Aby-a-Day – 18 Juli: My sweet summer child (Swedish Singapura Sunday)

You may recall, I have been working on a Four Seasons of Izaak project and a couple of weeks ago I took some Summer photos.

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I wasn’t completely happy with them compared to the Winter and Spring photos.

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Also, the tree looks more “summery” now than it did last month because now, the cherries are ripening.

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So, when we went outside yesterday, I put Zak up in his tree and took some more photos.

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Just like last time, he climbed up the branch, used it like a scratching post, and tried to eat the lichen.

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Zak is pretty good at moving around up in the branches.

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I think he really enjoys his tree time.

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In the end, this shot is the one I’ll use as Summer in the project. And, like the Spring photo, I may have touched it up a teensy bit in Photoshop…but only three layers, no big deal.

Aby-a-Day – 21 Maj: Putting more spring into spring (Photoshop Friday)

Remember back in January when I took I took those awesome winter photos of Izaak? Well, I was inspired when we were outside the other day; it was such a gorgeous, perfect spring day that I got an idea to put Zak in his tree and take some spring photos, and then take some more in the height of summer and autumn and make a four seasons thing.

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Just one problem. On that outing, I was using my long lens, and the blossoms and sky were washed out and not nearly as bright as they actually were. I knew it when I took the photos. After I looked at them, I told Zak, “No worries. We can fix that in post.”

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Because this is how the sky and blossoms really looked. But it’s a super-easy fix. Just cut out the washed out sky…

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…add in the good background…

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…brighten it up a bit, add a little blur, and…perfect! Stay tuned for summer!

Aby-a-Day – September 6: The Princess and the Apple

As I said on Thursday, I wasn’t completely happy with the cushion I’d made for the iMac cat bed.

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So, I went back to the drawing board. I bought a square of upholstery foam and cut it to fit the iMac.

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I had to carve out a little dent to accommodate the irregularities of the inside of the iMac.

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The pattern I created was the same as I’d used before, but with a strip in between the top and bottom, making the cushion more angular and more three-dimensional.

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Here it is in the iMac…not a bad fit at all!

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Using the same pattern, I made a miniature version for the mini iMac.

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The pattern on the fabric doesn’t scale down, but apart from that, it’s a perfect replica.

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It’s also a perfect fit!

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Just right for mini-Abys!

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So, I am pleased to present the finished iMac cat bed and cushion, complete with Abyssinian…and its miniature counterpart.

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Aby tested and Angel approved!

Aby-a-Day – September 3: Finishing touches

I finished the iMac cat bed back in April, but it wasn’t really finished.

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It was definitely cat-bed ready…

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But there was still this huge gaping hole in the side where the I/O port and door once was.

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I had the keyboard, and the hockey puck mouse…

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…And I found a replacement I/O panel to fill the hole.

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And as good as that looked, it still didn’t look as good as it would it it had the original door, which would restore the iMac to its full native egg-shaped glory.

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It turns out, that I/O port door is a rare and sought-after item. Apparently, back in the day, these things were wont to fall off and get lost, so they’re kind of hard to find. Somehow, after a LOT of searching all over the world, I found Herb’s RetroTechnology Stuff and he had a deadstock, still-in-the-original-factory-packaging I/O port door with a Bondi blue porthole for sale at a reasonable price. He actually had more than one!

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Oh, what fun it was to peruse Herb’s shop! And then, ordering…well, it was like a trip back in time to 1997, when you used to pay for things you’d won on eBay with a money order, and your purchase wouldn’t ship until the seller received the payment! Good times! And, appropriate to the period of the iMac I was semi-restoring.

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And look how great it looks with the door!

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I love the porthole for the cables.

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I wanted to attach the keyboard and mouse semi-permanently – at least, I wanted the as attached as they’d be on a real computer. Since there was no real USB ports to plug the cable into, I just threaded it through the I/O port where it would have attached.

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Then I used cable holders inside the iMac to fasten the cables. I know it doesn’t really affect the usability of the cat bed as a bed, but I like it.

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I made a cushion for the bed with “Plug and Play” fabric by Robert Kaufman.

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My first bed wasn’t great, but Angel liked it.

