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Articles Q&A
Leah's Notions - "Black Cats" Cat Training
Leah's Notions - "Boredom Sewing" Belly Dancing?

Belly Dancing?

added May 2001

Is that you in all those pics? I love the belly dancing outfits...I've been thinking about doing it. I've been told that its' really good exercise - and of course the costumes are just to die for ! What can you tell me about it - will I feel young and sexy? - as you my girl, look in those photos! Having 2 kids has just about sucked the life out of me...need some remodeling and revamping I think. And doing something cool like belly dancing could be the way to go. And best of all the classes are at night, so I get to go out by MYSELF!!!

Ya, that's me all right. When I decided to make my hobby my profession, I needed to get a new hobby. Even if you're life's love is sewing, you still need something different to take a break now and then. And it is really good exercise. A lot more fun than yoga or aerobics. I keep in fine shape that way. It's a very adult thing and very female bonding thing. I like it a lot. And of course, having a talent for sewing doesn't hurt. Most of the others at the school envy me, and that's fine too, giggle smirk.

I'm sure you have a studio somewhere near you. If you have trouble finding one, I'll ask my instructor how I could help you out.

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Cat Training

Do you have a skill with cats that no one else seems able to attain? Despite all attempts at firm 'training', the best deal negotiable seems to be that such things go on the 'what the cat can do when the humans are out of sight' list!

It takes a lot of diligence and patience, and you have to start when she is young. There are many things I did with all my cats and have always been able to get "my" way.

1. I do give them people food, but only in their food bowl on the floor. She must have finished her cat food dinner first too. This teaches them I will give treats, but they must remain on the floor.

2. I am careful to not leave out tempting items on counters. When dinner is served the pots are covered or put back in the oven. And again the cat does get a little treat in her dish.

3. When they first start jumping on the counter or table they get immediately taken off and scolded. If they do not get the point, they get squirted with this noisy water gun I got. It's really neat and battery powered. They hate it because of the noise and the water. If I don't have the gun handy, I just splash water on her from the sink. This may seam cruel, but it does not harm her and it does work.

4. She gets lots of attention in other places of the house. A brushing every night before bed. (And she does sleep on the foot of my bed. It's a heated waterbed.) Lots of lap sitting while watching TV (as long as I don't have work in my lap).

Another tip for scratching on furniture- Sprinkle pepper in the area of the furniture she is scratching. Use white pepper for light colored upholstery and black for dark colored. That way it won't show but she will smell it and will stop and it won't harm your furniture. Also, keep her nails clipped. At least once a month. Long nails is why she feels the need to scratch in the first place.
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Leah's Notions - "Black Cats"

An article written for the December 1994 issue of Tangled Threads

Since I work in an in-home workroom by myself, I get bored easily. To fight the boredom I theorize about different ways to make my life easier. Some of my theories are off the wall, while other, seemingly strange ideas, have actually turned out to be great frustration savers. I purpose to share my musings with you and maybe, if you've thought the same thing, you can share your ideas with us.

To start off, have you ever noticed that most (though not all) of us who are serious about sewing are also cat lovers? I have a theory that owning a cat boosts the natural creativeness in a person. This idea came about because I noticed that all the people I admire for their sewing prowess, are feline fanciers. It doesn't seem to matter how many cats they own, but the best of the best (in my opinion) will have at least one black cat.

I haven't figured out what the color has to do with it, but I've heard that it has been proven that petting a cat will lower your blood pressure. Maybe that calming effect also enhances one's abilities. "But", you say, "I do my best work under pressure." Than I propose that cats still have a psychological effect on us.

Sounds far fetched? Well, I've never owned a cat who could read labels, but every one could tell whether I was opening a can of people food or cat food. As far as I can tell the sound the opener makes is the same. So, how do they know? Cat ESP??

Cats are naturally solitary and aloof creatures. They seem to do things only when they want to. Then how come my usually aloof animal suddenly appears begging to be petted just when I am felling particularly down or frustrated? I'm willing to swear that she has kept me from making mistakes at work by this inexplicable behavior.

So what do you think? Is this just so much sentimental drivel or have I hit on the secret of success in the sewing biz? Well, when it comes time for my cat to go to kitty heaven you can be sure I'm not going to touch my sewing machine until I've found a new little furry black partner to keep me on the level so my mind can work better.

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Leah's Notions - "Boredom Sewing"

An article written for the April 1996 issue of Tangled Threads

What do you do when you're bored of sewing? As much as I love to sew I do sometimes get bored with it. It's easy to spot when I'm not in the sewing mood. I putz around my sewing room putting things away or rearranging. This happens more often when there isn't much on my to-do rack, but it can strike at busy times too. I catch myself organizing a shelf or draw and suddenly realize I'm half way through my day and I haven't even turned on my sewing machine yet. This could become a problem if it continually interferes with meeting deadlines, so I do my best to fix it fast.

Often, I simply sit myself down to work, ignoring the boredom. This solution works but not very well. It takes me twice as long to complete a task "boredom sewing" then when I'm totally into it. If this is my only choice though I add some other task to my sewing work like laundry. It doesn't take any more effort to run the laundry while I'm "boredom sewing" than doing the laundry alone. That way I get two things done. Instead of looking back on a wasted day of trying to sew while bored, I can see that something did get accomplished.

When I can, I avoid "boredom sewing". I always have a list of phone calls to make, letters to write, decisions to make, or stuff to file that I can do instead. I could spend a whole week on this kind of stuff and not exhaust my pile. Actually, I enjoy doing book keeping and the like. So it works well for me to take a whole day now and then to do all these other things that need to be done. Usually, by the next day I'm ready to hit the needle and thread again.

I also avoid sewing at night and on weekends. That way I'm less likely to get bored in the first place. I will sometimes do hand work while watching TV in the evening, but that doesn't count as sewing on my boredom scale. It's too much like a craft - which is another way to fight boredom. Doing crafts is still being creative, but it's different enough from sewing to give me the diversification I need.

I've found that too much of any good thing can get me bored. So I make it a point to not feel guilty doing something other than sewing. Just because sewing is my first love doesn't mean I don't have other loves also.

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