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Tuesday, 18 May 2010
There are squirrels in my website
Mood:  caffeinated
Topic: Squirrels in the news

It has become increasingly obvious that squirrels are out to take over the world.  Okay...if not the world then squirrels are out to take over my website. Just before I logged off yesterday one more story appeared in my newsfeed. one that makes me wish I would have saved yesterday's LOLSquirrel for today.

So here's the story: something something squirrel droppings.  Something something squirrel in bedroom.  Something something girl freaks out. Something something poor building standards for a long time.  Something to do with nuts.

Really, people get over it.  The squirrel was just trying to be friendly, like yesterday's LOLsquirrel.   At my place I had several squirrels come up to the back screen door, get up on their haunches and look inot the porch.  And if they were wearing coconut hats, I'm sure they would have all tipped them politely.

On the coldest day of winter I often have squirrels perched on the outside ledge of my kitchen window where they can steal a bit of warmth leaking out.  I'm very kind to the critters, I invite them inside.  I have a special large enameled home for them with a tight fitting lid and I fill the home with carrots and potatoes and onions and I place them somewhere very warm, about 350 degrees, for about three hours.

For more delicious recipes check out this site:  for over fifty fun things you can do to your pet squirrel.  And there's a page of fun free activities to try out:  including squirrel delight.  Why is it called squirrel delight? I'm quite certain the squirrel is not delighted in the least.

And this is what happens when you enjoy the delights of too many squirrels.

And now for something different: this question from Yahoo Is 69 degrees Fahrenheit warm enough to wear a dress with isolated thunderstorms? Here's a screen grab:

I've seen dresses with isolated appliques, detachable frills and removable sleeves...but I've never see one with isolated thunderstorms!  Wow!  That must be some dress!  I bet it was designed by the people of the Weather Network.  I'd love to have a dress with isolated thunderstorms. That's far better than a dress with an occluded front.  Or pants with mesocyclone in them.  Or a meso anything in them. 

And that's my edifying entry for today.  I have gardening that needs to be done, it appears that this is going to be a superb early summer week, weather wise.  No meso-anythings until the weekend.   Later!


Posted by lincatz at 10:24 AM EDT
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Monday, 17 May 2010

Topic: Squirrels in the news

I am a dirty girl.  Really dirty.  I spent most of yesterday digging holes in the ground in order to plant things.  In the process of planting things I got dirt on me.  Lots of dirt.  So I am now a dirty girl.  A dirty girl with four new phlox clusters in her rock garden in addition to a big new hosta.  I also began planting some of the seedlings that I started several weeks ago, mostly the dwarf french marigolds.  The celosias are not quite big enough and they shouldn't be planted until June. My rock garden now has four flocks of phlox. I guess that's better than phlox of seagulls.  And way better than flocks of ravenous squirrels.

Saturday was Heather's shower.  There weren't as many people as we had hoped, but it still went fabulously.  I guess I could have invited all my cousins. There was plenty to eat, much of it gluten-free and by the time it was over I was stuffed to the gills.  The shirt I made looked fine.  Not much else to say, except what every party should wants as it's final words: A good time was had by all.I have a few pictures, I will post them tomorrow.

And now for a squirrel story: A couple guys from Lincoln Nebraska were soooo tired of rogue squirrels chewing through their brake lines that they decided to take matters into their own hands and chase them down with bows, arrows and blow darts. On their own property this would not have been a problem but they took the chase to the streets, where it was a problem, at least for local law enforcement agencies. Here's their story.

LOLsquirrel, and a very genteel and polite one at that!

And that's all for today.  I have a bit of cold or something.  Off to recover while knitting the last bit of my socks. But first I need to stop being a dirty girl and clean up.  I think there's still some garden dirt in my hair.  Later. 

Posted by lincatz at 10:47 AM EDT
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Friday, 14 May 2010

I finished the shirt that I stared making yesterday.  I cut the pattern, then cut the fabric, sewed it all together, put in buttons and buttonholes, hemmed it and trimmed all the loose threads.  I still have enough fabric to make one more shirt, which I will start later today. Turns out it was 70 inches wide when I was expecting only the standard 60 inches.  That extra ten inches is enough to make a big difference when laying out, more pieces can be fit into the same length of fabric.  I have two and half yards and I was expecting to make one sleeveless and one three quarter sleeve shirt.  With the extra I can now make an additional short sleeve shirt.  The only question: why would I want three shirts from the same fabric?

