imagined the worst, only to discover the sneaky little bugger sitting in the living room when I got in.  It was like he knew when I'd be home and timed his return!
Over the years, he kept me company and saw me thru relationships, always being the one boy who never let me down.  He was definitely the best behaved out of all my animals, but I was biased I'm sure, he would always be my first baby.  He was also very atuned to when mommy needed a hug or a kiss and was always the first to just "be around" when I was sad or sick.

He was never much a fan of having his photo taken and I liked to say he was grumpy when new people visited.  The truth is, I think he was just selective with who he liked, as most cats are.

Once of his favorite things was getting ready with mommy in the morning.  Sometimes he'd just sit there, sometimes he wanted his fur brushed and blown out lightly with the blow dryer, sometimes he'd even let me "dust" him with a fluffy powder brush!  But one thing was certain, he had this face that said he adored me, I miss that face more than anything.

His favorite place to be was in any sort of basket or box.  It didn't matter if it was appropriately sized for him or not.... he'd squeeze his butt in there and sit for hours!

He also didn't discriminate against a pile of whatever I was working on.  If it meant being near me, he was all for it!

He begged and begged every year to go outside and this summer, I finally let him venture into the backyard with me and Finley while we worked.   He was quite interested and I even brought him down to check out the roses we were planting in memorium of his brother.

After his brother passed, he and Finley finally started to get closer, which made me happier than I thought possible.  I'm glad they sought each other's company. Knowing they had each other when I was gone, gave me comfort.

While I'm not sure the cause of either cat's passing, I take solace in knowing that whatever the cause, they are not suffering (if they were sick) and that they were both loved soooo much by me, my family and friends and that they brought so much love and happiness into my life in the short time they were here. Greyson will be buried next to his brother and that brings me some sort of peace. 
Things are different around here:  quieter; loneliner and just "different".   There are some days I still look for Grey, or Mischu, or both of them.  Sometimes I will see something out of the corner or my eye and think it's one of them and it takes me a minute to grasp what I've seen.  Some days are better than others, and I think I am handling things ok.....
For now, it's just Finley and I and I don't have any plans to change that anytime soon.  Often times, I worry that she's lonely, especially with me working so much. Our little family went from 5 to 2 in a matter of 2 years and I don't think I'm the only one whose heart breaks a little every time I realize that, but I'm just not ready yet.  I know eventually, I will most likely open my home and my heart up to another fur baby (most likely more than one), but I want to make sure I am ready. 
In the meantime, not a day goes by where I don't think about my boys.
Rest in Peace Little Buddy!  Mommy Loves you Always!

There is nothing like the love of a pet.  They love you unconditionally and without prejudice. 
Please check your local Humane Society if you are considering adopting a pet and help find homes for one of the many, many homeless animals looking to find their FOREVER HOMES, especially at this time of year!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Decorating with Burlap & Linen: Advent Calendar

Ever since I was a little girl, I've loved opening up the little door on my Advent Calendar and seeing which treat awaited me! My brother on the other hand, would open every single door the first day and eat them all immediately, then spend the rest of the month wistfully watching me open my surprise and try and convince me to share with him, which of course, I did from time to time.  But it's been a few years since I've had one in the house and I've really wanted to add a decorative one to my Christmas decorations.  Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find one that matched my décor, so this year, I decided to make one myself!

I'm always a fan of changing up my holiday décor each year and this year I decided to go more neutral, which of course meant burlap and linen!  I had a picture in my head of creating a little bunting-style garland with a handmade, vintage-feel to it.

Here are the supplies I used:

~Various types of burlap and burlap ribbon:  lace covered, lurex thread woven; regular (the regular style did not work since the weave was too large)
~ Linen ribbon
~Felted wool via an old sweater (not shown)
~Miniature clothes pins (not shown here)
~ Embroidery floss
~Upholstery needle
~Sharpie or sewing marker or pen)
~Tag punch

**Disclaimer:  This is not a 15 minute craft.  Hand stitching each mitten took a fair bit of time, but the actual steps are super easy and I was able to bust it out in 2 evenings of watching TV.

Here's how I created it:

1. Free hand an image of a mitten on the back (wrong side) of your fabric.  (No photo of this since I was on a roll apparently...)
2. Fold the fabric in half and cut it out.  This will result with two identical mittens.

3.  Put the mittens bad side together so they match up and using embroidery floss & an upholstery needle, I used a simple whipstitch to sew them together.  Leave the bottom of the mitten un-sewn so that you will be able to put stuff inside it.

Repeat this step 24 more times.....  I used a variety of different fabrics.  Some were easier to work with an produced prettier looking mittens, but I like that some are misshapen and a little wonky looking - I think it adds to the handmade appeal!  The lace covered burlap was the best fabric to work with.  The overlay made it the perfect amount of stiff, which made it easy to cut and stitch up.  I also think it was the prettiest!

4.  Use a stencil and a marker to create your little 1-25 numbers. 

5. Use a tag punch to punch out each date.

6. Attach your number card and mitten to the swagged jute, alternating fabrics.
7. Gather up all sorts of little goodies to put in your mittens for daily treats.  I used all sorts of little beauty products (lip glosses, mini lotions, nail art stickers) cause this one is going to be for ME!!

8.  Stuff each and every little mitten with goodies that you can barely even wait to open, come December!

9.  Easy Peasy and that's it!



Of course, I couldn't just leave it like that, so I spruced up the mantel with some garland and lights as well!  Since I don't really do my Christmas decorating until December, I kept it simple and think this is perfect for Winter.

 I really love how everything looks when the overhead lights are off and just the fireplace and garland lights are on - all glowy and cozy!

 I'm super happy with it turned out and am really glad I went with linen and burlap for this year!
I have a lot more crafts planned and will be featuring them shortly!

One of my favorite parts has to be the little differences in each mitten.  Doing them freehand was risky as admittedly some are a little odd looking, but it definitely helped keep this looking handmade and almost vintage, which I absolutely LOVE!


  Can't wait for December!! ;)