Jelly Bean, Jelly Bean…

black cat on stool by easel

Jelly Bean posing like the kitty on the box...

I am reposting this recent article which featured a lovely photo of Jelly Bean as well as a slideshow of how absolutely sweet and clever he is. Unfortunately, Jelly Bean has been having a little mancat-specific urinary problem in the past few days, and we can’t fix it up at home no matter what we do, so we need to make a little trip to the kitty hospital tonight. Think positive, healing thoughts for him (and for my wallet)!

I am VERY careful about his diet—only raw meat or three brands of premium canned—and he will show symptoms within a day if a food is going to be a problem. We tried something new over the weekend, and this is the result. There’s nothing wrong with the food, everyone was thrilled with it, including me, but The Bean is just that sensitive.

Enjoy this post, and peruse this list of other posts featuring my little Bean-a-roo!

One of the photos I included in my post earlier today about our Sunday in the studio reminded me of yet another artifact from my collection of feline-themed things from my childhood…

notions box with little girl artist and black cat

The Feline Artist With Her Black Cat

same kitty box

My kitty box, very well-used.

Above is that artifact, a satin-covered notions box, about the size of  a shoebox but not as deep, given to me by my aunt, I think. To be perfectly honest, this one was my mother’s and it’s in quite good shape since she kept hers in a dresser drawer with her cotton and silk gloves from years ago—mine, on the other hand, was always out on display because I liked to so much, and I still have it, though you can barely see the image on the lid.

And that’s what I wanted you to see—what is that? A girl wearing a beret at an easel painting a black cat sitting on a stool?! Did someone know something I didn’t, or was the universe sending me signs?!  Why did it take me so long?

I think cute little girls with unnaturally big eyes were the fad then, and so were little girls and kittens. But I really did always love this notions box and displayed it on my vanity wherever I lived. Mine had a gold base with a Victorian flocked pattern, and the little girl was wearing a gold cowl neck and the kitty a gold polka-dotted bow—and was also a tabby. No matter, it still fascinates me to see this and remember how much I loved it from all those years ago. I don’t remember not having it, I must have been very young when I received it.

black cat with decorative box

Jelly Bean posed himself like this, I did not make any suggestions.

But the other cute thing is Jelly Bean himself, who is the cutest thing on four legs, and who is really getting to like this attention from all the photos. I set up the black velvet on the table by the window to photograph these two boxes and he came hopping down the steps and sat by the box as if he had an appointment! Then he stayed around as we did a number of shots.

Note that the kitty in the painting also has a generous white area on his chest, much larger than the Bean’s which is more of a smear, but he does have his big belly spot. I’ll have to get him a red tie with polka-dots and maybe a gold one too, and he and I can pose for a silly photo.

But I don’t think I’ll have to pose Jelly Bean—he’s got the runway method perfected. I’ve included the slideshow below so you can see how Jelly Bean posed himself in this little shoot. He really did come noisily hopping down the steps as soon as I set the box on the velvet, and moved himself around and posed. In between he brushed a little dust off his lapel and shined his white spots. I’ve eliminated the really blurry images but included the rest of them. Of course, had I known he would join me I would have used something else as the backdrop. It just fascinated me that he had been sleeping and showed up for this and acted like a professional! Something else I don’t know?

If it pauses, mouseover the image and you’ll get the controls, or simply refresh the page.

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All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used in any way without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in purchasing one as a print, or to use in a print or internet publication.


Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation 2011 Tribute Scroll

opening slide to tribute scroll

Tribute Scroll 2011

Deb Chebatoris and I are pleased to bring the second annual Tribute Scroll to you. I am personally pleased with the way the idea became reality.

The Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation Tribute Scroll includes photos and written tributes from families who have attended the annual Pet Memorial Sunday.

A slide from the Tribute Scroll

Every year Deb encourages Pet Memorial Sunday participants to provide photos of their pets and a written tribute of 50 words or fewer. In 2010 we decided to begin this new tradition and offer something families could visit even after Pet Memorial Sunday as a memory of the event and as a lasting tribute to their pet.

I enjoy the event as do all of Deb’s families who participate, but we’re always trying to think of other things to offer in between. I know how much I love to revisit events and people who brought me comfort after one of my losses, and how just seeing a favorite photo can make a pet seem so close.

I’ve been working with photo and presentation slideshows for myself and other customers, and as Pet Memorial Sunday drew near I remembered listening to the tributes from past events and looking at the photos, and just being there with everyone, I began envisioning a beautiful and reverent presentation of each family’s pet or pets and its tribute. This could be on the website, well, forever, or at least as long as the website is there. We’d do a new one every year, perhaps add music to make the experience feel loving and relaxing.

I proposed it to Deb and she liked the idea too, and asked families to provide a digital image of their photo if possible.

I had initially only visualized the photos and tributes fading into one another, a pet’s image followed by the written tribute, but the idea grew as I worked on it. Some families didn’t provide a photo so I used images from my own stock of nature, flowers, butterflies and beautiful skies in the place of the pet’s image, somehow relating the image to something about the pet mentioned in the tribute if possible. Then, rather than fade out the image of the pet and run the tribute over top of it, I also chose other images of nature to use as a backdrop. I felt having the words obscuring the pet’s image was somehow disrespectful and also distracting from the moving tributes people had written, and a lovely image of nature can only be more calming. I was just so excited to be able to use my images for this.

As her “publicist”, I photograph all of Deb’s major events, and the slideshow also includes parts of the introduction and closing remarks from Pet Memorial Sunday along with my photos of the memory tables and the dove release.

And I have to warn you, get some tissues ready. It’s not sad, simply very moving to see these everyday pet photos and read the words of the families, sharing this experience even virtually. After watching it repeatedly in the past few weeks you’d think I’d be a little bit immune to it, but when I take a little break and watch it again, off I go sprouting tears.

I don’t have any of my precious kitties in it this year…where would I start? I was a speaker at the event this year, though.

We were initially going to use a piece of music either Deb or I would create or something we could find on the internet, but Deb met a musician who agreed to compose original music for the production.

A slide from the Tribute Scroll.

When you visit the website and click on the link, the Tribute Scroll will open in a new window on top of the page you are viewing and will begin to play after about five seconds. If the page does not open, make sure you temporarily allow pop-ups.

The slideshow is about eight minutes long and pauses on each image and each tribute long enough for you to read be able to ponder and appreciate them. You can also pause and resume the slideshow and scroll through the thumbnails to one you’d like to see using the controls at the bottom of the screen.

Each year, we’ll add another slideshow from the next Pet Memorial Sunday, but all the shows will remain on the “Tribute Scroll” page, so bookmark it!

Please feel free to post any comments about the Tribute Scroll here. We’d love to hear what you think.