Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2 things

Thing Number One:

I believe they call this a 'proof of life' photo in the crime shows on TV. The only thing I don't have is a copy of a current newspaper to give the date. Trust me. This picture was taken today. It shows the 2nd sleeve of the Cowichan sweater. I have begun to knit again ....slowly and carefully... on it, so as not to re-injure my arm. I can't tell you how much I admire those west coast ladies who knit these all the time. They must have biceps of iron!! The zipper arrived this morning in the mail, so the only thing that now stands between me and a finished sweater is this sleeve and the collar. Oh, and that little thing called 'finishing'.

Thing Number Two:

Anyone know a good mail order source for this perle cotton? Preferably, a Canadian source, but any info will be welcome. Valdani Perle Cotton Size 12. I bought 2 balls of it at a fibre festival in Kingston this past fall, and I love it. Must have more!! :) Any leads would be gratefully received. Thank you.

Monday, December 28, 2015

One more Christmas cookie post

I had a few leftover cookies all flooded with white icing, so I painted them slap dash with a few Christmas cats, before we chow them down. Quick and fun and ultimately tasty.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Remember the Smiley Sweater?

I've discovered that working on the embroidery and appliqué of the Smiley Sweater is really a kind of meditation. My friend Amanda told me about something called 'distraction therapy', and it hit me that a lot of what I do is just that. If I can lose myself in my work, I don't have the bandwidth to worry about things that I can't do anything about anyway. When I'm working on the Smiley Sweater, I just think about colour and design and composition. My mind stops whirring and spinning. The world gets quiet.

Here he is.  A smiling frog. And if you look closely, you'll see that the patch pocket has been replaced. Can't see it? Good. The pocket is now very, very close to the same colour as the sweater. Still have to give him a toothy smile, and there's some text to add as well. Who needs psychotherapy?

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A party!

Heather Pearson invited me to join her virtual Christmas Party! Sounds like fun! Grandma Coco has definite ideas about Christmas, so ours is not the typical Canadian holiday.  Like Scrooge, we keep Christmas in our own way. One big part of Christmas in the Kingdom is cookies, and cookies are for sharing.

Here's a sampling of this year's offerings:

And here are some gift boxes of cookies that my friend Amanda and I made to sell for the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. We folded the boxes ourselves out of bristol board, and covered them with cellophane. It turned out to be a good fundraiser.

Since most of my cookies are used for fundraising for the cat group, cats are often the subjects. Here are some cats in ugly Christmas sweaters. My version of gingerbread men.

Too bad I couldn't offer you an actual cookie, because they taste pretty good. These cats were made from a recipe that Crosby's Molasses offered. Molasses Ginger shortbread cookies. You can find that recipe here:

You can visit Heather's other guests here: and you can join the party by posting on her page, too. Thanks for inviting me, Heather!

Merry Christmas to everyone!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Didja miss me?

The past 4 weeks have been a blur of pain and suffering. Woe is me! You get the idea. Enough! Let's get on with the show!

Time to play! Here, for your amusement, are some little Christmas cats in Ugly Christmas Sweaters!!

Not my usual shortbread cookies. No. These are Molasses Ginger Shortbread Cookies. The recipe comes courtesy of Crosby's Molasses. They taste great AND they smell divine AND they're super easy, if you make them in your food processor. Dry ingredients in first. Buzz to cut in the fat. I used shortening. Then, drizzle in the molasses, and buzz again to form a ball. Simple! I couldn't resist making a hole to thread ribbon for hanging.

Now, just in case you receive a gift from Grandma Coco this year, please have a look at this post from a few years ago. It's still rings true.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Baby shower

Yesterday was the Big Day! We had the baby shower for my niece. I was really glad I'd got that cake topper completed early, because a couple of weeks ago, I did a  whoopsy to my back and leg. Ouch! Fortunately, Mr Coco came to my rescue and helped with the cake baking, etc. Together, we produced this:

Not too shabby, eh? The cake itself is about 12 inches in diameter. Vanilla with a raspberry filling and real buttercream icing on top. There is a whole pound of butter in the icing, and I had very little left over in the end.

There was one surprise though. Remember the pink tiled 'floor' beneath the bunny's tub? It was a bright hot pink. I had it sitting on my dining room table which doesn't get direct sunlight. By the time I finished the cake, it had faded to a very pale (nearly white) pink. :( I used Wilton paste food colouring. Burgundy. If anyone knows what may have happened, please leave a comment.

