Best Buttercream Frosting and Cat Shenanigans

The Christmas Baking is underway. I have used this cut out recipe for 37 years now. We received it along with others for a wedding gifts and it’s the gift that keeps on giving. This is a triple batch. They are so good you could eat them without frosting and they do not need cooled before I roll them out.

This is the best tasting homemade buttercream frosting I have come across. It is not too sweet, it is smooth and I love the different flavorings that it calls for.

 

RECIPE: 1/2 cup Vegetable shortening… 4 cups powdered sugar… 5 Tablespoons water…. 1/2 t. salt…. 1 t. vanilla…. 1/2 t. almond flavoring…. 1/4 t. butter flavoring.  Mix it together until smooth and creamy.

I was trying out some torn paper flowers that I am going to use in a painting soon. They turned out fine and are fun to make too.

The next few pictures are the cat shenanigans that have happened this week. If you saw these on facebook, please bare with me.

 

She was stealth. Plugged in the iron, turned my back and turned back around, there she was. 

Look at me, look at me. Just keeping everyone company up there.

I pulled this from the archives. It’s amazing to me that this little kitten in June.

Has turned into this big guy a few short months later.

I love this picture! We have this tree in a box window that looks out over the front of the house. It’s a favorite of the cats.

This little guy is the cat above and below. They stay kittens such a short period of time.

I am invisible.

He needs to be careful, he is growing so fast he might not be able to get out!

Love to see this big tree it makes the room so warm. I have a time getting the angel on top though. I have to remember to attach her to the top first before we add the last set of branches. Yesterday watched the classics, Rudolph, Frosty and then Elf. That one always makes me laugh. I am going to put in : It’s a Wonderful Life today. Gotta get those cookies frosted! Hope your preparations are coming along well.

 

Mama Mia!

Not too long ago I wrote about Mama kitty who brought her kittens to us in “Let Me Tell You About the Kittens.” Well she has gotten herself in a motherly way again. She had her other kittens the last week of April, and I was not quick enough to get her spayed and this is what happens. I was waiting for the nursing to stop. So right now she is in captivity in our sunroom. She wasn’t really keen on this since she is an outdoor cat, but she has resigned herself. We are in the waiting stage right now so we call it our maternity ward, soon to be nursery. Here she is, showing off her very large belly.

This is Miggy, one of her kittens looking in at her. We let him in and the first time, she recognized him, and her eyes lit up, and he got all hissy. Now she gets kind of hissy but he wants in.

Her life isn’t so bad even though she has to stay in the room. She gets fed, clean water, a nice bed, birds to watch, outside sounds, treats, a nice clean litter box and toys.

A nice profile of Mama. I am going to put her in the Community Cat program with us as the caregivers. She will get spayed and shots and we will have a nice outside shelter for her and also her other kitten whom you should read about in my other post. I am now able to pet him and put flea medicine etc. He needed some love since Mom is no where to be found.

When she is not pregnant she is a very thin, long cat. Here is her beautiful face. She has an Egyptian cat look to her. She is a polydactyl cat or has extra toes. 3 out of her 5 kittens had the same thing, they are really pretty neat.

Close up of Miggy. All the cats are sweet, and loving and purr their hearts out.

This is Willie, my niece Angie took the grey boy. As you can tell he is pretty laid back. I need to find good homes for the upcoming kittens. They will be litter box trained and I am sure as loving as can be. A co worker took a female grey and white which they named Winter and she like the others loves to curl up around the neck and purr. Mama Mia makes great kittens. Stay tuned for new kitten pictures. If you have room in your heart and home for a new 8 week old kitten please email me. 

