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We haven't owned a cat since our children were small, but we have frequent cat visitors from the neighborhood. They like to walk and run atop the rock walls that enclose our back yard. I haven't really minded them, unless they try to use my flower pots as litter boxes or tease our dogs. In fact, we even named some of them because we saw them so often for a while.

After our little dog Tosch passed away, the yellow cat in particular seemed to understand, and he no longer teased Mack, but used to sit on the wall as if he were keeping him company. Since Mack passed away, too, the cat doesn't pause any more, but just walks on by.

I have often wondered who their owners were, and recently I found out after we got someone else's mail in our mailbox. I decided to take it to the right house, the home of a reclusive woman who has the reputation of being a bit eccentric. And although we've been in the same neighborhood for many years, we had never met.

As I walked toward her doorway, I heard a scream from the patio and rushed to the side of the house.

In the shadows of the hanging vines of a morning glory plant, I saw a figure.

A woman in her pajamas and bathrobe was almost shaking with anger as she pulled at the chain of a birdcage that had apparently fallen from its hook. "Damn it!" she cried. "I can't turn my back on you guys for a minute!"

And that's when I realized who she was; the owner of ALL the cats that visit our yard!

There was the fellow we named Rosemary because he tried to use its pot for his litter box!

And there was Ol' Yeller, who helped Mack through his lonely last days.

Oh, that's Yowler, the guy who sits on the fence outside our bathroom window and screams at 3 o'clock in the morning!

And in her robe pocket is the kitten that almost got killed when he crawled under the hood of our neighbor's car to keep warm!

Skunky here likes to lie in wait in the pecan tree in the back yard behind us to surprise the parrots that come for the nuts.

And there inside the cage (no wonder she was so angry!) is Rusty, who paws at the bugs that gather on our back screen door on warm summer nights.

"YEEESSSS?" the woman cried as I stood uncertainly while the cats on her shoulders hissed and pawed at her robe.

"Oh, hi. My name is Wanna, and some of your mail got put in our box by mistake, " I said, extending the envelopes toward her.

She headed toward her back yard, shaking the birdcage. "I've got PROBLEMS!! I have some decisions to make and I don't have time to talk right now. Just drop it in the box if you don't MIND!"

Which I quickly did and came home.

I wonder how it all came out. And now that I think about it, I haven't seen any of the cats lately. Hmmm ....

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NOTES:

This setting came about when I came across this rustic cat birdhouse at a store called Decorators Warehouse. When I purchased it, the cat was the FRONT of the house. With great difficulty I pried the cat off (very challenging, as it was glued and well nailed), to discover that there was another wall behind it. I had to pry that piece off, too.

Ultimately, however, I got it taken apart, including having to remove the base so that I could work on the interior. Then I glued the cat to the back of the house. Originally, I had planned to fill it with miniature bird houses, but since I already have a birdhouse shop, I decided I didn't want that duplication.

That's when I remembered the Crazy Cat Lady Action Figure that I had purchased at some point.

You can see how I remade this figure in the Dolls pages here.

My next step was deciding how to furnish the interior. I had saved a 2008 calendar that had beautiful garden photos, and that's when I decided to make the setting an outdoor one, perhaps on a patio. I looked through the calendar and sure enough, there was what I wanted, including a portion of a rock wall (actually I think it might've been a wishing well, but it works as a wall). Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of the page before I began working with it. And darned if it all isn't covered up by her body anyway. Oh well.

Since I had decided on my photo, I painted the back of the box and the interior of the roof with a green that was close to the greens in the picture. That way if I should accidentally tear the paper or whatever, the damage wouldn't be so noticeable.

After the paint dried, I used foil to make a pattern of the interior. Fortunately, the calendar page was wide enough to cover both sides and back. I used my pattern to fold the creases so that the entire piece could be slid inside at once. I cut down to the point where the peak met the sides, but left the rest of the picture intact. It glued in nicely without any further trimming.

And before I glued anything inside, I also made a pattern for the plexiglas cover that I wanted to attach when the scene was finished.

Here I have coated the interior with glue before adding the background. Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture as I was fitting the background photo in place.

I found this tile paper in my stash and decided to use it for the patio floor. Here it has been glued in place and the stylus used to impress the outlines of the grout.

Here the box has been glued atop the tile, but I want to soften the obvious edge between the picture and the floor.

A line of glue is run around the edges, ...

And some loose greenery is sprinkled in place.

Actually, hardly any of this shows in the finished setting, but I know it is there!

All that I needed to do at this point was touch up the edges of the box with some maroon paint, and I was ready to glue the figures in place.

I hope you enjoyed the Crazy Cat Lady and her patio.

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