And, of course, Grandma Coco, made the baby a little pink sweater and hat set. It's tiny and precious.....newborn-sized...... which will probably only fit her for a minute or 2.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pink tiles

I'm working away on the fondant cake topper for the baby shower cake. It's a little like those old paint-by-number paintings. I watch a bit of the instructional video (from Craftsy) and then I run to the kitchen to do 'what she did'. So far, so good.

I had to have 2 tries at the tiled floor. A pizza cutter is a fondant girl's best friend apparently.

And now I've got the bunny's tub in place. See the little puddle of bath water that's spilled over onto the floor? Adorable! Every time I finish a section, I have to have a little sit down to collect myself. It's not like the world will stop spinning if I mess up. It's just that I really want this cake to be nice for my niece's baby shower.

I still have 12 days until the shower. And counting.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Just another Sunday afternoon

Who knows what these are? Anyone? Anyone? (that's a little Ferris Bueller humour, for those of you old enough to remember).

(I was thinking of entitling this post, "Everything in duplication.") I'm making a baby shower cake. Not only have I promised this cake, but I am determined to make a really cute fondant cake topper to crown it with. No matter that I've really never done much with fondant before, except for the cats I modeled this past summer. I just want to. So, I did what I always do. I'm going back to school. I'm following along with a Craftsy course called Too Cute Cake Toppers. And they are. Too cute, that is.

The topper is built on a base. Usually, it's styrofoam, but I couldn't find a styrofoam base, nor could I find the styrofoam form for the bathtub that the bunny is supposed to be bathing in. No biggie. I made my own out of krispie treats. Now, here's a tip for anyone out there who might also be thinking of doing this......leave out the butter. The disk on the right has margerine. The one on the left has no margerine and no butter. The margerine one is flexible. The non-fat one is dense and hard. No human is going to eat this base, so dense and hard is much better than flexible but delicious. You can quote me on that. I'm hoping the toothpicks and skewers that hold things in place will pierce the krispie treat base in the same way as styrofoam.

The first order of business is to construct the shower head, because it needs to air dry at least for overnight. I read other people's experiences, and thought I might need a back-up just in case the first one breaks during assembly. They're both OK. For now.

I have 2 weeks to pull this off. I thought it might be good to start early.

When I'm not working on baby shower cake toppers, or consulting Pinterest, or other fondant/cake decorating sites on the internet, or making cookies, you all know I've been working on the Cowichan-style sweater. There's been a lot of internet research involved in that project, too. And some un-knitting and re-knitting.

Finally, today, I have both fronts completed. I pinned them out and gave them a little steam blocking, so I could measure for the zipper. It has to come all the way from Winnipeg. There are 2 choices of or cream. Since they are cheap, and I am confused about what 'cream' could mean, I ordered one of each, and I'll decide once they arrive. I have lots of time. I still have the sleeves to knit, as well as the back which I'm re-knitting for about the 3rd time. That will all be worth it though, I'm sure, because I'm lovin' those howling wolves under the starry sky.

Friday, November 13, 2015


What's with all the babies lately?? Suddenly, everyone's having a baby. Girl babies!! Here are a few cookies I've made for a shower later this month. They're simple and quiet and pink, pink, pink!

I don't know why I have to be reminded that simple is always best. I start out full of all kinds of ideas and details, and I end up remembering there's something sweet in minimalism.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Is it too early to start thinking about Christmas?

Cardinal Cookies
Amanda and I don't think so. We're already baking cookies. Did you know cookies that are well wrapped can be safely stored in the freezer for months?? We haven't had any hang around that long, but we can attest that a few weeks in the freezer doesn't seem to hurt them one bit. The secret? Wrap them really well in an air-tight wrap, and put them in a sealed container. That means, we can get the jump on all our holiday baking.

Cats in the Christmas Tree!

My co-cookier, Amanda, had the brilliant idea that we should make some gift boxes of assorted cookies. We'll have a limited number of these gift boxes that we're offering for sale with all proceeds.....100% of the selling price... going to the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. That's right, all the cookies and packaging are donated.

So, if you live nearby, and you'd like to support the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project AND pick up a present for your child's teacher or a co-worker, at the same time, just let us know in the comments. And, if you especially like any of the boxes in the photo, just tell us which number you prefer, and we can make that happen. Or, pre-order an assortment, and we'll surprise you. You can stash it in your freezer until you need it. These would also make good 'just in case' gifts to have on hand for when someone surprises you with a present, and you need something to reciprocate.