 

 

Let me tell you about the kittens

This story starts way back at the end of January. The adult cat shown here )which we now call her Mama) would come and sit on the porch furniture. This furniture is outside my studio window. She would stare at me with hungry eyes every night. Of course I would feed her. Then it got to be I would see her in the morning and the evening.When I would take her food out she was very skittish and would always stop and look behind her like someone was after her. I would never make the attempt to pet her because she was just very wild but hungry. We went along like this through the month of February and half of March and I felt we were getting quite a rapport going. So about mid march I decided to bend down every time after I put the food down and touch her back. She seemed startled at first but didn’t run away.Eventually I made it a whole hand touch along her back. Then she started rubbing against my legs and I knew we were getting somewhere. Then April came and I noticed with the longer days that she was gaining weight. Her belly was getting larger but I didn’t think unusually big. Then one day I saw her go places like behind the house, down to the pond where she very rarely goes. I felt like maybe birthing time was coming soon.Back in February when it was really cold I would not see her for a couple of days or maybe even a week, I had no idea where she was holding up. So this time she was gone for a couple of days and when she showed back up again she was much thinner and had blood on her backside so I knew she had the kittens. I didn’t know if they were stillborn or how many. I would start feeding her more food though and she was eating it voraciously. She started showing up again in the morning and evenings but didn’t stick around, ate and ran. I would tell her “Mama, where are your babies or Mama, bring the babies here. She would just eat and run.

I would never see a sign of them, and she would go back in different directions. Then one day Tom was shutting the pool cover and one must have been hanging on and popped out but got scared and ran back under. There was a small open area by the motor and she had brought the kittens there. I think that was amazing because how would she even know that was there? Well the one kitten got caught on the rope and died, but when we opened it up I had 4 other faces looking up at me. She had had five kittens! She had to have moved then to that spot recently because Tom had power washed under that to get all the leaves out. This was not a safe place and we left the lid open for her to get them out.

She did and they were all gone the next day. We buried the kitten with sadness and waited to see if she would return. The next evening she did come back to eat and we were joyful for that. We felt so bad about the baby. A week went by and our routine was back but one morning I look out on the chair and I see her with lumps all over her. I knew then she had brought the babies back.

I took this picture of them that day. The fourth kitten was very scared and would always run away. I haven’t gotten a picture of that one yet.

She is a good mama and keeps a very close eye on them. Soon after she brought them they would start eating the food that I put down for her. Then she would take them somewhere for a couple of days and then bring them back. We didn’t know what was going through her head but we didn’t think they were far away, maybe in one of the neighbors bushes. The kittens are such a pleasure to watch play and run.

Here we are trying to get them used to humans. They are doing really well. I have the three I could catch in a crate because they were becoming more curious. I wanted them close and not be hit and they are doing well with it, Mama too. I think it is a relief for her.

Mama has extra toes, this is called polydactal and there is a 50% chance that the kittens will have it too, and they do.

This was taken while they were still running around. A box I had in case Mama wanted to bring them there. The kittens liked it.

They were peeking at me from behind the steps. I can’t stand that, it’s so cute!

So the first one got adopted today. My niece Angie and her husband and family took the all grey male and named him Willie. He fell asleep in Bryan’s arms here, I think he took to him. I also saw a picture that he was sleeping on the couch already. He went off in his own new little carrier too.

 

I have another one spoken for and that will leave two. I hope that Mama will get tired of nursing the kitten, right now the two of them are off in the neighbors bushes. I think she has Mama wrapped around her little paw. Maybe I will see her in the morning. 

Mama and I have come a long way, she sits on my lap, licks my hands, did a head bump on me too. That’s the ultimate. I truly feel blessed that she trusted us enough to bring the babies to us. It’s been a treat!! 

He just couldn’t stand to be left out

It has been a few weeks since I posted. I had an art show to prepare for, sometimes it is a one week process and sometimes two, this one was two. It was the Great Lakes Art Fair in Novi Michigan. My friend Theresa helped me and we were gone 3 1/2 days. It was a fun and successful show. I made lots of new contacts and I will definitely go back next year if they will have me.

Then my husband and I are on our 3rd cold of 2017 and it just zapps my creativity. I feel I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel though.
It also helps to have sunshine and warmth because that makes all the spring trees and flowers pop. I got out and walked around the house to see what there was. My creeping phlox is putting on a good show. This was a two year ago transplant from my neighbor. These are so pretty when they mound up in the landscaping.

When I saw the daffodils I had forgotten how pretty they were, these are like double daffys. It looks like it has a big nose hanging out the middle.

