Caturday’s got a cone on it’s head

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Claude and Katerina had their neutering and spaying ops done yesterday so we have attack of the coneheads! Katerina has been ridiculously friendly since she came back and wants to cuddle a lot. She is the complete opposite to Tamyra and enjoys lap time. Poor Claude hasn’t got the hang of the cone and how to eat with it on but Katerina got how it worked straight away. I feel Claude may not be the brightest spark but he is so friendly that he is allowed to be slightly silly. When pao picked them up from the vet, Claude was soaking wet because he had been playing with the water bowl at the vets. Thankfully the cones won’t be on for too long but the keeping them quiet is going to prove a challenge as I type this Katerina is using me as a climbing frame!

Journalling through South Dakota

One of the nicest birthday gifts I have ever received is a journalling kit from Chris. As I was a jet-lagged muggle with limited brain power, I didn’t take a photo of the contents before we went on the road with it. It came in a terrific grey bag and Chris had made a book with old maps and blank journal pages in it. I was thrilled and used it to journal our trip through South Dakota as it was just perfect for collecting up ephemera and giving me a few moments at the end of each day to think about where we’d been and what we’d been doing. I had originally taken that trip with Eileen back in 2011 but our trip was cut short because I had pneumonia and a heart thing and ended up in hospital for several days so it was good to have a place to reflect a while as I was sad that Eileen passed away soon after I came back to England and we didn’t get to finish what she intended for us to do.

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I really loved the thought that Chris had put into making the book for my journal. It had some beautifully stamped papers and maps in it.

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I bought a box of very small pencils from Barnes and Noble on our first day in MN and had some fun with those whilst we were travelling. And yes, we stayed in an America’s Best Value Inn.. I’m not shy – it was cheap and clean-ish and it did mean we got to splurge and stay in a beautiful lodge in the Badlands and a really wonderful Lodge in Spearfish Canyon recommended by Michael (thanks, Michael – definitely going with travel tips from him in future :) )

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I loved looking at the maps when we were on the road. America is such a huge place and has many many interesting towns.

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This is one of my favourite pages I made. I liked playing with the washi tape I’d brought with me to make a kind of flag.

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When I was done, I looked at the cover and thought I needed to do something else to it and found this map I’d brought back with me (yes, Jeanne this is why my luggage was quite so heavy and we needed an extra suitcase). I love the way it looks. Thank you so much, Chris!! It was an inspired gift.

Caturday Goes Gingerly

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I got to look after Ralph (and Bernard) again a little while ago :)

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Ralph has always been lovely to me. I think he has even started to recognise my voice :)

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I think it has a high correlation with the fact I bring him Waitrose cat pouches which he adores!

Yarn Store Heaven

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There is such a lovely wealth of wonderful yarn shops in the US. As well as going to one of my favourites Three Kittens in St Paul, we went to some other wonderful places, too.

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Yarn Harbor was really rather lovely. I got some lovely packs of gradient yarn in there to make my birthday shawl. It was lovely to look around and I really had to try hard not to pick everything. As the window says, bliss!

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It was lovely to look around and I really had to try hard not to pick everything. Jeanne said I was remarkably restrained. I did look at North Shore Knits for a very long time as it had some very beautiful patterns and photos of the area but did manage to resist.

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After that, we found quite an amazing place in South Dakota called Athena Fibers which seemed to be a residential neighbourhood. This didn’t seem odd to me after going into an office building in New York to visit Seaport Yarn.

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It was oddly closed when we arrived at the advertised opening time

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but the seats on the porch were quite inviting so we sat down and waited a little while. Two other ladies who thought it opened at 10 also came and sat down and we chatted about knitting and knit a while together. We were just back in the car, ready to go back on the road again for the long drive back to MN when the owner showed up.

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Turned out the summer hours started at 11 but no one had updated the website.

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It was worth it though. I was very restrained and bought some needles and a T-Shirt and a cake of Frolicking Feet Transitions so I could make a shawl that I saw when I was in Yarn Harbor in Duluth.

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Jeanne very kindly drove us to meet my uni friend in Rochester and we got a chance to go to Hank and Purls. Also another really lovely store.

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I got some more gradient yarn – it is so beautiful. It was quite hard to exercise restraint when faced with a wall of Shi Bui!