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I had read some articles about making a washable pet mattress using shredded old clothes as stuffing, so I tried that.

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It was rather dense and somewhat lumpy, but it still seemed to make a pretty good bed.

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Or so I thought…stay tuned.

Aby-a-Day – September 2: Wordless Wednesday (“You call that a mouse…?!”)

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Aby-a-Day – November 1: “Barbie” (Saturday Photo Hunt)

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

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I am still working on the Strollercat Action Figure. I have a couple of different versions, mainly involving Playmobil strollers and Lego cats, but I’ve also been experimenting with Barbie components.

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This iteration of the Strollercat action figure is larger than my other attempts. It is based on the Barbie Strollin Pups playset. I got one on eBay, along with some other random pieces.

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It is about the right size for the two Yujin Gacha Abys I got from a vending machine in Seoul in 2006. More on them later.

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Because Barbie is freakishly tall, the handles on the Barbie stroller are ridiculously out of proportion to the rest of the stroller. The base of it is a good size, but the handles are about twice as tall as they would be in real life.

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So I cut the handles down to a more normal size.

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I also added green reflective tape to cover the joints where I reattached the stroller handles….and to cut down on the Barbie pink.

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And, you know, to make the stroller is safer at night (just like Jacoby’s real stroller!) I will say this about the Barbie stroller, though: it’s actually meant to be a pet stroller, not a baby stroller, and that makes it easier to adapt. Most of the toy strollers I’ve found were designed to carry little human dolls, not feline ones.

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And for a Barbie accessory, it’s not as obnoxiously pink as it could be – it’s also got a good amount of purple and teal!

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Because I bought the strollers as “Barbie parts,” I got a bunch of other Barbie Veterinarian/Pet Sitter/Groomer accessories. Like this cute double-decker cat bed.

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And this traditional basket bed. I think this one is meant for Barbie’s dog, but it fits two kitties quite nicely (just like a real dog bed)!

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And of course…

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A handbag so Barbie can take her kitty with her when she goes shopping!

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You may be wondering about these little Aby figures.

These are Yujin Pet Cat figures (Series 2) from 2006 and they are a little hard to find now…but they can still be found on eBay. I got the first ones from a gacha machine in Seoul, as I said above; this was right after my Siamese Harri had died and we spent quite a few yen trying to get the Siamese figure.

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It took us a while to get a Siamese, but in the meantime, hey, kitties! I knew that the solid mahogany kitties were meant to be Abys, but I didn’t realise the import of that until later in 2006.

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These little cat figures are delightfully detailed from head to…er…toe. And then some.

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Even on the bottoms!

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I think this one looks like Tessie.

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There’s a decent representation of breeds, too. I’ve got a Japanese Bobtail, a Scottish Fold, and an Ocicat…I think the other two are a red pointed Balinese or Birman and a tabby of some sort.

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I also have a Maine Coon and a Persian.

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Recently, I realised from looking at the slip of paper that came with each kitty in its gacha capsule, that there was a red Aby as well as a ruddy Aby in the collection.

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And as luck would have it, someone was selling a red Aby on eBay! So now I have both Aby colours. And I would be lying if I said I haven’t considered trying to paint over one of the eyes on the red one…

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I think these little gashopon Aby figures make a pretty good Strollercat, (which doesn’t mean I’m always on the lookout for something better, of course). I just need to perfect the stroller and the Strollercat Action Figure will be ready to roll!

Aby-a-Day – June 21: Permanent paw prints (Fashion Friday)

I’ve been playing with resin of late.

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It’s a pretty cool medium. I think I played with it about 40 years ago when we embedded things in liquid plastic in first grade when we were learning about fossils and amber.

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Resin’s come a long way since then. There are whole websites devoted to the stuff!

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For one thing, it’s super easy to make your castings glow in the dark! I love glow in the dark things, so this is just an added bonus.

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It’s also easy to make your own silicone molds. All you need is some molding putty (the same stuff that they use at the dentist’s to make impressions of your teeth). The one caveat is that once you mix the two parts, it sets up wicked fast, so you need to move quickly.

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You need to have the item you want to mold handy.

