Thursday, February 24, 2011

Marauding Cats

Whenever I talk about my poor old farmhouse, I feel like I'm telling that children's story that goes, "fortunately, such and such good happened, but unfortunately then such and such bad happened." This weeks adventure once again unfortunately has to do with cats. I thought all of the cats had left the building, but apparently I was incorrect. For two nights I heard strange noises from upstairs - last night, it sounded like a cats was racing around and playing in my bedroom (which I haven't used since I moved back into the house - originally because I was worried about rats running around in the night). This morning I finally decided I had to investigate. I found the odd door into the attic-like storage room off of my bedroom wide open. When I looked inside, I saw at least a dozen cats scurrying and leaping over boxes and piles of stuff that's been stored for decades and flying out of the window. The window that shouldn't have been open - in fact, it wasn't exactly open, it was broken.

It took a while to clear a walkway through to the window - in the process I found the typewriter my dad gave me when I turned sixteen, the framed illustrations from Kahlil Gibran my grandmother gave me to decorate my college room, and jars of dried-up poster paint from my first teaching job when I had to buy all of my own supplies. The window glass was very old, very thin glass with little bubbles in it that I'm sorry to lose. It was knocked to the outside, so maybe there was a cat stuck in that room who finally burst his way out. I took the measurements to replace the glass, but I went into town so late that it was dark before I got home and there's no electricity in that room, so I left the door tied shut (with the electric cord from an old tv antennae tied to the frame of the bed) since the latch doesn't hold, and let the cats have the room for one more night. What's a little more outside air coming into this house? I'll fix the window with plexiglass and put a hook and eye to hold the door closed tomorrow.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sincerely Jane Challenge #2

This is the second incarnation of my SJ rug plan. There will be five blocks across and eight blocks down, a total of 40 blocks, with a half inch sash between all blocks and an inch wide sash around the outside. The rug, before whipping, will measure 34.5" across and 49.5" down.

I divided the blocks into five types. The first type is animals, and there will be one animal block in each row - I haven't yet decided if they will all be upright, the way they are in the photo, or if they will be turned in several different directions so the rug doesn't have a top and bottom.

The other types are rounds, triangles, straights, and stars. Each block falls into one of those categories and my plan is to scatter the different types throughout the rug, with no two blocks of the same type next to each other. The photo shows two blocks that should be moved - at the far right (if you're standing to the right of the photo) the last blocks in the second and third rows are two rounds next to each other. Photos can be very helpful.

Now, I have to start working on color. I'm thinking antique black sashing with mostly red and a light gold for the block colors - the light gold taking the place of the white in the original quilt.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sincerely Jane Challenge

I've started organizing my pattern for the Sincerely Jane Challenge on Yahoo Rughookers. The original quilt made by Jane Stickle during the Civil War has over two hundred individual little patterns that are easily converted into geometric hooked rug patterns. I'm not particularly fond of geometric patterns, although I am terribly impressed by the Jane Stickle quilt, so I am planning to throw in some animal patterns just to make the rug more mine. Since the rug is being made from quilt patterns, I decided the animals should also be made from quilt patterns. I selected a book from the large quilt library at the Hamburg Senior and Community Center (a building I am particularly fond of because my mother was one of the Independent Seniors who planned and built this wonderful place - and today is the one year anniversary of my mother's departure.) The book My Grandmother's Patchwork Quilt by Janet Bolton includes a set of patchwork pattern pieces. I have copied the animals from those pieces to add to the Jane Stickle patterns.

I've copied some of the pattern squares, 4.5"x4.5", onto tracing paper and have laid them down in a possible arrangement. The arrangement in the photo is probably about half of the final pattern and doesn't include the sashing that will run between all of the squares. I'm thinking right now that the sashing will probably be a half inch wide in the interior with wider sashing around the outside. The animal patterns will be scattered wider apart than they are in this first photo. I need to copy about 30 more geometric patterns and will also probably create a few more animal patterns that aren't in the patchwork book - for sure, I will add a sheep that will look like the sheep pin for the Rughookers Merit Program.

So, I'm off to select more patterns...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hanging Cat(s)

Early this morning, there were two cats left in the pool room. The window shared with the bathroom was open all night, with the board leading from it, and I think about a dozen cats used the board bridge to leave the room. Once I closed the window and the two leftover cats finished eating the catfood I'd left in the pool room, I thought the problem was solved. While I was away with three of the dogs, Joe came out and rebuilt the part of the ceiling that had crashed. (He also brought out some beautiful stone that will be put on to camouflage the cinderblock chimney.)

George had a bit of an accident in the car while we were away, so when we got into the house I just wanted to have a quiet time with him. However, there was no quiet to be found. There were scritchy scratchy sounds in the walls, small kabooms that made Gibby jump, and then quiet little meows. I went upstairs and searched for cats - no luck. Back in the living room, the noises started all over again - it sounded just like a cat was stuck inside the wall, but the wall is only a single layer of plywood - there is no inside. Back in the living room again - scritchy scratchy, Gibby jumping - so I went out into the new room, and there, up by the top of the chimney, three quarters of a cat was hanging down from the ceiling. He wiggled and squiggled and pulled himself back up into the ceiling. I moved a big stepladder over to where he was hanging, if he drops down again and swings out a little, his feet should land on the top of the ladder. I don't know if he was trapped up there when Joe did his repair or if he is an explorer who found a new way to break through from the roof. I don't even know if he's the only one, but I'm hearing more meowing and Gibby is back on the alert.

