Bisou turned four years old on December 1, or sometime thereabouts. Since Bisou is a rescue cat, we’re not sure of her exact birthday, but December 1, 2013 was the day she turned up at the humane society looking about a year old, so it’s the day we’ve celebrated each year since then. I can’t believe she’s been with me three years. On one hand, the time has flown by, but on the other, so much has changed since then it seems like much longer. Just days after I adopted Bisou, we met her dad/my future husband. P and I have since gotten engaged and married, he’s finished grad school and started a challenging career in education, and I’ve started working as a photographer. Bisou has been the center of our universe through it all, and it’s entirely thanks to her that I’ve embarked on this career path. She’s my muse and favorite subject, and the feedback my lovely readers gave me on early pictures of Bisou gave me the drive to hone my craft. All in all, I owe a lot of the best things in my life to Bisou, so I decided to show her how much I adore her by baking her a kitty sized birthday cake.
The cake is incredibly simple to make, and your cat is sure to love it because their favorite wet food is the main ingredient! All it takes is three ingredients and some catnip sprinkles for decoration. Bisou and I were anxious to get the cake out of the pan – to eat it and to start shooting it, respectively – and I didn’t let it cool down enough, so it came out a bit dented and lopsided. Bisou didn’t seem to mind though, and if you’re more patient than us you should end up with a perfectly formed little cat cake! The texture was dense yet fluffy and spongey, just as cake should be. It’s soft enough that it’s nice and easy for cats to pull apart with their teeth if you let yours dig in to a whole cake. Give it a try for your cat’s next birthday or special occasion, and let us know how it turns out!
Picking, wrapping and giving gifts is my favorite part of the holiday season, tied with eating all the tasty food that abounds, so it was only natural that I’d put together a gift guide for the year. I’m so excited to share this selection of gifts with you, each so charming, one of a kind and quality made I’ll be gifting them to my own nearest and dearest*. I’m confident each one will delight its recipient, and in many cases become a new heirloom to be treasured and shared for years to come. Bisou pawpicked some of her very favorite items that she’s sure the cats (and cat parents) on your list will adore, and I’ve rounded up my favorite home wares, kitchen staples and beauty obsessions that I love not just because they’re beautiful and functional, but because of the hard working and dedicated folks behind them.
It’s easy to fall into the big box store trap when it comes to gift shopping, especially when your list is long and during the holidays there are a million other things to do. But what better time to support small businesses and the talented craftspeople who put in long hours this time of year so you can gift their wares to the people you love? I’m making it extra easy to support family- and women-owned businesses, makers who lovingly handcraft every item they sell, and brands committed to responsible and animal-friendly practices by including some of my favorites here.
*To my closest family and friends: avert your eyes now, or there could be spoilers. You’ve been warned! To everyone else, read on for our favorite picks for all the cats and human people on your list and watch in amazement as your gift shopping pretty much does itself this year!
Is early November too soon to start thinking about Christmas (or whichever holiday you and yours celebrate)? Not in my book, at least when it comes to planning which gifts to give to your favorite people. Christmas is one of my favorite times on year, despite winter in general being my absolute least favorite. It’s a beacon of warmth and light in the cold and dark of the season, and a source of anticipation, joy and nostalgia every year. I have fond memories (and many pictures – thanks Dad!) of sitting at the top of the stairs with my sister on Christmas morning, giddy beyond belief and in impatient disbelief that our mom was usually still in bed. Years later we’d learn she was exhausted every Christmas because she’d stay up into the wee hours the night before staging a magical scene for the two of us. The fireplace screen would be askew, bites would be missing from the carrots and cookies we’d left for Santa and his reindeer, and all our packages would be wrapped in different paper than the family presents under the tree, proving they couldn’t possibly be from anyone but Santa himself!
Even though Santa no longer visits my parents’ house, gift giving is still a Christmas morning tradition of ours and one of my favorite parts of the holiday. P and I started talking Christmas gifts already last month because we so love finding the right gift for everyone on our list; nothing warms my heart like seeing a grown adult gleeful over that perfect present! This month I’ll be sharing some easy DIY gift ideas, and I’ll be starting December with a gift guide (with Bisou’s help) for all the cats and humans on your list. Continue Reading
Happy November everyone! It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through autumn, and the month of Thanksgiving (and Gilmore Girls!) is upon us. Before you know it, it will be Christmas which I can’t wait for, because it means P will have two weeks off of work and my sister will be home from college. December also happens to be Bisou’s birthday month! Needless to say, I’m very much looking forward to the next several weeks. For now though, I’m still making the most of fall – even if it is an extra gray and rainy one in Portland – before all the leaves fall and it’s too cold out to go on strolls around the neighborhood. Speaking of leaves, how about this laurel wreath? The leaves aren’t technically from a laurel bush, but once they’re layered into wreath form, they look pretty darn festive anyway. Don’t you love how the wreath looks like it’s magically floating on the front door!?
I’m not usually one for seasonal decorating; I think it’s because I don’t like the idea of storing a bunch of objects that only see the light of day a month or two out of the year. I’m happy to make an exception for this wreath though, since it’s seasonally appropriate for fall and winter, and afterwards I don’t have to worry about finding a place to store it. All you need to make your own wreath is a bit of floral wire, hot glue, fishing line and any thick, glossy leaves you can find. I couldn’t decide whether to make a natural green wreath or a fancy gold one so I tried it both ways, and I still can’t choose a favorite. Either way, hanging a laurel wreath on your front door or somewhere in the house adds some natural looking autumnal vibes and holiday cheer, depending on the month. It complements our pumpkins now, and I really hope we get some snowfall this winter so I get to see it in the snow, too. Read on for the tutorial, and a look at Bisou wondering what the heck I was doing standing outside. Continue Reading
If you follow Bisou and me on Instagram, you’ve likely noticed Bisou has one unusual feature for a house cat. The tip of her right ear is missing, and though some have guessed she lost it in a cat fight, the truth is a little less exciting but meaningful nevertheless. You see, Bisou was a feral cat before I met her. Her tipped ear tells us that while she was spayed and vaccinated as part of a trap, neuter, return (TNR) program. TNR is just what it sounds like; feral and stray cats are humanely trapped, taken to a veterinary clinic where they are spayed or neutered and given immunizations, then released back into their colonies. Their right ears are tipped to indicate they’ve been through a TNR program. It’s a humane way to reduce the size of feral cat populations, while also improving the health and livelihoods of the cats in our communities who don’t have homes. Without TNR programs that support feral cat colonies and the dedicated volunteers who keep them running, I might never have found and adopted Bisou, so you can bet I’ll be celebrating National Feral Cat Day tomorrow!
Not all feral and stray cats can be adopted. Some have had no human socialization and don’t adapt well to living indoors with people, and in many communities, feral and stray populations are simply larger than the capacity of shelters to accommodate them. The good news is that there’s still a lot we can do to improve the lives of ferals and strays. You can learn to care for the feral cats in your neighborhood, donate to TNR programs and spread the word about TNR and free neuter-spay clinics in your area. Alley Cat Allies is a great resource for feral cat info, whether you’d just like to learn more about feral cats or you’re ready to start advocating for cats in your community. I’m sharing my love for feral cats (and my feral cat momma pride!) with this I ♥︎ Feral Cats tote. All you need to make it is some iron on transfer paper, a light colored tote or t-shirt and an inkjet printer. Just download the template I made so we can be tote twins and you, too, can start showing off your feral cat love! Read on for directions and the download. Continue Reading