Aby-a-Day – 16 November 2020: Awesome custom plushies! (Miniature Monday)

Back in July, I found this awesome Etsy seller in Ukraine called Granny Lu who makes custom plushies based on your art.

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Of course, I could NOT resist. I sent her these two drawings; Izaak as Baby Yoda and Toothless the dragon.

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Well, they arrived on Friday…and they. Are. AWESOME!

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Even Zak approves of them.

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The detail is amazing. Just based on my drawing…she captured every detail.

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I mean, look at the prosthetic tail attachment!

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Zak likes it, too.

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Zak’s name is also embroidered on one wing.

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The Baby Yoda Zak is just as perfect.

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He’s got his little bowl of bone broth.

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I love his tail.

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She assumed his robe has a hood, so she included one…that actually works!

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And underneath the hood, Zak’s name. In a colour matching his fur. I love it.

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Izaak and his alter-egos. The next great artwork I come up with…I am definitely going back to her! They were a bit expensive…but oh, so worth it.

Aby-a-Day – 1 Juni 2020: Happy Birthday to me! (Miniature Monday)

Today is my birthday! A fairly important one (I was born in 1965; you do the math)…and Björn gave me gifts that coordinate with my art in the past year. First…the one that was released today and hasn’t shipped yet: a Baby Yoda doll!

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My next gift was a small plushie of Toothless, who I also drew as a versiom pf Izaak.

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Besides Baby Yoda and Toothless, Björn also got me a black Lucky Cat.

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Okay…so, angry black Lucky Cat may not connect to any cartoon I’ve done, but he’s still adorable. I love them all!

Aby-a-Day – 3 Februari 2020: Frustrating crystal puzzle (Miniature Monday)

At the mall today, I bought myself a 3D crystal cat and kitten puzzle.

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I’m not a huge puzzle person, but this looked like fun.

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I may have made a mistake…

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I thought the sheet with the eye stickers was cute…and not a little creepy.

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The instructions were…less than helpful. “Just follow the order of the puzzle pieces shape,the puzzle can be fixed easily.” Yeah, right.

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They say a great journey starts with a single step…so okay, here we go. It’s all downhill from here.

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Alfred tried to help…

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…and so did Dashiell.

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This puzzle was wicked hard! There are actually YouTube tutorials to help you build these things!

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After a while, I took a break from working on the big cat, and built the kitten instead. It was a LOT easier.

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Freddy approves!

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Okay, back to work on this crazy big cat puzzle…

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It took me over TWO HOURS to get this thing built! I actually had it finished at one point…but whilst trying to screw it together, it all fell apart! I had to start over almost from scratch. Many swears were sworn.

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Izaak came to check out what was so important that it delayed his evening chicken neck.

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“This? This is what made me have to wait for my neck!?”

Aby-a-Day – 8 Juli: Phrenology Cat (Miniature Monday)

One of our stops in London was to visit Forbidden Planet, the world’s largest comic, science fiction and fantasy book and toy store.

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Both Björn and I found some good things, but literally the last thing I saw as we were leaving was this porcelain Phrenology Cat.

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It wasn’t even that expensive…

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…and, even better, it was a pound off!

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Alfred was very interested it the little cat head.

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Included in the box is a small, well-bound 32-page book about cat phrenology. Really a nice little package, and a lovely find.

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There’s just one thing I didn’t notice until I unboxed it…all the writing on the back of the head is mirror-image.

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I’m not really sure if it’s meant to be like this or not. Maybe Phrenology Cat is printed backwards on the other side on purpose, and it’s meant to be placed in front of a mirror? I don’t know…so I emailed the company just to be sure. Or, maybe that’s why it was discounted. I have no idea. But it’s still a cool little figure.

Aby-a-Day – 24 Juni: Tentacle Kitty (Miniature Monday)

Last week I happened to go to our local second-hand shop and found an interesting plushie.

