Friday, July 30, 2010

Drawing by John A. Muir

My brother has been kind enough to give me permission to use some of his drawings on my store items. The most recent item I have posted is this:

I do not have much talent with drawing or painting, my talents lean towards photography. If I want to post a knight with my work, I will have to attend an event by the Society of Creative Anachronism and take my camera. I have a friend whose son is active in this society and his wearing apparel is quite fantastic, including the chain mail.

Another of John's pieces is a drawing of ALCAZAR in Spain. I have several items posted for this. Here is one:
Alcazar - Magnet magnet
Alcazar - Magnet by bkmuir
Design a custom made magnet on zazzle

To see other items by other Zazzlers click here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Darby the polydactyl cat

Darby will be 2 years old in September. I have shared my life with him since March 12, 2009. He is a polydactyl cat (many toed) with 7 toes on each front paw and an extra claw on each of his rear heals.

I adopted him at a local pet store where they have adoptions every weekend. It seems that not only the unusual toe configuration, but his black color were obstacles to his being adopted. Neither of these bothered me. I picked him up and he purred the whole time I held him, even though there were lots of people around and dogs barking, etc.

I purchased a new cat carrier and paid the required fees and brought him home.

I put him in the den where I could close the door and let him get adjusted outside of the carrier. When I went back a short time later, I couldn't find him! I looked all over, under the couch and chairs, on top of the book cases - there's not too many places for an animal to hide in that small room. I finally found him on top of the books in the bottom shelf of the bookcase, behind the rocking chair. Being black and sitting up under the overhang of the upper shelf, he was "invisible".

For the next 3 months I rarely saw Darby. I knew he was in the house, as the litter box needed changing and the food disappeared shortly after I placed it in the bowl. His second favorite spot to spend the day, after the book case, was under my bed. Again, being black I only was able to see his eyes. If they were shut, I couldn't find him.

I thought about getting him a collar that had lights. I found one, but it only lit up when the wearer moved. I needed something to tell me where he was when he wasn't moving!

The first several weeks, I sat in the den with him and read out loud, so that he would get used to my voice. I didn't force him to sit with me - I could rarely touch him, let alone hold him.

In May I had an episode with my back, that basically left me bedridden for over a week. Darby sensed something different and would sit on the end of the bed, or the couch, when I was laying down. I even got to pet him once with the tip of my fingers.

Well, Darby came out of his shell after that and began his antics to spice up my life. First hobby was climbing the curtain on the dining room window, or the curtains in the den. After getting him to accept that this was not an approved activity, he started communicating by banging cupboard doors. Those extra toes make it so much easier to grab the edge of a kitchen cupboard and let it bang back. I learned to get up and feed him when this happened. I have tried to limit my pavlovian response to specific times of day and basically we have agreed on 4-5 am and 4-5 pm for feedings.

I eventually put latches on all cat reachable doors so that I don't have a heart attack at 3 am (or even 3 pm) on an explosive bang from the kitchen. So no banging doors for a while. Recently Darb has been able to open one of the doors held by a magnet latch, and he can get a soft bang from the pan drawer door that is "latched" with velcro strips. His current alarm to get me up is to knock books off of the shelves in the den.

At first this was accidental when he jumped up to the top of the 5 foot shelf - his rear feet probably landed on the books on the top shelf. When he realized this would wake me up, he began doing it on purpose. I have watched him jump on top of the 3 foot bookcase and pull books out individually from between the book ends, so that they bang down onto the floor.

Well, after 16 months, we are pretty much adapted to each other. Every morning, while I have breakfast in the rocker by the living room window, with my feet up on the footrest, Darby comes voluntarily to lay with his rump near my knees and his head on my ankles. This is fine until he gets so relaxed that he begins to slide off of my legs and the footrest and trys to grab hold with all 14 claws to keep from sliding. Usually this is on my bare legs! He lands in a pool on the floor and wakes up, then climbs back up and goes back to sleep.

He rarely sits with me at any other time of the day, although, he will sometimes come and sit in the window when I am on the computer. Usually he just communicates his dismay at being ignored by knocking pens, letter openers, calculators, etc off of the desk to get my attention. A friend tells me that as he gets older, he will "settle" down. Either that, or he will grow up and be able to knock over bigger objects!

Well if you have a polydactyl cat in your life, you might be interested in these items I found in the Zazzle Market place .

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Genealogy is in the family

Recently, I have gotten reacquainted with my genealogy program and updating my information to the internet. I was really excited when several cousins came forward to share family information.

I discovered that my paternal grandfather's paternal grandparents died in South Dakota, not Scotland as I had assumed (need to get more details on this).

I also met a cousin who posted his photo on the internet and bears a striking resemblance to my father - they even share the same first name!

For those of you who would like to express your interest in genealogy research by wearing a t-shirt or using a coffee mug, etc. You might find something Here (general sayings in all of Zazzle), or in these individual stores:
Tennessee Backroads Photography
Family Treed

Other shopowners with Preservation related items

There are many Zazzle shops that have all kinds of themes. Here are some examples from shops that include architectural and historic preservation related items.

This is what I call dedicated "preservation" - Teutonic Order castle Neidenburg built in the XIV century. The castle was destroyed many times: during Napoleonic wars, I World War and II World War. Rebuild in the years 1960-1965.

Also ... from a historical preservation park near me, called Heritage Village. It's in danger of being closed down due to budget cuts.
Vintage Grocery postcard
Vintage Grocery by RebeccaBrittain
Many other Postcard designs on zazzle

Sunday, July 4, 2010

My First post

Okay - today is the day that I begin to "blog."

I have many interests. Over the years I have been involved in various Historic Preservation groups. Currently, I do not belong to any group, but I am currently a member of "The National Trust for Historic Preservation".

A few days ago I was trying to think of how I could convey my concerns over the destruction of historic buildings and I developed a few designs for my Zazzle store. As I come up with more designs, they will be shown in my "Historic Preservation" window to the right.