Cat wins fishing app champion title

Reading Time: 2 minutes

This past year, people have spent more time at home than ever before, and while humans have been honing their gaming skills, so have cats.

Enzo the cat playing with app

Enzo, the first ‘Friskies Cat Fishing Champion,’ playing the updated Friskies app, Cat Fishing 2. The game designed specifically for cats is now available for free download on iOS and Android devices.

Abdallah Elayan’s (@abdallahnation) cat, Enzo, was named the first official “Friskies Cat Fishing Champion,” achieving a score of 4,888 points.

Friskies partnered with cat influencers from across the country to launch Cat Fishing 2, including the chance to compete in the Cat Fishing competoition.

The game, which is available for free for iOS and Android devices, provides a simple way to enrich a cat’s life and support mental stimulation, according to Friskies. The game allows cats to prowl for prey in a custom pond stocked with virtual fish and decorations.

The update includes special sounds and schools of fish to keep them clawing back for more. The more fish your cat catches, the more points they rack up.

Users can also now brag about their kitty’s purrfect score by sharing on social media.

“We are so proud to be the winners of this challenge and recommend this game for cat owners looking for new ways to entertain their pet,” said Elayan in a press release. “Not only was this an exciting game for my cat, Enzo, it was such a joy as a pet parent to watch and show off.”

To check out the game, visit your app store or download here. For more information about Friskies gaming options, please visit



Me and my cat, Motor, review free apps for cats


Recycling feed bags into cute items, like this tote bag

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Awhile back, I read an article about how in the early 1900s or so, a lot of packaging for items was designed to be what was now refer to as “upcycled,” so that pretty much everything someone bought, even the packaging, would go to some use.

For example, some companies used to print dolls on feed bags and these “dolls” would be cut out and played with by kids, which I think is such a simple, sweet and fun idea and it makes me sorry that we don’t see more of this today.

So, I recently bought some chicken feed and noticed an announcement on the back of the bag that said the bag could be upcycled. As you can see in the picture below, it shows that you can upcycle the empty feedbag into a wallet, a planter, an apron or a tote bag. I’ve been doing a lot of painting lately, so I was excited about the idea of creating an apron for that and gardening.

Upcycling image from feed bag

I waited a couple of weeks and, finally, all the chicken feed was used up, so I washed out the bag and went to the website address — all ready to make my apron.

Unfortunately, Kalmbach feeds no longer has the upcycle instructions on its site. I even did a Google search to see if it was maybe in a different location, but couldn’t find anything.

I was all hyped up to make something, but had no instructions, so I started to think I was going to need to change my plan. I can’t sew and don’t have a lot of craft supplies, so I would need to make something fairly simple, but I also wanted to make something I would use. At that point, I switched to a tote bag because I was doing some searching online and found some really cute tote bags that had been created from feed bags on etsy and pinterest. There were also a lot of tutorials on youtube.

As you can see in this picture, the package actually has really adorable artwork. Thinking about it now, I could have even cut it out and framed it or made some kind of sign for the chicken coop. But, anyway, I decided in the moment that I really wanted to make a tote bag that would display the artwork and the green and blue color pattern.


Kalmbach Feed package

Here are my very general directions on how I made my bag. I’m not being too specific because it was a first attempt and I kind of think people might have more fun adding their own touches. And, if you can sew, You can probably make something a little more durable.

But, here’s what I did:

I started by cutting some of the extra string off the sewn part of the bottom and pulling off the ingredients tag. Then, I folded the bag down the sides and pushed in the bottom of the bag so it would be flat. I put two pieces of cardcoard on the inside bottom of the bag, so it would help it to stay flat and give it a little more strength.

cardboard in bottom of bag

I cut off the top part of the bag all in one big loop above where the artwork started and I kept that loop for the handles and the smaller bit of decoration you can see holding the handles together. I did that so I can hang it. I plan to use this one to store plastic bags in, in the kitchen.

