Wednesday, 9 August 2017

WOYWW 427

As you will probably understand, there’s no change on my desk this week, so no photo to share. I have been spending all my spare time in with the kittens and making videos galore! They are 11 weeks old today and growing fast, very feisty and alternating between fits of extremely vigorous play and crashing out asleep for hours. I’m amazed at how much noise they make, thundering around on those little paws, with occasional yelps when the play fighting gets too rough, and lots of little chirrups from Lily.

Tomorrow, we will have had them for two weeks! How quickly the time passes. Their personalities and preferences and coming out now, and they have their favourite toys, and different food preferences. Ruby has decided she doesn’t like wet food and for a couple of days I was worried about her because she wouldn’t eat – she’d demand food extremely loudly (again, amazing what a huge sound this tiny creature can make!) and then when I put it down, she’d turn away, and go on asking. She loves the little kitten biscuits and wolfs them down. I am trying her on different brands of wet food because it’s important for her to have that as well, but at least they are both drinking plenty of water – something all our previous kitties have never done, at least, not from a bowl in a civilised manner, but out of the drains etc. outside!!

They are at this moment careering around my feet, ambushing each other and wrestling with each other. Half an hour ago this is how they looked.

01 Sitting Together on Step Stool 9-8-17

Ruby playing in the basket suspended from the cat tree my hubby made for them.

01 Ruby in the Basket

Crashed out asleep. They often sleep on top of each other.

02 Kittens on my Lap 5-8-17

I tend to do more videos than photos because I can usually only photograph them when they are asleep because otherwise they are moving too fast! Here is my favourite video of them.

All the videos are on previous posts on this blog, and also on my Youtube channel (link in sidebar).

One non-kitten thing I did manage to do this week was to make a video slide show of the mixed media mini-album I made in memory of my dad for my niece. It’s a project I’ve been meaning to do for ages.

I recently acquired an app for the iPad called LumaFusion, which is a powerful video editor and I can do most things on that that I can do on Final Cut Pro on the Mac. Very convenient as the iPad is also used as the video camera and there’s no transferring of video files to be done. More slide shows will follow, of other albums I’ve made since. They take a long time to edit, but they are fun to do. I’m planning to rig up the iPad over my desk so I can start videoing myself at work again.

Health Update

I’ve got an appointment with my surgeon tomorrow morning. When I saw him last (about 3 months ago), he booked me in for a CT scan of my abdomen to check whether my parastomal hernia had returned because it was “inconclusive.” It turned out that some fat had come through. Nice thought, esp. as I’ve now lost so much weight!! Anyway, he wrote me a letter after that, saying he recommended leaving well alone – at our last meeting he’d said he’d be reluctant to open me up and perform major surgery again unless it was absolutely necessary. Sutured parastomal hernia repairs have a 100% failure rate, and it rather looks as if it’s on the way to failure already (I had the operation on 1st Feb.) so I’m hoping it won’t fail and cause another obstruction, requiring another major operation as an emergency. What I really want is elective surgery for the insertion of some mesh around the stoma to reinforce the area, so hopefully he will do this when the hernia finally returns and before I get into difficulties with it. I don’t suppose he will have anything new to tell me tomorrow.

When I saw the oncologist after the CT scan result came back, she said there was no sign of cancer, but they should have scanned my chest as well (metastases from bowel cancer often appear in the lungs) so I had another scan. A case of the right hand not knowing what the left was up to? No cancer evident, and they are happy to see me as arranged in November, which will be the 2 year anniversary of my all-clear.

I’ve been a bit rough with my ME just lately but that’s probably from overdoing things, getting the kitchen sorted again after the new pantry was completed, and all the rushing around getting the kittens and getting them settled in (nice, though!). I’m resting when I can, and spending most of the time with the kittens. They tend to sleep all afternoon, having worn themselves out with their morning play session, and we all cuddle up together!

Monday, 7 August 2017

A Hard Day’s Play for Lily and Ruby

After a prolonged session of intensive play this morning and over lunch, they crashed out this afternoon and again this evening after another play session during supper. I’ve just taken these photos of them on the chair, beside the kitten bed – we bought this for them as the old kitten bed had fallen to bits, but will they use it? Noooo. Well, there’s no accounting for taste, although we think it would be a lovely snug little nest for them!

