Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Girly Girl Stuff

I am not a Girly Girl. While I was a child I wanted to do everything the boys were doing and I was pretty bad at it. I had three broken arm incidents and I have broken all of my toes at various times. I still have a hard time not opening doors for other women or pulling out their chairs for them when they sit down at the dinner table. When every girl in my senior High School class had to take charm lessons I was considered the bad example of how not to walk, talk, carry your books, get into a sports car and ball room dance. However, I do try once in a while to be girly by wearing high heels or a cutsey dress. I was probably having one my girly flashes when I was looking at the Amy Butler 'In Stitches' book the other day while re-shelving it. I came across the large clutch pattern and just had to try it out. Here is what I made:

This is a pretty large clutch at about 18" wide. I used some upholstery scraps for the exterior and some polyester silky fabric for the interior and the flower. The bag has a stiff dividing panel in the middle of the interior to give the bag additional firmness.

I am especially pleased with the flower. The original pattern had you hot gluing the flower to the bag's exterior - yuck! I used nine pound rare earth magnets to attach the flower to the bag. One of the magnets in enclosed in a small patch of fabric that I hand tacked to the flower. The other magnet is just loose inside the bag. I can move the flower to the flap or other parts of the bag. Heck, I can even take it off the bag and wear it as a corsage or ignore it entirely.

Now I need a girly event to use the bag. Some how I don't think dog walking or grocery shopping are just the right events.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

One Year and Counting

On April 26th last year I received my notice from the BIG BANK that my services were longer needed. After the initial shock wore off the next day, I started this blog. What a journey it has been! This past year has been so unlike any other year of my life. Heck, I had my first paying job when I was 12, spent over twenty years supporting a deadbeat spouse and, since I graduated from college, have only been out of work for eight weeks almost 30 years ago. I have not had a job in the last year to define who I am so I have been making it up as I go along. I may not even look for a job until my Dad gets settled in some sort of long term care facility up North.

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


Yesterday Alex got a clean bill of health from the vet. His belly wound will take a couple of months to heal completely however everything else is just fine. As I was driving home all I kept thinking about was how our lives have changed over the past couple of weeks. Just over two weeks ago I had to transport him in a cardboard box because there were so few places on his body that didn't hurt or weren't damaged. Today, except for where his fur still needs to grow back, you wouldn't know anything had happened to him. I am so lucky he continues to be part of my life and that got me thinking about those Mastercard commercials and how so many of them make me smile. Here is my 'priceless' commercial and I hope it makes you smile as well:

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

In the Mail

Today the mail included an eclectic package from my sending partner in the hobo bag swap that is part of the Bag Ladies Flickr group. The package included an un-lined crocheted market style bag, a crochet hook that lights up in the dark, a set of stitch markers, a couple of novellas for young readers, a great little book of sewing tips and a cute little stuffed bear. The sewing book is a little gem with a zillion full color picures of many sewing techniques. It even shows you how to sew on a button! The bear lasted about fifteen minutes with Alex before he had completely destroyed the face and removed the stuffing from the head... then he let me take a picture of the whole package. The bag will be going with me on my next trip up North as a great way to transport shopping that won't fit in my suitcase. Here it is:

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Peace T-Shirt Project

Donk (aka Africankelli) of Finny and Donk's Sewing Adventure travels several times a year to Nicaragua and Mozambique. Check out her blog for a simple charity effort she has initiated. What a simple idea that can do so much good. In my case, I have a few onsies around here that I have been experimenting on as gifts for a friend. I think they will go to Nicaragua and I'll work on others for my friend. I figure that if they get done before the baby becomes a toddler it will be okay.

Doll Quilt Swap III

Today I am sending out my entry in the third round of the Doll Quilt Swap. This time, instead of going for a new technique in miniature I went for a real basic design that I cribbed from an Indygo Junction pattern that was included in one of the silent auction items at the Kingwood Area Quilt Guild Auction. Once I finally decided on the pattern the fabric just jumped onto the cutting board in a fusion of Asian and traditional calicos. I modified the templates in the pattern so I could use the paper piecing method of construction and I think it came out pretty good. What do you think?
I had a couple of ulterior motives in using this design for an 18" x 18" quilt. Firstly I wanted to practice my paper piecing skills which had grown pretty rusty. Secondly, since I seem to be having a lot of trouble with using my walking foot, I wanted to practice stitching in the ditch along the piecing lines. Now my paper piecing skills have returned from the grave and I am confident I can successfully quilt in a grid-like fashion . I also got to practice with a wonderful thread from Superior Threads called King Tut. Almost no thread lint was created and it sewed beautifully. Although it does not have the sparkle and shine of a rayon thread, the varigated colors were wonderful and blended right in with the fabrics.