Loved the darker bits of orange in this one. Mmm…so so pretty.

We had the landscapers come and cut down the old, pull the weeds and lay the mulch. We just had a time with it last year. So glad we did it because what they did in 6 hours we would have taken days!! with sore backs. Here is a small bit in the front of the house and my johnny jump ups look so happy!

Here is my unusually colored coral bell.

A hot purple creeping phlox too.

My small and spindly Red Bud, but I am thankful for the blooms.

It hopes to be someday like the neighbors beautiful big Red Bud.

Oh Pavel, Pavel pounding on the glass door like I don’t see him.

He just hated to be left out of the fun. Hope you enjoyed my flowers, and as always…Thanks for stopping!

3 cats-3 geese

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The cats and I are home a lot together. Since I was gone this weekend they were definitely out of sorts. Since I have gotten home this guy, Pavel, will not get far from me. He is a quiet fellow and when he meows it is more like a bluebird warble. I think he has beautiful, green, intelligent, all seeing eyes. He watches when I get ready for bed and when I crawl between the covers he is up and ready to settle in for a good nights sleep.

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This gal, Lily, had the hardest time in my absence. She threw up three times. In the first fifteen minutes I was home I put her blanket on my lap and she jumped up and purred and seemed very content and that her world was right side up again. She sleeps on the other side of me at night. Sometimes it gets pretty close and as we cat people know, we hesitate to disturb the sleeping cats for some reason.

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This girl, Sophie just goes about her happy go lucky business. She takes care of everyone by licking their heads. The only thing that bothers her are thunderstorms. When she hears that she quickly makes her way under the bed in the basement. She is such a dear cat, never crabby at all. I just love these three!

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Today we had a cool rain and still have the remnants of some snow on Sunday. No sunshine just grey sky. These three were just floating around in the pond and the one in the middle is doing the dipsy doodle clean up. I just think how cold that water had to be since it was in the mid 30’s. We have been very fortunate in the weather department, with very mild temps. We have had some enjoyable, beautiful days and thankful for it all.

 

So Much to Tell!

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This picture was last Saturday May 7th in Auburn Indiana. It was the first Farmers Market Day and I was there helping my sister Linda sell her baked goods. We got an early start because we didn’t want to miss anything in case it was going to be packed. We arrived at 6:30 a.m. and had to check to see if we were at the wrong area. There was not a soul there. We had our pick of the spots.

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Here she had all of her tasty baked goods all ready to sell. Tables up, signs up, and we are on it. Other vendors did show up but just a handful. I am sure it will grow as the weeks go on. I will be helping her often and she will be there almost every Saturday with freshly baked goods. It was a good day and people bought and appreciated her scones, bagels, breads and pies.

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Our geese families made their debut out on the pond. There are quite a few goslings and I just love to watch them.  I am an animal lover, especially babies.

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Swimming away and staying close to Mom and Dad.

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Tuesday was a big day, because I got to see my new Transit Connect pull in on the Car Carrier. It was the last stop, and it was the lone ranger on the truck. I love it, love it, love it. It rides well and is going to be so handy for traveling to my art fairs.

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Race Red is the color, and it makes me smile when I look at it. I am sure I am smiling when I’m driving also.

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It came at just the right time….actually we were a little worried and had plan B in case it didn’t. I will be showing my art at the Art Fair in Wyoming Ohio, which is down by Cincinnati on Sunday May 15th. Please click this link to view the web site. My information says there will be 190 artists.

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If you come to visit and see a Red Transit Connect you know you are in the right place. There are not too many around that look like this. We were saying at the dealership, this vehicle has been on a cruise, on a train and a car carrier. It’s logged a lot of miles from Spain, but when it came off the truck it only had 5 miles on the odometer. (I did say that I loved this didn’t I?) 🙂

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My sweet bleeding hearts are blooming. Somehow I lost two plants though. I used to have three. That happens sometimes.

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Look at these Johnny Jump-ups now, are they not the bomb. I just love them too!

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My new geraniums have good buds on them and are starting to bloom. That rustic bench was a good investment. It looks really nice on our porch.

