Hi, all.  My first blog E-V-E-R !!!  (I know it will be rough, but at least I'll get to edit it.)

I've been to a couple of cat shows as Bizans!!! 

There are about five official associations for cats that sponsor cat shows.  These organizations, I have come to realize, are necessary for the breeds to have a definitive ideal look AND a way to ensure the purity of the breed and, in a way, birth defects, etc.  For now I have chosen to participate with the two largest ones, CFA and TICA.  I had gone to several shows with Barb Azan, my first mentor and Karen Delmont, a breeder friend of Barb's and now mine, in 2007 and 2008.  Barb had planned to go with Karen and me to a TICA show in Lancaster, PA, last Halloween, but she was too ill (she died just two weeks later) so Karen helped Ken and me show our first baby -- actually named Kaby because he was Kiri's Baby!  He got four finals, including BEST LONG-HAIRED KITTEN in one ring!!!  I was SO proud and excited!  I LOVE that boy.  He's now making girls happy in Rome.

Kit was going to help me with my first CFA show in Mansfield, OH, a couple of weeks ago, but she got sick so I showed her cat (Azima's Purrfect Wonder aka Amy) and our two white kittens, Walker and Crystal.  They did VERY well, each getting four finals and BOTH in a fifth final, Crystal getting Best Long-Haired Kitten in that one (or was it an All-Breed?  I'll have to check) -- proof, I guess, that we have beautiful cats here thanks to Barb.

Anyway, at the TICA show last Halloween I used Barb's cage curtains (the fabric that covers the ugly metal cages you house your cats in until they're called to a ring), and at the CFA show a couple of weeks ago I used Kit's.  Well, we just went to another TICA show in Laurel, MD, and there wasn't time to sew so I jury-rigged some from a rich black-ish long window scarf for the sides and front and gold-dotted velveteen for the top, merely folded fabric I've had.  I think it looked pretty good; I must finish it before next week's show. 

The Thursday before the show I found GREAT STUFF at Tuesday Morning to present our Byzantine theme.  As if made just for us, there were fabric decorations in the shape of a Byzantine cross for curtain ties with beaded tassels and all bedazzled with beads and a faux amber stone in the middle.  Rich and appropriate.  I felt the need to explain to people, though, that these were meant to be historical elements, not necessarily religious. 

THEN two big pillar-candle holders made of resin or something in the shape of CROWNS, painted gold and gilded in places!!!  The shapes a Byzantine emperor would have worn but with no jewels!  I didn't need candles, of course, but set a food dish in one for inside the cage and another to show business cards (that featured Emma's litter of four boys) on top of the cage.  You can't see the second one in the picture, but here you can get the idea.

Stuff like padded dog bed, litter box and water dish are all black to keep the visual clean and show off the cats best.

For totally make-shift, it turned out acceptably well, I thought.  When I use it again, they will be FINISHED, and I will attach (jury-rig again) a battery-operated touch lamp to the top of the cage to light up and really show off our babies, though you couldn't miss our Walker in white and Mira in light silver against the black fabric.  You can't see Mira well in the picture because she's kind of wrapped up in a black neck pillow in the back.  You also can't see the crown on top with our business cards and the shadowbox frame I bought from IKEA with our cattery name in it.  Hey, just like everything else, it's a work in progress.

Barb's former housekeeper, Angela, is going to sew FOUR sets for me -- two with some of Barb's fabric (one gold, one silver) and two in teal that I chose.  The latter will especially complement our cameo babies.  Until they arrive, I think the next fabric I buy for curtains will be turquoise -- get it?  Turkey - turquoise?  These will represent Turkey from the Ottoman Empire!  Get a load of the contrast:  Byzantine's rich religion and Ottomans' decadence!  (Read on about the turquoise cage curtains and you'll get the irony.)

History trivia:  Did you know the French originated that word to describe the blue they saw in Turkey in the stones and the tiles of the Blue Mosque and other places?  The stone doesn't occur naturally in Turkey, I've just learned, but Constantinople, being a huge trade center, imported the stones from Persia, where they do occur naturally, and they had incorporated it in their artwork, and that is what the French had seen.  AND did you know that Turkish jewelers set turquoise stones in gold instead silver, like we're used to seeing here in the U.S. -- very rich and beautiful.

(I LOVE learning, and I plan to share facts and stories I am excited to learn about here in this blog.  I even looked up the origin of jury-rig before I used it above.  Did you know it doesn't have anything to do with courts and juries?!)

While looking for necklace pendants with Byzantine crosses, I came across a terrific online store, tulumba.com (tulumba is a popular Turkish dessert) and got an idea for the turquoise cage curtains with -- a sparkly blue velvet hip scarf used in belly dancing!  Picture this stretched flat across the top front of a cage with slick turquoise fabric all around: 

I might have to fold back part if it's too long. Who would know it is a belly dance accessory "in real life"? 

Or this belly dance belt -- not that it holds up anything ;-)   There's room for the cage doors on either side of the V.  How much fun will it be to share with people what the decoration really IS?

There's a lighter blue that might be even better; the picture looks more risque.  Just picture it straight and flat:

This is all turning out to be fun and creative!

~ Sue