08 Beside the Kitten Bed 7-8-17

07 Asleep Beside the Kitten Bed 7-8-17

They had rather a disturbed afternoon’s rest today, with three different lots of visitors to come and admire them! They got woken up and cuddled and admired. They did a bit of desultory playing but that’s all they were up to for their visitors! I told them they should have come this morning…

I got some lovely video footage of them today. My hubby has introduced a new toy for them – a carpet tube. Previous generations of kittens have really enjoyed chasing through this long narrow tunnel and we were sure these two would as well – and they were soon playing with it!

First of all, some general play, very vigorous, with little Lily hardly knowing where to put herself, she was so excited! She gives out little excited chirrups and squeaks when she plays.

Now, some hi-rise birdie play.

Finally, Tunnel Time.

I’m always amazed at the contrast between these busy kittens rushing around at high speed, and the sleepy little bundles when they’ve worn themselves out – it’s almost like two completely different kitties!

Kittens, and More Video Editing

Here’s a short video of the two kittens playing in the TV cabinet.

I had some papers on the shelf with notes on them about how to connect up a VCR/DVD recorder, and my hubby’s list of all the TV channels for Mum, and Lily has become obsessed with these and has pulled them all off and rushed through them and chewed the edges – she likes the sound it makes! I’m not worried and just letting her get on with it!

The Kitty Fun box.

I’ve been getting some practice in with my new video editing app, LumaFusion on the iPad and it’s so easy to use, so I’ve decided to start dealing with the backlog of videos I want to produce of some of my art work. Back in 2014 I made a mini-album from recycled materials (see “Recycled Mini-Album” posts for 2014 in my blog archive in the LH sidebar) and at the time, I took a lot of photos of the finished pages in readiness for making a video slideshow, and over the past couple of days I’ve at last compiled this into a finished video.

The next one I shall do is of the Mamhead album I made last year, about our walk in the woods.

This app is amazing – I am able to do pretty much everything I’ve been doing with Final Cut Pro on the Mac. The iPad is so responsive and there’s no delay at all. The only slight drawback is that with the 9.5 in. iPad, the screen is a bit small and my fingertips feel a bit clumsy at times, particularly when editing text for the headings, but I think if I used the Apple Pencil this would be easier. I need to charge it up…

It’s a doddle to upload videos to Youtube from within the app, and there are lots of different parameters you can set.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Some More Fun Kitten Videos

It’s so long since we’ve been in kitten mode that I’d forgotten the sort of antics they can get up to!

First of all, here are some photos.

Asleep on my lap, one on top of the other. Criss-cross kitties.

02 Kittens on my Lap 5-8-17

Starting to wake up.

04 Embracing on my Lap 5-8-17

Starting to wrestle.

03 Wrestling Kittens on my Lap 5-8-17

A veritable tangle of limbs!

05 A Tangle of Arms and Legs on my Lap 5-8-17

“I love my sister…”

06 I Love my Sister 5-8-17

I put down a sheet of plastic to protect the carpet from any food spillages where we feed them, and today Lily decided this was put down for the sole purpose of her playing with it.

Inevitably the water was spilt on the floor. They now have their bowls on a tray, which isn’t nearly so much fun, but it makes life easier for me!

The next one just creased us up. I had to make a fun video of it!

On a more serious note, Ruby is being quite naughty with her food. When we took them to the vet on Wednesday for their inoculations, they got weighed, and Lily is heavier than Ruby, who had actually lost .01 of a gramme. Nothing to worry about, apparently. However, when I feed them, Ruby makes a huge fuss and absolutely bellows and carries on as if she’s starving, and when I put the bowls down, she’s not interested and walks away. I keep putting her back but she walks away again. The result is that Lily eats most of it. This evening I tried feeding Ruby separately because I thought that might help, but it didn’t. Finally, I gave her some dry food, and she absolutely wolfed it down! She obviously prefers this to the wet food. I’m not really very keen on her having it all the time, though, because it can lead to kidney problems later in life, but she’s got to eat! We’ve got another variety of wet food that I can try, and we’ll see if she eats that. I just hope she’s not going to turn into a really fussy kitty.

I have had several lovely cuddles with Ruby today. She loves to snuggle up as close as possible, and before dropping off to sleep, she looks up into my eyes so lovingly, and purrs her little head off. This morning I had them both for a while – which is when I took the photos at the top of this blog post.

I have to tear myself away in order to get anything sensible done! I’ve more or less decamped into this room so I can spend as much time as possible with them while they are little, and they are so much fun.