Next step... the spring version of the Four Seasons Quilt Swap which will definitely include some paper piecing and more King Tut thread. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Bag Ladies Hobo Swap

Today, my partner in this swap received the hobo bag I made for her. Her picture of it can be seen here. Piece of Me is the partner who sent me the awesome wristlet I received in last month's Bag Lady Swap so it was nice to return the favor this month. I am supposed to receive a hobo bag from someone I am unfamiliar with so I am looking forward to seeing what she comes up with for April. This is a neat group to work with in that they don't take themselves too seriously but most of the participants sell their hangbags through Etsy. Every month they take an informal poll on what to swap and the majority rules. You don't need to swap but you get to see some wonderful bags.

This swap was interesting in that some of the group didn't even know what a hobo bag was or how big it should be. I used the pattern and tutorial on this site to begin my hobo bag. There were a couple of things I changed but the basic size and shape is unchanged. I really disliked the strap in the pattern as it seemed like a lot of work for no functionality. I changed it to a straight tie handle so my partner could choose where the bag will hang when using it. I also added one zipper pocket and one large flat pocket to the interior. I did not reinforce these pockets so they are a little floppy, something to remember next time. The cotton exterior fabric was from my stash and reminded me of curtains my mother may have had when I was very young. The interior is some silk dupioni that was also in my stash. I experimented with the scraps to make a cell phone holster which was only semi-successful. The bigger scraps I made into a boxy bag as described in yesterday's post. This is how it all turned out:
The neatest part about this handbag, even if I do say so myself, is the closure. The original pattern did not have a closure but I thought it needed a little something to keep the top closed. I used two five pound rated rare earth magnets. I made two little tubes of fabric, one for each magnet and sewed them into the top when sewing up the edges. They are just strong enogh to hold it together but not annoying like the fancy magnetic closures I tend to use. AND I didn't take any pictures of it - rats! One last thing - I added a few Lavender buds between the lining and the exterior so it will always smell sweet.

BTW - I am now declaring Alex back to normal. Although all the wounds are not healed, he spent two solid hours today torturing Kemora with a variety of squeaky toys, tennis balls and really disgusting raw hide bones - some from the silent auction on Sunday and some that had been buried in the yard many, many weeks ago. Poor Kemora could not decide which toy to go after as whatever Alex had was what she wanted. Each time Alex gave up on a toy Kemora would carry it off in triumph. Alex would then go get another toy, Kemora would drop what she had and try to go after what Alex had. I think they will both sleep long and hard tonight.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Tips, Tricks & Techniques - Part 1

Earlier on the day of Alex's attack I did the program for the Seams Possible neighborhood group. I presented a bunch of little things that I had learned recently that I thought others would enjoy hearing about. Thus was born Tips, Tricks & Techniques - Part 1. Here is the handout I presented with a few modifications for an on-line community. Enjoy!

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.

Here is a picture of the bag I created while experimenting with this technique that used two fat quarters ..... it now holds all of the puppies pills and potions.

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 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

Hula for the Hounds

We (Alex, Kemora, Kelis, Paul, Sandy and me) got to spend the afternoon at the spring fund raiser for Dachshund Rescue of Houston. It was held at Rover Oaks in the southern part of the city. It is a completely deluxe pet kennel that I am sure any pet would enjoy. None of our dogs have ever spent a night in a boarding facility but I am always on the lookout for one just in case! They even have huge rooms, with television and sofas, for really pampered pets or for multiple pet families.

I did not get pictures of the gathering itself but I think I can paint you a picture. Imagine about 25 humans, mostly dressed in bright surfer looks, totally besotted with about 50 or 60 dachshunds and you will have some idea what it was like. It was pretty funny when one dog would get all barky about something and then to have all the others take up the call .. sort of like the wave at a baseball game. The best part for Alex was all the good dog time he got in a very non-threatening environment. He seemed really confident and, for a while, was his old wacky self.

