The Cat Days of Summer

When I started this post, I was trying to think of a creative title that would indicate it's been hot here, and of course, the "dog days of summer" came to mind.

Only then...you know how tangential I am...I started wondering about the origin of that phrase, and why it doesn't apply to cats as well. And you also know me well enough to expect that I'm just about to tell you. Well...here you go. According to dictionary.com:

Here's an article from National Geographic about it if you'd like to read more. It's pretty interesting.

So anyway...it's been hot. It's even hotter today. I know some of you are suffering with much worse heat than we have here, but that won't stop me from whining, because I'm an Oregonian! Oregonians hate the weather, no matter what. Didn't I just spend a blog post whining about the rain? And now that the rain is gone, I'm going to whine about how hot and dry it is. Whaaaaaaaaa! Somebody call Whine-one-one!

As for the cat days of summer, here's something: My computer helpfully updated something...who knows what computers do when nobody is watching. No doubt, nudity is involved. And dancing. But anyway...it messed up the way my pictures are imported from my camera, and so I needed the Resident Engineer to fix it for me. And for him to fix it, I needed a picture on the camera to upload. So I turned to the interior of my office and snapped this random photo.

Without even trying, I caught Smitty in an epic yawn and stretch fest. Like I said...The Cat Days of Summer. Just because there's no cat star doesn't mean cats can't get into the act. Oh wait...I created one a while back. Remember Meow Minor?

So how did I spend my hot day? Well, I wasn't in the greenhouse re-potting tomatoes, I can tell you that. Still, it didn't stop me from processing another three pounds of cherries into barbecue sauce.

We probably have a lifetime supply now, but since I give a lot of it away, you can bet I'll be making more eventually. It's so good. If you're not into canning, you could freeze or just refrigerate it and it would last a long time. You can find the recipe right here.

So, you might recall I went off on a wild and crazy bent a day or so ago when I had a brain storm about the background fabric for the scrub jay quilt. I spent some time perusing Ann Shaw's website again, just for courage, and then I decided to go bold and choose a fabric she might choose. After all, just look at her Curious Duck:

Would you ever in a million years choose that background? And yet, it works. She mentioned that the ovals in that fabric suggest eggs, and that makes some sense to my increasingly feeble mind. Also, look at her sunflower:

And again, would you, in your wildest imagination, choose that background fabric? Neither would I, but it works! So then, I was thinking about the fabric I picked up when I was in Fort Bragg last month, and I started thinking it could work. Then I woke up at 4:30 a.m. yesterday morning, wide awake, thinking about it. I could not get back to sleep, and so I pinned it up next to the beginnings of the bird.

The colors will be different enough since the bird is mostly blue. Also, if it's oriented horizontally, the black lines kind of suggest tree branches to me.

So, I took a big bold step, and voila! I think this will work!

And moving along...I added it to the next section and just a smidge on the left.

The second section isn't sewn together yet. As I'm looking at this, I think I need to switch out one section of the bird before I sew it together. You can see in the image below, I've used a fabric that is a little too similar to the background, and I'm afraid it won't look right. Today, I'll switch it out for a different lighter gray before sewing all the pieces together.

I've realized that sewing the pieces together is going to be the only way to go with this quilt. The freezer paper templates are so tiny that they won't adhere to the fabric well, and some are getting lost. I really need them to be able to orient the pieces and match up the seams. It's only fabric right? And this is my first time making one of these without Ann Shaw's guidance. It's a learning experience, and making mistakes is a good way to learn. Just to be perfectly clear, I'm expecting to learn a lot in this process.

Since it's time to link up to

Celtic Thistle Stitches

this seems like a good time to do it. While the technique isn't new to me, doing it on my own definitely is.

Also, it's time to link up to

Slow Sunday Stitching

so it seems like a good time to show you my progress on the sixth block for Wine Country. Just a little more to do on this one. I expect it to be finished in a day or two.

With it being so hot, I'm going to spend my day in the basement sewing room. It's nice and cool down there. I took some time to harvest some lettuce from the greenhouse this morning. This has been washed and spun dry, and it's going to make a nice chicken salad for our lunch today.

We're doing well on our diet, although the weight loss has slowed to a crawl. I don't know about you, but I retain water in hot weather, and so I'm betting that's part of it. (It's the way I stay motivated. I say to myself, "oh yes, it's the weather...that's why I haven't lost any more weight. Yeah...gotta be the weather.") Anyway, today's lunch is a Creamy Chicken Salad. Although the Cooking Light Diet website requires an inexpensive subscription, the magazine has been in publication for around 50 years, and so most of the recipes are already published online. We're really happy with the food. It tastes good, it uses fresh ingredients, and it allows me to feed my passion for cooking and trying new recipes. Also, we have not been hungry, although I'd probably kill for a cookie right now.

So, it's been a slow morning, and if I'm going to get any sewing done, I'd better move along. I hope you have an easy Sunday planned for yourself as well.

8 comments from clever and witty friends:

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

So many things. I love the whole post!

quiltzyx said...

OMG! Never realized Smitty's mouth was THAT big!! LOL Balances out that long tail I guess. Weather.com is saying that it's currently 102* with 21% humidity - which is very humid for SoCal as you know. But, I'm in the basement at work & it's nicely crisp down here.

Wow that cherry BBQ sauce is cheery, isn't it? Looks yummy.

Interesting new background pick for the Jay - I think it will be wonderful!

That chicken salad sounds good for a hot day. Don't know what I'm going to have for dinner yet, but salad does sound like a plan.

The wine stitchery is looking GREAT!

Deb said...

Love the winery stitchery and the background fabric for your blue jay is great I think it will be beautiful.

heartsease54 said...

Love the picture of Smitty yawning. Who knew he had that big of a mouth? And the Jay is coming along great, I think the background you picked will be amazing.

Dana Gaffney said...

Looking at Ann's backgrounds I'm glad you went bold, her backgrounds add so much to the overall picture.
Our weather mentioned how hot it was in Portland, which makes you think when you're so much hotter than Miami. She also said the "Dog Days" had begun which means she doesn't know what that comes from, thanks for reinforcing the meaning for me :)

Debbie said...

Smitty is the star of summer, right?
Love the background fabric.....and no, I would never have chosen it, but I do think it will work. At least you will be noticed for it:)

piecefulwendy said...

What fun to see Smitty so stretched out, the handsome guy. I think Max is pretty close to the same size. When the weather heats up here, he doesn't move much. His fur coat levels up the heat, so he sleeps most of the day. I love the background for the scrub jay! What a great idea! And your winery stitching is really nice as well. Hope you can enjoy another day of stitching due to the heat!

Brown Family said...

My phone (Android) Takes great pictures, upside down. I have to turn every one when I send them to the PC! No one knows why. That is a good photo of Smitty!

I like the change in background! Bold and bright!

I would offer you cheese with your whine, but it is probably not on your diet!