I have a sign at my back door that says, "Welcome...come on in and hang around" with a little cat hanging from the sign - I guess it was prophetic.
The cat came down while I was writing this. I went out to check, scared him, and he raced right back up that stepladder and disappeared into the ceiling. A few minutes later, there was another big kaboom. Part of the ceiling fell down again. uurrrggghhhh!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Raining Cats!

The work on my house seems to go from one disaster to another - today's was cats falling through the roof. The cats like to sun on the roof of my former pool room - the light wall of the house reflects sunlight onto the black roof that absorbs heat, so the cats sun themselves all day long. Yesterday, I heard a huge ka-boom noise and thought it must have been ice falling off of the roof. When I went outside to see, all I found was a pile of the tin shingles I had placed in the space where one of the roofs meets the side of the pool room roof. The tin filled a gap that I then shingled over. I didn't know that Joe the builder had removed the tin.

I didn't learn until today that removing the tin let the cats go deeper into the tunnel created by the shingles covering the gap. When Joe insulated the roof, he couldn't figure out how to deal with that section, so he put some 2x4s across the length of it and tacked some insulation board to it. Apparently the weight of the too many cats brought the temporary fix down. Yesterday's noise was that ceiling section crashing to the floor with some cats - and more cats fell during the night. I woke up several times thinking I was hearing the dogs making a lot of noise going out the doggy door - but it was cats. This morning, when I was in the bathroom, I heard a crash that sounded like it was right next to the bathroom wall - so, I finally went into the new room - and it was full of cats. Now, much as I care about and care for these cats, they are still barn cats and most of them are basically feral cats. Very few of them will come to me and even fewer will let me pick them up - and none of them will respond to me when they are already terrified. So, cats here, there, and everywhere, and no way to get them outside. I finally blocked the outside door open, put the dogs in the car, and left for a while. When I returned, the cats were out of the room, but the roosters were going in!

I thought the problem was probably solved and Joe said he would come out tomorrow to do some repairs - but then I started hearing booms and bangs and little meows. Upstairs. Over the dining room. Over the living room. Up where I don't go. UGH.

The open space created by the wall that melted away while the house was deserted had worked it's way up the wall to the second story. The dining room ceiling is barely six feet high, so the second story isn't very high up and part of it falls into the new room. There is a giant hole through the old board and batten and plaster going into that room. It's a funny little under-the-eaves kind of room that I never use - in fact, I piled stuff in there when I moved into this house in 1972 and I've never looked at the stuff since. I took a flashlight upstairs, found the door to that room open, (it opens into the "master bedroom") and the rooms were full of cats. I don't know how many because they all scrambled away and hid into, under, and behind all the stuff I haven't looked at in decades. I have no idea how to get them out of there.

Years ago, I expanded my bathroom to include the hallway that used to lead to the upstairs. So, I have now closed off the bathroom, opened the door at the bottom of the stairs, and opened the window into the pool room. If I was a self-respecting cat, I'd go down the stairs, see that open window and jump up, walk down the board I placed against the window sill, and get into the pool room. I haven't yet decided whether or not to leave the outside door open since I don't want to let more cats in...

I hear cats moving around, but no more ka-booms like they're raining through the roof...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

More George

George is the sweetest dog. He's half border collie and half gordon setter - I think he inherited intelligence from the first breed and gentleness from the second. He's thirteen years old and not going to have another birthday. When we moved into my mother's home, she claimed him as her own. When we visited her in a number of different nursing homes, George was always a welcome visitor - sometimes other residents wanted to pet him so much it took forever to get him down a hallway.

He's had a pretty decent life - when he first came to me as a puppy, I thought he'd be a small dog so I cuddled him in my lap and ignored his great big paws until my lap wasn't big enough to hold him. The photo above was taken last spring when he'd been shaved to make it easier to treat a skin problem - I'm glad his long hair has grown back. Unfortunately, he's been growing more than hair. I wish I could put him in my lap now.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sunday, February 06, 2011

June Mikoryak's Yankee Ingenuity

Well, the photos are proof that my memory fails me. Good thing June was nice enough to go out to her car and pull out this rug to show me the day before our class at Sauder Village. However, even though this is not my favorite color plan, the central motif is anchored to the rug and not floating above the background the way mine seems to be. I had remembered June's background as having scattered yellow strips, obviously remembered the wrong color and the wrong placement for them - they are mostly placed in a very orderly fashion, not randomly scattered like mine.
I think I need to rethink my background. In the meantime, I guess I'll hook some corners while I watch the Superbowl ads.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Yankee Ingenuity Progress

This is the current state of my Yankee Ingenuity hooking. The photo shows the background as more gray than it really is - it has a lot of different colors in it, green and splashes of orange the most prominent. I'm afraid it's going to look disjointed with the central motif floating above the background. Maybe getting the corners hooked will help a little...