Thursday, 3 August 2017

Kittens Now 10 Weeks Old

How quickly time flies. We have now had our kittens for a whole week, and they are ten weeks old already! Over their first week they have grown not just in size but in confidence, and in personality, and they are bonding with us and showing us great affection, especially little Ruby towards me. This is so great for me, because for years I’ve put up with both our old kitties favouring my hubby over me haha!

They are gradually exploring the big interactive cat tree my hubby made for them, and they have both been through the moving tunnel (no photos or videos yet as I’ve never had the camera handy in time to catch them at it!) and yesterday Ruby overcame her fear of the moving basket and hopped in, and she’s been in it today as well. To start with we thought they didn’t really like the bits that moved because it made them feel insecure, but they are getting bolder by the day!

01 Ruby in the Basket

Here’s the video of her playing in it.

We took them to the vet yesterday for their inoculations and had a new vet who was very charming and thorough. It’s a lovely practice and they’ve looked after our kitties so well since we moved here. Everyone in the surgery was delighted with our new kittens and enjoyed having a good look at them, but they weren’t too happy about it!

After the battle we had to try and clear the house of fleas before they arrived, I was a bit fed up when the vet found one on Lily. It’s a battle on several fronts really – we keep spraying the house, and I’ve recently discovered a non-chemical remedy which I am sure is going to help – diatomaceous earth. This fine powder made from ground-up diatoms affects fleas and other insects mechanically rather than chemically, and is totally harmless to animals and humans. It is very useful to put in parts of the house where it’s hard to reach with the vacuum cleaner, and I’ve also put some in the Hoover bags to kill any fleas that get hoovered up. I’ve also just got a little powder puffer from Ebay that I have filled with the stuff, and have been puffing a bit onto the kittens’ fur and rubbing it in well. Diatomaceous earth is also used as a food supplement for humans and animals so is totally harmless to them when they wash their fur. The vet wanted us to spray them with flea spray, and then keep them separate for a couple of hours to prevent them washing each other, but I couldn’t see how you could prevent them washing themselves and ingesting the stuff, so I wasn’t too happy about this.

Unfortunately fleas are an endemic problem wherever there are pets, and the warmer weather we have these days doesn’t help the problem, nor does the fact that we all keep our houses warmer in winter than we used to 50 years ago. They don’t bite people if there are cats and dogs in the house, but in the period when we were without kitties, my poor hubby was getting eaten alive again – for some reason they don’t like me and I never get bitten and neither to I get bitten by mosquitos! I set some flea traps overnight (a shallow dish of water with some washing up liquid in it to reduce the surface tension, put on the floor with a lamp over it) and managed to catch quite a few. There are lots of hints and tips online on how to attack them and with a multi-pronged approach, hopefully we’ll keep on top of the problem from now on!

I am delighted with my new video editing app on the iPad, LumaFusion, because it saves a lot of time with each video I make. Today I’ve started working on some of my art projects which I’ve wanted to make into videos for ages – I have made a new template for my art videos, after doing a kitty video template, which makes creating the videos a lot faster, as well as producing a consistent look. I said to my hubby this evening that my iPad Pro is one of the best things I’ve ever bought.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

WOYWW 426

I surprised myself yesterday afternoon – I managed to tear myself away from our new kittens and actually did some art!

WOYWW 426 2-8-17

On the left you can see my crib sheets to tell me what’s on which page, and how I did it. Resting on top is the first lot of pages from Vol. 1 of the mini-album I’m making, some complete with their tags, which are still awaiting some sort of yarn tassel.

Beyond the sheets are the pages for further volumes of the album, and in the centre of the desk are My Inkylicious Ink Dusters, the Black Soot Distress Ink and its home made ink blending tool. To the right of that are the small blot-off sheets that I am making from the mess on the craft sheet. Beyond that are the pages of Vol. 1 which still need tags.On the right, water spritzer, jar of water, acrylic paints, and in the foreground, pens. Apart from that, all the usual detritus of a busy desk!

Not sure when I’m going to get another chance in the studio but I’m keen to make progress on this project now. For more details of what I did yesterday, click here.

Now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for (or perhaps not!!) – KITTENS!

We got them last Thursday, and today they are 10 weeks old – I can’t believe we’ve already had them almost a week!

Both Kittens with N 31-7-17

If you keep scrolling down, you will come to all the kitten posts since we got them, with photos and videos.

As you can imagine, we are both totally smitten with these tiny creatures. You wouldn’t believe how much personality they are already showing, and how they make their wishes known, in no uncertain terms!

