Aby-a-Day – 8 December 2020: Create your own tabletop gaming minifigure (Kind of Cartoon Tuesday)

Well…I woke up this morning full of ambition to work on my Dashiell-xander Hamilton drawing, only to have a Facebook friend post the minifigure she made on Hero Forge.


So, you know I had to make one, too.


Annnnnd…I spent most of my afternoon creating what I would look like as my dream player character. Well, it’s kind of like drawing a cartoon…a 3D cartoon.


Basically, you can create pretty much any character you can imagine (with a few limitations).


Of course I made myself as a humanoid feline (or, if you prefer, a felinoid human) with a cute skirt, lots of jewellery, a pen and an iPhone.


Yes, that is a PEN, and yes, I know what it kind of looks like. And she has an iPhone because they didn’t have a laptop as an option.


Maple leaves are scattered on the maple-wood flooring, of course.


The interface on the website is super awesome. You can look at your character from virtually any angle. Cool, right?


You can purchase your character 3D-printed in full colour for $44.99, but the colours aren’t quite as vibrant as they are in the creator.


Still…I think it’s pretty cool. I’m getting one!

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.


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


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


Even Zak approves of them.



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


I mean, look at the prosthetic tail attachment!


Zak likes it, too.


Zak’s name is also embroidered on one wing.


The Baby Yoda Zak is just as perfect.


He’s got his little bowl of bone broth.


I love his tail.


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


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



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 – 13 November 2020: Make America rake again (Photoshop Friday)

Okay, so the US election happened, Biden won, Trump won’t accept it. Even so, the goofiest, quirkiest, most surreal news story of the past week is the press conference that Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, held in Philadelphia on Saturday at the Four Seasons…Total Landscaping. It’s the event that launched a thousand memes…


…So, yeah. I had to do this.

Aby-a-Day – 7 September: Hold that tiger! (Fashion Friday)

At the same venue our last cat show was held, there was a “loppis” (flea market) held outside during some horse racing. And of course we had to go check it out! I was lucky enough to discover this really cool tiger rug in one of the stalls for only 50kr (about $5.50)!


It came originally from a chain called Rusta, and according to a quick Google search for “Rusta Tiger Mattor,” it seems to have been available, and, apparently, a very popular Jul gift between 2009 and 2011.


Of course the moment I put it on the floor, it attracted a cat.


And then it attracted another.


As a cat-trap, it works fairly well. At least, it works better than a circle of tape on the floor.


And then, the cutest thing happened. Oh, Jacoby tried to hide it with his tail…




…but he couldn’t hide it completely. Nope, he was licking Lorelai on the top of the head!



After that, Jake wandered off, and Izaak decided that the tiger needed a mousie, too.



Look at Rory’s face!


She’s like, “Really? We have this cool tiger rug to play with, and you bring a mousie?”


But back to the tiger…it’s really well made, with a nicely-shaped, probably styrofoam-based head with really nice eyes, nose, and whiskers. The fur is pretty high quality, too.


The tail is well done, too. It’s nearly exactly the way they lay out real animal-skin pelts for rugs.


It’s also really long. It reaches all the way to the back of his head.



Zak thought it was fun to play with, too.


As you can see, compared to Zak, it’s a very good size.


Oh, look. Rory’s back.



Let’s wrassle!


Okay back to examining the tiger…oh, wait…


Oh, hey! My mousie!



Aby-a-Day – December 1: Behind what Somalis say (Cartoon Tuesday)

Another in my series of the sketches behind some of my favourite cartoons…in honour of Abyfriend Wendy’s blue girl Wren, whose birthday was yesterday, I thought I’d share the sketch behind last year’s April Fools Day cartoon.


It’s rare for an artist to really like something they’ve drawn, but I’m extremely please with how the Somali versions of Vegard and Bård Ylvisaker turned out. They needed almost no changes from the original sketches to the final cartoon – that almost never happens!

Also, notice how Leo’s arm was not drawn around Wren’s shoulder. I drew each Aby separately, and put them together in Photoshop.


Here’s the final cartoon. See how little Vegard and Bård changed from the sketch?