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Intrigued, I looked at the tag, and it said “Tentacle Kitty, Second Edition.” Second edition? What? A pink kitty-squid with a cute little nose has been a thing long enough to have a second edition plushie and I have never heard of it before!? How is this possible?

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Turns out, Tentacle Kitty was created in 2009 by a husband and wife team in Oregon. There’s a webcomic about her and a cast of other multi-limbed kitty characters. Not sure how I missed a cartoon kitty for ten whole years…but I’ve found her now! And she only cost 29kr (about $3 USD).

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Izaak seems to really like her, too. Or maybe it’s just that her tentacles remind him of his snake.

PS: Today is Cat World Domination Day. Be sure to go and celebrate it with our Somali friend, Summer!

Aby-a-Day – 23 April: Release the Flerken! (Cartoon Tuesday)

Warning…this post contains spoilers for the film Captain Marvel. However, if you have read the comics, it’s not really that much of a spoiler.

I am not a huge fan of superhero comics (I’m more of an Archie’s Gang kind of girl) or the “Marvel Universe.” I enjoy Deadpool (because he’s funny) and I love Big Hero 6 (because Disney animation and because San Fransokyo is awesome). And it’s kind of cool for me that I used to work with Chris Evans’ mother’s sister (she lived in Somerville) and now he’s Captain America…but by and large the who Avengers/X-Men/Spiderman movie monopoly just leaves me feeling…meh.

Until I discovered Captain Marvel. Of course, I had heard of her, but didn’t know much about the comic. Then I discovered that she’s a Red Sox fan and she has a cat. So of course I had to see this movie, right? Well…in the movie, she’s in LA and the desert and someplace in the South, and there is no mention of baseball or the Red Sox, so it was a bit of a let-down on that front. But the cat…oh, the cat more than made up for it!

Goose the cat (a female, but played by four cats, mainly a boy tabby named Reggie, along with Rizzo, Gonzo, and Archie) is easily the best part of the film. Goose even has her own poster!

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For years I avoided Funko Pop! figures when I saw them in stores, because they are a) cute, b) have something for EVERY fandom you can think of (I am not kidding…they even have a figure of Joey wearing all of Chandler’s clothes!), and c) they are exactly the kind of thing I could get totally addicted to. But after seeing The Last Jedi, I had to get a Porg figure, because the Porgs in the movie reminded us so much of Logan

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And now, I have Goose the cat and Goose the Flerken figures.

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Aren’t they cute?

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But wait, there’s more! The Flerken version is swallowing a blue glowing cube called the “Tesseract”…which glows in the dark! There’s also a third version I like to call “The Slurp” with Goose retracting her tentacles. I haven’t gotten that one yet…but I will.

One last thing…movies like this almost always have a special extra scene after all the credits have rolled (and which most people miss because they leave to early). About halfway through the film, I knew what the bonus scene would be…and if I was wrong, Marvel would have missed the best opportunity for a joke ever. I was not wrong, and I was not disappointed. Here it is if you would like to see it (yes, it’s sideways, but it’s apparently the only one on YouTube):

Aby-a-Day – 14 Januari: Lorelai vs the Thing (Movie Monday)

When Lorelai was a tiny kitten, she was fascinated with the television. These photos are from 22 May, when Rory had been with us for about two weeks.

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She really got into trying to interact with the people on the screen! She’s since outgrown her interest in the TV, but it was awfully cute (and not a little bit annoying) while it lasted. Also, if you look closely at the second photo, you might notice some previous Miniature Monday post subjects.

Aby-a-Day – 7 Januari: My Christmas Present (Miniature Monday)

This year, we had a small Christmas, because I bought tickets to the Red Sox-Yankees games next summer in London, and Björn bought us a new television. But we did do some small gifts and stocking stuffers to each other, and Björn’s main gift to me was a 4D Vision Cat Anatomy Model

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Well, of course I loved it! In fact, I sat down and assembled it on the spot.