Taking a leaf out of Chris’ books

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Chris has been doing some amazing things with bookbinding and journalling recently and I’ve been really inspired. I found an old book in a Book Tree in town the other day with the cover half hanging off with some beautiful colour artwork inside. I had to bring it home, didn’t I? The half-hanging off cover got me thinking about book-binding and making books. I wanted to use the cover to make it into a book so I went into our local art shop and started looking at paper to make pages like Chris did when I saw these plain little books for just 70 pence each. I figured three would be enough for my purposes.

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It is good to see that Claude has assumed the helper mantle. He is inspecting the inside of the book.

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I glued the covers of the exercise books together with Pritt stick and then stuck the three spines together with some cute duct tape that Chris had given me as part of a really wonderful birthday present.

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I then stuck the covers of the books to the outer cover of the book I found and then glued then sellotaped the overlap over. I used sellotape as I wanted to keep the matching look but figure there is probably something better.

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I liked the way it turned out inside, too.

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I wanted a little whimsy and added a bit of sheep washi tape to the outside cover.

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I found a beautiful image inside the book and it has lots of beautiful imagery of Kent where I live which I thought was perfect for the inside cover of the book.

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I used one of the old maps for the back cover of the book. It is of East Kent.

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Top view. I’m quite happy with how it has turned out.

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My helper was very happy indeed with his work. He particularly liked the duct tape!!

4th of July Fireworks

The July 4th train stopped at great spot so we could all get out and watch the fireworks. It was brilliant but to my surprise, no one sang the national anthem! I have experienced it at stadiums and in school but I would have thought the 4th would have been the time :)

The fireworks were amazing – just a few pictures out of the hundreds I took!!!
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Birthday Shawl

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We visited a wonderful yarn shop in Duluth called Yarn Harbor just before my birthday and pao got me to pick out something as a birthday present from him. I had seen the Kelpie Shawl when Jeanne and I visited Three Kittens and I really really wanted to make it.

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I saw a lot of yarn there which was wonderful but I was drawn back several times to Frabjous Fibers Cheshire Cat. They had some packs of mini skeins of gradient yarn which I knew would be wonderful with this project.

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I made a start on it when we headed off on our road trip but I got distracted and tired and pulled quite a lot out just before I headed home to the UK. Even though it was an easy pattern, it was a little much for my dyspraxic brain to cope with at the time!

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A concerted effort when I got home meant it got finished but languished unblocked for a while.

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I blame those kittens.

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Claude wants to point out that he is quite innocent in all things sneaky even though I caught him quietly checking out the shawl!

Caturday seems to have declared a tentative truce

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I’ve been working with Tamyra’s breeder to help her come to terms with Sirius’s passing and the stress of the kittens. She is a qualified practioner of zoopharmacognosy and has advised me of some plant based oils I can use to help Tamyra.

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I’ve been doing this since Tamyra got ill and it certainly has made her more relaxed and she has even started to feel a bit more relaxed around the kittens.

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I had to give the breeder information on how she reacted to certain oils whether she breathed through her nose or panted or just fell fast asleep like Tamyra did.

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I got hold of some Elm and Walnut essence as recommended by A House Full of Cats yesterday to try and get Tamyra feeling a bit more calm with the kittens. I dropped some on a cloth then rubbed it round her head and put a few drops in her water bowl. It seems to be helping as they were all close together.

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Tamyra doesn’t chose to be with them but we are working with her gently to bring her to a place of peace with the kittens. I feel heartened to see them sitting close together and less growling is taking place.

Next Stop : July 4th

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There is nothing like a special train trip to make me feel like royalty. We were so lucky to be invited on the railway museum’s annual July 4th trip.

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We were enormously excited – there was going to be BBQ on a train!

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I loved the way they put flags in the flower pots. I was surprised that not more flags were on display on the 4th.

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We were so excited. I’m smiling from ear to ear just thinking about it now.

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The route was really good. We got another view of the Aerial Lift Bridge.

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The William A. Irvin Museum.

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Canal Walk – we walked along there one evening. It is a beautiful place to walk.

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Lovely Eileen :) Check out her cool t-shirt from her trip to Washington, DC for July 4th.

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I can’t get enough of the beautiful lake.

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I was tickled by these red, white and blue cupcakes.

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Up until this point in my life, I’d never eaten a salad which had marshmallows on it. It was unusual.

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I rather enjoyed my July 4th supper. Eileen’s German potato salad and rum bundt were rather wonderful. I will definitely need to learn how to make both of those :)

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I really like these people! :) The car we were sitting in was really special – a really nice one. I was so lucky to spend July 4th with them and we were even more lucky as our association railway royalty got us the chance to ride back in the cab with the driver.