Charity auction: Cats & Quilts & Human Rights


I donated two copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul’s My Very Good, Very Bad Cat to a charity auction run by Readers & Writers for LGBT Chechens. It’s the book that made Lilo print-famous by including my essay about her fabric-eating misadventures.

Be the winning bidder to get a signed copy of the book and a personalized thank you from Lilo. Then make a donation in the amount you bid to the Russian LGBT Network, ILGA-Europe and Rainbow Railroad to help refugees fleeing the Northern Caucuses, and I send the book to you. Free shipping!

What’s going on in the Northern Caucuses, you ask? Police are detaining and torturing men they suspect of being gay. Occasionally, they release a man to his family with an encouragement to preserve the family’s honor — i.e, murder him. Read about it on the BBC.

Bidding goes through noon CDT on Saturday, May 13. Bid early, bid often!

P.S. You might also want to check out this quilt. It’s the only quilt in the auction and bidding for it is hot!


Entropy Alway Wins has a lovely Metro Tote Tutorial

I am not much of a purse person, and besides Lilo would eat anything made of wool felt. But still, the bags over at Entropy Always Wins Blog today make me wish I liked to use purses.

Well, I have friends who do! If I can keep the felt away from Lilo, I could make some for them.

Entropy says:

I love simple designs made with top notch materials.  I also love combining nontraditional materials together.  In this case I share a very simple tote design using thick felted wool along with leather handles and quilting cotton scraps.  There are so many other ways to experiment with this bag design and I hope those who try it take my instructions as a jumping off point to explore their own creativity.

One finished tote including handles, measures approximately 19 inches high, 12.5 inches wide and 4 inches deep.

Go check out the pictures and the post: The Metro Tote Tutorial

More spring ephemeral microphotography

I found some photos I forgot to post on Saturday.

Siberian squill

Siberian squill

Siberian squill (Scilla siberica) aren’t actually from Siberia, but to the southwest of it in Russia, the Caucuses, and Turkey. I wonder what kind of squill we’d have today if the Dutch had gone wild for squill in the sixteenth century instead of tulips.

Virginia bluebell

Virginia bluebell

Virginia bluebell

Virginia bluebell

Virgina bluebells (Mertensia virginica) are from Virginia—along with most of eastern North America.

Weekend birds of Wisconsin


Soft-focus glamor shot of the first goldfinch of the year—at least that I can remember.

I might like this angle better because you can see the texture of the feathers.

I might like this angle better because you can see the texture of the feathers.

Woodpecker! Every time I got any closer, it flew further away.



blue-winged teal

I was super excited to see this blue-winged teal. Cant remember the last time I saw one.


Blue-winged teal

I saw the blue-winged teal again today. It was in the middle of the pond instead of the opposite side, so theoretically I should have been able to get a better picture. Alas, it was cloudy, so no such luck.


Redwinged blackbird on shore of pond.

Redwinged blackbird lets everyone know who’s boss.


Redwinged blackbird in tree

I think he got tired of me hanging around, so he flew up into a tree.


Spring ephemerals are here

I had fun lying on the ground and taking pictures of the mayapples and bloodroot today.





Mayapple and bloodroot



Some of the bloodroot flowers are already open, but I didn’t think to take clear pictures of them. Too fascinated by the way they come up with the leaves wrapped in tight little bundles but fully formed along with the flower buds in the center. If you squint, though, you might see the tiny white, crocusy-tulipy shaped flowers in the background (upper left quadrant). Those are bloodroot flowers.

Why are they called bloodroot? It’s not the color of the flower, even if they are reddish purple at the base. If you cut into the root, you’ll find that it’s bright red and exudes a liquid that really does look like blood. Just the kind of thing Professor Sprout would have loved to show the kids at Hogwarts.

Third Day of Spring: Ducks! (or as we say around here, “Duck-ays!”)

On the third day of spring, we saw another redtail hawk. And I had the camera with me this time! I maxed out the zoom and the photo was still blurry.

I’d say I should get camera with a higher zoom, but then I’ll start maxing out that zoom and want one that’s even better. It’s a Sisyphean quest.

It was a great day for ducks! I got decent pictures of the northern shoveler:

No close-ups, though. Shovelers filter-feed on seeds, algae, and invertebrates in shallow water, but since the whole pond is shallow, this guy could stay away from the human on shore (me) and still get plenty to eat.

The mallards, on the other hand, love the thick weeds on the shore and didn’t seem too concerned about my presence.

This one walked right toward me, in a glorious veil of algae.