Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Cat Has Asthma

This is Patches.  She is a 10 year old cat that we adopted along with her sister when they were little kittens.  Recently I had to take her to the emergency animal hospital with some digestive issues.  When they looked at her x-rays, they noticed a problem with her lungs, she has asthma.  

She hadn't been coughing or acting any different to usual apart from the digestive problem.  

I learned that 1% of cats have asthma.  I also learned that there are around 80 million cats in the U.S. alone which means there are a lot of cats with asthma.  Why had I never heard of this being a cat thing?  I did what we all do in this situation and turned to the internet.  It is full of stories of cats being successfully treated.  Our vet has Patches on a steroid pill and a bronchial dilator pill.  She is not really responding to either and pilling her is stressful for us all.  She breathes at a rate of 50 to 60 shallow breaths a minute, it should be about 25 deep breaths.  A couple of times recently she has been wheezy.  Why had I never noticed?  I feel guilty for not picking this up but with no coughing or other symptoms, it was easy to overlook.  Do you know how many breaths your cat takes in a minute?

Yesterday our vet added an inhaler to the mix.  We are supposed to administer this twice daily using an AeroKat chamber.  Patches is a big, strong cat and it is hard work to pill her let alone hold her still enough to do this.  It looks simple when you see the how to videos online.  It isn't.  This is her last chance.  If we can't master this, I think we are heading toward the ultimate Difficult Decision.  We've talked about it as a family because we all need to be prepared.

This chamber works just like the one my kids used when they were little.  You hold the silicone face mask over the cat's nose and mouth for about 10 breaths.  Just like that......  I've managed it once.  

I am by nature an optimist and so I am hoping we can learn to make this a successful part of her treatment and I realize it is going to take a bit of time.  The inhaler itself is appallingly expensive here in the U.S. and I could easily go on a rant about the disgusting cost of prescription drugs here compared to Canada or the U.K.  If this works for Patches, I may have to look into buying the inhaler from a Canadian pharmacy.  

For now, though, it is one step at a time, pills twice a day and trying to use the AeroKat, lots of cat treats and even more love.  

Monday, February 8, 2016

Spring Like

It is still early February and much too early to be thinking about Spring.  Our El Nino weather pattern has brought lots of very welcome rain and Sierra snow but for the last few days and for all of this week it is forecast to be in the 70's maybe even 80's.  

Yesterday afternoon we went for a walk along the bike and walking trail near where we live. It's a trail that winds through old orchards, open fields, and runs along next to a creek.  The neglected orchard is full of plum trees with small sweet plums which we have picked in the Fall.  Yesterday these trees were breaking out into blossom and the air around the flowers was thick with all kinds of happy thrumming bees.  

In my own garden, there are flowers on my apricot tree!  Surely it is much too early for those?!  The blueberry bushes have flower buds and the cheerful yellow forsythia buds are just unfurling.  I'm not ready for it to be Spring.  I like Winter.  Besides it isn't time for Spring and we will get more frosts and Winter storms and then the farmers (and I)  will be worried because our fruit tree blossom will be damaged and the harvest smaller.  

Meanwhile though, I will enjoy the gift of sunshine and drink my afternoon tea outside on the back step while my greyhound basks on her bed in the sun.  

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Finished Deer Pincushions

My daughter is getting her hair cut so I have a few minutes that I hadn't counted on.  Don't you love it when that happens, a little chunk of precious free time?! Just long enough to edit some photos and post them here! 

 I finished the deer pincushions that I shared last time.  I enjoyed making these.  Using a completely new color combination made them feel fresh.

The true color of the blue felt is more of an aqua but my neither my camera nor my phone will capture it accurately. 

Fabric And Ink

Fabric And Ink

Fabric And Ink

In the end I decided to go with three simple groupings of flowers and leaves around the sides.  The detailed top is complimented by the simple design on the side band.  


Friday, January 29, 2016

Deer And Flowers Pincushion

The days are passing in a blur just now.  Things are very busy.  This week I worked on restocking some existing designs but I wanted to work on something new too.  I also wanted to try some new color combinations.  

I've been working on these little deer pincushions for the last couple of days and am happy with how they are progressing.

Yesterday I sewed in the car while my daughter had her riding lesson.  For just a few short weeks it has been too dark in the late afternoons to sew but yesterday the light was good for all of her lesson time.  Spring is coming!

