I Do Drowning with Feline Flair: Disaster Mitigation and the Creative Life


I’m up to my artist’s ear lobes in cat food cansornament making, and painting projects.

Cat food cans that are the bane of my partner Sara’s existence–

In fact, I’m so inundated with tides of creative crazy, that, should the water rise above those now damp lobes, my hearing could soon be sacrificed to the twin causes of can(vas) covering and drowning mitigation.   My mouth and nose are already under water.  I’m using a specially designed artist’s snorkel as I type this.

Yes, I suppose there could be a bit of mania involved.  But I’m less adrift in manic-depressive symptoms than drowning in ideas of the feline feeding kind.  Oh, what one can do with cat food cans!  Much to Sara’s chagrin, the op-purr-tunities are endless.

Mixed-media art created using empty cat food cans–

So I have no time to write and, I’m afraid, no time to read.  (Please forgive my being AWOL from the blogs I love.  I promise to be back soon, even if it means I “like,” rather than comment.)

Below are photos of my production-in-progress.  I welcome cheerleading in the comments below.

I’ve completed 25 cat food can ornaments so far–

A few variations on my efforts to can Christmas:

Finally, I’ll share three photos of a used table I’m transforming for Habitat for Humanity.  I got the table at Habitat’s ReStore here in Lexington and will be blogging about it on the organization’s international website this fall.

Before I began the table looked like this:

In the ReStore the table sold for $10.

After paint and decoupage, the table looks like this:

What’s been keeping you from commenting on the posts of your blogging buddies recently?  Does a “like” mean as much as a comment, in your mind?  What are you drowning in these days?

63 thoughts on “I Do Drowning with Feline Flair: Disaster Mitigation and the Creative Life

  1. “op-purr-tunity” — brilliant!

    Loved the pop of colors here … and seeing how creative you are is positively inspiring. You must have the happiest of Christmas trees 🙂

    to answer your question, I’ve been out of the country and so far off the grid that internet wasn’t even available … so blog-reading or commenting was only a faraway dream, not a reality. But .. I’m catching up.

    Cheers to you!
    MJ

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  2. I’ve made a few pin cushions out of used cat food cats before, but nothing as creative as what you are showing here Kathy!

    For a couple of months now I’ve been drowning in children and illness. We’ve all had a hefty bout of the ‘flu bug, my daughter has had two incidents with her car (the second incident sending her beloved vehicle to God!) plus she has moved out of home to live with her boyfriend. Added to that I have had extra work of the out-of-the-house variety, and I have barely blogged or left a comment anywhere (except on blip, which seems to be quick and easy!)

    I think the “like” button is an acceptable mode of saying hello on the run, but I’m not sure what the universal feeling is about that. I wanted to leave a comment today though, as it’s been ages since we have spoken! Hope all is well with you. 🙂

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    • Oh, Joanne, how wonderful to hear from you! You’ve been busy, busy, busy. Sorry to learn that you’ve been sick and that your daughter’s car has gone to “God”–love the way you articulate that. I had to laugh.

      I don’t know the ins and outs of “likes” vs. “comments” either. That’s one of the reasons I ask. I’d love to know more about it. Thanks so much for your comment, my friend!

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  3. Your cans are looking great, Kathy. And oh my, the table is awesome.
    I’m also interesting in your topic of blog commenting. I know many of us, at least those in my sphere, do it for community reasons. It’s been nice to get to know others. We can do that through reading, but it’s the comments that link us directly together. So I’ve enjoyed that aspect.

    On the other hand, when I first started I was blogging the Post a Day challenge. The people I met were doing that a well. Reading every person’s blog and commenting every day can quickly become impossible. And I don’t want to spend my whole life on it.

    I cut back my posts, and I cut back my reading. I still try to read enough to keep up with my blogging friends’ lives.

    For me, if I visit your page, I will read it. If I have something to say, I will. If I don’t, I’ll click “like.” I rarely do both.

    I know rushing through and clicking “like” can be the lazy man’s or woman’s way of keeping up with blogs and driving readers to their own site. I don’t do this.

    But I don’t care if you only click “like.” Of course I would rather hear your take on things. You usually have something interesting, or at least supportive to say, that generally raises me up. But I also understand that you may not have anything to say about my lost flip-flop in Puerto Rico.

    I don’t want my friends to feel oppressed by having to read my posts. If you want to visit, know that I am grateful for the time with you, limited though it may be.

    Keep being creative. It’s where you really shine.

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    • I rarely read without commenting, but think I may be forced to merely like in the coming days. I am simply swamped. But, like you, I comment for the sake of community and in an effort to join the dialogue I find so fun about blogging. Somehow, for me, the dialogue ultimately intersts me almost as much a the community component these days. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Maybe I should consider doing an entire post on the issue.