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Make a flattened ball of putty and press your item (in this case, Jacoby’s paw) into the silicone (The unopened jars and my example are two different brands, so they’re different colours, but they work the same way. There’s also a purple brand).

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It really takes only about 30 seconds to set.

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And you have this little rubber paw print!

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You can make as many as your subject has patience for.

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For our first go, Jake and I made two. The putty compound on the one on the right wasn’t mixed quite well enough, so it’s a little defective. I’ve managed to make two castings with it so far, but it probably won’t last as long as the other one. It’s tricky: you need to mix the compound well, but not so well that it sets up before you can make your mold! The one on the left is a little thin on the bottom (you can kind of see through Jake’s palm pad in one spot); you also need to make sure your flattened ball is thick enough before you press down.

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Mix and pour your resin into the molds. These are clear resin mixed with red glow in the dark powder. It takes at least 8 hours to harden, but to be on the safe side give it 24 hours before demolding.

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But when they’re done…they’re really wonderful! You can see the little hairs between the toes, the wrinkles on the paw pads, and even the claws!

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You can play with your cat’s paws to your heart’s content and you won’t bother them at all. It’s a win-win for everyone!

Aby-a-Day – January 13: Sunday surprise!

Just before Christmas, our friend Sparkle had a Fancy Feast totebag giveaway…and we won one of them!

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Since this happened over the holidays, of course I completely forgot about it. Then, today, we were notified that we’d received a package and I was mystified as to what it could be – it was like getting a mystery box in the mail! And, since it was sent directly from Purina rather than from Sparkle, I didn’t remember what it was until I actually opened it, so it was a real surprise!

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Jacoby, of course, claimed it immediately. So I took him for a little ride in it. It’s just his size!

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He had to show me how similar his profile is to Sparkle’s.

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Jake carefully examined every inch of the bag, including the handles…

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…until he heard someone in the kitchen with food and suddenly needed to be somewhere else.

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Kylie, on the other hand, preferred the other side of the bag, with the face of the Fancy Feast cat printed on it.

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I can’t imagine why.

Earlier this week, our friend Selina gave us an honourable mention for the “Next Big Thing” award.

According to the rules, I’m supposed to thank Selina (Thank you!), and nominate 5 other kitty blogs I think are deserving. I can’t think of just five…so I’ll table that for the moment.

However, the recipient of this award is also meant to talk about an unfinished project, and I do want to do that. I know my story of Romeo and Jacoby only got half-written during NaNoWriMo, and I haven’t forgotten it. I just need to think about it and decide where I want it to go. But rest assured, I haven’t abandoned it. It’s just simmering on my brain’s back burner.

Thank you, Sparkle! And thank you, Selena!

Aby-a-Day – July 20: The 70’s are back in style (Fashion Friday)

Ever since I found that blog post about the boy who wanted a Cat From Outer Space birthday party, complete with Jake the cat, I’ve wanted to find a white LED collar for Jacoby.

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As luck would have it, I found a very nice nylon LED cat collar on eBay for $3. I got three…just in case I wanted to make modifications. It’s pretty good as it is, but the black clip keeps wanting to slide around to the front, which ruins the look. I’m thinking I may take one collar apart and perhaps put the LED part into a plastic tube. I need to go to the hardware store for inspiration the next time I’m in Porter Square. I’m also thinking to just take the clips off and sew the white nylon together into a continuous loop that can just slip over his head. We’ll see. Either way, we’ll have another Halloween costume for him (in case he doesn’t want to be an ancient Egyptian, a doctor, a ballplayer, or a biker).

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Doesn’t Jake bear a striking resemblance in this photo to…well, to Jake?

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Part of me wishes they’d remake this…and part of me is afraid they will because they’ll use a Maine Coon instead of an Aby…

Aby-a-Day – Day 42 of 365

My friend, is doing an “around the world” project with Traveling Bone. Being a project person myself, I of course volunteered to help out. And Bone arrived today by US Post. As soon as I got home, I introduced him to the Abys.

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Here’s Bone hanging out with Angel on the cat tree.

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Jacoby welcomes Bone with a kiss on the nose (yes, he’s really licking Bone on the nose, and no I didn’t set it up by putting food on there). We may have some sadness when Bone has to move on.