Still Life, With Cats

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A head of the pizza game

Today was National Pizza Day, so I suppose we could have just made pizza, which we have done oodles of times in the past. But a random Twitter thread a week or so ago had me pondering, because someone mentioned that they had made calzones in their mini skull cake pan. And I thought, hey, *I* have a mini skull cake pan. I should make calzones! Or perhaps I should call them skullzones instead.

I started with our usual pizza dough recipe, then we eyed the contents of the fridge and decided to fill them with some broccoli and some mushrooms. We debated type of sauce – whether to go with a red or a white sauce, so I instead just tossed a little butter and flour into the veggies and made a roux, then stirred in some cheese, and used that as the filling. I divided the dough into six pieces, then rolled each one out and carefully lined the skull pan molds. I filed them, did my best to crimp the tops, then tossed the pan into the oven and hoped for the best.

Ta da! Skullzones!

They aren’t perfect – I think next time (because oh yes, there *will* be a next time) I need to use less dough per skull, and perhaps parbake the cough in the molds before adding in the filling, but they were super tasty, and highly amusing, and that’s what counts.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Had to be done

Now that I’ve got two headbands done, I’ve been going through patterns pondering new possibilities, and when I stumbled across this pattern, I knew I absolutely had to make it.

I used some yarn I got in a yarn swap a couple years ago, which turned out to be the perfect fit for this. I actually finished it this weekend, but didn’t block it until today.

This is definitely meant for cold weather, instead of just for keeping one’s hair out of one’s face, since it’s a bit wide for my current needs, but it was a fun, quick project to knit, and it’ll come in handy winter.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

We can all agree this was inevitable

What do you do when it’s February and you have committed to making a thing a day, and you have a bunch of random cardboard boxes plus a giant roll of duct tape and minimal construction skills but lots of enthusiasm?

You build your cats a tank, that’s what you do!

And then if there happens to be, in the house, a cat named Sherman, you *know* what the next step had to be.

You’re welcome.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

A loaf of comfort

Today was World Nutella Day (yes really, it’s a thing), so in order to have a vehicle on which to consume our Nutella, I made some soda bread.

There are a bazillion recipes out there for soda bread, many of which include things that are Wrong and Disgusting, like raisins and caraway seeds, but the recipe I used is pretty simple: oats, flour, baking soda, buttermilk, and salt. Yes, there’s the added step to grind up the oats first, but I find I actually prefer them that way, when used in a quick bread setting, but otherwise you just stir everything together into a shaggy dough, then dump it into a greased bread pan, and plop it into the oven to bake. And when you’re done, you have a lovely, hearty loaf of bread that is perfect for slathering with Nutella, or just some really good butter.

This recipe is just a little heavy on the salt (next time I’ll halve the amount) but otherwise is extremely delicious.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Once more, with cables

After I made that first headband, I pondered how to improve things. The first one was nice, but a little loose. So I poked around online until I found an interesting cable pattern, found yet another ball of random acrylic in my stash (let’s just say that I’m in no danger of running out of random acrylic yarn any time soon), and while we binge-watched old episodes of Flea Market Flip, I made myself another headband.

No official pattern to link; I just cast on twelve stitches and followed the instructions for the Sand Cable until it was the length that seemed to fit on my head. Then I kitchenered the two ends together, and poof, headband.

Unlike try #1, this one fits perfectly, so hooray for that. However, the nature of the cable means that it curls in on itself. So while this one fits, and does the job it’s meant to, there’s still some improvements to be made (and oodles of yarn in the stash to try).

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Return of the lemon

Just to show that it is not all yarn all the time around here, today I decided to mix things up and bake something.

Okay, so the truth is I was feeling uninspired to knit, and was very much aware of the plethora of fruit that still remains on the Meyer lemon shrub in the backyard, but hey, baking a thing counts, so let’s go with it.

Anyway. I made Lemon Brownies, because it was a quick recipe that would use up a lemon.

They’re…okay. The majority of the lemon flavor comes from the glaze, while the bar itself is fairly bland. It’s possible the flavor will develop once they’ve had a chance to sit, but overall, we were both underwhelmed. Ah well.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Channeling my inner princess

This was supposed to be yesterday’s item except I was dithering about what I wanted to make and it turns out, 9:30 at night is not the best time to start a new project when one hopes to finish it before one falls asleep at the needles. So instead I finished it this morning.

After years and years of having super short hair, I’ve decided to try growing it out again. Fine, except that it’s now reached the stage where it’s long enough to hang in my face but not long enough to actually pull back in a barrette, and it’s been driving me crazy. So naturally I decided to knit my way out of this problem, by making myself a headband.

