Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Saturday, April 26, 2008
I've been having a lot of fun trying to be creative and have had the opportunity to get to know some really creative people. I've developed some friendships outside of my old work environment and have become a Dachshund lover. My house is mess but I really don't care because I am having too much fun doing stuff that makes it messy. On top of it all I have a couple of health crises and managed to lose some wieght.
Have I learned anything? I think I have learned that I have a lot more inner resources than I give myself credit for and that being alone does not mean being lonely. I've also learned that I am not an artist but that that doesn't mean I can't experiment with different artisitic techniques. I have reconnected with my brothers without the sibling crap getting in the way and I have learned to be a parent to my father. I still have not learned how to be talll, thin, blond and rich but I am working on it.
I wonder what the next year will bring? Whatever it is, I hope you will continue to travel with me.
Friday, April 25, 2008
emergency vet visit - $800.00
follow-up vet visits, bandage changes and additional medications - $300.00
special stinky dog food - $35.00
peanut butter for administering pills - $3.00
being pinned to the couch by 13.5 pounds of snoring dog in your crotch - Priceless
Have a great weekend!
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
Different Way to Make a Boxy Bag
Amy Butler’s ‘In Stitches’ sewing book has some incredibly complex patterns. I made the ‘Patchwork Bag with Zipper Charm’ as part of a sew along on the web. I love the result but when I contemplated making another one for a more mundane purpose the thought of cutting out and using 27 pieces of fabric seemed daunting. With a different method I used three – one lining, one exterior and one for a handle. There is a tutorial on this technique on the web at three bears that shows the basics better than I ever could here.
Other handbag ideas:
Use a center close handbag zipper (mine come from create for less).
Add fabric extensions to each end of the zipper before insertion to reduce the risk of broken needles and to reduce bulk.
Add fobs to zippers for ease of use.
When creating a traditional boxed bottom attach the lining box to the exterior box before closing the bottom of the lining.
Add a few lavender buds between the lining and the exterior. Lavender lasts for centuries and will add a nice scent when the bag is used.
On the internet there are swaps of creative goodness being coordinated all the time. Check out Swap Dex for a nice listing of swaps that are willing to take new participants. I have swapped wristlets, craft supplies, Artists Trading Cards, Chunky Book pages, handbags, miniature quilts, matchbox ornaments and old buttons. I’ve even swapped based on a theme like Travel or Dark Fairies. I have been disappointed only once with what I have received (ugly towel received versus a black work Huck Towel I sent). Need a creative boost, try a swap.
Non-traditional Store Goodness
Need a magnetic closure but don’t want to spend $3 – 4.00 for one? Try the hardware store for rare earth magnets. They are very strong, can be encased in an organza pouch for sewing between the lining and exterior of a handbag or jacket and are incredibly cheap. The five pound strength cost me less than $0.50 each rather than $4.00 for a set of two from some suppliers.
Another hardware store find is metal washers. These can be strung together with ribbon to make jewelry, handles or belts. Check out http://www.homeofthesampler.com/howtos/smallobject.html for instructions.
The grocery store can also provide some alternative materials for your creativity. My Kroger has a section with crayons and such and I think I have found an inexpensive alternative to Shiva paint sticks. Crayola makes something called ‘Twistable Color Slicks’. I did a test between paint sticks, slicks and oil pastels. All worked well with rubbing plates. Heat setting did cause some bleed through for the slicks and pastels but all washed well. Paint sticks cost about $6.00 each and work very, very well. Slicks cost about $4.00 for a set of five primary colors. Oil pastels cost about $10.00 for a set of 14. Experiment, you may find a new tool.
Rent and watch a ‘Sewing with Nancy’ DVD from the Library. These are little gems of sewing goodness. At the Spring Branch neighborhood group we watched the one on Simple Jackets and I think everyone walked away with a new trick or tip. Especially clever was the way to make a reversible jacket without using binding to join the two sides together.
The attendess seemed to enjoy this program and I think everybody learned something. I am now planning on a few more of these so I have one on hand when a regularly scheduled program is cancelled.