There was a huge lawn area for the dogs to run free in and at one point part of the yard looked like a puppy mosh pit. They even had some toddler size plastic forts with slides. I spent about twenty minutes picking up Alex and the girls so they could slide down the ramp. I'm not sure if they liked it but they kept coming back for more. I think I will look into getting one for my yard to provide them with even more outdoor fun, on top of squirrel chasing and barking at joggers. I won a ring toss game and ended up with a beautiful new collar for him and some other goodies. I also won a couple of small silent auction items. The biggest fundraiser was for heart worm treatments for some new in-takes. It was wonderful to see people donate to such a worthy cause without any hard sell. All the slots were sold out by the time I figured out what they were doing!

Once we left the dogs completely collapsed in the car but the fun was not over. Paul and I went to Barnaby's for supper. This is one of the few places anywhere that will let you bring your dog for dining on their deck. They did bark at a lot of little kids who just wouldn't stop trying to pet them (a no-no in our book without strict rules) and Alex was pretty put out at a waiter or two but all-in-all a pleasant time. They conked out in the car all the way home and have barely moved since we got home. I dessed them in their ruffs so you could see their finery. Kemora barely woke up during the picture taking she was so tired. Don't they look cute?
We just had a little walk and they are now in bed (the master bathroom tub with a doggy bed and several quilts). I don't think I will hear from them again until tomorrow morning.

And for those of you who have been curious, here is picture of Alex, without bandages, enjoying his ultra-ultra-premium dog food the other day. The wounds all seem to be healing quite nicely though I heard today that it may take a year before his fur grows back enough that people won't notice the cuts.

Have a good week!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Qult Auction

Last night was the bi-annual Kingwood Area Quilt Guild Auction. What an impressive array of quilts and other goodies! I left a little early to spend some time with Alex but before I left I got to see Aggie madness up close and personal. There was one bed sized quilt made out of Texas A & M fabrics and two male alumni bid against each other until it got up to $1,400.00! I haven't heard about the final tally but it must have been impressive.

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

Alex Update

Alex is not only naked today but all his stitches were removed yesterday. He even had a bath this morning to get rid of some of the bandage residue and clean up around some of his still drippy drain holes. He is very active now for very short periods. Its like he's a wind-up toy - barking at the door, playing with toys and dancing for treats then all of a sudden he just collapses and sleeps for a few hours.

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

I'm Nekkid!

A special report from Alex himself:

Today Alice decided that I had to see that two-faced Queen of Veterinary Medicine and her evil sidekick. You may know them as Dr. Jen and Terry. They are two of the nicest humans you could ever meet but once I'm all wiggly, giving them kisses and cleaning their ears, they do horrible things to me. I fall for it every time, no matter how much I try to be standoffish they always win me over. Today was just about the worst visit ever.

I went to them because Alice was worried that something was wrong with my stitches. There had been a couple of spots of blood on my bandages and I kept trying to rub them off. Both she and I thought they would remove the old bandages and replace them with another cool color, like lime green, to go with my beautiful red coat. Those demons took off all my pretty purple bandages and left them off! That's right - I'm now naked! Now everyone can see all my stitches, bruises and holes. The Babes (you may know them as the girls - Kemora and Kelis) will never look at me or let me sleep with them again! I had hoped that the bandages would come off when my duelling scars had healed. No such luck.

The worst thing is that I now have to wear this ugly collar all the time now so I won't lick my stitches and cause more damage. No matter how much I protest and argue, Alice will not let me remove the collar except to eat or to go on walks. We just came back from a walk and I didn't try to lick myself for seconds at a time. You'd think after all this time she woud trust me. Maybe she'll take off the collar when we go to sleep tonight. I better start practicing my pathetic, sad look so she'll give in. Do you think this will work?
Hey, Alice! Ignore that last part.. heh, heh, heh... I promise I won't lick myself tonight when we go to bed. Honestly! Don't I have a face you can trust?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Alex Update

Alex is not having a good day today. He is not following me around as much as he does normally and seems even more scared of going for walks than before. It may just be that he is exhausted from yesterday and today he is recuperating. He continues to jump up on everything but wants help to get down. I think he may have torn a stitch or two in his belly wound but he is not complaining and does not seem to be in pain. I think I will take him to the vet tomorrow if he wakes up in the same mood just to be sure nothing is wrong. Over protective human - maybe - but rather than safe than sorry.