I folded over the top so that it was down to where I wanted it and used a glue gun in a few spots so that it would stay folded (although being able to sew it would have likely looked better and would be more durable). I cut small holes in the bag and the handles loops, which I doubled up, and used baggie ties to attach the first handle. But, then, I decided that string would be easier, so I used that for the second handle. I thought about using a glue gun, but didn’t know if that would hold. I also thought about using a stapler, but I have a pet peeve about getting scratched by loose staples, so sturdy string seemed best. The handles look pretty good, but again, ones that were sewn on would probably look best.

Overall, I really like how the bag came out and think the more practice, the nicer ones I can make.

Tote bag

Finished tote bag.

Acutally, I’m excited. This opens up a whole new world to me. As a dog, cat and chicken person, who knows how many bags I have thrown out at this point. But, now, I plan to start making all kinds of items with the help of some youtube tutorials and just some more creative imaginings about what I can make. Plus, I can always use more tote bags for storing pet supplies in a cute way. And, I love the idea of keeping usable items out of landfills.

The cat food usually comes in paper, and I’m not sure if the dog food bags might have too much of that “oil” from the dog food on it to effectively wash them out and re-use. But, even if that’s the case, I will still have plenty of bags to experiment with, thanks to the chickens.

I hope this inspires others to upcycle. And if you do, please share some of your creations!

Update: After I wrote this article, my mother emailed me the following, which was really cool to find out.

Your great grandmothers, Grace Cofield and Alice Pittard, both sewed dresses, aprons, and quilts and many more household items from flour and feed sacks!! In the 1920’s, 30’s and early 40’s the fabric from the empty sacks was a good source of material in rural areas. Simplicity and McCalls sold patterns to help create dresses for women and children.”


Ten pet lover backgrounds for Microsoft Team and other online meetings

Reading Time: 3 minutes

If you’re anything like us, you have spent  A LOT, like a mind-numbing amount, of time in Microsoft Team meetings lately.

And, like us, you might also be seeking a way to spice up the meeting bit or bring some of your personality to the forum.

That’s why we’re releasing our new, free pet-related backgrounds that you can download and install in Microsoft Teams or use for backgrounds in other virtual meetings.

So, here they are. Choose the one you like best or download them all and mix it up from one meeting to another.

person in front of cat background

Example of this background in use during a meeting.

  1. Our Mid-Century Modern Cat Background should bring a nice retro vibe to any virtual meeting.

And, if your real kitty tries to join in during a meeting–as many cats seem to love to do–his or her meeting cameo appearance might be less of a distraction since you will already be adorned by cats.


Mid century modern cats on red egg chair

2. Pop Art Donut Cat (inspired by the work of Andy Warhol) might just be the background for your next morning meeting. The combo of cats, donuts and bright colors should have even non-morning people smiling.

Warhol-like doughnut painting with cats

3. Professional cats conference. Here’s a background showing some fluffy business professionals joining in on your conference.

cats in a virtual meeting graphic

4. Brick House With Cats. You can also download the background that says to the world, “I’d rather be home with my cats… Oh, wait, I am.”

cats in front of brick house background

5. Beach Window With Cats. Or, you can incorporate a nice beach atmosphere with these three cute kitties in the window background.

three cats in window looking at beach

6. Abstract Cat and Butterfly. This next one may serve two purposes: Hopefully, it will make others smile, and maybe it will also serve as a subtle reminder to all to keep the meeting moving so everyone can get out and enjoy the outdoors as soon as it’s over.

cat and butterly graphic

7.  Koi Pond. Of course, we don’t want to forget other types of pets, so here’s a lovely koi pond that will likely help bring a little tranquility to your meetings.

koi and lilly pads background

8. Puppy Pattern. If your dog is anything like ours are, an online meeting means, ‘Hey, it’s time to bark.’ But, these little fellas should be nice and quiet, and, hopefully, a great hit with the group in your next online discussion.

dogs with balls graphic

9 and 10. Our White and Black Fur Background and our Pink and Black Fur Background are both classic ways of showing your love for all kinds of furry friends.

black and white fur background

We hope you enjoy these backgrounds and that they bring a little  whimsy to your future meetings!

