Tag Archive: animals



Loom Knit Safari CollectionLoom Knit Safari Collection by Scarlett Royal

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I can finally give a review of this book! I made each and every animal featured in this book. Yet I have to take responsibility for the less than 5 stars here. That makes me a little sad. You see, I am not as good at reading patterns as I would like. I have been loom knitting since about February of last year. Mostly I feel I have learned to watch YouTube instructions better and better. In the process, I am gaining the ability to read patterns, but still not there.

What does this have to do with the book? Well, each of the patterns in this book has a corresponding tutorial on YouTube. Except for the giraffe. That one leads you to a Ravelry page with a picture of the giraffe but nothing else. So there was my problem. I only had the pattern and did my best to help the giraffe come to be. I think I did okay. If you follow my blog you will see my nearly finished giraffe and a hat to go with it. I need to add eyes. I want to make the long lashes I love so much on giraffes so for now, the baby is sightless.

Oh, the other problem I have to own is my inability to count. The poor lion had a few curls that were a bit too long. But that is not the fault of the author. She did a fantastic job writing the instructions and filming the tutorials. Maybe she could teach us some hints as to how she keeps track of small rows and the like?

Anyway if you go to darsword on wordpress you will see my results. (I can’t put an URL on here. Hope you can find me.) This book was reasonably priced. I just wish I could afford Scarlett Royals other books. She is a great designer of loom knitting items. I can’t wait to learn more from her.

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Here are pictures of what I have made:

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I made the elephant first. Since the yarn is donated I often don’t have the right colors or enough of said colors. Hence the psychedelic elephant.

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I didn’t like how the monkey’s muzzle turned out so I added lips. I don’t have glass eyes that Scarlett Royal suggests. So I made these on the spool knitter. The lips I did that way, too. The hat is Tuteate’s pattern. I followed her tutorial on YouTube as I do most of my knitted things. The reason I made a hat with ears is I made most things with the donated yarn for charity and my group said that they gave my things to the local clinic. I thought that the hat and monkey would be fun together.

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See what happens when I run out of the right color yarn? Colorful arms! I still haven’t made the eyes for this guy. Again, I don’t think the glass eyes would be good if the recipient of the gift might put them in their mouths and choke. My brother suggested whiskers. You can’t see them very well here but they are there. The nose was done on the spool knitter.

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The giraffe was the hardest as I had to use just a pattern. Still, I think he turned out okay. I still need to make the eyes. I hope I can make eyes with long lashes like real giraffes have. The hat was the Tuteate patter except I used the ear pattern from Scarlett Royal’s animal patterns so I didn’t have to sew it on. And I didn’t close the way Tuteate does hers. I used Scarlett Royal’s Kitchener stitch to close. I think it worked out quite well. Oops, I just noticed I need to sew close the ears. Well, I wasn’t finished when I finished the book. If I think it makes a big difference I will post the finished products here.

And though he isn’t in the book here is another stuffed animal using Scarlett Royal’s YouTube:

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My friend suggested steam or flame from the nostrils so I added a those bits.

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Eyes are done on the spool knitter. Since this is going to an adult I will get the glass eyes instead.

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I love how the spike knit up. I added the wings from Scarlett Royal’s bat pattern. I will add pipe cleaners to these so they can stand out. I made this dragon with my own materials is for one of my best friends who is crazy for dragons.

20170715_13272820170715_13275120170715_132803I love him! I can’t wait to make more of him for me and my other friends who are dragonphiles.

But will this next one has nothing to do with the book it is the latest of my tiny dolls. This pattern is by Denise of LoomAHat. This is the cupcake doll. I added the ears–just because I wanted to! These are so fun and easy and versatile. This will go to the clinic.

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Chasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban CrisesChasing Coyotes: Accounts of Urban Crises by Debora Martin

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Less than a decade ago my husband and I were delivering newspapers in Corona California. We were quite surprised by how many coyotes we saw out in these beautiful neighborhoods. We didn’t think of them as more than just nuisances who got into the trash. Turns out this book tell accounts of coyotes in the even bigger cities of Orange County that were around when we lived there and got worse in years since we left.

I think when I saw this book’s description that I was getting some Urban Fantasy about Native American tales of coyotes, the tricksters. At first, I was a bit taken aback. Then I was pleasantly surprised at where these stories took place. Then the book inspired in me a healthier fear that I never had before.

If you live in big cities in Orange County or L.A. County or Riverside County in California, you should read this book. I suggest you get the hardback or paperback so that you can keep the guidelines of how to get rid of coyotes, that could kill your toddlers or grandparents or cat or dog. Use it to get in touch with the people, like the author, who are trying to make your neighborhoods safer.