Tomorrow is Heather's shower.  I'm looking forward to it! I have no idea what Dave and Ben will do when I am gone...but that lawn is looking a little shaggy!

And now for some friday fun: what Stormtroopers do on their day off, and what basement dwelling star wars nerds do when they have too much free time.   And more of what star wars nerds do with too much time on their hands part two. This is what I think of the pictures:

And that's all for today.  I have been rather lax  and lazy in my blogging lately and I need to change that.  I have plenty of notes and stuff...I need to knuckle down and actually turn them into entries.


Posted by lincatz at 10:50 AM EDT
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Thursday, 13 May 2010

I finished one sock already.  That was fast!  I blame Spencer Pratt.  You know... Spencer from The's like watching a runaway train that has has gone totally kookoo!  He's my favourite narcissistic psychopath. He reminds me a lot of a guy I once dated named John, yeah...that John.  I knit while I watch The Hills and The City and if it's boring I knit slowly and if everyone is psycho I knit faster. I should complete at least six pairs of socks this season between the two shows.

I still haven't trimmed the loose yarn ends.

Now I have to go and make a shirt for myself for Saturday.  I want it done by this evening.  It's not difficult, two fronts, a back, two sleeves and a neckband.    I'll use the five thread safety stitch machine and it should be done in no time. i hope.

And that's all.  No squirrels today.



Posted by lincatz at 11:03 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Mood:  don't ask
Topic: Squirrels in the news

First Windows updated and restarted the computer.  Then the video driver updated and restarted the computer.  Then the virus scanner updated and had to restart the computer in order to be effective.  Then my camera software had a critical update and needed to restart my computer.  And then another graphics program updated and needed a restart.  It's been almost an hour and I have yet to accomplish anything!  I still have not even had a chance to get to fark and I finally finished reading six very small e-mails.  Frustrating!

For some reason people are sending me squirrel stories.  Not just one or two a week...but anywhere from ten to twenty a DAY!  I scan most of them looking for the ones that A) have cute pictures or B) feature tree rats wreaking havoc upon the world at large or C) feature tree rats getting a big face full of KARMA baby!

Sadly, today's crop of stories are all PRO squirrel: 30,000 cats sterilized in Beijing.  This is to help restore the squirrel population on the city of Beijing, China.  There are so many bad Chinese food jokes just waiting to be told ...but I will resist. instead i will offer this from worth1000.

But what about cats?  Sometimes cats are attacked by squirrels.  Just ask this poor cat:

Our next link is from a high school newspaper Why build a squirrel obstacle course?  My answer: BECAUSE YOU CAN! and it might drive one or two into madness! Or after all that work you might end up with our old friend super squirrel:




They include instructions for several worthy obstacles, and it is tempting to make as a source of crazy squirrel pictures, perfect for LOL'ing.

And after the squirrels are finished on the obstacle course they can go to the animal hospital in this article here, where they care for injured squirrels. Here's a picture of a poor squirrel with its arm/leg in a splint:

aawwww....I almost feel sorry for the little guy.  Almost...but it is entirely possible he broke his leg while transplanting my tulip bulbs from the garden to the lawn.The animal hospital is somewhere in Chicago...hmmm home of the Blues Brothers...I need to sharpen my photoshop skills and give a pair of squirrels dark glasses and dark hats. Perhaps this pair of squirrels: 

Or not.

And in Philadelphia... people are upset because a large oak tree is going to be cut down, displacing many squirrels from their family homes.  Is it wrong that I feel more sorry for the poor old tree than I do for the squirrels.  I'm not that wrong?  Am I supposed to feel sorry for the tree rats...all I can think about is the poor old oak tree, once so regal and proud and stately...soon to be reduced to heart rot infested sawdust and stumps.

And that's all for today.  As if that's not enough. 

Posted by lincatz at 12:01 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 11 May 2010

Topic: Squirrels in the news

When the news headline starts out "doomed squirrel" then you just know the story is going to be good! Once again in the endless war between squirrels and electricity the squirrels come up short ...meaning shorting out the electricity!  short..get it?  Here's the story: 

We all know aht happens when you combine squirrels and electricity.