The red assortment boxes measure 5 inches x 7 inches, and they're sealed in cellophane, with a festive ribbon and gift tag. $10. ea.

This black box with the greeting card cookie measures 5 inches x 5 inches. Also sealed in cellophane, with a ribbon and a gift tag.  $5.

The cookies are all made from my grandmother's shortbread recipe, and decorated with royal icing.... and they're made with love! Just like she did.

Meowie Christmas!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Full speed ahead

I got the green light on the Cowichan sweater. The wool was promptly ordered from Wool-tyme in Ottawa, and it arrived in record time. So, now, there's just the little matter of the knitting.

Working in such a chunky gauge is new to me, and requires some getting used to. Last night, I realized that I had started pulling the wool too tight when I switched into a new pattern. There was nothing for it but to un-do several rows and try again. I really want it to be right!

And, besides, I have a supervisor to please.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Uptown Cat flashback

Got a comment left on a very old post this morning. An inquiry about a micro macramé bracelet I was working on in April of 2012. I think it must have come from a Pinterest posting. Cottagemuse wants to know if I ever completed the bracelet. Well, Cottagemuse,  I did! And here it is, in all its glory.

Of course, I have been busy with other pursuits, and forgot how much I loved doing those bracelets. If I get a moment, it would be great fun to get back to them. Thanks for the excuse to go back in time, Cottagemuse!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Hallowe'en!

I've been so busy, I almost forgot to show you the Hallowe'en cookies that Amanda and I made this year. Here they are, just under the wire.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The new year approacheth

A couple of years ago, I made a calendar for myself, with some of my favourite drawings. I only made one. I didn't think anyone else would want one. Of course, a couple of other people did want one, but there was only one. They were out of luck. I honestly don't think any of those people lost sleep over their deprivation, however, this time around, I thought I'd announce my plan ahead of time.

If anyone else would like a 2016 calendar full of my favourite drawings, I can make that happen. Each calendar which is entitled My Catty Life 2016 (don't ask), will include 13 for each month and one on the cover. There are big, blank squares for scheduling your life. I chose one of Vistaprint's 'fun and whimsical' templates, so they're cute, too, with a cat and mouse on each page in various 'fun and whimsical' stereotypical cat & mouse activities. :) They will cost $18. Canadian, plus $2. for mailing, if you don't live nearby. All proceeds from sales of my calendar will go, as always, to The Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. Below are the 13 photos. They each mean something to me. I can't predict what they might mean to someone who doesn't live inside my head. Some take me back to the day I drew them, and remind me of what was going on at that time. Some make me smile. Some make me wistful. The one constant is that there's a cat in each one.



Saturday, October 10, 2015

Pom-poms are so yesterday's news

My friend Kate often leads me astray. I'm not complainin', just sayin'. Recently, she made an adorable elephant hat. I had to follow her lead. It was an irresistible urge.

My cat's head hat combines a regular ho-hum knitted toque with the head from this delightful pattern. The hat fits a child (of course, although I'm sorta tempted to make one for myself).

Friday, October 9, 2015


Remember Max? He's a cutie. An all-black miniature schnauzer. I made Max mitts last winter.

I've been trying to figure out how to cookie Max, but his total eclipse black look doesn't lend itself to cookie-ing. For one thing, he's just a black blur with sweet warm brown eyes and his pink tongue. And speaking of tongues, too much black icing makes for really disgusting teeth and tongues. Just sayin'.

I finally landed on the idea of painting them.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Giving Thanks

Here in the Kingdom, as in the rest of Canada, we're coming up to the Thanksgiving weekend. This year, I've got lots to be thankful for.

As you know, I've been making cookies to fundraise for the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project which is something that is very near to my heart. Recently, I've been joined by my friend Amanda.  The two of us have been baking (and decorating) up a storm.

We were asked to make some Thanksgiving cookies. If you want one of these cookies, you'll have to be a guest at the Denaut Mansion in Delta, Ontario, because Mariska and Theo ordered these to offer to the guests at their country inn. (If you're in the area, this would be a fabulous place to stay - with or without cookies.)

I am absolutely certain that Mariska is a wonderful cook. I'm pretty sure she ordered our cookies just so she could support the Lyndhurst Feral Cat Project. And for that, and for her friendship, I am very grateful.