Valentine Tabbies Note Cards: Sneak Preview

block printed note cards

Block-printed Valentine note cards!

I had such fun today printing little note cards for Valentine’s Day I couldn’t wait to show them off! These two are from my series “Tabbies”, “Sunshine and Flowers” and “Let Me Clean You Up” and have always had a sweet and cuddly feel to me. I’d always printed these in natural earth tones but have been planning to print them in bright colors on brightly-colored paper as well.

These are printed in magenta on flourescent pink and blue card stock, are blank inside, and I have a rubber stamp to print the necessary information on the back. They are 4.25″ x 5.5″, blank inside and come with a coordinating envelope—I couldn’t get the ones I wanted that matched the paper stock, so I have to settle for ones that are more pastel, but they actually look nice.

I’ll finish up these sets, and I’ll also have a few other cards to offer as well. I’ll be posting this week.

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used 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.


Daily Sketch: Mewsette in Blues and Greens

oil pastel sketch of cat

Mewsette in Blues and Greens, oil pastel © B.E. Kazmarski

On days I spend in the studio I just have more toys handy. This sketch of Mewsette is done in oil pastel on canvas paper, real artist’s canvas, lightly gessoed, in a tablet. Because of the texture of the paper, which I enjoyed working on, Miss Mewsette had to be a little larger than the usual sketch, but she did not mind.

You can read about the difference between oil pastels and chalk pastels in Daily Sketch: Grape Jelly Bean, but suffice it to say I enjoy the immediacy of bright color and the addition of texture. Mewsette settled under the work lights on my table upstairs and the light is also reflecting back up from the surface, a cool-toned light which originally gave me the idea for the blues and greens unlike her mom’s sketch from yesterday where I wanted to catch the mahogany tones in Mimi’s fur.

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Click here to see other daily sketches.

For a gallery of the ones available for sale, visit my Etsy shop in the “Daily Sketches” section.

Read about the reason for the daily sketches in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches.

And read about purchasing them and requesting them as a donation item for your shelter or rescue group in The Artist’s Life: Daily Sketches for Sale and Donation.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used 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.


The Cats in the Hat: From a Year Ago

tortoiseshell cats test crocheted hat

Kelly subjects the crocheted hat to the sleepability test.

Both Kelly and Cookie put one of my hats to the test—before it’s even done!

Every crochet item I make must be tested by at least one kitty, especially Kelly, my Lead Crochet Tester. This means it must be subject to the following activities as appropriate with the shape and size of the item: walked on, kneaded, climbed into, climbed underneath, smelled, tasted, slept on, slept in, carried off or fought over.

Kelly generally tests items for sleepability, and this alone involves most of the items above. She did try to fit herself into it in various ways, but only succeeded in getting all four legs in it and crouching in it. The hat flunked Kelly’s sleeping test, though it was fun to sniff and walk on.

Cookie was actually the first one to step into the hat, but she was distracted by the crochet bag. Not to be outdone by Kelly, when Kelly was done with her testing Cookie got back into the hat. Cookie usually tests for bathability, how comfortable the item is for having a good bath. Again, the hat flunked Cookie’s bathing test.

Perhaps this means I get the hat all to myself? Only if I hide it or hang it where no one can get into it!

tortoiseshell cat tries to fit into crocheted hat

Cookie subjects the crocheted hat to her bathability test.

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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.


Cookie Up to a Few Tricks

tortoiseshell cat on cookie tin

Cookie really prefers a three-quarter view.

Not quite curling up in mixing bowls but no small feat in her condition, Cookie got herself onto the table by the window with a walk up three steps and a little leap, then stepped up onto the—what else—cookie tin! Must have been meant for her to sit on since it had her name on it!

She still doesn’t like her photo taken so she often manages to blur it a little when she looks right at me.

But often she gives me a real sourpuss face!

tortoiseshell cat on cookie tin

Cookie sourpuss face!

And from my Facebook update from earlier today: “Cookie may still be a little wobbly (we’re working on that) but I hear her in the kitchen pawing through the little container for cleaned cat food cans headed for the recycling bin. Okay, it’s time for the Senior Lunch Special!”

Here she is…busted!

tortoiseshell cat digging in container

Busted!

Remind you of Cookie’s Kitchen Escapades?

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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.



Ears

three black cats lined up

Ears, just a pile of black fur with ears.

Three of the Fantastic Four pile up on my desk, absorbing the light from the kitty keep-warm lamps. Really, it’s much darker at my desk when they are there to absorb the light—and take up all my work space. Well, I guess it’s more important as a nap spot.

From back to front, Mewsette, Jelly Bean, Giuseppe.