And if you still haven’t seen Ylvis‘ awesome video, well… you probably should:

Aby-a-Day – May 19: “They call me Aby driver, once upon a pair of wheels…” (Cartoon Tuesday)

This is based in part on this photo from the Abyssinian Cat Club on Facebook.


And it’s partly based on this expression tutorial, brought to you courtesy of the artist who does Lackadaisy. Since it’s Cartoon Tuesday, if you have any interest in cats, the Roaring 20’s, incredible artwork, pig farmers, or old photographs, you really should check it out. Of course, this has little to do with my cartoon, per se…but there are cats who drive in that cartoon, too.

Seriously, though. Awesome webcomic. And I suspect Viktor may be a Somali – there’s a photo where his complexion is described as “Ruddy”…Just sayin’.

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Other People’s Abys – Rie Komoto’s Aby shows his true colours in National Geographic

This incredible shot featured by National Geographic was taken by Rie Komoto of what happened when her Aby variant*, Meelo, saw a sparrow hit a window.

Thanks to Helen Warn of the Facebook Abyssinian Cat Club for this link!

*Meelo is an Aby variant because he carries the longhair gene. One of his parents was a Somali.

Aby-a-Day – January 15: Suomalainen laatikon toimitus (Part One)

Last year, my friend Sanna-Leena and I did a box exchange. I sent her some stuff for cats and for humans from the States, and she sent me some goodies from Finland.



Well, that was so much fun that we did another one. I sent Sanna-Leena a box last summer, and she sent us our second box just after Christmas.


It arrived last week, and it was HUGE! Light…but huge!


And so filled with goodies!



Of course Jacoby was right there to check it out.


You may remember this feather toy from yesterday’s post. The tall feathers are from a duck her brother-in-law shot and her sister plucked the feathers, which were only frozen to kill the bacteria. Her cats go wild with the smell, and she thought mine would, too. As you saw, Tessie loved it!


Jake was interested in it, too…


…But there were just so many things to see and smell that he couldn’t focus just on the feathers!


Like a new Arja’s Art harness! Jake got one last year, of course, but as it turned out, the metallic copper was a bit too pink, and ended up looking better on Kylie. So I asked if Sanna could get him a green one to match his leash.


Since Angel has a purple one already, and now Kylie has Jake’s copper one, Tessie needed a red one for her own.


I love these harnesses so much. Look at the reflective trim! If you’ve met me and Jake in person, I’ve probably made you feel how soft this leather is. It really does need to be felt to be appreciated.


And there were some leather goodies for me, too, like this little coin purse.



The green leather matches Jake’s harness exactly!


Sanna also sent me these amazing leather feather earrings (leather feather is fun to say)!


And oh, this bookmark! Look at those ears!


She also sent me some Finnish pop music. And oldies from 1963! There’s a Twist song on there that I just adore (I love me some Twist music).

There was so very many good things in the box that Sanna sent that I’ll have to show you the rest in some future posts…so check back tomorrow to see Jake’s new Finnish outfits.

Aby-a-Day – July 28: Masquarade (Hipstamatic Monday)

One of the biggest attractions at ArtBeat is the vast collection of arts and crafts booths selling all kinds of alluring items.


I saw this wooden masquarade mask with distinctly Abyssinian-like markings in a woman’s hand at the Magpie booth and I dashed up and blurted out: “Do you have any more of those cat masks? I need one!”


The shopkeeper looked at me like I was a bit nutty and, bemusedly, pulled out a second cat mask.


Then she saw Jacoby in his stroller and it all made sense. This clever wooden mask on a stick is a “Silly Stick” made by Maple Landmark in Middlebury, VT. But as great as it is that the mask looks like an Abyssinian…


…the backside is a scuba mask with a small clownfish!


How perfect is this for the NEMO show next month?!

Aby-a-Day – April 1: “What Does the Somali Say?” (Cartoon Tuesday)

It’s April Fool’s Day, so…


Somalis are known as the fox cats, after all. And if you haven’t yet discovered Ylvis, well… here you go:

Last year, Gangnam Style, this year the fox…international and on trend!