It is so, so good to have kitties in the house once again. Someone on the forum I am on said (being married to a vet): “When we get new animals after the previous ones have died, we are not replacing them, but honouring the ones that have gone by giving a good home to the next generation.” I don’t think for one moment that Beatrice and Phoebe would approve of them, though! “Who are these young whippersnappers taking over our house in our absence!” We miss our old girlies and will never forget them, but we are overjoyed by our new little arrivals! They are called Lily and Ruby, and are silver tabby British shorthair cross. Their father is a pedigree silver tabby, and their mother a brown and white tabby. She had five kittens, and here they all are, asleep together in the basket, awaiting our arrival on Thursday to pick up our two. The lady we got them from very kindly sent me this photo.

All the Kittens 27-7-17  from Catherine

Happy WOYWW everybody, and have a great week.

Infusions Mini-Album–Working on the Tags

The second of two posts for today.

I actually managed to do some art today – for the first time for goodness knows how long. I managed to extricate myself from the kittens and spent a couple of hours in the studio, working on the tags for the Infusions mini-album.

I began with the title tag for the “Various Effects” section, listing the three techniques on the front of the tag.

16 Various Effects Title Tag

The background was created using Black Knight and Are You Cerise Infusions from Set 1, sprinkling on the Infusions and then spritzing with water, and I repeated this for the reverse of the tag.

It was so long since I’d done any of this project that I’d forgotten that I was going to use Distress Inks and a minimum of Infusions on the tags! Having done it, I didn’t want to waste the tag, so proceeded with it, using the white Uniball Signo pen for the text, which matches the tag holder.

The next one was for “Drips,” on the front of the tag.

17 Drips Tag

I inked the background for both sides using Spun Sugar, Worn Lipstick, Picked Raspberry and Victorian Velvet Distress Inks, applied with Inkylicious Ink Dusters. I sprinkled on a small quantity of Are You Cerise and Black Knight Infusions (both from Set 1) and spritzed it with water, and then dried the tag with the heat gun. I spattered this with water and blotted it off for a bit of texture, and dried the tag before adding the text with my white Uniball Signo marker pen. As I am doing for all the tags, I distressed the edges with Black Soot Distress Ink, using a home-made ink blending tool (just visible on the far left of the above picture).

The “Kissing” tag. This was done on the reverse of the “Drips” one.

18 Kissing Tag

I chose colours of Distress Inks to match as far as possible the two “kissing” pages. These were Tumbled Glass, Stormy Sky and Faded Jeans, all blue Distress Inks, and then Crushed Olive, Peeled Paint and Forest Moss in green, and finally a little Fossilised Amber. The Infusions I used were Royal Blood and Golden Sands from Set 1. I wrote the text using a black permanent archival pen and the white Uniball pen.

The “Infusions with Glimmer Mists” tag was made by inking Scattered Straw Distress Ink over the entire surface of both sides of the tag, using an Inkylicious Ink Duster. On the front, I sprinkled some Lemoncello Infusions from Set 1, sparingly, on two of the corners and dried it with my heat gun, and repeated the process on the back, using a bit more Infusions to cover the surface.

19 Glimmer Mists Tag

I spritzed both sides with my DIY Glimmer Mist made from Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink re-inker in water, with some Perfect Pearls added. The blue of the Glimmer Mist mixed nicely with the yellow of the Scattered Straw Distress Ink to create bits of green. Those little spray bottles don’t give a really fine spray, unfortunately, so I think in future I need to use my mini-misters instead. The text was done with a black archival pen.

These are the little mop-up pieces so far – for each tag I am creating a new one of these, to clean up the non-stick craft sheet and provide a resource for future projects. Each one is edged with Black Soot Distress Ink.

20 Mop-Up Sheets So Far

I’ve finished the “Miscellaneous Techniques” section and the next section to be done will be the “Painting” section.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Kittens are Developing Personalities and Habits

The first of two posts for today.

Our two new kittens, Lily and Ruby, are beginning to show their little personalities and they are definitely relating to us far more than they were on their arrival only a few days ago. They are getting very bold, too, and Ruby’s latest trick is to try to dash through into the main house when we open the door into the flat – the time is fast approaching when we’ll be giving them the run of the house – parts of it under strict supervision, though! Otherwise it would be like letting a tornado loose, as they are no respecters of our possessions!

I am trying to teach them to use the scratching post to sharpen their claws, rather than the carpet (their favourite at the moment). Each time they do it, I say “No!” and if I can catch them, I pick them up and and put their paws on the scratching post and make the appropriate movement! Hopefully eventually they will get the idea! Once the big cat tree is available to them, there will be more scratching posts for them on there, too.