And that's all. Did you know if you look for lolsquirrel blogs the litterbox in now on the second page?



Posted by lincatz at 2:30 PM EDT
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How to Make a Tomato Pin Cushion.
Mood:  cheeky
Topic: Sewing FAQ's

There is no sewing tool more ubiquitous than the common tomato pin cushion.  Everyone, from quilting grandma to 10 year old beginner has at least one and some of us keep several. I have one at each sewing machine and another at my cutting table.  These are easy to make and when one wears out or springs a leak it is easier to make a new one than to buy one.  With a couple simple tools you can make several at once, perhaps make each a different size: big for those big sewing jobs and a smaller one for when you are making something a tomato pin cushion.

Why Tomatoes?  Why not zucchinis? Or eggplants?  Why not a big red bell pepper pin cushion? Who decided tomato was the veggie/fruit that would forever bear the prickly burden of all seamstresses?  It has its roots in an old superstition, that placing pins in a ripe tomato on the fireplace mantle would ward off bad luck or evil spirits.  Because no one likes rotten tomatoes on the mantle fabric tomatoes were substituted.  I can imagine one day someone was wandering through the house, looking for pins to hold up pant legs for hemming ...saw the tomato and one thing led to another and now we use tomato shaped pin cushions to quote the website "Tomatoes are evil"

Superstition once had it that placing ripe tomatoes on a mantel when first entering a new dwelling would guarantee future prosperity or will ward off evil spirits
Pincushions the color and shape of ripe tomatoes were used instead if ripe tomatoes were not available. To this day, pincushions are most often red.

The website "Life in Italy" disagrees, saying the tomatoes in the house were a sign of peace and prosperity and that a tomato cushion is a worthy substitute when ripe tomatoes are not available:

It used to be that, if a tomato was placed on a mantle over the fireplace, it was as a promise of prosperity to the family owning the new home, who eventually would start a new life. Certain times of the year tomatoes were hard to come by, and could not be grown, so in replacement, tomato sized balls of red fabric were stuffed with sand or sawdust and used in the place of the real ones. Comically, a new invention occurred as a result. These filled balls also doubled as pincushions! This was why pincushions were always replicas of the round red tomato.

The origin isn't important.  What is important is that a tomato pin cushion is simple enough for a beginner to make.  You need:

  1. remnant of red broadcloth
  2. green embroidery floss (use whatever green you like)
  3. scrap of green felt
  4. stuffing You can use either the traditional saw dust or polyester fiberfill
  5. extra long sewing needle
  6. craft glue
  7. ordinary hand sewing needle

The pattern for the tomato is found here:  tomatopattern.jpg  There's a pice for the tomato, and two small pieces to be cut from green felt.  Cut them out separate

Place pattern on a single layer of fabric.  You can use either the straight up and down grain line marking or one on the angle and cut it on the bias, the choice is yours.  Beginners should use the grain line that lines up with the seam, experienced sewers can use the bias grain. Cut carefully and notch the seam line.


Sew the single seam. Backstitch at the beginning and and to secure the seam.  You will have a tube. 

Fold the fabric  close to the gathering line top and bottom and press in place.  The folds are is on the wrong side and the gathering line will be just visible on the right side. 

Thread a standard sewing needle with sewing thread, double the thread and knot very securely. Run a row of small gathering stitches right at the the line, be sure to sew through both layers. Pull the thread very tight and secure with a few more stitches across the top.

This is how the tomato will loo after gathering. Now it's time to stuff the tomato. The traditional choice is simple fine sawdust and it make a good cushion with a bit of weight.  Do not use pressure treated lumber sawdust or particle board or MDF, only use untreated wood.  If you don't have any sawdust you can use polyester fiberfill.  Be sure to stuff the cushion very firmly, it should be soft and cuddly, it needs to be heavy and firm to hold the pins.Run another lone of gathering stitches and pull tight.  Pack in a bit more stuffing until the tomato is very firm.  Knot the thread very securely, you don't want it popping apart.


Now thread a long needle with embroidery floss.  Use all six strands of floss. Knot the end of the floss and stick it in the center of the tomato through the puckered up end on top. Goo through to the bottom, bring the floss up the side, stick the needle in the top and repeat.  Pull the needle snugly so the floss gives the cushion a segmented tomato shape. You can add anywhere from five to eight segments.  Real tomatoes have five.