Not sure how to download and install into Microsoft Teams? Here’s a quick video that shows how.

All backgrounds above created by Barbara Bullington. You are welcome to use the above background images without permission/attribution for decorative purposes within online meetings. For questions about other uses, such as commercial ventures, please contact Barbara Bullington.

What can you do with chicken feathers?

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Someone in a backyard chicken group we below to on social media posed the question, “What does everyone do with their chicken feathers?

We definitely took an interest since we have baskets, tins cans, and a few vases with loose feathers we’ve picked up over time and have been planning to put to use.

Below are some of the answers, but first on the list is one of the projects were were inspired to create as a result of finally putting some of those feathers to use other than collecting dust.

1. Cat toy.

This was pretty easy to make. It just took feathers and a rubber band to wind them together. Then we used some elastic string to attach a few bells. We tied on a ribbon and secured it with decorative duct tape. Motor, who is shown below, loves this toy! I think the fact that there is probably a scent from the chickens on the feathers caught her attention, and the bells and ribbons also help to make it very irresistable.

cat toy made from chicken feathers

cat playing with chicken feather toy

2. Dreamcatchers.

A few people responded that they make dreamcatchers with the feathers. Some sell theirs on Etsy, perhaps making a small profit or perhaps just being able to afford more chicken feed.

We haven’t tried this yet, although, as you can see, we do own a dream catcher (which was a gift from a former student).


But, if you’re interested in making your own (let us know if you want to borrow some feathers, lol) we do recommend the following youtube video, which shows how to make a dream catcher for beginners:


3. Feather jewelry.

More than a couple of people responded that they make jewelry with their feathers. We went to Etsy to check out the chicken feather jewelry scene and were surprised not only by the incredible assortment of earrings, necklaces and more, but to see quite a few pieces of chicken feather jewelry we wouldn’t mind owning. Here’s one example of a piece that definitely caught our eye.

4. Fishing lures.

Yet another response was fishing lures. One of our family members is an avid fisher and says feathered lures can be very good for reeling in some fish. Here’s a how-to link:


5. Feather Christmas tree ornaments and trees.

Some said they make them to give as gifts as holiday time, which we think is a great idea. Some people simply take feathers and place them inside those round, clear plastic ornament balls that you can open and put anything inside before hanging on your tree.

Here’s a video that, although it’s still a bit early, may get you in the Christmas spirit.


While we were looking for feather ornament examples, we stumbled across instructions for how to make feather Christmas trees. Below is one how-to video. These are really pretty, but even with what we have collected from our Silkie Chickens, we’d probably have to buy more feathers to have enough for the project.


6. Wreaths.

This was a popular answer too, and, again, some make theirs to sell on sites like Etsy. But others keep theirs. One person mentioned that they have their wreath hanging up in their living room and simply add feathers to it as they accumulate new ones — an egg-cellent idea (yeah, we went there). We found this beautiful feather wreath at Hobby Lobby and took a picture to help inspire us to make our own (hopefully, somewhere near as nice) creation when we have enough feathers (maybe we need more Silkies!).

feather wreath

And, if that puts you in the mood to get crafty, here’s a how-to video for a pretty feather wreath:


So, we covered a lot of ground! From dream catchers to fishing lures, and from ornaments to jewelry. Do you have any other ideas or photos of what you’ve done with your chicken feathers? We’d love it if you’d share them with us.

Two free fur pattern backgrounds and a how-to tutorial

Reading Time: < 1 minute

You might have noticed our site is sporting a stylish new black and yellow fur pattern in the background. We created it in Photoshop.

We hope you like it.