In case you were wondering, the shorter Ruddy Somali is meant to be Vegard and the taller Fawn Somali is Bård. The Abys are Leo and Wren…Happy Birthday, Wendy!

(Click cartoon to embiggen, or you can view all cartoons in Slideshow mode on Flickr.)

Aby-a-Day – February 9: Suomalainen vaihto

One thing I absolutely love is things from foreign countries. Since my mother’s family all lives in Canada, I’ve always known people outside of the States, and I’ve had good friends in Canada and Sweden for decades. I’ve always been fascinated by the everyday things that are just different from the things we have in the States. Sometimes better (like coloured money and tomato sauce in plastic tubes like toothpaste), sometimes worse (like public toilets that cost money) but just…different.

When I went to visit my friend Björn in Sweden, he asked me what I wanted to do, suggesting museums, castles, monuments…and I said I wanted to go to a grocery store. I love just shopping at ordinary places in other countries: pet shops, drug stores/pharmacies/chemists (not at all the same thing depending on where you go), supermarkets, places that tourists tend not to go. Some of my best experiences travelling have been the pet store in Tokyo, the supermarket in Seoul, the homegoods department in Amsterdam, and the Saturday Björn and I spent at the IKEA in Jönköping.

I’ve also been fascinated by Finland since I was in high school. My “internet name,” Talonväki” was originally my “household name” when I was active in the Society for Creative Anachronism; it was a bit of a joke since “talonväki” means “household” but looks and sounds so very exotic.


So when my Abyfriend Sanna-Leena complained about the dearth of good cat toys in Finland and discovered my love for Finnish rockabilly music, we swiftly concocted an exchange. I sent her some great American cat toys, some Boston souvenirs (especially Boston Bruins stuff because Tuukka Rask is Big in Finland, but some Red Sox souvenirs found their way in there, too) and some other things that you just can’t get over there…and she sent me a wonderful box of similar goodies from Finland. We spent months collecting cool things we thought the other would like before sending our boxes to each other towards the end of December.


I got my box from her this week, and it was so exciting!


Of course I had help opening it…




…although I’m not sure “help” is really the right word.




Jacoby was actually more interested with the toys than with the treats, for a change.



(Which doesn’t mean he was entirely oblivious to the crunchy treaty goodness that Sanna-Leena sent, of course.)




Jake was fascinated by all the cat toys…




…but was love at first sight when he found the “flat cat” (aka the “pelt”) toy, though.


This was clearly his favourite thing in the box.



My favourite thing? So hard to choose! There was Finnish candy, gum, rye nachos, CDs (I now will be requiring every annual copy of the Iskelmä Gaala CD, I’m afraid, and Anssi Kela is wonderful), a Moomins book, and a fabulous Aby/Somali calendar published by her cat club.


Sanna-Leena took some of the photos and her two boys appear in the calendar, too!


Sanna also included a little pedestrian reflector, something I fell in love with when I was in Sweden but which are virtually unheard of here in the States. Pedestrian reflectors were actually invented in Finland in the 1960’s, and the Scandinavian countries have the lowest per capita rate of traffic accidents involving pedestrians. Since I don’t drive and walk a lot, I love this.


The fact that she included this packet of buttons amused me endlessly; I’ve only recently discovered that Angry Birds is a Finnish invention (and it makes so much more sense now)!


One of the very best things Sanna-Leena sent was two leather cat harnesses by Arja’s Art. These things are works of art – gorgeous leather, great design (including reflective piping)…and they are so inexpensive! Only €17,50, which is around $25 in US or Canadian dollars.


And the leather is sooooo soft. Like butter. Only softer.


Jake’s is metallic copper, and he was only too happy to model it.


Angel’s is peralised purple, and it’s just the perfect shade for her red fur.


She was slightly less happy about modelling it, though.

Sanna-Leena has three Abys: Ruddy Kossi, Fawn Sketsi and Red Kiipa. You may remember Sanna-Leena from her marvelous Aby tattoo featuring her two boys. Jake’s actually distantly related to all three of them through some common ancestors, notably Tinbat’s Morgan’s Passing, whose daughter, Mellowmews Tia, went to Finland.