BTW - I have been doing additional experiments with magents as closures and the use of paint stick alternatives. I plan on posting the results here soon.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Have a good week!
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The last thing I need is another quilt so I ended up bidding on several silent auction items. One item that I did win was a basket of 'male' oriented items like a universal remote control, a light-up mouse pad and a solar calculator. What the description did not reveal is that most of the items were Chevron promo items. This basket did include a gift certificate for a free oil change so I really did do well. I think what really bugged me about this basket of goodies is that I have been purging myself of BIG BANK labeled items so now I will need to purge myself of BIG OIL labeled items. I did win another basket of items that included a bunch of stinky candles, a large red and white fabric storage box, three red and white tea towels and a red neck support pillow for sleeping while flying. What I really liked in the assortment was a cute lady bug votive candle holder which I promptly broke while unpackaging the assortment. C'est la Vie!
Anyway, I usually go to these things with a set budget in mind and ended up under-spending ... this time. I guess that means I will be able to over-spend on silent auction items at the Hula for the Hounds event tomorrow. Is that serendipity or what?
BTW Alex continues to recover and today we actually made it a couple of houses further along the path to where the attack occured. One of the men who helped us was mowing his lawn and stopped to say hello. Alex became a little crazed and wouldn't stop barking. He was obviously very upset but couldn't seem to match his fierce barking to his friendly tail wagging. He was not agressive and kept himself firmly between my feet or at my side. He did stop barking when we headed home and is happily snoring next to me as I write this post. I think I'll wait a few days and try the same distance again. Every day he becomes a little more like the old Alex though it breaks my heart to see him so frightened. A woman I know said it took her dog six weeks to return to its old self after a similar incident ... I am counting the days!
Thursday, April 17, 2008
About that collar business - a friend suggested I try to rig up something from an old t-shirt. That sparked a memory of a t-shirt I had bought one of the girls and I have been trying that on him for the past couple of nights. It doesn't stay on all night but it gets him over the initial licking when he is trying to get to sleep so it seems to be working as a limiter on his licking. I did put the big plastic collar on him while I was out for about five hours yesterday. When I came back he had removed the collar by, I think, pushing it over his head. By doing this he reopened the drain hole on his neck. Fortunately that was before I took him to the vet so they could get a good look at the damage ... nothing serious just very ugly.
It looks like he is well on the way to recovery. He will be on antibiotics for about another week and, I hope, that by the time he finishes them most of his wounds will be much less visible and his fur will have grown back.
This weekend is a fund raiser for his rescue group. He and the girls will be meeting there and I will bring them home with us. I am making them big goofy floral ruffs as their costumes in homage to the beach party theme.
I will definitely post pictures!
Have a great weekend!
Monday, April 14, 2008
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Saturday, April 12, 2008
I have been having a hard time getting him to eat his normal rations and have even tried some pretty disgusting canned food on him with little success. In search of an effective solution he and I visited the local pet store and they suggested a very flavorful dry food. He was very pampered by them and ended up consuming two huge peanut butter flavored bones. I have also had trouble getting him to take his pills until Paul suggested giving the pills with some peanut butter. The pills have been going down very easily since then. When combined wth the evidence of the pet store treats I think peanut butter flavored puppy treats will be added to my doggy shopping list.
After his very busy morning Alex came home with bags under his eyes he was so tired. He is snoring next to me right now and I don't think he will move again unless there is an earthquake or if I have to leave to use the bathroom... one of his favorite spectator sports!
BTW - although he appears to be his old self he is totally freaked when we are out walking and we hear another dog or see another dog (even if the other dog is inside its home). He will not go near the street where the whole thing happened. A couple of times I have picked him and carried him home, other times he makes a u-turn and power walks home. I'll continue to take my cues from him. We may never walk that way again but I will not let us give up walks altogether, we'll just find another favorite path where he can finds lots of good smells and plenty of old dried worms to eat.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
This evening that all went out the window. I think I may become the crazy dog lady and I may never turn back.