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To see more daily photos go to “Daily Images” in the menu and choose “All Photos” or any other category.

All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used 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.


The Honor of Rescue

pawprint in ice with snow

Pawprint

The thermometer registered 14 degrees this morning as the sun finally rose on a frosty morning in my neighborhood.

And there were fresh feline pawprints in the light dusting of snow across the yard and up the steps to my deck along with prints embedded in the ice underneath. It could have been that tough tabby tom cat with the white paws who gets the Fantastic Four all upset when he trots through our yard—tom cats often seem immune to just about anything in the world around them with their single-minded intent and they seem impervious to life-threatening cold—or it could have been one of the other cats I’ve seen outdoors, some who I know belong to someone, others who might be stray, escaped, left behind, tossed outdoors. I’ve been monitoring the population in my little section of the neighborhood in the same way for the 21 years I’ve lived in this house.

Just a nice tabby cat sunning himself on the porch.

But one cat who is not outdoors on this brittle morning is Skeeter, who was the first cat I thought about as I felt the cold seep through two doors, and glad that though he lost his struggle to injury and infection, he hadn’t died alone and slowly freezing to death.

Did he know this was on its way when he came to my neighbor and friend Peg Bowman for assistance last weekend? Or had the abscess encircling his neck only become so intolerable that he would, in his own proud way, indicate that humans had some purpose in his life and that was to make him more comfortable?

Or had he perhaps remembered somewhere back in his dim past the love and affection of a human, someone who had chosen him and loved and petted him and sought that remembered comfort?

We rarely know the stories of stray cats who show up as if from nowhere, who may even come to our doors in their own way asking to share our company. A neighbor’s cat who likes your yard? A lost cat on its way home? An unintentional escapee trying to make its way in an unfamiliar world? A feral cat simply following the paths of other cats on its way to another food source?

We will never know how Skeeter came to be living outdoors as an intact male cat at the impressive age of at least eight to ten years, perhaps more. We know he wasn’t feral since he was too comfortable with the presence of humans and let Peg pet him after putting forward some objections and informing her he really was a rough, tough guy. But did he escape as a kitten before he was neutered, or was he intentionally not neutered as some cat owners choose not to do, was he simply not wanted in the first place, a little tabby kitten from an unintended litter foisted on someone who really wasn’t interested in the first place, thereby entering the stream of cats living outdoors to roam and reproduce?

cat in blanket

Skeeter after some pain meds.

Though we thought he had a chance of survival and we knew any recovery would be long and complicated, he came to us for human help, showed us he had a great will to live and we gave him the best we could. He in turn did the best he could, and though he died in surgery, his belly was full, he was hydrated and comfortable, had been treated gently and respectfully by the people around him, and he was already under anesthesia and felt no pain. Most important of all to us and, I think, to him, he was not outdoors, alone, in freezing rain, snow and brutal cold on his last days.

And apparently hundreds of other cat lovers felt the same as Peg and I circulated his story. We never doubted we were doing the right thing by Skeeter, and were sincerely heartened by the comments and even donations of others who supported our decision and helped with the costs of his medical care and were there with sincere condolences when we reported his death. I’ve always said that people who love animals are the best people in the world, and whether it’s an injured kitten or a battered tom cat they will give freely whatever support they can.

I’ve been rescuing cats for about 30 years, have had my share of cats approach me for help, seen my share of injuries and abuse and life and death. Peg is a long-time cat owner but somewhat new to rescue with her own two shelter cats indoors and at least one “porch cat”. She is already aware of cats in the neighborhood; when Skeeter showed up and she realized the extent of his injuries she didn’t question if she should do something only what was best to do for Skeeter. I am flattered that she called me and that I could be there to guide her and support her decisions. She’ll soon be volunteering with Animal Advocates in Pittsburgh; another cat rescuer in training.

And as she and I communicated on the phone, in e-mail, on Facebook and face to face on her porch and in the emergency clinic, we discussed not only his survival but also his death, and agreed that if treatment didn’t work, then walking the last part of life’s path and helping a living creature find a painless death was no less an honor than helping it live.

But the best part of rescuing cats is ending up sharing my life with my own rescues, those who’ve ended up staying with me, or should  I say more accurately “those who have come to rescue me”, and made my life the better for their love and taught me the importance of each individual cat.

So this crusty old tom cat, as was my impression of him, lived life on his own terms and is probably raising a lot of hackles with salty stories of life on the streets up there at the Rainbow Bridge, but I’m honored to have shared his last days and helped a friend give comfort to another living creature.

Other articles about Skeeter:

Skeeter’s Diagnosis

What’s the Matter?

Skeeter on Life With Cats

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Read other essays on The Creative Cat.

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.