Aby-a-Day – 8 April: Angel’s new leash (Fashion Friday)

I finally got Angel her very own leash made by my friend Sally at HiTide Creations.

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She’d been using Jacoby’s old one, but I really wanted to get her a purple one to match her collar.

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Like Jake’s leashes, it has some gorgeous, hand-made beads in colours that match the leather.

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It also has the adjustable handle that I designed, based on a leash I found when I went to Seoul, Korea. As a hand loop, it can be fastened to something, like the stroller’s handlebars.

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And like Jake’s leashes, it can be fastened around my waist for a hands-free leash. This innovation I came up with when Jake was doing therapy work. The first rule of therapy visits is “Never drop your leash” but sometimes that’s harder than you’d think. Having the leash around my waist means I never let go of the connection.

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Angel’s new leash looks so great with her Finnish harness and her new collar.

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She knows she looks great with her new leash.

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I can’t wait to take her out and test it once the weather gets better!

Aby-a-Day – 29 February: Walk and Roll (Hipstamatic Monday)

Jacoby has always loved to go out in the hallway of our building, but it’s been a while since he’s gone out there. This is due in part to the fact that we now live closer to the elevators, and there are more people around. But the other day, Jake decided it was time to take a walk.

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And, of course, a good roll on the hallway carpet. He’s always loved doing that, even now that we have carpet in our apartment.

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Apparently the carpet in the hallway is superior rolling material.

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He went back to the door of what was our apartment on the other floor, and gave it an affectionate rub.

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Then he was off again, trotting merrily along.

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Aby-a-Day – Rollin’ down the hallway (Miniature Monday)

These are a little blurry, because I took them while I was walking and pushing the cart…but they’re too cute not to share.

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Jacoby loves to ride the cart when I take it back downstairs, as you know.

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So the last time we took a cart ride, Jake’s mini-me came along too.

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Jake didn’t seem to mind sharing.

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In fact, he seemed to like the company.

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“Okay Mom, let’s go!”

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“Vroom, vroom!”

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For a brief moment, Jake’s mini-me even rode on Jake’s back.

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“Okay buddy, back down you go.”

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I think Jake is having as much fun with his mini-me as I am!

Aby-a-Day – January 23: Two heads are better than one (Photoshop Friday)

Yesterday’s post gave me an idea for a new Friday posting theme: Photoshop Friday. I’ll mix in with Friday Flashbacks and Fashion Fridays.

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So here is another photo of Jacoby and Angel riding on the cart. A lot of people ask me how I always manage to get them to pose so nicely. Well, the answer is, I don’t always get them to pose nicely. I take a lot of photos (and always have…you should have seen how much I spent on film back in the day!) and then end up deleting about half of them.

But sometimes, you get a situation like I had with several of the photos of Jake and Angel on the wagon, where one cat looked great and the other one moved their head just as the shutter went off.

As you can see, in this photo Jake looks pretty good, but Angel moved and, in the low light of the elevator lobby, she’s blurry.

And then in this photo, Angel looks great…but now Jake’s the blurry one.

So there’s two half-crappy photos. Combined, they’d make one pretty good photo. Which is what I did. Basically, I just put Angel’s good photo over her bad one, blended out the background and flattened the image down.

First, I copied a section of the background (the one where Jake is good and Angel is blurry). Using the cloning stamp (aka the “rubber stamp” since that’s what it looks like), I covered Angel up with the background carpet pattern.

Then I selected the good Angel and part of her background from the other photo and pasted it onto a new layer.

I also made a copy of the elevator and hallway background from the original photo and saved it to a second layer.

Finally, I made an extra copy of Angel’s foot and shadow, and put those on a third layer.

Going back to the Angel layer, I used a soft brush eraser to erase some of the background. I actually do the erasing with the background layer visible, so that I can see what I’m doing, but I’ve hidden it here so you can see the working layer clearly.

Using the rubber stamp, I removed Angel’s head from the hallway background layer, so that it became a clean background with only the walls around the elevator.

I erased the edges of the paw-and-shadow layer so that they blended into the background.

Once I’d gotten the three layers looking the way I wanted them to, I put them together. This is the Angel layer.

Now, with the Jake background layer turned on and the Angel layer placed over top, you can’t really tell that this was two lousy photos anymore. Well, you probably could if you blew it up to 800% and analysed the pixels. I didn’t really spend a lot of time on this, maybe 20 minutes, so it’s not a perfect job by any means…but it’s good enough!

Aby-a-Day – January 22: Storage cart built for two

As I’ve mentioned many times, Jacoby loves riding the storage cart when I take it back down to the closet on the first floor.

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One evening, Angel was nosing around the cart, too, and my husband said, “Angel wants to go, too!” and he put her harness on her so she could go with Jake (this was before Jake got his new green harness in the latest box from our friends).

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So Jake and Angel went for a ride to the first floor. Jake’s leash has clasps at both ends, so I just used the one leash for both of them.

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Jake’s leash has clasps at both ends, so I just used the one leash for both of them.

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Angel wasn’t so sure about riding on the cart at first.

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She seemed to adjust fairly quickly, though.

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This is where Angel fascinates me. Despite her harsh kittenhood, and her experiences that we can only guess at, in some ways she is clearly an Abyssinian.

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Wearing a harness and leash doesn’t faze Angel one bit, and she’s fearless in the face of things that would freak regular cats out.

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The elevator wasn’t any big deal, either.

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Even after we’d parked the cart back in the first floor storage room, riding the elevator back upstairs was taken in stride. I thought it was funny that they each chose a door…Angel on one side…

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…and Jake on the other. Even funnier, with all the elevator-riding that Jake does, he picked the door that doesn’t open on our floor (the side he’s on opens only to the street)!

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I find it endlessly interesting that Angel hisses and growls at Jake whenever he comes near her when we’re inside the apartment…

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…but out in the hallway, she seems to tolerate him fairly well.

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Even after almost a year, their first instinct was to head towards where our old apartment was.

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Angel moreso than Jake.

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Of course, when you’re both clipped to each end of a leash, it’s hard to get lost.

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They found our door easily enough in the end.

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Hi honey, we’re home!

Aby-a-Day – January 3: “Present” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

This week’s Photo Hunt subject is “Present.”

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One of Jacoby’s Christmas presents was a collar-mounted laser pointer from ThinkGeek.

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Jake loves lasers. If I make the “laser pointer sound” (mimicking the chattering he makes when he sees it), he will come running.

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In fact, he’s even figured out how to turn on the Dart laser toy by himself, so he can play with it whenever he wants (I just haven’t been able to get any photos of him doing it yet).

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It took him a little bit to get used to the idea that the red dot was kind of following him around.

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He needed to test it out a little before he really started playing with it.

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But once Jake got the idea…he was off! Watch him chasing the red dot!

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Up and down the hallway! What fun! This is the best present ever!

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After he got tired of running, Jake and his laser pointer took on the ultimate challenge…

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…The Christmas lights!

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Keep your eye on that red dot, Jake!

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Good luck!

Aby-a-Day – August 21: Forest hallway

I’ve been re-reading all the Warriors books recently (and cannot wait for the release of Bramblestar’s Storm next week), so my imagination is filled with cats in forests.

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They recently recarpeted the common hallway on our floor, and the new carpet is a lovely shade of deep green.

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The new green carpet along with the mahogany wood panelling almost makes walking in our hallway feel like a walk in the woods.

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The bricks are rocks, of course.

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So it’s not exactly ThunderClan’s camp in the ravine…but with a little imagination…