Another trick Ruby has developed which definitely needs to be discouraged in the strongest possible terms is climbing up my legs when I am feeding them. Her claws are like little needles! I tell her “No!” very firmly, and splash her with a bit of water – it always happens when I am washing their bowls in preparation for filling them with the next meal. She really doesn’t like this, and hopefully it will make the association in her mind that climbing my legs has an immediate and not very pleasant consequence! This definitely needs nipping in the bud before she grows any bigger and does me serious damage!

We are trying to teach them not to climb up onto the table or onto the bureau. They get a “No!” when we see their intention, and “Get down!” if they take no notice of the “No!” in an appropriate tone of voice, and they do usually obey, but if not, we lift them down and put them firmly on the floor with no words spoken, or cuddles or strokes given. We then put them onto one of their toys in an effort to give them something more constructive to do. It helps when one of them is trying to go somewhere inappropriate and her sister comes along and distracts her with a game!

When they are a bit bigger, I am going to get them started on clicker training. I’m not into getting them to perform tricks, but to get them to come when called, and to channel them into good behaviour rather than going where we don’t want them, is my aim. I have mugged up on this on the Internet over the past few weeks and have discovered that it is a very positive and affirming activity, and the cats come to enjoy it very much, as it involves lots of attention and treats!

Ruby is extremely vocal at feeding times, issuing very loud and sustained miaows, and I’m amazed that one so small can make so much noise! The trouble is, when I put the bowls down, she doesn’t immediately want to eat and I have to pick her up and put her in front of the food! She tends to follow me back into the kitchen and do the leg-climbing trick again if I don’t watch out! Ruby is one feisty kitty! Lily is much better behaved at feeding times.

They are both getting a lot more affectionate with each other and with us. They always sleep together, and wash one another frequently. When I went into the room yesterday morning, I was greeted by Ruby making a bee-line for me and crying and wanting to be picked up for a cuddle! Every time I sit down, she wants to climb up onto my lap, and she purrs her little head off. She has definitely bonded with me. She loves nothing better than to be close to me and sleeping in my arms, once she’s exhausted herself with all that vigorous play! Yesterday she fell deeply asleep and was dreaming – her little paws started moving, and then she began little suckling noises – obviously dreaming she was back with her mother. I had forgotten that our previous kitties did this when they were kittens, too.

Lily is quieter than Ruby, and she is not so interested in cuddles with me, so when my hubby is around, he makes a special fuss of her. She seems a quieter personality and less dependent – Ruby could be described as clingy with me! I love her dearly – well, I love them both of course, but it rather looks as if she will be “mine” and Lily will “belong” to my hubby! This is lovely for me, because for so many years, I had to put up with both kitties making a bee-line for my hubby, especially Beatrice, and I never got a look-in unless he was out. (To be accurate, I think Ruby has decided that I “belong” to her, not the other way around!)

We are trying to persuade them not to come up when we are eating, but this is quite a task with Ruby – I can put her down on the floor 10-12 times during the meal! She is like a little teasel with her claws and you need both hands in order to pull her forwards to undo the claws that are hooked into you!

We have recently visited two National Trust houses (Barrington Court and Lytes Carey in Somerset, on days when we first visited, and then collected, the kittens) and they always put a teasel head on the antique chairs that they don’t want people to sit on (could be painful – you’d get a prickly bum!) and it occurred to me that I could hire Ruby out to work for the National Trust, to lie on her back on a chair and play the teasel with her claws!

A selection of photos and videos as our new kittens approach ten weeks of age.

It’s been really warm and sunny today, so here they are, sunbathing by the glass door.

Both Kittens Sunbathing 1-8-17

Lily Sunbathing 1-8-17

Ruby Sunbathing 1-8-17

Later on, when my hubby came home, he had a cuddle with Ruby.

Ruby with N with Paws in Air 1-8-17

Ruby with N Showing Tummy 1-8-17

Here he is with Lily.

N and Lily - Button Hunt 1-8-17

A very affectionate and loving pair of kittens as shown by the following little video.

The only time I get to photograph them is when they are asleep or being cuddled, because when they are playing, they move too fast and it comes out all blurred! For that, video is the only answer!

A recording of the two of them on my lap, purring together.

I have discovered the only way I can put a sound recording onto my blog using Open Live Writer is to create a video and insert that.

Isn’t this the most delicious sound? I was so thrilled the other day when I first heard Ruby, and then Lily, purr. They do it all the time now.

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