twist and shout

Because I just never shut up

Almost Paradise July 22, 2011

In dappled sunlight under a canopy of Japanese maple

So, after many grueling days of shopping for fabric (this might’ve been the worst of it, actually—I do not love JoAnn’s; at least they had a 40% off sale) measuring, cutting, pinning, basting, and finally, constructing (not to mention much blood spilled over pin pricks), the ancient outdoor furniture cushions are all freshened up. I went through 14 yards of fabric, 4 upholstery zippers, 2 big spools of thread, 15 packages of piping (cleaned out every JoAnn’s in the area), not to mention at least 27 hours of On Demand movies, as well as seasons 1 and 2 of Anne of Green Gables.

But I was not alone in rehabilitating the old furniture. Captain Romance and Bug spent a whole bunch of calories washing and waxing the old bamboo while I sewed, so everything looks oodles and oodles better.

Did you notice? Everything is in gin and tonic colors. 🙂 Makes me wanna barbecue and hang out in the back yard, even though we still have a whole bunch of “outside the house” projects to do. A Whole Bunch. Sigh.

But even though having the sewing machine out has messed up the house considerably, it also has gotten me excited about sewing a few other things. In fact, I believe on my “to do this year” list, I had lined up a couple of totes I wanted to sew. And that’s what I’ll be up to today, even though I should be 1) Making Jewelry, 2) Cleaning The House, 3) Getting Me and the Bug Ready for Our Annual Trip to Chicago!

Someone looks comfy...

Well, at least CR will have a nice place to entertain his buddies while we’re gone. Wouldn’t want him to get lonely!



Pippity Do Da, and the very much needed backyard reno July 10, 2011

Filed under: life — kathy @ 10:17 am
Tags: , , , , ,

Good Morning!

At the risk of boring you all silly with more cat pictures (I think I’ve turned into the girlfriend you hide from because all she wants to do is show you pictures of her grandkids), I wanted you to see what a cutie Mr. Pip has become. And if you hang in there, I’ll give you a little gander at the stuff we’ve been doing in backyard land.


I know most cats—and dogs, too—really know how to relax,  but his sleeping antics have got us all giggling.

And oh, the nicknames! I’ve never ever had a cat who inspired so many  nicknames: Peep, Pipper, Mr. Peepers, Dr. Pipper, Mr. Sunshine, Mr. Fancy Pants, Fluffball, Fluff wuff, Puppy-cat, Pup, Pipsi, Pippty Do Da, Pippi…well, that’s just a few. Even sweet little Lucy only has Lulu, La, and Loola, though they share monikers “little a**hole,” and “b***head” when the occasion merits.

Actually, I’d love to hear what nicknames your little pals have, too!








As far as this backyard…what can I say? Neglect, neglect, neglect, I am guilty. I’ve been considering hanging out in Lowes on the weekend, scouting for that Ahmed guy who hosts HGTVs Yard Crashers.


...flax and sagos and ferns, oh my! This is so much worse than even this photo can show.

A serious mess, this backyard has become. But even the thought of going out to work in it makes me want to clean a bathroom and fold laundry.

It wasn’t always this way. I used to love gardening. From the time I was a kid growing up in Winfield, IL helping my grandfather with his huge vegetable garden, to the wooded and equally huge New Jersey landscape of our last home, I loved planting and weeding. It was fulfilling and creative.

But here…I just don’t know. I do know that many people claim that this is an ideal climate for growing stuff, but I haven’t found that to be entirely true. Firstly and most importantly, you need an in-ground sprinkler system wherever you want to plant. Secondly, the growing season is very different here. I’ve lived here (gasp) over 10 years and I still don’t know exactly the best time to prune my English roses. Our neighbor told us that January was when we should prune our perennial grasses. January?

I was also told to consult Sunset for the best info on gardening, and even though I bought “Western Gardening” and read it, the info just won’t stick in my brain. Sigh. On the other hand, I find it a little difficult to follow the wisdom of a publication that finds it necessary to create and use their own climate zones—take that USDA. Try to pick plants that way. Sheesh.

Anyway, I guess somewhere along the way I gave up. And then I lost interest entirely. The backyard became a bit like that pile of boxes in the corner of the guest room that you walk past and stop noticing after a while.

After! A nearly blank canvas!

So yesterday, poor CR decided he couldn’t stand it any more and took out the shovel, hatchet, pick-axe, and rake. I helped for a while, but what it took was manly brute strength to wrench the offensive and invasive ferns, flax, and awful sago palm out of the back border. I did my best to keep him fed and hydrated.

Before: 70s brown palm fabric inherited from my grandmother.

Here’s what I worked on to improve the backyard:

New slipcovers for the bamboo furniture. So far I’ve been working on them for several days and have managed to get just one finished. Long process, and I wish like heck I could afford to pay someone else to do it. Ah well.

At least I don’t have to garden. 😉

mystery slipcovers!



“People, let me tell you ’bout my best friend…” July 3, 2011

Filed under: laughter,life — kathy @ 7:30 am
Tags: , ,


Well…not my best friend, perhaps. 😉

But some folks’ve been asking about how the kitties are getting along, and here are some shots that illustrate better than words.

By the by, if that title’s got you humming the theme song from “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father,” well, that there was a link to the theme song on YouTube  just so you could hear it again. You’re welcome.

That’s all for today! We’re off for some family fun at the ocean. More on that later.

Let’s hear it for fuzzy love!

Have a fabulous, safe, and friend-filled Independence Day!

"I long to be, close to you..."


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