very nice

May 13, 2010

This Blog Has Moved

Filed under: housekeeping — carolrain @ 4:40 pm

I told you it would happen!

I have created my own space at and this little blog is now at

Please comment on these posts there and put that RSS feed into your reader if you wish.

Thank you!

April 23, 2010

Homemade Cheese Crackers

Filed under: food — carolrain @ 3:26 pm
Tags: , ,

I made these cheese crackers last summer.  I didn’t take photos of the steps, but I took enough of the finished product to make up for that.  I was very proud.

crackers on cooling rack

This was my first time making crackers.  I found the recipe at My Kitchen Snippets.

(I’m sure I didn’t use parchment paper, and I used the KitchenAid mixer instead of a food processor.)

crackers on cooling rack

They were light and flakey. They are cheesey, but I wouldn’t compare mine to Cheez-Its. Cheez-Its are much sturdier and sharper, flavorwise. The cheese in mine blended in with the butter and flour to be a soft, subtle cheese flavor.

cat on ladder

Tristan loves to watch me cook. He stands on his ladder and supervises, just out of reach. Behind him, you can see that I was making brownies to go with the crackers. It was the Fourth of July, so it seemed like an appropriately snacky menu.

I took the plate outside to photograph the crackers in natural light.

crackers on plate


close up of crackers

April 15, 2010

Flannel Rag Quilt for Cat

Filed under: kitties,quilts — carolrain @ 12:46 pm
Tags: , ,

I realize this sounds a bit weird, but I made a quilt for my cat.

kitten in cat bed with new quilt

I had been thinking about making a rag quilt and so I decided I’d experiment with that method. I made this before I dove into the denim and pink one.

I used two pairs of old pajama pants that had ripped at the seams.  I saved the first pair because they had a cute kitty pattern and I thought I might use the fabric for patching jeans or something.  Oh, I don’t know, I’m a packrat, okay?  But I’m trying to either get rid of or use up the things I have saved, so when the second pair became unwearable, I decided to combine the two and make a little kitty quilt.

I don’t know why I thought a kitty needed a quilt.  I guess it goes back to when we first got Percy and I brought home a cat bed for him.  I bought him one that had a blanket and mouse with it (because I like things that come with bonus stuff).  I remember saying, “I don’t know why a cat needs a blanket!”  Then it turned out that Percy loved his blanket.

kitten in cat bed under blanket

Especially when it was held by one corner and dangled over him.

kitten pulling on corner of blanket

And then I thought, hey, if cats like blankets, then I have another potential class of recipients for quilts I make.  But I wasn’t going to use high quality materials.  So when I happened to have two pairs of pajama pants that matched (one even with cats and cat things on it) and part of a ripped up flannel sheet that complemented them, it made sense to make a kitty quilt.  And since the materials were all pink, I decided this quilt was for Vivienne (I know, I’m a feminist, they are cats and they don’t have a lot of social baggage about colors, I shouldn’t care if my boy cats have pink quilts, etc., but sometimes you just get tired of fighting the system, you know, and I’d already bought her the pink bed [not pictured–the red bed in the photos is Tristan’s]).

Anyway.  I cut the fabric into 5 1/2 inch squares to make five rows of five, or a final size of about 2 feet by 2 feet.  I lay out the squares and let Percy lie on top of them for quality control testing.

Percy lying on quilt blocks

The stripey squares are a regular cotton, the white kitty squares are flannel, and the back squares are a slightly thicker flannel, but it all played nice together.

I used turquoise thread, which maybe wasn’t a brilliant idea because it sure is a contrast color, but I was thinking of this project as a quirky kind of thing and it matched the kitty fabric. Also, I have about six spools of it because it was given to me as someone else’s discards, so it fit the “no new materials and use up what I have” theme I had going.