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Luckily, living in Sweden has given me a pretty good grasp on navigating pictorial assembly instructions.

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But what was really cool was the information included on the instruction sheet. Like random cat factoids.

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And cat anatomy illustrated (using pictures of the model’s pieces) along with a felid size comparison chart.

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Then there’s a little guide to cat communication and body language, how cats land on their feet, and an illustration of how retractible claws work.

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Finally, there’s an organ-by-organ breakdown of all the parts of a cat, again using the model pieces (except for the eye).

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Here is my model, completed.

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My favourite part is, the model cat is a female! And she has kittens inside! Aren’t they cute? #theylooklikeabys…

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Izaak wanted to meet the model.

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I don’t think it went well…

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…In fact, he seemed a little freaked out. Was it the kittens, Zak?

Aby-a-Day – 30 July: Mars Liv 1980’s bronze cat statues (Miniature Monday)

One day Björn and I were at one of our favourite second-hand stores, and we came across three very interesting bronze cat statues from the 1980’s. The detail was rather marvelous on them, and they were quite solid. Of course, I couldn’t leave them behind. All three are signed by Magnus G:son Liedholm, who, we discovered, is well-known Swedish metal artist.

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All of the cats have “MARS LIV” and a year on a separate bronze plate. The oldest is dated 1985 and is a rather plain standing cat.

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The next one, dated 1986, is a stretching cat.

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I love that the two front paws are not together.

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My favourite is the third statue, dated 1988, with a cat rolling playfully onto its back. I love the one paw in the air!

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No matter how hard we Googled, we could not find out what “Mars Liv” is or was. But we did discover that there is at least one other statue out there, a sitting cat with several kittens (?) inside. It also appears that they used the same cats for different years and also multiple cats for the same years; we found the standing cat also dated ’83 and ’84, the lying cat dated ’84, and the stretching cat dated ’85. I wish I could discover what they were made to commemorate, because they are just so wonderful.

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But you knew I couldn’t get through a post without a little help…

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Oh, hello, Lorelai.

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What would I ever do without you, Rory?

Aby-a-Day – 21 May: Playmobil Purrfect Stay Cat Boarding (Miniature Monday)

I know Playmobil has kind of “Poor man’s Lego reputation, but they have got a lot more choices in the cat department. Playmobil Purrfect Stay Cat Boarding set.

Not gonna lie; overall, I prefer Legos. But Playmobil has some interesting pieces, and I have been known to mix Legos and Playmobil pieces in the quest for the perfect Strollercat action figure.

It kind of started when Björn bought me the Playmobil Woman with Cat Family set as a surprise. After that, I dragged out all my other cat pieces and scoured eBay for more.

Then we saw this ad for a contest in Kattliv where the prize was this set. Well, I needed that shiny device! So we found one in a toy store.

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Alfred was eager to help me build it.

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It’s actually a pretty cool set.

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Hauspanther would be proud of all the catification going on up in here. And the detail is fun, too. There are stickers to put on little cans of cat food as labels and a sticker for the litter box that looks like (clean, unused) litter!

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Only one problem: not enough kitties! So I added all the random Playmobil cats I had collected and added them in.

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Like this small cat tree (with carpet stickers for the shelves).

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And these two iterations of Strollercats. The little grey one is, of course, Lorelai.

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This one is my absolute favourite, though. Somewhere along the line I picked up a veterinary set which included this patient, complete with Cone of Shame.

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But the best part is, she even has stitches! I’m not sure which set this goes with; I must have gotten it as a random cat piece on eBay. I can find the cat with stitches as a part of this set, but she hasn’t got the cone or the bed.

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Here’s the house again with the extra cats added in. Much better.

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Oh, wait! Here, let’s add two more cats…

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Suddenly, the poor cat boarding house was attacked by Roryzilla!

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She’s already using her grabby Aby hands to pick things up, as you can see.

