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Like Cats and Dogs

While we were away, Chris did a ton of work on the house. He also tackled a major challenge: making sure our cats and dogs get along. Merlin was old and mean, so the dogs left him alone other than an occasional nose-touch in passing. The kittens, on the other hand, are young and run and jump and play and desperately want to be friends with the dogs.

Shadow is a little afraid of them, so she mostly avoids them. Jake is still a bit of a puppy himself, so he takes much more interest in them. The problem is he is an eighty-plus pound Pit Bull and they are five month old kittens. We have had concerns that he might be interested in them as kitty-snacks, so their interactions have involved kennels or leashes and been limited.

This past week, however, Chris took advantage of the quiet to properly introduce Jake to the kitties. The end result is adorable.

I do worry about accidental injuries because Jake is so much bigger, so I still keep a close eye on them. He really is very sweet and gentle with the kittens though. When we first let them out together in the mornings, the kittens rub all over his legs and purr while he has his big, goofy, happy pit smile on his face.

Angel is the feisty runt, so Jake tolerating him is awesome.
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Road Trip

Last week, the kiddos and I loaded up the Suburban and took a road trip to the Panhandle. For some reason, that’s where almost all of my family lives. I don’t get it, either.

This is pretty much the view for most of the 6+hour trip. At least you get to see wind generators in this shot.

Anyway, we spent a little over a week visiting and driving while Chris stayed here and worked. It was a good trip, but I did learn a few things:

  1. I will take DFW traffic over two lane highways any day.
  2. Semi-trucks driving 80 mph make me ranty.
  3. My driving style is sarcastic.
  4. I still love my old 93 Suburban way better than the 2003 Deville it replaced.
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Cats are weird

After my kitty Merlin died earlier this summer at the ripe old age of fifteen, we decided we would like to adopt a pair of kittens. I always felt a little sad that Merlin never had a kitty friend. But, by the time we really started thinking about a second cat, Merlin was old and cranky. I wasn’t sure he would like another cat around, so we waited.

Kitty Merlin

In July, I began looking for a pair of kittens to adopt and found a local family needing to find homes for their three kittens. How could I just leave one sibling behind? Not possible. So we ended up with three eight week old kittens, one female and two males.

Buffy:

Spike:

Angel:

Based on those names, everyone reading now knows my age and that I am a huge nerd. 

Anyway, like a responsible kitty owner, I took Buffy to be spayed yesterday. Spike and Angel aren’t off the hook, but taking care of the little lady first removes the immediate litter of kitties threat. Imagine my surprise when I picked Buffy up and learned that Buffy was, in fact, a boy. 

This news, of course, left me questioning whether Buffy’s brothers were actually brothers. Again, all kitties are destined for that trip to the vet, but females get top priority due to babies and certain health risks. 

After spending a weird afternoon Googling variations of “how to tell if a cat is male or female” and comparing the results to my intact furballs, I am fairly certain I do, in fact, have three males. Typical for me, really. I also think that by their current age, I would have realized Buffy was a boy if I had actually looked. Until yesterday, though, I didn’t see the need to double-check.

One thing I learned is that, at TCAP at least, when in doubt, register cats as female. If they turn out to be male, they will continue with the surgery. Spaying is harder and has more potential complications, so if your cat is a surprise female, they won’t perform the surgery at that time.

As a reminder, from now through the end of September, use coupon code “HELLOFALL18” to save 25% off of your entire order at the SubEarthan Cottage shop.

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Thaddeus

Three years ago today this happened:

He was not very happy.

Now that little big unhappy baby is a big, mostly happy three year old. (Little big because he was born as big as some two month olds.)

My little tree hugger.

Happy Birthday Thaddeus!

On a different note, from now through the end of September, use coupon code “HELLOFALL18” to save 25% off of your entire order at the SubEarthan Cottage shop.

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Sewing Chores: Tips to maximize sewing time

Even if you love sewing, there’s some parts that can be a chore. Ignoring those tasks or leaving them for later can result in wasted sewing time and money. Here’s a list of chores I try to tackle when I have a few minutes so that my real sewing time is spent actually sewing.

Bobbin winding

If you have a Side Winder, bobbin thread running out mid-project might not be a big hassle. If you rely on your machine to wind bobbins, though, running out means stopping your work, re-threading your machine to wind a bobbin and then setting it back up to sew. To prevent this headache, when you have a few spare moments, wind a few bobbins in your most commonly used colors. If you have a project in mind, wind a couple of bobbins in the needed colors. Keep extra bobbins on hand and wind at least one for every different thread color you have. 

Pre-winding extra bobbins makes this notice less annoying.

Clean your machine

Lint, threads and dust build up over time and can cause poor stitch quality or even damage your machine. It’s a good idea to make a habit of brushing the debris out at the end of each project, or during projects with linty fabrics.

If the inside of your machine looks like this, you should probably clean it more often.

Periodically you’ll want to vacuum out your machine to really clean it. Vacuum attachments made for cleaning computers work well for this. Some people use canned air, but that’s not recommended. It pushes some of the debris deeper into your machine.

Oil your machine

Once your machine is thoroughly clean, take a moment to oil it according to your manual. This will keep it running smoothly and reduce the need for costly repairs. If you don’t have the manual, you can usually find one online. 

After oiling, always sew a few rows on scrap fabric to soak up excess oil. That way, you won’t risk ruining a project with oil spots. 

Tidy up

The best practice is to put away tools and excess fabric as you go. It’s easy to get distracted and forget, though. Taking a moment here and there to run through your sewing area to tidy up when you aren’t working on a project can save sewing time later.

Keep a shopping list

Nothing is more annoying than having to stop work because you ran out of a necessary supply. Make note of supplies that are low or that have run out on a notepad to take on your next shopping trip.

Prewash fabric

Unless you know your final project will never be washed, you should always prewash your fabric. One way to make sure this happens is to wash it as soon as you bring it home from the store. You could also work it into your usual laundry schedule. Having a prewashing routine prevents delaying a project or worse, giving in to the temptation to make something and have your final product ruined in the wash.

Tip: Serging or zig-zag stitching the cut edges will prevent excess fraying in the wash.https://subearthancottage.com/random-sewing-tip-painless-prewash

These are the chores that, for me, are the biggest sewing time-wasters when neglected. Please share your dreaded sewing chores and tips to keep them from becoming time-wasters in the comments.