And, if you do, feel free to use it on your site too (and also feel free to link to us if you do!):

yellow and black fur pattern

We also created a pink and black faux fur pattern that you can use as well (and, again, we’d love it if you link to

black and pink faux fur pattern

And, if you want to make your own fur background photo with a different color or just to put your own spin on it, but aren’t sure how, we made this tutorial video:


A treat your chickens might like; or not

Reading Time: 2 minutes

So, my fiance saw some videos on the internet with hanging cabbage heads that chickens were going crazy over.

Like this one:

So, he decided to try it out for both our small flock of three silkie chickens and our small flock of three larger chickens.

You can see how it looks hanging from the top and the bottom in the pictures directly below.

Cabbage hanging in chicken coop

This is the cabbage head that was hanging in the Silkie’s pen. You can see some cabbage shredded on the ground. I put that there to try and get their attention when they didn’t show any interest in the hanging cabbage.

hook used to hang cabbage

This is the top where the cabbage was hung by a hook and some string.

Sadly, none of our chickens showed much interest in the cabbage. The Silkies pecked a  bit at pieces of cabbage on the ground. The bigger chickens pretty much completely ignored everything all together.

Maybe we should have tried lettuce? Either way, it was a pretty inexpensive experiment, since we had the string and hooks at home and cabbage is fairly cheap.

It’s pretty easy to make the hanging cabbage ball if you want to try it out. And, if you do, hopefully you have better luck than we did. Here’s one of the videos on youtube showing how to do it:






Like to sketch your cat? Here’s a fun link to try

Reading Time: 2 minutes

If you like to sketch you cats and you also like playing around with new technology, this quick and free online application might be just right for you!

Edges2cats created by Christopher Hesse converts quick sketches of your cats into pictures.

As Hesse notes on the website, some of the creations come out a little “creepy,” since they eyes don’t always come out quite right and the auto edges don’t always auto detect correctly. But, as as it turns out, that’s part of the fun. You never know exactly what you’re going to get after entering your cat sketch.

Some are, indeed, creepy. Some are pretty cute. And some are downright hilarious.

Here’s one of our best tries:

furry cat created on sketch site

This was our second runner up:

yet another edges2cats cat sketch to photo

Here’s one that didn’t turn out so well. And, yes, we found it a little creepy, although maybe kind of a·vant-garde:

We liked the face and body on this one, but it came out with a little something extra on its back:

edges 2 cat creation


So, if this all sounds intriguing, give it a try. Or two, or twenty… And definitely feel free to share your best results with us!


Cute and easy dog tree ornament kit

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I found this dog Christmas tree ornament kit at Dollar General, and, while the holidays are still a bit away, I couldn’t help picking it up.

Besides, it was only $1.

Foam Christmas Activity Kit

The kit includes 5 foam dogs and all the stick-on foam pieces you need to decorate each dog, as well as five pieces of gold string for hanging them. It’s a super easy project and probably took about 15 minutes all together to finish. (It came with instructions, but I barely glanced at them.) The hardest part was probably getting the tiny, white spots that go on the dogs eyes to stick on without them sticking to fingers or ending up in the wrong spot.

Dog ornament pieces

Even though all the pieces are exactly the same, each dog seems to have its own personality. Not too bad for 25 cents an ornament.

Finished dog ornaments

Refurbishing an old cellphone case with a fur pattern — for a dollar!

Reading Time: 2 minutes

I found this cool fake fur pattern at Dollar General recently for $1.


It’s called Peel N’ Stick Glam Fur Skinz from Grafix and, like it sounds, you can just peel and stick the fur pattern and put it on just about anything, including notebook covers, photo frames, pens, pencils, or, in my case, a cell phone case that had lost its luster.

faux leapoard cellphone case

leopard cellphone case


The kit comes with 2 adhesive sheets. I used about one and a half for the cell phone. Now my phone is super soft. And it’s also very easy to spot, so I spend way less time searching around the house for my phone now.







The kit is also available in five other patterns as shown below, so you can get very creative and try mixing and matching them in your projects.

Glam Fur patterns