Place a drop of craft glue on the puckered top of the tomato and place the green felt tomato top in the glue.  Do the same with the bottom felt and let the glue dry. 

And you now have a little tomato pincushion.  You can make it smaller or larger, just use Photoshop or TheGimp to enlarge or shrink the pattern.  There's no need to buy a pincushion, not when they are this easy to make.

And that is all for today.  Tomorrow I will have some photos to complement this entry. They'll be on flickr and I'll show some things that I didn't illustrate, such as securing the gathered ends and a picture of a finished cushion. 

Posted by lincatz at 10:05 AM EDT
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Monday, 10 May 2010

Topic: Squirrels in the news

I spent much of last week recovering from a gluten reaction.  On Wed. I had to clean out a cupboard in the kitchen that was overrun with tiny little beetle bugs.  I found the source, an ancient box of pancake mix made of wheat flour.  While cleaning up the mess there was lots of flour dust and obviously I ingested some.  Wednesday was bad, Thursday was worse.  I had both the foggy brain and the blues.  So I decided to go to my happy place for a while, Len's -and check out the fabric and yarn.  After a while I wasn't feeling blue or foggy.  Yarn was on sale so I got a few balls of colorful sock yarn.  Here's what i am knitting:

The colours reminded me of that ice cream with the pastel colours in it, sherbet or whatever.  It's sort of a childhood memory colour, Popsicle and banana splits, boo-berry cereal and lucky charms marshmallows.  The yarn is one of those self-striping self-patterning yarns so all I do is knit, the yarn does all the color work. It's hard to feel blue whn working with these colours.

I also got some mauve twill for either pants or shorts, and some striped shirting that goes with the mauve.  I am now happy again.  

And now for something completely different: Eight inch laser guided scissors!   I don't think so.  The blade is not integrated with the grip, the thumb grip is too large and not shaped to the hand, it looks like a case of hand fatigue waiting to happen.  My hands are cramping as we speak.

And now for a sad story.  Sad because the squirrels are wreaking havoc upon my garden again: poor hawk starves as evil squirrel escapes his eventual and well deserved fate. A quick no-imagination involved LOLsquirrel:

According to the story the squirrel escaped the hawk. Poor hawk.

 And that's all for today!

Posted by lincatz at 10:47 AM EDT
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Wednesday, 5 May 2010

There are a few anniversaries right now... feeling nostalgic... Ten years ago was the contaminated water crisis in Walkerton Ontario and plans are being made to commemorate the tragedy.  The drinking water supply of the small town was contaminated with a deadly strain of E.coli.  The people in charge of the water supply KNEW the water was toxic yet did they did do something, they falsified the results of the water safety tests they were required to do and reported that the water was all fine and dandy and not causing people to sicken and die.

What I recall about that time: I babysat my SIL kids on Wednesday mornings so she could take one to Kindermusic.  One morning she needed to go to the hospital because she was suffering a mild infection and because she was still nursing a baby ithe infection needed to be taken care of immediately.  We figured Wed. morning...shouldn't be any more than a hour wait at most...  Well, five hours later, she was still waiting and baby Vanessa was hungry and I lacked feeding equipment, so I took the two kids to the hospital so mom could feed the baby. That's when I stepped into the twilight zone.  There were signs everywhere...all hastily written in sharpie markers saying any one with gastric problems should report to a nurse immediately.  There were gurneys everywhere, people puking everywhere, and I had to go to the fifth floor to find an unoccupied washroom! When I went to the emergency area, one nurse ran to me and tried to grab the baby from me.  I said she was fine.  The nurse looked at Kaitlyn, and I said she was fine.  She tried to grab me and I said I was fine...but the baby's mom wasn't and baby needed feeding...

She spent almost eight hours there and had to have a bunch of bizarre tests that made no sense until the next morning when the whole story broke, including the parts about the water commission knowing there was a problem.  Suddenly the trip to the bizarro land hospital made sense...these people were all from Walkerton and they were all incredibly sick, some maybe were dying.  The nurses thought the kids were sick because the children were being hit much harder than the adults.