Zipper Play

Last weekend Mary Mulari was here for the day. One of her specialties is working with zippers. She really loves one of the most irritating notions in sewing. I have re-done so many zippers in garments that I began using Velcro as a substitute, where possible. Mary has a book that explains how to make accessories using extra long zippers and, while she was here, I picked up both a lime green and a navy blue five and a half foot long zipper so I could try her techniques. (These long zippers were originally dveloped so that the sewer could cut zippers to custom lengths.) Since I forgot to buy the book from Mary while she was here, I borrowed the book from an ASG friend and here is what I came up with today:
And here is how they look unzipped:
The small navy change purse is about 3" x 4". The medium size navy makeup bag is about 7" x 5". The multi-colored ribbon tote bag is about 10" x 10". The navy bags just use the long zippers while the tote uses grosgrain ribbon to add width to the zipper tapes. They are really quick to make and you can go a little nuts dreaming up different combinations of zippers and ribbon to make these bags. They are probably not the most practical things to have but I think I'm going to have fun zipping and unzipping them to the oohs and aahs of small children.

BTW - seveal craft stores have these zippers available but in very basic colors. Nancy's Notions has them in the full range of colors including Lavender and Pink.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Alex Update

Alex went to the vet today to get his bandages changed. He is now sporting bright purple sports wrap as well as the standard ace bandages and gauze. They removed the drains which should make him a little more comfortable. The removal of the drains also means that the thickness of the bandages could be reduced so you can now see his athletic figure a bit more. If he continues to heal as well as he has, the vet thinks that he will be able to have some of the sutures removed on Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

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

Finny & Donk's Sewing Adventure - April

The April project in the great sewing adventure is a bias cut seersucker apron. I really don't need another apron but I thought it would be a good exercise to work with a large piece of bias cut fabric. Working on the bias, which stretches like crazy, is really an exercise in restraint. I was surprised that the edges did not become all wobbly and such as I was sewing this with the recuperating Alex on my lap. Out of the scraps I created a coaster for my wine glass - a necessary accessory when I cook.. the wine that is, not the coaster!
I really enjoy working through the monthly projects. None require a ton of time or expense but each has focused on a diferent technique to accomplish usable results. It was also a great distraction yesterday when all I wanted to do was curl up with Alex while he snores his way to health. There is only so much a body can take of that so sewing was a good relief.

Alex and I need to visit the vet again tomorrow for new bandages and a check of his drains. After that I hope we can spend the afternoon in the yard enjoying what is expected to be spectacular weather.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

He's Home!

After a full day at the vet's yesterday it was decided that Alex did not have to spend any more time being professionally monitored and that he could come home. I had a hard time just getting him into the car as there are very few places without stutches, drains or bruises to grab to pick him up. He came home in one of those collars that are used to prevent animals from licking their wounds. I made the executive decision that unless he is locked up in his crate, he will not have to wear it. He is on two pain meds and one antibiotic. The vet doubled one of the pain meds because he was not getting enough relief to be able to sleep. Now he sleeps quite well but he snores to beat the band!

He ended up sleeping with me last night because he cried so pathetically when I put him in his crate with the collar. This arrangement was good for him but bad for me. I am allergic to dogs and he spent the night as close to me face as he could get. I woke up totally congested but he was in good shape. I had to take him back to the vet this morning for new bandages and the vet took the opportunity to let me see all the damage that was previously covered up. It looks like he has about 25 stitches in various places and six wounds varying in size from four inches (on his belly) to one about half an inch long. The damaged areas are quite swollen and he has the beginning of some nasty bruises. We are back home now and he has slept the afternoon away.