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Oh well. At least Freddy didn’t sit on it…

Aby-a-Day – 26 March: Re Ment Pose Skeleton Cat (Miniature Monday)

Personally, I think cat skeletons are kind of cool. You may remember
my roughly life-sized skeleton cat, Os-car I found at CVS one Halloween. So when Björn showed me a picture of Re-Ment’s Pose Skeleton Cat, I had to get one.

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It’s one of those typical cool Japanese toys with tons of special touches. The cat comes with a litter box (I think…it might be a bed), a typical Japanese wand cat toy, and a belled collar. I added a Schleich cat tower and some food and water bowls I had from another set, and it seems that the scale on all of them is roughly the same.

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The amount of detail on this little thing is incredible. The collar has stitching marks and a leather look, and the bell has a seam and the hole at the bottom to let the sound out.

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Of course, when he heard the camera, Jacoby had to come see what I was taking photos of…and why I wasn’t taking photos of him.

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Jake was very curious about the little cat skeleton and tried to pick it up.

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He only succeeded in knocking over the cat tree. Then he wandered off.

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Thanks a lot, Jake!

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It’s really a tiny figure (as you can see compared to Jake’s paw), but it has eight points of articulation (tail, both hips, mid-spine, both shoulders, neck and jaw)! I really adore this little thing.

Aby-a-Day – 16 May: Photographer’s assistant (Hipstamatic Miniature Monday)

When I was taking the photos for last week’s Hipstamatic Miniature Monday, I had a little help.

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Well…perhaps the assistance was somewhat driven by jealousy..?

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But I was taking photos of mini-Jacoby…

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…real Jacoby decided he needed to be involved.

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“Involved” as only an Abyssinian can be.

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Jake had to distract the attention – and my camera – away from his Mini-Me and onto himself.

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Jake, you do realise you’re competing with an inanimate object, right?

Aby-a-Day – 9 May: Nueve de Mayo (Hipstamatic Minature Monday)

When Björn was here, we had all-you-can-eat Taco Tuesday at Tavitas in South Station.

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While we were there, the “Corona Girls” were going around handing out free bottles of beer, all dressed up in an adorable Corona serape.

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Well…of course you know what we had to do with that, right?

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The little serape was just about the right size for Mini-Jacoby!

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So, okay, maybe Cinco de Mayo was a few days ago, but apparently Mini-Jake is still celebrating.

Aby-a-Day – 25 April: Kenmore Square (Miniature Monday)

Björn and I went to a Red Sox game while he was here last week. We brought mini-Jacoby with us, but…I completely forgot to take photos of him during the game.

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So…here is mini-Jake in front of the world-famous Cask & Flagon bar…

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…in the shadow of the infamous Citgo sign.

Aby-a-Day – 18 April: The Honeymoon Crasher (Miniature Monday)

Today Björn and I were married in Manchester, NH!

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We got a lovely room at the Manchester Radisson which included Champagne along with a cheese plate and chocolate-covered strawberries.

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We weren’t able to bring the real Jacoby along (he’ll come to the wedding we have in Sweden), but mini-Jake crashed our little honeymoon.

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He tried to act like he was helping us open the Champagne.

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And he swore he wasn’t interested in the strawberries or the cheese…

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…He just thought the decorative orchids made lovely hats.

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He wanted to check out our rings, but of course they weren’t in the box anymore.

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They were on our fingers!

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My friend Mary sent me a “lucky sixpence” for my shoe.

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It’s a 1965 sixpence – the same age as Björn and me!

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Our friends Molly, Kelli, Meg, Barb and Donna were all able to to come to Manchester to help us celebrate. It was a simple, yet moving, ceremony at City Hall…but it was wonderful! Thank you all!

Aby-a-Day – 11 April: Fie! (Miniature Monday)

I’ve lived in Boston for 16 years this coming May, but I only just yesterday finally went to the Boston Tea Party Museum. It’s really a lot of fun! I didn’t do the tour this time; my friends Ailsa and Stephanie were in town, and we just did the gift shop and the tea room.