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The cats like the cat grass that I have growing. These were old seeds that I had, so the grass is not full and lush. Good enough to chew on though.

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They pull it out and make of bit of a mess, easy enough to clean up though. It makes me happy seeing them enjoy it.

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Alas, the newest picture taken today of the baby house finches. Mother has a full nest to say the least of birds and poo! Will have to get the hose out when they are all grown and flown the nest. Mother Robin is too high or I would have liked to get a picture inside her nest also. I had a really nice Mothers Day Sunday with my family. It was such a beautiful day. I hope your week is bringing you a lot of interesting and fun things to talk about. Thanks for stopping!

Our Crazy Cats

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I want to tell you about the 3 resident cats here at our house. They all have a story to tell and each has their own personality. This is Lily…her complete name is Tigerlily but she prefers to go by Lily and sometimes it is Lillian if she is acting kind of hoity toity. Lily was very young when she came to our porch meowing. I had heard her asking for food at other houses and she finally made her way to ours. I could not ignore her crying and when I went out I realized that she had recently given birth to some kittens by looking at her. She was so young that they probably did not survive. I gave her food and she was so grateful. I was afraid that there was still a baby inside of her so we went to the vet and they did and ultrsound but there wasn’t. She of course eventually made her way into the house and became a permanent member. She has her own mind, only likes to be touched in certain ways. Only like certain treats, and spits and sputters if another one of the cats gets close to her and makes it sound worse than what it really is. In this picture she had made her way down to probably Kevin’s room to grab a sock.

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She really does love us all but it has to be her way and her idea. She used to go outside and in the warm weather would surprise us with the rodent of the day. Now that she stays inside, she grabs socks.

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Here is one that she has brought upstairs. At times when I get up in the morning there may be 5 or 6 throughout the house.

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I throw them on the bench and when people need socks they go through and take them back down to their rooms….and then it starts all over again.

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This little gal is Sophia May…..she likes to be called Sophie. I found her on the road as I was going to work one morning. She came out of a field, shook her head as if she was dizzy, got to the middle of the road and fell down. I stopped the car and picked her up because she would have surely been run over. She is one of the most sweet cats I have ever had. She loves everybody and everybody loves her. She licks heads, ears, hands and is always glad to see you.

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This is what she looked like after I picked her up. I don’t know if she had been sleeping on a car that went to work and she was thrown from it or if someone actually threw her into the field but her bottom lip suffered an injury is pulled back from the gums, her mouth is not open. She weighed all of 12 ounces and was only 4 weeks old. I could not let this sweet little cat go.

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Here is she is looking out the window. I now call her my little pudge pot. She never grew very big but she likes her food and she is a little round. Her unusual thing that she does is opens doors. We have lever handles and if she is stuck in a room or if she wants in a room she will just open the door. We do have a few scratches on the door where she didn’t succeed the first time, she is tenacious.

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Lily is fascinated with the shower. She will just sit outside while I am showering and waits patiently. She sits far enough back where she doesn’t get splattered but I can just see her one eye looking in. When I am done and drying off she licks the water that has pooled on the edge. This is a ritual of hers. I never know what is going on in her head.

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This is Pavel, he is named after Pavel Datsuyk a Detroit Redwings player who is Russian. He came begging for food on our porch one cold March day. I had noticed him out in the field and didn’t know who he belonged to. A few days later he is up on our porch meowing persistently. I eventually realized he had been hiding under our pool cover by that block of ice of a pool. The poor thing was so hungry, He got to stay in the garage and made his way into the house. He had an infected bite on his back and I got that cleaned up and he is a really good cat. He doesn’t have a normal meow…..he sounds like a warbling blue bird. He and Lily wrestle in the bath tub, and that’s what they had been doing here.

 

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As particular as Lily is, she likes him, so he must be ok. He is a very gentle cat. Never, ever acts like he is going to bite. I think he has the prettiest eyes and his nose has the markings of a heart.

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I have to mention our 3 we lost last year. Smoke was our oldest at 20 years old. Stonewall was 18 and Sebastian was just 8 but had kidney problems. It was a hard year for us and our furry family. They all held a special place in our hearts and each had their own personality. I hope that you have had a special animal in your life, they add so much. Thanks for stopping!