Since Finland gets a bit cool in the winter, one thing I sent was hats…

one for Sanna-Leena

and one for Sketsi. I think she liked her hat better than he did his!


But thank you, kiitos, Sanna-Leena, Sketski, Kossi and Kiipi! We loved everything – and we should do this again sometime.



Jake especially wants to thank you for the pelt…


Sheesh! Get a room, you two!

A double surprise from Westchester

I’ve been waiting for the points from the Westchester cat show to show up on TICA‘s TDS Online system so that I could apply for Jacoby’s Grand Champion Alter Title. If you recall, he had enough finals to Grand, but enough points to Double Grand after the second day of the show.

Or so I thought. He earned his Champion Alter Title at his first TICA show, the Salty Cats show in Providence in March, 2012.

However, according to TICA, Jake earned his Grand Champion Alter title on Saturday at Westchester.

And on Sunday, he DID earn his Double Grand! I must have miscalculated somewhere (not hard to do: it involves math), or misread the rules or something, but I’m just happy that he did earn his Double Grand. I have to admit, it was a little discouraging to go to a two-day, 14 ring show last year and not make one. Single. Final. ALL weekend…I’m pretty psyched about this, to say the least.

That’s the one interesting thing about TICA as compared to CFA: once a cat becomes a Grand Champion (or Grand Champion Alter), he can continue collecting points to become a Double, Triple, or Quadruple Grand Champion, and from there, the highest title of Supreme Grand Champion (Alter). You can see where I got confused:

Champion Requirements for Titles:
CH/CHA: 150 points from 2 different judges, plus one final
GRC/GCA: 500 points with 3 finals, 1 in Top 5 Specialty or Top 10 Allbreed
DGC/DGCA: 1000 points plus 1 final in Top 5 Specialty or Top 10 Allbreed
TGC/TGCA: 1500 points plus 1 final in Top 5 Specialty or Top 10 Allbreed
QGC/QGCA: 2000 points plus 1 final in Top 5 Specialty or Top 10 Allbreed
SGC/SGCA: 3000 points plus 1 Best Cat as a QGC/QGCA/QGM

The points and the finals are cumulative, so the 3 finals and the 500 points include the 150 points and the final you earned to get the Championship. I think that may be where I messed up my math in tracking Jake’s points and finals. In any event, I trust TICA’s computer, so if they say he’s a Double Grand, who am I to disagree?


Congratulations to Jake though…Grand Premier, Double Grand Champion Alter, and Therapy Cat!

Cat Scouts – Be purrpared for the adventure of your lives

I discovered the most awesome, most FUN website last week, thanks to Texas the cat. Actually, it’s not just a website…it’s a way of life.

It’s the Cat Scouts! Cats join up, earn merit badges, compete in character-building contests of wit and skill, and meet other swell fellows around the world. Both boycats and girlcats can be Scouts, but girl Cat Scouts are required to sell treats, like Thin Catmints, on a card table in front of the supermarket to raise money to fund Cat Scout activities.

Jacoby even started his own troop, “Abyssinians at Large,” and there are four other Abys in the Cat Scouts right now – including Angel!

But the best news is that Jake was named co-Scout of the Week last week along with a cat named Raz! Here’s what the Denmaster had to say about Jake:

Scout Jake the Strollercat…IS the first Cat Scout to score every single merit badge. He’s been instrumental in introducing a number of new Abyssinian friends to Cat Scouts. And, he’s the founder of the Abyssinians at Large Troop. We’re proud to have a celebricat like Jake in Cat Scouts.

As I said, girlcats can be Cat Scouts, too! Angel is also a member of Jake’s troop, and look at her posing in her cute little uniform!

There’s a Cardwood Car Derby coming up next month, and soon we’ll be able to buy little neckerchiefs and woggles for the Cat Scouts. The Cat Scout Handbook is going to be published in 2014. It’s such a clever idea and it’s so much fun…if you have an Aby who joins, be sure to join Jake’s troop! And always, be purrpared!

You guys are awesome!

Seriously, my readers rule. I swear yesterday’s post wasn’t a request or anything, but…


Look what happened overnight! We’ve broken 500! Thank you all!

Calendar Cats: Today’s the day!

