Monday, May 30, 2011

Cat Birthday Duds

The birthday shirt has become somewhat of a tradition round these parts. This year's shirt, of course, went with the cat theme. (The shirt is essentially the same shirt her brother got when he turned five.) The only problem is - it has disappeared! She wore it on her birthday and we haven't seen it since. I'm stumped. Hopefully it will reappear at the bottom of the toy box or in the dark recesses of one of the kids' closets. If not, I'm glad I got a picture of her in it.

For the last couple years I've also made the kids crowns for their birthdays, but this year I opted for ears instead. My daughter loved them. She has gotten them out a few times since the party; crawling over to me, nudging my leg, and asking me to pet her.

They were super easy to make. I just wrapped gros grain ribbon around a cheap plastic headband. (I hot glued every few wraps to make sure it would stay together.) Each ear is simply a triangle with a smaller triangle of felt appliqued on the front. Actually, it's two triangles sewn together, turned right side out, and then hot glued to the headband. The whole thing took less than an hour.

Such a sweet kitty...

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I love living on Mackinac, and one of my favorite things about the island is the sound of freighters. After a long winter without hearing them (the Soo Locks are closed), I can't seem to get enough of those horns. I'm sure some people find that low deep sound annoying, but I find it soothing.

Maybe it's because when I first came to live on Mackinac Island (back in 1989) it was only in the summer time. Mackinac has a way of leaving her mark on your soul; it's hard to explain to people who don't have that connection, but it really is a magical place. So much so, that while I was only here for three months out of the year back then, that first night back in the Mission House* each June, as I lay down in my bed - window open - listening to the sounds of those freighters, I always felt like I had finally come home.

*The Mission House, originally a mission school for native children and later a hotel, is now used as a dormitory for the people who work for Mackinac State Historic Parks. I lived in that building for seven summers and have more wonderful memories than I can count...

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Back to Work

Lots of horses have been returning to the island - ready to get back to work.
They travel just like the tourists do.

By truck,

and by boat.

I wonder if they argue about who gets to be by the window?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cat Party Wall Decorations

The only ready-made cat party supplies I could find cost an arm and a leg, and they were pink. Not that there's anything wrong with pink, but it's not my daughter's favorite (much to her grandmother's disappointment.) Deciding to make the decorations worked out perfectly because I wanted them to coordinate with those napkins...

I made the banner using The Print Shop. It is a handy little program that I have on my computer at school. I easily use it once a week it to make banners, bulletin boards, signs and calendars for my students. Print Shop prints each pace of the banner on regular 8 1/2 by 11 paper, then you just trim one edge of each sheet of the paper away, line up the letters and tape the sheets together. Presto! Instant custom made banner.

The cat faces were made out of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper I bought at Joann's. You can see I bought a textured paper. It's a nice heavy card stock and tore beautifully. I really loved the way the tearing gives each piece the look of having a boarder behind it. (It doesn't - it's just the way that particular paper tore.)

You probably noticed that the banner was torn as well. I love the look of torn paper because it looks intentionally wonky. My perfectionist eye goes crazy when things are even slightly off kilter, so I tend to make them intentionally that way so I don't go crazy trying to make things look perfect.

Each cat face took one sheet of 12 x 12 for the main piece of the face and then scraps from other sheets for the details. (I needed three sheets of green to create two green cat faces. One sheet each of pink, black, brown blue and white was enough for all the details.) I didn't measure or pre-draw the shapes - I just tore the paper and went with what I got. I like the green cat face above the best - she has a more angular face and a larger chin. Somehow she just looks more cattish to me.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

With Love

To Grandma Crissie and Grandma B,

Thanks for everything you do for all of us.
We love you both very much.

Happy Mother's Day!

(Original artwork provided by your grandson.)