We have a few more days of close monitoring to make sure there are no infections or other complications. Here is a photo of our wounded warrior snoring his head off last evening.
Thank you for all your good thoughts and wishes. He is a strong little fellow and, I hope, he should be back to normal, barking at all the squirrels and chasing his toys, in a couple of weeks. Until then he will be a frequent visitor to the vet and eatng lots and lots of treats!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Alex Update

I picked up Alex from the emergency vet this morning. They had to do a little more work on him last night and recommended that he spend the day with my regular vet getting IV fluids. He looks pretty awful - both his neck and body are almost completely covered with gauze bandages, ace bandages and bright yellow sports tape. He has so many painful wounds and drains that the emergency vet had a hard time picking him up for transport. They ended up confining him to a box and I drove him to my vet that way. He complained the whole way but he really didn't have his heart in it. Although he wouldn't lick my face or wag his tail for me, he did kiss the vet tech and wag his tail for my vet. I know it will be a while before he is back to normal but I could really use some doggy kisses right now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Crazy Dog Lady

I never thought I would be the crazy dog lady. You know the one, she treats her dogs like people, gives them kisses al the time, calls them cutsy names and even taste tests their food. I'm not like that. I do consider Alex and the girls when I am planning my days out to ensure they aren't stuck in the bathroom for too many hours. I do give them premium dog food but I have never tasted it (yuck!). I do get a little wacky with them once in a while telling them what good puppies they are while giving them a vigorous belly rub but that's about as crazy as it gets.

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

Serendipity Finale

I finally finished the serendipity outfit that I started last week based on two fabrics that seemed to go together. The dress was a real pain to complete and I needed to recut and resew the sides several times to make them lie flat. The jacket is a single layer of a linen/cotten blend with ties in the front and the edges bound with self bias. Despite getting it done, I realized on Saturday that it was too light weight for the coolish weather thaat day. Here is how it turned out: (please forgive the poor photo as I have yet to master taking pictures of myself!)
I think it turned out okay.. not great but acceptable for some events. I don't think it looks like something poorly made by loving hands but you may disagree! It is not a lawn dress and will not be put in the closet to be brought out only for yard work. I think if I made it again I would choose identical light weight fabrics in different color ways. The over blouse is in a heavier weight than the dress so the tie in the front looks a little like a tumor when viewed from the side. The dress, by itself, is pretty dumpy but I can add tucks or a belt at the waist line to give it more shape if I wear it alone. All in all a successful project that is made way more elegant by the addition of pearls at the neckline.
This was a stretch for me and way outside of my comfort zone. I need to do this more often rather that sticking to the tried and true. I would not recommend this pattern for an in-experienced sewer unless the fit was perfect before you started to cut. Also, with the lack of construction instructions, some sewers may have difficulty getting it all put together.
Have a good week! I will be having a busy one with two presentations planned to two different groups. For the Seams Possible ASG group I will be presenting several ideas for techniques to try and for the Kingwood Quilt Guild Wearables group I wil be doing a presentation on the Bog Coat. Wish me luck!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The Mid-Western Ya Ya Sisters

Today the local ASG chapter hosted Mary Mulari and Rita Farro (the Mid Western Ya Ya Sisters) for a full day of fun and creativity. Mary is a frequent presenter on Sewing with Nancy and is well known for her sweatshirt transformations. Recently she did a unit on creative tote bags including a handbag created solely from a five and a half yard zipper. Rita wrote the book 'Life is Not a Dress Size' which fundamentally changed my attitude about myself when it was first published in 1996. I eagerly awaited today so I could spend some time with this dynamic duo and I was not disappointed.

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

Serendipity UPDATE

I put together the dress on Sunday from the Coni Crawford Magic Dress Pattern. It's a simple scooped neck, short sleeved, shift type dress. Although my pattern doesn't seem to have any construction instructions it was very simple to put together. It has two slits on the sides for ease of walking. After I put it together I tried it on and found that the front and back of the dress both pulled to the center front making a wierd V. I tried to solve it by zigzagging the slits together. That solved the V thing but then showed that there was this huge frigging bulge at the upper thighs. I am now trying to figure out how to re-cut and re-sew the sides to eliminate the bulges.

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!

In the Mail

Yesterday I got my Spring Quilt from the Four Seasons Quilt Swap. My contribution is on the design board waiting for me to get it done. The 16" square quilt I received is from Lisa, an incredible miniature quilter. It is definitely a WOW!
See how each individual block is fabulous - they are only three inches square!!
In addition to the quilt she included a pin cushion made from the scraps, two sets of neat buttons and her label was perfect.

I guess I better get moving on mine so I can send it off to..... oops! can't tell as it is a secret.