This week's challenge at Pals Paper Arts is "What's Your Signature Style? - Anything Goes" (PPA97) and if you're one of my regular followers, you know my style is bright and bold! I think you also might say my style is clean and classic, but simple and different...a bit unexpected! All that matters to me is that you like my "style" and find it inspiring! Be sure to check out the signature styles of my fellow PPA Design Team members! They're really showing their stuff this week!
If you stop by my blog frequently, you've probably noticed I like making cards with flowers! Today's card features flowers I've made before, using the Floral Fusion Sizzlits die. I love these simple but fun little flowers! They're happy flowers that make me smile!
Speaking of smiles, I used a colorful picture of a grouping of flowers that made me smile as my inspiration for today's card! The flowers made me think of Ellie, our calico cat that loved flowers (she like to eat them, instead of admire them)!
Today's card and post is a tribute to Ellie, who brought me and my daughters 9 wonderful years of smiles! In late January, I had to make the difficult decision to put her to sleep, due to renal failure. It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do and came on the heels of my sister's very long hospitalization and the emotional roller coaster of her illness. I'm finally at a point where I can "speak" about Ellie to others without getting too teary. You'll notice that my post is rather lengthy, but I wanted to share with you some things about Ellie and why she was so special to us!
Anyone in my family would tell you 9 years ago that I hated cats (sorry...but it was the truth at that time)! Like the noted Southern author, Willie Morris, who wrote My Dog Skip (later made into a movie) and later wrote My Cat Spit McGee, I'd always been a dog person! That, however, all changed with Ellie!
My oldest daughter has always loved cats and had wanted one forever! I continually refused for many different reasons, but the real truth was, I was afraid of cats! To me, they were sneaky, unpredictable, and they scratched! When we moved into our present home, our next door neighbor had a litter of kittens and she knew my oldest loved cats. After a lot of begging and promises, I relented and gave in, and Ellie came to us as a small kitten. An agreement had been made that "they" (meaning both of my daughters, ages 7 & 11 at the time) would take care of the kitten. In my book, that meant they did everything for and/or concerning the kitten: feed it, give it water, change the litter box, remove it from places it didn't belong, etc. It was understood that I WOULD NOT touch the cat (I did pet the kitten's head occasionally and, of course, transported the girls to the vet with their charge and footed all the bills). The girls did a great job with their agreement, the kitten and I had minimal contact, and all was well. That all changed very quickly however about a month later!
I had major surgery in March of that year that required me to miss two months of teaching as I recuperated. After coming home from the hospital and being in bed most of the time, I'd wake up to find Ellie by my side. I'd pet her quickly, hoping she wouldn't scratch me, then drift back to sleep and hope she would go away. She didn't. Her behavior of being at my side constantly throughout my recovery continued and never changed. She was always there any time I woke up or turned around. She followed me no matter where I went. Ellie was determined to be my friend and I'm so glad she never gave up! I'm happy to say her determination paid off and it eventually worked! Ellie won me over!
You can see by her pictures (click on any to enlarge), Ellie grew into a beautiful cat! We have more than one cat now (Ellie started it all), but my daughters will tell you quickly that Ellie was my favorite! She continued throughout the years to endear herself to me in so many ways! She would run down the stairs to greet us every time we came home, plop herself down on the rug, laying on her side at our feet, and wait for one of us to rub her tummy. She acted like a dog! She would growl lowly when she heard something outside and run to the front door, as if to protect us, then make a sound we referred to as her "bark" (again, like a dog)!
Ellie had style and grace and loved to show off in front of the other cats! She'd walk the banister at the top of the stairs as if she were walking a tightrope blindfolded! You can also see in one of her pictures that she loved to lounge on the banister too and just hang out! She thought we put the Christmas tree up just for her every year and waited patiently until we were finished decorating. Then, she'd climb to her favorite perch near the top and just hang out, never knocking off an ornament even once during her many climbs!
If you walked into our living room, you might find Ellie sitting on the mantel above the fireplace, looking very much at home between the pair of vases. In our library, she'd climb to the tallest shelf and sleep among the books all day. She loved to "talk" to us every morning before going to school, meowing quietly each time someone poked their head around the corner and "meowed" at her. Over the last few years, I would wake up many nights to find her sleeping above my head on my pillow. She would never try to wake me or take over my pillow; she just quietly snoozed away and let me sleep too. And, she always hung out with me when I made my cards, plopping herself down on the computer keyboard as I worked on a post or laying down in the middle of my work surface. I can't tell you how many Ellie hairs I've had to remove from a card before photographing it for posting!
If you're a pet owner, I know you understand and share our grief. Fortunately, we have so many wonderful memories that hopefully will always bring us more smiles than tears. Ellie brought us so much joy and taught me so much! We miss you dearly and loved you so much, sweet Ellie! May you rest in peace!
All supplies are Stampin' Up!, unless otherwise noted:
Card size: 5" x 7"
Stamps: Three Little Words
Paper: Soft Suede, Pear Pizzazz, Perfect Plum, Rich Razzleberry, Daffodil Delight, Pumpkin Pie, Real Red, Regal Rose, Tempting Turquoise, Whisper White card stock; Soft Suede stripe - Designer Series Patterns Stack Neutrals
Ink: Early Espresso Stampin' Write Marker
Tools: Big Shot, Floral Fusion Sizzlits die, Stamp-a-ma-jig, Scallop Trim Border Punch, 3/16" Corner Rounder Punch, Small Heart Punch, Paper Snips, Scoring Board (Scor-Pal)
Extras: Designer Buttons - Brights Collection, Designer Buttons - Subtles Collection, Early Espresso brads - Brads Neutrals Collection, Stampin' Dimensionals, Sticky Strip, Mini Glue Dots, Tombow Multi-Purpose Adhesive