Happy Endings and New Ideas

Hi Friends,

Some of you may know that I care for a menagerie of semi-feral neighborhood cats. Here’s what my back step looks like on any given morning.

Menagerie of cats

And this isn’t even all of them! I also have birdfeeders in my yard for the endangered songbirds. I think you can probably see where this is going.

Outdoor cats and birds don’t mix. Despite my best efforts, the cats do get some of the birds.

A few weeks ago one of the cats came running into my house with a live finch in her mouth. I managed to get her to drop it, and ushered her back outside. I couldn’t see any obvious wounds on the bird, but it wasn’t exactly OK, either. I took it to our local bird rescuer, Beth Garcia, of Ventura Hummingbird Rescue. We’re lucky to have Beth here in Ventura. She does an outstanding job of rescuing all sorts of birds — not just hummingbirds. Here’s a picture of the finch in Beth’s beautiful backyard during recovery.

Finch Release

Fast forward, and over the weekend I got a text from Beth saying that the finch had recovered and was ready to be released back into the wild. We decided it would be best to let her go at Beth’s house, given the cat situation here.

Beth sent me a short video of the finch being released and flying away. How sweet is that? It really made my day. It’s only a few seconds in length because the finch didn’t stick around for long.

Beth said the finch will be able to join a community of finches and sparrows in her neighborhood. I love a happy ending.

On the art front, I’ve been wanting to do something with boxes — box shapes, or maybe a grid. I’m playing with the idea of feeling boxed in. Then I thought of weaving, which can be used to create box shapes.

I have a lot of pieces of painted canvas that are experiments. I decided to use one of them with my 8-inch rigid heddle loom to see what I could come up with.

Cassandra Tondro weaving

I tore the painted canvas into strips, and used the strips in the weft with a warp of cotton string. This first piece is contiguous strips of the canvas woven flat.

Cassandra Tondro weaving

In the second piece I decided to beat the canvas strips with the reed to bunch it up. This one looks more interesting to me, and I’m getting better box shapes.

Cassandra Tondro weaving

The third piece also uses beaten and bunched up strips of canvas, with some woven string between each strip.

Cassandra Tondro weaving

This is my favorite so far, but what would I do with it? Maybe combine it with other painted pieces?

Cassandra Tondro weaving

The black sets it off nicely, but it needs something more. This is just the beginning of an idea, and I’m going to need to let it stew for a while. These ideas sometimes take a lot of time to develop. I have to try it and see how it looks before I know what to do next.

What ideas are stewing in the back of your mind? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

With love and appreciation,



  1. Thanks for all the creative expressions,writing and inspiration.Ya the cat story and bird story are sweet.I can relate.

  2. Cassie.

    Really like your new woven pieces, especially the one with the dark background.
    The bird rescue story reminds me of a cat I once owned who left a bird in my living room once in a while. I was told that this is sign of love. The cat was honoring our relationship.

    I went to Bolsa Chica in Huntington Beach yesterday and photographed some birds on a two mile walk. Doing okay for an eighty year old !!

    Be well and stay healthy !!

    Paul Blieden

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