Look, where I live coyotes walk brazenly down our dirt roads. I live in the country. There are wild rabbits and other creatures that coyotes like to eat. But now I know another reason why my cats and dog are not allowed outside alone in our yard, besides the threat of hawks and eagles, that like small pets. We are trying to find a way to fence in our yard better to keep out coyotes or bigger predators. (The first winter we were here we found antelope footprints right next to our bedroom window. So imagine what could come in.) But we expect these beasts out here. In the cities, I thought our biggest problem were mice, rats, and opossums. But I was wrong.

Please read this book. Be aware so that you can be prepared.

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What better thing to begin with the letter Z than Zoo. Here are current pictures of mine:

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Kali and Teddy on the day I went to Hugger Hats, taken by Hubby-AKA Pet Sitter.

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Remember those little tiny chicks and turkeys? Yeah, I can’t pick up the turkeys anymore they are getting too big for me. The chickens never got brave enough to be picked up. The Turkeys try to get me to pet them and are so curious that they will pick on my cell phone as I try to take pictures. Bro is gathering materials to make the portable coop.

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Kali wants to know when Kali can play with the fowl!

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One tired Teddy-cat.

tired Rosey after catching mouse night before

And another very tired Rosey-cat. Both were at our feet this morning with a dead mouse. Irm-thanks?

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This is the end of the #AtoZChallenge! Yay!

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This was fun!


Catacombs (Tales of the Barque Cats #2)Catacombs by Anne McCaffrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am so glad I was able to pick this up from my local electronic library, both the Kindle and the audio versions. I’m also glad I was able to purchase and read the first book in this series. It made this book easier to understand to know what happened before. But I think it might’ve been understandable to read it without the first book and still get it. Oh, how I miss Anne McCaffrey!

My favorite parts were the polydactyl cats who are proven to be the earliest space explorers landing in Egypt helping with the engineering of the pyramids, etc. With so many fingers and toes, and trained to use them in the ways humans use their fingers they were able to do far more than humans could.

This is my kind of space travel sci-fi getting to know other planets at the creatures. Getting to know the process of being in outer space for long periods of time. Done the way only Anne McCaffrey could.

If you get the chance please read these two books they may seem silly on the surface but they are deeper than they seem.

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Catalyst (Tales of the Barque Cats, #1)Catalyst by Anne McCaffrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While perusing my local library system’s site of ebooks and audios I saw the second book in this series by one of my favorite authors, Anne McCaffrey. Well, I hate starting in the middle of a series so I bought the first one and the Audible version to go with it.

If you love cats and space travel adventures, this is the book for you. I thought it was going to be too much fluff, a childish book, a book about kitty cats. I was wrong. This gave a new perspective about cats and space travel.

I just happen to have a polydactyl black cat and I have wondered if, with the right training, all those toes could be used like our hands. Could she be a Barque cat? Could she fly a space ship? My husband and I spend our retired days trying to read our cats’ and new dog’s minds. Sometimes we think we know them pretty well. We provide the words to the bubbles over their heads. Just imagine if instead of watching the mice for entertainment if they could kill the space alien?

Anyway, this was fun and I didn’t stop between the two books and got right into book two. I have to admit to wishing there was more! R.I.P. Anne McCaffrey. I miss you!

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Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the WorldTemple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to pick this up from my local library system through Overdrive. My friend, Cheryl, wrote an intriguing review that had me searching it out. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1…

I had hoped to read while listening but the ebook but it didn’t come to me in time. That was okay. It provided my background entertainment while I worked on the charity hats and dolls. The reader, Meredith Mitchell, kept me involved in the story of Temple Grandin’s life.

I have read other books about and by Ms. Grandin. Though this book is for young people, I found it more thorough than the others in covering the aspects of autism, living with it and knowing someone who has it. The author was able to bring this disorder to the understanding that a young person would need.

Something that I felt when reading this book and others about autism is that I think there are levels of this that many of us have. The sensitivities Temple had to scratchy clothing or loud noises or too many people or strong light I can relate to. The inability to connect to others, especially in a crowded room, I can understand, too. Knowing that Ms. Grandin found ways to make her disability work for her in her life gives us all inspiration to see how we can overcome our own problems.

Though this is for children, it is neither a short book nor pablum for babies. I felt there was a lot of depth to the stories told and much to learn for all of us. Please, seek it out and see how you like it.

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Simon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true storySimon Ships Out A heroic cat at sea. Based on a true story by Jacky Donovan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It hasn’t been that long ago that I got a phone call while I was at my writers’ meeting that my Panda, a beautiful tuxedo cat, had passed away while playing with his cat mate. Must have been a heart attack, we had decided, but we miss him lots. So when I saw the cover of this book with a near twin to Panda, I had to pick it up. It didn’t hurt that it was free. (Now it is $3.99)

What a great way to teach a historical event, through the eyes of the cat, and sometimes the dog. These two pets are on a ship that is in the war. This is not from an American point of view but rather from the British side. That is a part of history not taught in our US schools so this is a cool way to teach about ship and the war and how it might have felt to be a cat with bombs and guns going off. Poor little creatures can’t understand yet they do their best for the nice people who take care of them.