It's also coming up on the 30th anniversary of UK band's Joy Division's greatest hit and eventual destruction.  Thirty years ago today "Love Will Tear Us Apart" was released, and shortly after the song writer and singer, Ian Curtis killed himself.  While LWTUA is not as good a piece of music as the classically ethereal and aptly title Atmosphere, it is far richer song lyrically, coming from a far deeper and sadder place where love doesn't conquer all. It is starker, pared down, the minimalist production suits the deep despair of the song.  It is a song that you don't want to understand on a personal level -you don't want to say "yeah, I've felt that way" but it is an emotion everyone feels at some point in their life. Joy Division didn't produce a a vast quantity of music, but what they did produce is timeless and unforgettable.

Here's an article I found from the site "PopMatters"   It's my second favourite JD song, right between Atmosphere and Decades.  I discovered Joy Division in Feb.1980, I dated a DJ and he had a strange Joy Division obsession we met on Groundhog was Tom or something...not Mark, Mark was the other DJ.


Wait...THIRTY YEARS?!holy Fark!  I'm getting old!

There are also a couple special days to celebrate today, not only is it Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday, it is also National Hoagie Day, so go out and eat a sandwich.  It is also national Oyster Day, so go down to the Gulf Of Mexico for some fresh oysters...wait... aren't they contaminated with crude oil?  So I guess oyster day should be postponed?In other news, May 8 is international no socks day and the day after is "lost sock day" 

And that's all for today. I couldn't find any interesting  news stories from20 years ago, except something about Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch releasing a single, and Rico Suave by Gerardo topping the charts, so it's best we ignore 1990 and maybe it will go away. 

Posted by lincatz at 11:38 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 5 May 2010 11:56 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Mood:  a-ok
Topic: The Fungus AmungUs

I really haven't been doing much that's blog worthy lately.  My only sewing projects for myself are a few pairs of "jorts" jeans+short=jorts. No, I haven't lost my sense of style, these are not for wearing around the city, these are for hiking and camping far away from the city.  Denim is more durable and is less likely to rip when caught on branches or sharp rocks.  The only problem is that jorts are neither challenging to sew nor interesting to discuss.

On the weekend i got to the annual Rock, Mineral and Gem show. I got some really nice banded agates and some small nautaloid fossil discs with holes drilled in them. I also got a couple freebies, an amethyst crystal point, a clear quartz point, a pair of moonstones, and a pair of uncut rough diamonds from the Herkimer mine is the US. There was a large polished, round herkimer diamond that was hollow and contained water.  Imagine that!  Water the way it was 500 million years ago!   I learned a bit more about drilling rocks, the tools to use and to not use.   Standard drill: bad.  Dremel mounted on drill press: good. Drilling dry: bad. Drilling using baby oil or bath oil: good. And it smells nice too.According to New Age Crystal guides Herkimer diamonds are supposed to enhance the dream state and to facilitate astral (out of body) travel. I don't know about that, but they will be nice wrapped in silver wire and enhanced with some swarovski beads.

We've had a very early spring this year, It is barely May and the tulips are almost over, the late season purples are now in bloom.  This of course means it's Morel time, so here's this years Morel Mushroom Newspaper article:  this article tells of how a government agency went wayyyy overboard to protect people.  It's not that difficult to tell a false morel from a true morel, usually the smell is enough, but for those with olfactory challenges here's a simple rule: If it's the heat of summer it's a false morel.  The end.  The mushrooms grow in entirely different seasons. Spring is for morels, summer for false morels.  And for further identification, false morels look like brains, and when cooked they smell harsh and metallic.  It's the rocket fuel in them; cooking releases the rocket fuel in the steam. Raw False Morels have a slight metallic chemical smell, again it's the rocket fuel in them.

In other food news: why isn't broccoli canned? Some one has answered this:  It would emphasize the yucky metallic taste, turn out slimy like canned green beans, and it would enhance the gas factor.  I freeze broccoli: it takes about five minutes in the blancher and i can freeze enough to last all winter.  I do, however prefer fresh because freezing and then re-ccoking makes it soggy and you loose some vitamins.  Like Asparagus and Spinach it is best fresh. And just because you CAN can something doesn't mean you should: see canned chicken: And of course the classic campfire favourite Cheeseburger in a can:

All this food talk of morels and cheeseburgers and chicken has made me hungry! Time for lunch!

Posted by lincatz at 11:27 AM EDT
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