The next time I have a giveaway, the cockatiel is picking the winner.

Because cats, I have found, are not benevolent judges.

Or maybe, it’s just that when a cat’s all hopped up on catnip, you shouldn’t attempt to take his piece of paper away.

Here’s how it went…

First I put all the names in a box. Then I dumped a bunch of catnip in the box.

The Judge Cat loves to take things out of boxes, so I thought this would be easy-peasy. Instead I spent about ten minutes watching this:

I tried to redirect Judge Cat by semi-closing the box. He loves opening boxes. I spent the next ten minutes watching this:

When Judge Cat finally flopped over in a catnip induced stupor, I dumped the contents of the box on top him. One thing is certain, Judge Cat hates it when you put stuff on him and he’ll quickly snatch off at least one piece of paper (the winner!).

I spent the next ten minutes watching this:

That’s correct, we’re about 30 minutes into this process. Who knew this would be such a tough decision? And then, when I was just about to replace Judge Cat with Mr. Jivvy and a hat, this happened:

No, there was no human intervention here (unless heavy sighs borne of boredom count) and I promise you that that is not a posed pic — apparently when Judge Cat decides, he decides with clarity.

Yes, this is the point when I made the strategic error of reaching for the slip of paper.

There was blood shed. There was profanity. There was one last picture:

Congratulations, Mandy!!! woohoo! Drop me a note (you can use the contact form) with your mailing address and the little pumpkin will be on his way to you.

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You might think that because I’m semi-organized with my art and craft supplies, I always know where needle and thread are — you know, for the times when a button goes missing from a shirt.

You would be wrong.

*gestures at pile of shirts with missing buttons to illustrate point*

Because I don’t really sew, I don’t really (ever) know where my scant sewing supplies are. Until now.

Now, felt is in my life and, after chasing down needles and thread for the umpteenth time, I got my scant sewing supplies as semi-organized as the rest of my supplies. Meaning the sewing supplies got their own plastic storage box (making them easily findable and transportable).

After that, it was all different (and better), but the one thing I was missing was a pincushion that fit in the box.

As you can see I was using a piggy craft fail as a pin cushion. And it sort of worked, but I wanted something better and I really wanted to stop seeing an ugly piggy every time I needed a pin.

I found Jen Segrest’s oh-so-easy-to-follow Bottlecap Pincushion tutorial on flickr: Bottlecap Pincushion tutorial

And very quickly I whipped up this:

Which is so perfectly simply functional it puts me in mind of paperclips and titanium sporks:

Of course, Jen Segrest (of SchmaltzyCrafty.com) goes way beyond functional and makes her pieces beautiful:

Scandinavian Flowers Bottlecap Pincushion

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As I was looking at my workbench today, I saw the perfect example of two of my favorite tools — microscope slides and wooden clothespins. I don’t remember when these two objects entered my “must have” list, but I use both on a daily basis.

Wooden clothespins (about $5 bucks for a bag of 50) make great clamps for when you need something held in place, but don’t need a lot of pressure — like gluing paper and lightweight wood, something I do pretty frequently. In the picture below, you can see where I’m converting a frozen dinner box into a smaller box (cereal boxes are also a good source of thin usable cardboard).

Which tells you more than I meant to about my diet.

The other featured tool of the day — microscope slides (about $5 for a box of 75) which serve as glue and paint palettes. I have three four basic surfaces I work on: the wooden top of my work bench, a 9″x12″ tile that’s good for when I’m doing a lot of painting or gluing, a cutting mat, and the newest addition, a needle felting foam pad.

Sometimes when I’m working on a surface other than the tile, I still need a spot of glue or paint — rather than switch out work surfaces, I grab a microscope slide which protects my non-glue/paint work surface.

And as you can see from the picture, I’ve had my cutting mat since before I came up with the idea of microscope slides. ;)

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