Creating With Cats: Helping FosterCat With a Quilt

"Lilies", a handmade quit by Norma Clouse to benefit FosterCat.
“Lilies”, a handmade quit by Norma Clouse to benefit FosterCat.

The FosterCat, Inc. annual benefit spaghetti dinner is just two weeks away! Norma Clouse has once again made and donated a quilt to sell at the fundraiser with all proceeds benefiting FosterCat.

Last year Norma created a cat-themed quilt, and this year she chose flowers for her donation quilt. “I used the pattern ‘Spring Poppies’ which I downloaded free from the site clothworks-fabric.com.  The pattern indicated the fabric collection and quilt were by Pamela Mostek,” she said.  “I did not use the fabric suggested for the quilt. I like to pick out my own fabric.”

The quilt is 37″x37″.  Fabric is 100% cotton and the quilt is washable and dryable.  Norma has also stitched a fabric bar across the back for hanging on a rod.

100% of the $150.00 selling price goes to FosterCat.  If by chance the quilt does not sell for that price at the dinner we’ll be selling it after the dinner.

Norma will also be selling crocheted scarves made from Lion’s “Amazing” yarn, cat earrings and polymer clay Christmas ornaments, including cat designs. You can read more about Norma and her creations and donations below. 100% of selling price of everything she displays that day goes to FosterCat.

The Ninth Annual FosterCat Spaghetti Dinner

Saturday, September 13 – 5:00 to 8:00 pm
St. Catherine of Siena Church
McCann Hall (lower level)
1907 Broadway Avenue
Beechview, PA

Visit the FosterCat website for more information on the dinner www.fostercat.org.

About Norma and Catmint Creations

quilt square with cat
The “Leopard Square” (my name for it) from last year’s quilt.

“I’ve been making things since I was a kid, I just love to make things,” Norma said in a comment any creative and crafty person can relate to (including me). “When my sisters were running around playing outside, I was making doll furniture.” Over the years, Norma has delved into just about every craft and skill from needlecrafts to woodworking.

In addition she had lessons and training in classical and steel string guitar, shortened after a virus destroyed the hearing in one ear and she developed tinnitus. As she recovered from this both physically and emotionally she wrote her first poem, Amadeus Dreams, and writing poetry felt very natural after that.

She started quilting in the mid-90s and has made lovely wall quilts like the one hanging in her kitchen, from stitching the top to the final quilting of the finished piece.

Four years ago her son gave her a beginner’s jewelry set and she’s been making earrings ever since. They are patterned after her original idea of simple drop-style earrings of precious and semi-precious and glass beads and Swarovski crystals in various sizes and patters, often accented with decorative cap or finial in metal or glass. While she does have cat and dog charms, she’d rather keep them more universal so that she will sell more and benefit the animals more.

earrings
Rack of Norma’s earrings at last year’s spaghetti dinner.

“Once I decided to sell these for the benefit of animals, I decided to make my business ‘legitimate’ and registered as an LLC,” she said, and this was when Catmint Creations came to existence.

She began selling her earrings at benefit events for animals as well as in shops sponsored by shelters and rescues, and donating to shelter events. Her earrings are also available in her Etsy shop for Catmint Creations where 20% of her gross sales are donated to two different rescues: FosterCat, Inc. and Animal Protectors of Allegheny Valley. She also donates earrings for sale to WearWoof. When she attends an animal event as a vendor, 100% of her sales are donated.

“I can make these earrings, which I enjoy, and selling them to benefit animals is a real win-win,” Norma said. “I do donate money as well as volunteer, but this way you get other people involved in addition to yourself, and your ability to get people involved and to donate to a cause is invaluable.”

In addition to all these creative activities, Norma has worked a day job in the payroll department at Carnegie Mellon University, recently celebrating her 25th anniversary. “When I retire, I will be able to do so much more for the animals,” she said.

And meet Norma’s feline family!

woman and cat
Buford is busy purring.

Norma has lived with cats since she was a child, including a black cat with white socks named Mittens. When she married her husband Keith they had no cats while living in an apartment, but soon after moving into their house she came home and found a mouse on the kitchen table. “Guess where we’re going?” she asked her husband, and off they went to the Animal Rescue League and adopted Jarvis who grew to be a big, friendly, mellow orange cat who lived 19 years.

black cat under quilt
Twenty looking cute.

Norma and her husband live with a family of five rescued cats now. Twenty is a big house panther, adopted from Animal Advocates while she was volunteering there. “He was the twentieth cat they trapped and brought in from a feral colony, though they found out later he wasn’t feral at all, though they had already tipped his ear,” she said, pointing to the missing top of his left ear, the universal sign of a community cat who is part of a managed colony and has been spayed or neutered.

two cats on table
Buford and Rhea

Big orange and friendly Buford spent the most time with us as his purr hummed in the kitchen table. “He’s the happiest cat on the face of the earth,” Norma said as she petted him.

His torbie sister Rhea is pretty much his opposite at half his size and “a real troublemaker, the alpha cat”. The two are about 12 and were adopted at 6 weeks old after being rescued in another feral colony rescue. They had no experience with humans and would likely have been considered unadoptable for their hostility, even at that young age, and probably put to sleep had it not been for Norma who took them in and socialized them.

gray and white cat
Gwendolyn was in a dark hallway…

Petite gray and white Gwendolyn is very shy. She was adopted from Animal Advocates as well, and possibly because of her experiences on the streets she is so cautious even about eating and drinking that she never seems to get enough nourishment and is always a little dehydrated. Norma and her veterinarian try for different solutions to Gwendolyn’s condition.

And finally torbie and white Chessie was fostered by a friend. Chessie had been declawed and was surrendered to the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society because she had begun to bite after being declawed. Because animals who bite are very difficult to adopt, she would likely have been euthanized but for the person who agreed to foster her. “She bit us too, not just little nips,” Norma said as she gestured up and down her arm. “I knew if we took her anywhere she’d be put to sleep so we kept her. It was about two years before she quit biting us and she actually became very affectionate, and she adores my husband,” Norma explained.

torbie and white cat
Chessie chilling on the floor.

Norma has never fostered, only volunteered, preferring to adopt the cats she saw were most in need. All of her cats came to inspect my bags when I arrived, followed us around and hung out with us in the kitchen. For all their varied and difficult backgrounds, they are each friendly and social, and our time in the kitchen was a pleasure.

I love to support people who find cats as their muses and who help cats with the things they create. Whether you enter in the giveaway or not, also visit Catmint Creations on Etsy to look at others of Norma’s earrings.

woman and cat
Buford gets extra pets from Norma.

Read more in my series of articles about other artists who are Creating With Cats.


Browse some rescued cats and kittens!

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All images used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission. Please ask if you are interested in using one in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of this image or a product including this image, check my Etsy shop or Fine Art America profile to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.


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Weekly schedule of features:
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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

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