Today’s Jacoby’s day in the sun…on the Page-a-Day calendar!

Jake will be seen on people’s desks all over the world today! And this is one of my favourite photos of him, too.

If you’re coming here to see Jacoby because of the calendar, then welcome!! I’ve had quite the uptick in visitors today 🙂

Friday Fashion Flashback: Cheddar

On yesterday’s post about Jacoby and the CFF show, Sherry commented about a cat who used to make appearances at shows in New England called Cheddar.

She said: “Seeing Jake there in the costumes like that, brought back fond memories of seeing Cheddar at CFA shows in New England. My favourite was his RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) outfit! He was such a cool cat, always on the arm of his owner Bob, who even made a support for his arm so it wouldn’t get tired from holding up Cheddar. Fond cat show memories indeed!”


Here’s Cheddar and Bob at the Seacoast Cat Show in New Hampshire back in 2007. He was 13 years old then! He was a red-point Siamese mix HHP, and he was awesome.

Aby-a-Day – January 27: The Cat From Davis Square

It turns out there have been Abyssinians on the T a lot longer than anyone realised.


In a few T stations, there are ceramic tiles made by local schoolkids. Broadway Station is one of them. and Davis Square Station in Somerville is another. I always enjoy looking at them, especially one little group of cat tiles (and one skunk) in the middle of the Davis Square collection.


I was looking at them again the other day and it suddenly dawned on me what one was depicting…


It’s meant to be Jake, the Cat From Outer Space! I’m not sure how I didn’t see it before! I mean, I’ve always thought it looked like an Aby because of the colour, but…

No! I’m serious! It really is supposed to be Jake! Check it out: The Davis Square Tiles Project took place during the 1978-79 school year, and the child who made this tile, Estelle Passamonte, was an 11-year-old girl. I was 13, and my sister was 8, and during the second half of 1978 we were obsessed with Abyssinians, Jake, and talking intergalactic felines in general…so it’s not too huge a leap to conclude that little Stella was a fan, too.


(I also suspect this one is meant to be Zunar-J5/9-Doric-47, too, but since he’s got a sun and not a space helmet it’s not quite the logical slam-dunk that Estelle’s tile is. But look at those ears!)


And this one…those eyes seem like Aby eyes. And again with the big pointy ears, too.


I think that movie made quite an impact on girls aged 8-13…


It’s something I think about every time I ride the train with Jacoby.


There’s a long history of Abys and the red line! Who knew?

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!


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!


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


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


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


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


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


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!

Other People’s Abys – The Birthday from Outer Space

Everytime I find something super awesome and Aby-related, I wonder how the heck I didn’t know about it before. This is one of those things. And, wow…Just check this out!


This woman’s son is obsessed with The Cat From Outer Space, which in itself is a little slice of awesome, since the boy is almost 8, now, and that movie came out in 1978. This was two years ago, and his mom and dad threw him a “Cat From Outer Space” 6th birthday party. Honestly? I’m jealous. I want a party like this!

She says, Parker, being a big fan of felines, loved it [the movie]. By the time it was over, he already had decided we would “play” the movie, with each of us taking on different roles. He is now “Jake” (the cat), my husband is “Frank” (the scientist who helps him) and I’m “the lady.”

So, he made him a stuffed Jake, complete with space collar, and her husband made him Jake’s spaceship, and they did a whole cat-space-themed party. So brilliant I can’t stand it.

She used the same stuffed Ragdoll pattern that I used to make Angel’s Mini-Me! I love how it turned out, too. I should try stretching it the way she did.

And how did I discover this amazing thing? Someone said they thought that Jacoby was “a very small alien hiding inside a cat suit,” and I, referencing the movie, responded that it wasn’t completely beyond the realm of possibility. And that lead to me to the bright (you should pardon the expression) idea of trying to find an illuminated collar for Jacoby to wear for Halloween. When I Googled “Cat From Outer Space Collar,” I discovered the stuffed Jake.

Her idea for the collar is pretty clever, too. It looks fantastic! It doesn’t light up, but it’s still very realistic.

Still, is it wrong to really want the same party a six-year-old had two years ago?