(Illustration Friday) Making Cake

March 18, 2011

One year when I was a girl, my mother made an angelfood cake for my birthday. It was from a mix which included multicoloured sprinkles (some of you call those candy bits “hundreds and thousands”). I have no recollection of how old I was, whether all of my brothers were in attendance, whether all were still alive, even, or what present I might have received — I just remember the beautiful wedge of cake, and the fact that Mum had attempted it and it had turned out well.

Maybe I remember the scene because she was relaxed and pleased with her work for once. Mum’s culinary expertise lay in  pork chops, meat loaf, scalloped potatoes, pickled red cabbage, and green beans by the truckload, cheap, nourishing food that sustained seven people on a paint-factory worker’s paycheque. Maybe, on this particular evening, Mum’s face was as bright as that slice of white cake shot with rainbow dots of colour.

Whatever the reason, whenever I think of birthday cake, I think of that one.

I was quite pleased, then, at the card I made Aunt Theodora for her 95th birthday:

Sprinkles, glorious sprinkles.  They shower downwards at a gentle slant, thanks in great part to this nifty little paintbrush:The purple and yellow background dots were made with a round (think “ordinary”) brush, while the words took a rigger, a brush with longer, fewer bristles, so that it will hold a decent amount of paint while producing thin lines; it’s also called a script brush.

And here is a close-up of the candle. The photo doesn’t show the shininess of the blue. I mixed the blue paint with gum arabic, a liquid that greatly slows the drying time, and then coloured in the flame, starting at the top and finishing by touching the yellow to the blue and tipping the card upright. The result wasn’t quite what I wanted; the time I’d tried this before, the yellow stayed yellow and didn’t blend to make green. Will have to keep experimenting.

although I composed the words for the card, there have likely been hundreds of riffs on the same theme in the history of commercially-produced birthday greetings. So sue me. I’ll pay my lawyer with one Cardi, and you can have the other one.

Anyway, the fact that both the plate and the words on the outside of the card use the same colour helps to give a “black and white” effect to the inside — with just a little added sweetness:

There you have it.

No cats were harmed in the making of this card.

(Wordless Wednesday With Intro) Here, Kitty, Kitty — I Think…

February 16, 2011

These tracks were about four metres beyond our back fence, running parallel to the property. No evidence that the animal stopped and shook its little forepaws in disgust when it went in up to its ankles. If it was a housecat, I’m impressed!

(Wordless Wednesday) When Cats Make Dessert

January 19, 2011

Hint: if you don’t see what I saw, the rollover tag spells it out.

Friday the 13th at the Alley Cat Disco

August 13, 2010

It was Friday the 13th, but Cuca decided to go out anyway.

He was headed for the Alley Cat Disco for a night of struttin’ his stuff.

I told him he should stay home, but would he listen? Not he. He had the pack of Black Cat cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve and a walletful of cash for drinks, and he was sporting his white spats. The cat’s meow, he.

He’d been there an hour (so he told me the next day) when in she walked: Kitty Puff, the girl of his dreams.

Cuca almost couldn’t believe it when Kitty sauntered up to him. “Buy a girl a drink?” she purred.

Now ordinarily, Cuca won’t even drink fermented milk. Adam’s Ale is his preferred beverage. But one look at those Max Catfor slickered lips, and Cuca lost his head.

Too bad, really. Somehow he found his way home at three in the morning, yowling “What’s New, Pussycat? Whoa-oh-oh!” at the top of his lungs. I let him in, whereupon he toppled onto the boot tray in a heap and snored until ten.

I say “Too bad,” because Cuca couldn’t remember a thing. He didn’t know if Kitty liked him, whether they’d talked, whether they’d danced. All he knew was he had an empty wallet and a head pounding from too many glasses of Gato Negro the night before. Cai and Fergus avoided him, for fear he’d reach for a hair of the dog.

“Never again,” he moaned. “Never again. Coffee, please. And an aspirin.”


Narrator: Lavenderbay

Starring: Cuca

Co-starring: Mourning Cloak Caterpillar



Blogging? Or Ironing?

March 14, 2010

The mouse hors-d'oeuvres trays for Cuca's new cat-ering business


I would’ve posted a photo of the ironing board, if I could remember where it is.

Normally, a question of blogging versus ironing isn’t hard to answer. Post something fun, go read and comment on blogfriends’ posts, come back and respond to blogfriends’ comments. The iron can rust solid.

Normally, though, I don’t have two sets of sheets to wash at the same time. Last Monday (was it that long ago?), I put both sets in our happy little washer and then transferred them to our happy little dryer. About three hours later, our happy little dryer was starting to whimper so I pulled the damp, creased, cottony bolus out and plunked it on top of the machines.

There went eight square feet of mudroom staging area. And as Spring comes on, we’ll be needing all the staging area we can scrounge.

Compounding the debate is Saint Patrick’s Day.

We went to E.g.’s cousin Ginger’s place on Friday evening for supper. Ginger and Rush had invited a third cousin, Mary-Ann, with special guest Mary-Ann’s brother Mike, making his annual visit from the Yukon. Everyone brought their spouses, and the evening was relaxed and enjoyable.

At the end of the evening, Rush brought a big cardboard box up from the basement and emptied its contents into the middle of the living room. “Help yourselves,” he said. The items were all promotional products for Moosehead Brewery, where Rush works. There were T-shirts, ball caps, barbecue aprons, a jacket, a sports bag… and a woman’s green, long-sleeve blouse, discreetly embroidered with a nickel-sized moose head. It had been at the bottom of the box for a long time, and was quite wrinkled, but I tried it on. It fit.

“All right!” I crowed. “E.g. and I went looking for a green shirt I could wear when the choir sings at the nursing home this Tuesday, and couldn’t find any. This is perfect!”

“Well, then, let me go iron it!” Ginger plucked up the shirt and disappeared for five minutes. When she returned, the shirt was…less wrinkled. “Looks like you’ll have to rinse it out and try again at home,” she smiled ruefully.

So now I have two reasons to find the ironing board.

The rest of the day, post-iron-hunting, will be spent helping Cuca fill his catering trays and visiting E.g.’s Aunt Theodora. Aunt Theodora is turning 94 on Monday, as is E.g. (only her 94 is dyslexic). Furthermore, Yukon Mike is Theodora’s son, so this will be a triple celebration.

See you in the blogosphere tomorrow. Bye for now!

(Wordless Wednesday) Lunchbox Surprise: A True Story

February 17, 2010

Holiday Wishes

December 23, 2009

From all of us to all of you, we wish you…

Welcome guests…

Warm friends…

Just enough sugar…

Just enough scraping…

And peaceful sleep.

Merry Christmas from Lavenderbay, E.g., Cuca, Cai, Fergus, the Song Sparrow, the Tummy-growling Lion, the Elephant, the Sea Lion, and the Great Horned Owl.