Often I found the narrative from the cat’s mind seemed either too smart or not smart enough. In other words, in my life with cats this point of view often didn’t ring true. But then again, who knows what those furry friends think anyway? It’s worth the read, and I think sailors would love it even more.

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Chickens, Hawks and Grumpy Goats: Five Years on a FarmChickens, Hawks and Grumpy Goats: Five Years on a Farm by S.A. Molteni
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you follow my reviews, you know that I am reading a lot about farming, gardening, and the like. Most of it is instructional. And so I went into this book thinking I’m reading some how-to book with personality. But into the second ‘chapter’ I realize I am reading an anthology of stories of farm life. Actually, I remember now, that in the first ‘chapter’ I was reading how this family was nearly dying of starvation and they were choosing which young one to not feed. I was horrified! At the end of that story, I figured out it was about chicken hawks and chickens. Not people. Whew! Then I realized I had liked that story after all.

But after a rather realistic story there is one that is about Chicken Little. I nearly stopped reading as it seemed too childish after what I had just read. But I gave it a chance and saw it was very cleverly written story of real life on a farm from the eyes of one of the chickens that had nearly died.

I don’t usually like short stories. As you may well know by now. But somehow, I got into this little book and enjoyed the author’s take on farm life. I picked up this book for free, but it is only $.99 right now. I think it is worth it if you want something different to read. I was so impressed that I went ahead and picked up a couple more stories by S.A. Moteni.

I did learn something. You can call yourself a farm hobbyist. That’s what I’m going to be! 🙂

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Farming For Beginners: The Backyard Animal Farm Guide To Farming Sheep, Raising Chickens, Turkeys, Pigs, Milking Cows, Goats, Honey Bees, Cattle Farming, ... Cows, Goats, Honey Bees, and Cattle Book 1)Farming For Beginners: The Backyard Animal Farm Guide To Farming Sheep, Raising Chickens, Turkeys, Pigs, Milking Cows, Goats, Honey Bees, Cattle Farming, … Cows, Goats, Honey Bees, and Cattle Book 1) by Frank Begley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This wasn’t exactly what I wanted to study, It was evident when the first chapter was about cows. I won’t have enough room for a cow. Nor will I have the money to feed it. And being a vegetarian, who has trouble with cow milk in most forms (except cheese), I felt this was not up my alley.

Still the writing was easy to read. The author had a bit of a sense of humor making it not a dull read. And just past the cows chapter the other animals listed were of interest to me. Well, except pigs. What is that called when you don’t much like certain animals? I know, pigs are smart and make pets for some people, but I doubt I could ever become one of those people. I might more likely have a cow for a pet instead. But both animals are too big for me. And I don’t want to butcher animals. I know. What kind of farmer will I be? Greenhorns are allowed to be less than farmers.

Now the goats, sheep, poultry and bees fit more in my realm of interest. I have had goats and loved them. No, never killed them either. I loved the milk and the process of getting it. I had chickens, too. No kill, free-range easter egg hunts. Worst farmer ever! Loved all my animals!

Anyway, this book got into the husbandry of all these animals. And the nice part is that there are quite a few links to YouTube instructions and other websites with charts and graphs and more instruction.

I will refer back to this book often once I am settled on the land.

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The Tagger Herd: Sadie TaggerThe Tagger Herd: Sadie Tagger by Gini Roberge

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Since my fund are much tighter this month than ever before, I had to quit my Kindle Unlimited subscription. 😦 But I have one more day to read as many as I can before letting the list of books go. So it was that I decided that since the first three books of this series were free and this one was Kindle Unlimited I had better read it today, too. Not sure if I will be able to get to the rest of this series this month as I do have other books on KU to read, also.

I love how the author, Gini Roberge, has been able to keep my interest while zeroing in on individual children of this extended family. The last being one of the oldest of the kids. This one, Sadie, is around ten, as I recall. Still the story doesn’t feel juvenile. Her cousin, Wade, was featured in book two, so we have gotten to know parenting styles and how they all fit as a family and as the Tagger Herd owners.

As I wrote in my last three reviews of this series, I am quite impressed with the lack of sex, violence or profanity in these books while they are intriguing and aimed at any age group who happens upon them. I love the care of the people and the horses that are shown in these books without any preachiness at all. Just people being people, who love animals. I can’t wait to read more of this series!

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