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  4. Kathy – Your creativity never ceases to amaze me! The cans take recycling to a whole new stratosphere, and that table is fantastic!

    To answer your question…

    I’m never offended when someone clicks the “like” button on my blog instead of leaving a comment. I’m in great hopes that when I click “like” instead of leaving a comment, the recipient feels the same way.

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    • Thanks so much for your enthusiasm, Laurie. I can’t imagine that “likes” could offend anyone. Do you think they actually might?

      But, then, that’s why comments are so valuable, I suppose, as that perspective hadn’t occurred to me. So, maybe that’s what I appreciate so much about comments, their ability to help me look at issues from alternative points of view. I find they broaden my view of the world around me–such a HUGE gift!

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  5. Meow! I really love that table and the mixed media wall piece. The color combos and the patterns are so whimsical!
    The business of life in general keeps me from commenting and writing as much as I’d like to. The “like” button is a quickie response for me. I always assume that when people “like” they’re in a rush.
    Now that my youngest is back in school, I’ll probably be somewhat drowning in silent anxiety. She’s a college senior with some learning disabilities and type II bp, so I worry greatly about how the stress of 400 level classes will affect her.

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    • Yes, “whimsical” is a good word to describe my art. Thanks for sharing that, Sprinkles.

      Sorry to hear you’re mourning your daughter’s return to school. I had forgotten or don’t know that I realized your daughter has bipolar disorder. Upper division courses can create the stress that, in turn, triggers bipolar symptoms. I so hope that doesn’t happen to her!

      GREAT to hear from you today, my friend!

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  6. Oh my goodness—I absolutely love the ornaments and the table! You are so talented!! Thanks for sharing!!! You use the best colors in all of your creations!!! And YES!!!! I haven’t been keeping up with reading my favorite blogs and commenting mostly because I have been traveling and internet service was not always around. I can do it on my phone but I find I make a zillion typos that way and it is embarrassing! 🙂 So I may be reading but not commenting…….

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    • Oh, thanks, Beth Ann. So happy you appreciate my creations.

      I’m like you when I try to commennt using my phone. Plus, when I use the tiny keyboard, even if I don’t make typos, it still takes so much longer to leave a comment. I think it’s especially hard to keep up during the summer, don’t you? Everyone seems so much busier, sort of like during the holidays in December.

      Have a great day, my friend!

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  7. Sometimes I “like” because I don’t have much of a comment and sometimes I “like” because in order to make a reasonable comment I have to really take some time and think it through. I don’t get offended by likes and sometimes will go through and check out the blogs of some of those “like-ers”. I really LOVE the comments though. Someone else said it’s about community and I agree. You don’t get to know someone until there’s an actual dialogue.

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    • You have articulated well what I feel about the like vs. comment issue. I like the former, love the latter. And I love comments for the same reason–for the diaglogue it creates and community it builds. Thanks so much for your comment today, my friend.

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  8. You are one crafty lady! I like those ornaments…but what did you have to do to get all of those cans? Did you adopt a litter of cats? The table looks very nice too! Great work lady!

    I have been out of the blog reading loop. Been busy and then I get out of the routine! I’m using your blog to launch me back in!

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    • I knew someone was bound to ask about the cans. I had a very sick cat for a number of years. Actually she was my baby from the age of 7 weeks till she died at 17, but was only sick for the final few. She could only eat canned food. I cleaned and saved the cans. Yes, I know. Crazy, isn’t it? But I’m glad to have them now. Great to hear from you today, Jamie.

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  9. Been busy treading water, Kathryn, and trying to keep my big fat head afloat. I’ve been sadly neglecting all of my favorite blogs; including my own. Posting poems and such until I can swim to shore and catch my breath. Enjoy your projects, Kathryn. You are an amazing talent. xoxo

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  10. I am drowning in my own off-the-blog neurosis about an upcoming life event, which will take me away from blogging for a few days next week. Luckily, MTM is going to save the day and write a whole week’s worth of architecture posts for me.

    Generally, I subscribe to bloggers who comment, because I like the interaction. But, I know how time can be a prisoner. 🙂

    Love the ornaments and the table.

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    • What a sweetie that MTM is. My Sara did a week’s worth of posts for me once as a birthday present. It was a huge gift of time and love. It was one of the sweetest things she’s done for me, and she’s done a ton of them. Good luck next week, Andra!

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  11. Ahhhhh….so the busy-ness goes on!!!! Sara should be VERY happy that the cans are finding their way in to your creative hands and you will soon be selling them and getting them out of the house. Right???? They will be a hit! I can’t wait to see how the artist fair goes. How exciting!

    And the table is fabulous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is the table being sold or auctioned?