I used the drawstring and elastic from one pair of pants and the fly from the other pair to create pockets (I layered each over a plain square).

catnip mouse in quilt pocket

cat toys in quilt pocket

This is what it looked like before washing. You can see that the clipped edges have not frayed yet.

flannel cat quilt before washing

Here’s the back.

back of flannel cat quilt

And the full front, after washing. I’ve since washed it three or four more times and it has held up fine and ragged up nicely.

front of flannel cat quilt

And now Vivi has a place to keep her sparkle poufs.

April 10, 2010

Flannel and Denim Rag Quilt

Filed under: quilts — carolrain @ 5:53 pm
Tags: ,

flannel and denim quilt hanging

When I lived in Nebraska, I did a fair amount of quilting.  I went on two or three “shop hops” to independent quilting fabric stores with women from my church.  The quilting world has trends like fashion and other designed things do, and one trend that was big were rag baby quilts.

Like this:

bright flower quilt

That one is unusually bright, however.  They were more often pastels, with squares all the same size.  Usually they were flannel on one side and either chenille or this soft fabric with little raised bumps on the back.

Minkie, very close up

I liked them a lot, but I didn’t have a baby in my life to make one for and the quality fabrics were expensive, so I just mentally added it to my “someday” list and moved on.

Another kind of quilt I always intended to make was a denim quilt out of my old jeans.  I had been saving ripped and holey and too-small-but-not-worth-dontating and too-small-but-I-love-these-pockets jeans.  In Nebraska, we had a huge basement of storage space, so I just threw a bunch of giant Rubbermaid tubs down there and filled them up with random crap (I don’t recommend this).  When we were getting ready to move, I had to sort through these tubs and donate or repack the contents.  I decided that I should cut up all the jeans before I moved to save space.  I cut and cut and cut, making a huge pile of squares and throwing all the interesting pockets and trim into a shoebox.  Then my husband saw what I was doing and, in the clearing-out mood himself, started handing me his old denim.  Soon I had many, many squares, far more than one quilt’s worth.  I packed them up and moved them across country.

So last fall, thinking I had extra denim squares to “use up,” I bought a bunch of pink flannel on sale to pair with it.  I like the combination of pink and blue-jean blue and I decided I didn’t care if I made something that looked like it was for a preschool girl.  I could justify it as practice quilting or just making good use of scraps, and besides, I am too old to worry about what people think any more.

I used the Denim Rag Quilt instructions from

I lay out the squares the way I wanted them, and then I labeled them with tape on the backs so I could recreate the order later. I called the fabrics ABCDE, so the first row had A1 B1 C1 D1 E1 A2 B2 and the second row started with C2. I saw this method somewhere described as an “ABC” quilt, but when I tried to Google instructions for you, I didn’t find any (just lots of alphabet quilt patterns). It’s pretty self-explanatory, though, I think.

Percy on pink flannel squares

Percy helped, of course.

close up of flannel side of quilt

I think I actually like the denim side better. The darkness of the green and yellow stripes stick out a little too much I think.

denim side of quilt

The flannel is rougher than I expected. Maybe because it was cheap and not the nice quilt store stuff.

close up of flannel and denim quilt

It’s also heavier than I thought it would be. I’m not sure why that surprises me. I guess I just expected the raggy-ness of it and the repeated washings (I’ve washed and dried it three times now) to make it softer and fluffier.

But I still like it.

full view of flannel side of quilt

April 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Percy!

Filed under: kitties — carolrain @ 3:58 pm

Today Percival Gray is two years old.  We do not really know when he was born, but it was around this time and we chose April 2 for his official birthdate.  It seemed like a lucky kind of date.

When he came to us, he was a very small, undernourished guy who had been surviving on the streets of Spanish Town.  He was nearly five months old, but he was the size of a three-month-old.  Here he is on his third day with us.

Percy, August 2008

Percy, August 27, 2008

We are so happy he moved in.  He has been a wonderful little roommate.

Percy, April 2009

Percy, April 16, 2009

He has grown into his ears and he looks a bit more well-fed.  Right now he is celebrating with a nap.

Percy, April 2010

Percy, April 2, 2010

Happy Birthday, Percy!

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