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You can see the building I live in from the museum, which is located in the middle of the Congress Street Bridge. I could see the Tea Party Museum from my building, too, if it were larger!

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The gift shop is pretty elaborate, and they actually sell really good quality items along with the usual tourist stuff.

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They sell the types of tea that were tossed off the boat 16 December 1773.

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Mini-Jacoby was interested in checking out the replica ship.

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“Man the boats! The Wrecking Ball is aboard!”

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They also had these little colonial mice which he found quite interesting.

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After the gift shop, we visited the Tea Room, where you can get scones and other baked goods, sandwiches and soups, hot apple cider (with or without rum)…and, of course, tea.

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On the tables, there are period board games like Shut the Box and Nine Man Morris.

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At our table, we had a Nine Man Morris board with the flag of New England embazoned on it. Mini-Jake wanted to play…but he couldn’t quite move the pieces. I didn’t do the actual tour this visit…I am saving it for next week, when we plan to do not only the tour, but also the Tavern Night dinner.

Aby-a-Day – 28 March: Zootopia (Miniature Monday)

I saw Zootopia a little while ago, and I LOVE it. I really can’t wait to see it again in the theatre. Yeah, it’s that good.

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I mean, how often do you see a movie that addresses racial issues, stereotypes, discrimination with witty but insightful commentary and has cute talking animals? Not to mention a few awesome inside jokes.

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The main protagonists, Judy Hopps the rabbit and Nick Wilde the fox are among some of the best fictional characters I’ve ever come across.

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I think Mini Jacoby has a little man-crush going on with Nick, actually.

Aby-a-Day – 1 February: Findus och Pettson (Miniature Monday)

While I was in Sweden, I got a set of Pettson and Findus figures.

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Pettson and Findus are the main characters in a series of children’s books written and illustrated by Sven Nordqvist. They are very popular – this photo is from a display in a book store in Göteborg. Pettson is an old farmer who live alone with his cat, Findus, some chickens and some little house creatures. Findus gets his name from a brand of frozen foods; when Pettson got Findus as a kitten, he was in a box labelled “Findus Green Peas.”

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I’ve had this small plush Findus since I visted Björn in 2000. He went back to Sweden with me for Christmas.

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Naturally, I adore Findus…

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…I mean, what’s not to like? He’s a cat, he can talk, and he’s a sassy troublemaker. Someday, I want to get Jacoby a pair of green striped pants like Findus wears.

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I think Jake would make a great Findus.

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But what does Jake think of Pettson and Findus?

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He likes them!

Aby-a-Day – 11 January: Venison for New Year’s (Miniature Monday)

On New Year’s Eve, Björn and I hosted a dinner party with our friends Karin, Roger and Martin.

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Mini-Jacoby, as you saw last week, was also there.

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He wasn’t exactly invited…he came for the venison and stayed for the booze.

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We had a glorious side of venison for dinner.

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Our friend Martin hunts, and he brought the meat as his contribution to the collaborative meal.

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Not only that…

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…he cooked it for us, too! And it was wonderful.

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Mini-Jake was fascinated by all the food, as you can see.

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It was a real, grown-up dinner party, too. Everyone dressed up and everything. It was one of the best New Years Eve parties I’ve ever been to.

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And, finally, after so many years of calling each other on New Year’s Eve – usually at the wrong time, because we’d messed up the time difference – Björn and I were finally in the same room at midnight! And we finally got our New Year’s kiss.

Aby-a-Day – 4 January: Party on! (Miniature Monday)

While going through my photos from the New Year’s party Björn and I threw, I discovered these photos of mini-Jacoby and the bottle of Canadian Crown I’d brought Björn for Christmas.

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I did not take these photos! I’m not sure how they got on my camera.

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That was a brand-new bottle, though, when I brought it from Boston…now look at it!