 

Amaryllis Vandal

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Just four days ago this is what the plant was looking like. Just about ready to show off. I was waiting with great anticipation!

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I walked through the room and found it on the floor with the dirt spilled out. Picked it all up and put it back together. Situated it so it wouldn’t fall and the next day I found it on the floor again! This time the bud and the flower broke off.

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So I resorted to putting it back up on the fireplace and propped it against the TV until I had time to attend to it. This was not the ideal place but I figured out that a furry someone was bothering this lady plant. If the company was going to sell amaryllis on the “juice” they needed to include larger pot.

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This morning I went in search of a stick in the very cold garage and a pipe cleaner. Here is one of the flowers that survived, it’s a beauty for sure.

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Here she is all propped up with her new stick and pipe cleaner along with a drink of water. It is now standing tall on the fireplace.

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I believe it was Sophie the calico who is the vandal. I saw her walking by and eyeballing the plant, trying to figure out how to get to it. I first thought it was Pavel the white cat because he is quiet but ornery and was walking around it…..we call him Eddie Haskell…..for those of you who know Leave it to Beaver. These two are always wrestling……there are times when you just can’t have anything nice! Hope you have a great Saturday!

 

A little creating

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I promised I would share the outcome of my blocks that I was painting. I am happy to say they were successful and I was pleased with the look.

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I first stenciled the Y lightly and painted it black adding turquoise dots and tiny white dots.

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I then stenciled the J red and added darker red stripes with white dots.

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I signed and dated the backs adding a heart.

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The O looks like a leaf wreath and I used colors that can be left out all year round. These were fun to make and I am going to make them to sell in my booth. Just the letters and then customers will have their own ideas about the words or names.

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I found a tutorial online using Tim Holtz distress markers. Click here to view it. I didn’t know that distress markers stay wet for a long time. I liked this technique because by using the non-stick craft sheet and a large rubber background stamp that is a cling it adheres really well to the sheet for no slipping. I used a stamp that looked like Van Goghs starry night painting. I cut waterpaper paper 4 1/2 X 5 inches, the size of the stamp. I have a limited amount of distress markers but what I had made pretty colors. The tutorial said to color the stamp and then liberally mist the stamp. I was too liberal on the top papers. They are still usable though. I did it again and was very careful about spritzing and liked the result much better. I used the lower right on my project.

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I made our niece Emily a birthday card. The sentiment and dog are by Stamps by Judith. The cake is a Katybug which is out of business and the candles are made by Westwater enterprises. It is an old stamp. I am submitting this to the Sweetstamps Anything Goes for December.

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The inside I used some washi tape to make a banner and the sentiment is by Art Gone Wild and the pictures are by Magenta. I also used the Distress Markers to color in the pictures.

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I wanted to share this picture of my cat Pavel. I just realized that his nose marking is in the shape of a heart! He is such a sweet, even tempered cat.  It works for him.  Thanks for stopping by!

 

Beautiful Season

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Yesterday morning, December 11, 2015…gorgeous! This morning, December 12th, was a little warmer and cloudier but this is so unusual for Indiana. The people in the know tell us that the polar vortex is strong and is keeping the cold air up in Canada and Siberia for the time being. I wonder if this is what Florida is like at Christmas?

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If you have been a reader you know that we lost 3 of our furry family members this year. Here are two of their boxes with their ashes.

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We put the third on under the tree. Smoke absolutely loved Christmas and sleeping under the tree.

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The three paw prints they make for you and we put string on and hung them as ornaments.

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Put out the nativity on the table, the sleigh is our Christmas card holder. My brother in law Dave made that and it’s purpose was to hold a small poinsettia but I like it for the cards. I don’t want any of the cats to chew the poinsettia plant. Since I don’t have a manger I am creative as to where I am hanging the angle. Here she is on the lamp.

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Then she is lit up at night.

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Another little picture I rediscovered. Love this little primitive picture with the embroidery and applique.It’s a treat to look at. I hope you are enjoying the season. Thanks for stopping.