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do with the sidebands of these pincushions but it will probably be a combination of flowers and leaves.  I had intended the deer to be wearing a garland of flowers but the flowers and leaves grouping got a bit out of hand and now it looks like the deer is peering out over a flowering bush!  But that is ok too.  

When we left for home after the riding lesson we were treated to this beautiful sky.  

Tia the greyhound loves her blankets and she is showing this new one lots of love!  I found this very cheerful blanket at Target and it is super soft!  I think I mentioned before that Tia likes to carry her blankets around the house and make blanket forts for herself and her toys.  

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Spring Blossom

Yesterday when I was out walking Tia around our neighborhood I was surprised to see a tree with lots of white blossom.  I don't know what the tree is but the same trees are planted in our grocery store carparks and they always look so pretty long before anything else is thinking of flowering.  

I finished up these cherry blossom pincushions a couple of days ago.  I am crazy busy just now, preparing for the quilt show next month and also teaching my middle school costume class.  Guess what....the play is the same weekend as the quilt show!!  I am up to my eyes in Lion King costumes and at the same time, I'm trying to make sure I have enough inventory to fill my booth at the quilt show!  Let's just say that with all that, plus keeping everything at home ticking over and looking after the dog, my house is dustier and less tidy than I would like and meals not quite as interesting as they might be.  

It's been a sad time lately hasn't it?  The loss of David Bowie and Alan Rickman, then a blogger whose inspiring blog I love and read all the time lost a precious baby daughter and a friend lost her father.  It reminds me to be gentle in my interactions with other people because you never know what is happening in their lives.  

May it soon be Spring.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A New Woodland Pincushion

This pincushion was always going to happen, I don't know why I haven't gotten around to it sooner! 

I finished stuffing and stitching these closed last night while watching the recent Sherlock special for the second time.  It made a bit more sense second time around but I still didn't love it!  

As you can see, I've used my usual hand dyed herringbone felt for the tree stump which I purchase from Quilting Acres, a fellow Etsy shop.  I worked on these this weekend while I was up in the mountains enjoying the several feet of pristine fresh snow and staying cozy near the wood stove.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

A Steampunk Clock Pincushion

Recently, a friend asked me if I could make her a custom pincushion.  She wanted something with a Steampunk feeling.  We talked about it and decided to do a Steampunk version of my antique clock pincushion.  I already had lots of cogs and metal clock part style bits and pieces intended for jewelry making as this is a style both my daughter and I enjoy.  This was a really fun project and I love how it came out!

I sewed the pincushion top while watching "Pride And Prejudice" (a favorite movie, I love both the Kiera Knightly version and the BBC series).

The side band usually has the quote "All our sweetest hours fly fastest" embroidered on it.

Monday, December 28, 2015

My Idea Of A Perfect Winter Day

My daughter and I are back in the mountains for a couple of days to enjoy the five feet or so of snow that has fallen here in the last week.  Our cabin is blanketed in snow and looks so welcoming with lights at the windows and fragrant wood smoke curling up through the trees.   When we ski, it's an early start.  The drive up the mountain that takes 30minutes in the summer takes twice as long when you are driving on a snow packed, icy road.   However well it has been plowed and gritted, you still can't take any chances.  I'm thankful for my 4wheel drive SUV and the slower pace that gives me a chance to enjoy the beauty of the snow in the trees.  It hasn't been windy so the trees all wear their frosty cloaks still.  

It was an awesome powder day with an extra few inches that drifted in last night.  The light changed all day.  Some of the time we could hardly see our feet for the fog or low cloud.  We had a couple of magical chair lift rides where the sun shone faintly through the cloud while it snowed around us, lighting up tiny, perfect, glittery flakes. It was like being in our own snow globe and we joked there should be a "snowbow"!  Then it was blue sky again and then it wasn't.  

There was expensive hot chocolate with marshmallows and whipped cream to warm us up (it was 18f or -8C) and when the lift lines got too long we relished our last run and went home.  

Later in the afternoon, I wrapped up again and ventured out in my tall boots - not tall enough it turns out!  I got snow down my boots over and over again but it was so powdery and dry it just brushed off and I stayed dry.  Again, the light filtered through the trees and changed minute by minute.  

Don't you think this (below) looks like a troupe of dwarves trekking across the land behind my cabin?  I think they are on a quest, following the edge frozen creek, somewhere between my daydreams and their magical realm.

Tomorrow we plan to ski again and then we will make our way back down the mountain and the dog, cats and other family members will be happy to see us home.