The dogs had been a little wild after I fed them dinner. In and out through the doggy door, barking at every stray breeeze, jumping all over me and trying to get on top of each other so they could lick my face. I had had enough and offered to take them on a walk. Lots of joyful barking and tail wagging while I attached their leashes and headed out the door. I noticed a lone dog about half a block away so I made a turn into another street before any of them could see each other.
No such luck.
The other dog turned into the street we were on and came towards us. I yelled at the other dog to go home - that sometimes works. The girls starting barking and trying to squeese between my legs. Alex on the other hand placed himself at the end of his leash between me and the other dog. Then the other dog attacked Alex. Alex took three body slams to the pavement before the other dog's owner could get him off Alex. It only took 10 seconds for a nice walk to turn into a nightmare.
When I looked up I saw at least six other adults who had tried to come to our rescue and two cars had stopped to render assistance. One of the men checked Alex to see if he was breathing okay and that his eyes were focused - good news on both counts. A couple untangled the leashes and checked out the girls - scared but not hurt. Someone else came over with a beautiful huge bath towel so I could wrap up Alex who was bleeding from several wounds. All I could do was cry and hug him to me.
Two people walked home with me all the while carrying the girls so that Alex and I could be seen by them. I called Paul to let him know what happened and asked him to call the emergency vet so they would know we were coming. I put the girls to bed and carefully wrapped Alex in a quilt so that he would be immobilized for the car ride to the vet. After a couple of hours of being assessed they sent me home so they could operate on him.
He is now out of surgery and they are holding him until they close the office in the morning. He has three nasty rips and one puncture wound that peforated his peritoneum (sic?). Paul picked up the girls so I will not have to isolate Alex from them when he gets home. All I can do is think about how Alex (all 13.5 pounds of him) stood between me and the other dog in defense of his human.
I think I will become that crazy dog lady, at least for a few days. I will give him excessive kisses, call him silly names and taste his food, if he lets me. I won't yell at him when he steals my socks or buries my camera in the garden. And, if he has an accident in the house, I will clean it up without any yelling. I will draw the line at dressing him up in exotic costumes but he probaly will get a new bed while he is isolated in his crate.
Eventually I am going down the street to see the owners of the dog who attacked Alex and give them the huge vet bill I am racking up. If they don't pay immeadiately I will be the crazy dog lady with Animal Control on her cell phone. It will not be a pretty sight.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
The day was organized around two trunk shows, presented simultaneously to half of the attendees at the same time. I started the day in Mary's trunk show and was amazed at her creative transformations of ordinary, every day items like sweatshirts, napkins, tote bags and aprons. Her talk was structured around her published books but it never felt as if we had to buy the books to get the inspiration.
We broke for lunch and over the key lime pie, Rita and Mary entertained us like some professional Las Vegas comedy act while showing us some 20 - 30 gifts we could create. Mary and Rita have co-authored two CDs of wonderful, vintage style, embroidery designs. The one I was particularly intrigued by was of redwork style embroideries for the days of the week. For some reason, everyone knew that Monday was wash day and was transformed into Laundry by Mary and Rita. Another day was designated for cleaning and the embroidery could be adjusted to read 'Cleaning Lady'. Sunday was changed from Church to Visiting with an embroidery featuring two women, looking like Rita and Mary, having tea together. A very enjoyable break in the day.
In the afternoon I attended Rita's trunk show. She basically showed us her graphic embroideries on various ponchos and ruanas. The best part, I thought, was when she was talking about making the best of what we've got. Little tricks , while not transforming you into someone who is tall, thin, blond and rich, can make you look and feel better. Her four inch waist belt trick and vertical placement ideas were definitley worth the price of admission.
If you get a chance to see this pair in action, please take the time. They are creative, witty and energetic. By the end of the day you will be inspired to make something wonderful and you may walk away with a new attitude about the most important person in the room - YOU!
BTW - I did not get to wear the Serendipity outfit previously blogged but that story will have to wait until another day.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Not all is lost - yet! the top of the dress fits very well and I think that is due to the minimal shaping at the bust line so that you don't need darts for a good fit.
If all else fails, this dress may become a top with an elastic waist skirt.
Wish me luck!