This is the 50’s Knotted Headband. It’s made with some random acrylic yarn from my stash, and except for some minor shaping, it’s basically just a long strip of garter stitch, tied in a knot with some ‘bow’ shaped flaps at the ends.

I wore it all day today to see how I felt. I like it – a lot – except that it is just a hair on the loose side. However, even with that, it worked great for solving the problem of the shag rug on my head, so there will be more headbands in my future, oh yes.

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

All the days of the year

It’s February, which means it’s once again time for Thingadailies, where I commit to making one thing a day for the entire month of February. In years past I’ve had a particular theme in mind, but I really struggled to come up with one for this year, so….my plan is to just make whatever I feel like, and we’ll see how it goes.

Anyway. To start off the month, I am bucking the rules entirely by showing off a thing that is not finished, but on which I’m doing a little bit of work every single day this year. Yes, fellow fiber artists, some friends and I have finally succumbed to the lure of the Temperature Blanket.

The premise of this blanket is that you work one section per day, for an entire year, changing the colors with the temperature of the day (in our case we’re going with whatever the day’s high was). Number of colors used is entirely up to you and how many ends you want to weave in (we’re doing a new color every five degrees), as is the pattern.

I pondered a couple different ideas (since we’re all doing different patterns for this, but using the same set of colors), but in the end decided to make mine entralac, which is a fun technique that makes it look like the finished product is woven, and is also a fantastic way to practice knitting backwards, if that is a skill you ever wanted to learn. I’m doing one panel a day (and have mapped this out completely so as to make sure that this will work). So far I’m keeping up with it, and really liking how it’s turning out (the different blues don’t all come out very well in this picture, unfortunately, but there’s five separate colors represented so far, well six if we count the black).

Making a thing a day for Thingadailies.

Grey tiger, burning bright

In September of 2009, fresh from the loss of both Tangerine and Sebastian within the space of just a couple weeks, Richard and I went to adopt a kitten. We’d seen a picture of Ingrid on Petfinder, and fell head over heels in love with her from that, but knew that she would need a friend. When we went to the rescue to meet her, there was a little black and grey tuxedo floof who was pretty cute, but already pre-adopted, and two little grey tabbies, who were careening at top speed around the room, literally running sideways on the walls. We picked one of the little grey tabbies as the second kitten, and we can’t really claim to have been all that surprised by what he turned out to be.

A small grey tabby kitten sitting in a cat tree
Rupert, aged 6 weeks, 2009

Rupert was extremely active, and also extremely intelligent. Every time we didn’t think a kitten could get somewhere, he would find a way. That first Christmas he scaled the tree like it was just another giant toy, and ever since then our ornaments have been the self-placing kind. He could jump incredible heights – to the top of the fridge in kitchen, to the top of the curtain rail in the bathroom – there was really no such thing as a Rupert-safe zone. We invested in a number of cups with lids, which we referred to as Rupert-safe cups, because when he was younger he absolutely delighted in tipping over water glasses. A friend mentioned, based on her own grey kitty that Grey Ones Are Trouble, and it became Rupert’s calling card. We used to look at each other over those first few years, and jokingly comment that he would calm down when he was older. It was only in the last few months that he ever did.

Two grey tabbies sitting next to each other
Rupert with his newest minion Guffaw

He turned twelve this past August, which doesn’t seem old enough for anything to happen, but life doesn’t always work the way we wish it would. Suddenly things started taking a turn for the worse. Without exploratory surgery we won’t ever know with 100% certainty that he had GI lymphoma, but all the symptoms fit, and it was clear what we had to do. The vet came over this afternoon to help him go.

We’re going to miss you so much, Boo.

Eye spy

Why yes, decorating a Christmas tree with a whole bunch of lightweight plastic ornaments in a house with a quartet of extremely energetic kittens who all like to scale the tree and view ping pong balls as one of the Best Toys Ever was a BRILLIANT decision, why do you ask?

I’ve picked up at least 20 so far and I keep finding more as I walk around.

Last night when we were decorating, Guffaw was going absolutely crazy, charging up and down the tree and smacking ornaments off as if we’d basically given him the Coolest Toy Ever (which, admittedly, we did). So I have a feeling that every morning we’re going to have to make the rounds and collect and rehang a whole bunch of ping pong balls (or else alternatively we could just put them in a bag and then perhaps by the time the tree needs to be put away again for another year, he might have single-handedly (single-pawedly?) removed all the decorations for us.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.