    I’m sure someone (I won’t say Sara’s name) will be relieved when the cans and the altered verbage are gone! 🙂 Though I think you should keep doing it. Ask Sara if she wants me to start saving cans and other items to give you guys for ideas. We’ll bring them down when we get car loads. 🙂 Since the cat cans will be gone you should have plenty of room! (Tell Sara I’m generous like that 🙂

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  12. For me, I like “likes” but I LOVE comments. I usually only like a post when I have nothing of significance to add as far as commenting goes. For me that’s what the like button is for, sort of a virtual “I’m with ya!” Comments, I reserve for talking with my blog friends, to keep in touch with those I hold dearest, or I am actually motivated by their question(s) to answer. Either way, like or comment, I’m happy just to see the avatars that let me know I’m not just giving myself an outlet for the people in my head to take over.

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  13. So cool, Kath! I love your creativity. 🙂 I usually comment on most of the blogs that I read unless the mind is a) too fried or b) no time or c) nothing comes to mind to add. I have trouble understanding people who push “like” daily but never comment. But I am happy they pause to push “like” rather than saying nothing at all.

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  14. I love how you`ve been busy cannning! You are so creative it`s amazing. Can you make me one that just says “Christmas” on the can? I`ll pay for the can and postage. It will be perfect hanging on my apartment doornob. I`ll email you!!!

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  15. Kathy, I love your work, especially your use of bold colors and geometric patterns. Likes aren’t the same as comments. No way. There nice, but not as special, personal as comments. I’ve come to know you through comments. Don’t think we’d have the same rapport if we only “liked” each other’s work. Now Likes and Comments together are fine and dandy. Most welcomes. Even likes, alone, are welcome. But they’re just not the same. As for what’s keeping me busy? My Race project, my work, and, I must admit, a too have an artistic side, if just a small one, and I’ve been commissioned to create a Bat Mitzvah scrapbook for someone. The Bat Mitzvah is next month, October that is. So I have to get cracking!

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  16. Sorry I’m late to the commenting party pal. I starred this post in my email as a reminder to read it and then I forgot to read my starred posts — imagine that. When I see a cat food can I gotta tell you buddy I only see a cat food can. Then, when I come over here, I see that Xmas decorating has come early. If I didn’t know you made those ornaments out of cat food cans, I’d have no clue. You are the master of transforming trash into art. Now if only you could transform a cat food can into a memory improvement tool, then you’d “really” be onto something K.

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  17. Absolutely fabulous! Reggie is wondering what you can do with his dog food wrappers. Don’t leave out your canine friends, he says! 🙂

    BTW – That table is fantastic. Are you going to keep it or donate it?

    I’m smelling a burgeoning business for you, my friend!

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    • I’m donating the table to Habititat. Don’t know how they will sell it–maybe an auction. I will try to figure a way to remake that wrappers. Sorry, Reggie. My babies object, as well. So happy you like the table, Jackie!

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  18. I ♥♥♥ your canned Christmas ornaments. And that table!! Fabulous!
    The main thing keeping me from keeping up is the harvest. I’m doing some canning of my own, although it’s not nearly as decorative. Tasty, though, come winter and we open up a jar of tomatoes letting loose the scents and flavors of summer. As for likes and comments, I’ve come to appreciate the like just as much as the comment. I know how easy it is to end up following too many blogs, and doing the best you can to keep up with all of them.

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    • Ha, Robin. You kind of canning sounds way more yummy than mine! So happy you like my stuff. Your canning sounds like a LOT of work. But, boy, come the dead of winter you’ll be grateful to have done it, won’t you?

      So happy you like my creations, Robin! Thanks for the comment.

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  19. Kathryn, you’re surely blessed with a huge ‘creative ‘ thumb aka the green thumb! Absolutely love what you’ve done with the cans and the table! Awesome. Have to make sure my daughter doesn’t stumble upon your blog, or I will have to help her make one of those cans! she loves creative craft projects and I can’t stick two pieces of paper together without gluing my finger to it 😉

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    • Ha–love the creative thumb image! I need to play with that idea. The problem is that more often than not I end of glueing my thumb to something. I’m afraid I’m a messy artist. Thanks for the comment. GREAT to hear from you today!

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  20. I love the table! I have a table in the garage that I’ve wanted to do some kind of decoupage involving old sci fi paperback covers but I keep putting it off. I always tell myself I have more important things to do but I think I’m afraid it will just look like crap when I’m done. I’m not very creative visually, have no instincts for it, I think and I’ll spend hours trying to decide which covers to use and where to put each one and it will still look contrived or dumb. (That’s why I love your stairs so much. What an amazing achievement. The thought of doing just one step would have been overwhelming to me.)
    Happy day to you, creative lady.
    Tori

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    • Oh, tori, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to try the decoupage on the table. I think it’s an amazing idea to use sci-fi covers! Please give it a try. I think your photos suggest you do have visual talents, woman! Wish I lived closer, so I could help!

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